In just a little over two weeks I will be headed to High Point Market along with nine other top bloggers to discover and report back on all the trends, colors and styles of Spring Market. I am so honored to be chosen and I honestly feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. Besides being like a design Disney World on steroids, High Point Market combines two of my absolute favorite things; design and photography. As soon as I walk into a show room I get so excited and I want to photograph and share everything. This year (for the first time) I think I am 100% prepared. I have two memory cards, two batteries and a brand new lens. Unlike the past two years, nothing is going to get in my way of shooting to my heart’s content.
I know several of the other blogger’s already and Amanda Gates and I were roomies at the Design Blogger’s Conference. It was such an unexpected coincidence when we found out we had both been chosen as High Point bloggers. (Although Amanda would probably say there is no such thing as coincidence).
Yes,I know I look NOTHING like my head shot but when I found out I was chosen I didn’t have time to get a new “baldish” head shot to the press office so the one posted here is pre-chemo.
The Design Blogger’s Tour is now in it’s second year and was developed in partnership with Esteem Media and these generous sponsors. Many of these brands I already use for my client projects so I am thrilled to be getting a first hand look at what’s new for 2016.
So if you love design be sure to mark your calendar for April 16-20 and follow along live with all our posts and tweets by following the hashtag #designbloggerstour.
Last week was the 6th annual Design Bloggers Conference. I have never been before and after attending this year in Atlanta I don’t know why I waited so long. The speakers were inspiring, educational and several were quite funny!
Cynthia Rowley in killer sparkling shoes and floral socks
We learned everything from iPhone photography tips to how important those dashboard analytics really are.
The amount of information shared was overwhelming but after a weekend of organizing my notes and thoughts I want to share my three biggest takeaways from the conference.
Be authentic. No one has your exact voice or perspective. The fact is, everything under the sun has already been created (and blogged about) so don’t strive for originality, simply focus on authenticity. Readers are quick to detect when you are not being authentic and will simply move on. So, if your passion is eighteenth century French antiques then don’t start a DIY blog. Write about what moves you and like minded readers will follow. Also, be sure to write in your own voice and don’t try and be someone you’re not.
Be intentionalwith your blog posts. Who is your audience? Which of your posts do they like most? (this is where Google analytics comes in) If you are writing willy nilly on all sorts of different topics with no structured posting day or times, readers will get confused. Set up an editorial calendar and follow it. Whether you publish every day or every third Sunday it’s important to be consistent. Be just as intentional with your social media and make sure all postings reflect your brand. Instagram is the platform you should be using to showcase your brand and who you are. Clients and brands are checking you out so it’s best to only post carefully curated photos that are representative of your business and brand. Save the selfies with your girlfriends drinking margaritas and your daughter’s dance recital photos for your personal Facebook page. On the plane ride home I deleted about 50 photos.
Find your North Star. What does success look like for you? It is most likely completely different than what it is for me. Figure out where you want to go and architect your posts to get there. If blogging is something you do simply because you like to hear yourself talk then that’s fine but if your ultimate goal is to attract more clients, publish a book, sell a product, or get paid sponsorships, then your approach must be directional and well thought out.
I wish I could say I have blogging all figured out and that I do everything right but I am far from it. After attending the conference though I feel armed with enough valuable information to get there…or at the very least, work to get there!
As a special treat for those of you who missed the conference and want even more insight, I asked a few of my blogging friends to share their takeaways. Each perspective is different just like each of us and I guarantee if you are a blogger or a designer they are all worth reading.
They say lightening never strikes twice but for me it has and in the best possible way. I have been invited to go on another BlogTour and this time it’s BlogTour Las Vegas.
I am SO excited, honored, and thrilled that I have had trouble sleeping since I found out last week. Let’s see…Vegas in January, attending KBIS and seeing all the latest in kitchen and bath design, connecting with all the other bloggers (several of whom are friends) a day of inspiration at Modenus Talks and much more yet to find out about…plus, it’s VEGAS!!!
Three years ago this week (May 18th, 2011 to be exact) I published my very first blog post. I still remember my feeling of fear and trepidation as I pondered that Turquoise Publish button for over a week. When I finally did hit the button I thought I was going to be sick. The thought of expressing an opinion…to the public no less….was almost paralyzing. You see, by nature I am (was) extremely shy. Growing up I always sat in the back of the class room and prayed I wouldn’t be called on. I was always sure to be absent on days where standing up in front of the class and giving an oral report was expected. Once in junior high school when asked to stand up and speak, I promptly fainted. After that embarrassing episode, my mother actually got a doctor’s note excusing me from ever having to speak in front of the class again. (Hey, no judging… it was back in the day).
Fast forward to today and I can honestly say blogging has changed my life. Blogging forced me out of my comfort zone of hanging in the background as an observer, and pushed me into being an active participant. Blogging and attending events with other bloggers has also allowed me entrance into the design world in a way I never imagined possible. I have made so many new friends, both real and virtual and because of blogging, I was able to finally crawled out of my shell (at age 50+) and find my voice.
So three years ago when I timidly published that first post, I could never have imagined that on this Thursday, I will be traveling to New York with eleven other bloggers, courtesy of Veronica Miller and Modenus. For me, it’s a once in a life time experience. As a group, we will be going to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, touring the Kips Bay Show House, visiting show rooms and seeing fabulous new products for the home, plus dinners, cocktail parties and design events.
Yes, I know, I am always preaching about keeping your fixed elements timeless and classic and then go as wild as you like with accessories. Well a client recently challenged me on this as she said her house was her “forever home” and that she loves bright color, unique things and didn’t want anything in her home to look like her neighbor’s house. Okay…fine by me, let’s have some fun!
Click on the link below to read my guest post for Designer Bath in Beverly (thank you Yvonne for asking me) and see some unique products to express personality in the bathroom.
Almost directly after all the fun at Brimfield I traveled to NYC to attend Blogfest. Sponsered by Kravet, Blogfest is an opportunity for interior design bloggers to attend design industry events and showrooms. I went with my friend Yvonne Blacker who writes the design Blog Design Vignettes . We stayed at a very “hip” hotel called Yotel. It was completely automated including both check in and baggage storage. See that huge robot arm? It stores your luggage for you. Yvonne and I weren’t sure why there was a bike hanging overhead in the lobby but we did both notice that the bike was bright green and complimented the purple neon quite nicely.
Yotel Lobby, Yvonne next to “check in”, robotic luggage storage
Yvonne is such a fun traveling companion and between the two of us we knew quite a few of the other attendees. The event kicked off with a cocktail party at Jonathon Adler’s NY store.
photo by Yvonne Blacker
There was so much to look at while at the same time everyone was excited to connect and reconnect with fellow bloggers. I was so happy to see my friends Lesslie Hassler of TX and Ann McDonald of CA. We all met through our mentor Tobi Fairley.
Lesslie Hassler, me, Ann McDonald
JA’s store is a filled with fun graphic prints, fabulous furniture, hot pops of color and so many great accessories.
I want this bed!
I couldn’t decide which one of these I loved more
I’ve always been a fan of JA’s head vases.
I seriously considered buying all three of those pillows.
I could have taken home half the store if budget allowed. Another one of my favorite things in the store was a huge hanging sign that said “Jonathan Adler’s Manifesto”. It hung directly behind the register and although I tried my best to get a photo, the sign was too big and the lighting was not good.
I was however able to find it printed online. Here is JA’s company manifesto and his outlook on life and home.
We believe that your home should make you happy.
We believe that when it comes to decorating, the wife is always right. Unless the husband is gay.
We believe in carbohydrates and to hell with the puffy consequences.
We believe minimalism is a bummer.
We believe handcrafted tchotckes are life-enhancing.
We believe tassels are the earrings of the home.
We believe in our muses: David Hicks, Alexander Girard, Bonnie Cashin, Hans Coper, Gio Ponti, Andy Warhol, Leroy Neiman, Yves Saint Laurent, and Madonna.
We believe in the innate chicness of red with brown.
We believe in being underdressed or overdressed always.
We believe in infantile, happy emblems like butterflies and hearts.
We believe celebrities should pay full price.
We believe in rustic modernism: Big Sur, A-Frame beach houses, raw beams, and geodesic dome homes.
We believe in Palm Beach style: Louis chairs, chinoiserie, Lilly Pulitzer, The Breakers circa ’72.
We believe our designs are award winning even though they’ve never actually won any.
We believe dogs should be allowed in stores and restaurants.
We believe in mantiques – suits of armor, worn chesterfield sofas, heraldic tapestries.
We believe you should throw out your Blackberry and go pick some actual blackberries.
We believe colors can’t clash.
We believe in blowing your nest egg on our pots.
We believe our lamps will make you look younger and thinner.
We believe in irreverent luxury.
I am in total agreement…how about you?
While at Blogfest I was one of the lucky winners of a Jonathan Adler bowl. I thought it only appropriate to pick the winner for my Benjamin Moore Williamsburg fan deck giveaway out of my new bowl.
And the winner is:
Congratulations Kelly!! Send me your address and I will mail it out right away.
Last week as I shared in my previous post, I was lucky enough to attend Design Camp in Atlanta; an information packed design seminar hosted by celebrity interior designers Lori Dennis and Kelli Ellis. It turned out to be one of the most inspirational seminars I have attended. A full back to back line up of speakers who comprise some of the industries most respected designers, bloggers, photographers, social media experts and business specialists. It seems like we covered everything design related and the speakers were all so open with sharing advice that lead them to the success they enjoy today. Representatives from Houzz, HGTV, Duralee, Hansgrohe, Sub Zero Wolf, Ronda Rice Carmen, author of All The Best Blog, photographer Gerardo Jaconelli and many more shared so much information that I hardly got any sleep my entire time there. Not to mention being a little celebrity awestruck ( Barry Dixon, Kimberley Seldon, and Susanna Salk to name a few).
Many of the attendees wrote wonderful blog recaps of all the events including my friend Lisa Mende and also Paloma of La Dolce Vita, and you should definitely check them out. If you are like me though, you want to know specific details…what did they say? What did you learn?
So here are some of my biggest takeaways from Design Camp.
The first day began with Trends…who doesn’t love that topic? Our speaker was the quite colorful Bill Indursky of V and M (Vintage and Modern). V and M is an online source for unique vintage finds of furniture, jewelry, fashion and design.
V and M founder Bill Indursky
Bill spoke about 4 trends going forward into 2013-2014
Raw Trend: weathered wood, rusting metal, oiled and pickled woods, patina, home made. Hotel look is out, stripped down Americana is in. The one surprise for me was (hang on to your fan decks color lovers) Beige is coming back! Yup, no sooner did I get home and see that the new House Beautiful and Architectural Digest both have Beige rooms on this months cover. Humm…this I have to think about.
Pattern Play: Ikats, tribal prints, lettering is everywhere, esp. popular are Roman Numerals, large rusted numerals and vintage signs.
Dramatic License: taking normal proportions and playing with it. Furniture with blocky and cartoonesk shapes…Bill called it “Flintstones furniture”. Shag carpeting is making a come back and we will see more rock patterns on fabric and over blown proportions…”the Gaga of furniture design”according to Bill.
The Ancients: classicism that is full of angelic themes, neoclassic, traditional murals. We have seen so much Moroccan influence but the newest trend is Egyptian Revival. It was quite a coincidence but Design Camp was held in the Fox Theater and the building is Egyptian Revival. Check out the carpet in the room we were in.
and look at this gorgeous wall sconce.
Fox Theater Atlanta
Barry Dixon was AMAZING! So down to earth and just the exact opposite of trendy. He creates timeless interiors that are as current today as they were 20 years ago. He was so generous in sharing his design philosophy and tips.
Barry gets most of his design inspiration from nature and the landscape that surrounds his farm (Estate) in Virginia. My biggest takeaways from Barry were:
The best ideas are the ones that come most quickly to us. Don’t belabor your design plans, your first gut instinct is almost always the best.
Quality always sells…and my absolute favorite:
“No matter what the client’s budget, spend only at the very top and the very bottom“. Never spend in the middle or you will have mediocre design. If needed Barry has no problem with layering high end Antiques, designer furniture and fabrics with low end accessories from Target.
Kimberley Seldon is a design guru who had the whole room captivated. She was one of the most entertaining speakers, and for me, one of the highlights of the event.
The woman is really amazing. Besides a hugely successful design business, she is an author, a TV personality, a well respected business coach with a huge following, and the publisher of Dabble magazine. She also has a family yet has figured out a way to make it all work on her terms…without being stressed out.
My biggest takeaways from Kimberley were:
most of us are not charging enough. Clearly evident by having all the attendees first stand up and then sit down as she quoted hourly rates.
Branding is hugely important!!! It’s no longer just about pretty interiors.
The best way to pre-qualify a client is by telling them your fee (I love that one).
Susanna Salk is an author who writes about design. Her latest book is Be Your Own Decorator and I must say, one of my favorite new design books. Unfortunately I didn’t get a good photo of Susanna but she is as gracious as she is beautiful.
My biggest takeaway from Susanna was:
Don’t Over Style your room photos. Editors are over the highly “staged” and “show house” styled rooms. They want to see a more authentic side of life. I have noticed these less than perfect rooms quite a bit lately; dogs, kids, hastily made beds and nowhere near perfect rooms are much more prevalent in many decor magazines. She had us all laughing when she said if an editor sees one more photo of an ottoman with a tray on it set for breakfast they will immediately throw it out.
Lastly, what would Camp be without a bunch of giveaways? The sponsors were unbelievably generous with free gifts but I must say the highlight was when Jason McNeely of Hansgrohe said he was giving away two high end shower heads only to change his mind and tell everyone in attendance they would be getting one. The entire crowd started to scream…you would have thought we were in Oprah’s audience and had just been gifted a new car…it was such fun! thank you Jason.
If you want to get inspired and get your business back on track this year I highly recommend you check out Design Camp. There are new sessions already posted including an upcoming one in Seattle May 1-3rd.
I hope you enjoyed my takeaways…did you learn anything? which one was your favorite?