Monday, January 31, 2011

Interior Windows

Watercolor; by Walter Mosley
(available for purchase)
Today I'd like to tell you a little about my design philosophy. When I'm asked to redesign a room the first thing I visualize is what the room looks like without anything in it. Notice that I said redesign and not redecorate. I think that, because I originally started in the field of architecture, I prefer that first, the room can stand on its own architecturally. Perhaps more simply stated, is the room interesting with nothing in it. As I continue to blog I will describe a variety of ways to do that, some are simple and some more elaborate. Usually the only thing that separates the two, is time and money (isn't that always the catch!). Obviously, preference also plays a major part. One way I like to add architectural interest to a room, is by the use of interior windows. Admittedly, this is an example that is not always applicable but it just so happens I saw this image today (below) and it inspired me to bring up the subject. 

You can consider adding a transom window if you have a doorway or opening between rooms that is at least eight feet high. 

Transom windows can be fixed or operable. 

I came across this lovely post by Vintage Simple also about interior windows. Aren't these rooms so much more interesting because of a simple architectural feature: a window!

Here, the small partition wall and window allow the space to feel open but  perform the practical task of  concealing shoes and coats and creating a draft block when the door is opened.

Here again there was a need to create a physical separation between the entryway and the adjoining room.
In our home, we also decided to separate the mudroom (aka the decompression room) from the kitchen. We used a French door with a transom window. On days like today, when the temps are in the single digits, it really helps to keep the cold air out! 

A wall with windows, much more interesting than a wall. It also serves the purpose of letting the light flow in from the kitchen. Notice the tray on the table- I love it. Trays will be the topic of an upcoming blog. It is one of my must haves in practically every room. More on that soon! Back to the topic- Considering the architectural features in a room will always be my first step in redesigning a room and from there it's a little bit different every time.

Hope you enjoyed the visit. Let me know what you think!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun Friday Find: Painted Stairs

Greek Steps by Elizabeth Osborne
I don't know if this is everyone's (or anyones) idea of fun but I have been toying with the idea of painting the stairs going down to the basement. I thought it would be the perfect location to try something a little fun. The stairs are a contractors special (2x12's) but they do have closed risers and I'm pretty sure a couple cans of paint would be cheaper than replacing them. Here are a couple of the "FUN" ideas that I found:

All three of these designs (one above, two below) were either painted or stained using Royal Design Studio stencils. 

Melanie Royals, the founder and creative force behind Royal Design Studio is a leading innovator in bringing the art of painting architectural finishes and surface designs to the level of popularity that they are currently at. Btw, what do you think of the door (above)?

 Follow this link to check out more of her designs: 

The sunny design above was painted by Carol, at Painter Girl Blog. She used four different stencils from Royal Design Studio.
This is actually what I was thinking of doing. Boring or simply understated? I vote understated. If I knew for sure that I wasn't going to be replacing the stairs at some point with an upgraded version I would probably opt for a more intricate pattern but I think this just looks clean and fresh....and simple! , taken from Thrifty Chic (Cico Books)
Maybe I could incorporate a stripe or two. I'll have to keep an eye out for a sale on painters tape!
How about wallpapering the risers? Hmmm...I'm liking that. 

These are incredible. 

Now that is some serious fun! I'm joking, that is truly a work of art though. (and an exercise in patience!)

Boy, the projects are piling up. Does anyone else feel inspired to paint the stairs? 
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I wasn't planning on getting a new post up today but I just sat down to look at my blog and I had a comment with a question. I just love comments (and questions)! 
The question pertained to terrariums and might I have any ideas for containers. I do have a little experience with them, in fact, it was the summer project here at the Samoraj's and no little project mind you. Actually, like usual, it started little and then, well, you know... a forty gallon tank, a filter system, assorted plants from the yard, several earthworms and two turtles later we not only have a terrarium, we have a paludarium (half terraium, half aquarium)! I would just go take a picture of it but the turtles have eaten all of the plants and it's just not that attractive at the moment -trust me it won't inspire anything good! The images below, on the other hand, just might. 

I thought this was pretty cool. The small opening might pose a challenge getting plants in but I'm sure with a little patience it would be worth it.

Any clear glass container will work. I think the mason jars would look great lined up on a kitchen window sill. You could start some basil, parsley or marigold seeds. 

Get creative with the "gravel"  use marbles, sea shells, or colored gravel that coordinates with the room decor.

Like little rolling hills, I love the simplicity. 

Thank you Vanilla & Thyme for inspiring me to squeeze this post in tonight. Also, I think I will give that paludarium a good cleaning tomorrow so I can get a picture of it. It truly was a worthwhile experience for the kids. I followed instructions from an old Martha Stewart for Kids magazine. Here is the link:


Updated: Jan. 31, 2011
PS. For all those waiting to see the paludarium here it is!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Designer's Home: Vicente Wolf
This month I started getting seed and plant catalogs in the mail from the various nurseries that I've ordered from in the past. I love sitting with a cup of tea, on a snowy day in January, flipping through page after page of perennials and roses in full bloom. I promise myself that this year is going to be the year that I don't let a single weed exist and I will feed my roses every week and so on. How I long for gardening and the smell of dirt but for now I tend to my "interiorscape" aka the houseplants in my house. 

Another room in Vicente Wolf's home. Elle Decor 
In design, you think about visually pulling the outside in, well, I like to physically pull it in. Don't be afraid to use what are typically thought of as outdoor garden containers inside your home. Not only does it look earthy and unexpected, it's actually quite practical because here in the northeast, you need to give them refuge from the elements anyways.
Many house plants need humidity. If you have a sunny spot near a window in your bathroom, oh how your plants will love you! Occasionally spraying them with a fine mist sprayer works as well.
Now that's a clever idea. I guess if it holds dirt you can put a plant in it. 

Below are Southern Living Magazine's Top Six Houseplants that anyone can grow. 

1. Moth Orchids

2. Succulents

3. Anthuriums

4. Indoor Flowers
Pick up whatever  is blooming at the local grocery store.
5. Primroses
Aren't these cheerful? 

6. Peace Lillies
Did you get some inspiration for displaying your plants? I just love decorating with iron urns, concrete planters and statues indoors. Do you? If you do, are you reluctant to move them out, in the spring, like I am? I think I just need more of them!

Hope you enjoyed your visit,

PS Today I picked up supplies for a couple of projects. Can't wait to share! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

A New Collection of Home Furnishings

Just a quick post today-I want to introduce you to Cococozy. Around our house, if I start talking about my new blog endeavor, my kids will often chime in with "mom wants to be like Cococozy (usually with a roll of the eyes)! Well, I was inspired by that particular blog and shortly after I started following it, the lawyer by day, blogger by night, launched her own line of home decor! Wow, I do want to be like Cococozy! 
Here is just a sampling:

COCOCOZY Logo cotton knit reversible throws

COCOCOZY Quatrefoil

COCOCOZY Bedding:  Euro Shams and Boudoir Pillows

Check out her entire Spring 2011 Collection HERE!

I'll be back tomorrow with some inspiration for "Interiorscaping" your home.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fun Friday Find: Custom Pet ID Tags

Check out my pet portrait portfolio HERE

Yeahhh, It's Friday! I really enjoy doing my Friday posts because, well, it's fun! I search the Etsy website for something that strikes my fancy and today it's custom ID tags for your pets. Also, I'm using the "pet" theme as an opportunity for a shameless plug for my pet portraits. You have to admit though, that guy up there looks fun!

Brutus Custom Pet ID Tag, Copper

Double Sided Pink Dog Bone ID Tag

Pet ID Tag, Hand Stamped - Petite Copper With Pewter Paw Print

Abbey Custom Pet ID Tag-3/4" copper flower

Mid Century Modern Custom Silver Pet ID Tag

A little bling for your pups, don't you love them? These are just a few of the many customizable tags that you can find on Etsy.

Thanks for visiting, Have a great weekend,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Some Things Are Just Better In Pairs

European Cat in Malta by Isy Ochoa, oil on canvas
Okay, sometimes I just have to laugh at myself. Last night, before I went to bed, I jotted down a post idea and this morning I realized that I actually published that idea- oops! So here is the rest of my AWOL post.

House Beautiful
This photo is one of those photos that completely inspires me. I love everything about it. The walls are so incredibly beautiful. (Oh honey, your to do list just got longer, I think we need to paint our foyer-again!). The console and the turquoise lamps- just my style. In this traditional house, the large scale design on the walls and the modern striped rug bring the space up to date. The design is by the very talented designer, Tobi Fairley

One Kings Lane

A pair of lamps on either side of wall art is a simple way to pull this scenario together. I have been considering painting a greek key motif around the sides of my white dining room table but I think I like this simplified version better. What do you think? A bit more modern?

Westchester magazine, photo by  Phillip Ennis, via Room Remix blog
A pair of vases, candlesticks or a pair of anything works equally as well.

One Kings Lane

One Kings Lane

One Kings Lane
Lamps in pairs. You see it all the time in design because it works! Not into so much symmetry? In future posts I will show some ideas for creating asymmetrical table scapes. Btw, One Kings Lane is one of my favorite resources. I get email updates from them and that's what prompted this post. Many of the lamps above are available through that website. Even if you're not buying, their website is full of great, inspiring ideas!

Pair of Mirrors by Vicente Wolf
Vicente Wolf, another favorite of mine. You will definitely be seeing more of his work in future posts.

Photo by Moisses Esquenazzi via Cococozy

Just for fun, I have to show you these bedrooms, each with a pair of twin beds.

Photo by Katie Leede via Cococozy
Pairing objects creates a sense of order and is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Repetition and symmetry are a couple of the hallmarks of classic design and as you saw here, that's not to say it's unoriginal or uncreative. Generally speaking, what do you like better, symmetrical or asymmetrical designs?

Have a great day, and look for another "Fun Friday Post" tomorrow,