Friday’s Photo: Going to London without my security blanket

To say I am excited today is an understatement. On Saturday I will be traveling to London for a week as a  DesignHound to attend design shows, visit design showrooms and do a little antiquing with Toma Clark Haines, aka  The Antiques Diva.

Besides being immersed in design, I will be a typical American tourist and plan to take in as many sights as possible. You know, the Palace, Big Ben, that huge Ferris Wheel and all the iconic tourist spots one goes to see when in London. So, obviously I will be taking photos. Lots and lots of photos. This trip is going to be different though because for the first time ever, I have decided to leave my heavy DSLR equipment at home.

My usual gear when I travel

My usual gear when I travel

Immediately after I made the decision I started having second thoughts, “maybe I should take it just in case”, but finally I decided no,  I am going solo with my iPhone. I have done a lot of traveling this past year and my heavy camera and lenses have become both a burden and a security blanket. I lug it around thinking I will use it but nine times out of ten I just shoot with my iPhone.

SO…next week is a big challenge for me. I am going to practice what I have been blogging about, that the iPhone camera (in most cases) can be just as good as my heavy more professional DSLR camera.

I hope you will follow along as I post on Instagram and Facebook. You will know that all my photos are from my iPhone…for better or worse! Also, be sure to follow all the fabulous finds from our group by using the hashtag #DesignHounds

Wish me luck! I hope I don’t have regrets because who knows when I will get to London again.

Friday’s Photo: You HAVE to see this ceiling.

This past week I went with a friend to the Hampton Designer Show House  and made it just under the wire before it closes (Sunday if you’re planning on going). I always love to visit a prominent show house because it’s fun to see what the big name designers are doing and what I can take inspiration from. As usual, I take lots of photos (with my iPhone of course) and then study them to see what design tips or trends I can pass on to you.

Here is one room I was definitely wowed by. The dining room, designed by the Mendleson Group, had the most impressive ceiling details and it’s like nothing I have seen before.

Mendelson Group: Linda Holt Photo

Mendelson Group: Linda Holt Photo

There are so many layers of textures and different materials that it took me awhile to take it all in. The outside perimeter of the ceiling is wallpapered with gray grass cloth, then there is dark gray paint between two thin pieces of white trim. Moving next toward the center is a layer of what looks like gravel. I assume it is some type of wallpaper because I saw one thin seam.

Ceiling detail: Linda Holt Photo

Ceiling detail: Linda Holt Photo

Then more white painted wood trim and at the very center is a gold leather octagon shaped medallion. I could not stop looking up. It was really spectacular and was the perfect stage for the ginkgo shaped gold chandelier hanging below.

Painted and wallpapered ceilings have been trending for awhile now but this elaborate treatment took the fifth wall to a whole other level. I thought it was spectacular and a perfect wow factor for the dining room of a five million dollar home. Yup, that’s right…it’s for sale for five million and it’s not even on the water.

What do you think?

Sad to say goodbye to Summer but looking forward to cooler temps and the beauty of Fall. Have a fabulous long weekend my US friends and please be safe!


Friday’s Photo: Sleeping with the family

One of my favorite things about going to High Point Market and visiting the different show rooms is seeing how the rooms are styled. The designers are so creative and I always see something unexpected and unique. Continuing last Friday’s Photo theme of wall murals I spotted this idea at Universal Furniture.

wallpaper family portraits

portrait wallpaper at Universal Furniture

I know it’s not for everyone but I thought it was a cute idea for a child’s room. It would be hard to feel lonely when the family is watching over while you sleep. Having the actual wallpaper made would be a huge commitment but another idea would be to cover the wall with either cork board or foam core. Then using adhesive spray (for the foam core) or pins (for the cork board) attach the images. When the fun had run it’s course just remove the foam core or cork board and the walls are back to the origional state.

Have a good weekend!

Friday’s Photo: Do you like this hot new trend?

I posted a photo on Instagram this week that got over a hundred likes. That photo as well as the one below, show one of the hottest new trends in design…murals. Wall murals are big, bold and a fun way to make a statement.

Wesley Hall-Linda Holt Photo

Wesley Hall-Linda Holt Photo

I know it’s not for everyone but if you have a big blank wall and no artwork to display a giant mural could be great fun. Talk about adding personality to your space! There are several online companies where you can create your own mural by uploading any image of your choice. Just Google “create your own wall mural” and you will have several to choose from. Imagine a Caribbean beach scene in your bed room or the New York skyline in your dining room. I’m thinking an underwater oasis on the wall my desk faces would be amazing!

What do you think? Love it or not?

Quick note* Be sure to check back on Tuesday for my upcoming post on the one thing you can do today to eliminate crappy cell phone photos.

Happy Weekend!

Friday’s Photo: Look how wealthy I am!

What material possessions do you think of when you imagine great wealth? Luxury cars? Second (or third) homes? Designer clothing and jewelry? Fabulous art? I bet the one thing that doesn’t come to mind is a dining room sideboard.

Back in the 1850’s the dining room sideboard was the ultimate trophy to show off one’s wealth. The more intricate and lavish the carvings the more impressed your dinner guests would be. It was the 1850’s way of showing the world, “look how wealthy I am”!

1850's oak sideboard

1850’s Pennsylvania sideboard Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Intricately carved fruit, birds and animal heads added to the wow factor and expense of the piece. The sterling silver urns and tea sets completed the look. Today, we have moved on and replaced side boards and silver tea sets with other possessions as a way of showing off our wealth. It is fun though to look back on history and see how trends have changed. I wonder what prized possession of today will be passe in the next hundred years?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday’s Photo: A once grand hotel and election results

A few weekends ago while at our camper in NH, my husband talked me into driving way north (just miles from the Canadian boarder) to a teeny tiny town called Dixville Notch. In spite of it’s size, you may have heard of it. The town’s claim to fame is that they are the first precinct in the United States to vote in the presidential primary. There is a total of nine voters who all turn out at midnight (along with dozens of news and TV reporters) to cast their vote for the next presidential candidate. It’s front page news for about 24 hours until the rest of New Hampshire votes.

There actually is nothing in Dixville, as we found out it’s not really a town but simply a voting district. However, we did pass a sign for The Balsams. I had heard of this legendary grand hotel but never seen it. Built in the late 1800’s it was a first class resort for wealthy city folk seeking refuge from the sweltering Summer heat of Boston, New York and Philadelphia. In the Winter there was skiing, snowshoeing and hiking with miles of both cross country and alpine trails. I was excited to go and check it out but for some reason, unknown at the time, the road leading up to the resort was blocked with barricades and a “closed” sign.

Well a few barricades was not going to stop me so we parked along the side of the road and walked about a mile up the driveway to The Balsams. Much to our surprise, I discovered why the road was closed.

The Balsams: Linda Holt Photo

The Balsams: Linda Holt Photo

The Balsams has evidently been closed for years. I did a little research when we got home and it seems a developer has purchased the property with the intent to renovate it but there have been some delays with funding and permits. Even though I didn’t get to see the once glorious hotel, I thought there was still beauty in it’s decaying state. I took dozens of photos but this is a good overall image so you can image what it once looked like in it’s grand state nestled in the beautiful mountains.

As for Dixville Notch? Here are the Feb. 9th 2016 primary results

Bernie Sanders 4 votes

John Kasich 3 votes

Donald Trump 2 votes

Have a great weekend everyone and remember, always try and find beauty…even in the ugly.

Friday’s Photo: Checking out to “make photos”

This past week has been rough. The young singer gunned down in cold blood, the horrific mass shooting, the little boy dragged off by an alligator, it was just one nightmare report after another. Add in all the hate filled rhetoric on the news and on social media and I felt like I was at the breaking point. I was unfocused, had difficulty sleeping and started to obsess over the future of our country and the future leaders of it.

When I get really stressed the one thing that calms and soothes me is getting to the ocean. Nothing fills me with peace, love and joy more than the water. I love the mountains too but the ocean is my deepest love.

Rockport MA

Rockport MA Linda Holt Photo

The timing therefore could not be better because next week I will be staying on the coast in northern Maine immersed in a week long photography class at the Maine Media Workshop.  I had originally taken a photography class there 34 years ago this Summer. I think it was either the first or second year they were open and it was one of the highlights of my photography schooling. I studied with a very famous (at the time) fashion photographer. I remember being absolutely star struck because he worked for Vogue and other top fashion magazines and was friends with all the super models of the day. I was young, impressionable and thought he was the coolest guy on the planet. I mimicked everything he did and wanted my photos to look just like his.

Sunday I return 34 years later a completely different person. I am not looking to copy another Photographer’s style. Instead I plan to dig deep and discover (or rediscover) the artist in me. The pretty photos that I post on Facebook and Instagram are fine but I want to express myself deeper.

Back in the 80’s when I was in photography school I had a teacher who was passionate that his students never photograph flowers, sunsets, puppies, or any image that he deemed “pretty”. God forbid if you did, because in front of the entire class he would dramatically rip up your photos and dump all your hard work onto the floor. He would bellow “any idiot with a camera can shoot a pretty picture. An amateur “takes a photo” and a professional “makes” a photo. I was so brain washed (and traumatized) by him that to this day I can’t shoot a sunset or a flower without hearing him shouting his outrage in my mind.

So next week I am going to spend a week “making photos”. I am also checking out of all social media. I need to clear my head, take a break from the upsetting news and just enjoy being with other like minded art loving individuals. I will continue to post “pretty” pictures (northern Maine is seriously beautiful) but you may also start to see something different…stay tuned!

Have a wonderful week everyone and I will reconnect in a week or so.

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