I won't say something cliche about recessions and silver linings -- too many people are hurting in ways that entail far more than giving up a few luxury goods. But I am curious to see if the economic downturn might bring on the return of uncontrived, down-home-style things. Like Warren Brown's cakes. His are the antithesis of highly styled desserts, and to me are more mouth-watering. (Ironically, Brown's cakes are kind of pricey but recently he added some budget-friendly options to the menu.)
A scratch-made cake baked at home is one of life's great indulgences. Other things that, in the end, are probably better loose and natural are flower arrangements. Even lovelier if the stems come from the backyard.
Pieces that are usually placed on full display can be casually rotated to serve a function. For example, the foo dog that becomes a chic doorstop, or the Chinese bowl put to use as a catch-all for keys and mail.
In a small apartment, a mantel furnished with elegant but useful old things and easy to access books feels natural. I love the idea of a box crammed with cherished letters.
If you happen to have a slouchy needlework pillow done by your grandmother -- that looks unexpectedly chic with your current things -- it would be a soulful touch in any room.
An old fashioned letter is less expensive than a long phone call and more enduring. When sorting through the mail it's so nice to see familiar handwriting in among the bills, and I love the understated paper chosen here by my friend.
Birthday parties at home have to make the list too. The big red balloon was discovered over at Beach Bungalow 8. What else do you think is best made at home and not fancied-up?
Credits: Image five is Julie Baker's bedside table circa 1990s, Southern Accents or Veranda. Images six and nine are from Creole Thrift. Images seven and eight are Vesta Fort's NOLA house photographed by Paul Costello for domino, May 2006. Image ten is from J. Crew.
Image at the top, a Charleston door, is courtesy Urban Grace Interiors.