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The Carpet Runner

Traditional Persian Carpet Runner
There are a lot of things you don’t think about when you’re seventeen, and high on that list are carpet runners. In fact, until you own a home, or unless you’ve tripped over a badly damaged section, you probably don’t pay much attention to carpet runners at all. When you’re renting they come with the place, when buy, then carpet runners become a fact of life, next to other un-thought-of things like water softeners and power washing garage floors.

So, as you may have guessed, I’ve decided it’s time to install a new carpet runner on the front stairs. I’m inclined to go with what we had, a Persian motif in red, which, while predictable and somewhat boring, has the virtue of being traditionally what we’ve always done. It goes with the neutral white walls next to the stairs, and since we do own a few oriental rugs in that popular reddish color, it fits with what we have.

Green Carpet Runner
Although, the reddish oriental rugs in question are far enough away from the stairs that I could get a little more adventurous, with say a floral green (Both photos are from Carpet Runners UK) :

Well, maybe not as bright as the runner on the lest, but, still, a new runner in a new color might liven things up a bit, give my front room some pizzazz.

I better think this over carefully. pizzazz, is a dangerous thing in the wrong hands.

The Kitchen Clock

Kit-Cat WallClock in Black
Even though every appliance I own has a digital clock on it (everyone of which my husband insists on setting to the exact time, to the second) I still feel the need to have a analog wall clock in my kitchen. For many years, I had one of those typically retro, novelty cats with a wagging tail, the Kit-Cat Wall Clock, which you can see here to the right, here…

The problem is, during our last move, I broke the tail off when I dropped the clock into a box full of kitchen crap (the box was actually marked “Kitchen Crap”). I’d had that thing nearly 15 years, and it had become a sort of heirloom, although, my husband, who appreciates digital precision, didn’t seem to mind that it had disappeared from our life.

When we got into the new place and it came time to buy a new clock, I opted for a perfectly functional, perfectly blah, circular white wall clock purchased from Target for less than $20. For some reason, I just felt a Kit-Cat wall clock wouldn’t go with the decor in the new house, and perhaps that I was too mature for something that kitschy. (In hindsight, I’m probably not that mature, despite all the gray hair.)

Ice Wall Clock in Blue

In any event, it’s time for a new wall clock, and I think I’ve settled on something modern and mostly un-kitschy; the Ice Clock (available from The Best Gift Company).

Well, maybe no totally un-kitschy. It does look like a wrist watch, instead of a wall clock. But, that blue goes with my blue Stand Mixer, although, I think I’ll have to get a new set of curtains for the window over the sink.

The Ghost Chair

I call myself a home blogger, but here’s a trend I have completely missed: The Ghost Chair.

Actually, I had noticed these translucent chairs all over, mostly at social functions, but I hadn’t known that they’re called ghost chairs, and I hadn’t known that Philippe Starck Louis Ghost Chair was considered one of the “iconic chairs of the 21st century.” I just thought they were cheap, injection-molded plastic rental chairs provided by wedding planners for receptions and engagement parties.

Who knew that they were so trendy, showing up in all sorts of places, from trendy kitchens, to newly remodeled offices, to fancy bedrooms in swanky homes.

Ghost Chairs in Dining Room

The Ubiquitous Louis Ghost Chair

Now that I’ve noticed that this is a thing (several years too late, apparently) I know I’m supposed to admire the clever way the chair makes me think of more substantial and elegant pieces of furniture, while (almost) disappearing into the woodwork.

I’m not buying it. I don’t really want that much plastic in my house, and I don’t want that much plastic touching my bare legs in the morning when I’m sitting at the dining room table drinking coffee and reading the New York Times. You can count me out of this trend, in fact, I’d like to go back to the period when I thought these were just cheap chairs you bought at Wal-Mart, for $19.99 each.

Wallpaper Love

French Wallpaper in Andrew Jackson's Home, the Hermitage, Nashville, TN

French Wallpaper in Andrew Jackson’s Home, the Hermitage, Nashville, TN

I’ve got to say that until two years ago, I had never particularly cared for wallpaper. Probably because most of the wallpaper I’d encountered had been installed in the 1960s or 70s and never updated. I equated it with fusty, musty, old-fashioned homes gone out of style. It was paint, or nothing for me.

What turned me around on the wallpaper issue was a visit I made to The Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson in Nashville, Tennessee, where I saw the magnificent, hand-painted, scenic wallpaper Jackson had imported from France at great cost. It was drenched in color, mostly blue, and gorgeous. And it convinced me to give wallpaper a second look.

Since then, I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at sites like I Love Wallpaper, trying to figure out how to fix up my walls with a splash of textured, paper color. The problem I’m having is that I can’t afford to hire French craftsmen to paint delightful garden scenes on Chinese silk. I’ve found plenty of great swatches of wallpaper, for example, I like this Eden Bird pattern in cream, green and pink, but it’s hard for me to imagine an entire room decorated in this.

I think, I’m just going to have to take the plunge and order something.

The Necessity of Waterford

Waterford Butterfly Vase

Waterford Butterfly Vase

There are certain things that, after the bare necessities of life are met, everyone needs. Near the top of the list is Waterford.

It doesn’t have to be an elaborate piece of crystal, something simple like this butterfly vase to the right is more than enough to satisfy the requirements.

I say that Waterford is essential, not just because I’m Irish-American, and as such have a natural affinity for shamrocks, Notre Dame football, Guinness Stout, and Waterford Crystal, but because a simple Waterford vase with flowers from the garden does more to make a room a happy place than all of the fancy furniture in the world.

For less than $200 a piece of Waterford cut crystal can become a family heirloom, or a suitable wedding gift for almost anyone. My husband and I received a pair of Waterford champagne flutes for our wedding and we bring them out each year on our anniversary and toast our marriage, our family, and the giver of the gift.

That’s why Waterford is a necessity, because it’s memorable and it’s beautiful.

(Waterford image via Treasure Box.)

The Mid-Century Moment

Looking through the catalog of an furniture company called FusionLiving, I came across this bookcase:

Libra Furniture Retro Bookcase

Look at those legs. Some of you might be too young to remember those legs, but for those of us who grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s those tapering legs, part Danish Modern, part George Jetson, were on almost everything from television sets to dining room tables.

I can’t say I’m a fan of that look, but apparently many of you are, because all of the style blogs are talking about a return of mid-century modern.

Here’s another example from the same company, Libra Furniture, this time a geometric-style retro wing chair.

Libra Furniture Retro Wing Chair

I know, it’s supposed to make me think of Mad Men, but it doesn’t. It makes me think of the furniture that used to be in my parents’ living room and how I was glad when my mom finally threw out that giant console combination hi-fi stereo and television that used to dominate one side of the room.

The Goldilocks Pendant Lamp

I’ve been thinking lately that I’m out of step with the rest of society. For example, in the matter of home lighting I find that when I look through the various online lighting catalogs I’m rarely satisfied by what I find.

For example, in the matter of hanging pendant lamps everything is either too modern…

Wofi Sevilla Pendant Light in Black

Too plain…

artemide float suspension lamp

or too ornate…

Arrow Crystal and Chrome Pendant Lamp

I’m like Goldilocks. I want something that’s just right, which I would define as semi-traditional but not boring, a little filigree and folderol but not weighed down with ornamentation. In other words, I won’t really know what I want in the way of lighting until I see it.

Until this, this fairly traditional lamp, the Milord from Korlarz.

Kolarz Milord Pendant Lamp

It’s very attractive, and I’d happily hang it in my house, but it’s not exactly perfect. A little too much gilding, a little too little…what? Verve, maybe.

Space Saver Staircases

My sister, who lives in Chicago in a late 19th century architectural gem has a loft that needs a new staircase, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ladders, and spiral staircases and other moderately affordable, space saving solutions to her problem.

A spiral stair case would be a dramatic and attractive solution. I, mean, look at this:

Sprial staircase

It’s attractive in a modern way, it doesn’t take up much of the precious floor space, and it looks like great fun. The problem, however, is that spiral staircases are really only for the young and healthy. If you’re a stout person, or elderly, or someone with a bum knee, then a spiral staircase is not the ideal mode of transportation between floors. The treads are too narrow and the turns are too tight for many of us to negotiate in comfort.

The better solution, for her however, is a space-saving staircase (especially if grandma comes to visit). The treads are not quite as narrow, and for a loft like my sister has with a shorter distance to top than a full second floor, there’s no need to put in turns to save space.

The traffic to her loft is comparatively light, they use it mostly for storage, so I would say a relatively inexpensive modular staircase might get the job done.

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