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Summer 2010

Decor * Events * Travel * Trends * Ideas

Premier Issue

::Surroundings:: ine z : : E :: mag for ving i L ive t a r o Dec

::Surroundings:: Magazine for Decorative Living | ŠLinda Merrill | 781-585-0275 |



::E:: zine f o r Dec orat ive L iving

Nature, the mother of all decorators.



Edith Wharton, the Fairy Godmother

Photo Album The Funnies Because who said decorating couldn’t be funny?

I asked on Facebook: “Where can I find a well-priced faux baby ostrich leather?” Answer: “From a faux mommy ostrich?” ~ Meg Fairfax Fielding,

Painted ceiling panel at The Wishbasket, Newburyport, MA

Pigtown Design blog

Capturing Art Capturing Life

Hot summer days



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Summer 2010 IN THIS ISSUE

Greetings! Well, I had an itch. I’ve been fascinated by the new wave of digital shelter magazines that have sprouted up recently and was dying to give it a go myself. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a techno-geek. Instead, I am a communications geek. I love new and inventive ways to communicate thoughts and ideas about design and decorating. Whether it’s communicating my design vision to clients both far and near, or it’s sharing what inspires me or simply makes me happy via my blogs and podcasts - I feel that technology is a great means to an end. But, in the end, it’s all about great design and being inspired.

Photo Album Just for fun


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A Tale of Two Condos: Why Staging Pays

Finding Style at the W Hotel Boston Featuring Photos by Michael J. Lee

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French Riviera Fashion 2010 Written by Diane Danielson

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Dirty Deeds Done With Heart Paying it Forward

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On My Drawing Board: A Little Girl’s Fantasy

And so, I was inspired to create this new digital magazine (mag::E::zine?) and see where it leads. Since 2002 I have sent out a newsletter via Constant Contact and that has been a wonderful tool and has garnered excellent opportunities for me. I feel that it’s now time to move up to this next level and I hope you will join me here! I’d love to know you thoughts what works and what doesn’t. So please keep in touch and feel free to forward the link to anyone you know who might like to join my list!

Surroundings. Finds. Style.

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Who, What, Where & When

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Products of note

Credits and Contacts

ON THE COVER Linda’s kitchen bar. Photo by Michael J. Lee Styling by Linda Merrill




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A Tale of Two Condos: Why Staging Pays

I've done some home staging for a few clients over the years, but more often in my area, sellers don't see the value and don't want to spend the money. And, honestly, it's always a bit of a crap shoot. I did An empty living room one home a few years ago and it sold during the first weekend on the market in a bidding war. But another house I worked on, which was on the market for nearly $9M, is still on the market after several years and several price reductions. There are no guarantees. However, in a tough market such as the one we’ve been in, putting a little extra into your “product” (read: house) may just give you the edge over the next guy. I was recently condo shopping with a friend and client who is looking for a small pied-a-terre in Boston. One of the buildings we checked out is a full service concierge type new building - lots of amenities including valet parking (which I would love!) We saw two basically identical units on different floors and with different views. The first unit we saw was empty, the second fully staged. The difference was amazing and I wanted to share just what a difference staging can make. CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE ARTICLE...

The staged living room makes sense

Don’t leave it up to the potential buyers imagination!

“An empty house is like a stray dog, or a body from which life has departed.” ~ Samuel Butler



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Finding Style at the W Hotel: From empty boxes to stylish dwellings A couple of months ago, I visited the W Hotel in Boston. To say I was unimpressed would be putting it mildly. I'd attended a design/build industry function and we were Nothing but view | Photo by Linda Merrill given tours of the upper floor condominiums and a couple of the hotel rooms. By the time I left, I was literally angry at how depressing the place seemed. Since then a swarm of über talented designers have had their way with the condos on one floor and they have been transformed, Phoenix-like from the ashes. Design by: Meichi Peng | Photo by Michael J. Lee

Kevin Ahearn of Otis and Ahearn and Peter Webster of Webster & Co. had the fabulous idea to turn the entire 20th floor of the building (7 units of differing sizes and configurations) into a Designer Showhouse that will be available for fundraisers, open hour tours, etc. The plan is for these spaces to be up for an entire year - which is an amazing thing, considering most showhouses are up for 2-3 weeks tops. It's a huge commitment for the designers, vendors and contractors who participated on this project. Photographer Michael J. Lee was hired to shoot the final projects and shared some of his favorite images.

Design by Ally Coulter | Photo by Michael J. Lee

Join me








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French Riviera Fashion 2010 by Diane K. Danielson

Diane K Danielson

Each year I’m fortunate to have a good excuse to visit the French Riviera (taking my son to see his grandparents), and while I generally have a list of items I want to pick up at the boutiques and flea markets and I always make a note of the new fashion trends as they tend to pop up later in the States.

Tolani | West Elm

1. Animal prints. They were everywhere: cheetah, tiger, leopard, etc. Outfits featured multiple prints and actual catsuits. My takeaway – a little bit of animal print goes a very long way. How about a fun bag with some patches of print, or a pair of shoes? I may pull out an old animal print scarf I bought in the 90s this spring to liven up a few of my suits – but this time I’ll wear it tied around my waist as a belt.

4. The Satchel/ Messenger bag.

Worn with a long strap, these bags were in traditional colors (brown, black, and that Piero Tucci | House to Home slate blue/grey), and reminded me a bit of the 80s. Yet, they are infinitely practical, so I picked one up.

2. Fringe.

Chanel, Jaeger & Pugh | MJ Trim

Fringe on booties (the shoes, not the body part); fringe on purses; fringe on coats, pants and skirts. You name it and the designers were putting fringe on it. While I’m a fan of last year’s ruffles, ruffles everywhere, I’ll take a pass on this trend.

3. Western.

Yes, for some reason, Urban Cowboy is making a comeback. Cowboy boots were Raiarox on Etsy | everywhere in Scot Meacham Wood Designs the fall collections. Although, note that most of them were shorter booties rather than an actual cowboy boot (and of course they sported fringe). The new color seems to be a slate blue/ grey.

5. The Little White Summer Dress. These

were ubiquitous at the beach and strolling along the streets of St. Tropez. Like the classic LBD (little black dress), they come in all shapes, sizes and textures. I really liked the crocheted ones with 60s styling, and the classic cotton/linen 1950s Grace Kelley styles with the full skirts.

Diane von Furstenberg | Marcel Wanders



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6. Striped bikinis.

Small stripes seemed to have replaced the thick blue and white stripes of last year, and of note the locals seemed to pair solid black bottoms with a Gottex| Aspen Carpet Design striped top, or vice versa. Stripes in general (the classic blue and white “Breton” stripes especially) were making an appearance on shirts and sweaters.

7. The biker jacket. In leather or

Camel coats look big for fall – mixed with chocolate browns and reds. Also for fall – chunky cable knit sweaters.

Alexander McQueen| Oyuna

11. Shoes. Besides

the cowboy booties, wedges still ruled, along with lots of open toed options in platform type pumps and boots (with fringe, of course). Also spotted: bright orange, yellow and red driving mocs.

Balenciaga | Arne Norell/1st Dibs

8. Summer scarves. This is

another trend that I like, but unfortunately, it was too hot while I was there to partake.

Textilemonster on Etsy | Desdelices

9. Khaki pants.

Tory Burch |Whitney Designs

Volitile Shoes | Rainbow Princess

denim, these were making a comeback.

While generally the cargo type pants were more fitted than the ones I like, these seemed more popular than the harem/parachute pants the fashion mags were showing. This is a trend I hope sticks around because as a busy working mom, I love having extra pockets!

10. Camel coats and cable knit sweaters.

So, how does one pull this all together? In St. Tropez, you pull your LWD (little white dress) over your striped bikini as you leave Club 55 and then add a biker jacket, a leopard print scarf, and your helmet as you head back to town on your Vespa where you can drink a glass of rose wine (with ice!) and then perhaps head to a yacht for an after party. But, for the rest of us this fall? A little bit of trendiness goes a long way. Pick a few and mix them in with the classics and you’ll be fashionable this fall. In fact, if you dig through your closets, like I did, you might be able to find a few of these trends hanging out just waiting to be worn again.

Diane K. Danielson is the founder of the Downtown Women’s Club and vice president of business development for Convengine, a social media consulting firm.



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Dirty Deeds Done With Heart: Paying it forward I wanted to share a little story of my friend and colleague Janet LaBerge. Janet is the owner of a cleanout company called Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap). She goes into basements, attics and storage bins to help people clean out their homes, readying them for sale or other passages in life.

homes" can make all the difference because they know they are making a difference in someone else's life. Janet's mantra, the core of her business philosophy, is that of "paying it forward". Doing for others so that they will be inspired to do for others. There are certainly a lot of people in her line of work who happily sell the items they are paid to cart away and there is nothing wrong with that. However, that's simply not what Janet LaBerge is all about. She even made these black wrist bands printed with “WWDDD” (What Would Dirty Deeds Do?) and “Pay It Forward” as reminders which she passes out wherever she goes. In addition to donations and recycling, Janet also passes along items to those in her extremely wide circle of acquaintance. Mostly, it's furnishings and dishes and the like. The only rule is that it goes to a good home, is not to be resold, and that the recipient also try to pay it forward in some way. CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

Photo by Jean Donohue

Janet's particular specialty is cleanouts for senior citizens, although she certainly works for anyone who needs her help I've used her and referred her to friends. As any of us with aging parents and grandparents knows, moves later in life involves a lot of downsizing and getting rid of a lifetime's accumulated belongings. And while it's often "just stuff", each piece is imbued with memories. Janet's background in social work (20 years) has provided her with a basis for understanding this process of letting go and moving on. She understands that in many cases, it's part of a long term grieving process and respect for how these items are disbursed can be a helpful part of the process. Nearly every item that Janet is asked to remove is recycled in some way and very little actually goes straight into a landfill. For people who have to give up some of their treasured possessions, knowing that they are going to "good

::Surroundings:: welcomes Donna Elle Seaside Living as a new blog sponsor! Donna, an interior designer based on Nantucket, was inspired to create a collection of beautiful textiles, pillows rugs and more based on her “surroundings”. Read more here.



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ON MY DRAWING BOARD print Anna French “Eden” aping cotton for canopy dr

The client:

A young girl

The challenge: Give her a fantasy bed that will enchant her now and in the future.

The choice: The Anthropology Campaign Canopy Bed is based on a classic bed reminiscent of British colonial days.

The design: Custom end panels to be fitted in the open ends of the bed for comfort and safety. End panels are removable. Draping along the canopy posts and sheer netting will be added to the canopy which can be tied back or untied for a room within a room feel.

The decision: Awaiting final approval Pine Cone Hill bedding

Visit Linda’s website for information about services and completed projects.



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Red Bird Trading - Newburyport, MA

Randolf, MA based WallPops isn't the only wall decal company out there, but what they have is pretty sweet.


Regency Antiques - Boston, MA

Surroundings. Finds. Style.

Peacock Toile fabric by Suzanne Tucker Home




Designer to the stars Martyn Lawrence-Bullard has launched a new fabric line that features a spritely collection of colorful graphic and ethnic inspired prints. His fabrics are available through Hollywood at Home

Designer's Guild and Bemz have teamed up to create a fantastic new line of slipcovers for Ikea and included in the range are iconic Merimekko and Stig Lindberg fabrics. What a great partnership!

Congratulations to all the winners of BOSTON MAGAZINE’s Best of Boston in the home category! Click here to view all the winners!



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:: Portfolio :: Design Services :: Virtual Decorating :: Press :: Bio

:: Jr. League of Boston on Decorating “Secret Splurges” :: Boston Society of Architects RDC show on Social Networking

CREDITS :: Newsletter written by Linda Merrill :: This months guest columnist is Diane Danielson :: All photography, except where noted, by Linda Merrill


BLOGS :: Surroundings:: :: Silverscreen Surroundings:: :: Master of your Domain :: The Skirted Roundtable - podcast

:: Perspective - digital magazine :: :: Divine Caroline

CONTACT PRESS :: ShelterPop :: The Boston Globe Style :: The Boston Globe Magazine :: Alluminaire :: The Decorating Diva

Linda Merrill Linda Merrill Decorative Surroundings PO Box 1206 Duxbury, MA 02331 781-585-0275

::Surroundings:: Magazine for Decorative Living | ©Linda Merrill | 781-585-0275 |

Š2010 Linda Merrill Decorative Surroundings

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