Saturday, November 28, 2009

There's Gonna Be An Evolution......

Ever since I could remember, I have been re-arranging and decorating my spaces. Growing up I shared a bedroom, quite a small bedroom as a matter of fact, with my big sister. My father worked multiple jobs to make ends meet and my mom stayed home with us. We didn't have much but my folks did their best to make what we did have work as best as possible.

In order to give each of us girls our own personal space, they bought 2 standing metal shelf/bookcase units and placed them side by side down the middle of our room. One faced my sister's side of the room and the other faced mine. The back of her shelf/bookcase was a laminate-type particle board. It made for a very cool backdrop to all my "groovy" artwork and images. (I was a budding artist influenced by the psychedelic era of graphics and a teeny-bopper fan of the Jackson 5, The Monkees, The Partridge Family, Bobby Sherman - ya know - that generation of Pop music. Hey, I was only 9 years old...)

Anyway - the remaining space that we each had accommodated a twin bed and a highboy dresser. Period. If we had 18 inches between the bed and the dresser, that was a lot. I just remember my parents having to walk sideways to manuever through our room. But at that age- I didn't know what I didn't have. I only saw what I did have. What I did have got decorated. And arranged. And re-arranged. And re-arranged some more. My sister would kid me that if I got even the littlest knick-knack, I would re-arrange my entire side of the room around it.

The room I would have died for when I was a kid

Old habits die hard. As I got older, I went through phases. Not uncommon.We all do. It's part of growing up and "finding ourselves". Well, in the seventies I went through my hippie period. By this time, my sister married and I had the WHOLE room to myself. Indian tapestries, buddhas in every size and shape and incense were my design staples. Actually - that all carried through most of my college years, too.

After college, my phases continued but at a faster clip. Once I found antiques and anything vintage, I was hooked. I even dressed in 1940's clothing that I could find at the Goodwill. Back then, it was easy. No one was really wearing that stuff yet.

Over the years I have been able to fine tune and more successfully blend contemporary elements with vintage and antiques so that my home didn't look like someone's grandmother's.

Presently I  incorporate Mediterranean, Federal, Arts & Crafts, Rustic and Pottery Barn-ish stuff. Amazingly, it all works. The key is finding a common element and keeping that as the common thread throughout. And keeping it simple. But that is another topic for another day.

P.S. - I hardly buy anything new. Even if I had an excess of discretionary income, full retail just isn't in my blood. Plus, I am not a fan of the cookie-cutter look. If it's all the rage, I go the other way. Plus, I love the "hunt" of finding that certain something that I wouldn't really be able to describe until the moment I see it. And you can't beat the quality of the older crafted stuff. I mean, there's a reason why it is still around years and years later.

Did I mention it is also earth-friendly to welcome vintage and antique items into your home? Called re-cycling, up-cycling, re-purposing, just makes sense.

So, check out your area resale, good-will, thrift and antique shops. High-end, low-end and everything inbetween are waiting to be re-discovered and brought into your home. Have fun with decorating your space. Mix it up. Change things out. Add a new piece. Edit out another. But don't rush it.  It takes years and layers of experience to evolve into the person you are today. The same evolution applies to your home. Layer in the pieces over time so that your home is your home. There's no better place to express your personal interiors -your passions, interests, lifestyle and personality - than through your home's interiors.

*images courtesy of flickr

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mix It Up

In my ongoing thinking about the Thanksgiving table, I thought I would share some gorgeous examples of mixing and matching dishes.


Of course - there is much more to a place setting than just the dishes.....

ah-more fodder for another post.......

But first - one more from one of my new fave artists/designers

Jane Hall is simply awesome. I am grateful to Marie Killam's post on her blog when she did an interview with Jane -Colour Me Happy Interview with Jane Hall

Marie is awesome, too - she deserves to have her praises sung in a post dedicated to just her. Yes, she's that good :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gather Round

The upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday brings to mind family, friends, food, wine, laughter and above all, sharing of home and heart(h). It is my personal favorite time of year. Autumn's vibrant canvas of invigorating temps and colors inspire the innate tendency to embrace and comfort. What better way than around "the table" while nourishing the body and soul?



Be it grand or intimate, in the city or the country - an attitude of gratitude can be shared anytime, anywhere.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Creme de la creme

I just added a new favorite to my list. Obviously, I am behind the design times. Until recently, I have been more focused on the roll up your sleeves and DIY kind of stuff. Lately, I have made the conscious decision to step up my knowledge base and design efforts. In that effort, I have discovered so many talented decorators and designers who are writing amazing blogs. Once I start reading one, I get led ot another one and then another. Before I know it, hours have passed and my adrenaline is pumping. It's addictive but oh so inspirational. In today's Things That Inspire blog, she highlights Rose Tarlow and one of her beautiful side tables. LOVE the table, LOVE Rose Tarlow even more. I just had to share Rose's home page off her web-site. Even if I never saw any of her work prior to reading that quote, I would be hooked immediately. Right on, Rose!

Another woman I adore is Bunny Williams. Her philosophy of comfort and livability while creating an elegant and blended decor speaks to my core. I embrace her style in spirit.To date, I have not been able to materialize all that I see in my mind's eye which is inpsired by her approach to design. But there is no deadline to accomplish this. My approach to decorating one's home has always been and continues to be that of building layers over time. Just as the years build the layers of who we are as people, our homes should evolve over time in much the same way.  My favorite book of Bunny's is An Affair With A House and it's all about just that - how she fell in love with an older home and over time made it her own while still honoring the house's architectural and historical integrity.

One of the top items on my design wish list is to someday  inspire just one person as much as these women have inspired me and so many, many others.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What Your Color Choices Say About You

Your Personal Color Profile

  • 13-10 Indian Buff25-14 Monsoon13-11 Golden Burma16-9 Spark of Youth
  • 7-16 Red Orange12-15 Deluxe20-22 Fern Lane14-9 Golden Glimmer
  • 8-15 Orange Berry18-11 Herbal Garden14-16 Yellow Strength9-13 Gold Maize

  • These colors have all the elements of energy, friendliness and ease. They create a warm and cozy environment. The person who chooses this palette is generous and wants their home to be welcoming and friendly. Comfortable and casual furnishing reflect their desire to entertain and spend more time at home with their family and friends.

  • One of the blogs I enjoy and follow regularly is Hooked On Houses and today she posted her results of a Color Personality Quiz over at Pratt & Lambert's Paint site. It's actually quite interesting and takes only a minute to take. Check it out. My results (above) actually rang quite true. If nothing else, it's a fun way to spend a couple of moments...

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Rest Easy

    If you are in the market for some new and unique furniture for your bedroom, it doesn’t have to deplete your bank account. With a little scouting, and a little out-of-the-box thinking, there are so many treasures to be found.

    Headboards are the easiest and most fun pieces to use as focal points. There are endless options available for creating one specific to your tastes and décor. Old shutters, doors, quilts, picket fence posts, and wrought iron grates are just a few of the items that can be repurposed for this project.

    In an older issue of Southern Living Magazine, I discovered one of their features about a headboard made from a discarded fireplace mantel The result was so striking. This particular mantel was simply sanded down, painted white and then plywood covered in foam batting and gold velvet was inserted in the opening. The entire cost was less than $100.00 .

    If your room’s décor is less contemporary, the mantel could be painted a different color and/or have a surface treatment applied to create texture. The insert fabric offers more opportunity to personalize this piece to your own specific taste.

    If you see an old mantel on the side of the road, or happen on one in an antique or thrift store, perhaps you will be inspired to give it a new home and a new life.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009


    The world of decorating, design, re-design and real estate staging can be daunting. The challenges and the unknowns can either be paralyzing or they can provide more reasons to go for it with everything you've got.

    In my journey to develop my own decorating and staging business, my insecurities and fears would at times undermine my courage. Other times, they fueled my determination. Through it all, it was very important to me to find and study the best in their field. I have discovered that one of the signs of a true pro is their willingness to share their knowledge and  enthusiasm in order to help someone, like myself, succeed. I can think of very few other situations where this happens.

    The very first person who inspired me is Julie Dana. When I was first looking into whether or not I should pursue my own staging and re-design business, I fortuitously discovered Julie online. I bought her book 'Staging Your Home To Sell" and read it from cover to cover in one sitting. I drank in her website, The Home Stylist , as well as her blog, The Home Stylist Blog. Lo and behold, she was located in the Buffalo, NY area! Buffalo isn't that far from where I was. At that point, I knew it was meant to be. I mustered the nerve to contact her and scheduled an appointment for a Business Consultation.   

    Upon meeting Julie, it was obvious I had no reason to be nervous. Her warmth and quiet confidence immediately put me at ease. The hour we spent over lunch flew by in a heart beat. I left our meeting 110% committed to taking the next step towards hanging my own shingle. Julie was able to clearly explain both the mechanics of what it takes to start a business as well as share what it takes from a personal standpoint. Since I tend to operate more from the gut, I truly appreciated her ability to blend the two. Honestly, if all she had presented were the dry nuts and bolts of this business, I know I would have not felt as inspired about my prospects. In my mind, design of any kind, especially concerning our personal spaces, is intrinsically driven by the heart.

    Once again, in her generous and supportive fashion, today she has surprised and honored me by promoting my virgin efforts of blogging in her blog. See what I mean? She obviously lives by the motto of "Let's raise the level of the sea so all the ships can sail higher".  Simply put, I respect the heck out of her. It's no surprise she is as successful as she is.

    If you are considering your own business in this industry, meeting with Julie is an absolute must. If you are unable to meet with her in person, she also offers online consultations. At the very least - get her book and read it once, read it twice and read it often.

    Thanks, Julie!You're the best.

    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    Happy Halloween Weekend

    OOOOOPS - Sorry - A day late in my Halloween Wishes...but it is the holiday weekend and celebrations are still!   and Enjoy!

    inspiration is all around even where we least expect it