Fall Colour Collections

I've had the opportunity at work to order dozens and dozens of sofas and chairs for a new showroom that's opening this fall. It was important to be thinking in an "autumn" frame of mind while selecting fabrics and colours for these pieces, even if it was July when they were ordered. These were the primary colour combinations I zeroed in on. We'll see if I hit the mark in a few weeks.

All photos via pinterest.


Palette Inspiration: Gold & Vintage Rose

[Excuse my technical issues with this post...sometimes Blogger and I don't see eye to eye..]


Autumn Day Trips

We spent yesterday exploring a beautiful park about an hour from home. Even a short escape from the suburbs feels like a getaway. A delicious lunch and the cool autumn breeze; I'm so glad it's fall.


London Fog

On this first weekend of fall, I've started my morning with a warm London Fog tea in hand. It's a sweet, tea latte that is delicious any time of year, and can easily be made at home (you need a steamer or milk frother).

Brew 3/4 cup of Earl Grey tea (the stronger the better, I say). 
Remove bag. 
Add 1-1/2 tablespoons of vanilla syrup. 
Add 1/2 cup of steamed milk to the tea. 
Top with foam.

Photo credit: http://www.justbellablog.com/2011/03/must-drink-london-fog.html
Recipe adapted from: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/LA-COLLINA-LONDON-FOG-1240327


People > Things

All of that Missoni/Target madness last week left me feeling a little hopeless for humanity. What is the appeal in waking up at the crack of dawn, wrestling with desperate housewives and then coming home with a cheap version of the real thing? Then again, I never bought into the fake LV/Coach purse thing. Maybe I'm alone on this, but I was hoping the downward economy showed us we're better than just name brands, quantity and proving ourselves through stuff. My philosophy is quality over quantity. Any takers??

I've found something with wholesome roots to restore the faith, and it's sooo good. It's a magazine called Kinfolk, and it's the sweetest, loveliest e-mag around that celebrates small gathering. With earthy photographs and simple articles on time spent alone, in pairs or a larger group, Kinfolk is a step back from the material world. It's a great reminder that things are really not so important after all.

Read it here: Kinfolk Mag


Palette Inspiration: Apple & Lavender

I'm going to try a bit of a new series around here..."Palette Inspiration". I'll take a beautiful photo and break it down by colour, and then show how you can bring those hues into your home. I'd love your feedback, or any favourite images to deconstruct!


Starting Anew

I think it's time for a few changes around here. I'm a huge over-thinker, and I've been mulling for months over what changes I'm ready to embark on this fall...this blog included!

Aside from being my favourite season (who doesn't love cozy sweaters, leather boots and pumpkin spice lattes??), autumn makes me want to test the waters on new things. After celebrating the big 2-5 just a few weeks ago, I've realized I've read enough Pinterest quotes on "following your dreams" to finally take a leap or two. Yours truly is in the market for something new. And yes, sometimes it just might happen to rhyme.

I may not be the most regular blogger, but I can promise you that The Beautiful Shelter will bring you more original design content, delicious recipes and a few sweet getaways in the coming months. I might even get that blog header fixed....


Give me a reason to buy....

This playful Lines rug by photographer/stylist/designer Peggy Wong.

Clever birthday cards. And letterpress too!
And her photography is gorgeous and vibrant. Perfect for when the wallet says,


Autumn Classics

Realist Paintings by David Jamieson

How Proust Can Change Your Life, Alain de Botton. The most down-to-earth self-help book I have ever read (and loved).
Lazy mornings in bed and fading daylight. Forest Canopy Bed via Anthropologie.

Recently gifted to me, Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? by Ina Garten. I love her sweet demeanor and delicious recipes. I'm so looking forward to trying a few recipes this month (I'm eying her Fleur de sel caramels recipe).


10 Years

On this anniversary, nothing can be posted that is more important than recognizing what was lost, and in some ways gained, ten years ago.

I discovered the beautifully written words of former House & Garden editor-in-chief Dominique Browning today. She uncovered a piece she wrote the day following September 11, 2001 for the magazine. It reminded me very much of Celerie Kemble's words in her latest book, where she recalled feeling her career in design was somewhat trivial following the events of that day. Dominique's poignant words are as real and settling as they were ten years ago.

It is impossible to think about anything besides the devastation from the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. We all have images seared in our memories--the airplanes shearing through the steel corduroy of the World Trade Center; a man and a woman joining hands and jumping from the building; the high school student, unable to wrench himself from the window of his classroom, watching dozens of people fly through the air, crossing himself as each body sails past to the street below. I find myself choking back tears over the tiniest of details: the shoes, hundreds of empty shoes, strewn through the streets; the silver-framed photograph of a baby found amid the rubble; the little things brought from home to make the office a warmer, more companionable place to spend the days and evenings. All destroyed.

My 12-year-old, Theo, sat on the floor in my arms, watching the news coverage that afternoon when I finally got home, playing with blocks he hadn't glanced at in years, building towers with them, knocking them down with a model airplane, rebuilding the towers, knocking them down again, hardly conscious of what he was doing, over and over, sorting it out. After school the next day, having learned which classmates had lost mothers or fathers or both, he called me at the office in Times Square suggesting that I bring a parachute in from home (as if I have a stash in the mudroom) and keep it under my desk. How does anyone make sense of all this, much less help a child do it?

Of course, no one is thinking about chintz, or blueprints, or birdbaths this week. But then again, no one ever thought those sorts of things were the most meaningful parts of our houses and gardens. Everyone is thinking about home, about getting home, getting to our children, our parents, our sisters and brothers, our loved ones. And everyone is thinking about families that will never be the same, about rooms that will never ring with the same laughter, about smiles that will never again be seen around the table. We take so many things for granted--as we should, to go on with our lives. We don't ever stop to wonder, standing at the kitchen door, if the kiss goodbye, before leaving to take the train into the city to work, will be the last kiss. How could we ask such questions and get through the days?

Still, we put together a magazine that is about decorating, and gardening, and entertaining; we will be sending our readers information about holiday style and sharing our shopping lists. At first it seems unreasonably trivial to have to focus on these things again. And then, on reflection, you realize that that's really all there is, the little things of everyday life, the mundane details that pile up into whatever larger sense we make of our days. Anyone who has suffered any loss at all--and we all have--would give up so much just to go back to the way things were before the murderous morning. Really, what was more important than sitting at the dinner table with people you love? What was more precious than the sense of peace and quiet settling over the house as you tucked everyone in for the night? What was more satisfying than getting all the windows closed before the rain slashed down? What was lovelier than that neat stack of ironed shirts on the closet shelf, ready for the next day's work?

Theo, who loves to ask questions, particularly concerning the essential nature of chores, is often especially puzzled by the need to make the bed. "Why do you bother, Mom?" he'll say. "You're just going to mess it up again." I've tried lots of arguments, ranging from a rather haywire aesthetic theory of order, to the typical parental (and slightly desperate) bid for power: because I said so.

This morning, as I pulled the comforter back over the corners, and smoothed the pillows into shape and placed them across the top of the sheets, I felt it was all so simple and clear and necessary and important: because we can, we plant the flowers and wash the dishes and fold the linen and wax the floors and arrange things on the mantel and take care with the color of the curtains and re-cover the sofas--and Theo, we make the bed, just so we can mess it up, again and again and again. If we are so lucky.

Dominique Browning


Precision in Nature

An architectural feat and remarkable landscape are joined here in Romsdalen - Geiranger Fjord, Norway. Unique to see an engineered structure in the untouched natural world that enhances, attracts and excites. More here.


Sweet Lucerne

With every road trip or travel adventure, I always find there is a place that just grabs me and has me thinking, "I am so, so glad we came here". Places I can't say enough good about include: Cassis, France (quaint town in the south of France, need I say more?), Tofino, British Columbia (the most spectacular oceans views) and now, Lucerne, Switzerland. The only research I had done was a quick Google search and a flip through my travel book, so when we arrived at a large train station I was surprised by the size of this city. Clearly I had just looked at pictures and not read, because it's actually one of Switzerland's largest cities. Go me.

Not that that was a bad thing - a pleasant surprise, actually. We were immediately surrounded by remarkable architecture, an unforgettable setting, and even a very expensive meal at McDonald's (starvation hit).

Here is my final collection of photos from our trip! Thanks for sticking around while I deal with back-to-work denial. I've got some AMAZING new design finds to share with you next.

As always, I absolutely cannot wait to return.
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