Monday, November 7, 2011

I Saw the Light

Hicks Pendant in Domino magazine*

Saw some great things today at our local Rejuvenation (here in Seattle, it's called Rejuve, which really only serves to confuse me and everyone with whom I discuss the store, but that's a topic for another day). One item I spotted gave me particular pause, and it left me wondering -- could this

be the new this?

Heaven knows we have all seen our share of the now-classic Hicks Pendant from Visual Comfort:

High Gloss magazine

via decor*pad

Jeff Herr Photography

And who am I to judge? I have a pair of them in my own kitchen:

And although I do still love my pendants, there is always a small part of me that likes things sliiiiightly less when I see them everywhere. (It's not just me, right?)

Today, when looking at the Hood pendant line displayed in Rejuve, I found myself momentarily contemplating a switch. Probably not going to happen, but you can be sure I'll suggest the Hood pendants to future clients. With all the finish and globe options, it can work in so many styles and locations... I am partial to the largest size (but of course).
Underside of the wire net cover option, originally designed to catch the glass of a broken light. Now it just looks cool.

I love the clear glass globe and brass finish.

* Where I first spotted the Hicks pendants years ago, inspiring an immediate purchase of my own pair.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Devil Is in the Details

Contrary to what "Million Dollar Decorators" might have you believe -- or what might actually be true for the MDDs -- being a designer is not all about selecting $25,000 carpets or waiting in bed for million-dollar projects to fall into your lap. Most of my projects are completed in phases, as clients' time and budgets allow, and they often involve seemingly mundane tasks like selecting planters for front porches or finding the exact right piece for a mantle or coffee table.

But I often find that the smallest tasks can be the most rewarding and even make the biggest impact. I recently spent a few hours at a client's home, styling her mantle and other aspects of her Living Room, and the transformation was huge! Sometimes just editing what you already have and dreaming up new ways and places to use it is all that is required to give a room a whole new look and feel.

Take a look at a few "before" and "after" shots, and perhaps you will get inspired to do some selective editing this weekend...or call me for help!

The mantel "BEFORE"

Mantel "AFTER"

Secretary "BEFORE" -- you can't see a lot of detail here, which is part of the problem; it was filled with lots of clear glass pieces and other items that failed to add much against the dark wood.

Secretary "AFTER" -- I love the shots of white and blue that draw you in...and the negative space creates a more restful feeling than rows of full shelves.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Vera Project

This may be akin to me posting about man walking on the moon, for how up to date I am on all my blogs and, well, almost anything that doesn't share my genetic makeup or exist within the four walls of my shop....(take a breath...long sentence warning)...

BUT these rugs from Anthropologie inspired by the "iconic scarf designs of the legendary Vera" (they phrased it better than I ever could) are killing me with their happiness and style! I am off to find a place for a square rug, so that my kids and dogs can get to work promptly destroying it.

How could you ever be sad in a room where this lived?

I actually love the idea of using these as wall hangings, as implied by the artful onsite merchandising showing the rugs in frames:

Where else can you find an 8' x 8' piece of art for less than $2K? Genius!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Deep Thoughts

One of the many great art finds over on Strataflora.... I love this thought, because how often do we get caught up in others' opinions of us, other people WE DON'T EVEN LIKE?

This piece is by British artist Hannah Richards. I also love her "Childhood Malevolence" series:

This one is my favorite. Who among us hasn't played some part in a similar scene?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


makes me happy.

Apologies for lack of photo credit. Sometimes happiness trumps details.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Is This Thing On?

If you're anything like me, sometimes inspiration can be hard to come by (hence the five-month gap between blog posts). I know in this modern world, where it's all too easy to design the image of ourselves we want others to see, it's not often that the people you look up to seem, well, human. Between their designer wardrobes, product lines and television shows, and children straight from the crewcuts catalog, these people just seem from some other planet -- do they ever have to pick up dog poop? Do their dogs even poop at all? Do they ever have days that they just want to stay in bed with the covers pulled over their heads and watch a running loop of "Dr. Phil" re-runs?

Well, they may not, but I do. Sometimes the realities of life make feeling inspired not only a stretch, but not much of a priority, frankly. That being said, a little inspiration is sometimes all you need to rip off those covers and face your life head on.

I don't have any great sources of inspiration to share--although I do like some of these ideas, cheesy as they may be. Today, no amazing new sources for the perfect side table, nor any news of the business's latest success. Sometimes in life, getting through the day is all you can muster, and even that can feel like (and might even be) a huge achievement. But for me, right now in my life, it's inspiring to realize that no matter what you're doing in and with your life, you can change it. Give it all away. Close the doors. Open a window. Pack up the moving truck. Start the new business. Take the leap.

At the end of the day, doesn't it sounds great to give it all away and finally start living? Maybe it's just me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Me

I realized late yesterday amidst shuttling kids to and from daycare, meeting with clients, and catching up on e-mail that the day marked my third year of business. What a three years it has been!

When I opened the doors of my 3,000 square-foot space in Georgetown three years ago, I had no idea just how bad my timing would prove to be, dovetailing with the onset of the worst economic recession in my lifetime; in fact, I recall a headline that first week of business: "Worst Month for Retail in 2o Years." Awesome.

There were times I honestly didn't know how I would pay my rent that month, and conversely, there were days I thought my vast fortune was imminent. There were days I would say to myself -- and anyone who would listen (usually my poor husband), "I can't do this anymore. I give up." And there were days, after something wonderful happening, like being featured in Elle Decor or spending the day shopping with Rita Konig, that I would be walking on air, wondering how I ever did--or could do--anything else.

Somehow, things always worked out. Granted, that often meant being willing to change what I was doing dramatically -- moving from a gigantic space in funky Georgetown to a teeny space in the suddenly-happening Pike/Pine Corridor, pulling away from retail and concentrating almost exclusively on interior design.

There are still days when I wonder to myself how I can keep doing this -- days when everything goes wrong, pieces come damaged, customers are unhappy or, pardon my French, just plain assholes. But most days, I count my lucky stars that I get to be the boss of me....that I get to help people make their homes feel warmer, happier, more THEM. What an honor!

Even on the bad days, I am so thankful for all the people who have kept me going for the last three years, through a recession, another child, and all the other crazy ups and downs: my fabulous customers and clients. THANK YOU for your support and friendship over the years; at the risk of sounding hopelessly trite, I couldn't have done it without you.

And of course I have to embarrass my husband, who I recently busted for not reading my blog. (Lord knows he hears me droning on enough as it is!) I am so fortunate to be married to someone who pays the bills and enables me to follow my passion without concern for what it contributes in return. Even though he can make me crazy at times (seeing if you are reading today, Chad), there aren't too many days that go by that I don't stop and thank my lucky stars to be married to someone who supports my dreams, for better or worse.

I can't wait to see what the next three years holds! Happy anniversary to me.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Why I Love People #542

On Saturday I posted a notice on Craigslist in hopes of finding a wonderful intern to help out here at the office; you may or may not know that internships are standard practice in the design industry, and in many industries, creative or otherwise, as a way to give students real-world experience (often for school credit) and potentially transition into employment with the firm in question.

I am planning to hire a part-time design assistant in the fall and thought offering an internship prior to the paid position being filled would be an ideal way to find a candidate that meshes will with me and the needs of the position.

I tried to be as thorough as possible in my description of the job, but a HUGE thank-you to Jamy for pointing out the error of my ways... I received this e-mail a little while ago, which is a fabulous way to kick off the week:


How insulting to the design community to offer to not pay someone for the chance to work with you. Design students pay for school. They work long and hard to work for free?! And to have their own car to run your errands without reimbursement for gas?!.... and then perhaps get offered a paid position.

Thank you, soooo much for your graciousness and the respect you pay or rather not pay this profession.

So sad that a professional design firm would post this. This has been passed along to many a blog in the design community thanks for the fodder.

-Design Professional and Teacher.

In an effort to beat him or her to the punch, here's my listing (since updated to further clarify the position)....if you're not grossly offended by my offer, we'd love to hear from you!

Ridder Me This

Ridder me this, indeed. I have recently developed a minor obsession with designer Katie Ridder's line of fabric and wallpaper.

You've probably seen Katie's interior design work in the pages of Elle Decor, House & Garden, or other favorite shelter magazines. Maybe these images will refresh your memory:

I'm not a huge fan of blogging other designers' work because, well, that's what magazines are for. But these images are a great illustration of what makes Katie's fabric and wallpaper designs so perfect -- the same simple yet chic aesthetic, and inventive and unpredictable use of color so present in her interiors is also what makes her product lines so distinctive.

Because I live in Seattle, un-affectionately known to me and friends as "Beigetown," I had to request samples of Katie's line from Chicago, where they know how to use a color or five. A few weeks ago a gigantic goodie box came (thanks, Amy!), filled to the rim with fabric and wallpaper from Katie, Martin Lawrence-Bullard, Michael Devine, Amanda Nisbet, and loads of other designers (most of) Seattle is too beige to appreciate.

While all gorgeous, I was seriously impressed with Katie's unexpected color pairings and quirky patterns.... I see a LOT of fabric and wallpaper designs through my work, and Katie's line really stands out from the crowd, which is tough to do.

I already have plans to redo my home office in this paper:


Here are some other patterns I love, available in both fabric and wallpaper:



Moon Flower

Thanks to our friends in Chicago, we have most of her line represented here at the shop, so if you're in Seattle, come by for a peek. You'll be saying to yourself, "Ridder me this" in no time flat.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Conze Scheme

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful local sculptor whose work you may recognize from a recent Elle Decor feature -- one of his kinetic sculptures lives with none other than Karen -- I mean, Megan Mullally -- and her husband, the equally funny actor Nick Offerman.

Designer Ames Ingham (who holds a special place in my heart for these) decorated their home and smartly selected Peter Conze's Flamingo to accent the couple's wonderfully designed pool and related landscape. I love how it is positioned in the yard:

And let's face it: that pool shape doesn't hurt matters...

You're not able to truly appreciate the construction and impact of Peter's work in a static image; clearly influenced by the genius of Alexander Calder, each piece is carefully engineered to surprise and delight through movement and color.

Peter works in a variety of scales and tailors many of his pieces to specific clients and sites.

Detail of Flamingo


Outdoor sculpture can go horribly wrong, and in my mind it requires a certain confidence to embrace it in your own home, but Peter's work maintains a wonderful simplicity and elegance that I think could work in a variety of aesthetics.

I'm already hard at work thinking of the right spot for one (or more) in a client's yard.

See more of Peter's work and learn more about his process here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Seeing Green

For those of you patient enough to still follow along after a more than two-month absence, first of all: Thank you and, second of all, you're probably more than curious to know what compelled a new entry after such a prolonged lapse.

The last few months I have been quite busy with any number of things, including but not limited to the following: completing projects, beginning new ones, celebrating birthdays and holidays, discovering Justin Bieber, shopping for one of the hottest spots at the Sundance Film Festival, and eating candy of all varieties.

Being busy is good, of course. But throughout my busy-ness -- really, throughout my whole life -- there is always the niggling voice in the back of my head, comparing what I am doing to what everyone around me is doing. Being in a creative field, I am lucky enough to have friends and acquaintances involved in all sorts of amazing endeavors, many of whom have achieved all sorts of success; one friend has her own line of products for Anthropologie, one is a celebrated event planner and entertaining expert/TV star, another is a writer with several book deals in the works, another pens one of the most successful decor blogs, well, ever...and the list goes on and on. I am lucky to have such fabulous friends!

I get so excited for my friends' success, and often I get to benefit directly from them, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to the occasional pang of jealousy when I hear of their brushes with celebrities, their meals and party exploits at the country's hottest spots, their seats at fashion shows and stylish swag received by drool-inducing companies.... I admit it: I. Get. Jealous. I am not proud, but as long as I can remember, I have struggled with envying the kid who got the best grade on the test, who got the lead in the school musical (I was always the funny bit player) -- for better or worse, I have always wanted to be the best. At everything. It's especially ironic because there are about 3 things out of, well, a million that I am actually good at. So as you can see, it's been a long road from there to here.

My point (and I do have one) is that a few weeks ago I had a very liberating realization that has dramatically changed my perception of reality: I realized that, with a few small exceptions, I really like my life just like it is. I don't want to be on TV -- I talk too much and too honestly to avoid humiliating myself and most people who know me. I don't want to travel often for work -- I would miss my family and our routines that outwardly make me crazy but I secretly like. I don't even want to be famous -- the idea of people pestering me all the time sounds pretty horrendous, and I would hate to have to worry about what I looked like all the time!

After thinking a lot about it, all I really want is to be able to do what I love doing (check), pay my bills on time (check), and pay myself enough to feel like a real paycheck (working on it.) Of course, if some professional recognition comes along the way, that would be welcome, but more as a validation of my talents rather than a validation of ME. It has taken me a long time to figure this out, to realize that giving up on my lifelong desire to be THE BEST is more of a trade for being happy with what I have.

Happiness is different for everyone, and I don't begrudge anyone's success, as all of our circumstances are different -- some of us have kids, some don't; some are married, some aren't; some have lots of money, some are forced to live a little more creatively -- but I share this with you in the hopes that it may influence the way you look at your own life. I'm sure the green-eyed monster isn't gone for good, but for now, he is sleeping peacefully.
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