Welcome to part 2 of the Amber and Ash Fashion | Home Series! I hope you enjoyed our first posts because we had a great time with it. This time we are truckin' it down South to visit one of America's favorite gals--Reese Witherspoon! Everyone loves Reese! A little background--she was born in New Orleans (N'Awlins) and raised most of her childhood in Nashville. Obviously, this is a perfect fit for Amber and Ash! I thought I would take a stab at designing a dining room for Ms. Reese. That would be one heck of an honor! Southern charm would most definitely show up in her ability to be a great hostess and I think she would grin, say "Hey Y'all!" and kiss every guest on the cheek as they arrived! Let's talk a little about her fashion style. She is always adorable and young but still so classy and sophisticated. Most of the time she is pretty neutral, but you can see a peek of color here and there. She is pretty practical and probably makes decisions based on what she should invest in and what she should just pick up at a thrifty store. Notice she has the same bag with her in the top three pics. Three totally different looks but the same bag works beautifully with each.
Below I have put together some pieces that play off of Reese's style. Practical and flexible, but totally refined with carefully placed touches of luxury here and there. Keep in mind--no matter what your budget, this is achievable. The ideas cross budget boundaries and apply to all of you!
a. Room and Board Wegner Wishbone Chair ($699) Never has a MORE beautiful chair been designed. Maybe some have tried, but to me, none have beaten this one. Designed in the 1950's, Hans Wegner knocked it out of the park! These can be found as knock-offs, but with something like this, the real deal will only gain beauty and value over time. If you cannot afford a whole set, do not feel bad. Consider just buying one and adding over the years. One day you can pass down the set to your daughter, or heck-sell them on Ebay and make back all of your money! Classics never die.
b. Pottery Barn Benchwright Pedestal Dining Table ($1299) I selected this table because of its classic architectural detailing and flexibility. It is extendable, so do not fear if two more guests arrive! Another investment piece, but much less expensive than an antique. Don't we all love antiques?? If you can afford a beautiful antique table, go for it! If not, consider one from Pottery Barn.
c. Room and Board Linear Steel Base Cabinets ($3599) Based on the Arts and Crafts movement, this piece is perfect for dining room display and storage. It is clean and simple and will never go out of style. If these are out of your budget, try grouping 2 or 3 of these Ikea storage pieces for a similar style.
d. Restoration Hardware Entablature Mirror ($2695) Both Neoclassically-inspired and over sized, this mirror is a show stopper. It is quite an investment, but if you are thrifty and looking to get a similar look on a shoestring budget, try this $100 mirror from Ebay and apply a whitewash finish!
e. Custom Art Work by local artist Lori Prochaska - I always encourage clients to invest in nice artwork. There are many options available as far as prints, etc. but you cannot beat the beauty of an original painting. This one is mine (I am so proud!) My friend and colleague was commissioned to paint it for me. I gave her a photograph that Kyle and I took while visiting New England last fall. There was nothing more glorious than those leaves and I wanted to honor the beauty of God's creation by having something in my house that would constantly bring me back to that time. If you are interested in getting something done by Lori, let me know. Please do not let geography fool you- this girl can paint 'em and ship 'em!
f. Restoration Hardware Open Weave Sheer Linen Drapery ($99 - $129) Restoration Hardware has a wonderful selection of draperies. These are quite a steal! I love sheers, and although Kyle is not a huge fan of people looking into our house and likes a heavier visual barrier, I try to use them when I can! Try layering sheers with something heavier and just closing the privacy drapes at night!
g. Fancy Upside Down Chandelier from Horchow ($478) Recently I rediscovered Horchow! It is a great site! If you have a more traditional style, but do not want to feel stuffy in your home, this is a site to watch and peruse occasionally. I have a feeling that Reese may would invest in a beautiful antique crystal chandelier, or maybe even like lots of Southern families, have one that has been passed down as a family heirloom. If you are so lucky, hang that girl up and be proud of its history! If not, lots of sites, such as Horchow, have a beautiful selection of "fancy" light fixtures that work wonderfully with more casual furniture. They take it up a notch without making the room feel really formal.
h. Waterford Araglin Platinum China Waterford is timeless! I love china, and definitely registered for it when Kyle and I got married. Many other brides advised me not to but I absolutely love mine. I got all 12 settings filled for the wedding and was so happy! That is the thing about a Southern wedding- the older generation of ladies are going to take their hineys right on down to Dillard's and ask for a registry print-out, go straight to the china, and buy a place setting (or two!)! I, being the not-always-the-most-traditional person that I was/am, took a unique approach that really threw off some of these same precious ladies, but they all went with the flow. I chose 6 patterns, all silver or platinum and white, and registered for 2 settings of each. The 6 are all usually displayed mismatched, so that you get a more shabby look. Any of the pieces look beautiful paired with any of the others. Another reason this is good is that if you break some, you can replace with any silver/platinum and white piece! All of the 6 were different price points as well.
i. Restoration Hardware 20th Century Scroll Register Cover ($29) One way to have a "designer's touch" in your home is to pay attention to things that are often overlooked. This would be things such as door knobs, light switch plates, air vents and register covers, door bells, etc. These beautiful register covers would be beautiful in almost any home! I have honestly not thought about our registry covers much, although I immediately switched out our light switch and electrical outlet plates to stainless steel ones offered both at Lowes and Target! Now I may consider getting a few of these...
j. Vera Wang Cake Serving Set ($60) I also got this as a wedding gift. I have used them many times! If you have friends over for dessert, why not serve the pie or cake with something fabulous? I believe in keeping the "good stuff" accessible and using it! Burn the nice candles!!! That's what they are there for! Don't let those candles sit around with a perfect white wick. Burn those babies and enjoy the things you buy. The same goes for china, crystal, and fancy serving trays. It makes things so much fun :)
k. Ralph Lauren Argyle Decanter ($120) and Low Ball Glasses ($50 for 4 pc set) Does Ralph Lauren make anything that is not perfect? This bar ware would be perfect displayed in the Room and Board storage piece above! These are another example of things that you should use and not let sit around and collect dust. A few nice glasses and a decanter are such a nice addition to a home- especially if you like having company and visitors. It does not have to replace your everyday stuff, but it is nice to have as an addition. Thrift stores and ebay have TONS of beautiful mid-century or turn-of-the-century glassware for dirt cheap! Garage sales and estate sales do as well. Keep those eyes peeled! It is a lot more fun drinking out of a beautiful 100-year-old glass that you bought for a quarter than something new and generic.
l. Fresh Orchid- I love orchids. Enough Said. This is a tribute to Reese's character Elle Woods in Legally Blonde! PINK!!!!!!!!
m. Horchow Copper Finish Wood Sculpture This is a beautiful unique piece for any room of your house. I can even see it in a fancy spa-like bathroom! Sculpture is such a nice way to add a modern edge to a traditional space. It is not as much of a "first thought" as paintings when it comes to art, but sculpture really does offer a nice touch. Try looking around in your area for some local sculptors. You never know what you will come across!
n. Maison Amber Candles from Bed Bath and Beyond Fun story about these! We went to NYC on our honeymoon and stayed in On the Avenue (upper west side). There were candles all over the OUTSIDE of that hotel- steps, everywhere! They smelled so great that I could smell them when I got out of the subway around the corner. I called back to the hotel and after about 6 months, the concierge called me with the candle manufacturer. I though for sure I would have to order them from Europe or something. Nope. They were from Bed, Bath, and Beyond!!! Everyone who comes to our house comments on this scent. Also, it is called "amber" so there you go girl, a little extra love!
o. Natural Fiber Rug - These types of rugs are great for under a dining table because you can clean them very easily. They come in a huge price range, and are available at overstock.com, all the big box stores, and just about anywhere you look! Make sure your dining room rug is big enough to fit the table and all of the chairs without the legs going off the back when people are sitting.
Well, there you go! Whew! Make sure to hop on over to my blog (www.ashinteriors.net) to see what Amber is up to as well. She based this next outfit on a beautiful room from Lonny Mag!