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?
This Thanksgiving as we go around the table and say what we are thankful for one thing I am very thankful for is all of you. Thank you for reading my blog, thank you for commenting on my blog, and for those of you who write a blog; thank you for inspiring me, educating me, and sharing your thoughts and wisdom with me.
Today is the 6 month anniversary of my very first blog. For the most part it has been a fun and rewarding experience. As most (ALL) bloggers will tell you, blogging is a HUGE time commitment but the rewards are well worth it. My favorite thing about blogging are the new friends I have made in blog land, not to mention all I have learned about Design and Color from reading other blogs.
Having said all this though the one thing about blogging is that I am not all that Tech savey. I don’t know if 5 people read my blog or 555 (wishful thinking). Yes, I know there are all sorts of blogging analytics and that most bloggers track their stats daily. Figuring it all out is on my “must figure out list” but for the time being, I am blogging in the dark.
I first meet Sheila at Maria Killam’s True Color Expert class in Vancouver over a year ago. I have been following her blog ever since. The amazing thing about Sheila is that she somehow finds the time to blog daily. I assume she must be one of those people who sleep 3 hours a night because not only does she run a design business but her blogs are always well thought out, educational and never just “filler or fluff”. So, if you are not already reading her blog I highly recommend checking her out.
Thank you so much Sheila!
Here’s how it works on my part:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave the award to you
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Send the award along to 7 other bloggers and let them know you have awarded them!
So now it’s my turn to share seven things about me that you probably don’t know.
#1. I have a huge love of throw pillows. According to my husband, my collection might boarder on hoarding.
How many are too many?
#2. I have a very spoiled Weimaraner named Tucker who sleeps in our bed under the covers when we are not home (and sometimes even when we are).
Bad Boy Tucker!
#3. My favorite place in the whole world is Nantucket. Our dream is to own a home there some day.
Main st. Nantucket, MA
#4. I have always had a thing for weathered wood and rusting metal…even way before it became so “in”.
Linda Holt Photography
#5. Although I am not proud to admit it, I once painted my living room 4 different colors in 7 days…not just one wall, the ENTIRE room. Let’s just say it’s a long story and it happened a long time ago.
#6. I was a photographer for 25 years before taking the plunge into design. I still take photos in my head and often see the world as if I were looking through a lens.
#7. If my house was burning down and I could only take one item to be saved it would be this oil painting of my boys when they were little (vacationing on Nantucket of course).
oil painting by Candace Lovely
Now the fun part. I get to pass the Versatile blogger award along to 7 other bloggers that I look forward to reading and you might too!
Every now and then the Universe aligns just so and I receive a bonanza of reading goodies… all on a rainy Friday afternoon heading into a rainy weekend. Today when I opened the mail box I had one of those “my life is perfect” moments (hey I’m a simple gal, what can I say).
Look what was in my mail box today!!
and just so you don’t feel badly for my husband; he got something too.
Yup…sometimes life can’t get much better!
Have a great weekend everyone!
If you would like help with color or design give me a call.