Sensational Stripes

Remember this post?

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A local reader saw it and enlisted my help in using this idea in her home. Her front hall had a large wall that made the perfect canvas. One and a half stories tall, the wall is visible from her newly remodeled and midcentury inspired open concept kitchen/living/dining room. And it’s accented by this gorgeous light fixture.

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We carefully chose the colors, using only half as many as the wall at SMOCA, which is much larger. We went endlessly back and forth between the photos I had taken and the Benjamin Moore color samples to get the colors just right. Working out the size of each stripe was tricky, as the original’s stripes get progressively larger as you get closer to the floor. Getting the correct proportions while making it fix exactly in the space allotted was time consuming but well worth it! Add one very talented (and patient!) painter to the mix and you get this amazing final product:

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It is stunning – day or night!

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Treasured

This post is written in honor of my late father, Michael. Next week is his birthday – he would have turned 70 on February 13. I wrote the text below last year as a submission to the Washington Post Magazine column called Mine, in which people tell the story of a treasured possession in 250 words or less. My submission was not chosen (yet!), so I thought I would share it with you today. Happy Birthday, Dad.

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In May of 1998, on the eve of my college graduation, I stood with my father on the outdoor terrace of the beautiful Keswick Hall in Charlottesville, Virginia. He joked that he was sorry he didn’t have a grand estate like Keswick that I would inherit. I said, “That’s ok – all I really want to inherit from you is the Skegness poster.” Little did I know that a month later the poster would be mine after my father’s unexpected passing at the age of 53. I hand carried it back to the US from his London home after the funeral.

The poster had been around my whole life – my father had brought it with him from England when he arrived in America in the late 60’s to attend graduate school. He met my mother just days later, and she framed the poster in the happy yellow frame I had always known it in. It was a railway advertisement for getaways to Skegness, a chilly English beach resort town. As a child, I’d always loved the jolly man skipping down the beach in his scarf and boots. As an adult, I see the poster that has always been a part of our family through marriage, divorce, several international moves, and one serious house fire. Recently reframed, it now hangs in our living room. My children never had the chance to know their grandfather, but it makes me happy that a part of him is part of their everyday lives.

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Choosing a new frame, October 2013.

Let’s Go Shopping in Bali

Lucky us! My dear friend Katherine, owner of Zuna Yoga and part-time resident of Bali, is taking is on a decor shopping trip in Ubud, Bali!

Before we start, a few musings from Katherine on what we’ll be seeing:

‘Ubud is a hub of creative arts in Bali. It is brimming with carving, painting, jewelry, music, dance, theatre and more —so it’s surprising that the local language possesses no word for art. For the Balinese, this creativity has no meaning in itself. It is intended solely for pleasure of the gods, and its merit lies in the act of creation, rather than in the finished product. This also explains why so much of what is created, particularly the offerings for religious ceremonies, is simply destroyed directly after the event. 
 The Balinese are very religious and superstitious. Spirituality is everywhere, with trees, houses, temples, shrines being blessed by the people daily. The woven baskets (made of bamboo) are traditionally used to carry offerings to the temples. They are filled with flowers, fruit, incense, or symbolic coins. You’ll often see women dressed in ceremonial costume riding sidesaddle on the back of a motorcyle, with one of those baskets balanced on their laps. They also make fun decorative objects for storing more mundane items, like office supplies, charging cords and remote controls!
 Coconut wood is a common material, you can see the utensils and some of the painted trays (as well as the wooden inlay in the woven objects) are made from it. It has a lovely grainy, mottled texture and is polished to a smooth finish.
 Indonesian batik is quite famous. It’s a wax-resist dye technique, usually used on a heavy cotton fabric. The Balinese favor bright, rich colors and patterns. They wear batik tops and bottoms as part of their traditional garb – you see it everyday, everywhere. It’s also great for decorating – pillows, table runners, blankets.”
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Katherine tells me there’s beautiful beaches in Bali, too. But with all this fun shopping to do, who has time for the beach?
Learn more about Katherine at ZunaYoga.com
 

 

Happy Anniversary!

On October 29, Alexandra Design Finds celebrated its 1 year anniversary! By celebrated, I mean it passed completely unnoticed by me until a week later. And then I noticed, but didn’t mention it to anyone until this very minute. Without letting any more time pass, I wanted to thank you, dear reader, for your continued support of my blog. It has been so much fun to share my Design Finds with you, and also to have you share yours with me in return. I have lots to share in the coming weeks, including a great one where a dear friend of mine takes us decor shopping in Bali. Stay tuned!

To celebrate this anniversary, I thought I’d share a project I started this fall. It all began when I saw this:

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It caught my attention right away, so I took a picture of it. But I didn’t buy it. Then I went home and couldn’t stop thinking about it. I felt like this buck was just the thing I needed to adorn the wall over my bed that has been blank for 7 years since we moved into this house. (Actually the whole room has been pretty much overlooked as we work to bring the rest of this house out of the 1980’s.) So I showed the picture to my husband, who himself liked it but was totally shocked that I would – it’s just not my style. But after seven years of looking for the right thing, something that was my style never came along. Obviously the answer was to go in a completely different direction. So I went back and bought it.

But once I got it home, it was obvious it couldn’t stand alone. Here it is sitting on top of the bedframe. It’s a little lonely on that big wall.

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So I repurposed some sheer grey linen tie-top curtain panels to fill out the space. We staple gunned them to the wall at the top and then tied them back with twine on either side of the painting. It turned the room into a beautiful romantic space.

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The above pictures show our summer bedding. Here it is in winter mode:

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The room isn’t done yet. Lighting is still a major issue in this room as you can tell from the poor quality of these pictures. It’s a very large room with a vaulted ceiling and few windows. It may take seven more years to get it finished (and styled for pictures), but we’ll get there eventually!

 

 

Insta Real Life

I’ve been following Bungalow on Instagram for a while, and I was so excited when I realized they were in Scottsdale and I was going to be there too. A visit was definitely in order. Bungalow is a lovely (and huge!) shop that sells so many beautiful things for the home and even some clothes. They describe their style as “rustic modernism” – I’d describe it as comfy sexy modern farmhouse glam.  Here are a few of the fun things I saw:

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Loved this chair! The combination of the thin brass frame and the fluffy sheepskin made this my favorite item. I really, really want it for my bedroom.

There were other great chairs, too – these had great contrasting fabric backs, turning simple into stunning:

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This bookshelf was amazing – part sculpture, part storage:

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A basket of cow skulls, just to remind you that you’re in the West:

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But even so, a Union Jack looks great anywhere:

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And more great pillows:

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Loved this large leaf…

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And these upholstered benches…

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Thanks for introducing us, Instagram!

Bungalow, www.bungalowfurniture.com, Instagram: @bungalowaz

 

Even Better Than the Real Thing

The things that grow in the desert are amazing. But to be honest, the most wonderful thing I saw at the Desert Botanic Garden in Phoenix was these amazing glass “plants” by artist Dale Chihuly, whose work I adore.

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These are a permanent installation at the garden. Unfortunately, I just missed a major Chihuly exhibition there in which his works were scattered throughout the landscape of the park. I was devastated! Google it – the photos are unreal.