living room

Crushing on velvet for cool weather

Green Chair, Courtesy Roses and Rust Blogger Okay, so the weather's not exactly "cool" yet in New Orleans.  We're still inching our way there.

As I dream of those cold temperatures, however, I've been crushing on the velvet that's popping up in all my favorite catalogs and blogs.

The new velvets are warm and welcoming, not gaudy, and add an extra layer of luxury to any space.

Kingsway House: Contemporary Design With Rich History

Kingsway House Chandelier- Studio WTA A while back my neighbor told me he found his dream home.  Since his house is MY dream house, I figured this place must be amazing.  He was working on a movie that was being filmed at the Kingsway House, on New Orleans' historic Esplanade Avenue.  It's a 12,000 sq ft private residence that's rented out for movies, weddings and parties (my friend Kenny went to a party put on by Solange Knowles there)!

The home began as two separate residences in the 1860's and was combined into one in the 1930's.  Back then, it was owned by Count Leon Arnaud Cazenave, owner of the famous Arnaud's Restaurant.  In the early 1990's, the property was transformed into Kingsway Studios, which recorded the likes of Pearl Jam, Peter Gabriel, R.E.M. and Sheryl Crow.  In 2002, it was sold to Nicholas Cage.  Studio WTA worked on renovations for Cage and again for Sean Cummings, the current owner.

The Kingsway House boasts a floor-to-ceiling crystal chandelier- apparently one of only two in the world.  The decor blends modern minimalism with traditional New Orleans warmth. I think its absolutely stunning, but take a look at the pictures from Studio WTA's website and decide for yourself!

Hanging Curtains: Professional Tips You Need to Know

Floor Length Sheers Courtesy Restoration Hardware Long, gorgeous curtains may be my single favorite element of any room.  They instantly add drama and warmth to a space.  However, hanging them always seems to be a bigger pain-in-the butt than anticipated.  I was hanging some curtain rods for our guest bedroom this weekend and figured I'd share a few helpful tips I've learned over the years.

  1. Choose the appropriate rod- Make sure the rod is chunky enough to accommodate your window and curtains.  If it's a small kitchen window, go with something dainty.  If it's a living room window with floor to ceiling curtains, you'll want a rod that is physically and visually a bit chunkier.
  2. Make sure the brackets work- If you're hanging curtain panels or a valance over some sort of blind or shade, make sure the bracket sticks out from the wall far enough to accommodate what's already there.
  3. Set aside the level- Normally, I'm a stickler for leveling everything, but not in this case.  A perfectly level curtain rod can look terribly uneven if it's close to an crooked ceiling.  Instead, take measurements from your ceiling or window, whichever is closer.  It may not actually be level, but visually, it will look so much better!
  4. Invest in a variety of drywall anchors- Use your stud finder (or just test with a nail) to see what you're drilling into.  If it's wood, just use the screw.  If it's drywall, you'll need something sturdier.  There are a ton of different drywall anchors on the market.  I find the twist and lock variety that look like a giant, plastic screw work much better than the cheap ones that come with your curtain rod.
  5. Pick the best place for your brackets- Rods are usually mounted 4" above the window and brackets are usually 3" from each side, but don't be afraid to break the rules.  Mounting your rod higher, for example, will add height to your room.

Here's a great video from Pottery Barn with some helpful tips:

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_YRxywKWtw#t=16[/embed]

Neo-Classical Minimalism in New Orleans

Shaun Smith Design, Courtesy Times-Picayune New Orleans' Times Picayune recently had an incredible article on designer Shaun Smith's latest project, which was just too good not to share!

According to the article, Smith bought the 1930's era home in the Fontainebleau neighborhood.  Describing the renovation, Keith Marshall writes, "Gone are the paneled front door and the sinuous lines of ultramarine blue that outlined the home's neo-classical pediment. Now, a clean-lined gas lantern fills the space above a new, charcoal-framed front door that enlivens the all-white facade."

The interior is as stunning as the exterior.  Apparently, the staircase is the only original feature that remains in the house.  Out with the old, in with a minimalist transformation!

You can check out some of the incredible pictures below and read the article here.  Also, make sure to check out Smith's Magazine Street boutique, aptly called Shaun Smith Home.

Pillows! More and More and More!

Pretty pillows Since adding the amazing antique tile around the fireplaces in our living and dining rooms, some of our furniture and pillows haven't looked quite right.  I'm getting rid of the chairs anyway, but our pillows just had too much gold in them to work.

I found the most perfect Ikat print to tie in the cool blue of the fireplace tiles with the warm sage green on the curtains.  Coincidentally, when I got ready to start the new pillows, I had just finished up the nursery and those fabrics coordinated beautifully!  I love mixing subtle prints and I was able to use some of my nursery scraps to create a host of fluffy down pillows for the ugly chairs and our slipcovered couch.

Could I have stuck with the old throw pillows?  Probably.  But it's just not as fun!