Blog created by interior decorator Peggy Clarke to help create homes that reflect the people who live there and how they (want to) live. Blending spirituality with the art of interior design, Clarke aims to help people who want to create harmonious spaces for balanced living.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bedding in Blue

A woman in Virginia wrote asking me what pieces I’d suggest from the Eileen Fischer bedding line or how I’d put together a new set from a variety of lines.

The most important thing when it comes to making a bed is comfort. I’ve tested sheets of every thread count and I can tell you the softest sheets are jersey t-sheets. They aren’t as durable as others, but for the price, buy extra. The Company Store advertises them in every size but I’ve always bought my from Bed Bath and Beyond. Design tip: buy white.

In making the perfect bed, next I add a luxurious blanket. This is where cashmere, fleece or alpaca come in. Fleece is the least expensive of the bunch and, again, I’d go neutral. Aside from the options archived below, here are some other ideas:

This one’s from Scandia Down ( (If you’re working with a blue palette, get the beige.)

A wildly inexpensive option would be, believe it or not, from Target. They have a “super-soft fleece” for under $25. It’s not heavy, which might be just what you want.

The top layer is obviously most visible and therefore of the biggest design concern. For looks, I head straight to Restoration Hardware. Their silver sage is stunning and once it’s paired with chocolate what you have is rich and spectacular. Also, not cheap.

I’ve checked out some alternatives. Although I love Martha Stewart’s furniture line, her bedding looks cheap and undistinguished. Domestications, the popular catalog, has the same problem. Anthroplogie, one of my favorite stores on the planet, has unique choices, but nothing they sell is well priced and it tends to be quite feminine. Feminine is better in the bedroom than most any other room in the house, but if a man lives in the room, it’s still more appropriate to be a little more gender neutral.

This is one last idea from Pottery Barn, which isn’t my favorite store, but they do well with color.

A few rules for creating your new bed:
1. Keep the colors neutral. Bedrooms should be a place of refuge.
2. Comfort is more important than appearance.
3. Be careful with online purchases since texture is key here. You’d be best off going to a store where you can feel the product, or to buy from trusted sources.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Art for Art's Sake

Christmas this year, my mother and husband bought me the dining room set of my dreams. OK, I bought it, but once they heard what it cost, they agreed to pay for it and call it a gift. The table is hand-crafted by a master artist in upstate NY who, in a matter of weeks, created an 8 foot Harvest Table with two company boards. The legs are 5.5 inches wide, tapered and painted and the top is a heavy 1.5 inch dark-stained pine. The reason it’s taken me so long to purchase the table I’ve wanted is that I had a French Country Farm Table, which is similar enough to what I wanted to make it seem ridiculous to replace. But, I’m picky (bordering on OCD) and I wanted an American Harvest Table for my American country home. What inspired me was both finding this artisan and a thorough researching of prices on black Windsor chairs that I’d done for someone else. Windsor chairs can cost a fortune and I wanted ten or twelve of them, but after visiting every retailer in the tri-state area, I found a price that made the whole thing possible. (Some of you might wish I’d tell you where to get such a deal or who this master craftsman is, but I have to keep some secrets to myself so you’ll, you know, hire me.)

I tell you this story because it’s inspired me to want to surround myself with gorgeous hand-crafted things. True American art. So, today's blog is filled with examples of artists with whom I've worked or whose work I’ve seen at crafts fairs. They are at the top of their game, but several have kept their prices reasonable enough to make their work accessible. I give you here a sampling of some of our local artists. Upon meeting them I’m always grateful for their willingness to create and offer to the world their craft even while we live in a society that doesn’t truly value or support our artists.

Hand Blown by Boar Glass. It's simultaneously light and heavy, a true study in balance.

Nicole Chazaud Telaar’s work is some of the most fun I’ve seen.
A whole room can (and should) be designed around her pieces.

Peter Harrison creates contemporary furniture using exposed steel and wood giving a room the feeling of being a gallery as well as a part or your home.

Custom furniture made from domestic hardwoods and exotics.

Pottery is an ancient human art form, always satisfying to make and enriching to own. Having a few good examples in a room silently connects the space with all those who have gone before us.

This spectacular example is from Greenbaum Studios.

Damian Velasquz's work is museum quality, which is reflected in his prices, but the work is too spectacular not to recognize in this list of artisans. This piece is just one example of how his work is a true re-imagining of standard pieces.