Thursday, October 30, 2008

Inexpensive Nature Prints

Botanical prints can be expensive. A great way to have them (or any beautiful artwork for that matter) without paying a fortune for them is to find books with prints in them & tear out or photocopy the pictures & frame them.

I was lucky enough to find a beautiful book of botanical prints at a yardsale & have used lots of the prints in my home. I also scour second-hand stores for unique frames-usually with pictures I don't care for in them that I remove. I purchased all of the frames pictured (above &below) for $1.50- $3.00 each.

Here are some coral & lobster prints I used for a bathroom-in-progress in my dad's lake house:

I do mostly long-distance decorating since it's in Antioch, Illinois, but when I visit, I try to accessorize as quickly as I can on a serious budget. The prints are a great way to accessorize a lake house since they're so fitting and I only had to make 1 purchase so my dad doesn't gripe about me spending too much on decorating every time I come!

Here's a close-up of a fully opened page. You can see the fold in the center, but I think it sort of adds to the charm. Eventually I plan on matting all of the prints, but that's another project on another trip!

Happy hunting!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I'm now offering e-design services! I'm really excited to start it up & I'll keep you posted on how it's going. Check out for details.

E-clients fill out a questionnaire and then send in photos & room measurements. Pure Style creates a Design Plan accompanied by a Design Board (above) and a Shopping List. Everything the client needs to create the room is provided via email within 2 weeks.

Pass it on if you know anyone interested- thanks!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Accessorize with Balls

I was looking around our house, doing a little rearranging and I realized how much I use balls in decorating. It sounds odd, but whenever I'm out shopping, I'm always drawn to all the differnt types of pretty balls I see. They add a little life & fun to a room & they're so easy to swap around & change the mood of a room. Check out all these different balls you can decorate with.

Moss Balls:

We had moss balls all over our wedding & now have a ton of them! They're great for the Spring & Fall: (Image above from Aidan Gray Home) I must say though, my mom thought they looked like moldy bowling balls-- I disagree... or maybe I just think moldy bowling balls would be pretty.

Our Wedding Centerpieces

My grandparents lived in Hawaii a while ago & the family used to collect Japanese Glass Bobbers that would wash ashore. They're unique & just show how old utilitarian objects can be really beautiful.

Antique Japanese Fishing Bobbers:

image from wikipedia

I like to put the aqua ones in bathrooms:

Twig balls: Tuck them around your displays for the Fall. They'll give your home a relly natural feel.

Aidan Gray Home

My house:

Here are some gorgeous wooden balls featured in Domino Magazine. They're so architectural & warm.

And these seashell balls from have been around for ages. How pretty does it look on the wooden stand?

And terra cotta & porcelain garden balls don't have to stay outside. Bring them inside for a Garden-feel.

terra cotta graden ball from momui home

ceramic garden balls from Germes Online

And, of course, fruit! Everyone knows that a bowl of oranges on the table makes it look pretty & clean. Think of all the differnt fruits you can use in your home: (Perk: you get to eat these balls!)

Aidan Gray Home

On a final note, Aidan Gray Home offers so many beautiful wire baskets, topiaries & urns that go really well with balls of all shapes & sizes. The company has that Neoclassical-Garden feel I love.Got any more ball decorating ideas? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Decorate With Colors that Make You Look Good

Want to look good at home? It makes sense that we should try decorating with colors that compliment us. You wouldn't wear unflattering-colored clothing, would you? Then why would you color your home in anything but what compliments you? Here's a quick little guide to colors that can make you look good.

Studies have shown that peach is the most complimenting color for women above the age of 50, but it's a great color for many people. Peach gives skin a pretty and youthful-looking glow. Try it in a bathroom so when you're looking in the mirror, being critical of yourself, there's less to be critical of!

Have dark brown eyes and hair? Go for the chocolate! You're one of the lucky ones that can handle dark, rich walls. You can also handle bold color choices such as reds & oranges & bright yellows. These colors will compliment your dark features.

Blue-eyed? Try grays, blues & aquas. They'll make your eyes stand out & look clear.

A red-head? Think about olives & greens. They provide the perfect contrast to your hair & make it look richer & more vibrant.

Fair-skinned? Think about using lighter colors & neutrals that will make you stand out. You don't want to get lost in a room with colors that overpower you.
Images from the Cottage Living Website.

All that aside, I'm not a stickler for rules, so if you happen to be a redhead who wants a pink room, then by all means, do what makes you happy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PROJECT: Fun Living Room

I wanted to share with you a living room I'm working on right now. It's for a young client with a really great sense of style. She loves a contemporary, bright look with classic elements. We're going fairly earthy & monochromatic-textural with fun punches of orange fabrics and olive walls. Floors are a wide-planked ebonized hardwood.

The sofa: (Bisque leather frame & natural linen seat & cushions)

Large, rectangular throw pillow on sofa:
Coffee Table: (color in picture is a little off)

Zebra Chair:

Cane-back chair: (we'll toss a pretty orange bamboo throw on it)

We're installing a wall-mount in electric fireplace surrounded by custom wooden built-ins, which will be very contemporary- forming a brick-like pattern for all the beautiful objects the client has collected in her travels. Recess lights will point at the built-ins to showcase them. Walls will be in an olivey-beige and draperies are in a really textured, nubby linen. I'll also probably do a few pillows in it. We're doing natural woven shades & simple rods & rings for the drapery hardware.

The breakfast room will have this banquette in the black & white bird fabric:

We're painting her existing chairs orange & putting them around a contemporary pedestal dining table with the custom banquette. We're reupholstering the dining chair seats in the same nubby linen as the draperies in the living room.
As soon as it's been completed, I'll post pictures!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Decorating Ideas

Like I've mentioned before, at the beginning of every season, I like to reaccessorize the house & get it feeling like the season. It's a great way to bring out some items you may have in storage- You really appreciate things more when they've been out of your sight for a while & you finally display them. I know this sounds like the complete opposite of a simple life, but it really makes you happy about your home & really gets you into the season.image from Country Living

1) Switch out accent pillows & throw blankets to warmer-toned pieces. I have fairly neutral furniture & this is really a fun & inexpensive way to change your room. I like to use ambers & orangey-golds in the fall. It's also time to break out those faux-fur blankets that are everywhere right now- You won't want to put these away in the Spring! Here's a picture of the living area in our kitchen: 2) Rearrange your accessories so that the warmer pieces are showcased. We have a leatherbound book collection (started by my grandfather) that I like to rearrange. The orange books get moved to more central locations in our living room hutch when it's time for Fall. I also flip some of the books so the spines are facing backwards & you can see the gold edges of the pages. It adds a pretty sparkle to a space:

3)Switch your draperies. If you don't really love decorating, this may sounds like crazy talk, but I like to do thicker draperies in the cooler months. They make the rooms feel cozier, but they actually do insulate the windows too. I use the same rod & rings & just switch out the panels.

4)Rearrange your mantle & display surfaces. If you don't have a mantle, consider using central pieces of furniture, like a large hutch in your living room. You can even hang a shelf & use it as your "mantle." Use gold frames & rich, warm-colored paintings. Layer accessories for a relaxed, causal look.

Images from Cottage Living

5) Bring the outdoors in. Go get some pumpkins & gourds! (I love the white pumpkin) I also like to bring in seasonal greenery & even branches from outdoors- it's inexpensive & really beautiful. You can do so much & the possibilitys are endless. Check out this amazing idea from Country Living:
6) Add some pretty vintage or antique finds. They give a sense of age & a richness to a room. Check out Eddie Ross's website for great tips on scoring great finds at thrift stores & flea markets. Also check out shift for some photos of gorgeous vintage trophies.

7) Add some seasonal treats. Bowls of walnuts look beautiful & are delicious to have around!

image from

image from Cottage Living

Check out this bungalow from Country Living which has been so beautifully decorated for Fall.

Have anymore Fall decorating ideas? I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Go Gray

Gray has gotten a lot of attention lately. It can create so many different moods in a room & can be warm or cool. It's got such an effortless elegance about it & fits so many different styles.

Ralph Lauren's "Hopsack" got me loving graywhen I painted it in my bathroom (walls & ceiling)against white beadboarded walls:

These next few pictures are of a home from a House Beautiful article about a year & a half ago. I love the color schemes & the Belgian style of the rooms:

Amazing antique table from Belgium.

Above, the natural cypress ceilings, Belgian antique table, Chairs slipcovered in gray linen, simple linen roman shades & strong, rustic antique hanging lanterns just give such a simpl, natural elegance to this room. I love it. It looks so effortless.

Here's their bedroom, with warm gray walls. I love the antique dresser with the vase of flowers on it:

House Beautiful

Check out these really different & beautiful rooms from this month's issue of Country Living, which features Monique Keegan's home in Ohio. (Photography by Don Freeman):

I love this bathroom.
Her basement studio.
Dark, moody living area. Just makes you want to hunker down & have a glass of wine by the fire.
Monique collects vintage medical paraphanelia & displays it beautifully. If you look at all of the pictures above, you may recognize lots of items.
A natural yet more formal feeling room in shades of grays & beige from House Beautiful:

Country Living House of the Year 2008:

If you have time, I think it's worth checking out more of Country Living's 2008 House of the Year, which was inspired by a gorgeous gray wallpaper (above)

And also this amazing home in Connecticut:1795 Home

Maybe you'll want to go gray like me!