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Soap stone countertop

As the granite countertop trend continues to slowly ebb in high-end homes, other alternatives are starting to pick up in popularity. Soapstone is a natural material, a metamorphic rock that is composed primarily of talc with varying amounts of chlorite, micas, amphiboles, carbonates and other minerals. It has been known for centuries for its ability to retain heat (for example, all of our original hearthstones in the farmhouse are made of soapstone).

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Since it is nonporous it is naturally antibacterial and stain resistant.  It is an inert material that is impervious to chemicals, acids, and heat. Soapstone is the only natural stone that does not need a chemical sealer since it is siliceous, meaning it is unaffected and unharmed by acids in things like lemon juice, wine, vinegar, etc.  It does not “etch” like marble.  It is easy to clean, needing no special cleaning products.Soapstone 4

Like granite and marble, soapstone is very durable, but since it is a softer stone it has the tendency to scratch and chip more easily. So many Sales people will try to talk you out of Soapstone or Marble.. I say DO YOUR RESEARCH!! If you want a product read all the positives and negatives.

Soapstone 6

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Remember soapstone has been used for over a hundred years in the kitchen.  I love it, and have used it in homes locally because of its historical New England reference and the fact that I know it will stand the test of time, and not be a trend. Know the Maintenance and upkeep and decide if this or any product is something that you want and are willing to live with. Know the pros and cons, if there are any, of everything you want for your home. Know what you want and don’t let anyone dissuade you from your vision!

XOXO

M

Sheepishly, I admit the garage door is one of the last things I think about when it comes to home updating projects. (although my husband has been bugging me for 15 years!!)  If it’s not broken, why fix it? Which leaves us with standard inexpensive doors that look exactly like the one the neighbors have. But there is a world of modern garage doors that not only increase your curb appeal, but may I inspire you to use your garage as another living space.Madsen overhead door.2 JPG

Glass and aluminum garage doors not for you?

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These gorgeous wood garage doors camouflage with the rest of house’s wood façade and feel luxurious.

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In this modular prefab home, a garage door serves as a floor-to-ceiling window that can be raised to create an al fresco dining experience.Madsen overhead door.5

Many people are bringing this industrial chic element straight into their living spaces. Not one but two super tall garage doors create a comfortable and airy indoor/outdoor living room.

Do you have any ideas for how to design a space with a garage door??

As always I’d love to hear from you…

XOXO

M

our yardOn Merlin Drive today my yard looks pretty but very cold brrrr…..

As temperatures drop outside stay warm inside with some cozy fireplace inspiration. From traditional to modern, gas to wood-burning, a fireplace can add a serious cozy factor to your room. Just imagine snuggling up to a warm fire on these frigid nights.

Matchless Stove and Chimney

If you’ve already got a fireplace, there are many ways you can give it an update to change your look. Repainting the mantle or changing out the accessories and art above it can update your space with little effort. This neutral fireplace mantel is dressed with a bright, colorful painting!

Matchless Stove and Chimney 2

This modern fireplace adds warmth you can enjoy from every angle.

Matchless Stove and Chimney 3

You won’t have to worry about tripping on this fireplace that fits seamlessly in the wall.

Grab a good book, settle in and Stay Warm… Stay tuned for more wintery days and Adventures in Styleland..

XOXO

M

skyview landscapes. bunny mellon photo

Garden designer, stylesetter, and philanthropist Rachel “Bunny” Mellon She designed and planted a number of significant gardens, including the White House Rose Garden, and assembled one of the largest collections of rare horticultural books.

In Winter when all the flowering plants have collapsed, I feel this is the time to go outside and look at the structure of your garden. I love walking through the garden on these frigid days. It helps me anticipate the return of spring and what it will bring. I believe that weather is one of the most critical design issues for a garden. I think good design features the many faces of the weather. I feel that you have to establish some structure- some good bones.  Good bones can be built upon, or stand on their own.  Structure in the landscape in our zone has to take the winter season into account.

skyview landscapes Boxwoods

In Vanity Fair some years ago this, below, stopped me.  A kindred spirit.  Who exactly is Bunny Mellon?  In the fullness of time, may she keep returning to your radar, as she does mine.

skyview landscapes. bunny melonMellon was born into a pharmaceutical fortune in 1910 (her grandfather Jordan W. Lambert manufactured Listerine) and married into a banking one in 1948, when she wed Paul Mellon, her second husband. Mellon’s greatest acclaim came not from her masterpiece acquisitions, however, but from her self-taught skill at sculpting the natural world.

skyview landscapes architectrual digest

Garden designer Lanning Roper, called her “the leading landscape genius in America.” Far less known are the remarkable interiors  she created in the dozen-plus residences that Mellon and her family occupied in the U.S., France, and the Caribbean.

skyview Bunny Mellon design

Relatively small, intimate houses were Mellon’s preference, livably elegant and skirting clear of pretension. “Make it look like we just brought it down from the attic,” Mellon told Bruce Budd, one of the decorators she worked with (the roster also included English master John Fowler and American tastemaker Billy Baldwin).

skyview Bunny Mellon design Oyster Harbor yard

In every room in every house, Mellon placed what she called “standing herb trees,” which she developed in 1952 while recovering from tuberculosis, having been inspired by topiaries seen in the medieval manuscripts and early garden manuals.

skyview Bunny Mellon standing herb trees

A bird painting by Balthus hangs in Bunny Mellon’s bedroom in her villa at Antigua’s Mill Reef Club, where decorative artist Paul Leonard created Swedish-style painted floors that mimic stone paving; as Mellon once said, “I liked the way marble floors reflect light, but these are warmer and quieter.”

skyview landscapes. bunny melon Antiqua Residence

November 24, 2014 I read an article that saddened me, it said:

Southerby’s Auction house says its multi-day sales of Racel Bunny Mellon’s  furnishings art, jewelry, and other objects totaled $218 Million.

Three works — two paintings by Mark Rothko and a fancy vivid blue diamond — fetched over $30 million.The 9.75-carat pear shaped gem set an auction record for any blue diamond.

The benefits went to The Gerard B. Lambert Foundation. It supports The Oak Spring Garden Library in Upperville, Virginia, which houses Mellon’s collection of works related to landscape design, horticulture and natural history.

Bunny pasted away at the age of 103, in March of 2014. This lost was felt through out the design world. Rachel Bunny Mellon had her first garden epiphany as a young girl she wrote “This towering forest of scent and white flowers was the beginning of ceaseless interest, passion and pleasure in gardens and books,” she wrote. “Like a magic carpet it has carried me through life’s experiences, discoveries, joys and sorrows. In sadness especially, it has been a hiding-place until my heart mended.”

Thanks for letting me share some of my favorite gardens with you! Stay tuned…

XOXO

M

 

Times Union Home Expo Banner

 

Home Expo 2015

Building a new home? Remodeling a room in your home? Well this year we have so much in store for you. Meet Jason Cameron February 8th, from the DIY Network. Watch our website for additional information on shows and events. My name is Michele Conti I am a local Designer/Blogger in the Albany Area! I will be here for the next few weeks, sharing information about the home expo, giving you DIY ideas and little blurbs about some of the Vendors and shows that the exhibitors will schedule during the expo. Check out our link on Times Union Home Expo. Below is a quick and easy DIY project for you… With a little help from Behr Paints available at Lowes located in the Times Union Center booth 284-285 this crafty idea was a breeze!!

Couch Seating DIY

Check out the Times Union Home Expo 2015 Web site and read my blog everyday now thru February 6th for great info and DIY projects!!

Chat with you soon!!!! Stay Tuned for more project information!

 

M

Continue Reading »

It’s Furniture Friday!!!! I wanted to share this great find with you. I was in Buffalo NY visiting family.  One of my favorite haunts there is the Salvation Army at 252 S Cascade Dr, Springville, NY 14141. I always stop there. They seem to have a treasure for someone I’m currently working with.  Well on this Adventure in Styleland I found these:

Fabulous Find

Fabulous Find

My Goal was to transform them into the Louis the XV Salon chairs that I found on Ballard Design. Two of these beauties for only $10 how could you beat that! And so the project begins, here is a quick picture tutorial it took about a week to do both chairs.

 

Louis the IV Chair

Louis the IV Chair

 

Although these chairs retail for $700, the thrift store chairs look amazingly similar, almost exact same frame…

Removing the cording

Removing the cording

 

 

You can see the thousand staples used to attach the cording, this is only the beginning oy vey!! When asking Gabe to help with pulling the staples, he took pity on me, and I thought OK Green Light!!!  When my husband agrees to a project in our home (and by that I mean agrees to open his heart and sometimes his wallet to help me ), I act quickly.

Experience has taught me that green lights all too quickly turn yellow. Then, before you know it, there’s a big, fat red light staring at you through the windshield of your dreams.
When that happens, you are left with two choices… delays or apologies.  Trust me, it’s best to act while the light is green. Get Help when it’s offered!!!

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The fabric had just as many staples as the cording,  I will admit that by this time my fingers were a tad sore. The fabric came off quickly with Gabe’s strong hands… and before you know it we were down to the frame working together..

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Finally!!!! all the staples out and it was time for spray paint!!

 

The spay paint that I used was Satin Black from Rust-Oleum.

Black Spray paint for Ballard Chair Makeover

I spayed the frames with two coats and let them dry for a day before I began to start covering them, this also gave my hands a break, because at this point I was on my own, and was determined to finish these by the end of the week!

I decided to use drop clothes to cover these chairs,   I’ve always wanted to use drop cloths as a slipcover (from Martha Stewart’s magazine years ago). This was my opportunity, here is the what I used:

10 oz. drop cloth

10 oz. drop cloth

I washed and press the drop cloth first.  I used the old fabric we removed from the chair to create a pattern for the seat and back.

 

 

IMG_0113Stapling the fabric was a little tricky, I needed to pull it tight and staple it as I went, this didn’t always go smoothly, I had to remove some staples a couple of times because the fabric would pucker, but after you get a rhythm going, it goes along quickly. I did sew the fabric cording, and decided to use a black gimp on the arm pads.

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Here is the finished product (pictures are not professional). This was an easy project total cost was about $60! What do you think??

 

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Here is a picture of the living room where the chairs reside now,  complete with our Chocolate Lab Chino to compliment the brown in the room! Another project done!!

 

Stayed tuned for move Adventures in Styleland!!

 

XOXO

 

M

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