when life and design converge

Just the other day I stumbled upon an amazing array of vintage African tapestries.  I am talking about Indigo Blue on steroids!  And thankfully I was working with a budget because I could have bought every single one of them.

I did buy a handful and they will be for sale at my shop.

I can't wait to chat with customers about how to incorporate them into their homes.

The timing of this new addition to my shop it kinda fortuitous as my oldest is spending 10 weeks in Tanzania as part of a GAP year break from college.  

Back in June when she was planning her trip she bought one of the tapestries and re-arrangeed her bedroom around it. 

She was excited and looking ahead to her travels.  She shoved off three weeks ago and is having an incredible experience.

Have you ever felt so happy for your child that you thought your heart would burst?  That's how I feel about her adventure.  

Yesterday she posted pictures that took my breath away.  

What goes through your head when you are camping in tents on the edge of the Ngorongora Crater and watching the sun rise?  

Or when you travel by Jeep through the Serengeti National Park learning how birds and elephants are two species that live symbiotically? 

So rather timely that I should stumble upon my friend from West Africa selling the tapestries.  It felt like my purchase was meant to be.

Sometimes life hands us situations that force us to make difficult decisions and hard decisions are never easy for anyone old or young.  But to be able to turn it into something that gives you the adventure of a lifetime makes me SO proud of my oldest.

A lifetime of adventure is waiting Megs. 


Recycling design

Design is a funny thing.  

I think it's often hard to find our design voice when we are constantly besieged with trends.  

I like trends but I am not a fan of using them to drive our design choices.  I am more of the school of thought that your home should be a collection of you, pieces  that you build upon to create a place you love.  And a place that you will love for time to come.  

We talk so much about saving our world and making our footprint smaller and the 3R's.  But if we change the decor in our homes each time the trends change then we mine as well all drive a gas guzzler and throw our recyclables in the garbage can.

Design shouldn't be disposable.  Good design should withstand the test of time.  It should last through a handful of trends.  And sure, I too like to change my throw pillows with the seasons or holidays but the larger, key pieces stay put. 

The other day I was lying on the couch after dinner catching up on the pile of home catalogs that fill my mailbox each week when I glanced up and looked at the light blue walls of the living room.  We painted the living room when we moved into the house 8 years ago.  For the past 2 years I have thought about painting them white or light grey...trendy colors.  But when I looked up the other day I still liked what I saw and I was glad that I hadn't changed it to go with the tide.  

Don't be bullied by trends.  

Find your design voice and own it.  


September always puts a KICK in my step

I believe the phrase is Spring Cleaning but for me there is something about September that really puts a kick in my step.  

Maybe it's that most of the summer I check out when it comes to house stuff...mostly because we focus on outside.

But give me a schools-about-to-start deadline and I hup to!

That first week of school I go through closets, (they hate the dreaded TRY-ON clothes I leave them) I tackle numerous piles around the house and suddenly that stuff that has been sitting in the dining room all summer long drives me CRAZY.  

The collection of throw pillows on the sectional in the den looks tired so I remove half of them and I take a good look at the sectional and decide it needs to be professional cleaned. 

September also gets me thinking about bigger house projects.  I take a second look at the powder bath wallpaper and think hmmm, maybe something in the blue family would look better in here.  

I dream about knocking the wall down between the kitchen and dining room (damn that Joanna Gaines and her open concept ideas) and I contemplate a new stair runner and what paint color would work in the hallway.  

It is a serous ITCH. 

But mostly I just dream about what I would do if I had the time or money.


The ultimate compliment

I have been in my new location for just about 2 months.  

I have loved every. single. minute.

Even though these last few weeks of August have been a bit SLOW I continue to meet new shoppers and marvel at the constant energy surrounding downtown Fairfield.

This morning I had a couple browsing and after a few minutes the husband stepped outside and the wife continued shopping.  She wandered and poked and asked a few questions but she was clearly in her own world so I left her alone.

When she walked over to the check out counter she said, "I need to come back when I am not with my husband so I can really look".  She followed up with "I love your store, it reminds me of Anthropologie".

WOW....in my book that is the ultimate compliment!

But wait, it happened again a few hours later.  A group of 20-somethings (2 guys and 2 girls) came in and were browsing around when one of them looked up and said to me, "we love your store its like a mini version of Anthropologie but better".

Double WOW!  My day...no wait my month has been made with these two compliments today.


The Bathroom That Almost is

Do you ever have one of those projects?  

The one that you are SO excited about....the one that makes you plot, plan and research and keeps you up at night?

Well our little 3rd floor bathroom under the eaves was this kind of project for me until very recently.

Right now it looks like this...

Yes, that is a mirror sitting in the tub and that is green sheet rock.  

A few months ago it was all gangbusters.  

New walls, new floor, a painted claw foot tub, new electrical outlet and over head lights all went up.  But then our plumber ended up in the hospital and that put a delay on the water getting hooked back up and the claw foot tub getting put back into its place.  So I did what any renovation-crazy lady does, I paid the handyman extra to install the toilet because who wants to wait? 

And then the plumber got better and we booked a time but that turned into 2 weeks of "I will be there today" and further delays.  

So, you can see where this is going.  

Slowly, very slowly I lost my love for this project.  And it didn't help that my youngest, who moved his bedroom up to the 3rd floor a few months back wasn't using the new toilet at ALL.  Still not really sure why.

But the real snafu came when the plumber finally arrived and informed me that new fixtures I ordered for the claw foot tub were wall mount, not tub mount.  And that darn Amazon Prime....I was past the point of returning them.  So said plumber said look for parts to adapt them.  Eventually I found them after many unpleasant calls.  Oh, but guess what?  They are back ordered until end of August.  Can you hear the brakes screeching to a halt AGAIN???

As you can see from the picture above the little bathroom under the eaves is in need of paint but neither my husband or I want to sand the sheetrock and paint (summer, 3rd floor, hot) and the tub is patiently waiting to be finished.  

What started out as an exciting, small project has turned into a sad, slow project.

I am hopeful that cooler weather and a parts delivery will put a kick in my step and as I write this my fingers are crossed. ;)


Did you know No. 299 offers in-home design service?

A customer recently asked me where it was now that I had moved downtown.  When I looked at her with a blank stare she said, "I told you when you moved that you needed to let people know about your design services.  Where is the sign?"

She is right and I did have a sign in the window for a short time.  Until a customer wanted to buy the chalk board.  My design services message got wiped off and the chalk board found a new home.

So, its back to the drawing board (or chalk board) to share my message.

It wasn't my intention to help people in their homes but after a handful of inquires I gave it a whirl.   Friends would say to me would you ever come over to my house and help me figure my living room out?  I would happily dole out advice on what would make a space feel brighter, or cozier or how the furniture might be rearranged to suit the room better.   Eventually I realized I had something of value to offer and worked out a rate for my time.  

Over the past 2 years I have done a variety of projects.  Many are simply a one hour consult.  During that time I offer ideas or advice on colors to paint a space or two.  I offer ideas on how to lay out the furniture, I share my thoughts or vision on what would make the space great or give tips on how to style the space with small decor pieces.

Some have become ongoing relationships where we tackle one room at a time.  And a few have been larger scale projects where I spend time weekly with a client helping them make decisions with lighting, tile, hardware, flooring, etc as they work their way through a renovation.  I have even sat in on meetings with the architect and contributed ideas on space and layout.

So if you have a project that could use another opinion or a fresh look let me know.  I can be reached at the store or by email.


Home Sweet Home

It's been a whirlwind these past few weeks.  

I said goodbye to 318 Villa Avenue where No. 299 spent two years and moved the store to our local downtown area.  While I loved being on Villa and close to my own home, this new space has a CRAZY amount of positive energy!

The new location is next to a yoga studio and a local coffee shop so there is constant foot traffic and just in front of my 2 front store windows are a couple of town benches that get used quite a bit and on the other side of me is a restaurant with an outdoor patio seating area.  This place is hopin'!

I am SO excited to be a part of it all and get to work!

Please come visit me and say hello.  The new address is 11 Unquowa Road, just off the corner of the Post Road in downtown Fairfield, CT.

Here are some pics of the process.  There was a bit of demo needed and a LOT of paint needed...

Luckily I had my own Chip Gaines on hand for the demo.  

And some of my daughter's friends on hand to paint.

And WOW, what a difference paint can make!  I chose to paint a feature wall Ben Moore Old Navy and the rest of the space got Ben Moore Pale Oak.  I wanted a neutral background for all my goods but wanted a hint of color to be able to show contrast against the white tin ceiling.

Next I started working on my outdoor signs.  When I found these 2 crate tops in the closet I took the home and got to work.

As soon as I knew this place was a go I set my sights on these vintage inspired pendants.  I have them for sale at the store and was dying to see them in use.  Patrick stopped by last week and up they went.  I love how the galvanized metal looks with the white ceiling.

My next find was more like a SCORE!  
A customer's Mom had this old, vintage store counter for sale.  She had used it for years in her store and now needed to get it out of her basement.

And I LOVE it!

Father's Day, otherwise known as MOVING DAY in our house brought us a beautiful day.  And like many things to do with No. 299 it was a family affair.  Upon arrival at U-Haul my husband was told he got a free upgrade.  When they tell you this at Hertz its a good thing but not so much at U-Haul.  Have you ever tried driving a 26' truck?

Thankfully our 16 year old son asked 3 friends to help out and they were life savers!  But by the end of the day it was just too overwhelming to begin sorting through it all.  So we packed it up but not before Mike made 2 trips to Home Depot for the missing screw needed to put a table back together and hung my 2 new signs out front.

Yesterday was a new day and thank goodness Kelly was there to help me because no sooner than we had unlocked the door to tackle the mess a pallet of goods was delivered.  

Two days into unpacking and I can only show you a handful of pics.
Lovin' the navy feature wall and the new shelving mannequin that was in the new goods shipment.

Kelly hard at work at the French laboratory table I scored at Brimfield.

A couple of the pillows from the new vendor 
The Salty Cottage.  

They are so well made and perfect for our town's coastal vibe.

We open our doors Wednesday June 22nd but please bear with us as we continue to get everything in it's place.