Chalet Design

May 2019

May 2019

In January I shared a piece Design Shift where I mapped out how I got to our new Crate and Barrel Couch and the evolution of the changes that have taken place in the Chalet decor since last summer. I followed up with Inspirational Images sharing images of spaces and designers who were inspiring me in the direction of my rug search.

Today I’m wrapping up this conversation. If you follow along on IG than some of these changes aren’t new but, let’s dive into the final result anyway…how I got where I am today June 12th, 2019.

September 2018

September 2018

Here’s a bit of the backstory if you’re unfamiliar - So last summer - when no amount of pillow swapping would cure my angst about the decor in the Chalet. I pulled the trigger with my husband’s blessing and ordered a new couch. I felt the taupe theme that was in our livingroom for 10 years had to go.

Here’s what the space looked like last fall.

I ordered the couch and found my round coffee table at Home Sense and I was off to the races my friends!

October 2018

October 2018

Once I had the coffee table and couch I worked my way around the Chalet refining book piles, editing picture frames and in general making it tighter. Layered is great but, messy and unfocused is not. When I got to lighting - I adding a new drum shade to the vintage Chinese lamp - a new smaller more modern lamp for the black Chinese cabinet and I went mid-century modern with the set of green ceramic for the diningroom - all purchased at Home Sense. I lessened the amount of decor on the mantel - limiting them to one side and focusing on a sole piece of art by Allison Ford on the other. I made pillow covers - you can spy one on the leather chair above. Then we moved some chairs around between the porch and the livingroom.

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While trying to figure out the rugs - as you read in Artistic Artery - I pulled all the art down and repainted our Hall Behr Paint Pink Prism. Our Bedroom is also Pink - I love pink - to me it’s a neutral. It makes everyone happy who sees it. I also lessened the approach when I rehung the art - taking my time to focus on a portrait gallery - I put some art away.

The process of finding new rugs took about 6 months. I looked and looked - I vacillated over the design direction. As is my curse I like so many styles. Our old rugs were Pottery Barn - and to span the challenging length and width of the Chalet livingroom and den area - 10 x 24 - I had previously gone with 3 rugs. The Images above show the progression of the Rug hunt. Top left was a Crate Kids design I tried to order but, it was Sold Out! It still makes me cringe! Then I decided to shift my focus to a layered look ordering the top middle geometric design from Rugs USA - I thought I would layer a rug I have over it - they were delivered all the furniture was moved but, the moment Steven started rolling out the rug I said “Stop it’s bringing on a Vertigo Episode” so back they went and the hunt continued. Finally I ended up at my local Crate and Barrel store (I really am a big fan of this brand -Hello Brand Ambassadorship anyone? my dining table and glass door cabinets in the diningroom are from Crate) there I bought three Baxter Rugs a 5x8, a 8x10 and a 6x9. They are made of New Zealand Wool and have shed little to none. I’m very pleased.

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I completely restyled the little spot in the diningroom last month. I love it now! I still needed to change the shade to a modern drum shade - it took a while to find just the right one. Many shades were either too small or too large. I just picked up the pretty patterned number below on Monday at my local At Home store - while I was there working with a client.

June 2019

June 2019

June 2019

June 2019

Will I say that I’m done… NO… I still think I may want to add a layering rug under the coffee table to make the room pop more. I would love more pattern; recently I added Bessie to the wall, more books and collections to the Coffee Table and here we are. The design scheme is more streamlined and I’m pleased… I no longer think my style is Cacophony of Crap! I think my style has traditional elements with a bit of Modern, Chinoiserie and Vintage thrown in. I’d label it:

Traditional Mix.


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Til next time!

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Motherly Love

1985 Ever the Hostess.

1985 Ever the Hostess.

I apologize for the grainy 1985 photograph of my mother. She was hosting a Bridal Shower in our home for my cousin Sharon.

Rita Claire Patricia Higgins Gallagher (1928-1994) was polished, glamorous and knew everything about style and manners. Her mother Nora Cecilia Moclair Higgins (1887-1957) came to America from Aughrim, County Galway, Ireland on board the Majestic arriving from Queenstown May 27, 1909 at Ellis Island, NY. My Grandmother was a live-in Domestic - a Baby Nurse for more than one wealthy family in Manhattan - before marrying Sigfried Higgins - moving New Jersey to start their family. Nora’s name is inscribed on panel 192 on the permanent American Immigrant Wall of Honor erected in 1993 on Ellis Island, NY.

1952

1952

1953

1953

In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday - I wanted to share where I got my spark for design and I simply can’t chat about Rita without saying that all she knew she learned from her mother.

My Mother was a fashion model. She shared one fun story about being in New York City and being pulled on stage to participate in a live game show - during which she was asked to dinner by a celebrity - she demurred - instead heading back home to Verona, NJ on the train.

Staying at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico 1953.

Staying at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico 1953.

1966

1966

1974 sporting her Jackie O sunglasses with her sister Marion left and her sister in law Gladys.

1974 sporting her Jackie O sunglasses with her sister Marion left and her sister in law Gladys.

1981 - I love this tanned relaxed image of her in Bermuda - She and Daddy Were traveling with her brother Bob and her sister in law Gladys and they had a Blast! For the rest of her life she spoke fondly of this trip.

1981 - I love this tanned relaxed image of her in Bermuda - She and Daddy Were traveling with her brother Bob and her sister in law Gladys and they had a Blast! For the rest of her life she spoke fondly of this trip.

1981 I’m throwing this in because the story’s priceless - look at my Dad - During that trip different workers went on Strike - the guests served there own meals and I don’t think they had very much maid service - the buses weren’t running - so my parents rode mopeds! I would have paid money to hear the conversation between Jim and Rita about being on a moped together! (Bermuda was originally a British Territory and they drive on the left.)

1981 I’m throwing this in because the story’s priceless - look at my Dad - During that trip different workers went on Strike - the guests served there own meals and I don’t think they had very much maid service - the buses weren’t running - so my parents rode mopeds! I would have paid money to hear the conversation between Jim and Rita about being on a moped together! (Bermuda was originally a British Territory and they drive on the left.)

1985 Ireland. Look at how stylish she was in her cashmere and wool!

1985 Ireland. Look at how stylish she was in her cashmere and wool!

1993

1993

Rita inspired me not only by how she dressed - she loved clothing - but, her accessories. My love of bracelets, pins and scarves is no accident my friends - it’s been bred into me!

Our home was lovely. Beautiful wall color, wonderful textiles. My mother never shied away from recovering a chair - adding a new pillow. I learned about gallery walls from her - we had two walls covered with family photos in our paneled Den. We had the most gorgeous octagon table that held picture frames en masse in our livingroom. My mother didn’t have many shelter magazine subscriptions but, she always read House Beautiful and Town and Country. I would leaf through them and read articles - gosh I wish I had a kept a few!

I always new as a child my home possessed a quality that was hard pressed to be duplicated. So many of my precious heirlooms were passed down to my Mother and I’m so lucky to have them in the Chalet - I cherish my 3 chairs - the Blue Bergere, the Beige Wooden Arm and the Pale Blue.

Although she will be gone 25 years next week - I never set a table without thinking of her and how we dined every night at 6:30 in our formal diningroom. My mother’s entertaining was always effortless - Sunday Dinners, Drinks, Lunches, her Bridge Group, Bridal Showers, Baby Showers, Christmas Eve - She loved to be with people - and our home was large enough to accommodate whomever could come.

Entertain: to keep a person or a group of people interested or amused.
— Cambridge Dictionary

This ease of entertaining started me thinking about how I could certainly carve out an hour or two - to spend with people - we all should! So now, I’ve started issuing invitations to the Chalet - for some it’s the first time, for others they’ve been coming over for years - but, I’m choosing to set aside dedicated time and hope they are able to as well. I’m thrilled to extend my hospitality. My mother instilled in me a love of home that has grown and continues to inspire me.

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I so wish I had more photos of her. These were the days before cell phone and the constant snapping of images. She was my everything. I miss her every day. She does let me know she’s around - by the time on the clock. My eye is drawn to 11 minutes after any hour and I give her an audible greeting. Even Liam knows and calls out “Hi Noni!”


Til next time! Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers out there!

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Artistic Artery

I ‘m SO very happy with the design changes we made to the Chalet’s Hall.

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Let’s remember what the space looked like… We enjoyed the Benjamin Moore Hawthorn Yellow for 10 years but, it was time for a change.

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Everyone who views this understands why my signature tag on IG is SayNoToEmptyWalls and my second IG feed bears that same handle @saynotoemptywalls.

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Pink was first used as a color name in the late 17th century. It is the color most often associated with charm, politeness, sensitivity, tenderness, sweetness, childhood, femininity and romance.

Although this was my project everyone got involved. Liam helped from the first trip to Home Depot for swatches to the final paint purchase Pink Prism and you can see he even did a bit of painting! After I spent two weeks cutting in around all the windows and many doors - Steven took pity on me and rolled the paint.

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This lovely Egyptian Lady was the first piece I rehung. If you don’t think light plays with wall color… just look - it reads as two different shades. From here I moved around the space towards the stairs - rehanging the local history images and for the main stair wall I decided on a portrait gallery.

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I was restrained as I worked my way around. I was determined to have it be purposeful and not hodgepodge. The Man With The Golden Helmet - a copy on canvas of the Rembrandt is always a focal point and he went right back on the same nail he was hung on before.

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If you’re not familiar with the Chalet’s architecture - we have a center chimney which means we have two hallways upstairs around that chimney. The first has entrances to the bath, linen closet and L’s room - and here on this side we have this hall to the master. I left this space blank for a few weeks. I mean come on .. I am sooo in love with this color and I also needed to give myself time to map out the installation.

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I knew this fine lady Camille (Camille Doncieux (1847 - 1879) the first wife of Claude Monet and the subject of - La Japonaise (Camille Monet in Japanese Costume) 1876, was coming out of storage to be placed in the center and that everything would radiate from her. - The original work is on display in Lorna and Robert Rosenberg Gallery #252 in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. A dear friend was there recently and sent me a picture of the original. (thanks so much Alison!)

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Again, I was taking my time - Mrs. Monet sat here alone for well over a week… I had to feel what it would be. It had to evolve. I didn’t want to rush the process and be unhappy in the end.

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I LOVE how it turned out. What seemed like such a large area was quickly filled but, I’ve managed to squeeze in 2 small pieces since this image was taken.

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Til next time - go grab a hammer and hang up some art or paint a space something unexpected!

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