Accessorizing - The Final Frontier

Mantlescape by Jane Moore

This week The Skirted Roundtable tackles accessorizing, the final touches that make a room special. We talk about how to accessorize shelves, how we feel about using books that no one has, or ever will, read, and what we think about mantlescapes and lampshades, among other things.

Bookshelves and lampshades by Charlotte Moss

As always, we encourage you to leave a comment with your thoughts and ideas. The comments have all been so great lately, and they encourage even more conversation. And, be sure to listen in the coming weeks when we will be interviewing a few of America's top interior designers!!

Shelves accessorized by Charles Faudree


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Linda Merrill said…
I can't stop staring at the Charles Faudree room... love it. The black floor, the shells!
Terry said…
This one was tasty but way to much to eat at one sitting. It brought up a pet peeve: Better not touch anything on the shelves once they've been "done." Honestly a picture hung on a book case, so you can't reach the books, is beautiful but reinforces the no-touch idea.

The idea I liked best - y'all didn't quite get there: The beauty of a working room as opposed to a staged room, work materials as accessories. A room where things (other than photo shoots) get done.

The great frosted/clear bulb fight was fun. Chandelier bulbs can be migraine triggers for me.
Anonymous said…
HATE coffee/cocktail tables. LOVE tea tables. They are so much more versatile and since they are higher, there is less of a chance that I will stumble into them if not wearing my glasses.
Kimberly said…
This was one of my favorite discussions to date.

Think I prefer to accessorize with (for the most part) things that I can or would use. Linda, you're so funny... the Charles Faudree room feels so staged and uncomfortable to me (maybe it's in a showhouse?) I'd be afraid to remove a book from one of those shelves.

Joni, I always wondered if the flowers in your home were real or artificial - now I know. Potted flowers. That's the BEST idea! Why didn't I think of that?! Megan, I love orchids, but I kill them. Any suggestions?

So many ideas. I'll now be searching for an "old fashioned stamp," pictures to hang from my bookcases....

Thank you!
katiedid said…
I am a plant killer too. But I do love trees like Fiddle Leaf Figs. I saw some 6 foot trees at IKEA recently for $50, normally something like this is around $250 or more. I could kick myself for not getting one.....really kick myself. Oh...and if you have a Trader Joe's flowers and potted plants....and very inexpensive. They usually have a whole room devoted to flowers....and they have a huge variety of orchids.
About books...I like the look od uniformity, but the "idea" of useless books lining shelves just "sticks in my craw" (I love this expression and the whole history of it....but that's another story.) I think even Charlotte Moss has her bookshelves full of books she actually uses. Oh, and one last thing....I love books in a Dining Room. Duel purpose room, especially when one does not eat often in the room.
Phew...long winded here....sorry!
cotedetexas said…
Kimberly - great comment! Yes, I have potted flowers, and usually they are hydrangeas and orchids. They just last so much longer and than fresh cut flowers, but that said - I do get real flowers maybe once a month? sometimes once every two months sometimes twice a month. Ben brings them home from the grocery store = not a huge expensve at all.
72 and sunny said…
Kimberly, the potted Hydrangaes can be found at Trader Joe's (if you're fortunate enough to have one close by) and the Orchids there are dirt cheap around $14.00 for the little ones and under $30.00 for the larger. I also noticed that Ralphs grocery store had some cheap Orchids.

They say to add a few ice cubes a few time a week. The key is not to over water. Which is why for, the ever neglectful plant owner, ME,these work well.

Katie, I LOVE the fiddle head ficus! I found that they're seasonal. You can't find them anywhere in the spring. I tried to find them one day when we were installing a house and I ignorantly thought we could just run out and pick a couple up. Not so! Grab them when you see them!
Deborah said…
Loved the discussion - I kept thinking about my breakfast room, two sides lined with built in book shelves. When we first moved in, my most favorite day of decorating/unpacking was doing those shelves. It's one of the most creative areas one can enjoy putting together.
Anonymous said…
this is sorry
clients who dont read and have decorators supporting it by propping them
all this talk - is not the point of your blogs
to show your work - stop putting up others pictures , put pictures of your jobs - let us see and decide.

Do you have "pre-pro" meetings? You come up with topics, did it occur to any of you to have cdt put up photos of the job(s) you all spoke so much about?
Your not having a girlfriend conversation - you have an audience, you invited us, now serve dinner -did it occur to any of you that while we listened we would open a second window and want to see what she what was being talked about .
Your talking about visual things -you have the power to both

" the picture is worth a thousand words "

p.s dont judge the anons - because we dont have or want and id
Linda, great editing...absolutely beautiful music at the end...I adored it. Too bad you couldn't put 5-10 seconds at the beginning...Great conversation today. I always take off the book covers - I love the feel of the actual book, starting to love house plants (they grow fresh air you know! 15 will give 2000 sq.ft. home clean oxygen all day, every day) - love succulents best! Joni, I have always thought that your blue and white oversized bowls filled with family snapshots is a great solution and nice touch - Megan, your coral fixture sounds so lovely against a blue sea location. You 3 are like 'The View' for Design. I enjoy the differences of style and opinions you share. Signing off from Huntsville, ON....hotel room...with men downing beers and talking hockey outside the door...ugh...Liberty Post
cotedetexas said…
to anon - I have put up lots of pictures of my work. I have a site on decorati with some of it. I also have shown pictures of my house - which is my work. i don't put all my work online because some clients do not like it AND some of it is not representative of my work - it's what the client wanted. I guess you don't read my blog because you would know I have shown my work a lot.

And the reason why bloggers show other people's work is to make a point. We don't all have 100s of clients a year with 100s of pictures. At this point I'm lucky to have five good clients going in this economy.

Also, have YOU ever tried to decorate 20 shelves with NO books? I'd love to see you try. When clients have empty BOOKcases and no books, what are you supposed to do? fill the BOOKCASES with toys?

You seem to really have a problem with SRT - why dont you just stop listening - you might find something much better to do with your 30 minutes. I mean - if I don't like a program, I don't watch it, rather than just complain about it. I don't see the point.

AND one last point - the reason why ANONS are so aggravating is that there may be 3 ANONS - and it's hard to tell if it is just one person or two or three. Just make up a fake name or say Anon2 - whenever you sign in then we can know if its the same aNon as last week. Understand?
Beth Connolly said…
I thought this episode was a little like the one on Halloween decorating-more about what you don't like than what you do. But it was great fun. I must say, I don't agree with you three much on accessorizing. I get the feeling you all feel that accessorizing is too staged. I think my house is gorgeous and I love----

1. Throws in luscious colors in cashmere or mohair on a sofa, chair, or bed
2. Pattern in general
3. Patterned pillows-antique Fortuny, antique Aubusson, Cowtan & Tout linen velvet or velvet epingle, hand-painted silk, just to name a few
4. Silk flowers-Diane James are exquisite-sold at very high end stores like Neiman Marcus. Sophy Dahy Designs also makes beautiful ones. I have them all over my house and guests walk up and smell them. Dust them weekly like anything else with a dust feather or canned air.
5. Where was the discussion of creating beautiful tablescapes?
6. I love a "staged" cocktail table. Don't you and most clients have a library or home office for a work surface?
7. Lampshades in red, green, peach, black, and beige silk can be wonderful in the right room. I also like lining a shade in pale pink.
8. I ALWAYS keep the dust jackets on books.

To listen to you all, you would think you liked rooms sparse and functional, devoid of many accessories. To me, accessorizing is where the real art of decorating comes in. But then, I adore hats, gloves, stilettos, and designer handbags too. I would have liked to have heard what you do like.

P.S. to Joni-I told you to stop permitting anonymous comments many times. You could and should have as far as I am concerned. They are neither constructive nor enjoyable.
Kimberly said…
Not that y'all need me to defend you, but I have so say, I think you've asked for suggestions from all your listeners, so if we have a problem with what you are or aren't talking about, we certainly can make suggestions via email, can we not?
Kimberly said…
Oh and... we're not paying you for this, are we?
Linda Merrill said…
Kimberly (the one at the top) I know - I realized that while I SAID I prefer function, I WAS still drooling over that photo that has a whole lot of non-functioning items. See, we all think we believe one thing, and then get caught up. Meanwhile, in truth, it's the color palette and overall feel I admire. I'd still personally struggle with all the fake books. But, like everything, a matter of personal preference.

As for the Anon who asked why we don't show our own pics, as Joni said, we do show our own work on our own blogs when appropriate and we all show pics of other designer's work to illustrate points. There's another reason we have to be careful about our own pics - if you show your own work in a blog that you might want to submit for publishing, magazines may well reject the project because it was shown before. I ran a long story on my blog this week on a project I did and the photographer's process of shooting the space. I am running the risk that no one will want to publish it, but felt it was worth it to showcase the photographer. And, I had displayed the photo of another designer as part of that post and they asked me to remove the image because it's under consideration for publication and they didn't want to ruin their chances. So, please don't just assume you know all the reasons why we do or don't do certain things.
cotedetexas said…
Kimberly and Anon -
we do ask for suggestions, but you have realize that when anon asks that I be removed from the SRT - it's hard to be gracious about it. whatever.

As for pictures being shown - we do show our own work on our blogs - except Megan - her clients have requested anonyminity. I do think I put my work up for discussion and it's been good and bad. And I do try to use illustrations that match what we talk about. For instance - holiday decorating - those images were the exact ones we discussed. But as for having the pictures for every example we talk about it - that would be impossible. hopefully we are able to describe things without the visual. And being as this is a conversation - things veer off into topics that weren't planned.

As for this not being a conversation between girlfriends - that is where you are wrong. We all are missing in our real lives girlfriends and boyfriends who share our intense love of design. Therefore, we are drawn to blogging to meet others like ourselves. the SRT is just an extension - an audio version - of blogging friends talking about design.

And finally, we don't call ourselves experts, nor is this a college course, we don't charge to listen - it's just all good fun hopefully - and hopefully, you will get some ideas along the way and listen to some pretty fabulous guest interior designers too.
cotedetexas said…
Style Redux:
I am so sorry you felt that I am not one for accessorizing! Have you ever seen my house - I am bulging at the seams!!! But - perhaps you were equating what we do for clients and what we like ourselves. Plus, the three of us live in totally different places. Megan has a very tiny beach house with 4 people and 2 dogs - she doesn't have the luxury of space. linda, lives alone in a townhouse - with more space and I live in a house with more things than space.

but i really think you might have misread me because I am a shopoholic for my house. You are right that we discussed decorating trends we see on the wane - like throws and trims. Decorating seems to be trending towards more clean spaces, gray furniture, bigger and few accessories and perhaps that is where we are heading - but I struggle between this and the love of clutter everyday and the clutter wins out.

Silk flowers though are personal, just like frosted vs. clear lightbulbs. Now who would think you could argue about lightbulbs for 5 minutes?

Great, great comment!!!! Thanks!
cotedetexas said…
Style Redux - more

about tablescapes - you know, we try to limit the recording to 30 minutes. We had planned to really talk about shelves - how we like to decorate shelves and then we veered off that as it usually happens. We never got around to tablescapes - that would have been another 30 minutes. as for coffee tables- I do love staged coffee tables! my whole house is staged but unfortunately - my husband messes up my coffee table with his books and junk that I am forever trying to restage behind him!!! Ive seen your house - parts of it - and I agree, it is absolutely beautiful! My house is very staged also - I wouldn't have it any other way. I love to change around my tables all the time - I brought up how I struggle with dining room table staging though. Right now I am happy with mine finally! But it might change again soon.

We are probably more alike than not i would guess.
Kimberly said…
Oh I'm so sorry, Joni. By y'all, I meant you, Megan and Linda. I just don't understand the negative comments from some of your listeners. I feel like what you guys do is a service to us... and it's free! I love listening and, like I said, I found this one particularly fun. The three of you seem to have a rhythm going now and it's great. The "suggestions" comment... I was trying to say, if people want you to discuss other things, send an email, don't complain about it. You three certainly have no reason to have to defend yourselves.
cotedetexas said…
Kimberly - I hope you realize I was talking to the Anon who has been on my back for some reason - ??? I have no idea why, but she/he really has a case for me, even insinuated that she can "hear" it in Megan and Linda's voices that they don't want me on the SRT! This has been going on for a few weeks now. It's not bothering me, but I want her to understand that we are trying to do our best - and if our best is not good enough, then just go listen to someone else on blog radio or podbean or wherever. You know? I couldn't agree with you more!!!!!!!!!!! It's hard to please everyone, no matter how much we try!! Be sure to tune in for the next few weeks - we are going to be having some great guests. thanks so much for all your support.

Unknown said…
It has been fun listening to you. I believe in very individual decorating. Things meaningful to the owners of the place, mixed with some deco stuff.
I am a reader, so books are somewhat sacred to me and I would never just buy books for deco me snob! My books naturally creep up all over the place, not just in shelves, but on the floor stucked up against the wall, on tables...
But I have to say I've got them for clients, who basically had only a bunch of paperbacks to account for.
But then again, I tried to relate, like books of their heritage, or beautiful coffee table books, one actually wants to open up once in a while!

Anyway, love all that, I love different shades of lamps, clear bulbs, live flowers, some plants,
lived in place with all the accesoires needed to get through life. I am hot about all types of collections, shells, boxes, miniatures, artwork, so on. They are great items to decorate with. Jewelry too!
Bit British country estate mixed with modern touches....
One last thing: change is good, also in decorating, otherwise it looks staged, dusty and aged after a while.
Good listening, as always!

I liked to hear all of your different and then similar takes on things!

We have a major book dilema in our house...I imagine we could stock one of the bookless clients shelves and not even notice a dent.Our problem is they get pulled out so much...and never put back that everything is quite wonky...often. Yet such is life in this wonky casa.

Flowers...Nothing like real...but a dirty little secret of mine is to have a few great silks (in my case tropical,,,heliconia, ginger) and nest them in with tons of real greens (banana leaves, palm, philodendron...) you would never know...and it s still mostly living (and changing)

Thanks again for you wonderful perspective...always a joy!
Anonymous said…
"we do show our own work on our blogs - except Megan - her clients have requested anonymity."

Oh come on--ALL of them have requested that?
Maria Killam said…
Great talk and informative as always ladies! Beautiful example you've shown here that's for sure, I love coral and shells as decorative objects.

Interesting to read all the comments. . . Joni, yours are the most fun!!
Unknown said…
The idea of books as props leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. I love books. Adore them. Read 3-4 novels a week. A book should be loved. Treasured. Shared.

I read that Jackie O had huge stacks of books in her house--- piles everywhere. It was something Hillary Clinton tried to replicate in her house in Rye, without much success.

My book display could definitely use a magic touch- but they always have to be within reach...
mary said…
Thanks for the great Sunday morning. Lots to digest and an answer to one of my questions--the lampshades: am deciding on what to have fabricated for two pairs of muranos: going with cream. Thanks so much.
Jaime said…
Well ladies, as always, I really enjoyed your post! And here is my feedback...I agree with Linda in regards to accessories being pragmatic as well as decorative and I definitely utilize light fixtures as sculpture, in a weird way I am kind of turned on by functional art, lol. Having said that, I do use throws as well, as I love to curl up with a cashmere throw when lounging, and yes...even in sunny Florida;) As for florals, I am adamantly opposed to silk florals and, for the most part, dried florals too. However, the lavender Joni spoke of sounds gorgeous! I too, utilize orchids, potted plants, herbs, boxwood and leaves/stems as they last forever, are inexpensive or free (leaves/stems) and breath life into a space. There is a site, Nettle Hollow, which sells beautiful preserved items, you may enjoy some of their offerings. I think a house without flowers or books is one of the saddest visions ever.
Jaime Rogers said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaime Rogers said…
Oh and Style Redux are preaching my sermon! Cashmere, Fortuny and Pink Lined Shades, oh my;)
Kathysue said…
Ladies, fun discussion, I found myself wanting to talk to all three of you so that tells me it was a good and inspiring discussion. I think for those of us that listen to the SRT we come waiting to hear what each of you have to say, whether we agree or not it is always entertaining. I like th eway you keep it real and don't claim to know it all but just talk about your own experiences, whether it be trial or error. Keep up the interesting talks.As far as real flowers vs. fake I have to vote for real, even one rose in a bud vase is better than a large silk bouquet. IMHO Kathysue
Hi, ladies, fun discussion! I love books, but just don't have room for a lot of them, so I bring home a few for a bookcase and to use as risers & extras for accessorizing with. I totally don't see a problem with that. I love antique books I see in magazines & would def. get some of those if I had more room. That's the problem, love my stuff & all that goes with it.

I'm in the process of getting rid of all my fake flowers & plants (maybe keeping 2 or 3 nice ones). I love bringing in real plants & I'm going to work really hard to get more of them & make them live in my house. I have quite a few already & they really aren't that hard to take care of.
Jenny C. said…
Hi Ladies,

It's 6:16 pm PST on Sunday and I can't get the SRT to play for me. Did you suspend it or is there a snafu with the transmission? I hope it's back up and running soon...accessorizing is one of my favorite topics.
Jenny C. said…
Hi again,

I just skimmed through the comments section after I posted mine and I have to say I'm appalled by the Anonymous person. GO AWAY! This forum is to be savored by those of us who appreciate these three women's perspectives. And, like anything offered through media, take what you like and leave the rest. If you don't like it, don't listen. And, frankly, you are a coward hiding behind Anonymous. It's not hard to put your name in.
Jaime Rogers said…
Lol, i tried to remove a message due to a typo; however, after reading some of the more "aggreesive" comments, I am afraid my "removal of message" entry looks as though I may have posted a bitter comment as opposed to simply being sloppy on the keyboard;) I thought I could just erase it altogether and no one would be aware of my poor typing much for that thought;)
72 and sunny said…
My coffee table is actually 'staged'. I love creating ever changing tablescapes. I'm not sure that I mentioned that or it made it on the show. The room with my coffee table is the one room where we all gather. I'm able to keep it pretty free of detritus. Occaisionally I have to pick up a stuffed animal or a handful of crayons that one of the girls has left out.

But I like to update it with fresh flowers, interesting vintage items, mixed in with stacked books etc. btw, if I were ever to use fake, Sophie Dahy IS THE WAY TO GO. Her work is incredible.

As for pillows, that was Joni who mentioned being into big color blocks. I actually love to use pattern on pillows. And my home own is not short on patterns!

and as for anon, I feel like I'm dealing with a petulant pre-teen, who needs to argue just to be contrary. You tire/bore me. My work can be seen on flickr, and my own site. Have a blast.
La Maison Fou said…
Well, well thanks girls for another interesting episode of SRT. I must say that while I am doing the mondane balancing of the checkbook or paying bills I relish that I can have the SRT in the background. There are always going to be some agreeable topics and the unagreeable ones but all in all it is always fun & informative to me.
Carry on gals!
As much as I love with you have guests on the "show", it's these discussions - just the 3 of you - that are the reason while I love this blog/podcast! You're keeping me company today while making roasted pumpkin soup!

Until later,
Maria Killam said…
Joni, do you really think $250 is expensive to decorate a bookshelf. Darn, I thought I had done so well :) I didn't even have to buy any books!! Thanks for your comment. I love this conversation we get to listen to every week!
Drewelle said…
Looking forward to more participation in such a wonderful site.
Lauren said…
Hi! Ok, clearly I'm about 2 months late listening to this but I have to tell you how much I just LOVED this one!!! (how did I miss it??)

So many relevant topics broached... With rooms, I personally want them to feel "real." I like to think that the pics I'm looking in the mags are real & used, although I know how staged they probably really are. I love "shopping the house" with clients & trying to get them to see beauty in things that previously they thought of as junk. I've had some geat find in garages & storage areas & even yards. ... And yes, like you all said, taking the dust jackets off books is the easiest thing to do! Of course it's often the pretty things you find on a shopping trip that makes the room come alive, but it really is important to me that spaces feel personal & lived in & real.

That being said, there are definitely many cases when my clients don't have anything for a space & I've gone out & purchased pretty antique books that fit the color scheme & accessorized spaces to the hilt. I always love how these rooms look and of course am picking pieces that speak to me & that I think they would love, but sometimes I do feel a little fakey when doing rooms this way.

oh and i have to say i LOVE throws on my sofa & chairs because I am one of those weird ppl who pretty much never actually sits (at least in my own home) but rather curls up anywhere & everywhere. Don't know what it is but I just always want a blanket on me so we have them all over. (And like Megan said, it does get messy! Plus having down throw pillows, it looks like I've nested wherever I've sat!) But I do temd to put them in client's homes because I guess I just think they want them too- hahaha but maybe not many ppl are like this! :)

For the flowers, I'm really not into fake ones in my own home or clients' homes but am not adverse to seeing them in others' homes & have seen them look really pretty. But I agree with you that you almost stop seeing them when they're not real. I mixed in a fake topiary with my real ones (because i KILL plants) & people think it's real but I know it's fake and it just bothers me.

...on the plant note, I just LOVE ferns & topiaries & pretty trees inside but I am a KILLAH!!! I try SO SO HARD and it's just awful. TO the point where my husband rolls his eyes when I bring a new one home. BUT Megan, will be trying an orchid again (I actually killed mine pretty quickly) and will try the ice cube thing. You also brought up ferns in the bathroom & I think I'm going to give them another go! Ours is so steamy and maybe I can get a little thriving bathroom garden going on a shelf??

And as far as the lightbulbs go, I really do like them both ways- clear & frosted. I guess it's all what you're going for but I have clear ball ones in my chandy in the DR and it casts the cool stick shapes all over the ceilings, which -like Linda- I love. I also like to see crystal sparkles thrown around... But the frosted often feels more functional for general... And I have yet to try those silicon-tipped ones.

Ok, so I guess in the end I like spaces to be a mix of beauty & function & love it when functional things look beautiful. But also, if you're someone who's crazy over design & decorating & accessories like most of us are, then I do think that it almost is functional to have lots of accessories that aren't truly functional in the traditional sense because they're useful to us personally bc they're beautiful & make us happy.

Ok, I wrote a book & am SO sorry for the long comment but there's just so much you make me think of! :) Snowed in here & just got chatty!!