Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hey! Where'd you get that?

It seems like all of the buzz lately is focused around our food and where it comes from. There's a definite shift back towards locally grown food. While it may be true that it's more expensive to eat "farm to table" all of the time; it's also true that it's better for us, and quite frankly, better tasting! So why don't we do it 100% of the time? Well, convenience is one reason, but cost is another. But if the old saying is true, "You get what you pay for.", then why are we selling ourselves short?

Just like my food, I like to know where my furnishings come from as well! There's a different kind of connection; a different feeling you get when there's a personal connection that comes along with it.

I'm talking about something deeper than just knowing a product is American made. Don't get me wrong, American made furnishings are my favorite! But I like to go farther than that...It's creating a personal connection with the company I purchase from. It's when you dial the number and actually get to speak with the owner! It's where you'll find that the custom work and craftsmanship is of much better quality.

One such company whom I adore is J. Redmond Design Furnishings. The products I order from them are each beautifully handcrafted with an incredible attention to detail. Custom work at just a little more than the mass produced.

Transitional Living Room by High Point Furniture & Accessories j.redmond designs

Working closely with our business partners has other benefits too.

* The quality of work and craftsmanship is much better.
* You can create a custom look that reflects only your style, not that of everyone else ordering from those popular catalogs!
*  If it's an artist you are working with, you walk away with a one-of-a-kind piece!

While you may end up paying slightly more, the reward is worth the money!

There are too many business partners whom I adore working with, so we decided we would feature one or two of them every so often.

In addition to J. Redmond Designs, I also admire the works of Tracy Glover. Her lighting and hardware are interchangeable so that you can literally design your own unique piece. And she works with her clients to create something special, just for their own home.

So, the next time you are about to buy something for your home, ask yourself, "How am I connected to this? Or am I connected to it at all?". Why would you want something in your life that doesn't have meaning, doesn't speak to you and reflect on who you are?

Stay tuned for lots of other featured business whom I feel have a high level of customer service and go way out of their way to make their clients feel like royalty and to ensure that what their clients purchase is special to them!

Be well,


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Trendspotting in NYC!

I was like a kid in a candy shop, walking through the 2015 +Architectural Digest Home Design Show last week! More than 300 companies exhibit and over 40,000 people attend. My "amateur" photos below don't do justice as to how brilliant the show was, but it is a sneak peak into some of my favorite things!

It is simply amazing to me that year after year more and more creative designs are presented. This is what makes me love my job so much...it's never boring!
It comes as no surprise to me that much of what I saw reinforced the theme of organic earthy elements with lots of reclaimed wood materials. It's still super hot, especially in the kitchen.

If you are loving the reclaimed wood trend, then I think you will absolutely drool over anything by Palo Samko.
Next on my list of hot trends is anything by Brizo. They are always ahead of the curve in design and ease of use. This kitchen faucet, Artesso, is ergonomic genius with an almost Sherlock Holmes industrial vibe. I can't help myself...totally getting one!

Brizo Artesso faucet

Wonderwall Studios is a fun take on the traditional tile and is no more expensive! Organic and warm to the touch, it has limitless applications.
Below are some stunning samples using Wonderwall Studios tiles to add warmth to a room with some unexpected applications.

As seen on Wonderwallstudios.com

As seen on Wonderwallstudios.com
One of the most exciting booths I visited was that of JM Lifestyles. They are a leader in concrete fabrication and creates out of this world designs for kitchens and bath, indoor and outdoor. It's warm and sensual and ecofriendly.  Believe it or not, this table is not even wood...but I dare you to tell the difference!
JM Lifetyles

Look for our collaboration later this year!

And who doesn't want an acrylic ping pong table like this one??  With looks this good, the game room no longer has to be an eyesore!

Another hot trend that struck a chord with me was the appearance of smarter technology in everyday items. I am always impressed at the technological smarty-pants of the world...and their creations certainly made a bold appearance at the show this year. Voice activation and multitasking appliances are taking the market by storm. With some of these advances you will literally be able to turn down the heat on your oven while you relax in your backyard with guests! Imagine the luxury in that!

As for multitasking appliances, we're talking about ranges that you can grill, griddle, boil water, use the conventional oven, which can be switched to steam-enhanced for the baker in you....or use the convection oven all while keeping your plates warm in the warming compartment! Whew! And I thought I could multitask! This thing does it all! If only it could prepare the food itself....

Stay tuned to see how we incorporate these hot new design trends into our clients' designs!

We can't wait!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Beam Me Up Scotty!

I feel at home in an old barn!
I love it when, what's old is suddenly new again! It dawned on me recently that I have been incorporating lots of reclaimed wood into my designs these days. I am an advocate for using green materials and for bringing new life to old pieces. This is especially true when it comes to wood. Because reclaimed wood was once live, it has a story to tell from it's previous life before dawning it's skin and becoming something new. I often sense that you can still feel the old energy that wood once had. All of the markings, dents, color variations shows a life already lived. Bringing that extra vibe into the home can work wonders!

The beautiful thing about reclaimed wood is that it's style is so flexible. It doesn't necessarily mean that you live in a barn, or a farmhouse. Or that your style falls into the "country" category. I love the warmth it can bring to a modern design. It adds a uniqueness that you can't buy or get anywhere else. And let's face it....it's timeless. Using reclaimed wood never goes out of style. Very often I find that the juxtaposition of old beams in an updated décor is just what a room needed.

Mandeville Canyon Design

Believe it or not, old wood is actually stronger than new wood. It doesn't split, swell or warp like new wood does.

Using reclaimed wood from old barns, log posts and beams or wherever you may stumble upon, often transforms a room and quietly becomes the focal point. It's a way to connect the past with the present.

If this mantel could talk, what would it say. The timber mantel is made from salvaged beams from a barn in Sunman, Ind., where Abraham Lincoln once gave a speech. Not to sound like a teenager, but that is so TOTALLY COOL!                      

Mandeville Canyon Design

I just found a beautiful heart pine with a live edge that I am going to use for one of my clients...I loved it so much that I bought extra to use in my house (sorry honey, I did it again!). There are lots of ways you can bring wood into your home. Shelves, beams on the ceiling, use it as a kitchen counter, highlight an accent wall or a fireplace with it.



A piece of reclaimed wood is as unique as you are! That's why I love to bring such pieces into a home! It gives the house personality without having to say a word.

For lots more inspiration, check out my Pinterest board, Doing Good With Wood.




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

It's all about the brass, 'bout the brass, 'bout the brass. No silver!

Move over silver and polished nickel!
Brass is back...FOR REAL!

I know, the idea of it may give you flashbacks to a few decades ago, when every home had inexpensive shiny "faux" brass chandeliers and door knobs. Yuck! But brass has changed...and it's for the better!

Brass has actually been quietly making a comeback for a couple of years. It's just taken a little time for it to lose it's former bad reputation. The new brass has class and is one of the hottest trends in design right now.

Why the new love affair with brass? Well, it could be because it's so versatile. It's modern yet classic, plays well with other metals and works with just about any color. Brass is warm and luxurious. It can be bold or subtle. Glamorous yet down-to-earth.

While it's taken a little convincing, I have some brave clients who have taken the plunge! One of the best features about using brass in design is how well it plays with others. Look how well it mixed with other metals, like iron!

Wall Sconce from Wisteria.com

As I often say, "It's all about the details". One place this certainly rings true is in your kitchen! Using brass details can create a very hip, yet classic space. Use it confidently, knowing that brass is here to stay! (hence the comeback!). Try installing a set of unexpected shiny brass pendants. If that's too much, start with brass knobs, handles or brass faucets. Keep in mind that brass comes in different finishes, so if shiny is not the look you had in mind, try something a little more subtle like the look of aged brass. Either way, you can't go wrong and your neighbors will be surprised at what a trend setter you are!

Proof that brass mixes well with other metals!

Two-toned flatware from West Elm
These brass cabinets are SOOOOOO cool! I want them for my house!!!

Oooh, shiny! Found on Stylecarrot.com

Martha Stewart
Today's designers are more creative and daring than ever. It seems like all rules have been thrown out the window (yay!) and creativity and unexpectedness is the key to good design. That's why I’m loving the way that designers are introducing brass in both big and small ways. And I of course love how designers are mixing metals like brass, copper, and silver for a modern, cool vibe.

As seen on bhg.com
Not sure if brass will work in your home? Think of it as a new "neutral". It plays a key role in your home décor without distracting from your other elements of design.
Seen on BetterHomesandGardens.com

Look at these fabulous brass frames! Found on decorpad.com
Totally brassy chandelier found at West Elm

Who would've thunk that brass could be so cool? For lots and lots more inspiring, totally brassy design check out my Pinterest board, Brass is Back!

Keep on shining!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Switching Things Up

So, if you are reading this email somewhere in your house, close your eyes.
Tell me how many switches or plugs are in the room. What color are they? What do they operate (or not!)? Anything lucky enough to be on a dimmer?

The truth of it is, most of us don't even give a second thought to how these operate or understand the importance of their function in a well designed space. They are usually an ivory colored, plastic, "I don't even know what that switch does!" afterthought. 

It will come to you as no surprise that most designers do think about these things. After all, the devil is in the details. And this detail can not only be the icing on the cake, but cake that's actually good for you too!

In recent years there have been so many improvements to the lowly switch. From dimmers to lite switches, to wireless, to stunning ergonomic design and detail, this utilitarian device has earned it's esthetic bragging rights.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be part of a new launch of switches and wall plates for Hubbardton Forge by Legrand in NYC, NY.


From left to right: Christy Davis, Donna’s Blog; Jeanne Chung, CozyStylishChic; Kristin Cadwallader, Bliss at Home; Renee Carman, Interiors by Mandeville Canyon Designs; and Patricia Davis Brown, Dig this Design.

Now, for almost any one who is my client, you know that my go to lighting source is Hubbardton Forge. Their impeccable handcrafted line of lighting based on a 6,000 year old metal forging technique produces timeless and elegant design that I have been able to incorporate into any kind of visual esthetic. 

So you can imagine my excitement when I learned that Legrand, the leading manufacturer of cutting edge touch sensitive technology decided to join forces with Hubbardton and complete the package.
The story of their reunion is simple but powerful.  While visiting the Hubbardton Forge booth at a trade show, the folks at Legrand realized that something was missing. Why not take a stunning piece of lighting artistry and combine it with equally stunning technology and design. Two years later a partnership forged in the fires of creativity and passion was realized.

The Adorn collection for Legrand is nothing short of playful and zesty. Pushing the color palette they encourage the end user try something a little different, but it doesn't stop there. There's brains behind the beauty. Not only are there paddle switches, but silent touch switches (so as not to wake that sleeping baby, or spouse), wave switches and even motion sensor (cue my kids waving madly to create magic lighting.  Some things we can't help to change!).

Imagine now that you switches can coordinate with your decor. As designers we usually try to blend the switch system to a wall or tile, try to make it disappear. With the new hand forged line from Adorne, you actually may want to bring attention to your device! 

I am actually going to install these switches in our own kitchen reno. I am using a backsplash of slate infused with iron and smoky glass elements. The Hubbardton Forge Bronze plate is really going to make a statement in the whole design. 

Everything will be on a dimmer. 
I can just imagine the lights set on low, a romantic dinner prepared with our favorite wine and chocolate and.... OK fine, a kitchen full of kids making pizza while One Direction blasts in the background.

Quick Legrand we need a mute switch!

To check out Legrand and Hubbardton Forge's great video, click here! 

You can also find more design inspiration on our Pinterest board.

And remember, switching up things once in awhile is good for you!