Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I grew up in awe of my grandfather's career. He was a man blessed with the talent and charisma to work in Hollywood for 55+ years as a production designer/art director. He had a career that was unparalleled to others in the industry.
There have been many times in my life where people have asked if I'm related to Henry. I've always replied proudly that yes he was my grandfather. The next question usually was, "did you inherit any of his talent". My answer was usually, no, unfortunately I didn't. He was untouchable when it came to my view of his talent.

While I've always loved architecture and interior design I never really made the connection between my passion for remodeling homes and decorating/refurbishing furniture to his talent as an art director. In my mind, I could never be as creative and talented as him. I viewed my passion as just that, a passion. He set the bar too high in my mind for me to ever compete. How do you compete with Hollywood and Oscars - the highest mainstream level of creative recognition.

So today as I was working on some interior layouts for a client, I decided to unpack his portable drafting table that I rescued from the goodwill pile when my family was cleaning out his estate.
Then the obvious hit me on the head. Creating beautiful and livable spaces for clients is similar to creating a scene or set for the movies. Each client is like a different film with a different plot and personality. Each room, a different set to create the mood and story of that person's life. I don't know why I never made the connection.

A small tear rolled down my face as I cleaned the drafting board. His pencil marks from his floor plans and drawings were etched into the board. These etchings will guide and inspire me as I work on honing my craft. One day I hope to be worthy of the high praise that was bestowed upon you in your career.

Grandpa, I hope I make you proud as you watch down upon me. I only wish I had followed my heart and passion when you were alive so we could talk about it.

I will honor and cherish your drafting board. This was an incredible, unexpected gift.

I miss you. Thank you for helping me see the creativity within myself.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Blended Kitchen

I'm pretty traditional when it comes to kitchens. I prefer very classic painted cabinets to the ultra modern or stained wood. But, when I saw this kitchen it made me catch my breath.

Image from Canadian House & Home. Design by David Powell of Toronto's Powell & Bonnell

It has the perfect blend of traditional and contemporary for someone like me. I don't think I'd get tired of being in this room 24/7. Which to me is the test of a great designed kitchen. It's the room we spend the most time in and one of the most expensive to renovate. Who wants to remodel every ten years?

I love that the homeowners didn't try to recreate a period kitchen, yet made sure it maintained the integrity 1855 Georgian style house. By using traditional shaker style cabinets they ensured continuity with the architecture. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when designing kitchens is not considering the style of the house and just choosing cabinets that they like. Then that room sticks out like a sore thumb.

But what really stopped me was the 7 x 14 walnut island with the butcher block top. (The kitchen, by the way, is 17 x 42 ) It is the perfect spot for small intimate dinners, large family gatherings or buffets. What I wouldn't give to have a kitchen that size with this incredible island. Maybe I could actually make dinner without my kids right underneath me. I know, I know, I'm just dreaming now.

While the island is the first thing you notice, the hero of the room is that incredible light fixture. I love how it complements the contemporary island yet balances the traditional windows and cabinets. It makes a statement without screaming, "here I am. Didn't expect to see that in here did you?"

For me, this kitchen strikes the perfect balance of old house meets today's living.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Good Finds

This mercury lamp from Wisteria is an amazing buy at $126.75, regularly $175.00. The detail, proportions and gorgeous shade makes it look much more expensive. It's so versatile too. It would work in a bedroom, as a pair on an entry buffet, or in a living room. Add a fun colored or printed shade for a more modern look.

If you love it as much as I do, I'd hurry as I bet it won't last long. Happy shopping.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Oh Ballard

When I was flipping through the new Ballard Designs catalog today some artwork caught my eye. Artwork is such an important accessory to any room. However it can sometimes be the component that's cut due to budget reasons. A room without art is like vanilla ice cream. Reliable and yummy, but boring.

These prints look expensive, are substantial in size, and add a modern element to a room. They don't look like a mass produced piece and could pose as the real thing. They would work in a multitude of spaces from contemporary to beach to rustic.

First Light Giclee Print by Julie Holland

Blue Reflections by Liz Jardine

The Space Between Giclee Print by Heather Ross

Cool Mist Giclee Print by Hilario Gutierrez

Ballard, there are always some treasures hiding in those pages.
I love the thrill of the hunt.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year (that is if you're still there)

Happy New Year and Happy week day back to work for many.

The Christmas season in my house starts at Thanksgiving and doesn't end until the 2ND of January. The joys of split families. The bonus is the kids get five Christmases! Thus, the reason you haven't seen a post from me since December 2. Between school Christmas pageants, shopping and holiday parties, all my energy went towards keeping my family fed and clean and my interior projects moving forward. Oh, I also forgot to mention that my kids wanted a puppy for Christmas so that threw a wrench into the holidays as well. Just when I started sleeping again (thanks to my sleepless 4 year old) I had to start doing the 2am potty break for the puppy. (the puppy didn't work out but more on that later as I search for a new puppy). On top of all that, the idea of getting up early or staying up late to post went out the window.

But if you've been following me at all, you know I'm not the best at balance. I seem to thrive in chaos and deadlines. While I may be thriving, something else has fallen to the wayside. So my apologies if you wondered what happened to me during this time.

2010 is going to be my year to create some balance in my life.

Here's how:
1) Set work hours and only work within those hours so I can spend time with the kids and my husband.
2) Not pick on my husband about every little habit of his. You know the ones. The ones that made you fall in love with him but now make you crazy. A happier husband will mean a happier wife. (This is not going to be easy for me. Type A married to Type A creates for some interesting scenarios).
3) Set and stick to an exercise schedule to release the stress. I'm one of those that stick to an exercise regime for a couple months and just when I start to reap the rewards I stop.
4) Spend time on the friendships that matter.
5) Concentrate on the big things. The small things will fall into place.
6) Accept that I am the only woman in a house of three boys. My life is and will be about ESPN, bowl games, potty humor and daily football and dodge ball games in my family room. (yes an actual family room with furniture. Not an empty rec room where nothing can break). You know the commercial where the men in the family are are playing "finger football" in the kitchen with a bag of Frito's. You should of seen their eyes light up when they saw it. A life of Frito's on the floor is in my near future. But hey, it's my life and I'm going to love it.

If I can do these things I should be able to simplify my life and have time I need to create the life I want.

2010, I'm ready for you.

What are your New Years Resolutions? I'd love to know.
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