April 26, 2015



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Time to freshen-up your porches for the heavier, high-season use.  Porches are where we relax, snooze, entertain casually and feel the summer sun and breezes upon our artificially tanned and plumped skin.

First we need to understand the lexicon of porches - especially if you want to add-on or build a new outdoor space.
Your contractor might hear you describe a "modest porch" and what you're actually asking for is an "17th c. Venetian Piazza!"

May be enclosed by screen, latticework or other light frame walls extending from the main structure. 
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A gallery or corridor at ground level, sometimes higher, on the facade of a building and open air on one side, where it is supported by columns.
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An outdoor space that often adjoins a residence and is typically of hard, masonry paving.
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A fanciful name for a colonnaded porch.
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An open pillared gallery generally built around a central structure. It's often partly enclosed by a railing and frequently extends across the front and sides of the structure.
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 A garden feature forming a shaded walk or passageway of pillars that support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice with vines trained across. 
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A freestanding pavilion structure often in parks, gardens and spacious areas and open on all sides
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Literally means "beautiful view. It's used as a term for a high porch commanding a nice view.
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A wooden outdoor floor, usually elevated
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An open courtyard-type space surrounded by columns on the interior of a home.
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W  H  A  T' S   Y  O  U  R   S  T  Y  L  E  ?
This covered patio is one of my favorite outdoor spaces, ever! The beautiful striped awning (which is not an expensive addition) with the Moroccan lanterns creates feel of a wonderful Moroccan or Spanish villa. The combo of the wicker with a re-purposed cocktail table keeps the tone down. 
I see flowing white caftans and jeweled sandals!

You're going all like OMG, right? I know!  Wall & floor tiles, cast stone columns and the olive oil jars all add to the 'continental' feeling. The simple furniture allows the architecture and vegetation to be the "star player." 
Hmmmm... maybe a Pucci knit dress and Chanel ballet slippers?

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GTFO! Some musica di chitarra and vino rossa you're immediately transported to Lago di Como or Ravello.  The classical Italian feel is uncluttered and molto elegante! 
Here, it's definitely a white linen two-piece, hair pulled back with Hermes scarf and bare-feet with coral toe-nail polish!

D  E  C  O  R  A  T  I  N  G    T  R  I  C  K  S

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Dark Green Painted Ceilings: Yes, they actually make the spaces feel shady and cooler.

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Pale Blue Ceilings: Pale blue is an old southern tradition.
It lightens and brightens the porch and feels like an open sky

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Keep It Well Edited: The outside view is busy enough, don't incorporate busy patterns or too many colors or your porch look like Sanford and Sons.

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Color:  One or two-color schemes are always best. 
Much more impactful and easier to comprehend. Don't compete with the outdoors, you wont win....

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Flowers & Plants: Bring the garden into the porch; blur the lines by bringing plants and trees onto the porch.

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Use something usually for an interior space: A pair of chairs, porcelains or lamps.

C  U  R  T  A  I  N  S
There are zillions of outdoor curtain fabrics in many weights, colors and patterns - even sheers! (I know, craycray, right?)
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Tied back curtains add softness, but also a touch of formality.
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Porch curtains can be utilitarian too, you can close them to block the sun or abate an evening breeze. 
The idea of softly drifting curtains in the breeze can getcha all romantic too....   

A  P  P  R  O  P  R  I  A  T  E  N  E  S  S

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Mediterranean Style
If your home is Mediterranean-style, or southwestern then this direction and flavor is what's appropriate. A warm palette, all iron furniture and masculine architecture are the key elements of this porch.  
This would look silly on a colonial porch in Virginia. 

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The grand, All-American porch! 
Using one simple fabric keeps it clean-lined and attractive. The blue and white is woven through the entire outdoor area; paving stones, upholstery, even the flowers in the garden are all blue.
Looks great in the Hampton's, but would look silly and feminine in Texas!   

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Clean-lined traditional is always a winner!
By editing and keeping it simple, it almost feels contemporary.
The all-white furniture highlights the structure and the mossy-green upholstery blends beautifully with the green of the garden. 
This porch's scheme is great for any region with lush vegetation, but not for a desert, southwest locale. 

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Classic, casual and cool!
Here, the elegance is implied by the architecture, the designer followed through with the decorations and a simple palette.
Would look good anywhere! 

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Country-Fried Chic!
The mountains, woods, low-lands or the prairie are the perfect places for this style porch. The causal architecture is enhanced by the suite of matching wicker in pale tones.
This would look odd in Lajolla!

I  N  E  X  P  E  N  S  I  V  E    &    A  W  E  S  O  M  E

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A little bit of this with a little bit of that!
Their formula for success is they have kept everything white and rattan color.  The accessories are large-scale so they don't get lost in the great outdoors. Small accessories look cutesy and low-budge.

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A scrappy cinderblock-walled porch is zhuzhed up by painting tag-sale stuff with pretty paint colors drawn from the rug.

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If you like mid-century - buy a few things at resale shops, CB2 or West Elm that express your style. The success lies in the simplicity here.

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Simplicity + Pier1 = Success

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Granny's old stuff will rock da house if you just spray-paint it white and put snapppy colored cushions on it.
Boom, yer done!

You Can Do It, I'm Here To Help!

March 19, 2015


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The word  handsome  is usually used to describe a man, however, the most naturally stylish women in the world are Italian women; they're considered 'handsome' as they don't employ cutesy tricks, frilly clothes or superfluous details -  they're always chic as they're always well-tailored and simply dressed.

Handsome Room means the same thing; well-edited spaces with good architectural bones and simple furniture. 
It's  not  about 'decorative' or 'trendy' furnishings and piles of schmaltzy/girly accessories. 

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Mr. Blass' Sutton Place apartment was so drop-dead gorgeous when it first hit the pages of House and Garden back in the late 80's that I think every interior designer re-tooled their 'schtick.'
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First published during a maelstrom of colorful, chintz-laden, 'more-is-more' interiors, and yet his hyper-edited rooms were quite simply white painted walls with brown furniture and masculine objet d'art 
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Mr. Blass' New Preston, Connecticut home employed the same aesthetic: Beautiful objects, slightly lower-tone brown furniture casually arranged in a simplistic, no-frills space.
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His Connecticut bedroom had simple, brown painted walls, slipcovers, bare floors and very few decorations.

It's total decorator porn!

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(Source: David Kleinberg)
Architecturally succinct with no frills = handsome! 
Mocha upholstery actually sets off the well-detailed paneling; white upholstery would've create a sea of white and details would be lost. 

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(Source: Marshall Watson)
English architecture and furnishings help parlay any room into a handsome one. Notice the lack of porcelains, gilded frames and patterned fabrics

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(Source: House Beautiful)
When you lose the curly-cues, zhuzhy back-splash tiles, swirly stone tops and cutesy accessories you'll have a handsome kitchen.

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(Source: Giancarlo Giametti)
This room is neither masculine or feminine
it's  just balls-to-the-wall chic!
Each piece is perfect - the art, the furniture - and the lack of crap or superfluous lamps on each table.  

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(Source: Baretta Diamond)
Walk into this foyer and you'll immediately 'get it!'
White painted walls, equestrian art, plaid fabric and  no  carpets or schmaltzy chandeliers

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(Source: Michael Smith)
Prissy bathrooms get skanky so quickly, right?!?
The simple fusion of the honey-colored paneling, antique wood pieces with beige tones creates a very sophisticated bathroom. 
The Moorish mosaic definitely adds a masculine note. 

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(Source: Palmer Weiss)
A typical pre-war apartment gets brought into the 21st century by simplifying, using a warm palette and classically-styled furniture. 

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(Source: Amelia Handegan)
What makes this traditional room 'handsome' are the books, English furniture and a very simple palette with few patterns.

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(Source: Bunny Williams)
Pierce Brosnan kinda handsome!
No tsochke's, no frills, elegant antiques and brown-tones!
BOOM, there it is!

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(Source: Unknown)
French and Italian antiques are combined with modern pieces to create a totally up-to-date 'handsome' space. 

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(Source: Bruce Budd)
Nuances of Mr. Blass are present here, except with the addition of a few contemporary pieces, which all melds into and a well-edited, "collected look" without the usual collected-look clutter!!

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(Source: Waldo Fernandez)
White painted walls replace the ubiquitous striped foyer wallpaper, and a simply accessorized George IV center table replaces the formulaic: chest-lamp-pair-of-hall-chairs  schtick 

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(Source: Ellen deGeneres & Portia de Rossi)
Two lesbians have the most beautiful 'casually handsome' space in this missive on handsome rooms  - go figure...
The lounge in their horse barn is without all the typical equestrian gimmicks; unpretentious, worn furnishings supply the comfy-lets-hang-out-y'all  vibe.   

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(Source: Alex Papachristidis)
A modest foyer gets a punch of grandiosity with a few antiques (from several periods) and a kick-ass, two-tone chevron stained floor.
(The old Roman prints of naked dudes doesn't hurt either...)

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(Source: Birch Coffey)
A country cottage ditches the tired-ass gingham curtains, rag rugs and pine furniture for a few handsome statement pieces - ergo replacing cute with calming.

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(Source: Super Yacht Times)
Yacht interiors usually look like discotheques or nouveau riche versions of an Englishman's library.  Here, the designer has allowed the sea views to override the quiet, tailored interiors 

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(Source: J. Randall Powers)
Each piece in this room is part of a puzzle. 
And, like a puzzle, there are no redundant, or superfluous pieces.

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(Source: Bates-Corkern Architecture)
A graphic carpet mixed with clean-lined furnishings and a simple palette create a contemporary version of 'handsome' 
Some trendy piece of furniture, or, yet another, Warhol silkscreen would take this from handsome to boredom...

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(Source: Unknown)
This home exemplifies 'updated traditional' 
Clean lined, appropriate architecture punctuated with bold art and English furniture.

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(Source: Kristen Buckingham)
Random furnishings floating around in this heavily beamed room feels solid and forthright; there's no unneeded curtains, carpets or textiles, only pure, honest materials like leather, sisal and linen.

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(Source: Waldo Fernandez)
Fernandez has always successfully achieved "handsome" by combining light-and-airy with warm, dark furniture and honest, almost primitive textiles.