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Archive for March, 2012

I enjoy entertaining, one of my favorite things to do is to create a beautiful tablescape, I feel so great when guests come into a room and that look of delight comes over them.

This coming weekend is Palm Sunday, so the thought of how to decorate my table was on my mind. I have a beautiful Forsythia bush in my yard that is so beautiful this year, we have had warm weather and it has bloomed early so I thought I could start there.

Color???? Well I usually use a green china that I have for spring, but this year I will not be home for Easter Sunday, I thought we would really set an elegant table with Mother Theresa coming for Palm Sunday dinner. Tradition and faith are a big part of this household (as I’m sure you’ve discovered, if you read my blog), I have my menu planned, and my tablescape already decided.

 To begin, you must make the decision that the iron is your friend, I know, I know we don’t really feel that way but in this case your table should start off with clean crisp linens that are flawlessly ironed. It’s kind of like cooking a great meal the freshest ingredients make the dish, so it goes with a table the linens will shine through all the glamour that will adorn your table.

My choice of plates, black and white china for this occasion I decided to do gold chargers, I love to use chargers I feel that they pull everything together and really add a sense of elegance or whimsy (depending on the occasion).

So here we are Mother Theresa’s silver and a touch of crystal. Wella!!! We are done!!

Now for a full view!

What will you do with your table for Spring. I hope I’ve given some inspiration to you, enjoy the holiday!! As always stay tuned…

XOXO

M

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Bright colors or mellow hues, color is the key to kick spring into gear!! From rooms in your home to pieces of furniture you want add as an accent, color goes a long way. This is a before and after of my 2010  show house  room.

This is a sad old buffet that my brother-in-law brought to me and said “Wow” isn’t this just great? I was a bit unsure but once it was finished I thought “Wow” this is a great little piece!!!

I primed and painted it blue, sprayed the hardware white and Wella!! My niece Stefanie, is expecting and will use this as her baby’s dresser, we will make a top section for a changing pad and this will be repurposed into a nursery piece, transformed with color!!

A little bit of imagination and elbow grease goes a long way, here is another way to transform a piece of furniture with color.

I recently visited a client who had a corner cabinet. I loved it but it looked a little dated. I immediately thought a quick coat of paint and wrapping paper in the back. This is a great example! What a great background for this cabinet.

One more shot of the same cabinet with a blue quatre foil paper!! Such a different look. What ideas do you have? The possibilities are endless, you can use paint, paper or fabric. Just a little imagination and you too can transform your home for spring!

As Always stay tuned for more color ideas for spring!!

XOXO

M

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So I’m officially a Certapro blog Junkie, and my friend Ed Mattingly has joined the team as their faux expert. I met Ed a few years back when I did some work for Sherwin Williams. He’s such a great guy and extremely knowledgeable when it comes to decorative finishes and Sherwin Williams Faux products. I enjoyed attending a workshop Ed hosted, he was introducing the new Faux  line of Products from Sherwin Williams. We really had fun working with some of the newer products especially the smooth metallic and venitian plaster!! So easy to apply and great results!

This post was  written  for me, I  love to relate colors to food (who would guess this little italian girl would do that!).  This take on color from our Certapro blog inspired me, so here we go… which is your favorite group?? I’m loving the Berry Rich!

XOXO

M

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Design legend Elsie de Wolfe

Elsie de Wolf was an american actress and interior decorator, in 1913 she wrote an influential book “The House in Good Taste”according to some the interior design profession was invented by Elsie de Wolfe. Among her clients were, Anne Vanderbilt, Anne Morgan, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor to name few. Though dead for half a century, Elsie de Wolfe remains an  icon to this day, revered as America’s first decorator. The key elements of her  style are as fresh as ever, and the aura of celebrity she brought to her  profession has been passed on from one to another of her successors.

Read more: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/architects/legends/archive/dewolfe_article_012000

Bunny Williams

This is dedicated to the Great Ladies of decorating. Two years ago I had the great privilege of hearing Bunny Williams speak at the D&D building in New York City. It was Market Week, October 6, 2010. My friend Mary Korzinski (another incredible Design Diva) and I took the ride down to spend a couple of days scoping out what was new on the design scene. Up on the fifteenth floor in the Vaughn Lighting hear Bunny . Her book Bunny’s Scrapbook for Living was on sale and being signed.

We enjoyed the event, I have always admired her, she truly is one of the current pioneers of the Interior Design world.

Dorothy Draper

A quote from the late Dorothy Draper “It is just as disastrous to have the wrong accessories in your room as it is to wear sport shoes with an evening dress.” her designs were filled with upper crust refinement. She was truly and iconic designer.

Dorothy Draper was to decorating,” says interior designer Carleton Varney, “what  Chanel was to fashion. The woman was a genius; there’d be no professional  decorating business without her.
Read more: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/architects/legends/archive/draper_article_052006#ixzz1pepInrvZ

Eleanor Brown

Design legend Eleanor Brown, the founder of McMillen Inc.

Eleanor's Oval Dining Room

The famed New York design firm that was established in 1924 and is still in business today. Brown achieved recognition by designing the most prestigious homes in the country. She operated out of her townhouse at 148 East 55th Street in New York City, selling 18th century furniture sent to her from Europe by William Odom, who was then the head of the Paris Atelier of the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts.

Forever in Vogue is the neoclassical oval diningroom that brightens Eleanor’s Manhattan apartment.

I would like to just mention a few other pioneers that have made our industry what it is today, Ruby Ross Wood (Atlanta’s Swan House), Madeleine Castaing, Sister Parish, Rose Cumming, Marian Hall and Nancy Lancaster. I know, I know there are so many others worth mentioning!!!
I am so grateful to all these great women who have inspired the interior design world and given me an insider’s  perspective. As we continue to navigate thru these economic dog days, relaxing moments for me are created in the interiors of homes we continue to create!! As always stay tuned……
XOXO
M

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Hey friends, just a quick post to tell you how impressed I am with the talented people who share their passion for Lighting design with the world around them. I have always loved the way it creates our surroundings, lighting is an intricate part of design.

Illumination is the ephemeral partner of architecture. Light is invisible until it strikes an object or surface. And it is controlling this difficult, transitory medium that gives the lighting “artist” the ability to create hierarchies, dynamics and mood. Lighting design has become a creative extension of architectural design, improving visibility and complementing form, program and color.

Niskayuna New York, which is where I live has GE Research and Development and RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)  close by, they are two of the leading Lighting research and development centers in the World!

Cylinder shades are still the rage this year and metallic finishes, mercury glass, brushed nickel, acrylic and glass are so prevalent, here are some of my favorites.

Linda Allen Design

 

Linda Allen sees an electric future for wireless lighting. A future where stylish, battery-powered lamps can be moved wherever they’re needed, whether from room to room or out of doors. A future where practical, solar-powered lamps bring artificial light to parts of the globe where it’s never been available before.

 

 

Here is another design from Linda, this room not only had great lighting but superb design, the use of color and pattern in this room shows how talented this designer is.

 

One last lovely lighting design that I wanted to share with you, the exterior of this building is so beautiful, I know that this will enlighten you as to the importance of lighting in your design.

 

As always stay tuned…

XOXO

 

M

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Carol, Mom and Me

As you may already know, La mia famiglia (both my husband and I) e’ italiano!!! We have great tradition in our home. Our girls Giovanna and Rosaria have come to terms with being italian. I use to think…  well we never really watched the Soprano’s but we have spent many holidays with my family and my in-laws, so my girls have a good idea of what life was suppose to be like, ya know .  They always enjoy when Grandma Theresa is home on Sundays,  the never-ending meal( that comes after mass of course) and the great deserts that end our day late in the evening.  When we get together its always chaos and there is always laughter, a story or two and a huge meal.

Cuisine is definitely a very important aspect of Italian culture. Italian food is highly famed: greatly loved and tirelessly imitated the world over, it has been a source of endless pleasure. My mother (aka Mother Theresa)  as everyone knows is a great influence on our whole family especially when it comes to The Sunday Dinner.

Here is a little excerpt from my darling niece Lauren’s blog about my mother,  her grandmother, daughter to my sister, my mothers other daughter from the same mother (did you follow that??)  which is just hysterical, (dinner at my house with Mother Theresa and Lauren Summer of 2010):

Lauren Mom and I

“This lady could out cook, clean and guilt you into submission before you even had a chance to move! Martha Stewart wishes she was half the lady my grammy is! This past sunday we had “Sunday Dinner” at my Aunt’s house.  For all you non-Italians out there that means you settle in for a 5 hour, non-stop eat and yenta-fest! Husbands beware! We began the meal with a fresh zucchini and black olive pizza, followed by a spinach and artichoke dip with garlic herb pita bread (and yes these are all homemade, nothing store-bought or frozen here!) then we had some grilled pineapples and peaches with balsamic vinegar. Oh, I’m sorry, did you think that was it? Ha! That was just the appetizers!

After a light respite from eating and a short dip in the pool and a nap for Gram(we ate outside and after 2 hours who couldn’t slip right into a food coma?) it was time for the main courses! Eggplant Parmesan, grilled corn on the cob, fresh garlic and cheese sausage and salad. Now comes the good stuff! Coffee and pastry from Villa Italia!

My grandmother’s favorite is the chocolate cannoli and a little bit Sfogliatel. I guess I inherited my sweet tooth from her! It musta been at the Nutatella sandwiches! And yes, I know it’s Nutella but at 15 when I tried to tell Theresa that, (after finally reading it on the label) she replied, “yeah, that’s what I said Nutatella!”  And really, who could argue with that!”

That’s my mom!! She is always tired, and always has an ache somewhere, she has been old since she was in her 40’s. We use to hear her coming up the stairs in our third floor apartment in Brooklyn, she was like a train.. “oh, ahh, oh mio dio”, and the ever popular ” oy”, but whatever she cooked our hearts would quite simply glow!

Italian cookery is exceptionally varied, nutritious and healthy; traditions have been handed down from one family to the next over the centuries, and are associated mainly with country life in that dishes are directly linked to what the Earth produces over the changing seasons: in other words, wholesome cooking whose goodness depends on all-natural ingredients. Italian cooking is full of marvellous single pasta dishes made with all types of vegetables and pulses. These are also the prime ingredients for many local specialities though countless types of meat dishes abound, as well as fine fish from the plentiful seas around the peninsula, fragrant cheeses and exceptional desserts. But the undisputed star of Italian dining is the famous “first course”, in all its many varieties.

It must always be remembered that generally speaking, the origins of the most widely known traditional dishes derive from humble peasant cooking and from what was eaten by the poorer classes, which over the years have transformed into veritable “specialities”. All of this goes to show that the goodness of any dish depends above all on the magical combination (always “unique”) achieved through an unrepeatable fusion of flavours and aroma, cooking times and the balancing of single ingredients, individual “creative” skills and care taken over all stages of preparation. We lived in Brooklyn where we had every ingredient at our finger tips,herbs on the fire escape, fresh vegetables, fish and of course Joe and Tony’s  the butcher on the corner of  Gates Avenue where any cut of meat or mutton was available (even the lamb’s head!).  The stories of my Great Aunt Katie, the lamb in the basement, the chickens on the fire escape and the wine make from the grapes in the yard, we will save for another time.  At times all that’s needed in italian cookery is a single detail or a tiny touch to transform an ordinary dish by “normal” standards into a veritable triumph of taste. Passion therefore is a fundamental requisite of Italian cooking and without it, as with life in general, not much can be achieved.

I will end here for now. Enjoy the Classics and invent some new ones with your family, Cioa for now!

XOXO

M

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Spring is the perfect time to give your home a fresh look. From serene shades to vivid hues, I have 5 color schemes you’ll want to try this season. Turquoise and tomato red according to some design experts are new hues for this season. I know turquoise??? red????? haven’t these colors been popular for a while?? Well, yes but it is definitely the HUE, that so subtle difference in color that creates new trends, and also the way we pair colors together that creates news. Here is a great example of the new pair that was a color faux pas in the past, pink and red.

Red and Pink spring color pallette

Pink and Red???

Don’t shy away from color this season. Designer Erinn Valencich pairs classic red with hot pink for a bold bedroom design. By using gold and cream in the bedding and wallpaper, she keeps the vibrant shades from overpowering the space.

Clean and Crisp!

Spring hues are ideal for a girl’s bedroom. Using a polka-dot pillow as inspiration, this designer uses a focal wall to set off the room.

Damask fabric in apple green complements the vivid pink wall, while a white headboard and bedding give the space a crisp, fresh look.  I just love Damask, its one of my favorite patterns.

Having two girls of my own, pink is a color that has adorned their rooms for many years, it is always in style for girls, from nursery to teens and beyond.

Bright colors

One of the most appealing shades of spring is the deep blue found in this bedspread. It’s combined with other favorite hues, like tomato red, turquoise and apple green, to create an energetic and bright design.

The mix of patterns here is just exquisite, when pairing patterns small and bold always work with a linear stripe. The pop of white in this headboard again keeps that crisp sharp feeling in the room.

Blue and Yellow

The classic blue and yellow combo is always a favorite. While white is often paired with this palette to keep it light and airy, black accents to create a richer, more sophisticated atmosphere.

Serene Green

Pairing together a calming relaxing green with neutrals are a safer choice and using deeper hues of the same shades as accents, create a great space and inviting atmosphere.

Yellow and Grey

This trend is so popular I have added two pictures for you!! Loving the fresh bright sunshiny yellow paired with the subtle grey!!

Neutrals continue to flourish, as companions for brighter hues or as standalone, monochromatic color schemes.

Which neutral might just surpass brown as the favorite? Gray. And it covers a wide range of hues, which span soft gray to charcoal to hematite, and gain interest from metallic and pearlescent accents.

Green continues to gain strength from its association with the growing shift toward eco-consciousness. It will show up in everything from fabrics to accessories to countertops.

I hope you have enjoyed my forecast on whats new and upcoming in color!! As always stay tuned…..

XOXO

M

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