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.

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