Such A Lady!

What to do when you like the clothes that you have but crave fresh looks and don’t have much more closet space for new acquisitions? Or when you have so many things that it is a challenge to wear all of them in the course of a season?

You must contrive!
You re-combine your old separates into new outfits. You’ve seen this blouse before and you’ve seen this dress before, but you’ve never seen them together. Until now.
The Directrice contrives

Such a lady
I bought this blouse a year ago, on a hunch that it would be useful.
It is very useful. The drape of the scarf neckline is so graceful as it is tied into a bow. The bow fills in the neckline of my Cotton Mather dress very nicely.

Come closer and take note. But also take note of the partially completed apartment re-fresh.
The office cabinetry was installed last week.
office in background
The Photographer’s office is in the background

I’ve been drawing up plans for his office in my head, and on paper, for the last three years. The space is tricky — only 6 feet deep and 12 feet long and The Photographer had his own demands. The office is a former sleeping porch, turned winterized solarium, re-purposed as an office; it is connected to the dining room and living room by french doors and therefore is visible from both.
I've been working on the refresh for 5 years in my mind
Do you see my expression? It was a test shot, but The Photographer inadvertently captured my internal face as it has looked, almost continuously for the last three years, while puzzling over his office

giant bow
Luscious and limpid bow
Before we step into the office, let’s take a quick look at the bow.

And the bag.
small bag, pink chair
Small, trim bag; note pink chair, which soon will be blue

The Photographer wanted maximum shelving for books, but I wanted some case storage because I was tired of looking at stacks of paper and office supplies on tables (including the dining room table) and cabinets. I also wanted something more interesting than a straight run of uniform cabinets.
So, we have two deep file drawers topped with a flat drawer (24 inches deep and 36 inches tall), a small cabinet at lower height for the printer, printing cartridges, paper, and other office supplies (only 20 inches deep and 24 inches tall) and a long stretch of shelves for books (only 12 inches deep and 32 inches high). Along the perpendicular wall, we built very shallow shelves (only 9 inches deep) from cabinet height to the ceiling.
Next, I will hang the U.S.S. Enterprise from the ceiling.
cabinetry shelving
I wanted movement in the cabinets

Once the dimensions and layout were fixed, I spent a lot of time cogitating about the color, the profile of the doors, and the hardware. I am very pleased with these choices.
Next, I need to find suitable carpeting. The tiles that looked so beautiful when this was a screened porch furnished with yellow floral cushions on wrought-iron chairs is clashing violently with the new cabinetry. I am thinking something ivory colored, with a simple graphic pattern (pencil stripes or diamond outlines) in a camel or chocolate brown. And then I need to find fabric for his office chair. Perhaps have a leather blotter in dark blue or green leather cut for his ergo-desk.
more cabinetry
File storage as well as space for treasures, clutter behind closed doors
and ergo desk
Books, The Directrice’s childhood piggy bank, desk, and Embody chair

For those who wonder how the office will relate to the dining room and kitchen and have a Benjamin Moore fan-deck handy,* here is the plan: the dining room, currently Crowne Hill Yellow, will be painted with a custom color that is 50% of Cottontail; the kitchen, currently Rock Harbor Violet, will be painted Suntan which is a dark shade of the Cottontail family.**
This is the new fabric for the dining room. This shade of blue (lots of yellow in it)
relates well to the yellows and oranges in the living room and works well with the teal green-blue of the office cabinets.
Kravet Day Dreamer in Seaside
Kravet Day Dreamer in Seaside

The piggy bank can’t be seen in the photo above. Oink oink!


* I know that at least one of you must have a Benjamin Moore fan deck. Or, has a large collection of color chips. Please step forward and tell me that I am correct.
** Forgive me, Elena.

24 thoughts on “Such A Lady!”

  1. Wonderful colour, your new cabinets ! Don’t suppose you could invent a reason to get them with the warm yellow swivel chair and handbag in the same shot … (such great colours together) ?

  2. I have a fandeck, but it is Sherwin Williams. I have found the fandeck to be indispensable while planning home renovations. I love the office shelves.

  3. I love your lavender kitchen!!! very sad to hear it is being repainted. I love yellow walls, too, and I understand the need to match. I just had such a fondness for your beautiful kitchen. My first bedroom in NYC (and the only room I’ve ever painted as a renter) was also a light lavender, inspired by your kitchen.

    • Now, I am wavering! The lavender kitchen is very chic. But I fear that pale yellow next to lavender = Easter egg. The good news is paint is the easiest thing in the world to change.

  4. That dress could be my uniform – it’s perfect! You could also layer your striped t-shirts under it for a more casual feel. The blouse is very serious, so the yellow handbag (cross body?) is smart.

    I applaud your decorating! These decisions are never easy to make, but what an impact when you go bold!

  5. I own a Benjamin Moore fandeck – much loved.

    Inspired by the Directrice, I am also wearing a scarf as an added collar on a dress, and a brooch. The levels of difficulty, they are increasing.

    • You’re telling me, RKT. Roughly every 8 weeks, I look back over what I’ve done and wonder how I can continue — let alone surpass — it. But for now, perhaps I will focus on creating an award system for recognizing achievements (something like the badges my fitness app, Withings, gave me when I was trying to stay in shape) that readers might enjoy. You certainly deserve one for the dress/collar-scarf/brooch combination!

      • It’s funny how our own stresses affect how we read things. I meant my comment as a compliment to you – I have been using a lot of your advice to test myself and try more complicated combinations and layers. So I just meant that my levels of difficulty are increasing (e.g., instead of dress + stud earrings, dress+ scarf+brooch+stud earrings). Actually, the thought of _your_ levels of difficult increasing – c’est incroyable.

  6. A great look! I recently started experimenting with blouses under dresses too. I think lavender and yellow sound great together ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. The fan deck beside my bed is Kelly Moore, because that’s where my painters wanted to buy their paint. I went into the store to pull paint chips and I was pulling so many that one of the really nice people who worked there said “why don’t you just take this” and handed me a fan deck from behind the counter. It was like Christmas.

    The painting is done but I still read that thing like other people read War and Peace. I’m traveling for work and writing this from a hotel room and now I wish I’d thought to bring my fan deck along.

  8. Part of the fan-deck brigade! But I pass mine on to others for their use when I’m done, on the premise that the next time I’ll want to paint a house, there will be new colors to choose from. Since I’ve lived in 6 houses in the last 20 years, I’ve painted a lot!

  9. The cabinetry is impressive. I have trouble with colors on my iPad so I hesitate comment on that aspect of your choices. The dress with the bow is adorable and I am a fan of ladylike.


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