Home Design


By |2014-05-15T11:02:39-04:00May 4, 2010|8 McDowell, Home Design, Shopping|

I inherited three of these chairs a few years ago.

Chair 2
I had no idea what they were called, who had made them, or when they had been made. They were just sitting outside, always, either at my grandmother’s house or later at my father’s. A piece of (heavy) junk I thought…
Not so fast!
Just this spring, when I was getting ready to do some sort of make over on these chairs, I began to investigate… These are called “clam shell” chairs and they were made by John Salterini, in Brooklyn, New York! Then, when we went up to Hudson, NY there they were again…….at this shop:

Beautiful, rare example of a rocker:

And here are my chairs:


Ours were probably bought, by my grandmother, around 1950. She had a really lovely backyard terrace in Chestnut Hill, PA. I think I vaguely remember these….
But, of course, by the time these came to me fifty years had passed (really?)

You can see, the rust was there alright…

Chair 1

So I sanded and scraped and spray painted:

Chair 4


By |2010-04-23T21:00:00-04:00April 23, 2010|Garden, Home Design, Trendy Monday|

In keeping with the season, and because I am in love with garden ornaments, I thought the timing was just right for this post (and besides, I have had more fun researching it!). As a matter of fact, I’ve had the basic reasearch in my drafts folder for many weeks, just waiting til the time was right. This is it! All gardens everywhere are beginning to look so wonderful and once again my mood (yours too?) is what…..? joyous? playful? optimistic? Yes, that describes it all right.

Here is an assortment of garden goodies, from the very serious, classic accoutrements to the playful, silly, colorful ones. There is truly something for everyone and every garden.

Garden Ornaments

Here is my all time favorite garden “ornament”: our rabbit! He was given to us in the Year of the Rabbit, 1999… and has been sitting in the garden since then (with brief intervals indoors in the worst of winter). For the past three years he has also stood watch over the spirit of our dog who used to lie in the grass, facing south, just as the rabbit still does…


This wonderful fleur-de-lis ornament was a gift to me from my friend Ellen…a TOTAL […]


By |2010-04-22T21:02:00-04:00April 22, 2010|Books, Home Design, Inspiration|

I’m beginning slightly backwards… But eventually you will see it all!

We’re working on the living room in this project. Paint the walls; reupholster one chair; what to do with the mantel?; repaint inside a bookcase. That’s it for now.

I decided to tackle the back/inside of a bookcase today. Here is what it had been:

Bookcase Blue

Blue Bookcase far

1)You’ve seen my paint chip/color story(below)

2)You have also seen my finished living room (where this bookcase rests)

Paint Chips

The bright blue wasn’t quite…. right. I have used the Farrow & Ball “Blazer” red on various walls, but thought I would try something with a little more…umph:

Red Paint 1

ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER and another and….

By |2010-04-13T21:40:00-04:00April 13, 2010|Books, Hand Crafted, Home Design|

New book favorite:

Yesterday Decor8 reviewed this new book, The Homemade Home, by Sania Pell. Crafting, diy projects, recycling, upcycyling, homemade fun: the book is gorgeous to look at, but it’s also got great ideas and projects! Holly says “This book makes me happy!” Well, I haven’t seen it in person, but I’m going to buy: partly on Holly’s recommendation, and partly from the wonderful images she shows. So go take a look on her site!


And of course, when I was on her site, I clicked the book’s title which then took me to Amazon. Then (you know the drill) just under this book’s facts, was the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought”… so there is “The Vintage Table: Personal Favorites and Standout Treasures” by Jacqueline DeMontravel. A must buy!

Once again going to the “Customers Who Bought…” I came upon Kaari Meng’s book “French General: Treasured Notions“. Do you know Kaari Meng? She has a truly remarkable on-line store for anything French: French General.

How about some lavender laundry powder:


Or assorted labels:


Or cute notebooks:


Stone birds to scatter around your house and garden:



By |2010-04-08T21:00:00-04:00April 8, 2010|Home Design, Inspiration|

Designer Showhouses are always a treat!

    This Design House opens this Saturday, April 10 in Bethesda, Md. just outside the Wash. D.C. city limits. 

    For a few minutes of fantasy and fun, sit back and watch the preview video:

Love the living room! and that driftwood sphere! What’s your favorite? 

Here is a link to the story from the Washington Post where you can vote for your favorite room…and see how others voted.


By |2010-04-05T09:35:00-04:00April 5, 2010|Color, Home Design|

You will recall my dilemma of how to finish off the mantel in my living room: see my story of last week here.

Having painted the walls and the entire fireplace in “Greenpoint Silk” (Benjamin Moore), I wanted to do something more with the mantel. The question was: a darker version of the walls, or maybe a red to tie in with other colors in my living room?

So, I started to mix my paint: Mantel Final9

Mantel Final10

Because I am familiar with acrylics and gouache paints from designing textiles, paper, rugs and other home furnishings products (that is, doing the actual surface design), I am very comfortable first trying out my paints in very small quantities i.e. this little red bowl.

So I took some of the Greenpoint Silk paint and played with some of the other colors I had on hand….. to get just the right tone of, and variation of, the wall color.

Mantel Final12

Next step was to mix a larger quantity: (I knew I only needed maybe 2 cups to finish the job)

Mantel Final11 

Well…..I ended up with a yellow/beige/cream (x2) over on the right. Not good.

So then I took one of the tester bottles I had bought for a totally different project, called “Lapland” and tried that! Why not?

Wow, it […]

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