Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mamma's Day/Advice from Paula Deen

Out of gift ideas for Mother's Day? Then, why not focus on creating a memory, like having her over for lunch or tea. Paula Deen, chef of all things decadently-Southern, has served-up some tips on how to set the scene for a dainty girls luncheon.

1) CHINA - Pull out your antique china or borrow a setting, like this antique baby blue and pink floral pattern with a gold trim or a similar girly-feeling design. She bought antique brooches to adhere to each white napkin to dress-it-up and gave them to her guests as a favor. Perhaps the guest of honor, mom, gets a very special one?

2) PLACE HOLDER - To mark your guest's seat, borrow Deen's idea to cut up pieces of stock card and paste an old picture of your mom, or your guest's mom, to the front. In order to keep the cards from falling over, she punched a hole in the top and threaded a long-stemmed rose through the hole. Where the end of the stem touches the table, Deen placed a small ball of gum paste to keep everything in place.

3) LINENS - Throw some fresh linens over the table. In this picture, Deen uses a light pink color. If you don't have a linen table cloth, be creative with other fabrics that might be stowed away in your linen closet. Deen's tablecloth is actually a drapery panel!

4) GLASSWARE - Mix-and-match whatever old vintage glasses that you may have your cupboard, or venture out to the flea market to buy a set of four wine glasses to add to the ambiance. At Deen's table, she intermingles etched clear wine glasses with light blue hobnail sherbert glasses.

5) FAKE PEARLS - If you are not going to wear them around your neck, then think how to use them on your table. Deen has a simple arrangement of white roses, which are perfect in their most simple form, but look how she draped several strands of pearls around the bottom of the vase.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Space Hog/How To Create More Space

An Elle Decor interview with Dallas designer, Alice Cottrell, who recently finished her three-year remodeling of her 700-square-foot apartment, lends a couple helpful hints for making a small space look bigger.

  • It's as simple as cleaning house. Cottrell removed interior doors, raised doorways to the ceilings, and ripped up shag carpeting and waxed the underneath concrete to a shiny finish.
  • Another strategy is to concentrate on a single fabric (Cottrell picked a velvet material for her couch and chair, above) and to focus on lighter color scheme, such as white-and-gray.
  • Cottrell also did the renovation in stages as she figured out over time what needed to be done, and she says, "Doing the work in phases allowed me to save for what I really wanted.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chic Finds Chicago

With everyone in spring cleaning mode, there's a superfluous amount of resales goods on the market and so we've sifted through the junk for you.

For $450, you can have this set of four midcentury chairs (below) made of solid beech wood and detailed with woven seats. Designed by Georg Leowald (for the Wilkhahn furniture company), an influential designer of that era, the seller notes that Leowald won the 1949 MOMA award for seating. No. 2 in line was Charles Eames.

Unlike the bare-boned, simplistic structure of the chairs above, these pair of midcentury lamps(below) are from the same time period, but are much more ornate. They maybe even on the verge of gaudy, but can add some funk to those white walls and hardwood floors. $100.

For $150, this white-washed antique dresser (below) is in good condition and can easily function as a dresser or a hutch-- or really, just a space filler.

For $250, this antique Asian side table (below) has two drawers with metal pulls and nice detailing. Due to age, there's a slight split on the surface, but at least you know it's old!

This French settee (below) upholstered in pink velvet (yes, pink!) is going for $250. The backstory is the owner bought it at a estate sale in Napa, Calif. But now she's getting married and has to get rid of all her girly things. See there are advantages to the single life like snagging this adorable steal.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'm a Homebody/Home Shopping for April 16-18

The Merchandise Mart's DreamHome event begins today, where ten local design teams have mastered every room in the house from the bathroom to the living room to the foyer. Though there's nothing to buy, you'll be inspired to traipse around town on a home shopping expedition. Monday-Friday, 1o a.m.-5 p.m, Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The Merchandise Mart, West Kinzie Avenue at North Wells Avenue, (800-677-6278).

Closing Sale!!! Spurlock Antiques and Decorative Arts is discounting merchandise 60 to 80 percent with desks, tables and ceramics that range from folksy to ornate. (Actress Rebecca Romjin recently bought a desk from them, too). 1647 North Francisco Avenue at West Wabansia. Friday-Saturday, Noon-6 p.m. (773-525-4204).

The grand opening of Seek Vintage Wares and Apparels is Saturday, where you can rummage through vintage Haeger planters, clocks, retro fans, old suitcases, and other keepers. Saturday, 4 p.m.-8 p.m. 1432 West Chicago Avenue, at Bishop Street (312-526-3164).

Nadeau Chicago has two new shipments in this weekend. Click here for a sampling of what's new, but to view everything, you'll want to drop by their warehouse. 4433 North Ravenswood between West Sunnyside and West Montrose Avenues (773-728-3497).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Beach Bum/Apartment Turned Beach House

Doesn't the beach-y, simplistic white decor each spring make you want to whitewash your walls and spring clean all the color in your place? Interested in revamping your cluttered, dark place into last summer's beach house? Then, you'll be curious about checking out the season's must-have gear for that carefree oceanside look.
Every suitable beach house has a collection vintage books that are left to be read for the continuous stream of summer vacation guests. Put some order into those carefree stacks with these white ceramic bookends (above) from Mecox Gardens for $195.

On top of your shabby chic vanity that's speckled with gold accents or your white wicker desk, try placing these assortment of beach find perfume bottles (above) from Anthropologie that start at $88 each.

What's easier than buying a few shells strewn about on a coffee table, a side table, in the bathroom or on shelves. The conch shells (above) are available at Pottery Barn for $12.
Another simple idea is this vintage glass fishing float for $17 (below).

You can even find a way to make laundry charming Wisteria offers this set of three linen-lined baskets (above) for $34.

Pottery Barn is also offering these "arches lanterns" (above) and a variety of others that you can mix-and-match for $19 and up.

And if lying on the beach becomes a bore, what about a beach activity -- say badminton? (Even if you don't like to play, play the part. It's a stylish prop). Restoration Hardware is offering this set (above) for $79.

Maybe you need a tray to carry out some Pellegrino or Diet Coke to the back porch? Try this round rattan tray (above) from West Elm for $29. It also comes in rectangle.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm a Homebody/ Chicago Home Shopping for April 9th-11th

Oh, my, I know you're thinking that if the rain would only if it does, here's one thing to look forward to this weekend.

Scour through antiques and collectibles at the Arlington Park Spring Antiques Show (2200 W. Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights; 618-444-2803, Friday, April 9th-Sunday, April 11th). Admission is $8.

Forget Pier 1 framed prints. Want an easy way to find something original? The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is hosting its Spring Art Sale with one-of-a-kind photographs, paintings and sculptures, prints and drawings (112 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-629-6880, Friday, April 9,11 a.m. -7 p.m. and Saturday, April 10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.)