Alice Baber

by Vallery Koenig in ,


For awhile I have been somewhat obsessed by the work of Alice Baber.  She was an abstract experssionist painter who worked mainly in the 1950's-1970's.  She painted mainly in watercolor and oil and her use of color is amazing.  

So, you can imagine I was shocked when my sweet husband, who I guess has been listening, found one for out living room!

 

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I tend to gravitate toward her more highly saturated works however she did some beautiful washed out pastel colored works that I really could imagine being the focal point of a beautiful and serene bedroom.

Some of Alice Baber's other works: 

 

Alice Baber, Through Sleep to Orange, 1968

Alice Baber, Through Sleep to Orange, 1968

Alice Baber, Green Swing, n.d.

Alice Baber, Green Swing, n.d.

Alice Baber, Lavender Crossing with Orange

Alice Baber, Lavender Crossing with Orange

Alice Baber, The Path of the Sun Leads to the Piper

Alice Baber, The Path of the Sun Leads to the Piper


Marimekko Coated Cottons

by Vallery Koenig in


I just finished up a project for a client that I thought I'd share with you today as I just received some beautiful pictures of the finished project in action!  

Merimekko makes beautiful sunny fabrics that just beg to be used outside and inside for festive summer fun! My client found this beautiful coated cotton and asked that I make some fun tablecloths for her outdoor picnic tables.

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Outside & Ready for a BBQ

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And inside

You can also see one of Merimekko's Coated Cottons as the seat upholstery on the custom made chairs that we did for this Maine Camp Dining Room.

 

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First Floor Plans

by Vallery Koenig in ,


As I am just catching you all up on the work we have done so far and where we are going from here, I thought I would give you a clearer picture of what we started with and where we are headed.

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Original First Floor Plan 

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This is where we are headed for the first floor plan

We have already completed the family room construction by taking down the wall between the study and the office/guest room.  We have also completed the construction of the office. We did lose a bedroom and a full bath when we did this renovation, however the plan is to add the bedroom and full bath back into the house on the second floor above the future sun room addition. 

I am starting to plan out the kitchen now and am currently working on the cabinetry and appliance layout.  I will fill you in when I have those plans finished but will give you a sneak peak of my inspiration kitchen:

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Mandarin Kitchen from Smallbone of Devizes

I found this kitchen in Architectural Digest right around the time we bought this house and I love the light airy and open feeling. I like how it is clean and simple yet timeless. I love the built in banquette, although I am not sure I am going to go that route.  I am excited to start thinking about what this space can become! 


What I look for in a house

by Vallery Koenig in , ,


Once again, it's been awhile and I must say I have no excuse other than it has been exhausting to exist in this house. It's been just about two years since we picked up and moved into this new project and as I now sit in my usable although completely undecorated office (floor plans on trace and vellum serve as my current window treatments) I am marveling at the simple miracle of having green grass in the backyard. For the first year we had a gigantic swimming pool that was home to hundreds of frogs, a daily lunch spot for a family of ducks and the favorite brunch spot for the local blue heron. The second year brought a dirt field and now finally green grass! It has been and continues to be a long haul, even as I write this I can hear the clinking of tile going up in the master bathroom, which has now been without a toilet for a year and completely non-functional since late January.

Most people I know never saw this house before, those who did know how far we have come, but most people just ask me how and what I saw that made me know. How could I see past the 70's paneling and mirrors, the funky painted bathrooms and the purely 1960's brick exterior. How could I get over the mouse stench and the massive overgrown shrubbery?

My answer is simply three things:

1. Location- it is right where I wanted to be

2. Layout and flow- the major spaces made sense, were the right size, and had the amount of openness that I wanted.  Sure, we made a few adjustments as to the use of different rooms. I decided that what they used as the family room made more sense as a dining room and then I combined two smaller rooms to make a great family room, but the plumbing made sense where it was and the bigger spaces all worked as I wanted them to. Also this house had the amount of space we needed, sure we can add on and yes we looked at ranches that we could put a second floor onto but working within the existing shell is so much easier for us. 

3. Light- This one was a little harder to determine with this house with all the overgrown shrubs but I knew which way was north and then could figure out what trees would come out  and leave open spaces for light to come in. Also, looking at the sight lines throughout the interior of the house helps. For example, if you stand in the dining room (those windows face north and east so not the best for light) but there is a big opening to the living room that has a massive western facing window which makes tons of beautiful afternoon light. 

The house the day of our inspection (there were snowshoes involved)

sceond floor bath- everything that looks like white tile is actually lavender tile painted white with flat paint and yes the tub is strangely shoved into the wall and in the middle of the bathroomThe kitchen was "updated" in the late 90's when the house first went on the market. All appliances are original 1966 , the cabinets were refaced and the countertops replaced. Believe it or not the kitchen was one of the better rooms when we moved in.the master bath, this was the other "renovated room"fireplace in the family room (our dining room). the walls were wood paneled with painted textured wall paper overa hall of mirrors to go with the living room of mirrors, dining room of mirrors, and basement of mirrorsStay tuned and I 'll show you how far we've come and how very far we have to go!!!!

 


Wow, it's been a long time

by Vallery Koenig


Where have I been since April 19th? I have been a bit MIA, but seriously, saying things have been a bit crazy wouldn't even start to explain what has been happening on my end.  I guess it all started when we moved at the end of April. Sold the house, packed up everything into storage, and moved to temporary housing for a month. We closed on the new house at the end of May and then the fun really started! We emptied all the storage into the basement, and started by clearing lots of tall trees that were on top of the house. Then we had to replace the roof and the second story windows. We moved some closets, battled some mice, replaced all the walls, insulation, and ceilings, re-plastered (that's messy), ripped out some bathrooms, had the inside painted, moved a few walls, replaced some doors, and moved our stuff around a lot! Now we are getting to the fun part of the actual decoration, and I can't wait to share! Stay tuned and sorry for the absence.


Orange Love

by Vallery Koenig in , ,


Orange has been in and out for years now.  I remember the Spring 2005 Collection when I was at Armani and we received a beautiful tangerine leather satchel, that may have been one of those seasons when "orange is the new pink" was declared. I don't know as if orange will ever be the new pink, but it does seem to hang in a try. When we moved in to this house orange seemed to be having a bit of a peak (fall 2008)  and I was looking for a great rug for the green guestroom. My wishes were answered at IKEA where fell in love with a great rust-orange and white rug. Some great deep orange throw pillows from Madura finished off the room, along with a small orange lacquer tray from Pottery Barn. It's interesting that orange can be such a season-less color, I generally think of pinks in springtime, but orange brings up fall leaves, winter fires, spring flowers, and summer heat!

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My Favorite Orange Rug

 

 

 

 

Lately, I have been seeing a lot more orange. It started with the introduction of Farrow & Ball's new colors, or more specifically their color No. 268 Charlotte's Locks. I really love this rich vibrant color, and want to use it as an accent in my sons next bedroom with greens, blues and whites.

 

 

 

 

These amazing new fabrics in orange are from Trina Turk's new outdoor collection for Schumacher. The bold graphics and amazing colors are a great way to welcome summer.

 

From left to right: Soleil LA Print in Sunset, Santorini Print in Persimmon, Amazing Maze in Coral, and Sunglasses in Orange

 For a great orange pop of color, try this beautiful throw from Serena & Lily:


Or the Capri Teardrop Lamp in Orange from Jonathan Adler:

If your looking for a orange trial throw these orange cocktail napkins out at your next party and wait for the compliments!

 

 

A Beautiful Orange Bench on a forbo linolium orange, blue, red and yellow striped floor. Designed by Ghislaine Vinas and photographed for Elle Decor by Elizabeth Felicella 

 

So don't be afraid to add a little orange to your home, it could be just what you need!


Floral and Geometric

by Vallery Koenig in , ,


As of late I have been drawn to pictures of rooms with bold fresh florals mixed with clean modern geometric patterns.

 

I love the clean crisp pattern in the carpet and on the hounds tooth pillow with the traditional bold floral damask drape and the crewel made new chair in this living room by Jonathan Adler and photographed for Elle Decor.

This more traditional room has a beautifully soft display of floral in the silver leafed niche and a subtle geometric on the console and in the drapery. It's a soft and formal room by Anne Tarasoff and Gail Tarasoff-Sutton.

I love these two together for a sophisticated bedroom or a fun family room.

Schumacher Betwixt in colorway Spark/Ivory

Kravet Jetty

In an eclectic bedroom I can see the geometric on the bedding or on a chair and the floral in the window treatments. For a fun family room I can imagine the floral on a set of funky chairs and the geometric on oversized throw pillows on a solid green couch.


moving along in maine

by Vallery Koenig in ,


Yes, I have been MIA this year and one of the reasons is that I have gotten the amazing opportunity to work on a beautiful property in Maine.  It has been wonderful and crazy busy, but I have had so much fun working with my clients the architect and the builders. Groundbreaking was in September and the project will be finished (knock on wood) in mid-June.  While most of the winter was structural, electric, plumbing, planning and gathering materials with the spring the house has started to transform back into a home with walls that you cannot walk through!  As most of the walls in the house are pine either painted or shellacked they are all going up primed and first coat painted, which makes for a very quick changing look in the house from studs to almost finished looking in a day. So while it is not yet finished, here are some photos from my last visit...

Maine April 6 Visit

 High Gloss Ceiling Boards going up in the Dining Room

Maine April 6 Visit

Roofer installing my newest obsession a standing seam tin roof (it really is amazing how these are installed)

Maine April 6 Visit

One of a set of 5 salvage windows in Master Bedroom we found at Old House Parts in Kennebunk, ME (Great Salvage if your in the area)

Maine April 6 Visit

Beautiful ceiling in Master Bedroom

Maine April 6 Visit

Meeting in the Living Room

I'm headed up again next week so check back for updates!


Heath Ceramics

by Vallery Koenig


 

Dwell Patterns for Heath Ceramics

 

I am really loving what Heath Ceramics is doing with Dwell. The new collection of tile designs is fun, beautiful and available made to order or stock. The patterns can all be customized with a huge range of color and finishes. I can imagine an amazing bathroom floor, shower wall, or kitchen backsplash!

I also cannot wait until their house numbers become available. They will be available in two styles, Eames and Neutra. 

 

Eames House Numbers

 

Neutra House Numbers


Bentwood Love

by Vallery Koenig


I am absolutly in love with bentwood furniture right now and I am on a misson to find the perfect one for the end of my bed or for an entryway.

This one found on 1st Dibs is gorgeous.

From Bauhaus 2 Your House


 

 


It's done (knock on wood)

by Vallery Koenig in , , ,


So yet again life has been a bit crazy here.  First, it feels like it has been snowing nonstop since the beginning of January.  In all this snow we managed to get our house on the market and under contract and we managed to find a house to buy and get that under contract. So yes, big changes afoot. We finished up all the little projects and it is so nice to live in a house that is DONE. Now, I get to enjoy it for a few more weeks before we have to start packing.

The new house is going to be another big project and believe it or not there were snowshoes involved in the home inspection. My brilliant husband brought two pairs and he and our broker easily manoeuvred through the 3 feet of snow, while I got stuck in snow up to my thigh and had to be carried back to the house. I haven't even started to think about where to start with the new house, I think I am in denial about all the work ahead.

I have instead turned my thoughts and attention to warmer weather and my cape house projects! So I am busily sewing away, making quilts for the kids bedrooms and thinking about which rooms will get my attention this year (the rule is 2 per summer).

I have also been busy working on my project up in Maine and it is so exciting starting to see it coming together. 

I thought I would share with you some finished pictures of the house:

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The Master Bedroom

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The Kitchen 

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The Master Bath

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The Front Entry


Thinking Pink

by Vallery Koenig in ,


bubble-gum pink velvet

I love my pink chair- I have nick-named it "mommy's time-out chair"

I find that I move in color phases, my last home was yellow and red, when we moved in to this house, four years ago, I was in a grey and blue phase, lately I have been thinking pink.  I guess this all started as I was looking for a bold fun fabric to finish the last piece in my living room, which is grey-blue, navy-blue, and turquoise.  I decided that I needed a statement fabric for the wing chair in the back corner and I looked long and hard for the right blue fabric.  I never found it, but I did find bubble-gum pink velvet!

The chair was delivered last week and it is so perfect, just what I needed, a bright, bold, pop of color. Now I am obsessively looking pink accessories of all types, and they are not easy to find, to tie the chair into the rest of the room, and I need a pretty soft grey or blue pillow to tie my pink chair back to the room.


reflections on 2010

by Vallery Koenig in ,


It is the last day of 2010 and seems like a natural time to reflect on all the hard work, challenges and blessings of the past year. So many wonderful things have happened in the past year, a friend urged me to start my own business and I am loving the sense of accomplishment that I have from working again. Our house is so close to being finished. We have all met wonderful new friends, and enjoyed amazing times with family and friends, old and new. My children are happy and healthy and love their schools, and they are another year older which is an adventure in itself! Life has been busy, and unfortunately I have not always stopped to appreciate all the wonderful things that have happened, but I am going to try and be better at that!

What will 2011 bring? We are planning on putting the house on the market in the next few weeks and while we are hoping for a speedy sale we are prepared for it not to sell. We will then just enjoy our finished house for a little longer. We are hoping to move closer to our children's schools and all ours and their friends. I am hoping that the new house will have a nice big space for me to carve out an office/studio, so that I can continue to build my business. Part of me also hopes that the house itself will be a nice big project that we can work to make our own and can grow into over the next 10-15 years. I hope that I can continue to spend amazing a special time with my children, who are getting big way too fast, and enjoy all the wonderful time we spend together as a family. I also resolve to be better about sharing all the wonderful projects I get to works on, the beautiful things I see in the world, and the interesting things that inspire me.

I hope 2011 brings interesting and wonderful people into all your lives, beautiful things for you to see, and lovely spaces for you to enjoy.

 


Lovely Sofa

by Vallery Koenig in ,


On Christmas-Eve I was out to lunch with M and just happened to be down the street from one of my favorite mid-century modern decor stores.  Of course I had to pop in and I have fallen in love with this beautiful sofa, of course I need another sofa like I need a hole in my head. However, I can still be inspired by it's beautiful clean lines and small scale and can picture it in the living room at the cape house!


My husband loves me...how do I know?

by Vallery Koenig in , ,


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He built me amazing shelves for my office!

So last spring (maybe earlier) I fell in love with these shelves that were making the blog circuit. I decided that I had to build them.  I measures, designed, and even went out and bought the wood and the pipe.  Then like so many other good intentions, they got lost in a pile of to-do's behind a long list of must-do's.  The beautiful wood sat under the living room sofa all summer and the pipes sat in the garage, waiting just waiting!  Then came fall and I decided that alas there wasn't time and maybe it wasn't a resale friendly decision to , so the wood and pipe all went back to Home Depot.  

In September I was at Brimfield with friends/clients and kept seeing all this really cool industrial shelving made out of reclaimed material! By this time I was in dire need of accessible storage as I had started my business and reclaimed my office, so I thought hey maybe I should just buy something.  I found some at Restoration Hardware that I loved, but were too tall, and some at Wisteria that were way too wide for my space.  Then my hero came to the rescue...

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He found these amazing 2.5" thick boards on craigslist, bought chunky black pipe at Home Depot, and scoured e-bay for the casters that I specified! Then he spent 3 days cutting, sanding, staining, poly-ing, and assembling my shelving.  He even went so far as to spray-paint the screws black to match the pipe flanges. Now I have the perfect size, height, depth shelves that hold anything and everything that I can throw at them, and the best part is that when we move they can come with us!

Yes, I did say move. More on that later! 


Color Theory

by Vallery Koenig in ,


Busy, busy, busy... that is the one word that can describe my fall. Now the snow is falling, Christmas is over, classes are finished, we don't have to be anywhere or do anything and I am sitting at my, finally, clean desk watching the snow fall.  

On the 13th I finished up my Color Theory class, and I am finished with classes until the end of January when I start Intro Interior Design Studio.  If you have never taken a color theory class, I highly recommend taking one. I finally learned what saturated really means and I learned to see color in a whole new way.  It has also emboldened me to take more risks with color in my own home and my bubble gum (yes, bubble gum) velvet arrived for my wingback on the 23rd!  I cannot wait to get that beautiful bright pink fabric on my wingback for the back corner of my otherwise blue living room.

To show y'all how much fun it is to play with color, I wanted to share some of the color projects that I worked on in color theory.

For our mid-term project we had to pick a room from a black and white set of photographs that our teacher gave us an we had to create two color schemes based around one key color.  My key color was the primary cyan (that's blue) and I did an analogous scheme and a tetrad scheme.

Color Theory Midterm Analogous

This is the analogous. I used yellow-green, blue-green, blue and cyan.

Color Theory Midterm Tetrad

This is the tetrad. I used orange, yellow-green, cyan, and red-violet.

 

For our final project we were all given a description of the same client and black and white pictures of five rooms in that clients home.  We were asked to choose a key color, and design a color scheme for three of the rooms.  The final project needed to look cohesive, reflect the clients likes and desires, and we had to have samples of the materials we were proposing to use as well as colored renderings of each of the three rooms. 

I choose to use green as my key color as I wanted to bring the outdoors inside and I choose the living room, music room, and bedroom.  

Color Theory Living Room

Living Room- Cream and yellow patterned grass-cloth, red-violet velvet on the arm chairs, grey green wool on the sofa and daybed, and accents of fuchsia.

Color Theory Music Room

Music Room- Champaign Silk wallpaper, moss green indoor outdoor fabric on the armchairs, chocolate woven cotton rug, deep purple ultra-suede seat cushion, accents of yellow and fuchsia.

Color Theory Bedroom

Bedroom- luminescent faux shagreen sage green wall paper, sage green linen curtains, rich leather upholstered bed, with embroidered floral red-violet, crimson, and coral flower vines on duvet, and accent pillows of pink and magenta.

We each presented our projects at our final class and it was so interesting to see how 9 different designers could take the same rooms and the same family and create such amazingly different and beautiful designs and interpretations. 


Yes, it has been a long time...

by Vallery Koenig in ,


So as you can see I took some time off from the blogging, life got a little more busy about the beginning of August when I was hired to work on a huge interior decoration project.  I am loving working again and am having so much fun.  I am still working on my own projects and the kitchen is still coming along, we should be finished by the end of this upcoming weekend.  I am still taking upholstery classes and am working on a special project for M. I have been doing all the finishing touches around the house and vow that it will be done by the end of November.  I have even been cleaning out! I went through my closet on Sunday and unearthed all my fun Armani suit jackets (from my day's at Armani), I have been wearing them with cords and jeans and it's like I have a whole new wardrobe!  Chris has been hard at work as well, he built me some shelves (you'll get the details later) and he just started a new job and is no longer working at home, yay for him and for me.  Lately I have been spending a lot of time at the Boston Design Center and pulling fabrics for my client, we are working with the most amazing carpet, everytime I bring it out  to look at fabrics against it people compliment it and ask where it is from.  So I'll share:

 

It is from Angela Adams and it is called Flora Malachite, the colors in it are rich and earthy and beautiful.  I am having so much fun playing with fabric to use on the furniture!  More later, I'll fill you in on all we have done here!


A Real New England Clambake

by Vallery Koenig in


I know, I know I have been a very bad blogger this past week.  I was away for a few days, then had my good friend Jaime down for a few days, and have been busy with kids and work.  It's all really good stuff but has been keeping me on my toes!

So I wanted to share the photos from our club clambake, we have it every other summer and even though it was less than 2 weeks ago I am already planning what we will pt in our pillow case for the next one.  The clam bake is a great community activity, held on the beach of one of our members. It takes about a week to execute and a few weeks or months to plan!  There is a mountain of rocks delivered:

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Then the fire is started at about 8am:

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The rock get so hot they split in half, by this point it is about 5pm and everyone has arrived and is watching, socializing, and enjoying themselves.  The wood is removed:

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Then the rockweed (seaweed) is tossed on:

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It really takes a lot of seaweed to feed about 200 people!

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When there is a good layer of seaweed all the food is tossed on, everyone packs what they want in a pillowcase with their name on it. One note, it has to be all cotton!

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then more seaweed:

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Then the tarp goes on and the air is filled with salty, briny, steam:

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Well then my camera battery quit! So I didn't get a picture of the finished food, but a picture cannot describe the amazing flavor of the lobster, shrimp, corn, and potatoes that come off those stones! It is really an loved summer activity!


Headed Out

by Vallery Koenig


As I write this I have not yet packed for a little trip I am taking with M tomorrow.  I spent all day at the beach cooking, really yummy food. Today was the bi-anuall club clambake and we had a scrumptious dinner cooked on rocks and steamed with seaweed. I will follow up with pictures and more when I return on Thursday!