fantasy vs reality

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I believe that in previous lives I’ve been a princess, a kidnapped maiden, a peg-legged pirate and a court jester of Louis XVI. -Shirley Maclaine

allo all, how’s everything going? it’s been hectic getting ready for the holidays and i’ve also been busy working on the new book, Boudoir Moderne. part of the fun has been doing research and digging into the women and men who inspired so many dreams and fantasies with both their films as well as their real lives. there are so many who’ve influenced our culture that it’s hard to pare it down. i got caught up looking through shots of our all american girl, marilyn monroe and decided to start with her. needless to say she’s sort of an enigma that could never be pigeon-holed. the shot above is her in full regalia posing as theda barr (below) in either salome or cleopatra.

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when i googled marilyn monroe bedrooms all sorts of looks came up, many of them over the top images of what were interpreted or considered glamorous boudoirs, but the shots of her in her actual habitat revealed something completely different.

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i admit to having a slightly voyueristic love for candid shots of people at home and it’s no wonder that whoever was in the presence of this woman would want to photograph her any chance they could get. what i was suprised to find was that her home was humble and comfy, a place she could probably really retreat to and enjoy some sacred solitude and not the vampy boudoir of our imaginations.

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the backdrop of her home was as intriguing as the woman herself.

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of course she had her and vanity and dressing table which was de rigeur for all femme fatales 

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and just doing the simplest things took on a whole new meaning when she was shot.

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and she did have glamorous furniture covered in velvet or silk where any pose she struck made her the star of the show.

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i adore the shots of her in bed with plain white sheets, simplicity itself, and of course there is that satin comforter…

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what i loved discovering was that marilyn treasured her book collection and was a voracious reader whether it was scripts, industry mags or ways to learn to improve herself.

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the living room was part bedroom part entertainment area

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which was decorated with bold colors, midcentury furniture and accessories and full of art and mementos.

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a real refuge from the stress of the studios and the public.

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i adore these shots of her enjoying her music even if some of them are posed and not candids

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it still shows the spirit of her place and how she spent her time alone

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i guess we’ll never know what her place truly looked like

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but for sure it was a reflection of her life, passions and dreams

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bottom line is she was just like us. she loved having things around that inspired her, with places to kick back, honor her daily rituals and feel safe which is crucial to well being.

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i’m sure when marilyn closed that door at night she dimmed the lights and enjoyed time just truly being herself. maybe her dream was to have a simple uncomplicated life and this was just the place to indulge in that.

below is an excerpt from Boudoir Moderne:

I’ve never considered myself a decorator. I simply take people’s outrageous dreams and translate them into eveyday life. My translations can sometimes go over the top because, I admit it, I live somewhere between fantasy and reality.

I belive in miracles, fairy tales and dream travel, astral projection, past lives and mental telepathy because every day the universe reveals something even more magical than the day before. When you look at ‘real life” you’ll find tented safaris in the desert, decorated elephants, enchanted forest and wishes made on stars that come true. the fact is that imagination is real and perception is reality. Your take on life makes your home a personal creation. The excitement lies in knowing you can have that be whatever your heart desires.

Life isn’t always a fairy take, we all know that. But beauty and perfection do exist. Think about what is perfect in the world, places you know to be magical, transformational or otherworldly. When you see a castle or garden that’s a maze, those are dreams that have been brought to life. It was imagination that made them real. Just because we live in an era of computers and wires and reallity doesn’t mean we have to live without that magic. Look around your home. What’s your reality? What would you like it to be?

We’ve come to an age when we realize that less is really more. It’s not about the amount of things you have but more about making sure everything you have is important to you and has a function. Living minimally doesn’t mean living witout opulence, it celebrates it. Your home is a playground where you can live out your dreams and have conveniences to serve your every need. When you clear clutter and live with only objects that are useful and loved, your decorating vision will develop. If you live with others, commit to having a room or space that reflects your personality and make it your haven. Just like you, your home is utterly unique and more importantly it’s a reflection of you. Focus on what matters most and create space for the daily rituals you enjoy. Think of it as a work in progress, just like you are. It doesn’t have to be a one shot overhaul. Make small improvements each day and let it be your sculpture, your work of art. Be prepared to discover a new style, one that is perfectly custom made for you, by You!

ok, well i better run. just wanted to announce the winners of the giveaway are Rié and Suzanne based on the random number generator. i have more books and promise to do another giveaway after the holidays. have a great week!

December 17, 2014. Decorating. 9 comments.

how much is enough

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hello and happy labor day weekend! i’ve been resting as prescribed by our nation but couldn’t let another day go by once my mom said she missed my blog. truth is it’s been a couple weeks since moving in and i have done pitifully little decorating. the faucets and showerheads have been changed, towel bars installed, grout whitened and fluorescent lights in the kitchen and baths have been replaced. the outdoor table and chairs were a big deal when they arrived but other than that it’s just been a couple trips to home depot for orchids and damprid, nothing too creative. i wish i could be more of my mother’s daughter and whip up covers for the chairs but sadly i didn’t inherit her incomprable ability for whipping and whirling stuff up. not the official way, that is, but i have a method, however unrefined…

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what i did get from my mom is her resolve, that never say die attitude. i’ve tried to blog over the past couple weeks but was convinced that whatever i was doing was not really worthy of mention. but the fact is that no matter how much i’m doing, the place is a work in progress. so i decided to share where it is now and not worry about waiting till there’s more than this for show and tell.

photo (4)just like my last apartment, this one had the clackety shade blinds on all the windows. ellen insisted i take them down but once i did, suddenly it was like being in a real live terrarium. suddenly i had to step on it to put up something toute de suite. curtains were something i’d always pined for in the last place but somehow convinced myself that they had to be done professionally; measured, hemmed and hung on a track. well, i never did get curtains and didn’t want that to happen here. and now that my hand has been forced and my mind opened, i’d like to share how easy it was to put up a reasonalble fascimile of real curtains, maybe not of mom’s caliber but a set that was super quick, easy, effective and sew free. so without further ado, on to the world’s easiest DIY:

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we rolled the ends and tucked them under and in so that the surged edge could either curl or unfurl at will.

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the little hooks fit right into the clip that the slat blinds came out of.

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i kind of like the deconstructivism of the surged edge

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we got the fabric on the $2/yard roll of giant sheer cotton at a place deep in miami. photo (8)

candy found the ideal weight and the girl at the counter showed us her secret for geting the perfect hem.

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aside from nipping the end with a scissor and tearing it, she first blew on the part she’d snipped and then tore a perfect tear for a hem. the technique let us get really precise with the length and created a tiny curled edge that catches the breeze and lays just above the floor line.

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bonus: little ribbon remnants were left for tiebacks.

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et voila! i still have to do the valances but, hey, it’s a start and they make me so happy!1-deep-3-seat-ebonized-bignow i’m on to a sofa. something big enough for a guest to sleep over comfortably.

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forgive me for not knowing where each is from. i just searched google images for ‘deep seated sofas’.

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maybe a sectional?

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well, that will come another day. this one is drawing to a close so i’ll say good night after a great long weekend. hope you have a great short week!

September 3, 2013. Decorating. 12 comments.

in with the old

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hello and happy monday! is the summer in full swing for you? i love the middle of august, it feels like we still have lots of time for friends and barbecues and all the good things that summertime brings.

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i don’t feel quite ready to blog about my place yet but mom and dad want to see it and if i wait for perfection the day may never come.

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so i’ll show it little by little, flaws and all.  there’s a lot to do but it will be a work in progress.

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overall it’s been pretty hectic making the move to transfer the office and apartment all at once.

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no matter how much stuff i got rid of it seemed to be an endless process.

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now that i’m out of the old and into the new it was worth the work. the old grand dame is somewhere right between ghetto and glamour.

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an actress lived here for many years before me and it has that faded glory kind of vibe. it’s totally old school with great accents like the diamonds on the doors, a tiny knocker, and jalousie windows with cranks.

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it’s all i could do to clean and get the place in working order, i haven’t touched the office or even my clothes but just being here feels like home. my friends are coming by and they say it feels like home, like we’ve always been here. they brought flowers and have been helping to make it cozy.

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not that it’s set up quite right but having the tv and internet working is making it feel like home. when will we have a wireless world?!

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i’m taking down the blinds to put up curtains, changing little things like the faucets and sprucing up the grout.

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it’s more of a restoration than a renovation but if i’m going to stay here awhile i’d like to make a place my own even if i do it myself. in fact i’m going to attempt one DIY project a week.

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the kitchen is pretty much hopeless but at least the doors leading in have potential!

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of course it’s been fun to hit home depot, i wanted to rescue all the topiaries they had!

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for now it’s cleaning the windows, attempting the bathroom grout and see what i can accomplish today. i do have to get something on the windows right away. that should probably be my first DIY. i’ll let you know how it goes. till then have a great august monday!

August 19, 2013. Decorating, Interiors, Life, Living. 36 comments.

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