Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kolene Spicher's Home in Country Living

When we opened our store almost 7 years ago, there was one art line I knew that I definitely wanted to carry and that was Spicher & Company. I had purchased a few framed reproductions by Kolene Spicher in the Outer Banks when we bought our first house and absolutely loved them. Our customers have felt the same way about them from day one and we've so enjoyed seeing the new pieces that they introduce every year.

The past year has been especially memorable as Spicher & Company began introducing oversized versions of many pieces as well as many new designs. We even had the pleasure of meeting Kolene for the first time at the Atlanta market this year. She was terrific . . .so friendly and very down to earth. Her husband Mark is usually at the shows and their son is often working the booth with his Dad.

I was looking through the March issue of Country Living magazine this week and before I read into the article titled "An Artful Approach to Decorating" , I zeroed in on the silouhettes hanging on the wall in this picture below and thought " So fun! Look at how this person has displayed their Spicher & Company pieces." As I read on I realized this was Kolene Spicher's home in Pennsylvania . . .so exciting!

It's hard to see all of the detail in this image but she has a variety of beautiful silhouettes in her collections, some are serious, some are whimsical and all use different frames which allows for a really creative display.

When she introduced "The Genteel Society of Dogs" silhouettes last year we ordered them right away and they have been such a hit. Take a look at just a few below. These are available as 6 1/4"x7 1/2" or 20 3/8" x 27 3/8" framed prints. What's really fun is that they could work in so many places . . .a den, study, powder room . . .I'd love to see the large size in a dining room!

She Was All Hollywood

Brilliant Gentleman in the Red Bowtie

The Grandiose Lady at the Cocktail Party

I really could write and comment about Kolene Spicher's artwork for hours as there are so many varied styles and subjects. She has everything from animals to eyeglasses and chandeliers to pasta (yes, pasta). I only wish we had more walls in the store, not to mention in my own house. I already have her topiaries in my entryway, her florals in my family room, her trees in my dining room and her beach prints in my son's bathroom. Overkill? I hope not because I'm always finding more places to put them! Here's a peek at my dining room wall. I read online that when Kolene painted the original tree murals they were framed behind old glass, casting different tints of blue and green on the paintings. These tree murals have the same old world patina because she tinted each image.

Here's a very small sampling of some of the Spicher & Company pieces we have, and have had, in the store. We are more than happy to special order, so if you see anything on their website that you too must have, just give us a buzz and we'll order it right away for you. They drop ship so sending it anywhere in the country is not a problem. We know you'll love them as much as we do and we're so glad Country Living is sharing Kolene Spicher's home with all of us!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day Was For Lovers (of Sid Dickens)

Friday afternoon a big shipment of Sid Dickens memory blocks arrived at our store and we quickly got to work getting them unpacked and up on our wall as it had gotten a little bare. By Friday night we'd gone through 12 of them and by Sunday, a total of 25 had sold. We hadn't realized that Sid Dickens memory blocks were such a hot Valentine's item.

Our store is typically one filled with women and it's always fun to see how the numbers change close to Christmas, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. The men arrive and inevitably we hear "My wife loves this store . . .what has she pointed out recently?" Our response is always "Terrific! Who's your wife?"

This year though, they were on the ball, thoughtfully choosing Sid Dickens tiles for their special someones to add to their collections. Just one of the wonderful things about Sid Dickens memory blocks is that each has a name and a short poem on the back of the tile that correlates to the image. Some of our favorite blocks purchased for Valentines Day this year were:

Life's Tale (T220)
Story of lost and found...
With tempestuous joy we venture
These paths of mischief.
The wife of the man who purchased Life's Tale was French and so he thought it was perfect for her.

Gameboard (T2005)
Life is a great game board and we the
Take a chance.
A woman purchased this block over the weekend for her foster son who was enrolled in the military. His number when he played sports was 5.

Union (T236)
True love deserves neither honors nor
A couple who recently started a collection came in together this weekend to add to their wall and chose this one together.

One of my little Valentines at home was quite excited today when he noticed "his" block was back on our wall. We have our family's four Zodiac blocks hanging in our living room and just before Christmas a customer came in to the store who'd just had a baby and was desparate for the Libra block. We didn't have another shipment coming until after the holidays so I brought the Libra I have at home in for her. Our replacement Libra just arrived in Friday's shipment and now our wall is complete again!

There are so many ways to incorporate Sid Dickens Memory Blocks into your home. You can choose them purely for decoration and to enjoy the textures, colors and patterns. They're especially nice though when they've been chosen either by you, or for you, and they hold a special meaning.

Our shipment of the new 2011 Spring memory blocks from the Sid Dickens "Through The Looking Glass" collection will be arriving soon!

Friday, February 11, 2011

To Faux or Not To Faux? That is the question . . .

Nate Berkus seems like a lovely guy, however, I personally think he did a bit of an injustice to the artificial flower industry a few years ago when he announced on Oprah that one should never use faux flowers in their home decor. Of course, all of us would love bouquets of fresh flowers to magically appear in our homes once a week but alas, that's not the way it works for most of us and there's just something about a floral arrangement, a plant, stems or branches in a room that adds a little life (faux or not).

That said, it was interesting to read the excerpt in yesterday's Washington Post "Local Living" section of the online chat last week with Newell Turner, editor in chief of House Beautiful magazine. One of the questions posed to Mr. Turner was "I have a brown thumb but love the look of greenery in my house. Where can I purchase faux plants for my home that look real unless examined closely?"

His response was, "I have mixed feelings about faux plants. If you go faux, you need to find the best quality you can. . . .One of the keys is to splurge and buy something full and lush looking. Don't skimp."

We agree -- quality IS key. We've all seen the dusty old silk arrangement in the corner of the waiting room of the doctor's office that does nothing to help promote an easy feeling while waiting to be seen; however, there are so many beautiful options available these days that it's easy to find an arrangement or put together a collection that looks and feels like fresh flowers.

Over the years we've carried a few different artificial flower lines with a variety of price points. Here are a few of our favorite current arrangements:

Phalaenopsis Bamboo Watergarden by NDI $255

Lily Berry Tulip Watergarden by NDI $355

44" White Dendrobium Orchid $175

14" White Mixed Flower Vase $155

In April we'll be introducing the Diane James line at our store. Diane James is certainly the high end of the spectrum but they offer the utmost quality and fabulous, current designs. You really can't go wrong with one of her arrangements. (shown at the top of the posting is the 7" Small Fuchsia and White Spring Bouquet $210)

20" Small White Phalaenopsis in Moss Flared Planter -- White $255

12" Coco Bouquet in Quilted Glass Vase $430

Another option is to go with preserved arrangements. We've carried Bougainvillea arrangements for years and they truly are stunning! Yes, they can be "pricey" but many customers who purchase them often comment that one arrangement that will last for 5+ years is equivalent to what they would spend on just a few fresh arrangements that would be gone in a matter of weeks. I mentioned in one of our store slideshows recently that Jeff & David from Bougainvillea are two of the nicest and most talented men in the South and they honestly are. They are lovely to work with, fun, funny and extremely talented. Take a look at our newest shipment from the Atlanta market that arrived last week.

Green Cocinea with Hydrangea in Oval Pewter container $315

Hydrangea and Roses in Round Antiqued Mirror Container $235

Yellow Hydrangea and Moss Pensularia in Wood and Copper Container $630

Violet Rose & Hydrangea in Pewter Oval Container $315

Ivory Hydrangea with Natural Banksia in White and Antique Copper Container $375

So as we believe with all home decorating, you should choose what you like and what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your home. If it's real flowers, enjoy them for all of their beauty! If it's faux or preserved, don't love them any less. As Juliet said, "What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet." Call it a real rose, call it a faux rose, it's still a rose, right?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Shabby Chic & Washable Wonders have arrived!

Talk about a comfortable chair to curl up in! Our new Dover Armchair from the Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic collection by Miles Talbott Furniture arrived yesterday. We now have the full handle of all available fabrics from the collection including everything from washed velvets and linens to exclusive Shabby Chic prints and wonderfully distressed leathers.

"Uncomplicated elegance" is often how the Shabby Chic style is described. Slipcovered armchairs, sofas and ottomans are easily at home in a cottage, an urban apartment or a traditional sun room.

Nothing beats the ease and comfort of this line and this chair beckons to be sat in! Like every customer who has walked in today, as soon as Julie got to work at the store this morning she took a seat to test it out. Stop by soon to try it yourself!

We also received a new shipment of the Miles Talbott Furniture Washable Wonders Collection. Our first shipment for the floor sold in a matter of days after arriving, so we are quite happy to have new pieces in. This time we chose Washed Carlton Fog for the Sara Loveseat and Washed Portofino Saffron for the Judy Chair. Our designer Rachael also picked out the fun accent pillows in Washed Linen Fly which are kicked up a notch with an unexpected contrast welt in Washed Portofino Saffron to tie the pieces in together. All of the Washable Wonders slipcovers are machine washable and all of the fabrics have been tested to hold up to the rigors of everyday life!

(we also received an AMAZING shipment of Bougainvillea arrangements this week . . .will post on that soon too!)

Why decorate your home with items that can't become part of your everyday life and used by everyone in the family (4 legged friends included)? Get comfortable with Shabby Chic and totally practical with Washable Wonders . . .a lesson I could have learned when we decorated our first house.
This was our cat Sully, in one of his many favorite sleeping chairs. He was a stray that was always hanging around outside our first house. One night during a thunderstorm I let him in and carefully placed a towel on top of an ottoman for him to lay on. He graciously obliged and laid on that towel for roughly 3 or 4 days. Flash forward 5 years and there wasn't a cushion in the house that Sully didn't consider his own. Oh how nice a washable slipcover would have been!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

House Beautiful Features My Favorite Miles Talbott Settee/Banquette

I'm always excited when my new issue of House Beautiful arrives and today was no exception. For months after we introduced our upholstery line Miles Talbott Furniture last year, I'd been fawning over Joe Ruggerio's Wong Settee (MTF calls it a settee . . .House Beautiful features it as a banquette . . .either way it's lovely!) Just last week our designer Rachael was telling me she thought she'd found a spot for it in a project she's working on in a client's home. I hope it works!
I was thrilled today when I saw it in the March issue of House Beautiful in the "I'm Looking For A Banquette" feature. Their description of how to use a banquette is just right: "Tuck it into a corner, place it at the end of a bed, pull it up to a dining table. Don't you just love a banquette?" Yes, I do!
I also love when I'm reading design magazines and come across products that we carry in our store. It's a nice reassurance that the things we love are also being singled out by editors and designers. This month's issue was no exception. Here are a few other items featured in the March issue that are also available at The Nest Egg.

In their feature on rugs they highlight runners, describing that "runners are all the rage, and not just for hallways. They're showing up next to beds, in kitchens - all over the house." The Company C Chloe rug is featured in Pewter (#6 above, bottom left). Just one of the many beautiful runners that Company C has to offer. We have all of the swatches in our store, available to check out to color match in your home before ordering.

I see this antiqued gold sunflower mirror from Two's Company (above fireplace) pop up in magazines quite a bit but it's so versatile, it's easy to see why designers choose to use it so often. The mirror is 34.5" and is a great price at $345. In fact we just received a shipment of them yesterday!

For years, we've had a selection of ceramic trays from Tozai Home called the St. Honore Tray that were always a best seller. We were thrilled last year when we saw they were introducing two new patterns. The geometric brick tray is shown above (top right) in Blue/Olive. It's also available in 2 other color options as well as a zebra pattern. It's just 8" long and can be used in so many places in addition to just the bathroom. It's great on a desk for corralling paperclips, on a nightstand for jewelry or in an entryway for keys. All styles are currently available in the store. Both the geometric brick trays and the zebra trays are available for sale on our website and in our store at $40 each.

Thanks House Beautiful for another great issue!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Perk Up With Pillows!

It seems as those most of us have a case of the winter blahs right now. The snow was pretty at first, but now it's a pretty big mess of dirt and fallen branches all over Northern Virginia. Often times, our interiors get a case of the blah's as well. While we can't always fix that with a total transformation, an easy way to inject a little energy, color and life into an otherwise tired room is with pillows. No matter what look you're going for . . .serious, fussy, clean or whimsical, there are patterns and colors to suit every style.

We received a shipment of pillows from Lacefield Designs last week and are expecting two additional shipments this month from Studio 773 Pillows (an offshoot of Eastern Accents . . .their site is down as of posting time . . .perhaps the Chicago snow has caused a problem so check back - it's worth visiting!) and Peking Handicraft. We also saw a few more lines at the Atlanta market that we plan to sit down and look through in the coming weeks so stay tuned for more.

Take a look at the fun options that arrived, some examples of how we've used pillows to add color at home and even better, enjoy 15% off all in stock and special order pillows during the month of February. Just print out this blog posting or our email newsletter if you're a subscriber and the savings are yours.

Purple & gray - what a match . . .classy and crisp (also reminiscent of my favorite polo over polo combination from the early 80's . .. which often included the same color sock over sock . . .yikes).

A traditional leopard print updated using purples. It easily incorporates with taupe so if you've got a simple taupe and white color palette at home, purple is a really fresh accent color. Mix that with glossy white vases, frames or lamp bases it instantly becomes very current.

This would be lovely in a bedroom or even putting two in a a dining room on your end chairs. It could add a little glamour if that's what your room needs or soften up a room with a little romance.

A fabulous collection of patterns and the "night owl" pillow is really a hoot. ;)

Like many of their pillows, Lacefield Designs offers patterns in multiple colorways. This butterfly pillow is also available in orange, yellow and more. See below for a picture of the orange in my home office.

The snail and the bordered pillow behind it are also available in many colors. If your seating arrangement can take more than one pillow, it's nice to start with something more solid and layer a smaller pillow with a fun pattern in front.

We love this frog and especially the colors used . . .this could be incorporated into just the right spot with so many different palettes (browns, reds, yellows, dark greens). How could your room not be perked up with this little guy?

Here's a little corner of my home office/living room (this morning it also served as my 5 year old's monster truck jam arena). The orange version of the butterfly pillow helps pull in some color (the rest of the room is gold, taupe, brown and a sort of deep coral). The size makes it a perfect little lower back rest.

Another pop of color in the family room. It certainly adds something to an otherwise average beige/gold sectional and it picks up colors in our rug (a brighter green pattern) as well as the beautiful fabric on the Jamie Young lamp and framed floral by Kolene Spicher.
Enjoy and hopefully you'll be able to banish the blah's as well!