Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to You All!!!
May 2011 Be the Best Year Ever!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A New Baby in 1985 and the Elusive Tree Ornament

In late November 1985 I became the proud new mother of my second child, a sweet baby boy.  Needless to say, Christmas shopping had already been done to the best of my hugely pregnant ability.  But the one thing I never managed to pick up that holiday season was the very important Hallmark Baby's First Christmas ornament for the family tree.  A couple of family friends sent gifts with little ornaments attached, but the main Hallmark ornament just never got purchased. Fast forward to 2010.  The aforementioned baby is now almost 25 years old and well on the road of his life.  But every year when I decorate my Christmas tree, complete with the Baby's First Christmas ornaments of his older sister, born in 1983, I feel just a little pang of regret that one little detail got overlooked that year.
Well, my internet surfing skills continue to improve little by little.  I now even can add Ebay to my repertoire of online shopping haunts.  And I can even proudly boast that I sometimes have some killer bidding skills when the item of my desire appears on my screen.
This afternoon I jumped on Ebay to look around and decided to search for that elusive baby ornament.  As if by divine intervention, there it was at the very top of the computer screen.  A vintage 1985 Hallmark Baby's First Christmas Carousel lighted ornament.  No box, but hey, no biggie to me.   NINE minutes left in the auction.  I think I hyperventilated a little.  I quickly logged in and the bidding war was on!  First bid, "you have been outbid, please try again".  Second bid,same bad news.  Next bid, "you are the highest bidder!".  Okay, now the gloves are off.  It has to be mine.  A young mother's regret has to be avenged.  One more click; the countdown begins.  One minute and counting down.  "You won this auction."  I felt victorious and silly all at the same time. 
But I'll tell you one thing, when I hang that little carousel on my tree this Christmas, I will revisit the joy I felt twenty five years ago rocking that baby boy in my arms.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Carol Raley Interiors in At Home Tennessee!

Check us out in the November issue of At Home Tennessee magazine where we give tips for creating inviting holiday tablescapes.  Here is the link to the digital version of the magazine.  We are on page 59.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Some Updates Around the House

I've been absent for a little while around blogland, occasionally checking in on some of my favorite blogs, but in general just taking a little break to regroup.  Since finishing the large project we worked on for close to a year, I have turned my attention back to tweaking a few things around my own house.  We also have been invited by a regional magazine to share a holiday tablescape, and I am sharing a few of our own photos of that little project as well. 

Here is a shot of the dining room dressed for the holiday tablescape shoot.  I just had to build the design around this huge silver tray and meat dome I recently acquired!

A close-up of a place setting using red and white transferware from my collection, as well as vintage silver baby cups and tiny hand-blown glass ornaments.

Here is another shot of the table.  I love this little vintage cup with the key!

Another close-up of the table.

This is a Lucite console I placed in the dining room because it takes up so little visual space.  Here I placed a few transferware berry dishes on a distressed gray pedestal, along with my 1950's vintage coffee urn and (yes another!) darling little dome.  A tiny vintage coffee creamer looks sweet in this vignette I think.  The large crystal drink decanter gets a lot of use during family get-togethers year round.

I had the headboard recovered in a pale tiger-stripe fabric I had languishing in storage and added a french stool and needlepoint pillow at the foot of the bed.  Silk curtains were also fabricated out of more fabric from my "going-to-use-this-someday"  inventory.  The walls have been this color for a few years and I would really like to change them, but I guess I'll hold off a little longer.

I paired this sweet little French ladie's desk with a modern leather and nailhead stool that I think has a sort of Morrocan flavor.  An original antique etching hangs above it.  I didn't want anything too big there that would take away from the desk.

I also had this bedspread made out of some really inexpensive linen and I like the way it looks with the headboard.

I updated the living room a little bit with some large Bliss Studio pillows on the sofa and a tall mirrored tea table.

I brought this gilt Louis chair down from its previous home upstairs to brighten the room up a bit and added a grain sack rug under the tea table.

Here is a tighter shot of the chair.  I have the matching sofa, also, which will have to continue living upstairs!

The little antique secretary is a piece that we bought years ago when we were first married.  

The other side of the living room which includes a tall skirted console, sepia-tone landscape prints, and family photos.

I'm not big on a lot of accessories in my kitchen because I really cook and I need the counter space, so I leave out my food processor and stand mixer all the time.  I did add a recent find of a sweet little flow-blue platter.

This burled wood trough planter is pretty as well as useful.  I like to place little ferns, herbs, fruits, and vegetables in it.

There is nothing prettier in the kitchen, in my opinion, than real fruit displayed in a pretty container.

These little white linen slipcovers are great on the counter stools!  Just throw them in the washer and hang to dry!

I hope I still have a few readers out there!  If so, thanks for coming back and reading!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Sentiments Exactly

"I have spent my life obsessed with houses and the beautiful things that go in them. Not for the false glamour of having “things”, but for the art and story behind the homes—the designers and the craftsmen and the ingenuity of it."       Haskell Harris (Garden and Gun magazine)

I could have written these words myself.  I have always, as long as I remember, been obsessed with houses, too.  So many people think that working in this business means that you are into what Haskell calls "the false glamour" of it all, but I know, for myself it is just as she feels; it is about the family who lives there and their story.  Even the stories of those before them.

Maybe it's just a Southern thing.....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sweet Summertime

In the South right now, and really all over the country, the heat is oppressive.  Here are a few images that make me feel a little cooler.


If we can't take a real vacation, a small virtual one helps!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Peek at Where I've Been

I realize it's been a while since I've written here.  It's been a whirlwind of work lately, and still is, thankfully.  Just thought I would post a few pictures of some of the things we've been working on.

The daughter's bedroom.

Another shot.

The master bath.

Kitchen window treatment.

The dining room.

The dining room from the foyer.

The lady's office.

Dining room.

The kitchen.

None of these photos are styled at all.  I just wanted to do a quick post and update everyone on my whereabouts.  I will post more as I have them.

Friday, May 14, 2010

More Atlanta Excitement

Atlanta Decorative Arts Center

In my last post, I wrote about my experience at Design ADAC 2010 last week and the thrill of seeing and hearing design icon John Saladino speak about his work.  I felt privileged to be in attendance.  But the trip proved exciting for me in other ways, as well.
First off, while sitting and waiting for a session by business coach David Shepherd to begin,  I thought I spotted the author of the popular blog "Things That Inspire".  After the session I went up to her and introduced myself.  Holly was as charming in person as she is on her blog.  I regret that I didn't get a photo with her, but I was very happy to meet her.

After the talk by John Saladino, I purchased his book, "Villa", and proceeded to an upstairs showroom to to meet him and get my book signed.  Here is a photo of  the book signing.

 While in line, I turned around to see none other than Suzanne Kasler waiting in line behind me!  I was excited about my good fortune and introduced myself.  Suzanne is so warm and friendly.  I admire designers such as these who have reached the pinnacle of success and yet retain such a grounded and real persona.  My husband Steve snapped this photo:

Later that day we drove over to Buckhead to tour the Atlanta Symphony Decorator's Showhouse.  I always try to visit when I can.  The house was great and we lingered in every room taking it all in.  I was impressed with how many designers were present to meet and greet in their respective rooms.  When we reached the Master Bedroom, we were greeted by the designer, Patricia McLean. I have followed her Showhouse rooms for many years.  I found her Southern charm so engaging and her room was fabulous.  Here is a photo of Patricia and me in front of a 17th century Venetian secretary worth a mere $700,000!  She was so sweet and gracious.

I always enjoy my trips to Atlanta and I love the design energy and vibe I get from being there, but this trip was even more special as a result of meeting such design greats who are such warm and wonderful people as well.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sitting at the Feet of a Master

I just returned from Design ADAC 2010  in Atlanta and my batteries could not be more recharged.  I saw many wonderful things; fabrics, furnishings, rugs, etc.  The biggest take-away though, was from listening to John Saladino, the design and architectural icon, speak about his latest book and his villa in California.  Speaking to a standing-room only crowd, he received a standing ovation as he walked into the room.  After the applause died down, you could hear a pin drop as we, decorators and designers from near and far, many of world renown themselves, waited for him to speak and teach.  We were not disappointed.
His talk was based on his career, but mainly on the loving and painstaking restoration of his villa in Santa Barbara California.  He spoke about and taught how ancient cultures and civilizations have influenced his designs and his architectural point of view.  It was so inspiring to see such a legendary designer who is so humble.  I won't try and discuss and illustrate all his work, because blogland is full of such posts, but I will say that to see and hear him in person was very moving for me.  I think I will probably look at design in a different way from now forward.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cover Girls!

A wonderful Mother's Day gift!  So proud to work with my sweet daughter, Shana.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Derby Day

Mint Juleps...

A huge spread...

Hats and more hats....

And they're off!

( Do you have a favorite horse?  I don't know much about them, but I like the name "Looking at Lucky") !
  Seeing the Derby is on my bucket list!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Before and After

Here are a couple of update pictures of the kitchen in a current project we are working on.



This kitchen was totally designed by me and my husband, Steve, who did all the CAD design and specifications from which they were built.  I think it has turned out beautifully and the client is thrilled.