Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Best of all design worlds in boho Greenwich Village

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Stephen Kent Johnson photo

The March 2017 issue of Elle Decor features a stunning Greenwich Village penthouse that mixes old world style with bohemian avant garde. The building itself is 19th century but was bought in the 1940s by an artsy couple who made their home in the penthouse and converted the floors below into efficiency apartments for GIs returning from World War II.

Fast-forward to the 1990s, when the current occupant of said penthouse moved into a "shoebox-like studio" in that same building. The remaining owner was in her 90s then, and when she passed, he migrated to the larger space. 

"Over a weekend I moved upstairs with some shopping bags," he laughs.


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Stephen Kent Johnson photo

You wouldn't guess that now, as the apartment reflects a quarter-century of globetrotting and collecting by the now top executive in the fashion industry. Furnishings from antiques shops in his hometown of New Orleans, as well as Paris flea markets and the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul fill the space. 

What I wouldn't give for that glorious bank of windows!


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Stephen Kent Johnson photo

This photo provides a glimpse of the tile accents the previous residents added. They designed the penthouse in Mission Revival style, and the current resident has yet to change any of the original architectural detail.


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Stephen Kent Johnson photo

That goes for the kitchen as well, which still sports its original farmhouse sink, now skirted in a Ralph Lauren linen.


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Stephen Kent Johnson photo

Same goes for the wrought-iron chandelier and stairway railings, though the latter is "a little jiggly."


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Stephen Kent Johnson photo

The homeowner enjoys mixing new and old and everything in between. "I think today's taste is a mix of all eras," he says. "You can wear sneakers with a suit. Why not mix something contemporary with something 300 years old?" 


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Stephen Kent Johnson photo

I love the restful eclecticism of the bedroom. Put an oriental rug down in a space, and it pulls everything together.


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Stephen Kent Johnson photo

The master bath's tile and sink are original, and the Venetian-plastered walls are the same shade as style icon Diana Vreeland's Chinese red-lacquered living room.


If you want more...

  • Continue your tour of this home on the Elle Decor website.
  • Read "Village Vanguard" by Peter Terzian, also at Elle Decor, from which information for this post was excerpted.
  • Pick up the March 2017 issue of the magazine.
  • Don't miss a day of BoHo Home! Subscribe using one of the services listed at the bottom of this page. Or, follow my blog with Bloglovin, a social-media-type site that feeds you all the blogs you choose to follow at one easy-to-access location.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Dreams of a boho summer as a countdown to spring

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Dot & Bo


I've got the winter boho-blahs.


February in central Indiana this year came with unheard-of mild weather that disappeared yesterday. Friday reached a balmy 72 degrees F., capping an eight-day run of highs over 60, before the day disintegrated into wind, thunder and rain as a coldfront pushed its way in.

And today? Let's just say there was snow on the roofs when we opened our blinds this morning. The predicted high may reach 35, and we're back to gray-gray-gray before the warm-up begins again tomorrow.

Could this be winter’s last hurrah? Everyone is hoping so, even though 24 days remain until spring arrives March 20 at 6:28 a.m.

If the predictions hold, today will be the coldest day between now and the end of the first full week of March. After that, it’s anybody’s guess. I’ve experienced Indiana winters that dumped two feet of snow the last week of February and an inch of ice the last week of March, with little or no warning.

Regardless of how it all shakes out, to help count down the days, here are some of my favorite outdoor—or semi-outdoor—spaces. Use this revue as an expedition of ideas for restyling your own few square feet of heaven come warm weather, also known as “the patio.” That’s certainly what I’m doing.


Pinning fingers ready? Let's go!



24.


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Via Keltainen Talo Rannalla

Never underestimate the value of a sheltered window on the world to watch winter as it turns to spring. When going outside is an exercise in discomfort, curling up in a spot like this is heaven. I’m wondering how to carve out such a space in my own home, where having only four windows total limits my options.

I love all the greenery—in the plants as well as the paint—and the mix of flower patterns in the pillows and quilt. See more photos of this home HERE.


23.


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Via I'm Outside Looking In

What I wouldn’t give for a sun room like this I could open to the outside when weather allowed! Daybeds are all the rage, and a sunroom is the perfect place to take a snooze. I love the textiles used here—the colorful striped throw and the geometric patterned pillows, particularly the kuba cloth one on the right.


22.


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Leslie Lindell photo / Le Sophie

The painted floor is what jumps out to me. I love the repetition of turquoise, even down to the window frames over the seating area. Those pillows on the chairs have been faded by their sunny spot, and there’s something warm and lovely about that. I also love the ottoman top wrapped in a pretty flowered throw. See more of this home on Apartment Therapy.


21.


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Via Shelterness

Nothing much beats the view from inside a conservatory. There’s something mesmerizing about a glass roof with framed window panes, accentuating the view out and overhead. Somehow clouds, critters, and moon and stars become even more fascinating, as if being watched through a camera lens. 

If I owned THIS room I’d never leave it.


20.


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Via Casinha Colorida

Okay, I MIGHT leave it to hang out here. Of course I adore the bright colors and festive patterns, but how cool is that mish-mash of window frames?


19.


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Dion Antony Design via The Grace Tales

A roofed porch is the next best thing to a screened-in porch or sunroom. And this one, thanks to the profusion of plants, seems to be a continuum of the garden beyond. I wonder if you dream more exotic dreams, taking an afternoon snooze on such an elaborately carved bench? I’d love to find out, as long as I can take along my own bench cushion.


18.


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Via Buddha Interiors

This porch daybed looks for all the world like a repurposed camp-sized bed dressed up in happy, happy flowers. There’s nothing much sweeter than napping outdoors and waking up to the sun on your face. The porch itself is its very own dream catcher.


17.


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Oh my! Have I died and gone to heaven? Or awakened in the Casbah? I love the rug-upholstered, over-stuffed cushions arranged a la sectional—great for conversing or stretching out to sleep or—you know. Check out more photos of this home.


16.


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Better Homes and Gardens

Wow! Pow! The color here knocks my socks off! Lately I am so into orange, and I can’t figure it out. Chasing the winter blahs, I guess. 

Looks like this porch is part sunroom and part open-sided—the best of all worlds! Having a fan is a must in such a space, but I like that the owner has also found room for a small chandelier, which hangs over the bench like an exclamation point.


15.


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Better Homes and Gardens

Who doesn’t perk up when they see sunshine yellow? Particularly when paired, as it is here, with citron green? I’ve got my eye on the checkerboard rug, how about you? 

Lemonade anyone?


14.


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Via Digs Digs

This is more my style—bright colors, but a bit careworn. I love the purple paired with yellow and the plants with colorful foliage. These plants look to be mostly coleus. My own favorite patio plants are varieties of caladium. I like to mix them with laser grass and Boston ferns for a stunning shade garden.


13.


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Denise Sabia photo/ The Painted Home

I love how this cheerily tricked-out detached garage spills into its attached driveway-turned-patio. And what a fun use of vintage aprons, tied together overhead, like flags waving in the breeze. 

Follow this transformation from garage to “she-shed” HERE.


12.


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Lobster & Swan

This “mom cave” is even MORE my style. Such stark simplicity! My guess is that daybed is not only perfect for snoozing but for gazing. I wish I could see what the view is. You can see more of this lovely retreat HERE and get tips for creating your own garden getaway.


11.


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Angelita Bonetti photo

This trailer is part of a larger home, but what a good idea for a studio or getaway—just park a small vintage trailer in your backyard! Of course, make sure your neighborhood covenants allow it, first. 

This one has been given some “roots” with decking, paving and plants growing up between the cracks. I love the old chairs swathed in colorful textiles and the willow tree draping the corrugated porch roof. See more of this home on The Design Files. 


10. 


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Via Buzzfeed

Would that I’d thought of doing something like this with my balconies all those years I lived in apartments! Shoes off at the doorway, then crawl into bed! 

It reminds me of old movies you see of city-dwellers taking their mattresses out onto the fire escape in summer because it’s too hot to sleep inside. But THIS “fire escape” has a lot more amenities. If the view was interesting, I’d stay there all day.


9. 


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Atelier Rue Verte

It’s always been a dream of mine to live in a place with a roof terrace, but this is probably as close as I’ll get now. But that’s okay; gotta save something for the next life, right? 

This looks like a terrific place for sunbathing. There’s even a ladder to climb to a higher level when the rays shift. Just don’t get prickled by that prickly cactus, K? Follow the link to tour this Marrakech home designed by Valerie Barkowski.


8. 


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Via Milagros Mundo

Another daybed—you can clearly see what it is I’m wanting, can’t you? Again, I’m gaga for all those shabby chic textiles. The intricate paving is pretty cool, too.


7. 


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Via Dot & Bo

This beautifully styled deck could be on a rooftop or merely elevated. It’s the floor pillows, pouf, and colorful covered basket that capture my attention here. 

And the MIRROR! I think we forget that outdoors is a wonderful place for a mirror to reflect the beauty of nature. I do have a spot on my own patio where that might work…


6. 


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Via Kelly's DIY Blog

Enclosure is its own intimacy. I love how this space has multiple levels and a profusion of flowers and greenery. And how cute is that treadle sewing machine repurposed as a table?


5. 


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Mary Bryan-Peyer photo via Design Chic

I’ve often thought it would be intriguing to live in a house wrapped around a central courtyard. I guess it’s my previous life in ancient Rome bleeding through. But seriously, it must be so comforting to see that encapsulated bit of heaven no matter where you go in a house. 

Breathtaking!


4.


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Via Clive Nichols

This courtyard is a bit more rustic, but just as charming. I’ve been told that watching chickens is fascinating—the pecking order they establish and such—and relaxing. And as long as someone else cleans the coop, I’m all for it!


3. 


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Shutterfly

Now THERE’S a comfy bench cushion! We once owned a similar bench, and for 20 years or so I enjoyed many a summer nap, stretched out its full length on a thick cushion. Our bench, which Chris built, finally succumbed to the elements, but I still have my memories.

I love how the smaller rug in this photo is layered over the grass rug, which appears to be layered over stone or gravel, which helps smooth out the surface for walking barefoot—my favorite summer pastime!


2. 


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Via Planete Deco

I don’t need an umbrella for shade on my current patio, but I certainly could use one for ambiance. The problem is storing it for the winter. I do miss the big market umbrella we had at our single-family home, though (where we did need it for shade). When the wind blew, it creaked, and the sound reminded me of sails and mast creaking on a tall ship.

Again, an area rug has been used over gravel to smooth the walking surface in this scene. My eye is on the hanging basket by the chair, though. Is it wired for light? A graceful accent regardless.


1.


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Sarita Relis photo

To relax is the thing, even if your bit of outdoor heaven is only a small square of concrete. That trellis is so sculptural, even without vines covering it. Tour this studio and its attached garden HERE.


Until spring ACTUALLY comes…


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Via Gioia de Vivere

You’ll find me by the window, searching for signs of its coming. Wish my window on the world matched this one, even just a little bit. Oh well, I can pretend. Often that’s just as much fun. 

Happy Saturday and sweet dreams of spring!

XOXOXO,
Susan



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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Turn desk drawers into boho FUN with trinket trays

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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

Maisie-Cat has never seen an open desk drawer that didn’t call out to her, and the messier the better. But me? I want to smile when I open a desk drawer, not groan as I search through a tangle of junk, hunting for what I need.

My solution? I reorganized my desk drawers with fun organizing trays and sweet and pretty trinket dishes!

I’ve collected trinket dishes on and off for most of my adult life—unconsciously—and so many that they stack up in storage boxes. Yes, I have LOTS of trinkets that would look absolutely gorgeous IN these trays, but the problem is a lack of display surfaces in a 1,400-square-foot condominium. So recently I got the idea to use them to organize my office-related stuff, INSIDE my desk drawers.

I don’t get to admire them ALL the time, but when I do open my drawers the little cheerleader inside me says, YAY!! GO TEAM! and shakes her pompons. It’s a little party each and every time, and it makes me smile, BIG-time.


Check out my BEFORE photos...


I have two desks arranged in an L, and each desk has two drawers, so four drawers total that collect office supplies plus the usual hodge-podge of miscellany. Here’s how each drawer looked before cleaning, sorting, pitching and rearranging:


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

Believe it or not, these drawers once looked neat. Believe it or not, they’ve also looked much, much worse! And because I have that very inquisitive kitty-cat (you met her above, if not in my last post), EVERYTHING office-supply must either go IN the drawer or a cupboard, or it becomes a toy.


Getting my inspiration on


What really got me thinking about spiffing up my desk drawers was finding these drawer organizer trays with the eyeglass pattern, so I bought four.


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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

I liked this tray design because it continued the theme of “learning to see differently” in my desk-area artwork. (Read more about that HERE.) But the clear lucite trays made by HOM Essence also come in other designs. Fabric-covered organizer trays would be fun, too, and add a punch of color and/or pattern.

I have a lot of junk, so I needed even MORE organizing aid beyond one tray per drawer. Two trays per drawer wouldn’t fit (and was sounding a little pricey), and that’s what put me on the trail of using my trinket tray collection.


Moving on to sleek and styled


With everything out of the drawers, I added first the organizer tray, then the trinket trays, thematically. I was stunned to find I had enough French-themed trays for two drawers (bottom row)!! 


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

I corralled “statement” trays in another drawer (top left) and relaxation-themed trays in yet another (top right). As you can see, there’s a little more room for future trinket dishes, as well as the option of rearranging my trays umpteen different ways, depending on my mood and needs.

Do you suppose this method appealed to me because I also love puzzles? Ha! You betcha!


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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

My trinket dishes are all ceramic, so I added rubber “feet” to cut down on clatter and slipping when opening and shutting drawers. You can certainly choose trays made of other materials. I’ve seen really cute painted-metal trays, for instance. And don’t be afraid to repurpose old dishes, cups and planters. The only limit is the depth of your drawers.

I did have to remove the “stop” screws that keep my drawers from pulling all the way out because the organizer trays were a smidge too high for the drawer to close otherwise. But since I seldom open the drawers all the way, I should be okay.

Lining your drawers with self-adhesive felt will also help hold everything in place and absorb noise. That’s next on my to-do list. If a piece has a flat bottom, industrial-strength Velcro, available at office-supply stores, will also do the trick.


Time to fill ‘er up!


Now I smile whenever I open a drawer or pick up an item and glimpse the pretty dish beneath. 


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

Some were gifts, so I remember receiving them and the person who gave them to me. Most were gifts I bought myself, to honor a special love or moment in my life, and so I think of that memory and/or feeling, too. In all, it's made opening drawers a wonder.


Let's take it drawer-by-drawer


In case you’re frantic scrolling between composite photos to check out the transformation of each and every drawer, follow the progression from sloppy-to-sleek, disaster-to-delicious in this series of photos instead.

Drawer #1: 

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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

One of the Paris drawers, with potential room for another tray or two. How long do you think my pencils will stay arranged thusly?

I often work at a wing chair and portable desk just to the left of this drawer, which is why my pocketknife is in that left-corner tray, where I can easily get to it to open packages. I’m an Internet shopping junkie, so it gets lots of use.

Drawer #2: 

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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

The other Paris drawer. I’m counting the sweet round bowl on the left as French-themed as well, since it was made by a friend who shares my fascination with all things Paris.

I separated the blue ink pens from the black ones just for this photo and neatly stacked up my stash of Post-it flags, but those degrees of separation won’t last long. 

Do you like my animal-shaped rubberbands? How about that black-cat bookmark? Je ne sais quoi is right on!

The round pocket mirror in front with the “W” engraved on it was my mom’s, given to her by her sister. The bookmark beneath it is engraved with an “S” and was a gift from my cousin, the daughter of the same aunt who gave my mother the mirror. Both items came from Wendell August Forge, Grove City, PA, near where they live, proving desk items themselves, apart from the trays that hold them, bring back memories and remind us of who we are. I don’t use either one much, but I love looking at them.

Drawer #3:

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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

As you can see, some items get moved to other drawers. (Some also get put away elsewhere or pitched when cleaning.) I got a little chuckle out of restraining extra charging cables with rubber bands and storing them in the “Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind” tray.

My framing tool (organizing tray, back compartment) didn’t quite fit, but compressing the handles did the trick (wish it worked with the scissors).

PS: The Hillary campaign buttons are still there, in back of the larger organizing tray, where I can see them through the clear plastic each and every time I open the drawer. (One says, “I’m still with HER,” and I still am.)

Drawer #4: 

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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

What I said about the framing tool? Ditto for the stapler. I use it so seldom, there’s no reason to keep it desktop. And that little black Gerber pouch front and center? It's as necessary as that little black dress Coco went on and on about.


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

A Christmas gift from my husband many years ago and just about the handiest desk tool on the planet. Sort of like a Swiss Army Knife, but with pliers as the central tool, rather than a blade. And when you’re done with it, the whole thing folds up, retracts, and fits in its snug case.


When I was done, the inside looked so good I had to spiff up the outside, too!


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

Note the new drawer knobs: It’s domestic cats on one desk and wild cats on the other, proving I’m an equal-opportunity crazy cat lady.

And what’s that in the corner of the righthand desk?


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

By gum, it’s my new Hillary Clinton action figure standing on one trinket dish and my collection of mini campaign buttons in another. Is there no end to the uses of trinket dishes?


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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

Pins aside, you’d see the orange-and-white-striped dish is imprinted “VOTE FEMALE,” something Chris and I always make sure to do. Notice how my button collection has grown since last time I shared it?

My favorite button? The one in the lower left, natch. Cats are pretty smart characters. 


What's next for Susan's desk?


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Rosanna Inc.

I'm seriously in love with the Glam Office collection from Rosanna Inc. (my absolute FAVE trinket tray designer). How about those Eiffel Tower scissors? This collection would work especially well for those of you who, in lieu of a kitty-cat or cats, can leave items on your desktop. 

Me? That's one I'll have to think through. Wouldn't trade that kitty for anything though, even more trinket trays!


Here’s where to find my fun desk stuff…


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  • Last but not least, here are some other desk-organizing items you might like (affiliate links)…




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