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Finding Time and More….

Most people can’t seem to find enough time in the day… I know I’m guilty. I’ve been trying to find time to write my blog and download photographs on Houzz of a new home I recently completed. I worked on so many wonderful projects last winter that continued into spring.  A personal project of mine included my husband, Rick, painting my workroom.  I decided to pick a new soft white tone.  Sherwin Williams SW9119 Dirty Martini….I promise I didn’t pick it for the name although it sure could have persuaded me.  It’s a soft beige/green. You can see on the photo below the old color on the left wall and the new color on the back wall where the door is. The next photo shows the newly painted walls and the room rearranged from the way it was originally.

 

My approach to the Industrial style home labeled by my clients as the “Dream Lodge” which, coincidentally coincides with the first initials of their last names, was to celebrate the home’s views and uniqueness.  Wrapped in charm and character, the home dons corrugated walls, wood ceilings, multiple paint colors in a room with contrasting trim, metal railings and so much more.  An antique kitchen table draws you in for conversation in the open space while the furniture in the family room from my upholstery company, The MT Companies, beckons you to enjoy the view, read a book, watch television or take a nap in front of the fireplace during the cold winter months. Please visit my site on Houzz.com to see the rest of the professionally taken photographs.  Another project I worked on was a new cottage style home in the Timberbanks development. Comfort and function were the key to this home.  My builder clients, who have been building beautiful homes for many years, decided it was time to downsize from a large home to a more manageable size home.

Windows and a door line three walls in the great room/kitchen area for wonderful views of the golf course. I angled the fireplace on the wall for interest and created a television/bookcase unit next to it. Ceilings are no less important than walls and their ceiling was no exception.  Created to add depth and dimension, the coffered ceiling shows what the builder’s trimmer can do. Adding to the senses of bringing the outdoors in, the walls and inside the coffered ceiling were painted Sherwin Williams, SW7696 Toasted Pine Nut, (not yet painted on the walls in the photograph below) which is a warm rich beige/yellow.

The builder’s trimmer puts the final touches on the coffered ceiling for my clients. An angled fireplace with bookcases next to it added a welcome bit of uniqueness to the usual fireplace planked with bookcases each side.

The topic of conversation always seems to be opened up by the weather……Ok, I am a bit sick of the rain too but, it’s BECAUSE of the rain, the wetlands next to us are filled with wildlife including  new born painted wood ducks that are an amazing array of colors…hence, the name painted wood duck, it’s BECAUSE of the rain, I’ve learned to take my walks in it and I never run into anyone else except for birds, turtles and deer, it’s BECAUSE of the rain we appreciate the warmth upon our face when the sun does come out and of course, it’s BECAUSE of the rain my garden is a watercolor painting waiting to come alive on canvas.  What is your “it’s BECAUSE of the rain” feel good thoughts?

A young great blue heron stands very still in the rain as he poses for me….Actually he found a great spot to fish and he didn’t want to move

Appropriately lined by size, these turtles cherished the sun one day to help digest their food.

 

A doe finds food aplenty with all the rain.

My Heartleaf Bergenia welcomes guests as they enter my garden. It never had so many flowers as it has this year from the rain.

My beloved garden pond was refurbished recently.  It’s been leaking for years and needed a little TLC.  “It looks better than ever,” my husband said. The frogs who have joined me this year think so too..

My newly refurbished pond creates the enchanting backdrop for my flower garden and pagoda I found at the Furniture and Accessory Market one year.

Sometimes stars just align. Overwhelmed and in the midst of work, Remi’s recovery and Chairing the Greater Manlius Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Spring Dinner Auction, my friend, Patty stopped by with lunch for Rick and I on a Saturday morning with a picnic basket full of warm fresh bread she had made, homemade minestrone soup – best I’ve ever tasted even with the substitution of Turkey sausage (recipe below), the trimmings for the soup and yummy brownies. Enter aligning stars….I met Patty over 20 years ago when she walked into the design firm I was working at and needed decorating. We have cultivated a special friendship and share the same interests in gardening, cooking and so much more.

The best Minestrone Soup I’ve ever had even with the substitutions of turkey sausage and chicken broth.

 

Sami poses in my friend’s basket that she brought over filled with warm homemade bread, minestrone soup and cookies.

I leave you, as always, with pictures of Remi and Sami…..Abyssinians are known to have bad teeth and Remi was no exception.  In April, he had 16 of his 20 or so teeth pulled.  It was very painful I am sure and my heart ached for him.  We “lost” our boy for about six weeks.  He became very unsocial which, was the complete opposite of his personality.  Feeling so much better now that his infected teeth are gone, we’ve got our Remi boy back again. For those of you that know Remi, you know he loved to suck on his tail for comfort. Now not having any teeth to hang onto it in his mouth, he no longer sucks it.  He seems alright with it but every so often he grabs for his tail but then let’s it go when he realizes he can’t hang onto it. I loved it when he did it but, I suspect I will get over it as well.  I’m just glad to have my boy back again.

My aby boy recovering in the warmed sheets from dental surgery.

Remi recovering in warmed sheets from dental surgery.

Feeling left out, Sami poses in her warmed blanket.

Feeling left out, Sami poses in her warmed blanket.

Happy Spring

Marcia

“Why I Wake Early”

 

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Sanvitalia in a pot cascades over the lettuce water plant in the pond.

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Starlight Petunia, new this year, dances above the hedgehog statue known to bring good luck upon ones doorstep.

 

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“My” frog holds very still as he gets ready to leap for a bee on a flower in my garden.

“Why I Wake Early” by Mary Oliver, is a book of poems a dear friend of mine gave me many years ago. She knew I loved the early mornings. This summer, rising as the sun was barely coming up over the Green Lakes hillside, I would make my coffee and head out into my garden to water my plants.  A twice daily chore this past summer that was a reminder of how precious rain is.  The early awakening of wildlife is my love…and the shenanigans were all so present this year.  I happened to glance out of my kitchen window one morning and witnessed two baby chipmunks emerging from their home in the ground among my garden flowers.  They were very apprehensive as they took in their new surroundings.  Their eyes blinking from the now bright sunlight upon them. This year, as in the first year I had my pond installed, there was a frog that “grew up” in my garden.  He went from tiny to medium sized in no time. Ever present as I worked in my garden daily, he was there with me on his various perches in and out of the pond. He loved one rather large rock where numerous flowers cascaded over the rock providing the frog with his daily intake of bees foraging on the flowers pollen.  Sometimes jumping up to grab an insect flying by and landing on the ground with a thud and no insect…I swear he’d look up at me saying, “I was practicing!”

 

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View from the beach at the Chatham Bars Inn.

My husband and I traveled to Chatham, MA the end of September for my birthday.  A wonderful time of the year to travel to the Cape as the crowds have all gone, leaving behind a peaceful sanctuary of fishing boats, empty beaches and time standing still.  We stayed at the Chatham Bars Inn a delightful place recommended to me by a client. Being that it was a slower time of the year, we were graciously upgraded to a suite for my birthday. Arriving back from a golf outing or a walk along the wildlife refuge shore I would flip on the gas fireplace while I worked on emails and phone calls. I sat at a small table next to a bay window that faced the ocean off in the distance.  When we first arrived, we ventured out for a walk. Heading towards the beach, I heard what I thought were dogs howling.  As we approached the beach, there were hundreds of seals on a small sandbar near shore.  Some playfully swimming and some bathing in the sunlight. A wonderful sight to see.

 

 

 

Except for the color, the staircase runner to our room was the exact carpet I installed on my staircase to my office last December.  It is very durable and very forgiving in a high traffic area. But so beautiful!

 

chatham-staircase

 

 

 

 

 

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My clients Brittany Spaniel, Noodle, strikes a stately pose for the photograph I was taking.

 

 

 

 

So many interesting projects this past summer. One I completed this summer was a beautiful “cape” home that longed to be on a beach somewhere. Fabrics of neutral canvas, soft blues mimicking the oceans hues and furniture so casual it begged to have sand upon its seats.  As the furniture was being delivered, I was “staging” the new coffee table to send a picture to my client so she could see it. Her Brittany Spaniel, Noodle, decided he wanted to be in the picture and proceeded to jump up on the sofa where he struck a most stately pose…

Displayed below are the five stain colors we were contemplating for the hardwood floors. We selected the second from the left as it was just dark enough to contrast against the light feel of the home.

hardwood-colors

Five hardwood floor stains were painted on my clients floor so we could visualize the colors that we were contemplating.

 

 

 

 

Soon to be completed is the Industrial Style home I mentioned in my last blog.  It was a project so full of new and creative ideas it made my heart sing. Acid washed corrugated metal walls in the mudroom; the builder, Don Petrocci, informs me they actually use toilet bowl cleaner with acid in it to create the look, instead of cabinets above in the kitchen, we did free floating black walnut shelves on the walls; creatively made and installed by Cazenovia Cutblock, a metal railing with squares in the loft balcony, wonderful paint colors of navy, brandywine and shades of a cozy foggy day.  I am planning on photographing the home in the spring.  I’ll keep you informed.

I was recently informed by Houzz.com that a photograph of a kitchen I did had reached 1000 saved hits on it.  I now have a banner button on my site stating that. If you haven’t already, please visit my site on Houzz.com to view the many wonderful photographs of homes I’ve decorated.

As always, I either start or end my blogs with pictures of my photogenic Abyssinian’s.  While spending a rare full day in my office cleaning out files, organizing and doing paperwork my Aby, Remi, never left my side.  He desperately needed a nap but, he was afraid he might miss something….Finally he got up on the sofa and curled up in a little ball.  I turned around to look at him and as you can see by the picture he was not going to let me out of his sight no matter what!

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Remi keeping a close eye on me as I worked in my office.

Here’s to a wonderful fall…..Enjoy the beauty of the colors that nature blends so beautifully together. It’s a time of inspiration, a time of coming indoors, of gathering around the dinner table and nights by the fire. Let the beauty inspire you to define a new space that’s not used, paint a new inspiring color in a room or just redecorate by rearranging.  I’d love to hear from you.  Marcia

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The beautiful colors of fall inspired me to take a picture on one of my many walks along the Erie Canal.

Sharing Bits and Pieces

Remi under fabrics

Remi, my Abyssinian cat, seems quite content buried under fabrics being shown to me by one of my fabric reps.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.  With all the disturbing events happening close to home and overseas, I linger longer than normal looking at the small, individual efforts that people make to embrace the season.  These efforts seem to touch me the most….The single lit tree outside, the Christmas tree peeking out through a front window and candles reflecting in the windows for us all to see.  I look in those windows and imagine families gathered around the dinner table laughing and sharing stories and the little ones anticipation of morning to come.  Excitement and peacefulness fills the air while all the while shutting out the world around for that brief moment of time.

Visiting from Massachusetts, my grandniece and Godchild, Kaleigh, spent the morning with me. We had fun making ornaments for Mommy and Mimi (Grandma).

Kaleigh making ornament

 

As winter settles in, I dream of the afternoons my husband, Rick and I played golf.  Enjoying the game of golf and becoming more proficient at it, I found myself taking an afternoon and playing nine holes by myself.  To me it’s not about the game but about a chance to walk and get exercise, to enjoy the fresh air and de-stress as I’m focused on the game and surroundings.  Lucky were we when, my husband and I donned in shorts, played golf at The Links at Erie Village on December 24th.  That was a memorable day.

We were able to get away the first of December to celebrate my sister’s birthday.  My sister, her husband, Rick and I flew into Miami and stayed at the beautiful Thompson Miami Beach Hotel where we sat on the beach soaking in the sun’s rays.  As Rick and I strolled down the beach, we happened upon the Miami Beach Art Fair or commonly known as the” Art Basel Week” that was taking place.  There were amazing exhibits.  One exhibit, showcased wooden crates placed sporadically around the beach.  Upon opening them, one could select a free art poster showcasing the various artist’s work.  Continuing on our walk, there was an actual rollerskating platform that had been erected on the beach.  With skate along music playing, one only had to put on rented skates and skate along with the music and rolling waves.  Being that it was a year ago I had broken my toe so badly, I opted out on venturing into the arena.

The next day, the four of us jumped into the car and drove the Overseas Highway sometimes called, “The Highway that Goes to Sea,” to Key West.  As we came upon the island, I felt an urge to sing Jimmy Buffett’s song, Margaritaville.  Noting this to the other three in the car, don’t you know shortly thereafter, as fate would have it,  the song came on the radio.  As the four of us sang along; I think they were singing…I know I was… we had now entered into another world.  We stayed off island at the Sunset Key Cottages.  A seven minute taxi boat ride from Key West.  You felt as if you were in paradise.  Life was good as we had our own cottage on the water complete with a hammock and a beautiful view of Key West in sight.  Every morning I walked the brick lined streets passing homes that reminded me more of the cape than Florida.  Being there during the holiday season heightened the senses to overload.  Awaiting us on the front porch every morning was a basket filled with fresh fruit and homemade muffins.  Can I retire here!!??

Below are a few pictures from the cottage we stayed in.

Sunset Key view 2

 

Sunset Key View 1

A few of the homes on the island where we stayed.

Sunset Key House

 

Sunset Key House 3

 

The beautiful lobby at the Sunset Key Hotel.

Sunset Key Lobby

So different was the Island itself.  With so many bars, restaurants, stores and wild chickens and roosters roaming around.  We, of course, had to take a tour of the Ernest Hemingway House Museum complete with 57 polydactyl (six-toed) cats.  About half of the cats at the museum have the physical polydactyl trait but they all carry the polydactyl gene in their DNA.  Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’s captain and some of the cats who live on the grounds are descendants of that original cat.  We also visited the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory which I loved.  I told my husband when and IF I ever retire, that would be something I could do.  As I meandered around the conservatory, three butterflies decided to hitch a ride on my legs.  After seeing the butterflies on me, one of the employees came up to me and said, “they don’t land on people very often but, when they do, you know the person has a gentle and soft spirit.”

One of the polydactyl cats poses on a rock while the tour guide wraps up his speech.

Sunset key Hemmingway House

Butterflies clinging to my legs at the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.

 

Sunset Key Butterflys

Very soon my photographer, Jonathan Beach, will be photographing a few of my client’s homes for me that were recently completed. Keep your eye on my site on www.houzz.com to view the photos.  One of the beautiful homes I completed recently will be photographed in February as my clients were recently married and are off on their honeymoon.  My husband and I were in attendance at their wonderful wedding.  We wish them much happiness in the years to come.

Brad and Erin's wedding

I love David Bowie’s wife, Iman’s Instagram she posted after David’s death, “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”  Enjoy every moment!!!

Wishing you a Wonderful and Glorious 2016!

Marcia

 

 

 

 

 

New and Inspired Fresh Summer Garden Colors

 

A glimpse into Benjamin Moore’s refreshing colors will inspire you to repaint.  Their fresh pales awaken the senses.  The light muted tones of grays, lavenders, blues, yellows and greens invigorate us all.  Benjamin Moore’s 2015 color of the year is called Guilford Green which, has a hint of mint just in time to be inspired by the summer garden.

BM color of the year

Benjamin Moore’s color of the year 2015

 

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Dried flowers from my garden mimic the colors of Benjamin Moore’s Guilford Green.

 

Benjamin Moore Colors

 

With all the rain this summer, my small gardens live large with an abundance of flowers dancing in the breeze.  Light colors of yellows, purples, whites, and a collage of greens intermix with  deeper tones while the grass and sky  seems to become their scenic backdrop.  

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My small front garden lives large this year with the abundance of rain.

 

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The front garden flowers dance in the breeze while the grass and sky become it’s scenic backdrop.

 

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My front porch invites people in with flowers cascading over a stone hedge hog meant to bring good luck within.

 Not only do textures add interest to the garden, but in furniture and on the walls as well.  Making a grand comeback are natural wallpapers such as: natural palms, bamboo, grasses and paper weaves.

Recently remodeled, our master bath, has a light colored textured paper weave by Thibaut Wallpaper. In contrast to that, I recently installed deep colored Java Grass on the walls in my client’s lower level media/bar room above the judges paneling.  The Java Grass boasts deep rich colors of blues, grays and browns adding a rich color and texture to the contrast of the white trim, Benjamin Moore’s Acadia White OC-38. Natural wallpapers not only look great on the walls but also installed into the sections of  coffered ceilings or on the walls behind a bookcase.

Brad lower level

In the process of being built, I installed java grass wallpaper in tones of blues, grays and browns against the backdrop of white trim in my clients lower level media/bar room.

Master Bath 2

Our recently remodeled master bath has a light colored textured paper weave by Thibaut Wallpaper.

Textured furniture, when mixed in with non-textured not only adds interest but invites the senses to be alive.  Lexington Home Brands, Ivory Key, is finished in a crisp white coloration with subtle parchment highlights.  Drawer fronts and a headboard of woven raffia create a natural look and also create a wonderful room for a backdrop in a bold color such as Benjamin Moore’s, Carter Plum CW-355 or a beautiful rich beige tone such as Pale Oak OC-70. 

BM HC

Featured as a back drop against a graceful fern, Benjamin Moore’s color Carter Plum CW-355 would create a wonderful contrast against white or cream furniture.

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Lexington Home Brands, Ivory Key adds texture to the nightstand and headboard.

If bold color is not to your liking, try an elegant airy gentle white color from Benjamin Moore such as powder sand OC-113.  Lexington Industries new line, Oyster Bay, captures the style and feel of the new whites in a light oyster shell coloration.  Lexington states in their catalog that, “Today’s casual transitional styling blends lighter wood tones, natural textures and relaxed shades of ivory, taupe and gray, with designs that embody a feeling of laid-back sophistication.”

BM Gentle Whites

Benjamin Moore’s gentle whites

 

Lexington Oyster Bay

Lexington Home Brands, Oyster Bay, ” Blends lighter wood tones with natural textures and relaxed shades of ivory, taupe and gray, with designs that embody a feeling of laid-back sophistication.”

Whether your desire is lighter walls with rich toned furniture, a more monochromatic feel or darker walls with a lighter natural feel in furniture, the combinations abound.  This summer and fall, get inspired by the backdrop of the earth and sky mixed with the colors of a beautiful garden with textures from grasses, ferns and plants and colors naturally created from the earth, sky and flowers.

A blog just wouldn’t be the same without a picture of one of my abyssinians…..My star photogenic Aby, Sami, recently posed for me.   In the heat of a 90 degree day, she was looking for relief on a cool glass top in our summer screen room……Loving my new camera….(visit my blog prior to this)sami on table