Monthly Archives: March 2012

Accessories – Tray Chic!


An assortment of seasonal gift trays

An assortment of seasonal gift trays

Often, customers inquire about our selection of trays in various shapes and sizes. It’s an accessory that I think is frequently overlooked but one that can serve many different functions.  It can be given as an unexpected housewarming gift, used as your all-purpose serving tray, or placed on a coffee table to unite a group of small, related items.

The mirrored geometric tray...reminiscent of a classic Greek key design

The mirrored geometric tray…reminiscent of a classic Greek key design

Our mango wood tray...perfect for an ottoman

Our mango wood tray…perfect for an ottoman

The cinchwaist round tray with gold accents

The cinchwaist round tray with gold accents

A mutli-toned bone design for a modern twist

A mutli-toned bone design for a modern twist

A small grouping of accessories on a coffee table

A small grouping of accessories on a coffee table

Recently, we’ve brought in some interesting tables that include tray tops as the key feature of their design. This butler tray in a tortoise bamboo finish would make excellent serving table for cool refreshments at a beach house, while the painted option might be better suited for a more feminine bedroom. This black painted console with a removable tray top (shown below, also available in a coffee table) is a unique addition to a living room or dining room and can be dressed up or down depending on the furniture it is paired with.

A butler's tray ideal for the beach

A butler’s tray ideal for the beach

A painted accent piece for a softer bedroom look

A painted accent piece for a softer bedroom look

A black painted console is a unique addition to a living room

A black painted console is a unique addition to a living room

Finally, people often look to create some sort of bar area within the home; however, they may not have the space or they may not want to make the investment required to build a bar.  If this is you, a bar cart may be your answer because it provides a flexible solution to a problem area.  For example, when not in use, store the bar cart against a wall in your dining room. Once you are entertaining guests, the caster wheels allow easy transport to any room in the house. Accessorize with antique crystal decanters, multi-colored bottles, some fun cocktail glasses and a vase of flowers to add a hint of softness.

Our mirror and glass bar cart with gold accents

Our mirror and glass bar cart with gold accents

As the summer months quickly approach, more and more people journey outside the home to visit friends and relatives, attend a housewarming party, or host a holiday gathering. Why not gift a tray? It is unexpected, multi-functional, classic–an item nobody ever knows they need.

Where Does Inspiration Come From?


Every so often I am asked about what inspires me while decorating.  My immediate answer is fabrics and color, which I adore.  It’s the easy answer because the real answer takes some explaining.


My inspiration is intangible, it is the feeling I get when I go to a beautiful New England beach. The combination of sounds, smells, textures and colors generates a serenity I haven’t felt anywhere else.  So I want to surround myself with that feeling whenever I can.


(Beach doesn’t mean starfish and sailboats to me.)

Take a look at the two rooms below.


This is soothing, warm and filled with textures.


This room is serene and soothing to me.

To me, the rooms pictured above are easy to live with over time.


You might look at the rooms I love and think they don’t have enough color or are boring.


The great thing about decorating from inspiration is that there is no right or wrong.  My inspiration comes from a feeling I get from a particular place.


Your inspiration will be different.


So what inspires you?
Maybe it is something intangible like the way I feel about the beach. The feeling you get at church, walking through a riot of wildflowers or traveling.


Maybe it’s tangible. A piece of art that you have or have seen, a quilt from your childhood, or even the flowering lilac bush outside your back door.


You can use your inspiration in a way that reflects you

Perhaps it’s as easy as painting a room



Or maybe it is creating a  bright, happy room with no lilac to be found, but feels like spring to you.

Collections of things are also a wonderful way to articulate your passion and/or inspiration


Perhaps it’s antique books, or blue and white chinoiserie as shown in the photos below. It could be anything from maps or small boxes to spoons. If you love it use it.


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You can display the books that you have collected and let that be the focal point of your room.


Or you can take the essence of the books and use that antique book “feeling” you get from them.



These rooms use the blue and white chinoiserie as a jumping off point.

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Another way to convey your inspiration or passion is through paint color, fabric choice or accessories.

Find a fabric that you love. Like this one.

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And then build a room around it.  Sometimes your inspiration fabric is very busy or expensive.  Use it subtly on an ottoman or for pillows.

Remember it is your inspiration, your jumping off point.  You don’t have to go crazy with a fabric or color.  What joy a jolt of orange brings.  Use it as inspiration to brighten up a ho-hum room.


Tangerine is Pantone’s color of 2012


Finally, look through design magazines, websites and books.

Collect pictures of rooms to which you are drawn. There may be something specific you like in a particular photo or it may be the feeling the room generates for you. After some time you will begin to see a pattern in your choices.


You can also talk to a professional, his/her job is to articulate your vision and bring it to life for you.


If you develop a room that you love it will outlast the current trends. The room will be about you and what makes you happy.


So to find your inspiration, look anywhere and everywhere.

Starting From Scratch? Start With A Rug!

Have you ever started decorating a room from scratch and ended up with pieces that you like but just don’t gel together?  Most people tend to shop first for what they need the most which tends to be functional pieces like sofas and chairs.  This may make sense at first but you will end up making the process harder on yourself down the road.  The selection of rugs is limited compared to the endless possibilities of fabrics for your furniture – so make it easier on yourself and start with a rug!


The rug sets the foundation of the room, which is important when starting from scratch.  It will determine the color scheme of a room and the color scheme will influence every other aspect: wall color, upholstery, pillows, artwork, and accessories! The rug even has the ability to guide the furniture layout of a space.  When trying to figure out the correct rug size for your space, a good rule of thumb is to go as big as the room allows.  Using a larger rug that fits the entire room will allow you to utilize the entire space.  With all of these design factors that rely on the rug, you can understand that if you start the decorating process with the rug, everything else will fall into place.  Here are some examples of how a rug can set the foundation of a room:


Dhurrie rug in soft blue, taupe, and ivory tones


Casual, striped rug in coral, blue, and yellow


French country style Nourmak rug in reds and golds



When designing the scenes in our stores, we always start with the rug which we display on the wall so you can see how much of an impact it can have on the rest of the furniture in the space.  Here are some examples from our store scenes:


Blue Thaelia needlepoint rug sets the color scheme for this space


Grouping the rug with fabrics and pillows on a smaller scale will help to coordinate colors


 A warm and inviting space



If you already have a room of furniture and are finding it difficult to find a rug that matches your current color scheme there is always the option of going neutral on the floor with a neutral colored rug as shown here:


A neutral wool rug creates a flexible foundation for this handsome window scene


You can also incorporate pattern and texture in your neutral rugs like this diamond sisal