Thursday, February 24, 2011

The interior design begins

Now that the new house is actually being built, we in the midst of the fascinating business of the interior design of the house.  Although my designers, Suzanne and Keith (VP at Suzanne Kasler Interiors), have been working on the project since the beginning (September of 2009), the focus during the first year was primarily on the architectural design of the house, and some of the ‘attached to the house’ aspects such as tile, plumbing, and trim.  While the architecture of the house was being designed, we discussed some of the colors of the house at a high level, but more as it related to the overall feel we wanted to achieve and how that worked with the architectural and landscape design.  Once the house build started, our attention turned to the decor.  Although I have used designers in the past, I have never worked on a house from scratch, and I have been fascinated by the approach to the process.

Most of our meetings have taken place in Suzanne’s office (where Suzanne has a vast library of fabric samples and catalogs), with occasional forays to specialized stores.  The office space is well known in the blog world, as it was featured in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles.    It is an open and airy space, filled with light, and a great place to evaluate house plans and fabrics. 

The table on the left is where we sit; my usual spot is the chair on the left, facing the window.  What can’t be seen in this picture is the huge fabric wall (which is on the left, behind the table) where fabrics and rugs are pinned to the wall in inspirational groupings.  I always look forward to coming into the office to see what Suzanne and Keith have come up with! (Image via AH&L, photo Erica George Dines)

Here is a snapshot of the wall as it appeared at the end of last year – this is our third iteration or so.  When we first started talking about the color palette for the house, this wall was filled with dozens and dozens of fabrics, rug samples, wallpaper samples.  Slowly but surely, we are starting to narrow down the palette and selections.  It provides such a great way to discuss the options, as fabrics and rug samples can be moved from one place to another.

In December it was time to refine and confirm the selections, so we ventured out to look at rugs.  I love sisal, and requested that we consider sisal for some of the rooms (I could have a whole house in sisal!), but Suzanne also wanted a subtle geometric rug for one of the rooms, and something soft for the master bedroom and family room.  After looking at numerous rugs, a clear color palette and schematic began to emerge, which in turn helped us eliminate some of the fabric selections on the inspiration wall.

We found this rug in the design center – we all immediately knew it was the perfect start to the family room.  I learned that some rugs have ‘light sides’ and ‘dark sides’ based on how you look at the rug; this view is of the dark side.  I absolutely love the colors in this rug, and Suzanne felt that it was really ‘me’.  Having the rug to work with enabled Suzanne to determine the rest of the selections for the room, both fabric and furniture.  It’s going to be beautiful!

Suzanne has said from the beginning that she wants a geometric for the library, but not one that has a ‘retro’ feel.  This carpet from Stark is a leading candidate.

Here is the most recent iteration of the idea board – the fresh fabric in the upper right is for the kitchen, underneath that is the library; in the middle – on the top is fabric for stools in the entry, below that is the living room, and below that is the dining room.  The fabrics and rug samples on the left are under consideration for the master bedroom.  Some of the furniture and lighting have already been selected; we are also looking for antiques to help give a more balanced feel to the rooms.

Suzanne and Keith have been so wonderful to work with – I highly recommend them for anyone considering a design project!  When I first started looking for a designer, I was nervous about approaching Suzanne (in my world, designers like her are celebrities!), but I can’t imagine doing this project with anyone else.  My advice for anyone thinking about a project is to consider calling the designer you really want to work with – don’t assume that they are too busy, or that their fees are too high, or that they only do whole houses (sometimes this is the case, but you never know).  It never hurts to have a conversation and find out whether your project is a match for their firm. 

I have learned a lot going through this process, and am thrilled at how everything is coming together so beautifully.   It is Suzanne’s goal to create a decor that can be lived with and enjoyed for decades – and that every room be used - and not have to redo the decor every 10 years. She is creating an environment that reflects my husband and me, but also has a level of sophistication that will age beautifully.  Also, in her signature style, she is mixing the high and the low - we have many special pieces, but we also have many pieces that make it all work for my budget.  Since we are focusing on the architecture first and foremost right now, we are going to have to do the decor in phases (so, alas, an empty living room for a while - but at least we will have our piano in there!). Suzanne has been great in helping me prioritize and stick to my budget without sacrificing style and beauty.

Suzanne Kasler Interiors has a newly redesigned web site – full of beautiful pictures and inspiration.  You can visit it at http://www.suzannekasler.com/.  There are lots of great pictures of her design projects, as well as information on her lines of furniture, fabrics, lighting,  and accessories.  There is even a sneak peek of Suzanne’s new line of fabric for Lee Jofa. Enjoy!

In other news, I have decided to dip my toe into the waters of Twitter - @TTIBlog is how you can find me. 

Also, almost all of the Melissa Payne Baker paintings sold out within hours, so Melissa and I have added 15 new paintings to the Quatrefoil Design store, including the following:
6x12_Petite_Landscape_I[1] http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/product/original-art-by-melissa-payne-baker
8x8_Bird_Nest_IV[1] http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/product/original-art-by-melissa-payne-baker-bird-nest-iv-8-x8
10x10_Cross[1] http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/product/original-art-by-melissa-payne-baker-quatrefoil-i-10-x10

Click here to check out all of the art!  http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/category/art – and bookmark this page as I will be adding new small and medium sized pieces all of the time.

To visit my store, Quatrefoil Design, click here – come see the brand new art and scupture items in the store!
To subscribe to my blog by email, click here.
To follow my blog on Facebook, click here.
Twitter: @TTIBlog
To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beautiful art

To see all Melissa Payne Baker paintings currently in stock, please visit the Quatrefoil Design store:

melissa payne baker[1]
Five years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Atlanta based artist Melissa Payne Baker (above) when she was an undiscovered artist.   I loved her work then, and have been amazed to see how her art has become better and better through the years, achieving a high level of beauty and sophistication.  Melissa has an incredible feel for form and color that puts her in a category all by herself.  She is known for her thick texture and incredible brushwork, as well as her ethereal subject matter.

I admire all of Melissa’s work, but I am particularly partial to Melissa’s small pieces.  They add a little burst of beauty and color to just about any place in the house, and enable the enjoyment of original art in unexpected places.  I also appreciate the soothing nature of her paintings – they are a little oasis of peace and calm in an often hectic world!

Here is a Melissa Payne Baker painting, as seen in a room designed by Alison Womack Jowers seen in a recent Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles (photo credit: Emily Followill).  I love how this little painting of Melissa’s signature angels adds just the right touch to the space.  It also reminds me of the childhood bedtime prayer ‘angels guard me through the night, and keep me safe ‘til morning’s light’.

Melissa has been a featured artist at the Atlanta Symphony Decorators' Show House 2008-2010, and was voted as Atlanta’s best emerging artist in 2010 by Creative Loafing.  Here is a vignette from the 2010 Symphony Show House,  expertly arranged by Dillard Design – Melissa’s painting is the square one on the bottom.

The view from across the foyer – a peek of Melissa’s painting can be seen.

I am pleased to offer a selection of Melissa’s small paintings on the Quatrefoil Design storeAll of these pieces show below are one of a kind, original art. 

Petite Angel in Blue, 6”x6”, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, $185. 
Bird Nest I, 8”x8”, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, $245.
Click here for store item, and to see more pictures: http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/product/melissa-payne-baker-bird-nest-i
Sold, but we have just added some new paintings to the store - check http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com

Bird Nest II, 8”x8”, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, $245.
Click here for store item, and to see more pictures: http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/product/melissa-payne-baker-bird-nest-ii
Sold, but we have just added some new paintings to the store - check http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com

Soft Angel I, 10”x10”, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, $285.
Click here for store item, and to see more pictures: http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/product/melissa-payne-baker-soft-angel-i
Sold, but we have just added some new paintings to the store - check http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com

Soft Angel II, 10”x10”, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, $285.
Click here for store item, and to see more pictures: http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/product/melissa-payne-baker-soft-angel-ii
Sold, but we have just added some new paintings to the store - check http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com

Bliss I, 8”x8”, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, $245. 
Click here for store item, and to see more pictures: http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/product/melissa-payne-baker-bliss-i
Sold, but we have just added some new paintings to the store - check http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com

Bliss II, 8”x8”, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, $245. 
Click here for store item, and to see more pictures: http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/product/melissa-payne-baker-bliss-ii
Sold, but we have just added some new paintings to the store - check http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com

Also available (sold individually) – Nest I, II, III, and IV, 6”x6”, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, $185 each.

We also have a selection of ‘Itty Bitty’ paintings in the store, sized at 2”x2”, priced at $40 each.  They can be hung just about anywhere - on bulletin boards, car mirrors, Christmas trees, wine bottles, anywhere you want a little bit of art.  I love the idea of tying one to a present – was a great treat to get a painting as part of a gift!
This one is called ‘Itty Bitty III’ (click here for store item: http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/product/melissa-payne-baker-itty-bitty-iii). 

 There are more available on the Quatrefoil Design store - http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com.

Small pieces of art are incredibly versatile; they can be part of a gallery wall, or be the focal point of a small wall, or hung one on top of another to make a charming vignette. 

I also like to place a small painting as part of a tablescape or in a bookshelf (as seen above)– paintings help to create a more lively and interesting arrangement. Small paintings on mantels look great too.

I hope you like Melissa’s work as much as I do!  Please visit (and bookmark) the Quatrefoil Design store for additional paintings.  We are adding new things all the time!

For more information on Melissa, please see her website.  Melissa’s larger paintings are available at Huff Harrington Fine Art in Atlanta.

To visit my store, Quatrefoil Design, click here – come see the brand new art and scupture items in the store!
To subscribe to my blog by email, click here.
To follow my blog on Facebook, click here.
Twitter: @TTIBlog
To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jackye Lanham’s beautiful new website

One of Atlanta’s most talented designers, Jackye Lanham, has a brand new website (just launched yesterday), and it is quite spectacular.  I have seen some of her work in magazines throughout the years (Veranda, Southern Accents, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Architectural Digest to name a few), but the array of pictures on the website vastly expands the exposure to the depth and breadth of Lanham’s work, and includes recent projects that have not been published (yet).   Designed by one of the best web designers in the Southeast, Namey Design Studios, it is full of exquisite images I have never before seen.

Most of the Jackye Lanham interiors that I have seen in the magazines are elegant and traditional, with exquisite details.    Case in point: this beautiful room.  Look at the details in the chairs, the curtains, the wallpaper.  In a Southern Accents interview, Lanham once said that a room “should look like a well-dressed lady with style and panache who is also elegant and classic”.  She also notes that “I am always looking at fashion, old and new, for interesting details because that is the key to creating a new approach to curtain making. The finishes on a curtain are like the details on a well-made dress. A colored or patterned lining, a grosgrain trim, a ruffle, or a frayed edge are details that make curtains beautiful”. (Source)

Lanham is known for her masterful wall compositions.  It takes an experienced eye, plus a dash of boldness, to be able to create a vignette like this.

Another interesting wall vignette, paired with a pair of my favorite chairs (I believe they are Dessin Fournir).

Lanham is also known for her soothing color palette, which is evident when perusing the pictures on her new website.  Lanham is at the top of her game, and clearly gets to work with the most amazing architects – the architecture of the homes featured on her website provide an exquisite backdrop for Lanham’s work.

Many of Lanham’s signature touches are seen in her varied projects – such as the use of plates as decorative features on walls.  As a side note, I wonder what kind of marble this is?  Perhaps Georgia marble.  I am still marble obsessed, although I have finally picked my slabs (more on that in a different post!).

Another beautiful kitchen designed by Lanham.  It is light and fresh, traditional but not at all stuffy. Note the painted floor.  Also interesting to note that the range seems to be standalone – the counters do not go to the edge.

I love seeing some of the more streamlined examples of Lanham’s work on the new website.

My blog friend Tara Dillard would certainly agree -  vanishing threshold at its best, with steel windows opened to a beautiful backyard.  The yard beckons you out, and the interior beckons you in.  Perfection in architecture, interior design, and landscape.

I think I know which house this is….Jackye Lanham crafted the interiors of the house I have in mind.

I believe this room is from the same house.  Again, the quality of the architecture, the interior design, and the landscape give such a pulled together feel to this space.  Jackye commented in Southern Accents that “I like to think that no matter what the space is, there is a flow of color, texture, and patina that pulls your eye gently from corner to corner and back again”.  This perfectly captures the feel in this room. 

Here is another view of the room, from a different angle.  Architecture by Bill Litchfield, photography by Tom Namey.  Bill Litchfield’s website was designed by Namey Design Studios too.  It seems inevitable that this house will be published in a magazine sometime soon…I wonder which magazine will be lucky enough to get the feature.
This is just the tip of the iceberg – for dozens of images of Jackye Lan ham’s work, and for more information on Jackye and her firm, please visit her new website at http://www.jackyelanham.com.  All images in this post are from Jackye Lanham’s new site.

For more information on Tom Namey and Namey Design Studios, which provides services in web design and development, seo optimization, professional photography, among other suites of offerings, please visit http://www.nameydesign.com.

To visit my store, Quatrefoil Design, click here – come see the brand new art and scupture items in the store!
To subscribe to my blog by email, click here.
To follow my blog on Facebook, click here.
To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Childhood bedrooms

When I think back to my childhood, and the many bedrooms I had as a child (eight bedrooms, as we moved quite a bit), one bedroom comes to mind as my favorite – a third floor bedroom in a house that was a former embassy in Washington, DC.  I loved the Disney character Bambi, and my parents had an artist friend paint Bambi on my wall.  I adored that mural, and enjoyed waking up each morning and seeing it. 

Chessie_The_Kitten[1] 5377268453_78e888d927_o[1]
I also fondly remember my Chessie sheets – the logo for the Chesapeake Rail system that was licensed into a sheet set.

During my teenage years, I had a very sparse bedroom.  Although the entire upstairs was carpeted, my room had dark hardwood floors, and yet I never had a rug for the room.  I would move my furniture around that echoey room to make it try to look and feel more comfortable, but it never really worked very well.  I suppose my parents had a very, very low key approach to the decor of the kids’ rooms, as there were many other higher priority items for the family budget.

When it came time to decorate the room for my young daughters a few years ago (the older two shared a room for a few years, and were two and four at the time), I  must admit that I indulged in a bit of the room fantasy that I had as a child.  The walls were painted pink, I had lovely window treatments made - balloon shades with pink and cream toile, and a small pink check roman shade underneath.  I painted Sleeping Beauty on the wall, the favorite princess of my then four year old, and I had white quilted coverlets made with their initials embroidered in pink.  As it turns out – my daughters are not really fans of pink.   After a few years, the Sleeping Beauty was painted over, and the walls are now a linen white.  The window treatments and coverlets remain, but removing the pink from the walls really neutralized the room.

I would say that overall, I am pretty low key about my kids rooms – I want them to be attractive and functional, but I really don’t want them to be overly decorated or styled (and I am not going to spend a lot of money on the kids rooms).  As far as colors are concerned, in the new house the kids are going to be in charge of picking out the colors and style for their own rooms. I think this approach will work out well; my kids are not babies anymore, and they are (for the most part) beyond the whims of early childhood. 

img96m[1] image[1]
There are so many more options available now than there were even 10 years ago.  Online stores such as Serena & Lily (right), Pottery Barn Kids (left), Pottery Barn Teen, and Land of Nod provide all sorts of ready made designs for a child’s room – bedding, fabrics, rugs, curtains, accessories – all in one place.  We might very well go this route for my youngest daughter, who is still young enough for the sweetness of a little girl’s room, and is not ready for a more sophisticated look of a teen or pre-teen.

windsor smith
To assist all three of my kids in figuring out what they want, I gathered a group of pictures so I could get a feel for what they like as far as colors and style is concerned.  I included both the elaborate and the more streamlined.  It was interesting to see their reactions to the different rooms.  Take this room, for example, with interiors by Windsor Smith.  I adore it – it reminds me of the guest room in my grandmother’s house, which had floral wallpaper on every square inch of the walls, and a matching comforter.  I love the pattern and freshness of this room – it is beautiful and stylish, with both whimsical elements and sophistication; a room that has great charm for a ten year old, but can be easily updated (maybe with a larger bed) for a young adult.  However, none of my kids liked it.  Too much pattern, they said.  One of my children gave points for the pretty iron bed.  I love the look of a lantern in a bedroom.

This is one of my personal favorite kid rooms, with design by Urban Grace Interiors.  It looks like the design started with the carpet, which is beautiful and youthful.  I like how the bed was upholstered in something that appears to be pleather like – it would be very simple to wipe down.  Two of my kids gave a thumbs up, but the oldest one was not a fan - she didn’t like the bed or the carpet. 

This room seems very ‘now’, a vibrant and youthful room that any tween or teen would love.  Here is where the differences in my daughters really emerged.  The oldest seems to have very classic, tailored taste, and felt that it was too trendy for her.  My middle child loved it – thought it was very bright and happy.  My youngest one shies away from anything that is not pastel, so did not react favorably to the saturated colors. Image via House Beautiful.

This also looks like a young girl’s room, bright and lively and exuberant.  My oldest daughter thought it looked like a kitchen, with the amount of cabinetry in the room.  Predictably, my middle child loved the bright colors, but my youngest did not like them. Via http://dreamdesignlive.com.

I have always admired this bedroom, with its vivid Victoria Hagan fabric on the walls, which defines the color scheme for the room.  However, none of my kids like the brightness and saturated color of the room. Interior design by Suzanne Kasler.

The Victoria Hagan pattern seen in a different application – on the walls. Melissa Rufty via Odi et Amohttp://www.mmrinteriors.com.  Again, my kids nixed the vivid pattern and color.

I love this bedroom, seen on Pink Wallpaper.  The stripes make it modern and fresh, the colors make it great for a young girl.  My kids like the colors (in particular my youngest), but are not fans of stripes – in fact, my oldest has declared that she wants no stripes anywhere in her room.

The beauty is in the details of this room – the pattern on the rug, the beautiful trim on the headboard, with the colors repeated in the shade and bedskirt.  There are some quality details in this room; it might not even be a kids room, and I am probably interpreting it as such because of the colors.  My oldest child liked this room (although she prefers blue).

This image, via Cote de Texas, really appeals to me – it is simple and sweet, with nice pops of color. I particularly like the pink cording in the headboard.  All of my kids liked the soft look and feel of the room (sans deer head), but all commented they would substitute the pink with another color.  I guess they have not received the memo about ‘honeysuckle’ being the color of the year! 

This bedroom was designed for a pre-teen by Jim Howard.  It’s interesting to see that the window treatments are quite wide, although the window is small.  I like  the sophisticated mix in this room, from the art to the combination of orange and blue.  The side tables are quite a color commitment, but so beautiful.

My middle child called this room ‘nice and simple and smooth’- perhaps recognizing the beauty in solids with just the occasional pattern.  The other two liked it, but noted that they would prefer color on the walls.

I often find that guest rooms have a clean appeal that would translate equally well to a fresh room for a girl.  My middle daughter and I both love this guest room in my sister’s old house (since sold), with interior design by Jim Hawes.

This would have been my dream bedroom as a child, and even as a teen (or maybe even now!).  One of my daughters really responded to this pretty pink bedroom (with interior design by Phoebe Howard), despite professing a hatred of pink.  I think it is the soft, girly look of this room that appeals to her. 

The other two did not like it, and found it too girly, pink, and fluffy.  Interestingly, none of my kids liked the mirrored side table – I guess they are not into a little bit of glamour that mirrored furniture brings to a room.

I wish I could see the rest of this room, because I like what I see in this view.  It is classic and timeless, yet also youthful.  Despite the pink, my middle daughter liked this room very much.   I think it is the white mixed with a pale pastel that she is reacting to.  I pointed out that she is liking rooms where the walls are painted, even though she is insisting that she wants ‘cream walls’ – maybe scarred from the pink walls that used to dominate her room. Source unknown.

The beauty and simplicity of this room is wonderful – one of my daughters noted that it has a beachy feel, and all of my kids seem to gravitate to the beachy colors.  A bit of pretty pattern is brought in on the headboard, but the rest of the room is calm. Design by Ruthie Sommers.

I have paid attention through the years when designers and fellow bloggers post on kids rooms.  The next two, by Tracery Interiors, are particularly beautiful.   Tracery Interiors designed these rooms for two young girls, and they strike the perfect balance between the freshness of youth, and a growing sophistication needed in a room of a girl who is no longer a young child, but not yet a teen.  This room was done for the younger daughter; this is the type of decor that can easily grow with a child.  I love the rug!

The older sister’s room is done is a rich purple, which Doug (from Tracery Interiors) noted is a great counterpoint to the fresh pink in the younger sister’s room. To see the original Tracery Interiors post, click here.

Brooke from Velvet & Linen recently posted about the update to her 10 year old Leila’s room.  Leila picked out the Anthropologie carpet, which started the new vision for the room.  It is a great space, and beautifully reflects Brooke’s daughter.  See the rest of the post here.  Brooke has also mentioned a book on Children’s rooms that has been inspirational to her as she has designed rooms for young clients – Rooms for Children, by Susanna Salk.

Joni from Cote de Texas recently updated the room of a teenage client, with beautiful results. See post here.

I am concluding with the three rooms that all of my kids liked.  This has always been a favorite of mine – the subtle mix of the blue and the sage green is beautiful.    Design by Jim Howard.

One of my daughters loves a lot of pattern – this is a great fabric because it brings in pattern, but in a soft way (the fabric is my Victoria Hagan).  I also love the unexpected green contrast brought in by the chair and the throw. Design by Lynn Morgan.  All of my kids reacted positively to the ‘prettiness’ and freshness of this room.

  All three of my kids really liked this room too.  I realize it is not a kids room, but has the soft pastels and the blue color scheme that my girls seem to like.  I am starting to realize that my kids have been quite influenced by the look and feel of my current bedroom…

Don’t you agree?  My master bedroom furniture is going to become the guest bedroom furniture, and I will be changing up my color scheme to more of a green-blue (inspired by Galbraith & Paul Tulip fabric in frost).

This exercise was very helpful.  My oldest wants a tailored, classic look with light blue as her main color (and she wants the walls to be blue).  She wants primarily solid colors with only a little pattern,  only on the pillows. 

My middle child wants more of a vivid color in her room, and wants a lively pattern – she is currently loving this Thomas Paul fabric by Duralee.  She is also gravitating towards teal and cream as the colors she wants in the room.

My youngest wants sweet and girly, with light purple and white as the main colors. 

What are your memories of your childhood bedroom?  Do you have any tips and recommendations when approaching the design and furnishing of a child’s bedroom, or any great products for a kids bedroom that you would like to share with my readers? I am particularly interested in hearing your thoughts and ideas on lighting – chandeliers and lamps, that are cute and whimsical but don’t break the budget.

Books mentioned in this post are available on Amazon

Things That Inspire Favorites: Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths

Things That Inspire Favorites: Oz Naturals Vitamin C Serum

Things That Inspire Favorites: Thera Breath Oral Rinse


To visit my store, Quatrefoil Design, click here.
To subscribe to my blog by email, click here.
To follow my blog on Facebook, click here.
To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store.


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