Classe de couleur avec Claude Monet

Bonjour, les etudiants! Today’s class is “color inspiration from the famous impressionist artist Claude Monet“. A few year’s ago we took a Seine River Cruise from Normandy to Paris (magnifique!) with many stops along the way, including Rouen (where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake), Normandy (where the allies stormed the beaches in WWII) and one of my favorites, Giverny, the home of French Impressionist Claude Monet. Monet was a master in the use of color, both in his famous paintings and in his home and gardens, which he planted to inspire his works of art.

Let’s take the tour of Monet’s Home in Giverny…and use it as your own inspiration!

Monet’s Parlor in MonoChromatic Blue

Monochromatic Living Rooms Today

The Yellow and Red Dining Room of GivernyInspired Yellow and Red Dining Rooms

                 Blue and Copper Kitchens- Complementary Blue and Orange

Monet’s Stunning Kitchen at Giverny

Modern Blue and Copper Kitchens-beautiful!                           The Pastel Bedroom Upstairs in Monet’s Home-

Split Complementary Colors of Yellow, Green and LavenderAn adorable children’s room from with yellow, green and lavender- so pretty!

What’s in a Name?

Since the design blogging world appears to be populated with primarily smart, stylish, young and mostly female designers/writers, it has occurred to me that some of what I am writing about may be irrelevant or puzzling to this generation of bloggers. Whether I am referencing Petula Clark, or quoting Shakespeare,  I am thinking that my readers “get it”. But apparently that isn’t always case.

I had recently started drafting my latest blog about Buffalo Plaid. You know-big, giant check fabric- very popular and used on everything from Wellies to shams. Then I received a blogger’s email entitled “Gingham”- with pics of buffalo plaid- which is SO not gingham. Does it matter? To me, it does. I figure if I am going to put “pen to paper’, I should have my facts straight. So I polled my co-workers- smart, well-educated young women-and was greeted with blank stares when I asked them if they could identify Buffalo Plaid. Hmmm. So my first thought was perhaps I need to change the way I write and the content to appeal to this young generation of bloggers. But then I recalled a comment made by my marketing instructor, Interior Designer Rachel Hazelton, who had recently returned from the Design Bloggers Conference in LA with this thought: “Be who you are and write about what you know. You cannot be everything to everyone. Just find your niche and write about that.” I guess if it worked for Dr. Seuss, it can work for me too! So without further ado, introducing BUFFALO PLAID!!

I have loved it since I was a kid. It is big, bold and graphic, whether in pastels or primary colors. The identifiable characteristics are the squares that are large and equal in size, so you can turn the pattern horizontally or vertically and it will look the same.Trending today in every rainbow hue, it marries just as well with toile and florals as it does standing alone. It can be rusticor elegant simple or simply charming

Legend has it that Buffalo Plaid made its 1914 American debut with a logging company’s ad campaign featuring Lumberjack Paul Bunyan, but it actually dates back to Scottishman Rob Roy Macgregor, who was stylin’ in his tartan kilt. Buffalo plaid has everything to do with MacGregor’s ancestors in the buffalo trade (hence the name), and nothing to do with cowboys and farmers. For the full unabridged story, click here:

So there you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know about Buffalo Plaid. And the next time someone asks you the difference between checks and plaids, because I know that comes up often in conversation, please refer them to this blog. In the meantime, enjoy the pics on my Pinterest Buffalo Plaid Page. “Checking” out for today…Susan 


I recently attended a Language of Color class and discovered, much to my delight and amazement, that I LOVE PINK!! Always thought of myself as a blue person- cool, calm, confident. Ah, but pink makes me sigh,

it catches my eye

makes me smile

brightens my life

Pink sky at morning, sailors take warning

Pink sky at night, sailor’s delight

Pink Has Attraction

Pink is Perfection 

Pink is Seduction

Pink Makes a Splash

The elegant Audrey Hepburn once said “I believe in pink…”

So I guess I am in good company. Don’t be afraid to add a bit of pink to your life! Have a colorful day! Susan

Treasures and Trash-The Reveal!

The big reveal… how’d I do?


So after a couple of weeks of treasure hunting, bargain shopping and using what I already had on hand, here is the finished product! I just love it : ) Hanging cozily in the corner of my dining room, the colorful pieces create a bright mosaic that is soooo eye-catching and country pretty! Although it looks similar in style to my inspiration piece from Country Living Magazine, it has my unique color stamp on it. And isn’t that what decorating your life is all about? Let me know if you like it! (and if you happen to come across and red and white teapot in your treasure hunt, I’m your girl)

Before…Blue Botanicals…my inspiration from Country Living.

(Previous post below)

My first thought was “Ooh, that’s so country pretty!”. My second thought was “Wait, I have one of those plate racks in the barn!”. (I know, I know, who has a barn, anyway?!? And where did I get all this stuff that’s in the barn? Yard sales!!) Time for a recycling project. So I dug out this dusty old black painted rack from the loft, cleaned it off, and then painted it with several coats of Benjamin Moore Atrium White  Regal Aqual Pearl.

Now, realizing that the dining room where the rack will be hanging is red and white, I decided to hit the road in seach of yard sales to find some pretty red platters, plates and cups for my as-yet-to-be-hung plate rack. And since today was Small Business Saturday, I checked out some of our local downtown antique shops as well. First up, the Craigslist resale store. Didn’t know these existed! Apparently you give them your stuff on commission and they sell them on CL. You get rid of stuff, they make money-brilliant! The place was packed with stuff and shoppers, but no luck there, unless I happened to be in the market for a pink car. So, off to check out an estate sale.  Sadly, these typically hold the belongings of a deceased love one, whose life will be measured in the profits gained from the sale of their treasures. I found these pretty little scalloped plates-and I will give them a good home and pass them on to the next generation, who will most likely sell them at my estate sale-hopefully for a profit…

Then on to The Queen’s Vault Antique Shop. Loads of victorian furniture, silver, crystal and blue and white dishes galore! Discovered that although blue and white is quite common for porcelain and pottery, red and white is much rarer and difficult to come across. But I did find a pretty red cup and saucer, and left my “wish list” in case he comes across anything else.  Next up was Wakefield Uncommon Antiques.

(We have a beautiful lake in Wakefield, and at one end is a large common with a gazebo. Hence the clever name…) Score! Loads of red and white to choose from. Didn’t buy anything because the prices weren’t marked and the young lad manning the register had no idea what to charge. Will have to return when the owner is present. I need those dishes! After that, a drive around town to admire the gloriously blooming trees and tulips, a few more yard sales and then all of a sudden I was at HomeGoods! Now I don’t know about your car, but it appears that my new CRV has a Blue-tooth enabled homing device that guides me directly to the nearest HomeGoods. Scored again with two plates in the clearance racks that will add a bit more color to my collection. Tomorrow’s task will be to hang the shelf securely so that it won’t come crashing down with all of my new-found treasures. When you have a home that was built during the James Buchanan Administration, chances are you have walls made of horsehair and lathing. This lathing is small skinny strips of wood, held together with plaster mixed with the hair of a horses mane or tail. Seriously? Every time I hammer anything, all I hear is chunks of the stuff falling out of the wall. This ought to be good…pics to follow.

Yard Sale Treasures

Scored some more pieces for my plate rack project- unveiling tomorrow!!

Shut the Front Door!

Over the past 20+ years, I have had the great good fortune to spend “mother’s weekends” with some of my dearest friends. Shopping, sipping martinis and just catching our collective breath from the stresses of daily life, these weekends are a way to relax and reconnect with some of the women in my life whose friendships I treasure deeply.  We have hit the beaches on Cape Cod & Martha’s Vineyard ridden horseback in New Hampshire, Relayed for Life in Washington DC,

and shopped to our hearts content in FloridaA few years ago, as a special Mother’s Day adventure, we jetted across the pond for a long weekend in Dublin, Ireland. We spent our days walking, talking and

enjoying the beautiful scenery that is uniquely Ireland. Colorful gardens

lush greeneryand ancient architecture at every turn. Strolling the streets and neighborhoods of Dublin, you can’t help but notice all of the colorful, welcoming front doors. Although the stone and brick exteriors are similar, the front doors make each home unique and so inviting! Bought this poster, hoping to be inspired with my own front door! So, that hasn’t happened…But, as I was making a trip to Home Depot the other day (you didn’t think the plate rack project was going to go smoothly, did you?) I came upon this inspired house with the beautiful pink front door! Doesn’t this just say “Welcome to our home-come on in and have a cuppa tea?!” Unusual in this part of the country-New Englanders tend to be a bit more staid and safe with color. What I have noticed is that most homes are still under “winter wraps”, just waiting for the springs blossoms to start primping their homes.  But, I took a drive around town and found some pretty inspired entry ways! Some homes are old, like this yellow victorian, some are bold some are newly renovated some just say “welcome home”. So I was merrily making my way around town, hopping in and out of the car, snapping shots along the way, until I noticed a police cruiser passing around the corner, and then the next corner, and then the next. I didn’t get stopped, but clearly someone dropped a dime, thinking that a middle-aged blogger in a Honda CRV could be casing the joints. I guess I will stick to Google images from now on.

Happy Primping! Susan

Hall of Shame-Color Splash!

Saw this poster on Pinterest and LOL. It should say Attention Decorating Disorder! When I am in “home improvement” mode, I move from room to room making mental notes of everything that needs to get done immediately. So I wonder why projects never really get done?!? During the plate rack project this weekend, as I was flitting around town rummaging through antique shops and junk sales, I figured I should stop and get the paint for the hall of shame project at my local Benjamin Moore store. I had definitely decided on the trim color: Snowfall White.

For years I have been mixing  White Dove and Linen White together to create what I thought was the perfect white-creamy white with slightly gray undertones. But, mixing two quarts is quite a bit pricier than purchasing pre-mixed by the gallon. And, who was I to mess with the Benjamin Moore’s color gods?!? So I finally went through all the white chips and found Snowfall White. I believe it is the closest in tone and shade to my self-blended color. 1 gallon please. Smoke was the color I chose for the walls. The description is: “A subtle, sophisticated grey that infuses a space with a sense of comfort and contemporary style.” And, it is part of Candace Olson’s Designer Picks Collection! Loving that! But just not 100% sure, so I only got a quart. In a moment of inspiration, (while I was putting off hanging the plate rack) I decided to just “try a little on a wall to make sure I like it before I do the whole thing and then regret it”. No prep, no drop cloths, no painting clothes. You can guess the rest. I was happily painting away, got distracted (I don’t know, something sparkly?) and dropped the whole freaking can!

Not only did it splatter all over the hall- and me, it made its way into the living and the dining room- thankfully my new beautiful rug was spared! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to grab the camera- had to work fast! The next 1/2 hour was spent scrubbing and cleaning (almost all) the paint out of all the cracks and crevices, off the floor and trim,all the while keeping Daisy out of the way. Don’t need “Smoke” pawprints running through the house.

Rugs were hosed down in the yard, clothing discarded and paint scooped back into the can. At $18 per quart, I wanted to salvage what I could! So the end result is: 1. I do like the paint color and will go back and get a gallon. 2. Now I have to sand and restain the two thresholds leading into the hallway-more work for the weary 3. Time to go hang the plate rack!!!

Happy Painting! Susan 

Styling Your PureHome

Just came across this amazing website, so I’d like to share:

pure home: create. inspire. shop. connect

If you are looking to redecorate a room, or just interested in defining your design style, this is the website for you! It is so user-friendly, allows you to choose colors, furniture styles or entire decorating palettes, and then shop for them as well. Once you have created your new room, you can share it with the world. And it’s free!

And for daily color inspiration, check out their blog as well.

Have a great Friday everyone! Susan

I’ve Got a Little Crush

I’ve got a little crush on the color orange. Since childhood, Orange Crush has always been a favorite beverage. Orange makes me think of summer treats, sunsets on the Vineyard

and rustic European architectureI recently received a Crate and Barrel email featuring orange as a “secret garden oasis” color (and who does seasonal pops of color better than Crate and Barrel?!)

Orange can be funky and fun

Or dramatic and sexy

Loving the look of Pantone’s 2012 Color of the year:

Tangerine Tango

and Benjamin Moore’s Fiery Sunset

For a trip down memory lane, remember those original Howard Johnsons? Orange rooftops and aqua signs dotting the landscape. Unmistakeable and unforgettable. The perfect color palette for a restaurant! While orange is thought to increase the appetite, blue is a calming color. So sit and relax and have something to eat. Sounds like great marketing to me!

Decorating with orange is daring and certainly makes a statement. Paired with shades of blue, its complement on the color wheel, the results can be bold and dramatic

Soft and welcoming

Or vintage charming    

Used sparingly, orange still makes a statement in any space

Or you can go for it with full-on bold!! Any way you slice it, orange is the “it” color for this spring and summer.  Enjoy!! Susan

“Ay, there’s the rug…”

A beautiful rug can be the foundation of any space. Whether a dreamy white shag an heirloom persian passed down through generations or a modern version of an old classic, rugs can set the tone and color scheme of a room and transform a space from dark and dreary to fabulous and fun. There is no easier way to change the feel of a room than adding or changing a rug. The rules are simple, if you love it, use it. An antique oriental goes perfectly in modern decor, and a modern chevron looks perfectly at home in an eclectic, vibrant space.

We recently had the good fortune to purchase 2 new rugs for our home. The first is our new dining room rug, replacing the one that is now in our living room. (see decorating dominoes) Vibrant red and white, classic in style but modern in design, it instantly updated our dining room, creating a focal point that no one can miss!  LOVE!! So imagine my delight when a few weeks after installing this beauty in our dining room, it was featured in an HGTV episode of Color Splash! For those of you who are not familiar with delightfully talented David Bromstad’s design show, color- and loads of it-is his style. A man after my own heart.

In this episode, the makeover inspiration was an old winery. David used two rugs together to define a really large space, with loads of dark, rustic elements.

Even more delighted to discover that I had paid significantly less for my rug on RugsUSA than HGTV listed as the price from their sources. It definitely pays to be a bargain shopper : )

The newest addition to our family room decor is this amazing Zamin rug purchased from Manzel Interiors. This Danvers, Massachusetts store is chock full of hand-made rugs, furniture, architecture and accessories from Persia and India at fantastic prices.

 The description of our rug: “Zamin means earth or land in Persian or Hindi, and Zamin carpets are truly carpets of the earth. They are woven in India in villages in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. They are thick dense carpets, where all the weight of the carpet is in the heavy, beaten wool pile, much like an old Persian Bidjar. The vegetable dye colours are rich and saturated. The best, longest staple new Zealand wool is used, which is hand spun. Vegetable dye stuff are collected from throughout india and Nepal. Zamin designs favour the more primitive, such as Gabbeh designs, but include contemporary experimental designs classical Persian designs.”

The rug is plush and soft, the colors deep and rich, striated blues and reds. The pattern is simple but tells a story, typical of a primitive village rug. It is now in our family room, the heart of our home. When you wander in through the back door, as all of our friends and family do, this little girl and her Llamas are poised to welcome you! As I continue to share with  you more of my home, I hope that you will feel welcome too! Have a non-scary Friday the 13th… Susan

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