Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Lesson in Modern History

Gustavian Painted Bookcase

I recently came across an ad for a furniture company based in High Point, North Carolina called Modern History.  I am a big proponent of classic furniture styles, whether they be antique or good quality reproductions.  I was curious about the line so I went over to their website and took a look around.  I fell in love with some of their pieces. 

Inlaid half-moon console

This line is a wonderful collection of reproductions with a modern, updated feel.

Leather-wrapped Server

I can see all the pieces in the collection looking fabulous being mixed with other more clean-lined upholstered furniture and modern art.

Japanned half-round cabinet

Many of the case goods in the line are chinoiserie-inspired painted pieces.  The finishes are beautiful.

Painted Gustavian Chest

A problem with many companies who manufacture reproduction type lines is the fact that their entire lines are often a boring parade of brown-stained pieces.  Modern History, on the other hand, has a very nice mix of stained, inlays, painted and distressed, and japanned designs to offer.

Classic Regency-style console

You can never go wrong with a clean-lined classic look like this.

Japanned Concave Chest

This chest would be a beautiful statement piece for a foyer or entry.

Scandanavian-style painted console

This painted console would be great mixed with so many of the gray-washed pieces on the market right now.

Painted Gustavian-style concave bedside table

This liitle bedside table would be at home in so many different styles of rooms.

Modern History is definitely on my favorites list now.

Go over and check out their website,

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Money Doesn't Always Equal Taste

These are a few shots I have collected from luxury real estate sites.  These rooms are all in houses worth at least twenty million dollars.

Waverly much?

Anybody live here?

Rooms To Go their designer?

Just bad.

There.  That should make us all feel better!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Little Something for Myself

photo by a la parisienne

I just had to show you this beautiful hand-made brooch I ordered for myself from Mandy at  Mandy's beautiful blog is on my blogroll and is a must-see treat.  She is a beautiful young mother who has several creative endeavors going, including photography and blog design.  I purchased this beauty from her Etsy shop.  How satisfying it is to own something so unique and lovely. 

Her brooches always are designed with such feminine details and colors.  Mine is adorned with this pretty vintage blue pearl.  When I opened the box, it was wrapped in fancy tissue paper and tied with an ecru ribbon.  Mandy even included a hand-written thank you note and care instructions.  Such attention to detail!  Be sure and visit her.

Now....I have to shop for an outfit pretty enough to wear it with!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Building, Renovating, Redecorating: Should You Hire a Designer or Do it Yourself?

There are many, many decisions to be made when you are gearing up for a large project, whether it be building, doing an addition, renovating, or redecorating.  But the first thing to resolve is whether to do all the design yourself or get help.  Because this is what I do every day, I have the real-world perspective on just what is involved in such a project.  Here are some thoughts to ponder:

If the job is large, do have 6-8 hrs a day for weeks or months to devote to sourcing, shopping, quoting, dealing with subcontractors?
Can you relenquish control?
Can you trust?
Are you a good communicator: ie. drawings, specs, ideas ,pictures.
Do you have an eye for proportion, scale, color, etc.?
Are you handy with tools, demolition?  Do you have the time and inclination  to clean up every day after the mess?
Do you have a place to receive shipped goods?
Do you have access to craftspeople: ie. seamstress, plumbers, carpenters, painters, faux artists, etc.?
Are you decisive?
Can you handle problems with logistics, schedules, personnel problems?
Do you work during the day?
Do you have access to wholesale vendors, fabric houses, to the trade sources?
Do you enjoy chaos?
Can you handle everyone giving you differing opinions of what you should do?
Do have time for status meetings, phone calls, checking on shipments, project management?
Are you good at math and know formulas for determining fabric yardages, drapery fullnesses, sewing and fabrication terminology, floorcovering estimates, wallpaper estimates, etc.?
If you are a woman, can you handle working with predominately male tradespeople and installers?
Are you comfortable with people working in your home?
How much is your time worth as opposed to the money saved by doing it yourself?

When you are deciding between the two options, be honest with yourself: will you take on design and project management because you truly enjoy it and have the talents needed, or because your main motivation is saving money?  If your honest answer is saving money, you should think twice.  It is demanding and it is a lot of work.  By the time it's all said and done, the savings alone just may not be worth it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And The Winner Is....

Thanks so much to all of you who came and commented on the blogoversary post!  And now for the winner....drumroll please.....

The winner of the beautiful  Charleston candle from Low Country Luxe is......

Pat from Fort Worth, Texas!
Congratulations, Pat!

(Pat commented on January 17,2010 at 12:12 p.m.)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My First Blogoversary and a Giveaway for Readers

I started blogging January 13, 2009.  I had no idea how rewarding it would be.  Blogging has brought me to a place where design junkies like me congregate every day and bring their views and ideas to the table.  It is a place to get inspired and get your creative batteries charged.  There are so many talented bloggers out there who spend so much time writing and researching for their blogs for no money, just the love of design.  I have a day job in the design world and sometimes that cuts into my blogging time, but I appreciate each and every person that comes and takes a moment out of their day to read what's on my mind.  To celebrate and show my appreciation, I am doing a little give-away to someone randomly chosen from all the commenters on this post.  Just drop me a comment and you are automatically entered to win a beautiful Low Country Luxe candle in the Charleston scent.  These candles are heavenly!   (Make sure  there is a way to contact you!  I will leave the post up until Tuesday the 19th. I will announce at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday.)

Thanks and here's to another year of blogging!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

House Jewelry: Polished Nickel Faucets

If there is anywhere in a house that I believe you should invest in quality, it is in hardware:  hinges, doorknobs, cabinet hardware, and faucets.  I call these things house jewelry.  Like the jewelry we wear, hardware in a home makes a very definite style statement.  Unfortunately, I think we often do not budget enough when building and remodeling for this very important aspect of home design.  How much can a measly little faucet cost, right?  For a good quality one, more than we sometimes think.
A while back Joni at Cote de Texas walked us through her kitchen remodel and I remember her sink and marble counter being my favorite part of the room, but at the time I didn't pay close attention to the brand name she listed for her kitchen faucet.  Since then, I have taken a whole-house remodel and re-decorate project and have been out shopping (a lot!).  So faucets are at the forefront of my mind right now.  When she posted a picture of her kitchen again for her New Year post, it jogged my memory.  Here is a picture of her beautiful kitchen sink and faucet.

Joni's Perrin and Rowe kitchen faucet

The last few years a number of finishes were big on the market.  Oil-rubbed bronze, satin nickel and stainless, to name a few.  These are still being shown in a big way in the showrooms and big box satores in my city.  But the finish that I have fallen in love with is polished nickel.  I'm not sure the love affair will ever end either!  The best thing about polished nickel is its undertone, which is warmer than the blue undertone of polished chrome.  It is classic and less trendy-looking than some finishes.  It works so much better with the palettes I like to work with, which almost always have a warm undertone.

The Bistro Collection from Restoration Hardware

This photo shows that wonderful silver/gold finish that I love about polished nickel.  It just can't be duplicated, in my opinion.

Jado Colonial Collection

Polished nickel heaven!   Faucet and hammered nickel sink.  Just fabulous.

Restoration Hardware Vintage Collection

Polished nickel with crystal on handles

Vintage bath enhanced by polished nickel

I think you can see that this finish really is almost jewelry-like in appearance.  Shiny, yet warm and appraochable at the same time.  Forgive me if I gush.  But a newfound crush can do that to you!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The 2010 Design Consumer: What They Want, When They Plan to Spend

As a designer I feel the need to keep my finger on the pulse of the economy and what the design client is looking for.  I subscribe to a trade publication called Home Accents Today which keeps me abreast of new trends and vendors in the design marketplace.  I received my latest issue today and it included a very informative piece concerning the recession and the design consumer.  Writer Dana French gives a thorough overview of how the downturn has changed the design landscape and what to expect in the coming year as well as the near future.
One of the biggest points I noticed in the article was how consumers have made lifestyle changes such as eating out less and cooking and entertaining more at home.  As a result of this change, they express an interest in making their homes even more of a haven and refuge from the world than ever.  Some interesting quotes from homeowners:
"The recession makes me want to make my home more of a nest since we spend more time here."
"I value my home even more now since the economy has taken a downshift."
"We take things one day at a time and one piece at a time, instead of one room at a time."
"I think it's good to invest in my home living space.  With going out less often, we spend more time at home."
It seems unanimous that nesting and spending time at home with family and friends is more important to people now than ever before.
Fifty-six percent of those surveyed say they desire to purchase new home furnishings and decor right now, but 30% said they are not sure when they will actually buy them. Twenty two percent said they will purchase  new items this year.  Many people are retaining their newly formed habits of paying with cash, using coupons, shopping several stores before buying, saving money, and doing more projects themselves.  (A good indicator of this is the explosion of DIY blogs on the internet.)
For those of us in the business of helping people with their home design, I think this is good news.  The desire to decorate is there and the plans seem to be made to act on that desire in the fairly near future.  The current design consumer wants the nest and the nest egg, too.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sexy Seating

Now that the new year is here, my thoughts turn to new products and designs that call my name.   Sourcing products is one of my favorite parts of my job and nothing is more exciting than finding things that are new to the market (or at least new to me).  I have plans to replace some seating in my own house and I am also working on a large project for a client, so I am on the lookout for pretty and functional seating.  Here are a few of my picks.

Zentique (to the trade)

French Eloquence (to the trade)

Williams Sonoma

Zentique (to the trade)

Oly Studios (to the trade)

Oly Studios (to the trade)

French Market Collection (to the trade)

Zentique (to the trade)

McAlpine Home

Zentique (to the trade)

French Market Collection (to the trade)

Lewis Mittman (to the trade)