Thursday, January 29, 2009

Random Rants and Raves Friday

Once you get to know me you will discover that I sometimes, every now and then, like to have myself a little rant. And occasionally a little rave as well. So I thought Fridays would be a good time to post these since my brain is already in TGIF mode anyway.

Mini Rant

I have had a lovely, limited edition Holland Berkley giclee hanging in my our master bedroom for some time. Here is a picture:

Somehow, my husband talked me into switching it out for this, a 42" Panasonic flat panel TV. Here also a picture.

Now, I'll say this right now. No one can ever accuse me again of being a **** decorator who only cares about how things look. I think this was so generous and selfless of me, I have instructed my kids to include this story in my eulogy.

Owen, my seven month old grandson has learned to give sloppy little kisses to his Nonnie and let me tell you, they make my day!

Isn't he precious?

Before I go, I also have an interesting quote to pass along:

"Everything you want in the world is just right outside your comfort zone." - Jennifer Anniston, Vogue December 2008

Happy Friday!!!

Confessions of a Chair Junkie

Chairs draw me like a moth to a flame. I simply cannot explain their allure. Maybe it's because they sometimes have arms that seem to beckon, or maybe it's their almost human form, but one thing is for sure, I have been enamored of chairs since I was a little girl. Especially french ones. Whenever I spot one my heart skips a beat. I could even go out on a limb to say this addiction may be the underlying reason I went into design. After all, the reality is all those chairs couldn't live with me in my house, so I needed a way to find homes for all the chairs I loved.

Once when I was a young mother, I heard there was a good yard sale in the community. It wasn't right by my house, but I thought a little walk would be an added bonus. Once at the sale, my eagle eye scanned the offerings. The usual tables of glassware, old crockpots, clothes everwhere. Just when I thought it was a bust, there it was. Underneath a stack of folded jeans, I spotted my prize. Covered in black Sparvar and a really bad black naugahyde upholstery job was a little chair saying to me "Help, save me!". So I asked the lady what her best price was, and she she said, "Oh, that old chair? I just put it there to hold the jeans. I'll take a couple a bucks for it."

Well now, can you just picture me trying not to do the happy dance while digging two crumpled up bills out of my jeans pocket? The lady looked at me like I was an idiot and she had made the smartest sale ever. Here I go, down the street with my black-on-black naugahyde chair, balanced upside down on my head, Kenya style. My husband watched me come up the driveway and when I proudly set down my fabulous find, he just shook his head. "Great, just what we need. Another chair."

So that is the story of just one quest to find my fix. Here is my little chair, unburdened of the black paint and wearing one of the many fabrics it's had since the day it came home with me. I feel like maybe I am the Mother Teresa of chairs.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What is Design Anyway?

I follow Joni Webb's blog, Cote de Texas regularly, and recently was elated because she ran a piece on ASID and their bulldog attack on designers who practice without being "licensed". Well, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. ( Just ask my family who have heard my soapbox speeches for many years.) To me designing rooms and homes is an art and I believe art is individual and largely innate. We as humans all possess it in some ways, I believe. Therefore, I don't believe artistic expression can or should be legally controlled in any way. The areas involving structure and safety fall into the architect's realm.

This morning while having my coffee, I was scanning through a few of the ten thousand catalogs I get every day, and came across the Sundance catalog from the actor Robert Redford. He promotes hand-made jewelry, clothes, and items for the home. On the inside cover, he talks about the other part of his life, art and painting. Here is a thought-provoking quote by him on the subject of what art is:

"There are many avenues under the broad categories called art, but at its core, to me,
art is simply the language of the soul"

So, there you go. Whether your medium is paint, pen and ink, or furniture and textiles, you can design if you want to. But we better watch the people who want to legislate what is literally the language of the soul. Those of us who are lucky enough to see the world this way should never take for granted the ability to express it.

Thank God agencies like this weren't around when these guys were working!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The View Out my Window

Just a quick note to show you the wonderful view out my breakfast room window yesterday. I have a job, but I am a homebody at heart. Days like this make hearth and home even more special.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Southern/French Point of View

As you can see from my profile, I am in love with what I call a Southern/French look in design. This look is one that is a combination of the elegance found in grand French palaces and chateaux combined with the family heirloom, down-to-earth comfort of the American South.

I am always drawn to rooms in which the grand and the humble co-exist. In many Southern families, this look was prevalent because ancestors several generations back may have owned some nicer things, such as family silver or a few good textiles, but later generations who suffered through the Great Depression weren't able to acquire many of these finer things. Their houses were furnished more for function than finery. Therefore, it was common to see a silver tea service displayed in a room with simple farm tables and straight back chairs. To me, this kind of juxtaposition that evolved through people's real lives and histories is absolutely fascinating. My own maternal grandmother's life was similar to this. Her father was a store owner and land owner who employed many people. She and her siblings lived in a large farmhouse sitting high on a hill above the river. But the Depression changed fortunes for many people, and surviving was the top priority. These people worked hard and raised large families, while still retaining their pride.

As do most families , my family has European roots; Irish, French, German. So vestiges of this heritage are there as well. I feel that your heritage speaks to you in an almost subconscious way. We are often drawn to things and images for reasons we may not understand. My heart is always drawn to the humble Southern home with touches of the finer European things mixed in. I feel very blessed to have my affinity for fine French furniture tempered with with my East Tennessee heritage. As I go further with my blog, I will attempt to illustrate this special look.

From my Tennessee home,


New Year, New Hopes

It's a new year and a good time to reassess, reorganize, and prioritize. This applies to our homes as well as any other area of our lives. Every year, after I put away all the holiday decorations, it helps me see my home in a more clear perspective. This year, instead of the usual New Year's resolutions that I never seem to keep, (you know the ones; lose weight, exercise more, etc., etc.),I decided to make a few having to with my home. Here is my list. Hopefully I'll be more successful with these resolutions than my usual ones!
  • Clean out the clutter, not worrying about decorating at this point, just de-junking.
  • Define once again those things I truly love and edit out the rest.
  • Practice the art of resisting trends. (very hard to do in my business!)
  • Whenever I do make a purchase, go for quality. Or wait until I can.
  • Be happy with what I have. ( Sadly, I cannot own everything in the Atlanta Merchandise Mart simultaneously!)
And a good quote to remember as we make these resolutions:

" Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." (William Morris)

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome to my new blog! In the coming year I hope to explore my favorites in design and decoration, especially anything featuring my favorite combination, Southern and French!