Today is sharing day and I just pray that I'm not sharing too much. If you feel the same way I do or deal with this in your own world of design - please say hi and be my little support system. Or tell me to take this crap down because I've taken a nosedive into TMI. Either would be helpful! Thanks <3
I love high-end, jaw-dropping, heart-swelling, lust-inducing design. You see it in Architectural Digest and Dwell and, well, you know where to find it. I love that. I love looking at that and I love designing that. There are at least a couple of issues here, though. The first one being that the typical (and wonderful) client does not have the budget for an Elle Decor worthy home. The second being that I can't post personal images of my home that look like this because although I can design it, I personally cannot afford it, either. It is a humbling thing and painfully frustrating to desire a master bath dipped in marble and dripping with nickel, and realize that I will not have that in my life (for the next few years, anyway. I have long term goals).
So how do I deal with this without feeling like a fraud? A limited budget always stretches those creativity muscles, but at times I become stagnant with the thought that if I just wait a little longer... I will be able to buy those window treatments that would imbue the living room with texture and diffuse the ample afternoon light to an inviting glow.
So far, I've pushed that purchase off a good six months.
In other instances, I procrastinate even doing the little things - like hanging artwork - because it isn't exactly what I want up on my walls. The 60" square painting I want by Amy Kirchner that would finish the wall brilliantly will have to wait, and in the meantime I guess I'd rather live with blank walls.
I did feel remarkably improved once I purchased my sofa in cream with clean lines and soft, perfectly lounge-able cushions, and the 80" long by 30" deep dining table I had made to gather around with clients or family. I was able to sell or pitch the random pieces I had been using for these items before. Now I could invite people over without feeling self-conscious to the point that I couldn't relax and enjoy the company. Still, I would feel even better if I could rip out my fireplace and start from scratch there. Or - my ultimate desire - widen the doorway to my kitchen and gut that thing completely.
So how do I cope? I try very, very hard to be nice to myself. Gentle and supporting. Because no one is as hard on me as me. High standards and expectations are as much a part of me as my sarcasm and work ethic. I remind myself that even if I could afford to do all of the things I desire, my family and friends wouldn't change their opinions of me. I don't have meetings in the dining room yet as I plan to, but living in the simple and simply beautiful home I have created is a pleasure I have waited years to experience. I try to find solace in my simplicity by adopting not a minimalist lifestyle - which I admire, but realize I am not 100% able to commit to without the budget to make it beautiful (vanity in minimalism. Hmm...) - but by living in hygge.
So far, the best description I have come across for this word is this: "A fundamental quality of Danish culture, [it] cannot be translated using a single word. Rather, it includes many of the pleasures we associate with everyday living - relaxing with friends, enjoying good food, and creating a cozy evening by lighting a candle or two." Thank you Skagen, a Danish website, for the description!
It isn't going to keep me from dreaming of my lavish master bath or extended deck and lush gardens, but it does help me to recognize the beauty in simplicity.
And that is what I will hold onto until the time that my home is covering the pages of House Beautiful! ;)
Now - PLEASE - share your design dilemma with me and how you overcome it. Or tell me to shut up and take this post down as soon as I am able. I know you have an opinion, and I really want to hear it! Thanks :)
Have a great weekend,
Warning: Hygge has hit the states and I predict it is going to be trendy as hell. Remember - its a quality of living - not a style. Don't buy something because its marketed as "hygge". That is literally the opposite of the whole dang thing!
A great blog by the adorable Alex Beauchamp you may want to check out is HyggeHouse. She is Danish and shares of her perfect hygge house and the joys she has found in it.
It started with the mosaic. Then I stumbled upon the hexagon tile. That was all it took. I dropped my bag and coat, quickly pulled a great cabinet door from the displays (oh, I forgot to mention that I was out shopping for a client at one of the trade resources in town. I made myself at home with all of their goodies), and hunted for the largest piece of white marble I could get my hands on to represent the countertop. I would probably go for Thassos in real life - polished or brushed, I can't decide. Or a white body quartz for durability. This large carrara tile was the best I could do at the time, and for an on-the-fly conceptual presentation, it does the trick. Anyway - this the just to get you started on your own Ethnic Chic kitchen design!
How comfortable are these spaces? And interesting and inviting and so very livable. No worries about having a dog. Or kids, for that matter! Invite people over and they may not want to leave. You wouldn't have to stress about it until you got sick of them in your house. Understandably, that may not take very long, so keep that in mind before doling out invitations. ;)
I can't get enough of that mosaic. Natural and organic but with a little flare. And I really just mean a little. Silver and I go all the way back to my toddler years and pierced ears, but too much bling makes me squirm. This has just the right amount and is balanced even more with the otherwise rough texture, and the medium-dark stained wood cabinets.
I have the hardware, lighting, barstools, and accessories all selected. Need the dining and living rooms pulled together? Ok! I have that, too! Unfortunately though, that isn't on the house. A girl's gotta make a living, but if you're interested in a mood board or a shopping list for these things to make your own home Ethnic Chic - email me. That is what my E-Design service is all about. :)
Have a great weekend,
What makes for a stunning powder room? Easiest answer ever - and I would bet my right arm 90% of my designer friends would agree with me - wallpaper!
Obviously, more is more, but the initial shock value that an all over pattern, color, and/or texture provides is the most effective place to start. The definition of stunner is: "a strikingly beautiful or impressive person or thing."
Need help finding "strikingly beautiful" wallpapers? Well, here you go...
This isn't a close-up. In fact, they may have had to shrink the image down. Ellie Cashman's designs are over-sized and perfectly overwhelming. I need to pull a mood board together with this wallpaper. It is extraordinary. The space just completely designed itself in my head.
Click to enlarge because these are two over-sized murals, as well. Brought to us by Phillip Jeffries, these multi-panel (indicated by the vertical lines) scenes are calming and serene. I recommend using this in a powder room with the largest wall opposite the doorway in order to see the most of the image. Beveled glass tiles on either or both short sides of the room (or perhaps just on the ceiling??) would be an equally stunning addition.
Wallpapers made by hand with real feathers. Oh, yes - it's real. Strikingly beautiful and impressive.
Yesterday I walked away from a dark green, antique, pagoda style console table. It was not an easy decision. I stared at it for 15 minutes arguing with myself - there HAD to be a way to incorporate it somewhere. In the end I gritted my teeth and soldiered away.
Today I recalled the ideal wallpaper for the table and now I need a client to make this little dream of mine come true. If you are out there, please email me. I have a stunning powder room for you!
An updated version of the banana leaf/palm tree prints of 2015/16. You could say that green is my signature color, so this would be more than welcome in my home. I think the hits of blue instead of black where shadows would be is a great detail.
More green and blue with Fragment Moss from West Elm; a mural that would do splendidly in a small space. Continue the angular element with sharp lined lighting and plumbing, a console vanity with a rectangular vessel sink, and a minimalist toilet. Stunner!
I know this won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it is mine! I LOVE this wallpaper. And it's removable, for you commitment-phobes out there. I suggest adding a white or pink lacquered vanity, cobalt blue sink, an antique chandelier dripping with crystals, and fresh flowers with plenty of greenery. STUNNER.
There are SO MANY amazing wallpapers out there. And powder rooms are a perfect space to play with lots of color and pattern (says the queen of neutrals and solids. Don't worry - the irony is not lost on me). If you're having a hard time selecting a great wallpaper, or need a different way of livening up your tight spaces, give me a shout. The possibilities are endless!
Have a great weekend,
Chattanooga is a city with remarkable design. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. I would pack up and move there tomorrow. This was a family trip over Thanksgiving - my folks, myself, and him. Every drive was hazardous for me - I rubber necked the entire time. Lucky I didn’t give myself whiplash. At one point we came to an intersection and I just couldn’t get over how amazing those doors were in front of us! I was sitting in the back seat and couldn’t see exactly what it was that I was in love with - every corner looked more amazing than the next and my heart was overwhelmed. He glanced at me from the front with a smirk. It turned out to be a Marriott or a Days Inn or some other run-of-the-mill hotel chain. I laughed at myself. But it looked incredible!
We stayed near the UT Chattanooga campus in what we guessed was a professor's place. Air BnB hooked us up with Cowabungalo and we were not disappointed (we highly recommend Amber's quirky place!). The house above IS NOT Cowabungalo, but it is within walking distance. There is street after street of stunning homes to drool over while you're walking off dinner.
I hang with a bunch of foodies. We ate and ate and ate endlessly. 'Twas the season of overindulgence, but we would have done it, regardless. I think one could easily dedicate two full weeks of a feasting vacation to Chattanooga. There are SO MANY great restaurants! I really wish I had taken more pictures - of The Social's large plates menu, for instance - but I was already flirting with living the trip through a camera lens. To me, that's not worth it. Anyway, The Social had a really interesting design, great food, killer cocktails, and it is accessible from the most visually captivating and unique mall ever - Warehouse Row.
It doesn't hurt that a seriously impressive interior design firm is located in Warehouse Row. Revival Interiors has their offices and a storefront in one wing of the warehouse. They provided a lot (if not all) of the furnishings throughout, and likely determined the general design of the mall's interior. Photography isn't permitted in the store or believe me, I would have inundated you with the perfection of this place. It was nauseatingly perfect. The men were waiting and hungry (??) so I grudgingly exited feeling simultaneously inspired and dangerously covetous. He and I are visiting Nashville in a few months and I will be taking a day trip to Warehouse Row just to pop back into this gem of a store. I'm already excited!