Need the beach?

Oh............don't we all! 

Especially on a day like today in my part of the world with deep blue skies, warm air and breezes, we tend to dream of the respite of the beach.  If you don't live near a body of water and rarely get to the nearby lake or if the ocean is your calling but you're nowhere near one, create it.

Yup......create it.

With so many offerings on the market today, if you're considering renovating at all, and really love, I mean LOVE the water and its beaches, you can create that in your home and come home every single day to that wonderful spot.   Here's a kitchen we renovated with the beach in mind.

Using wood-look tile in a white washed finish, installed diagonally, we create the feeling of sand washing up on the shore in an irregular direction.  Soft paint reminiscent of the ocean adorns the walls above beadboard chair rail.  Quartz counters with an azure blue highlight sit atop the white cabinets.  The bench reflects those teak seating spots along the boardwalk calling to us to rest awhile.

Let your imagination take you

where you don't think you can go.

 

A 'RED' LETTER DAY

December 15 is my red letter day.  It's the alarm on the calendar, the day by which the shopping, cards, decorating, tree up, food list, guest list, letters written, warm mittens found, china count should be well underway with little left to do.  It's the big red mark that says, "where are you in all the planning" and "will you be ready"?  It's the day of assessment when all is taken into account, laid out in front of me like a huge "to do" list.

So how am I fairing this year?  Oops!  The cards went out.  Letters were written.  We did find lots of warm mittens, some without partners, and even the ski pants missing since last winter.  The house is pretty.  Gifts?  Hummmm.....haven't really started.  Food?  Not yet.  China?  That one is easy other than the few missing pieces that weren't carefully put away last year.

What's happening?  Am I starting to let go of the frenetic rush?  Is it becoming less and less important to struggle through gift lists I can only hope will satisfy the special people in my life?  Where's my spirit?  I mean if these are the only two areas that I'm lacking this red letter day, am I so way off the mark?  Maybe I'm putting too much pressure on myself in my ever nagging quest to be perfect?  I think I'm starting to let go and you know what?  There may not be anything wrong with that.

My kids went and grew up on me.  They can now get anything they need themselves.  My husband's grandkids are too far away to join me in the great cookie making caper.  I miss that.  It's amazing to discover hidden talent that surfaces in a simple day of decorating cookies.  Artistic talents come to life in some of the most surprising ways.  We had such fun....made a huge mess, but had a wonderful time.  The kids miss it too.  So, how do I get that back?  I still plan to make cookies.....just not with a crowd of little ones.  Maybe I can borrow some kids?  Oooh, that's a thought. 

Anyway, do you have a red letter day?  Where are you in your great planning escapades?  My hope and prayer is that you are good.  That you've enjoyed all the fun the season brings.  That you found that one little thing that makes this year special.

I unexpectedly found the most beautiful ribbon and used it here/there for punch.  Just looking at that ribbon makes me happy.  I know, it sounds silly, but if you can find that one little thing that brings joy, then it's all worth it.  I'm off to make cookies.  Just love the smell it brings to the kitchen. 

 

Merry, merry Christmas to you and your families. 

 

Mom had plastic flowers

In the early days of their marriage, my mother would change the furniture in the house periodically.  She enjoyed finding new ways to place furniture, until that fateful night when Dad came home late, went into the bedroom in the dark and sat down on the bed........only the bed had been moved and he landed on the floor!  That was the end of my mother's furniture arranging.

And so relegated to leaving everything where it was, I, too, became stifled when asking if I could change things in the house.  What I was allowed to do, however, was change the plastic flowers.  Mom loved real plants but with babies and lack of time pushing her in another direction, she indulged in plastics.  There were vases of different colors, styles and size and various kinds of flowers.  Usually I was able to find enough fitting a particular season and used them on coffee tables, end tables and wherever a spot could be found.  Mom enjoyed watching me plot and plan, carefully choosing which went where and how each went together.  It then became my "job" to change the flowers each season.

What neither of us knew at the time was this was the beginning of my budding career in decorating and design.  Mom, an incredible force for pushing the development of any spark of creativity she saw in us kids, totally missed the mark on this one.  It wasn't until I accidentally fell upon the practice of interior design later in my 20's were any of us aware my creativeness could actually be a career. 

Today with so many beautiful silk renditions of reality on the market, I still change the flowers but in my own home.  Silks, no longer the unrealistic looking artifacts of the past, have been used generously in model and show homes, offices and wherever greenery can enhance a spot.  I mean, who wants to water plants anyway?  Not me.  I can't seem to learn which is what plant and what each needs when.  I loved my job at home and will continue to think of home every time the seasons change and my bins of silks open once again revealing their beauty just waiting to be shown.

Thanks, Mom.

 

I beg to differ here.....

Ok, so I'm a bit miffed.  Surfing the internet I happened upon a blog by a person who was I can only guess trying to solve a problem for those who wanted to update their interiors.  But, in doing so, she made many grievous errors about this profession....."my" profession to which I took issue.

What the writer did was say things that most people are afraid of.  For instance,

Interior Designers are expensive

Interior Designers impart their own personal style into clients' spaces.

There was more, but believe me, these two statements were enough to set my blood to boil.  As a profession, interior designers have been fighting these myths for.....ever.  And they ARE myths.  There's always a few bad apples in the bunch, but that's true of every profession.  By bad apples I refer in particular to those who purport themselves to be "designers" relying on nothing more than somebody somewhere said they had good taste.  Maybe they do, maybe they're creative as hell, but how does that "qualify" them for this job?  And it is usually those types who impart their own style because their only belief system relies on .... you guessed it....them.  There's no training or experience behind their design, only self knowledge.

The true profession of interior design is a combination of creativity and technical knowledge.  The technical aspect of this profession includes space planning, scale and proportion, drafting, measuring, building codes, basic knowledge of electrical and plumbing systems, fabrics, furniture, safety, psychology and so much more.  No one can teach a person to be "creative".  This is a gift from God.  And, having it really helps this profession because what you, the buyer, the client sees mostly is that end; the pretty stuff. 

The icing on the cake.

Now to the "expensive" part.  Nope.  Sorry.  In fact it's the opposite.  A designer with experience and education can actually SAVE YOU MONEY.  Really?  You're way off there....right?  Nope...again.  Designers are out there, in the trenches, privy to some pretty great stuff, and yes, some of it is expensive, but most designers never charge full list or "retail" if clients purchase through them.  And, the products designers get are high quality.  None of this "made in China" stuff, unless, of course, that's what the client wants.  Usually products are made in America and made very, very well, to last generations.  And if priced comparably, the high quality piece is around the same cost.   That's right, you heard me, around the SAME cost.

Plus, in order to get that special, made in America, high quality piece, clients benefit from working with someone who is knowledgeable, has training and experience and guides them to their dreams; standing beside them; doing the leg work, the research, the proposals, purchase orders, receiving of goods and so much more. 

When an Interior Designer is hired, the client is hiring a mentor, a friend, someone to advise, counsel and walk beside them through the muck and mire that renovation or refurbishment can entail.  They are a valuable service which demands payment, not unlike any other profession.

So here I am drinking wine and plowing through a bag of chips because that's what myths and misunderstandings do to me.  I want the world to really know and love this profession like I do and stop all the erroneous chatter. 

C'mon. 

The future is better than this and so are we as people. 

Call your designer today and have a chat.  You won't regret it. 

And you may be surprised by what your designer can do for you and your surroundings. 

Challenged?

 

 

 

 

 

7 Fall Style Secrets

September's around the corner......are you ready for Fall? 

Face it, no one ever wants to give up summer.  Those lazy days under a tree reading all afternoon, dipping your toes into the ocean, sipping cool drinks outside after dinner.  Nope, not easy to let go, but honestly, Fall is a beautiful time of year and the weather is still great for anything outdoors.  In fact, it's better; cooler, less humid, great for hikes and picnics, long walks and planning your decor for the season.

Here are 7 great secrets to Fall style.

1.  Color!  Deep reds, luscious yellows, harvest oranges and dark greens. 

These colors aren't in your home you say?  No problem.  With a few quick changes you can bring in one or all of these into your rooms.  For the best look?  Choose one as a major color and one as an accent.  Use these as paint colors if it's time for a bigger change or just in accessories.

2.  Warmth!  Texture is the best way to add warmth to your rooms that through the summer may have been filled with lighter fabrics such as linen and cotton.  Change out pillows, add throws and use textures, flannels, woven cottons that are warm by their very nature.

3.  Harvest!  Fall is the natural time for harvesting pumpkins, apples, gourds, squash and other fruits and vegetables.  Fill bowls or buckets with these beauties.  Accent your porch, your tables and entry ways.  Use nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds still in their shell. 

4.  Changing daylight schedules!  The days tend to grow shorter in the fall culminating in the December winter solstice.  As the days shorten, you'll need to optimize your lighted spaces.Now is a good time to add more lighting.  Choose LED's for the brightest, most economical lighting.  Use 3-way bulbs you can intensify or dim as needed.

5.  Flowers!  Change out our summer blooms with hardier ones like Mums which are so prevalent at this time of year.  Usually displayed in baskets, they can be small potted sizes to extreme bucket size.  Intersperse these with harvest fruits varying sizes for a unique display. 

6.  Scents!  Fall is a great time for muskier fragrances gracing your home like cinnamon, dried leaves, orange, pumpkin, of course, to name a few.  Pine cones work great as fillers in decorating and buckets full of them in various sizes works too.  Fill your indoors with inviting scents.

7.  Decorate for Fall not Halloween!  Fall lasts longer than Halloween and while all the cotton gauze, ghosts on trees, gravestones, witches and more are great for ONE night, they're not great for all season. 

 

Hope this helps you prepare for the coming season.  Think outside the box and discover ways to do it just a bit different this year.  Pick only one color and use it everywhere; use unexpected items for candle holders, flower pots and more.  Dream big and have fun.

 

Cold Cucumber Soup

Getting ready to prepare cold cucumber soup to go along with the salmon burgers for tonight.  Don't know about you but the thought of a cold soup was an immediate nose scruncher for me, but after actually making this, I was delightfully surprised!  Best to close your eyes before you slurp, just in case your mindset is such that you are totally grossed out at the thought of trying such a thing.  I have to tell you though to get ready for a surprise!  Try it.....oh come on, you can do it!  Try it and tell me what you think.  Here are the ingredients.  if you'd like to know how to make it, let me know and I'll send instructions.  Yummy!
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 cups peeled, seeded and thinly sliced cucumbers, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt

If I Were a Kitchen, I'd be a .............

Good place to add your own special thoughts.  If I were a kitchen, I'd be a blend of old and new with all the conveniences of today.

What images would you post here to express who you truly are?

We're all so different, unique in the way we were made; what we love, what we enjoy living in and around.  Send me your comments.  Would love to discover the real YOU.  Let's have some fun with this and see how many different images we can attract.

 

Best fun in the sun!

Kravet exposes it's Sunbrella line of fabrics and just in time for summer sunshine!  Outdoor fabrics are not what they used to be.  They've come a long way in style, color, pattern and durability.  Choose from a wide assortment to adorn your outdoor spaces.

All those attending our recent "High Tea & Fabric Roadshow" got a first hand glance of Kravet's assortment of fabrics, rugs, furniture and furnishings.  Use the special code IWASTHERE and comment on this post to receive 10% off your fabric order.  Hurry!  This offer is only available in July.

Enjoy your outdoor rooms more with fun, beautiful, colorful and weather-proof fabrics that take the worry out of living outside.  Call or sign up here on our website.  201-509-2315.

Stay "in" the sun!