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

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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:

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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)

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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.

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AC-3

 …

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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.

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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)

Social Media and Its Impact on Your Business

I am frequently asked questions about social media and how to integrate it better into one’s business. These days, if you don’t know what social media is, you are definitely not taking advantage of a great tool for getting you and your work MUCH more exposure. (This can relate to any company in any field, but since interior design is always on my brain, I’ll tailor this post to someone in the interior design business.)

To know what social media is and to use it effectively are two different things. Many designers have websites for their business and think that’s enough. That’s the problem…there is nothing driving people to that website. Unless someone is searching for your name specifically on google, they’re not going to find your website and see your work. You have to bring people to your site…on a regular basis….to remind them of what you do and how well you do it! This is where social media comes into play.  Social media consists of different socially interactive sites that connect you with an audience as regularly as you like. The more you interact on a social media site, the more others will want to interact and connect with you.  The more you connect with your audience, the more your work and business get attention. The more your work and business get attention – the more successful you will be in your business!

There are LOTS of social media platforms. You have to decide which one (or several) you like using the most, and then stick with it. The key here is CONSISTENCY. If you join Facebook, only to post your profile picture and that’s it, chances are you won’t get much notice to your business. You have to constantly be engaging on your social media to continue reminding people about what you are doing in your business.

So what do I like to use? Here is a list of my favorite social media platforms for Interior Canvas.

BLOG:

If you like to write, a blog is a good place to start. It’s a personal reflection of you and your musings. If people read it and connect with it, it’s because they like your personality and what you have to say.  A blog is a great place to post pictures of your work, to show an “in-progress” job site, to share a funny story that happened this week, etc. The best part about it? To start a blog is FREE. If you’re just starting a business, this is a great way to get your name and voice out there without the cost of an expensive website. (Blogspot and WordPress are the most popular blog websites to start out on, but there are dozens of others that pop up every year). I use WordPress and have been happy with its user-friendliness. However, blogs are not for everyone. They do take time to compose and edit. If you’re constantly on the go and do not have a mid-twenties college grad working as your assistant (who could type a blog in their sleep), then a blog is probably not going to work for you. This is OK. There are others!

PINTEREST:

Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board that allows you to “pin” images for any category imaginable. You can download their “pinning” mechanism to your computer to allow you to pin images from anywhere on the web to your hard drive on your computer – and file them all on your account on the Pinterest website. I love pinterest. It’s my favorite place to collect images that I think are inspiring, beautiful, creative and intriguing. It gives other people a chance to see what my tastes and preferences are. The key to Pinterest is to have a website or some other social media site to put in your “profile” section. If people see a pin of yours they like, they will inevidibly click through to your website or other site that is connected to your business, to learn more about you and what you do. I receive TONS of traffic from Pinterest.

If I were a designer, I would “pin” all of my work that I had designed for my clients, and file it on my Pinterest site. Make sure to put all of your original curated photos in their own folder with your business name as the title of the folder. Also, make sure you put your name and business (again) in the comments under the photo before you pin it.  Yet another way for millions of people to see what I’ve done, and potentially get more followers (and hopefully clients) for my work!

At Interior Canvas, I always “pin” my images from my articles on my website to my pinterest page. This also is a way to bring back traffic to my site, and thus get more notice to my articles, musings, etc. (So designers, make sure you have “pinned” all of your portfolio pictures on your website onto your pinterest account! It brings traffic directly back to your website, if other pinterest users click on the image to get more information about that photo).

INSTAGRAM:

Instagram can be viewed on your computer, but this social media platform is unique in that you can only upload pictures for your account from your phone. (Hence, you will need an instagram app for your phone.) Instagram has become quite popular in the interior design world. How cool to see what your favorite designer is doing (or where they are shopping that day for a client), get a behind the scenes look at an install they’re in the middle of, or take a firsthand look at a new fabric combination they’ve put together.  I’m OBSESSED with Instagram. With instagram, the more personal – the better. There’s nothing worse than following some major designer’s instagram account to realize really quickly that their assistant is taking all of the pictures. (It’s not that hard to tell people). Instagram should be a reflection of the person whose name is representing that account.  Make sure you put your website on your instagram profile, so that people can always link back to see all of your work on your website. (* Remember, the goal of social media is to always bring people back to your website.)

TWITTER:

I’ll be honest. I’m not a big twitter person. I don’t “tweet” spontaneously. I don’t have conversations with other twitter users. It’s just not my thing. But twitter does reach an audience that other social media platforms do not. So here’s what I do. When I am on Pinterest, My Blog, or Instagram (my three personal favorite platforms), I use twitter simultaneously. Meaning, when I “pin” something on Pinterest, I tweet it out too (Pinterest allows you this option). When I have published a new article, I click on my twitter button to share via twitter. When I post a new picture on Instagram, I also share with twitter. It may sound redundant, but this doubles your number of looks and likes – I guarantee it!

One other note, especially with twitter. If you want to drive even more traffic to your “tweet,” make sure to “hashtag” key words that your tweet is about. Do not be obnoxious about it. No one wants to read a paragraph of hashtags (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE OUT THERE). Instead, keep it simple. If you are tweeting a picture of a new sofa you just installed for a client, you might put in your tweet: “New sofa installed today! #sofa #interiordesign #furniture. Then, other users who may be searching under hashtags for all tweets that have the word “interior design” in them, would immediately find your tweet. (*Hashtags can also work for instagram and pinterest too).

FACEBOOK:

Facebook is probably the most familiar to people, as it’s been around the longest. It’s easy to invite people to “like” you page or become a friend to your personal account. Facebook also makes it easy for others to share your pictures, comment, tag others on your posts, and all of a sudden, have lots of people noticing what you’re doing.

Facebook can also be quirky with who can see your posts. They get even quirkier with businesses who have “pages” on Facebook. If you don’t pay for ad space on Facebook, your “fans” do not always see your posts. I struggle with Facebook. I do share my articles on Facebook, because I know some of my audience is only on Facebook, and this is the best way to connect with them. But I also know that it doesn’t always reach my “fans” and “friends”, so I would not put my eggs all in the Facebook basket as far as social media reach is concerned.

Obviously there are many more platforms out there that I didn’t touch on. As I said before, you have to decide which one (or ones) you will use all of the time…and then stick with them.

Oh, one other thing. If you are new to the social media world, you will notice people will use ACRONYMS a lot. You will find this strange, weird, and wonder where the dictionary is for all of these acronyms. I definitely will not list them all – and I certainly don’t know them all, but here are a few popular ones – just so you can feel like you are “in the know”:

-LOL (Laugh Out Loud)

TY (Thank You)

TTYL (Talk To You Later)

TIA (Thanks in Advance)

FWIW (For What it’s Worth)

IDK (I Don’t Know)

FYI (For Your Information)

JV (Joint Venture)

*And, hope you don’t get this one, but I thought funny*

TTMA (Talk To My Attorney)

Lots of information here, and so much more that I could tell you. But this will at least get you started! Good luck and put those social media sites to use!

HAPPY MONDAY!

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Fall into Landscaping

I’ve been lucky with my new home when it comes to landscaping. The backyard is full of gorgeous mature hydrangea bushes, a giant japanese maple, a towering birch and multiple crepe myrtles. The hydrangeas dot down the side of the house, with climbing rose vines interspersed along the brick. I am in visual heaven!

The front yard has some beautiful plantings as well, but most of the landscaping next to the front of the house has to go. Years of dogs digging around the yew bushes paired with little pruning, has created an overgrown, thick mass of mess. Plus, I don’t like yews, so I was not heartbroken to see that they have to go.  I was going to wait to deal with the “excavation” of these bushes until the fall, as this is when is typically the best time to put in new plantings. But those plans got a wee bit changed when I got a bee in my bonnet to take off the storm windows (which I also don’t like) and tackle the ever-growing ivy this weekend. In order to take off the storm windows and clean off the ivy, the bushes had to be moved. And, well, we didn’t exactly do it in the most conventional of ways…***

http://instagram.com/p/rxWtJ2Gvy7/?modal=true

Hey, I wasn’t trying to save the yews, so who cares how they get pulled out? And at the end of the day, the yews are gone! So, now, I have a good month or so to plan the landscaping for the front of my house. I want to keep things simple and clean, but with a nod to what’s already going on in the backyard. Boxwoods are a favorite, both big and small. Maybe a few azaleas as well to have something flowering against the boxwoods.  I also want to pull the bed out a bit, so that the new landscaping will have more distance from the house. Here are some inspirational pictures I’ve found on Pinterest to get me started.

lizmarieblog.combhg.com

elementsofstyleblog.com

What do you like for your landscaping? Are you more of a formal yard lover or do you like the wild and carefree look? Both are beautiful in their own right.  I’ll keep you posted as my plans become more concrete.

Two people I will not be consulting about my landscaping….my dogs! If it were up to them, they would be perfectly happy with no landscaping.  Look how happy they are with all of the yews gone!  Ahhh…fresh dirt to lie in!

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Well, I’m off to tackle the rest of that ivy!

HAPPY MONDAY!

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*** (hover mouse over image on screen after clicking on link below. Then click on the image–a video should play)

(Image Credits: 3-bhg.com; 2-swiftycraftbackyards.blogspot.com; 1-lizmarieblog.com; 4-thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.blogspot.com; 5-elementsofstyle.com)

 

For the Love of Scott

This weekend I took a road trip to the great city of Atlanta.  There are always so many fabulous antique stores and interior shops to visit, not to mention ADAC! But, instead, I dedicated this trip to one place: Scott Antique Markets.  Never been? Never heard of it? Imagine 2 MASSIVE warehouses filled to the brim with dealers and buyers, all there for the love of interior elements. It’s open to the public, which I like–and here’s why. It lets me have a good look at what people are buying, what inventory is attracting lots of attention – and what’s not. It’s a great way to get a read on what trends, styles, colors, aesthetics are continuing off the glossy magazines and into artisans and dealer’s curations – and eventually someone’s home. Even if you don’t buy a thing, it’s an excellent place to observe what others are considering, ignoring or loving in the world of furnishings.

Here were some of my favorite finds I spotted while there:

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Lots of handcrafted furniture, including this rustic/industrial coffee table.

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These driftwood and teak pieces were great. They would serve as excellent accents to a space needing added texture and warmth.

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Lots of painted farm-style furniture, with chicken wire screens over the doors.

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I was in LOVE with these chairs! But, of course, they were sold.

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This glided tray table with a mirror top was stunning! But, the legs wouldn’t fold and I couldn’t figure out how to fit it in my car. Oh well.

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In addition to older, more rustic pieces, there were some booths featuring a newer and more modern aesthetic. Not the best picture, but I loved the desk in the back right with the lucite sides and those fabulous blue lamps sitting on top!!

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There wasn’t a lot of pottery at the show, but I came very close to buying this pretty white earthenware pitcher.

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I could not get enough of this particular artisan’s killer trestle tables with chevron designed table top. He couldn’t have been older than 30 and was unbelievable in his ability.

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The same guy made these nightstands. Kind of a mid-century modern meets rustic farmhouse. Very unique. I loved them!

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Art was everywhere. Some were dealers selling botanicals and other prints, but a lot were the artists themselves featuring their work. I loved the whimsical nature of this artist’s paintings.  I came so close to buying the 3 vase painting, for our girls’ playroom. One vase for each of my girls! Next time….

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This just made me laugh. “Write drunk, edit sober”…Ernest Hemingway

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I saw TONS of brightly colored, painted pieces. Many of these were not necessarily newly built, but rather, reinvented older pieces. A very hip way to spin an old piece.

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And then there were pieces like these. You don’t really know what they are. They could be a decorative accent or a base for a cool lamp. The sky’s the limit.

So what did I get? Well, I intentionally did not bring a U-Haul. I knew if I had the space…I’d buy more stuff.  Here’s a peek at some of the items I brought home:

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I picked up these cool little folding drink tables. Petite but still perfect as an accent. The tops have this great texture to them that adds a little more sophistication and visual interest.

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I could not get enough of these driftwood bowls! I couldn’t decide which size I liked better…so I got both.

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I clearly have a thing for bowls. This raw teak bowl was my favorite find. I loved the hole in the bottom too. Such a great piece to put on a coffee table, console, etc.

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I bought a pair of these 20″ pillows. I’m a sucker for green and blue!

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Sorry for the terrible lighting in this picture, but I had to include this book table too. I bought it from a dealer in one of the flea market tents outside the Scott’s building. The nicest couple who made everything in their tent and were so proud of their work. Beautiful bedding, pillows and furniture at unbeatable prices. And, in addition, like many of the other artisans I met and spoke with, if there wasn’t something in their booth that was what I wanted — I could email them a picture of what I was looking for and they’d make it and have it ready for me the next month. Can’t beat that!

Well that’s it! Make Scott’s a weekend getaway on your calendar…it’s worth it! If you have any questions about the items or dealers I mentioned, just send me an email. (info@interiorcanvas.com)

HAPPY MONDAY!!

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Interior Design Blog

Mad for Mirrored Coffee Tables!

I just got back from a much-needed week at the beach. I’m feeling refreshed, renewed and ready to get myself back into a schedule again! Although I didn’t write an article while on vacation, I did spend quite a lot of time capturing some beautiful images on my INSTAGRAM feed. If you don’t already follow it, please check it out to see some insanely stunning architecture and design from the ever-amazing Rosemary Beach, Florida.

So now that I’m back at home, I am ready to begin to tackle my own interior decor. First up? My living room. This is a new room for me, as my Tudor I lived in before didn’t really have one. So, what is in my living room now? A fireplace, 4 walls and a hardwood floor. Basically this room is a blank slate. I’m pretty traditional when it comes to living rooms, so I’m going to keep it more formal than casual in nature. As I create a canvas for my living room, one item I would love to incorporate into it is a mirrored coffee table. I just love the dressy and chic look this piece breathes into a space.  Mirrored coffee tables are everywhere these days, but the ones designed by Italian designer, NELLA VETRINA, have really caught my eye.  Just take a look…

Acer Coffee Table Basso

Acer Coffee Table 

Camelot Coffee Table

Camelot Coffee Table

Ottoline-ottone

Ottoline Table

DSC_8656

Amazing, right? To see the entire mirrored coffee table collection and all of the luxury items Nelle Vetrina produces, see below.  Happy Monday!

NELLA VETRINA

646-415-9150

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**Image credits and special thanks to Andrew Joseph PR

 

Trimming the House

An old house brings lots of challenges with it…and my new old house certainly has not done anything to disappoint. In the past 2 weeks, my driveway has looked more like the drive-thru at McDonalds than a residence.  Plumbers, electricians, roofers and more have become very familiar with my home. Some repairs were anticipated, while, unfortunately, others were not:) But I know myself well enough to know that if I didn’t deal with it now, it would be 5 years before I got around to doing it!

So back to repairs. The most glaring of them was the roof. It was in bad shape and needed to be replaced. Shingles were literally piling up in the gutters. Such a lovely welcoming sight:) The old roof was brown, and unless I could replace it with a beautiful cedar shake, I didn’t want another brown roof.  As much as I love cedar shake roofs, I don’t love the hefty price tag that comes with them. So, unfortunately, that was off the table. I needed to find something that would serve as a good accent against the pretty dark red brick on the front of the house. I didn’t want the roof to compete with the house but rather complement it. So after some thought, I decided to go with a black and gray architectural shingle.

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The new roof did wonders for my beautiful old red brick exterior on the front.  It accented the house so well! (And I can’t say enough great things about my roofer, Charlie Tubberville, and his company, Tennessee Roofing Concepts. If you live in Nashville–he is worth a call!)

Now that the roof had been dealt with, I could now focus on other exterior elements.

Let me first describe my house. It has a LOT going on, on the outside. Old red brick on the front, hardyboard siding on one side and stucco on the other.  Oh yes, and a stone foundation along with stone accents on the front windows. WHEW!

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 Brick, Stucco, Stone and Shutters on the Front

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Brick, Stone and Hardyboard Siding on one side

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Stucco and Brick on other side and on back

With that many elements, there needed to be one focus and the rest somehow more streamlined together.

Hello, ONE color.

I loved the old red brick and beautiful stone, but the rest of my home needed to be unified and brightened up at the same time. The khaki siding color and dark chocolate trim were pretty, but needed to brighten up from their existing hues. In my mind, their colors were competing with the colors of the stone, brick, roof and everything else going on with the house. It was hard to know where to focus your attention when looking at the house.

So, after lots of thought and Instagram feedback (thank you, friends!), I decided to….(drumroll, please)… repaint with Benjamin Moore White Down for both the siding and trim. The stucco would be reapplied on the other sides, to match the siding color.

Here is an idea of how it will look.

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A lot brighter! I know it may be hard to envision right now, but I am absolutely excited about the end result.

In addition, I wanted to streamline the front a bit more. the shutters were stealing the spotlight away from the pretty stone accents. They were also making the front elevation too busy for me.

So, here is the before with shutters (also with an old roof):

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And the after with no shutters…well, almost. (Needed a taller ladder for top window)

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Much better. See how the new roof accents the brick better? And now you notice the stone accents above the windows too.

Now I’m off to call the painter to get to work on the trim…and find a taller ladder for that last shutter. Stay tuned!

Happy Monday!

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Packing and Unpacking…Takeaways from Moving Houses

I am just resurfacing after spending the last few weeks packing, moving and unpacking again. After this move, I never want to see packing paper, strapping tape or any sort of cardboard box for a very, very long time.  Anyone who tells you that they enjoy moving, that it’s easy or that their family thinks it’s an adventure is:

a) lying

b) on serious medication

c) probably vacationing somewhere the entire time their house is being boxed up, moved and unpacked again.

As much as I sound like a bitter woman, I did learn a lot throughout the moving process. It also helped that several of my friends all were (or are still going through) the same process too. Since all of you will move at some point in your life, I thought I’d share some of my moving takeaways with you that you may want to use for yourself down the road.

PRE-MOVING DAY:

1) When you are ready to start packing up your home, go and raid the liquor store.  Granted, by the end of this process, you will be drinking something heavily, but the actual reason for this takeaway is that liquor store boxes are THE BEST for packing fragile items and books. I happen to have A LOT of both, so this was crucial. Not only will your movers (or your husband) thank you, but you will greatly reduce something getting broken.

2) Make an itemized list of all furniture in each of your old house’s rooms.  Next to each piece of furniture, write where you want it to go in the new house. You will probably change your mind a few times once you get moved in, but it will help A LOT to have a plan, especially if you are having movers helping you. It made the process go a lot smoother for me (and our movers) to identify immediately at the front door of my new house where each item should go.

3) Before leaving your old home, pack a spend the night bag for each family member with 2-3 days of clothes and essentials. You are not going to be wanting to do laundry or searching for clothes right when you move in–this will allow you to tend to other issues!

4) On the heels of #3, also pack a small bag or basket of household cleaning items (windex, pledge, paper towels and detergent) as well as one for tools you might need immediately (screw driver, light bulbs, wrench, nails, etc).  I have two baskets in my kitchen as I am writing this that I have used non-stop since we moved in. Until your house is unpacked and fully functioning, it just helps to have these essentials close-by and available!

5) For the night before moving day, pack a small cooler with milk, bread, and a few other groceries. This will get you through the first night and following morning before you have a chance (or the energy) to go to the store.

MOVING DAY:

1) Have a case of water ready to drink in your new house. You will not want to be looking for a glass somewhere to drink water from. Also, friends or movers helping with your move will thank you as well!

2) Number your rooms (literally with a piece of paper sticking outside the door) for your movers (or friends) helping you move! No one is going to want to wait and hear you describe where they are going to be taking that heavy piece of furniture they are carrying in.  Instead, just say – “Room #3″…and they’ll look for the sign! Easy.

3) EAT. You will forget. My solution was to ask my mom to bring us some sandwiches. I am lucky. Not everyone has family members nearby. If this is the case, get (or make) some lunch the morning of or night before. You will be burning a lot of energy this day, and it’s important you don’t fizzle until all the boxes are in the house!

4) Wear workout clothes and tennis shoes. This will be the hardest workout you’ve ever had. This is not a fashion show. Do not don your Tory Burch sandals or newest J. Crew skirt. (That is, unless, you are the person I mentioned in my first paragraph.) No, you will be nasty, grubby, dirty, dusty and smelly by the end of this day. Dress for it.

THE MORNING AFTER:

1) Do not schedule the cable guy to come at 8am. This might seem like a great idea prior to. But the morning after you move in, you will be DEAD TIRED. Your feet will be throbbing, you will have a headache and you will be in a zombie state for several hours. You might be muttering nonsense words, babbling moving instructions to yourself or unable to speak at all. And inevitably, the cable guy you get will be the new one – fresh out of the training school-completely oblivious on how to wire your house. And he will be there ALL DAY LONG.  So just wait. Give yourself a 24 hour break to recoup, recharge, and get back in the saddle.

2) If you are a coffee drinker (yes I am), make sure you set aside 2 coffee cups in your spend the night bag. I was the dummy who packed all my coffee cups in one of the 100 boxes labeled “kitchen”. The morning after the move, I was so excited to make a huge pot of coffee in my new kitchen, only to discover I couldn’t find a single coffee mug! After slicing open a dozen boxes to no avail (and with an ever-growing caffeine headache), I finally found 2 Christmas Spode China teacups. At this point, I was getting ready to use a sippy cup, so a teacup was a welcome sight. I did get a good laugh seeing my husband walking the dogs while sipping his coffee from his Christmas china teacup!

Finally, just remember, THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Your house will not be a sea of boxes forever. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Go at your own pace (not someone else’s). And as you unpack, don’t forget it’s never too late to still PURGE. There will be boxes you have brought from your old house, simply because you didn’t want to deal with it then. Well, before you stick it in the basement or attic (AGAIN), open it up. Do you need it? Will you ever use it? Will you be lost without it? If all of those are “No’s”, then let yourself be ok in getting rid of it! You’re in a new house…don’t fill it up with things you don’t need.

Good luck! And happy moving! Now, I’m off to flatten some boxes.

Anna-Kristin

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Eight Ways to Declutter the Kitchen

As I am up to my eyeballs in boxes (for packing and moving) these days, I am constantly reminding myself how I need to eliminate the clutter for my next house. The amount of stuff that keeps pouring out of my closets and cabinets, chests and shelves is embarrassing! From now on, no more piles stashed away or hidden in drawers. Mess, be gone!!

Today, I am delighted to have Jennifer Riner of Zillow as a guest writer for Interior Canvas. Her topic couldn’t be more pertinent as she shares fabulous tips on ways to declutter the most lived in room in the house…THE KITCHEN!

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The kitchen is one of the most frequented rooms of a house, and it’s no surprise that designers and agents often refer to the kitchen as, “the heart of the home.” Kitchens have many functions and typically end up messy and disorganized amidst the chaos of day-to-day life. However, it’s important to keep them clean and orderly to best serve their foremost culinary purposes.

Consider the following eight strategies to create more functional, less-cluttered kitchens.

1. Purge Old Items
Food trends are tempting to follow, especially when ingredients like chia seeds and kale reap outstanding health benefits. However, sometimes these goods, albeit healthy, aren’t the most practical for average meals and end up going stale. Some fresh fruits and vegetables turn quickly as well, even if homeowners eat them often. Make sure to regularly purge perishable foods to avoid consuming bacteria, parasites or viruses from spoiled food that can cause Salmonella or food poisoning.

2. Donate Canned Goods
It’s tempting to purchase canned soups and sides in bulk, for cheaper and seemingly better values. However, canned goods are sometimes pushed to the back of pantries, sitting idle and unnoticed for years. Their extended expiration dates occasionally encourage homeowners to keep them around a little while longer. Contrary to popular belief, canned goods do go bad after specific dates and it’s better to donate these items for immediate consumption than continue to let them take up space in pantries and cabinets.
Spend an afternoon sifting through less-frequented jars of beans and broths. Then, donate canned food to drives and local schools or libraries for good use. Contributing unused items helps those who can’t afford their own ingredients and saves space in homeowners’ cabinets for the foods they actually eat.

3. Clear off the Countertops
Even spotless kitchens display small countertop appliances like toasters and stand mixers. On the other hand, allowing small things like letters and bills to pile up and create disarray is not an effective use of food prep space. Use drawers for keys and mail, or consider wall-mounted letter holders to keep files organized. Put away small appliances so they don’t overtake counter space. Last, use bowls and vases to display fruits and flowers so kitchens appear homey but organized.

4. Label Dried Goods
Avoid stacking up old, clashing cardboard boxes in kitchen cabinets. Pour cereals, crackers and other grains into reusable, sealable plastic containers. Print labels to create seamless accessibility and orderly appearances. These containers tend to keep foods fresh longer than manufactures’ boxes, allowing more time for consumption before going stale.

5. Organize the Fridge
Store refrigerated foods according to classification, such as meat, vegetables or dairy, or organize by most applicable meal time. By designating spaces for specific foods, homeowners know where to locate their ingredients when they are pressed for time. Even better, creating grocery lists is easier when there are clear, empty spaces where staple items normally sit.

6. Creatively Hang Spices
Come up with stylish ways to hang spice racks, such as recycling tic-tac containers or hanging magnetic boards for easy organization. Spinning spice racks are common in traditional kitchens where homeowners don’t mind displaying their ingredients for guests to see. For those who prefer to keep goods hidden, use fabric over-the-door organizers with plastic pockets so labels are easy to recognize.

7. Opt for Neutral Tones
Bright and clean kitchens appear less cluttered than their richly-colored counterparts because they allow more sunlight and give the illusion of open space. Therefore, using whites and light greys in culinary spaces is better for those who prefer clean, streamlined appearances. Keep in mind that lightly-colored surfaces and walls require more upkeep, especially for households with kids. Individuals searching for new homes should keep kitchen color schemes in mind before deciding on properties. Marble countertops are beautiful, for instance, but not the most appropriate options for families with small children as the stone is porous and stains more easily than light-colored alternatives.

8. Delineate Spaces
Many families use their kitchens for more than just cooking. Kitchens transform into dining spaces, study spots, game areas and hangout rooms – depending on the time of day. Homes with large kitchens might allow owners to create multi-functional spaces within one large open layout. In this case, consider installing built-in desks along empty walls or pull-out televisions from kitchen cabinets.

These techniques require upkeep and maintenance to maintain healthy and clean kitchens. Don’t expect organization to occur in one weekend. For best results, develop good habits, promote them to housemates, significant others and/or children and adopt these practices as long-standing solutions to messy and inefficient kitchens.

Thank you, Jennifer and Zillow! I’ll be pasting these tips on my fridge as reminders in my next house! Mess, be gone!!

Happy Friday everyone!

(Photo courtesy of Zillow)

My Favorite Architecture

House hunting has been a great way to get a clear perspective into what types of architecture I am drawn to. Truth be told, I have always been looking at houses (even when I wasn’t really LOOKING). So having “house hunted” for pretty much as long as I can remember, I can easily identify now which homes I keep coming back to again and again.  So in no specific order, here are some of my favorites:

The Cottage:

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I’ve always been drawn to the cozy, charming nature of a cottage. There’s something about this style (no matter how big or small) that is always so welcoming, inviting and friendly. There are typically no formal entry halls in cottages, but rather the front door usually opens into the entry room or living room. This sets the tone for the more casual approach to the rest of the home.

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The Georgian:

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This home commands attention! I usually associate formality with this type of architecture, but in a glamorous way. Manicured lawns, pruned rose bushes, large boxwoods and big lanterns hanging over the front doors. Although I’ve never lived in one, I’ve always loved Georgians. Maybe I’ll find one for myself someday…

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The Tudor:

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The accented dormers and high pitched roof always serve as markers for the Tudor.  This home oozes charm with its accented trims and clean lines. Its rooms can be dark and quirky at times, with abrupt angles or sloping ceilings. But this is where the fun and challenge can begin with decorating, and some of my favorite rooms designed by others have been in a Tudor.

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The Stately Ranch:

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I am not sure this is actually a “technical” term for this type of home. But, you will know what I am talking about. This does not refer to the “rambling ranchers” as we like to describe them here in Nashville (the ones with low ceilings and cramped rooms that seem to ramble on and on and on). Rather, the stately ranch is a one level home with 9-10′ ceilings throughout, a formal entry hall, grand rooms and expansive grounds. These tend to only surface in older parts of town, and to my knowledge, much more in the South. They are rarely built as new construction anymore because it costs too much to put all of that square footage on one level! Because of this, they are hard to come by nowadays, so let me know if you spot one!

Time and time again, these are the styles I always resonate with the most. So now that you know my list, what are your architectural favorites?

Happy Thursday~

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(All photos taken by Interior Canvas)

Restoration Obnoxious

I always get excited when I see the big brown truck (i.e. the UPS truck) pull up to my driveway. With this day and age being flooded with emails and texts as the mode for communication, it is always fun to receive a surprise something of substance…especially in a package. That is until I received my UPS doorstep delivery, only to behold this:

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A mass of Restoration Hardware “preview collection” catalogs that weighed more than a small dog. I even measured its thickness:

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FOUR INCHES THICK!!!! Unbelievable.

No, I didn’t request this to be sent to me. As I rolled my eyes, I decided to vent on Instagram about it. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who was highly irritated at this. Most people commented they had thrown it straight to the recycle bin upon receiving. Which brings up my next point…just how many trees were cut down to create this ad campaign? I am all for promoting your business and products…but this just seems terribly reckless, expensive and an out-of-control marketing campaign!

I must have not been the only person complaining, because this is what got sent to my email today:

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Hmmm…”heavier load=lighter carbon footprint?” I’ll keep my opinions on that to myself:)

Anyways, clearly I was rubbed wrong with this ad campaign. Too big. Too heavy. Too much space taken in my recycle bin.

My challenge to Restoration Hardware? Instead of a “sustainability initiative” how about an on-line Initiative! Be bold! Take the minimalist approach! Go paper free!!!

You can even rename your slogan to: “virtual load=no carbon footprint.”

And in the meantime, please take me off your catalog mailing list.

(Images 1-2: Interior Canvas photos; 3-screenshot from Interior Canvas email)

 

 

House Hopping

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It always seems as though springtime is when the housing market gets hopping. Back when I sold real estate, I always told my clients that if there was an ideal time to sell your home, it was in the spring. Fast forward a few years, and here I am taking my own advice. You all have been privy to my polite venting about my petite home. A home that I love dearly, but a home that my family of 5 has noticeably outgrown.  My incessant purging of old and unused items, rearranging of furniture to make more space in a room, finding new storing solutions for clothes that keep getting bigger (while my closets seem to get smaller), all have finally come to a close with the realization that I just need a bigger house! So as I get ready to sadly bid adieu to my sweet home, I also find myself looking ahead to a new adventure in a new house I’ll call home.  It will take time, but I’ll slowly learn its quirks, become familiar with its noises, learn where the light falls in the morning, and where the best spot is to see the setting sun. I’ll know which windows are the best to look through when watching my children play in the yard, and I’ll discover what secrets a new variety of plants and trees will hold for me as I experience their changing beauty throughout the upcoming seasons.

Yes, I am house hopping, but with a happy nod to the past and an optimistic smile to the future.

Happy Thursday~

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The Artistic Life: Rachael McCampbell

I’m always thrilled to feature talents in the art world and today’s artist won’t disappoint. Sit back and enjoy my conversation with talented Nashville-based artist, Rachael McCampbell!

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“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening #2″ (Inspired by Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”) 30″h x 80″w. Oil on Canvas

Share with us a little about your background and how it brought you to where you are today.

I grew up on a farm in east Tennessee and studied art at the University of Georgia. Upon graduation, I moved to Florence, Italy where I had a job with the fashion designer Emilio Pucci. After that, I lived in New York where I studied at the New School and worked for an advertising illustrator, Braldt Bralds, plus worked in art galleries. Then I went to London where I studied at Christie’s, finally settling in Los Angeles where I lived 24 years working in the art gallery world and as a commercial artist before settling into being a full time fine artist, which is what I do today.

Tennessee has always held a special place in my heart and I knew I wanted to move back here. So in 2008 I settled in the hamlet of Leiper’s Fork, which is about 10 min away from Franklin, TN, in the country. I bought a creaky, turn-of-the-century farmhouse with a big creek in the back yard, and this is where I paint.

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 “Waxwings” (Inspired by Robert Francis’ poem of the same name) 24″w x 36″h. Oil on Canvas.

I got immediately involved in the art scene here and in 2009, I had a solo show at Tinney Contemporary in downtown Nashville that was called, “Endangered Species: Nature in the Balance,” that benefited the Land Trust for Tennessee. It was about endangered and extinct species. Then in 2010, I did a solo show at the Parthenon Museum called, “Women in Mythology” which was large figurative paintings featuring the heroines of Greek myths. 2012 was a busy year as I was the official Iroquois Steeplechase artist and had a show of racing horses at Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, plus I worked as the building contractor repairing my home from the 2010 Nashville flood. I don’t think I slept that year!

Since that time, I’ve been booked painting commissions for private clientele. I am currently painting for a solo show at The District Gallery in Knoxville, Tennessee. And I am also in the process of curating a few shows of other artists’ work from Los Angeles.

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“Magnolia Heaven” (Inspired by poem entitled “The Magnolias” by Geoffrey Dutton) 30″h x 80″w. Diptych. Oil on Canvas.

Describe the mediums in which you create art.

I paint both in acrylic and oil. For the most part, I like highly textured paintings. I build up the canvas with gels, pastes and acrylics and finish in oil. I sometimes draw on top of the finished art with charcoal, rediscovering the lines I began with. I often sand down and build paint back up revealing shapes and images that surprise me. I always begin with an initial design, but often it is changed entirely by the end of the process, (unless, the painting is a commission and in that case, I stick to the agreed upon sketches). It’s important to take breaks and study your art. I like to sit back with a cup of tea and let the painting tell ME what it needs instead of the other way around.

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“In the Current of Eagles” (Inspired by Rachael McCampbell’s poem of the same name) 24″w x 36″h. Oil on Canvas

What has drawn you to nature as the source for most of your painting inspiration?

I think my years of living on a farm outside of Knoxville and spending weekends in the Smoky Mountains inform what I do. As a child the majority of my time was spent out of doors: fishing, riding horses, working in the garden, playing in the fields, woods and creeks. The nature around me, the farms, the seasons and weather, were like a third parent to me. They fed and nurtured me.

Wildlife was always there and I’m sure I took it for granted. Had I known that I would live the majority of my life in large, urban cities, I would have taken more time to be appreciative of what I had. But now I am back with eyes wide open, and happily painting in an area that inspires and informs my work.

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“Egrets” (Inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem of the same name) 30″h x 40″w. Oil on Canvas

Your current show in Knoxville is featuring paintings inspired by poetry. Can you explain how you are creating art using this source of inspiration?

Years ago, I was accepted into a masters of writing program at Bennington College but had to turn it down to make a living as a commercial artist. I had a strong passion for writing and literature, and still do, but the majority of my time is taken up with painting now. The rich visual images that I see when I read spark my imagination like nothing else. Of course it’s often hard to settle on one image based on a poem when so many arise from a poem, or even a single line. At some point, I just have to decide on something and go with that. I think reading literature and poetry is a great tool to inspire an artist when one is stuck.

I started a series, in Los Angeles, based on the poetry of a well-known poet named Suzanne Lummis, who was going to collaborate with me on an exhibition. But I didn’t get to finish it because I was committed to do a solo show in Santa Monica with large paintings of horses and had to stop the process. So I sold the pieces off, but never did the show. A side note to that story is that I did a painting based on one of her poems, which I called “Woman and Apple.” When Ms. Lummis saw that painting, she wrote another poem based on that painting. She published that poem in a book called “Ekphastia Gone Wild: Poems Inspired by Art,” which came out in 2013. I love the way the arts feed and inspire one another.

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 “Mockingbirds” (Inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem of the same title) 30″ x 30″. Oil on Canvas.

After completing commissions, I was offered a solo show with the freedom to paint whatever I wanted, so I chose to go back to the theme of poetry inspired works. The owners of the District Gallery in Knoxville, Jeff and Denise Hood, were excited by this idea and have been very encouraging. The show is called “Dreamscapes: Poetry Inspired Paintings” and opens May 17, 2014 in Knoxville, TN.

Some of the poets and writers who have fed my work recently are Maya Angelou, Mary Oliver, Yeats, Donald Justice, Wallace Stevens, Suzanne Lummis, Wendell Berry, E.E. Cummings, Robert Francis and Raymond Carver.

blueWinter_McCampbell_16x20h“Blue Winter” (Inspired by Robert Francis’ poem of the same name) 16″w x 20″h. Oil on Canvas.

Blue Winter
by Robert Francis

Winter uses all the blues there are.

One shade of blue for water, one for ice,

Another blue for shadows over snow.

The clear or cloudy sky uses blue twice-

Both different blues. And hills row after row

Are colored blue according to how far.

You know the bluejay’s double-blur device

Shows best when there are no green leaves to show.

And Sirius is a winterbluegreen star.

Do you work on commission and where can we see more of your work?

I do work on commission quite often. I enjoy that process a great deal. It’s fun to personalize art for the client. Sometimes, each bird or flower or landscape holds a specific meaning for them. If the 3 birds in the painting represent their children, for example, then the art is dearer to the client for that reason.

The largest commission I’ve done was in 2012. It was 4’ high by 14’ long painting of horses running through the sky with a Scottsdale, Arizona landscape below. I went to Kentucky to take pictures of my thoroughbred subjects (their horses) and to meet the clients, then flew out with them to see their winter home in Park City, and to see the wall where they wanted the art to hang. It was good to see the environment, and go to art galleries with them to see and hear what they responded to in art. I was able to learn what was important for them in the painting by spending time there with them. They loved the finished product, thank goodness!

I show my work by appointment in Leiper’s Fork, on my website and of course, there will be this show in Knoxville inspired by poetry May 17th, 2014. I will put that series on my website in May 2014. I will also have work on view at Regions Bank in Franklin, 121 First Ave South, Franklin, TN 37064, at the next art crawl, Friday night, June 6th at 6 pm.

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“White Owl Flies Into and Out of Field” (Inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem of the same name). 30″w x 40″h. Oil on Canvas.

Thank you, Rachael! Your work is truly inspiring. For more information about Rachael and her work, see below:

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www.rachaelmccampbell.com

(All images courtesy of Rachael McCampbell. All paintings by Rachael McCampbell)

Photo of Rachael McCampbell by Ron Manville.

 

 

 

Area 2 Trading Co.

I am completely obsessed with a new website in town called, Area 2 Trading Co. Nashville’s Liza Canale has brilliantly combined shopping for high-end consigned furniture in an e-commerce twist. The result? A gorgeous website full of ever-changing (and stunning) treasures that you can shop for from your computer!

I had a chance to sit down with Liza and ask her a few questions about her newest venture. Enjoy!

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Vintage Tin Painted Box

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background

I am proud to call myself a Nashville native. After graduating from Colorado College and living in the West for several years, I found myself gravitating back to the South. Initially, I worked in production for a nationally syndicated television program. When the production base moved from Nashville, I went to work in marketing and sales for a local design/French import business. After some years in the creative business community, I moved to Knoxville with my future husband where I obtained my Masters in Social Work from the University of Tennessee. I specialized in forensic interviewing and child therapy until my husband and I returned to Nashville to raise a family in 2007.

Since my childhood I have been exposed to the visual and decorative arts, and I consistently have found myself coming back to the design world as a passion and as a profession. At last I have finally synced passion and career. Now that my two boys are of school age, I can fully commit to bringing my plans for A2TC to fruition.

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Vintage Cane Queen Size Headboard

What led to the creation of Area 2 Trading Co.?

My mother was a sculptor before moving on to become an interior designer and painter. As a result, I have been immersed in the design and art world all of my life. A few years ago my mother asked that I help her sell a few of her nicer things. From there, I began managing estate sales out my garage and an old art studio. I was approached by many friends and neighbors to try and sell their things for them. It soon became apparent that while many people have home furnishings and art that they would like to put up for adoption, most dislike the hassle of estate sales and consignment stores. That is when I decided that Nashville needed an online marketplace for design-loving locals who want to sell old treasures or buy new ones with confidence in both the quality of the products and the transaction. Thus, Area 2 Trading Company was born!

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Mirrored Side Table

How do you determine your pricing for your consigned pieces?

Initially I get as much information and history about the product as possible from my sellers. Then I research items of similar age, style, and condition via design-centered websites. My goal is to offer the product at a realistic and competitive asking price. Naturally, sellers would like to recoup their investments. My role is to determine fair- market value in a design market that is constantly changing.

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Mirrored Leaf Sconces

Can buyers come see the items in person?

Absolutely! In fact, I prefer that the item is viewed in person. This is one of the benefits of conducting business with A2TC.

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Hand-made Chestnut Dining Table

Do you ship out of state?

Yes, shipping is available throughout the Unites States.

Ooooh, I cannot wait to jump back on that website to see what Liza’s latest finds are!

For more information about Liza and Area 2 Trading Co, click on her links below!

www.area2tradingco.com

Area 2 Trading Co – Facebook

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(All images courtesy of Area 2 Trading Co)

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Outdoor Collection from John Lyle

With spring in full swing (well, minus the misstep mother nature had this week with those cold temps!), I am checking out fun and fresh outdoor furniture that I can use to better enjoy the next several warmer months ahead.  One line I cannot stop looking at? John Lyle’s Outdoor Furniture Collection. With a variety of colors, this elegant line with a youthful twist is just the look I want. Take a look:

Highland Chair

Highland Bench

Christofi Lounge

Dark Harbor Bench

Christofi Dining Chair

Aren’t these fun? Bring on the cookouts and garden parties!  To view the entire John Lyle Outdoor Collection, as well as his other lines and design work, see below:

JOHN LYLE OUTDOOR COLLECTION

JOHN LYLE DESIGN

Happy Easter Weekend!

Interior Design Blog

(All images courtesy of Andrew Joseph PR)