Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Southgate's McAllister Plan Featured on CNBC

We are flattered and honored that our McAllister plan, based on the famous and much loved house from the "Home Alone" movies was featured in an article at CNBC. Colleen Kane has written the article about homes built to replicate, or inspired by, other famous structures. In addition to our McAllister, Kane showcases a White House replica, a house based on Monticello, and even a home inspired by Snow White's cottage!

Colleen's article on CNBC can be found HERE.

And if you'd like another peek at our McAllister (or want to order plans for building your very own version) click HERE.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"I'll Take the Stairs, Thanks"

I came across this deliciously fun New York City apartment today over at Architectural Record. Turrett Collaborative Architects combined two 1,200 square foot apartments into one duplex and connected the units in, let's just say, a rather unusual way:

Yep, the lucky owners can harness their inner child and slide right down into the living room via a custom built, beautifully detailed, stainless steel slide. I have to wonder how quickly the novelty of this slide wears off--or if the apartments owners giddily slide down to their morning coffee each day.

A view of the slide from the rooftop terrace.

The sleek open stairs mean make for a memorable ascent as well.

The details on this unusual feature are really quite beautiful.

A look at the floorplans show the slide takes up a pretty good chunk of the living space.

(photos from Architectural Record)

So what do you think? Could you embrace your inner youngster enough to add something like this to your house? What whimsical features would you indulge in?

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Outdoor Living

I recently finished designing a wonderful outdoor living space. It's one that I hope to enjoy someday because it's an addition to my own house! Our house has a wonderful farmhouse style front porch that stretches across the entire main block of the house. It's a great spot for having that morning cup of coffee. But the backyard is somewhat lacking in outdoor living space. We have a large patio at grade, but no covered outdoor space.
The rear of the house before.

The final design has evolved from a simple deck addition to an all-out outdoor room. The wish list included a screened porch, an elevated surface from which to access the hottub, and an outdoor kitchen. The landscaping plan gives us a great view from our morning room (the room on the left of the above picture) and also eliminates a big chunk of the grass. (Which anyone who knows me will tell you that I HATE mowing!)

So here's the plan. A large screened porch will be added off of the study and accessed from a new french door in the corner of our great room. The screened porch will be vaulted with a painted (haint blue, of course) beadboard ceiling. It will have a stone-faced double fireplace that will also be enjoyed by the hot tub. Tying the screened porch to the morning room will be a large patio (above grade, just a few inches below the house floor) with an L-shaped outdoor kitchen that has room for a mini-fridge, sink, and grille.

The existing view from the morning room.

Outside the morning room, there is a natural knoll to one side of the property. We plan to capitalize on that by doing a two-level pond with a waterfall feature between them. Behind the pond will be a planting area with myrtle trees, azaleas, and other colorful perrenials. The existing bed, seen here, will be enlarged and remain a spot for birds, roses, bulbs, and annuals.

Filling in between the pond and the annual bed will be a crab orchard stone patio on grade with a built-in firepit that hugs one side of the pond. (Perfect for smores!)

Here's a look at how the outside will look. The entire foundation will be brick to match what we already have. At the outdoor kitchen area, the brick will continue up to counter height and be capped off with the countertop material (which I would love to be honed granite!). On the other side of the patio, simple wrought iron railing will be supported by brick piers at the corners. Because I want ZERO maintenance, the screened porch structure will all be clad in vinyl and wood composite materials.

I would have liked to have a higher ceiling in the porch, but without moving the windows in the guest room above, that just wasn't possible.

The addition has been approved by the neighborhood's architectural committee, and we have a builder friend pricing it out right now. I am prepared for sticker shock, but we are open to doing the project in phases--perhaps the floor gets done first, the porch roof at another time, and the kitchen and landscaping added at another time. Unless, of course, I win the lottery.

I am linking to the Metamorphosis Monday party at "Between Naps on the Porch" Not only does Susan host a wonderful link party each week, but she also has a list of "Porch Must-Haves" that I found invaluable as we were designing our new outdoor space.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Folk Artist Mary Paulsen

Five miles from the shores of Holden Beach, NC sits an interesting and fascinating place--"Mary's Gone Wild", the home, gallery, and studio of folk artist Mary Paulsen. Since 1996, Paulsen has been creating various vignettes for housing her doll collection, colorful and fun paintings done on the glass of old windows, and sculptures and structures of various types. (You can learn more about Mary at her website-- Mary's Gone Wild)

The property looks like a scene from one of the hoarding television shows, and I would imagine that Paulsen could easily be diagnosed as a hoarder. But the property has drawn attention and visitors for years, a stop in any day will find tourists exploring the grounds with cameras in hand. And today, I was one of those tourists. Please enjoy this look at the fascinating work of Mary Paulsen:

A typical scene at Mary's. The property is littered with child-sized playhouses filled with vignettes.

Inside one of the structures, this one outfitted as a church, with various religious iconography at all sorts of different scales.

One of the playhouses. All of them are constructed of what appears to be leftover materials.

One of the treehouses on the property.

Kitschy donation boxes like this one are located throughout the display. Procedes go to feed hungry children.

The front porch of Mary's house. Most of the property is likewise cluttered with "stuff"--no apparent rhyme or reason to it.

There is "stuff" everywhere. It's beyond overwhelming.

A typical Mary Paulsen window painting. Bright colors and cartoonish figures.

There are hundreds of these window paintings on the property. All for sale.

Inside another of the playhouses. This one was fully setup for housekeeping.

A suit of armor stands guard over some of Mary's treasures.

One of the newer structures was setup as a light filled gallery, full of Mary's window paintings.

Even the ceilings of the gallery building have gotten the Mary treatment.

Mary herself at work on another piece. Throughout the property is evidence of works in progress.

Some of the newest creations at Mary's are these structures built of bottles. Inside this one, there was an interesting play of light through the bottles, which framed a classic Mary painting of a mermaid.

The exterior of one of the bottle structures.

If you're ever near Holden Beach, you have to stop at Mary's. It's an experience you won't soon forget. Take your camera!

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Blue and White Interiors

Tomorrow, I'll be joining my family for a week of relaxation by the beach. This will mark the fourth or fifth time that we have spent our family vacation at the same beach house. The house is small by current standards, mostly wood paneled (outdated by most opinions), and lacks the sort of spa bathrooms and gourmet kitchen that one might expect to find in an oceanfront house. But it sits right on the dune, is immaculately clean and well kept, and has been a favorite spot for us to just sit back and enjoy life! As is usually the case when I travel, my mind turns to the architecture and decor of my destination. I seek out local real estate listings, read up on the local "style", and get a feel for local neighborhoods. And I dare you to think "beach cottage" and NOT envision a lot of blue and white. Certainly, blue and white rooms have found places far from the shore, but the classic blue and white room is forever engrained with a certain coastal feel. Enjoy these inspirational photos of some of my favorite blue and white spaces:

My idea of a perfect beach house living room! Sherrill Canet designed this crisp space.

Coral seems to be EVERYWHERE lately, but what better place for a gallery of coral prints than a beach cottage?

Soft blue and white. A sleek take on the classic color scheme.

A beautiful stone fireplace anchors this living space. The beamed ceilings and slipcovered furnishings are stunning! (House Beautiful)

Mary McDonald is responsible for this sumptous blue and white bedroom. Perhaps a bit luxurious for the beach!

This little cottage is picture perfect in pale blues and white.

Sarah Richardson worked blue and white accents into the comfortable living room of her cottage.

Bubble bath anyone? A soothing and crisp cottage bathroom.

The wood paneled walls, denim sofa, and graphic rug are perfect for a carefree space by the sea.

To-die-for  subway tile is the focal point of this blue and white dream kitchen.

So, what does YOUR dream beach cottage look like? Does blue and white play into your design?

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Once You Go Black...

You can go back, but it will likely take several coats of primer. There has been a trend lately for black painted rooms, and it's one that I LOVE. I have always wanted a black powder room, but just never had the right house to make it work in. I buck "conventional" wisdom that light colors make spaces appear larger and that dark ones do the opposite. Dark colors can make the boundaries of a room visually recede off into the horizon. They can form a stunning backdrop for art, provide stark contrast to light colored furnishings or window treatments, and generally provide a point of drama in a space.

Are you brave enough to try dark walls, even black ones? Take a look at these inspirational rooms before you answer:

In this dining room, the black walls are a stark contrast to the otherwise all-white scheme.

Another black dining room. Elegant and dramatic!

A black accent wall anchors this monochromatic living room.

Black chinoiserie wallpaper in a transitional dining room.

I covet this black powder room! The uber-trendy garden stool and towels provide pops of color.

A black foyer makes quite the first impression.

The large frieze in this bedroom keeps the black walls from being overbearing.

Really a dark charcoal rather than a true black, the persimmon colored chairs are a striking contrast. And check out the light fixtures!

Black seems to be quite popular in dining rooms! Here, the floors, ceiling and walls are black, allowing the trimwork to trace the room. The turquiose upholster pieces are startlingly elegant.

The classic black and white checkerboard floor proivides a graphic statement in this chic dining room. The scallop of the cased opening is an unusual detail.

Black walls showcase a collection of white objet. Gorgeous graphic rug!

What do you think of this book-lined bedroom? The black walls here are enveloping, making this a perfect spot for sleep and relaxation.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Color Inspiration: Blue and Orange

Blue and orange are two colors that I have never pictured together, at least not in a room. Might make for a perfect pair for a high school sports team, but it's never crossed my mind to use them as the foundation for a room.

Until now. This first image, Mary McDonald's own dining room (she of Million Dollar Decorators), was the first I saw that made me say "oooo". With the formal rooms at my own house painted a pale gray blue very similar to the shade she chose here, and my kitchen and morning room painted orange, a scheme like McDonald used here would be the perfect thing to tie together all the rooms on my first floor:

The orange just gives this space life! (Mary McDonald in Traditional Home)

An orange print on the windows, pared with the palest of blue walls, and a few pops of aqua make for a beautiful space.

A closeup of the drapery in the room above. That ribbon detail is absolutely drool worthy!

Aren't the print over the bed and this quilt perfect together?

Another orange and white window treatment, this time on more dramatic blue walls.

Strong hues of orange and light turquoise combine for a fresh looking living room.

Beautiful symmetry!

This crisp, summery color scheme is perfect for a beach cottage.

A colorful gallery wall in a pale turquoise and orange accented space.

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