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The Night Circus

17 Oct

Have you read The Night Circus? I finished it this week and I miss it. I really do. I was one of those books that sucked me in to a completely surreal world. It’s magical.

the night circus

Of course, it got me thinking about fabric. The colors and textures described throughout the book are so rich, yet so simple – shades of black and white, with a pop of crimson. The gold stars in the sky provide the only other pop of color at the circus.

The Night Circus

Click the image to enlarge the fabrics and learn about sourcing.

Wouldn’t these fabrics make a cozy movie room or reading nook? I am especially fond of the black and white dots. The one in the upper-right is Michael Miller Atomic Dot ($8.98/yard Fabric.com) and the one below that is Mesh Polka Dot White/Black ($3.98/yard! Fabric.com).

Another cozy idea for these non-traditional fabrics would be a non-traditional room, like these lovely attic converts.

attic room

attic room2

atticroom3

atticroom4

These rooms are like little bits of fairy tales. Love.

Would you use whimsical colors and patterns in your home? Or would you rather leave them for a set decorator (what an amazing job that would be for this story!)

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Pretty Movies: A Tribute to Nora Ephron

27 Jun

I was so sad to learn of the passing of Nora Ephron, the screenwriter behind some of my favorite movies such as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.

nora ephron

She was a sharp observer of human nature and had a gift for parlaying everyday situations into print and ultimately the silver screen, through characters that reminded us of our friends and family (but maybe just a little bit funnier).

As a journalist turned screenwriter, Nora possessed writing chops that earned her admiration from a wide range of fans.

In the design world, Nora was also known for the fabulous interiors found in her films, especially true in the homes of her leading ladies.

I wrote about the beautiful sets of You’ve Got Mail this fall, and I’ll leave you today with some more shots of some of the worlds Nora created through her stories.

What is your favorite Nora Ephron movie?

julie-and-julia

Julie and Julia

julie-and-julia

Julie and Julia

sleepless-in-seattle

Sleepless in Seattle

sleepless-in-seattle
Sleepless in Seattle

when harry met sally

When Harry Met Sally

when-harry-met-sally
When Harry Met Sally

Pretty Hotel: The Drake Hotel, Chicago

17 Feb

Recognize this hallway?

The Drake Hotel hallway

Source: The Drake Hotel

It’s the hallway of The Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago, and it plays a big role in one of the best chick flicks of all time, My Best Friend’s Wedding. (It’s where Julianne’s best friend stays before his wedding – if you haven’t seen it, go to Netflix pronto).

And last week, I got to stay there!

Never has a carpet been so thrilling.

I was fortunate to stay at the beautiful Drake Hotel while in business on Chicago and I have one word: charming. How else do you describe a hotel that greets you like this?

The Drake Hotel lobby

The Drake Hotel Upper Lobby

The Drake Hotel Flowers

Built in 1920, The Drake Hotel oozes charm and old-fashioned style, from its dark wood paneling to its cozy tufted settees.

The Drake Hotel Carved Wood

The Drake Hotel Couch

The Drake Hotel Couch 2

How gorgeous are those couches? There were about six of them throughout the lobby, set in cozy conversation nooks. I love the tufting and the two-tone covering. You can just see ladies in white gloves sitting on them, waiting for afternoon tea to begin.

The ceiling is as exceptional as the rest, with dark wood carvings and stunning chandeliers.

The Drake Hotel Ceiling

The lobby was by far my favorite part of the hotel, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my hotel room. Why? Because my hotel room had…wait for it…TWO bathrooms. Yes, one King size bed and TWO bathrooms.

The Drake Hotel Bathroom 1

Bathroom One

The Drake Hotel Bathroom 2

Bathroom Two

Why two nearly identical bathrooms? Beats me. I suppose it would have been convenient if I had been traveling with someone, but since it was a business trip, I did what any one would do. Switched between them at will…because I could.

I’ll close my ode to The Drake Hotel with an little tidbit from My Best Friend’s Wedding. Remember this scene, where Julia Roberts is leaning against the hotel room door and falls through when Michael opens it? (No? Seriously, please watch this movie this weekend.)

Julia Roberts hair

That was the scene that made 16-year-old me put down the flat iron and embrace my crazy curly hair. If Julia could look this good lying on the ground, surely I could make it work in the halls of my high school, right?

Yeah, not so much, but it was a defining moment. And it was filmed at The Drake Hotel.

Fast forward 14 years and my curly hair and I loved time spent at this beautiful hotel. If you’re in Chicago, check it out, if only for a drink in the lobby. White gloves optional.

It’s a Wonderful Life (and a DIY Home Makeover)

5 Dec

Ahh, Bedford Falls.

Bedford Falls

It may be my favorite movie town. Snowy streets, twinkle lights and frosty windows – who wouldn’t want to live there? Well, George Bailey, at least at first, but that’s kind of the whole point of the movie…

Anyway, in addition to the classic charm of It’s a Wonderful Life, it’s also one of the best DIY home makeover stories of all time.

Don’t believe me? Read on…

Bailey house

Here’s the old Granville house, the house everyone but young Mary thinks is uninhabitable. It’s even become a neighborhood game to throw rocks through the windows.

The home has been vacant for at least 20 years (seems to have been a rough 20 years from the looks of the place, but just go with it.). Mary sees its potential and she wants to live there one day.

That’s a girl with vision.

Mary gets her wish when she marries George and they move into the dilapidated house. At first, it’s a wreck. Leaking ceilings, broken windows, creaking staircases…but Mary knows it has good bones, as they say, and gets to work.

Mary Wallpaper

As her family grows, she makes the house into a home, one room at a time.

And, she wears cute little dresses and hats while doing it!

I think part of the reason I love this movie so much is because I secretly want to be Mary.

Bailey Bedroom

She makes a romantic honeymoon suite for herself and George and later creates a cozy master bedroom. In the movie, you can see the room is filled with what is clearly an eclectic mix of furniture, like this beautiful wrought iron bed.

It's a Wonderful Life Zhu Zhu room

Later, Mary creates a whimsical little bedroom upstairs for her children. Even though the kids are bunking together, the room feels warm and playful.

It's a Wonderful Life Stairs

There are still quirks to the old house, but it’s all part of the charm. The loose part of the bannister plays a key role in the movie. When George is frustrated, he sees it as one more thing in his life that isn’t perfect. But once he realizes that it really is a wonderful life (c’mon, you knew that was coming) the broken old banister makes him happy to be home.

It's a Wonderful Life Living Room

This is the ultimate reveal.

The Bailey’s living room went from having a caved-in ceiling and rotting floor boards to being the setting of the ultimate Christmas scene. The Merry Christmas banner and tinsel covered tree, along with the toys scattered about, complete the transformation of the old Granville house into the Bailey home.

What are your favorite Christmas movies? Any other great home transformations caught on film?