Summer Lovin’…

We are in the home stretch of spring before summer hits us with a bang! I always look to Memorial Day weekend as the kick-off to the new season, and I am giddy with excitement that the holiday is literally days away.  To me, summer conjures up so many wonderful memories:

-Trips to the Farmer’s Market to buy juicy red strawberries, fat blueberries, heirloom tomatoes and golden corn

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-Lavender, mint and rosemary heartily growing in the yard and giving off their thick, fragrant scents

-Lightning bugs twinkling in the darkness

-Children swinging high into the trees in their PJ’s on the neighbor’s “community” swing

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-Frogs croaking their songs in the nearby creek

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-Barefeet running in the grass and long walks after dark

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-Bees buzzing along from flower to flower

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-Hamburgers and hot dogs sizzling on the grille

-Warm, bubbling cobblers filled with fresh berries picked that day

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-Sprinklers ticking and lawn mowers humming

-Rosy cheeks and popsicle stains

-Goggles, wet bathing suits, tan lines and beach bags

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-Spitting watermelon seeds and seeing how far they will go

-Digging for worms in the soil and blowing dandelions in the wind

Yes, summer is coming. A season where the pace slows down, schedules get thrown out the window, bedtimes are late and dress is always casual.

Spring has been fun, but the lazy days ahead are beckoning…..Ahhh……

Happy Tuesday!

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 Nashville Interior Design

(All images courtesy of Interior Canvas)

 

Anne Tollett: Trailblazing the Virtual Interior Design World

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The interior design community is always reinventing itself, blazing trails for innovative ideas and looking for out-of-the-box solutions for ways to better reach current and future customers. In today’s fast-paced, tech-savvy world, designers are faced more and more with the challenge of meeting demands from interested parties in the virtual world.

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And on top of those wanting help (be-it near or far), many customers today have a parallel DIY approach to design. Meaning, even if they use a designer’s help, they are wanting to know the why’s and how’s of designing a certain room, the reasons a designer picks one piece of furniture over another, the understanding about how to rearrange a room, or where to source that amazing knock-off that will save them thousands of dollars. They want to be informed, educated, and have greater knowledge to tackle future projects with greater insight and wisdom.

Enter Anne Tollett.

Having  almost 20 years in the interior design and fine art world, Anne’s skill set, experience and insanely sharp savviness have set her apart from the pack. On top of that, she’s ridiculously funny….a wonderful trait to have in an often “I take myself very serious” business.

So it was music to my ears when Anne called me about a new idea she’d hatched. After years in the business, Anne was seeing voids in the market for needs her clients wanted. On top of that, everything came with a price tag. “Why should information always come at a price?” she wondered. So, Anne Tolllett Home was born.  An entire website that shares scenarios, before and after stories, placement for rooms, videos with explanations of understanding size and scale, and pointers on where to spend and where to save. Not to mention, a sourcing guide for all of Anne’s items she recommends or uses in each article.  But the best news is…it’s all free. No fees attached, no hidden agendas.  It’s Anne’s way of sharing her knowledge with others in a comprehensive, funny, brilliant way. I love it!!!!

CLICK HERE for a preview of what her website can do for you! **(Warning: Be prepared to find yourself spending hours at a time browsing).**

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Furniture cut-outs (that are printable from her site) for you to use, while learning how to arrange within a room. Brilliant!

Of course, her entire..and fabulous..portfolio can be seen as well, just so you can be amazed (and call her if you need her services!). This new website comes as a breath of fresh air in a world where everything comes at a price. I am a HUGE fan and I know you will be too!

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Enjoy!!!

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Anne Tollett

www.annetollett.com

anne@annetollett.com

 *All images courtesy of Anne Tollett.

When life hands you lemons..

You know those days where you feel like one of those cartoon characters with a rain cloud over their head? Wherever they walk…the cloud follows and continues to rain? That’s certainly how I felt a few weeks ago. The much anticipated launch of my fabric has been…well….delayed. Sigh. Not to bore you with all of the details, but long story short, my initial order with my fabric printing company ALL came back crooked. Not bespoke. Not irregular. But just plain crooked. Very Crooked. How does this happen? How does a printing company send out a large order THAT off? What in the world were they thinking?  How could I trust this company again with future orders? What a mess.

Sometimes, rather than stewing over something, arguing with the other party, trying to “win” the argument, it’s just easier to call it a day, cut your losses and take your business somewhere else. And that’s exactly what I am doing.

So, ladies and gentlemen, my fabric dream will happen…it just may take a bit longer than I anticipated. And, rather than dwell on unfortunate circumstances that were out of my control…

I went on a girls trip-

IMG_0708 I checked out some fabulous interior stores-

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 Caspari – Charlottesville, VA

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 And George – Charlottesville, VA

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 And George – Charlottesville, VA

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 Ivy Nursery – Charlottesville, VA

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Caspari – Charlottesville, VA

I got inspired by one of the founding fathers (in my opinion) of architecture & interior design-

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I explored-

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I ate some ridiculously good food-

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I even did a little fishing-

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But finally, I spent a lot of time doing what I always do when I need some time away from the world. I began working in my garden.

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Sometimes I weed, sometimes I plant something new. Sometimes I prune some overgrown shrubs. But if I’m really needing to blow off some steam, hacking away at honeysuckle or tackling ivy is always a great stress reliever:) Whatever I escape to in my garden, my outcome is always the same. I don’t mean how many weeds I’ve cleaned out or how many bushes I’ve pruned. Rather, by the time my task is complete, I am ready to revisit my looming “real world” problem with a clearer mind and unclouded thoughts. And I know that everything will be OK.

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Spring often serves as a symbol for starting over. I can’t think of a more fitting season to be in as I start down a new path for my fabric business. I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but I know along the way I will find them.

In the meantime, you will probably find me somewhere in my garden…

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Happy Wednesday!

Anna-Kristin

Oh, PS…

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Thank you, Liza Eady, at Area 2 Trading Co for featuring my living room this week on your blog! Be sure to check out her article here. If you’re not familiar with Area 2 Trading Co, it’s a high-end home furnishings consignment store, that also happens to be online! Genius! Be sure to check it out!

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(All photos taken by Interior Canvas)

What’s Your Home’s “Little Black Dress?”

Any woman knows that in her closet she owns at least one little black dress. This is the dress that is her fail-safe. Her staple “must have.” The one that always looks good and can blend into any situation. Wear pearls with it for church or diamonds for a cocktail event…this is the dress that is slimming, appropriate, a little daring, but never out of style.

Think of your home as a giant closet. You may have your “costume jewelry” and your “trendy roman sandals”, but you also have those few items that would take status as your home’s little black dress. These items can be versatile into any space, they are timeless and sophisticated. They can be dressed up or down, depending on their surroundings, but they never go out of style.

Maybe it’s a lovely chest…

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via mrshowardpersonalshopper.com

landy gardner interiors

via Landy Gardner Interiors

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via Houseandhome.com

Or a desk…

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via zsazsabellagio.com

Brooke McGuire interiors

via Brooke McGuyer interiors

A beautiful piece of art…

instagram.comVia pinterest

bhg.comVia BHG.com

 Or that fabulous accent chair…

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Via mynottinghill.blogspot.com

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Via organized-clutter.tumblr.com

One of my home’s little black dresses, is my secretary. An inherited piece, I grew up with it sitting proudly in my parent’s formal music room. It served as a desk for my dad, and was always being used for letter writing or bill paying. When it came to live with me, I was in a smaller space, with only room for it by the front door.  Now that it’s made the move to my current home, I use it as a make-shift hutch for all of my blue and white china. Maybe one day when I actually have a true office, my secretary will find its resting place and actual intended function there. But regardless of its function, it always draws attention and admiration. It truly is one of my fail-safes.

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So what are some of your “little black dresses” in your home? Whatever they are, make sure you are making use of them. Truly, they are the staples to the rest of your decor. Something fun to think about.

Happy Tuesday!

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The Week in Review

Unless you live in Hawaii, you have experienced a piece of the polar vortex pie that has descended upon a large percentage of the US. Living in Nashville, we are used to cold temperatures in the winter…but not this cold…

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Ice and snow can have their perks for a day or two…

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but then, cabin fever settles in and you are praying (more like begging) for sunshine, flowers, green grass, and of course, your children to go back to school!!!!

But even though the tundra decided to set up shop over the eastern half of the States, that certainly didn’t slow down a very busy week! Here’s the lowdown…

Fashion

New York’s frigid temps didn’t stop the gorgeous frocks from floating down the runways for New York Fashion Week. From Oscar de la Renta to Zac Posen. Ralph Lauren to Carolina Herrera. Fabulous fashion was in full swing.

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Ralph Lauren (via OregonLive.com)

Click here to see the highlights: New York Fashion Week Live

DOGS

And if fashion is not your thing…you might have also been watching the 139th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. I mean, who can resist all of those adorable pooches parading around in their finest! Best in show went to the precious “Miss P”.

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via USA Today

TELEVISION

Moving along, I will admit that I have watched way too much TV this week. There is only so much to do indoors!!  Being a HUGE House of Cards fan, I was delighted to get an email from Netflix in my inbox with this message! Hallelujah!

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If you haven’t watched this series…it is a must! A smart, fast-paced, well-written drama with insane casting. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are brilliant as a power-hungry political couple (Frank and Claire Underwood), living in the center of Washington, D.C. and constantly stirring the pot to keep the storyline interesting!

SOCIAL MEDIA

Screen time on my computer has also skyrocketed this week. Hey, I DO blog, so don’t judge! But, I also love discovering new social media people to follow. It keeps life interesting! Here are some of my new finds this week:

Twitter:

Speaking of Frank Underwood from “House of Cards”….he actually has a twitter feed (or at least someone was brilliant enough to create an account for this character)! And if you love his one-liners on the show…you’ll love these tweets. Follow him at: @Frank_Underwood.

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And if you like to follow funny twitter feeds, check out “Los Feliz Day Care” (@LosFelizDayCare). Yes, this has nothing to do with interior design, but it provides endless entertainment. Posing as a real day care, it tweets out witty one-liners that gently poke fun at the helicopter parents and hyper-intense childcare facilities of the world. (*Clearly I am needing comic relief from being inside WAY too long!)

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Pinterest

I can never have enough of Pinterest! And with over 15,000 followers, you can be assured that I pin a good bit. Here are a few recent pins I found that made my frozen week a bit brighter!

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(For all image credits from these Pinterest finds, just click here to find the images on my pinterest page).

Blogs

I don’t really follow a tremendous amount of blogs, but I discovered two new ones this week that I thought enough of to share with you!

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French Affaires: This was referred to me by my mom. (Thanks, mom!). It is a blog and website completely dedicated to everything French. Written by one smart and chic Dallas francophile (who used to babysit me long ago when she attended Vanderbilt!), this website is perfect for the  person who can’t get enough of French cuisine, language, culture, etc.

coffee-cake_food52_mark_weinberg_14-11-18_0166_(1)(Photo via Mark Weinberg. Food52.com)

Food 52: This was sent to me from one of my sisters. I’ll admit, I am a foodie. And I love to cook too. This blog/website is filled with amazing photographs, yummy recipes and great cooking tips.  An email pops in my inbox about once a week with new things to try and read about. I highly recommend!

WORK

Oh yes. I did have to work this week too. (Although this article may make it sound quite the opposite!)

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Facetiming my website developer occurred  frequently this week, and actually became quite convenient since I didn’t have to get out of my sweat pants to attend the meetings! YES!

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Finally I made more progress with my swatch booklets for Interior Canvas Home! A labor of love for sure .. but when you’re a one-woman show — you’re the only one you can count on to make it happen! I’m shooting for a March launch with my new website and fabric to sell. I will keep you posted as the event draws nearer!

In the meantime, stay warm and sane! You know Spring is literally around the corner! (Or buried under the snow:))

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(All photographs taken by me – or my iPhone – unless otherwise noted).

Valentine’s and Interior Canvas Home Update!

When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of the colors pink, red, and rose. Colors that emulate love and happiness and have an innate way of telling someone, “XOXO.”  And while these colors get a fitting nod around this season, there is definitely no reason not to keep loving them all year long!

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 TroveInteriors.com

fieldstonehilldesign.com

 Fieldstonehilldesign.com

veseys.com

owensanddavis.com

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beautytipshub.com

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Giambattista Valli (ohjoy.blogs.com)

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Happy Valentine’s Day and Keep Spreading the Love!

PS…..

I have been very, very busy getting ready for the spring launch of Interior Canvas Home textiles! Here’s a Sneak Peek…stay tuned for more!! I am SO EXCITED!

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Interior Canvas Home’s Clover pattern in Sand

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(Pictures 1-6, 8 & 10 Courtesy of Pinterest-or noted underneath picture. 7&9 courtesy of Interior Canvas)

What Does Your Home Say About You?

I recently read an article discussing the fact that employers, when interviewing, may start looking at candidates’ social media files to gather a collective assessment of their personality and behavior. Don’t worry, this is not a lecture on monitoring your pictures you post online. Rather, the article itself made me think that if employers REALLY wanted a full picture of their prospective candidates, they may get more information by requiring a picture of the candidate’s home interior.

Now this would not necessarily indicate the candidate’s level of intelligence or work habits, but rather it would give the employer an idea about personality, hobbies and heritage.

Knowing most of the following homeowners, how would you say their interiors reflect their personalities?

Ina Garten

Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)

Adam Levine

Adam Levine (Maroon 5)

Vera Wang

Vera Wang

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi

Ellen DeGeneres 

Annette and Oscar de la Renta

Annette and Oscar de la Renta

gwyneth

Gwyneth Paltrow

Laura and George Bush

Laura and George Bush

Diane von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney

Bill Gates

Bill Gates

Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton

Tom Ford

Tom Ford

the living room in Tory Burch's in classic 5th Avenue residence

Tory Burch

Bunny williams

Bunny Williams

It really is amazing how incredibly accurate these homes represent their homeowners!

At the end of the day, your home should be a representation of YOU: your tastes, interests, and most importantly, your personality. Now, you may not like what you find out about your personality once you survey your home…but that’s for another article altogether:)

HAPPY FRIDAY!

-Anna Kristin

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(All images courtesy of Pinterest. For sources, click on Interior Canvas pinterest account and select the folder labeled “Celebrity Homes”)

 

Oh The Places You’ll Go….INDIA!

There are trips and then there are TRIPS.  In continuing with my series on travel and its interior inspiration, I am showcasing today one woman’s visual experiences during her recent venture to India.

Heather Buffkin and her husband traveled from Nashville, Tennessee to India last fall. She detailed her incredible journey while there via a blog (brilliant!), allowing her friends and family to experience secondhand the amazing adventure she was having halfway across the world. When I decided to start my travel series, I knew I wanted to include Heather’s trip to India.

In addition to India being a place synonymous with COLOR, it is also a country that puts one’s sensory stimulation into overdrive. Sights, sounds, smells, everything commanding your attention all at the same time. It is also a country full of contradictions and extremes. Jammed city streets piled with noise, people, animals, cars, and markets–contrasted with serene hotels filled with calming fountains, gilded mirrors, and over the top meals. Beggars, slums, children in rags and dirt–contrasted with women wearing dramatic fuchsia and purple saris, bountiful bougainvilleas, ornate tile patterns and intricately detailed moldings.  Miles and miles of barren desert followed by lush lakes and greenery. My impression of India is that of a country rich in spirit and service. A place that is proud of its heritage and history, while also exuding incredible artisanship and mastership of trades. A visual landmark that firmly cements itself as truly a sight to behold.

I wish I could feature all of the photos taken by Heather on this journey, but it would take you all day to look at them! So, here is a sampling of some of my favorites….get ready for a visual treat!

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It’s no wonder designers from across the world gravitate to this incredible country. The inspiration it holds is unprecedented.

Thank you, Heather, for allowing me to share some of your incredible pictures. You did an amazing job capturing the essence of the Indian culture and community.

If you are interested in more specific details about Heather’s trip, where she traveled within India, etc., check out her amazing blog from her journey: www.heatherhbuffkin.blogspot.com

HAPPY MONDAY!

-Anna Kristin

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(All images courtesy of Heather Husband Buffkin)

 

Plexi-Craft’s new Signature Collection

Acrylic furniture has been a staple  in modern interior design for decades. More recently, these pieces have woven their way into traditional settings, as more and more designers are using them to balance a space from becoming too heavy, traditional or “all one look.”  One company that has always been a favorite in creating acrylic pieces is Plexi-Craft. A major force in the industry for over 50 years, Plexi-craft has truly been a trailblazer for this medium of furniture.

Most recently, Plexi-Craft has unveiled their 2015 Signature Collection that is to-the-trade only. I am ogling over so many of these…it’s hard to know which is my favorite! Take a look at some of my picks:

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Acrylic Tim Whealon Bar Cart

Acrylic-Cyrus-Table

Acrylic Cyrus Table

Acrylic-Elle-Chair-Side

Acrylic Elle Chair Side

Acrylic-Leather-Wrap-Desk

Acrylic Leather Wrap Desk

Acrylic-Diabolo-Side-Table

Acrylic Diabolo Side Table

Acrylic-Adrienne-Table

Acrylic Adrienne Table

Acrylic-Shinto-Console

Acrylic Shinto Console

Acrylic-KingGeorge3-Mirror-Vanity

Acrylic King George 3 Mirrored Vanity

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Amy Lee Spider Back

The Signature Collection consists of 10 new artistically innovative products this fall (total 38) ranging in everything from modern dining, coffee and tea tables; to impeccably-crafted side and end fixtures; following into a more eclectic range of must-haves such as vanity mirrors, chairs, stools, multi-faceted trunks, mixed-fabricated benches, vintage lamps and coveted pedestals.

The Signature Collection is 100% hand-crafted in the USA by master artisans. Because a vast majority of unique raw materials are US produced, it affords Plexi-Craft an unparalleled quality control; ensuring regular onsite visits to all US suppliers in a timely manner. Lastly, Plexi-Craft pride themselves in eliminating the middleman by serving as the beginning, middle and end to each and every masterpiece.

President, Allen Frechter shares,“If a designer or architect will involve us early in their plans, we can help them reduce the overall timeline for incorporating the material into their design.”

As of October 2014, design professionals can procure for their clients the exclusive products found in this new line throughout trade showrooms located in the design centers around the country. These new collaborations have allowed Plexi-Craft to expand across twelve major cities in the US. These include: Boston, Washington D.C. (Coming Soon), Atlanta, Chicago, Dania Beach, Houston, Austin, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and national headquarters in New York. (In addition, Plexi-Craft is represented by Design Alliance LA, who provide on-site product presentations and support to the trade in Southern California, Las Vegas, Arizona, and Hawaii.)

I don’t know about you, but I am already envisioning several of these pieces in my home!  Swoon… For more information on Plexi-Craft and their products, contact one of their showrooms (listed above) or website (www.plexi-craft.com) or if you are not to-the-trade and wish to know more about their Signature Collection, consult with your designer.

Happy Friday!

Anna Kristin

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(Images and additional verbiage provided by Andrew Joseph PR)

Comfort Rooms

If you follow my Instagram feed, you will often see me posting images of meals I cook. And in the heart of January, with its bitter temperatures and icy winds, I am certainly not tossing a light pasta salad or shaking up a mango margarita to comfort my cold, shivering self. Rather, a hearty bowl of soup, a big wedge of warm bread, and good Pinot Noir does the trick.

Just as I long for comfort food in the dead of winter, I also gravitate towards comfort rooms in my home. Predictably, these are not the large, open spaces that are great for entertaining and hosting large amounts of people. Nor are they the fancy, “look but don’t touch” spaces that also host the fine furniture, china and crystal. Instead, they are the cozy nooks, the tucked away corners, the worn with love fabrics, and the “Party of One” spaces that ooze warmth and comfort.

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So where are your comfort rooms or spaces? Maybe you are in yours right now.

May the cozy be with you!

-Anna Kristin

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(All images via Pinterest. Click on my Pinterest board labeled “Cozy” to view sources for images.)

You’re Invited…

If I am hosting a party, my invitations typically go in the mail three weeks prior to the event date.  That way, my guests will have plenty of time to mark the date, schedule a babysitter, and of course, get excited for the upcoming event!

So three weeks (give or take) from the biggest event this month in Nashville….here is your formal invitation:

Please Mark Your Calendars for

THE 2015 ANTIQUES AND GARDEN SHOW

IN NASHVILLE!

(Jan 30 – Feb 1)

If you have never gone to this before, you need to turn over a new leaf and head to the amazing new Music City Center and experience this incredible show.

The Antiques and Garden Show has always been one of my favorite events of the year, and this year definitely won’t disappoint. In addition to one of my dear friends co-chairing this event (shout-out to Julie Fleming!), this year’s line-up features an incredible array of talent and expertise. I was also thrilled to again be invited as a media outlet and blogger in helping promote and feature this fantastic show to all of YOU.

So…just who is going to be at the show this year, you ask?

Why, the one and only DIANE KEATON!!!

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(Yes, Really!) In addition to being a legendary figure in the Hollywood world, she also happens to have an amazing knack for interior design! With a new book out, she has an incredibly witty insight into the field and I cannot wait to hear her speak!

Other amazing talents I am dying to see?

Michael Devine

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Alexa Hampton

Alexa Hampton

Christopher Spitzmiller

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 Rebecca Darwin and Haskell Harris of Garden & Gun Magazine

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Kreis Beall (from Blackberry Farm)

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Suzanne Kasler

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Markham Roberts

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Etc Etc Etc…

I could go on and on about who and what you will see this year at the show…but it would take me all day to finish! Between speakers, dealers, visual treats, garden delights, and everything in between, there is certainly something for everyone.

And if you come, be sure to get one of the many books available for purchase at the event and signed by the authors themselves!

**Even Better? I’ll be there assisting the book signing table (and probably pinching myself at being so close to these talented people!)…so say hello if you see me–I’d love it!!

Click on the Link below for all the details for the show:

www.antiquesandgardenshow.com

SEE YOU THERE!!

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(All images via www.antiquesandgardenshow.com)

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

After having written on this blog for almost three years (!!), I have certainly picked up on common themes and words of wisdom within the interior design world. From personal interviews, to literature I have read, pictures from my instagram and pinterest feeds, and everything in between – there are recurring threads that weave their way into many different designers’  styles, viewpoints, and curations.

One such theme I hear over and over is that if you are wanting inspiration….TRAVEL!  Whether you are heading down a back road in the mountains, or hopping to the islands in the West Indies, traveling allows your eyes to experience new visual treats or be exposed to different ideas for color, texture and shape, all of which will leave impressions on your style, taste and aesthetic.

Now, I will be the first to admit that traveling is not always conducive to my schedule or my budget.  But as I have discovered through my social media outlets, glimpsing someone’s travels through their pictures not only provides inspiration – but focuses on something I might have missed had I gone to the same place, myself. Seeing and experiencing an adventure through someone else’s eyes is almost as fun as doing it yourself.

So for one of my New Year’s resolutions for Interior Canvas, I am going to be periodically featuring inspiration for YOU from travel of OTHERS.  Some may be glamorous adventures, while others may be simple outings down the road. But all will guarantee to be full of inspiration and visual interest, and may even leave a new impression on your own personal interior style.

First Up? A gorgeous series of photos my adorable cousin took while traveling overseas for the holidays. The following shots were all taken by her in the countries of The Netherlands and Switzerland. Since pictures are worth a thousand words, I’ll stay quiet and let the pictures do the talking.

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

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Amsterdam7Amsterdam1 …

LUZERN, SWITZERLAND

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(My cousin, Samantha Clemens)

Wasn’t it fun to visually travel overseas for 15 minutes? Enjoy the moment and maybe these pictures will inspire you somehow today.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

-Anna-Kristin

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(All photos courtesy of Samantha Clemens)

Dated Kitchens Can Be Liberating

In the lives of glamorous kitchens, you will find your share of Marble, Soapstone, and Butcher Block. Beautiful millwork may grace the custom cabinets that scale from floor to ceiling. You may spot a Wolf range or Aga for the cooking, while a Miele does the dish cleaning. A stainless fridge and additional wine fridge will help keep those beverages chilled.  Ann Sacks tile backsplash may compliment the countertops nicely in a perfect herringbone pattern, while pendant lighting chosen from Circa or Visual Comfort will illuminate sophistication and a touch of luxury for everyone to see. Your walk-in pantry will showcase your dried goods with grocery store precision, and the sliding barn door that encloses it will make you that much cooler.  Large  windows will be interspersed between the cabinets (and of course hang over the porcelain farmhouse sink), to allow volumes of natural light into the room.  The gorgeous, reclaimed, wide-planked hardwood floors will be perfectly stained to blend seamlessly with your already stunning room.  And, finally, those lucite barstool chairs and Eames breakfast table chairs will add that touch of contemporary to your space, to ensure a balanced mix of modern and traditional.

Pinterest can make life awfully hard. With thousands of perfectly curated kitchens, all waiting to be pinned and gawked at, the reality of enjoying and embracing my very dated kitchen could get very depressing.

I’ll admit, when I first moved in my new/old house, the kitchen was one of the first things I was ready to redo. It is an old 80′s kitchen with a bandaid fix slab of black granite on the countertops. The fridge has a large dent in the top of the door. The microwave is probably from 1990: a free-standing plug-in that heats food either lukewarm or scalding. The single oven hails from decades ago, and is so small that half my baking sheets and large muffin tins won’t fit! The dated electric stove sits on the island and takes up most of the counter space. Oh, and watch out for that burner that remains hot long after you’ve cooked something. The checkerboard black and white square tile pattern screams “80′s!!!” from the backsplash, while my two tiny kitchen windows (that a small child could not fit through), resemble portholes in a ship rather than actual windows needed to see the beautiful side yard. Cheap, short cabinets with no space for anything, a large overhead florescent light, and hardwood floors with worn spots where dogs had clearly slept on for years, are also all there.

And yet, I haven’t changed a thing. As the months have gone by, I have begun to feel liberated by this dated, well-worn kitchen. I wouldn’t say I thoroughly enjoy the kitchen itself, but rather, I have enjoyed the lack of stress a kitchen that is already in bad shape has provided me with. Right now, life is really busy and messy. My kids are constantly running, jumping, bumping into things, climbing on top of things, making forts with our old barstool chairs, spilling things, scraping things…..basically just being kids! Add two dogs to that mix, and you have a house of happy chaos.

I have embraced my dated kitchen with humor and gusto. It’s allowed me to crack up at the spilled glitter glue everywhere, rather than go into a panic attack that my newly varnished floors are ruined.  Figuring out what baking sheet will work when making cookies, is always comical. Mulling over how to cleverly stack food in our cramped pantry cabinet, so that all can be seen, would rival the greatest of mind teasers. The spots on the hardwoods that are worn from past dogs, only remind me that homes were made to be used and played in .. not tiptoed around in. And finally, being able to pepper both fridge doors (since it’s not stainless) with my girls’ artwork, athletic schedules and grocery lists, has made me happy. To me, it’s just a reminder of my crazy and full life…and that I should enjoy it daily.

At some point down the road, a kitchen redo will be inevitable. The kids will be older and there will be more time for me to focus on such a task. But until then, this dated space will remain, and I’ll be living happily and chaotically right in the middle of it.

Happy Monday!

 …

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Get In Touch With Your Curvy Side

Let’s face it, bathroom sinks and vanities have become a bit predictable with their appearance.  So when I discovered the new Onda collection of vanities from Hastings Tile and Bath, I was thrilled with this new design! Expect the unexpected with this sleek and sophisticated look.

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Here is some more information about the Onda Collection:

The Onda collection combines curves and colors in almost infinite arrangements. The vanities are available in 36 matte or gloss colors or a natural oak finish. You can mix finishes within the same vanity – and you can have the curves in an asymmetrical style or with the curves following the same line. The tops are comprised of 36 colors of glass and 3 matte or 6 glossy solid surface options. Sizes are 60 cm, 90cm and 105 cm. The solid surface tops can also have above counter basins (in 3 matte colors) and handles for the vanities are an option as well. Optional LED lighting is available for the interior drawers and the collection includes vertical wall hung cabinets and coordinating mirrors.

I don’t know about you, but I am ready to get in touch with my inner-modernista and find a spot for one of these ASAP!

You can see the collection in Hastings newly renovated showroom in the A&D building in New York City, where they have completely designed bathroom vignettes to fully showcase their product lines. (Yet another good excuse to high-tail it to NYC!)

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!

-Anna Kristin

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Image credits and detailed information on Hastings Tile and Bath, courtesy of DRS & Associates.

Unconventional Gift Giving

I don’t know about you, but my email inbox is full of ads and blogs all proclaiming to have the perfect gift guides for you and your loved ones. Since that message has clearly been over-saturated, I decided to take a different route and give you my ideas for some unconventional gift giving. Now, this list will probably not include anything that has glitter, cashmere, batteries involved or an iconic apple on it. But what it will include are ideas that might make you think, make you give a little more effort and make you actually enjoy the art of gift giving after all. So without delay, here we go:

SOMETHING TO READ:

A book is a powerful tool. It opens our minds and requires us to think. From great novels to funny lighthearted stories, and everything in between, a book is an often overlooked gift for someone at any age. Even for the person who has it all, they can’t possibly have enough books! My sisters and I decided years ago to start giving each other’s children books for their presents for Christmas. It has been a wonderful tradition that we have enjoyed continuing to this day!

SOMETHING HOMEMADE:

As a little girl, I have fond memories of helping my mom make homemade strawberry preserves in her kitchen. She would start in the summer, by cutting up crates and crates of strawberries, when they were fresh, then freezing them until December. (At least half of those berries never got to the freezer-but made it to my mouth instead!). When Christmastime came, she would pull out the frozen strawberries and cook them in a huge pot over the stove. I’d watch as she poured the thick, hot red sauce into large mason jars and wrap big red bows around them. My sisters and I would then put them in a wagon and deliver them to the neighbors. If mom forgot someone, you better believe they would call her! Those preserves were (and still are!) like gold!  Even now, I look forward to Christmas Eve, when one special family always brings over homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream to add to our coffee in the morning. What a treat! Some of my most favorite (and anticipated!) Christmas gifts are the homemade ones. I know the time and love that went in to making them, and that makes them all the more special.

SOMETHING WRITTEN:

In this day and age, with texting, emailing, face-timing, facebooking, instagramming, etc etc etc…we have lost the art of writing a handwritten note. (I know, mom, I am very guilty of this one!) But, when someone sends me an actual letter (IN THE MAILBOX!), and writes on it, I sit down to read it. You will not find any emoticons, acronyms or hashtags…but actual WORDS (in their entirety!) that are meant for just YOU to read. Without sounding like a Hallmark card commercial, there is something meaningful in sending someone a written note–telling them how much they mean to you. This rare gem will truly be a treasured gift!

SOMETHING CHARITABLE:

I was reading in a magazine this week about Matt Damon’s charity, Water.org. Wow. To think that there are millions in this world without access to clean water is appalling. But the fact that Matt has gone outside his comfort zone to really try and make a difference with this problem is inspiring.

Matt’s organization, like so many others, is trying to combat the bad in this world by making it a better place. But these organizations all need funds to continue their work and continue to make a difference. What a cool idea to give a donation to one in someone else’s name as their Christmas gift? A gift that would literally keep on giving.

But if money is tight, there are still other ways to be charitable. Volunteer for a few hours every week. Get yourself out of the holiday rat race and into the real meaning of the season. You will be surprised how your act of giving will actually bless you the most.

Well, that’s my list for now. Nothing flashy or fancy…but something to think about in this crazy, chaotic time of year.  Have a wonderful weekend!

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Clear Your Thanksgiving Plates and Deck the Halls

What happened this year? I feel like right when I  finished my plate of turkey and dressing, “Jingle Bells” began playing on my radio station, my girls were wondering where their Elf on the Shelf was (eeeks…did that get lost in the move?!?), and cars everywhere were driving around with Christmas trees on their roofs. Does Christmas season ALWAYS come this quickly? Maybe so, but I am definitely struggling to get myself ready for it this year!  And on top of just getting motivated in general, I have to figure out how to decorate my new house for Christmas!! Ah…the pressure is on. I am missing the predictability of where I put all of the holiday decor in my old house. I had perfected where everything went, and I could whip the house into Christmas-ready shape in no time. Now, I am faced with a new house, new lighting, new places to put the tree, more windows for wreath hanging, etc etc etc. I am jealous of my neighbors right now. Their lights are on the trees and bushes. Their Christmas trees are up. Their bows are perched perfectly on their mailboxes. I watched…they had it out in two hours flat. So unfair.

So while I am looking for my holiday boxes that were stashed deep in the basement, there’s nothing like Pinterest to get me motivated for what to do once the decorating begins. Maybe you will get a little inspiration too, on this first day of December. And remember….24 days left until Santa comes! (No pressure).

 

housetohome.co.uk

jurnaldedesigninterior.com

athomearkanasas.com

countryliving.com

homebunch.com1homebunch.com

mochatini.org

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southernliving.com

thisoldhouse.com

Happy Monday!

Anna-Kristin

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(Images via: 1-housetohome.co.uk, 2-jurnaldedesigninterior.com, 3-At Home in Arkansas, 4-countryliving.com, 5-homebunch.com, 6-homebunch.com, 7-mochatini.com, 8-Veranda.com, 9-Veranda.com, 10-SouthernLiving.com, 11-Thisoldhouse.com)

Living Room Blues

I admit, when we bought our new home this summer, I was a bit overwhelmed. The space was perfect for my growing family, but cosmetically, I needed to make it more reflective of my taste rather than the previous owners’.

The living room was originally a shade of powder blue. I do love the color blue…just not that shade. I also felt closed in with darker walls, and really wanted to open up the space. So I painted it a pretty shade of Benjamin Moore Seashell. A good mix of cream and subtle yellow.*

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With the room repainted, I had a blank slate to start from scratch. First up. A rug. If anything, to catch the hair balls from my dogs, that were rolling around our hardwoods like tumbleweeds.  Since I am in a time of my life that has busy/messy feet walking on it all day, I did not want to be panicked every time someone walked on the rug. Hello Seagrass. A simple 9×12 rug did the trick and created a neutral base for which to start.

Next up? Furniture. My idea for the room was to have two small sofas facing each other and two chairs by the fireplace. I was hoping I could get what I wanted without breaking the bank.

Luckily, I spotted two Sherrill Sofas on one of my favorite sites, Area 2 Trading Company. The original owner had bought them for a client that ended up being the wrong size. They were unused and I was able to get at a great price. SOLD.

I then remembered I had two great chairs handed down from the family. I actually really liked this orange color, but the fabric was in bad shape from years of storage, so I decided to get it recovered altogether. (Here is the before)

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I found this gorgeous velvety-suede fabric in a rich shade of blue. I hadn’t really thought about blue for my living room, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. So I went for it and had the chairs recovered. The darker effect was dramatic.  I was so happy with the outcome! (Here is the after–sorry for the poor quality picture taken at night! Ah, where’s my camera crew?!?)

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After deciding on the chairs, it was easy for me to figure out the pillow fabric. I was keeping in the blue family but going for bold, and mixing large and small patterns as well. For the sofa pillows, I combined a smaller geometric pattern and a larger Ikat pattern. I also added two small  pillows covered in a subtle stripe to accent the blue chairs.

I wanted to create a sense of modern and traditional in this room, so on top of the seagrass, I layered a smaller, antique oriental rug that was my husband’s grandmother’s. I also included a beautiful antique chest that had been a housewarming gift from a beloved aunt as well as a gorgeous gilded mirror to hang above it.  I contrasted this with a more modern floral print above the mantle and a contemporary garden stool from west elm.

I had originally wanted a lucite coffee table between the sofas, but my budget for the room was coming to a close. So, I opted for a small drop leaf tray table that was already in the house (i.e., free) instead. This would have to do for the time being.

I wanted to add something to the space for the left side of the mantle, but didn’t want another dark piece of furniture or mirror. My solution? A Fiddle Fig Leaf tree.

Nestled by the window…this was the perfect place for this little guy to grow and continue to evolve in the space. In addition, the green of the tree created texture and a more abstract shape. It also broke up the now obvious color scheme, so it wouldn’t appear too blue in the room. Perfect!

So here is the before:

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And here is the after:

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Other than the curtains that are still waiting to be hung (hint, hint to my husband), this room is a wrap!

Happy Friday~

Anna-Kristin

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Dream Big – Interior Canvas Home

Yes, it has been a while since you have heard from me. Well, life has been busy. Very busy. I’ve always been a believer that every event in your life (good or bad) is a stepping stone to prepare you for the next event. Sometimes it feels as though you are moving backwards rather than forwards….but maybe that’s just fate pulling you back into the direction you were supposed to be heading into all along!

When I started this blog over 3 years ago, the thought was to never just have a blog. It was to serve as a stepping stone for the next phase to what I wanted to do with my career. I have always loved the field of interior design – the creative, the collaboration, the curation. And it is so fun for me to showcase so may talents within the field: designers, artists, manufacturers, etc. And within the world of interior design, it takes so many forms of creativity to come together and make the final product or vision become complete. No single person is responsible for the end result. It’s a clever synchronicity of elements that form a unique visual harmony.

For me personally, creativity has shown itself in many forms since I was little. Many of you may not know, but music was my channel of creativity growing up. I was a classically trained violinist, playing and performing, until I left for college. Between the ages of 4-18, I was on a stage somewhere hammering out Vivaldi, Brahms and Kreisler. It was hard not to have a hand in something musically related, growing up in Nashville!  But once I left for college, my creativity turned to writing. I loved to write but never thought of it as a career. When Interior Canvas began, the words just spilled out of me, and this led to many writing stints with popular venues such as Southern Living, Bourbon and Boots, The Southern C, etc. But now I’m ready to begin my next creative channel. This is one that I’ve been so nervous to launch into. But I am a big believer that if something scares you, that is all the more motivation to go for it.

Starting in early 2015, I will be launching a new fabric line called, Interior Canvas Home. This is something I have been diligently working on for over a year. I have been lucky to enlist help from talents in the field, who have provided knowledge and advice as I have embarked on this new journey. This has been my most challenging creative step yet….but one that has also been so rewarding.  You may ask me, “Why Fabric?” And I will answer back, “Why Not?”  Life is too short to not dream big and take even bigger risks.

Even writing this article has put butterflies in my stomach! It’s like finally whispering that secret you’ve held deep inside you for so long.

I will share more details and peeks at the final product as time draws nearer. This will be a fun adventure that will be even more fun sharing with all of you.

But don’t worry….Interior Canvas (the blog) will stay in full swing. As I said before, the world of interior design is not comprised of one element. It takes so many talents to complete the picture.  I look forward to continuing showcasing the artists, designers, companies and individuals that make the world of interior design what it is.

HAPPY MONDAY!

Anna-Kristin

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Stop What You’re Doing and Take a Field Trip

I admit, I sometimes get jealous looking at my Instagram feed. It’s easy to get swept up in the glamorous lives of acclaimed designers and editors, looking at snapshots of their exotic travels and chic events. It could also make you convinced that the only way to find inspiration for yourself or a client is to travel to the Amalfi Coast or explore some Parisian cobblestone street. Don’t get me wrong, these are definitely inspiring places to visit, but chances are, there is much more inspiration than you think right in your own backyard.

Last week, I volunteered to be a chaperone for my daughter’s field trip. She and a group of students from her school were heading downtown to tour a few landmark sites in Nashville. They were going to be observing different styles of architecture and the history connected to them.  My initial fears of having to chase around 6 and 7 year olds all morning, quickly diminished as we arrived to our first stop.

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 The Ceiling of the Union Station Hotel

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Gorgeous old tile floors – Union Station Hotel

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Incredible carving detail in the limestone – Union Station Hotel

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Beautiful iron railing – Union Station Hotel

Over the course of the next several hours, I actually learned about these incredible sites I had passed hundreds of times, but had never bothered to really study them and look to them for inspiration. By the end of the field trip, I was completely energized and mesmerized both with visual stimulation as well as this newfound knowledge I hadn’t had before. What a gift!

20141022_110728Incredible beauty in Christ Church Cathedral

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Stunning limestone and carved wood in the Christ Church Cathedral

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A steel vision – John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge 

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Underside of Pedestrian Bridge

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Gorgeous view of the pedestrian walkways next to the Cumberland River

People, take a field trip. Be a visitor in your own town. The architecture, style and history that is attached to your city and how it was founded is part of your legacy now too. Learn from it. Not only will you impress others (and yourself!) with your newfound knowledge, you’ll have a greater appreciation of your city, its beauty, its past and its future.

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Happy Monday!!

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Curb Appeal Transformation (Before and After)

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Fall has always been one of my favorite times of the year, simply because it is absolutely stunning outside. Bright blue skies, crisp air, orange pumpkins, crimson/rust/yellow mums and of course the gorgeous changing leaves.   But in addition to nature, houses begin to perk up too. The long slump of August and early September, where the grass is dry and window boxes are wilting has ended. Now, the burst of dressing up your home begins. Many associate this with decorations (scarecrows, hay bales, stacked pumpkins and twig wreaths), but this is also the prime time to literally tackle that outstanding punch list. Add new landscaping, touch up the trim and finish any other exterior upgrades to your home, before the harsh winter starts knocking at your door.

This brings me to my subject today. Curb Appeal. Creating curb appeal for your home can not only make you and your neighbors happy, it can also add value to your investment and interest for other potential buyers down the road.

I am not sure if I habitually gravitate to homes whose exteriors I think I can upgrade for instant curb appeal, or if it’s just happenstance. In any event, over the last 12 years and 3 houses, I have found myself leaning towards the “fixer-uppers” and away from the “already improved.” I’ve learned how investing in a few key exterior upgrades can add immediate improvement to a house’s ultimate appeal and inadvertently increase its return when sold.

This is a picture of my second house when my husband and I first bought it 8 years ago.

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My newly purchased 1920′s Tudor was in a charming historic neighborhood. It had all of the bones of a great home but looked a little sad and dated…it just needed a little love. So I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

Here was my punch list:

Paint:  The brick was painted a creamy white, which I could tolerate. It was in good shape and I didn’t want to spend the money on repainting the entire house. The trim color was a different story. Powder/Periwinkle blue. It was painful to look at. There were no warm fuzzies being felt whatsoever. It had to go. I chose a dark chocolate brown Sherwin Williams color in the “Duration” weather resistant variety. I can vouch that this paint held up the entire eight years I lived there. That’s impressive!

Duration - Sherwin Williams

Via Sherwin-Williams.com

Shutters: If you follow my articles, you will know that I am not a fan of shutters that don’t belong on certain windows. This house had shutters that were all wrong. They were 1970′s shutters on a 1920′s house. After researching, I realized most Tudor homes didn’t have (or need) shutters with their architecture. The shutters were therefore removed altogether. All of a sudden the house was really perking up!

Exterior Lighting: The electric sconce above the front door was entirely too small for the space.  In addition, it was old and had a very antiquated look to it. After careful research and thought, I settled on an understated yet classic copper sconce from Carolina Lanterns. The size was appropriate for the space and complimented the new brown trim nicely. I also chose gas over electric. I love the look of gas lanterns and the effortless charm their flames create.

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A set of Carolina Gas lanterns similar to the lantern I selected (via CarolinaLantern.com)

Landscape: The landscape was an entire hedge of mangled holly bushes mashed into two pine trees and two giant boxwoods. It was an overgrown evergreen mess. In addition, it completely hid the home and was entirely too close to the house. (When in doubt, pull your shrubs away from the house to allow for growth and room for their roots. It also creates more visual depth to a landscape.) With the help of an unsuspecting neighbor (who is now a dear friend), along with my husband and father, the entire front bed of landscaping was dug up except for the two boxwoods by the front door.  Finally, I could see my house again! It looked bigger and taller. I was getting excited.

After surveying the rest of my yard (especially in the back), I discovered to my delight that there were six smaller boxwoods in fairly decent shape but in a very shady spot. With two big labs in our back yard, I knew the boxwoods wouldn’t stand a chance where they currently stood. In addition, they needed full sun to grow to their potential. They needed to be resurrected and shown off. Plus, we would be saving a lot by not having to buy any new bushes! We redrew the beds to add a bit more curve in the lines, and then pulled them out a bit from the house. Next we added the six boxwoods from the back (three on either side of the already existing two) and a few small azaleas in front for color. We trimmed the two original boxwoods up front to better match the new ones just added.  The result was so rewarding!!

Roof: Finally, the roof was very old and needed replacing. In addition to its age, the color was faded and flat. I wanted something to blend but also add a bit of visual interest, since the rest of the exterior of the home was more simplistic in tone.  I opted for the CertainTeed Lifetime Independence Shingle in Colonial Slate. This created a huge improvement from the existing roof. It complimented the home nicely, but also added a good balance of texture and variety.

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Certainteed Lifetime Independence Shingle Color Samples (via certainteed.com)

So, here again was the BEFORE of my house:

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And here was the AFTER once the essential changes were made!

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And the night shot to show off the lantern…(pardon the soccer balls…)

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I know I am biased, but doesn’t it just LOOK happier??

Curb appeal is how the rest of the world sees your home. It’s what gives them a glimpse of your personality, taste and style. I’m also a believer that homes have souls too. When they are neglected, they look sad and unloved. When they are taken care of…they shine and sparkle. So in this season of transition, make sure to dote on your home a bit. It’ll thank you for it!

Happy Tuesday!

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 (Unless noted otherwise, all pictures courtesy of Interior Canvas; Picture 7-zillow.com))

It’s a Trendy World Out There…

I’m always intrigued by what some consider “fabulous for your home” in the interior design world. Whether it be from Pinterest, Instagram, a magazine or in-person, someone is ALWAYS sharing an opinion about it. With High Point Market around the corner, where new trends and seeing what’s hot right now will be here before you know it, I thought it fitting to share my own musings on the subject.

No one REALLY knows what will take off and what won’t. It’s a gamble, a roll of the dice, where designers give their creative juices a whirl and take a chance to see if their new trend will catch on.

But with things that become a “hot” trend, the backlash is inevidible when the market becomes over-saturated with that one best-selling idea.  Trends are not bad, just don’t decorate your whole house in them.  And unless you have a large budget, don’t invest a lot of money in them…because you’ll be having to replace them when they become “old hat.”

Let’s start with some trends that I’d like to see fade away….

YOU’RE GIVING ME A HEADACHE:

Chevron – To think it all began from the book, Harold and the Purple Crayon.. (Just Kidding). But seriously, the chevron pattern has got to go. Floors, tile patterns, wallpaper, pillows, rugs, sheets…you name it – chevron is EVERYWHERE. What’s next? A chevron stair rail? A chevron bookcase? ENOUGH!

Faux antlers or faux dead anything – Unless your husband (or you) hunts, there really shouldn’t be a pair of antlers in your house. When you see plastic white deer heads hanging in West Elm, you know this trend has become roadkill.

Modern Industrial – When I see a coffee table that looks like a flat bed car on a train (wheels included), I know this trend has gotten out of hand. The whole “factory look,” where everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) is gray and black steel, exposed ducts, cement floors, and no color ANYWHERE…well that’s just mean to do that to someone. I mean, who lives like that? (Other than the owner of Restoration Hardware)??

Poufs – Who came up with that word anyways? It really doesn’t serve a purpose in a room. Too big as a pillow, too low to the ground to sit on, no wheels to roll it around. Hard for old people (like myself) because there’s no back support. All they’re really good at is being upholstered in a cute fabric and looking good in a picture. Enough with the poufs!!

Now, who am I to say what’s “hot” or “on-point” this season. That’s for the experts out there. But I will add my two cents for what you SHOULD have in your home, regardless of what new trends are showcased in High Point, what new hot idea is popping up in every magazine or what the experts are telling you to buy.

I CAN’T GET ENOUGH!

Art – You can never have enough. What you buy is your business…but do invest in it.  Art is a representation of society, culture and our world we live in. But it’s also a representation and an expression of YOU.  Save on that upholstered sofa, and buy that oil on canvas that strikes a nerve every time you look at it. You’ll thank me for it!

Antiques – Whether you are contemporary or classical in your taste, invest in a few antiques for your home. Not only do they represent history and craftsmanship, they also add character and collaboration to your home. Chances are you’ve willingly (or unwillingly) inherited one or two things from family members. If they’re not your taste, wait before chucking them to the curb and see if you can find a spot or reinvent them for your home. You don’t want your decor to be “all one look.” That’s boring. Mix and match, blend and punctuate. Place a lucite end table in between two Queen Anne’s chairs. The result? Refreshing.

Originality - Stay true to yourself. It’s easy to get swept up in the fad of the moment. But does it really reflect you? Or are you just trying to repeat what everyone else out there is doing. Now, originality and utter chaos are two different things.  Sometimes it helps to have another creative mind help you assemble your originality into a more presentable palette. But make sure you remain true to yourself and what you truly like within your home. After all, you’re the one who’s living there!!

At the end of the day, if you like that chevron covered pouf and that industrial steel sofa, then get it! I’m not going to judge you for it. But get it because you like it and it makes you happy…not because some “style spotter” is declaring it “drool-worthy.”

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!

….

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The Artistic Life: Drew Doggett

Photography has always had a special place in my soul. I was lucky enough to have an amazing photography teacher in high school. I learned so much during those four years–how to consider lighting, shadows, speed, detail, placement and more. It was a creative outlet that allowed me to capture moments I wanted to hold on to and remember for years to come.   I wish I had followed my dream to major in photography in college, but life had other plans for me, both in my major and my career. To this day, I still enjoy getting behind the camera and taking pictures for my own enjoyment.  The exhilaration I get from capturing a moment I know I will want to remember, is worth repeating over and over.

Photography is very much a form of art.  More literal than abstract, this medium uses the talents of both person and camera to capture a moment in time that will never quite be duplicated exactly the same again.

For this reason, I am delighted to be featuring one amazing photographer, Drew Doggett, whose work strikes a chord with every image he captures. Using black and white photography, Drew captures both landscapes, animals and humans with amazing clarity, detail and raw emotion. I would consider myself lucky to place any of his brilliant photographs in my home.

Here is a little more about Drew:

Award-winning photographer Drew Doggett is captivated by stories, driven by the chase for extraordinary beauty. Searching for rarely seen subjects, Drew has traveled to remote corners of the world – including the uninhabited Sable Island, Canada, Humla, Nepal, and, most recently, Namibia, Africa – to chronicle people and places that are truly remarkable. Depicted in their natural environments, they are indigenous cultures and communities through a modern lens; scaled and crafted for the most compelling visual impact.

Drew is the recent recipient of two gold titles as well as an honorable mention at the highly competitive Paris-based PX3 Prix de la Photographie 2014 competition. In 2012, Drew’s OMO: Expressions of a People collection was accepted into the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Africa Art’s photographic archives.

Take a look at some of his amazing work:

Kisses

Kisses (Discovering the Horses of Sable Island)

SRTC- Untitled 9

SRTC – Untitled 9 (Slow Road to China)

Wild Heart

Wild Heart (Discovering the Horses of Sable Island)

Grove

 Grove (Dunes: Landscape Evolving)

OMO- Untitled 9

 Omo: Untitled 9 (Omo: Expressions of a People)

Sable- Untitled 39

 Sable: Untitled 39 (Discovering the Horses of Sable Island)

Windswept Solitude

 Windswept Solitude (Dunes: Landscape Evolving)

OMO- Untitled 20

 Omo: Untitled 20 (Omo: Expressions of a People)

Body Study 1

 Body Study 1 (Discovering the Horses of Sable Island)

OMO- Untitled 32

Omo: Untitled 32 (Omo: Expressions of a People)

For more information on Drew Doggett and his work, see below:

www.drewdoggett.com

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(All images courtesy of drewdoggett.com)

My Latest Budget Finds for the Home

“Honey, we need to look at the budget tonight.” Ugh. The dreaded “B” word. Budget talks never seem to end with, “Because of the endless money stream we have, you have an UNLIMITED BUDGET!!!! Go for it! Buy to your heart’s desire!”  Rather, it seems to follow more along the lines of, “Let’s look at all of the things we’re paying for, and then I’m going to show you how much less of a budget we have than you actually thought!”

People can be such Debbie Downers:)

All of us are on a budget. Some have bigger ones than others…but we’re all on a budget. As I’ve been tackling my new home, I have had to be resourceful in my budget-friendly finds.  That way, I can preface my purchases to my husband by saying, “Look how much I SAVED us today!”

Here are some pretty great finds I’ve come across that have made my house furnishing efforts a little easier on the budget:

Peekaboo Clear Coffee Table from CB2

peekaboo-clear-coffee-table (CB2)

Lucite is the rage these days, but oftentimes the price tag makes you think twice before buying. I was delighted to find this little number for $279 on a favorite site, CB2.

Natural Fiber Area Rug from WalMart

Safavieh Maisy Natural Fiber Area Rug (WalMart)

Right now, my house is constantly chaotic. Between 2 dogs and 3 kids, someone is always tracking in dirt, fur balls, dust, etc. Fiber rugs are so tolerant to abuse, but sometimes they can get pricey for big rooms. Knowing mine will probably need to be replaced in 2-3 years, I didn’t want to spend a fortune here.  I found this 9×12 area rug for $267 at WALMART! Who knew?!? Can’t beat the price.

Antique Schoolhouse Pendants from Nashville’s Preservation Station

Preservation Station (Four Matiching Antique Schoolhouse Lights)

How great would these be over an island in a kitchen? I wanted to buy these, but it’s a few more years before a kitchen renovation takes place. I love the history that’s attached to these early 1900′s pendants. And $275 for four of these is a steal!

TJ Maxx Home Goods

20140917_105222

TJ Maxx Home Goods has always been hit or miss for me, but you can find some amazing deals and steals if you hunt for them. I scored this stunning piece of art for my mantle. I only hesitated for a second when I thought, “Should I really buy this for my mantle??”. But, to me, art is in the eye of the beholder…and these flowers struck a chord with me.  So for $80….SOLD!

Bubble Ceramic Side Table from West Elm

Bubble Ceramic Side Table (West Elm)

Garden Stools are also the rage these days, but they can start to all look the same. I liked the uniqueness of the holes in this one, and needed a more modern accent piece in between two chairs in my living room. For $129, this was a great buy. Sold!

Smith & Hawken Baskets with Chalkboard from Target 

Smith&Hawken Round Basket with Chalkboard (Target)

I needed a place by the back door to deposit the large quantity of SHOES for my girls. I snatched up three of these (one for each child), and let them write their own name on the chalkboard part. At $40 a basket, the price was right! Problem solved!

Loveseat from Area 2 Trading Co.

loveseat

I needed a small loveseat for my master bedroom (for all of that extra time I have to read magazines and eat bon bons:))  I found this beautiful piece on one of my favorite high-end consignment websites, Area 2 Trading Co. Covered in a Brunswig and Fils fabric, being in excellent condition, and selling for $325, made this sale a no-brainer!  SOLD!

Michael’s Gold Leaf Rub ‘n Buff

Rub N Buff

Our dining room chandelier was one that had come with the house. It looked to be from Lowe’s or Home Depot and was an “Antique Bronze” color. I was not a fan.  A friend suggested gold-leafing it for instant improvement. I have been delighted with the results…and for an upgrade of only $4.99, it has been worth the inexpensive effort!

I’m always on the hunt for more deals, so let me know if you spot something!!

HAPPY THURSDAY!

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The Artistic Life: Andrea Costa

My parents came home from the beach a few months ago, with the most beautiful painting in the back of their car.  While on vacation, they had seen it in a gallery and fell in love with it at once. I can see why:

20140902_102025

I loved this artist’s way with color and tone. I wanted to see and learn more about her and her work.  Here is a little bit about Andrea Costa:

“Andrea Costa’s rural roots and endless love affair with the land and water are the source of inspiration for her luminous and masterful landscape paintings.

Costa approaches each painting by exploring the underlying narrative metaphor, and emotion of the Landscape. She embraces the creative process while incorporating the classical training she received at Clayton State University and perfected with years of study with Atlanta’s Chris DiDomizio, best known for his “ Old World Master” techniques.
A rigorous investigation of critical thinking and innovative use of materials, working with Michael David and the Fine Arts Atelier has honed and expanded the metaphor and emotion in each of these singular and moving works.”

Here are some examples of her amazing paintings:

Setting Sun (48x48) AC-2

Blue Reflections (40x50)

(Blue Reflections 40×50)

AC-6

AC-5

AC-1

One thing is for sure, Andrea has an amazing ability to tap into the soul of a natural landscape and accurately portray it on canvas.

AC-8

AC-3

 …

AC-9

For more information on Andrea and her work, check out her website:

www.andreacosta.me

Or contact her directly:

andrea.costa@me.com

Happy Tuesday!

(Top image via Interior Canvas. Quote and all other images used with permission from Andrea Costa’s website: www.andreacosta.me)

Discovering Richard Wrightman Design

I love Instagram not only because I get to see so many great pictures from a variety of people and sources, but because I am constantly discovering new products, designers and interior treasures that I instantly fall in love with.

Example? Just today, Jeffrey Alan Marks posted a picture on his Instagram account of one of my favorite spaces he designed in his stunning California home.

Dining Room51becd5ee10a8-1024x648

I love this room not only because of its fresh design and cool California style, but also because of its balanced mix of light and dark tones, blending harmoniously together.

One Instagram follower commented on this picture and asked Jeffrey where those fabulous dining chairs were from. This is why I like Jeffrey so much…he often answers back. (So nice and unsnooty about where he sources from. )  And true to form, Jeffrey answered they were from the Richard Wrightman collection.

Of course, I went on to google Richard Wrightman and fell in love. Check out some of his amazing pieces.

maclaren dining chair

Maclaren Dining Chair (also seen in Jeffrey Alan Marks’ picture)

matthiessen side table with drawer

Matthiessen Side Table with Drawer

carbourn end chair

Carbourn End Chair

Matthiessen Coffee Table

Matthiessen Coffee Table

Don’t you just love these? To see Richard Wrightman’s entire furniture collection, click HERE.

And in the meantime, keep your eyes open…you never know what new nugget of interior information you’ll learn next!

HAPPY THURSDAY!

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(Image Credits: 1-jam-design.com; 2-5 – richardwrightman.com)