Friday, April 16, 2010

A great blog, and a thank you

Late last year, a new blogger started commenting on my blog. As soon as I visited her blog, I knew I had found something (and someone) special. Gwen Driscoll writes Ragland Hill Social, and is not only an extraordinarily talented designer (and owner of Gwen Driscoll Designs), but also a design blogger with a talent for writing with flair and wit. Her posts are a visual feast, filled with image after inspirational image.

In Gwen's words:
My design always evokes emotion. It's just part of my process. A sterile environment is usually not my favorite. People who hire us are drawn to our work for that reason. I rarely hear people say they were "wowed" by my work. I often hear "they loved the way a space made them feel".
This perfectly captures what I like about great design - I am not looking for spaces that bowl me over, but spaces that feel right. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what makes a space feel right, but a designer like Gwen has a 6th sense for this kind of thing; it is about scale and proportion, a mix of textures, a sense of comfort and ease, spaces that work for the people who are going to live in them.

Gwen's own work represents this perfectly. Look at this room that Gwen recently designed for a client. It is beautiful and clean lined, yet has traditional elements that have stood the test of time. Image via Gwen Driscoll Designs.

I always love a room with a grand piano in it! Image via Gwen Driscoll Designs.

The farmhouse table and rustic dish cabinet look amazing in this space. I would love to see more of the kitchen - what is that countertop made of? Image via Gwen Driscoll Designs.

Also not to be missed is Gwen's series in which she matches a Hollywood celebrity with a piece of furniture. One of my favorites: the dining room chandelier post (click here) and the 'Every Room Should Have a Superstar' post (click here - it one of my favorites of the year so far!).

It is also clear when reading Gwen's blog that she is a generous soul. She shares her gift and her knowledge freely.

She also has wonderful giveaways! Gwen has giveaways for things that she personally loves to use in her own home and for clients, and one such giveaway was for Leontine Linens (Leontine founder Jane Scott Hodges is one of Gwen's dear friends). I have always admired the beauty and craftsmanship of Leontine Linens, and was amazed to learn that I was the lucky winner!

My gift arrived this week; we ordered it in late January, but each item is custom crafted and takes 8-12 weeks for delivery. Not surprisingly, the Leontine box was beautiful and tied with a lilac ribbon.

And here is my wonderful gift! Three custom monogrammed dinner napkins, one for each of my children. I wasn't sure what to select, as the color scheme for my new house has not even been discussed. Gwen and I brainstormed a bit, then I told Gwen about one of my fond childhood memories of visiting my Aunt in Scotland; every member of the family had their own special napkin and napkin ring. So this will be the beginning of a wonderful new family tradition in my own family! I even have the napkin rings, which were gifts to my children when they were babies.

Thank you, Gwen! Please stop by and pay her a visit at her marvelous blog - she has a great post up today. http://gwendriscoll.blogspot.com

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  1. Yes I have been there to her blog. A wonderful feast for the eyes!
    Have a great weekend,

  2. A beautiful gift and so beautifully wrapped. What a lovely way to introduce children to table manners and family dinners. I am enjoying Gwen's blog, just catching up on many this month. Happy weekend.

  3. I will have to go to Gwen's blog those pictures are stunning!
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Pamela at French Buttons

  4. I oh so love Ms Gwen, she is not only incredibly talented but generous as well...and her post matching aesthetics to celebs are absolutely the best!! Thank you so much for highlighting her wonderful blog.

    I could be wrong, very easily, however I believe the photos above are actually her own home...stunning.


  5. Wow, I just noticed DOXA Home on your blog roll! Thank you so very much;)


  6. Gwen's blog is so unique and her work in these images are magazine-worthy. I love your new tradition!

  7. So many great blogs. Well it not great blogs so much as great people sharing great stuff. I also love the rustic dining table. I don't want to eat "fussy" on an immaculate table. I want to eat family style and not worry about a spill.

    I immediately clicked the Ragland Hill "follow" button and realized I'd been follow for a long time.

  8. the napkins for your kids are too sweet!

  9. Gwen was one of my first "connections" in the blogosphere, and it was on that very giveaway...(so glad that you won, btw!) I couldn't agree more with what you said. Her warmth AND her talent blow me away! Congrats on your lovely new napkins...as a mother to 3 of my own, I can't help but think that maybe we need to adopt this charming tradition! Got the Ballard catalog in the mail today, and found myself wondering what your new home is going to look like. Blogging has taken a hold of me for sure! :)

  10. Holly,

    OK. I must say, this is a first for me in the "world of blog"....tears that poured from my eyes that wouldn't stop! Your kind words stopped me in my tracks and truly touched my heart more than you know. And, this is precisely why I entered this world...to connect with friends who live and love in the same passionate way I do.

    So wish I had 3 girls to share your special tradition with...my one precious Lucy is getting her napkin & napkin ring for her 10th birthday! I am a traditionalist in every way and this is one I hope my family will keep for generations. Thank you for sharing it with me. I hope you have a fabulous weekend. Soccer games and spending the day at the barn with Lucy is what it's in store for me. What could be better?

    Love dear,


    Coming to Design ADAC...are you going?

  11. gwen is a shining star on the blog scene. amazingly talented, warm and generous. the sort i would to be friends with

  12. Gwen is good. I adore her style, her blog, all the images and the way she can connect furnishings to celebs, now that is so creative. I enjoy her blog and her sophisticated flair for life.
    Those napkin rings deserved to be framed.

  13. Wow fabulous blog - off to check it out!! The napkins are stunning. Leontine Linens are so beautiful!! You have three lucky children!

  14. Gwen is a jewel isn't she? AND uber talented too. I love visiting her blog and am in awe of her talent!
    What a sweet tradition with the napkins and rings.

  15. I've been following Gwen's blog too and love it. Her designs are so inviting, calm and refreshing, exactly what a home should feel like!

  16. How I love a happy post. Thank you for sharing such a loving post. What is that Edith Wharton quote,--? Something like, "There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." You, dear Holly, are both today.

  17. I couldn't agree more-Gwen is a talented writer and designer who truly cares for people-how lucky we all are!

  18. Holly- Thanks for the blog introduction.
    Your blog is inspiring, as well!

  19. Gwen is so lovely! Wonderful post!!

  20. Gwen rocks! You are awesome for doing this post.

  21. Yes Gwen is wonderful and so very talented!
    I love her guided posts and find that I am learning every time I click in. Her celebrity-design-team-up posts are hilarious and always so amazingly accurate. She really has an amazing eye!

    Lovely of you to let her know how special you think she is. That is what blogging should be about - sharing the love.

    x Charlotta

  22. Love Leontine Linens! Simply the Best! fyi, doing a painting giveaway on my blog. Ends at 6 tonight!!!

  23. What a beautifully written post, Holly. I can understand why Gwen was weeping. I'm teary eyed and it's not even written about me.
    Gwen is such a talented designer. I was so thrilled when she decided to start her blog. Her posts are so creative and informative!

    Your children's napkins are beautiful. I think I would be tempted to frame them rather than use them. Leontine linens are like works of art!


  24. You got me on the gray shutters!


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