Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Little Red for Valentine's Day

I'm not making very much progress on anything.  This happens to me every winter at this time of year.  It's (self-diagnosed) Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I always feel better when the days get longer and the weather starts to warm.   One thing in particular that's holding me up is making a decision on fabric for the Louis chairs.  I've been looking for ways to bring some more color into my house and finding an accent color that works has been a really tough.

If you remember, my living room is all neutrals.  It's a look I'm drawn to in photographs online and in magazines but I always end up longing for more color.  I typically gravitate toward blue and green--my favorite colors--but when I've tried adding them into this room, they always seem out of place. 

This morning as I was doing my Sunday chores, I pulled the rug from the foyer into the living room so I could wash the floor and it all suddenly seemed "right."  So I pulled together a few more accessories with reds to see how they looked.  A wool throw in a plaid of browns, tans and reds, a paisley fabric wrapped around a pillow and a wooden bowl filled with pomegranates quickly came together to create an entirely new look.  I like it.  I really like it.  I think it's a great look for winter at least.  You'll also notice I hung some new drapes (Pottery Barn Peyton drapes in oatmeal).  They're a little out of control having just come out of the package but I thought I would hang them for a little while before I press them and train them. 

This makes me feel a little more comfortable bringing some of the same colors to the dining room.  So the search goes on for the right fabrics.

* * * * *

And speaking of accessories, Janet (everyone's favorite stylish vegan) from The Gardener's Cottage asked for photos of people's favorite accessories so she could post them; in fact, she sent me a personal plea.  Good Do-Bee that I am, I sent Janet a photo of my favorite accessory which, it should come as no surprise, is a piece that has a history.

This vintage Hamilton automatic watch was given to my grandfather as an anniversary gift from my grandmother in 1962.  It's a very humble piece of jewelry but it's one of my most prized possessions.   (I think the band is one of the most handsome watchbands I've ever seen.  It still seems modern.)  This was my grandmother's second husband and they married in 1960 so this was their second anniversary.  At the time of this gift, I'm certain they were sweethearts.

I hope you enjoy your day with your sweetheart.

Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. Reading your blog usually leaves me feeling mushy about something or other! Love the watch! Hamilton is so classic, and you're right, that band is utterly timeless and current. I'm all over the new rug look and I'm always a personal fan of red. I agree with being drawn to color -- I can stare for hours at mags full of clean, neutral interiors, but I don't think I'd make it a day living in one for my ocd need for warmth and color. :)

  2. Happy Val's Day to you too. I personally don't like this Day, don't get me started! I love the rug and touches of red in your living room. Sometimes the best things happen just by accident.

  3. hi steve,

    i have the same problem with my house re bringing in that 3rd color. as you know my place is mostly black and white and whenever i bring color in for pillows, accessories it just doesn't seem right to me. i just put a red and white striped pillow on my sofa and i love it but i wonder how long it will last.

    i love the reds you brought into your living room. they look absolutely perfect to me. they add interest in a very calm, classy way.

    nice to know you think of me as the stylish vegan rather than the sneaking in the movie/rabid jack white fanatic that i really am. how sweet of you.

    thanks for sharing your watch and the story attached to it. you're pretty damn stylish yourself.


  4. I also agree! I LOVE the european styles I see in blogs and mags...simple neutrals in shades of white,with only using lots of texture instead of color. I'm drawn to them...and wish I could live that way. As an artist...I find I can't live without sparks emotion and depth for me.
    Happy Valentines to you!

  5. I like that red rug too. I seems to really lift that spot (as much of it that I can see).

    You have such an eye for designa nd style that I can bet whatever fabric you come up with for your chairs, will look just perfect.

    Maybe something completely different in terms of colour and make them a real feature?

    And, you're right, that watch band is very special. What a wonderful accessory.

  6. I always love to find answers at unexpected moments. Love the shot of red!

    I can see why the watch is a favorite. It is ageless.

  7. I love the hints of red that you added to your living room, they look beautiful! Your watch is beautiful, my hubby has a collection of Hamilton watches, they are his favorite American watch. You have an American treasure! I completely understand what you mean about having seasonal doldrums! If you're hungry stop by my blog for dessert! You won't be disappointed! LOL!

  8. I love the red. I think it's just what your rooms need. And you can always sneak in a little blue and/or green when you want to. But red being your primary "pop of color" seems to be just perfect for this room.

  9. Hi Steve,
    When I look at the first picture, there are so many things that jumped out that I love. The rug, the plaid, the grain sack on chair, the chair, the wooden has shaped up to be a VERY classy room. Love it.

    The watch story is lovely...I'm glad you are keeping it safe and loved....the band is definately sexy!

  10. Steve,
    Love your watch. I have my Grandmother's watch. It's on a monogrammed pin. It's not the value of the piece, it's the connection to my family that's priceless.

    Is there navy in that rug? It would work well with the reds and is so classic and timeless. What are you thinking for options for your chairs?

  11. I love the red accents in your room. They are the perfect touch of just the right color to your neutral palette. And your cat is gorgeous! Your grandfather's watch is fantastic, and so nostalgic. I love the wristband too -- very unique.
    Enjoying your blog,

  12. I love all of the rooms that everyone does so successfully in whites but I am a color person, and I really like the addition of red accents to the you said, if for nothing else than for the winter months.(-:

  13. I really like what you've done with the place. Zazu seems to like it too. She looks fiesty. Is she?

    I think she is digging the new rug and pomegranates. Pomegranates drive me crazy too.

    Really, I love the rug in there and the pillow and the plaid throw thingie.

    I also love your watch. Does it work? Maybe you said that already.

    Must go read what everyone else wrote.

    P.S. That print/drawing on the wall - with the black lines - I love it. Who is it?? Where can I get one? Can you make me a photocopy (that's the handy thing with b&w art)? ; )

    xo Terri

  14. The reds add such a depth to the room, Steve. I like the subtle play of rich reds and the gentle touch of green coming in from the topiary. Mid-February is a good time to be switching things up. It staves off cabin fever!

    Enjoy your Valentine's Day!

  15. Seasonal Affective Disorder! So that is what is wrong with me. I've been so unmotivated. Glad to hear other's are experiencing the same.

  16. Like most of the other readers, I am loving the hints of red in your living room. The rug adds so much warmth to the room. Something you crave when you go through a New England winter like we did this year. The watch is gorgeous. A timeless time piece so to speak. Have a wonderful Valentine's Day Steve!

  17. Awww. Igloo boy, that watch is gorgeous! As is the bits of red in your home.

    May the igloo melt slowly into a beautiful spring. How is that for a valentine wish?!

  18. Your are the master of elegance!

    Can I have your kitty, lol!


  19. Steve,
    I love the touches of red! I think you're on to something there. And what a lovely, touching story behind your "accessory". Do you wear it? It's a very handsome watch, and you're right, it seems very modern.

  20. Love the red!
    Happy Valentines day to you too!

  21. We have the same lack of color conversation at my house. Everything is blue or green grays, - or just gray. My partner longs for color or pattern, but realizes it's not going to happen! In fact he's learned to live with my idea of accent colors - ivory, mute metalics or black! There's something to be said for monotones! :)

  22. looks perfect to me. i love it when an accident turns out to be just what was needed. the universe teases us like that sometimes.

    happy valentine's day.

  23. Very handsome... The room and the cat.

    What is your cat's name?

  24. Karin,
    I don't wear the watch everyday but it works perfectly. It has an automatic wind mechanism so it never even needs to be wound.

    Not even a little stripe? A little brown for excitement maybe?

    The cat is Zazu. She's the only girl in the family.

  25. my mother says that a touch of red always makes a room richer. And in the rooms she decorated throughout her life (she was not a decorator, she was a diplomat's wife and had to do many different houses)she worked with the colours of persian rugs: rusty hues of blues, reds, yellows and oranges. Her homes, wherever they were, worked beautifully.

  26. Isabel,
    I think I'd like your mother...and her rooms!

  27. Serendipity..or providence....whatever...Isn't it great when this happens? I was sitting in my living room a couple of years ago and noticed my notebook binder on a was deep pumpkin orange...the color looked fabulous in the room!....I've since bought a few accent pieces in orange and I love the effect!
    That watch is too much...lucky guy... k

  28. Happy Valentine's, Steve.
    The good thing about neutral colour schemes is that they can take strong accent colours. Bright lemon-yellow looks lovely with greys and so do all the lilac shades. A seasonal change of cushions, throws and fruit/flowers can make a real difference, (and cheer you up if you are SAD!)
    Lovely watch and memory.

  29. Steve - the reds are perfect and your home still looks like it belongs in a magazine! It makes me want to curl up on a sofa with that plaid blanket!


  30. love love everything i'm seeing here!

  31. Your home style is perfection to me, and your cat the perfect model.

  32. I was just about to order the Peyton drapes in Oatmeal! It's nice to see how they look in someone else's (gorgeous) space. :)

  33. Oh Steve, your cottage is beautiful! You've got a talent - it's so very well put together! Zazu looks adorable too.

  34. So glad to find you! great!

  35. Steve, I love the touches of rich red. You picked just the right shades, too--mellow and aged. Zazu is a doll. Cats are wonderful accessories in any room. Thanks for the story about the watch. It has got to be the coolest watch I have seen. Nice reference to Romper Room. We must be age-mates. I remember it well.

    Take care,

  36. Urban cottage,
    Today I decided to de-lurk and post a comment. I apologize up front for its length but I have lots to comment on. First up, I love, love love your blog, and for many reasons, # 1. I grew up in Boston's north end, big Italian family, #2. I've been gone from the northeast for a very long time and now live in the upper midwest, and visiting your blog is like taking a tour of my soul, that's how much I miss living in Massachusetts. My dream is to move back east to Cape Cod when I retire. #3. Seems you and I have much in common. I too bought an old home but from the original owners in 1992. The house was built in 1929 and is a stucco English Tudor, and over the years I have painstakingly updated it to what it would look like in 1929 when Sally and Clarence had it built. (They did some funky remodeling) So I know the research that goes into trying to find original items like hinges, door plates and knobs and light fixtures.
    I spent today, a snowy blizzardy day, exploring your blog to its origination and what fun it was. Your eye for detail has certainly paid off. The work you had put into renovating the exterior is, well, exquisite.
    I look forward to hearing/seeing more of your renovation journey.

  37. Red is right!

    And I love your Hamilton, I have two. One vintage and one new....

    Are you still frozen? Hope not ; 0 )


  38. that is lovely!
    sleep well