Hot! Hot! Hot!



Maybe it’s the relentless onslaught of Midwestern winter, or just a yearning for more tropical temps, but this gorgeous Ikat screamed “take me home” last week, and so I did!

Admittedly, I’ve been in a “hot” color state of mind. You’ll recall the plum and  fuchsia palette from this post last week on a home office renovation!

I unearthed this fabric on a road trip to a favorite textile haunt last week. It should be perfect for this armchair, which has been presiding over a pile in the garage since last fall!


The chair was a gift from pal Shayne Barsness, a vintage maven who has recently focused her considerable talents onto the jewelry-making arm of her business. Shayne & Coco uses castoff and vintage elements to create the most amazing necklaces, bracelets and earrings! Check out this cool Shayne & Coco bracelet, created around an old Oddfellows Lodge medallion with vintage cabochon pearls:


Love! This chair, like the bracelet elements, will be re-created as something fun!

It needs a coat of paint (still mulling! Sand? White? Palest apricot?) and a new cushion, front and back. I may reshape the profile of the seat back, too. This fabric will rock the new look!

Stay tuned for the final product, destined for the fabulous Foxglove Market and Studio on Grand Avenue in St. Paul! Wishing you warm temperatures and hot fabrics!



Color Infusion/Office Transfusion!

sangria4This fabulous cotton-linen blend, “Sangria,”  is the jumping-off fabric for a St. Louis Park home office renovation just getting underway!


It has a fabulous hand, and a gorgeous amalgam of violet, plum, apricot and a host of greens against a neutral gray background. This will be a lovely hanging panel, visually enlarging a small, basement window. It will also be used on cushions for two caned-back office armchairs.annefab1

 The carpet in this room is a gray-beige “greige” — the same color destined for the walls — so I’ll be enlivening some of the furniture and open shelving with Mulberry, Benjamin Moore 2075-20. It’s got wattage to spare!

violetrugThis soft, textured area rug will help ground the space, and provide a needed shot of color.


This linen will cover a framed, wall-size “inspiration board,” where the office’s occupant can regularly tack up and change the photos and pictures that inform her work!


Here’s  the fabric for two chairs I’ll be rehabbing for the owner to use when she meets with clients. The feel is amazing and the pattern modern, with great texture.

Here’s what’s planned for lighting…


The flush-mount drum shade with a black rim (to coordinate with existing black bookshelves and filing pieces) will improve the room’s current lighting threefold.

More to come as we dive into this project, being put together on an aggressive timeline! Can’t wait to share the transformation once it’s done!




Farewell to Firs!



It’s time to dismantle the Christmas tree (we are not among those who keep a tree empaneled until the needles drop!)

It’s had a good run. We loved it. We are unapologetic fans of the natural balsam. Spare and elegant.

(Or, depending on your outlook, gangly and laughable.)

But it’s time to go, and Lark Nest doesn’t mind sharing its love of the sparse while packing up ornaments!

There’s a practical reason, as well as the love of the aesthetic:

Lots of air between branches translates into the best showcase for ornaments, ever.

treepickmeGranted, it might require a little imagination on the tree lot.

This one was the second-to-the-last available by the time we got there. It mattered not a whit to us. Love at first sight! Each year we weather the slings and arrows of  well-meaning friends, who ask whether our tree was one of my curbside rescues.  Not! We pay good money for this look!


The fruit and feather-tailed birds we arrange in the top layer, the odd squirrels and woodland animals that provide the second. Then, the beaded felt, clip-on cardinals from my mother, gone from our Christmas celebrations for years but ever-present through her handiwork.

We also include the pictures and crafted ornaments made and given to our daughter, now a college freshman.


There’s a layer of vintage ornaments, too, that belonged to my Grandma and Grandpa Kueffler. The natural balsam allows each to hang free and to good display.Who would ever choose a Frasier Fir over this?!


Finally, the balsam provides a perfect spiky perch for this dime-store peace dove.

Sort of tatty now, and with a “new” olive branch after the previous one fell prey to one of our many geriatric rescue cats, this topper is perfect.

He’s  been with us since 1980, when I carried him home from Woolworth’s for the princely sum of $2.95. He shows his wear and tear, and we wouldn’t trade his ratty old tail feathers for anything.

There is no “right” or “wrong” order when it comes to a tree, or how it’s decorated.

As in life, as with trees, our love of a look — and the memories attached — makes each one perfect for its owners…despite all the attributes that make it unfashionable for the masses.

If it speaks to you, it’s probably just right.

Which is why you’ll find us back in the natural balsam section, in December 2014!



Rachel’s Bedroom Makeover: The Middle!


Just a quick check-in with a progress report on this project in Edina, where a child’s bedroom is being given a grown-up makeover into a comfortable guest bedroom. The custom-made, grommeted curtains, pictured, set the tone for a modern vibe.


We’ve swapped  in a queen-size bed with upholstered headboard for the old twin, and sent the pastel floral wallpaper packing for a calming, matte blue shade from Sherwin Williams (Meditative, SW 6227. It was chosen to match a piece of the client’s furniture, built by her daughter and husband, and one that was off-limits to change). More on that piece, which is seven feet tall, in the final project post.


Here’s a quick reminder of the “before” !


This end table was lacquered Chinese red when I procured it for this room. Chosen specifically for the pattern on each side, I had it spray-finished in a glossy coat of Meditative. The high gloss contrasts nicely with the matte walls.


It’s a beautiful foil for the curtains (which are mounted high to add height to the room. A top-down/bottom-up shade lets in light but affords privacy.)


They’re fabulous together!


This is a closeup of the blue-gray tones in the new sisal area rug.

Closing in on the end of this project. Linens are yet to arrive; black and white artwork has yet to be hung. Accessories are in transit. I ordered extra of the curtain fabric so the seamstress can add a contrasting band to the shams once the linens are in place.

This cozy retreat is almost guest-ready! More to come!


Succulent Update: Still Going Strong!


Whether the hard-headedness of my German forbearers, or the thriftiness of my Scots heritage, I just can’t seem to part with these succulents.

And with the wind chill today in Minneapolis, it’s s 50 below zero, so this green is a welcome antidote to the frosty temps!

Here they are, Jan. 1, 2014, perched jauntily on an urn full of reindeer moss!

Regular readers will remember the three succulents that first starred on my table centerpiece for the Junk Bonanza backyard brunch, Sept. 22. Yes, Sept. 22, last year!

And, here they are in their September glory:


I kept them around, but without a source of water.

One was repurposed one as a package decoration for pal Susan’s birthday present (October by the time I got it to her)….

susangiftOne of them provided a focus for my Thanksgiving centerpiece (chronicled  here!)… You can tell each spike is no longer as full, but hanging in there!


Finally, here’s a closeup of the larger, living room urn filled with reindeer moss, where the two succulents reigned over the holiday season. They’re still looking great, although less robust, a week after Christmas and into the first days of January.


I would call them the hardest-working plants in the decorator’s toolbox!

I promise we won’t speak of this again…until their demise is complete! At this rate? It could be March!


Jan. 1, 2014!


 Welcome to 2014!

While the weather outside is not quite frightful (a paltry minus 6 degrees), inside at Lark Nest Design, we’re ready for a bright and beautiful year!

LNDtulip2A blowsy bunch of bright orange tulips is setting the tone! Only 77 more days of winter!


This pretty meadowlark — a gift from friend Faith to gild the Lark Nest “nest,” heralds warmer days ahead, too! It is the work of  illustrator Stan Fellows, who incorporates time, temperature and weather conditions in his pieces. This Western Meadowlark was captured on a sunny, 85-degree day!

Faithbird2The artist’s notes advise, “Simplify. Look for only the most important shapes.”

Heedful advice for the home decorator as well!

May your 2014 be filled with simple pleasures, beautiful design and, always, the warmth of shaping your home into your treasured nest.


Warmest Holiday Wishes!


This artwork is a smaller version of the holiday mailing  going out before New Year’s to Lark Nest’s clients, but its sentiment is oversized!

It has been an amazing year for our little enterprise.

Full of wonderful clients and associates, trades and craftspeople, lovers of reclaim and always, the joy of working with one’s hands!

Thanks for reading, responding, inquiring, supporting, sharing and commenting!

Thanks, too,  to the talented duo who helped make this greeting gel: Leslie Plesser of ShutterSmack, who assisted in executing the original vine and Lark Nest logo, and the ornamented holiday version by Janet Mills of Mills Design. Wrangling my client email list was the amazingly patient Rachel Kenney, Lark Nest’s assistant/gal-pal Friday!

Here’s to great new adventures, fabulous finds and amazing textiles in the next 12 months!

2014 promises to be a rockin’ year!



Pantone 2014 Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid!


Worldwide color authority Pantone, whose Color Institute is a major palette-setter for the design, fashion and furnishings worlds, among others, today announced Radiant Orchid as its color of the year.

We bid Emerald 17-5641 a fond farewell !

The company’s release describes RO as magical and enchanting, as well as confidence-inspiring. From its rosy undertones “emanate great joy, love and health,” Pantone says.

Who can ask for more from a color?!

Lark Nest is signed on to Pantone ‘s “webinar” next week to gain insights into the research and reasoning behind the choice,  so more info to come.


Meanwhile, I’ll just say it’s yummy, if not a bit electrifying!


Here’s the image Pantone has shared of this color in action!


Orchid is already a Lark Nest favorite. You’ll recognize Robert Allen’s “Dahlia Gardens” in Rosewood, a true orchid  used in a few projects documented on this blog!

Stand by for news. In the meantime, one can  envision rejuvenating a hidebound room with a jolt of this color. It could be as easy as adding a potted Phalaenopsis!


Thanksgiving Table With a Succulent Re-Run!

ttab3Thanksgiving dinner was an unusually small affair for us this year. In addition to an extra-large pan of stuffing, The Freshman, home from college for her first holiday, had requested an extra-small guest list. A small table required a small centerpiece.

This being me, it only made sense that the centerpiece would have some element that’s been reused!

ttab50What could be better than recycling this succulent, which was part of my centerpiece for the Junk Bonanza team brunch here…on Sept. 22!


Yes, Sept. 22! Here they were, studded onto a bed of reindeer moss inside this vintage stove top! That was then…

ttab200…and this was Thursday, two months later! The succulents have been sitting around on a console table, adding a spot of green to the house, without the benefit of water!


Before being repurposed as the T-day centerpiece, one sat here, between the vintage seltzer bottle and the candlesticks!

ttab60Thankful for their longevity, I started the centerpiece off by creating height: a small glittery brown pedestal cake plate is on the bottom, a small cast-iron, oval-shaped urn on top.


Seeded eucalyptus, reindeer moss a– a staple of my workroom “pantry” — and some peacock feathers provided just the right amount of texture and color.


Five feathers did the trick!


They offered a spot of color for the napkins, too!ttab7This dinner was the first outing for the faux bois plates designed by uber-talented pal Ross Sveback! (Sitting atop my 1980 wedding china and silver chargers!)


The dusty colors of the eucalyptus leaves and seeds made the perfect foil for the dusky succulent leaves.


A little shine and some candlelight make it special! (The silver spray for the gourds was automotive spray paint, much shinier than a standard silver.)

ttab1The small, elevated centerpiece has serious presence, but isn’t so high that it couldn’t be easily talked over!

ttab25All that’s missing here? The family (and the little chocolate turkey placeholders, forgotten in the refrigerator while these photos were snapped!)

I am thankful for many things, Including, it must be said, that the gravy turned out well enough to merit its tablescape!

Happy holidays!


Holiday Tabletop Workshop!

TabletopHOLLYLark Nest Design is pleased to instruct a holiday tabletop workshop for hostesses Thursday, Dec. 5!

The effusive Ann Shuster, proprietess of the Dunn Brothers in the Smith Douglas More House in Eden Prairie,  extended an invitation to replicate the gathering Lark Nest held in April for Springtime tabletops!

Only this time, we’ll concentrate on sparkly looks and gorgeous bounty for beautiful holiday table settings!

In addition to show and tell, there will be a hands-on component, and a fun take-away gift!

More than 30 women, almost all of them friends on gal-pal outings,  attended the April event!

Please join me (and my lovely assistant Irene Standa!) for a fun evening. A glass of wine, savory appetizers and all materials are included in the $25 registration!

Never visited the Smith Douglas More House? The historic 1870s home, named for the three families who lived there, houses a Dunn Bros. franchise. It’s got tons of charm, swell chow, spiritous and caffeinated libations and…its amazing baristas spin vinyl!

Spaces are limited; reserve a spot at 952-934-0145.


Thursday, Dec. 5, 7 p.m.

Smith Douglas More House, 8107 Eden Prairie Road Eden Prairie, MN

Cost: $25

Call to reserve: 952-934-0145

Hope to see you there!