Friday’s Photo

I often challenge my clients to think outside the box when looking for art for their walls. Who said wall art must be flat?  Here is a wall grouping of clay pottery that I saw on display last Spring at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Wouldn’t you smile every time you walked into the room if this happy colorful collection was on your walls?

Have a great weekend!

I’m sorry I can’t find the artist’s name. If any of you know who it is please forward it to me.

 

Self Healing After A Traumatic Week in Boston

A week ago today, two brothers made the decision to intentionally kill, maim, injure and terrorized innocent individuals, the city of Boston, our Nation and the World. The bombings at the Boston Marathon hit me really hard. Maybe because it is my city, maybe because I used to live in Watertown and maybe it is because I have watched the Marathon from the finish line countless times.

4 innocent victims of Marathon Bombings

The more I think about it, I realize what has upset me the most is that there is no explaining why these two young men did what they did. They don’t fit into the usual “box” of  explanation. They were not terrorist from a far away place and they were not mentally ill.  No, according to their friends and neighbors they were likable, polite young men living the American dream. Although not much has been said of the older brother, the younger one had everything going for him. He was bright, popular, athletic, and attending UMass on a scholarship. By all appearances he could have been any 19 year old kid…he could have been my kid. This is what has shaken me to my core. What on Earth could we have done to prevent this?

After a week of stress and sadness I needed to get away from the TV coverage and begin my own mental healing. I feel much better today and I thought I would share with you what I do when my mind is in crisis. I go out into Nature. Usually it is the Ocean I seek out and a long walk along the beach but yesterday it was into the woods with my camera and a quiet talk with God and the trees.

I find that looking through my camera lens takes my mind off the outside world and all my worries. I focus on making discoveries through the lens and I enter some type of timeless, peaceful state. Yesterday it was tree trunks and the multitude of textures that helped heal my trauma of the past week.  They were spectacularly beautiful to me and every tree appeared to me as a masterful painting. Here are some of my favorites and I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed discovering them.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

As an added bonus to make my day complete, I was able to grab a quick shot of a family of turkeys in a farmer’s field.

Linda Holt Phot0

Yes, for me nature really does heal me from within and I would like to end with one final image of the youngest victim and his message for the World.

Martin Richards and his message to the World.

 

As always I love feedback. How do you heal after a traumatic event?

Art For the Love Of Dogs

This past Labor Day weekend we made a visit to a very special Chapel that I have heard about for years.

If you have ever loved a dog and especially if you have ever loved and lost a dog, you must pay a visit to the Dog Chapel in St. Johnsbury VT. Located high on a hill called Dog Mountain the Chapel was the final masterpiece of artist Stephen Huneck.

dog chapel 1

My husband and I own two prints by Huneck and actually met him many years back when he owned a gallery on Nantucket. His artwork was centered around dogs and the chapel was a culmination of his art and his lasting tribute to all dogs everywhere. Built completely by hand starting back in 1977 Huneck completed his dream and opened the Chapel in 2000. The Chapel resembles a 19th-century New England church from the outside, apart from the steeple topped by a winged Labrador.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

Situated on 150 scenic acres Dog Mountain is a paradise for a dogs (and their human’s) with walking trails, a dog play ground and plenty of free doggie treats. There is even a swimming hole that is clearly marked “swimming for dogs only”.

Stephen Huneck Dog mountain

When you approach the Chapel you are greeted by a medley of dog breeds and a sign that proclaims: “Welcome: All Creeds, All Breeds. No Dogmas Allowed.”

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

Once inside, prepare to have a very moving experience. Soft spiritual music plays and visitors are encouraged to leave notes honoring their dogs that have passed. As you can see every wall is covered with photos, notes, stories and memories of loved and lost dogs.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

The pews are supported by Huneck’s iconic Black and Yellow Labs.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

The stained glass windows were my favorite part of the Chapel and I love Huneck’s color combinations. Each window features dogs doing what they love: eating a bone,

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

sharing ice cream cones,

and getting lots of love.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

Reading some of the moving tributes to the dogs was difficult for me as our current dog Tucker is over 13 years old and we lost our 12 year old dog Maddy to Cancer just over 3 years ago.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

We pinned a note to the wall honoring Maddy and attempted to introduce our Weimaraner Tucker to Huneck’s Weimaraner but he wasn’t too interested.

Huneck dog chapel

He was actually spooked by the whole experience and just wanted to go back outside…or go eat some more treats.

As moving and beautiful as the Chapel is there is a very sad story associated with it. In 2010 after some serious financial struggles Stephen Huneck took his own life. His wife Gwen is doing her best to keep the chapel open but without her husband to keep his art going she currently owes thousands in unpaid taxes. The State of Vermont is threatening to close the Chapel and sell off the land in an auction. We did our part by making a small donation and buying a “Good Dog Bad Dog” reversible bandanna.

After such a moving experience we did cheer ourselves up by taking photos in front of the World’s Largest Maple Syrup can. How happy is that!

How about you are you a dog lover like me? Have you ever heard of Dog Mountain and the Chapel that Huneck built?

 

If you would like help decorating your house or choosing color give me a call.

LA Bound Courtesy of COLOURlovers

Tomorrow morning I fly from Boston to Los Angles to spend 4 days studying with international Color Guru Leatrice  Eiseman. Leatrice is a world renowned  color titan, the director of the Pantone Color Institute and one of the key people responsible for picking the much anticipated color of the year (Tangerine Tango for 2012).  It has been a dream of mine to attend Leatrice’s class; I own all 5 of her books and often look to her color pallets for inspiration in home interiors.

2 years ago I had the privilege of studying with another Color Expert, Maria Killam. Maria taught us how to choose color correctly by understanding and working with color undertones. I learned about “flow” and how colors should “speak” to one another. It truly changed my business over night and the knowledge I learned from Maria was invaluable. From what I understand, Leatrice’s class goes  more into the psychology of color and how color affects our mood and behavior.

The most exciting part of all this is that I actually won a full scholarship to attend the class. I entered a contest just before Christmas through a web site called COLOURlovers. If you haven’t heard of this site and you love color you MUST check it out. For the contest I  had to upload a color pallet that “spoke to me” and write an essay on how color has impacted my life. This is the pallet I choose along with the photo I took that was my inspiration.

 

COLOURLovers 1st Place Scholarship winner Linda Holt

 

I never imagined that this photo and corresponding  pallet would connect me to such an exciting opportunity and make a dream come true. The competition was fierce so I am shocked and humbled that I won. I’ll be signing off now for a week or so, but when I return I promise to share all my newly gained Color knowledge with you all.

 

 

If you would like  help choosing color, decorating or home staging contact me at 617-965-3342.

Lessons from Arkansas a.k.a Tobi Fairley’s Design Camp (part 2)

Today in part two of ” Lessons from AR” I have 3 more tips to share from designer extraordinaire,  Tobi Fairley.  If you missed my first three Tobi Tips you can read them here.

 #4. Don’t try and make something work that you don’t love. I think we have all experienced this at one time or another. Say you have a dated sofa. You don’t love it but to make it work you find a wall color to go with the sofa, then window treatments that have the same colors, then you find a rug that also “goes with the sofa” then you work in your accessories.  What you end up with is a room designed around something you never really liked in the first place so you never really love the room. Better to start from scratch than to try and make something work you don’t love.

#5. Beware of living only with “decorator art“. When Tobi said this, I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about. I call it ” staging art” and I use it all the time when I Stage a home for sale. It is generic art that doesn’t offend,  or make too much of a statement. You know the kind; mass produced and sold at your local Home Store.

Something like this:

 

"Decorator art" a.k.a Staging art

 

A small amount of decorator art is fine to add some color or to fill in where needed but original art that has meaning and speaks to you is what will stand the test of time and enrich your life.

Original art does not have to be pricey fine art. Your kids drawings, photo enlargements taken by a loved one, or the $6.00 etching you bought 15 years ago from that colorful street vendor while on your honeymoon will all have meaning for you and give your room some soul.

Here is a hallway in my home where I have a collection of small water colors my son did in high school. They cost zero dollars and I found the frames on sale at the Crate and Barrel Outlet for $5.99 each. I never tire of looking at these and they are a great topic of conversation when friends visit.

art work by Ben Holt

#6. Carefully consider the architecture of a home BEFORE you build or buy. What looks interesting, different, cool, or unusual  is usually NOT easy to decorate. Super tall ceilings, large arched windows, or big open floor plans might seem like a good idea at the time until you actually try and arrange your furniture, hang your art work or put up window treatments.

 

I am not sure what is going on with this room but I bet it looked great on the blue prints.

And although these windows are gorgeous; it would be a challenge if you needed window treatments for privacy.

 

So going back to Tobi’s very first lesson #1:  always think about Function Driven Design. If  it makes sense to how you live on a day to day basis then you will always feel comfortable, and decorating your home will be a lot more enjoyable.

 

I hope you enjoyed my 6 Tips from Tobi, and as always, I love reading your comments and feedback!

If you would like help with choosing the perfect Color, Staging your home for sale or Redesigning a room, give me a call.

 

Collecting and Displaying Books..How Many Are Too Many?

One of my (many) passions is books. I have been collecting them since High School and I feel the same way about books as I do art; I couldn’t be truly happy living without either. I think the easiest way to make a house a home is to surround yourself with books that you love. This past week I have been thinking about books more than usual. You see, my oldest son is moving back to Boston after graduating college and then spending the past year in San Francisco. He is selling most of his  belongings on Craigslist but all of  his books are being shipped back to us. Every day the mail man delivers more and more boxes of books. He finally asked me yesterday if I had bought out a library.  My son warned me he had “a lot” of books but I had no idea what “a lot” meant until this week. Here is what we have received so far.

…more boxes are evidently coming….a lot more….seriously??

 

 

I guess I only have myself to blame for my son’s book obsession.  He grew up surrounded by books.  We have books in bookcases, books on tables, and books stacked next to the bed. I even use some of of my decorating books as a side table.

 

I consider Design Magazines, “soft” books, so I collect those as well. I have recently decided it is time to get rid of the really old ones (pre-2006) so I have been purging them…painful but not as painful as if I had to get rid of my books.  Here are 2 of the 4 sets of floating shelves under the eves in our master bedroom. All the shelves are neatly stacked with magazines.

 

There are so many creative ways to display books. The most common way obviously is in a bookcase. I think it  looks best to have some books standing up and some laying down, intermixed with other objects and art work. Bookcases are such a beautiful focal point when done right, like this one with a beautiful green painted back.

Molly Luetkmeyer of M. Design Interiors

 

If you are going for that whole library look then just line them up and fill the shelves.

 

Pinterest

 

If your front door brings you directly into the living room, using an open bookcase as a room divider is a great idea.

 

 

Unusually shapes bookcases can do double duty as both art and storage, like this wall of  diagonal shelves done by Kelly Wearstler for the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica.

 

or this creative one of a kind bookcase.

 

A fellow blogger, The Decorologist even used her fireplace as a unique place to display her books.

 

 

As far as how many books are too many?  I would say somewhere around this many.

 

 

Well have to run…..Boarders Book Stores liquidation sale begins today…my son just called and told me.

 

If you would like some help displaying your books, give me a call.

Through The Looking Glass

I spent a wonderful afternoon last week checking out American glass artist Dale Chihuly. The MFA in Boston is showcasing his work with a new show called Through The Looking Glass. I first saw Chihuly’s amazing talent at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas several years ago.  Over two thousand flowers are lit from above and hang over your head at check in. Although they are called “flowers”, I thought they looked more like a kaleidoscope of colorful jellyfish gliding  over head.

Chihuly Bellagio lobby

It’s a huge draw for tourists and although you can’t see it in the photo all the guests stand in line to check in looking stright up the whole time. It’s quite comical. Here is another closer look at the ceiling.

Ceiling detail at the Bellagio Hotel

 

The Boston show also featured a fabulous glass ceiling. The room was dark and the ceiling was lit from above so it was just like you were underwater.

 

 

How beautiful!

Since I am always curious as to what inspires artists (like in this post) for Chihuly it is Native American textiles.

Here is a photo of his collection which was on display.

 

Chiluly's textile collection at MFA

 

Chihuly’s glass pieces are just a feast for the eyes, beautiful colors and shapes.

 

 

 

The real show stopper for me  however was an entire room filled with Chandeliers. Chihuly says his Chandeliers are his most complex constructions, and I can only imagine how much time and patience go into creating them.

Here are two of my favorites: I love this turquoise snake looking one.

 

and this green one reminds me of filled water balloons.

 

 

 

Here is a close up of the green one…just look at the detail!

 

 

When I got home I did a little additional research on his Chandeliers. It seems you can buy one to put in your own home.  I assume to handle one of Chihuly’s  Chandeliers your home would have to be something like this one in Beverley Hills   (currently on the market for 12.5 Million).

 

Mueller Designs

 

But what about the “average” non multi-multi-million dollar home. It goes without saying you would have to have tall ceilings and a very large lighting budget. Also, don’t even THINK of having, or ever having, children.  Can’t you just imagine an errant ball whizzing by and a little voice saying, “oh, oh…”

 

A little more research and I was able to find a few photos of (more average) homes that do indeed have one of Chihuly’s Chandelier masterpieces.

 

I think the one below looks great in this beach house since the chandelier looks a little like something that washed up on the beach…plus, is the only thing really happening in the room.

 

 

 

 

I am not loving this look below. The dining room looks very traditional and the Chandelier is screaming… WOO HOO… Look at me!

 

 

I think it works better in this tall staircase below, but how do you clean it? or change a bulb?… Maybe Chihuly has a staff that goes around dusting and cleaning.

 

 

One last thought, is it just me or do they look a little dangerous to have inside your home?  They are so pointy and sharpe that I fear I would be constantly looking up, concerned that it might fall.

 

Now those gorgeous glass ceilings?…sign me up!!

 

I would love to hear what you think? Would you hang one in your home?

 

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