GLOBAL EMBELLISHMENTS – THE BEAD CHEST

In my eyes, there is no better way to beautify than to layer on a bit of worldly charm – whether it be in interiors or fashion. (They’re interchangeable in so many ways, after all!) A well-placed touch of the exotic always infuses an element of global appeal, the kind which inspires wanderlust, intrigue and fascination. I’ve long been an aficionado of using artisanal wares of all types from far-flung corners of the world both in my home and my wardrobe, so whenever I come across an amazing source for beautiful product, I want to share it with those who also appreciate the same aesthetic!

The Bead Chest boasts the world’s largest selection of ethnic beads … and that is no exaggeration! Their incredible inventory is absolutely endless, from glass beads, to pottery beads, to bone beads and more – all carefully sourced and with the company mission being dedicated to supporting developing communities through ethical trading.

Here are a few strands of mixed beads, of miscellaneous material and origin (ranging from bone to pottery), which I cannot wait to wear as necklaces once the weather begins to cooperate around here and actually warm up!

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Until then, I’ll be draping them in every pocket of our home. They’re such a gorgeous addition to any interior vignette, and truly add so much visual interest and textural beauty!

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In partnership with The Bead Chest, they will be offering my readers 15% off all orders within the next twenty-four hours! (Just use the discount code ASTRID15 at checkout.) They are perfect to wear as is, to incorporate as a decorative home accent, or for any myriad of creative projects. Their selections are already so very affordable, so this is a deal you certainly want to check out and take advantage of! Have a look and be prepared to be blown away with what you find!

Happy Spring … and happy embellishing!

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  • I have partnered with The Bead Chest and received product in exchange for this post. All expressed opinions are 100% my own.

*Images and text by Astrid Insieme

 

 

 

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YOU’RE INVITED – DINING ROOM REVEAL WITH RAYMOUR & FLANIGAN

When we were deciding how to configure the new spaces in our addition, we knew we didn’t want to expand our kitchen in any way, despite it being miniscule. Some people find a big kitchen indispensable, but what we really lacked in our a-frame was more ample room for living, in general, and entertaining. I absolutely adore cooking and gathering around a table sharing food and wine with loved ones, so it was a priority to squeeze a dining space into the floor plan however we could! The downstairs level of our addition is essentially a large, open space, with a half-bathroom, guest/laundry room and media room off of the “grand room”. I’ve already shown you the living room portion of the open space, and today I’ll be sharing the dining area, which is contiguous to the kitchen. Admittedly, it is a bit of an unusual space because it is where the addition meets the original structure, so there was a rather awkward, angled wall to contend with. Let me show you what I  mean:

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The wooden paneling you see in the background is actually the roof of the a-frame, stripped of its shingles. Also, we had a new HVAC system installed to service both the old and new structure, and as a result, unsightly duct work was also something else we had to contend with in that already odd space.  Because the dining room is actually a bit on the small side, we decided to construct huge built-ins (using builder grade bi-fold doors) to plumb out the wall, which would ultimately be super functional for housing all of our dishware and related dining accoutrements. So this is how the process went:

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First, we framed out the built-ins. The opening between the a-frame and the dining room is on the left; we were only able to demolish the wall after the photo shoot for this post, but for purposes of understanding the layout of the space, that is actually the passageway into the kitchen.

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So much geometry involved in framing these out! But it allows for so much shelving and storage space for the embarrassing amount of glasses, transferware and tabletop accessories I’ve collected/horded over the years…haha! Oh, and the duct work was enclosed in a cabinet, out of sight but accessible if the need arises.

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Bi-fold doors in place. Now, time to customize with our own design! Lots of trim work at play here, especially because we didn’t want to incorporate hardware for opening the doors.

 

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And then, lots of patching, sanding, priming and painting ensued.

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An ornate ceiling medallion was installed as well. I wanted the space to feel both eclectic and elegant with a few special touches via the lighting choices, and ultimately let the furniture make its impact and serve its function. Personally, I prefer dining rooms which breathe a bit given that there is always so much animation and energy contributed by the people who gather in it!

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Fully painted and ready for illumination!

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And then the real fun began! As I had mentioned, I wanted to create a chic and airy dining room that wasn’t cluttered with the unnecessary. I chose a bold, Moroccan tribal rug from my collection to provide a bit of visual interest and comfort underfoot, and found the PERFECT assemblage of chairs, table and sideboard from my friends at Raymour & Flanigan to pull our little dining room together. There are SO many things I seriously love about this company, one of them being the sheer magnitude of variety they offer in terms of furniture styles. It’s truly such an asset to their brand! I’m the kind of person who generally appreciates a mix and match approach when it comes to decorating, and this is especially the case in a dining room setting. Meaning, I tend to steer clear of “sets” of any kind. I find that it always feels more unique, personalized and surprising to design a room with a looser and more imaginative approach…because I’m a believer that beauty is always found in the unexpected!

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Like I said, I chose pieces which were essentially from four different sets. I wanted a robust, wooden table with unfussy lines and the option of a leaf (for when I’m entertaining bigger groups) and the Sutton Place Dining Table was exactly what I had in mind. It’s seriously perfect, with such a gorgeous patina!

I really wanted to mix up the seating not only in terms of their design, but also material. The masculine solidity of the Prato Dining Armchair, with its striking curvature and incredible craftsmanship, juxtaposed against the wiry, mid-century lines of the brass Penelope Chair provide the perfect contrast I was seeking for this grouping.

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I fell in love with the Echo Park Buffet because of its incredibly handsome carvings and felt that its Brutalist style meshed beautifully with the rest of the chosen pieces. It’s a rather substantial sideboard/buffet offering lots of interior storage and was from an entirely different set, of course, but all of the elements interact so well with each other.

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I had painted a canvas specifically to hang over it, which I then flanked with some vintage table lamps from my stash.

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And there you have it…the makings of our little dining room which I cannot wait to put to good use and make endless memories in!

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  • I have partnered with Raymour & Flanigan and received product in exchange for this post. All expressed opinions are 100% my own.

*Images and text by Astrid Insieme

 

 

 

 

 

A TOUCH OF ST. FRANK

The tiny living room in our A-frame is just that – tiny. So tiny, that it borders on the comical and believe me, hyperbole is not being employed here! That being said, I’ve tried to make it as cozy as possible given its diminutive dimensions and imbued it with an undercurrent of worldly personality as is always the case in my interiors, and this spatially limited room has actually become rather livable and inviting (or so I’ve been told!). But I’ve always felt like something was missing from the space. The one wall in the room is steeply angled and has been adorned with a mirror and artwork in its previous iterations, but I knew that what was ultimately needed to make the room feel entirely pulled together and polished would be something large-scale, ornamental, textural and subtly elegant without being overwhelming. So when I was approached by St. Frank to partner in revamping this spot in our home, I was seriously beyond thrilled! It was such a wonderful and timely opportunity to collaborate with a company that I had long esteemed for both their incredible collection of global home wares and their laudable mission of supporting artisans around the world in their very signature approach of socially-conscious commerce.

I chose a gloriously substantial ivory juju hat from the Cameroon, which are traditionally crafted and worn by the Bamileke tribe during their ritual ceremonies. And I couldn’t be more ecstatic with how perfect it feels in the room!

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St. Frank is a lifestyle company which was created to satisfy a niche in the market for global goods which are ethically sourced and which elevate traditional, artisanal wares into luxe collectibles – simultaneously providing sustainable work partnerships with craftspeople around the world while celebrating the true uniqueness, cultural relevance and authentic artistry of these exotic items. The brand’s namesake pays homage to San Francisco, the city where it was founded and where their flagship store is located, as well as to St. Francis of Assisi, who was the son of an established textile merchant and who dedicated his life to the poor and underprivileged. In this same spirit, the company has dedicated itself to preserving age-old craftsmanship through a fair-trade approach of working with artisans and cooperatives worldwide. With an absolutely incredible collection of gorgeous pieces ranging from their signature framed textiles to soft furnishings and decorative items, there is something from every corner of the globe and for every spot in the home!

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Check out St. Frank online, at their shop in San Francisco, CA, or at their upcoming new location in East Hampton, NY for more haute-boheme beauty!

  • I have partnered with St. Frank and received product in exchange for this post. All expressed opinions are 100% my own.

*Text and images of juju hat in living room by Astrid Insieme. All other photos provided by St. Frank.