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 

 photo designer J. Randall Powers. Featured in Elle Decor 1_zps353kapne.jpg
(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...

 photo adff818318c5153d2f242e47686b9ac3_zpsbnc5pozt.jpg
(Source: Unknown)
This home exemplifies 'updated traditional' 
Clean lined, appropriate architecture punctuated with bold art and English furniture.

 photo Reese Witherspoon turns to her friend Kristen Buckingham 2_zpsdznpuwis.jpg
(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.

 photo Waldo Fernandez10_zpskbqypwxd.jpg
(Source: Waldo Fernandez)
Fernandez has always successfully achieved "handsome" by combining light-and-airy with warm, dark furniture and honest, almost primitive textiles. 


March 8, 2015



This is what you have.....
This is what you want.

My housekeeper hit the proverbial nail on the head when she said
 I had several nice cars in the driveway and a garage filled with $100 worth of junk. 
Beside the hoarded collection of junk, the 1930's garage was old and dark with no walls or ceiling and exposed hot-water heater, furnace and electrical panels.

I took the challenge and decided to do it up right.

  •  One for “dog-stuff” and miscellaneous household overflow
  • One was the 'Costco closet' complete with a spare fridge
  • Another contained the furnace and water heater

All enclosures had louvered doors to allow circulation, eliminating mold, mildew and odors.

  • They were given a new home all to themselves in one of those Amish pre-built sheds/playhouses that are delivered complete.  
  • Now, shovels and croquet mallets didn't fall onto my cars.
  • Kids and gardeners had full-time access to it all.

  • The garage was insulated and sheet-rocked
  • 2” x 12” were used as a baseboard around the floor to keep the sheetrock dry should there be a hurricane or flooding from rain.
  • Crown molding was installed (it's cheap at Home Depot) at the ceiling line to make it a bit dressier.
  • Chair rail was added, which absorbs all the bumps and dings from car doors. 
  • Two recessed fixtures with incandescent
  • (or LED warm-color) lights per bay.
  • At night, fluorescent lights make a garage look like there's nuclear fusion going on from the outside.
  • Make sure that the lighting fixtures aren't obscured by the garage door(s) when up/open.

  • An exhaust fan (attic fan) which ran on a thermostat was added.
  • Open grilles cut into the ceiling keep air circulating in the summer, so A/C wasn't necessary.

  • A pull-down stairway was installed gaining access to the garage attic
  •  Rarely-used stuff can be stored out-of-sight, yet easily accessed when necessary.

  • Install two-inch Venetian blinds at the windows to match the rest of the house.

  • I painted the garage walls apple-green (Ben Moore #395 eggshell finish)
  •  The moldings, doors and ceiling were painted satin-finish white. 
  • The floor was painted beige with “garage floor” paint.

I've always collected antique portraiture and I had a few that weren't so important up in the attic, so I hung them in the garage... it was frickin’ great! 

When I sold that house I asked the buyers “what was it about the house that convinced you to buy it?” 
I was expecting the answer to be the lovely waterfront setting or the awesome d├ęcor(!) They said.... “the garage!” 
I’m sure that wasn't the reason they bought the house but, it was something that they vividly remembered.
(a note to consider here: If you’re selling or renting a house….try to do something like this so they’ll remember your house apart from the dozens of others they’ll see)


Don't know that you need oak paneling and wall sconces in your garage, but a little upgrade would be nice....

Bitch's got too much junk in da trunk!
 Get to WalMart and buy some tubs and shelving

WTF is up with allowing kids to keep their shit anywhere they want? And who's playing with those four year old busted-up toys? Send that crap to Goodwill, now!
A nice $30K car surrounded by $50 worth of junk?  Can't evenPhotobucket

Wouldn't this below be a little bit less frustrating?

If you wanted to do it right, you'll have to spend a few bucks. 
There are many opportunities to get 'garage specific' cabinetry; even some of those white melamine ones available at any big-box stores or IKEA.
DO NOT use the old kitchen cabinets in the garage!!
It's sooo white trash, they never fit as the sizes are always wrong. Spend the damn $2,000 and have a garage you'll be proud to open the door to.


There are many types of floors if you wanted to go overboard. There are amazing floor tiles that are hot looking. Personally, I prefer painted garage floor, OR,  believe it or not...wall-to-wall carpeting.. YES!  I've had it before and it's amazing. 
If you glue-down a low-pile, looped, industrial nylon carpet and place a cheap rubber doormat under each engine it'll be great. Carpet is so easy to care for, broom sweep it, or vacuum it once every 2 months, etc. Don't worry about the water or snow melt it dries just fine. 

I know many of you don't have large houses and the garage is a bonus room for the lack of interior space, a place to keep some clutter out of the kitchen, hallways or family room. Try putting locker-style compartments for the kids school books, sports equipment, etc. Then it's always in the same place, and separated from their siblings things. IKEA has many versions of these.

If the garage is tidy, the crap is hidden and the floor is nice, you can let the kids play out there, or have a large pic-nic in there if it rains; a true bonus room!

Rubbermaid makes a very practical system for keeping order in your garage too FastTrack Garage Organization & StorageSystem

Here are some other bloggers advice on organizing a garage

And....Here's some garages to strive for....Photobucket




You can do it, I'm here to help!

February 1, 2015



Perhaps you didn't get the  memo on Lacquer, but it's been white-hot for a few years.  Thick, layer-upon-layer of mega-gloss paint so thick it makes walls look dripping wet.
Trends have reversed: In the kitchen, counter-tops are now matte whilst cabinets are super high-gloss. Matte bathroom tiles have replaced shiny ones whilst other surfaces in the bath are all lacquered!

It's hot, it's sexy and it's rich looking!

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I know, right??

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(Source: Luis Bustimante)
A long narrow living room with a low-ish ceiling looks larger and taller with the lacquered ceiling reflecting the light. 

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(Source: Gabhan O'Keefe)
Totes cray, right? I freekin' LOVE this room!
That ceiling is perfection!

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(Source: Unknown)
Updated traditional is always chic! 
The green lacquer makes this go from 0 to 90 in five seconds

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(Source: Brooke Shields)
Milk Chocolate brown, who knew it could be do delicious...
Lacquer makes small rooms look larger!

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(Source: Unknown)
Can't say I like that furniture - but that screen is to die for!
It's doing what a mirror would do - but with color!

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(Source: Miles Redd)
Shiny oxblood bookcases and trim-work are highlighted with brass details making this feel so tailored and crisp. 

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(Source: Rob Southern)
I'm thinking this is a wall-covering which is a good alternative to the pricey lacquer.

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(Source: Luis Bustamonte)
I just want to rub my naked body all over those walls.....
(ooops, did I say that out loud?)

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(Source: Unknown)
The juxtaposition of the traditional woodwork painted white with the mirror-finish green lacquer is brilliant...

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(Source: Jean-Louis Deniot)
Parchment walls popped up with lacquered doors creates a trompe l'oeil impression of space.

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(Source: Unknown)
Fun! But, perhaps, the orange ceiling is a tad too much....

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(Source: Unknown)
A lacquered cabinet creates a pop of color and an illusion of space in this small dining area. Great idea when renting.

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(Source: Unknown)
Notice the way the light bounces around this small room blurring the boundaries, making it feel larger than it actually is.

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(Source: Steven Gambrel)
A colonial room gets a 21st century blast with the lacquered walls in a Williamsburg blue = updated traditional! 

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(Source: Stephen Sills)
Well-edited and handsome; the stunning lacquer job needs no wall decorations, it's perfect as is...

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(Source: Unknown)
A lacquered ceiling refracts the sunlight deep into a room with windows only at one end.

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(Source: Unknown)
Fine French antiques get slammed into gear with green lacquered walls and the perfect pink upholstery. The highlighted details on the paneling raise swank-factor a bit

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(Source: Miles Redd)
It's hard to achieve cozy and chic in the same room, but BOOM! here it is!

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(Source: David Kleinberg)
The trough-style, up-light illuminates the lacquered walls and ceiling turning a dark narrow hall into an interesting passageway.

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(Source: Miles Redd)
Updateing a "country look" by lacquering everything bright blue also makes the room feel larger and less cluttered.

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(Source: Unknown)
Lacquered base cabinets in concert with the checkerboard floor optically create a much larger feel in the small kitchen.

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(Source: Alkemie Blog)
A small pop of orange lacquer gives this bathroom interest - too much bright color in a bathroom is obnoxious as it makes your reflection less fabulous...jus sayin'

L  A  C  Q  U  E  R  E  D     F  U  R  N  I  T  U  R  E
Lacquering at home is nearly impossible. You'll need high-gloss oil-base paints and a motorized sprayer.
Take your piece to a car-painter, body-shop and have them paint your piece, it'll cost you less than a furniture finisher and the finish will be great.

Below is a French chest I found at auction and had it painted high-gloss black and look at the fabulous results! 
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A maple 50's dresser from Bubbies basement got a cobalt blue spray-job and some new knobs and BOOM! 
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A tired 80's Chinese sideboard got lacquered and now it's 
da bomb!
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B  A  D     L  A  C  Q  U  E  R

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Just wayyyy too much "shiny" going on here. 
Overhead beams are usually unsuccessful lacquered as it creates too much visual clutter.  Feels like a nightclub.

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This photo tells its own story; by lacquering everything it reduces all the beautiful woodwork into one big glare....   Had they left the ceiling white the room would be less glarey and super chic!

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I love rooms where you just know that in a few years they'll look around and go WTF were we smoking....

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Lacquered rooms fundamentally need to be tailored, simple and well edited. 
This room has way too much going on; different types of furniture, accessories, carpets and curtains all create a visual clusterf%#k.

You Can Do It, Im Here To Help!