Friday, December 24, 2010

A little Strung out...

This is the angel my parents puts on top of their tree every year. I am sure she used to be pretty. She is 50. About 10 years ago we started calling her the crack angel. About 5 years ago my brother took her mug shot. My mom does not think we are funny. I think we are hilarious!

This is kind of how I feel... A little strung out with last minute things to do....
Minus the crack part, or the jail part. Though a night with undisturbed sleep away from home does not sound bad.



(kind of brings all new meaning to 'Angels we have heard on high')

Anyway, Hooper and I hope your Christmas is Merry and Bright. (Not police car flashing light bright, tree light bright!)

Enjoy your day! 
Bye, bye birdie,
~A 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Home

For nine months I have been planning my dream home. Literally dreaming about it. The floors, tile, paint, lighting, furniture, fabrics, you name it. I have done nothing but eat, sleep and dream this home, while the fabulous builder, Mack Braxton (RMB Building & Design) and crew have been constructing this masterpiece. I have to give them a shout out because they have truly done an amazing job.

The funny part about my dream homes, is that they are always in my dreams. The other funny part about my dream home, is that it is not actually mine. Technically, it totally and completely belongs to someone else. Entirely. All I did was decorate it. It is going to be bright, punchy, functional and fun -- just like my very dear client. It is all her.

What is different about this home is that I could ( and would) live there in a second. I try not to get attached. Is it weird that when I walk through the door I yell "Hi Honey, I'm home"?  I even open her gigantic refrigerator and say "Hmmmm. What on earth am I going to make for dinner?" Is that weird? My client is used to it.

So.... without further adieu, I am ready to show you a sneak peak of what has been going on behind the scenes of this monster project. The house is finally complete and the majority of the installation will take place between Christmas and New Year's while my dear client and fam are away for the holidays.
Here's the funny part. She has trusted me (beyond belief) and I don't want to let her down. She has approved much of what is going into her home, but also hasn't seen it all and wants to be surprised. So I have been keeping it under wraps. She has no clue what she is in for.

First, my idea board. I have been staring at this for months, waiting and hoping for moving day. Here is the big picture.

I know it is hard to see the details, but that is the point. I can't give too much away. I planned the entire living room around Brunschwig & Fils "chiang mai dragon". I painted the walls a blue gray, and am pulling out the peacock blue, charcoals and orange. Wait until you see what this fabric gets made into!


This magnificent piece of original art by John Beard, is going above her river wood, reclaimed mantle. It is 36" X 60" and is stunning in person.


This is a peak at the rug that is going in the sunroom to ground the very well lit space.


It will be flanked by two club chairs upholstered in this...


Without giving too much away, I want to show you the work in progress. Check out my photo diary below.









I can't wait to show you the finished product. Note, that is Ann on the ladder. I can't draw. Stay tuned. Oh and when it warms up, come visit me in my pool. We can fix fruity drinks and talk about my house. Oh wait... that's right, it's not mine.

Bye bye birdie,
~H

Friday, December 17, 2010

And the M.O.T.Y. goes to.....

So as the year is coming to an end and some of you are worried about Christmas, family, taxes, whatever...
Hooper and I find ourselves a little more concerned with our Mother of the Year status. 
Have we scarred our children for life? Will Hooper's kids ever get over the fact that she grocery shopped with a Nilla wafer stuck to the side of her head only to be told by the check out lady after an hour in the store? 
Will Lindley forgive me for mixing up the time and walking in to her class play as all the pretty, put together mommies are filing out because it's over? (that one sounds bad)

Do not be so quick to judge because when you are filling out the M.O.T.Y. nomination ballots, be sure to check the box that says...

TOOK OUR KIDS TO A JUSTIN BIEBER CONCERT (oh yeah...
cookie in hair and all, we just won  M.O.T.Y!)



So as a surprise Hooper and I  picked our girls up from school early, threw them into Hoop's minivan and drove 3 hours to see Justin in the flesh. (It's official...he's adorable)


We had bags packed with skinny jeans and boots (and our skinny jeans for our not so skinny bodies).... 


 All the single ladies put your hands up! 


Single, though she stills sucks her thumb.... 


A little Sean Kingston to open the evening.... And yes he WAS fly like a G6 ...


And just when you didn't think the show could get any better...Justin Bieber climbed into a huge metal heart and traveled around the arena above our heads. You could feel the vibration of 20,000 pounding hearts and Hooper who almost passed out from Bieber fever!


Graham had a blast!


Molly had a blast! (after I found her some earplugs!)


Lindley had a blast (in her own reserved way!)


And Hooper and I had a blast watching our girlies! So back off sista, Mother of the Year is ours. We deserve it. We survived high pitched pre-teen screams, lip gloss headaches and the realization that we're old. Hooper even referred to the DJ's turn table as a "mix master". Isn't a mix master what you use to whip up a cake? Rock on Betty Crocker!

So, no need to wonder who the winners will be this year, 
it's in the bag.
May your trophy case be filled with a lifetime of M.O.T.Y awards.

Bye, bye Birdie, 
~A&H

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Home for the holidays at Frank Lloyd Wright's

I dragged Read to Frank Lloyd Wright's first home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois. I am so glad I did. He on the other hand, not so much. To see and touch (which was not allowed, Read) the work of a genius that was way before his time was not only inspiring, but I could see today's design in almost every room. 

Incredible and breath-taking for a home built in 1898. We got a private tour of the home by the very knowledgeable docent of the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. Not because we were important, simply because we missed the scheduled tour times due to Read's expert city driving. 

The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio (1889/1898) served as Wright's private residence and workplace from 1889 to 1909—the first 20 years of his career. Wright used his home as an architectural laboratory, experimenting with design concepts that contain the seeds of his architectural philosophy. Here he raised six children with his first wife, Catherine Tobin.

In 1898 Wright added a studio, described by a fellow-architect as a workplace with "inspiration everywhere." In the Studio, Wright and his associates developed a new American architecture, the Prairie style, and designed 125 structures, including such famous buildings as the Robie House, the Larkin Building and Unity Temple.( Credit to the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust)
Portrait of a genius
Warm and Sunny depiction of rear exterior. Not my photos. In my photo, it is dark, snowy and there are no leaves on the trees. Beautiful regardless.

Front exterior




We loved these carved columns. Wright built this home to start a family. The columns are made up of a stork and a tree of life design to depict fertility. Must have worked, he had 6 kids. 
The stained glass in this entry to his studio (seen right) is made out of 1000 pieces of glass per window. 

The wooden light fixture (yes, I said wood) is hand carved and designed by Wright to illuminate the dining table. His straight back chairs were designed to enclose diners and create a sense of space within a space. 
This is a picture of his studio where his draftsmen would work off the each side at large tables.
This stairwell and hall were built to include the oak tree that Wright didn't want to cut down, so the branches descend into the space. The neighbors thought he was odd. He was "green" before green was in! 
Check out the ceiling and extremely modern pendants in the master bedroom. Oak Park did not yet have electricity, but forward-thinking Wright knew it was coming, so he wired the house for electricity and later added these pendants. 
I think this was one of my favorites. This is the playroom for his 6 children. It has a balcony so the children could practice and perform plays. It also has an grand piano that was built into the wall and suspended over the back staircase. Since they didn't have an upright piano, Wright didn't want to consume space with a large grand.

This is a picture of the studio where the magic happened. Above and surrounding the center of the room is a hanging balcony suspended by chains. It is an early depiction of the cantilever trends we see today. 
I wish I had more pictures of the details, but we were not allowed to take personal photos. Read, of course, kept sneaking off to take some shots with his phone. Typical. Also hard to do since there were only two of us on the tour. My hope was to bring some of it home to you. I hope I have. 
Bye bye birdie,
~H

Credit to: Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Art Institute of Chicago

I went to the Art Institute of Chicago and it was amazing...just being able to see these incredible works in person. It's like seeing a very famous celebrity (much admired, which doesn't usually come hand in hand)in real life.  Check out these pictures I took with my oh so handy camera phone (legally). 
"Cow's Skull with Calico Roses" by Georgia O'keeffe, being recreated by an art student. Fascinating to watch.
"American Gothic" by Grant Wood
"Water Lillies" by Claude Monet
       

  "Ballet Dancers" Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 
Claude Monet
                     
"Bordigera", Claude Monet
           
"Poppy Field", Claude Monet

"The Bedroom", by Vincent van Gogh
                        
Self Portrait, Self Portrait
"Madame Roulin Rocking the Cradle", by Van Gogh
                    
"Two Sisters", by Renoir


Now feeling much smarter and very cultured, I am off to explore this wonderful city. Headed to Oak Park to see Frank Lloyd Wright's first home and studio. Stay tuned...


Bye bye birdie...
~H


Credit to: Art Institute of Chicago

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chicago: Inspiration is everywhere

Read and I are in Chicago and it is my first visit. He is here for work and I am here for everything but. 
I have spent the last 24 hours completely alone since Read is off in meetings and Gail and Oprah are in Australia. It has been fabulous. Yes, totally alone, except for my new friends at the Art Institute, the very nice fitting room clerks at Urban Outfitters and the oh so chic fellow shoppers on the Magnificent Mile. 
 Woke up early to buy Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker tickets. Read can hardly wait. The Joffrey Ballet performs in this amazing auditorium and I just couldn't resist these chandeliers with the Edison bulbs. Beautiful huh?
I am loving these 8' tall foo dogs flanking the entrance to the Peninsula Hotel on Michigan Avenue. They are decorated with a bow the size of me and reminded me of my $12.99 purchase from Homegoods, only slightly larger and heavier.
Ok, this might just be my favorite. Read thinks it is very strange that this is my favorite, but I can see beauty in anything. 
That, or I need some type of intervention. Absolut Vodka sponsors some of the bus stops on South Michigan. Aren't they just the most stylish bus stops you have ever seen? I mean, they make me want to take public transportation everywhere and have a vodka tonic while I wait. 



Which do you like best?
I am liking the lemon trees and Eames chairs. How about you?

Tomorrow, I am off to the Art Institute of Chicago. 
Don't tell Ann, she LOVES the Art Institute and will be jealous. 
Bye bye birdie, 
~H


Credit to: The Chicago Auditorium, Absolut Vodka
 
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