Saturday, December 31, 2011

My New Year's Wish For You

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Designer Perspective: How to Give Your Clients What They Really Want

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Designer Perspective: How to Prep Your Clients for the Design Process

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Designer Picks: Hi/Low New Year's Eve Swag

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Designer Picks: Useful Home Stuff to Exchange Your Holiday Gifts For

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Designer Tablescapes: 6 Alternatives to the Classic Christmas Table

Okay, so this article is a wee bit late for Christmas, but some of these ideas will work for New Year's as well!

Long time readers will have noticed that my posts have become, shall we say, sparse, over the last year or so. Mainly, it's because I've been doing a lot of writing for other websites, notably and Williams-Sonoma Designer Marketplace. The Networx articles are focused to the general home market and are a mix of decorating ideas, product pics on a theme, sometimes cleaning ideas, etc. Many of these articles are also syndicated nationally and in Canada and have appeared in the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Vancouver Sun and others.  The Williams-Sonoma Designer Marketplace articles are geared towards the professional interior designer and are tips and ideas for running a design business. Other writers in this series include Tobi Fairley, Robin Callan of RoomFu, Jay Johnson of Design2Share, and Melissa Michaels of The Inspired Room. If you're a designer, or looking to become one, this series of posts is educational and inspirational.

I've reposted some articles here on occasion but it's been pretty ad hoc. In my never ending quest to make things easier (for me!) while still providing a lot of good content, I'll be posting screen shots of the published articles that link to the full piece.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wedgewood Ceilings and other finds

A few weeks ago, I was watching a re-run of an old Antiques Roadshow (British version) and in the background of one of the estates they were filming in I caught a glimpse of what looked like a Wedgwood Blue Jasperware ceiling. Gorgeous. Of course, it got me to wondering how many of these types of ceilings exist. Developed in the late 17th century by Josiah Wedgwood, Jasperware came in many colors although the blue is certainly the most famous. Named for the mineral jasper, this pottery mostly depicted scenes of ancient Greeks, mythology and other classic motifs.  What I didn't know was that Josiah, a prominent abolitionist, was the grandfather of Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin married Emma Wedgwood, his first cousin, and they had ten children.

Anyway, I've been gathering images of Wedgwood Blue ceilings and my wanderings through the internet have been fascinating indeed. 

Wedgwood Suite - St. Georges Hotel - Wales, UK

Location unknown, via Flickr

Glasgow City Chambers - via Flickr

Glasgow City Chambers - via


One of only four known existing fireplace surrounds made by Wedgwood. 3 are in the Lady Lever Gallery in Merseyside, England, and the fourth at the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC.  via Flickr


My wanderings also brought me to a whole host of gorgeous Jasperware inspired confections:

I lost this link. Will add when I find it.

via Flickr

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Archives: Pride & Prejudice, My Christmas Day marathon

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and for those celebrating, a wonderful Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas. I spent most of yesterday planted in front of the screen watching the entire 6 hour A&E Pride & Prejudice starring the delicious Colin Firth.

That was such an amazing series. And such was their attention to period detail that it doesn't look dated nearly 17 years after it was made. The following is a repeat (hey, tv stations can do it, why not bloggers?) of a series of posts I did a couple of years ago on the decorative style of the Regency Period in England and the three distinct levels of society on display in the series.

BBC has a series of video shorts here with more background on the making of the series as well. Enjoy!

 Since I own the dvd, I figured it would be fun to pull out some images of the different styles of decorating to be found in these Regency England interiors. There are three distinct levels of society profiled in Pride and Prejudice.

The first we see is the Bennet's family home. As those who know the story are aware, the Bennets are a family of seven - Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, a gentleman and his silly wife. They have five daughters, all of whom are in want of wealthy husbands due to the fact that Mr. Bennet's property will be "entailed" away from his family after his death - leaving them quite poor and without their home. Hence the need for the daughters to all marry as well as possible.

My blogging friend Ms. Place, Jane Austen expert par excellence, has done a post on the income levels of the various characters' and putting their income in today's dollars. Check it out here on Jane Austen's World. Mr. Bennets' annual income (for his family of seven) was £2,000, which is £67.9k in todays currency ($132k US). In his time, this was a comfortable income and it affords the family a nice, if not luxurious, lifestyle that includes a large house and small staff. Their country home is filled with quality furnishings and accessories that are beautiful, but standard and practical. One notices in the set decor that there is a prevalence of slipcovers and tablecloths, which may indicate the need to hide the well worn nature of their furnishings.

Just for fun, I did a little window shopping at 1st Dibs and pulled out the following English Regency antiques that one might have found in a home such as the Bennet's.

Queen Anne style side chairs at Adams & Comer

Mahogany dining table at Florian Papp

Side tables at English Country Antiques

18thC/19C Secretary at Parc Monceau Antiques

King George III mahogany chair back settee at Carnegie Hill Antiques

Queen Ann card table at Carnegie Hill Antiques

Silver tea service at Belvedere Antiques

Scroll window seat at Timothy Corrigan Antiques

Inlaid mahagony Pembroke table ca. 1810 at William Word Fine Antiques

Satinwood Writing Slope at Drum & Company

According to Jane Austen Today, upon Mr. Bennet's death, Mrs. Bennet's entire "marriage portion" would have been £5,000 which would have had to support her and her daughters for the rest of their lives, or until the daughters married. Clearly, this would have devastated their lives.

On the next level of wealth, we have the Bingley's - a brother, sister, and a married sister and her husband. A young single man, Mr. Bingley's annual income was £4,000 a year, or double that of Mr. Bennet. This made Mr. Bingley a very eligible bachelor, whom Mrs. Bennet sets her sites on when he leases the local mansion, Netherfield Park.

Click here to read my original post on Netherfield Park.
Click here to read my original next post on Pemberley.
Click here to read my original post on the Bennet House.

Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Days, Vintage Style

I reveived this set of gift tags from one of my best friends - it's too charming to use. Am thinking of creating some kind of paper garland. Click the image to enlarge to see the beautiful artwork.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Recycling Floral Arrangements

Last week, I shared my pics of the holiday house tour I was part of. A local florist - East Sandwich Flower & Gift - had donated this beautiful floral arrangement. Luckily for me, the homeowner was going away for a week and so I was able to bring the arrangement home with me.

The arrangement was quite large at around 15" in diameter which made it too big for a table centerpiece or even on the counter. I love re-doing arrangements and really trying to wring as much life out of them as I can. We held our family Christmas today as one of my brother's was in town this week from Colorado and I was able to make 4 new arrangements out of the original one, with only the addition of new red tea roses.

Here is the dining table centerpiece, using a sterling silver Revere bowl as the base. I reused the oasis from the original arrangement and put it in a plastic container in the bowl. I reused the white pine and flat leaves from the original arrangement, and added the new red tea roses and silvered pine as well.

And the table all set for dinner. I almost took out one of the cut crystal goblets when I opened my Christmas cracker and a very sturdy bottle opener flew out. Of course, the entire family wore our paper crowns throughout dinner.

The above is a mini arrangement I made (about 5") in a mini silver Revere bowl, to which I added some of the flat pine from the original arrangement and some matte silver balls.

The more casual arrangement above is made completely from the original arrangement. The tall deep red spikey flowers have darkened to a very deep red, but I like the rusticity of this one, which is on the kitchen table.

This arrangement - which I had a terrible time photographing - is a mix of the softer flat greens, flat leaves, green flowers and thistle. I used my Hell's Kitchen Flea Market silver tea pot and added a big bow. Trust me, this is much prettier and kind of wild looking in person.

From the left over greens garland I used in the foyer of the holiday house, I made the simple arrangement below.

A simple Mason jar, filled with evergreen and berries, tied with a velvet bow. Couldn't be easier.

As I said, I like to wring every last bit of life out of a floral arrangement. Many people feel that flowers will just die, so why give them. But it's so easy to re-create and refresh an arrangement with a few new flowers and bits and baubles.

If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks!
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