Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jersey Shore Without the 'Blowout'

A few weekends ago I had the pleasure of going to Cape May, New Jersey with family and had a blast. I had never been to any Jersey Shore before and was hesitant when I first heard that we were going there (no thanks to MTV's Jersey Shore show). But after some research on Cape May, I discovered that it was recognized as one of America's top 10 beaches by the Travel Channel and with that knowledge, I got really excited about our trip there. Turns out, Cape May was THE place to be back in the 1700s where you most definitely would have spotted one of the Founding Fathers or members of New York society relaxing.

But in 1876, a fire destroyed most of the town and so replacement homes were built in the Victorian style. The town has done a great job of preserving these historic homes, which is why Cape May is a National Historic Landmark (the only US city to be designated as such).

The first night we were there, we went out to dinner downtown. After dinner we decided to go for a drive along the beach and discovered some of the most amazing homes I've ever seen. I've seen big homes before, but these are not your ordinary, cookie-cutter homes you see in suburbia. These were unique, with well-appointed lawns/gardens and a killer view of the beach. Pretty much, my kind of dream beach home.

I told myself (and my husband) that we had to come back to this neighborhood during the day so that I could take photos of these grand homes. So the next day, we decided to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Ride our bikes while I take photos of the houses. It was a great idea, although some of the photos didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped so they are missing from below but I think I took enough to show you all the grandeur of this beach town.

Cape May Beach HouseHad to represent Maryland with this photo.

I believe this was one of the older homes turned into a hotel or b&b.

Love the craftsmen-style columns of the porch.

The flower boxes really add that punch of color needed to this house's facade.

Another historic property turned hotel.

This is my #1 out of the bunch.

This house is one of my favs that I saw - I especially like the whale at the top.

The only home we saw that was traditional and not beach-like at all but still beautiful.

No joke, the guy in the photo was sweeping the sand on his walkway with a dustpan.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Design Storyboard: The Living Room

Do you ever feel like you are constantly decorating a space in your house? Or at least thinking about redecorating a room? I feel like I am constantly saying, "Oh, this armoire would look great in the guest room" or "these drapes would be perfect for the kitchen window" or "we NEED that sofa in the tv room." I know I drive my husband crazy by saying these things cause he just rolls his eyes whenever I start a sentence with, "that would look great in the..." Well, he doesn't really roll his eyes, but I know his initial thought is where is the money coming from? And he's right. It's not like we've got a money tree growing on the deck, but you know what? When you have an idea, or final vision of what you want your room(s) to look like, it's a great start to finding pieces inexpensively. Since you know exactly what you want, you can always keep your eyes out during retail sales, flea markets, yard sales, Craigslist (a great resource), or you can save for that investment piece. Knowing exactly what you want will help you cut costs.

I'll be the first to admit that I have not lived by this process because I never really hunkered down to map out what each of the rooms in my house should look like. But after watching all of these design shows and reading how professional designers map out the plans of their clients' rooms, I figured I should take a cue and follow suit. I mean, if the pros do it that way then why can't I? And people, I now know why they do it that way. There's a relief in knowing what the final look is (no more stressing about it) and you can start hunting for deals on the pieces you need. Obviously, not all pieces can be found on the cheap (lucky you if you do) so certain pieces may be an investment instead.

Now, I'm not trying to discount the idea of purchasing items on the fly because that makes the item spontaneously personal and you never know what you'll find during shopping trips. But my husband and I do a lot of spontaneous purchasing of furniture and decor items and it would just be so nice to be buying items we know would get things crossed off the list.

Hence, the image above. I finally mapped out the living room with all of the ideal pieces I would want to have to furnish the space. And surprisingly, my husband is all for it! Obviously, I left out the many accessories that will fill in the space since if I had added that then this would be a forever-long post but I just wanted to start out with the major pieces first. What do you guys think?

{Photo Credit: Trunk Coffee Table, Morton Tufted Chair, Mother-of-Pearl Floor Mirror, Chateau-Thierry Clock, Lisbon Floral Curtains, Kensington Upholstered Sofa, Cascara Side Table, Benchwright Bookcase, Bergere Chair, Cara Chair, and Red and White Garden Stool.}

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