Upstairs-Downstairs

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Stairs are a functional piece of architecture.  We need them to go from one floor to another.

I thought it would be fun to look at some very decorative and different risers, the vertical areas between the stair treads.

 

I’ve always loved the look of a tin ceiling.  You can also get the same textured look on your stairs with embossed wallpaper that you can paint.  So pretty just left white I think.

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The chevron pattern is very popular lately.  I really like the stairs below.   I think the bottom riser would have looked better to have them all be the same design, but it appears the bottom riser may be a little shorter than the others.

After reading about the method for completing the chevron stairs, I would have to pass on it.  It is not one for a beginner DIY-er!  Very pretty though.

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Black and white together is classic.  The stairs below are classic with a touch of whimsy.  They used four patterns, one pattern every fourth riser.  It appears to be wallpaper to me.  It adds interest to the stairs and looks great with the black wrought iron railing.

 

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Adding colorful risers is another way to go.  Boho chic flowered wallpaper carries your eye all the way up the stairs.  They are all different patterns, but the all-white walls give it a neutral background otherwise it could look too busy.

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You could paint your risers in different folk art patterns.  The source for this photo doesn’t give any information on how this was done, but I love the soft colors used.  They’re all so different but not working against each other.

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They remind me of Warren Kimble paintings (such as Burnt Hills below), as if parts of the painting were isolated and used on each riser.  The artist has over 50 years experience and lives in Vermont.  His paintings evoke a simpler time and living in the country.

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Mexican tiles are a beautiful addition to the stairs below.

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My last staircase is made out of beautiful oak wood and curved with a wooden handrail on the left that gives the appearance of a dragon’s back.  This is at the Casa Batllo in Barcelona. The building was redesigned in 1904 by Antoni Gaudi

The risers are the same as the treads, but I just love the different perspective Gaudi has for making buildings and architectural pieces eclectic and stimulating.

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Remember…

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This quote is taken from the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lau-tsu, who said “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

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French Table Chic Made Easy

 

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I do not have a nice little stone country cottage in France, yet I want the ease with which they set their table.  I went in search of the ideal way to do this.

According to mydomaine.com, the book How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are is very enlightening as to all things French.  The authors* demystify the effortless and chic manner in which the French style their dining table.

(*The authors are Berest, de Maigret, Diwan, and Mas.)

Number One:

You do not have to use a complete set of china/dishes.  It is fine to use mismatched pieces and should be what you have on hand.  Flea market finds are welcome.  This setting of mismatched blue stoneware from the ’60s is from Etsy.

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Number Two:

Use mismatched glassware.  This expert book states to use clear glasses and those that all have stems.  This photo is more shabby chic, but I find that elegant in a little more formal way than french farmhouse chic.  But you can see the mismatched clear glasses.

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Number Three:

Show off your monogram.  Parisians like to use grandma’s embroidered white napkins.  If you don’t have any, they suggest getting some inexpensive linen ones from eBay.  Lay them next to each plate.  No complicated folding necessary.  (I’m so glad.)  These are from Etsy 12 for $85.

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Number Four:

The French like to use Laguiole folding knives.  (Pronounced LAH-YOLE or LA-GWEE-YOLE). These are very pretty knives made in the south of France and have a bee at the tip.  You can choose from 13 types of wood for the handle or about 21 acrylic ones.

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Since I don’t think many of us will run out to buy a set of 8 folding knives, I suggest a set of their steak knives.  I picked ours up from Marshall’s years ago.

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Number Five:

Cover your table.  Many French use a linen sheet.  I would find that sheet ruined after the first glass of red wine spilled!  Real linen tablecloths can be obtained through Etsy starting at about $50.

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Since I don’t like to iron, I prefer getting a tablecloth or even table runner that is a cotton/polyester blend made for easy washing and drying.  C’est la vie!!  Check for deals at World Market or Pier One.

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Above shows the simple blue and white napkin (or what could be a linen towel) placed between white plates.

Number Six:

Stay hydrated by having a bottle of wine and glass carafe of water at the table.  This carafe is from the Feathered Nest.com and is $30.99.

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There you have it….the chic French farmhouse table setting broken down for you.  Enjoy!

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Garden Muses

 

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A muse by definition is “a person who serves as an artist’s inspiration.”

I’m coining a new term for the awful “she shed” that sounds like a place you keep your garden and lawn tools.   I’m calling them Garden Muses.

A garden muse is a small building that is located somewhere in your yard where you can relax, read, or take a nap.  I’d like to share a few really cute ones I found.

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This charming one (above) looks like a mini-version of a house.  I can envision a chaise lounge with some very comfy pillows, a shelf with books to read, a hotplate for tea or coffee, and a mini fridge.

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The purple shingled garden muse blends right into the azaleas.  The slant of the mansard roof reminds me of a little schoolhouse.  A mansard roof has a double slant, but usually the uppermost roof may not be seen from below.  The earliest one seems to be one at the Louvre in about 1550.

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The garden muse, above, looks like a free-standing conservatory.  There may be a term for that but I’m unaware of it.  If you take a closer look, it’s not a totally-enclosed building.  This makes it nice for the days that are lovely to be outdoors.

There’s a comfy single bed for those naps I was talking about.  Outside on the left side is a small sink for rinsing your hands after gardening.

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The last garden muse also looks like a mini-house that has it’s own landscaping!  With french doors and dormer windows on the roof, I could be very comfortable lounging inside while reading and feeling the cool breeze.

That’s what I call backyard bliss!!

(Image featured before the article is from Rooms for an Irish Summer.)

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