Friday, May 30, 2008

Decorating Mistakes

I only watch a few selected shows on HGTV.... the other night I couldn't sleep so I scanned through the guide for a few channels and found a show called "The 25 Biggest Decorating Mistakes". A lot of it is pretty basic and makes good sense, but number 1 really blew me away. Essentially, it was "don't use toilet rugs". I honestly didn't think toilet rugs were that popular, but if it made the top of the list, they must be. I'd have to say I completely agree with this one.

I haven't seen the whole show yet, but I'm going to add my own pet peeve to the list: wallpaper borders. I always feel that a wall should either be fully papered or fully painted- a wallpaper border looks like you either couldn't make up your mind or you ran out of money. Be definitive!

Check out the list of decorating mistakes on While they do point out real mistakes and they try to tell you how to avoid them, it's not easy. Lighting, scale, proportion and color are major elements that aren't easy to get right. Getting rid of that toilet rug, well, that's a quick simple fix and you better hop to it right now!! photo courtesy of

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Growing Boy.....

Our Manny is growing up quickly. Here's a pic for those of you who want an update. He's been great. We leave him alone with full reign of the house and he does great! (knock, knock on wood)

Last weekend we took him for his first canoe trip. He swam a little bit before he got panicky... then back in the canoe for a long ride down the river. This was on the ride home later that afternoon. Tired boy!

Pagoda Style

Pagodas have become a very popular icon these days... and really, who doesn't love this motif? The pair above would make a great statement on an entry hall table in a nice symmetrical design. All of the pieces shown in today's post are available at 1st Dibs.
The above pagoda goes to show that no matter your style, there is a pagoda for you. This one reminds me of French Majollica.

The above was described as a "garden folly". Hmmmm... or just building a pagoda in the back yard....

And of course, the pagoda as light fixture.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Houses Inside and Out

Have you read Mariette Himes Gomez' latest book yet? "Houses Inside and Out" It's not "hot of the press" was released late last fall. But it came out amongst a group of books that got lots of press and I felt this one might have slipped in there too easily. It's such a great book; well written, full of beautiful photos and of course chock full of the warm, elegant, traditional yet clean style of Mariette Himes Gomez. Of course, she has designed a line of furniture for Hickory Chair (I'm sure you're surprised to hear me mention this).

My favorite line from the book (so far) is in the prologue. "When a house is seen as a whole, not a collection of fragments thrown together, it transforms the house into a home, with spirit and harmony." I think this is true of all design, whether residential or commercial. Design must be looked at and thought through on the whole. Individual spirit and harmony are what a home is all about, but it's difficult to achieve. That is my job as a designer and there is nothing more I love than being able to think about the whole home instead of a small area. Even if I know we won't get to the next project for a year, if I know we're going to address it eventually, I'm happy. I have time and can envision making a warm, inviting home for my clients.

Gomez discusses the natural order of a home that individual rooms don't have. There is a due amount of respect that must be paid to this naturally existing order to achieve success in designing the space. The house has a certain geometry, an energy, and of course a functionality that must be honored in order to achieve the feeling of warmth, elegance, and home in an overall design.

It's easy to find pictures of things you like and I encourage my clients to clip pictures of rooms that appeal to them. But too many people try to copy what they see and their home ends up a collection of ideas copied from other designers and taken totally out of context. Just because the homeowner likes each of the individual vignettes doesn't meant that they will all work together or even work in their home at all. There is a difference between inspiration and imitation and one must be careful to make sure that the inspiration is there but that the design applies to the space, the home, as a whole. Inspiration means the idea must be extracted and adapted from the original. Imitation mimics what is already done elsewhere.

Be true to yourself and find your style. Honor the natural order and make your house yours. I encourage you to read "Houses Inside & Out" by Mariette Himes Gomez. You can get it online at Amazon by clicking here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Say What?

So I just realized it's Thursday and I haven't posted yet this week. I better get cracking.... stay tuned please!