Ohhhh, Mexico*

Sadly, this photo was taken on the leaving side of the round trip. That’s right, we’re back from vacation today. Boooo! And not even Booo-Urns!

The good news is, that’s not the only photo we took. (What kind of sad sacks would we be if that was the only photo?) Next week I’ll share some of my favorite inspirations from Mexico.

*I used to think that “Ohhhh, Mexico” song by James Taylor was by Jimmy Buffett. Not much of a laugh, considering their songs share a high level of sheer horribleness.

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As Seen on TV

Did you see the Mad Men Season 5 premier this weekend? The Husband and I were absolutely thrilled by one big reveal in the episode: Pete and Trudy have our oven in their new home!

You may recall during the initial home tour that the awesome ’60s double oven with slide-away cook top was one thing we absolutely wouldn’t be changing in the kitchen. We were convinced it had star quality, and after seeing it’s twin on TV, we know we were right. Check it out:

Here is a zoomed-in (or in crime show parlance, “enhanced”) shot of our oven, birthplace of many pesto pizzas:

And here is the Campbell’s oven, from which much less gauche dishes will be emerging–if Pete’s Metro-North pal is to be believed–at increasingly late hours. Or maybe it will just be something to stand in front of while eating cereal from the box (Hey, Pete and I aren’t so different after all!):

There are a couple of option differences: The top panel is reversed in color and knob placement, and Pete & Co. appear to have a more staid, Greenwich-y striped glass pattern as opposed to our swingin’ spirograph look. But otherwise… You guys, it’s the same oven!

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The Bookshelf: New Cottage Style

I was happy to get a copy of New Cottage Style: A Sunset Design Guide in the mail last week. You may have figured out by now that I’m a sucker for home books. And could I resist a cover with that much gratuitous turquoise in the design? No.

So often “cottage” is keyword for some reiteration of shabby chic or, worse, the type of “country” look that involves blue geese and wreaths made of lace. While New Cottage Style does feature a few Shabby Chic-ish interiors, I was impressed by how much emphasis was put on the “new” part of the equation. I wanted to share a few of my favorite un-country cottage looks from the book.

The graphic look of this cottage living room with a huge black and white print has a relaxed, beachy, and cottage-y vibe all while looking modern… even a bit sleek. I mean, come on, just check out that black sofa!

The patterned ceiling in this room is a lovely way to add detail while still keeping the walls simple and white. And those little wall shelves in the corner with bright books? That idea is going straight to our bedroom.

All of these kitchen storage ideas are cute, affordable, and charming. The wooden under-cupboard glass hangers are a nice hand made alternative to the chintzy chrome-look ones they sell at big box stores.

The above image is pretty much my dream kitchen. I love the full-wall chalkboard, complete with personalized “doodles.” (See the “Helter Shelter” drawing of Shelter Island, where the home is located? Word Play!)

Oh, but how do I know exactly where this home is located? Because I’ve had an image of it–and the accompanying article, originally printed in Cottage Living magazine–in my inspiration folder for years. This brings me to one of the potential flaws of this book: if you are a Cottage Living (R.I.P.), Coastal Living, or Sunset reader from way back, you may recognize a lot of the rooms in this book. This book is one of those “round up” style tomes that pulls from the best of years worth of magazine features. However, unless you are like me and keep a back catalog of old decor magazines, AND happen to have read all of these titles for years, everything in here will be new to you. Honestly, even though I had seen many of these images before, it’s still nice to have one compact, thematically organized volume you can flip through for inspiration. It’s much easier to sit down with a cup of tea and read this beautiful book than to lug dozens of magazines to your patio.

Does this book seem like a fresher take on cottage style to you? What are some of your favorite decorating books? Comment and let me know!

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Hall Paint, on Actual Hall

Painting the hall was fun, but tricky. The walls are really sturdy full-board planks, which are great for everything except painting. I used a full gallon of paint just to get a good coat on the tiny hall. In the end, it was all worth it. I love the little pop of jewel-tone color right in the center of the house. Here is a view of the wall color as you enter the living room. I love how the deep turquoise calls out to the small aqua touches through the living room.

Second only in trickiness to the painting is photographing this color accurately. We used “satin” paint for a slight sheen, and it looks 100% more vibrant in real life.

Now, we just have to decide what to hang on the walls to emphasize the color. Any ideas?

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“Nice Halls!” -Andrew McCarthy in Mannequin

(it makes sense, look it up!)

A mini-makeover can be just the thing to get your mind grapes going again when you have decorator’s block. The hall (which can be seen from the block-inducing living room) was still a sad shade of seafoam green tainting the whole place. This weekend, that hall is going to get nice zingy coat of paint–I can’t wait to reveal the final effect! For now, here is a sneak preview of the color we’ve selected.

You will notice the shades descend in awesomeness, so it was a fairly easy choice.

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