Habitually Chic

Heather Clawson’s blog Habitually Chic is a visual treasure trove of glamor, style, and design.

Heather Clawson

The worlds of fashion, art, style, and interior design intersect, overlap, and influence each other in a multitude of ways.  Finding a resource that incorporates all of these elements is always exciting.  In that vein, Heather Clawson’s blog Habitually Chic is a visual treasure trove of glamor, style, and design.  She uses the blog to chronicle her “musings on art, architecture, design, fashion, photography, books, events, and everything else habitually chic!”

From incredible artists and stunning exhibits to celebrity photo shoots of Demi Moore or Robert Pattinson, from gorgeous examples of chic advertising to courtyard doors in Paris, Habitually Chic showcases every conceivable facet of life as related to interior design.  When combined with Clawson’s thoughts and opinions, the wealth of photos becomes one inspiration or idea after another.

 

Images from Habitually Chic

Artisan Chocolates

Few people can resist the dark allure of really good chocolate.

Few people can resist the dark allure of really good chocolate.  We associate chocolate with rich desserts, lavish Valentine’s Day gifts, and decadent holiday treats, but what we now call chocolate began as a very different kind of concoction.

Mankind’s love affair with chocolate began a staggering 4,000 years ago in the Amazon when cocoa beans were roasted, ground, and made into an unsweetened, bitter drink.  In the 16th century Spain, the brilliant step of blending chocolate with sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon created a fashionable beverage for the nobility.  It wasn’t until 1830, however, that a process for developing solid eating chocolate was finally developed, and another few decades would pass before the inception of milk chocolate.

With the holidays quickly approaching, I want to focus on gorgeous artisan chocolates.  Odds are, a gift box of these beautiful chocolates would make someone on your gift list a very happy person.  I’ve found that local chocolatiers often combine exquisite craftsmanship with high quality, fresh ingredients for the kind of chocolate experience a mass-produced chocolate company cannot compare with.

Truffles

 

 

 

Connoisseur Collection

 

For example, DeBrand Fine Chocolates is a family-owned chocolate company in Indiana.  Each piece of chocolate is meticulously hand-crafted from the highest quality ingredients.  These chocolates taste as incredible as they look, with traditional as well as exotic flavors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another noteworthy artisan chocolate shop is Alma Chocolate in Portland, Oregon.  Chocolatier Sarah Hart creates traditional truffles, bon bons in a variety of tempting flavors, and unique molded chocolates decorated with edible gold leaf.

Thai peanut butter cup
Quan Yin Icon

 

Christopher Elbow Chocolates in Kansas City and San Francisco, sculpts tiny works of art into delectable chocolate creations.  Each confection is as much a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

Christopher Elbow Chocolate Collection

In my experience, the ideal chocolate shop offers hand-made chocolates made from fresh ingredients on a small scale.  If you aren’t lucky enough to have a small chocolate shop that makes their own artisan chocolates, all of the examples here ship chocolates anywhere in the U.S.  For gifts, dessert or favors at your next dinner party or event, beautiful little works of art like this can please on every aesthetic level.

Intaglios

Authentic antiques or modern reproductions, intaglios have so much to offer.

Intaglios are made by carving a design into stone or some other type of hard material.  While the art of creating intaglios is an ancient one that encompasses everything from jewelry to sculpture, what I want to show you today is a specific type of intaglio.  In the 17th and 18th centuries, wealthy young Europeans taking a Grand Tour often bought intaglios as souvenirs, mainly in Italy.  These exquisite examples of antique intaglios are still available today.

Antique World Tour Italian Intaglios

 

Antique French Intaglios

Authentic antiques or modern reproductions, intaglios have so much to offer.  When framed in groups or individually, these small works of art become striking wall art for your home.  In a neutral space, they provide texture.  In any room, they provide interest and variation.  I like how the arrangement and grouping of the intaglios cant take many forms.  One intaglio per frame or several, a couple of frames or many, on one wall or covering an entire room.  This kind of versatility in design is part of what makes intaglios so interesting.

Seashell intaglio by Karen Robertson Collection
Framed intaglio by Swedish Dekor
Intaglios fro Quatrefoil Design
Framed Intaglios: Tiberian Design Framed Intaglios
Designer Betty Burgess covered dining room walls with intaglios

 cover source

Home Theater

The client asked for a place to enjoy watching old movies with large gatherings of friends, so I set out to create a haven for just that.

This space started out as your typical vanilla box basement with no character.  In fact, the long, narrow room with two awkward access points presented a challenge right from the start.  The client asked for a place to enjoy watching old movies with large gatherings of friends, so I set out to create a haven for just that.

I covered the walls in Mahogany Yacare Crocodile by Ralph Lauren.  This rich, textured backdrop set the stage for the rest of the room.  To alleviate heaviness from the dark walls and lack of windows, I chose a zebra pattern chair and two-toned sofa.  Along with the light cabinetry and striped wool carpet, these choices keep the walls from overpowering the space.

The rug is from Turabian and Sariyan, a local carpet vendor whom I absolutely adore!  I chose this particular ottoman because it serves as both a foot rest and a convenient place to rest drinks or snacks.  The combination of materials and textures in this room ties the entire space together with an intimate, cozy feel:  suede, velvet, crocodile, and wool.  The variations in patterns, from the zebra chair to the sofa pillows, add complexity and interest.

Finally, to suit the main purpose of the room, we installed a wet bar to either side of the main entrance to the basement.  It contains necessities such as a fridge and microwave for the all-important popcorn.  The brushed counter is from Walker Zanger and is a continuation of the chocolate feeling from the walls.  As an added interesting touch, I used antique mirror for the wet bar back splash.  Not only does it look fantastic, it works to reflect light in a dark space.

The final transformation of the basement proved everything my clients hoped for and was a project I completely enjoyed!

The Versatile Lamp

A well-placed lamp gives a room a splash of color, a functional sculpture, or an interesting accent piece.

Lamps do a lot more for a room than simply provide a light source.  Light is important, but so is color and style!  A well-placed lamp gives a room a splash of color, a functional sculpture, or an interesting accent piece.

These next two lamps illustrate how a unique piece and a custom shade become a work of art.

I love the lamp below.  It’s more like a glowing sculpture, unexpected and whimsical!

 

Charles Edwards Blog

Lighting fixtures from Charles Edwards Limited certainly deserve their status as elegant and versatile design pieces, so it’s no wonder the Charles Edwards Blog is such an incredible resource.

In 1993, Charles Edwards Limited Antiques was born.  Founded as an antique reproduction company, their designs are inspired by 19th- and 20th-century English and French lanterns.  Lighting fixtures from Charles Edwards Limited certainly deserve their status as elegant and versatile design pieces, so it’s no wonder the Charles Edwards Blog is such an incredible resource. 

The blog features amazing pictures of rooms with Charles Edwards lighting fixtures in a variety of styles and finishes.  New posts are added weekly, showcasing fixtures in luxury settings such as the historic Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington D.C. and the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Hyde Park
Brass Pavilion Lantern, Hay-Adams Hotel, D.C.

One great aspect of the Charles Edwards Blog is the range of styles and locations.  From a Pennsylvania farmhouse to MTV’s “Teen Cribs,” the photos provide lush visual inspiration for anyone’s tastes.

19th Century farmhouse in New Hope, Pennslyvania

Charles Edward collection at the London Design Festival

I encourage you to try the different blog views at the top of the Charles Edwards Blog home page.  You’ll stumble on something new each time!

 

 

 

 

Unexpected Dining Room

When I met with this client to design their dining room, their desire to break away from the traditional shingle style exemplified by the home’s exterior architecture totally inspired me.

When I met with this client to design their dining room, their desire to break away from the traditional shingle style exemplified by the home’s exterior architecture totally inspired me.  They wanted simple elements with no clutter or fuss.  Because the room began as a blank slate, we started with a completely fresh palette.

In this room, I truly enjoyed using so many creative and unique elements.  The cowhide chairs from Ligne Roset provided adult seating around the dining room table and, combined with a bench on the other side of the table, make an unconventional seating arrangement.  The lovely drizzle chandelier from Ochre acts as a fantastic piece of jewelry for the entire room.  On the walls, digital art prints reinforce the dining room’s modern feel.  In addition, I loved the window treatments for this dining room.  The pattern reminded me of delicate lanterns floating through the sky.  The large looped wool carpet from Patterson Flynn & Martin softens and warms the room.

I was honored to be an A List Winner for At Home magazine’s Winter 2011 issue with this dining room.  In the magazine, the dining room was described as “bold, brash, and contemporary, a perfect combination to make a traditional home feel modern.”  What an amazing experience, to be recognized for doing something I love!

the style files

Based in the Netherlands, Danielle de Lange is author of a great blog called The Style Files.

Based in the Netherlands, Danielle de Lange is author of a great blog called The Style Files.  She shares design finds from around the globe on a daily basis.  Her style comes from a European viewpoint and is what she describes as “basic and modern with clean lines.”

The Style Files bring you “observations and ideas related to design, interiors, art and other life enhancing subjects.”  These subjects are beautifully displayed throughout the blog with plenty of links to connect readers to her sources.  Photos of stunning interiors are interspersed with images of accessories and home accents.  The total effect is an extremely visual compilation of wonderful design ideas.

Block Island, RI

Block Island is one of our favorite places to vacation as a family.

Block Island is one of our favorite places to vacation as a family.  I remember boating to the island for the first time when I was younger and feeling entranced by the blue sky, green grass, and texture of the sand.  Now, making the annual trip with kids, a dog, and loads of stuff, we take the ferry for visits to the island.  When the ferry enters the breakwater, the surrounding beauty instantly relaxes me.  Block Island is absolutely one of the most casual places to gather.  I can happily leave my high heels at home!

While on the island, it’s family tradition to go clamming.  We also have favorite spots, like Winfield’s  for dinner or Aldo’s for great coffee and friendly faces.

What’s your favorite destination to leave stress behind and relax with family?

Details: Nail Head Trim

Typically seen on leather upholstered furniture, nail head trim imparts a look of finished sophistication and style.

Nail head trim dates back to the advent of French Country Style in the 16th century.  Typically seen on leather upholstered furniture, nail head trim imparts a look of finished sophistication and style.  Nail heads come in a variety of shapes and finishes for a custom look that’s traditional and modern at the same time.  Whether their use is decorative or strictly functional, nail heads are like subtle jewelry for your home.

Ottoman with nail head trim
Gorgeous library chair from Mecox Gardens
Bedroom furniture with nail head accents

Why limit such a fantastic look to furniture?  Nail head trim makes a wonderful accent for other pieces in the home.  Inspired by fabulous designer Miles Redd, I’ve used nail heads in unexpected places with beautiful results.

A Miles Redd project that inspired me
Detail of leather door for my client

 

Nail head cornice

Try experimenting with different shapes and finishes of nail heads as well as various fabrics, colors, and textures.  Nail head trim isn’t only for leather furniture, or even just furniture for that matter.