Seen but not Heard (Not)

The entire Dream House is looking a little tired. Five people, and especially the three ages 13 and under, take a toll. A severe toll. On upholstery especially. The sofa in the kitchen, which I adore, count on, recline on, has been recovered once already in seven years and it needs it again. A new pillow or two would help. So I turned my weary midwestern eyes west again and requested a couple of samples from Peter Dunham at Hollywood at Home (including Kashmir Paisley, above.)

Peter Dunham, whom it was such a lovely treat to meet while I was in, yes, Los Angeles. The website basically said, “tick here” for cuttings and I was, well, anal and anxious and disbelieving. As it turns out, via post Dunham and Hollywood at Home took as careful care of me they did in person; my samples arrived without a hitch and are draped prettily here and there. (Lisa Fine’s turn at set dressing at Hollywood at Home, above.)

Speaking of children, thirteen and below or any variety, it can be tricky to find a way to decorate rooms that don’t consist of Pooh (whom I love to read, but not to see enjoying his honey pot on a border whilst tucking someone in) or fire trucks or Elmo (though I appreciate his joie de vivre.)

Enter Susanna Salk. Salk has edited Room for Children; Stylish Spaces for Sleep and Play, a stylish selection of rooms fit for baby, toddler, tween and teen at, yes, sleep, work and play. The images are wonderful and the rooms range from fantasy to full-on doable in a day.

Oh, the connection? Or have I let the out-of-school-what-can-you-do-for-me-now crowd damage my synapses permanently?

Nope. Susanna Salk will be at Hollywood at Home to sign copies of her book tomorrow, Thursday, from 4:30 – 7. Tea and cocktails (oh, for heaven’s sake, have a cocktail, why not?)

I wish I could be there myself. Inexplicably, the state with the most Mrs. Blandings’s readers is California. What in the world could be the appeal of this midwestern housewife to the hip and fab of the west coast? Not a clue, but I’m flattered beyond all belief.
Honestly, I have this book, think it is terrific and have a huge crush on Dunham. Go.
Images, top two, from Hollywood at Home. Next five images from Susanna Salk’s Room for Children; Stylish Spaces for Sleep and Play published by Rizzoli. Credits as follows: the yellow room which I would be happy to tuck myself into right now, designed by Maureen Footer, photographed by Daniel Efert; the following room, well, I can’t find a credit, but will get back to you; room with jazzy striped sofa designed by Eve Robinson; playroom photographed by Jean Rondazzo.
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17 thoughts on “Seen but not Heard (Not)

  1. Oh, I know just what you're talking about. I'm decorating our new apartment now, and sadly everything needs to be practical and durable. It will still be beautiful (I hope) but it won't be my dream house until the little guy grows up.

  2. Thanks for the heads up on this book. I'll be needing some inspiration for my littlest DD when I finally get the guts (and a bigger house) to kick her and her crib out of my room.
    We don't do cartoon themed rooms in our family either.

  3. Haven't you heard? Midwestern housewives are all the rage!

    Seriously though, wit and style are cool on any coast.

  4. My mother-in-law had two wing chairs reupholstered in a favorite linen crewel fabric she had been pining for for years. On the very first day back from the shop, her beloved first born (my now 60 something husband) 12 year old sun sat down on one…just after he had slathered vaseline on his new sunburn. They went back to the shop the next day and she requested to see fabric made of cast iron. I have those chairs now still covered in the black with flowers scattered across tapestry fabric that has, indeed, worn like cast iron. That young Y chromosome is a hard thing to tame. Personally, I would not choose any background pale enough to remember what had been sat upon it.

    As for your California dreamers, I think you offer not only wit and spunk, I think you offer your own complex set of normalcy and family that has its own enchantment.

  5. Isn't PD's sample ordering the best? No fuss, no muss, just click here! Why can't everyone do this?

    It could be that a lot of Midwestern housewives don't live in the Midwest. There are, for example, many of us in Texas and I'm sure California as well!

  6. Oh, I love the yellow room, as well. I could live there the rest of of my life…and I thought that I had to have a navy blue and white bedroom. Does the room comes with full maid and butler service? How about an accountant? Then all of my needs would be fulfilled. Thank you for making my day full of sunshine, (I'm originally from the midwest!!)

  7. Mrs B you are known throughout the states (world) coast to coast and always a joy to see!

    Art by Karena

  8. You might look into Crypton Suede for your kitchen sofa. Completely washable, incredibly durable. Boring, maybe. Dress it up with contrast cording, fringe, a braid, or whatever, and definitely use that lovely fabric for pillows!

    I love your blog.

  9. Mrs. E. and I have been given a full girl's bedroom suite of painted furniture from the turn of the last century. Which now means a room redecoration (none too soon… five years with children and the manse is showing every minute of them).

    This book might just provide the impetus that summer vacation has stolen from us!

  10. "What would Joni do?"

    Think slipcovers. Washable slipcovers. A dark enough fabric that doesn't show the little stuff. The print mentioned above would help mask more, but sometimes patterns come and go unless you absolutely love them. Durable enough for 3 under 13's plus a dog.

    One blogger/designer mentioned using painters' cloth. You must wash and dry them several times before sewing to get the sizing out and the shrinking over with. Mine are waiting to be sewn.

  11. Use one of the fabulous outdoor fabrics, every fabric house has them. A taupe & white buffalo check from Scalamandre is still showroom fresh with a very large black dog and two children under 5.

  12. Patricia,

    I've got dashes of Kash Paisley (peacock) in my living room and bedroom and I just love living with it. The border is so much fun. And I totally agree with you, everyone at H @ H is super-friendly and helpful. Peter seems to be one of the kindest in the industry.

  13. I see that everyone has already commented what I was going to suggest: slipcovers made of the "outdoor" line of fabrics. Its amazing what colors/choices that are available today and they are incredibly durable. Then, when the littles are gone you can reupholster to your hearts content. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  14. Just what I need…more adorable charming rooms for my super secret baby file…lord help me if my fiance ever sees the full extent to which I have planned for our unborns!

  15. Great Blogs! Fabulous images,i love your bedrooms, especially the touch of yellow,looks charming and are very stylish too!thanks for sharing.

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