Summer School!

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One of my favorite bloggers is Maria Killam who is also a sponsor on Cote de Texas.  Maria and I both started blogging around the same time all those years ago!  She is a color expert and is my go-to lady for any questions I might have about tone and shade.   Her collection of paint boards HERE are wonderful – and I use them on almost every job I do.   Maria is a great hands-on writer and her blog, Colour Me Happy, is filled with stories and tips about decorating and color that readers find invaluable. 
Last year Maria hosted a very successful webinar called “How To Choose Exterior Paint Colours With Confidence” HERE.  The response to her course on Paint Colours was so positive she decided to put together a new webinar on decoration called “Renovate With Confidence - Focus on Finishes.” 
Maria asked if she might introduce her course here – in case any Cote de Texas readers are interested in enrolling.  Below is a short description of the webinar which I am presenting today.  If you are interested in the course, it will be discounted if you enroll before Sunday evening @ 11:59 pm. 
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Maria told me that classic and timeless elements are the foundation of every post she writes on decorating as well as the courses she teaches,  which is how her new course evolved.  Over the years she has received the same email over and over:
“Maria – when are you going to offer a decorating workshop for us homeowners?  I’ve read everything you have written about color on your blog and try to incorporate what you say in my home but I still need more help on decorating!”
Because of all these requests, Maria has created a new 4 week training webinar that is a journey for homeowners, renters, and design enthusiasts.  The course will held guide you on how to see and choose colour for your new house or your renovation.
The course is called “Renovate with Confidence – Focus on Finishes:  Summer School with Maria Killam.”

Through this course Maria will reveal the step by step order she uses to choose finishes for new houses.  For those who are renovating, her “Colour Confidence Method™” will give you the tools to look at any house through the eyes of a designer and make sure you spend your precious renovation dollars correctly.
This training is for you if:

1. You are planning a renovation but you're paralyzed by all the choices you need to make and you don't know where to start.
2. You are building a new house and would love to learn a step-by-step process on what to source first. When do you choose the countertops, flooring, walls, trim colour and everything else? 
3. You look at paint colours, countertops and tiles and ask yourself any of these questions: Is it beige or gray? Is it the right gray? Will I love this countertop when it's installed? Will this white look too dingy or too cold? Will I love this turquoise shade when it goes up or will it turn into another colour all together? 
4.  You look at endless colour chips and feel your eyes roll into the back of your head with overload. 
5.  You wish there was a 'system' that would help you organize colour in your mind. (There is.)  
6.  You rely on your best guess and cross your fingers in hopes you've chosen the right colour and the right finishes. 
Ask yourself:  How much money have you wasted on mistakes in the past?   This course will teach you when to follow the rules and when you need to break them in order to get the beautiful result that you want.
 Maria promises her webinar will teach you all the answers to these questions, and more.
THE SPECIFICS:
The course lasts four consecutive weeks – with live video sessions with chat.  It starts on Wednesday, July 30th at 11:00 am, PDT and continues through the next three Wednesdays for 1 1/2 hours each time.  Each webinar will be taped and the recordings will be sent out to you to listen to over and over again. 
To help you get the best hands-on training, you'll receive a download in advance of the course with instructions on the Benjamin Moore paint chips you'll need to collect and a pre-course exercise for you to complete. 
During the webinar, Maria will walk you through more exercises so it will feel like she is in the same room with you. 
  Throughout the training you'll get additional downloads with fill-in-the-blank worksheets that will help you identify and create a custom plan for your renovation or new build. 
Week 1:  Wednesday, July 30, 2014
11:00 - 12:30 PM PDT
Renovate with Confidence will introduce you to the most important ways to see colour: 
Why understanding contrast is critical to achieving a look you'll love.  The most important information you'll ever need to know about neutrals, whites and colour with regards to choosing finishes and paint colours.  How to compare colour so you never again make the same mistakes you've made in the past.  Four categories of white (which are the only ones you really need).  Hands-on exercises that will have you see colour in a whole new way (it's always the biggest 'aha' moment in Maria’s live courses). 
Week 2:  Wednesday, August 6, 2014
11:00 - 12:30 PM PDT
Renovate with Confidence will focus on choosing finishes for a new build:  
Learn the two "big picture" ways to view your new build - before you start to make choices and decisions that will make you sad/frustrated/crazy.  Learn how to choose your foundation palette, which will make all the rest of your decisions much easier.  Get a complete list of which colours and finishes must be chosen first to achieve a look and a feel that flows throughout your entire home.  Learn exactly when your wall colours should be chosen.  Hint: It's not at the beginning and definitely not at the very end!   How to design your new build so that it's classic and stands the test of time. 
Week 3:   Wednesday, August 13, 2014
11:00 - 12:30 PM PDT
Renovate with Confidence will focus on how to develop a master plan for your renovation: 
Learn how to best allocate your precious renovation budget.  Complete an easy exercise that will reveal the right starting point for all the rest of your decisions.  Learn how to choose the right finishes to coordinate with a wood-stained kitchen (not just a white or cream one).  Learn how to incorporate new finishes in combination with your existing fixed elements that are not changing. Get the step-by-step on how to choose colours for every room in your house. 
Week 4:  Wednesday, August 27, 2014
11:00 - 12:30 PM PDT
Renovate with Confidence  - all about your renovation or new build! 
Ask Maria anything. Submit your questions and photos to: irene@mariakillam.com before Sunday, August 17, 2014 and we'll compile them into a power point to fill this 90-minute Q & A time.  Maria will answer as many as possible in the time available.  If she runs out of questions, she will open up the webinar chat to get more in real time. 
Don't worry, if you can't be there live, Maria will send you the link to watch the classes later.  Maria says this is the one class not to be missed – one mistake will pay for the course itself!!
COST: 
The cost of the webinar is $497, but you will receive a $100 discount if you register before this Sunday at 11:59 PM – bringing the cost down to $397. 
SIGN UP: 
To sign up for Maria Killam’s new webinar:   please go
Remember, a $100. discount will be given until this Sunday night at 11:59 pm! 

Thank you all so much for reading about the class.  My regularly scheduled blog will return shortly!!

A Design Collaboration

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So exciting!  The summer issue of Milieu is now available.   Introducing a new magazine can’t be easy, but Pamela Pierce and her cadre of writers and photographers, are really hitting their stride – it seems each issue is just wonderful.   I’m loving when the new Milieu arrives in the mail – it’s a feast for the eyes,  cover to cover.

 

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This issue celebrates summer – with a host of vacation houses in Mexico, Spain, Florida and Texas. 

 

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As usual, even the ads are beautiful.   Before each issue, many of the advertisers call in to discuss what the theme will be.  Their ads are then created to tie in with the articles, creating a seamless color scheme throughout.  Here, shown above, Lee used whites and hot pinks and greens – colors found in the new issue’s stories.

 

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The Wisteria ad looks more like a photo from a featured house than a catalogue.  Great coffee table, too!

In each issue of Milieu - there seems to be one house that I completely fall in love with – and this issue it’s this country house in Round Top, Texas – home of probably the most famous antique show today.   The house, shown below,  is owned by the uber talented interior designer Eleanor Cummings and it was designed by architect Kirby Mears of Murphy Mears Architects HERE.

 

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Mears is a much respected architect – and is often published in high end design magazines.  He and Cummings have developed a sort of design partnership over the years.  Many of their published projects are collaborations. 

Cumming’s Round  Top house is an enfilade, a specific design where the house is one room deep.   Often enfilades have windows on each side which line up – allowing one to stand outside and see through the house to the other side.    In an enfilade, there are no halls – the rooms connect one after another in a sort of shotgun formation. 

 

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Here in the living room, Cumming used rustic antiques – along with slipcovered chairs and sofas.  I love how she added the wicker chair to the mix.  The beautiful fireplace is an antique from France.  Wood shutters cover the windows throughout the house.  Most of the floors are gray concrete – chosen for both their ease of maintenance and their ease on the pocketbook.  In other rooms – wood floors are painted gray to match.  The color scheme is cream, gray, and light blue – Cummings favorites.

 

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In the dining room there is an antique French orchard table with a set of slipcovered chairs from Restoration Hardware.  The kitchen is seen in the next room.

 

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The master bedroom has a wonderful view – it sits at one end of the house.  What a beautiful tufted French chaise longue.  

 

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Upstairs – in the grandchildren’s room – linen is mixed with Lisa Fine textiles.  Just a small glimpse of this room – but I love all the textures – the linens, the woods, the stripes – all against the green backdrop of Round Top.

Much more of this house and all the others is found in the summer issue of Milieu.

To order the latest issue, go HERE.

To visit the Milieu’s web site go HERE.

 

I loved seeing Eleanor Cumming’s country house designed by the very talented Kirby Mears – and I thought you might enjoy seeing a recap of some of their other collaborations.  The most recent was just shown in the Spring issue of  Milieu:

 

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Photography by Peter Vitale

Remember this colorful house from the last issue of Milieu?  The house is located in Houston’s tony River Oaks neighborhood.  It’s an original – designed by the Charles Oliver in 1927.  Oliver designed over 75 houses, many which have unfortunately been demolished over the years.  The young couple who bought this Spanish styled house decided to renovate it and hired Kirby Mears for that job along with Eleanor Cummings for the interiors.   

This living room is a stunner – I love the white tufted sofa mixed with the bright yellows silk curtains and green chairs.  And I love the mix of the contemporary along with the traditional.

 

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Love this corner – the mix of the aquamarine and green chairs with the bright yellow.  And who would think to use a brown pillow?  LOVE!!!  The art work is to die for.

 

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I am not sure whose brainchild it was to put the dining room behind steel windows and doors – Kirby’s or Eleanor’s???  Whomever – it’s genius!   Eleanor went for drama here with the bright hot pink upholstery on antique styled chairs. 

 

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Mixed with the terra cotta floors – are these wonderfully bright tiles on the risers. 

 

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The kitchen’s tiled walls are the stunner here.  Notice how she brought the bright yellow from the living room into the kitchen.

 

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Such a pretty vignette – I love the Schumacher fabric on the banquette.  It’s strange – as much as I think I know every single Schumacher fabric there is – I never have noticed this one before.

 

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And in the master bedroom – the wallpaper by Philip Jeffries is a standout.  I love the aqua stripe on the Moroccan rug which matches the linens on the bed.  Notice how Cummings has filled the room with furniture, making it seem cozy and welcoming.  So much better than a large room with not enough furniture – which always seems so cold.   As colorful as this house is – it all ties together with the greens, yellows, and blues that are found in almost every room.  Just beautiful!

 

 

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Another collaboration between Cummings and Mears was this lovely West University House – it’s beautiful – right?  Well – this is before the house was updated for its current owners.   Below is how it looks today:

 

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Wow!  Gorgeous!  Mears and Cummings kept the basic look of the house – making it seem just a bit wider by enlarging the sunporch.  And, with the painting of the brick and trim – adding a slate roof, along with French lanterns and new landscaping – the house has incredible curb appeal now.  Inside – the house was greatly enlarged by Mears - but it’s not obvious from the fa├žade.

 

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The Cummings designed living room – seen on the cover of Traditional Homes. 

 

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On the other side of the fireplace is the Mears extension of the sunporch.  I love the twin sofas with the simple velvet pillows mixed with the Fortuny pillows.

 

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But, it’s the beautiful silk curtains that are the scene stealers here.  The twin French chairs covered in tapestry are to die for!!!

 

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The Mears extended sunroom – with all new French doors, windows and beams.

 

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Looking towards the adjoining living room.  Love the velvet tufted ottoman.

 

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The dining room is one of my favorites – I just love everything about it – the fabrics, the curtains, the mirror, the table – just love it.

 

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Antique doors from the dining room lead into the kitchen. 

 

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The back family room with this round table near the fireplace.  Love the chandelier.

 

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The master bedroom is tranquil and serene.  Cummings designs the best bedrooms.  Love the vaulted ceiling!

 

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Another vaulted ceiling with beams and rafters in the master bedroom – filled with white marble in all shapes.  Notice the marble frames on the mirrors!  Great idea!!!  There are many more pictures of this house on both Mears and Cummings web sites.

 

And finally – this Kirby Mears/Eleanor Cummings collaboration was shown in Veranda.  It is a very popular house with pinners and bloggers because – it’s perfection.

 

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Designed by Kirby Mears, the house wraps around the back swimming pool.  I adore the arched wood shutters on the living room doors – they are so romantic looking.  Notice the glass awnings above those doors – Mears has used this detail before.

 

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A larger view of the back yard.

 

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One of my favorite living rooms – LOVE!  I love the French sofa and the light blue chair on the left.  Gorgeous Louis XVI velvet ottoman.  Notice the perfect side table with the Santos on it.   The leather antique wing chair – divine!  The painting!    Just perfection.

 

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The fireplace in the living room – gorgeous, right?  Even the fire screen is fabulous!!!

 

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The kitchen – notice the bar stools – I love how each of their heights is different.  Fabulous light fixture!  The stove hood!  The cabinetry!

 

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Mears’ beautifully designed stone stairs and iron railing.  Notice the trio of chandeliers in each section of landing.

 

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The landing with the beautiful French day bed, slipcovered.

 

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A vignette in the master bedroom.  Love the juxtaposition of the handscreened cotton on the fine French antique settee!  So Eleanor!

 

 

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And finally – this iconic photograph.  I think this one picture might have started the rush on the Belgian wicker chairs – that were later to be known as the Kooboo gray chairs from Cost Plus/World Market.  Mixed with the concrete table and the French lantern, I think everyone wanted this room – but for the inside of their houses, not just the outside!

It must make both Cummings and Mears feel so proud to know how popular and influential this setting has become.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of the collaborations between Eleanor Cummings and Kirby Mears.   What great work they have done!   To see their individual work – be sure to visit their web sites.

To visit the web site of Kirby Mears of Murphy Mears Architecture, go HERE.

And for Eleanor Cummings web site, go HERE.

And finally – to read the summer issue of Milieu Magazine – go HERE.

 

A Chair

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In the last issue of Milieu magazine – there was a photograph of a room that I have become slightly obsessed with.  I just love everything about it and can’t quite put it out of my head.  It’s not a fancy room or a cluttered room – it’s very quiet and restful, as it should be because it’s a master bedroom. 

But it’s what is in the room that struck me.  It’s an Oriental chair.  No, not a French bergere – but an Oriental one – a Chinese elm chair to be specific.   Well, that’s shocking to me.   I usually only like to use Oriental items in design when it’s an accessory or an accent piece. 

 

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For instance – take this dining room filled with lovely antique Chinese elm chairs.  I wouldn’t even stop to look at this room – it is boring to me.  The chairs –so many of them - don’t excite me or engage my eye.  It’s just not my aesthetic.  To me – so many of this chair ruins the effect – they don’t even look special here.

 

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But look here instead – one Chinese elm chair – it looks so striking here in an Axel Vervoordt design.

 

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Or in this entry, with just two chinoserie styled chairs used as accents to flank a door –  suddenly the room comes alive with the use of the unusual.

 

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And again – a room filled with Chinoiserie chairs – it just bores.  The walls blend into the orange brown stain of the furniture – there is no contrast, no pop.

 

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But here, in a Bellacasa designed dining room – mixing Oriental chairs with English styled chairs – suddenly they look strikingly beautiful.  Their lines – slightly curved backs which are stark and contemporary – play against the straight lines of the windows in the curving bay, which plays against light fixture with both its straight and curved lines which plays against the curved lines of the table.  What could have been a boring space is instead a very pleasing one, one that settles and quiets the eye.

 

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The living room off the above dining room – with its long green velvet sofa is just a beautiful.

 

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Mimmi O’Connell is a genius at using Oriental designed furniture and accessories in her designs.   A designer in England, her rooms are filled with imported and antique Oriental furniture, which for years she sold at her shop called Port of Call.  She is known for mixing high and low – antiques sit next to common cotton fabrics like muslin and striped ticking.

 

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A study – with an Oriental bed – that doubles as a sofa in a library.  The bed sits next to an antique Chinese chair that Mimmi plumps with muslin covered cushions.

 

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Four Chinese chairs – their tall backs are sculptural.  Hard to imagine this room with any other chair.

 

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A bedroom – with a beautiful antique Oriental chair – I love these folding chairs.  Love the large mirrors on each side of the bed.  Just perfect!

 

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Here, an antique chest becomes a vanity.

 

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Vicente Wolf used these two Chinese chairs, mixed with an English antique styled sofa.

 

 

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Mary McDonald mixes Oriental chairs and a table in this family room.

 

 

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Ralph Lauren used a Japanese dining table as a coffee table.

 

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Suzanne Rheinstein also used an Oriental table as a coffee table.

 

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Alessandra Branca often uses Oriental styled armoires in her rooms.  Here she mixes it with an Oriental coffee table and a beautiful screen.  Despite the three large pieces – the room seems European in design, not Eastern.

 

 

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Michael Smith used two Japanese trunks as nightstands.

 

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And again – he used another Oriental chest and a table as coffee tables in this NYC apartment.  Gorgeous!!

 

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Oriental screens are very popular – here Rose Tarlow used this screen instead of a painting behind her sofa in her London apartment.  Or course – her screen is especially gorgeous.

 

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Suzanne Tucker used a screen, along with an Oriental table, in this living room. 

 

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In a chinoserie red library by Beverly Field – an Oriental styled chest on stand and coffee table – make interesting accent pieces.

 

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Jackye Lanham – used bamboo Oriental chests as side tables.

 

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And in this English styled living room – Amelia Handegan used a chinoiserie styled coffee table.

 

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Here, in a Belgian designed room – a lone antique Chinese chair again, becomes a piece of sculpture.

 

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And finally – this was the bedroom that started me thinking about these antique Chinese elm chairs.  I can honestly say that before this photograph – I had never once thought about these chairs as beautiful.  Now, I can’t understand why?  

Shown in the last issue of Milieu Magazine HERE, this bedroom by Shannon Bowers would not leave my mind.  I just think it is fabulous – it’s quiet, serene and exactly what a master bedroom should look like.  I love the Bennison Roses in Gray – it’s probably my favorite fabric.  I love the linens on the bed – simple and perfectly tailored.  I am obsessed over them – the long cover that falls just perfectly at the corners.  I love the lamps and the fabric shades – which is a bit of a trademark of Bowers.  I love the antique prints over the bed – in shades of gray which match the fabric. 

 

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But it’s the choice of the Oriental chair at the wood desk that brings a certain contemporary vibe to the room.  On the left, you can see an antique French bergere, but for the space against the windows – the bare wood chair looks fabulous, especially with the simple desk.

 

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As they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Could you recreate this bedroom, but on a budget?  Here’s a few items I found to furnish.

 

 

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Pottery Barn – Upholstered Bed

This is a good copy and reasonably priced.

Pair of Early 20th Century Chinese Chair -SATURDAY SALE-

Pagoda Red – two antique Chinese chairs for under $1000 – Here $500 for a chair is not cheap, I know.  BUT, I was surprised – these style chairs really aren’t readily available in reproductions.  If you want this, you probably will have to buy an antique.  $500 for a chair like this is very reasonable – some were over $2000.  I wouldn’t use a different style just to save on this – it would be better to find an antique that is on sale.

 

The hardest item to copy is the Bennison fabric.  At over $200, Bennison is out of reach for most of us.

 

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I found this linen fabric at Lee Jofa that would substitute nicely for the Bennison.

 

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From Calico Corner, this fabric is much less than both the Bennison and the Lee Jofa too.  Though not floral, it has the light, airy feel that the Bennison Roses in Gray does.

In the end, one bedroom – with a Chinese chair – opened up a new world to me.   It has reminded me to keep my eyes open when I read through magazines – probably much too quickly these days.   Even though I am sure of my aesthetic, I am finding that recently new things are catching my eye, things that I have dismissed before.

Are you finding yourself liking new things you have never even noticed before???