Earlier this month Paintzen (the Uber of home painting) sent over a totally adorable husband and wife team to paint our family room in Boston. Ever since our renovations a few years ago, the walls back there have been this taupe-y shade that I really didn’t like. When a press release for Paintzen popped into my overstuffed inbox I took notice.
Paintzen is a digital paint company that handles all aspects of a paint project, big or small. The simple site walks you through the process and provides a quote. If you decide to move forward they handle everything, from getting the paint (all Benjamin Moore, and they’ll even do a color consultation), to scheduling and managing the job. The money goes through them too. The painters show up, do their thing, no fuss, no muss. I was thrilled with the entire experience.
Now that the family room is grey, Benjamin Moore Steel Wool to be exact, I feel like I can motivate on sprucing up the other elements. The enormous grey velvet sofa will remain (all four of us fit to watch TV), but we desperately need a new rug, ottomans, a chair, and perhaps additional lighting. We have plenty of art, and worked on a new gallery wall arrangement last weekend (photo below).
So when Wayfair offered me the opportunity to participate in its #NewYearNewRoom campaign, obviously I opted in. The directive was to choose 20 pieces from Wayfair and its other brands, which include AllModern and DwellStudio, that would breathe new life into an old space. I’m so inspired by this scheme I worked up that I think I will use my $100 gift card to start on a refresh right away.
I’ve been so focused on Florida (though not nearly enough, as I’ve yet to order rugs, shades, or decide on the pink problem in the bathroom), that I’ve neglected organizing and upgrading in Boston. Coming back in the fall from the Cape, I’m always bothered by the amount of stuff we have. Too. Much. Stuff. It’s particularly striking because not only is the place on the Cape a lot bigger, being a house instead of an apartment, it’s white and virtually empty.
Here, in addition to crown moldings and bookshelves lined with coffee table books (one of the best perks of being a blogger), there’s , well, everything. The piles of dishes still not put away from the bar mitzvah in February (because, after all, we’re having another one this coming February), our bicycles in the living room until it gets too cold to ride and we store them, etc.
I’ve been promising my younger son that I would work on his bedroom. Meaning, I would clear out all the outgrown clothing and extra bedding I’ve been keeping in there. Done! He has the upholstered armchair that I used to nurse them on when they were babies. It’s taking up a ton of space that would be better used for a desk. He’s starting to get a fair amount of homework, plus, like me, he’s very organized, so I think he’d love to have drawers where he can store supplies.
Our other son has a little desk from IKEA, which when it’s cleared, he actually likes to use (not for homework, though). When he was away at a boarding school program this summer he lived in student housing, with a room furnished in typical dorm style (by a company like Peelmount) that outfits dorm rooms with sturdy wood beds, desks, and dressers. It’s kind of incredible that those designs haven’t changed, in like, ever. Blocky oak stands the test of time, I suppose. In any case, I’m not looking for anything as practical as all that. A small, affordable, modern desk is all we need.
Here are 42 modern desks, almost all of them well-priced (and one very extravagant example) from StyleCarrot partner sites and other great resources.
S H O P P I N G
1 Soft Modern Writing Desk by Sauder, $210 at All Modern.
We have two bluestone patios right outside our house on the Cape; one in the front, and a smaller one in the back. The back one faces a little rose garden, meant to echo the larger rose garden “up the hill,” as we say, at my in laws house. Theirs was planted in honor of my husband’s grandmother, Florine. Unlike the front garden, in which I only allow white and blue/purple flowers (yes, the guy who plants the flowers and helps weed thinks I’m crazy), the back garden has yellow roses, coral roses, and violet roses. (I had the pink ones replanted at my in laws because the color was annoying me.)
I had always planned to do low, long modern planters on the perimeter of the bluestone patio in the back, which is outside the guest rooms. Instead, that patio is sad and deserted (except for the roses, of course). My brother-in-law is getting married in Provincetown this summer (to a woman, just in case you’re wondering, given the locale), and much of the bride’s family will be staying at the house. This has motivated me to once again start thinking about enhancing the patios with modern planters.
While the funky, colorful ones are fun, they’re not really right. We’ll need minimalist planters with clean lines, planted with architectural forms, I think. No floppy pink pansies in terracotta troughs allowed. I’m thinking succulents and spiky grasses. I already grow some herbs in a vegetable garden (with our lone vegetable—or fruit rather—cherry tomatoes).
As for the front patio, given the lounge chairs and the view, we’re all set. Maybe the entry porch could use a pair of medium-sized planters as a welcome. Maybe brightly colored, planters could work there. Of course I’ll have to order all of this online; local garden shops only carry the usual traditional style planters. Yawn.
Here are 20 modern outdoor planters, most of which will work indoors too.
S H O P P I N G
Shop modern planters from StyleCarrot partner sites.
I’m not exactly Ms. Outdoorsy Birdwatcher Woman, and mostly I find their incessant early morning tweeting an annoyance, but I do like the idea of feeding the little guys (must be the Jewish mom in me). And I love the new styles of modern bird feeders and bird houses that have recently become available.
I have a copper bird feeder I bought for my husband years ago when we had a house with a little roof deck and yard outside D.C., but we moved to Boston before we had the chance to use it. I hang it on a severed tree branch in our Truro yard every summer. If I fill it with chunky seeds, we get a serious influx of crows, who then raid my sad little garden. (Who knew crows like cucumber?) Squirrels like to raid the feeder too. I’ve since switched over to a feeder that dispenses only skinny seeds, in hopes of attracting more pleasant feathered friends.
As outdoor rooms become more popular, along with clean lines and a modern sensibility, there have been more and more stylish contemporary outdoor furnishings available. Here’s a roundup of 28 favorite modern bird feeders and bird houses from StyleCarrot partners and other sources for your birding pleasure.
S H O P P I N G
1 Eva Solo Mini Bird Feeder, $40/pair at LBC Modern.
2 Mobile Bird Feeder by J Schatz, $179.99 at Dwell Store.
I’ve done a number of sofa roundups of a variety of sofas from gray sofas to blue velvet sofas—but I have yet to pull together a collection of sleeper sofas for you. With summer guests on the horizon, I think it’s a good idea to examine some sofa bed options.
Choosing sofa beds can be tricky, since the sofas need to be deep enough to accommodate some type of mattress wide enough to pose as a bed. This means they can be bulky; hardly the contemporary look I favour. There are a number of options that go beyond the futon, but stay simple and sleek. Even the more comfortable upholstered sofa beds for sale these days have a streamlined silhouette.
I wrote a post on daybeds a while back, so I haven’t included any here save for one sectional piece that’s admittedly more of a daybed than traditional sleeper. On the Cape I have DWR’s Twilight in green which I love, but as for my old sleeper-sofa with the thin mattress and metal bar that pops out of the sofa – not so much.
Sleeper sofa design has improved, but still, if you’re shopping for a traditional sleeper, look for constructions that solve that issue. Mitchell Gold sofas tend to be great compromises for a plush upholstered sofa with a bed inside. [Availability of items checked and updated on 1-18-17]