Archive for October, 2016

Home Style: A Middletown Home Where the Hue Always Fits


The October issue of The Bay Magazine, on newsstands now, features my monthly home feature. For details and more photos, pick up The Bay this month or CLICK HERE. PHOTOS BY MIKE CEVOLI

“I remember my husband saying, ‘If we don’t buy this house, we’re not going to have a 1474655098_2753house,’” recalls Mary Ellen. “It had four tiny rooms with a dirt driveway.” But it was enough, so the little family moved in and made the house a home. “I think it cost $26,000 and the mortgage payments were a little over $100 a month – and we had a hard time paying it sometimes!”

The layout of the home was a little awkward as well. Mary Ellen says there was a small living room, and bedrooms bookending the, as she describes, “itty bitty” kitchen. “And you had to go through this tiny bedroom to get to the kitchen,” she says.

After getting on their feet, the Fraziers decided to expand on the home by adding a second floor. The space would accommodate a new master suite. “Then we took the other side of the house and added a great room. Later, we decided to move downstairs, so we added another master there – but this all evolved over quite a bit of time,” explains Mary Ellen. The couple even modified the home as recently as five years ago to create an in-law suite to accommodate Mary Ellen’s parents.

But as Mary Ellen first adjusted to the changes in the home, she also got in touch with a wonderfully whimsical side of her personality: decorating with an unabashed spirit. Color became her passion. Colorful window treatments, furniture, décor and artwork. Colorful light fixtures, decorative pillows and throws. Colorful accent walls. She looks around and has an epiphany: “I think I’m a closet decorator!”

It’s no surprise, really. Mary Ellen says she grew up in the age of neutrals and her childhood home reflected that trend. “If my mom put up celery green drapes it was like, ‘Oh my God!’” she laughs. So her penchant for personality in the home all makes sense, she explains. “Some people go off to get tattoos to rebel; I rebel with color!”1474655101_7026

Mary Ellen says that through the decades, she has gone through various stages, like many homeowners. “The country stage, then all the antiques, the all-Oriental furniture and now it is what it is,” she says, which might be described as nautical meets pop art meets sophisticated sass. “I don’t know where the inspiration came from,” she says. “It’s just evolved.”

It’s not that Mary Ellen is all color, all the time. Many surfaces are linen white which serves as a baseline. But the accent walls (there’s a purple one and orange one, to name a couple), furniture (like the banana yellow hutch) and décor (like the pair of acrylic octopus chandeliers by North Kingstown artist Nicole Ketchum and her husband of Chandelier By NK, sporting hues of turquoise, fuchsia, green, orange and red) do all the talking. In the dining room, orange leather chairs strikingly contrast with the pair of purple chairs that are parked at each end of the table. In the kitchen, where the orange accent wall resides, there is an obvious “seaworthy” motif. The kitchen cabinets are brown, but that may not be for long. “In a year they could be white,” Mary Ellen hints.

As for Walt, he enjoys Mary Ellen’s decorative eye. “He’s not one of those husbands who has to go furniture shopping with me and look at every single thing. He just sits in his recliner and will go with anything,” she laughs. When Mary Ellen starts rearranging furniture, which is often, he goes with the flow. “Walt is just like, ‘Oh my God, there she1474655096_7b88 goes again.’” That isn’t to say Walt doesn’t pick up when Mary Ellen has a new design inspiration. “If I sneak a new chair into the house, a week or so later he’ll look up and say, ‘I see you bought a new chair…’”

While Mary Ellen sources her colorful pieces locally, she also names Home Goods as one of her favorite stores. She says she has gone shopping with her daughter Stephanie and might say to her quietly, “Did you see what that lady had in her cart? For her home?”

“And Stephanie will say quickly, ‘Mom! Have you seen what’s in your cart?’” Mary Ellen laughs. “And she’s right!”

Mary Ellen and Walt say they love the way their home looks, even if it is evolving all the time. “It’s not for everyone, but it makes us happy. People walk through the door and say, ‘I could never do this,’ but they also seem to love it.”

A cacophony of color, the Frazier’s home is decidedly warm and welcoming, so it’s no surprise it is a favorite place for friends and family to gather including their grandchildren. “We love this home – it’s a happy place.”

For details and more photos, pick up The Bay this month or CLICK HERE.

October 30, 2016 at 1:24 pm 2 comments

Fall Fashion Series: Jackie’s Loft, Bristol

October 18, 2016 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

Fall Fashion Series: Feminine Fancies

As the owner of Feminine Fancies, Barrington’s leading fashion boutique for women for more than 30 years, Elaine Felag has seen it all, but as the saying goes, fashions come and go, but style is forever. “Longer length is making a comeback in dresses, which looks so chic, sophisticated and glamorous1474470217_5d7d,” says Elaine. Look for interesting fabrics, like crushed velvet, which she is seeing on pieces in black, brown and varying shades of berry with beautiful embellishments. Sweaters, which she says are one of her most in-demand pieces this season, are showing up in warm colors and many with sequins for added bling. (Sequin is also finding its way to jackets this fall, she adds.) Grab-and-go pieces, she says, like tunics and wraps, are decidedly contemporary with fur and fringe edging. “They even look great with jeans!” Speaking of jeans, boot cut denim this season seems all the rage. “[It’s] very ‘70s, as disco makes a comeback,” she notes. Many are embellished; some are distressed. An alternative to jeans, leggings are nothing new but Feminine Fancies stocks the comfortable pant, and similar ponte pants, in new, fresh styles. In the boardroom, Elaine sees inspired blouses in beautiful colors leading the way, most notably in teals, purples and burgundy hues. “Looks great with pencil skirts for an updated work setting,” she notes.

When it comes to outerwear, Elaine says military style coats, including bomber jackets, remain strong, while printed patterns, like oversized plaids, are hot. “My personal favorite is the new plaid in winter white, greens and gray, and the oversized coat – very chic!” But a new season doesn’t mean an entire new wardrobe. “I feel like you can have on the oldest outfit but top it off with a fabulous coat and you’ll catch everyone’s eye!” she declares. Footwear is also a throwback with the return of the chunky heel as seen in shoes and boots, but this time around in leopard print, suede and embroidered velvets. And when it comes to bags, you’ll see plenty of cross-body and box shapes in leathers, suede and animal prints with mixed metal. “Have fun this fall,” she insists. “Live a little and dress well!”

Feminine Fancies
290 County Road, Barrington.

For more on local shopping, dining and arts and culture, pick up a cop of The Bay Magazine at area retails and CLICK HERE for online reading.

October 5, 2016 at 9:45 pm Leave a comment

Fall Fashion: Local Boutique Owners Talk Seasonal Looks


The October issue of The Bay Magazine, on newsstands now, features my cover story on fall fashion. I was delighted to highlight some fantastic local shop owners on what they see rising as the hottest fall trends. I’ll be sharing these in the coming days. For the complete story, pick up The Bay this month or CLICK HERE.

First up is one of Newport’s (and beyond) most loved boutiques: The Pink PineappleBy Andrea E. McHugh | Photo above by Force 4 Photography

Pink Pineapple, with locations in Wakefield and Newport, has a cult-like following. Their Instagram account alone (@pinkpineappleshop) has nearly 27,000 followers, if that’s any indication. With a well-considered collection of cashmere, casual tops and bottoms, cocktail dresses and accessories, one might feel like you’re walking into your dream closet at the stores.

While a stalwart for preppy and nautical looks in the summer, The Pink Pineapple hits its stride this time of year. “We are obsessed with spice_1024x1024the fall color combos; they’re beautiful,” gushes Kristin May, manager and buyer for The Pink Pineapple. Kristin points to emerald green and cranberry tones as some of the strongest. The shop has already seen their stock of off-the-shoulder tops fly off the shelves, perhaps because the look perfectly complements the transitional temperatures throughout New
England this time of year. And there’s another reason: “They are really flattering on pretty much every body type,” she adds. Another well-received top there is one with a halter neckline and ultra-feminine scallop hemmed sides. As it gets cooler, Kristin says the nearly knee-length chunky sweaters return, this time with embedded paisley patterns and in subtle color combinations like camel and charcoal.

When dressing up, Kristin says one trend will absolutely be hot: long sleeves. “And 51281a3b1dc3a1a16c2181f65aa8e198_1024x1024.jpgbell sleeves are going to be huge!” When it comes to accessories, Kristin has already seen high demand for one of the season’s most talked about trends: chokers. “We predicted it was going to happen so we stocked up this summer and people are going so crazy; it’s unbelievable. That is going to be the ‘it’ necklace.” The trend was also hot in the ‘90s but the updated version is softer with a single strand around the neck and a longer piece that hangs to the décolletage to create a layered look.

Classic felt floppy hats polish off any look, and when looking for a simple but sophisticated go-to, Pink Pineapple’s signature cashmere is a girl’s best friend. “It’s a great basic,” say Kristin. “People come back again and again for it.” Paired with skinny jeans or leggings and cute booties? Congratulations; you’re the best-dressed mom at school drop off.

Pink Pineapple
380 Thames Street, Newport.

Embedded photos: Pink Pinapple

For more on local shopping, dining and arts and culture, pick up a cop of The Bay Magazine at area retails and CLICK HERE for online reading.

October 1, 2016 at 2:05 pm Leave a comment

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