Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ready or not, here come the holidays!

Believe it or not, as an interior designer, it's not very often that I get to design a home for the holidays! This time of year, my time is mostly spent renovating kitchens and baths, or redesigning living spaces and bedrooms. My clients are generally in a full blown panic to get their homes spiffed up for a house full of guests during the holidays. Sound familiar?

While I love my usual projects, this year I set out to do something a little different during the holiday season. I wanted to use my interior design skills to some how give back to our community. To make a difference. So, my assistant (who is likeminded and felt the same urge to give back) and I spent one morning, many, many months ago, brainstorming ideas over cups of coffee. The idea that resonated to both of us was to put together a Holiday House tour where all the proceeds would benefit a local charity - we chose Womenade of Greater Squamscott.

After several months of planning, loads of hours of shopping, endless amounts of time designing we are now only two and a half weeks away from our event!

The 1st Annual Exeter Area Holiday House tour is set for Sunday, December 7th, 1-4:00pm in Exeter, NH!

Here's how it works. We have paired five of Exeter's finest homes with local interior designers and local florists to design and decorate for the holidays. This is not your usual holiday décor! Prepare yourself to be wowed by the beautiful and creative ideas that these designers and homeowners have come up with - I'm not talking your typical twinkle lights and a few holiday pillows on the couch - we're talkin' WOW FACTOR!

So get your tickets now before we sell out. This is an event you won't want to miss! Tickets are $18 in advance or $20 on the day of the tour. You may purchase your tickets at any of the following locations: Churchills Garden Centers, Cymbidium Floral, Trends, The Willow and G & N Flooring.

And since it's the season of giving thanks, I can't help but thank Womenade of Greater Squamscott for their support as well as all of our designers and volunteers. This event wouldn't have happened with out your time, creativity, energy and support!

Stephanie Morrison of Morr Interiors
Carla Green of Carla Green Designs
Ethan Allan of Portsmouth, NH
Claire Abbott of Pattern No. 3
Mandeville Canyon Designs

Florists and Garden Centers:
Cymbidium Floral
The Exeter Flower Shop
Drinkwater Flowers & Design
Churchill's Garden Center
Yankee Clipper
Scamman's Home & Garden

I hope to see all of you on the tour in just a few weeks!

Enjoy the togetherness that comes with the holidays!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Winter Design Trends

I was preparing for an interview last week on Winter Trends and it got me thinking about the changing of the seasons, snuggling in and the whole concept of Trending.

For those of you that know me, you will know I am not the trendy type and neither are my clients.
While our politics might not reflect it, when it comes to design, New Englanders are a pretty temperate bunch. There are no, "just becauses". Each decision comes with a platter full of practicality. 

So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that when I started researching the most recent trends in design for this fall and winter, that I was indeed on trend, merely by virtue of my natural design style.

Go figure!

A natural mixture of organic materials and ethnic inspiration photo credit: trendy.com

It stands to reason that organic, natural, and sustainable materials are always trendy.

Rich, nature inspired colors, heavy in texture and weight will always be in style, but this year don't forget to balance them with a bit of the whimsical, ethereal, and lighter weight. 

photo credit: justbesplendid.tumblr.com
Balance never goes out of style either.
Winter naturally brings about more layering. Heavier weight materials and faux furs (always faux!). 

photo credit: punktse.tunblr.com

Winter whites with undertones of brown and gray work any time of year, but as the sun struggles to muster up the energy to rise overhead, these lighter tones will invite the rays to stay just a little longer before retreating.

This parquet wood tile is from ADKO's Mansion Porcelain Library 

Barn elements continue to be popular with "wood" tiles and sliding barn doors leading the fashion pack. 

I find myself suggesting tile flooring that mimics wood to many clients looking for a great textured element but with the ease of water clean up and no refinishing. Add some radiant heating and big faux fur pillow and you might find me curled up on your kitchen floor. 

photo credit: bluebergitt.wordpress.com
The fashion world has promised us more distressed denim. You know, the kind your mom said, "Why should I pay good money on something that looks it just went through the chipper?!"

photo credit: writeontrend.com

Fabrics and tiles seem to be trekking the globe from Tribal to Ethnic with influences spanning from the middle east to Europe.

A recent bathroom we did incorporating Moroccan and Italian tile

And a the juxtaposition of color is always a personal favorite of mine. Pairing of unassuming colors is like that great couple that people can't figure out, but they just click. 
Think ballet slipper pink with cobalt or a whisper of gray with the rich aplomb of eggplant.


Finally, mix well with the loose and blousy look of Bohemia. This style is forgiving in both fashion and design. It says, "Come as you are. Bring me your grandmothers couch, your favorite scarf from beloved travels and no worries about the cheesecake you ate last night, we can make that work too."
Who doesn't love that!

photo credit: ecosalon.com

So, welcome this wintery season with open and forgiving arms. Embrace contrast, change, and even purple. 

Take a chance!



For more inspiration check out our Winter Trends
pinterest board 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Table of Contents

This time two years ago I was eye ball deep in Cheshire Cat's, Raven's, Mandrakes, and Dan Brown (ok well at least some items he so kindly let me borrow!). And books. Lots and lots of books.

tabletop, table settings, tablescapes
Photography courtesy of David Murray
Designers from around the region were charged with creating a tabletop that was simply  "Something over the top,  a fanciful table setting either real or imagined, but make it memorable."

Because I live by the motto, "Have just enough information at your fingertips to say, Yes", making a table out of books and inviting (theoretically) four famous authors to the table, seemed like a good idea.

tabletop, table settings, tablescapes

Hundred's of hours later, several saw blades, nails, glue and a review of my physics class and we (and by that I mean a dedicated group of selfless volunteers and myself)  came up with, "Table of Contents" Tablescapes People's Choice Award for 2012.

We set the stage for Edgar Allen Poe with a hand made feather chair (I can not recall how many feathers were sewn into that seat!), a stunning bespoke hand painted collection of books by Mike Stilkey and masks depicting my favorite Poe story, Hop Frog.

Lewis Carol made an appearance with the queen's chair and Cheshire Cat, a charming teapot lamp and handcrafted tea set complete with hedgehog croquet ball (the flamingo rests lightly beside the queen's chair).

A cryptex piqued visitors curiosity as well as a
host of paraphernalia from Dan Brown's famed Angels and Demons and the DaVinci Code  both which occupied the third corner, while a precariously tall collection of chairs topped by a sorting hat rounded out JK Rowlings seat of honor. The troublesome Mandrakes found their way into trouble by combing through the guests belongings.


And all for a good cause.

Tablescapes was created to benefit the Arts and Reach program in Portsmouth, NH. This wonderful organization seeks to empower young women through the arts. Classes are offered in dance, theater, songwriting, singing, visual arts and creative writing. Building valuable skills in leadership, confidence, and lasting relationships with both peers and professionals. AIR also provide a nurturing atmosphere that fosters good choices and safe alternatives.

This years collection of tables looks to be the best yet and I am honored to be part of the judging staff.

The gala opening night celebration starts at 6pm on Friday November 7th and runs all weekend. In addition to the stunning tables there are workshops being held throughout as well (highly recommending anything wine and cheese tasting related).

For more information, be sure to check out their website and facebook page.

And take a peek at our own pinterest page for more Tablescapes inspiration.

Hope to see you there!