A Little House Update

As we are preparing to break ground (or, walls) January 2nd for our kitchen I have done a few little things around the house to make it look a bit better- one of which is painting me up some new nightstands! One my amazing clients (whose home I CANNOT wait to show you) offered up her old Williams Sonoma Home nightstands to me when her new ones arrived.  Clearly she remembered me drooling over them and mentioning how I’d coveted them for years- especially since they stopped making them.

They needed a little love though, with some water marks and cracking.  Plus I wanted them in white.  So after getting some quotes to have them refinished ( a small fortune) I decided to try myself first since I had nothing to lose. I could always have them professionally redone if I screwed up (which was likely since I am NO DIY-er).

After sanding and spraying primer on these bad boys I went in for the kill… and made a GREAT choice by going with Valspar’s gloss white spray paint.  AMAZING. No drips, awesome coverage and perfect color. Go get yourself some if you are planning to paint anything- the color selection is fantastic too!

TA-DA! I didn’t care about painting the pavement because we are tearing it up come spring to put in a new paaaaattttiiiiooooo!!!!!! (said in Oprah’s Favorite Things voice). I bought some spray poly to finish them off and made the mistake of not checking with fab DIY ninjas like Jenny Komenda first and bought the wrong kind- even though it said CLEAR, it turned yellow immediately. So i had to sand it off and repaint another coat and then use the LGN approved Polycrylic. Phew.

Now that they are in place I LOVE LOVE them. The tiered structure is perfect for someone like me who has candles, Kindles, books, earrings and lots of crap to place bedside. New mercury glass lamps via Homegoods too.

Man, I need new bedding. And a bigger rug.

Are you so curious about my little tray though?

BAM! The new item for the Erin Gates for Jill Rosenwald line- tiny trays with monograms! :)

**And the picture Andrew posted on Match.com that got me to click on him. Thank you internets.

And fresh outta the kiln the morning, MUGS TOO! Available in tan and black colorways! Email me to order erin@eringatesdesign.com!

Another Maine Weekend…

This past weekend Andrew I went up to Kennebunkport, Maine again, which is now feeling like our second home (minus the whole actually having a second home there thing).  I was part of a holiday workshop at the lovely White Barn Inn and got to craft, bake and drink (a lot) with some lovely ladies all while in the comfort of this historic and cozy place.  Take a peek…

Our lovely room complete with Pretty Woman sized tub and a two sided fireplace.  A gorgeous little welcome from the innkeeper.

We got to go into the famed kitchen of the inn to learn to bake stollen with the sous chef and pastry chef.  Every time we looked up our champagne glasses were refilled- as if there was a sneaky champagne ninja quietly operating.  The day continued with me giving some holiday decorating tips and helping everyone craft preserved moss wreaths… glue guns + 4 glasses of champagne= FUN!

We had an awesome cocktail class to top off the day and learned to make the MOST incredible chocolate martini ever (and I don’t even like chocolate martinis!)  It was seriously delicious and would be the perfect thing to serve as a dessert drink at a party! The recipe is at the bottom of this post so keep scrolling baby. And one of the most wonderful parts of the restaurant at the White Barn (besides the impeccable service and food) is the display they always have done outside the large windows. This season it was particularly awesome.

Back in the room we found MORE CHAMPAGNE. Oh boy. So I thought bubbles and bubbles would be a perfect pre-dinner activity…. and then our four course meal. I don’t think I’ve ever been so full. My DVF dress was straining to keep itself together.

We stopped in town for some coffee and enough time to snap a pic of the cool decor outside a shop and then went to my favorite place in Kennebunk, Snug Harbor Farm to peruse the plants, wares and animals…

The best thing I picked up there for myself was this little fox portrait (wearing a striped tee!!!) done by Juan Estrella framed oh-so-perfectly.  I found he has an Etsy shop with all varieties of animals. ALL WEARING STRIPED SHIRTS!!!

MINI HORSES!!!!!! Oh, and this dog bed I really wanted for the boys.

How pretty are these chickens (roosters?)

OK, now for that drink. Bottoms up!

Renovation Update: Living Room Inspiration

As the temperature drops and I spend more time inside I am aching to nest and start decorating even though every last cent I have is earmarked for our amazing kitchen renovation which starts in the next month or two.  As I said before designing for myself is SO hard, but I’ve committed to making this home a study in neutrals as to keep it feeling light, calm and cozy.  I spent a good chunk of the week in LA speaking to women about designing their homes and repeatedly told them that the most important thing is to have patience and wait and save for ONLY things you absolutely love.  Of course picking up super affordable basics is a big part of design on a budget, but make sure that there are lots of pieces with character and patina layers with those items.  I need to take this advice MYSELF and wait for things like a lucite and brass coffee table like the one below. I also have been obsessed with the Mitchell Gold Major chair in leather with stain brass since it came out and so I think that might be something I start sacking away for.

sofa/ rug/ chair/ side table/ floor lamp/ tulip table/ coffee table/ art/ sconces

blanket/ pillow fabric/ candle/ shades/ tray

Proof that vintage pieces that you fall in love with don’t have to be pricey- this console was $75 at a estate sale YEARS ago and I still love it. I’ve painted the interior cubbies two colors so far and am about to change it again to a grassy green and find a finish carpenter to make wine racks on the inside to store a few bottles.  I’ve been stumped as to what to put in those little cubbies forever and finally have found a great purpose! This area will be great once drapes are up- I am LOVING my Ballard Designs/ Suzanne Kasler antlers I put up on either side too.

Benjamin Moore Forest Moss

And I can’t believe I’m doing this after I was like, a zillion percent sure this was going to be my sofa for the next 10 years but I am selling my navy velvet sofa. Our new home HAS to have a sectional with chaise or else Andrew and I might kill each other.  The dogs take up 75% of the sofa and so my 6’4″ husband and I are relegated to basically sitting on the arms crunched up and pissy. Email me erin@eringatesdesign.com if you are interested. Pick up ONLY.

(fabric is darker than appears in this pic)

Prep Reunion

This past weekend was my 15th high school reunion. Besides being in near shock over the fact that time has flown at a terrifying clip, it was so nice to go back to one of my favorite places of my past.  You see, unlike most people I LOVED high school and HATED college.  And when I refer to high school, I mean the two years I spent as a boarding student at the famed Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT.  I began high school in my local public school as a painfully shy and very ill girl. After having to withdraw from school to reside in a hospital and work on getting healthy I did not want to go back into the situation I had left and so looked into enrolling in a private school.  After touring many I knew the very second I stepped onto the MPS campus that it was where I needed to be, and luckily it was an option for me. It was a scary prospect for my parents as I was fresh out of the hospital and not quite “cured”.  But the gamble they took by letting me go was the decision that not only saved me from my disease but also was the catalyst that made me who I am today.

(the MPS ring)

When I tell most people that I went to all girls school they look at me with an “awww, I’m sorry” face and I have to interject and tell them it was not only my choice but one of the best ones I ever made.  I was cared for, inspired, supported and enveloped by a community of teachers and girls with whom I will forever have a bond.  I learned to be brave, try new things, take care of myself and enjoy being my age and not feel rushed to grow up.  Unlike the school’s reputation of yesteryear as a “finishing school”, it was a place where we felt comfortable wearing sweats or pearls (sometimes both together) and being smart and working hard was cool. I’m scared that places like this are going extinct for women in this country. And coming back together this weekend, I was reminded of how lucky I am to have had that time, in that place , with those women and how it’s shaped me in such indelible ways.  And while we all have lead vastly different lives since leaving Farmington, the bonds we share made it the easiest thing in the world to share some laughs, a lot of wine and remember how far we’ve come.

The other thing that going back reminded me of is how much I love preppy style :) Farmington is such a classic New England town and the school itself is beyond stunning.  It made me want to buy a ton of cable sweaters and riding boots and hang a thousand framed paintings on my wall! Here’s a collection of images and items that bring me back to good ol’ Farmington!

Chatelles Paris slippers/ Jackie O (fellow alumnae)

I would sell an organ for some Leontine Linens monogrammed bedding.

Cambridge Cable Sweater/ Staffordshire dogs

Monogrammed stationery by Sugar Paper

I die for these flats/classic oil painting in a gilded frame

The Hovey Sister’s wallpaper via Anthro/ classic trench

Barbour jacket/ Tory Burch green (amazeballs) bag

Renovation Update: Moving In, Paint and Updates!

Well, last night was our first night in our new house… and even though we are still under construction it was nice.  The pups were so excited to play in the yard all evening while we toasted with some wine we got in Napa a few years ago.  For the first time I can kind of see how this is going to work, up until this point I was still having fits of “biggest. mistake. ever.” on and off every day.  But now that the bathroom is being finished and some walls are painted I can FEEL the space and really envision living here. We have SO much work to do over the next few years, but the end result is a picture I can see now (I just have to win the lottery- no sweat!)

Speaking of paint I was thrilled to partner with Benjamin Moore on the color scheme for our house.  Since the ceilings aren’t very high in here I wanted it to feel light and bright and knew I wanted to go GREY! I plan on getting all new pieces for the living room, very much inspired by this room from House Beautiful- whites, greys, black and some beige:

I tested a bunch of my favorite colors- Edgecomb Grey, Classic Grey, Grey Owl and Harbor Grey.  I thought that I would totally go with Edgecomb before testing because I use it so much and it is such a warm light grey/greige.  But when I put it on MY walls it looked way, way beige. Strike #1.  Classic Grey looked too blue. Owl Grey as well. And Harbor Grey too dark. After buying all the testers I was flabbergasted to find not one I liked. So I went out on a limb and tried one more I had never used before, Balboa Mist. And it came out pretty perfect! This color will be on our whole main level and hallways to keep the rooms flowing together.

(clockwise from top left :Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Grey, Grey Owl, Harbor Grey, Balboa Mist, Classic Grey.)

(In the hallway everything looked SO SO different- example, Edgecomb Grey is the top left swatch and Balboa is the bottom. Edgecomb looks straight up tan. This is why you MUST test colors on multiple walls and look at different times of day!)

Now, no judging because we JUST moved in but here is Balboa on the walls with half the trim painted Benjamin Moore White Dove. Picture with this rug from West Elm (which is in our bedroom right now) and grey sectional and some great black framed vintage chairs….

(clearly, have not primed or painted the new door casing)

(glass door and window are NOT white yet, mantle and moulding are)

I loved our old bedroom color, so I knew I wanted a darker grey in here, but not TOO dark. So I tested three dark greys- Stormy Monday which I loved, but was a shade too dark, Winter Gates which looked purple-ish and San Antonio Grey which was perfect.

(Top: Stormy Monday, Winter Gates Bottom: San Antonio Gray. P.S. How ghetto do our walls look post wallpaper?)

And here is how it came out- love it! Again, not the bedding, rug or lighting we are using, but you get the point.

For the guest room I really wanted light pink. Which is a really tough color because I don’t like it when it’s too sweet or too fleshy. I tested Hushed Hue and And both felt TOO pink.  So I went with Opal, without testing it, which is an off white pink I saw in Joanna Goddard’s bedroom.  I think it’s a smidge too light, but our molding needs to be painted brighter white and then maybe it’ll be nice.

(Top: Melted Ice Cream Bottom:Hushed Hue. They looked so much more pink in person, but maybe I was just being crazy. Not the first time. Or the last.)

Here’s the room done in Benjamin Moore Opal. I think it needs to be one shade darker. I think I will try a patch again of one of the above testers- I wanted to play off the pink in the vintage fabric pillow on the bed and it’s just a bit too light…

(was too tired form moving to even get our early 90’s vacuum cleaner out of the shot)

For the office, which is our smallest bedroom I wanted a moody navy. And I found it right away with Blue Note. Dark with a smidge of green to it it’ll be super dramatic and look great with brass accents.

(Top: Blue Note  Bottom: Mysterious- both look way darker in person)

The only other space I have to do is the bathroom, which I’ve decided shall be Benjamin Moore Space Black (super pigmented and dark) above the beadboard. Look how far it’s come! My vanity, floor and sink all look RIDICULOUS. Love.

Door swing was reversed and I cannot WAIT to paint and see the sconces in. Still deciding on a mirror, art and towel bars etc….

How about my GORGEOUS new marble top from Sygma Stone that was templated and installed so quickly! It’s so perfect, and I really love the American Standard Town Square faucet- it looks modern but classic too, which is exactly the look I’m going for.

Still to come- re-glazing the tub and tile in the shower because it’s nasty, but the tub itself is a nice cast iron job. I’ll be sure to show you the before and afters of that process in case any of you are in the same boat of needing a refresher instead of spending to re-do the whole thing, which is not always necessary!

The best part of all this so far though has been seeing how happy the dogs are playing in their very own yard complete with new fence! :)

Renovation Sponsors: