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Shall I Spell It Out For You?

I just realized that I haven’t written any articles dealing with curb appeal since “Naming A Home”, which I posted in 2015. When it comes to curb appeal, one shouldn’t overlook details such as doorbell or mailbox design because they are such an easy way to reinforce the style and character of your home. Another way to do so is by the way you choose to deal with address numbers. They are obviously functional, but can also be stylish.

I’ll admit to not loving the address numbers we inherited when we bought our house over five years ago but after scouring the internet I haven’t found anything suitable to replace them with. I always thought that when we got around to replacing our address numbers that we’d select something that you’d typically find in New England. I had my heart set on ordering something from the Chatham Sign Shop until I recently realized how much I love the look of script/cursive address numbers. In the end, I’m not sure which style will win out. Since we aren’t looking to redo the exterior of our home until perhaps next summer I have a bit of time to decide and it really will depend on the extent of renovations we do to the home. In the meantime, let’s explore a few examples together. script address sign_reviving charm 2

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I’ve seen vinyl and painted options but I would definitely prefer to have the numbers fabricated from metal.
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The next three pictures are coincidently homes of a similar architectural style. Our home looks nothing like any of these but they make me want to paint our house white to give our ranch home more of a seaside cottage feel. I also really like how the numbers are actually spelled out. If I choose to go the script sign route, spelling out the numbers is probably the look I’d be going for. script address numbers_Reviving Charm

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Here’s an example of a thicker font. Personally, I prefer a thinner, more delicate looking font like the examples above. script address_reviving charm

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There are variations on a theme that also include a classic block letter which is also very nice.

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Actual spacing of the letters is also something to take into consideration. Spacing the letters closer together, as shown in the picture above, appears more formal than if they are spaced farther apart (below).

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So…what’s your preference when it comes it house numbering? 

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Ranch Houzz Perfection

I love a variety of different design styles that it often poses a challenge when trying to narrow down a look for our own seaside ranch house.  Ranch homes are generally humble in nature and it’s been challenging to find images of a ranch home done right. If you’ve seen any, please let me know. My search led me to images of this Los Angeles, California ranch home on Houzz a few months back and later to the designer’s website. At 4,000 square feet, you can hardly call it humble in terms of square footage but you could definitely call it homey and quaint in terms of its overall aesthetic. It’s not overly decorated and looks collected over time. These are qualities I wish to capture in our own home. It’s a place I’d feel most comfortable coming home to every night. I’ve visited and revisited these pictures on many occasions studying each detail hoping to capture the same essence in our own home. Before I start vacillating back and forth on style, I should probably contact Mark J. Williams, the designer for this project, to help me jump start things a bit on our own home. I’m never too proud to call in reinforcement when needed.

Read more about this home on Houzz.

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A Night at the Museum: The Getty Center

Living in Los Angeles provides lots of cultural opportunities. We have some wonderful museums in Southern California but with L.A. being so spread out (urban sprawl!), I don’t get to visit my favorites much as I would like. It’s been a while since my last visit to The Getty and last weekend we decided to spend the evening at The Getty Center. There are actually two Getty museums in Southern California: The Getty Villa and The Getty Center. However, Californian’s often refer to them as “the one in Malibu” or  “the one on the hill”. Sometimes someone will refer to “the one on the hill” as “the new one” even though it isn’t actually all that new. In December it celebrated its 20th year anniversary…how time flies.

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To call The Getty Center “just another museum” is an understatement. It’s a series of Italian limestone buildings (16,000 tons of limestone, to be exact) that are perched on top of a hill that offers educational activities, conducts research, as well as play host to some of the best works of art in the world. The sculptural design of the complex is an architectural photographers dream. It was designed by famed architect Richard Meier and the geometric forms of the structures are so interesting that they often provide the most amazing contrast between light and shadow. If you love architectural photography then you won’t want to leave your camera at home. And If you enjoy art and architecture as much I do and are planning a visit to L.A., then The Getty Center should be on your list of places to visit. I  highly recommend The Getty Villa also.

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We arrived in the evening thinking that the daytime crowds would have died down and that we would have the galleries all to ourselves. We were completely wrong. The second we pulled into the driveway we immediately realized that half of LA. must have had the same idea. Once parked you can either walk hike up the hill a quarter mile to reach the museum or, alternatively, board a tram that will transport you directly to the top. The parking lot was full during our visit so they allowed us to park in an area at the top of the hill that eliminated the need to take the tram. Signage literally refers to it as “Top of the Hill Parking” and is only accessible through a secured area. It’s normally reserved for Benefactor’s, VIP’s, and the like but on this day it served as overflow parking and we scored the best parking spot ever. Once you’ve figured out your parking situation and get to the top of the hill, you reach a large arrival plaza. You immediately realize that this is no ordinary museum.

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It doesn’t take long to discover amazing views in almost every direction.

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Typical Saturday evening traffic on the 405 freeway heading into L.A.

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Don’t forget to look up!

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You can easily spend a few days visiting The Getty Center if you want to experience all that it has to offer. Most people don’t have that kind of time so it is best to plan your visit to ensure you don’t miss what interests you the most. We had the intent of only staying a couple of hours to visit “Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography: 1911-2011”, a temporary exhibit through October 21, 2018.

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You wouldn’t necessarily realize this from my pictures but this gallery was uncomfortably crowded. This is a wildly popular exhibit but I was just lucky enough to get a few pictures without a ton of people.

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Richard Avedon, 1950

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Louis Faurer, Negative 1972 & Print 1991

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Neil Barr, 1968

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David Seidner, 1986

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Scott Schuman (aka “The Sartorialist”), 2011

The French and Italian decorative arts galleries are my favorites in any museum and The Getty is no exception. I get nervous handwashing a glass in the kitchen sink for fear of breaking it so it always amazes me how some antique glass stays beautifully intact with no chips or cracks.

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I hope you enjoyed my post about my quick visit to The Getty Center. If you need me today, I can be found at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA. I’m looking forward to seeing the lithographs of American artist Ellsworth Kelly on display through October 29, 2018.

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Crystal Palecek’s New Office

I had lunch with a couple of friends a few days ago. One friend was sharing details about the remodeling being planned for her home while the other, a recent empty nester, was talking about a redecorating project currently in process. Specifically, the empty nester was turning a bedroom into a new office and craft room. She couldn’t be more excited about it. I could relate to her giddiness because it wasn’t until we moved into the seaside ranch home that I was able to decorate my very own office space. Coincidently that evening I also read about the new office of Crystal Palecek, Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of Rue Magazine. Here’s a look at Crystal’s new office space but be sure to read the interview with her to learn more about the design, its inspiration and sources for her project. After hearing about my friend’s project and seeing Crystal’s new office, it made me start rethinking my own space. Uh-oh…can you see where this is headed?Crystal-Palecek home office_reviving charm 2Crystal-Palecek home office_reviving charm 4Crystal-Palecek home office_reviving charm 3Crystal-Palecek home office_reviving charm 5Crystal-Palecek home office_reviving charmCrystal-Palecek home office_reviving charm 6Crystal-Palecek home office_reviving charm 7Crystal-Palecek home office_reviving charm 8Crystal-Palecek home office_reviving charm 10Crystal-Palecek home office_reviving charm 9a

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How to Wear Black During the Summer

There’s an art to putting together a great ensemble and some may say wearing black is the lazy’s persons way out of styling a great outfit – that it’s not very creative. If you’re someone who subscribes to that train of thought then I’m letting you know right now that we will have to agree to disagree. Black is timeless and classic; it’s always chic. Yes, it is fail-safe, and when done right it can make you look like a million bucks. Case in point…The Duchess of Sussex looked fabulous in this cropped leg black Givenchy pantsuit during her recent trip to Ireland.

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No matter what season it is, you’ll always find me wearing black. Summer is no exception. It’s a “color” that most people avoid when the temperatures rise, but there is definitely a stylish way to wear black during the summer without looking like you’ve committed a fashion faux pas. Here’s my secret:

A fail-safe way to pull off black successfully during the summer is to pair it with crisp, bright white.

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If you are looking to update your summer style then here are a few pieces you might want to consider adding to your Summer 18 wardrobe. For your added convenience, I selected pieces at every price point so there is something for everyone.

I hate to be negative but I can’t write talk about summer style without mentioning one of the things that I despise the most about Southern California. I really dislike how overly casual we’ve become. I live by the beach and I’d like to think that people tend to dress even more casual here than other parts of the state but it’s just not so. Casual doesn’t give someone an excuse to be downright sloppy because it really sends a message that someone just doesn’t care. I get the fact that summer is about comfort but with little extra effort there’s a way to pull off a stylish, yet very comfortable look and this top is a great example of that. I like its woman’s cut and feminine sleeve detail. It’s a great alternative to a classic T with a great striped pattern. Plus, it looks fabulous teamed up with a pair of white pants. It’s an outfit that I would call “snappy casual”. It gets my seal of approval for casual wear. black white stripes_reviving charm

When I was in Italy last year everyone was wearing culottes and wide leg pants. Eventually, styles make their way to the U.S. and I love this look from & Other Stories. It’s a look that can easily transition from day to night just by swapping out the flats for heels and adding some bold accessories (statement necklace, anyone?). A crisp white blouse is timeless and the pants look stylish, yet comfortable.

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Drawstring waist blouse.

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Barely there earrings are great for day or night. I especially like that these black onyx studs and studs with the circular gold element can actually be worn all year round. summer style stud earrings_reviving charm

A simple dress like this one can keep you cool all summer long. Pair it with the sandals below for a great daytime look. black dress summer style_reviving charm 1

Summer is about a great pair of sandals and I fell head over heels with this tassel sandal the very moment I laid eyes on it.  summer style tassel sandal_reviving charm

I really wish my hair was longer because there are so many cute hair accessories I would buy. I love this cute chain link hair clip. It’s currently on sale for only 8 bucks (originally $25).

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These barely-there sandals in satin from Rosetta Getty caught my eye. rosetta getty sandals_reviving charm

Here’s a more affordable option in suede. summer fashion_sandal_reviving charm

Cropped wide-leg jumpsuit.

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Faux wrap jumpsuit.

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To complete the look above you’ll need a great heel. How about this one from Stewart Weitzman?

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This one is almost identical to the Stewart Weitzman version but is a more affordable option. 

Or how about this one with the knotted bow? summer style fashion shoes_reviving charm 2

I was recently in the market for a new black tote bag. Bally is one of my go-to brands and I love that this tote also comes with a detachable pochette. It’s pricey but a classic will last forever.

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If you are looking for a less expensive option, this classic leather tote from Cuyana is a great choice, plus they will even monogram it for you. I love supporting California businesses and Cuyana is a favorite.

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I own a lot of shell blouses from Ann Taylor and the Swiss Dot Ruffle Neck Shell is one I’m planning to purchase. It’s currently on sale at half off by using code: TOPITOFF

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Canvas and leather belt.

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This off the shoulder crepe dress is perfect for a summer evening event when you need to dress things up a bit. It’s an extremely affordable option at only $149 at Nordstrom so you won’t feel guilty if you only wear it a couple of times during the season. By the way, the highly anticipated Nordstrom sale has already started for cardholders but starts July 20 for everyone else.

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These black and gold hoop earrings are a winning combination but they are also available in orange in case you want to add a little color into your life.

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This straw wristlet could easily become my best friend this summer. I love its unusual, modern shape.

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Polka dots are having a moment and I like this dot print chiffon dress. This pattern is also offered in a pretty blouse style. summer style polka dot_reviving charm

I like investing in classic pieces. And when it comes to shoes, they can last a lifetime if they are well taken care of. These Roger Vivier flats may be pricey but they are a great option if you are looking to add a investment piece to your wardrobe. They are shown here in suede but they also come in leather. Other colors are also available.

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ln Fall 2017 Rihanna collaborated with the luxury brand powerhouse LVMH to release Fenty Beauty. I’ve been using the translucent Invisimatte Blotting Powder since the day it was released and I can’t imagine living without it. In fact, I always keep two on hand: one for home and one to keep in my bag. It comes with a touchup sponge that works fine for me when I’m on the go but you can also purchase the mini touchup brush that is magnetic and conveniently sticks to the compact like two peas in a pod. This isn’t a beauty post but the black and white packaging fits right in with the theme of this post. Plus, who doesn’t want a good tip on how to reduce shine during the summer?

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Summer is all about great swimwear and this bathing suit is appropriately named Showstopper. I love the ultra stylish design but if you’re going to wear this then be prepared for some unusual tan lines unless you decide to remove the detachable shoulder and back strap.

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Black sunglasses are my trademark fashion accessory so I couldn’t write about summer style without offering up a ccouple of sunglass suggestions. I’m not sure I’ll ever embrace the complete cat-eye frame that I’ve seen lately, but this one from Gucci is so very subtle that I could probably pull it off. gucci cat eye sunglasses_reviving charm

If you like the look of a thick frame, how about this stylish, yet less expensive option?nordstrom sunglasses

Summer evenings can get a bit cool, particularly here at the beach, and I like wearing a scarf like this one to keep the chill at bay. It’s a good alternative to a sweater. summer style scarf_reviving charm

Eugenia Kim hats are nothing new and they tend to pop up all over the internet during the summer. I personally like this one that says “Dream On”. However, what is new this season is that fact that you can now customize a hat with your very own personalized message. What would yours say? 

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Boring but important info: This post contains affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you any more to purchase the items in this post but I will be rewarded for your purchases. If you have any questions about this, please contact me. Thank you for supporting Reviving Charm.

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Welcoming Strangers into Your Home

A couple of years ago I was at a local flea market and a complete stranger captivated me. I laid eyes on the artwork you see below and was intrigued by the woman in the painting. Who is she? Who painted her? What’s her story?

“You know, if one paints someone’s portrait, one should not know him if possible.” –Otto Dix, artist

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I know absolutely nothing about the woman in the painting. She’s a complete stranger but I knew that I had to have her. I welcomed her with open arms without any thought of how she would be displayed in our home. As a result of my uncertainty, she’s been sitting at the back of my closet unframed and hiding in the corner. Over the last couple of weeks, I did some major purging of items in my closet and realized that it’s time for her to (literally) come out of the closet and find a suitable place to be displayed. (By the way, at the time this post was finalized I still hadn’t quite figured out where to display her.)

I am fascinated by painted portraits. They create an immediate sense of history and elevate the decor in a space. Put them in a grouping and they immediately exude a regal quality.  Let’s take a look at how they have been incorporated into a few interiors.

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I once spent part of an afternoon with a friend at the Huntington Library making up stories about the people in various portraits. What would this guy’s story be?

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Daytrip: La Jolla, California

Even though 4th of July landed on a Wednesday this year, it didn’t stop us from jumping in the car and heading south to spend some time in La Jolla, California. La Jolla has been described as an affluent, hilly seaside community. I’ve also heard it being referenced as San Diego’s “jewel by the sea”. Both are true and we’re lucky to have such a beautiful community within a two-hour drive from our seaside ranch home. You may want to consider La Jolla if you are looking for a great place for a quick escape in Calfornia.

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Food is fuel for the body so we decided to start our day off with brunch on the patio of the historic (circa 1926) La Valencia Hotel & Spa. A good meal overlooking the ocean was the perfect way to start the day. la valencia hotel La Jolla California_Reviving Charm

I discovered this gate and courtyard of this ocean view property in the village many years ago but I manage to take a picture of it everytime I visit La Jolla. Isn’t it charming? la jolla daytrip_reviving charm 1

I don’t recall what restaurant we walked by but this single bright yellow gerbera daisy looked so sweet on a patio table. la jolla restaurants_reviving charm

These hillside homes nestled in lush landscaping are actually located at the edge of the village. They have amazing views of the La Jolla cove that is off in the distance. la jolla california architecture_reviving charm blog

We found a terrace overlooking the ocean and had it to ourselves. It was the perfect spot to enjoy the breathtaking view without anyone else around. It was the most peaceful spot. la jolla cove_Reviving Charm

We stumbled upon a walkway that leads you from the village straight down to the beach. The walkway is lined with a series of adorable cottages. This one at the top of the hill is for sale with an asking price of approximately $999,000 and is currently in escrow. There’s truth in the saying that it’s all about location, location, location. This tiny cottage measures a mere 528 square feet and is located on a 729 square foot lot. It features 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and an amazing deck with ocean views. However, the kitchen and bath will definitely need to be gutted. You can see the listing with pictures of this Ocean Lane cottage here.   

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No day would be complete without a bit of shopping including a visit to one of my favorite shops in town,The Faded Awning. I love that the owner has French music piped throughout the shop. They offer a variety of home goods, gift items, clothing and jewelry available for sale. On a previous trip we purchased two side chairs that now call our living room home and last year I purchaed a straw handbag that I mentioned in thisprior post. la jolla shopping_reviving charm

Another display at The Faded Awning.

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A small courtyard leading to the entrance of an antique shop.
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Unfortunately, the antique shop was closed but it didn’t stop me from peeking through the window.la jolla antiques

Sunflowers are the quintessential summer flower and there was an abundance of them available at a flower shop in the village. I also love this tropical floral arrangement in the window of COS Barla jolla flowers_reviving charm

We took a walk along the path that hugs the cove trying to avoid the crowds…reviving charm

But the crowds provided a good form of entertainment. This next picture might look like a “Where’s Waldo” but instead, try to find the sea lion sunning himself along the shoreline. The sunbathers had to keep moving their camps as the sea lion began encroaching into their territory. Lifeguards had to keep reminding beach-goers to keep their distance since everyone was trying to capture a selfie and kids were trying to touch the massive creatures.

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We’ve passed by Mary, Star of the Sea Church many times but this was the first time we actually ventured inside. The small church is beautiful in its simplicity. mary star of the sea la jolla church_reviving charm

And…if we hadn’t done enough already, by the late afternoon we decided to drive into downtown San Diego to wander a bit. Here’s a look at the remainder of the day.

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Celebrating A Slice of England

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I immediately wanted to host an event after seeing this beautifully decorated table (and photos below) on the Instagram account of @IndiaHicksStyle. The accompanying comment said “This time last week. Slice of England.” After a bit of digging around online, I came to learn that this lovely table was designed for a dinner held last week in the garden of  “American Farm”, the country English home of India Hicks and her partner David Flint Wood. The event celebrated India’s new book “India Hicks: A Slice of England” released earlier this year. Every guest received a copy of the book. But you don’t have to feel left out…you can purchase your own copy here. 

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images via @indiahicksstyle

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Marine Lair

I love stalking real estate listings for places that I travel to and since we are in La Jolla, California I thought I’d share “Marine Lair” with you today. The 3,124 square foot home with 3 bedrooms and 4.5 baths is situated on a tiny 2,560 square foot lot located directly across the street from the beach. The home was built by Andrew Canter, the 34-year-old owner of Canter Companies and real estate investment banker, who spared no expense in designing and building a contemporary beach home (and bachelor pad…he’s single) in one of Southern California’s premier oceanfront communities.

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Andrew Canter at Marine Lair

Canter put his development team to the test by informing them that his vision and “…concept was to create something rare and extraordinary in every aspect of the design.” The home is very sculptural in nature and incorporates carefully curated rugged and exotic materials, such as koa wood veneer harvested from Hilo, Hawaii. This isn’t surprising coming from an owner working with a craftsman who spent a lot of time building boats. It feels like a little jewel box on the beach and it can be all yours for $11.8 million. If you don’t have access to that much cash don’t worry…the seller is accepting bitcoin.

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Red, White, and Blue

Tomorrow is the 4th of July holiday and today on the blog we are celebrating the spirit of summer with designs inspired by patriotic colors. Although I’m generally partial to neutral colors, I’ve always been drawn to a classic New England look that often incorporates red, white, and blue. Mr. B and I be celebrating by the water (one of my “happy places”) and heading to La Jolla. The fact that the holiday falls in the middle of the week this year is a bit of a bummer but it’s still a good excuse to seize the day and enjoy what summer has to offer, even if only for one day. What are your holiday plans?

I wish you a very Happy 4th of July. Stay safe..stay sane…

All the best, V.

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There’s nothing more classic than a good stripe so I created a series of thick stripes executed in watercolor. Most have already sold and very few are still available.

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SOLD. This is another painting I created for a client in Boston. This is one in a series of four different designs but all incorporated the same brighter blue and red tones. The colors seem most appropriate for a New England interior.

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