January 11th, 2013
Decorating for the Stars: Happy Birthday, CAPRICORN!
Even to the casual observer it’s always fun to see what the stars are supposed to say about you; in this series we look at what makes the birthday sign happy in their home. Those born between December 21 and January 20 are a robust bunch. Represented by a goat, it’s a pretty apt characterization….and I mean that in a good way.
Capricorns are often quite accomplished in their chosen field, but you’d probably only know that if you googled them, or someone else filled you in.
Anything loud, obvious or flashy, PDAs, or other shows of emotion embarrass the typical goat. Instead, they are low-key, and tend to stay in the background and observe (think Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Capricorns both). Focused, practical, and determined, but not in a teeth-gritting kind of way. They just pace themselves, and get where they want to go.
Gifted with a solid and sturdy countenance, they are great to decorate with, or for-because you will always know where you stand with them. They tolerate frustration better than most, and don’t let trivial things derail them. They keep their eyes on the prize, and are all about the long view, and getting the job done.
Capricorns are consistant in elements that make them happy, but don’t tend to a specific aesthetic preferences-let me explain: Capricorns love books and history, revere wisdom, their elders, and family. They’re thrilled you came up with the idea of bookcases, and would be fine if there was another decision maker who choose, say cherry vs. stainless steel, built-ins or free-standing.
Ditto for saving wall space for appropriate art (framed maps, local archives, or oil portraits of Great Uncle Clyde), or making sure the guest room was comfortable and well-appointed, when Nanna came to visit.
They also insist on a plan. Winging it will not cut it. Nor will short cuts, and ‘deals’ from the Big Box stores will generally not be worth the hassle for them.
If you live with or love- are decorating with, or for a Capricorn-here is what you really want to know: They need light, fresh air, outside spaces. Without it, the sturdy, sober nature of the Goat can turn inward, becoming introverted, even pessimistic (Richard Nixon and Elvis were both Goats).
Whatever space you have, make the most of the windows-including that they are clean. Highlight them, by framing them with stationary panels in a color that contrasts with the walls. Mirrors to reflect and add light, as well as adequate interior lighting is important. Live plants, good; NASA-proven ones that filter the air-even better! Greenhouses, conservatories, or skylights are all excellent renovations/updates for these folks.
If you have any outside space, make it as inviting, and as functional as possible. A firepot on the patio will encourage time under he stars, instead of in front of the TV; a pair of chairs and a small bistro table for coffee, and to read the morning paper.
Consider a bike rack in the garage, adequate storage for sports gear or garden equipment. Probably not the sort of things you’d think about as ’decorating’, but channeling Steve Jobs-good design isn’t how it looks, it’s how it works… this is what keeps Capricorns at their best.
November 26th, 2012
Even if you are not a believer, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you, or your loved ones. Each month we take a look at what floats our boats, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to SAGITTARIUS!
Those born under the sign of Sagittarius (November 21-December 20) are pretty easy to spot. Energetic, outgoing and gregarious, you usually know they are in the room. Chatty and direct, they attract and can hold an audience of whatever size they want.
Fun, funny , and totally un-selfconcious, there’s a lot of good things to say about these Archers, one of them is that they are really, really easy to decorate with-and for!
Honest, optimistic and high energy, they speak what is on their mind, and then let go of it. In my experience, there are no hidden agendas, and generally no regrets, they are all about speaking the truth, and moving forward…works really well in professional relationships, but not always in personal ones.
The 5-second time delay was probably inspired by, or invented for a Sagittarius. The are neither mean or unintelligent, but they are so simply about the truth, sometimes they forget the context of a situation, or the feelings of a loved one. OOOPS! Well, no one is perfect, but if you spend any time with an Archer, you will see their goodness outweighs the gaffes. Their heart is pure, and that counts for a lot.
Sagittaurians do not like boundries, or to feel constrained. Because they are about connecting with others, they are attracted to open floor plans, and ‘great’ spaces: Nice size dining rooms, maybe with doors that open to big decks, maybe an outdoor kitchen? CHECK! Kitchens do not have to be ‘gourmet’, as long as they are generously proportioned, have good light, and adequate walk-around space. Finished basements-as long as they are not chopped up, or with low ceilings-work well for them also. .
Two areas of universal appeal: First-there must be room for their pets. Symbolized by half-man, half-horse, rare is the Archer who doesn’t feel a true kinship with most four-legged creatures. Legend has it that Frank Sinatra had his driver stop and pick up an injured dog he saw on the side of the road, while he was on his way to a rehearsal. Everyone had to wait while he found a vet, had the dog tended to, and it’s owners contacted(and yes, anxious readers, the pup was fine!).
And games! Mention games to a Sagittaurian and watch them light up. Whether it’s an innocuous card table for Bridge or family game night, or an elaborate pool table for the man-cave, the stakes are the same-something about green felt makes them very, very happy.
November 10th, 2012
Even if you are not a believer, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you, or your loved ones. Each month we take a look at what makes each of our motors hum, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to SCORPIO!
Most commonly characterized by the nocturnal, stinging scorpion, a Scorpio’s reputation often precedes them…and most of them like it that way. If you are shopping with-or for- a Scorpio, the #1 most important thing to know is their decision style is more important, much more of a constant than their specific taste or tendencies.
Those born under the sign of Scorpio (October 21-November 20) are intense. They are a strong sign, but not strong like LEO strong. Leos attract others with their confidence and charisma; Scorpios tend to…well, scare some people. Like the Scorpion’s tail. a Scorpio’s stare keeps you off balance, and keeps you ar bay, Never challenge a Scorpio to a staring contest, you will lose.
Scorpios are passionate folk, but do not wear their emotions on their sleeve. However, they do respond well to direct questions. You’ll always know where you stand with them, and if your goal is to get decisions made and move on, you’re golden.
They won’t sugar coat, so if there are any background issues, you’ll hear about it: the office that needs to be organized, the in-laws who need the law laid down about drop-in visits, even the amount of time/energy you might be spending, er, wasting on deciding!
As outwardly impassive as they may appear, family and friends are one of Scorpio’s passions. They are very loyal and supportive, so a home that is warm and welcoming, ready to host loved ones at a moment’s notice is important. Nothing is timid about Scorpio, and red-or other saturated contrasting colors are a good place to start.
A good size dining roon, a well-appointed living space-perhaps an outdoor kitchen-all ways to their heart.
Cute and fussy will never do. Even a cottage or bungalow will be funky and artsy rather than sweet, or delicate. Whether their taste is classic 18th century, French Country, or uber-modern: best to remember that strong colors, decisive lines and bold mixes is always their style.
October 9th, 2012
Even if you are not a believer, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you. Each month we take a look at what makes each of our boats float, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to LIBRA!
From the ancient Greek, Libra was a unit of weight (around 12 oz), why the sign of Libra to be represented by a set of scales.
The assumption might be that those born under that sign are operate in an even-keeled, steady and balanced manner. Well, they’d be kind of right…this is what they STRIVE to do.
For Libras, balance is the goal, but it can be an elusive one, mostly by their own doing. If you are decorating with-or for-an October-born person, you have your work cut out for you.
Outwardly they will have a pleasing and agreeable demeanor, but love to debate, to take a contrary view, seemingly just for the heck of it. But often they are debating themselves.
They’re not meaning to be disagreeable, they just see it as a necessary part of their pursuit to be fair and open-minded. So they may appear pleased and content, but BA-ZINGA they will challenge you in a precise and detailed manner.
Although they will argue they are not indecisive (!!), they take a very long time, weighing all the possibilities and options. They run hot and cold, up and down, left and right. And they will push themselves past even their reserve, then need absolute calm and rest to restore their vitality.
Still with me? Good. Here is way to make Libras genuinely happy in their space:
Calming, soothing colors. Monochromatic or analogous colors.
Symmetrical balance, ans soft lighting.
Consider the acoustics: White noise, a small fountain, maybe an aquarium. Thick carpets, and lined draperies to absorb sound.
Soft, polished Egyptian cotton bed sheets, big fluffy pillows and plush bath towels will refresh and revive them.
Books. Yes, and hardcover please! Even the uber early-adapter Libras will prefer ‘real’ books to the electronic ones.
And art. Not for the pedigree, but for the type of image. Abrupt abstracts are a no-as are dogs playing poker…think peaceful landscapes, portraits, or mellow abstracts instead.
Just don’t expect them to make any quick decisions!
September 15th, 2012
It’s pretty simple to craft a happy space for those born under the sign of Virgo (August 21-September 20). They are consistent, detailed, precise, meticulous. And worriers…big worriers. SO-wait for it- simple…but not necessarily easy. Well, ok, as long as you keep anything loud, bling-y, fussy or high-maintenance out of the picture it’s easy.
Virgo is not a dominant sign like Scorpio, or Leo…used to think I didn’t know too many of them, but turns out I know many. Virgos abound in any occupation that is equal parts focus on detail, and compassion for the human condition: Education, architecture and engineering, law, politics and medicine.
Not usually not the loudest people at the party, or the ones wearing (driving, listening to, fill in the verb of your choice) the latest and hottest whatever. But they are not pushovers, not by any stretch. And a solid pal-neighbor-co-worker you can count on? Every day, and twice on Sunday.
Decorating is not just about how something looks, it’s how someone’s underlying values and needs are recognized, and addressed: For Virgos, start in the bathroom.
Despite their quiet nature, Virgos can worry themselves into a frazzle…the infamous ad “Calgon, take me away!” was probably conceived by a Virgo. They need a soothing environment, where they soak-or steam- their troubles away; give them big fluffy towels in soft blues, greens, jades, even plums.
One of the clearest way to a Virgo’s heart is a BIG medicine cabinet and linen closet. All their worrying, they tend to keep a lot of OTC remedies at hand…antacids to vitamins, they need space to hold it all, and make it easy to organize. Mirrors are big, too. They’re not overly wrapped up in what other people think if them, but being impeccably well-groomed is part of what makes them feel organized and right with the world.
Virgo’s fastidious nature carries all through their space. Fussy fabrics, convoluted floor plans, conceptual art is not the way to go here. No plan-or ‘winging it” will not be well-received. They are drawn to details, done well. Simple lines, crisp tailoring, in classic colors and materials make them happy. A leather Chippendale-style wing chair (in a even, a.k.a. corrected leather) and (exactly spaced, highly polished) nail head trim is a perfect metaphor of their decorating style.
They are frugal, but not miserly. Waste is upsetting, so “green” choices, or anything that can be re-purposed is very appealing. In that same line, a big repeat on the draperies-where there would be waste, to match the pattern-will not fly.
“Home” is a very special place to most Virgos, and they cherish what is done well, and provides comfort to them, their friends and loved ones. Simple, and when you really understand what is dear to them, easy as well.
August 2nd, 2012
Even if you are not a believer, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you. Each month we take a fun look at what makes each of our boats float, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to LEO!
Ahhh…Leo the Lion…born between July 21 and August 20…one of the easiest signs to spot, I think. A strong sign, a real alpha…but not usually harsh, or mean-spirited. They are just confident…very, very confident.
Leos typically have a natural ability to speak well, and lead. It’s a fair statement that Leos are typically found at the top of whatever circles they are drawn to.
You’ll find many in law (current Supreme Court Justices Kennedy and Breyer) and in politics (4 US Presidents). They are pioneers (Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong, Bella Abzug) and charmers (Tony Bennett and George Hamilton). Successful and generous (Melissa Gates, Malcolm Forbes, Roberto Clemente), at the top performers with staying power (Madonna, Mick Jagger).
They are larger-than-life sports stars (Tom Brady, Walter Payton, NY Knicks Patrick Ewing, Bill Bradley and Wilt Chamberlain)-one reason the future looks bright for current Olympians LoLo Jones and Ryan Lochte. They also don’t do anything on a small scale-film producers/directors Ken Burns, Alfred Hitchcock, Cecile B. DeMille, James Cameron, Dino DiLaurentis.
Intrigue seems to find them-Watergate’s ‘Deep Throat’ William Felt and Mata Hari were both Leos. Sometimes their confidence can turn the corner into arrogance-Napoleon, and accused steroid users Barry Bonds and Roger Clemmens. And yes, art can imitate life, two of Batman’s most notable Catwomen were Leos-Julie Newmar and Halle Berry.
Last-Schwartzkopf and Schwartzenaegger-both Leos…are you starting to get the picture?
Have listed more famous folks here than usual because this is the best illustration of a Leo: they are used to being seen, to being at the top, and their space needs to reflect that.
Many Leos are drawn to impressive, and expansive spaces-sometimes physically elevated ones (Leo the Lion, on his throne!). Farly adapters for the most part, but they wold not sniff disdainfully at say a set of mid 1800′s original Chippendale dining chairs…as long as they were in mint condition, that is! Pedigree is important, for both quality and status.
So is luxury. Re-purposed, funky, eclectic or retro has little place in the life of a Leo, as does most anything ethereal or soft and fuzzy. Like their personality, there is little ambiguity or frothiness. Best colors are clear, deep and strong, au currant, but not garish.
Leos love to entertain, and their homes typically showcase the finest in design and materials. Silk drapes? Ehhh..silk that came from free-range butterfly farms, where classical music was played for the cocoons as the silk was being spun? Now you’re talking! The music was live?? EVEN BETTER!!
OK< maybe I exaggerate..a little. But budget is a hard topic to discuss with a Leo-they can be extravagant, and who are you-a mere mortal-to offer counsel to Mr./Ms. Leo? Happily, funds are drawn to them almost as much as other people are.
Probably 90% of Leos are meticulously neat and organized, the other 10% not so much-but for both cases, storage and organizational systems will be an integral part of their home.
Years ago , I toured a big Southern plantation house on vacation. The long drive that led up to the house had a line of massive trees-sycamores, I think-on each side. Tall and majestic, their branches touched and intertwined creating a lovely sun-dappled passage, both striking and grand.
Local history says that when the original plantation owner’s daughter got married, he imported many many spiders-from whenever you imported spiders in those days- and set them loose in these trees about a week before the wedding. On the morning of, he had gold dust sprinkled in the trees.
When guest arrived, they saw something quite unlike anything they had ever seen before…the gold dust was suspended in the webs, creating this shimmering canopy, welcoming them to his daughter’s wedding. Safe to say he was a Leo-yes?
July 3rd, 2012
Even if you are not a believer, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you. Each month we take a fun look at what makes each of our boats float, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to CANCER!!
While Cancer (6/21-7/20) is represented by the crab, their nickname of Moon Children is more telling. Rooted in the lunar rhythm, and the pull of the tides, Cancer is a true water sign. Like the planet itself- the moods and sensibilities of Moon Children appear to be in constant transition. But because it’s cyclical, and not random, it’s a little easier to understand. Kind of. Sort of.
At first glance, their shifting moods may seem unpredictable..but their unpredictability is well, predictable. If a Cancer in your life rebuffs, dismisses or cuts you off, just know you are seeing the waning of the Moon…give it a little time, they’ll be back.
There is much to like about Cancers. Like the crab, they can have a hardened exterior, but are intensely sensitive at their core-they tend to feel things very deeply. Cancers are passionate people, who generally love to laugh. And I don’t mean they have a good sense of humor (although they often do, and appreciate it in others) but when they laugh, they laugh down to their toes.
The time of Cancer includes Independence Day, and appropriately, Cancers are usually very loyal, and extraordinarily patriotic. Family and home are sacred to them, and their children rate even higher. They tend to be frugal, but money for a typical Moon Child represents safety and security, not status.
Similarly, Cancers are not particularly materialistic, but instead surprisingly sentimental, and in their homes, that translates into a tendency to hang on to EVERYTHING, as well as a suspicion of what is new. Anyone who lives with, loves, and shops with (or decorates for) Cancers know all about how hard it is to convince them to let go of, or replace something. Come to think of it, this Westchester County Home Stager would also have her hands pretty full…!
New-trendy-flashy will rarely be of interest to a Cancer-unless it can be proven to add better comfort to their nest, or provide protection, support or encouragement for their children. or other loved ones. Value-in the form of solid construction techniques, or as an investment will hold their interest. Big bucks for bedsheets for thir kids that came with SPF5o? Perhaps; but they can see right through those hucksters, and their super-duper 24 hour only special holiday promotions.
Last, you want to know that Cancers-like a true crab-will rarely follow any straight lines to get to what they want. One step foreward, two steps to the side, that’s the way it goes. Not expeditious, but isn’t knowing to expect that just as good?
May 23rd, 2012
Whether or not you believe in astrology, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you. ..so each month we take a fun look at what makes each of our boats float, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to GEMINI!!
Gemini (5/21-6/20) is represented by twins, and it’s one of the few signs where the style of getting things done is just as important-maybe even more so-then what you are actually doing. You see, very little about a typical Gemini is predictable, or even-paced.
Beyond flexible, they are the original multi-taskers; with them, most everything tends to move, and change at warp-speed. Geminis act-speak-think quickly, and are impatient with those who cannot keep up. They also dislike routine and structure.
Many would argue all this speed, duality and volitility is not always a bad thing. Professional Gemini athletes like tennis powers Venus Williams, Steffi Graf and Lindsey Davenport would testify to that, and be joined by basketball greats Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, Olympic skater Apolo Ohno, and beloved QBs Joes Nameth and Montanna. Anderson Cooper-of TV’s aptly named 360 (Degrees), and famed fool-the-eye artist M.C. Escher would probably agree, as would multi-facted actor Johnny Depp, and comedian/actor/impressionist Mike Myers.
‘Bird-like’ is a description more than a few astrologers use to describe this sign. Intesnse, and in the moment, but easily distracted, and just as quickly, gone, on to the next big thing. And therein lies the real challenge.
They make decisions quickly-which, of course they attribute to their confident nature. But sometimes the results are not what they anticipated. BUT WAIT-here’s the hard part-they are so quick-witted and articulate, they have either changed their minds-or the rationale of what is important-that those trying to keep up can be back at square one.
So-needless to say, room for change and flexibility should be built into any Gemini’s decor…perhaps neutral fabrics, and keeping the paint fan deck handy, as well as a painter on retainer could be the answer?
With all this hustle and bustle, Geminis do not tend to take the time to rest and re-charge. To soothe their nerve endings, and rejuvenate their mojo, think soft colors and fabrics. Not pastel or sherbert tones, but warmed, nuanced versions…a spiced burgandy, or barn red instead of a clear red; a gray-ed sage instead of an emerald or evergreen.
Mix, and layer patterns in small and inexpensive ways-pillows, or use a bowl of woven, painted or hand-blown glass balls as a centerpiece. A great gift for a Gemini would be one of those tabletop mind-bender puzzles-like 3 story tic tac toe, or something to take apart and re-assemble.
Books, and writing is big for Geminis, as well. Not personal correspondence as much as poetry or prose-so make sure a desk, good lighting, and some bookshelves are part of the plan.
SO-best words of advice: If you are a Gemini, have patience for the mere mortals who live with you, or are trying to help you. If you are a co-decision maker with a Gemini, it’d probably be best if you did your own research or reconnaissaince missions first. No guarantees, but being prepared is your best shot at keeping up.
April 25th, 2012
Astrology is one of those things that has lots of degrees of believing, but thought it’d be fun to take a casual look at the current sign, and some of the decor ideas the stars say they will love. So this month, we wish a Happy Birthday to Taurus!
Taurus (April 21-May 20) is represented by the Bull. An Earth sign, they are solid, and truly planted. Most Taureans would describe themselves as ‘patient’…while the other 11/12ths of the population would characterize them as ‘stubborn’. Ahhh, perspective!
Home-as a place to welcome and put up friends and family-is very important to Taurus. They are a real ‘home and hearth’ personality; a stable group that prefers a serene and consistent environment. They don’t make any decisions before they are ready to, and not too fond of change in general; sudden change sets them off badly.
But don’t get any idea they are sticks-in-the-mud, or anyone to trifle with, either. They are rock-solid in their chosen fields, just without all the drama. Some famous Bulls include sports legends Johnny Unitas, Yogi Berra, Andre Agassi and David Beckham, and Popes Pius IX, and John Paul II. Actors Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, George Clooney; Doctors Sigmund Freud and Benjamin Spock also born under this sign.
World leaders-the good, bad and the ugly-have a strong presence here: Golda Meir, Czar Nicholas II, former PM Tony Blair, Queen Elizabeth; as well as Hirohito, Saddam Hussein, Marx, Lenin, Ho Chi Min. Taurus is second most popular sign of US Presidents (after Leo): Monroe, Buchanan, Grant and Truman…presidential progenitor Prescott Bush was also born a Taurus, does that count for two more??
Grounded as they are, Taureans tend toward the earth tones-warm browns and corals, mossy greens, and neutrals. Picture the matador waving a red flag-you’ll remember bouncy and vibrant colors hold little appeal to Bulls. They are not early adapters-meaning they will not be camping out for the next ipod release, but show they BIG-well, that’s another story. There is no room in their lives for cute, dainty or fussy. They will buy the loft over the seaside cottage, and their choice of furniture will be simple, but of generous proportions.
February 29th, 2012
Astrology is one of those things that has lots of degrees of believing.
Here is a casual look at the different signs, and some ideas that have real star-power for them; we’ll start with Pisces.
Pisces (February 21-March 20) is the last sign of the ‘cycle’, and is said to have inherited a a little bit of everything that went before them. Typical Pisceans are intuitive, imaginative and compassionate. They are sensitive to others, and to their environment.
Their creativity is abundant in the arts, but has applications in many fields. Some famous Pisceans are General William Westmoreland, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, Basketball Dunkmaster Julius Erving a.k.a. “Dr. J”, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Also, scientist Linus Paulding, Olympic Skater Dorothy Hamill, physisist Albert Einstein, activist Ralph Nader, famous daughter/news journalist Chelsea Clinton, and Inventor Alexander Graham Bell.
Sure, their sign is fishy, but the Jacques Cousteau School of Interior Design is not necessarily the way to go.
As far as color palette, blues-greens-purples-all the water tones are usually a good bet. Wouldn’t rule out reds, but not clear, stark reds. A GREAT RED for Pisces is Benjamin Moore Affinity’s AF-300 Dinner Party Red. Strong and deep, but blue undertones keep it warm and aged, not sharp or hard. Rarely will you see a Pisces drawn to browns, or yellows and oranges in their clear, or acid tones.
Because of their connection to-their fondness of-things that went before them, the newest, shiniest, biggest whatever will not catch their attention.Vintage, anything with a history-will hold much more attraction: tapestry or kilm pillows, a leather-topped writing desk, a cheval or landscape mirror.
Generally not attracted to “bling” or “glitz”-Elizabeth Taylor being one very obvious exception-but shimmer gets two thumbs up. Much like sun dancing over the water, it’s fluid, and mesmerizing. Iridescent taffeta as a table skirt or drapes, moire lampshades, even choosing a pearl finish on wall paint-are all ways to float a Pisces’ boat…so to speak.
Pieces do not like closed-in spaces, so it’s natural they’d gravitate to open floor plans of more modern homes, but the clean lines will be sleek and polished, even curved; but probably not hard or austere. An angular sofa becomes almost sculptural when covered in a rich mohair.
They are also not the most organized of souls, so generous and well-planned storage space makes it easy, and keeps the peace.