Doors and Windows…..open to the artists’ brushes.

Bonnie Webb's chickens use doors too!

Bonnie Webb's chickens use doors too!

Double bounty from Pricilla Mead
Double bounty from Priscilla Mead

Sometimes the most luxurious thing we can do for ourselves is spend time doing something we really love. If you’re a visual person and are  just looking at beautiful things in nature or surrounding you,  it just triggers something wonderful in your spirit.  Then again, there’s something so magical about spoiling yourself with some new art supplies, or taking a class to learn a new craft.  I’m quoting Julia Cameron who says ” Creativity lives in paradox: serious art is born from serious play.  ” So play I did, this month by taking an oil painting class with a seasoned and very talented artist,   Susan Astleford.   Check out her website www.susanastleford.com    Lucky for me and the others attending,  she lives in my hometown and has helped many of us to kindle our love for painting.   Since my blog is dedicated to all things artistically related to inspiring you in your home, it’s no stretch to want to show you our efforts.  Maybe you’ll feel inspired to get out from under your wet blanket and try something creative and nurture  your eyes within.  Our assignment in this class was to paint a door or window from a photo that we had taken ourselves.  See for yourself the  amazing variety of doors and windows that went down on the canvas.

Susan with her own masterpiece!

Susan with her own masterpiece!

Susan VonDoersten's enchanting path to a door

Susan VonDoersten's enchanting path to a door

collaboration!

collaboration!

miles to go to finish my little French street scene
miles to go to finish my little French street scene
Toni Neri refines the detail of a River Seine entrance

Toni Neri refines the detail of a River Seine entrance

    
Thanks,Susan, For keepin’ us keepin’ on!
Evie Casselli with a European touch

Evie Casselli with a European touch

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Parade of Homes-Tartan Ridge

Just a few more days to catch the central Ohio Parade of Home in Columbus, Ohio.  But even if you don’t have time to slip into a few of these fabulous new homes….I’ve got a few of my favorites and ideas to share.  From a designer’s perspective it’s always fun to take the time to see someone elses approach to designing an empty house.  We’re always looking for new ways to display,store, or embellish a home even if we don’t have a customer asking us to do that.  Guess it’s in the genetics and that’s probably why I subscribe to probably too many magazines….for cultivating ideas.  So this is what I encourage you to do, where ever you live.  Just get out there and take a look  at your local parade of homes, or decorator showhouse.  Leave your mind open to new ideas, colors,textures, fabrics and ways of arranging both outdoor and indoor living spaces.  Check out the colorschemes and undoubtedly you’ll walk away with something to apply to your own habitat! I’m sure most of you have realized by now, new or old, your house projects are never completely done.  There’s always the next little redo to take care of in some corner of the house.  Take a look at some the highlights for me.

K.Knight home/upper level garden

K.Knight home/upper level garden

Kevin Knight & Company Entry
Kevin Knight & Company Entry
K. Knight home/entry lighting

K. Knight home/entry lighting

 

Kevin Knight’s home is hard to top!  Very crisp and slightly contemporary  furnishings with kudos to Pamela Stavroff Designs for the interior furnishings. Next on my list of favs is the Duffy Home by Michael Edwards, Interiors by Pam Yost.  Of course I’d fall in love with the slightest hint of “Frenchness” but ooolala…you will too! I’m so proud of Columbus to put out such sophisticated and wonderful products!

Duffy Homes Entry

Duffy Homes Entry

Is this Versaille????

Is this Versaille????

Lemondade anyone?
Lemonade anyone?

 

Love it!

Love it!

Sometimes Parade homes feel like the unattainable ”dream” homes….but there’s always something to take away and put in the ‘ole memory bank for your own personal projects.  Most parade homes pass out lots of literature on their product sources and suppliers,host free raffles and offer discounts, so this is always a wonderful way to get connected in your own community.  With the crowds we saw this summer I was greatly encouraged that people must be optimistic for the future.  What could be better news than that?!

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Chattanooga Discoveries Spree/ Part2

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As promised here’s another glimpse of what downtown Chattanooga has to offer in shopping for livable spaces.  It’s always fun to crash a place that has a little touch of everything…and that’s what the GALLERIES at SOUTHSIDE have to offer.  It’s arranged in typical antique mall style but is truly a fabulous mix of old and new.  And make sure you stop close to lunch time as adjacent to the displays you’ll find yourself wandering into a charming little cafe.  Great place to stop for southern style “sweet”  tea and escape the heat before heading out the door again.  They even offer refills for the road in to-go cups…..now that’s southern hospitality! My pics show many of the vignettes with very handsome displays to view as you saunter through the mallway.  You’ll find sophistication to whimscal all under one roof.  My favorite find here was hard to miss in the entry area facing the street:  Lola’s Fine Gifts.  She carrys  “by-the yard” floor runners in a multitude of colors and patterns.  Couldn’t help but think of a country cottage in bright light colors when I saw her display.

More summer shopping spots to recommend still coming in future post.  Where have  “you all ” been shopping this summer?

runners in a rainbow of colors and patterns

runners in a rainbow of colors and patterns

Galleries at Southside

Galleries at Southside

Galleries at Southside

Galleries at Southside


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Chattanooga spree… discoveries/part 1

checking out Sophies

 

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checking out Sophies

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Southern living is truly an art form ….but southern shopping- pure fun!  As I was recently visiting my daughters who all live in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I had an inside track as to where the hot spots are. I’ve already got some favorites I want to share with you.  First stop, Sophies and Bluebird and Company.  We crossed the river downtown to find this storefront with an updated and attractive exterior.  Inside we found a magical combination of aritstic displays with 2 categories of wares  residing together. Bluebird is home to a fabulous array of baby and small childrens clothing, toys and gifts.  Sophies concentrates on the home interior as well as with artsy and june-09-015fashionable women’s accessories.  Besides that, I knew I was in for a treat when I heard French music playing….how’d they know I love Carla Bruni too?? By the way, they sell her latest CD’s for any one who claims to be a “francophile ” like moi. My photos just show a taste of what’s there to catch your visual interest.  Can’t wait to make this one a regular stop on my visits to Chattanooga! Aurevoir for today….stay tuned for more of Chattanooga in future postings over the next week or so. Tell me where you like to shop and inspire yourself  with “interior” embellishments?

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Inspiring Your Creative Side

powell-008Finding a way to inspire your creative nature is probably the first step in the interior design and decorating process. Afterall, you do want to love the space your living in. If you haven’t gotten to that place yet and need some jumpstarting with ideas…you’ll need an “inspiration piece”. This might be a swatch of fabric, a painting, a particular style of funiture or color scheme. No matter where you start- living area, kitchen, bath or bedrooms….you’ll still need something to get your decorative juices flowing with ideas. Try looking in fabric stores for a special accent plaid, print or textured fabric that just draws you in. Maybe you’ll come across that perfect pillow to mix in and make the blandest of spaces just pop. Better yet, take a detour on your next trip to the mall and just do a quick walk-thru in a furniture gallery or department store. Displays in these departments are changed frequently and you might wander into a vinette with something that grabs your attention…that wows you with color or style…something to inspire your thought process.
I live in a small suburban area near Columbus, Ohio where we are lucky to be surrounded with great shopping…especially in the quaint little suburbs. It’s raining- it’s pouring today in Columbus but it has not dampened my creative spirit….especially since I have found my way to a great shopping spot filled with inspiration! Today’s find was one of my favorite shopping spots and the place I had my own shop for almost 10 years…    powell-009

This is the Collection, fine furniture and accessories, 41 Depot Street in downtown Powell, Ohio. Shop phone is: 614-885-9091. Owner Anne Grayson can be emailed at graysonar@aol.com This shop is a rehabed railroad depot dating back more than 100 years. They inventory an interesting combination of handselected, high-end, furniture pieces surrounded by architectural remnants and antiques. The owners shop auctions and estate sales locally, but also offer custom made furniture. I especially love the sized -to- order floor ottomans and bench made farm tables. This shop is magically displayed, so I hope these snaps brighten your eyes like they did mine!

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custom ottmans at the Collection

custom ottomans at the Collection

powell-0141

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Fresh starters of all ages…here’s some cost cutting tips

Holiday weekend…a nice long one with time enough to take a road trip to visit family or just  get reaquainted with your own little ‘burb. It’s the commencement of summer officially and all that goes with it.  The end of May means the start of June…the favored wedding month.  So you may be just filling up your first apartment or even if you started house keeping ages ago there’s always something new to find and smart to shop for.  Here’s a few ideas for those of you who may be young…old…or inbetween and just want value in a purchase.

Discount Area Rugs and Carpet:  Whether shopping for an area rug or wall to wall check out the discounter first.  Many times they carry roll -ends that might fit your size requirement .  You can save a ton of $$ as these stores will greatly reduce the per yard or per square foot price. If you need any area rug…think cut and bound carpet.  Many times a smaller piece  can be bound and cut to fit your space at a wonderful price.  Binding  the carpet edges is very in expensive. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask even if your favorite retailer doesn’t have this type of merchandise on display.  Most of you are close to a  Lumber Liquidator.  Here’s their web site:  www.lumberliquidator.com .  Log on to the website and rquest a catalog for at home shopping.  They sell nationally and carry all types of flooring materials.  Carpetings hometown, USA is in Dalton, Georgia.  This is just north of Atlanta,Georgia.  Try out one of the outlets there, as many will ship around the country.  Here’s one I have had personal experience with:  www.GeorgiaCarpet.com   They will ship around the country, send you samples, and there is no sales tax with shipping outside Georgia.

Antique China and Silver:  This is something I love to tell newly- weds and young people just setting up housekeeping.  Don’t overlook shopping in your local antique malls and shops for fabulous pricing on whole sets of china and serving pieces.  You won’t always need a set for 12 , or a complete set of dishes and servers to match.  You can’t compare the value and excellent pricing to new pieces and it’s a great way to mix it up in the dining room.  You may even discover a new collection of something you love!  Often you’ll find in a display case….small serving pieces of silver…like a pickle fork or sugar tongs…for a very affordable price.  If you find something like this on your next vacation it can be a pleasant reminder of that adventure each time you set the table.  Here are my favorite websites for these items….Replacements, LTD. www.replacements.com and www.silversuperstore.com  Shopping on line can give you a good idea of what accurate pricing should be but I find that bargaining with a local dealer gives you the best price advantage.  Most dealers expect you to do a little bargaining and have set their price tags accordingly.  And for those of you scaling down…talk to your local antique dealers about taking any of your old china and silver to sell for you.  They may be interested in furniture items.Guess that leads me to consignment shopping…but that will have to be another blog!  So have a great holiday…..Decoration Day…and make it Memorable too!  Til next time….

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Ready-Made Window Treatments….In today’s world…ooolala!

Covering the openings to interior space is not a new issue…but in today’s marketplace can be a very perplexing area for most home owners.  We have an abundance of product options open to help us  to be sensitive to the outside we  want to see ,and the inside we want to enhance and perhaps protect.  Our windows and doors are an opening and a link between the world outside and our most intimate spaces within.  As in all areas of design form follows function.   So before getting too carried away with choice for yourself…carefully consider what you want to see or not see.  Do you need absolute privacy? Do you need to insulate a cold area in winter or block the harmful and fading sun?  Do you want to see the beautiful landscape from inside or hide what may not a scenic view? By answering a few simple questions of your needs or wants…the exact product starts to come into consideration.  I will deal more with what to choose in later blogs…but for now I want to make some great suggestions for on-line shopping.  As always, my local customers bring me to blog ideas.  The question of what to do with a patio door to a screened porch was put to me last week.  Even though this customer has used custom draperies in other areas of her home I suggested a high quality ready- made product.  Easy to install and easy to order and very easy on the pocketbook! Ready mades run the gamit of formal to casual.  Here’s one of my favorite spots to shop  www.silktrading.com . In 2001 they introduced their “Drapery out-of a Box” line and as they say offer “immediate decorating grativication”.  You’ll notice wonderful header styling and with 26 showrooms across the country, it’s likely you’ll find one close to home.

yummy panel in silk

yummy panel in silk

Another favorite shopping spot of mine is : www.antiquedraperyrod.com  offering not just ready-made drapery options but a wonderful array of rods and fittings.   The draperies are wonderful silks- to eco friendly cottons. 

finials extrodinaire!

finials extrodinaire!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally for Silks,Velvets,and fabulously textured Belgium Linens check out  www.RestorationHardware.com.  The big surprise is their outdoor panel offerings made with sunbrella fabrics.  I have the linen panels in my own house and am amazed by the weight and craftmanship.  Restoration has a great selection of rods and finials to match any decor.  

Silks, Velvets and Linens at Restoration Hardware

Silks, Velvets and Linens at Restoration Hardware

By making a “ready-made” selection today you do not have to sacrifice quality at all.  Just measure, measure, measure ….to prevent a mistake in length or width.  Have fun shopping and creating your own ‘lil nest!

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Choosing an Interior Designer…Good Idea? Absolutely and here’s why…

One of the biggest fallacies about the world of Interior Design and decorating is that working with a professional is only for the extremely wealthy….and not for people interested in “do-it-yourself ” projects.  Seeking the assistance from a design professional today doesn’t need to cost a fortune.  When your home is a large part of your finacial package, you need to protect it and yourself  from making costly mistakes.  Many designers will share ideas and sources and point you to the best resources for tradesmen to give you overall project direction.  Most designers, like myself,  work really hard to share secrets for savings and cutting corners depending on your budget.

How do you find a good and capable designer? Maybe this is obvious but ask your friends,family and co-workers.  Then ask the designer for references…but be sure to follow them up!   Better  yet,  check on line by finding an ASID designer in your hometown. Here’s the website:  www.ASID.org  complete with directory.  It’s as simple as punching in your zip code.  ASID is an organization of credentialed design professionals.  All members must meet standards of education, and experience before being approved for membership.   First and foremost you MUST find someone you can relate to and most of all communicate well with.  Seek out a designer who can interprete your needs and pin-point your style.  The customer should always be” king” in the design world.  Your home is your castle and should reflect your personality above the designers.

Don’t be intimidated and live in fear of cost.  A good design professional should be able to quote you with a breakdown of all anticipated costs and in contract form.  Your approval should be given for all expenditures.  In today’s market place it probably isn’t an all or nothing service. So be vocal and negotiate where you need to.  Maybe you’ll enjoy doing some of the work yourself and just need color suggestions.  I’ve never worked with any 2 clients the same way.  Tastes and needs vary.

Be prepared to be a good client….ask lots of questions.  Start a file folder of magazine ideas.  Even if you don’t know your style yet…the designer can psyche you out by looking at the photos of the things you love!  Here are some suggestions for outside reading and searching on your own.   How To Work With an Interior Designer by Judy Sheridon, ASID

How to Work With An Interior Designer

How to Work With An Interior Designer

And finally for you artsy fartsy types… I loved this woman’s story of the emotional adventure she had in crafting a home that relects her completely.
Jill Butlers newest book

Jill Butlers newest book

My experience has been that you’re never done working on your house.  It’s a constant evolution over time….your home changes as you and your families needs do.  So off you go…creating a nest is like joining a safari and hopefully loving the excitement and surprize in the process.  Now venture out there and get creative!

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Pottery-Can’t Live Without It

Bolivian pottery with a traditional twist

Bolivian pottery with a traditional twist

Sounds extreme but pottery is one of the most basic of man’s utilities and has developed in progression through history.  Think about it….those cave mens first inventions were bowls,urns, flasks and cups.  See what I mean when it’s said that ”good design is timeless”?!! Well the rest of us modern types have taken our contemporary pottery’s look to new heights by incorporating older techniques .  What better way to add a richness that IS truly timeless and certainly not boring.

Sully Gallery Display at Columbus Cultural Arts Center

Sully Gallery Display at Columbus Cultural Arts Center

Shown on the left is a snap when I recently visited the Cultural Arts Center in Columbus, Ohio and found this amazing exhibit.  It’s only on display until May 8th so you’ll have to hurry to soak it in .  This pottery is from Nicaragua and is made by their local, contemporay artists in the indigenous style with natural paints and clay materials.     Can’t imagine this style in your more traditional home???…think again and check out the snap from  a back issue of Veranda here on the right.

But within the world of ceramic collectables my suggestion to any of you would be to check out YOUR local galleries around the country and on your travels..  Often you can find wonderful artful creations that are well priced and voila…you won’t see the same things in your neighbors bookcase!                                                             

majolica

Lots of Color with Italian Majolica

I find that colorful ceramic pieces look best gathered together with varied shapes that are artistically clustered.  Choose a color you would love to mix into your homescape and …cluster away.  Neutrals like off-white,

Garden stands make great side tables

Garden stands make great side tables

beige and brown containers balanced in rows of similar shapes make a strong impact.  Find something you love in an antique shop that’s very collectable like Majolica, Asian Blue and White, American Indian pueblo pottery…. the list goes on.  If you’re shopping the internet it’s still not difficult to find well priced items to get on the path to mixin’ and matchin’.  Garden urns are great indoors as a little side table …they come in every color in the rainbow so get creative and think ceramic!

Horchow fishbowl can go inside or out
Horchow fishbowl can go inside or out

Hope you’re inspired to think spring, think color and add a little something different to your homescape.  Until next time let me know what’s on your mind.  Comments are welcome…just click on the posting date. 

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Spring is springing…get outside asap!

Outdoor living is one of those things that northerners with cabin fever can hardly wait for -come springtime! No matter where you live-expanding to the backyard, porch or deck is the best way with good weather to stretch your living space.  It’s time to think spring and summer and get going outside.  Here are some of my “bright light” ideas for a jump start.

PILLOWS: Add some color punches to your seating areas with multicolored pillows.  Choose a 2 color theme and smatter it throughout.  Repeat those colors with other accessories.  Many retailers on line have great pricing on pillows ready made in that wonderful invention-Sumbrella fabric- which is very sun and moisture resistant.  Check out these sources: Potterybarn.com, RestorationHardware.com, BallardDesigns.com

Great price and look from Restoration Hardware

Great price and look from Restoration Hardware

NATURAL LIGHT: Check out these wonderful lanterns which add a touch of elegance and can come inside as well.  Try using citronella candles to ward off those little flying pests.  Want a more casual look and a little less expensive…Tiki torches.  Slide them into your deck railing or simply in the ground…or line the walk to the backyard.  Home Depot and Lowes carry these all summer long with refills of liquid fuel.
Elegantly beautiful day or night from Pottery Barn

Elegantly beautiful day or night from Pottery Barn

INDOOR-OUTDOOR RUGS:  Even in the places the rain might fall, these new composition rugs can tolerate outdoor living and warm up the gloomiest area with charm.  I especially love these patterns and colors from Ballard Designs.
Inside or out these charming patterns will cozy up the living space!

Inside or out these charming patterns will cozy up the living space!

A few other thoughts….Boston ferns…if you don’t have a green thumb, these always add a hint of softness to your outdoor spaces.  They are inexpensive and it takes alot to kill one off.  They are easily found at your local grocery store often in the 10$ range/per plant.  I like them tucked up next to a chair or lounger or flanking an entrance in an urn.  And don’t forget a little whimsical pottery to add a little character…animals shapes or garden urns.  Just mix and match.  Your back yard may not be Paris in the springtime but with a little tweekin’ you can get  pretty close!  Hey, I’ll mention one more thing before signing out….if you have a question or comment,,the blog door is always open.  Just click below or comment by clicking the date above, as I welcome your thoughts!

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