January 31, 2018:


Today is the Super Duper Blue Red Full Eclipse Partial Eclipse Moon, depending on where you may be viewing from.

Three years ago this day was my last day of working and I retired after 46 years of full-time work. I've enjoyed every single moment of my retirement since then - three years and hoping for twenty more, we'll see how things go...

February and March can be cruel months in southeastern Wisconsin where I live. January itself was nutso here weather-wise, with two separate thaws. I don't ever remember getting two January thaws before, and many years none happened at all.

Before I know it I'll be headed to Las Vegas to visit my friends and celebrate some sunshine and warm weather, and see a show (I always try to squeeze one in). Meanwhile, I am continuing, slowly, to make this smaller retirement ranch into a home that makes me smile in every room. I still have lots to do, including major painting projects. I keep putting them off. Seems at 66 I'm not so keen on painting as I was at 36. Gee, I wonder why...


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pretty Ad for Ballard Designs: The Look for Less

From time to time, many years before I thought about starting this particular blog, I would visit Ballard Designs online from time to time to ogle their latest offerings.  Ballard Designs is too expensive for me generally, but I have always enjoyed looking over their fine collection of wares.

In my last issue of Traditional Home I came across this ad and I tore it out (thus the uneven side, even though I did attempt to trim it evenly with a scissors - I'm hopeless when it comes to cutting something straight!) -- meaning to scan it.  Today, finally, I got the image scanned in:

Unfortunately there was some bleedthrough of print from the other side of the page.

 I was attracted to many elements in this room, which has a blue-grey and light taupe color scheme.  Love the two chairs with the "zebra" upholstery!  Love the leather ottoman being used as a coffee table; love the orchid; love the mirror.  The color scheme is appealing -- the soft blue-grey of the lamp and accessories was the first thing that caught my age when I flipped the magazine page and saw this ad.  I like the blue cushions.  I love the color of the lamp and would even have such a lamp in my home, although it looks a tad "modern" in design in contrast to what I usually like. 

I took a look around BD this afternoon because, unfortunately, while I should be painting the kitchen or, at the very least, removing wall paper in the family room, I have zero motivation to do either!  I should be taking a nap, too.  That will come later; had a late one yesterday (from 4 to 6 p.m.) and it felt so wonderful!

(1) The mirror is the Portofino Mirror, 42" diameter!  Gigantic!  It also costs $299 and is not wood but plastic, made in China.  Shipping is expensive.

(2) The chair is the Julia chair, and covered in the "Nomad" print, $861.00. The Julia chair is made in the USA.  But at $861.00 this is far more than I would ever pay for a single chair, no matter how much love at first sight it was.  Sigh.

(3) The Kent leather ottoman is $599.00, in the ad above it is upholstered in "almond."  It is 34" square and 15" high.  Made in Thailand. 

Is it just me, or doesn't it seem that these items are all excessively expensive for mostly being made in China?  Whatever the case, it is a beautifully put-together room.

Can I get the look for less?

(1) Substitute for Portofina 42" inch mirror at $299.  This is a tough one.  I'm looking right now at a Next-tag search and only at mirrors that cost less than $299.  None are 42" in diameter and none I've seen have the same segmented frame.  This one is somewhat similar but not as large:

This mirror is from Moremirrors.com, Hancock Village 36" wide, polyurethane frame, antique white finish.  $269.91.  The same mirror is available at Lamps Plus for $229.91.

A little bit different look - much less mirror and much more frame, at 32" wide, is the Howard Elliot Casey Round Mirror in White at $221.99.  

I could not find a comparable size mirror for the price offered at Ballard Designs.

(2) Substitute for the tufted "Julia" chair at $861.00. Julia's price varies depending upon the upholstery selected.  I visited Home Decorators and found this chair:

This is the Graham fabric chair.  As far as I can tell, it is only available in this twill khaki colored fabric.  The price is $369.00 plus $50.00 for shipping. 

I also found this incredibly inexpensive chair at Target.  It does not have a tufted back or curvy legs but it has gorgeous lines and I love the upholstery.  Best of all, the price is $169.99 plus $19.99 (at the moment) for shipping!  It has the "look" minus the high price tag:

This is the Swoop upholstered accent chair in in Botany Taupe

At a higher price point, also at Home Decorators, is the Birkin chair:

The Birkin, with tufted back, rolled arms and curvy front legs, offers several different upholsteries.  This is "natural print."  It is priced at $649.00 plus $100.00 shipping.  Pricey but still less than Ballard Design's chair.  I'm really digging this French script chair, but it's out of my price range, alas.

Back at Target, I stumbled across this pair of chairs for $799.99 plus special shipping offer of $49.99:

These are Joussard linen, medium size chairs, in beige

(3) Substitute for the Kent leather ottoman at $599.00, 34" square and 15" high.  From Target:

It's not in leather:  Button-tufted upholstered ottoman in Sandstone, 100% linen fabric, 35" x 35" and 18" high.  $230.99 plus $29.99 special for shipping.

From Penney's:

Not leather, Jamar solid cocktail table, velvet taupe with dark expresso wood finish, $200 everyday price, 35" x 35" by 15 1/2" high.  Available in many other colors.

The above all-leather ottoman is from Vive Decor.  It is the Diamond Sofa Zen All Leather Tufted Square Cocktail Ottoman in Mocca, 40" x 40" by 18" high.  $499.00, with free shipping.

(4) Substitute for Suzanne Kasler large gourd lamp at $169.00 in French blue, 29" tall. 

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