Friday, March 29, 2013

FRIDAYfinds! - Good Friday Inspiration

It starts at 12:01 on Good Friday - 
the step by step ascent to one of the highest points in Cincinnati,
Holy Cross Immaculata Church in Mount Adams.

Catholics line up at the bottom of  the very long, and very steep staircase
to wait their turn to climb up to the church, praying and reflecting on each step.

A tradition that started over a hundred years ago, is still going strong
with an anticipated gathering of 8-10,000 Christians from around the world
 expected to make the pilgrimage to the top,

It is a beautiful sight, as experienced by my daughter this morning
when she made her way down the steps as she walked to work
from her apartment in Mount Adams.

It must have touched her as much as it did me - 
she texted later in the day and said she was headed back up the steps,
this time, praying, every step of the way. 

Have a joyous Easter!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Market Preview - The Legs Have It!

The Spring High Point Market teasers are starting to trickle into my email
and I'm lovin' it!

As with recent past markets, the offerings are all over the map
and at first glance
it seems like there's no major direction emerging.

you know me, 
I'm always digging a little deeper 
to extract the common denominators in the showrooms
that establish the coming trends,
 both obvious and obscure.

It's my version of a treasure hunt...

Worlds Away Debra table

What I've discovered is an obsession with legs!
In every form, every period of history, on everything 
you sit on, eat on or sleep on.

Legs have become the defining point of furniture design.

 Jonathan Charles 50's Americana side table
And Mid-Century is leading the pack with spidery tapered legs
reminiscent of outer-space satellites.

But I'm also seeing a totally different trend in legs that is both
bohemian and ancient.

Pearson bunching table with black agate stone
These legs are a sturdier variety than their celestial cousins.  
Chunky and substantial,
the pieces take advantage of earthy materials like agate stone and shagreen to soften the bulkiness.

Hickory Chair Marais bench by Suzanne Kasler
The look of a solid piece of carved stone,
this bench conjures up images of king's throne from a lost civilization.

Hooker Furniture Bohemian Black Croc table

Hickory Chair Nadine chair side table by Alexa Hampton
Just as alluring are the elegant, CURVY legs I'm seeing.
These fun interpretations of cabriole legs, a style that was popularized in the 18th century,
are much more exaggerated and playful than the originals.
Hickory Chair Jones footed table by Thomas O'Brien
This table is a perfect example of the exaggerated styling.
You see classic elements, like the cabriole curve, acanthus leaves and paw feet,
but it's almost a tongue-and-cheek parody.
Not to be taken too seriously
Hmmm....kindof  how we want to live in our homes today.

Worlds Away Conrad table
The Asian influence has always been a favorite
but this market, it's showing up in a more whimsical way, particularly on the legs!
With a twist here, and a bend there, you get the sense of its origins
without being too literal.
A colorful top in Emerald Green, Pantone's color for 2013, also keeps it from being too serious.

HIckory Chair Ceylon M2M table/ Atelier Collection
I'm crazy about the subtlety of these table legs.  So versatile, too!
The styling works with any setting.

Keno Torque chest for Jonathan Charles

Some pieces, like this contemporary cabinet from Keno,
can't be described as easily.
The designers drew inspiration from somewhere other than history...
They are truly works of art and as unique as you can get!
I love the way the brushed steel legs play against the wood fluting.

And speaking of "whimsical".
This occasional table is the cutest little thing.
With a tripod of "needle" legs,
it's topped off with a "button", of course!

As I get more Spring Market intros from my vendors, I'll pass them along to you.
Who knows what other quirky trends I'll unearth???


Friday, March 22, 2013

FRIDAYfinds! - Flame Run

Is this not the most beautiful glasswork you've ever seen?

Sometimes the "Best of Class" is right under your nose!
I made a visit recently to 
which is a world-class  glass blowing studio and gallery
located in my own hometown!

You know how it is.  You hear about all these wonderful local jewels
that you "plan" to visit, but because they're so accessible,
they continually get pushed to the back burner.

Well, I'm truly thankful I finally made my way downtown to see this incredible place!

The owner, Brook White, is the creative and business guru behind Flame Run.
And he's on a mission to expose ALL of us. from school children to grandmothers,
to the art of glass blowing.

His venture is a combination of a working studio and gallery.
On any given day, you can tour the plant and see the transformation of glass balls into works of art.

I had the best time walking around the gallery!  
Beautifully displayed with drop-dead lighting, 
each glass piece seemed to float in space. 

But obviously I had my favorites :-)
Is this REALLY glass?  Reminds me of chess pieces.
And grouped together, they would be gorgeous on a coffee table!

But my absolute favorite was this display of perfume bottles.
If I had to pick just one, could I?

My hat is off to Brook White of Flame Run!

Not only is he an accomplished glass artist,
but because he made his home right here is Louisville 
we can all enjoy the fruits of his creative labors whenever the mood strikes!

I know I will be back often.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring (Mind) Cleaning

I'm feeling fresh and new...

Spring does that to me.
It's a time of renewal, yes,
it's also a time to reflect.
And that's what I'm doing right now in my design practice.
Looking at what has worked...and what hasn't 
so I can continue to grow in ways that make me a better designer.

I've had this little quote stuck on my desk top for years,
as you can probably tell...
And there's a reason it's still there.
It gives me that little nudge I need to remember that 
change is good!
 It forces me to think in new ways - 
to rediscover things I've been missing
and create totally fresh ideas I've never considered before.  

 This Spring (Mind) cleaning, as I call it, 
has been my main focus for the past 4 days
which is why I've been missing from my blog.
But it has paid off in big ways!

I am sooo excited about the ideas and plans that have bubbled up
in the creative sessions I've had with my business advisers.  

I'll be sharing them with you as they come to life...
just like Spring!

So keep in touch with me and check back often for the latest update.


Friday, March 15, 2013

FRIDAYfinds! - Sneak Peak at Fall Trends

I love getting the latest scoop on what's trending next!
Courtesy Gretchen Aubuchon of Fashion + Decor
Gretchen Aubuchon, founder of Fashion + Decor 
just came out with her watch list for Fall 2013 and I couldn't wait to share it with you!
As in past seasons there is a direct link between the runways and the hallways.
Home decor is taking its inspiration from the fashion world
and it's full of great crossovers.

Pearson 1914 banquette
They're definitely making a comeback 
but SO much more edgy than what you remember.
Plaid pairs with purple on this banquette from Pearson.

Brunschwig & Fil Chinese Leopard Toile Multi cotton
I've always been a fan!  
But oh how I LOVE this pairing from Brunschwig & Fils.
Toile and leopard make such a nice couple :)
And so fun with the royal blue spots!
This could end up in MY house...

Global Views Leaf Pendant 9.92043
Not for the faint of heart, there's a certain aggressiveness to the new metals
that takes them to a whole new level.
I see an obvious crossover to the trend in womens shoes with spikes and studs!

MadeGoods Aniche boxes
MadeGoods Cooper boxes
With colors like turquoise and scarlet, 
we get a sense of the rich depth of these new jewel tones.

TREND five>>>>>>FUR
This Russian Lynx faux fur pillow is just the thing 
to add a jolt of texture to a sofa.
We're going to see a lot more of this trend.
It speaks to our need to stay cozy and warm.

I know it's almost Spring out there, but
it's still fun to look at what's coming this Fall!

Keep watching for how these five trends start cropping up
on other great furnishings for the home in the coming months.
And remember, you heard it here, FIRST!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Happy "Troll" Tuesday!

We all have things on our desk that 
keep us motivated...


I've loved Trolls forever.  They just make me smile.

So when I came across this little guy in a drawer I was cleaning out
I just HAD to put him on display.
Playing with his hair is such a great stress reliever!

What's on YOUR desk?
I'd love to hear about the quirky, silly or truly motivational things
you have sitting around.

Who knows, yours just might end up on a future post :-)


Friday, March 8, 2013

FRIDAYfinds! - Outdoor fabrics go Inside

Brunschwig and Fils Gaston Y Daniela Lisboa
I love what technology has done for our industry-
specifically, the advances in High Performance fabrics.

Stain, fade and mildew resistant, these miracle fabrics 
have changed the way we use our outdoor spaces,
making them more like outdoor "rooms" 
with fully upholstered seating, accent pillows and even drapery panels.

We've seen this trend continue over the last decade
but the real news 
is the cross-over these fabrics have made
INSIDE our homes!

In fact, FURNITURE TODAY says that in the 35-44 demographic,
36% say they have bought furniture with High Performance fabric for indoor use

They've come a long way since the days of shell patterns and awning stripes!
The newest generation is sophisticated and elegant
with the look and feel of many of our "indoor only" favorites.
Combine that with ultra stain resistance and durability
and you have the perfect choice for an active household!


I often turn to acrylic fabrics for seat cushions at the kitchen table or bar counter
but with the fabulous choices being introduced I'm rethinking
what I specify for the family room sofa and club chairs, as well! 

Duralee 15510-171 blue
This pattern from Duralee is so updated and fun.  
I wouldn't hesitate to cover a comfy chair in it.

Highland Court Perrine Papaya

And look at this faux raffia!  Finally, all the appeal 
of  a natural fiber without the worry!

It's a new world out there...
at least in the "world of fabrics"
and I'm ready to leap in!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Winter blahs? Light it up!

This is my dreary view from the conference table in my studio.

We haven't had sustained sunshine in weeks
and I'm definitely feeling the winter blahs.
How 'bout you?
But there's hope!  Spring is not far away...
and in the meantime, we can cheer up our interiors with some 
artificial "Sunshine".

I've always been a big fan of lighting.
I think it's because it has such a dramatic impact on a room.
Not only does it cast its magical glow, but the style of lighting can
really create a focal point.

So, on this very overcast day,
I'm sharing some of my favorite new lighting from sconces to chandeliers,
to create a little brightness for us all!
Global Views Flying Wall Sconce
Sooo cool!  Both modern and retro, this Global Views sconce is sculptural art!
And because it's wall mounted it stays out-of-the way.

Made Goods Arron lamp

Made of metalized stones that are stacked, this Made Goods lamp is a real a statement piece.
It would make ME very happy to see it every day :-)

Ralph Lauren for Visual Comfort Montauk Search Light
Functional art that's beautifully crafted in oak and polished nickel,
I love the idea of placing this fab floor lamp from Ralph Lauren in a dark corner and illuminating the walls.
Instant mood lighting!

Thomas O'Brien for Visual Comfort Silouette Fretwork Library Light

I'm always looking for small scaled lamps to tuck in a book shelf.
This little bronze number from Thomas O'Brien is a mere 21" high,
but it's a huge winner in my book.

Ro Sham Beaux Fiona chandelier
The Fiona chandelier is so pleasing to look at.
Maybe that's because the shape is so familiar.

What's really special about this piece is that they've referenced
the classical French Empire-style chandelier in its shape
but not in materials.
Using more organic elements like hemp and faux-bone beads,
it feels more comfortable for our lifestyle today.

This is one of those pieces that I would have a
hard time deciding
which room to put it in...
Foyer, dining room, powder room...
 and oh-so-chic over a soaking tub!

Do you feel a little better?
I know I do.
Just thinking about these beautiful lighting options
reminds me that Spring will return,
 as it always does.

Here's to sunny skies, or until then, beautifully illuminated interiors!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Style Booster - A true "Living" Room

Many of us, including me, live in older homes that have a traditional layout...
The rooms are separate and distinct, 
with a foyer, living room, dining room, den, etc.
Plan by b & m homes

With our very active, non-traditional lifestyles today,
this type of configuration often presents a dilemma,
"What do I do with this room?"
In my recent Style Booster post "Dining room dreams"
I talked about re-evaluating your dining room space
and making it more functional for you
every day of the year instead of just occasionally.
The same holds true for your living room!
It's no longer a space reserved exclusively for guests or adults only.

So, today we're going to walk through your living room
to see what we can do to bring it up-to-date and make it more user-friendly.

Design by Thomas O'Brien
To me, the living room should be a peaceful retreat
where all members of the family can come to get away from the noise of the household.
It should be designated a
for more personal pursuits like reading and having a meaningful conversation.
No distractions, just peace and quiet...

Imagine that for a moment.

Sounds pretty enticing, doesn't it?
When I was growing up, my dad could always be found in the living room
after dinner, reading his latest book.
I would often go in there and just sit with him...quietly.
It's an image that has stayed with me to this day
because it was such a calming influence on me.
You can create that same sense of calm in your living room, too!

Joan Waddell's living room
This is my living room where I read the Sunday paper, talk to my husband and kids (when they're home)
and where I create.
The big bay window allows me to gaze...and dream.
I love this room because there's no TV and I know the view is always there for me to enjoy,
every day, every season.

The key to making your living room a place where your family will want to come
is to make it comfortable and inviting.

What does "comfortable and inviting" mean to you?

For me, it's about being surrounded by color -
yellow glazed walls, a oriental rug with aqua, pink and red,
and lively accessories that remind me of my travels.
The upholstery is extremely comfortable - not too buttoned up.
And the lighting is interesting and fun.
I keep that wonderful wool throw on the sofa so I can grab it when it's a little chilly.
These are all things that make me want to wander in to my living room
to take a break from the

Are you starting to rethink your living room now?
Honestly, I think there are some real advantages to separate rooms,
rather than an open floor plan.
If you live in a home that has a separate living room,
consider yourself lucky and make the most of it!


Friday, March 1, 2013

FRIDAYfinds! - Why we love beautiful things

There is a definite revolution taking place in the science of design 
and yet its rare when I find a really thoughtful article about it.
So when I came across this in the New York Times
I wanted to pass it along to you.

We all instinctively reach out for attractive things
and yet we're just beginning to understand why.
Color is one example.  
According to recent research in Germany, just glancing at shades of green
can boost creativity and motivation.
It's because we associate green with food-bearing vegetation
and the promise of nourishment and the comfort it brings.

We have long known that color moves us but now, armed with the "WHY"
designers can apply this knowledge in ways that will have a more profound effect on 
people and their environments.

Think about the hundreds of situations where color can create positive emotions. 
Hospitals, daycare facilities, classrooms, the workplace and our homes 
can all reap the benefits of this research. 

But color isn't the only breakthrough in the science of design.

In 2009, a professor at Duke University demonstrated that our eyes
can scan an image fastest when its shape is a
(Subtract a square from the golden rectangle, and what remains is another golden rectangle - into infinity)
He found that this shape was the ideal layout for a paragraph of text,
which made for easier reading and retention.   

The unique properties of the golden rectangle, or Magical Proportion (about 5 x 8)
have been a source of inspiration
 for philosophers, mathematicians and artists for thousands of years.
It provided the underlying structure for the facade of the Parthenon and Notre Dame
as well as the shape of something we are all familiar with...

There is no doubt that Apple understood the power behind the 5 x 8 proportion!

I think the best way to sum up this rather complex concept
is to share a direct excerpt from the article,

"We think of great design as art, not science, a mysterious gift from the gods,
not something that results just from diligent and informed study.
But, if every designer understood more about the mathematics of attraction,
the mechanics of affection, all designs from houses to cellphones
to offices and cars - 
could both look good and be good for you."