Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Love what you love......

.....with no apologies, without hesitation, and without the need to wonder what others will think.
You'll never go wrong decorating your home or anything in life, really.

I believe that our home is the reflection of our soul, so I strongly disagree with following trends for the sake of being on trend. 
The color of the year changes. Obviously. 
Patterns come and go. 
Bye bye chevron. (Apparently, if it isn't a subtle take on this trend, it's already out)
Chrome? Satin nickel? Aged brass?? 

Who cares?!?

I hear women say this a lot, "Well, I really love that lamp, but it has a brass base and nothing else in my house has brass."

My response is, "SO what???" 
If you love it, you love it. That should be it.

For example, I am a crazy floral lover.

I can't help it!
I was born with the soul of a 90 year old woman. Her name is Beatrice.

Back in the 2008, I posted one of my rooms on Rate My Space and I had excellent reviews EXCEPT when it came to my floral pillow shams.
Exhibit A:  "This space is beautiful, but OMG, those granny florals have to go!!!"

I was like, "Screw you! AND your granny, you big floral hater!" 

You see, I tend to get a little feisty when people tell me what to love. 
I never posted on RMS again. Not because of the hatred directed towards my hand made, granny floral pillow shams, but because the "criticisms" were not based on anything other than opinion, which to me, is not as educational as constructive criticism. A criticism that would be based on composition, flow, functionality, use of  color and pattern, as well as visual balance would be much more helpful.

I am actually very used to constructive criticism. You will not survive an education in art if you cannot take constructive criticism. Unfortunately, most feedback you will receive from the world is more like constructive opinionism.

How does saying "I don't like that." inform or educate?? 
It doesn't. 
p.s. no one cares if you don't like something, so there isn't any need to announce your disapproval of the things you dislike.

Why do people think that they can comment on something that a person obviously loves?? 
I mean, boy, do I ever have my opinions, but I always have regard towards the things that people love. 
I have to. Who am I to tell someone not to love something??

This client LOVES Ralph Lauren florals....

...and we get along quite well.
In fact, we are freakishly telepathic with one another.

We will both think to add pom poms to something at the same exact time....

....It has happened on at least three separate occasions. 
We constantly freak each other out with stuff like that.

That pink velvet is called "Lipstick Pink" and it's one of my favorites at the moment. 
I could do an entire settee in this stuff!

I also love floral paintings. 
Especially those with pink!
 I saw this painting at one of my favorite little shops....Leggy Bird in Libertyville, Illinois.

...which happens to be going out of business...I was very sad about that. I almost threw a temper tantrum when I found out. Leggy Bird was my guilty pleasure. I knew every time that I went that I would find something amazing. I mean, look at the storefront......

That is a design made out of astro turf.
I want that.

Then look at the Greek key design painted on the concrete.....

These things only mean that this place had it GOING ON, people!!!

And now it's gone.

 It's the same little shop where I found my little pink chair....

...and that vintage bag that haunted me for about a year before I broke down and bought it.

It's also the place that I found my apple bottom chair with the boots and the furrrrrr! 

Except it didn't come with any boots. This was WAAAAAY before Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams started putting that Tibetan lambs fur on everything!

When I heard the news, I was like, "why God????? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!?!?"

You know why??

Because they had  really cool stuff that people were too afraid to commit to.
When there for my quarterly visit, I would hear people freaking out over how cool things were and how they loved this or that, but then they wouldn't buy anything!

I'm not gonna lie, a part of me was like, "GOOD! More for me then!"

BUT my point, is that we have all lost a gem because we take our interiors, and basically everything in life, way too seriously. Also, because we care waaaaaaay too much what other people will think of us if we were to do something out of the norm, or heaven forbid, something non-matching.

It shouldn't annoy me so much because the concept of "matching" is probably what most people think is the basis of my career. It is not. My real career is listening, interpreting, and helping people express what they need to express via their homes. 

The most successful projects we have are those that involve conquering fears.

This client LOVES vintage finds and some walls plastered in floral paintings as well...

..BUT she was very afraid of dark walls.

WE are all told that "dark walls make a room feel small!!"

What's wrong with small?
Why do you need your powder room to feel massive? 

She trusted me and we did it and she LOVES it!! 

It probably seems like you have to love florals in order for me to work with you.
Not the case.
You just have to love what you love and be ready to break some rules with me.

I should also mention, that should you have a spouse, they should be ready for such rule breaking.

What would you do in your home if you weren't caught up with the fear of matching?
What things have you seen lately that seemed crazy, but intrigued you enough to consider using them in your home? 

Monday, May 25, 2015


Let's discuss what "custom made" means.

Full Definition of CUSTOM-MADE

: made to fit the needs or requirements of a particular person
:  made to individual specifications
If you are "customizing" something to fit your unique style, then there shouldn't be 12 houses with the same "custom" characteristics on your street.
Let's take coffered ceilings for example:
They are very popular in higher end homes right now.
That means that while coffered ceilings are nice, they are by no means unique.
Similar to how tray ceilings were popular in the 90's, they are no longer considered "custom" and have become a standard for most builders.  Coffered ceilings are not a standard for most builders, but a costly upgrade. Do not confuse "upgrade" with "custom" or "unique".
You're not done adding character once you pay for the upgraded coffered ceilings.
In order to get your new home to have "character" and "custom" features, you still have a long way to go. We'll talk more about that later.
Don't get me wrong. I love me some coffered ceilings! I really, really thought that I wanted them in my office and the dining room of the new house. 
I'm talking, I was ready to sell my eggs if I needed to. Then I realized that nearly all newly built homes have these ceilings and I didn't love them so much anymore. Even more, I realized that every home that I have absolutely fallen head over heals in love with, did NOT have coffered ceilings!
I know.
How is that even true??!?
When I went to New Orleans last March, I fell for many homes, and those home owners practically had to kick me out, but NONE of them had coffered ceilings.
They actually had quite flat ceilings, but with unique moldings.
Like these..
I die!!

Or even very simple details like this:
Then, I smacked myself on the forehead.
 "duh!! Don't you even know YOURSELF at all?!?"
This was a very important lesson for me.
I had to ask myself who I was thinking about?
Myself or my neighbors?
Lesson learned: it is way too easy to fall into the Joneses trap when you are building a home or doing anything in your home for that matter. I mean, if this stubborn girl who "knows what she wants" didn't even know she had fallen in, imagine how easy it is for everyone else to trip and land smack dab in the middle of all the Joneses!
If you're building a "custom" home, make sure you are paying attention to your gut and not just going with whatever seems standard for the neighborhood. It's difficult not to compare and then feel obligated to follow suit, but what may come out of choosing to do something different will actually be "custom" and you'll love your house even more because you listened to yourself and paid for what you really wanted.
I am not saying that coffered ceilings are "so last year!!"
I'm saying that if you want them, try putting your own spin on them so that they are more unique.
These coffered panels have at least one additional detail that makes them a little more unique:
This style has one extra panel inside each coffer.
OOOH! A more contemporary version with squares in the center!
Or just start with a different shape in the center!

Just try mixing it up a little so that you set your coffers apart from the others.
The character that you add makes your home unique from the makes it YOURS.
 Whatever sort of character that may be... whether it be a certain style of lighting, elements from a certain design style, like Craftsman or Shaker for example, or even architectural salvage from a certain period, it's important to add as many of those details as possible so that your new home is chalk full of unique character from the beginning. 
Like, why do all of our door knobs need to match?
If you really think about it crazier to freak out about all the finishes matching or is it crazier to NOT freak out and just do what you want??
I know what my answer is.
Do you?
Thankfully, it seems that people are moving away from this phenomenon.
I have told many clients that a girl should never have to decide between two fabulous things.
Take them both and never apologize.
When your home truly reflects your life and what you love, no one will even notice whether or not your door knobs and faucets all match. If they do, it will be more like a pleasant surprise.
Some simple ideas on adding character to a newly built home that I have mentioned in previous posts:

1. Leave space in your kitchen design for a unique piece of furniture or family heirloom. Maybe instead of an island you can use an old farm table or workbench or even a roll top desk!

2. Molding, molding molding!! There is no such thing as too much! Unless you're a minimalist...then just forget I ever said that. Try putting ceiling medallions and panel molding on your Christmas list. 

3. Search for antique or vintage light fixtures that are unique instead of going to big box stores. 
If I can tell where you got it...or venture a guess.....I am immediately less interested. Lighting should bring about a reaction that is similar to this: "OMG!!! I love that! Where did you get that ?!?" 
AND it's even better when you have a story to go along with it.
None of us need to live inside a Restoration Hardware catalog.
4. Life is full of interesting contrast. Add some to your home. If you have a space that is all new everything, you need to add something that is older than dirt. The contrast will instantly add interest.
Where there are very straight lines, add something curvy.
If all of your frames on the wall are matching, make one colored, or draw a big red heart on top of the picture of you and the hubs.

5. If you find yourself following a rule just because you're supposed to, stop it!
That never leads to anything great or anything worth talking about.
 What would you do in your home if you could just run wild?
What is actually holding you back?

Monday, May 18, 2015

How Do You Know?

 What your TRUE style is??
The one that will never go out style?

The best way to gather clues is to look at your favorite clothes, favorite designer, and magazines and catalogs that you have kept around for awhile because you just couldn't bring yourself to get rid of them.

I happen to be a psycho magazine collector.
My bookshelves are by no means filled with books. Some books, yes. I love to read, just not as much as I love flipping through glossy magazines that are filled with crack for my eyeballs.

My enormous magazine collection is separated by each brand, year, and then in order by issue.
I have been known to recall specific images and think to myself, "Gotta locate that House Beautiful issue from November 2010 with the navy lacquered walls!!!!!"
I'm really only like that for issues that I absolutely fell head over heals for.
Like, when Traditional Home featured the office of Deborah Lloyd, the creative director of Kate Spade, back in September of 2012. I may have freaked out a little and had the magazine put in a safe.
Ok. I didn't go THAT crazy, but it IS under it's own, very special category, on the shelf.
A category called "Awesome & Don't Touch or Else"
Please note the Japonisme (the influence of Japanese art, fashion and aesthetics on Western culture) print pillows from the Florence Broadhurst collection.
No one has successfully pulled off large scale prints quite like Florence did.
I adore her aesthetic and of course, the aesthetic of Deborah Lloyd, who, so cleverly pulled this Flo Bro collection together.
It is my most favorite Kate Spade collection ever!
I do not own a single piece from this collection, which makes me a little sad, but being a believer in true love, I know I will get my hands on something at some point in my KS loving life.
Besides being a psycho magazine hoarder,  I am also tenacious.

I would take those reddish orange Eames chairs any day!
Anyway, back to identifying elements of your own true style.....What colors are the in clothes that you have kept year after year?
Those are YOUR colors! Use them!
I don't care if it's turquoise, orange, or pink...boldly put it somewhere in your house and don't ask ANYONE what they think about it. NOT even your husband because he is most likely color blind and easily distracted by boobies. That was a hint as to how you will get away with whatever bold statement you chose to make.
Boob. ies.
God knew exactly what He was doing when He created Adam and then created Eve with boobies.
That color doesn't have to be paint either.
It could be on your furniture or some accessories.
Whatever makes you giddy inside.
What about patterns and the style of your furniture?
These hints are also found in your clothes.
Do you wear a lot of solids or prints?
Do you like flow-y skirts or more tailored, structured skirts?
If you're a more tailored person then straighter lines are probably for you. I would even venture to guess that if you love tailored clothing, you probably prefer solids over patterns, and if in fact you do like patterns, they are probably subtle and more tone on tone.
Am I right?
Do you wear a lot of prints ?
Are they more geometric or soft with curvy lines?
Are they high contrast or are they more subtle?
These are your hints at looking for fabrics for upholstery, d├ęcor pillows, window treatments, and rugs.
You can keep the expensive things more subtle and solid and then be bold, like your choice of patterned clothing, in the accessories.
What if you like both? Like me.
Nothing wrong with a bit of contrast.
In fact, that is what makes life interesting.
Why not have a tailored sofa with straight, modern lines, and then mix it up with a French, Louis style chair? You can make the two worlds come together with a tailored pillow on the fancier, Louis chair, and frou frou pillows with the tailored sofa.
Like this...
Curvy with straight and straight with curvy.
The patterns that I love, I have loved forever.
Polka dots, stripes, florals, and subtle geometrics.
Chances are it's the same for you.
Maybe you have plaid or gingham in your wardrobe.
This means that you are likely to fall for some checked patterns with some contrast and that you'll probably love them forever.
The evidence isn't only in your clothes.
If you save magazines and cut outs from things that you love, go through them again.
I recently found some torn out pages from a Kitchens and Baths magazine from 2005.
I loved what I saw enough to tear out the pages over 10 years ago!
I had tucked them away in my "Dream House Binder" and forgot they were in there.
We're not going talk about how I'm a nerd for having the above mentioned binder.
Let's talk about how I recently became obsessed with Greek Key patterns and how that shade on the window has Greek Key trim....was I prophesizing my future love or what??
To this day, I still freaking LOVE this kitchen!
In fact the new kitchen will probably be inspired by many aspects of it.
I wish I could afford the inset cabinets and the extremely detailed hood with the dentil molding, but I can still use this as my dream kitchen muse.
If you are embarking on the adventure of renovating or building a home, it wouldn't be a bad idea to start collecting muses. Look over them periodically and you might surprise yourself with how you feel about some of them the second time around.
You could hate some of them and then love some of them even more.
This reminds me of a rule that I like to abide by.
If I think I really like something, but I'm not sue if I LOVE it, I don't buy it.
I wait to see if that thing will stalk my brain and haunt me at night.
If I still get all crazy about it when I think about it a few weeks later, then I know it's probably true love and worth the investment.
Your decision making when it comes to purchases for your home or your wardrobe should never be motivated by fear of judgment or a cheap price tag. They should always be motivated by happiness, necessity, and lust. These emotions when it comes to surviving the enormous world of retail,  can never lead you astray.
In real life, however, lust may not be the wisest of emotions to follow.
Just sayin'.
What pattern would you go nuts with if you didn't fear judgment or an angry spouse?


Monday, May 4, 2015

Don't Be Scurred....

......picking the exterior colors and materials for your new home is ONLY like picking your spouse.... big deal.
Eeeeee....I'm nervous!
Anyway, this WAS my pretty exterior before the stupid budget got the better of it! 

I think we get so nervous because nowadays we don't need to repaint our homes every 2-3 years.
Our siding materials are basically indestructible and meant to last a lifetime.
Can you change your mind and paint your siding a different color?
Would you rather go on vacation?

This "durability" is why most people keep their homes as neutral as possible.
I don't blame them.
Picking an exterior color is scary.
Hence, the number of homes that are beige or gray.
These are neutrals that you won't HATE someday, right????
They are best for re-sale, right?
I guess.

Seeing too much beige and gray can also get a little boring folks.
BUT how can you guarantee that you won't get sick of a certain color that isn't beige or gray?
My only answer: By being true to YOU!
Should you think of what color is best for resale?
I guess.
That thought might be just about as much fun as thinking of how you will eventually die. 
That also begs the question, are you building this house for YOU or the next owner?

I'm telling you...the people that make all the right decisions, plan appropriately for everything, and make the wisest of decisions based on facts and charts are rarely fun, and they tend to die kinda young.
Whether it's an internal death or an actual death is debatable.

Please don't bore me and everyone else to death with your exterior selections.

Problem is, I just have a little trouble following my own advice sometimes.
Shhh! Don't tell anyone!

If I had a very urban property that required a tall, thin house, it would be a no-brainer....

Add some flower boxes and I'm set!

BUT our lot is in a very conservative neighborhood with lots of rules and requirements.
Sounds like the perfect place for me doesn't it?

Some of my future neighbors were incredibly upset when a red/burgundy house started going up.
I celebrated!

I have more respect for red/purple than beige.
Red takes guts and a strong declaration of love.
**Beige is kinda wimpy.

**Feel free to call me a big wimp if my house ends up being beige or close to beige. I have no idea what I am doing!
I will surely deserve it.

If we are not celebrating diversity and the beauty of individual character, what ARE we celebrating??

Too often, people are more concerned with how their exterior announces their success and achievement than with how it projects their personality and style.

Some people just don't know how to do anything else.

How do you incorporate a color or texture or theme that says something about who you are and what you love?

What colors are you drawn to?
What color are your eyes?
What color eyes does your loved one have?
Look in your closet.
What colors do you wear all the time?
Your house should look like you!
Do you see beige lining your closet???
Do you wear khakis all the time???
If your answer is yes, are you forced by your job to wear khakis all the time, or do you actually like them?

I'm gonna go ahead and guess that you probably don't love the khakis.

Do you love the versatility of blue jeans??

.....and how they go with everything??
Then, maybe a medium to dark blue house is for you.
The darker the better if you ask me.
It's more dramatic and less common.
You could also change the color of your front door every six months just for fun!

Are you the lady in red?

 Let's look at an iconic image of my style and see how it should translate to my exterior.

I obviously LOVE classic black with white.

The obvious exterior selections would be these:

 White and black.
But not just any white.....not too bright...not too creamy....a perfectly soft white.
The white shown above is probably too bright for me.
If the white is too crisp, it's too modern.
If it's too creamy it's too country.

I think this white is spot on:


It's nearly a "bone white"...probably a custom color knowing my track record :(

THIS white is lovely as well:

The typical way to incorporate black would be with shutters and a black front door.

Like this:

BUT I want to do something a little different.
Something you don't see all the time.

Not that you see white houses with black shutters ALL the time, but they are fairly common.
Not nearly as common as gray and beige, but still common.

How often do you see black windows?

They just add a little something.
Like eyeliner.
A little bit of sophistication.

How often do you see black windows on the interior??

 OR custom colors on the interior of windows??


Most houses have either wood or white windows.

I want options!

Your only standard options for interior colors are white or wood.
Sounds kinda racist to me.

Back to my point, like every other non-standard thing in home building, "options" come at a price.
The standard windows that your builder is going to include are single hung, vinyl windows.

The end.

Not for me.


For an extra couple hundred dollars per window, I upgraded to Marvin's Integrity, All Ultrex, double hung windows. Being from the line of Marvin, they are among the best.
Do you think that's why I wanted them?
Of course not!
I am not that logical!
I wanted them not for their sensibility, durability, ease of cleaning, and two options for opening.
Let's be real.
This is ME we're talking about.
We all know that I just wanted the black exteriors with the option of painting the interiors red or pink, or whatever color I feel is appropriate, because I don't like being told "No."

PLEASE NOTE: I said, that I would be painting them whatever color I please.
You see, along with that upgrade, came the fact that I won't be able to afford to have them painted.
This seems to be a pattern....
The painter of those upgraded windows is gonna be me.


In about 6-9 months, if you find yourself wondering where I am..... you know the answer.
I am at home.
Painting windows.
Quite happily :)

Now I am desperately trying to figure out how to make something like this happen....

I die!!

What would YOUR exterior look like if you had no fear of judgment?