Seat of the Week: French Schoolhouse.

Classic. They look nice on their own or mixed in with other chairs. The more faded the paint and more worn the metal-the better.

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How To: Use a Juju Hat.

The most gaping design dilemma in my entire house (except for the whole kitchen, which I have no power over at this point, or any point really) is the living room wall where the television is. It was a battle when Justin and I moved in together, trust. I had lived very pleasantly for years with an ordinary 26" flatscreen. Justin, not so much. And the battle began. My man would have nothing under 48" and, let me tell you, he fought hard for this. I caved after some time, mostly because I am the winner of almost every other house decorating battle we have ever had, on the condition that we get something very sleek that we could mount on the wall. Agreed. Enter a shopping trip to Best Buy and several hours of stud searching. Nothing. Oddly, and heart crushingly, that wall contains nary a stud. Broke my designers heart in two that day. And this is how I ended up with a 48" flatscreen obnoxious obscenity dominating one entire console in my living room. It's still an area that needs considerable attention (ahem, the Restoration Hardware Printmakers? still want.) but I knew that I needed something large-scale and dramatic to hang on the very empty wall behind it. 


Here's to the Shy Ones.

Providence, RI. College. Mid-semester. Required course. Sophomore year if my memory serves me correctly. Class filled to the brim with people from my extended social circle (i.e. people I drank dollar drafts with at the bars...). We had been spending the previous weeks working on some sort of project, I can't remember anymore exactly what. But what happens after, I remember very very well. All too well. Midterm presentation to the class about the progress of our work. 20 minutes. There may have been times in my life prior to this day that I was required to publicly present (there must have been). Those times have all but disappeared in my memory. This was the only time.

My name was called. I had been slightly nervous sitting there at my table prior to my turn but really nothing crazy. I was dreading it somewhat because unless you are a freak or complete overachiever, who the hell LIKES to present? I got up and moved to the front of the room with my materials. Got everything all set up on the overhead. Time started. And I stopped. In that moment, I stopped. And I stood there, in that halted moment, for the next 13 years of my life.

I couldn't breathe. I could barely get the words out. I certainly could not think, which made it very difficult to give any sort of cohesive presentation. My palms were soaked through. Mouth dry. It is all a blur to me but I am pretty sure I spat out about three full sentences, said something totally and utterly ridiculous like "that's my project," and turned and walked back to my seat. All of maybe 45 seconds. I still remember the weird looks people gave me. My teacher never even broached the subject (I clearly should have failed that project but didn't) probably because he could see that it wasn't for lack of preparation, just sheer terror. It was that bad. Up until that point I had never really had awkward social moments. I didn't consider myself shy or afraid of striking up conversation with people. Well, that moment? It changed everything.

I spent a great deal of my graduate program in New Orleans avoiding classes that involved presentations. No joke. I would register for a class, get the syllabus, look it over and if there were any sort of presentations involved, I would drop it and register for something else. Of course, it was not always possible. It's grad school. You have to present at some point. So I would literally type out my entire presentation, word for word, go up, put my head down and read verbatim from the sheet. There was no other way. Once I was up there my brain completely stopped working and I was incapable of actually thinking. It wasn't about doing it well. It was about getting through it alive. The fear spread to job interviews, interactions with my mentors, you name it. It was everywhere.

That was manageable though compared to what it did to me as a person. I slowly became slightly shy. That feeling of being in a situation where I was required to talk and nothing would come out scared the shit out of me. I would find myself in social situations, lost for words, feeling horribly embarrassed. I hated going out with new people. Hey, I hated meeting new people period. To this day I maintain a small, very tight knit group of friends. And I don't much enjoy straying from it. I have always wondered what people talk about so much, all the time. Small talk? Meh. No idea. Not interested. People who meet me most likely think I'm a huge bitch because I'm not all that friendly. But I swear that's really not it (although I will most definitely tell you that I can be a huge bitch sometimes too...). I am really just shy.

It's a word that makes people cringe. Never a good thing. In this world of social media swirling all around us shyness is certainly not something to be valued. All of the successful blogs that I read are filled with advice to "get out there," "go have coffee with fellow bloggers," "hang out with bloggers in your city," "network, network, network." And all of those words of advice, simply put, fill me with dread. I can't imagine much worse than scheduling someone I have never met for coffee (hello? this is like a non-stop first date. do people really find pleasure in this?!). I know that I would probably be a much more successful blogger and decorator if I could find it in me to get out there and network. And part of me is slowly coming around more. In the past two years I have learned much better how to manage it. I don't know what it is. A relationship that makes me feel stronger. A growing into myself. Don't know. I don't dread as much as I used to. I can get through an interview and not feel scared or awkward. I do believe that I have finally found my voice again through all of this. Something about this year and my pure resolve to push things through has made me able to talk without my voice quivering, to approach people and ask dumb questions, to not really care at all what anyone thinks of me. In my professional life, it has been a revelation.

It has also made me realize one thing very firmly. I am a shy person. It doesn't debilitate me like it used to. But it's there. It's not rooted in low self-esteem (I actually rather like myself) or self-consciousness. I'm just slower to come around. And I refuse to accept that it's a completely bad thing. In a world filled with loud voices, showy drama queens and chatty people, I'm okay with being one of the ones who prefers quiet. Yes, I probably do miss out on meeting some great people. But I feel lucky to have the ones that have infiltrated my shell. And I really do believe that those people will get to me no matter what, because they were meant to. There must be some value in us, the shy ones. There must be a place for us to succeed in this very loud world, to not be overshadowed by the talkers, to not have our talent go wasted just because we don't like having cocktails with people we've never met. Hey, I blushed fiercely every single time Justin used to talk to me. Within seconds, every.single.time. And now he's my husband so that must count for something, right?

Warehouse 17C by Arturo Franco Office


Saturday Stunner.

Pinch me.
Am I dreaming? 

Is it really, wait for it...Saturday?! 

yes. yes it is. 

And that is a glorious thing my friends. One of our New Year's resolutions (well, really our only one) was to not eat at repeat restaurants anymore. We are the worst, constantly going back to our favorites over and over again. So tonight we are hitting up a new-ish spot in North Beach, Capo's, for some old school Italian, Manhattan's and red wine. It's date night and I can't wait to throw on some heels and go out. Have a good one, my friends. 

I am in mad love with this shot. 

Go Lonny


Pack Me Up and Move Me In 1.0.

There is just something about New York. The city that is. I grew up on the East Coast and my family still lives upstate. Maybe that has something to do with it. I don't quite know what it is-the light, the feel, the energy. Whatever it is it translates very well to photos and I can normally tell instantly if a home I'm looking at is in the city (The light, I really think it's the light. It is really like nowhere else on Earth.). Despite being from the state I have actually only been to NYC a fistful of times. I lived there, in the tiniest apartment you could imagine, with friends after Hurricane Katrina. Worked and subwayed and felt the pure exhaustion that comes from the constant movement required to be a hustler in the big city. I don't know if I was made to live that life but something about it is always calling me back. It feels like home. The East Coast I think will always feel that way for me (remember here, here and here?). So I get a little pitter patter whenever I see that old familiar soft New York light. It was the first thing I noticed about this house and, most likely, what drew me most to it. The interior design here needs to go STAT. Those white floors and mantles are so wrong it's frightening. It looks like shabby chic heaven which is a big no-no in my book. But the bones of this house? My Jesus. What I could do. So, yes please, pack me up and move me in. But move out all of that furniture and redo the floors first. Wide plank oak #thankyouverymuch. 


Seat of the Week: Bergere.

I used to be all about the mid-century modern. All about it. But as I've studied design more and more I find myself gravitating to seating that has more antique character. Worn wood, textiles, interesting and sometimes traditional lines. I know, it's shocking isn't it? They look particularly lovely mixed in with some neutral, clean-lined furniture and a few more eclectic pieces. I have spotted Bergere everywhere lately. And I don't mind saying that I'd like one for my very own. It just might be the perfect counterpoint to my low-slung sofa. I think it would be fun upholstered in a printed textile, or something ethnic, don't you? 


Just, you know.

I just wrote an entirely different blog post but then felt way too emo about actually publishing it so it's going to languish there in the 'drafts' for as long as it needs to. Fact is, just not feeling it this morning. Perhaps it's the slight depression I get whenever I finish a good book (that new JK Rowling sucked me right in). Or the weird high and low I experienced after seeing Zero Dark Thirty yesterday (*more on this later). Maybe it's my husband lying next to me, who has somehow just adopted a regular snoring habit that makes me irritated deep down in my bones (honesty this morning, obvs). And seriously, all that crap they teach you about getting pregnant on accident? What.the.hell. #entirelyimpossible. I think it could be time to plan a trip, a journey. To somewhere new and distant. Hey, we need a honeymoon anyway. (*is it weird that this movie made my body scream for travel? anyone?) Maybe it's time to spend some of that hard earned money. I'm taking any and all suggestions. Greece? Morocco? South of France? Amalfi Coast? Croatia? A jaunt to Mexico? I'm thinking somewhere warm with long, slow walks to dinner in sandals and a sundress after many hours of lounging in the sun. Off to brainstorm. Some of my favorite images from the weekend: 

Love the masculine feel of the grey+leather+wood.

I seriously swooned hard over these images. And considered very strongly the pros and cons of quitting my job and flipping houses. So very tempting.

Just watching the world. 

 Ole Damm and Anita Heske via Elle Decor
If I ever get the chance to have a cabin, you know, for the winter season, this is what it will look like.

Doesn't this just seem like the perfect place to sit down to hot chocolate and a book?

Don't know what it is but I'm rather smitten.

Do know what it is and I'm rather obsessed. Hello gorgeous lamp and fur throw.

 Words of wisdom from the Cosb himself. 

 Ginnifer Goodwin via Elle Decor
Would you not die to have the perfect SoCal brunch at this table, with that sun, and those windows? Yes.

Moody Moroccan shower goodness.

Did you guys read "My Berlin Kitchen?" Well, this is almost exactly how I pictured the kitchen that Luisa Weiss cooked in. I'm sure it looks nothing like this but I was struck nonetheless.

Btdubs. Just went into the bathroom to discover that my husband cleaned it before he left for work this morning, toilet and all. So, that snoring annoyance? Forgotten. I also just looked out the window to a sky filled with sunshine and blue. To the park with my work I go. This day is looking better after all. 


Saturday Stunner.

I need a statement ring. It's super cute and unexpected on your pointer finger, no? Hmmm. I'll browse, see what I can find. Anyway. Can I just say how happy I am to be wrapping up this week? Sheesh. Good. Bye. I, of course, did not manage to squeeze in everything I needed to do which means next week will be equally fun and exciting. But I did get around to sprucing up the homestead a bit yesterday. I caved and purchased two items I'd been coveting for a long time: this and this. They are both totally deserving of their own blog posts so you'll have to wait to see them but they are shmancy and lovely and they have been longed for forever and are now very loved. I will let you know that when I laid the juju out on my living room floor and walked to the closet to get my tools I came back in to find Ponyboy trying to make the feather headdress his new bed. I could just see that he was all "They brought something new into the house, it must somehow be for me, right?" I would've snapped a photo for your viewing pleasure but I couldn't get him off of it fast enough. And that, my friends, is the kind of dog I've got. 


Spotlight: Scout Designs.

Why is this week still happening? How is it possible that it has not ended yet? The fact that I ate a massive piece of milk chocolate mousse cake covered in caramel IN.BED. last night should be every indication that I am exhausted and ready for a day off. This whole life thing? It's going by very fast. The weeks. I don't even know what happens to them. I'm using today as a catch up day of sorts. I had my margins readjusted here and I've now got the fun task of going back and resizing all of my photos. This is surely a task to be done in front of an episode of something, Downton perhaps. I've got two boards to finish up for clients which I'll share at some point, the little girls room is killing me with it's sweetness. And then I've got two brand new gems for the house which are positively begging to be hung by this weekend. I can't wait to share them with you. I've also gotten mildly addicted to my new workout scenario. Mostly because I feel extremely skinny and accomplished afterwards. That way if the rest of the day is a failure at least I burned a thousand calories, right? 

Before we get into the Spotlight today I'd like to put it out there that I'm selling some lighting. Just in case y'all might be interested. If you see something you like send me a message (therusticmodern@gmail.com) and we can talk price. 

 Vintage Jielde style task lamp. The patina is stunning on this. And I love it, I just have nowhere to use it at the moment and my closet space is needed for other things.

 Dental style vintage floor lamp. I have a fondness for this one. It was my bedside lamp in my old apartment. This apartment. That I had a massive crush on. 

And two Restoration Hardware Atelier Task Lamps. These are beautiful and in brand new condition. I just can't use them right now. You'd be getting them for a sssssong being that they are not cheap to buy brand new. 

Ok. Back to the blog. I don't remember where I stumbled on Scout Designs but I am really loving their clean, simple style with pops of ethnic pieces. I'd like to change my focus a bit this year and start promoting more up and coming designers, those that are just starting their journey, don't have television shows on Bravo or HGTV and have taste that is more 'undecorated' than 'decorated.' These ladies certainly fit the bill. They've also got a great online mercantile filled with really stunning vintage finds. Note all the little details in the homes-Astier bowls, Moroccan tea trays, horns, tapestries and the occasional West Elm (yes, Jeffrey Alan Marks, a home can be done using CATALOGS *gasp*). 


Pack me up and move me in.

"If you walk into a room and it does not move you, then the room is a failure."
-John Saladino

Oh, yes. I left images of this home lying on my desk for weeks. Just kept going back to it. Picking up the tears, gazing, going online to look for some of the accessories in the photos. Something about it just got me. I often find with homes that it is actually quite difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is that moves me. I'll start picking it apart, piece by piece. It's funny because, when I do this, I sometimes find myself hating the individual pieces on their own. Things I would never look at twice in the showroom or store. But all together they work. That's the thing about design. It's more than just furniture or pillows or art. It really is about creating something collective from all of that and making the room speak. This house spoke to me. It moved me. Pack me up and move me in.

*It's a church renovation. Hello, dream come true.*



Currently Coveting: Bubbles.

I'm a frequent Jayson Home shopper (no secret there) and I've been dreaming about their bubble fixture for, well, as long as I can remember. I know it's the Oly Studio Muriel but, in typical Jayson fashion, they make it look infinitely more attractive on their website than anywhere else on Earth. Those bubbles. They are just so, well, perfect. I began searching for other glass orbs. I naturally gravitated next to looking at Lindsey Adelman's organic bubbles and this, THIS is when I stumbled upon my brand new infatuation. What started out as a post about bubble chandeliers has now grown into a full on heart-pumping, mind-racing, selling-off stocks, gathering funds, acquiring third and fourth jobs obsession


The Collections.

What the hell happened to the weekend? I woke up this morning feeling like it never even happened. Awfully upsetting. I really need today to get back into my work because, this morning, I'm feeling like doing nothing but sloughing around with my book and feeling depressed. We had a nice few days off, watching some football with friends, holding some wee little newborn babies, cooking and doing a gob of dishes (seriously, you should see how many dishes I washed #solongmanicure). I'm just not ready for the week to start. And I'm feeling pathetically unmotivated which does not bode well for the list of things to finish this week. We are at the stage of starting a business where there's a lot of paperwork, computer time, bookkeeping, photographing, editing, website building. It's not the most fun I've ever had in my life and it requires quite a bit of self-motivation which is not always the easiest. Hopefully, two giant cups of coffee and a big fat workout get me back on track. 

I was thumbing through some of the images I pulled from the interwebs this weekend and noticed a trend. Collections. Of all sorts of things. Interesting things. Things that say something about the people who own them. I love this idea. It adds personality to a home. I can't wait until we have some more space so I can start some collections of my own (one of the first rules of small apartment living is absolutely no 'collecting' of anything, there just isn't enough space).


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