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Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Harvesting.

So what did you do this long weekend, friends? It was gorgeous here in Boston and we took full advantage of the weather, spending time as a family at birthday parties, soccer games, the beach, and a local apple orchard picking more than enough apples for half a dozen pies.

{Not apples. Cherries? In October?}

When we got home from the orchard, I continued the harvest theme by gathering the blossoms off our newly-planted hydrangeas. So beautiful!

{Endless Summer, indeed!}

Finally, I started a project more than a year in the making. Last year when I hit Brimfield with my friend Cheri, I got some really fabulous pieces (including the guy featured in this post), most of which I justified by saying, “when I get home I’ll just paint/strip/reupholster this!” Turns out I’m using a lot of what I bought as is, BUT there was one piece that had no purpose without a little work. So this weekend, I finally took a few hours to start working on what I think will be an awesome addition to our living room. Stay tuned!

{Could the perpetual project starter finish something? We’ll see!}

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When I first heard about Boston-based artist Leslie Graff from Design Mom, I instantly fell in love with her work. Tuesday night, while at Pivot Boston (an amazing event that brought together women who want to make or have made a change in their careers that bring them more joy/fulfillment/peace of mind/etc.), I squealed a little when I realized she was a panelist (actually it was more of loud WOOT! followed by a burst of clapping). After hearing her speak about the journey to her “pivot,” owning an original Leslie Graff shot to the top of my wish list.

I’m particularly fond of Leslie’s Domestic Series, a collection of paintings that features an unidentified woman (turns out they’re self-portraits) in fabulous heels running her household and raising her children. While the scenes could be straight out of the 50s or 60s, the clothes are just modern and sexy enough that I feel like Leslie has captured today’s working mom and honored her in acrylic.

Learn more about Leslie’s background, see her portfolio, and buy her notecards and prints here.

Image credits: Leslie painting from her blog Smart Mama; “Ironing it out” notecard from the Pivot Boston goodie bag

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Does it annoy anyone else that “Bed Bath & Beyond” isn’t “Bed, Bath and Beyond”?

Just me?

Okey dokey.

Anyhoo…in case you haven’t heard, Kate Spade has made her way to BB&B.  Maybe this is old news, but since I had a temporary absence from the design blogosphere, I missed the announcement until about three weeks ago.  She’s got some VERY cute stuff including dinnerware, crystal, and linens. But my very favorite piece in the entire collection is this little number…

One hundred percent cotton bedskirt perfection.

Love.

{And yes, I promise my next post won’t be about stripes. Perhaps I should add “stripe-obsessed” to my profile?}

Photo credit: Kate Spade Heirloom Roses Bed Skirt, Bed Bath &Beyond

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About this time of year, the stripes start to send signals…

…that spring is coming!

I love a touch of nautical in my wardrobe, but I’ve always been a bit of sucker for it in my home too.  Remember this post?

Last fall, I went to the Brimfield Antique Show with my friend Cheri, and I fell in love with this guy…

Cheri didn’t get my crush on him, and frankly, I couldn’t explain it.  I just knew I had to have him.  It’s not like I come from a family of sea captains, or grew up in Gloucester, or particularly like Salty Dogs, but I loved the idea of looking at his grumpy eyes every day.  So now he lives in my downstairs bathroom, freaking the crap out of people when they walk down the hall.

A touch of nautical?  It makes my captain feel right at home.

Image credits: J.Crew; EmersonMade.; Tea Accessories; Oh Captain, My Captain and his close up taken by Paige Lewin’s iPhone; Dash & Albert; Uncommon Goods; L.L. Bean; Wisteria; Anthropologie

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I know it’s a sin, but I’m just not that religious.  Here’s what I’m coveting for my home this month…how about you?

 

Casually elegant stemware that can serve up milk or mimosas equally well,

 

fishy rugs,

 

simply beautiful turned wood lamps,

 

the Hans Wegner classic,

 

Michael A. Palmer’s view of the world,

 

and perfect flatware for parties, picnics or pasta.

 

Image credits: Hartland Stemware, Simon Pearce; Fish Design Rug, Landry & Arcari, White Turned Table Lamp, Hudson; ch24 Wishbone Chair, Hive Modern; Boat House by Michael A. Palmer, Van Ward Gallery; Seaborne Flatware, Anthropologie

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And while we’re on the subject of new lighting

This image, from the Style At Home booth at the Interior Design Show in Toronto, has been floating around the web for the past couple of days.  The painted floor is amazing, as is the fabulous bright springy styling — a sign of things to come for those of us being socked by winter weather right now.  But what’s really terrific is the use of paint cans as lighting fixtures.

It reminded me that I had recently snapped an equally cool use of paint cans as light fixtures…except this one was a little less sleek. 

Just as inventive though, don’t you think?

These fixtures — using brand new paint cans or well-worn ones or any other vessel entirely — are super-easy to make on your own.  All you need is the object of your choice and one of these:

And if you want to hardwire it rather than plugging it in and hanging it from a hook, pick up one of these:

Have you ever created your own lighting?  Pendant?  Chandelier?  Lamp?  Please share!

Image credits: Re-nest (originally from Poppytalk, similar image can also be seen on Aubrey+Lindsay’s Blog); Paige Lewin; West Elm Pendant Cord Set; West Elm Industrial Pendant Conversion Kit

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Logic quiz:

Poor self-image is to fashion magazines as WHAT is to home decor catalogs?

I don’t know either, but sometimes I feel like I have it, whatever IT is.  Occasionally I get sort of taken over by staging my house…rolling up the throw blankets and storing them just-so in a gorgeous basket (you’re cold? grab one of these!), propping the white ceramic fish platter in a plate holder on my kitchen counter (look, it’s art!), stacking up a pretty set of books by my bedside (who has time to read?).  Maybe it’s some form of OCD, or maybe it comes from buying and selling multiple houses in the past five years (never know when you’re gonna have to put it on the market!), but I suspect that some of the obsession comes from looking through too many home design catalogs and shelter pubs.

Luckily, my little brother pointed me to a hilarious site that reminds me how idiotic some of those scenes from Pottery Barn (and others) are.  Catalog Living follows the fictional life of Gary and Elaine, the passive-aggressive, accessory-obsessed couple who live in your catalogs.  Created by actor and Tufts graduate Molly Erdman, Catalog Living now serves as my daily reminder that I shouldn’t worry if my throws aren’t just-so.

{But really, a little staging never hurt anyone.}

Image credit: Catalog Living, January 20, 2011

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{For those of you thinking you were going to get a post on some great product or DIY project today, please forgive this brief indulgence…we’ll be back tomorrow with our regularly scheduled programming.}

For four days last week, I indulged in my ultimate personal (not to be confused with family) vacation.

For four days last week, I caught up with an old friend, met at least thirty new ones, and basked in the warm glow of humor, creativity, entrepreneurship, inspiration, artistry, and seriously great fashion.

For four days last week, I attended the Altitude Design Summit, a not-to-be-missed bringing-together of social media and design professionals to hear from some of the Greats, learn new skills (screen-printing, tabletop photography, Illustrator, oh my!) and forge new relationships that will last beyond Twitter.

For anyone interested in the content of the panels, you can find summaries and commentary all over the blogosphere. Since I know many of my readers are not bloggers or designers and The Mudroom is not what one would characterize as a personal blog, I won’t recount every life-changing detail. But I will tell you this…for me, the final keynote session of the conference, led by Swiss Miss Tina Roth Eisenberg, summed up my reason for starting this blog, and in some ways, my reason for being. During her address, she said many things that struck a chord for me (“don’t start a blog unless you’re passionate about the subject,” “nobody can tell you what’s best for you,” “enthusiasm and integrity are your biggest assets,” and so on), but it was when she was talking about her upbringing in Switzerland that she said the magic words:

“Life is too short not to surround yourself with beautiful things.”

And that, in 15 words or less, is exactly why I started writing this blog.

Life is too short.

We probably all have some experience with that phenomenon, and maybe someday I’ll write about mine. My life-is-too-short experience led my soul-searching husband to ask me three years ago “what is your passion…your reason for being?” to which I answered, my home and my family and my belief that everyone can live in a beautiful space that incorporates all the messiness of real life.

Some people may feel that’s trite. But the architects and artists and designers of the world — the ones that Switzerland celebrates on its bank notes — would tell you otherwise.

And I’m assuming you guys and gals out there who occasionally stop by my little Mudroom here might feel the same, and that’s why you keep coming back. So thank you…thanks for making my day every time one of you leaves a comment, or sends a nice e-mail my way to let me know that you look to surround yourself with beauty too.

Keep ’em coming, and I’ll do the same.

xo
Paige

P.S. – Thank you, thank you to the brilliant ladies of Kirtsy and the amazing sponsors for putting on this conference.

P.P.S. – That whole sponsorship thing really works.  Haven’t stopped thinking about the Honda Accord Crosstour since our chaffeured lift to Lamb’s on Thursday night.

Photo credit: the super-sweet Grand America courtyard in Salt Lake City; photo taken by Paige Lewin

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At the end of October, CBS Boston launched a spankin’ new website that brings all the local CBS outlets under one digital roof.  Thanks to a glowing recommendation from Boston Mamas’ Christine Koh, I had an opportunity to contribute some of my favorites to the site’s Boston’s Best section.  Need the perfect accessories to go with that dress?  Or a last-minute gift and bouquet of flowers for your co-worker’s birthday?  How about the best places for housewares and home decor?  I also shared some of my very favorite local home artisans, some of whom I’ve featured right here on the Mudroom.  So check it out, and feel free to add your own favorites in the comments!

Image credit: Comina

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Best laid plans.

I don’t know about you, but when I move into a new space (which is more often than I’d like), I try to have it all planned out before the big day.  The furniture, the wall colors, where the lamps will go.  Everything.

But sometimes things don’t turn out exactly like you expect.  There’s enough space for the couch on that wall, but looks terrible.  Your pots and pans don’t actually fit in the cabinets.  The TV is perfect right there, but the deck door allows a little beam of the neighbor’s outdoor light in exactly when you want to watch The Real Housewives airkiss and then rip each other to shreds.  You get the picture.

Anyhoo, it turns out that one of the AWESOME things we didn’t count on was that our fabulous extra-narrow cherry farm table that used to be in our dining room fit perfectly in our new kitchen, so we didn’t have to buy a kitchen table and it freed up a whole room.  Frankly, I’ve always thought formal dining rooms were sort of a waste of space, so rather than doing a home office/guest room combo (our original plan), we have the unexpected opportunity to have an entire room dedicated to an office (can you hear the chorus of angels?).  I’d like our space to be:

Peaceful, with lots of work space,

 

multi-purpose,

 

separate, but equal,

 

and of course, well-styled.

Image credits: House Beautiful, Southern Living, Cottage Living, Stacy Style (who, by the way, rocks, and if you tweet you should follow her @stacystyle)

 

 

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