Monday, January 31, 2011

Put a Bird on It!

When I visit Portland, I often think that it's sort of like Charlottesville's big sister. So, when I saw this video about a new show called Portlandia, I could imagine what was coming.
"Do you remember the 90s, when people were talking about getting piercings and tribal tattoos; people were singing about saving the planet and forming bands? There's a place where that still exists as a reality and I've been there."

"Remember when people were content to be unambitious, sleep til 11, just hang out with their friends, and they had no occupations whatsoever, maybe working a couple hours a week at a coffee shop?
Okay, just as this doesn't describe everyone in Portland, it doesn't describe everyone in Charlottesville. But...there's a little truth in it.

Then came the video "Put a Bird on It" which I first saw on Design Sponge, but have watched a few times since.

When I walked into O'Suzannah, a gift shop in downtown Charlottesville, on Saturday, I couldn't help but snap just a couple pictures to show how "Put a Bird on It" is alive and well in Charlottesville.

I shop in this store all the time and have always loved how many cute animals you can find there. I bought my Jonathan Adler squirrel sculpture there. I buy cute presents for my nephews there. Everything is so cute!

Only after watching "Put a Bird on It" did I notice how ubiquitous the bird has gotten on accessories.

Which has me wondering what things are looking like at the New York International Gift Fair this week. The gift show is where buyers for stores go to see what's new and interesting in decorative accessories and stationary. Charlottesville jewelry designer Lolly Smith is there showing her line called Laurel Denise (by the way, check out these pictures of her booth from last year...isn't that amazing?). I can't wait to read the recaps from the bloggers who are at the fair.

What do you think? Are the birds here to stay or are they on the way out?
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Friday, January 28, 2011

This is a home blog?

Between Design House posts on Thursdays, wedding posts on Wednesdays, and this being the busy season at work, there hasn't been too much design talk on this blog in the last couple weeks.

Something has been bothering me at my place. The east wall in my living room is the longest wall in my home. I have one, large Restoration Hardware mirror hanging over the sofa on that wall. The rest is bare.

Usually, I take pictures like this so you don't really see the entire expanse:

There's a lot of open space, though.

I have thought about putting some art up, but Olivia the sheep is on the wall over the char in the foreground of that photo. Olivia is the main event. She's the star of the room.

I thought about some wall mounted lamps to go on either side of the mirror...something like this:

Photo from V for the Home

I first saw that sconce at V for the Home over in Richmond, but our very own Shade Shop has one, too.

Another thought was that I needed something off the wall. I've always loved the Arco floor lamp,but it's too tall for my place (oh yeah, and it's $2,700). Z Gallerie makes a smaller, less modern version that I liked for a while:

Lately, I've been thinking that something as small as a shelf or thin, linen covered bulletin board over the desk might be nice. I'm not sure, though. I don't really like to have post-its and other things you'd tack on a bulletin board on display in the living room. Those sorts of things seem to be more kitchen or office related.

What do you think? I'm going to aim to get this figured out over the weekend and I really would love some input!

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wedding Wednesday Reprise: We have a venue!

Bear with me. Our decision on this needs a little background...

Back when I was in grad school in Boston, I had a big plan for my career. I'm in academia and I had a list of schools at which I decided (at 22 years old) I was going to work. It would all lead to a long tenure at a specific liberal arts college in New England. During my first step in that plan, a big name in my field recruited me to work with him at a start up called Olin College of Engineering. Start ups don't really happen in higher education these days. It was risky. It was a total deviation from my plan. I took the leap and worked at the college that didn't exist.

We used to watch this video at events and cheer at the end. We knew what we were doing was totally a really great way.

My years at that school were amazing, stressful, enlightening, challenging, and so much more. The experience made me very comfortable with throwing away "the plan." That philosophy is what led me to Charlottesville to work at Jefferson's university (there wasn't a single public school on that list I made in grad school). It made me willing to experiment and allowed me to be comfortable with things that lack a track record, but have great potential.

During the early years at that college, our office was in a little house. From the backyard, we could look up to the land where the campus was being constructed. We used to point at some steel beams and envision the student center, the residence halls, and the lab building. We'd take tours of the construction site every now and then and pretend we were in offices while standing in dirt with framing around us. It was a lot of fun.

That experience is why I am so comfortable having our wedding here:

It's not all dirt. There is a structure on the land...

Some people might have run in the other direction upon seeing wood framing without a roof or a floor, but I laughed when I saw this place for the first time. It reminded me of those early years at Olin. It's called Pippin Hill.

Now, Olin taught me to take educated risks, not just risks. The team behind Pippin Hill is fantastic. Marc worked with Executive Chef Craig Hartman a couple years ago at Keswick Hall and the rest of the team is comprised of people with experience in hospitality, event planning, and wine making. A friend of Marc's who is still at Keswick said the current Chef de Cuisine is joining the Pippin Hill team when they start having events. As people who love great, local food, this was exciting news for us!

From Pippin Hill's Facebook page

We continued to visit venues and I began following Pippin Hill's progress via their Facebook page, where they post construction photos almost daily.

From Pippin Hill's Facebook page

The roof is now on the main part of the building and the sub-floor has been poured. The other side of the building is in progress, too. Go check out the photos on the Facebook page...there are plenty!

Here's what the final site will look like:

From Pippin Hill's website

After much discussion, we decided to go with Pippin Hill. We got our final contract yesterday and I just dropped off our deposit at lunch time.

So, that's a big, major item on the "to do" list checked off! We're joining the very small group of Pippin Hill couples. I have a feeling the number of Pippin Hill brides will grow quickly now that the roof is on the building and the floor is more than dirt.

I alluded to encountering some surprise fees as we spoke with other venues in last week's Wedding Wednesday post. At the end of the day, the newcomers were the most up front about costs. The more established venues quickly fell off our list because the costs that weren't disclosed up front often doubled the cost of using them. While we'll still visit those venues, we weren't comfortable having our wedding at them. In the end, we were deciding between Keswick Vineyard and Pippin Hill.

I feel that I must say something about Keswick Vineyard here for the local readers. I adore the people at Keswick Vineyard. Their site is beautiful (I had pictures, but they are missing from my memory stick!) and they have gone out of their way to provide extra items for anyone who have an event there. They're very active in social media, which I appreciate. The Keswick Vineyard and the people behind it are charming. It was a very hard decision. We hope some of our friends get married there so we can see it all again!

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Design House Thursday: We have Facebook page!

How do you like that updated logo?

In the coming weeks, I hope to share some information about the designers involved in the 2011 Charlottesville Design House (and maybe share some portfolios!) and tell you about the upcoming Hard Hat Tour day. For now. check out the Facebook page I created for the house. It's a work in progress. Soon, there will be photos and tour info so you can have updates "pushed" at you via Facebook in addition to being able to see them on the official Charlottesville Design House website.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: I think we have a venue!

I hoped to have a final decision about our venue to share with you today, but it might have to wait until this afternoon. For now, here's a bit of a tease...the view from our top choice.

The Blue Ridge Mountains really are blue!
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Let's have a giveaway!

It's been a while since I hosted a giveaway and CSN made a lovely offer to give a give one of my lucky readers a gift: $60 to use in one of the 200+ stores that are part of the CSN network.

How to enter:
Go to the All Modern site (link above) and comment below with an item you'd like. You don't have to buy that item if you can change your mind. :)

Extra entries:
-Post a second time if you become my friend on Twitter (link to the right).
-Post a third time if you tweet about this giveaway and mention @smallchic in it.
-Post a fourth time if you start following Small & Chic Home on Facebook (link to the right)
-post a fifth time if you link to this on your Facebook page.

That's it! You have five chances to enter. I'll leave this open for one week and then use to select a winner.

Be sure to leave your email address if you aren't a blogger so I can contact you if you win!
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Remember this kitchen from Southern Living?

There's been a little talk in the design blogsphere (here, for example) about what has happened to Southern Living in recent months. They've been featuring spaces that probably wouldn't have made it into other magazines. Perhaps they are trying to show more variety to appeal to a broader audience, but while picking up some new readers, they seem to be leaving some wondering about the changes.

Case in point, this Charlottesville kitchen that was featured in the December 2010 issue.

Images from

Notice the round spice rack hanging by the range and the wine cubbies.

To be frank, I was surprised this kitchen was in Charlottesville when I saw it. I thought it might be in the mountains in Tennessee or North Carolina. I was also surprised that I hadn't read about this locally. It seems that national magazines have been spending quite a bit of time in Cville these days. In fact, there's a Charlottesville homeowner on the last page of Better Homes & Gardens this month showing off her painted dining room floor (awesome). I know a local blogger who will be in a future BHG issue, too.

Anyway, the home with the rustic kitchen just went up on the MLS for $1,695,000. Clicking through the pictures to check out the rest of the house was fascinating. I await your comments...

Isn't that beautiful? This seems to be the entrance used by the family, which leads to the mud room (see's pretty amazing). It's not the main entrance to the home.

This is the main entrance.
That beautiful door might need a little love...and maybe a second set of hardware?

A first floor hallway. I think there are four tables in this one little area.
It's begging for a little staging, isn't it?

Next, that kitchen that inspired some raves and some critiques...

I think it looks much lighter than it did in Southern Living.
Maybe it's the ginormous skylight.

I know some people think antlers are over, but they'll always be in style in hunt country.

Okay. Hold up. I'm no real estate agent, but you'd think that if you were trying to sell a $1.7 million home, you wouldn't bother posting this photo or you'd revisit the home to take a better picture. Maybe the intent was to show the view, but I find myself peering at the sofa and pillows instead of looking out the window. This isn't helping the family sell their house.

This family has seven children in it, aged 15 to a few months old. Pretty amazing, huh?

This must be the kid zone. I guess when you have seven kids, you need spaces like this. Points for being dog lovers.

Here's the mudroom/locker room I mentioned above.

The mud room isn't just for the kids...

It's a beautiful home...but I think they need a professional photographer (there are quite a few local photogs who are great with interiors) or at least a reshoot of these images. I don't think the MLS photos do the house justice.

What do you think? I almost sent this to Julia at Hooked on Houses because she loves to post about MLS photos

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

A quick tutorial for using Pinterest

Good morning! I decided to make a quick video to show you how I've been using Pinterest for the last few weeks. Pinterest is a site that helps you organize and categorize images that you see while reading blogs or browsing the web. Using it has dramatically cut down on the number of bookmarks I have and the number of entries I "star" or tag in Google Reader. I don't know if this happens to you, but I star quite a few blog posts while going through my reader every morning and I almost never refer back to them.

Enter Pinterest with its clean, simple interface. I love using the site and the social aspect to Pinterest makes it even more interesting. I can follow other bloggers to see what images they've been pinning and they can see my pins as well. Watch the video to see how it all works...

(if you're seeing this on a reader, you might have to click through to watch the video)

If you join Pinterest, I hope you'll become my friend so we can share images.

By the way, if you want to make tutorials like this, you can use a website called Screen Jelly to record your computer screen. I use it for work sometimes and love how easy it is to use.
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Friday, January 21, 2011

Cville Design House: Time for a Tour

The 2011 Charlottesville Design House is still a few months away, but there is a lot of news about the project. A few weeks ago, the various options for the house were discussed and debated. A beautiful, older house on a large property outside of town was chosen by the SHE Charlottesville Design House committee.

Now, it's time for a little tour of the house. These are all MLS pictures. The home is off the market now and we'll have more "candid" before pictures next month after the "Hard Hat Tour" (which you can go on*).

The house is beautiful. There are thick moldings throughout, nice casings on the doors, and wainscoting all over the place.

There's a bit of chintz. Scratch that. There's a lot of chintz.

It has a quality that's sort of Traditional Home-ish, doesn't it?

More chintz.

This kitchen was hot stuff at some point.

Or maybe it's Southern Accents-ish?

Notice that the bedrooms have patio doors, but they are blocked by furniture.

Love the double twin beds.

There are plenty more rooms to see...I'm not going to show you everything just yet.

*Let's talk about that Hard Hat Tour. In March, there's going to be an informal tour of the entire property for anyone who wants to see the entire house before the place gets turned over to the designers. I'll be posting information about that event and how to attend in a few weeks. Check back next Thursday for another update.

Oh wait! Want to see a couple pictures of the grounds?

Not sure what a design house is? I explained it in a post last week.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

The 2011 Charlottesville Design House

Last week, I presented you with the general styles of homes that were in the running to be the 2011 Charlottesville Design house. There were new construction homes, older homes in established neighborhoods, and farm homes outside of town on the list. There were quite a few comments supporting a farm home and others that wanted a more established house. Well, all of you will be happy with the choice.

The 2011 Charlottesville Design House will be a beautiful, older home that is located on a farm. The house is located outside of Charlottesville, but near several great wineries. There are also quite a few antique stores in the general area.

I bet you can't wait to see the pictures from the interior. Unfortunately, I'm taking a momentary break from work to post this and the house tour will have to come later.

What do you think? Do you like it?
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Venues

When Marc and I started talking about getting married, we thought we wanted a vineyard wedding. We started visiting a different vineyard each Sunday for a tasting and a cheese plate as an informal way to assess the options. When we went to a wedding last year at one of our favorite vineyards, we were almost certain it was the right place for us.

For the last few weeks, we've been revisiting some of those vineyards, exploring a few other options, and collecting fee schedules and menus in hopes of making a decision before those who got engaged over the holidays and those who will get engaged around Valentine's Day start their planning. Nothing like the prospect of a little competition to get you out of your newly-engaged haze!

Here is, roughly, what we're considering...

1. The Inn

The Inn was the closest venue to downtown Charlottesville and it was beautiful. It had a very "old Virginia" feel to it and our small-ish wedding wouldn't be dwarfed by the spaces on the property. The inn is known for its fantastic food, so we knew our guests would be fed well. The rental fee was higher than any other venue we visited, but it included exclusive use of the grounds for the weekend. The catch: we also had to rent all 17 guest rooms for two nights. That was not included in the rental fee.

2. The Established Vineyard

The established vineyard was one we had visited many times for tastings. The site was stunning, the food on site was fantastic, and the vineyard owned draping that would be used in the ballroom at no extra charge. Much of what was needed (tables, chairs, bar ware) was included in the rental fee. The drawbacks: it was the furthest venue from town on the list, staffing/labor was not included in any of the fees, and the rental fee increases each year, so while we're planning this now, we'll pay more because our wedding is in 2012.

3. The Newcomers
I don't have pictures of the newcomers. There are a few new players in the vineyard wedding game in the area. One has only had a couple events so far, but it's in a beautiful location. The rental fee was high, but it included a lot of extras (table, chairs, exclusive use). That venue had a kitchen on site, so a caterer wouldn't need to work on rented equipment (we looked at a few places that required us to rent a "caterer tent" with equipment in it). Bonus: someone thought to tuck a swing set around the back of the facility for children to play on. Brilliant!

Another venue we considered isn't even built yet. It's going to be a vineyard and they're going to host weddings in a few months. The renderings are beautiful. We actually have a connection to the site being used. The chef involved with the project is one Marc knows and the rental fee is discounted in light of the state of the site at this point.

I'm not going to tell you where we are with this one just yet. :)

If you're married, how did you pick your venue? What would you do with the options above?
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Introducing: The Charlotte

When I first started blogging, I was so jealous of the design bloggers in Boston, Atlanta, SoCal, and a few other cities. They seemed like tight, friendly groups that supported each other. They had periodic meet ups. They guest posted on each others' blogs and collaborated on projects.

Charlottesville had plenty of bloggers when I started, but there were only a handful that fit into this category. It seems like our numbers grow a little bit every few months. Today, I'm delighted to introduce a new one:

The Charlotte is a team blog, kind of like Urban Nest over in Richmond. Each contributor has a different point of view, so no matter what your style, you're bound to find something interesting or inspirational there. The Charlotte is: Stephanie (the graphic artist and illustrator), Emily (the editor), Kristin (the photographer), and Cate (the mom and designer).

Go pay the ladies of The Charlotte a visit. I have a feeling you'll enjoy what you see!
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Monday, January 17, 2011

Thank you, thank you!

Thanks so much to Leila at In the Tweeds and PLD at Preppy Little Dress for giving me the Stylish Blogger Award. It's been a while since I've gotten an award and I'm so flattered.

Seriously, thank you.

Leila is a Virginia girl who has relocated to Mississippi. If you haven't been following the renovation of her beautiful, old home down there, you have to check it out. If you love "before and after" pictures, you will love, love, love Leila's blog.

Preppy Little Dress is a shopping and decorating fiend living in Chicago. This girl can hunt down a sale better than anyone I know. Maybe I need to put her in charge of my wedding shoe hunt!

I'm supposed to share seven things about myself and then pass this along. Let's see how well I do...

1. While my home search is fueled by a lack of space and a pending marriage, it's also partially fueled my my need for projects. I think I've made safe, but good decisions when it comes to my condo and it's time to move on. I anticipate having a little more fun with design when Marc and I buy a home.

2. I'm in denial about my lack of a green thumb.

3. I decided to get rid of my "junk drawer" and that just resulted in a junk shopping bag sitting in the laundry room.

Well, I'm breaking the chain. You get three items about me.

My list of bloggers comes this afternoon...

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