Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Isabell's Beautiful Gustavian Chair

I get the most wonderful emails from people all over the world about Willow Decor. One of the most recent was from Isabell in Norway, (but moving to Sweden). Please read her wonderful note and photograph, which she has allowed me to share with all you.

Hello ”Willlow Decor” !

My name is Isabell, a frequent reader of your lovely blog and I wanted to thank you, because by you I came in contact with lovely Kymberley Fraser. A while ago you made a post about her, and you showed pictures of some of 3 Fine Grains sacks. I have this great passion about sacks, so seeing them made my heart jump….. I contacted her and bought the one you see, which now is on my Gustavian chair…..the furniture upholsterer in Stockholm thought the old chair and the sack made a good marriage. So do we……………..

Your last post was wonderful, the furniture you have is really pieces to love. So beautifully done, and so nice they look in your home. Of course the cushions from Kym , just love the as well………….

Isn`t it fantastic how mutual interest have no boundaries, no borders, by your post I read, I came in contact with Kymberley, she sent me the sack to Scandinavia, (Norway), I sent the sack to Sweden, and now I am about to move back to Sweden living and loving among many other things our chair………the world seem smaller in a way……………………

Once again thank you !

Kind regards


The reach and power of the Internet continues to amaze me. I am so grateful to be able to find so many other lovers of fine antiques and home decor world wide. I know you will agree that Isabell's Gustavian Chair is exquisite! Fabulous job, Isabell and thank you so much for sharing!

This Just IN!

A peek of what's new today in our space at Poppyseeds:
This large, curvy classic Eastlake-style tea table with a perfectly worn white finish would be lovely in a foyer, hallway, landing, or as a bedside table. A tray or basket would fit nicely in the lower section for more storage possibilities.... priced at just $175.
A one of a kind bench straight from the shop of Mr. Bob, created from a vintage twin-size headboard & stair spindles. With simple country lines and a beautifully Shabby white painted finish, this would be a perfect entryway or porch piece... especially if filled with happy orange pumpkins for fall! Priced at $195.

If you are interested in either of these pieces, give Julie a call at Poppyseeds - 360.629.7333 and she can help you out! You can pay over the phone, too! Tax will be added.
SOLD (all four)
We also have two of these big ol' metal Post Office desks with dividable shelves at $75 each, and two versions with narrower tables at $50 each, here at the farm. (They are a BIT too big to fit into our space at Poppyseeds!) Email us at if you are local and interested in them.

All images and text in this post copyright 2009 Kennedy|kennedy Design, Retreat, K2D for use on our own Retreat Design blog. All other use expressly prohibited.

And the Award Goes To.........

One of our favorite stores, haleys cottage, has been nominated as 'The Best Retail Shop' in King 5's Annual 'Best of Western Washington' Awards! We encourage you to click through using that link and VOTE for them!

We love Cindy's fabulous store and the way she deftly combines new & vintage items to create a warm, inviting and inspiring setting for her customers. Of course, we had a blast with everyone at the French Flea Market event she hosted a few weeks ago. She regularly carries our lamps & lampshades, and right now she is showing off our Glamorous White Piano Bar in the front display...

haleys cottage is located at:
15021 Main St #E
Mill Creek
WA 98012
Tel: (425) 357-8106
Hours: 10:30-6:00

Vote for them, then stop by the store and tell Cindy that Deb sent you!

Image Credits: Photos by DWK 2009 with permission from haleys cottage

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Garden Furniture Adds Comfort to Your Garden

One of the most enjoyable places in a home is its garden. People want a garden which is attractive as well as pleasing. With proper design and planning a garden can be made to look marvelous. Garden furniture is useful when a person wants to enjoy and admire the beauty and tranquility of a garden in full bloom. A garden that adds to the charm of a house needs special garden furniture to appreciate the finished effect of a beautiful home and its grounds. With the wide variety of garden furniture available today, it is easy to find furniture that will look great with any style of garden.

A garden contains several kinds of furniture so that people have the flexibility to use their gardens in many different ways. In fact, many gardens contain several types of furniture. There are various materials that are used for the making garden furniture such as wood, iron, wrought iron, as well as plastic. Each of the materials has their own visual effect. The selection of material in garden furniture depends on individual taste and budget. Wood is a costly material while plastic is easily affordable for most people. The garden furniture also depends on their usage – for mere comfort or entertaining luxury.

For garden entertaining plenty of seating arrangements should be made. This includes garden furniture like benches and deck chairs for more flexibility. For alfresco meals a big garden table may do justice or one that has extra leaves so that there is plenty of room for the dishes. A pretty parasol as a canopy in the garden table ensures protection from the sun as well as during less than perfect weather days.

If one wants to avoid the sun but also relax in the garden, a hammock in a shady area is perfect garden furniture. It is not always needed to fasten the hammocks between two trees. Instead the hammock can be fastened to two four by four posts that are cemented into the ground. For a quick and simple solution, one can also choose a hammock that works with a hammock stand.

And if one loves regular sun-bathing then consider adding a sun lounger to the patio or deck. Furnish it well to get the maximize comfort from the patio set up. There are varied styles and types of patio furniture to choose from. A patio heater as a garden furniture extends the use of the garden even in chilly winters.
While wandering through the garden one should ensure that there are comfort zones to linger in. These places are ideal spots for garden furniture like benches or a few chairs and a side table. A decorative garden bench in any corner of the garden is a simple addition without attracting too much attention to detail.

To enjoy the garden from inside the home, one can simply opt for efficient double glazing to keep the home warm. Matching garden furniture with the style of window frames, for example aluminum frames and metal patio furniture is very attractive. No matter what garden furniture one chooses, the important thing is to match it with the overall garden style and landscape design.

Monday, September 28, 2009

'We B Junkin!'

'We B Junkin'!' - that was Bob's Facebook status on Saturday morning.
The Skagit County Fairgrounds hosted their semi-annual 'Giant Garage Sale' this weekend, and we were there in line before the gates opened. Armed with our carts and twine and bungee cords, we sailed through in record time and snapped up a bunch of goodies. These 'junk' items are destined to be recreated into fabulous furnishings & decor accessories for upcoming shows...

My cart seems just a little out of proportion to Bob's shown above, but it's filled with small stuff - and one load already went out to the truck before I took the photos! I unearthed some really neat smalls (to add to the hoard I already have....sigh.....)

I had to laugh at the reactions I got to my lined cart. I threw that thing together in half an hour (and Deb is no great seamstress) but you'd have thought I created an masterpiece! Most people at this show don't frequent the big antique sales, so they don't know about the cart revolution that has been born....the shabby cart liners and blog badges and such. I had women asking me for directions on how to do this and saying things like 'Oh.My.GAWD. look how CUTE that is!' and 'Oh, now just look what she's done to that......' as I walked past. Funny! Um, it's a burlap bag, girls. With a bit of muslin attached as an inner liner. Tied on with twine. Done. They'd keel over if they saw the ones at Junk Revolution and Farm Chicks!!!

This is a shot of one of the booths at the sale... not your average Garage Sale setup, is it?! This one and Shyla's booth (and I can't believe I didn't snap a photo of hers......) and Debi Burton's were the prettiest ones there. We ran into so many friends - Dona, Jo Marie, Julie, the guys of the Coleman Lantern Club from BC (oh, there's a story!), Jim my piano player music supplier guy - and then our sweet daughter and grandson joined us later that morning. We took a quick spin thru the barns again, then it was off for some bouncy-house fun for the lil' guy!

This week we are busy adding a few new things to our 'Danish-Inspired' space at Poppyseeds, prepping new 'French Flea Market'-style product for Sand Point, and will soon be starting some 'Industrial Revolution Country' bits. Stay tuned for sneak peeks!

Oh, and Joe just emailed us a link to an article about the BH sales in The Oregonian. We got a mention in it from Brigitte the reporter - who fell in love with a lamp we had and just had to take it home with her! Edit: Ahem. I was reminded that Mr. Apodaca does not 'DO' the computer stuff, Mr. Swendell does. The email was from Jermonne, of course, and not Joe. I don't know how I got it in my head that it was from Joe. How silly of me.....! ;0)

If you are reading this post anywhere other than a site/page that is licensed/owned/maintained by KENNEDY|kennedy Design, you are viewing stolen content that is being used without permission. All content in this post is original to KENNEDY|kennedy Design, KkD, and RetreatDesign.blogspot. As such is protected by Copyright. Reproduction or rebroadcast of any content in whole or part without express written permission is prohibited. Content copyright 2009 KkD; All Rights Reserved. Photo credits: Debi Ward Kennedy, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Those White and Cream Cow Hide Rugs

Suzanne Kasler
I am really enamored with white/cream cow hide rugs. They seem to add another layer of richness and beauty to so many different style interiors. Here is a lovely room designed by the wonderful Suzanne Kasler. Southern Accents
I especially love cow hide rugs over sisal or seagrass. In this room the rug seems to compliment all furnishings; notice the side table and Ghost chair. Jan Showers
The combination of the natural floor covering and the sumptuousness of the cow hide really speaks to me.
Cote de Texas
I think they add a luxurious layer of texture and interest to room. Here is the wonderful bedroom of Sally Wheat, brought to us by Joni of Cote de Texas. You can read all about the rest of Sally's house here. Cote de Texas
Sally renovated the many rooms including the living room. Here is the photo from the cover of Houston House and Home. You can read all about her more recent renovation here.
Material Girls
Here the fabulous Jan Showers layers the cow hide over white rug. It adds a layer of richness to this room. Veranda
Though not quite cream, I wanted to include Vincent Wolfe's gorgeous room. Here the cow hide is layered over a lighter rug and creates a luxurious effect.
=The cow hides seem to work in many different decors. Here it looks fabulous in this more masculine and modern room.
Of course in more modern interiors, like this bedroom the cow hide softens the hard edges of the furniture and the space.
Kim Christie
They also look beautiful laying on a hardwood floor - In this room I love the mix of the hard lines of the mirrors and coffee tables with the softness of linen sofa, throw and cow hide rug.
I find the cowhide rug a more interesting choice than the traditional needlepoint or aubusson rug. With the yellow chairs, it adds a layer of unexpected edginess to this room.
The darker floors also really make the rug stand out.

Finally here is one my favorite rooms. I think the the cow hide rug looks so lovely in this very neutral interior. What do think?
Click on Hooked on Houses to see what everyone else is hooked on!

House Designs

House designs are powerful symbols that you can use to create a statement to the world on who you are. Buildings have a long lifespan and will continue communicating your statement to the world long after your departure. House designs are also a mark of self-actualization.

The initial step to realize your dream house plan is to contact an Architect. Explain to your architect how you want your house to look. You can search on the internet for similar house images and floor plans. This will inspire you to be able o explain to your architect exactly how you want to design your house.

You can also explain to your architect on what statement or symbol you may wish your house to communicate through design. At this stage, your budget will be important in that it will dictate the size of the house you will have. Mortgage finance is available from Housing Finance, KCB Savings and Loan, Barclays, Equity Bank, Standard Chartered, Stanbic or any other financial institution in Kenya.

The architect will incorporate the design and symbols into a form and will work out functionality from here. Functionality involves how spaces relate to each other e.g. the kitchen should be near the dining room, the bedrooms should be located privately away from the living room, the construction of the structure should be structurally sound and in conformity to the Building Code and all laws governing construction of houses.

Through use of 3 dimensional graphic design software such as ArchiCAD, your architect should be able to present to you the house in 3 D graphic view for you to make your recommendations and changes. This process will continue till you are satisfied with the house design.

Your architect will print the house plan in A1 size format and make 4 copies of blueprint. He will submit the drawings to the relevant local Authority in Kenya, in Nairobi, the City Council.
The Council will go through the drawings to confirm if it conforms to the Kenya Building Code and thus habitable.

Once approvals are granted, usually after a few weeks, you can now move on to the next stage: Construction.
In this stage, you can have your Quantity Surveyor come up with Bills of Quantities, i.e. a breakdown of all the materials and quantities to be used in the house and an estimated cost of construction per item. With this blank document[without the price component], you can invite several building contractors to quote for the construction of the house.with the help of your architect and quantity surveyor, you can select the best in terms of past experience on similar construction and pricing.

After the selection, you then get into contract with the contractor and your architect supervises the contractors work to ensure that he conforms to the design and the agreed quality and workmanship.
Construction contracts in Kenya are available at the Architectural Association Of Kenya offices, Professional center, Nairobi, Kenya.

Once the contractor is through with construction as per the drawings, you can then move in to your dream house and live comfortably ever after.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Sofa Saga (or 'How the Sofa Sits'....)

If you are reading this post anywhere other than a site/page that is licensed/owned/maintained by KENNEDY|kennedy Design, you are viewing stolen content that is being used without permission.

...Another update: Miss A has decided not to adopt Miss Foofy SoFa, soooooooo that means she's still awaiting the perfect family. For now, she is the undisputed star of the show at Poppyseeds in Stanwood, reigning over the front room in all her faded shabby French-style glory. With all new fall decor in the space, it looks ready for a swanky party at the drop of a hat!

Speaking of hats.... I created this custom 'Halloween Queen' Crown to go on a black witches hat. It tops a mannequin dressed in tattered finery - the perfect hostess for the party, And yes, the hat with crown, the mannequin, and her 'costume' are all for sale. ;0)

On Wednesday, we took some time off and headed out on a ferry into the San Juan Islands. It was a perfect sunny warm Indian Summer day, and we hoped to see an Orca or two as we made the trip.

Not five minutes out of the Anacortes ferry dock, the ferry slowed to a stop and we saw those playful fellows in the photo above. And twenty of their friends, too - what we saw was a 'SuperPod' of Orcas from the local J & K pods. Just frolicking and breaching and spyhopping and fluking - right alongside the ferry. To say we were awed and amazed is an understatement! We enjoy a lot of wildlife on our island overlooking the Saratoga Passage, but this was more than we could ever hope for. The ferry staff said this was a highly unusual sighting. Yeah, um..... never underestimate the Universe!!! Miracles happen every day!

All content in this post is original to KENNEDY|kennedy Design, KkD, and RetreatDesign.blogspot. As such is protected by Copyright. Reproduction or rebroadcast of any content in whole or part without express written permission is prohibited. Content copyright 2009 KkD; All Rights Reserved

The Quest for The Holy Grail (or How I Found my Mora Clock)

Many of you have emailed me asking how I came to love Swedish antiques. Growing up we had very little money and my exposure to antiques came from my parents flea market finds. Even then I loved the history of the old pieces, but the furniture was walnut or cherry and very dark and heavy. In 1992, I was newly engaged. I bought a stack of house magazines, excited about someday owning my own home. I was flipping through a magazine and was struck by a advertisement by Anderson Windows. What was this gorgeous clock with such shapely and graceful lines and light, beautiful wood? I was was awestruck. Here is the ad above. (the middle one - yes, I still have the ad!)
I carried the ad everywhere. I went to flea markets and antique shows and asked every dealer if they had a clock like this or knew where I could find one. I did find out it was a Swedish Mora clock, but no one in New England knew where I could find one. One day my husband laughed that I was on my own personal quest for the Holy Grail - the elusive Mora Clock!

In 1993 my husband and I moved to Munich, Germany. In Bavaria, I was exposed to beautiful painted pieces and lovely stripped and waxed country style antiques. Meanwhile my sister was living in Copenhagen, Denmark and we spent many weekends exploring old barns and antique shops, searching for the "Holy Grail", but also finding other wonderful treasures.
One day while jogging around Munich my husband saw a Mora clock in a window of a store. He spoke to the owner in his very limited German and was told that the clock was sold. For months he refused to let me know where the shop was because he thought I would feel worse if I saw the clock in person. Finally, we were walking nearby the shop one evening and I saw the clock. I went in and spoke to the owner, also in very limited German, but found that in fact the clock was For Sale, not Sold. (He had mixed up his verb tenses!)

I bought the clock on the spot although needed several more weeks of restoration to the clock works. It has beautiful carvings, swag details and an oak leaf crown. I have never seen a clock I love more than this one.
We have had it over fifteen years and have spent those years finding other beautiful European antiques to compliment it, but it remains my most favorite.

I hope you love it as much as I do!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bathroom Mirrors; The Perfect Ensemble

White, bright and fabulous bathrooms are all the buzz in the latest bathroom design craze. Bathrooms splashed with boldly colored painted walls and patterned ceramic floor tiles adorned with pristine white pottery bathroom suites create the perfect drama. To finalize the look as the French would say “la piece de resistance”, the bathroom mirror. Bathrooms mirrors are one of the primary elements of any bathroom design ensemble simply because they can completely change the look of the bathroom in the sense of how both natural and artificial light are reflected.

Exploring the endless options available in bathroom mirrors, establishing the look one is striving to achieve whether traditional or contemporary, bathroom mirrors have transitioned through the modern ages. Victorian style bathrooms were often built with heavy layers of dark wood types from boxed in baths, wood framed mirror to wainscoting. Today’s traditional styles of bathroom furnishings are sporting similar design concepts, but with a much softer look. Bathroom mirrors are lightly capped with various wood textures and tones and wood bath panels are added to step up the design elements as an extension of tradition. Arched mirrors alone or with the addition of wall sconces for extra lighting can also create a Victorian feel to your bathroom setting.

Selecting the right bathroom mirror

Selecting the appropriate wall mirror is also determined not only by the size of your bathroom, but also on the size of the bathroom vanity, bathroom mirrors should never extend beyond the vanity as it will create an unbalanced look. The ideal wall mirror for bathrooms with double basins, are rectangular wall-to-wall mirrors to disseminate adequate lighting exposing bathroom accessories as well as the other bathroom furniture, increasing the presence of the bathroom.

Solid white bathroom suites are a way of adequately diffusing light for an airy feeling, when the light is reflected off of white bathroom furnishing the illusion of space is instantly created. All white pottery bathroom suites give your bathroom a cohesive look, but more importantly set the stage for the induction of color, warm hues of reds, blues or greens are now showing up in the latest bathroom designs, accented with gallantly solid colored ceramic tiles or tiles with a motif inlay to tie the look of the bathroom together for an inviting sanctuary.

Contemporary bathroom mirrors

Wanting to give your bathroom a contemporary personality, frameless bathroom mirrors with inset lighting deliver all the potential for an ultra modern ambiance. Achieving a modern look with circular or square mirrors is the perfect solution for intricate modern designs. Hanging his/ her matching wall mirrors with an overhanging light feature increases the amount of light in the bathroom again not to exceed the length of either the floor mounted or wall mounted basin furniture, helps to create a sophisticated modern expression especially for more complex bathroom remodeling projects.

For even more dramatic results, discovering different uses for wall mirrors can present a unique look, mirrors with built in lighting are also being installed inside shower enclosures and in and around the bathing area creating a shaving area for the males in your home while furthering the functionality of bathroom mirror in supporting additional lighting needs. With today’s bathroom suppliers carry a number of bathroom mirror designs, styles and sizes, scheduling a theme around mirrors and lighting are easily worked in with other bathroom design components.

Written by Shelley Murphy on behalf of an online retailer of bathroom furniture, steam showers, shower enclosures, whirlpool spa baths and bath related products serving the United Kingdom.

My Swedish Furniture Makeover

Several years ago I found some wonderful Swedish antique furniture. It was covered in dirty muslin and desperately needed to be reupholstered.
Here is the bench, notice the tear on left side. The muslin was stapled on.
Two wonderful Bergere chairs - also notice the tear on the right chair and the awful stained upholstery fabric on the cushions. I also had two sweet Swedish side chairs which I did not take before photos of.
I searched for several years (really!) to find just the perfect linen fabric. It proved easy once I met Wendy Lewis of Textile Trunk. I spoke to her directly and mentioned I wanted hand woven linen, over a hundred years old, with a fine weave and soft drape- not nubby like like my grain sack pillows - more formal and soft. I vacillated on whether to have a grain sack stripe going down the front of the chairs, that is so popular these days, but in the end I decided to stick with what I am most comfortable with - the classics.

Wendy immediately sent me a few samples to review - each was more beautiful that one before. I decided on the gorgeous linen above. The seven stripes are just on the very end of the roll. The weaver most likely could not read or write and this combination of color, width and number of stripes was her signature. The stripes remain my favorite part of the roll and I intend to make them into small pillows to honor the time and effort put into this beautiful fabric by a unknown woman of long ago.
With such beautiful antique furniture and antique fabric that had touched such a sentimental cord with me, I was nervous to just let any upholsterer work on this project. What to do? I contact my bloggy friend, Linda Merrill of the famous Surroundings and The Skirted Round Table, for some direction. Another blessing, when Linda pointed me in the direction of Master Upholsterer, Heller Furniture. Above is photo of my Bergere Chair deconstructed.

A Czech by birth, Walter Heller is a master craftsman. His roots are firmly anchored in his extensive European training which began as an apprentice saddler and tapiezer in Bavaria, Germany, at the age of 14. For over 40 years, Heller has been working with architects, project managers, interior designers and residential clients to produce upholstered custom furniture. His knowledge of antique furniture and his attention to detail is outstanding. Once I met him and his assistant, Nancy, I breathed a sigh of relief that my furniture and fabric were the hands of a master! Thank you Linda, Walter and Nancy!

Walter's knowledge was exceptional - he showed me the jute webbing under the chair. He mentioned that although jute was generally used in a chair this age, this jute had been replaced- and poorly done as it was too sparse and would not provide good support.
He also showed me the chair joints which were loose. This was caused by the stripping of the furniture. These pieces, he said, were clearly dipped in Lye. Lye is wonderful for removing paint quickly but it also dissolves the wood glue that holds these pieces together and ultimately loosens the joints over time. Walter was able to re glue and screw the joints to strengthen the chairs.
Here is the chair being covered,. Notice the top, front, back panel of the chair. The upholstery stuffing is bumping out or "crowning" here to create a noticeable arc of padding. This is the way the chair was intended to look. Better photos of this effect below.
Antique fabrics do not generally match exactly in terms of color but Walter was able to use different shades in different areas of the chairs to create a visually perfect match.
Here the seat cushions for the Bergere chairs are being crafted.
I had a limited amount of fabric. He was able to use the linen so conservatively that I had enough left over to make pillows. Amazing!
Walter explained that the best furniture has nailed muslin covering - if you see staples, that is a sign that the quality may not be the best underneath!
Here is the finished bench at Walter's Workshop. He had to rebuild the cushion and the effect is fabulous. Notice the two seams down the front of the bench, the match is incredible.
Nail head trim or double welting are traditional in Swedish Upholstery - I prefer the double welting - notice the attention to detail.
Here is the Bergere Chair finished in the workroom. This is a better photo to highlight the upholstery bumping out and "crowning" on front upper back panel of the chair.
Double welting detail
Amazing work on the sides and arms of the chairs
Here are my pieces waiting to be picked up
And here they are in my Conservatory - waiting for my final decorating touches!
The Swedish bench with gorgeous antique, original grain sack pillows by textile artist, Kym Fraser of Three Fine Grains.
One (of my pair) of sweet Swedish chairs in front of my Mora Clock (just a peek as I am working on an upcoming post about the clock)

Finding the right fabrics and upholsterer can be a daunting task, but when you put all the right pieces together you can re-create beautiful furniture worthy of another hundred years.

For more information on Wendy Lewis of Textile Trunk and her lovely antique fabrics click here. For information on Master Craftsman and Upholsterer, Walter Heller and Heller Furniture click here. Don't forget to mention you heard about them on Willow Decor.

(all photos property of Willow Decor and Heller Furniture and not to be used without permission)

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