What does Life By Design offer me?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Purple Rain..."

It is time for another Etsy Treasury Feature!  I have recently rediscovered purple (not literally, of course...I never forgot about it or lost it somewhere in my house).  Over the past year, I have seen some amazing uses of purple and plum in home decor, jewelry and clothing... and the combination of lilac, purple and plum in color stories is just simply regal.  I will be adding some of these colors into my life as a little "refresher" and I encourage you to take a look at the treasury for some serious inspiration...

oh, and if purple is just not your color, well than at the least I got you to think about "Purple Rain" and the myriad memories associated with that time in your life. You know, braces on your teeth, just enough gas in the ford escort to cruise the mall 2 times, fabulous jellies on your feet and lace half-gloves on your hands...

"She wore a raspberry beret, the kind you find in a second hand store..."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall...

I love the effect that a mirror can have on a room.  It has nothing to do with vanity, but more to do with the reflective qualities.  As you may remember from earlier posts I am also a big fan of small homes, so when a large mirror is placed in a smaller space, the entire space is transformed.  All of a sudden, there are sparkles and reflections that were not there before... the appearance of the room changes all day and as the sun sets, the room takes on a subtle glow.  And as all of us girls know, this is the best light ever.  If we could only walk through life with the appearance of a setting sun on our faces, wow.

Reassembled Mirror eclectic mirrors
eclectic mirrors design

You may think that this is entirely too much thought put into adding a mirror to a space, but actually all I am doing is putting words to something that we all experience everyday.  And as an artist, I am always noticing the way light plays on objects and creates shadows.

Elaina Mirror  traditional mirrors

Mirrors can create the illusion of more space or open up an awkward space in a home.  Not only can they add this type of interest but they add variety.  When you walk into a home and the walls feature a blend of 2 dimensional pieces, 3 dimensional pieces and  mirrors or reflective surfaces are present, then the home has a more dynamic flow.  This is completely separate from the style of a home of course, as this is a good rule of thumb for any home from the most traditional to the most modern.

Take a look around your spaces.  Do you have any mirrors placed  throughout your home?  Do you have anything 3 dimensional on your walls, like a mask or a wall sculpture, antlers or a wreath?

Also, if you do have mirrors, are they hung at a level where they can reflect interesting items and textures in the room? Are they hung as part of a vignette with cool items that can be reflected in the mirror?  I am asking because I am sure we  have all visited  spaces where mirrors are hung so high on the wall, that the effects are almost nonexistent.  This is just a lost opportunity because unless you have a fabulous ceiling, you probably don't want to stare at a reflection of builder's white.

Reclaimed Wood Mirror eclectic mirrors

Take a look at the images below.  Notice the impact that the reflective surfaces have on the overall room.  It kinda makes ya want to go out and buy some more mirrors, huh?

William Hefner Architecture Interiors & Landscape traditional dining room

Stylish Responsibility Dining area eclectic dining room

Heather Garrett Design contemporary dining room

I would love to hear from you about any great sources for mirrors, or even see photos of your home and your use of mirrors!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Are You Ready For Couture Furniture and Accessories? Squint, Here We Come!

What do you dream about?  Do you have a dream of owning a second home, or of a vacation in Italy?  Or maybe you are saving for a specific piece of estate jewelry...or even a new painting?  Well I can tell you one of the things that I dream about- and that would be a little destination known as paradise, or "Squint."

I know that you are thinking I have lost my mind, but I can assure you that once you see the ridiculous creations from Squint, you too will want to buy yourself a ticket to:  Harrod's, Barney's New York or Designers Guild...like I said, A-mazing.


The furniture frames are constructed by hand with hard wood, dowelled joints, and hand carved mahogany legs.  The Heritage Collection is carried exclusively at Harrod's and it is an homage to historical English design of the 18th century.  Squint chose woven English damasks, shot silver and gold satins with Swarovski rose crystal and pearl detailing, and 18th century trimmings from France!  The mirrors and lamps are wrapped in Japanese ceremonial Kimono silks.  Hello!



This is "couture craftsmanship" at its best.  It looks like that vacation to Italy may need to become a vacation to London...When do we leave?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Personal Collections...Inspiration

I recently shared a post on personal collections and the interest that they can lend to your home, in addition to the sentimental value.  I want to share several photos I discovered that best demonstrate my advice on displaying your collection together, as well as approaching your collections as a "curator."

Below is a wonderful and realistic example of a collection of vintage clocks! 

Lum modern living room

I really love this image because not only is it well done, but it is a great idea.  For anyone who enjoys the  beauty of decoupage, collecting and displaying the pieces in this manner creates quite an impact.  I have always LOVED John Derian's pieces.

fletcherphotography eclectic bathroom

Living room with bright yellow fireplace eclectic living room
eclectic living room design by portland photographer KuDa Photography

As you can see, it is possible to have collections of virtually any item and transform any space with  thoughtful curated arrangements.  Of course, not all collections are displayed as those featured, but seeing these images can help to inspire and offer visual guidance on the benefits of editing and the impact created by group displays!

In addition, for those of you who have many "collections" and your items are strewn all over your house and garage or stored in boxes...you may need to rethink your perspective on collecting.  Although it is perfectly understandable in some cases to store collections or pieces from a collection, Remember  that there is a BIG difference between collecting and simply acquiring. 

You could open up a door for yourself, to simplify and clean out those items that mean so much to you that you cannot even find them or even recall their significance....  hmmm.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

When All Else Fails...Knock On Wood- An Etsy Treasury Feature

I have created the "Etsy Treasury Feature" today with beautiful items created from many types of wood.  These days, so much of what we surround ourselves with or what we place in our homes is created from synthetic materials.  There is nothing wrong with this as it often makes items more affordable, more lightweight or even easier to reproduce in large quantities...however, when we stand back and evaluate our spaces,  we need to ensure that we have some natural materials represented.

Designer Goes Retro tropical entry

There are endless choices of natural materials from which to choose-  linen curtain panels,  maple wood trays, marble spheres in a basket, moss in containers or even agate slices...and once these types of organic elements are added to a space, there is noticeable warmth and interest added to the environment.  It is an important "layer" to have in each space in your home and it could even be one or two items!

This is one of the reasons that we all get a little sick to our stomach when we see that room that looks like the typical bachelor pad- where black on black is the palette of choice, with one too many shiny surfaces and a black leather sofa the size of a double wide trailer has apparently eaten all of the other pieces of furniture.  One of the reasons one gets bilious, is that there is no evidence of any natural material anywhere in sight.  Believe it or not, it is possible to have sleek and modern spaces without only black and lacquer.

Kitchen from Living Room contemporary kitchen

William Hefner Architecture Interiors & Landscape modern living room

Anyone who knows me well would reveal that I love all types of wood so much that I could probably name all of my pets: Maple, Walnut, Oak and Chestnut.  And this is the reason that I chose this material for inspiration on today's post and for today's Etsy Treasury Feature...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Creating Original Art From Recycled Telephone Wire?

Today I would like to discuss a subject close to my heart and one that I believe can make one's life a little more interesting as well as more playful, and that is... collecting.  I have posted on this before, when I showed some photos of my African mask collection that I started many years ago.   Well, after seeing an awe-inspiring photograph of  another collection in someone's home 3 years ago, I researched a little and discovered the world of Zulu telephone wire baskets!  This may sound a little "out there" to some of you, but once you have seen the intricate work and amazing talent of these South African tribes, there is no denying the raw beauty created from such a utilitarian material...copper telephone wire.

In addition, the Zulu tribes are able to support their families through the creation of these pieces.  There are multiple websites and organizations that are dedicated to selling these pieces and as always, it is important to check for the most competitive prices from the sites that are dedicated to Fair Trade standards.

Most importantly, find something that makes you happy, makes you laugh or adds beauty to your life in some way, and start collecting.  And keep in mind that collecting a type of item, such as cows, doesn't actually mean that every time you see a cow you purchase it. It doesn't mean that every time you receive a cow as a gift, that you keep it.  It isn't about the insane accumulation of cows!  One should approach collecting...as curating.  Basically, you treat your collection as if it is a rotating art show, of sorts.  Every year or so, you re-evaluate the collection and edit so that you keep the most beautiful or prized of the collection.  It is actually a very simple approach and if you value your pieces, then you will take care of them and ensure that things do not get out of control.  

I am always amazed by the art that is created from some of the most mundane materials.  I love the story behind the baskets, the colors, of course and the trip that they have to make to get to my home.  I happen to believe that when something is handmade, that the artist imparts a certain energy on the piece that becomes an intrinsic part of that work which makes it even more interesting.  And part of the fun of collecting is the "searching" for the perfect pieces to add to the collection!

What do you collect?  Do you keep your collections together and displayed in a certain part of your home?
Maybe you find yourself buying the same types of items or maybe you always comment on items in stores and other friends' homes...have you thought about collecting them?

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Am On Assignment! Searching For New Stories and Inspiration to Share...be back on Wednesday.

Hello to all!

I will return to post on the blog Wednesday! I am out researching and finding some amazing new artists and sources of inspiration to share with you!

Thanks for all of the support and make sure you check back on Wednesday!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

On The Road Again...It Is an Etsy Treasury, Full Of Travel Essentials!

As Fall begins to roll in, I feel the need to plan a road trip. It happens every year, and every year I jump in the car as often as possible to take in the changing leaves, the chilly breeze in the air, and...well the rest is not important as long as I get the first two...oh, and some hot apple cider every now and then.

Today is Thursday and the Etsy Feature for today includes all of the necessary travel accessories that I like to have with me to stay organized and comfortable. And once you take a look at the travel collection, you will hopefully be inspired for a little road trip yourself! Isn't it time for a fall adventure?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shop the World's Best Markets Without Leaving Your Home, at Novica.com

I would like to share another one of my favorite resources for inspiration and wares.  If you are not already familiar with NOVICA, then you might want to take a little time to check it out.   Novica.com is a website that was created in association with National Geographic in an attempt to give artists and artisans from areas around the world an outlet to sell their items and retain control over their own prices and and profits without a middleman.

Areas such as Thailand, Central America, India, West Africa, Bali, Brazil and Mexico are represented as well as the Andes!  The website is well designed and easy to navigate. The major categories of items include jewelry, home decor, accessories, and paintings and there are a lot of subcategories under these.

You can find original items at a very affordable price.  Since there are no charges for the artisans to post their items, and there are no middlemen to gather commissions or percentages of profits, then the artists can charge extremely low prices and support their own families.

I have discovered some of the most beautiful pieces of jewelry at Novica.com as well.  You may want to check out the jewelry from Thailand and all of the scarves!

Isn't it time for some international flair?  What a great way to be inspired without even leaving the house!  Let us know if you find an item you love!  Please share your best finds, we would love to look them up!

All of the photos in this post are the property of Novica.com and came directly from their website, www.novica.com

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Missoni Anyone?

I have been so excited about the announcement of Missoni creating a line for Target and when I went onto the Target website to view the items and create a post....well...the Target website had crashed (due to the Missoni launch).  I have been revisiting and  finally,  I have been able to get some images of products to share with you.

Missoni, an Italian Icon, revolutionized knitwear and their designs have been recognized as art, as often as fashion.  The fashion house brought a "vivid sense of imagination to knitwear" and you may recognize Missoni designs by their dramatic color combinations and signature zig-zags, stripes and even patchwork.  Over the years, the company has expanded into a lifestyle brand and I have been looking forward to their designs for the home in the Target line....and so has everybody else, apparently!

As I write this post, it looks as though most of the items have already sold out online, but I would assume that they will restock.  If you are interested,  you may want to check your local stores ASAP!

www.target.com  (Missoni Throw)

www.target.com (Missoni vase)

www.target.com (Missoni pillow)

www.target.com ( Missoni pieced glass frame)

Well  Missoni, Thank you for the inspiration and the collaboration with Target!  Hopefully, we will be able to locate some great pieces at our local Target stores and bring home an  affordable example of great design and fabulous color!  

If you get the opportunity, check out the official Missoni website and be prepared to be blown away!  And if you have a trip to Italy on your bucket list, then make sure to add Varese to the itinerary.     

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meet This Week's Featured Artist, Carolee Clark!

It is a new week and time for a new Artist Feature!  I sure hope that you have at least checked out some original artwork by now, and if you haven't, well...you are missing out!

Today I want to introduce you to another artist, whose work I adore!  I own four of her small paintings and I intend to expand my collection over time!  I would really like to fill a wall in one of my rooms with her work.  And I have some good news....she has very affordable original art!

Carolee Clark lives in Oregon and in my humble opinion, her pieces not only feature a fresh viewpoint on landscapes, small town life and people, but exhibit a masterful use of color.  Although her painting career began using watercolors, she now uses mostly acrylics.

"Strut Your Stuff" at www.Caroleeclark.com

"No Lock Needed" at www.Caroleeclark.com

Beyond being enormously talented, Carolee has been a pleasure to work with when I have purchased from her.  She is extremely professional and prompt with her transactions.  I have always received my painting in perfect condition with a note attached to thank me, and usually there is a notecard of the painting included as well.

Her works can be found at her website, www.caroleeclark.com as well as www.dailypainters.com.  Carolee is always adding new artwork to the sites so you should check them out frequently.

Okay, here is more inspiration and another opportunity to find beautiful original pieces that are extremely affordable!  One piece at a time, you can transform your home into a personalized and inspired space!  Go ahead and get started... 

"Welcome Home" at www.caroleeclark.com

Friday, September 9, 2011

It Is The Weekend Edition...Are You Ready For Relique?

Happy Friday Everyone!  And have I got a great discovery today for the Weekend Edition!  Okay, so I hope you are ready...hold on to your wallets.  I just discovered a website named RELIQUE, and I have not been able to recover normal blood pressure yet.

Relique is a super cool website that features primitive, vintage, industrial artifacts. They have everything from painted industrial foundry molds on stands to rusted metal vintage containers, antique games and recycled items that have been transformed into fun home decor.  One of the reasons I love this site is because I find the items to be extremely reasonable in price compared to other sites with similar items.

I recently wrote a post on creating your fall displays and mentioned how this is the best time to uncover old and damaged yard items and farm increments to integrate into vintage displays.  This site has some amazing finds that would help to create a perfect fall display.

Imagine all of these recycled planters nestled in and on top of hay bales, filled with mums!  The antique garden wheels could be integrated with hay and mums as well!  WOW! Check out the prices and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Factory foundary molds like the two shown above, when painted or cleaned and oiled can make interesting additions to any room.  These are mounted on pedestals at different heights and are quite beautiful and graphic.  Again, very well priced.

I love this website and I plan on finding some old wheels and aluminum or rusted metal buckets and containers for fall plants.  I hope you find it as interesting and reasonable as I do.  Do you know of any other sites that are similar and have reasonable prices?  Have you utilized old vintage industrial pieces in your home or outdoor area?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Every Little Thing...Is Gonna Be "Owl-right"

Today is Thursday, and that means we are already back at another Etsy Treasury Feature Day.
I just couldn't resist creating a treasury centered around Owls. I have always loved these little creatures and it makes me happy to see them play such a large part in our culture. Enjoy the visual combination of all the art focused on Owls from the Etsy world.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's Time To Plan That Outdoor Fall Display!

It is time for a scavenger hunt in your yard and your home!  It is just about time to begin planning your outdoor fall displays.  I have been reserved in my outdoor fall decor in the past several years and this year I am going for an explosion theme...  classy explosion theme.  The reason I mentioned a scavenger hunt, is because the fall display is one of the few times we can get away with integrating our broken or old yard items into a display and it actually looks incredible.  In fact, the older the items, the better.

One of my favorite things to do once fall arrives is to drive through the neighborhoods and areas of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and look at all of the farm and yard displays.  It is a great way to get inspired and at times,  thoroughly entertained.  We have all seen some of those good ole' fashioned "Fall Displays Gone Wild!"  I look forward to my adventures this year and I will photograph them and feature the displays in a special blog post.

Some of the top displays that stand out in my mind included old wagon wheels, tractors, vintage wheelbarrows and old yard tools and farming implements.  I have recently seen some of the most beautiful colored squashes and gourds in grays, cremes and pale greens.  I also love the idea of utilizing kale and cabbage.

One of the easiest ways to begin is to start with your main entrance and complete your main entrance before you start on any other locations.  Never place your items on top of a dirty or spider web covered entry!  You are highlighting a focal point on your home and you should sweep all areas above and below to ensure a clean palette on which to place any items.  Trust me, if you spend time and effort to create a warm entry and you have left a large spider web on one of your columns, your visitors are now focusing on your entry display...and the spider web!

Try to stay with a theme and a specific palette of colors for each location.  For example at your entry,  utilize all shades of creme and pale gray gourds and pumpkins with accents of black, titanium, wheat and natural materials like burlap, straw, and tall, thin groupings of wheat.  Then on either side of your garage, integrate another color and element and again in the corner of your yard.

It is all about having fun and using your creativity!  It is also a fun family activity where everyone can get involved and contribute something.  Inspiration is everywhere and I have seen some of the most beautiful photographs in the most recent issue of  "Midwest Living."  Check it out if you get the opportunity!

I would love to hear some suggestions for local and regional sources for any items mentioned above.  If you know of any nurseries, garden centers, flea markets or antique malls that you often visit for these types of items, please share!

Now... start hunting and get out those garden gloves.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Life By Design Carolinas: Detailed Services and Rates

Hello friends!  I hope everyone had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend with your families and friends!  It looks like the end of summer is here and the beginning of fall is soon to come!

Today, I want to invite any one who may be interested in Life By Design Carolinas' services to take a look at our newly added pages:  Interior Redesign and Professional Organizing Services. These pages can be found in the menu bar under the main title of the blog!

You will find details on all of the following services:

  • Redesign Consultation
  • Redesign written action plan
  • Redesign Services
  • Color Consultation
  • Professional Shopping
  • Product Research
  • Professional Organizing
  • Floral Designs
  • Holiday and Event Styling

These pages detail our services as well as the current rates for the services.  We always do our best to be as transparent as we can, therefore we post our rates clearly on the site. If there are any exceptions at all, they will be noted with the client at the consultation appointment and before any work is initiated.

Of course, there are multiple companies you may choose to help you within your home, but at Life By Design we recognize that the process of updating your home or your lifestyle is an extremely personal one. Because of this, it is important to work with someone who is genuinely motivated, invested in your priorities and with a sense of humor,  in addition to skills and experience! We are able to offer all of these qualities!  Please give us a call to ask a few questions and get to know us before you make any decisions!  We would love to say hi!

Isn't it time for a little update?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Add A Little Spooky To Your Life!

I am all about the fall and my mood even picks up as soon as I feel a little break in the heat.  One of the many reasons that I look forward to this time of year is because of Halloween!  Halloween was a BIG deal in my neighborhood growing up as there were approximately 5,000 kids living in the big circle of a neighborhood.  And we all knew each other and played together every chance that we got.

At any given time, as long as school had let out, my neighborhood looked like a scene out of the book "Lord of the Flies," with kids hanging out of trees, playing tag, riding bikes or scaring the living daylights out of one another...and I loved every minute of it.

So at Halloween, the neighborhood lit up with every decoration, flashlight and spooky novelty item one could possibly imagine.  You could always count on seeing several cheerleaders, superheroes, witches and the lead character from the current Disney hit movie at that time.  We knew all the houses by heart, in terms of which ones dispensed the best candy (as well as those to pass up) and we would race home to perform a very complicated and algorithmic trade system based on the theory that 1 snickers mini bar equalled 2 now and laters...or something like that.

So this week the Etsy Treasury Feature is a spooky one.  I have compiled some of my favorite Etsy halloween items and put them together to inspire and get us all ready for the upcoming candy coma!

Do you have any specific halloween memories that you could share?  Or perhaps your favorite candy that you would trade most anything else for?  Oh come on... live life on the edge and comment!

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