Friday, April 29, 2011

Trend Alert: The Year of the Peacock (and a Giveaway!!)

Trends are good.  Trends are bad. 
Trends are fun in small doses and a very bad investment in large doses because when they are over, they fall with a very large thud.

BUT, back to the good part of trends.  They bring fun, fashion, and color to your decor when used wisely.
Some of the best ways to incorporate decorating trends is in your accessories and soft goods.  This way the hot new motif or color can visit for a while but leave without fanfare when it becomes a guest that has worn out its welcome.

A really hot trend I am seeing in the design marketplace right now is the peacock motif as well as a color I call Peacock which is a deep, green-tinged, inky blue.  I have brought a few examples to show you.

This rug features a stylized peacock feather design with that beautiful "Peacock" color.  I think this would be great in a dining room under a traditional style table or in a living room with a Lucite coffee table on it.

I particularly love this vase that hints at the peacock motif and colorway.  Another good way to add the trend without investing too heavily into it.

Fashion gets into the act, too. 

Greeting cards with a nod to the peacock trend would make a wonderful, stylish gift or look great sitting on your desk.  So chic!

Again, pillows are an easy way to bring a touch of a hot trend into a room without major commitment.

Beautiful, large-scale peacock perfect for a shelf or a console table in an entryway.

Pretty blue and white interpretation of the peacock.

How about a peacock tonic cocktail? 

I am in love with this large scale peacock motif fabric from JF Fabrics.

Look around closely and I believe you will be seeing the peacock being interpreted in many fresh and exciting ways.

Be sure to enter our Giveaway celebrating our updated website and online shop!
(see link above)

 credits: Peacock cocktail Martha Stewart (photo Simon Watson)
cards ParadoXx Art
blue/white pillow  Cottage Cupboard
all others through Carol Raley Interiors

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Brand New Look and a Giveaway!!!!

We are so excited to announce the launch of our updated website at, as well as an all new look for Southern Chateau! Even MORE exciting: next Friday May 6, we will launch our online shop,, where you can find all sorts of hand-picked items for your home, from accessories, to artwork and lamps, all the way to rugs and furniture! It has been a labor of love for our team and I am thrilled with the results.  The new look reflects our design aesthetic so much better I think, and I hope you think so too. 

To celebrate our upcoming grand opening, we will be giving away two exclusive framed etchings, Cityscape I and Cityscape II, shown below.  They are matted in linen and have wonderful black patina frames. They work well in any decor.  These are a retail value of $250 for the pair.

Cityscape I

Cityscape II

To be entered for the drawing, just go to our website and sign up for our Sales and Specials e-mail list between now and midnight (Eastern time) on Thursday, May 5.  And just for signing up, you'll will receive a 10% discount on your first purchase through our online store!

On opening day, Friday May 6, we will announce the winner of the etchings and will send out the 10% discount code to all members of our Sales and Specials mailing list.

Thanks for celebrating with us as we begin a new chapter for Southern Chateau and Carol Raley Interiors!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You Need a Slipper Chair in Your Life!

I love chairs of all kinds.  I am known to bring home any stray chair that I feel is orphaned and needs a good home.  Little antique French ones are favorites and are sprinkled around my house.  But another type of chair that I cannot resist is a cute little slipper chair.  Every house needs a least one somewhere.

Slipper chairs have quite a romantic back-story, as they are said to have served the function of giving Victorian ladies a low, armless chair on which to sit while putting on stockings and shoes.  The lack of arms made room for the billowing skirts worn in those days.  I just know that aesthectically a slipper chair is very pleasing to me.

Slipper chairs are just so versatile because of their small scale.  You can tuck them into so many places in a room.  It can often be a good solution for treating an awkward corner.  Pairing a slipper chair with a small drink table, as in the photo above, creates a cozy reading spot.

 This is a cell-phone shot of a similar chair I snapped at a recent furniture show.  This chair is from Lee Industries.  I wanted to illustrate how, even when there is button-tufting present, a pretty print fabric such as this blue-and-white ikat style, looks great.  So pretty!

 I think this little chair is just so unique and stylish.  More button-tufting and legs with casters, two of my favorite style details.

How about this for something truly different and utterly feminine?  I love it in a neutral linen like this and it would be fantastic in a large scale print as well.

This is a little antique slipper chair I have owned for a very long time, from back when finding something like this was rare, before French reproductions became so common.  It is done in needlepoint.

This slipper chair has a very classic, sophisticated feel which I think would look great done in a living room in a pair, side-by-side.

This was another one of my vintage finds that I had covered in a cotton fabric with a small fern pattern.  It sits in my grandson's nursery at my house. (By the way, those walls are chocolate brown.  Not the greatest picture.)

This is a more contemporary version consisting of cleaner, straighter lines and a little larger scale.  I'm more of the curvy persuasion myself, though!

If something seems missing in your life, maybe adding a delicious little slipper chair to your decor will brighten things up.  You never know!

Photo and vendor credits: 1. Suzanne Kasler Interiors, 2.Suzanne Kasler for Hickory chair, 3.Williams Sonoma, 4. Lee Industries 5. through Carol Raley Interiors 6. through Carol Raley Interiors 7. personal collection 8. Williams-Sonoma 9. personal collection 10. Williams-Sonoma

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Home is Where the Heart Is: A Eulogy

image via

I make a living decorating houses.  I live it and breathe it.  I attempt to write about it here and share my passion for it with you. 
But sometimes life reminds me that decorating and design is an underpinning to something bigger and more important. 
And that is Home. 

Home is where you came from.  It is the springboard for your life.  It is the place you will always remember all your days.  You will forever walk through its rooms, even if physically it is long gone.  You will remember its sights, sounds, and smells.  You will see it in your dreams always.

Last week my dear mother-in-law passed away.  She is at peace now I believe.  Now we have only memories of her and the home that she made for her family.  It was a place I became a part of when I was seventeen years old, before we were married.  My earliest memories are of the immediate sense of warmth and welcome I felt the first time I walked through the door.  Home-cooked Southern food was always on the stove and warm welcomes and hugs waited for me.  I knew I had found my second family for life. The sounds of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren rang through the rooms. 

Yes, beauty and order speak to me.  I have longed for them since I was a child.  But the thing that lives most in my heart and mind are memories of those intangible qualities that make a house a home. And those who make them happen.

In Memoriam
Joyce Jewell  Raley
July 19, 1930-March 31, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chandelier Trends and Tips

Lighting  falls into the category of house jewelry.  It says so much about a house and its owner.  Nothing is worse than outdated light fixtures.  It is what I will notice first when walking into a home.  And nothing is a quicker update than changing out lighting.  Let's look at some new trends that are in the marketplace.  The chandelier above is from Currey and Co. and is a lovely mix of traditional styling interpreted in a modern, more natural way.  I love the shape and the natural, aged finish.  This look could work with so many styles of decorating, from rustic farmhouse, french country, swedish luxe, to updated traditional.  Just love.

Here we see again the natural, aged finish and the pared-down elegance of another Currey design.  This is reminiscent to me of the grand chandeliers hanging in chateaus and grand homes like Biltmore House.  Simple yet so elegant.

Lantern style chandeliers are a hot trend right now and it is one of which I am a big fan.  It's just a classic look and there are so many great interpretations of the design out there currently.  This particular one is from Vagabond Vintage.  I see it being equally at home in a dressed-up setting as well as putting some bling into a more casual or rustic decor.

How's this for rough-luxe elegance?  This burlap chandelier from Zentique is the epitome of pared-down, artsy style.  I can visualize this paired with dressy Louis chairs with modern fabrics and a farmhouse table.

Tara Shaw always brings it.  Style that is.  This fresh interpretation of Empire style is clean, airy, but elegant.
This type of chandelier will always be among my favorites.

Another Tara Shaw beauty is shown here.  An aged-finish wood lantern chandelier which to me is so Italian looking.  I think maybe this is my favorite du jour!

Currey again here with a nod to the lantern style.  This feels elegant and simple at the same time.  It could work in so many different styles of decor as well.

This dressy lantern/pendant style fixture from Currey in a distressed pewter finish is one of my favorites.  I used one recently in a clients office. 


Choosing the right chandelier is the first task, followed by knowing how to hang it when you get it home.  It is suggested by many lighting companies and designers that a chandelier be hung anywhere from 30-34 inches above a dining table in a room with 8 foot ceilings.  If your ceiling is higher than that, the fixture should be hung 3 inches higher for each foot of ceiling.  Truthfully, I often just eyeball where I think the chandelier looks best.  As far as size and scale goes, it is suggested that the chandelier be 12 inches narrower than the table over which it hangs.

I realize these chain covers were in vogue for a while, but it is time for them to go away now.  This is too fussy and just calls even more attention to the chain and away from a beautiful chandelier.  Can you imagine this thing on one of the Tara Shaw beauties above?  Sacrilege!

Another issue is cleaning and care.  If your chandelier has crystals or glass, it needs to be kept dust and smudge-free in order to shine to its full beauty.

I will leave you with one more gorgeous Tara Shaw chandelier.  This look is popular now and is one of my favorites.

When it comes to choosing lighting for your home, think outside the big-box store and your house will have "jewelry" that you won't see in every one of your neighbors houses.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Retro Brilliance

Check out this wonderful home in Charleston Home magazine designed by designer Angie Hranowsky.
Here is the link.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

It's Getting Closer!!

Our Symphony Showhouse 2011 foyer

I am so excited about all the new things we are working on here at Southern Chateau. Next week we will launch our new look and I hope will you come and celebrate with me. I will be sharing some fabulous new products with you, as well as some great giveaways. Be sure to watch for my updates and announcements!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New and Exciting Happenings at Southern Chateau!!

We are working on some new and exciting things at Southern Chateau and Carol Raley Interiors.
Watch for our new look, along with great giveaways, discounts, and promotions.
Check back here for the next big announcement!