Monday, November 29, 2010

The Calm Before the Storm

The "Holidays" storm that is. As I sit here reading magazines and getting my last bit of relaxation in, I can't help but think about all that lies ahead for the next 4 weeks (yep 4 weeks....not a lot of time). The hustle and bustle of the holidays are upon us and I can say for myself at least that they are jam packed. So, I am writing this as a bit of a pep talk to myself...telling myself I can make it through this! (Weird I know, but it works for me)


With holiday parties, cooking, shopping, work deadlines, work travel, and anything else thrown in at the last minute, all I can do is to think the best of it so my stress level doesn't explode like a volcano. Now, I love the holidays, don't get me wrong, but after they are over I almost need the whole month of January to recuperate! Ahhh, January. Just fix your mind on January and everything will be okay.


To make sure I didn't go completely batty this holiday season I decided to spear-head my busy schedule and make sure everything is planned out, written on the calendar, and scheduled. This is soooo not like me, as I am way too disorganized to know what is going on tomorrow, let alone the whole month of December. When I look at it it makes me cry. There is no way I can get all this done. But I am planning to take this one day at a time and a couple things may fall by the wayside.


One bonus to the holiday madness for me is the fact that I never have to cook anything for my everyday meals. Our Christmas party we throw every year is the only exception here. My husband and I have so many parties and cocktails to attend that we pretty much have all dinners accounted for...filling in a few here and there. And at work there are always the manufacturers reps that take us out to lunch, bring lunch in, or just drop snacks by the office. So, at least I don't have to worry about what to eat at any point in time.....though I am sure because of this I will have to worry about it next year.


Then of course the culmination of all this hard work and self imposed stress is the time I get to spend with my family on Christmas and enjoying every minute of it. Oh, and the week after where I just lie there like a blob.


I love the holidays, and though I always stress myself out just thinking about them ahead of time, they are always wonderful and I survive in the end. You also might be thinking...."Why don't you take out a couple of parties and such to reduce your stress"? And I say "Because I love parties and being with all my friends and family during this time"! And I love decorating my house, making cookies, and being surrounded by all the holiday cheer. I'm no Scrooge.....just a busy girl that needed a pep talk.

Here's to a great Holiday Season!






Images: 1,3,5 Mary Ruffle
            2,4 Martha Stewart

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks

Ahhhh. What a fabulous relaxing holiday I have had so far. Sorry to have disappeared for the past couple of days. Things have just been way too busy for me! I have got to get all this stuff under control because the busy month of December may just kill me, which would be a shame because the holidays are always the best time!


I am so thankful for this time spent with my family and some time to recuperate before the busy rush begins again. I hope you all too have had a great time with family, friends, and loved ones. We stuffed ourselves silly yesterday and have spent today so far just reclining around the house. Much needed. I just wish it could all last a bit longer. But no, the busy holiday season is upon us.....get ready and stay sane!






Image: Martha Stewart

Monday, November 22, 2010

Must Have

Since this is one of the biggest entertaining weeks of the year I have had the itch to check out some things that I am missing from our entertaining arsenal. I have been searching for an easily accessible and simple cake platter for awhile now. I love this one that Crate and Barrel has.


Footed Cake Platter with Dome


This one is going on my Christmas List. I love that it's simple, has a dome, and is large enough to fit a 9" round cake or pie. Perfect!

Hope everyone is ready for entertaining this Thursday (if you are hosting that is)!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Some ME Time

Does anyone know why there are only two days to the weekend and five for the work week? Who came up with that?! Can we make some changes so things are a bit more proportionate?


Another week has flown by and I am left standing here like a train just rushed by...really you should see my crazy hair today. This year has gone by so fast and when I look back I see that I have accomplished so much. Mostly small things but they all add up to the big picture! I can't believe it is already time for Thanksgiving!!!!!


I am so ready for a restful weekend. This will be the first one in awhile where I don't have to work on any projects for work or my outside clients. I can devote the entire weekend to ME! I am so very looking forward to it. It all starts tonight.....pajamas, comfort food, and girly movies! My husband is going to a concert so I have the whole place to myself.


Hope everyone else has a great weekend planned. These are some pictures of that huge tree in our front yard I talked about a couple of weeks ago. I was so worried the leaves wouldn't turn yellow like previous years.....but it came through and now we have a blanket of yellow leaves covering our yard! My ME weekend will NOT include any raking :)

Have a good one!




Images: Me

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Field Trip

So, I am off to New Orleans for a couple of days for a project site visit. Hopefully I will have time to get out and take some good pictures of the city. My last couple of visits have been too busy.


If worse comes to worse at least I know I will be eating some great food!
I'll be back Friday!



Image: Jerry Moran

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Round or Rectangle?

In the dining room of your dreams would you prefer a round table or a rectangular one??????




I think there are arguments for both sides. Round sparks conversation that everyone can be a part of. Rectangular has the ability to hold more people with the addition of leaves. It depends on the room. In this case it's your dream room so you can work around the table......so what would you pick?



I am a round person. I love round tables because of the conversation aspect. The cozy small dinner party feel, and the fact that there is no head of the table. Everyone is equal and has the same experience (well so to speak). We have a 60" round now and someday, in my dream dining room, I would love to have a 72" or even a custom 90". Then we could have up to 12 people comfortably. Ahhh that would be wonderful.




What is your preference?







Images: Unknown, John Saladino, Stephen Shubel, Veranda, Nate Burkus/Elle Decor, Jennifer Dyer

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Top 10 Sources Anyone Can Use

Lately I have been reading through some great blogs and seeing sources that other bloggers and designers use. I love these types of posts because there are usually 1-2 sources that I have never heard of and happen to be great! Especially the hidden online sources with the best pricing.

Now, I could list the sources I use for days but most would not be helpful to someone who wants to design their homes without the assistance of an interior designer. So many people see amazing things in magazines and then find out they are "To The Trade" and they have to go through a designer to get them. I decided to pull together my top 10 that anyone can use at anytime to pull together a space they love....and inexpensively in most cases. This list will have you finding great design solutions on your own.

So, without further ado, I give you my top 10 favorites of go to sources for anyone........


1. Mitchell Gold Bob Williams

MGBW is a great source for classic looking furniture that spans both styles of traditional and contemporary. I love looking through the website and also going to the store here in Atlanta to see the pieces in person. Everything is so well made and will last a lifetime.

2. World of Rugs

World of Rugs has been my go to source for rugs in Atlanta. I have only sourced rugs from them but they have recently expanded to furniture, accessories, etc. I only know their rugs and they have some AMAZING pieces ranging from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. I love to just go in and look around at all the styles and colors. I have worked with them on quite a few projects and they are always eager to help you find the rug of your dreams. If they don't have what you are looking for they are also willing to find it.


3. Home Goods

What can I say about Home Goods except that it's awesome. I have gotten everything there for projects from rugs all the way up to chandeliers. I have even bought cookie sheets there. You just can't beat the prices, and when I need to do an accessory install for a project it's the first place I go.

4. Ikea

I have heard you either love Ikea or you hate Ikea. I am one of the lovers! This is hands down the best place to go if you are in need of any storage solution. Their closet systems are amazing. I can attest to that since one of their wardrobes has given me more organized space. You can pull together an awesome kitchen with unbelievable storage. Seriously...go see for yourself, the cabinet and drawer organization options are crazy. And you can pick up great lighting, picture frames, accessories, and even plants (I have one that is still alive after years). This is a must go to place if you haven't been already. I guess I should also say that I rarely get out of there for under $100. But my car is full!

5. Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel just has great classic design pieces. Stuff that will last for years and carry you through the ages. Their furniture pieces are well made, well priced, and have that approachable aesthetic. I also love their kitchen and entertaining items! I can't get enough. I love all the different types of serving pieces, glasses, and dinnerware. Can you ever have too many white serving platters! I think not.

6. Room and Board

Room and Board is my favorite place to go for sleek and mid-century modern pieces. They carry many of the modern classics from names like Eames, Nelson, Noguchi, Starck, and Wegner. Power players of the mid-century modern movement. If you are looking for clean unfussy design this is the store for you. Now, the prices aren't low here but the quality is great and the pieces will last a lifetime.

7. Thrift Stores/Consignment Stores/Yard Sales


Now, what else can I say about thrifting but that the thrill is in the hunt! I frequently stop at thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, etc. to see what they may have. You never know what awaits you and what you can find with major potential. Most of the pieces you find will need a little TLC but that is all part of the fun. Taking someone else's cast offs and turning them into something great!

8. Craig's List/ EBay


Along the same lines as thrifting but  you can also find amazing things at amazing prices. And some don't need any work or TLC. You can outfit an entire home through Craig and EBay all while in the comfort of your own home. Well, except for going to see and pick up the pieces. Here again, the thrill is in the hunt. And hunt you must. But you can get lucky if someone doesn't know what they have!!!

9. Overstock.com

Overstock is a great source for rugs, lighting, and furniture. I have gotten many a piece from here for projects and often check there to see if they have a knock-off of a piece if I have a tight budget. And we all know everyone has a tight budget these days. This is also my go-to source for sheets. High thread counts at low prices. Can't beat that! Another thing I love is that shipping is only $1. Yeah even if it's a sofa.

10. Etsy
I put Etsy on this list for art and pillows alone. They have so many other things but the art and pillow selection is what keeps me coming back. So many choices at so many price ranges....you can't go wrong. And to top it all off you are helping a small business/artist. If you haven't been to Etsy before I suggest you head over there now. After you browse the art, pillows, and other home decor, keep looking! There are so many amazing hand made things on there.


So happy shopping! These are my favorites (of so many) that I frequently call upon to design wonderful spaces for both myself and others. Any that you would definitely add to the list? Please share!







Images: From Listed Websites

Friday, November 12, 2010

Another Week Flies By

I can't believe its already Friday again! Where did this week go?

Sorry I have been MIA this week. There has definitely been lots of action! We have some major deadlines at work so all of my time (and lots of overtime) has been devoted to the cause. I so wish I could share all of my day job work with you but alas, confidentiality agreements are in play. You would be surprised how hush hush projects are when they are getting started.....sometimes I feel like a design spy or something. Ha ha...that may actually be fun!


I do however have the above photo to share. This is one of the first projects that I worked on at my current job. It's the master bath for a small suite in a hotel. I reworked the entire footprint, selected materials, and detailed the whole thing. I was going to remove the orchids from the bath water in photoshop (promotional photo) but I really didn't have time. For some reason they bother me. This was the first project where I did complete design start to finish. All the concept work, drawings, and many many months of on-site visits to work issues out with the contractor and client and make sure everything was working as planned. Let's just say that bathtub moved around quite a bit because of structural joists underneath. I wish I had better photos of the vanity and all the millwork. Maybe I can dig up some old progress photos at some point.

I was so excited to come across the photos of this project earlier this week. It really brought back memories!




No weekend plans here.....just some much needed relaxation, and maybe some office organization thrown in. Have a great one!



Images: New Orleans Marriott Metairie

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Must Attend Event!

Okay, All my Raleigh Ladies...if you happen to read this. You must attend and report back!


Cute store that I have been meaning to go to....Maybe over Thanksgiving Holiday! Wish I could go for this event though. Oh, and add Jamie's blog to your reader.....i suwannee. Awesome would be an understatement.





Image: Via I Suwanee

Zen and The Art of Design Maintenance

Things have been busy around here. So much so that my mind is crammed with too much! Does anyone else get totally hair brained sometimes when you are dealing with multiple projects all using different styles? Just me?

All I need to clear my head is a view into some zen and uncomplicated spaces......






Soothing huh. Feel better? I sure do. All clean and crisp. Perfect to let the mind, and eye, take a rest.
Do you do anything special to get your mind cleared???






Images: Unknown, Unknown, Nicole Hollis, B&B Italia, Unknown

Friday, November 5, 2010

Opulence and Then Some

I came across the recent exhibition (still going on actually) by Takashi Murakami in the Ch√Ęteau de Versailles. Talk about contrasts of style!



The exhibit places various sculpture and art pieces by Murakami throughout the interior of Versailles and also in the gardens as well. I know it seems strange but I actually think this is an amazing place to place these pieces. Normally one would see these pieces in galleries and this almost gives tribute to the overly opulent Versailles. Think of it as art with a lot going on in a space with a lot going on.
 
 
Now, this is coming from someone who has already been to Versailles. I am not sure what I would think if it were my first trip and there were these larger than life, eccentric art sculptures all over the place. I guess I would just have to see it in person. Maybe it would be like killing two birds with one stone....two exhibits in one.
 
 
It is however known that some people are unimpressed with these pieces being at Versailles. The New York Times wrote this article about the disapproval of Prince Sixte-Henri de Bourbon-Parme, an descendant of Louis XIV. He has even asked for a court order to have the exhibit removed.
 
 
I can see where some may be appalled by the whole idea but it is a temporary exhibit so it's not there forever. I think that this exhibit achieves what many in the art and design world are striving for. The perfect mix. And though this is a mix of somewhat polar opposites I feel that its is pushing boundaries for what people expect. I say somewhat because both elements have one main aspect in common. They are both great examples of more is more!
 
 
So what do you think? Would you like seeing this exhibit in this setting? Too much over top of too much?
 
Oh, and if you are unfamiliar with Murakami you may recognize his collaboration with LV.
 



***Hope everyone has fabulous plans for the weekend. Nothing much going on here. Just some quality time at home, working on some projects, and hopefully making lots of soup. Have a great one and I will see you back here next week!***






Images: Chateau deVersailles

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

To Carpet or Not To Carpet?

My husband and I had a conversation recently about the use of carpet in a home. Mainly about if we would ever do wall to wall carpet in our home.

Wall to Wall With a Statement

He says absolutely not!, but if he had his way we may not have area rugs either. My stance was and always has been dependant on the situation (though I tend to lean more towards area rugs). I enjoy having soft surfaces to step on. Especially in the bedroom! I hate stepping onto hardwood floors when I get out of bed. They are always dreadfully cold and that is just not the kind of surprise I want first thing in the morning. To be honest I most likely don't even want to get out of bed in the first place.  We actually have hardwoods throughout our house with area rugs in each room. I call this the landing pad scenario. The spaces you stop at are soft underfoot and the spaces you move through are just exposed wood.

Nothing At All?

So, back to the wall to wall. I grew up with wall to wall carpet in my bedroom. I didn't mind it then and I don't actually mind it now. I think if wall to wall is used then bedrooms and maybe cozy dens are the spaces to do it. I especially like it when the carpet is actually part of the design scheme. I actually think making a statement with carpet in the right room is always a good thing. I also enjoy the look of a low pile carpet (like sisal or berber) with an area rug on top to define an area.

Perfectly Part of The Scheme

Then there is the maintenance side of the issue. Do you really have less dust bunnies if you have all carpet? (Please do tell....because our dust bunnies are huge and this may solve the problem). Is it easier to just get the carpet cleaned every once and awhile than to keep wood floors looking new and shiny (if you choose to want to keep them that way) on a regular basis? Does one work better for animals than the other? I have heard many a pet owner complain about hardwoods and their active dogs wreaking havoc on them. Oh, and kids! I am always thinking carpet is needed in rooms where kids get rowdy.

Landing Pads from Space to Space

What are your thoughts? Do you have wall to wall carpet anywhere? Love the look? Hate It? Inquiring minds would love to know.....






Images: Christina Murphy, Atlanta Homes Magazine, Domino, Unknown

Monday, November 1, 2010

Two Years And Counting

Did everyone have a good Halloween weekend? We spent the weekend relaxing and not much else. For the past couple of years we really haven't jumped on the Halloween bandwagon. No costumes and no pumpkins, but we get some candy in case kids happen to ring the doorbell (4 total the past 2 years).

Not trying to be a grumps about the holiday but we just haven't been into it lately. Maybe next year.


We do however celebrate our anniversary! Two years ago today we were married here in Atlanta at the Fernbank Museum. So, I guess Halloween ends up being overshadowed. This year we celebrated with a fabulous dinner out. It seems like it has been way more than two years! Here are a few pics of our special day.....



Tonight we also have a special dinner planned at home. My sister who is a chef is going to have dinner ready for us when we both get home from work tonight! I am excited to see what she has made, and I know it's gonna be good. Dinner and some champagne and the celebration will be complete. A toast to many, many, many happy years to come!


Images: Beth Furgurson and Sarah Dorio
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