Five Good Reasons to Let Go of Chocolate Brown

Australian Vogue Living

I understand that colour trends come and go; hot for one minute, dated the next. But really, the use of chocolate brown was starting to become a sort of pandemic in the world of interior decorating. It became the new blue in little boys rooms, the new taupe in living rooms, and the new beige in just about every other room of the house. I'll admit, I did like the light blue, cream and chocolate brown combination at first; until every home in North America got on the bandwagon. So today, I thought I'd blog about the most sought-after colour in interior decorating today. The colour that will bring us out of the recession. The colour that reminds us spring is around the corner. Yes, the colour Gods have selected none other than.......gray.

Don't get me wrong. I do love this new selection, as long as it's done in a way that uplifts rather than suppresses. At work a few weeks ago, I came across new Villa Nova wallpaper and fabric books and INSTANTLY fell in love. At last, the predominant colour was not brown, but pale and dark grays mixed with soft shades of yellows, lavenders and blues.

Here are the top five reasons why gray is the new brown...

1. It will work in a boy OR girls bedroom, living room OR family room, hallway OR bathroom. Remember how many times you felt claustrophobic in that little chocolate brown bathroom?

2. With the craze to make your home into a spa-like retreat, I can't think of anything more serene and peaceful than a room with white, gray and blue.

3. You can bring out your silver accessories and pewter frames again.

4. Unlike its predecessor, you can go warm or cool with gray.

5. Let's face it. This wallpaper wouldn't be quite so amazing in brown. I'm talking the difference between obsession and nothingness. Kind of a big deal.

If I haven't sold you yet (even though all my reasons were official and professional...but maybe gray isn't your thing), perhaps these turquoise and orange pieces from Villa Nova will be enough to get you excited about life after chocolate brown.


A Night at the Movies

There are few things I love more than curling up and watching a great movie. I have to say, Architectural Digest completely outdid themselves with the gorgeous home theaters they recently published. These are far from the rows of La-Z-Boys and big screens that adorn many a suburban home. These spaces are exceptional in their own right, but then as a home theater; well that's just amazing.

Wouldn't this outdoor projector be incredible on a warm summer night? Most popular house on the street, I'm sure.

All photos from Architectural Digest.


Welcome to the Jungle

Okay, not quite. I almost titled it "Going Green", but really, how many times have you heard that phrase now? A reference to old music (my closet obsession) seemed much more fitting.

I really don't have a green thumb, and I'm not even all that interested in having a car-stoppingly (my new word) beautiful front yard with roses and tulips when I own a house. I'm not saying I'd let it grow wild like THIS, but if we were to categorize my "landscape style", I'd keep it simple with something like THIS. Something the neighbourhood lawn care boy could take a John Deere to without worry.

All kidding aside, I give Martha Stewart the award for home gardens. I will never have the enthusiasm or dedication to spending a weekend in the garden that she has, but I do appreciate her love of plants. I've always loved the look of fresh flowers in a home, or a small plant to brighten up a space. And in that department, I consider myself moderately improved. I kept bamboo alive for at least 2 years, and I periodically buy myself flowers.

Over the weekend, I visited IKEA and picked up a few unnecessary things that I love. Before I could get to the checkout, I passed through the plant section and grabbed a few adorable potted plants to give life to my desk and bedside table. I think these photos (taken from Martha Stewart) are all a testament to the beauty of green. Single leaves, small foliage and simple pots can make such an impact in a room. Why wait until spring to enjoy nature again?

Go out and treat yourself to a love fern - single parent or not.


Sit down. Relax. Stay Awhile.

Lately, I seem to be so interested in beautiful armchairs. The oversized rolled arm chair has been replaced with a more simplistic, tailored style; one that emphasizes the craftsmanship of both carpenter and upholsterer. Small casters or slender legs are like the piest de resistance! It seems that to me, right now, there is nothing more glamorous than the sight of such a thing.

I've done a little sourcing of my own, at Lee Industries and Barbara Barry. Sarah Richardson has also won me over with her wonderfully chic Quinn daybed [shown above].

These photographs are all taken from Metropolitan Home's Glamour "Making It Modern" book. I'm sure I've already mentioned how great this book is as a resource for design ideas (and they're not all modern!), but here are a few of my armchair favourites.

(Arm chair....dining chair....I know I'm stretching it, but isn't this a beautiful space!)

This is the cover photo for the book, and I'd love to interpret this design in a bedroom setting.


DIY Project: Bulletin Board

I saw this photograph a few months ago, and held onto it in hopes that I might get around to making my own bulletin board like the stunning one in this picture someday. Shockingly, I actually followed through! Here's my run-through on this easy DIY project!

The main thing that I loved about this idea was the vintage frame they had used. It was a little tricky to find one large enough (and original!), but I ended up paying $50 for this antique carved frame from My Back Shed. I'm sure some of you are thinking that I overpaid...but once I'm in love, I must have it! Plus, it was already painted?!


I wanted to create contrast by using a patterned fabric, and this green print was perfect! I purchased it from inVU Drapery Co. for $20/yard and have a bit left for a toss cushion or two when I'm in the mood for another project.

Rather than using cork for the board backing, I went to Home Depot for peg board. This way, the fabric wouldn't snag too much over time. For only $4, I had the board cut right there and was ready to assemble everything!

Just glue gun the fabric to the board, making sure the corners are tight, and then glue or nail the board into the frame. I tried the nailing route, until I took a chunk out of the front of the frame because the wood was just too old!

Rather than using boring old tacks on the board, I've found a second life for my stud earrings that have lost their pair. I think the pearls and "diamonds" only make it more charming.

I now have a not-so-cluttered home for favourite quotes, photographs and things that make me laugh (note the doll photograph)! And I don't think it gets any simpler than that...


Up & Comers

House Beautiful has announced its list of 20 Designers to Watch! Among the many talents is Ginger Brewton of South Carolina.

All of her rooms feel so fresh and make use of the most beautiful fabrics.

These kids rooms are amazing - proof that animal decals and colour overload are unnecessary!

More of my favourite designers from this article to come....Happy New Year!
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