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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Countdown to Spring

Hello, old friends! I have many lame reasons why I haven't posted in so long, but really my best excuse is being a transplant to Boston, this winter, of all winters. Far too many moments in my life recently seemed like they were lifted straight from The Shining....moments where I seriously didn't think I'd ever stop shivering, where grey was the only discernible color in nature, and where I resigned myself to the fact that I'd never be able to go outside again wearing fewer than two layers of pants. But this week the glorious sun showed its face, the hell-snow is melting, and I've triumphantly emerged from my hibernation.

When I wasn't busy dealing with the constant and stressful demands of just trying to stay warm, I spent much of this winter helping to launch an interior design/events/travel planning startup. I'll do a proper post on it later (we're still tweaking the website a bit!) But it's been an exciting learning experience and a great introduction to Boston's creative community.

I know what you're thinking..."Christine--you were stuck inside all winter---you must have absolutely transformed that little apartment!" And you couldn't be more wrong! I did very little design-wise at home this winter. Luckily, one of the only things I did do -- install these Crate and Barrel Jax Sconces in our bedroom --was so gratifying that I feel like it made up for my lack of progress otherwise on the home front.


They're plug-in sconces, so didn't require an electrician or anything more than a drill. They're perfect for reading at night, and as I mentioned when I posted on instagram about them, I love the fact that I don't have to get up and turn off the light when I'm ready to go to bed.  A lazy girl's dream :-)

Now back to the snow. I've shared many of these on instagram, but I think I did a decent job of managing to find and obsessively document some beauty in the epic amounts of white stuff we received this winter. For you snow-voyeurs out there, here are a few of my favorite winter shots: 
Me smiling in the first snow. Silly, naive girl. Not yet hardened by a Boston winter's wrath.
 

Cars turned into giant white, elephant-like sculptures



A scene from our backyard.

We booked tickets to Florida the day the snow hit the window.
It is a tremendous relief that the great melt is officially underway. We're loosing inches of snow every day and I skip joyfully through the puddles. I've been vigilant about keeping beautiful flowers around the house lately to keep morale high and remind me that indeed flowers and greens will emerge from the ground once again, hopefully very soon. Only 11 days till spring!


xo, Christine

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year! Hope you had a great holiday, or even better, are still celebrating! John and I just returned to Boston after a fun trip to Sanibel Island to be with his family for Christmas, with a quick layover in DC on our way home to ring in the New Year with some of our best friends and family.

I'm trilled to write to you today from my new studio space!  I'll write a much longer post after I decorate more, but in the meantime this is just a quick snapshot I took from my desk today. I share the space with a graphic designer, and I'm thanking the design gods every day for giving me a studiomate with fabulous taste. She found the cabinet in the photo on Craigslist and painted it black...I think it looks great! You'll recognize almost everything else from our DC home, which I was more than happy to liberate from storage to use here.

I moved furniture in just before the holidays, but this is my first full day here. I must admit...working from home proved pretty difficult for me. I have a loads of admiration for people who can do it successfully. My main problem is that I can be a perfectionist (a kind word...neurotic is more like it) when it comes to my personal space. Here's a somewhat typical day: I sit down, work dilligently for a few hours, but then I notice the rug is uneven. It's all downhill from there. I need to move the furniture off of the rug to adjust it.  While I'm at it, I might as well rearrange the whole living room. Damn, it's 5 o'clock already? The living room looks like a bomb went off and I'm still in my pajamas.

Not good.

So I'm hoping that having this new space will have a positive impact on my concentration and productivity. I'm also looking forward to getting into more of a routine, using the 20 minute walk to and from the studio each day to clear my mind. Basically this new studio is the launching point for a thousand new years resolutions, which I'm purposefully not identifying as such...trying some reverse psychology on myself this year, as I can never seem to keep my resolutions!




This winter was my 9th year visiting John's family Sanibel, and I find that I fall more in love with the natural beauty of the place each year. Sanibel is bursting with wildlife...dolphins, sea turtles, the best shells, and this year we even saw two bobcats (yikes!)

The bobcats were cool, but our nephew took the cake for the best addition to our Christmas festivities. Having a baby around is the bee's knees and made each day exponentially better. I am so in love with this kid, it's crazy. I wouldn't be surprised if our future children blame their cousin for setting the awesome bar so high.






The other greatest thing about Florida? Fresh OJ. I seriously can't get enough. I asked a store if they would ship it to me and it would have been about $20 for a quart. For a moment I considered it. But instead I just drank enough while I was there to prevent me from ever getting a cold in 2015.
A Christmas morning breakfast loaded with citrus!
Sanibel's beauty is mezmorizing...I could have instagrammed a million things every day but I'm trying to work on being more in the moment. Although looking back, I'm so grateful for the few photos I did sneak in...I think it's important to give my memory a little assistance now and then...

Hope to see you back here soon!

xo, Christine



                                                                                              

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksmas

John and I celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents' house in upstate New York this year. We arrived just as the snow stopped falling, which made for quite the stunning welcome! We pulled the car over along the way and got out to take these photos (or at least I did... John kindly kept watch to make sure I didn't get hit by a car.) With so much snow on the ground I kept forgetting which holiday we were there for. I knew the stores were pushing it, but now even nature seems to insist on merging Thanksgiving with Christmas!
The following day we made a quick trip to New York City where I met up with my besties Pat and Daniel, who so thoughtfully planned a design-centric day for us. After a tasty brunch at The Gander in the Flatiron district we ventured a few doors down to the new homenature store...

More after the jump...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Blue Ivy

I'm excited to share some recent photos of our bedroom with you today! Earlier this fall I posted photos of the antique blue delft tile fireplace in our bedroom that was the number one reason (for me at least!) we rented this apartment. It's since become my design muse! I must admit that I usually shy away from color and stick to a fairly strict palette of black, white, beige, brown, and green. But I'm enamoured with our blue fireplace surround which to me recalls Rebecca de Ravenel's stunning New York Apartment, featured in Vogue last year, and pinned dozens of times by yours truly. Hello, blue!
Love the Sister Parish Burmese fabric on the stools...one of my all time favorites!
This summer, with the blue and white fireplace on our minds, John and I bought a very special piece from our incredibly talented friend, painter Ellen Llewellyn. For a while I had it resting on the mantle but then I realized that there was too much competition going on, and I had to spread the beauty around a little bit. I moved the painting to the wall perpendicular to the fireplace and magic happened. When our bedroom door is open, you can look through a hallway from our living room and see the painting. We get to enjoy the sight of it from two separate spaces.
I love the way this antique lamp relates to the fireplace surround.
Although the fireplace makes the bedroom basically perfect in my mind, my one complaint about this space would be that the architects of our building in eighteen ?? clearly did not foresee future tenants' need for ample closet space. They equipped the bedroom with what is basically a broom closet that might be suitable for a monk, but not for this girl, and certainly not for this girl to share with her husband! But again, that fireplace! So who cares?  To disguise the piles upon piles of sweaters, long underwear, and other survival gear that I'm quickly accumulating in order to make it through my first Boston winter, we simply needed to invest in some storage pieces. We seriously lucked out when John's dad decided to part ways with this beautifully crafted antique highboy. Then we found this very simple and attractive dresser at West Elm, and an extra long 18" bedskirt to hide boxes under our bed. So far, so good. Because of all this additional storage, sharing a broom closet hasn't put the wedge in our relationship that I for a moment feared it would!
Art above bed was a fun score at the SOWA market, and the pillow is by the fabulous Jill Rosenwald
I can't help myself...one more photo of that handsome highboy. The lamp is from Schoolhouse Electric, and the beautiful Swedish ivy was a gift from some wonderful clients in DC. It's doing so well here!

And here's one of the room overall. I still have lots to do...window treatment, a round mirror behind the tallboy, maybe a small ottoman for underneath the window, reupholster the headboard, install sconces above the headboard...the list goes on! But at least it's at the point where I feel comfortable sharing photos of it on the internet. Progress!
Ok, so by now you've probably realized that this post actually isn't about Beyonce's kid, and I admit the title was a bit of a ploy to lure you in. (In my defense, I did write about the color blue and I did write about ivy...) But I don't want you to feel betrayed...I really do want you to come back and read again! Just so we part ways on a good note, I'm leaving you with a super cute Blue Ivy photo from the event that actually did break the internet last week...
source


xo, Christine




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What's Shakin'?

It's been a while since I shared updates on our apartment (or anything for that matter...yikes! sorry!)  Things are steadily coming together, and I like that the space is starting to feel very "Boston," with a twist. The landlord did a major paint job with oil-based paint before we moved in, and we just finally reached the point where you walk through the front door after being away for a while and it smells like us instead of paint fumes (aka, the result of cooking for two months with abundant amounts of butter and garlic!)

Starting with my best foot forward...I'm happy with how this little corner of the living room is coming together, full of antiques from John's family...a Shaker chair from his grandmother, a painting of his great-grandfather's resting hands, an antique Japanese tansu, and clam shells. (Shakers...reminds me there is a fascinating article in this month's Down East about the last remaining Shaker community in the country, which is in Maine and only has three people left. Read it, but don't forget to come back here afterwards!)  I'm working on finding a jaw dropping fabric for a lumbar pillow for the Shaker chair (I'm hoping it will put the shake in Shaker...a twist in this otherwise very traditional vignette) and then I think I'll be finished with this part of the room! 

We originally were only going to bring a few boxes of books with us to Boston and leave the rest in storage, but after just a couple weeks here we decided we really missed our books! We weren't ready to commit even to Elfa shelves again, so luckily I found the perfect parsons style bookcases at Target. It worked out that two of them sit perfectly flush together in the nooks flanking the fireplace. Done and done! 

In another corner of the living room I'm working on a bar situation. We've had this wonderful West Elm tray stand for years now, but I've found my eyes straying to other bar carts. I'd like another shelf underneath to store mixers and some glasses. But for now this works fine! 

Speaking of West Elm, we just installed this fantastic Rubicon Jute Rug from West Elm. It's playful and neutral and was just what the doctor ordered in this room. I'm still searching for the right coffee table so am not ready to pull back on this shot and show you the whole living room quite yet. I've been thinking of squeezing the trigger on this table for a while, but can't quite commit. What do you think? 

In the bedroom, I keep going back and forth on how the mantel should look. Right now I have one of my grandmother's paintings displayed, but I think I may switch it out for a smaller painting and more knick knacks. The mantel is just at eye level, across from the bed, so I like the idea of displaying some of my favorite small, foraged things--feathers, rocks, keys, tiny vases. I'm very inspired by these two mantels:
Left: Via; Right: Via
Or maybe a monochromatic collection of green objects? So many possibilities...but that's the great thing about mantels...so easy to change!  

xo, Christine 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Maine: The Way Life Should Be

I've spent a few sweltering summers in Washington, DC with zero vacation days left, landlocked (the Potomac doesn't count) behind a cubicle, living vicariously through Facebook photos posted by friends whose summer vacations involved any combination of sand, water, boats, cabins, ice cream cones, trashy novels, passports, and lots of day drinking. John and I maneuvered our schedules a year in advance to give us some serious time on an island in Maine this summer. Knowing what it feels like to be the girl stuck in an empty office in August with her teeth chattering, cursing the air conditioning because she's still soaked to the bone from sweating through her shirt in the 5 minute walk from her house to the bus that morning, I was conscious not to post too many cool, breezy Maine photos on my Instagram account this summer. Obviously the guilt didn't stop me because I still posted a bunch, but I definitely had some internal dialogues like "hmm, maybe I don't need to post another blue sky photo, or this selfie of me housing a lobster roll on a boat #toomuchbutter #maineproblems? "

But now that summer is winding down and everyone has moved on to apple picking and pumpkin spiced lattes, I hope I'm safe to share some photos I took this summer in Maine without seeming too obnoxious. Really not much interior design in these photos, but I do find lots of inspiration outdoors, and hope you enjoy these little collages of Maine eye candy:

(Clockwise from left) Flowers, fruits and vegetables picked from the garden where we house-sat. An island in the Penobscot Bay. Dahlias from my in-laws garden.

More after the jump...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Furniture Relocated

I can breathe a sigh of relief because it seems our furniture is adjusting to our new surroundings just as well as we are. The dining area is the only space in our apartment that I feel comfortable enough to share with you so far. When I took this photo, just behind the camera lens (who am I kidding? iphone.) the living room was full of boxes, laundry, bubble wrap, and all those plastic things you buy at the Container Store when you move to a new home thinking "this is the place where I'm going to finally get my act together and get organized, and really do it this time." Oh, the magic of photography! I set this part of the room up quickly so that my eyes could at least rest on something serene amidst the ugly chaos of unpacking/settling in/returning unused items/broken dreams to the Container Store.


We've moved quite a few times in the past several years, and I've noticed that when friends come over just after we've first moved in, they often play a little game where they try to identify which furniture came from our previous home, and where it used to live. Maybe my friends are strange, but I figured that if that if keeping tabs on our furniture is somehow fun for them, maybe it would be interesting for you as my blog readers to see how our things transitioned from one place to the next. And again, who am I kidding? Most of you reading are my friends, so I know you'll love this! 

Clockwise from left: 1. Convex Mirror lived in our guest room in DC 2. Cowhide rug from our office 3. Antique column plant stand from our living room, which we're using here for keys 4. Wishbone chairs from our dining room.  Our farmhouse table didn't work in the new space, so we purchased an Ikea Docksta table, a knock off of the Saarinen Tulip table.

So far the dining area has surpassed all my expectations. It sits in a curved window and is right next to a main thoroughfare of the apartment, so I thought we'd be constantly bumping into chairs. But not the case! It's a perfect fit. Plus the light here is great, so I've been using it as a desk. The chandelier isn't anything to write home about, but it's an antique, brass and I don't hate it (plus we're just renting) so it will stay. New (inexpensive--rental!)  window treatments are a must, but all in good time. 

Hope to see you back here soon! 

xo, Christine