June 5, 2009

Larchmont-Mamaroneck is a Gold Mine for Vintage Lovers!

If you love VINTAGE GOODIES and BARGAINS, you need to visit my charming Town of Mamaroneck and it’s equally charming Village of Larchmont. We have some real treasure troves here, and all are in walking distance to each other, or to the Larchmont or Mamaroneck train stations. (about 35 minutes from Grand Central) Hey, NEW YORK INTERIOR DESIGNERS, GET OVER HERE!

Cobalt Net

Lumonosov China pattern Cobalt Net, part of the June 15 auction to take place at the C&C Auction Gallery in Larchmont.

Lumonosov Set

This Lumonosov set is unbelievable! There are pieces of every description, napkin rings, soup tureens, coffee pot, tea pot etc, etc...It never ends!

Did you know we have our very own genuine auction house? C&C Auction Gallery, tucked away on North St in Larchmont, it’s an interior designer or collector’s HEAVEN! There are bargains galore on really beautiful pieces of every description, like this HUGE set of blue and white dishes to die for! If you’ve never participated in an auction, you’re in for a thrill. Over 150 pieces will be auctioned off at their upcoming event on June 15, 2009. Here are a few things that caught my eye:

OMG! The expected selling price for this classic piece is $300 to $500!!

OMG! The expected selling price for this classic piece is $300 to $500!!

Teacups and saucers

A pretty collecton of teacups and saucers.

This exquisite etagere is expected to sell for $200 to $300!!

This exquisite etagere is expected to sell for $200 to $300!!

Here in Lower Westchester and the Mamaroneck-Larchmont area, Chatsworth Used Furniture has been a well known and loved staple for generations. It’s been owned and run by the Lightbody Family, since 1924. Mamaroneck just wouldn’t be Mamaroneck without it! There are 4 huge floors to explore, so give yourself plenty of time! I’ve spent many happy hours wandering their aisles. If you’re an interior designer, you could really get stuff done here! Vintage dining sets, china, lighting, bedroom pieces,upholstery,rugs, the works! If you’re a collector of Vintage, you’ll have a blast! Just remember they’re closed on Sunday and Monday, and check for their week off in August.


OK, I need the pair of flame stitch Bergere Chairs

Oh, where to begin!

Oh, where to begin! Dishes anyone?

More stuff

I have just the spot for the blanket chest.

In Larchmont,( just a few steps from Larchmont train station), at Carol Charney, you’ll find a very different experience. In her polished and perfumed showroom, Charney’s vintage pieces are lovingly restored and displayed. Here’s a small sampling:

The vintage jewelry eye candy!

Vintage eye candy!


Vintage mirror, pristine, and ready to hang.

Designer’s Corner in Larchmont is another one of those fun places for exploring. You never know what you’ll find! For me, it’s THE place for vintage light fixtures. Other Larchmont-Mamaroneck spots have them, but Designer’s Corner has their own on site lighting restoration specialist. And the collection is expansive. Here’s a small colorful selection:


They don't make 'em like this any more!

Turquoise glass vintage chandelier

Turquoise glass vintage chandelier



I'd love to see this sconce in a powder room.


This vintage blue lamp is very on-trend.


This is just the tip of the iceberg, there’s much more! In fact, Mamaroneck – Larchmont is a little hot-spot of vintage and antique resources.

There are LOTS of great restaurants too. Let me know when you’re coming, we’ll do lunch!


May 28, 2009

Let’s Copy a Deluxe Room on the Cheap II

Here’s another installation on how to get a rich chic look with out spending a big bundle (only a little bundle).

I was very impressed with the eclectic elegance of this family room in the Georgetown home of George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth. The interior designer, Elizabeth Martin did wonderful work here, incorporating a feeling of rich elegance with sumptuous comfort and ease.


George and Ali's beautifully designed, very inviting family room.

I would guess that this huge double size room cost, conservatively, about $90,000 to furnish (without art) including custom wood work, window treatments and professional paint work. Most of us don’t have double size rooms, so I’m NOT going to figure on 3 sofas or 3 area rugs. I will include plenty of small tables and three club chairs, just because there’s so much great stuff out there! Let’s do this look for under $12,000. Here we go:

From Horchow Faux Zebra rug on cowhide $689.00

From Horchow Faux Zebra rug on cowhide $689.00

Helsingor Rug from Ikea $199

Helsingor Rug from Ikea $199

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I like to start from the floor up. These two rugs make a great foundation for our eclectic interior, and combined the cost is under $1000.

Benjamin Moore Bird of Paradise, Linen White and Char Brown

Benjamin Moore Bird of Paradise, Linen White and Char Brown

alksdlksdlfkshdlfkhsldhflskdhflskjdhfksjdhfksjdfhlsdhlsdkhf paint colors

Here are your paint colors. DON’T BE AFRAID OF DARK COLORS! Remember, the ceiling is WHITE! And there are lots of other light elements. The dark walls will recede, making the room look larger!!

The Carter Chair from Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams runs about $2000.00 depending on the fabric. That makes it the biggest ticket item in the room, but worth it for the dramatic impact.

The Carter Chair from Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams runs about $2000.00 depending on the fabric. That makes it the biggest ticket item in the room, but worth it for the dramatic impact.

Devin Square Leather Ottoman from Crate and Barrel $899.00

Devin Square Leather Ottoman from Crate and Barrel $899.00

Macy's Cappuccino Money Plant Accent Chair $699.00

Macy's Cappuccino Money Plant Accent Chair $699.00


A pair of tall bookcases from highlanddesigns.com $978 for 2.

A pair of tall bookcases $916 for 2.

One tall wing chair, plus two club chairs around a square leather ottoman makes a great conversation area.

Paint the bookcases (from highlansddesigns.com)the Char Brown, just like the walls to mimic the look of custom built-ins. The Bird of Paradise coral peaking out from the interior of the bookcases, adds a surprising punch. Linen White on the ceiling will avoid a too harsh contrast with the dark walls.

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Tava Coffee Table from Crate and Barrel $599.00


Tyler Sofa from Macy's $699.00

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The Tava Coffee Table is slightly rustic and exotic. The Tyler Sofa in chocolate brown velvet keeps the luxury going, for the right price.

Accessories, lots of them:

Crate and Barrel Tempo Pillow $32.95

Crate and Barrel Tempo Pillow $32.95

Gump's Orange Dragon Garden Stool $195.00

Gump's Orange Dragon Garden Stool $195.00

laksdslkehlsdhflsiehfldkjfhlsiehflsdkfjlsiefjsdhflskefhlsdhfllh blue pillow

Durham Pillow

Durham Pillow fr0m CB2 $129.00

Thomas Paul Flock Silk Pillow from Moderndesires.com $78.00

Thomas Paul Flock Silk Pillow from Modern Desires $74.00

askjdlaksjdlkdjlskdjlskdjfslkdjflskdjflskdjflskdjfsldkjfsl end of pillows

Crate and Barrel Firenze pillow $79.00

Firenze Pillow from Crate and Barrel $79.00

Moroccan Pouf from tazidesigns.com

Moroccan Pouf from Tazi Designs $199.00

Eggshell Lacquer Nesting Tables from Gump's $499.00

Eggshell Lacquer Nesting Tables from Gump's $499.00

Lamps plus $495

Babette Holland Ostrich Rust Table Lamp from Lamps Plus $495

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Wild Walnut Serving Tray lampsplus.com $149.00

Wild Walnut Serving Tray lampsplus.com $149.00

Pier 1 Elephant Teapot $19.99

Pier 1 Elephant Teapot $15.95

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I guess the portrait over the fireplace is one of George and Ali’s ancestors. Hey, I GOT ANCESTORS TOO! My husband comes from a VERY old Italian family. Here’s one of our ancestors. You can borrow her, if you want to! She looks great over our fireplace.

I got my pretty ancestor at allposters.com for $49.99 framed

I got my pretty ancestor at allposters.com for $49.99 framed

aklsjlskdjfslkdjflskdjflskdjflsdkjflsdkjflsdkjlskdjfslkdfj up for Mona Lisa

Pottery barn Rustic Bench $250.00

Large Rustic Bench from Pottery Barn $250.00

Peyton Grommet Drapery Panels in color from Pottery Barn $89.00 per panel

Peyton Grommet Drapery Panels in Chestnut from Pottery Barn $89.00 per panel

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Here's the other half of this LARGE, beautiful room.

So, if my math is right,and you do your own paint work, I come up with about $10,000 for the whole room, IF you have a big enough room to hold it all!


May 1, 2009

Let’s Copy a Deluxe Room, on the Cheap!!


This room knocks my socks off! I saw it at HGTV



Rug from Ikea, Stockholm Rand 8'2" x11'6" for $299.00

OK, we won’t COPY it, let’s just be INSPIRED by it.

I would estimate that the room above cost about $50,000.00 fully furnished (without fine art), which is about average for a deluxe, top shelf, professionally designed room. I propose that we can get this look for under $10,000.00.

First things first, we’ll start from the floor up. Instead of wall to wall wool needlepoint carpeting which will cost buckets of money, lets use this black and white rug from Ikea.

Next we need a brilliant rich green backdrop for the walls, something not too blue and not too yellow, like this Benjamin Moore #566 Bunker Hill Green from the Classics Collections. Benjamin Moore has a color selector that allows you to test a color in a virtual room.


Benjamin Moore Classic #566 Bunker Hill Green

The shimmery gold ceiling can be achieved with metallic paint from Modern Masters. I buy it at my neighborhood paint store, in Larchmont, NY

This is Pale Gold Metallic from Modern Masters for the ceiling.

This is Pale Gold Metallic from Modern Masters for the ceiling.

I will add later

The Miramar in Graphite, from Crate and Barrel

At $1199.00, the Miramar Armless Loveseat from Crate and Barrel is about half the price of a similar custom piece. I would like to see two of these ganged together in a row to form an extra long four seat sofa. If space is an issue, at 63″ one of these used alone could solve your problemlskjfsdf;sdfj;sdjf;sdjfs;dlfjs;dljf;sdjfs;kdjfs;lkdjflskdjflskdhfkhskjdhsk

Margarita Pillow from Crate and Barrel $19.95

Margarita Pillow from Crate and Barrel $19.95


BranchHome.com makes this elegant pillow for $64.00


Pellicia Pillow from Crate and Barrel $79.95

www.tonicliving.com $34.95

www.tonicliving.com $34.95

An assortment of fun throw pillows for the sofas ranging from $20.00 to $80.00 each. A free mix of patterns and textures lends an arty feel, while sticking with the black-white-green theme keeps it grounded.


Horchow does a great job with mirrors. They’ve got one for every occasion! This one is on the cheap side, for them, at $319.90. I just think it’s very pretty and dramatic, and the right size for over a fireplace.

The Clairemont Coffee Table from Crate and Barrel has antiqued mirrored surfaces and a soft gold wrought iron finish to pick up the warmth of the gold ceiling. It looks much more expensive than it’s price of $699.00


The Clairemont form Crate and Barrel $699.00


From Horchow $319.90


Add a touch of something wild with this Zebra chair from Macy’s. It’s a steal at $399.00. Use two of them, if you have the space.

The palm green Allegro Ottoman from Crate and Barrel adds another touch of green over the black and white rug. For $149.00, how can you lose!

Allegro Ottoman fron Crate and Barrel for $149.00!

Allegro Ottoman fron Crate and Barrel for $149.00!

Zebra Accent Chair from Macy's $399.00

Zebra Accent Chair from Macy's $399.00

;sldf;sldkf;sldkfs;ldkfs;ldkfs;ldkfs;ldkf;sldkf;sdkfs;ldkf;sskdfjlsdkjflskdjflskdjflskdjkjhkjhkjhkjhkjhhgfyhtyoeiruoidufsldkf;sldkfs;ldkfs;ldkfs;lsdfs;djfs;ldjf;sldjf;sldldkfs;ldNow Now we come to a sensitive subject: How to get a custom look window treatment, without going for custom bucks. We interior designers are a bit fussy about window treatments, believing that custom is always best! (and of course Gaita Interiors custom treatments are the best of the best!) Although it hurts to admit it, Restoration Hardware does a very good job with their ready made Textured Belgian Linen Drapery Panels. The rod pocket style is well priced at $199.00 per panel. My photo below shows the french pleat style (only photo available) which at $459.oo per panel are no bargain! For our our purposes, the white rod pocket will do very well. But how to add that graphic finishing touch? I recommend adding your own trim, such as this Greek Key from Fabricut ($25.00 per yard). If you’re handy, you can sew it on 1″ away from the leading edge. If you’re NOT handy, you apply iot with no-sew fabric gluegluapplylskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflsslkdjflskdjflkjhslfjsjflskdjflskdjflskddnslkdfjlskdjfsldkjfls

Greek Key

This trim added to the edge of white linen drapes would be very graphic.

Belgian Linen

Textured Belgian Linen from Restoration Hardware in white



Here are some pretty accessories that we can’t do without.


Don't forget the flowers. Hydrangeas in season, so fresh!!

White ceramic garden stool to use as and end table

White ceramic garden stool to use as and end table from West Elm.


I’d love to have my very own Georgia O’keefe to hang over my sofa, but since that would really blow my budget, I’ll go for a couple of the pretty things from Pier 1 and Ikea



Pier 1 Organic Squares $350.00 for the set.

Pier 1

Pier 1 36"x36" wall art for $185.00

Pier 1 Scroll Wall Decor $99.95

Pier 1 Scroll Wall Decor $99.95

From Ikea, Pjatteryd  $79.99

From Ikea, Pjatteryd $79.99



West Elm has this pretty assortment of white ceramic to display on your rattan etagere, for around $100.00


A richly stained rattan etagere adds a bit of the exotic and tropical, retails for around $500.00


If your room needs to serve double duty, this rattan etagere from Rattan Interiors will hold a TV. I like these modern ceramic vases for display against the dark finish of the etagere. They’re from West Elm

So, if you do your own painting, I figure you can do this whole room, including a budget for accessories, wall art, and drapery hardware for about $9,000.

In the original room, the carpet and sofas alone cost more!!

Remember, you can use the black/white/neutral/plus one color formula with ANY color you like! If green isn’t your thing, you can do it with red, turquiose, orange, whatever you like. Just stick with the black/white/neutral base,and add your own favorite hue!


April 20, 2009

It’s Easy to be Green! 9 Low Tech Ideas

I’ve got some low tech, time honored techniques for green interior design. Some of these methods would look very familiar to our grandmother’s, because they’re based on the old maxim “waste not, want not” Frugality is very green!

The french doors in this grand old home are probably poorly insulated.  Falnnel lined silk drapes go a long way to keep the heat in during winter, and the the hot sun out during the summer.  This is probably what drapes were invented for , way back when!

The french doors in this grand old home are poorly insulated. Flannel lined silk drapes go a long way to keep the heat in during winter, and the the hot sun out during the summer. This is probably what drapes were invented for.

1. Stop letting all that heat out through the windows by installing some flannel lined drapes. This is equally useful for keeping your house cool in the summer, because flannel lining is also blackout lining. Insulated drapes will help keep your energy usage down. Any style drape can be flannel lined. It has no effect on the appearance.

This is a sample of the goodies to be found at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market in New York, NY

This is a sample of the goodies to be found at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market in New York, NY

2. Get to a flea market! Buy some cool old stuff to furnish and ornament your home, instead of newly manufactured stuff! Fabulous flea markets are popping up everywhere. Nothing adds interest and charm to your home faster than when you bring in something old. The Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market in New York is the king of flea markets. Make sure to get there early before all the good stuff goes!

An elegant washable napkin for special dinners.

An elegant washable napkin for special dinners.

Colorful "easy who cares" maintenance bandanasfor the kitchen, every day.

Colorful "easy who cares" maintenance bandanas for the kitchen, every day.

3. Stop using tons of paper napkins. Instead make the investment in fabric napkins that you can use over and over again. If you wash them in cold water, with eco-friendly detergent, the environmental impact is MUCH lower than paper napkins. And after all, don’t you love a fabric napkin? So much nicer than a crunchy, crumpled piece of paper! Consider using bandanas as napkins for everyday use in the kitchen. They’re cheap, colorful, soft and very washable. You can order a couple of dozen in assorted colors. They’ll last for years!


This old bureau was about ready for the junkyard. Now it's beautiful, useful, and of course, green!

4. Paint or refinish some old furniture, instead of throwing it away, and buying newly manufactured furniture. You can check my earlier post about the joys of painted furniture, The bottom line is, it’s cheap, it’s gorgeous, and it’s green.


This stunning example of reclaimed wood flooring is from The Mountain Lumber Company. www.mountainlumber.com

5. If you’re renovating, consider using reclaimed wood flooring. Made from antique flooring saved out of demolished homes, old doors and barns, the effect is like nothing else. New wood flooring can never have the patina, texture and color variation of reclaimed wood flooring. And by the way, it’s as green as can be. No trees were harmed in the making of this floor!

These tiles made of recucled materials are from Bedrock Industries.  www.bedrockindustries.com

These tiles made of recycled materials are from Bedrock Industries. www.bedrockindustries.com

6. Check out the array of gorgeous glass tiles made from recycled materials. If your bathroom is ready for an update, or you’re looking for a beautiful treatment for a kitchen backsplash, then you’re probably already looking at glass tiles. I came across these pretty mosaics from Bedrock Industries on www.alternativeconsumer.com.

This classic sofa will be better than new!

This classic sofa will be better than new!

7. It’s definitely less wasteful to reupholster or slipcover an old sofa or chair, than to throw it away, and buy new. Most used furniture stores have more upholstered furniture than they can handle, and in fact, turn a good deal of it away. There’s just too much! If you like the lines of an old upholstered piece, but the fabric is tatty, or you’re just tired of it, reupholster! Plus, you’ll be employing a small local business, and keeping old craft alive.

One of the beautiful colorways available in Kravetgreen.

One of the beautiful colorways available in Kravetgreen.

8. Use new fabrics, made from recycled materials. Kravet makes a beautiful line of upholstery weight, 100% recycled fabrics called Kravetgreen. I love it, and have used it in my interior design studio, in Larchmont.


9.These gorgeous frames from Second Line Frames are made of from re-claimed wood from New Orleans. I love the naturally weathered finish, and the soft colors. They look great used singely, or in groups. Since no two are exactly alike, you can use as many as you like wisthout repeating. I would fill them with old postcards, vintage family photos and other keepsakes in keeping with the vintage feel.

April 2, 2009

The Essential White Bed


If I had to choose one color to use for all bedding, for all time, it would be white. A white bed is beautiful, versatile and practical, no matter the style or price point. Here are some gorgeous examples of how to use white bedding.


Strong black and white is softened with golds and browns, retaining the drama, while avoiding the harshness of unrelieved black and white.


This is all about contrasts. The fresh luxurious white bedding sets off the rustic surroundings. Warm earth tones with a big splash of pure cool white lends color contrast. The sophisticated crystal chandelier is nice touch too, adding a diversity of textures, shimmery clear crystal, against opaque rough brick.



This plain white bedding creates a nice neutral center for a boldly colored bedroom. If you get tired of blue and fuchsia, you can paint, change the pillows and slip covers and put the white bedding back on. It will always look good, no matter what other changes you make around it.

84f5271eb89c6When in doubt, try white with white. It’s impossible to make a mistake combining white, cream, ivory, bone, ecru etc. Gold and silver surfaces make great accents with this look. In this case the lthe whites and tans. This technique works especially well in a bedroom, where it lends a dreamy serene quality.



Here white bedding is used in a strong masculine setting, and it works very well. It adds brightness to an otherwise deep toned setting. There are a few small touches of pure white to pick up the white of the bedding, such as the ceramic pieces and the white in the stripe flanking the bed.


Yes, if you have a view of the sapphire blue ocean, then you should definitely add a sapphire blue velvet pillow with pure white bedding. A touch of sheer white fabric and a fun fuchsia print finish it off. I’ll have my daiquiri now!

White bedding is:

  • Elegant and timeless
  • Dreamy, serene and fresh
  • Easily laundered
  • Easily replaced
  • Available in every style imaginable from lacey and ruffled, to sleek and modern.
  • Available in every price point and quality, ranging from a million thread count form France, to basics from JCPenney

March 24, 2009

Chic, Not Shabby! A Proper Slipcover

Filed under: Fabric Usage, Furniture, Paint — Tags: , , — Leona Gaita @ 3:53 PM


This beautifully made slipcover uses a pretty mix of textures and soft colors.


A truly chic use of slipcovers.

Custom slipcovers have been getting short shrift for years now due to several trends in interior design. One is the “Shabby Chic” movement. The trend gets full credit for giving permission to American home dwellers to de-formalize their environments, combining the old with the new to create very personalized result. This shouldn’t mean getting rid of elegance. In it’s best incarnation, Shabby Chic succeeds beautifully in creating a stylish informality, which I love, and can’t live without. Unfortunately, like any trend that gets too popular, it has its abusers. Well loved (used) does NOT equal sloppiness.


Custom slipcovers everywhere. Not too shabby! This is from the movie "Something's Gotta Give", the beach house, one of my all time favorite movie interiors.

A ready made slipcover, no matter how clever, can never fit like a custom one, or stay properly in place when sat on, or be considered in any way “chic” Even a loosely fitted slip cover, should be made for that specific piece of furniture.

This red sofa has a well made slipcover, which is hard to distinguish from upholstery.

Gaita Interiors made this red slipcover, which is hard to distinguish from upholstery.


This slipcover was made by a skilled, experienced craftsman. Tight as a glove!

The other, opposite trend which has hurt custom slipcovers is the idea that anything new, is always better. In a booming economy, why slipcover, when you can throw it away, and buy a new one…on credit? I guess that bubble has burst! Here are some good reasons to give custom slipcovers a new look:

  • It’s very chic, and can be as shabby and casual as you wish,or if you’re like me very tailored.
  • It’s MUCH less expensive than either reupholstering or buying new.
  • A slipcover can be taken off and laundered.

This neutral slipcover makes a wonderful backdrop for an array of pretty mini-prints. Very charming!

  • You can support a small local business-craftsman, the backbone of the American economy!
  • You can get almost any look you want, granny floral, clean modern, ruffles or plain cording, whatever rocks your boat.
  • It’s a green alternative to throwing away old furniture, that’s still serviceable.

We saved these two nice old chairs and made custom slipcovers, with a contrast scallop fringe near the hem. The ottoman is from Beachley.

  • Your sofa or chair deserves a new outfit! How would you feel if you had to wear the same outfit everyday for years!
  • A well tailored slipcover, on the right type of piece can look just like upholstery.
  • Used upholstered furniture is cheap and plentiful. You can buy an old piece, and slipcover it for less than the cost of most new furniture.
  • You can make a summer slipcover for wintery looking furniture, giving your whole room a new vibrant look for the change of seasons. Your upholstery will last twice as long too!

So pretty! Washable linen custom slipcover.


Nice button detail.

March 12, 2009

Paint Something Old, Create Something Brand New or…

Filed under: Furniture, Paint — Tags: , — Leona Gaita @ 12:50 PM

Top 10 reasons you should roll up your sleeves, and paint some old dilapidated furniture.


10- The look is beautiful, versatile, original and unique.

9- You can breathe new life into something old, and save it from the land fill.

8- You can maintain a connection to the past by saving the old, instead of replacing it.

7- Used furniture stores are overflowing with inexpensive old wood furniture pieces of every size and type.

6- It’s totally customizable! You can make unmatched pieces match with a common paint color……or you can use several colors from the palette of your room and paint each of several pieces differently. For example a cluster of three small painted tables, instead of one large coffee table.

5- You can give an old piece of furniture a sleek modern update, or lend it an antiquated look, using various paint techniques.

4- It’s fun to be green by recycling old furniture, instead of buying new.

3- We’re in a recession, and it’s cheap.

2- It will make you feel good about your self.

The NUMBER ONE REASON you should paint some old furniture is:

1-It’s the weekend, and you have nothing to do!!


Some things to keep in mind:

  • Do paint an old piece of furniture. Never paint a fine antique…..know the difference!
  • Make sure to prepare the surface well . Good preparation is half the effort, and will get you the best long lasting results.
  • You can further change the appearance of a piece by changing the hardware. This is a good way to modernize an old piece, or add a bit of whimsy to the style.
  • You can choose a semi gloss paint finish for a sleek soft sheen, or you can use an eggshell paint for an almost flat finish. The shinier the finish, the sturdier.
  • It’s OK to hire your painter to paint some furniture for you. It’s still relatively inexpensive, and much easier on your manicure. I won’t tell any one!


Some fancier techniques (but still for beginners)

  • Once you’ve painted a piece, you can add a textured glaze finish. Use semi gloss paint, if you’re planning to add a glaze finish.
  • Choose a pretty wallpaper that co-ordinates with your paint color, (or matches your walls) and apply it to smooth drawer fronts of a bureau, the back panel of bookcase or a table top. You can then apply a coat or two of clear polyurethane for protection.
  • Paint two coats of a very bright color (like apple green) Once it’s thoroughly dry, add a good coat of black paint (two if necessary). Sand and distress the surface so that the bright green peaks through here and there. Finish it off with a coat of satin polyurethane.


  • Paint the drawers a contrasting color. Or the top, or both. A beige chest of drawers with light aqua drawer fronts and top is serene and classic. Trim it up with crystal knobs.


  • You can add stripes (or other imaginative motifs, like the tree design on the bureau above) by using blue painters tape to block off the background color.
  • A simple floral design can be stenciled on, using craft paints and ready made stencils
  • Be daring, you can’t do wrong!

An updated take on the Swedish style of painted furniture.

Here are some excellent books devoted to painted furniture which will offer both inspiration, and instruction:

  • Painted Furniture: Simple Techniques for Fresh NewLooks by Diane Weave
  • Painting and Decorating Furniture by Sheila McGraw
  • Painted Furniture: From Simple Scandinavian to Modern Country by Virginia Patterson


A Chinese game table , painted, which leads me to:

March 10, 2009

Make room for a Game Table and Family Fun

Filed under: Furniture — Tags: , , — Leona Gaita @ 11:37 AM


The addition of a game table to a family room or living room will add fun, function and beauty. Turn off the TV and have some old fashioned family fun with puzzles, board games and cards.


A 36″ square table and four armless chairs will accommodate any game for four. If you have room for a 48″ round, you’ll be able to accommodate 5 for poker! The best part is to be able to leave a game or puzzle, and come back to it later.  Marathon Monopoly anyone?!

Galss tile game table from Mosaica

Glass tile game table from Mosaica

Any style you can think of (and some you’ve never imagined) are available, in a full range of price points.  For added elegance and function, hang a small chandelier directly above the center of the game table, at about 32″ off the table. Now you’ve really got something!

You’ll love the extra seating for diners provided by a game table  when you have a large crowd.  You can even choose one that extends with leaves.  Crate and Barrel has a round extension table called The Cabria that would serve well as a game table, and double as an extra dining table when needed.  Now you have the potential to seat an extra 8 at big holidays, without dragging out the old folding table!

Freeman Game Table with leather chairs. (http://www.frontgate.com/jump.jsp?itemType=PRODUCT&itemID=6078)

Freeman Game Table with leather chairs from www.frontgate.com

When creating a floor plan,  it may even be worh the loss of a club chair to create room for a game table, considering the many advantages and versatility you’ll gain.

If space is tight, a small game table.or chess table  for two is also functional and pretty, especially centered under a window.


February 15, 2009

Home Decorating Tips For Mother’s Day

Filed under: Color usage, Fabric Usage, Flowers, Furniture, Gifts, Holidays, Larchmont — Leona Gaita @ 5:17 PM

Professional Interior Designer Leona Gaita of Gaita Interiors of Larchmont, New York provides gift ideas and home decorating advice for those who wish to thank that most special lady of all – Mom.

Larchmont, NY (PRWEB) May 4, 2009 — In the spirit of Mother’s Day, Westchester County-based interior designer Leona Gaita of Gaita Interiors presents several home decorating suggestions and gift ideas for those looking to show appreciation to the mother in their life.

“A woman’s home is her castle, and her favorite sanctuary,” explains Gaita. “These decorating tips and gifts are universal – while also very personal – ways to make any Mom feel like a well-loved and honored queen on Mother’s Day.”

* A new outdoor plant, like an azalea or hydrangea, or even a baby tree. Gaita: “I received a plum tree for Mother’s Day five years ago, and it makes me happy every day!”
* A glazed ceramic pot for the patio, filled with Mom’s favorite annuals, to be enjoyed all summer.
* A framed art print by a favorite artist – medium-sized, so that it can be hung anywhere. Gaita: “There are some great sites online that allow you to preview the art in the frame of your choice. The selection is huge, and they’re fast.”
* Plenty of cut flowers – old-fashioned, but always loved. Gaita: “Flowers from a florist shop are festive, but fresh picked from the garden are lovely too. Tie them up with a grograin ribbon for a pretty presentation. Put a small bouquet in every room, to make Mom feel very special!”
* A punch list of handy jobs around the house. Gaita: “Make sure this list has been completed! This a great gift that will make Mom very happy.”
* A dozen beautiful new fabric napkins, in a pretty spring color.
* A dozen place mats, the kind that can be wiped and put away. Crate and Barrel has a nice selection ranging from wood to woven vinyl to rattan.
* A pair of outdoor throw pillows in happy colors. Gaita: “All the better for afternoon napping under a shady tree!”
* A cozy soft cashmere throw in a fresh spring color.
* A good current picture of the kids in a beautiful frame.

Gaita concludes, “Remember, gifts don’t need to be expensive, to make Mom happy What a woman wants on Mother’s Day is for a gift to show that you know, appreciate, and understand her.”

Leona Gaita is a professional interior design specialist with over twenty-five years of experience, arranging residential spaces and beautifying homes in the greater New York metropolitan area. More tips from Leona can be found on her interior design blog at http://www.gaitainteriors.com/blog.

February 14, 2009

Love in the Time of Recession

Filed under: Color usage, Fabric Usage, Flowers, Furniture, Gifts, Holidays, Larchmont, Paint, Wall Decoration — Leona Gaita @ 5:41 PM

Long-time New York Interior Designer Leona Gaita offers cost-friendly decorating tips for turning your domicile into a romantic get-away, and celebrating at home this Valentine’s Day.

Larchmont, NY (PRWEB) February 13, 2009 — As the economic crisis grows more worrisome, more couples are hesitant to splurge on a night out, even on perennial date nights like Valentine’s Day. “Going out is not romantic – you’re going to a crowded noisy restaurant, you’re on a schedule, one of you has to be the designated driver, and so on” quips Leona Gaita, interior design specialist at Gaita Interiors of Larchmont, New York and Westchester County areas. “With the right atmosphere, a night at home can be far more intimate and memorable.”

How can one achieve this romantic environment? To spice up your home, and your love life, Leona suggests making some smart, mood-enhancing additions. Most will be small investments that you can continue to enjoy long after the holiday is over.

Lighting – It’s all about pleasing the senses. The first rule for creating a romantic environment – tone down the lighting! Every room should have dimmers installed. Bright, glaring overhead lights are not sexy; soft, ambient (not to mention energy-saving) lighting is key. This is a long term investment that is not costly: a dimmer will cost about $20 to $30, and it can install be installed by oneself. Another trick for romantic lighting – change from white lampshades to softly colored, earth-toned lamp shades for a more flattering illumination.

Living Room – For a more intimate and cozy Valentine’s dinner, make your living room into a dining room conducive to relaxation and romance. Place a faux fur throw on the floor next to a gaming table, and voila! Put it next to the fireplace and you’ve got a night to remember – try duplicating THAT in a restaurant!

Don’t have a fireplace? In the past, adding one was a major renovation, if even possible. Now there are many relatively inexpensive vent-less portable fireplaces available, as well as eco-friendly. It’s surprising how lovely many of them are, and there’s no surer way to add a romantic feel to a room than to light a roaring fire.

A cashmere throw is wonderful way to show your sweetheart how you feel. Sensual, cozy and luxurious, a high quality throw makes a lasting gift of love, while adding a splash of warm color to the room. Choose red, deep raspberry, or purple to stay in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. Another way to delight the sense of touch is to bring in some soft-filled velvet pillows, in a range of different colors. Try a cherry red and chocolate brown combination – very sexy, almost edible!

Bedroom – Try switching to lacy white bedding: it’s romantic while being practical, since white bedding is available at all price points, and easy to launder. Layer it with your cashmere throw and one crushed velvet heart-shaped pillow. A fabric canopy for the bed is easy to put up, using fabric panels and rods. An upholstered wall behind the bed makes a cushiony, luxurious substitute for a wood headboard.

For the big day, the traditional additions of flowers, scented candles, soft music, and a good bottle of wine will complete an intimate mini-staycation for two. Dim the lights…who cares about the recession!

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