High style in Cartagena, Colombia

I love getting email from Anthropologie, but especially so when the name Cartegena caught my attention in my inbox today.  

I visited Colombia during my stint in the navy Spring/Summer of 2009.  {I wasn't really in the Navy, but I lived on the USNS Comfort for four months and lived the life of a sailor/humanitarian.}  One of our liberty port-o-calls was in Cartegena, Colombia.  

Anthropolgie shot their latest catalog there so while taking in their gorgeous clothes, I was checking out the scenery to see if I recognized the scenery. 
 Today I'll share a few of my favorite images that I took while wondering the vibrant streets of the Walled City.
 Cartagena {said: Carta-hay-na} is known for Romancing the Stone, though the film was actually filmed in Mexico and bothers the Colombians that Michael Douglas pronounced the city's name incorrectly.  An episode of one of my favorite shows, NCIS, was actually filmed in the real city.  More cool history here.
 Favorite things about Cartagena: the weather, vibrant culture, awesome musicians playing happy music everywhere and really great, inexpensive fresh food from the vendors and small shops lining the streets. 

We were told not to drink the limonada sold on the street, but I couldn't help it.  Bring on the e coli, it was worth the risk.

 Pretty sure the top left image from Anthro was shot on this street shown above.  I didn't include the image I have that is shot from the same angle because I'm in it and look completely wilted and sweaty, a direct contrast to the super cool model above.

The USNS Comfort leaves in April for the next Continuing Promise mission and I so wish I was going along for more adventures on the high seas. 



Yesterday and today have been full of decisions for the parade home.  Some decisions are scary in life.  Picking the details that make a home special doesn't have to be one of those hair pulling experiences.

Rules I follow:

Start with the must haves.  Whether it is the perfect hardwood flooring, or cabinet color, start with what you determine to be the most important thing on your must have list.  From there everything should relate to that decision.

Don't over think it.  The decision making part of your brain doesn't have language so go on that gut instinct.  When I worked in the wedding dress industry, almost every bride I helped went back to the first dress.  Same goes for that granite/tile/light fixture.  You know what you like, if it is in the budget, go for it.

Speaking of budget.  Find wiggle room with things you can live without to get the things you can't.  We chose a beautiful carpet for the upstairs, then chose a grade or two lower for the basement to save.

Hippie advice {but it's good for your wallet too} go with Energy Star rated appliances/lighting and whatever else you can so that you can get those rebates.  We are getting $50 back for every fixture we chose. 

Then comes paint.  I had in mind the color paint I wanted to use in this home, but that is because it is a tried and true color that I've used and loved.  When it comes to your paint, pick it because it relates to those must have items on your list.  And don't skip the step of painting a sample wall and watching it as the light changes. 
I included pictures of the plumbing and lighting fixtures I have been pulling off the internet. The builder didn't have a huge budget for these two choices but we're going to find room for them.  Consider it the jewelry of your room.  Perfect accessories pull an outfit together. Same goes for this details of your home.
{All of our options are Energy Star.}


dreaming about summer

I was out on my front porch stringing lights in anticipation of warm summer nights spent out there enjoying the view.
A few other things on my wish list for this space:
terracotta lanterns
cozy and colorful Adirondack chairs with casual lumbar pillows
a sidebar type table where I can place drinks/snacks

{yellow pants were just a diversion to my dreaming, I'd like a pair of those too}

{pottery barn & west elm}


Parade Home Exterior Finishes

 We submitted our selections for the exterior finishes last week for the parade home.  I love the colors we selected because I feel like they are current while staying true to the craftsman style of the home.  We want the color scheme to be restful and interesting.


Arts and Crafts

The Arts and Crafts was a short lived movement that came about because of artists' concern in industrialized Victorian England that the beauty of hand craftsmanship would be lost in the mechanics.  In the 1920's when the industrial revolution really started picking up speed this style was forgotten by designers and consumers, but it has lasting power because we still see its influence in architecture today.

I am surrounded by it in my neighborhood because the avenues were the up and coming neighborhood in SLC in the late 1800's, early 1900's, the same time period as Arts and Crafts. The bungalow isn't the only architectural type from this style, but it is my favorite.
 {What I like about the style}
natural color scheme, simply treated materials, and minimal decoration
asymmetrical, deep porches, well proportioned
emphasis on nature, simplicity in form
quality design
diversity in style because there wasn't one core philosophy backing it other than superb craftsmanship
women were very involved in the movement
An interesting parallel between then and now I found was that John Ruskin {who's writing influenced William Morris in the Arts and Crafts movement} believed the machine was at the root of the social problems of his day.  I hear the same thing today.  What differences would we see if more of our economy was based on craftsmanship, rather than imported, machine made products?  Yes, prices are better when things are mass produced, but are we better for it?  I don't fully formed opinions on this, but I have always been a huge fan of handmade over manufactured.  There is more soul to it.    As we start work on the interior of our parade home I want to incorporate some of the classic details from the period.

{a really great source source source front door etsy source history source}


Victorian influences

The opulence of Victorian era melted away to a more straight lined functional movement and while I think our styles tend to be more simple, there are plenty of examples of how we have been influenced by this turn of the 19th century style.
Gray was a favored neutral
Marble was the popular stone of choice
Eclectic furniture styles blended together from previous styles in the past
Placing items of interest to show personality
Floral Wall papapers
importance placed on order
bare room = poor taste {tho maybe they took it a bit farther that we do}

Excessive ornamentation and accessories on every horizontal surface
Specific rules to color selection and placement
Focus on formal spaces - the parlor being the most important room in the house to showcase & entertain
Floor plans that divide public and private areas into closed areas, opposed to our more open floor plans

The image below is from a really great Victorian style home featured here.  I especially love this bathroom for its super fun details like the 10 FT mark in the tile on the wall and the Pool Rules sign.
 A great example of witty design.


Market Monday: Kate Morton & William Morris

"Wars make history seem deceptively simple.  They provide clear turning points, easy distinctions: before and after, winner and loser, right and wrong.  True history, the past, is not like that.  It isn't flat or linear.  It has no outline.  It is slippery, like liquid; infinite and unknowable, like space.  And it is changeable: just when you think you see a pattern, perspective shifts, an alternative versions proffered, a long forgotten memory resurfaces."

 Kate Morton is the brilliant author of this quote.  I just finished reading her book, The House at Riverton, and I loved this paragraph for a couple of reasons.  First, it summed up succinctly the way I've felt about  history in just a few lines.  Second, the same can be said about design.  It seems linear until you think about what determines a trend.  Following the outline of one style to the next you can see how what is happening in the world has everything to do with how we choose to adorn ourselves, our homes.  Studying history in conjunction with my love for art and design gives me little thrills as I see the one affected by the other.  The Victorian opulence being followed by the Arts and Crafts is the example I'm thinking of today and Kate Morton's books have a way of weaving beautiful stories including details of the architecture and details from the lifestyle that make history really come to life for me. This particular novel was a perfect choice because it is set in time as everything was shifting from the very conventional to the more free spirited movement.

So while the Victorian has never been one of my very favorites in terms of style, I can appreciate all that hand crafted detail and the pretty feminine lines. I've spent some time the last couple of weeks studying it so that I can better understand the Arts and Crafts movement since I'm working on a home being built in that style.
Which leads me to my second feature: William Morris.  He was a big player in the movement from Victorian to Arts and Crafts.  {I'll be talking more about this later.}

I especially love the paper products with his patterns on them.
{source source source}


a day of silence: for Japan, with love

Across the blogosphere today bloggers are uniting in a day of silence in respect for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
 So I'm posting this tonight {the night before} and while this may be breaking the silence in a way by still having something to say in my post about silence, I thought I'd share a few images and memories from one of the last times I visited Japan.

{I have a disk full of images from Japan that I can't find of landscapes and temples...grrr...these ones are some my friend Jason took when we went to Fukuoka for a 'visa run'}

Fukuoka, or Canal City, was such a contrast to what I was used to living in wild, bustling Seoul at the time.  Everything was very clean. There were beautiful, well kept gardens everywhere we turned, even the busy streets seemed quiet.  My lasting impressions of the place is the surreal peaceful quietness that seemed to come from the people and infuse their way of life with an inner calm. 

This inner calm is something I've had in mind since hearing about what they are going through right now.  I imagine them pulling together to rebuild and help each other. 

Our prayers and thoughts are with you, dear Japan.

i love green

On this lucky holiday I thought I'd share some of my favorite green things.  In no particular order:

grasshoppers and lizards
I have always loved them.  Have had hundreds of pet grasshoppers/lizards in my life.

mint chocolate chip ice cream
I don't eat a lot of ice cream {what a shame} but if I do, it's mint for sure.

I do eat a lot of these and prefer them on the green side of things

Snowqualmie Pass
Almost every summer growing up we made the drive to Seattle to spend time with my grandparents.  Snowqualmie was my favorite part of the trip for all the evergreens and the beautiful lake and the excitement that would come when we reached this point because it meant we were almost there.  The sun was usually starting to set by then too so my memories are all green laced with golden sunlight.

As hard as I've tried, I can't keep them alive in pots, but love them in the wild and other people's gardens.

The Body Shop's Aloe Soothing Day Cream
Very light, all natural ingredients and inexpensive.

Co Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint
I have these squirreled away everywhere: in my car, bedside table, desk at work, coat pockets...can't get enough of them.

Ginkgo leaves
My favorite tree

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Glass Tile Mobile

I had a bunch of leftover glass tiles from a project so I thought I'd string them up and see what they looked like as a wind chime.  I finished it up and was ready to hang it out on the porch when I dropped it and half of the tiles fell off and shattered on the ground.  Lesson learned: a glass tile wind chime is a bad idea.  But it looks pretty hanging in my kitchen nook where it can catch the morning light.


Market Monday: 50% Hooker Furniture Sale

We are crazy busy at Noble House getting ready for our Hooker Furniture sale this weekend.  Pre-orders have been stacking up and I'm grateful for those early birds getting their orders taken care of before the mad rush.  

Fitting then that my Market Monday feature is a reminder about the 50% off sale this Wednesday through Saturday right?  I thought so.  I love a good deal, and this is one for sure.

Not local?  We can drop ship. 


the perfect lamp

I have a client who is reupholstering her desk chair and she has taken a few different fabric options home for the weekend to see how it looks in her room. We also talked about some table lamps that would work with her selections.
Lamps are a great way to set the tone so I paired her selections with lamps I thought played up the pattern of the upholstery.
So many possibilities, what is your favorite?


Parade of Homes this summer

Big news for us here at Noble House - we have teamed up with Haskell Homes to be in the Parade of Homes this summer!

I was thrilled when I saw the plans for the first time today because the craftsman style is one of my personal favorites and the floor plan will be a lot of fun to work with because of the reasonable size and layout. 

They brought us in at the beginning stages so we picked the exterior materials today: stucco color, stone, door style, roofing, fascia and garage color... et al.  Have I mentioned how much I enjoy making decisions?  I really love it.

Next up: Interior colors with a big focus on the kitchen.  I plan to keep you posted as we work on this home.  It will be a really fun project for us!


my dining room

I've been day dreaming my way through my home in the Salt Lake Avenues since I first moved in a couple months ago and I've shown you my thoughts on the outside, my entry way and then the living room.  My latest project has been my dining room.  It is a giant room between the front living room and the kitchen and the whole East wall is windows so it is delightful in the morning.
As I hone my personal style I have found that I'm torn between classic neutral pallets, high gloss white and bright patterns.   Heavy dose of earthy bohemiene eclectic, but also refined and a healthy dose of old school charm.  Something about the conflict between all the parts intrigue me.  Something to do with the sum of the parts being greater than the whole. 

The best way I see it working is using the gray neutrals I love as the base of my color scheme then building on it with the colors that I enjoy so that as my moods change I can mix out the colors easily and create different looks with the key items in the room.

I would spice it up with a window seat with heaps of color and patterns {shown above} that would come in very useful when I have guests over.  I had a breakfast recently with some friends and had about 15 women in my home and while we had plenty of seating, I did wish for a second that my window seat was reality instead of just something I wish for.

I like the idea of a dinning table with a reclaimed wood style so that when I add my own scratches and dings it won't be so painful.  The chairs are something I am undecided on because there are so many to choose from, but today I'm in leaning more towards the natural texture part of my style aesthetics so I choose these chairs for their great pattern and would upholster them in something hardy and neutral so I could play them up with the other colors in the room. {the fabrics shown here are crypton options from fabricut re: indestructible.}
The above images are from my existing room.  Table/rug/vase pictured are my housemates' goods.  {My pretty table is being stored.}  The curtains are old and a bit dated, but a huge improvement compared to the heavy drapery that were hiding them until I moved in.