In which the author tells you how to run your life -- or at least how to make the most of the fun parts of it.

For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.

These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.

*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jeanette's Old English Moroccan Safari Basement with Mexico in there too, somewhere.

My friend Jeannette has just had her basement redone (during a hurricane and flood, which is fun). Dug out the foundation, reinforced the underpinnings (good thing because the earthquake would have been very interesting otherwise), added a bathroom -- the works.

The contractor now is trying to convince her NOT to paint the cabinets (which are made of furniture grade plywood). I oppose on all fronts. Its going to be the millennial version of that horrible 70s paneling in the basement. However, contractor promises to paint it over if she doesn't' like it stained. I will do my damnedest to make her not like it because what kind of life runner would I be if I let people decorate willy nilly without a thought to the final product?

Not a very good one.

So I spent an hour or so putting together a mosaic of furniture choices for her. The Lazy Boyz are a must, apparently -- bad backs all around. The couch is 9 feet long and covered in velvet. My couch is velvet and so far its resisting stains pretty well.

The room is painted a buttery yellow.

So: two leather LazyBoyz in a reasonable design -- she originally wanted the basement entirely paneled with bookshelves and books, and to be a library, and I think these recall that look. Something she can snuggle into with a cup of tea. There is a wet bar; I want 18 inches of Moroccan tile as a back splash (no wee back splash. let them make a statement), with a faux animal head above it. there would be a shelf above the tile -- hard against it, no gaps -- for blue hand blown glassware (the kind they sell in Tijuana). The niche above the tile would be painted -- either green or gold - something drawn from the tiles, and something that will make the head pop.

She really wants something zebra, so some pillows I think. Maybe a zebra rug from west elm across the room under the game table. More on that in a second.

On the floor, two 5X8 rugs (so 10 X 8) from West Elm.

Two mismatched blue poufs to bring the blue from the tile into the room and get out of the earth tones for a second - additional seating, or to put feet up on. Some cocktail tables here and there -- I like the rough-hewn wood one. One or two rush ottomans -- these are 24 inches diameter and -16 inches high. They are on wheels which is important because there is going to be yoga done. The coffee table needs to be easy to move.

The glass lamps are great looking, tie into the Mexican glasses over the bar, and go with anything, anywhere.

Across the room from the tv area will be a table for games and puzzles. It needs a strong downlight and this Moroccan silver one is AWESOME. Its about 18 inches I think -- so a great size.

A good round oak table -- antique and sturdy, bringing us back to the English library for a second.

Sparkle and light in the form of Mexican tin mirrors -- a bunch of them , maybe over the couch. Clustered, wherever they are -- not spaced out. They need to be clustered.

She needs a huge photograph -- something modern and wonderful -- maybe over the couch too. (Its a big couch). Something has to break up all this Out of Africa thing and bring it into 2012.

Finally a big tin bucket for newspapers and magazines... a receptacle.

I did a slightly altered second mosaic -- new rugs (West Elm and Dash and Albert) to take in some of the colors she likes (golds and orange), a new sided table-- more leggy and airy, and a new zebra element - a long bench.
If you're interested in this stuff I can tell you where to find it. Hit me in comments.

And if you want me to do a mosaic for you, let me know! Tell me the function of the room, the size, and the style you think you want -- and send me a link to a photo of a room you love and you want to inspire your room. It keeps my occupied while I am waiting for my art director to finish his work.

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