Didn’t see this coming

Fair warning: This post is long, completely personal and has absolutely nothing to do with design, decorating, color or trends.

Life as we all know is a cycle of both good times and not so good times. Just recently I was thinking about how at the moment I was in one of the good times. Everything is going so well both with my business and my personal life. My kids are “launched”, busy creating a business of their own, living in Boston and supporting themselves. My husband is employed at a job he likes and has the flexibility to work at home. I have what I consider the world’s best friends and I could not ask for better clients. I have the amount of design projects that feels just right and I was invited on two different BlogTours with Modenus and the awesome Veronika Miller. I had the time of my life on both trips and met some of the most inspiring creative people who I am blessed to say are now my friends. Yup, everything was more or less perfect.

Then in an instant my life was completely derailed. Three weeks ago I was blindsided with a diagnosis of invasive breast Cancer….wait what??? I’ve always been the healthy one. I have been eating “clean” since before it was even a thing. I exercise (at least I try to), I’ve never smoked and I do my best to keep stress to a minimum.  I feel great so this must be a mistake, besides, I’m way too busy to deal with Cancer. My mind flashes to two friends, both who died in their 30’s from breast cancer, both leaving toddlers without a mom. I think of my friend Christine who is currently fighting metastatic breast cancer. I think of my Dad who died a slow painful death from lung Cancer exactly 25 years ago this week at the young age of 62, and my Mom who died 17 years later from an equally terrible struggle with brain Cancer. I think, am I going to die? This will destroy my family.  I feel like I can’t breath, I feel sick, I cry.

On the drive home I think about all the things I still want to do. I have never been to Italy, I want to attend Maison and Objet in Paris and swim in Caribbean waters again. I want to visit London and I want to tour the wineries in Sonoma.  I want to go back to High Point with my friends Kim, Kelly, Casey and Jeffery and see all my long distance designer friends. I think of my kids. I want to see them get married and maybe one day have a grand daughter that I can take to the Ritz for tea, and the ballet. Silly things too, like I need to paint the front door and I still haven’t ordered a new sofa for the family room.

I tell my husband, I tell my boys, I tell my close friends.

We meet with the surgeon a few days later. She is calming and very reassuring. She stresses that my Cancer is small and that I am extremely lucky it was caught early. My Cancer is stage 1 (on a scale of 1-4). The initially pathology report from the needle biopsy shows it is a type 2 Cancer (on a scale of 1-3). Not great, but thank God it is not a 3. As long as my margins and lymph nodes are clear I will not need chemotherapy, only radiation.

I try and stay as busy and distracted as possible waiting for the surgery but the word Cancer, becomes an all present loud voice in my head. I am checking out at Whole Foods and the perky 20 something cashier smiles and asks “how are you today”? I smile back just as perky and say “fine thanks”… the voice inside my head screams “I HAVE CANCER!”. I am at the bank making a deposit and the teller asks, “Anything else I can do for you today?” I smile back, “Nope, all set”. The voice screams “YEAH, CAN YOU CURE MY CANCER?”

I had the surgery two weeks ago and the news was the best it could be. Both the margins and the lymph nodes were clear. No chemo needed!!! I tell EVERYONE the good news. My husband brings home champagne, the boys come with my son’s girlfriend. We all celebrate. I feel like I have dodged a bullet. I don’t need to go public with the news because I know radiation won’t be fun but it will have minimal impact on my life and business. I have four days of bliss thinking I am in the clear.

Then we meet with the Oncologist. She is very sorry to have to tell me some unexpected bad news. The final pathology report comes back and the Cancer I have (had) is clearly type 3 (fast growing highly aggressive form).  I need chemo, I will go bald, I will be tired, I will be sick, I will be a Cancer patient. For the second time in just two and a half weeks I feel completely blindsided.  I can’t breath, I feel sick, I cry. This time the news seems even more devastating because I had already told EVERYONE the good news. I can’t bring myself to tell anyone the new bad news. I slowly tell people, everyone is shocked and sad.

In ten days I have Pre-Chemo “class” (I find this quit humorous because I always describe myself as a life long learner). I start treatment a few days after that. It seems somewhat surreal because I feel so healthy yet in just a couple weeks I will be bald, tired and sick. After twelve weeks of Chemo I will then have 6 weeks of daily radiation treatments. It will be almost the holidays until I’m done. I have no idea how I will feel since everyone reacts differently to chemo. My Oncologist says she has patients in their 30’s that can barely get off the couch and patients in their 70’s who hardly miss a beat.

My intention is to stay positive and work as much as possible. My friends, family, and clients have been and are, incredibly supportive. I cut my hair short(er) in preparation of what is to come. I am working like a fiend getting some painting, cleaning and house projects finished before chemo begins. I’m already scheming about how I can turn chemo treatments into a design related blog post. It will be interesting to see what colors they use in the treatment room, hopefully they are uplifting.

So my friends, my next step is a trip with my good friend and wardrobe stylist Susan kanoff to pick out a wig. I’m thinking “short and sassy” might be a good look for me.

short and sassy

But then again…life is short!

3-women-wigs

Enjoy the little things my friends and whatever you do, don’t put off those yearly screening tests!

 

 

NYC Spring 2015 window displays

Every time I visit New York City I have the same thought, “Why don’t I do this more often?” New York City is only a little more than three hours from Boston but the truth is, I rarely go. I can come up with lot’s of excuses why; hotels are expensive, I don’t know anyone there and I can never find a good time to take time off work.

While attending the Architectural Digest Home Show a couple of weeks ago I once again was reminded of how inspirational the city is and how I really need to make an effort to travel there more often. Even just walking the streets while checking out the windows is a visual delight. Look at these terrific windows I spotted while walking the famous 5th avenue.

Prada

Prada

One thing I noticed as trending in almost every window was the use of faceless all white mannequins. One reason may be because color continues to be big this Spring and what better way to showcase those colorful clothes than against a clean white background.

Bergdorfs had an interesting theme for their Spring windows as each window vignette highlighted a different sense. The one below is taste. Not totally clear on the message but those are big white cakes above the models heads. The dress on the right with the pompoms is not something I could wear in a million years but the one on the left I love.

Bergdorfs

This second window vignette for smell is more clear as that is a big nose encased in that Lucite box. The message is further driven home with all those flowers in the background. I love the two skirts in this window as well.

This last one for hearing is even more literal with a huge ear floating front and center. I usually get annoyed by the street reflections in the window but actually loved the reflection here.

BergdorfsearWM

The rich saturated blue background grabbed my attention in Fendi’s window. It’s hard to tell the scale but that bag is about 10 feet tall and fills the entire window.

Fendi

Leave it to Ralph Lauren to keep his mannequins classic and beautiful. This was another window where I thought the street reflections added interest to my photo. It’s almost as if the mannequin is making a ghost like appearance by stepping right out of the wall of the building.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

For those of you that watch Downton Abbey, this window had a fun discovery. If you have seen the opening “commercial” for the series it shows Ralph Lauren painting a water color of a jeweled necklace on a model. It then shows an actual model wearing that same necklace down the runway. Here is the  necklace on the mannequin in the window.

This last window is Dolce and Cabbana. I know they have had some very bad press lately by making some really dumb comments that don’t even make sense. I did however enjoy their window because I interpret it as “Winter” waiting for “Spring” to come to life.

Dolche and cababa

I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of the New York City Spring 2015 window displays. I have made a commitment to myself to get to NYC more often and as Wayne Dyer says, “excuses be gone”!!!….Anyone want to join me?

 

 

Dining By Design Dining vignettes part 2

One of the most notable things about seeing this year’s vignettes at Dining By Design was the huge variation in each designers vision for their space. Since it’s not like a show house where there are certain rules, dining by design is a blank slate for the designers to just have fun. I shared some of the vignettes last week in part one and today I bring you more…the glamorous to the crazy.

This vignette designed by Bronson Van Wyck for Architectural Digest was one of my favorites. I love the Curry chandelier and the tented striped fabric along with the Moroccan inspired wall treatment (couldn’t tell if it was paper or fabric). I’ve always had a fantasy to dine in a tent in the desert maybe while on safari.

Bronson Van Wyck: Linda Holt Photo

Bronson Van Wyck: Linda Holt Photo

Speaking of fantasy, this room certainly fit the bill.  Lit with all blue lights the table was set under tree branches hung with Spanish moss.

SAMSUNG CSC

Linda Holt Photo

This next vignette was all about glitz and glamour. Sparkling crystal sheets were hung under spot lights to illuminate the table and the walls were constructed with reflective panels. It would be like dining inside a silver jewelry box with Marilyn as your dinner companion.

SAMSUNG CSC

Linda Holt Photo

This one done by Marks and Frantz was another one I was drawn to. Those green and gold chairs are amazing and I love the green orchids tucked into broad leaf green plants running down the table. The glass sputnik chandelier and vintage Opera photo mural add to the old Hollywood glamorous look and feel.

green roomRed

Marks and Frantz: Linda Holt Photo

There were some crazy dining rooms as well. This one by Evette Rios for Moen might induce a seizure while dining but how fun! Notice how she used their shower heads as the chandeliers.

Moen:Linda Holt Photo

Evette Rios for Moen:Linda Holt Photo

Minimalism was on display in a few rooms like this one done by Arteriors. Obviously the Arteriors Brutalist inspired chandelier and wall scones were the focal point in this room. Something about that heavy metal chandelier hanging above that glass table made me a bit uneasy but the small stools don’t look like they would encourage long drawn out after dinner conversation anyways .

Arteriors: Linda Holt Photo

Arteriors: Linda Holt Photo

Don’t know who designed this room, but like Arteriors, more contemporary design with not very comfortable looking “chairs”. Perfect for dining under the full moon though.

SAMSUNG CSC

This dining room was by Ralph Lauren. Obviously the focus is on their paint color offerings but it would be fun to eat at this table just the same.

Ralph Lauren: Linda Holt Photo

Ralph Lauren: Linda Holt Photo

Great idea using the paint cans as flower vases and paint stirring sticks as name cards.

Ralph Lauren: Linda Holt Photo

Ralph Lauren: Linda Holt Photo

Anthropologie created a colorful vignette with a “tree ” made from old wood scraps and bright blue flowers made from plastic bottles. I loved that they chose just two colors, pink and blue and then used neutrals for the walls and furniture. It really makes the pink and blue pop.

Anthropologie:Linda Holt Photo

Anthropologie: Linda Holt Photo

Anthropologie: Linda Holt Photo

Anthropologie: Linda Holt Photo

This last one was a mystery to me but hey, it’s Orange, one of my favorite colors so I have gone ahead and included it. Plus, this room seems to be all about drinking wine and I can certainly get on board with that.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

I hope you enjoyed seeing the 2015 Dining By Design table vignettes. Which one is your favorite?

Just in case you missed it you can see the other dining spaces in my post part one HERE.

 

 

 

 

Friday’s Photo:Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West

One of the trips we made while in Scottsdale last week was a visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright House called Taliesin West. Here are two interesting factoids about the house I thought were worth sharing.

#1. There is not a single straight wall anywhere on the house. Wright wanted the house to appear as if it was part of the landscape so he took great pains to copy the exact angle of the surrounding mountains.

#2. While Wright was alive there was no glass in any of the windows. Again, he wanted the house to be organic and one with nature. After his passing his wife (who was probably sick and tired of daily sweeping out the desert sand and lizards) put in glass.

Frank Lloyd Wright House Taliesin West

Frank Lloyd Wright House Taliesin West

If you get a chance to visit I highly recommend it. Wright was quite an interesting fellow and the guided tour was quite enlightening.

have a great weekend!

 

Friday’s Photo:Christopher Guy

If you  ever get a chance to visit a Christopher Guy show room be sure to bring your camera. The products are beyond beautiful and the way they set up their show rooms is like visiting an art gallery.

Christopher Guy/Linda Holt Photo

Christopher Guy/Linda Holt Photo

When I spotted this silver mirror and two coral wall scones against the purpley-black wall I just about died! I would LOVE this in a powder room or dining room for a bit of glamour or even in the entryway.  A work of art don’t you think?

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

When the Color White is Just Right

As a Boston area Color Consultant I am obviously someone who LOVES color; so when I tell a client that White is the best choice for their room they always look at me surprised. There are situations though where I do believe White is just right.

#1.   A contemporary space with large windows and lots of natural light.

In spaces with lots of natural light the color White will bring the room to life. I know it seems backwards because you may think it is better to use White in a dark space but just the opposite is  true. Color master Donald Kaufman puts it like this.

“A light color will never come to life in a dark room but a rich, deep color can make a dim, somber space feel warm and luminous – even though it receives no natural light.”

 

White highlights the architecture and the light streaming in through the windows is an ever changing art show.

#2.    Kitchen Cabinets

There is just something about a white kitchen. White kitchens convey cleanliness and freshness.

White kitchen cabinets are timeless and by simply changing out the accessories you can update your kitchen for a lot less money than it will cost to replace dated Oak, Orange Cherry wood, Espresso, Pickled, Bleached or whatever color wood you originally chose.

#3     Beach houses

There is nothing more beautiful than a coastal view so why distract from it? Paint the walls white and let the view take center stage. Also White is unfussy and simple, usually just the look and feel you want in a beach house.

#4        when surrounded by bright pops of color 

The color trend today finds lots of bright color in furnishings, fabrics and accessories so White walls can be the perfect neutral to give the eye a place to rest.

The general rule to follow is the brighter the brights then the more White you need to support them.

White walls are the perfect compliment to all the different pops of color around the table.

The most important thing to remember about painting your walls White is that you absolutely must have lots of light in the room. Otherwise, white will just look flat, gray and cold.

So what do you think about white? Would you ever consider white walls in your home?

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.

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