Archive for December, 2011

Unique Gift Wrapping from Our Virginia Interior Design Office

Every year for Christmas I try to be a little creative with my gift wrapping.  It started a few years ago with investing in nice ribbon and has recently become more outlandish. 


Last year, I wrapped everything in the Wall Street Journal as a tongue-n-cheek homage to the financial crisis.  I might have thought it was much more clever than my gift receivers judging from their responses.  They probably thought I was being cheap!


unique gift wrapping


This year, I wanted to do something creative with the paper again so I ended up using old wallcovering samples from the Gibson Design Group office library.  I think that they turned out well, although it was not an easy task. 

If you struggle with wrapping using normal wrapping paper, this may give you fits, but if you’re okay with corners and edges not being perfect you should try this application.

A few things I learned:


  • Wallcovering is obviously thick so cut the pieces allowing for very little extra to be on your packages.  This reduces bulk in your folds.
  • Tape does not affix to walllpaper as it does to wrapping paper.  You can fix this by using hot glue or, like I did, add some reinforcement to the seams with the ribbons and bows.
  • Pay attention to the repeat on the wallcovering and center your gift to show the patterned parts of the paper.  In a couple of cases, when using paper that had a small pattern on a large amount of field (field is the background color on any paper), I ended up not seeing the design as well. 
  • Don’t be a perfectionist.  This will be frustrating if you try to make each part perfect.  Your gift recipient will be looking more at the creativity of your wrapping and not at every edge so don’t sweat it.

You can see more shots of the wallcovering wrapped presents in our Flickr album.


What have you used that was out of the ordinary for wrapping gifts?

9 Spillworthy Drink Tables for Elegant Interiors

In any elegant room (and any functional room!), a chair that is a far reach from the cocktail table must have a small drink table or surface.  A drink table does not have to be a typical side table but should be somewhere that you can set something small.

In my living room, I even have a wooden step stool from my childhood with books stacked on top that serves as a drink table for one of my side chairs.


This week’s design must-have was a piece of jewelry for your living room–a hammered silver finish drink stool–that inspired me to show some beautiful drink tables to make your living room more luxurious.

9 great drink tables


1. antique brass finish on a twisted metal drink table

2. acrylic “I” accent table

3. metal grid cylinder table with glass top

4. 1920s handpainted hexagonal Moroccan table

5. gold finish “stump” table

6. U-shaped herringbone wood table

7. hammered silver finish drink stool

8. black ceramic garden stool with circular design

9. metal Z design accent table

All information on drink tables is posted on my board on Pinterest.



Virginia Exterior Paint Colors

Please note that the colors appear on your monitor much different than in the paint deck.  Always paint a swatch on the house before embarking on the whole project.

Finding an exterior paint color is no easy task. When you want to deviate from the classic black and white combination it’s hard to know what colors will mesh well. Alexandra took a drive around her neighborhood in Charlottesville and took some pictures of homes that had unexpected, and beautiful, exterior paint color combinations.

Below are several examples of homes in Charlottesville, VA and their color combinations from Benjamin Moore

Exterior color combinations

hunter green

1 Standish White



This first house uses a classic combination, near black and white but not quite the same. The dark color is actually a dark green mixed with the white that is actually much closer to a pale yellow. The Hunter Green (2041-10) shutters serve as a stark contrast to the Standish White (HC-32) house. 



3 Jack and the Beanstalk 3 Monterey White





 This is another great non-traditional color combination. The light green, minty hue of Jack and the Beanstalk (442) shutters coordinates brilliantly with the cream color of Monterey White (HC-27). 



2 Wickham gray

2_newbury port blue

Blues can be tough but this next house is a great example of using the color for vibrancy while remaining classic. The bluish tint to the Wickham Gray (HC-171) serves as a great canvas for the Newburyport Blue (HC-155) shutters to pop. 

Also note how the above house has a red door that doesn’t match the color of the shutters.  This is what we recommend!  No matchy-matchy please.

One color from Benjamin Moore to try for this same effect is Umbria Red (1316). 

4_Umbria Red



4 Fairview Taupe shutters


 Front door and shutters don’t need to be the same color and, in my opinion, shouldn’t. Complementary colors work best. For example, Fairview Taupe (HC-85) would look great with Umbria Red (1316) as well because they provide a nice contrast. 

6 spring purple front door


 5 Santo Domingo Cream



You could also try a lavender door for something softer (the purple looks much brighter on my screen than on the paint deck so don’t be scared away). An unexpected door color that complements the main color and shutters of a house, makes a statement. Try Spring Purple (2070-40) with a Santo Domingo Cream (274) for an impressionable combination. 


What exterior color combination have you used?  What color is your front door?