Sunday, December 14, 2014

Special Delivery - Holiday Decor Tip #2

With the holiday revving up and time slipping away
I think the best strategy to successful
decorating is to
"Keep it simple!"
 The most elegant is often the least overworked design.

So with that said, I bring you...


via Pinterest

I Love this idea!
I'm talking about the fresh evergreen swags
casually draped over the drapery panels.

It instantly sets a festive mood without being too fussy.
The bows are a nice touch,
but I think I would play up the natural theme with
pinecones and berries.

The goal is to create the holiday atmosphere
with minimal effort.
The affect is fresh and uncontrived.

Go for it!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Special Delivery - Holiday Decor Tip #1

With the holidays in full swing, 
I'm thinking about my blog friends.


I know you are ALL as busy as I am, 
trying to shuffle work and pleasure,
decorating and entertaining,
and the often miserable weather outside...

So I thought, 
"What would be a nice little "cyber" gift 
I could share with you to make the season just a bit more enjoyable
and less hectic?"

A couple of years ago I posted
The Twelve Days of  Decorating Design Tips
I included tips from my own home as well as
great ideas from some of the best in the business,
Scot Meacham Wood
Katherine Greeley
the Hable Sisters

courtesy of Scot Meacham Wood

It was such a hit that it just seems natural to
offer it up again, with some new ideas
mixed in.

So here's to you, my friends...
some fresh ways to add holiday glamour to your home!


Bring out your old silver 
and create a winter garden tablescape

via Pinterest
Mini evergreen trees are so cute
cropping out of this silver tea set

via Pinterest
A Silver bowl makes the perfect container for Paperwhites.
And the green and silver balls make it so updated! 

via At Home in Arkansas
Elevated drama! 
Can you think of a better way to 
repurpose your hand-me-down compote? 

I'm not one to stash away family heirlooms.
I want to use them as much as possible.
It's so delightful to see how they can be transformed into
something totally fresh and unique,
especially during the holiday season. 

So go on a little scavenger hunt and uncover
some hidden treasures of your own to embellish.
Whether it's tarnished silver, or a set of tea cups,
use your imagination to make them shine this Christmas!

I'll be back with a few more decorating tips
so keep in touch.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Color track - Pear!

It's coming!  
I know it's still Fall out there but we're already seeing 
the Spring lines from our fabric reps.

And the hot color that's emerging is 



It's a cool mix of citron with a little neon thrown in.
Not quite yellow....OR green
but a energetic kind of color that makes you look twice!

Following the current trend of all things organic,
it's hard to imagine this high octane color really exists in nature...

via Color World trend report

But clearly its abundant!  
Think luscious fruit and the vibrancy of the rain forest.
And as you can see, teamed up with these other saturated colors,
"Pear" can play a leading role or take a back seat.

Global Views ice vase-Limeade
This gorgeous art glass even mimics the shape of a pear!

Lorts showroom
I'm crazy about this combo!  What could be better than a jolt of "Pear" 
in this soothing neutral room?  
It takes it to a whole new level of sophistication.
Note the touches of this color carried around the room.

 Thibaut Novia fabric

But I have to say this is my favorite mix.  
Blue and white just got fresher with the introduction of Pear!

Looking towards a fun spring palette
to brighten up our dreary days ahead.


Friday, October 24, 2014

FRIDAYfinds! - Furniture as sculpture

Does it get any more beautiful than this?

Greg Klassen table

The perfect melding of organics and technology!

This furniture designer has introduced a line of tables incorporating hand-cut glass
running through the center of wood pieces salvaged from decaying trees.
His inspiration?  The rugged land and sea of the Pacific Northwest.



Friday, October 3, 2014


With High Point Market 
just around the corner...

Natural Curiosities "Daedalus"

I'm getting a taste of some of the great surprises that await!

Several trends are bubbling up that will guide the direction
of design for the coming year.
Some are familiar and lasting.

Can you think of a more striking image than the Daedalus artwork above?
It's made up of 3000 hand painted feathers arranged in concentric circles.

"What makes is so "New" 
is the redesign of a simple organic form like a feather."

By itself, a feather is just a feather, 
but in aggregate a single feather becomes an integral
part of a powerful, dynamic whole.

We are going to see a lot more of this 
"REinvention of nature" trend-  
taking beautiful forms from nature and 
recreating them in totally fresh ways.

Hancock and Moore Deco chair
There's something else going on that almost "defies" the nature trend.
Rather than emphasis on organic, it showcases the triumph of modern technology.
I'm talking about production capabilities that allow designers to dream the impossible.
No longer are furniture designs dictated by manufacturing constraints.
If the concept is there, it can be reproduced.
This beautiful yellow leather chair is a case in point.
Full of curves, it's high style!
Yes, it's still a "wing" chair, but not like the past.
Technology makes it possible to create this sinuous shape.

"The Sillouette" trend
is gaining ground in furniture design 
as more attention is given to
the "form" as well as the "function"

Regina-Andrew Sea Fan Chandelier
If you've kept up with my blog, 
you KNOW how much I love lighting!

I just couldn't resist including this gorgeous piece
in my Fall lineup.

"Lighting as sculpture" trend
is here to stay.  It's been around for a while
"It just keeps getting better!"

Just when I think they've exhausted the creative think tank,
another beauty like this Sea Fan chandelier makes it's debut.

Imagine seeing THIS as you walk through the front door!
Show stopper, for sure.

So much excitement is building around Fall Market
and I'm here to pass along the hottest trends that will be there.

There's more to come so check back.
Happy Friday!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cabinet of Curiosities


courtesy of Berlin-Naturkundmuseum

This term has always facinated me.  Maybe it's my passion for
that draws me to the concept.
I even have a Pinterest Board called "Collections"!

Originally borne in Renaissance Europe, cabinets of curiosities, or
cabinets of wonder, were encyclopedic collections of objects yet to be defined.
They were regarded as a microcosm or
"theater of the world"
 according to Wikipedia.

Just the description conjures up images of strange and wonderful oddities
waiting to be examined and admired.

I can't help imagining the "cabinet" being updated for our lifestyles today.
But first you have to have a collection of something to display...
Start with an object that intrigues you enough to want more,
then build on that theme
until you have a curated collection of
similar,yet unique, items to showcase.

Your collection can be anything, really.
Maybe it's not from the natural world,
as was the case with the originals,
" You can still create the same curiosity with your own version" 

Part of the fun is searching for additions to your collection,
but the best part is seeing them all together in a cabinet!

Currey and Company 

Make the cabinet as unique as your treasures.
This "Tramp Art" style cabinet is the perfect backdrop for highlighting
a collection of Majolica.


Maybe you need a case that allows you to view your collection from all sides!
Blue Ocean Traders curio cabinet
I see a model car collection reigning supreme in here.


Want something more elegant?
This regency-style cabinet is regal enough to house
your most precious collection...
Sarried Grafton Cabinet
of rare books.
Envision how beautiful these old leather bindings would look
against the cream painted interior.
Instant patina!

Bring out your own personality with a great collection
and build a
"Cabinet of Curiosities"
around it.
It's not only an interesting conversation piece,
but it serves as a unique focal point in your home.
Talk about a
(Check out my Style Booster posts for more tips)


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Magnificent Homes of America - The Biltmore House Part Two

Aerial shot - via Flickr
In Part One of my tour of the incredible Biltmore House
I wandered through the public rooms on the main floor.
These are huge spaces,
built on a grand scale with soaring ceilings, ornately carved surfaces,
and priceless furnishings - all meant to impress...
and they do!

Grand Staircase - via Biltmore Estate

But, seeing the private spaces on the upper and lower levels is even more intriguing to me.
It's gives a closer look at the facinating people who called Biltmore home,
from the Vanderbilt family and their friends, to the many servants who made life so luxurious
for the few.

What I didn't realize was how special  is was to be able to
tour these private rooms at all! The suite of four bedrooms on the second floor
were not open to the public until 2009, after being closed off  for 100 years!

Restoration was tedious and time-consuming. Each room had unique issues.
For the renovation of  the Louis XV Room below
a team of curators and conservators traveled to France to collaborate with
 Tassinari And Chatel in Lyon
 to insure the exact replication of the gold and red silk cut velvet that adorns the windows and the walls. Meanwhile,
tradespeople took on the painstaking task of cleaning, repairing and restoring what was worth saving.


As I've discovered in other "Magnificent Homes" I've visited,
it takes a lot of  skill, patience and detective work to uncover the original finishes.
At the Biltmore, they found clues under door mouldings and drapery brackets,
which lead to the fabulous paint colors and fabrics you see here.

Louis XV Room - via Biltmore Estate
This is my favorite of the four refurbished bedrooms.
It is a classic example of  the Louis XV period, with the delicate curvature in the furniture
and lavish use of gold in the fabrics and finishes.

But there is a lot more to this room than it's opulence...
It is considered the "True Heart of Biltmore", according to Romantic
It was Edith Vanderbilt's special room and where she chose to give birth to her only child,
In the tradition of her mother, Cornelia had both of her sons in the same room!

It is said that the wonderful lighting that filtered through the windows
reflected off the gold silk fabrics and created a radiant shimmer that was captivating
to both Edith and Cornelia.
It was definitely mesmerizing the day I was there!

Tyrolean Chimney Room - via Biltmore Estate

The Tyrolean Chimney Room is my second pick on the second floor.
Named for the overmantle constructed from Tyrolean tile
I like it because it has a unexpected simplicity and "charm"
not seen in other parts of the house.

What's interesting is that George Vanderbilt was drawn to this tile at all,
given the lavishly ornate style he was known for.

He found the tile stove on one of his many trips to Europe and
was determined to find a way to incorporate it into the Biltmore.
By making it into an overmantle, he repurposed his treasure in a very effective way.
It's now the focal point of the room.
I could definitely stay here for the night!

Downstairs is a story in itself!
Armed with vivid imagery and drama from Downton Abbey episodes,
it is easy for me to imagine the lives of the many caretakers
who lived and worked in the basement of the Biltmore House.

servants quarters - via Biltmore Estate
Servant bedrooms are a stark contrast to those upstairs.
Note the light on the wall above the bed - a constant reminder that
they were on-call 24/7.

Basement main kitchen - via Biltmore Estate   
Mr. Vanderbilt made sure the main kitchen was equipped with latest
inventions in food preparation. But for the staff, it was still a very labor intensive process
to create the lavish meals that were served every day upstairs.

From a design perspective, there is so much to look at here!
I love the utilitarian aspect of the kitchen that made it so functional,
but it's the craftsmanship that gets my attention!
Check out the patterned tile floor and and the turned legs on the work table.
Even the large oak door is beautiful with its six pane divided glass.
And what's not to love about the hanging light fixtures! " Industrial Chic" in its original form!

bowling alley_via Pinterest
The basement wasn't just a working environment for the staff.
It was also a place for the family and friends to play.
The bowling alley, built by Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co. in 1895,
was a favorite with guests.
Great utilization of typically wasted space in a basement, don't you think?

Indoor swimming pool_via Pinterest
But the indoor swimming pool is the shining star, in my opinion.
It was considered an engineering feat in its time, with an elaborate system
devised to pump in the water and then heat it.
I love the tile work that covers the entire space.  It too required a highly sophisticated design
to create supports that could carry the weight of the tiles on the arched ceiling.
 With the pool empty, you can see the underwater lighting,
which was truly innovative considering that very few homes even had electricity at the time.
Imagine the delight of guests when they saw this engineering wonder!
You can almost hear the laughter...
In fact, there have been reports of  hearing strange sounds in the pool and even
seeing a dark figure swimming under the water.

I know I've only skimmed the surface of this magnificent home,
and as I write this, I'm reminded that I need to go back yet again...
I've already mapped out it out - a roof top tour, although considered a little scary
if you're afraid of heights, and then a Christmas Candlelight tour through the house to
see it all dressed up for the holidays.
Can you tell I'm enamored with this place?
Don't be surprised if there's a Biltmore House - Part THREE!