Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

- John Updike, September

Photo by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic

Sponsor Spotlight

I'd like to welcome two of my fabulous new sponsors, Lamshop, whose Ming table is seen above, and The Katch Design Company.  It's not too late to advertise in September or plan for October.  Contact me for rates today!

No space for PC, lets hang it up on the wall

Materials: Plinga range powder-coated steel hat rack 001.525.93

Description: After sort of redecorating a room, there was no place on the floor left for my PC, so I used a very cheap (2.5 Euros on sale) IKEA hat rack, item # 001.525.93, fixed that up on the wall upside down, then put my PC inside that.

This metal hat rack is strong enough for the weight of my very heavy PC (a 11 year old P-III btw), also is a bit longer so cables etc can stay inside.

On second thought, this thing might also be used to place a human baby inside, has the right size, if placed somewhat lower on the wall, like over a bed or something like that. Maybe I sould have bought another one...

Really cheap stuff, cause I am a very cheap person. Lots of other non - IKEA stuff in the pics get misused as well.

~ Antonios T. Andronoglou, Athens, Greece


You never know where inspiration for a story will strike.  I was reading Page 6 yesterday and they mentioned that Cornelia Guest (above) is putting her ancestral home, Templeton, on the market again.  In case you don't know, Cornelia's mother was the chic style icon C.Z. Guest.  Templeton in Old Westbury on Long Island was actually the guesthouse on the estate of White Eagle, designed by Carrere and Hastings, which was owned by Cornelia's great-grandfather Henry Phipps and inherited by Frederick Guest, her grandfather.  He felt the house was too big and grand for his family to smaller quarters on the property.  Of course, Templeton was added onto and now the 28 room home on 15 acres includes 11 bedrooms, a pool, tennis courts, barn, formal gardens, and a greenhouse. I've included photos of how it looked while C.Z. was still alive that were published after her death in 2003 and more recent photos. 

C.Z. Guest in her garden in Mainbocher opera coat. I was actually privileged to meet C.Z. at a big beauty event at Bergdorf Goodman shortly after I moved to New York in 2001.  She was there to promote her garden line of products of course I bought one of her candles.  It came in a beautiful flower pot and included seeds you could plant after the candle had burned down.  She was just as chic as you could imagine, even into her 80's!

A look at the the downstairs library which features club chairs and a wall banquette upholstered in French printed cotton. The walls and bookcases are also covered with the fabric.

The downstairs library from House & Garden, June 2004.

The desk in the ground floor library.

A John Singer Sargent portrait of a baby Winston Guest with his grandmother, Anne Phipps, sits above a small sofa.  It is a study for the final portrait which hangs at Old Westbury Gardens.

A look at the same room from House & Garden, June 2004.

The hallway with its famous leopard carpet.

As the caption from House & Garden, states, the leopard carpet conceals muddy paw prints from all the dogs. 

The dining table holds stacks of Winston Guest's old equestrian books piled up by Cornelia. "I just have so many books. My father used to say, 'No more books!'"

The dining table set for House & Garden, June 2004.

A wider look at the dining room.

The blue and white room overlooks the garden.

A wider view of the blue and white room with it's tiger carpet and portrait of C.Z. by Salvadore Dali above the mantel.

The dramatic painting in the salon was purchased by Winston Guest in Paris.

The sunroom that looks like it had it's original lattice removed.

The sunroom from House & Garden, June 2004.

The entry foyer holds very large elephant tusks, a trophy from Winston Guest's big game hunting. The ocelot hide chairs were featured in Bruce Weber's book A House Is Not a Home.

Portrait of 6 year old Cornelia on Ivanhoe with her Jack Russell terriers, by esteemed equine artist Richard Stone Reeves.

A bedroom at Templeton.

A collage of rooms at Templeton including Cornelia's bedroom with her portrait by Andy Warhol, center. The bottom row are photos of White Eagle.

The gardens at Templeton include topiaries which Cornelia stands in front of, below. It can all be yours for $20,000,000 too! 

Photos from Alexandra Rowley, Peak of Chic and Luxist.

Lack Lego table

Materials: Lack side table, 4 Lego 10x10 bases and adhesive putty.

Description: My son plays with his Lego almost daily but I got tired of them all over my coffee table. Some of his creations he didn't want take apart and put away and he likes to sit at the table. I wanted something that wasn't too terribly big and that wasn't made out of plastic as most premade Lego tables are.

Easy solution, I bought a side Lack table (beauty that it comes in so many colors to match your decor) and four 10x10 Lego base boards. I then placed the boards where I wanted. My original thought was to epoxy glue them down but why ruin the table? I used adhesive putty to secure the boards to the table. That way the boards stay put and when he grows out of Legos I can still use the table for something else. It's a perfect height for sitting on a footstool to play and I slide my tote (to keep his Legos) under the table.

Too simple.

~ Christie Phillips, Holland, MI


To all in Malaysia, Happy Merdeka! Enjoy your day off. Go to Ikea. ~ Jules

Monday, August 30, 2010

My heart is full

I truly cannot thank you enough for your incredible comments and emails over the weekend and today. I’m humbled and so grateful for of your prayers and thoughts. Each and every comment made my weekend.

The past few days have been filled with so much sadness, but SO MUCH joy and love as well. Our friends and family have gathered around us with real and virtual hugs – YOU included. It always amazes me how I can feel so much love at such a sad time – but that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Celebrating how someone lived and realizing what we have to live for.

I don’t how else to express my gratitude but to just say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. I mean that – each and every one of you are a blessing to us.

Tonight, I leave you with one of the bouquets that the staff at hubby’s school sent:


Beautiful right? But do you see the extra special additions? Garlic, avocado, chilies and peppers – some of my father-in-laws favorite ingredients! Absolutely unique and stunning. He brought so much joy to those he cooked for. PERFECT. :)

Thanks again so much. This weekend has inspired me many ways – I’ll show you one way tomorrow. :)

Customized kitchen pantry

Materials: Akurum high cabinet, Pax Komplement drawers

Description: When we renovated the kitchen, we chose this high cabinet from Ikea because it's wide enough for the microwave but for storage it is terrible. It is too deep and has two big drawers which are again too deep. If you put a can in a drawer you can only see the top of the can! I like organizing but I wasn't about to label all the top of my cans!!!

The solution? Ikea's drawers for the Pax wardrobe system. We bought two big ones and my boyfriend cut them to fit the pantry. Voila! Nice sliding, solid wood drawers and not too high.

See more of the Akurum high cabinet with Pax storage.

~ Louise, Montreal

A Tale of Two Kitchens

It is always interesting to me to see how different two similar spaces can look. I wanted to share with you this wonderful restoration of an Edwardian Duplex in San Francisco by Marsh and Clark Design. By altering the choices of cabinets, furniture and lighting these nearly identical kitchens each become unique spaces. Designer, Stephanie Marsh Fillbrandt created the first kitchen in a more formal tone with ebony cabinets, marble backsplash and marble counters.
The second kitchen in lighter tones has a more relaxed look. Notice that the space and layout are almost the same but the feel is very different.
This first unit lacked a formal dining room. In this case, it was important to have the dining area and the kitchen itself, take on a more formal atmosphere. The lighting and furniture choices are more dressy and sophisticated. Notice the upholstered chairs, chandelier and pendant lights, all would be equally at home in a dining room.
I love the contrast of the white marble against the dark cabinets. Also notice the steel counter stools. I love the sleek contemporary feeling of this space.
The other unit had a formal dining room, so the kitchen was designed to have a more relaxed, informal feeling. By choosing warmer wood tones and wall colors you immediately can see this space has a completely different feeling than the kitchen above. It is interesting to note that the backsplash and counters are the same marble as the kitchen above.
Rattan and wood chairs, small pendant lights and textured shade chandelier give the kitchen a more warm and relaxed feeling. Here you peek into the dining area. The side area of this kitchen doubles as a wet bar for the dining room. This is a wonderful example of changing wood tones, lighting and furnishings and transforming two almost identical kitchens into two very different spaces. Click here to see more wonderful projects from Marsh and Clark Design.

Finally, after a short hiatus to spend more time this summer focusing on my family, bi-weekly posts at Willow Decor will begin again in September. Recharged, refreshed and more inspired than ever! Exciting things lie ahead!! Glad to be back!!

Contemporary concealed entertainment center

Materials: Ikea Besta frames, Ikea Framsta doors

Description: We wanted to replace our dated TV stand and open faced media towers with a new contemporary, sleek entertainment cabinet. Had to be modern yet functional. Key attributes were to be low to the ground, minimalist, big enough to hold the 56" HDTV, conceal all the components and speakers. We had to have doors that would allow sound and remote control signals to pass thru.

To center the AV Receiver and center channel speaker under the TV we needed an odd number of shelf alcoves. This led us to purchase two double unit Besta shelf frames and a single unit Besta shelf frame. The left and right speakers as well as other components fit nicely in the Besta shelves.

Key to this hack were the doors. We purchased 5 Framsta door kits in total. The center three doors were hacked to allow sound and IR remote control signals to pass. I cut out the centers of the doors using a jig saw and then wrapped the door frames in speaker cloth purchased at the local craft store. Using spray adhesive and a staple gun, the speaker cloth was stretched over the door frames and secured in place. I used the Framsta hinges included and mounted to the Besta shelf units.

We're really happy with the system. The simplistic, low sleek entertainment cabinet fits our style and budget - less than $350!!

~ Tim, Orlando, FL