A Peaceful Home...

Welcome to my blog! My name is Sherrie. I have begun this blog with high expectations... hopefully it will help me organize the hundreds of pictures of homes I have on my computer.

You see I am obsessed with homes...

I watch a movie because of the home (or door, or wood trim) in it...

I do select the longest check-out line in the grocery store so that I can browse the home magazine section...

I have gone to Home Depot to "relax" after a long day...

I get excited when my children fall asleep in the car right as we approach home... this means I can spend a little time sight-seeing in some of my favorite neighborhoods...

... and since you are here, I imagine you are the same way.

My children (ages 6, 5, and 4) have all learned to recognize great home design. They frequently comment on the "lovely front doors", "an excellent staircase", and "nice wood floors." (Their words not mine.)

I am afraid my husband of tens years has helped very little... he enjoys our Saturday drives to view "model homes" in our area, has helped me paint many walls a variety of colors, and is now gently nudging me to pursue writing this blog.

I imagine I will also be writing about some of my other interests... organizing, management and cleaning our home, creating a peaceful environment, gardening, cooking, parenting and home schooling.


(Images are from www.housebeautiful.com)

Peace in the Heart, Peace in the Home...

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

-- Lao Tzu (570-490 B.C.)

Top Ten Trends: What's IN - What's OUT!

What's IN & What's OUT! According to the trend watchers and market researchers the below TOP TEN reflects a variety of tastes and loyalties depending on your location. What do you think is IN or OUT?

Top Ten INS:

1)  Repurposed & reclaimed furniture
2)  Black & white combos
3)  Tone on tone damask
4)  Natural linen-like fabrics paired with pillows with bling!
5)  Metallic leathers
6)  Mixing styles, example: Wire chandeliers with crystals
7)  Understated and comfortable goods
8)  Antique chairs upholstered in modern fabrics
9)  More contemporary rug designs
10) Animal prints in non-traditional ways

Top Ten OUTS:

1)  Quantity over quality
2)  Hunt themes
3)  Black lampshades
4)  Matchy bedding
5)  Too much formality
6)  Exaggerated arms on upholstery seating
7)  Anything too shiny
8)  Tuscany style
9)  Antique gold
10) Fussy floral arrangements

Special THINGS from Kravet Showroom!

Kravet's Marcy Chair - Perfect for dining with just the right stuff!! The fabric shown is the luxurious 30053 in color 106. This fabric is a viscose/poly blend velvet and comes in two other distinct colors:  mink and chrome. The Marcy chair is part of the Urban Studio Collection. Wood finish: Walnut.

I am in love!! The special trim above, T30429, is a beautiful cotton braid with rhinestone rows for such glamour! You cannot appreciate this beautiful new trim until you see for yourself! I wish I could capture the true beauty but you will just need to order a sample. The trim is shown in color 35, a light aqua, but also comes in lavender and blush.

Upholstered Bed - Cambridge Complete Bed, B302,  featuring the upholstered headboard with full wood surround. Any fabric may be used for the upholstery and the wood may be finished in any of eleven finishes.

All of these products can be seen at the Kravet website and purchased through your designer or The Designer Insider.

Three Beautiful Matching Mercury Glass Lamps!

Mercury Glass Buffet Lamp - A taller lamp at 41" high perfect for the modern buffet or console! Cream silk shade with small star shapes.  http://bit.ly/7SYAbz.  Mercury Glass Table Lamp (lower) - A great size for a table or dresser at 29"high. Same beautiful silk shade as the other lamps. http://bit.ly/6AnYAf.

Mercury Glass Chest Lamp - Larger shade in rectangular shape, small star shapes on cream silk. (26" high)

Fjord Design Scandinavian Flatware

Looking for a Valentine's Day gift that will last for decades?

Fjord Design Flatware was started by Odd Leikvoll, who grew up outside of Bergen, Norway. He was one of seven children in the family, which was of limited means. However, this did not stop him from pursuing his dreams and setting ambitious goals for himself. He started his own flatware production at age 25, in an old barn, by the fjords of Hardanger. Today his son Rune runs Hardanger Bestikk, which is the largest producer of quality flatware in Scandinavia. Fjord Design flatware is inspired by the Scandinavian way of life - honesty, simplicity and functionality. Many of the designs are named after Odd's daughters and granddaughters. The evidence of true product quality comes in the fact that the family has been in business continuously since 1958.

Scandinavian metal craft traditions coupled with decades of production experience, product development, and manufacturing technology, have created products that are truly unique - and cannot be found elsewhere.

Fjord Design takes true pride in guaranteeing the product quality of any Fjord Design products - for a lifetime of unique satisfaction.

Flatware is a gift that will be used every day, while fine flatware is appreciated and is a lasting keepsake. Our 15 different stainless steel designs, 4 different pewter designs and guaranteed supplementation provide you as the customer with a splendid gift idea for years to come.

"Hardanger Bestikk for everyday and special" is the motto from which you will greatly benefit. Choose from the totally plain to the most exclusive flatware with 24 carat gold decoration. Flatware is a gift for any occasion, just as ideal for everyday use as for festive occasions.

When you purchase flatware with JMX International, use the coupon code fjord to save $25 on any order of $150 or more, now through Valentine's Day 2010.

on the down low

Just attended the Maison et Objèt show in Paris ... amazing and inspiring and, at times, overwhelming!

everywhere you looked were signs in every language reminding you that photos were forbidden ... right alongside were folks snapping pics!

I got a little braver as the day progressed and sneaked a few fuzzy shots of some of my favorite furniture pieces or color combinations.

I grabbed this one because turquoise is the talk of the town and it was wildly on display here.

The photo doesn't quite do justice but its floor to (high) ceiling bookcases, stately form, black with bold turquoise interior. to wake it up even more? a fantastical collection of parrots in reds and blacks and jewel tones were interspersed amongst the books and other objèts.

would make a tiny bibliotheque to die for.

more to come...

Solid Wood Children's Furniture at JMX

At JMX, we offer a wide variety of kid’s items from nursery furniture to toddler chairs and tables to fun American made toys! All of these items are sure to be heirloom quality furniture that is passed on from generation to generation. All of our kids furniture is made of solid wood - not cheap particleboard and veneers. It is made in the USA by Amish woodworkers, who add the experience, skill, and integrity to the process. Looking for a crib or cradle? Consider a high chair to accompany it.

All of our kid’s furniture and accessories will be sure to delight that special little one in your life! Our American made child’s table makes a great place for your child to do crafts, play house, read books or eat a snack! Give the very best to your children. All of our kids products are built to last! These are not imported items that will quickly fall apart! We offer a wide variety of styles from mini windsor chairs, to farmhouse tables, to even a Time Out chair!

All of our Amish furniture is handcrafted of 100% real wood! Proudly made in the USA! Buy American!

The 56th Annual Winter Antiques Show!

The Winter Antiques Show is considered to be the top decorative art event and a highlight of the winter season! People arrive from all over the country for this 10 day event which includes dinners, parties, book signings, lectures and auctions. Everything in the show is for sale and exhibited objects can only be as "young" as 1969. The exhibitors deal in fine antiques and reproductions are not allowed. There will also be a loan exhibit from the great homes of historic New England where the many treasures have been carefully selected and transported for this viewing. So come to admire or to buy something sensational, there are exhibits to delight everyone! Open daily 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., January 22nd - 31st, Park Avenue Armory, NY. See a preview below!  More information: http://www.WinterAntiquesShow.com.

Pennsylvania Dower Chest 1810

Pairing Robert Allen Fabrics & Sherwin Williams Paint!

Another great pairing of paint and fabric! Robert Allen Fabrics has paired with Sherwin Williams to bring you wonderful fabric collections and great paint colors that will enhance your room. We will bring you one of these collections from time to time and show the many different choices available. Below is the Hydrangea Collection featuring the Cottage Chic Group. Our main fabric, Dearest, is shown below and then is followed by several optional fabric choices. A specific paint palette has been chosen to enhance this group. How easy is that!! All fabrics and trim can be purchased through your designer or The Designer Insider, just contact us.

Robert Allen Fabric - Dearest in Hydrangea.

Robert Allen Fabrics - Kearney in Sun; Ludwell in Chambray; Quilted Shapes in Leek.

Robert Allen Fabrics: Cottage Plaid in Pool; Cabin Weave in Sun (Cellulose Fabric); Oval Flower in Hydrangea.

Sherwin Williams colors from top: Leapfrog, Cosmos, Extra White & Kilim Beige. Visit your local paint store to see the above colors and their true tones.

All of the above fabrics can be purchased from The Designer Insider, just contact us. TheSource@numail.org.

DutchCrafters Offers Handcrafted Amish Furniture Made in America

While many American furniture makers lose way to foreign imports, the Amish are thriving as skilled furniture craftsmen in places like Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Holmes County, Ohio; and Shipshewana, Indiana. The Amish have earned a well-deserved reputation for high quality and value, practicing their art in places where American furniture has been made for generations. It is this qualitative difference that is evident in our Amish furniture.

While the Amish in general have earned a reputation for high quality, quality can still vary from one Amish furniture maker to another. At DutchCrafters, we've combed the back roads and countryside, carefully selecting woodworkers whose commitment to quality furniture matches our customers' expectations.

Amish furniture is well-known for its high quality, traditional designs and master craftsmanship. Many Amish today are also making very handsome furniture with more modern designs in order to meet a wider variety of consumer preferences.

Amish furniture is generally made in solid oak, cherry or maple. Popular furniture styles include Shaker, Colonial, French Country, Queen Anne, Mission and Windsor. The Amish specialize in dining room tables, hutches, chairs, office furniture, bedroom furniture, entertainment centers, and much more. Because various woodworkers have different specialties, we can offer a wide selection of specializations to you.

We trust that you will enjoy owning your Amish handcrafted furniture as much as the Amish enjoy making it and as much as we enjoy bringing it to you. Heirloom quality Amish furniture is a treasure that you can pass along to the next generation. Learn more about the features of our Amish furniture and the DutchCrafters Difference. And until February 10, 2010, enter the coupon code dutchblog at checkout and get 10% off on any purchase of $250 or more!

Hiring An Interior Designer

Design professionals are your resource to the latest trends, best products and ideas to help assist you in the best possible way to achieve your goals. The designer will do the footwork for you while providing the very best for your budget. They can save you hundreds of dollars on just one project by helping to prevent costly mistakes. The agreed upon fee can be by the hour or by the project depending on the client's needs. Below I have outlined some tips for choosing a designer:

1. Interview several designers to find the best fit for your project.

2. A professional will be upfront about the fees and cost so there will be no hidden fees that will surprise you in the end. Ask questions!

3. Find a designer that fits your budget and project. Some professionals only deal with certain aspects of design and have a minimum charge. Interview over the phone first and get some pricing upfront.

4. Be sure to express your feelings to the designer and keep the lines of communication open.

5. This should be an enjoyable experience! If not, then choose another designer. Any recommendations you can get from other clients are always helpful.

6. A true professional will be able to buy at wholesale and save you money!

7. Get references! A professional will have references and photos that show projects that have been completed. Ask detailed questions about any concerns you may have about the projects completed. Actually check the references from the portfolio.

8. Address any concerns about the time that you have appropriated for the project, monies involved and the overall schedule that you must meet.

9. Discuss the quality you expect and what you hope to gain from this project.

10. Get any details in writing that you feel necessary. Such as: project time limits, monies to be paid to the designer, contracts, agreements and the scope of the work.

Remember that your designer is a complete resource for the creation of the lifestyle that you want to bring to your home or office. Hiring a designer can be one of the best decisions you ever make!
Photo above courtesy of Veranda magazine.

Lighting Groups! Matching Lighting For Your Home!

Many of our lights are a part of a larger group of light fixtures including wall sconces, lanterns, pendants or chandeliers. Even some of our groups include lamps! This makes it easy for you to plan your lighting for your new or existing home. We also have many lights with the same finishes so you can coordinate your lighting needs. We would like to make it as easy as possible for you to match your lighting to your project. If you find a fixture that you love, just contact us and we will advise you on any others that may match. Below are three of our groups that are popular with the designers. Just click the link and search for the number of the light you love!

This group of lighting features a modern look with the richness of antiqued mirrors that covers the wrought iron frame. Each fixture, including the sconce shown, comes with French beige shantung shades that complements the silver leaf and mirrors. The lights can be used with or without the shades. Three beautiful lights: C05039 - Sconce; C09018 - 22"rd Chandelier & C09025 a 38"long Rectangular Chandelier. The Designer Insider

This group of lighting is one of our best sellers due to the beautiful and exceptional ironwork that evolves into a delicate and unexpected look. The bronze finish enhances the light and airy leaves that adorn the fixtures. There are four lights in this group: C05370 - Sconce; C09272 - Mini Chandelier; C09371 - Small Chandelier & C09370 - Large Chandelier. The Designer Insider

Mirrored lanterns as a wall sconce and as hanging fixtures for a foyer or dining area. Inlaid antique mirrors covers the silver leaf iron framework. Finished with seeded bent glass that pulls it all together. A choice of three fixtures C05032- Sconce; C09229 - Small Lantern & C09239 - Large Lantern. The Designer Insider

My TOP TEN Budget Decorating Ideas For Almost Nothing!

Here are my TOP TEN Budget Decorating Ideas For Almost Nothing:

1) Add floral or greenery from your yard to vases or pitchers and spread them throughout your home. Great masses makes the most impact. If you need greenery for your home for a special occasion, then dig up a bush in your yard, pot it and then replant later. I have used boxwoods for many events! Large plants look great for an impact.

2) Refresh old window treatments. Make them look new by adding trim or buttons to the hem, down the sides or across the top.

3) If you cannot afford drapes or a window treatment, paint a border around the windows or stencil a pattern. Never underestimate the power or paint! All of your friends or neighbors have paint that is left over. Trade!

4) Shelving: Simply pile up a stack of fruit crates (usually free from stores or garden stands). Use books to weight them or screw them to the wall. You can also recycle an old shelf by painting with a new color. Glue a ribbon or paint border on the front for detailed look. Add a collection to the shelf for impact.

5) Furniture: If you are having an event but are lacking the furniture, bring the outdoors in and the indoors out! Mix your furniture and accessories and decorate the rooms that only the guests will see. Rob from your other rooms, the outdoor patio or even borrow from a friend. I only let my guests see the main entertaining rooms so I can pull from other rooms. This is done in magazines all the time for photo shoots! Or if you just need a boost, move your furniture around your room and put it in unexpected places or angle the setting. Makes everything feel new or fresh again!

6) Add a personal touch to each room to add a sparkle. Old quilts or bright colored blankets for example. Mix old or tired patterns with new ones to create a more interesting room. Sometimes more is not too much! Walk through your home and mix it up!!

7) Look around your outdoor yard or neighborhood for great pieces of wood, rocks, shells, etc. Make an arrangement on your mantel with items from the outdoors. Pick great pieces and you can have a masterpiece!

8) Trade, Trade, Trade! Check Craigslist for free items or trade with neighbors and friends. Set up a neighborhood exchange, another man's trash is another man's treasure! I trade pieces with my best friend all the time! I have a friend that once picked up a wool rug, rocking chair and old shutters just from the side of the road that were neighborhood throwaways! You can trade just about anything!

9) Paint, Paint, Paint! Fresh paint can be used for a multitude of ideas. Paint wood floors that need refinishing (use a great pattern for a unique look), repaint an old or worn out piece of furniture and then change the hardware and don't forget your walls! Make your own stencil pattern and repeat a great design on a feature wall. Visit your library for great books on painting designs on furniture and throughout your home. The best ideas are sometimes free!

10) Clean, Clean, Clean! I cannot stress this enough! No matter what you have or do not have, everything looks better clean! The clean and sparse look is even in style. Keep your home clutter free and clean for those unexpected guests that may stop by! Do a little everyday and it will not be overwhelming!

Let me know what your best free decorating idea is and post it here! We all love new and inventive ideas!

The Wild Horses of Newbury

I firmly believe in the spirituality of trees. I can’t explain what it all means, it’s just that trees have been revered as sacred living things longer than we have been worshiping as Christians. There must be something to it. I believe that making beautiful or utilitarian objects out of the wood from trees gives them a new life after they have been cut down. I also believe that too many old growth trees are being cut down.

My recent research all started with the movie “Avatar”. (Great movie. Go see it in 3D.) In the movie, the great “Tree of Souls” is destroyed by the ruthless and greedy exploiters of the mineral resources of the planet. There is enough symbolism here to keep a discussion group busy for months. This giant tree is analogous to Yggdrasil, the great Tree of Life in Norse mythology.

Researching Yggdrasil I came across the website of an interesting music group from England called Moksha (see: http://www.mokshaproductions.com/.) (More on Moksha some other time.) Moksha’s website links to a video called: The Wild Horses of Newbury, which just blew my mind. It’s about the unexplainable spirituality of the old trees, a spirituality that we as a modern, progressive society, just can’t comprehend. Go to: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4171383607583139639 . Watch this video and tell me what you think.

Beautiful Things From Kravet!

The Parsons Dining Table shown in Flannel with light distressing with a laid plank top. Tuxedo side chairs in Flannel with light distressing and nickel nail trim. Many finishes and fabrics available.
Fabric - Bengal Floral in Mist - 100% silk with embroidery; Trim - Jacquard Tassel Fringe in Bordeaux, also in silk.
Tulip Finial in Gilded Silver; Beaded Rings in Gilded Silver (love these!); Beaded Adjustable Bracket in Gilded Silver; Plain pole in Dark Walnut.

Beautiful carpets from Kravet! Top - Killim in Charcoal is a hand woven wool from China. Left - Kashawar in Cream/Brown is a hand knotted wool from Pakistan. Right - Taipei is a hand woven aubusson from China. All carpets are in stock and come in many sizes.

Trim - Ball/Chain Bullion from Kravet Couture. Shown in Bronze, 10" high.

Harmony Button Sofa comes in three ways in any fabric.

Need more information? Just contact us!

January CLEARANCE Sale!

We're throwing a clearance sale to make way for all of the new pieces we've brought in to kick-off 2010!

Take advantage of 25% OFF ALL 2009 furniture items. We have a variety to pick from ... tables, chairs, accent pieces and more.

Stop in now through Sunday to enjoy the savings (2447 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley)! Our new layaway plan can be used for sale items, too. Don't miss out on these great prices ~

What's this about a Layaway Plan, you ask?! Well...say you see a piece that Johnelle has revamped in our shop and you love it, you want to take it home, but you feel it to be a little much of a splurge- we all have those days, right? Again.. you love it, it will serve a purpose in your home, and if only there was a way you could pay for it in two payments.

Well You Can!

Mignonne is big on client trust, so we have an agreement plan that will allow you to pay for the first half of a piece, take it home, and pay the second half within four weeks! Many of our clients have told us how much they appreciate the flexibility of this service. We are thankful for your support through the years and we are happy to be able to offer this plan for you!

Feel free to give us a call at 510.388.5830 if you have any questions...or would like our advice and help transforming a piece of your own ...

Great Trims From Duralee!

Below are some of our favorite trims from Duralee. All are available in a multitude of colors so just find one you like and there is probably a color to match! We especially love Whiskers Border that can be used in different applications. All are available to purchase through your designer or The Designer Insider.
Whisker Border - 2 1/2" in Turquoise/Glacier. A great border for pillows or drapes. Available in thirteen different colors!

Button Tape - 1 3/8" in Turquoise/Glacier, available in many other colors too.

Beaded Hold Back - 31 1/2" in Turquoise/Glacier. Many other colors available.

Geometric Beaded Fringe in Turquoise/Glacier. Many other colors available.
7235 Tassel Trim in Turquoise/Cocoa. Available in other colorways, see another one below!

7235 Tassel Trim in Sorbet.

Lithuanian Wood Carvings – Part 2 – the Rupintojelis

The Rupintojelis (pronounced roo-pinto-YAY-lis) is an important part of Lithuanian wood carving folk art. Derived from the Lithuanian word rupestis it can be translated as anxiety, concern and solicitude. This image is a repetitive subject in Lithuanian woodcarving. It depicts a man in a sitting position, leaning on his elbow, looking pensively and sadly at passers-by. At times the Rupintojelis is sitting on a tree stump or a stone wall. This image is carved in various styles, but always in a way that you immediately know he is suffering. Some scholars think that perhaps village woodcarvers consciously or unconsciously expressed their own worries, and fears through woodcarving. The Rupintojelis was found in the home, at crossroads and other public places.

The Rupintojelis image started as an a representation of a suffering human but, after Christianity came to Lithuania, the image gradually evolved into Christ, the Man of Sorrows, pondering all the ills of humanity. All emphasis is placed on the facial expression of deep thought and infinite sorrow. From what I understand, Rupintojelis can be seen along the roadside and in cemeteries throughout Lithuania…and of course at every tourist gift shop.

Some say the pose represents Jesus' anticipation of his crucifixion, after his scourging and crowning with thorns. Others say it depicts Christ after the resurrection and not yet ascended. Polish people have their version of the rupintojelis. It is very similar. They call it Chrystus Frasobliwy. One Polish legend says Christ travelled through the world with his crown of thorns. Tired from his journey, he sat on stones near the road and wept. This statue means many things to many people. Lithuanian Christians believe it shows how Christ was human and one of us. He shared our feelings and concerns. In it they see God's endless compassion and care for his people.

Here is a photo of contemporary wood sculptor Julius Urbanavičius with his wfe and one of his Rupintojelis sculptures. As you can see, some of them get pretty large.

More From Eric Cohler: Great Rugs With Style!

Below are more great products from Eric Cohler. These carpets and many others can be purchased through Lee Jofa. Custom sizing and colors are available on any carpets. See our article below on Eric Cohler showing some of his great furniture and lighting.
Xian - Fret:
Woven in China in a cross stitch needle point design with hand tufted pile. Content: 70% wool and 30% silk. Custom sizing and colors available.

A flat weave carpet hand woven in China with a mixed texture. Made of 100% wool, custom colors and sizing available.

Puzzle Work:
Bhutan is the origin of this hand woven rug. A flat weave with a mixed texture of 90% silk and 10% wool/cotton ground. Custom sizing and colors available.

Parc Monceau:
Hand woven flat weave made in China of 100% wool. Custom colors and sizing available.

A hand tufted carpet from Thailand of heavy weight semi-worsted wool. Custom colors and sizing available.

A hand tufted carpet made in Thailand of heavy weight 100% wool. Custom sizing and colors available.

A hand tufted carpet made in Thailand of heavy weight 80% wool and 20% silk. Custom colors and sizing available.

A hand woven carpet from China with a mixed texture on a flatweave style. Made of 100% wool with custom sizing and colors available.

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