Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fall Inspiration & Ghoulish Halloween Magic

Tis the season…………….OK, maybe not just yet, although it is approaching a little too quickly for many of us. So, prior to cutting down the tree and setting out the stockings, let’s focus on burgundy and golden hued tree lined streets,  The wonderful time of fall, the inspirations conjured by nature’s bounty, and how a little imagination can go a long way.

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For true design inspiration on how to decorate in style for this spooky holiday, we turn to my dear friend Gloria de Lourdes Blalock’s Halloween Mantel. The following paragraphs are in her own words: (pic: Gloria loving fall)Luly-5

“With each and every season comes a fresh start, especially in the fall. On September 1st, no matter the year, the wind blows differently and slightly cooler. My thoughts turn to Autumn’s candy-corn colors, pumpkin patches, and the smell of wood burning  fireplaces wafting under an early evening sky. As the leaves begin to turn and cascade from the tall oak and maple trees, the once densely leafed branches begin to show their skeletal forms. And in these, and because of these, I find inspiration in the shadows they create.


For my 2009 Halloween Mantel, Manzanita branches anchor the vignette and help ground the grouping of ghoulishly inspired accessories. Two black crows perch  on the branches and watch the skeleton heads as candles flicker in their midst. An antique glass decanter filled with colored water, sits next to a fabulous bottle of Bubble Bath, and two crystal glasses sit to their left. The idea for this came from the phrase” ‘Pick Your Poison’. By positioning them side by side, it offers a subtle temptation for the not so feign at heart. An arrangement of dried white roses in an old Wedgewood black vase, serve as a backdrop for a small picture of a single eye. The eye watches you as you approach, and it sets an eerie mood around the display.


Finally, the old map of Cuba was the perfect background for a season of change. A feeling of decay looms below it on my mantel. It is my personal hope that the poison that surrounds my birthplace,  will find the joy it deserves in my next mantel and Laura’s future post: The hope, love, and light of the final Christmas in the first decade of the new millennium. And for Cuba… and for this Cuban born interior designer… a 2010 filled with the winds of change and a new beginning and branching out …on many different levels and in each and every season it will celebrate!”         

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Photos above were taken in the Aurora Hills neighborhood or Arlington, Virginia, located just 5 minutes away from our nation’s capital.

Thank you to Gloria for sharing your beautiful words and awesome inspiration.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Exterior Lighting for Interiors

After much thought/debate on non rated UL fixtures in a bathroom from a previous post Chandeliers Brightening up the Bathroom the thought ran through my mind…….”just what exactly are some attractive options of exterior fixtures that can be used on the inside?”  With that question looming, it felt like it was time to source and share some products that are rated for wet locations that would compliment many interior settings.  Along with these products are several (OK many) inspiration rooms with fixtures that have the look (or maybe are) of exterior fixtures.  Since this concept seems to be quite popular, there is an abundance of wonderful items and images shown and it was hard to limit the choices.

Welcome, let’s see how an outdoor styled fixture can invite guests into your home.  image image 
An iron lantern takes center stage with the dark wood doors (Image left). Phoebe Howard designs a house in the Hamptons which has guests greeted by a beautiful staircase and antique styled lantern. (image right)

If you love good design, amazing quality and attention to detail, than you are going to want to become familiar with  FINE ART, a premier U.S. manufacturer of designer lighting. All their designs are developed in-house with a team of over thirty design and development specialists.  Be ready these are some pretty scrumptious outdoor hanging fixtures.  Any of these beauties would look lovely hanging in a foyer or staircase landing.
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Jessica Lagrange Interiors (Image left).            Kay Douglas (image right)

image Phoebe Howard  with that fabulous railing she pairs it with a white lantern in the upstairs landing.  In the background a lantern that draws you and your eye into the bedroom.

image Nate Berkus uses a lantern sconce in a hall, then take a peek at that fabulous round flush mount light in the bedroom at the foot of the bed.

Let’s see what is cooking up in the kitchen, shall we?

Multiple interesting shaped pendants hang over the island and in front of the windows giving the feel of a  rustic yet sophisticated space with it’s leather bar stools and dark wood cabinets. 
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Some rustic and refined pendants that could be comfortable lighting up any interior. 

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image The iron pendant lights over the granite island adds warmth and character to this elegant kitchen.

clip_image002[11] This generously sized cathedral-shaped fixture from Restoration Hardware would look very much at home indoors, in fact…..image

This striking kitchen displays a large lantern over the wood top island that resembles the one from RH.

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Corbett Lighting offers an attractive scroll detail on their outdoor Vineyard Hill Collection.  A pair of like lanterns hang beautifully in this charming kitchen. 

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RIVER DUNES IDEAS HOUSE: The interior designer uses large-scale accents for instant impact. Here, the bold oversize hanging lantern will illuminate the space with its size and proportion create a simple yet graphic look.

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The men behind Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters give 'eclectic' a new attitude in their Manhattan Apartment dining room with an antique French lantern over an English table with a billiard bench.   

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An array of lantern styled UL rated options: (click on photo for source) image

Loi Thai, owner of the ultra chic antiques shop Tone on Tone in Bethesda, illuminates his light and airy dining room with an oversized dramatic lantern. Grounding the space balances out the gorgeous table.

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An assortment of iron and glass fixtures that would work nicely in a range of interior settings.image A classic vintage looking lantern paired with gorgeous old French door cabinet creates a nice ambiance in which to enjoy a meal. Cottage Living.

 TIME TO RELAX:  Don’t forget to bring your glass of wine……….

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image The very affordable Pottery Barn Armonk Chandelier  would work in various places throughout the home. 

 image Kay Douglas
True to the Belgian style, this family room is comfortable and inviting but without a lot of furniture. Ancient French doors open into a custom media cabinet and provide the room's dramatic focal point.  With the hefty antique iron chandelier competing for it’s presence to be noticed. 

imageAnd……the living room that needs no introduction, Joni’s from Cote De Texas, who wishes she had made the switch from ceiling fan to lantern sooner.  Joni recently did a blog on her Top 10 Design Elements #5 Lighting and as always offers a wealth of information and displays an abundance of gorgeous images. 

Let’s go find a good book: imageBarry Dixon creates a cozy retreat in a expansive upstairs landing by grounding it with a massive lantern.


image  Barry Dixon (again, what can I say, I love that man!) the luxurious rustic & refined lantern adds yet another romantic element to this already dreamy divine bath.

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I  love these exterior fixtures by Troy from their Portola Collection.  With their hand forged iron, they have a vintage somewhat Parisian flair to them that would work well in a bath, sunroom, or porch.  But, would also look just at home over a great dining table or kitchen nook, or even a bedroom.

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UL rated lights can be found in many shapes, sizes, and styles, including oodles of wall scones that work well in many interior applications. 

imagePhoebe Howard from Cote De Texas   I am just crazy in love with the pattern on the floor.

TME TO RETIRE: Where shall we lay our head to rest? image image
Phoebe Howard (yes, again, I love her too :)) Imbues a nice balance of elegance and casualness by introducing lanterns into the bedroom.

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Jessica Lagrange adds a touch more femininity by introducing an attractive scrolled lantern over the bed.

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In a city apartment Phoebe Howard uses a beautiful glass lantern in this relaxing bedroom.

There are also wonderful opportunities to find an old fixture and have it wired, updating it to code. Not rated for wet locations, but these are just too pretty that it would be a shame not to share them.
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South of Market has some amazing antique lanterns and other light fixtures sourced from France and Belgium. Since the stores conception, the hunt is ongoing for the rare, the beautiful and the can’t live without items for the home.

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Also, not intended for outdoors are these lovely lanterns that are reinterpreted for indoor use are Restoration Hardware’s replica of a 19th-century Italian gas streetlight is true  to its Amalfi Coast roots and would make a substantial statement. in any space.