StyleFile #15: Oh, Dear! No Deer!

There seems to be a lot of interest in taxidermy like the deer head below. Deer, moose, elk, and wild game heads are showing up on walls in both traditional and modern homes. If you like the idea…


… but can’t get Bambi’s mother out of your mind, try these alternatives.


These heads are crafted of plywood that’s harvested from sustainable forests. Available at Vivre.


The Curiosity Shop offers this carved wood deer head.


A deer head sculpture by Michael Combs hangs on the wall of this foyer.


For the modernist, try the Vivre polished aluminum deer head.


A custom deer head from Hinson & Company.


It looks like alabaster but this deer head is made of resin. At The Curiosity Shop.


Put this inflatable deer head in your child’s bedroom. He’ll love it. From Baron Bob.


Another option for children and adults is this faux fur covered one from Animal Head.


If you’re the artist of the family, you could purchase a canvas and paint the silhouette of a deer.


I couldn’t help adding these last two pictures. A collection of vintage deer figurines under a potted Christmas tree…


…and this wonderful deer card from Greenwich Letterpress.

(Photos- British Elle Decor, Living Etc. Elle Decor, Domino, Martha Stewart Living)


StyleFile #14: Vintage Wedding Dress Patterns

While at an antique store in North Carolina, I came across a box filled with vintage wedding patterns from the 1940s to the 1990s. I pulled them out of the box one by one and marveled at the designs. So many of them could be worn as bridal dresses today. I didn’t purchase any of them, but when I got home I checked eBay. I found a lot of them are available including my own. Can you guess which bridal dress pattern I used?


circa: 1940-1950


circa: 1940-1950


circa: 1950-1960


circa: 1960-1970


circa: 1970-1980


circa: 1970-1980


circa: 1970-1980


circa: 1970-1980


circa: 1970-1980


circa: 1980-1990


circa: 1980-1990

KidFile #5: A Letter To Santa

In the excitement of Christmas, I sometimes forget to take pictures. As Curt has gotten older, those pictures of past Christmases have become cherished memories. When Curt was eight, he wanted to leave Santa some cookies. I had given all the baked cookies to neighbors. All that was left was a container of Trader Joe’s alphabet cookies. At first Curt was upset until I explained the cookies we had were healthy ones. Better for Santa’s weight problem. Here is his sweet note to Santa on Christmas eve.


And Santa’s reply to him.


(Photos- Martha B.)

Special Delivery: Christmas Cards

If you’re like me, you receive countless Christmas cards. Some of them you display on the mantle or on your tree. But usually you have more cards than display space. Try this quick and easy Christmas card display. I bought this reproduction vintage truck several years ago, but you can find something similar on eBay. Or raid your child’s toy box! I put it by the front door and drop the Christmas cards in it as they come.


(Photo-  Martha B.)

StyleFile #13: Fun Fireplaces

When we were house hunting, one of the things on our wish list was a fireplace. Like us, most people want one. But not to heat the house as our ancestors did. We want a fireplace to give architectural interest to a room, to decorate above it with pictures, and at Christmas to hang stockings from it. I love collecting designs of fireplaces. The ones here are what I call “fun fireplaces”. Take a look and see why.


In her upstate New York home, Marian McEvoy decorates her fireplace with the names of those who visit her.


I could kick myself now. Our house had one of these fun vintage plug in log sets and I threw it out.


Who says you can’t wall paper the inside of a fireplace? Here drywall was wallpapered first before installation. Check out the red painted logs!


A fireplace doesn’t mean it has to be real. This one is a trompe l’oeil on cardboard painted by a set designer.


I don’t advocate painting stone, but this fireplace wouldn’t have the same visual effect if left natural.


The owner of this sea side house embedded mussel shells in the fireplace.


Not just a mirror above the fireplace mantle, but also one in the fireplace opening.


Besides logs in a fireplace, putting a bust and large piece of coral complete the over all look.


It wouldn’t be right not to end with a fun fireplace decorated for Christmas.

(Photos- World of Interiors, French Marie Claire Ideas, Domino, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Living Etc.)

Garden Note #1: The Garden In Winter

When you have a garden, each season holds its own beauty. It snowed today and left my garden white.


First row: leaves from the blueberry bush, Irish moss, vacated bird’s nest
Second row: fallen pine cones, heirloom pumpkin in the snow, yew tree branch
Third row: holly, birdbath becomes a pedestal for a pumpkin, squash stem

(Photo collage- Martha B.)

KidFile #4: Making A Child’s Room Their Own

When we were new parents, we couldn’t wait to design Curt’s bedroom. Finding just the right crib, paint colors, fabric, and rug was fun. I could pick out the pictures and the accessories that I wanted to use in his room. Then about the age of five, he started to let me know he wanted his room his way. It started with wallpaper-a stripe in muted colors. Curt would have nothing to do with it.

“I’ll hate that paper. Every time I see it I’ll hate it more.”

The more I tried to convince him that he’d like it, the more he resisted. While I was visiting a designer-friend Al, I shared my frustration over this. Al told me to let Curt do his room himself. I gasped. I was picturing Star Wars sheets and posters everywhere. How could I let my son do his own room? Al suggested letting Curt be in on the planning just like I would with a client. So I did. I interviewed my son asking what he liked about his room, what he didn’t like, favorite colors, furniture styles, pictures, and things he wanted to display. We worked together.

Here’s what we did- a chalkboard-paint border around the room about eighteen inches down from the ceiling, cork strips just below the chalkboard border, a large rag rug from Ikea, an antique Eastlake bed, and a retro chest-of-drawers that he chose. No, his room does not look like a Pottery Barn room, but maybe that’s the whole point. It reflects his personality through the furniture, collections, drawings, and his perpetual scattering of books.


The antique bed Curt chose for his bedroom. The clip-on light and storage basket are from Ikea. The camp blanket is from Land of Nod.


We picked up this old school desk at a local shop in town. The top lifts up for more storage. An original Boby art cart holds supplies like crayons and markers. The ten year old chair was from Pottery Barn.


On Curt’s vintage Haywood-Wakefield chest of drawers is a display of his present interest- owls.

Note- I love the book Cool Kids’ Rooms by Hisashi Tokuyoshi. Most of the bedrooms are in small Parisian apartments. These are real kids’ rooms, not staged sets. I think you’ll find the book inspiring.

(Photos- Martha B.)