Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Treasure in Storage: The Florence Knoll Sofa Comes Home

Back in 2009, I shared the story of encountering Marc's furniture treasure for the first time. Very early on in our relationship, I went over to Marc's house and was stunned to see a mid-century modern sofa there. I lightly asked where he got it and he said his mother bought it during an auction when the bank where she worked moved their executive offices. The sofa had been in the hall outside her office and was in pristine condition when he got it because it was rarely used.

Years of use in a bachelor pad weren't friendly to the sofa, but it was still a beautiful piece. Marc tried to sell it when we consolidated all of our things and while there were some nibbles, no serious buyer emerged from that experience. Marc wound up putting the sofa in storage.

Over the last few weekends, Marc's been emptying the storage unit and bringing things to the house. I helped take the last few things home on Sunday. One of the last items to pick up was that sofa.

She's finally home and sitting in the lower level's living room. The darn thing is so big that I couldn't even get the whole sofa in a picture!

You can see a remnant of the sofa's life in a bachelor's house. That spill was from a very dark beer.

So now, we have to decide what to do with this sofa. We talked to a woman at Design Within Reach the last time we were in DC and her eyes got wide when we told her what we had sitting in storage. She thought we'd find a buyer in the DC area easily. She said we could list it as is for sale OR buy some vintage Knoll fabric, have the sofa reupholstered, and then sell it for top price.

When we've seen similar sofas on 1stDibs, the ones with Knoll labels are $4,800-$7,000 and the ones that are "in the style of" Florence Knoll are about $3,000.

Marc is all about selling the sofa, but he just doesn't know how to best go about doing it.

Thoughts? Just throw this thing on Craigslist and see what happens? Reupholster it and then try to sell it? I fear that if we can't find Knoll fabric, reupholstering it would be a bad thing...but it clearly needs to be reupholstered.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Goldilocks and the Tufted, Wingback Bed

Have you ever had a picture in your head of something and then had a very hard time finding it? That's what's happening right now in my search for a bed for our master bedroom.

I have an image of an upholstered bed with a tufted, wingback and a slightly curved top edge. Ideally, the fabric would be somewhere in the cream/beige world. The legs would be relatively simple and short, but the overall height of the bed would be normal. I don't want a bed that's low to the ground.

There's a company that is selling tons of beds to online sources (I see their beds on Amazon, Wayfair, Overstock, Gilt, etc.) and several bloggers have bought their beds. The prices are amazing and the pictures of them are wonderful. However, reviews of the beds are mixed and I'm pretty sure the beds are imported. Hard to say exactly where they are being built, but I'm betting they aren't from Hickory or High Point.

So I decided to start my search with some mainstream mall stores. I liked a lot of what I saw. Here are some of the beds I found...

1. Z Gallerie - Some items in this store are a bit too ornate and over-the-top with bling for me, but they have some very beautiful beds.

Clockwise from top left: Z Gallerie Jameson, Marisol, Pierre, and Nina beds

The Jameson bed is probably the closest to the picture I have in my head, but I don't like how the wings on the side jut out a bit from the rest of the bed. The Marisol and Pierre beds have wings that are flush with the side of the bed and I find that a little more appealing. Unfortunately, Marisol seems a bit too grand and lacks the curved top. Peirre lacks tufting. The Nina bed was another I considered, but I wish it had a few more curves to it.

2. Pottery Barn - There is only one wingback bed at Pottery Barn right now. It's the Raleigh bed and comes with or without nail head trim and there are several fabric options.

 Pottery Barn Raleigh bed

 I love the shape of the Raleigh bed and the nail head trim is perfect. The curve of the top edge is graceful. However, there's no tufting at all. I seriously thought about DIYing the tufting because I like everything about this bed!

3. Restoration Hardware - I have had so many problems with this company that I shouldn't have even looked at their beds, but they have a ton of options.

Left to right: Restoration Hardware Adler and Churchill beds
Left to right: Restoration Hardware Warner, French Wing, and Grayson beds

The tufting in the Adler and Churchill beds are probably closest to what I'm looking for, but one lacks curves and the other seems almost too curvey. It looks like the Churchill doesn't really have corners where the wingbacks start. The headboard seems to curve. I love the shape of the French Wing bed, but don't love the legs and it's also missing the tufting.

4. Room and Board - I often forget about Room and Board. They are bigger on wood than on upholstery, but there was one pretty, wingback bed there.

Room and Board Marlo bed

I love how the wingback gently curves right into the side rails of the bed. I don't even mind the velvety fabric on this bed. It looks beautiful. I just wish there was tufting and a curved top.

5. Williams-Sonoma Home - This is another company that often slips my mind. Williams-Sonoma is about kitchen goods to me. The only one of their home stores I've seen was in San Francisco.

Left to right: Williams-Sonoma Humphrey, Westport, and Presidio beds

While all of their beds are lovely, the true wingback, the Westport, had wings that were too exagerated for me. The Humphrey was gorgeous, but lacked tufting.

6. Arhaus - This is another store about which I often forget. Arhaus has tons of upholstery! I'm not familiar enough with the company to know where it comes from, though.

Arhaus Devereaux and Barrister beds

If I could merge the Devereaux and Barrister beds, I'd have the perfect bed. If forced to pick between them, the Devereaux would win out. I think the silhouette is great.

7. High Fashion Home - This store is in Texas, but they ship everywhere. The pieces are beautiful.

Left to right: High Fashion Home Amelia, Cleo, and Georgia beds 

I'm pretty sure High Fashion Home's beds are by Vanguard, so I could probably order one of them a little closer to home. They're all beautiful, but the ones I like best seem to lack the curve on top of the headboard. The Amelia also seems to only come in velvet or velvet-like fabrics and I think I want a more linen-like fabric on the bed.

8. Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams - I have a serious design crush on this company to start with. Their upholstery is beautiful and everything is made just a few hours away in North Carolina. Good people, good furniture.
 Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams Helaine Bed

The Helaine bed is very strong contender right now.  It has ALL of the characteristics I was hoping to find in a bed. The fabric they use in the official images doesn't thrill me, but I know there are other options.
 Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams Helaine Bed

I also found the bed on the Traditional Home website. Bethany Frankel's bed is the Helaine bed. The headboard looks shorter in the images of her bedroom than in MGBW's photos. That is something I'll have to look into.

 Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams Helaine Bed in Bethany Frankel's home

9. Bernhardt - I've bought a few pieces from Bernhardt before and love the quality of their goods. I usually just look at their casegoods, so I can't recall what their upholstery is like in person.

 Bernhardt's Jordan bed

The Jordan bed, like MGBW's Helaine, seems to tick all the boxes on my wish list. I think it has a beautiful profile. It also seems tall, but not too tall.
  Bernhardt's Jordan bed

The official images of the bed show it in a dark gray, but I found a furniture store in Philidelphia that had it in an oatmeal color. That color is a little dark for my taste, but it's closer to the creamy beige for which I've been looking.

 Bernhardt's Jordan bed

I think I've done an exhaustive search at this point. I think the front runners are Vanguard's Amelia and Cleo (if Amelia is available in a linen), Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams' Helaine, and Bernhardt's Jordan beds.

Can you point me towards any stores/companies I've missed? I'd love to make a decision soon so we can put a budget together for the work we'll be doing in the bedroom.
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Friday, July 26, 2013

Shop Tour: Finding Inspiration at Valerianne

I've been searching for a fabulous fabric or some beautiful bedding to serve as my jumping off point for the master and guest bedrooms. We'll be sleeping in the guest bedroom while I work on the master, so I jump back and forth between thinking about the two spaces.

One image that I keep going back to when thinking about the guest bedroom is this space designed by Kelly Keiser. This image is all over Pinterest and it took me quite a while to track down the source and information about that fabric. The image was originally published in Better Homes & Gardens in March of 2011. BGH's website doesn't even identify Kelly as the designer.

Isn't it interesting that the bed has the same silhouette as ours?

Image originally from Better Homes & Gardens | Design by Kelly Keiser Spledid Interiors

After a lot of searching, I found out that the gorgeous fabric used to make the bed linens and window treatments is by Raoul Textiles. Raoul is sold in the company's Santa Barbara store and to the trade. The fact that I couldn't find much mention of the company online makes me think those beautiful fabrics are made in very small lots.

I also found a space designed by Holly Mathis using the fabric. I love it!

More searching led me to a very different, but beautiful duvet cover by luxury brand SDH. The pattern is Ruby and the Chili color seems to be discontinued.

Image from SDH Online

I thought that maybe, just maybe, a retail location might have that pretty chili color in stock or be able to track it down. When I looked up retail locations that carried SDH, a shop called Valerianne in Vienna, VA came up. I had seen Valerianne from a distance while shopping at a store near it on a cute street just off Vienna's main shopping street. It's a stunning little shop, full of gorgeous, fluffy beds that make you want to dive into them for a luxurious nap.

My iphone photos don't do this store justice!

I decided that since I wasn't finding anything I liked in my internet searches for great bedding, maybe it was time to step things up and go to that beautiful store on my way home from a conference last week.

I am so, so glad I went into the store. I spent over an hour with Valerianne's Trish Murphy that day. She was able to confirm that SDH had discontinued that pretty Chili color in the Ruby bedding, but that they had enough fabric left over to make a cover for the guest bedroom. They didn't have a swatch of the fabric anymore, but I was able to see a sliver of it. I wasn't totally sure about the color and making the duvet would cost a bit more than I was hoping to spend on the guest room. So, I decided to switch gears and look for something that would work for the master bedroom.

As soon as we switched gears to look for a fabric for the master bedroom, I got really excited. Trish pulled out one stunning book of fabrics after another. As soon as I thought I had found a pattern I liked, she'd show me another that would become my new favorite.

That pretty aqua fabric with the embroidery on is was a strong contender for a while, but I eventually landed on some amazing linen from an Austrian company called Leitner. We laid out the fabric for the duvet and then "assembled" the bed around it.

I loved that creamy fabric with all the texture on it and thought it would be a coverlet, but Trish suggested another fabric that was more durable and more practical for us, since we let our dog sleep on the bed. The coverlet she suggested reminded me of subway tile and came in dozens of pretty colors.

I was having a hard time letting go of the coverlet fabric with all that texture, though. Isn't it pretty?

Trish suggested I take the swatches with me to see them at home and show them to Marc. When I got the swatches into the master bedroom, I loved that pale, aqua fabric we were thinking of using for the duvet cover even more. The similar, aqua fabric was Trish's pick for over sized shams.

The smooth cream and beige swatches  on the right are color options for the coverlet with the "subway" pattern. The pebble textured fabric is the coverlet option that I probably won't use, but I love the feel of it!

It may seem like I've put the cart before the horse, but this fabric is the inspiration I needed to start thinking about paint and furniture for the master bedroom. My paint fan decks are out and I'm starting to zero in on some colors! I'm hoping that my next visit to Valerianne will be to place an order.

  211 Mill Street N
Vienna, VA 2210
7033 E. 1st Street
Scottsdale, AZ 5251
Vienna Hours: M-S 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Want to see more from inside Valerianne? Check out Jennifer Sergent's post about a visit there!
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Searching for (and Not Finding) Inspiration at Restoration Hardware

If Restoration Hardware had a presence in social media (the fact that they don't baffles me), our relationship status would be "it's complicated." There are times when I lust after their pieces and other times when I just don't get what they are doing. Those inch-thick sourcebooks still get the side eye from me.

But there's no denying that Resto has some luxurious looking beds on their website. In recent weeks, as I've been searching for some inspiration for our master bedroom, I have found myself on the RH website.

One of the color options for the bedding in the second image, the "Italian 19th Century Medallion Bedding Collection," looked kind of interesting to me, so I decided to stop by Restoration Hardware to see it in person.

Does anyone else miss the bright, cheerful RH store? The stores used to be painted in their signature color (Silver Sage) and brightly lit. Now, they are painted dark gray and have dim lighting. I'm sure it appeals to many, but it makes me want to take a nap, not shop.

Anyway, I wandered around the Resto store looking at all the different beds. They were scattered about, so it was hard to compare them and aside from the stonewashed linen line, no swatches were out for inspection. I wound up going to the service desk after a while because no one approached me. I flipped back and forth through the bedding part of the sourcebook and the man behind the desk didn't say a word. They have a big bed and bath sale going on right now, so you'd think they'd have some sort of incentive to help someone shopping for bedding.

Finally, I said "excuse me, I could use a little help." The man told me that the different bedding lines were out around the store and I pointed out that many of them weren't (there were probably six beds set up and they have several more lines) and it was hard to know the differences. When I asked for the difference between "vintage washed" linen and "stonewashed" linen, he just said "stonewashed is thicker, that's what I have on my bed." So was I supposed to get excited based on that information alone?

I can't remember what my next question was, but the guy seemed to get frustrated with me. He said "come here" and walked briskly to one of the "rooms" within the store. He opened a drawer in a dresser and pulled out an armload of swatch rings. He dropped the on the bed with a "here" and walked away. I kind of laughed. That was exactly what I wanted. That's exactly what every Restoration Hardware should have displayed somewhere in the store. Once I laid the swatch rings out and could see and feel the different linens side-by-side, it was easy to see the differences.

One problem: there were still swatches missing from the rings. Poor Silver Sage, formerly the dominant color in RH stores, was missing from every ring in it's two versions (dark and light). That medallion pattern that originally interested me was missing completely. In fact, they didn't have swatches for any of the patterned bedding.

Despite the sale, there was no way I was going to buy anything without being able to see all of the options, especially since I was hoping to find a pattern to inspire the rest of the bedroom design. To be honest, once I started feeling the swatches, I wasn't too, to impressed with the feel of RH's linen anyway. The dismissive salesperson obviously didn't help.

Anyone else have a love/hate relationship with a store? Sadly, I think my relationship with Restoration Hardware is over now.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Where to Start in an Empty Home?

I've just gotten back from a business trip and am using today to catch up on things I missed while I was away over the weekend. As I created a mental to-do list, I realized that there is SO much to do here, so much emptiness, that I don't now where to start.

We had to keep as many rooms empty as possible so the drywall contractors could come through to sand and smooth the textured ceilings. So, most of our things are in the master bedroom and the lower level.

Here's what I'm debating:

1. The Guest Bedroom - Our long term plan is to use our current queen bed in the guest bedroom and then get a king sized bed for the large master bedroom. We could set everything up in the guest bedroom and that would leave the master open for painting. The room isn't huge and it might not take too long to get everything done since I already stripped the wallpaper in there.

2. The Kitchen - Painting the cabinets and walls in the kitchen would be a major project. Of all the spaces in the house, this is the one that I don't feel moved into. It's tempting to jump in and do something that will have a huge impact.

3. The Lower Living Room - The wood-paneled living room on the lower level will probably be our main area for relaxing for now. That's where our TV will be set up and we'll probably have our computer down there until we get the office done. Since we'll spend a lot of time in that room, it might be nice to get it painted and minimally decorated early.

At the moment that I'm writing this, I'm leaning towards starting in the guest bedroom. In an hour, I'll probably be trying to pick paint for the kitchen. I think having too many options is a bad thing right now!

What would you do?
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dealing with Textured Plaster Ceilings

When we first visited our new home during an open house, I found the ceilings totally distracting. The house didn't have popcorn ceilings, it had decorative plaster on the ceilings. The swirls were everywhere, even in the bathrooms.

I told Marc that if we bought the house, the ceilings had to go and it wasn't a DIY job. I knew some bloggers who had taken popcorn ceilings down, but taking plaster down would be a totally different project. 

Marc asked around to see if any of our friends had suggestions for a drywall company that could do the job. The first person who came out to see the place seemed intimidated by the job. A few of his buddies said "don't look up" or "you won't even notice it after a few weeks" when he asked for referrals. I guess some people wouldn't notice them after a while, but I would.

I did a little research online and found some great reviews for a drywall contractor, Ed Sawyer Drywall. Our house didn't seem like a huge job compared to some of the ones on his company Facebook page. I was really happy when he gave us a competitive estimate and said he could start within a week.

Ed told me that people used to pay a good amount to get ceilings like this. His father could put designs on ceilings -  medallions, flowers, and continuous circles that went from a light fixture to the edges of the room. These days, people like their ceilings smooth. He understood why we wanted the little swirls gone.

Unfortunately, the ceilings had been painted, so the plaster wasn't going to come down easily. Ed Sawyer's crew sanded for days to get the little stalagtites of plaster worn down.

Once the ridges and points were worn down, the crew started to add a smooth layer of plaster. I wish I could show you some action shots, but I was limited to take pictures when I got home from work each night.

While this was going on, we lived in one room in the house so we could stay out of the crew's way. We're lucky that we had moved from such a small condo. We didn't have many belongings to get out of the way.

Here's where the blog catches up to present day. I'm away on a business trip right now and I think the work should be finishing up today!

It might see odd to do a cosmetic project at this point, but it seemed like a good time. With all the rain we were having, we probably wouldn't be able to have the roofing and gutter contractors working. What's more, when those folks start up on the roof, I can be working on finally getting us settled inside. Though we moved in a few weeks ago, the ceiling project was the reason we weren't really moving into the whole house.

Now, we have a decision to make. Where to we start now that we can start painting and decorating?
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Monday, July 22, 2013

Shop Tour: Folly

I wrote about Victoria Pouncey and Beth Ann Kallen back in May when I shared information about a few designers involved in the Charlottesville Design House. They had just opened a beautiful store called Folly in "mid-town" Charlottesville (where I used to live). I thought I'd give you a peek at their lovely shop.

See the domes over the candles by Belle Fleur? To test them, just pick up the dome and flip it over. Isn't that a great display idea?

There are beautiful tables set throughout the store. 

Folly is the local dealer for Hickory Chair furniture. There are plenty of pieces in the store, but any item from the line can be ordered.

I LOVED this table...

I don't think I'll get tired of seeing Chiang Mai Dragon.

There are amazing light fixtures everywhere!

There's even a bridal registry. What a great idea for those who don't need the basics and would love a few decorative items.

Even the bathroom is beautiful!

Home Furnishings
603 West Main Street
Charlottesville, VA 22901

Hours: M-S 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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