Virginia Kitchen Renovation

I had the pleasure of doing a total kitchen renovation for a Virginia client of mine.  The house had great bones, but the kitchen needed a great update. The clients and I agreed that the original painted wood paneling and a raise hearth fireplace were both charming and spoke the character of the house. A wall separated the kitchen from the family room and eventually it became clear that the wall should be removed entirely.  The raised hearth fireplace was curious and at first a challenge  in the family room. Rather than just disregarding or removing the hearth and tearing everything down to the studs I really let the period paneling and turn of the century fireplace drive the design.

I just read a quote this morning from a book titled A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman:

“Much of the Beauty that arises in art comes from the struggle an artist wages with his limited medium” -Henri Matisse

This is not to say that the kitchen is a work of art but rather that good design may develop because there are parameters or challenges.  I think the final result of this kitchen really does work and is beautiful and that is greatly true because of how these original features of the home informed the design.

A true gift was working with a local cabinetmaker, his family has been crafting cabinetry in Virginia for generations.  He beautifully crafted the island and new cabinetry to match the original kitchen.  The kitchen countertops are honed Carrara marble and the hearth is a local Virginia soapstone from Spectrum Stone Designs.  I moved the gas range and oven, which was previously located in the wall we removed, to the same wall as the fireplace and added a custom wood paneled hood.  All the appliances are stainless and for a bit of bling I added a glass subway tile to the backsplash.

If we were in Colonial Virginia the fireplace would have been where everything was cooked and eventually ovens would be moved next to the fireplace. This kitchen is quite a step up from the Colonial kitchen but keeps that same idea.

Jamestown Cottage Interior

One of my favorite features was keeping the original Virginia brick as the fireplace surround.  Now the rest of the house really flows and the kitchen feels like it was meant to be this way.

It truly is a warm and inviting kitchen and family room and I think that all of this winter snow just makes it even cozier!  All that’s left to make this completely comfy are 4 old wire coat hangers, jumbo marshmallows, graham crackers and a big Hersey bar!

Christmas Delivery in May

I love you DHL, the package of pearls arrived from Hong Kong in time for Mother’s Day. This was better than Christmas morning…. pearls, pearls and MORE pearls!

I wanted to hug this nice DHL guy but I think that would have scared him.

My girls were excited as well.  This is a picture before jumping in the car and heading to dinner.  They both managed to find their jewelry to wear as well. I’m ordering pearl necklaces and bracelets for little girls in my next order! Check out our latest shipment here!

Pearls for Mother’s Day

Pearls always make me think of my mom.  I usually gave her flowers for Mother’s Day from her favorite florist, Dorothy McDaniel’s in downtown Homewood in Birmingham, Alabama.  For the eight years we were in Hong Kong I designed a new pearl necklace for each birthday and Christmas.  Just in time for Mother’s Day, I’ve decided to share some of these designs with a special collection in honor of my mom Mary.  Here is a sampling of some of these designs.  Email me at beverlyb.mccloskey@gmail.com or leave a a comment if you would pricing.  From now until Mother’s Day I will be offering discounted prices on this collection.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Clockwise-TOP-shagreen green cuff; RIGHT: 2 strands round white pearls and celadon amazonite; CENTER: celadon amazonite and freshwater pearls w/ sterling clasp; Freshwater Pearl and Diamond Earrings, BOTTOM: Faceted Crystal Necklace; pearl and crystal sterling ring, adjustable size; LEFT: crystal and freshwater pearl drop earrings

TOP LEFT: 3 strands round white freshwater pearls; CENTER: pearl drop earrings; RIGHT: 2 strand potato freshwater pearls w/ shell clasp; BOTTOM: cream shagreen petit cuff bracelet

TOP LEFT: 3 strands round white freshwater pearls; CENTER: pearl drop earrings; RIGHT: 2 strand potato freshwater pearls w/ shell clasp; BOTTOM: cream shagreen petit cuff bracelet

TOP LEFT: shagreen bead and silver mesh chain, CENTER: RIGHT: 4 strands abalone shell and freshwater pearls w/ shell clasp, shagreen cuff, BOTTOM LEFT-multi color pearl 20″ necklace w/ sterling clasp, shagreen box-special order

TOP LEFT: shagreen bead and silver mesh chain, CENTER: RIGHT: 4 strands abalone shell and freshwater pearls w/ shell clasp, shagreen cuff, BOTTOM LEFT-multi color pearl 20″ necklace w/ sterling clasp, shagreen box-special order

The Welcoming House: The Art of Living Graciously

The Welcoming House, by Jane Schwab and Cindy Smith of Circa Interiors out of Charlotte, NC is my new favorite interior design book!

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My aunt actually had the book signed by Jane and Cindy and she made their blog page waiting in line!

Another dear friend of mine actually attended the party celebrating the book launch at Jane’s house and she said the whole thing was breathtaking and that she will never attend a party so special. Over the next few days I enjoyed reading and looking at the gorgeous rooms; every page is inspiring. The book is perfectly titled, The Welcoming Home, each room is so inviting and from a friend who has visited many of these homes the pictures while beautiful only begin to show how welcoming these rooms are in person. I look forward to studying each page and rereading this book over and over again. These are two truly talented Southern interior designers. Mother’s Day is right around the corner and this book would make the perfect gift!

Another dear friend of mine actually attended the party celebrating the book launch at Jane’s house and she said the whole thing was breathtaking and that she will never attend a party so special. Over the next few days I enjoyed reading and looking at the gorgeous rooms; every page is inspiring. The book is perfectly titled, The Welcoming Home, each room is so inviting and from a friend who has visited many of these homes the pictures while beautiful only begin to show how welcoming these rooms are in person. I look forward to studying each page and rereading this book over and over again. These are two truly talented Southern interior designers. Mother’s Day is right around the corner and this book would make the perfect gift!

Check out just a few pages from the book

Be sure to read the forward by Bunny Williams, another talented Southern (from Virginia) designer! And…if you are in Charlotte or Birmingham, my hometown, make sure to visit their shops!

Shagreen with Envy

I love Anya Hindmarch of London The designs are so classic but with a little edge. These Spring 2013 Shagreen Clutches are called Duke and Duchess.

The Duke is elegant for evening & the Duchess in Mustard is perfect for a Spring party.

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Its fun to dream! £1,195.00

This Grey Shagreen with Diamond and Rubellite Snowflake Cuff by Italian designer Corso818 will set your back $3,250

Check out our colorful shagreen bracelets! Many more styles and colors in our shop!

This makes the perfect Mother’s Day present!

Surprise that friend that has everything and is always on the cutting edge with the perfect accessory for Spring.     $160

Surprise that friend that has everything and is always on the cutting edge with the perfect accessory for Spring.     $160

How gorgeous is this braided collar and shagreen belt by Alexander McQueen! Shagreen is an exotic leather that is used by couture designers like Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Louis Vuitton for shoes, purses, and accessories.

A Little History: The bumpy textured stingray leather was used before the middle ages for the handles of swords and for armor. Its a very durable material. My husband has a shagreen wallet and his favorite trick is to hold it up to a candle at a dinner party…its amazing, it does nothing to leather. This exotic leather was imported to Europe in particular France in the 17th and 18th century but really gained popularity during the Art Deco Era for small accessory items and some furniture.

Designer Karl Springer 1980’s Art Deco Style Shagreen box $4,800 from 1stdibs

Designer Karl Springer 1980’s Art Deco Style Shagreen box $4,800 from 1stdibs

Art Deco Shagreen & Ivory Box $2,150 from 1stdibs

Art Deco Shagreen & Ivory Box $2,150 from 1stdibs

Check out some shagreen boxes and accessories from our shop!

Pink Shagreen Vase with Bone Detail- $450

Pink Shagreen Vase with Bone Detail- $450

Lavender Shagreen Pencil Holder with Bone Detail- $410

Slate Shagreen Box with Bone Detail- $510 Today shagreen is still used for the same sort of items as in the 17th and 18th centuries however many designers use faux shagreen instead since the material is quite expensive. Look at this handsome ottoman from Bunny Williams Home. She uses a faux shagreen on the center tray. What a perfect name, Tray Chic Ottoman!

Slate Shagreen Box with Bone Detail- $510

Today shagreen is still used for the same sort of items as in the 17th and 18th centuries however many designers use faux shagreen instead since the material is quite expensive. Look at this handsome ottoman from Bunny Williams Home. She uses a faux shagreen on the center tray. What a perfect name, Tray Chic Ottoman!

For all you Brits out there OKAdirect is a great little catalog shop, sort of the British version of Pottery Barn.

Lantau Faux Shagreen & Gold Coffee Table £835.00 This is an image from Architectural Digest of Nina Griscom’s Manhattan Penthouse Apartment; truly a glamorous interior. I love the shagreen and bone accented desk and chair.

Lantau Faux Shagreen & Gold Coffee Table £835.00

This is an image from Architectural Digest of Nina Griscom’s Manhattan Penthouse Apartment; truly a glamorous interior. I love the shagreen and bone accented desk and chair.

Shagreen is one of my favorite materials to design with….whether its jewelry accessories or furniture.

Shagreen is one of my favorite materials to design with….whether its jewelry accessories or furniture.

Our New Shop

While we will continue to love, love our Etsy shop it just seems like the right time to open a ‘Shop’ for ALL the treasures from Asia and beyond. Here are just some of the items to get excited about! Check it out by clicking on the pictures.

These cotton hand-blocked batik cloud pillows gets me in the mood for the beach.

These cotton hand-blocked batik cloud pillows gets me in the mood for the beach.

I love the bright color combination of a very English fabric, a yellow cashmere wool houndstooth, and a vibrant turquoise silk pillow. Sure to brighten in room!

I love the bright color combination of a very English fabric, a yellow cashmere wool houndstooth, and a vibrant turquoise silk pillow. Sure to brighten in room!

These two different lime pillows are just right for a soft soothing color palette.

These two different lime pillows are just right for a soft soothing color palette.

Check out our boxes.

Check out our boxes.

Amazonite and Mother of Pearl Double Strand

Amazonite and Mother of Pearl Double Strand

Shagreen Accessories

Shagreen Accessories