Tuesday, October 29, 2013

the picture of comfort

ICDC came across a picture of this cozy living room again recently (designed by Kathryn Ireland), which has always left an impression.  The feather-stuffed sofa looks comfortable yet its design is a more formal roll-arm with caster legs.  The ottoman is covered in a laid-back red check but the piece itself is actually a fairly important antique.  The rug is a large kilim and the shield chair in the background is also a piece of fine furniture.  Yet the whole room seems inviting. 
How to achieve this comfortable elegance?  Here are a few ideas to inspire. 


DC's own Victoria Sanchez

Monday, October 28, 2013

it's that time again..

..for the next DC Big Flea! 

Lace up your boots, wear layers and off you go for a weekend of scavenging..

Friday, October 25, 2013


At 10am this morning, Weschler's Auction House is holding a fantastic auction of important pieces from a Virginia property collection.  Rugs, beautiful antiques, art and porcelain are on offer.  See the catalogue here.  ICDC has had her eye on this sale for weeks..if only there was more storage space in the apartment or we lived in a house..

If you can't make it downtown this morning, fill out an absentee bid!  Here is a selection of the finest:
Indo-Heriz Rug
Anatolian (Turkish)
Otto Weil seascape
1824 to 1929
Louis XV style Table de Toilette
late 19th century
Louis XV style Baccarat chandelier
Pair of Louis XVI mahogany marble top consoles
late 19th century
Louis XVI giltwood mirror
19th century
Louis XVI Ormolu Mounted Marble and Slate Mantel clock
late 18th century

Empire Mahogany Secretary
19th century
Empire Parcel Giltwood Mahogany Canapé
early 19th Century
Empire Bronze Chandelier
19th century

Neoclassical Mahogany Marble-top Commode
19th century

Classical Giltwood Girandole Convex Mirror

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

walking in the woods

As the days get chillier (it's almost November!), where to get a sturdy tartan blanket for picnics and to keep warm on hikes?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


ICDC just celebrated her birthday.  Among the wonderful, thoughtful presents she received - including the most chic snakeskin print scarf she's ever seen - she was most thrilled to accept a new, white Sferra "Grand Hotel Collection" duvet and sham set.  Giggles and shouts of glee emanated from her bedroom as ICDC ripped open the lush packaging and dressed the bed in the new finest of linens.

For those who are unfamiliar, Sferra's sheets are the softest and most refined in the world (earmuffs, Porthault lovers).  In business since 1891, this Venice-based company has a factory "in the shadow of the Rialto Bridge" and their tag line is "I live in (insert your city), but I sleep in Venezia."  Love.

Many apologies for the poor picture.  ICDC was too excited to keep the news to herself.

Friday, October 11, 2013

fashion friday

How to turn Keirnan Shipka's black damask outfit - with a hint of red - into a room?

images via www.instyle.com

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

antiqued mirror

Antiqued mirrors - whether actual antique glass or fabricated with a special finish - add a layer of texture to rooms that just can't be replicated with any other medium.  Because it is a piece of glass, it reflects light - but softly, because of the stain or finish.

Where can Districters find antiqued mirror for the home?  Try River Glass Designs or Dulles Glass and Mirror (ICDC uses DGM regularly - her oval glass top coffee table was cut by them!)

Monday, October 7, 2013

get away

ICDC has felt the itch to travel abroad lately.  To just get lost in the side streets of a town off the "beaten path" in France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Morocco..and find a hideaway cafe to drink an espresso and spend an afternoon reading a fascinating book.

When ICDC's mother sent her a few gorgeous pictures of charming side streets around the world, the itch just got worse!  So, it only seemed fair to share them with you.  Why don't you take a little mental vacation this Monday morning?

Antibes, France

Jerez, Spain

Eguisheim, France

Alberobello, Italy

Cunda Island, Turkey

Giverny, France

Bonn, Germany

Orvieto, Italy

images via www.funzug.com

Friday, October 4, 2013

fashion friday

This fashion Friday, ICDC wanted to bring you a little fall chic.  Check out Rita Ora's fabulous sweater dress ensemble at Paris Fashion Week:

How to turn Rita's outfit into a room?

image via www.instyle.com

Thursday, October 3, 2013

lesson learned

Upon moving into her apartment two years ago, ICDC created a plan for slowly renovating the place over time. 

The first step was to repaint the whole space, which hadn't been done in years.  (We actually found milk-based paint on the peeling ceilings..)

In the bathroom, we installed a new sink and a bowed shower curtain rod to allow more space while showering.

The next task was to swap out old appliances in the kitchen and put down a new floor.  ICDC just couldnt stand to look at grimy linoleum for one more second. 

Then, ICDC got inspired by the color red and rather than replace all the kitchen cabinets, painted them in a brilliant gloss and removed extra pieces on the side walls that were crowding the space.

In the final stages of the reno "plan," it was time to tackle the rest of the bathroom.  ICDC decided rather than gut it, which would have been extremely expensive, all that was needed was to remove the ugly, cracked tile that was crumbling in areas and put dry wall in its place. 

Simple, right?  And probably pretty inexpensive?  How much could removing tile and drywalling in its place really cost?

It turns out, for a professional job, a lot.  And you'd better hire a contractor who knows what he's doing.  Because with contractors, you get what you pay for.

Here's what it took two weeks, much mess, a lot of excuses, headaches, tears, and a slap-dash effort by our first contractor to do:

(you can't tell from these pictures, but the tile was broken and cracked across each wall..and in some places actually painted over..)

After seeing little progress, we fired the first team which started to show up every other day as excuses piled up.  They were clearly out of their depth.

Here's what it took our new, professional contractor 3 days to do:

And here's the glorious, finished product:

ICDC can't say enough good things about A-Pro, our second contractor who helped us out of quite a pickle.  They were so kind and patient, telling us that we weren't an emergency job, but we were "upside down" in our lives (our sink wasn't attached..) and they would move things around to help us fix it quickly.  So nice!

At the end of the day, clients receive a "status update" email with all tasks accomplished and photos to show progress.  They work fast and efficiently and without a huge mess.  It was like a whole new world.

Lesson learned: due diligence on a contractor should be taken as seriously as one might research a doctor or dentist.  Picking any random contractor can ruin a home!

So, dear readers, resolve not to just take the least expensive bid.  Do your homework about how much a job should cost and make sure the contractor is capable.  Ask if they've ever done a job like yours before and if you can check references before they begin.

Or you'll end up like ICDC, paying more to fix the mess created by an inexperienced contractor who underbid the work.