white after labor day yea or nay

White After Labor Day – Yea or Nay

Labor Day has come and gone, and now all I’m seeing on social media is the “no white after Labor Day” discussion.  Personally, I think your stance on the subject is purely a personal one.  Growing up it was a guideline and I realize it may be an outdated norm today. Yet, I still embrace it.

Its history is rooted in some high society elitist old money ideology.  After the Civil War, the wives of the uber wealthy set the fashion rules more or less to be able to tell old moneyed people from new money. They came up with the directive not to wear white after Labor Day. If one was wearing white at an event after Labor Day, it was a tell-tale sign they weren’t of the right class. Silly as it seems, let’s just say the mean girls set the rules and to be accepted one had to follow their rules.  Sounds a bit like high school, doesn’t it?

Somewhere along the 1950’s mass produced fashion mags convinced the middle class to take out their whites at Memorial Day and put them away at Labor Day. Today, most people have opted to abandon the idea, especially here in Florida where summer temperatures linger until Halloween.

Growing up my summers were spent in an old moneyed enclave of Ocean Point on the coast of Maine. It was a neighborhood of summer cottages passed down from one generation to the next. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the summer community was bustling with tennis matches, lobster boils, boating and summer cocktail parties.  Most of the people I hung out with were upper middle class prep schoolers home for the summer.  To say the least, these people summered.  I wasn’t exactly one of them, but was drawn to the lifestyle and preppy fashion sense.  Polos, chinos, boat shoes and Tretorns were staples, with whites only donned for summer and especially for the club tennis tournament.

For me, it’s tradition. It reminds me a bit of my upbringing and perhaps my longing at the time to belong to something that wasn’t solidly middle class.  Unlike the mean girls, I don’t judge if one has abandoned the rule. As I said, it’s a personal choice.

My Vintage Chairs Get a Makeover

One the easiest ways to update a pair of vintage chairs is to recover the seat. I watched my mom recover the chairs in our dining room every time she wanted to update the look with out breaking the bank. Today I did just that with a pair of vintage chairs.  I use them as side chairs next to the fireplace to add symmetry to a rather odd space to decorate.

This project was very budget friendly. Luckily, I had enough fabric left over from another project to cover the elegant vintage chairs.  I wanted something bold and colorful that would pop. The fabric I replaced on the seats was dull and lacked any sort of style. They were boring to say the least.

I opted for a really bold jewel toned paisley.  Crazy as it sounds, I’m not the only one to love the pattern. Pier One turned it into melamine plates. I kid you not. Back to the chairs.

Originally, these chairs went with a dining set I inherited from my grandparents. Since we don’t use the dining table or for that matter the dining room, the chairs were an excellent target for this project. My goal was to add color and bold pattern to the living room.

Step by Step Directions to Updating Vintage Chairs

  • Start by unscrewing the seat from the chair frame, setting aside the hardware.
  • Remove the fabric from the seat using a flat head screw driver to pop out the staples.
  • Lay out the fabric you want to use and place the seat over it to make a template. Leave about an 1 inch. More if the cushion is thicker.
  • Cut out the fabric and place the seat on the wrong side of the fabric.
  • Gather the sides and staple to the seat.  I had to play with the gathers to get it to look perfect and clear of the screw holes.
  • Place the seat back on the frame and screw it onto the chair.

It looks fabulous, don’t you think?

how to buy an area rug

How to Buy an Area Rug

An area rug is one of the best accessories a room can have.  A well-chosen area rug can set the style and color scheme for  your room. It can be overwhelming trying to find the right rug for your space. I have a few tips that will help make the process a bit easier.

Determining the Size

The first consideration is the size of the room and which rug size you should purchase.  One rule is the bigger the room the bigger the area rug. Rug sizes range from 3×5 all the way up to 12×15. Start by measuring the space the rug will be in and determining if you will float your furniture or if it will be against a wall. Believe it or not that little bit of info will make a difference in the size you select.

Let’s look at buying a rug for a living room as an example.  If you plan to float the furniture, where the furniture is not against the wall, you will want a bigger rug. All of the furniture legs will need be on the rug. If furniture is against the wall, the rug can be a little smaller with only the front legs of the furniture on the rug. You will want to avoid a rug that only fits under the coffee table or doesn’t cover a reasonable area. It’s just too small for the room.

Floating Furniture in the Room 

 

Furniture against the Wall

Don’t do this! 

 

Selecting a rug for dining room will require other considerations. If your table is round, you will want to buy a round rug that will let all of the chairs fit nicely on the rug when pulled out for sitting. A rectangular table will also require a rug with enough room for the chair legs to be on the rug. A good way to remember this is to select a rug a that is no less than 24 inches wider than the chairs and table. Ideally, you want 36 inches beyond the edges of the table & chairs. This point is important for safety. If you opt for something smaller, you risk the chair getting caught on the rug edge.

Round Table 

Rectangular Table

Materials

Area rugs are made of many different materials, from jute to cotton to wool and recycled bottles.  (Yes, Berber is made form recycled plastic.) When deciding on which material to get, you may want to factor in durability, especially if the rug will be in a high traffic area.  Two of the best natural materials for high traffic areas are cotton and wool. Wool may be a little harder on the budget but there are synthetic options, such as polypropylene, that will work and are more budget friendly.

Budget

Area rugs can be very expensive or rather inexpensive. A lot of it depends on the materials used to make the rug. The rule of thumb when buying a rug is to best quality your budget will allow for. A bulk of your budget should be spent on furnishings and a portion of it spent on the rug.  You don’t want to skimp on the area rug, but it does not have to be the single most expensive item in the room.  You want it to be the best quality you can afford as it will see a lot of wear and tear over the years and you want it to hold up over time.  Hand tied rugs will be more expensive where as machine woven will be a bit easier on the budget.

Care

Taking proper care of your area rug will help it last for years to come. Caring for your rug will vary depending on the size and material.  Treat larger area rugs similar to wall-to-wall carpeting, with regular vacuuming.  To keep them from wearing unevenly, turn them yearly.  Deep clean your rug on an annual basis too.  Smaller rugs are a bit easier to care for with some cotton rugs being machine washable on a delicate cycle.  Check the suggested care and follow the recommendations regardless what size or material you buy. If an antique rug is in your budget, be sure to get a lot of information on the fiber content so you understand the care required.  After all, you are making an investment.

Before you go shopping, know your budget, the size of the room and the traffic patterns. Knowing these key things will help you to pick the right area rug for your space, saving you at least a few headaches.

DIY Easter Floral Arrangement

Easy DIY Easter Floral Arrangement.

I love decorating for the Easter holiday and each year I look for something new to add to the collection, usually it’s an easy DIY project. This year I found two darling bunny planters at Target and at $3 bucks a piece they were a steal.  At first I wasn’t sure if I would simply pick up two African violet plants or find another bloom to plant. Instead, I opted to use them both for an easy DIY Easter floral arrangements.

I had some oasis left from a previous project and picked up a couple of bunches of baby’s breath.  I loved the idea of using the only baby’s breath. It’s delicate and resembles snow. I thought it would look elegant peeking up from behind their ears. I wasn’t wrong.

Check out the video below to see how I put it all together.

 

 

Color of the Year Trends

Every year paint companies select a color of the year from their vast collection of hues, shades and tones. I’m always in awe of the colors chosen and rarely are the colors similar. This year two of the hues are close neighbors on the color wheel. There’s a lot of thought that goes into each selection and it usually stands out in a curated selection of complimentary colors. Today, I’m doing a round up of color of the year selections.

Pantone

Pantone isn’t a paint company but they are the leading authority on color. Their choice influences fashion, cosmetics and home decor. This year’s Pantone color of the year is Ultra Violet.  It’s a bright purple commonly found in nature and pairs well with reds, greens and yellows. It’s a shade darker than Pantone’s 2013 color of year, Radiant Orchid, which was more of a laid back lavender. If you are looking for a bold color especially in a small space I would consider Ultra Violet. It lends itself to a cozy relaxing feel without being boring.  To buy this paint head to your local Lowe’s and check out the Valspar display. Valspar has been partnering with Pantone to bring their color of the year to consumers for a few years now.

pantone color of the year

source: Unsplash

pantone color of the year

Source: Unsplash

Sherwin Williams 

Sherwin Williams announced their color of the year would be Oceanside.  It’s a rich blue with a touch of deep green, reminiscent of a day at the beach as you look out over a deep blue sea. It’s a color that evokes a sense of luxury known and unknown. It combines the allure of something old and the excitement of something new.  Personally, I think it’s a great accent color with some longevity but as a primary color it may tire quickly as it’s a bit dark and overwhelming.  I’m thinking the best accents would be painted furniture, pillows or lamp shades. Small pops of color paired with a bright white like Extra White  would be perfect.  It lets you layer in other shades of blue, yellow, or bright pink.

Sherwin Williams Oceanside

SW-Oceanside

source: Sherwin Williams

Beher

I love Behr’s color of the year.  It’s called In the Moment, a dark sage green with hints of blue undertones. Unlike Sherwin Williams’ Oceanside, In the Moment is more muted. It’s a soft hue that provides a refreshing and relaxed feel. It works well with the concept hygge providing a sense of calm and well-being.  It’s not a bold color which makes it perfect for those looking to take a leap and try color on their walls. For a more dramatic look, pair it with a dark and dusty purple.

behr-in-the-moment

source: Behr Paint

Source: Behr Paint

PPG

PPG opted to go in a wildly different direction by selecting Black Flame. It’s a dark charcoal gray; almost black. It’s very dramatic and bold. As a great neutral, any bold color will pair with it nicely. I would steer clear of blues and lean more towards light greens, soft creams, dark yellows and bright oranges for a bold accent.

 

Source: Unsplash

Benjamin Moore 

As bold colors go, this year’s Benjamin Moore color of the year, Caliente is very bold.  As it’s name suggests, it’s red hot. It offers a a sense of luxury, drama and sophistication. Used in a boy’s bedroom it’s a nod to the Americana decor still popular. It’s a bolder take on the farmhouse look too.  Painted on a front door offers guests a red carpet of sorts. It’s truly a fabulous primary red.

Source: Benjamin Moore