Throws Are Not Just For Your Cat!

This time of the year, it is always difficult for clients to get a custom made anything delivered in time for the holidays.  For a special last minute fix, it is great to get a special accessory or two that give you that sense of newness to a room without the endless wait of custom.  A throw can be a quick pick me up for a room (and for you!) at the holidays.  I have to move over our cat to get to mine.  After all, even felines love  snuggling under a warm throw on the sofa in front of the fireplace.

Under $50

Cotton Fleece Throw from Garnet Hill

My sister-in-law gave us one of these warm soft fleece throws last Christmas and we keep it in our Family Room for when my toes get chilly.  It is one of my all time favorite gifts!  It is normally $60, but is 50% off until December 22nd.

Under $100

Cableknit Throw from Pottery Barn

I am allergic to wool but just love the look of chunky wooly sweaters.  This throw from Pottery Barn has just that great winter look but is made of cotton and acrylic.

Sky’s the Limit

Monogram Cashmere Throw from Gumps

One of my loyal readers, book-keeper and dear friend, Laima Abbas, informed me that through midnight tonight Gumps is having a 20% off sale if you spend more than $100 (use code FRIEND).  That saves you some of your hard earned money on this to die for cashmere throw monogrammed just for you or a loved one.

I know after a long day of work (or shopping) there’s nothing better than curling up in front of the fireplace with a good book, a cup of hot cocoa and a cozy throw.  Does anything sound more luxurious?

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Christmas Decorating

Christmas 2007

When my husband and I got married we were a bit older (mid-thirties).  We each had homes and readily consolidated the best and most loved of what we had.  There were only two areas where we could not compromise.  The first is knives: his are Henckel and mine are Wusthof.  We are both cooks and particular about our knives or so we thought.  But typical of the years going by in a marriage, our knives are now all mixed together in the chopping block along with a few new ones.  Funny.

We also were unable to compromise on our ornaments.  So, yes Virginia, every year we put up two trees, except for Christmas 2007 when I was in the mad dash to finish design school, had pneumonia and was being mom to a two and a half year old toddling daughter.  Something had to give…  I could not very well ask my husband to skip his tree, so I gave up mine.

His tree goes in the Family Room (see photo above) and tends to be more casual with beautiful colored paper garlands hand-made by our daughter.  You can see that he is a big fan of trains and now our little one is too.  Who doesn’t love trains!  My tree is more formal and resides in the Library.  On Christmas Eve, we place the plate of home-made cookies and milk by the fireplace and then Santa calls (thanks to Uncle Richard who has a stellar ho ho ho) to make sure that our daughter skedaddles to bed and stays put.  Then by some North Pole miracle between Midnight Mass and morning, the gifts are carefully placed under the tree.  My Dad says the best Christmas present of all is watching his grand-daughter open her presents.  He’s right.  It doesn’t get better than this!

So here are some of the decorations I will be using this year.

Under $50

Crystal String Lights from Pottery Barn

I am a bit of a purist when decorating for Christmas and love white lights and candles.  These Crystal String Lights would look great wrapped through mixed greenery and draped across the formal Library fireplace.

Under $100

Eucalyptus Pepperberry Garland from Restoration Hardware

Even though this is faux, it looks so lush and real.  I would add the string of pillar candles from Restoration Hardware as shown and use this on our Family Room mantel.

Sky’s the Limit

Sanctuary Nativity Set from Gumps

I love Nativity Scenes.  This one is on my Christmas wish list and is now on sale for $159 at Gumps (husband take note!).  It is so serene and simple that it’s breathtaking.  I would display this in a very special place in my home, either in the Library or on the table at the Front Entrance.

Rock and Roll…

Continuing with the great Holiday Extravaganza, here are some options for the music lover in your family-all from Restoration Hardware. Check out the special running online through tomorrow (November 30), spend $500 or more at Restoration Hardware and save $100.  Hope my husband isn’t reading this blog, because there isn’t a gift here he would not love!

Under $50

Beatles Monopoly

Watch out for the taxman as you work your way to Abbey Road in this Beatles rendition of Monopoly.  Perfect for the wannabe music mogul in your life.  When I was at NYU for business school in my pre-design life, a group of friends and I would get together about once a month for a high intensity game of monopoly.  I was surprised to discover how competitive I am…okay, those of you who know me well may now laugh as loud as you like!!!  Moving on…

Under $100

Large MP3 Amplifier

At $89 for the large ($29 for the small) how great is this MP3 Amplifier for your next party!  My husband would not even need the excuse of a party to crank this up.

Sky’s the Limit

Jimi Hendrix by Baron Wolman

This is just one of the Limited Edition Baron Wolman Prints available, $699 on special.  The others are Jerry Garcia and Jim Morrison.  It was a tough choice amongst the three, as I am a bit of a throwback (Wild Thing?) in the music department.  Now if they just had Janis Joplin, the Baron Wolmam print would top my wish list.

Back in Black

Day one of the great holiday shopping extravaganza.  In honor of Black Friday, today’s gift ideas are white, just kidding, but that would have been really funny…

Under $50

OK, can’t believe how hard it is to find cool design gifts under $50.  This is going to be a blast…nothing like a good challenge.  As my buddies from Smith College used to say, bargain shopping.

Single Cup Coffee Filter from Design Within Reach

At $34 this is oh so cool for the coffee lover on your list.  It makes just one cup, is eco-friendly and you can take it camping.  I can picture this single coffee cup on my husband’s desk at work (can’t say I picture him camping).  Shhh…don’t tell him.

Under $100

Black Patent Luggage from Pottery Barn

At $99.99 each, just squeaking under, the Black Patent Rolling Duffle and Garment Bag are so sleek for the ultra-mod girl on the go.  One hitch–when Pottery Barn marks down with 99 cents, it’s final sale and you need to be quick to purchase!

Sky’s the Limit

Black Spun Floor Lamp from Hive Modern

Who doesn’t dream of a lamp from Hive Modern?  I know I do.  This Floor Lamp for Flos can be yours for $1,740.  I envision it grounding a Family Room with bright accent colors.

Catch you tomorrow with more great design shopping!

Gettin’ her groove back…

Well, here I am again, back at last to the blogosphere.  It has been a long 10 days!  My husband’s Grandma went into the hospital a week ago Monday and passed away in the wee hours of Thursday morning.  The time has been a whirlwind of family events, culminating in a funeral on Monday.  This Stella is only just starting to get her groove back…

My first thanks go to my neighbor who took my daughter for a playdate for just long enough this afternoon for me to take a nap, meditate and get a brief back massage.  I feel nearly human again…

In honor of the pending holiday season, I bring you the top 5 on my gratitude list:

1.  family

2.  friends

3.  faith

4.  our cat and last but not least

5.  chocolate!  Gotcha…  I do love chocolate.

And now for the holiday “special”.  Starting on Black Friday and running until the night before Christmas, my blogs will each feature three gift ideas.  In honor of the stellar (and sadly former) magazine, Metropolitan Home, the gifts will be listed as under $50, $100 and sky’s the limit–something to fit everyone’s budget.  They will all be great examples of design with a different theme featured each time.  I’ll provide the links so you can click and shop.

I’m still working out the finer details of the holiday grab bag giveaway, but stay tuned, because there will be a giveaway…at least one.  Tempted?  You won’t want to miss this.

Subscribe by e-mail or follow along on Twitter @averydesign.

Ready, set, let the reindeer games begin…

“Add women. Change everything.”

Last Thursday night, I was fortunate to join the most fantastic group of women at an 85 Broads event.  85 Broads was started about 12 years ago by a group of women from Goldman Sachs (located at 85 Broad Street).

Marie Wilson

The speaker was Marie Wilson, President and Founder of the White House Project.  This is the powerhouse woman who brought you Take your Daughter to Work day.  I didn’t know that, did you?

Wow, Marie knocked our socks off!  Did you know that only 21% of all news subjects are about women?  And of the 1.2 billion people living in poverty worldwide, 70% are women.  Or that Rwanda has the highest percentage of women parliamenteers in the world at 56%.  The US Senate has only 14 female senators… and yet in every election since 1980, more women in the US have voted than men.  Whoa…  I am a Smithie and even I did not know these statistics.

Charles Malik said “The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world”.   Well, Marie is mobilizing!  Are you ready?

Five Ways to Make a Family Room Family Friendly (and a bonus)

Family Room

Family Room

1.  Furnishings need to stand up to kids, dogs, shoes, food, and general lounging about.  It’s worth spending the money on good quality seating that will last a long time.  Talk to your upholsterer or designer about scotch guarding or using more resistant fabrics.  And there’s nothing wrong with slip covering during the toddler years.

2.  Avoid sharp edges, especially on glass tables.  Rounded edges will provide a safer spot for a tumble from a young child.  Use soft comfortable ottomans as a coffee table, pint-sized seating or foot rests.

3.  Get down to your child’s eye level.  And yes, that means crawl around on your hands and knees.  You will be surprised what you find!  For example, this lamp’s cord is securely tucked away behind the console.

4.  Block off fireplaces.  Babies love to put everything in their mouths and of course, you would never want your child to touch a hot screen.

5.  Make sure flooring is safe and secure.  Add a rug pad under your rug if you don’t have one so that new walkers don’t slip and trip.

Bonus:  Use cabinetry or baskets to store young children’s toys, so that once they are in bed, the grown-ups can enjoy the Family Room without tripping on trains, dolls and blocks!

Now you can  focus on enjoying your family whether reading a book, snuggling on the couch or watching TV.

If you want to read more on Family Friendly furnishing, check out the article that I was featured in at HomeFurnishings.com, written by Jacqueline Rupp.

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