reviving charm

The Perfect Little Office

Having a small space doesn’t mean you have to skimp on style and the 176 square foot office designed by Amy Mitchell is a perfect example of that. When her business outgrew the designated space in her New Hampshire home (her kitchen!) she converted a 19th-century building on her property that was being used as a storage shed into a beautiful office space for her interior design business, Home Glow Design. 

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I read about the project in this article on Houzz where I learned that the renovation of the space was designed over the course of 6 short weeks as part of the One Room Challenge earlier this year. In case you missed it (like I did) you can still catch up on all 6 weeks in these posts: Week 1/Week 2/Week 3/Week 4/Week 5/Week 6. Each week gives insight on the progress of the renovation work, as well as provide source details for the items used in the space. Many of the items are from Ikea, several which I’ve incorporated into my own office space. If you’ve been concerned about using Ikea in your own office, don’t be. My pieces have held up well, been very versatile, and come at such an affordable price point that my wallet appreciates. The money I saved allowed me to splurge in other areas. Plus, the amount of storage they provide can’t be beat. For me, they’ve turned out to be a great alternative to pricey built-ins.

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Beauty of the (Italian) Afterlife

I promised that I would share pictures from our most recent Italian vacation. I am starting to make good on that promise although I do still need to put together a proper post. I’m working on it…I swear. I am continuing to sift through thousands of pictures but I did manage to gather a few that are most appropriate for today, Halloween, the spookiest of all holidays.

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When it comes to traveling, I have found that one of the most exciting ways to get to know a city is to simply get lost and enjoy new discoveries that literally cross your path. As Mr. B and I wandered throughout Milan on one particular day, we took note of a building off in the distance due to its beauty and scale. We continued to walk toward it hoping to learn more. It turns out that the building that caught our attention is part of Milan’s most well-known cemetery, Monument Cemetery (Cimitero Monumentale in Italian). Our curiosity led us past the gates and into one of the City’s largest cemetery’s developed in 1886.

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We ventured inside only to discover an open-air market with a treasure trove of art and architectural monuments. As we strolled the grounds, it was immediately evident that some of the most notable artists and architects were commissioned to build beautiful, grand structures to mark the location of where some of the most wealthy and elite Italians have been laid to rest.

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All iPhone images by Reviving Charm.

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STEVEN GAMBREL RESTORES 27 SUFFOLK STREET

I’ve never met an interior designed by Steven Gambrel that I didn’t like. I follow him on Instagram (along with 78,000 other people) and have been enjoying the images of the work he has been doing at 27 Suffolk Street in Sag Harbor, New York. I noticed a couple of days ago that he announced that the home is now officially listed for sale. The home was originally built in 1854 and is officially known as the Captain Osborne Edwards House. Steven Gambrel collaborated with Timeless Homes Ltd. to beautifully restore the 5,200 square foot home from top to bottom with upgraded, modern amenities that anyone would be happy to call home. The price tag? $6.795 million.

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20 YEARS AGO TODAY…

Life is interesting. You can cross paths with someone and in that unsuspecting moment, not realize that they are the person who is going to turn your whole life around. For me, that person was Mr. B. He’s the person I think of morning, noon and night. He’s the person that makes life interesting and exciting (no exaggeration) and he is the one I can’t imagine life without. We’re 2 peas in a pod.

Today marks our 20th wedding anniversary and although we are celebrating on a tiny island in the middle of Lake Maggiore, Italy, I can’t help but reminisce about the wedding we planned 20 years ago. From the start, we liked doing things differently and planned a destination wedding long before they were ever popular. The internet wasn’t around in 1998 and I made all plans and reservations over my Pacific Bell “princess” landline phone. We chose to book one of two presidential suites at the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel (now known as the Fairmont Olympic Hotel) in Seattle to serve as the backdrop for our small, intimate affair. It was booked sight unseen and we didn’t see the room until a few hours before the wedding took place. We figured, “It’s the Four Seasons…c’mon how bad could it really be?” I eventually asked the hotel to send me pictures of the room and they happily obliged (The Four Seasons was very accommodating before, during, and after the event). However, I had to wait for the pictures to be developed and sent overnight via Fed-X. Interesting how times have changed!

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This was our wedding cake. Again, wanting to stray from tradition and opting for something more unique, we decided to design our own version of the wedding cake. I asked the hotel to create individual cakes for each of the 20 guests. When I made the request, I was told it was something the hotel had never done before and my wedding coordinator would have to first consult with the pastry chef. Naturally, they accommodated my request and each guest was served their very own miniature wedding cake adorned with fruit and fresh flowers (the miniature roses were my favorite). Printed menus were placed at each table setting and the dessert course was described as a “wedding cake surprise”. The cakes certainly were a surprise because we had no idea how they would exactly turn out until they were served at the wedding. Thankfully, they came out just as I had imagined and people enjoyed them so much that they continued to talk about them for many years to follow. It was a wonderful day and if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

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GREETINGS FROM ITALY

Buongiorno! Mr. B and I have been enjoying travels through Northern Italy. Traveling during this time of year is great because the crowds generally die down a bit and the weather is usually more tolerable. Unfortunately, we couldn’t escape the higher temperatures and it’s been in the mid 80 degrees in Turin, where we are currently staying. Another advantage for traveling during this time of year is that the prices are typically more reasonable. For me, that means hoping to buy more souvenirs with the money we save.

I took thousands of pictures on our Italian trip last year and realize that I never shared any with you. I recently went through all of last year’s pictures and created this small photo montage highlighting the architectural features, design details and the natural beauty that capture the essence of Italy.

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I have one very special post scheduled while I’m away and I promise to do a recap post of my current trip when I’m back. I’m also looking forward to posting more regularly. Fall is approaching and I’m feeling inspired. In the meantime, follow along on Instagram.

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A MARTHA’S VINEYARD CHARMER BY LILIANE HART

I may have been born and raised in a suburb of Los Angeles but sometimes I feel like a New England girl at heart. I have traveled to the east coast on numerous occasions and each time I visit I fall more in love with the region’s classic coastal style. Maybe part of the allure isn’t just about the architecture or decorating style. It really is about a lifestyle – one where much of life revolves around that water. Anywhere near the water is considered to be one of my “happy places”.

The Martha’s Vineyard home I am highlighting today was designed by Liliane Hart, a designer that Traditional Home Magazine named as one of 2017’s rising design stars. The home was featured in a recent issue of House Beautiful magazine and I have included pictures from both the magazine spread as well those from Liliane’s portfolio.  This also reminded me that I really shouldn’t wait too long to plan a trip to Martha’s Vineyard since it’s a place I actually haven’t been to yet but something tells me that I’m going to love it…

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I’ve mentioned before that our home is designed around fairly neutral colors with not a lot of pattern since I tend to tire of things easily. However, if there is one designer that can convince me to step outside of my comfort zone and embrace color and pattern, it would be the talented Liliane Hart. She has a flair for color and a wonderful eye for mixing color and pattern with classic style. However, she also has her way with neutrals that are just as captivating. Many designers have a signature and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that,

http://lilianehart.com/portfolio.html

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COLOR STORY: BOLD RED STRIPES

It always feels like Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of Summer so if I had to pick a pattern that was synonymous with the season, it would have to be the classic stripe. I probably should have posted this at the start of Summer but frankly, Summer 2018 has been somewhat uninspiring for me (hence the lack of regular posts). I’m fairly certain that it has something to do with the fact that it’s my least favorite part of the year. I was going through some old pictures when I came across this image of a children’s bedroom I took a few years ago at a model home (YT- Do you remember this?). It’s definitely not my style but it was the inspiration for this post and serves as a great reminder that sometimes it’s good to step outside your comfort zone.ed stripes_Reviving Charm

When it comes to my own decorating, the color red is usually reserved for the holiday season but I really do love stripes. To mix things up a bit I thought I would put together a few examples of bold red stripes that have Reviving Charm’s seal of approval. Several of these images may not be new but are definitely still relevant…and that’s a sign of enduring style.

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Red stripe beach towel.  
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Red is designer Alessandra Branca’s signature color. No one does red better than she does so I thought I would end the last 2 pictures in this post with her designs.

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Take Note: Bernard Maisner for Paperless Post

I am a traditionalist at heart and love to send and receive snail mail. I always make sure to have stationery on hand because you never know when you’ll need to send a note to someone special. My go-to stationer is Smythson (preferring their blank notecards) and I even posted about some of my purchases here. But I have to admit to secretly coveting the notecards designed by artist and master calligrapher Bernard Maisner. I remember first seeing his beautiful butterfly notecards at Gumps in San Francisco many, many years ago. I don’t think anyone who knows me would describe me as frugal but I couldn’t justify spending $145 for a set of 8 notecards that would sit in a drawer just waiting to be used. However, I will say that they are a wonderful splurge for a very special occasion. While expensive, the price tag is justifiable. Each notecard is beautifully hand painted with vibrant watercolors so no two are ever alike. Notecards also come packaged in a fabric covered box that makes me swoon because I am also a sucker for great packaging.

Here’s a look at some Bernard Maisner stationery. Keep reading…I can tell you how you can get Bernard Maisner for considerably less…

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Barnard Maisner, Artist and Calligrapher in his studio.

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In our digital age, there are options to physical paper stationery and Paperless Post provides a fabulous alternative by offering digital stationery that mimics the look of traditional paper goods. The online platform provides some of the most attractive digital designs and I was happy to learn that they offer many designs by Bernard Maisner, including the butterfly notecard I have loved for so long. If you love Bernard Maisner designs as much as I do, this is a much more affordable option. Here’s a look at a few of the Bernard Maisner digital designs available through Paperless Post. bernard maisner paperless post butterflies_reviving charm 1

bernard maisner_reviving charm_paperless post peacock notecardbernard maisner birthday card calligraphy_paperless post_reviving charmI really like that Paperless Post designs are so customizable. Many designs even allow you to upload your own picture.  

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It’s never too early to think about the holidays. In fact, I was just telling someone yesterday that after Labor Day it always feels like a fast forward to the holiday season.thanksgiving paperless post_reviving charmbernard maisner card calligraphy_paperless post_reviving charmbernard maisner_reviving charm_paperless post christmas card 2

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While Paperless Post is nothing new, it’s something I’ve haven’t tried until just recently. If you are on the fence about using digital stationery like I was, don’t be. Paperless Post provides a great alternative to physical paper by offering so many stylish designs, including those by Oscar de la Renta, John Derian and Jonathan Adler, just to name a few. Here’s what I like about Paperless Post:

  • The website and the app are so simple to use and very user-friendly. 
  • I absolutely love the fact that you can schedule cards to be delivered in the future. 
  • You can save your drafts to work on later.
  • A countless number of designs with style to suit almost everyone.
  • You are informed when cards are delivered and can see once they’ve been read.
  • Customization is simple and very intuitive.
  • You can even upload your own designs.

I now consider myself a fan of Paperless Post but one thing I don’t quite get is how they came up with their pricing system. “Coins” are the currency you use to pay for your digital products and you buy coins in bundles. For example, a series of 10 coins cost $5.00, 25 coins cost $10, 100 coins cost $20, and so on. I sent a card recently that cost me 7 coins. I absolutely hate math so I didn’t bother to actually figure out what the real cost to me was in dollars and cents. I don’t get the concept of coins and I prefer a traditional check-out than to have to buy coin packages. For me, this is the only downside I found and it’s not one that would ever deter me from using their products again in the future. I’ll just simply consider it a quirk. After all, don’t we all have a quirk or two of our own? I know I sure do…

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A Kennedy Carriage House Turned Cottage

It’s amazing how the fascination with the Kennedy’s doesn’t ever seem to die down. The Kennedy name is synonymous with style so it’s no surprise that Architectural Digest recently chose to profile the circa 1904 Hyannis Port carriage house turned cottage belonging to Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy (son of the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy) and his wife Amy.

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One of the things I’ve always found interesting about Patrick’s grandparents, Joe and Rose Kennedy, is that as wealthy as they were, they never overly decorated their home on Hyannis Port, or the “Big House” as it was often referred to. Maybe they realized that it wasn’t practical while raising 9 kids? Or maybe it had something to do with the fact that since most of their time on the Cape was actually spent outdoors, they felt that the interiors didn’t need to be overly lavish? Patrick Kennedy confirmed my suspicion by stating in the article that “…it was never about the big house, the ornate architecture. The house was just a location. My grandparents were obviously very, very wealthy, but they never, ironically, invested a lot building out a really fancy house,” he says. “They were never trying to impress anyone. It’s very understated. [Our house] is a very glorified bunkhouse, a crash pad that has very nice architectural aesthetics.”  It seems that Amy and Patrick have carried on the tradition of creating a casual environment when turning their attention to the interiors of their own home on the Compound. They’ve created a welcoming beach house famously situated on one of the most idyllic settings on the bay.

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A Whimsical Garden in France: Les Jardins D’Étretat

After spending time in my studio painting a few weeks ago, I started browsing through a magazine online (I forget which one) and I came across a short article about Les Jardins D’Etretat located on the Normandy coast about a two-hour train ride from Paris. The picture below captivated me and I transported myself into the shoes of the painter. I visioned myself perched on top of the ragged cliff with a paintbrush in one hand while admiring the breathtaking scenery. I could taste the salty air, hear the thunderous roar of the crashing waves from down below, and feel a cool breeze move across my face. Then, out of nowhere, I snapped out of my hypnotic state and my immediate thought was: “We really need to buy tickets to France.”

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This past weekend I spent some time in my own garden to tidy things up a bit. As I was working, I remembered the image I came across a few weeks ago. The property was once owned by a famous French actress, Madame Thébault, who was a friend of artist Claude Monet. Monet frequently visited Thébault and encouraged her to plant a garden. The scenery greatly inspired Monet and over the course of his artistic career, he painted numerous pieces of art capturing the cliffs and shoreline below. I don’t know exactly how many paintings he created of Étretat because conflicting research indicates anywhere from 30-50 individual paintings, including the two shown below.

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Etretat is becoming more and more amazing. Now is the real moment: the beach with all its fine boats; it is superb, and I am enraged not to be more skillful in rendering all this. I would need two hands and hundreds of canvases.  –Claude Monet

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Étretat is best known for its chalky cliffs and rock formations. It’s no surprise that Monet was so inspired by the natural beauty of the region.

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I would love to see pictures of what the gardens actually looked like in the early 1900’s when Thébault planted the original garden. The current gardens that I am highlighting in today’s post were restored in 2016 by Russian landscaper Alexander Grivko and are open to the public to enjoy. I am sure Thébault and Monet would be happy to know that the area continues to inspire.

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The whimsical garden combines landscape and sculpture. The willow “painter” is a tribute to Claude Monet.

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The website for Les Jardins D’Etretat is currently being revamped but be sure to check out the video on their homepage. I won’t say anything about the video other than it’s “dreamy”….. Once you check it out, you’ll know exactly what I mean.