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Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

It's been more like autumn these past few days in Virginia, this morning was chilly and foggy. But when the sun broke, I grabbed my clippers...
White peonies, one of the very best things about the month of May!

Couldn't think of a better way to enjoy my coffee. Seems so peaceful right?

Ah, what you don't see- significant pouting and completely unimpressed with my morning haul.

At least these will be here after I attend to others!
Enjoy Your holiday!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday Tip

Shop at home!!! There could be a collection hiding in the back recesses of cabinets, cupboards, drawers, storage boxes or the attic.
This is just one of the pocket watches belonging to my client. The red crocodile wallpaper is from Schumacher and was slated for the powder room, but ended up on a waste can instead! Don't worry, the PR was covered in a goreous paper.

And such was the case with the project I just completed. The client told me she had no collections. But when we started the process of pulling things out, she remembered something and we went upstairs and she showed me these:
The collection of pockets in this old shadow box belonged to the wife's side of the family.
The two on the right were from the husband's side.

She asked if we could do anything with it?  This is the sort of thing that gets me really excited when I'm working with clients. Initially, I wanted to use them as art, since she had just a few pieces and we were practically starting from scratch in that area too. But as things progressed and the rooms came together, I thought a table display was the way to go.
The best part of taking apart the shadow box is that it solved the mystery of who these pocket watches belonged. Someone had taken the time to pen a name with each one, such a lovely gift for the client!

The client polished all the combined pockets watches from both sides of the family and turned them over to me for a solution.  I put them in a simple glass display box lined in green velvet, leftover from chairs that were reupholstered:
I took this from the floor to get the best view.

All six watches gathered together for all to enjoy. The photographer loved this idea and said he has pockets watches and might have to copy it- that made me smile. I can't wait to see his photos capturing them!

After the pocket watch discovery, I asked the client what else she might be "withholding" and it turned out she had these:
Things ended up on the buffet when space ran out on the dinning table the day everything got pulled out for our meeting to review accessories.

Ten silver Jefferson cups, all inscribed with initials or dated to commemorate a special event such as a wedding or birth,  packed away in her buffet. They now are prominently displayed in a glass fronted cabinet near the kitchen to be enjoyed everyday!
The cups are on the upper left. Sorry for the blurry picture, but I helped myself to the bar after the photo shoot- kidding. But I did enjoy a glass of wine with my clients to celebrate their new spaces.

Btw, this is Tuesday Tip #75.  It doesn't seem possible!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Do You Need An Accessories Intervention?

I think from time to time most people can benefit from one, unless of course you are a minimalist- then I would hope that the few things on display are extremely interesting,  high quality or useful in some way.

L'Objet dragon candle in porcelain jar.
 Yes, this little guy was pricey, but long after the intoxicating scent is gone
 the container can hold anything from jewelry to paperclips to lipsticks!

Often people fall into a rut and keep buying the same things over and over. I find women tend to buy too many small objects- as if they can't commit! Before they know it, they've amassed a lot of items that they don't even like all that much,  serve no purpose and do absolutely nothing to enhance a room!

This particular client loves the beach and shells, but this wasn't working:
This was in the kitchen after the reno, but before the backsplash went in. A real head scratcher.
Uh...we need an intervention!

This was added instead. And her love of shells? Incorporated in more sophisticated ways.
The first step of an intervention is to shop at home! Initially, clients always dread this process. I have them pull everything out of everywhere. I even ask if I can shop their other rooms just in case they missed something. Afterwards, they feel always feel more organized and have a much easier time of getting rid of clutter and unnecessary objects.

Yes, we've all heard it many times before- accessories are the last layer, personalize the space, tell a story etc, etc, etc.  But, they can also bring a room down just as easily as they can elevate one. That's why an intervention is so often necessary. Survey the goods, then hand select the best and most useful items.
Once everything is out in view, I group the like items together- that way I can tell very quickly what there is to use and what problem areas may be present. Can you spot them?
 This client had too many glass items, too many small objects, a lot of shiny items and no flower vases.
We need an intervention!!!
I don't like buying things for my clients just to fill a void. I always prefer to use what a client has, add what they need and let those little voids fill themselves up naturally over time or add fresh flowers or plants. So often, it's really just a matter of using things you already have in a new way or by placing it in a different room. From the items gathered above, here are a few of the ways I used them around her house:

The client already owned these beautiful hurricanes. The shell orbs were found in a new local shop and the client loved them, but worried about their periwinkle color. My response, don't worry about the color and let's buy them- she never expected me to use them in her hurricanes! They are now on the dining room table and one of her favorites things.

I purchased this bowl for the client and dubbed it the mermaid bowl as a reference to the beach.
 The shell and twig were the clients and are made of graphite.

The client's brass candlesticks, that she didn't previously care for,  now
 look so pretty with their newly added unusual green pattern tapers.
Sometimes, a different arrangement is all that's needed to acquire a new found appreciation of things you already own and such was the case with with Abe. He once belonged to the client's father and got moved from room to room. He now sits, with dignity, on a library table.
The Lincoln bust now resides on the library table, with old keys found in the bottom of a drawer.
The brass julep cup and green bowl are new. They both serve a purpose, one holds matches the other flowers!
But, I'm no snob when it comes to accessories and I'll shop anywhere from Target to antique shops! However, I still keep my design peeves in mind, no matter what!
I think it's perfectly fine to pair a pricey  porcelain candle jar with an inexpensive faux shagreen
box from Target on a Swedish wood table!
 And when I do shop, I select each item with a specific client in mind and hope that it serves a function whether it's the soft glow of a candle in a wonderful scent, an attractive magnifying glass to read the fine print,  a handsome box to stash all the remotes, a vase for flowers, or a pretty pencil cup.
The tray and brass julep cup are new, the antler was found by the client's son
and the glass orb/paperweight I shopped from the clients office!

 It's rare that I ever buy exact the same accessory for different clients. It  has to be something pretty fabulous and flexible for me to buy multiples.

And, such was the case with Target's Nate Berkus faux shagreen storage box and the brass julep cups from my bloggy friend, Sue, owner of the fabulous online store!

Tomorrow's Tuesday tip will show a few ways of incorporating what client's already own into  beautifully displayed collections!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Please Say Hello To My New Design Assistant, D.D.

Hi everyone, this is my new design assistant D.D. First name Dammit, last name Doll. She was introduced to me yesterday by a client. My most challenging client- ever. We just wrapped a 14 month project last week.

This is D.D. and according to her resume,
she is willing to take anything me or my clients can dish out!

There were head banging days. There were days when I wanted to pull my hair out- and the client's too! I have never worked harder and longer on any project. But, I'm happy to say all has ended well and the results are really beautiful, the clients are thrilled and I am so proud of the work.

Flowers for the photo shoot.
 I'm still exhaused from the 3 day installation and photo shoot, but look forward to sharing some photos with you all soon and to getting back in the saddle with blogging.
So much photography equipment! Sorry for the blurry picture, it's from my i-phone.
 This is the back of one of the sofas with it's beautiful velvet band and nailhead detail.

On a side note, I wanted to pass along a huge thank you to everyone who commented on the Blogger SPAM issues from the previous post- I think everyone's candidness was so beneficial to all, especially me!