Saturday, November 15, 2008

The No Da Gallery Crawl

On the first Friday of each month, the No Da (or North Davidson Street) area of Charlotte hosts a gallery crawl. If you have never been, it is something you need to put on your to do list! This area of town has been totally reclaimed from urban decay and is charming, funky and great fun. The atmosphere is festive and there are lots of people milling about. Galleries range from Art-Craft to avante garde and are mixed with wonderful cafe's and bars, lots of which offer live music. My husband and I stopped in at the Evening Muse to listened to a local singer songwriter who was terrific.
I am constantly preaching to my clients about the importance of choosing art that has a personal connection. It is a shame to buy a stock print just because it goes with your decore when you could have original art that supports a local artist, works in the room, and offers an a satisfying emotional reaction. The No Da gallery crawl is a great place to make this kind of purchase. Invite another couple and go for the evening. Enjoy the crawl, grab a bite, then go to one of the many venues offering live music to cap off your evening. It will feel like you visited a whole new world in a short drive.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Membership in IDS and in the WCAA

Recently, I submitted an application to the Interior Design Society for membership. This organization is for professional interior designers and promotes excellence in residential interior design. They require school documentation and a track record of professional experience before they consider a designer for membership. I am very pleased to have been accepted to the national organization and am looking forward to joining the local Charlotte chapter soon. Many articles that you read about hiring an interior designer encourages a prospective client to make sure that the designer is affiliated with a professional design organization. It is exciting to now be listed among such a distinguished group.

Professional organizations offer ongoing education and information on the industry that they represent. The same is true with the Window Coverings Association of America. After several visits to the local WCAA chapter, I have found that the information and network of professional window specialists to be invaluable. By Design Interiors now boasts membership in this professional organization as well as the Interior Design Society. These memberships assure my clients that I am up to date on all the current and coming information in the area of windows and interior design.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Update on the High Point Furniture Market - October 2008

Fall Furniture Market - October 2008.
We just back from the High Point Fall Furniture Market, and by we, I mean my darling Mother and I. She has accompanied me to the last two markets and is such fun to have along. I attribute any talent that I have to her. She is great to engage in assessing and evaluating the things that we see during our time together. We agreed that each trip expands our view of all that is available with regard to product. We also enjoyed two educational seminars offer this time and found both to be well worth the time!
Now for the fun part; let's look at the market trends and directions for Fall/Winter 2008. Black and white is still strong with bold graphics and paired with apple green or traditional red. The acid yellow popular at the Spring market has softened into a yummy butter color and when paired with pewter gray becomes one of the signature color combo's of the show. Aubergine is popular and we saw it paired with leaf green for a regal yet oddly soothing color story. Metallics are still strong in accent pieces and accessories. Sliver tones, whether weathered or polished bright, are leading the way in popularity. Gold colored metallics are making a come-back, but slowly and mostly in traditional applications. Lacquer finishes on furniture and accessories is a hot new trend that has gained momentum since the Spring market. These bright finishes were popular in the Spring in mostly black and white. This market we saw bright reds, hot pinks, purple and various other brilliant colors. This trend is hot and I predict that it is just getting started.
Layering like we see in fashion apparel is popular in home furnishings as well. Throws, pillows, layered artwork, window with multiple treatments are all part of this trend. It is particularly appropriate for the cooler seasons as it creates a cozy and warm look.
The whole movement for green design is just getting warmed up. We have a very long way to go but the fact that we are seeing the birth of a new movement toward using sustainable and renewable resources is very encouraging. Many of the companies that I shopped are participating in this move by recycling, using renewable resources, and asking their vendors to do the same. Two websites that will provide information on this subject are http://www.oecotextiles.com/ and http://www.sustainablefurnishingscouncil.org/. As you make purchases, please consider asking about whether or not the products you are considering are being manufactured with a sensitivity toward our environment. The more we request environmentally friendly products, the more options we will have.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fall is an exciting time in the Interior Design World

Each fall there are two events that provide loads of inspiration, predict trends and offer new and exciting ideas for the home. They are the Atlanta Merchandise Mart's fall Home and Gift Show, and, the High Point Furniture Market. These events are massive in scale and hard to cover in just a day or two. In High Point, there is over 10 million square feet of showrooms! This event requires careful planning. I make a list of those vendors that I don't want to miss and then I try to plan to see as many new venues as possible. Some of my favorite furniture finds have come from High Point. Atlanta is more about accessories and garden furnishings. Atlanta is great because you never have to leave the building. High Point offers music and a festival like atmosphere between buildings which is fun. The Atlanta event is the week of September 15th. The Market is in October. I will be reporting back on some of my favorite finds...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Just because it looks good...

A client that I am currently helping is having a tough time with the idea of updating her space. Her children would like to see her go for a whole new look and a more updated feel to her very homey family room. They would like to see a new furniture layout, new accessories, some new lighting and even a new furniture piece or two. This would be very easy to accomplish and would really provide a big change. The client is struggling, not with the idea of something new, but with how the space works so well for her lifestyle. The chairs and ottoman are just right for tv viewing. The couch, while a bit long for the room, is perfect for napping. The current furniture arrangement accomodates the family when they visit, the homeowners when they are alone, even down to the ease of using the answering machine. My answer? Just because it looks good, you don't necessarily give up function for form. How we live in a space, how it accomodates our needs, how it assists us in our livestyle is a powerful part of good design. We could change the furniture layout, but would it work as well for the homeowners? Is new furniture needed if recovering the old would save a sofa that works for napping? My plan is to keep the room as it is. We are going to add new cushions and recover each piece in the room. We are going to update lamps by updating shades and painting some of the bases. We are going to update window treatments, flooring, and wall color. In all, the room will have a total make over, without touching the comfortable lifestyle that is this room's personality and role in the life of the client

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Highlights from the High Point Spring Furniture Market

Last week was the High Point Spring Furniture Market. How do you describe 12 million square feet of furniture, accessories, textiles, and gifts? The first thing that I do is look for trends. Last market, in October, showed a lot of black and white, tons of green (both environmentally and the color-wise), and metallic accents everywhere! This market was not much different. The use of acid yellow has become popular. There were still metallic accents with the predominant choice being polished chrome or nickle. Mirrored case goods are still strong as is white lacquer finishes. My favorite venue this market was Global Views ( www.globalviews.com). The lighting and creative displays took my breath as did the large selection of accessories offered. Another favorite stop is Guildmaster (www.decorize.com). This collection of weathered and aged furniture and accessories always offers a feast for the senses. Christy Proctor, a former designer on the TV show Trading Spaces, was there introducing her new line of lamps. Christy was very personable and we enjoyed both her and her new product line.

Speaking of celebrities, Candice Olsen, of HGTV's Devine Design, was there introducing her line of case goods at Revco International (www.revcointernational.com). She is just as cute in person as she is on TV and my mom, who accompanied me, was tickled to speak to her. Her line of furniture is smart, transitional and like you would expect it to be if you watch her show.

As always, my favorite upholstery line, Pearson Company (www.pearsonco.com) had a beautiful showroom and we accomplished a lot there. Design Masters, known for their beautiful dining chairs, continues to increase the number of dining tables offered. They have some really lovely tables. And finally, my favorite new discovery is Pablo Mekis Artisan Pillows. These pillows are hand embroidered pillows from Chile. They are offered in linen, wool, silk, and cotton. These pillows are one of a kind art pieces and are just fabulous! Go see them at www.pablomkis.com.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Home Staging in a Tough Real Estate Market

Later today I will be staging a home that is getting ready to be put on the market in Rock Hill, SC. I am finding that my staging business has increased since the slow down began in Real Estate sales. In my business, the realtor hires and pays for my fee as listing incentive. These savvy realtors realize that they need an edge to make their listings stand out among the very crowded field. National statistics show that a staged home will sell quicker and for an average of 6% more money than a non staged home.

My goal when I stage a home is three fold. First, we work on making the space look as large as possible. That means getting rid of unnecessary furniture and items that take up floor space. Storage units are often used as most people house more furniture and junk than their homes can really accomodate. The second goal is to de-personalize the home. Buyers cannot image how they would live in a home if the lifestyle of the current owner is in the way. When I stage a home we reduce the amount of family photo's, religous art and artifacts, alchohol and bar equipment and the like. Finally, we look for ways to add charm. Fresh flowers, clear kitchen counters, pretty towels in the bathrooms, well made beds are all ways to give the buyer something to remember. Of the last three homes that I have staged, two have sold within a month, the third has had an offer that was refused.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Just Back from the International Window Covering Expo

This past week, I attended the International Window Covering Expo in Atlanta with Marilyn Croteau. Marilyn owns Croteau Window Coverings and her workroom does all of the window treatments that I design and specify. You can check her out at http://www.croteauwindows.com/. The IWCE offered the opportunity to see what was new in window patterns, shutters, shades, blinds, motorization, fabric, trims, and new technologies that help the design industry solve problems. One of these problem solvers was the x-10 Drop. This is a door handle extension that will work with Schlage hardware. This ingenious piece of hardware will extend the door handle to accomodate blinds and/or shutters on French doors. Until now, Schlage was the only company that did not have an extension to fit. Many of my clients have Schlage door handles and they will be thrilled to have access to this product! Another exciting technology introduced, was the motorization of Roman Shades. This gives us a whole new area to explore when we are challenged with two story windows that need light control.We even found a product that will help hold the base of a drapery panel in place and in perfect folds over a floor vent that is blowing. Small items like these can make a big impact in the overall design of a room, and these technological breakthroughs are always welcome.

The best part of the World Window Covering Expo

No matter how well the products, information or displays are presented, the true success of a show is the people that are involved and the relationships that are formed. The highlight of the Atlanta trip for me was meeting Lee Ann Van Dusen and Patty Grossman owners of Oeco Textiles. http://www.oecotextiles.com/ These amazing women have launched a truly "green" and completely gorgeous line of all natural, "green" manufactured decorative fabrics. These girls offer the true American entrepreneurial story. They have a passion for the environment. They saw the need for truly "green" decorative fabrics. They have a overcome incredible obstacles to pursue their goal with integrity and a committment to not compromise the mission. They are real, down to earth, and lots of fun. It will be thrilling to watch where the journey takes them as I am confident that they will be wildly successful.

Calgon Take Me Away...

Calgon Take Me Away...
soak your troubles away in this stone beauty

Bathtub becomes fountain... fabulous!

cottage charm!

perfect for your mountain retreat!

Where I belong...

The AIDP Charlotte Chapter Board Members

The AIDP Charlotte Chapter Board Members
Seated from left, Davetta Moore, National Board Member, Wanda Horton, Vice President of Communication, Jane Ann Maxwell, President, standing from left to right, Nancy Martin, Vice President of Membership, Mary Santini, Secretary/Treasurer, and Marianne Parker, National Board Member

Emily's New Room

Emily's New Room

This desk was the inspiration for the room

Decorating for Christmas in Adult and Kid Zones...

Decorating for Christmas in Adult and Kid Zones...
Adults will love the beauty of the luxe mantle

This bright, bold mantle is kid friendly

This lovely arrangement is sophisicated and elegant

Kids tables need centerpieces too and these serve as favors to take home afterwards!

The Holiday Table...

The Holiday Table...
This table setting would make a beautiful Thanksgiving breakfast table

Greenery - simple and elegant

These pictures illustrate the idea of using what you love...

These pictures illustrate the idea of using what you love...
One home owner loves classic traditional decore, the other mid century modern. Look at what they created using the things they both loved!!!

Grouping beloved collections create impact

Two collections united by color

Pictures from the Coastal Vibe Project

Pictures from the Coastal Vibe Project
The chair fabric was designed just for this client and then made into yardage just for these chairs!

The living room seating area. The client wanted it elegant and yet relaxed, with the idea of being at a house on the beach.

We added the built-ins and had the paint changed before the homeowner moved in. A cozy seating arrangement and momentos from world travels warm the space.

another view

These pictures illustrate "staging" principles

These pictures illustrate "staging" principles
This beautiful room was designed to be cozy and full. This room is an example of NOT staging to maximize the square footage. Thanks to House Beautiful for the image

This serene room is designed for maximum spaciousness! Notice that you see lots of floor through the legs of the coffee table. Lots of breathing room in this space. Thanks to House Beautiful for the image.

This is an example of Benjamin Moore Aura paints to go with the About Paint post

This is an example of Benjamin Moore Aura paints to go with the About Paint post
One of the many beautiful colors in the Aura collection

Aura paints have low VOC's which means it's healthier for everybody!

To illustrate the post "Art For Your Walls"

The following pictures are artwork from some of my favorite local artists. The fabulous thing about these folks is that they will do commissioned pieces especially for you! Enjoy...

Local Artists...

Local Artists...
Richard Anderson

Celia Flock

Sany Seipert, an older work, her newer stuff is better, this was the only image I had...

The following pictures are from the October High Point Furniture Market.

These are some of the showrooms and displays that I thought were terrific.

Bella Luna was one of my favorite showrooms!

Bella Luna was one of my favorite showrooms!
everything on display was quirky and elegant

One of my favorite finds, this mirror is a piece of art!

These sassy stools help tell the Bella Luna story

Cyan design always has unusual and neat things

Hot Color Trend shown at the Spring Market in Highpoint!

Hot Color Trend shown at the Spring Market in Highpoint!
black and white and malachite!

Luxury Lighting!

Luxury Lighting!

Favorite New Accessoires...

Favorite New Accessoires...
Contact us for more information or to place an order...

love this!

simply elegant!

fabulous silver platters that are even better in person

These make such a great centerpiece for a dining room table

FALL MARKET 2008 - GORGEOUS COLOR, FOCUS ON "GREEN" DESIGN, FUN WITH LAQUER...

FALL MARKET 2008 - GORGEOUS COLOR, FOCUS ON "GREEN" DESIGN, FUN WITH LAQUER...
New color combo that was everywhere, butter and pewter, so pretty, soft and fresh!

Gorgeous Global Views - always my favorite venue

Gorgeous Global Views - always my favorite venue
soft butter and pewter

"GREEN" in both color and sustainablity is a beautiful choice...

"GREEN" in both color and sustainablity is a beautiful choice...
These pillows made from abaca leaves and coconut beads are eco-friendly and good for the workers of the developing country in which they are made.

Old favorites are still in play...

Old favorites are still in play...
aqua, teal, peacock are still popular-- note the laquered mirror!

Before and After pictures are always fun!

Before and After pictures are always fun!
This is a "before" picture of a recent project.

After #2!

After #2!

Before #2

Before #2
same room, different view

AFTER!

AFTER!
new carpet, upholstery, paint, window treatments...

More from the High Point Spring Market My Favorite Overall Venue - Global Views

More from the High Point Spring Market My Favorite Overall Venue - Global Views
terrific accessories, uniquely displayed

black, white, red, silver punch!

note the male figures at the bottom of the ropes climbing out of the vases!

Favorite Find at the High Point Spring Market

Favorite Find at the High Point Spring Market
Pablo Mekis Artisan Pillows

the hand stiching is fabulous!

more Pablo Mekis

A designer is as good as her team...

Every designer relies on a team of people to help execute her design vision. I have worked very hard to assemble a top notch team of craftsmen and professionals to rely on for excellence in execution and customer service. I have nick named them "The "A" Team". This name is so appropriate because this group brings their best effort to each task. There are many folks out there that will give you adequate, we strive for exceptional.

The following pictures will introduce you to some of the work done by these guys...

Introducing...

Introducing...
Marilyn Croteau - the BEST window treatment workroom on the East Coast

Introducing...

Introducing...
Heavin Woodworks - beautiful trims and built-ins

Introducing...

Introducing...
G.Richard Anderson Faux Finisher. He does fabulous work!

Oeco Textiles

Oeco Textiles
all natural and all green

A staged breakfast room

A staged breakfast room
We recovered the chairs to co-ordinate with the area rug and added a fresh bunch of flower from the grocery store!

This week...

This week, I am working on two interiors that are either on or are near Lake Wylie, SC. Both homeowners are interested in incorporating a coastal "vibe" into the design for their homes. Working on two homes with the same design direction has never happened in my business before. It will be fun to see just how differently we approach each home. They will be as different and unique as their homeowners and we will be sure to include some after pictures in about 3 or 4 months!

Something's Gotta Give

Something's Gotta Give
from the movie "Something's Gotta Give" the set design for the Nantucket living room is inspiration for a coastal interior that I'm working on right now...

Coastal Inspiration

Coastal Inspiration
another coastal inspiration

this rug from Aspen Carpet Designs is very close to the one in the movie!

BVI's Virgin Gorda - beautiful!

great garden bench