Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Childhood homes of royal brides

The lead up to the Royal Wedding on Friday has been highly entertaining for an Anglophile like me.  My favorite online source for royal information, www.dailymail.co.uk, has hour by hour updates on all things related to the wedding (and a page devoted to all wedding related news - www.dailymail.co.uk/home/royalwedding/index.html), and the on demand section of my cable system is packed full of royalty related shows from the past decade. 

Yesterday I watched a biography of Sarah, Duchess of York, and saw a picture of her childhood home, Dummer Down Farm.  What a beautiful house – it is classic, yet also has its own unique flair.  I am drawn to the symmetry of the design, and the attractive garden in the front.  I would be interested in seeing this house in its larger context, because the large front lawn with no apparent driveway is a bit confusing out of context. A quick search revealed that it available for rent.

Seeing Sarah's childhood home got me curious about some of the other childhood homes of royal brides.  I could not find anything on Sophie Wessex's childhood home, but there was some good information on Diana, Princess of Wales' childhood home. I had always assumed Diana was raised at Althorp, but it turns out that she was born at Park House, and spent her childhood here (seen above). Park House is on the Queen’s Sandringham estate (the Spencer family leased the house). When Diana's father became the 8th Earl Spencer in 1975, he inherited Althorp, but by that time Diana was in boarding school.

It was interesting to learn that in recent years, the Queen has allowed a charity to use the house as a hotel for people with disabilities. http://www.parkhousehotel.org.uk/

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Kate Middleton’s family home in Bucklebury has been in the news of late, and it is a beautiful five bedroom house that appears to be set in a bucolic meadow.  According to my research, Kate’s family moved into this house when she was 13 years old.   I am intrigued by the many windows in the back of the house, and it seems as if there is a great connection between the house and its landscape.

This house, called 'West View' and described as a modest four bedroom Victorian house, is where Kate lived from birth until age 13.  According to news reports, it is going to be auctioned on June 3 (source).

Architecture, houses, and royalty – it’s always great to pull together some of my favorite things in one blog post!  Do you have a favorite out of these homes?  I must admit to being  captivated by the exterior of Sarah Ferguson's childhood home. In the meantime, I am counting down until the Royal Wedding, and plan on starting my day at 4 am when BBC’s coverage begins.  Are you planning on watching the wedding on Friday? 

Things That Inspire Favorites: Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Easter has always been one of my favorite days, and is certainly the most magnificent day in my church, so full of joy and celebration.  

One of my favorite traditions at my church is the Easter Cross of Flowers.  An 8 foot cross is erected in front of the church, and it is slowly transformed through the morning of Easter with flowers and branches that church members bring to create this beautiful symbol of the Resurrection.  

Happy Easter to all!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thoughts on patterns

I once read about a designer who starts the design process in the closet of her clients, to get a feel for the styles and colors that the client gravitates to and feels comfortable in.  I wonder what a designer would think if he or she were to peer into my closet?  It is clear that I like solids in beautiful colors; in the winter there is a lot of green, gray, purple, blue, and camel (along with standard neutrals), in the spring/summer lighter shades of the same colors can be found. I am not afraid to try unusual hues – but as a redhead, I am very particular about the colors that I wear.  I also like things fairly tailored, although a beautiful style will sway me to be a bit more unstructured in certain clothing choices.  There are very few patterns in my clothing; if I buy something with a pattern, it has to really strike me either in color or design.

There are many similarities between my closet style and the style that I gravitate to in my home. My current home has very little pattern, although some can be found here and there. My favorite decor colors are blues and greens, anchored with neutrals, and the occasional burst of unusual hues.  Perhaps the best reflection of the style that I like can be found in my virtual home posts, such as the one I created at the beginning of 2010 (click here for post).  Looking more closely at the pictures, a few patterns make an appearance, but most of the fabrics are solid and soft colors.  If there are patterns, they tend to be subtle and fairly tone on tone (as seen in the curtains of this room by Gerrie Bremermann – this is one of my all time favorite rooms).

The designer that I am working with is known for her soft palette, beautiful fabrics, and fairly neutral color scheme.  One thing that has surprised me is the amount of pattern that is making its way into the design for the new house.  The foundational fabrics for the major upholstery pieces are solid and neutral, and the backdrop of the walls are neutral, but in just about every room there is an interesting pattern incorporated into the schematic.

Some of the patterned fabrics that we are using are from Galbraith & Paul.  Their designs are like little works of art; on the front page of their website, they describe their wares as “designed with an artist’s eye, made with a craftsman’s hands”. (Source)

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I love the pictures that Galbraith & Paul have on their website – it is an inside peek into their intricate design and production process.  The fabrics are designed by Liz Galbraith, and are described as “combining the bold graphics of Marimekko, the painterly qualities of The Bloomsbury Group, and the hand printed textures of William Morris textiles, Galbraith & Paul fabrics convey a subtle and elegant spirit all their own”.
As seen in these pictures, all of their patterns are hand block printed.  Because artistic and hand created nature of the process, customization of pattern and ground colors is possible. (Source)

This vignette from the Galbraith & Paul gallery shows the fabric from the production pictures (perhaps a different colorway?) in a room scene. (Source)

The Crosby Street Hotel in London uses Galbraith & Paul fabrics in some of their rooms. (Source)

This is my favorite look of pattern in a room – tone on tone, closely matching the colors of the walls. (Source)

A cheerful Galbraith & Paul fabric brings a lot of interest to this room. (Source)

Galbraith & Paul’s Tulip pattern is one of my favorites. It was the leading candidate for the master bedroom, but in the end we decided to use a Kerry Joyce fabric.  I am still hoping to use this fabric somewhere else in the house, though! (Source)

A charming Galbraith & Paul fabric on the pillows and chair.  To me, this is a great way to incorporate pattern into a room.  The feel is largely soothing and serene because of the colors, the rug, and the sofa, but the pattern brings in a more youthful energy.  The photo credit noted Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles – anyone know the designer?

My husband is looking forward to having a little more pattern and color in our house, and I love the patterns that we have chosen so far.  One of the reasons I hired such a seasoned designer is because I hoped that she would push me into a new direction, and I like the direction that she has chosen.  Who knows, maybe a little more pattern will even find its way into my closet!

Do you like to use patterns in your decor, and if so, where do you like to use pattern?  I am also curious if your closet reflects your style in decor.
For more information on Galbraith & Paul, please visit their website: http://www.galbraithandpaul.com

Brand new paintings by Kendall Boggs in the Quatrefoil Design store – come check them out! 

To visit my store, Quatrefoil Design, click here 
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Twitter: @TTIBlog
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From blog post to reality: groin vault ceiling

I am not sure when groin vault ceilings first came onto my radar, but I have admired the beauty of this architectural feature for a while and even wrote a blog post about them last year (http://www.thingsthatinspire.net/2010/03/groin-vault-ceilings.html).

Groin vault ceiling in process, iphone picture 
In the house we are building, we had the perfect little hall for a groin vault ceiling, and my architect thought it would be a great ceiling treatment for the space.  So here it is!  My designer has not yet selected a light fixture for this space; although virtually all of the lighting has been ordered, there are a few places where we wanted to see how things came together before selecting the fixture.

Now that the interior finishes are beginning to take shape, I will be featuring peeks into the house on a regular basis.  Up until this point, most of the activity has been structural, which is very important but not terribly exciting.  I am thrilled that we are finally into the interesting part of the build!

Check out what's new in the Quatrefoil Design store - over a dozen new Melissa Payne Baker paintings

To visit my store, Quatrefoil Design, click here – come see the brand new art and scupture items in the store! 

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The amazing High Point Market – Century Furniture

My first stop at the High Point Market was Century Furniture.  I will admit to having a very fond spot in my heart for Century; their furniture truly resonates with me, and I have purchased many pieces of Century furniture over the years.  The tour of the beautiful Century showroom was guided by the granddaughter of the founder of Century, Comer Wear; Century is a family business now in its third generation.  Founded in 1947, Century Furniture prides itself on being an American brand primarily made in the USA.  Century offers over 50 finishes, and thousands of customization options, and the dazzling number of items in their line were on full display in their showroom at High Point.  Their showroom was truly amazing!

I particularly liked a new line of furniture introduced by Century at this market, called Monarch.  The light tones and relaxed elegance had great appeal to me.  I particularly liked this dining table, which has the aged oak look that I love but in a more refined finish that protects the surface and eliminates the raw edges often found in furniture of this style.

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Also a favorite from this collection was a center table with beautifully turned legs, and a detailed top that reminded me of a rose window.

Century has everything from traditional to contemporary in their line.  I have admired this Kelly Hoppen screen for years, and it was great to see it in real life! Click here to see more of the Kelly Hoppen collection.

Some of the rooms featured Century’s more traditional lines, and there is a large market for furnishings that are rooted in traditional design.  However, what Century is seeing is a desire to have ‘traditional with a twist’ – classic lines and forms, but mixed up with vintage inspired pieces, or contempory art, or even bright and vibrant wood finishes and hardware to make the design more 21st century.

The Bob Timberlake Home Collection by Century, which spread out over at least five large rooms, truly made me feel as if I had been transported to either the mountains or a lake house.  Bob himself is very involved in the styling of the rooms, and many of the accessories and wall hangings are from his personal collection.  Here is a great YouTube video of the new Bob Timberlake collection, featuring an interview with Bob himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCFYwar2gHM

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One way that Century keeps their lines fresh and updated is with a vast array of finishes.  This is a Greek Key chest is from the Oscar de la Renta collection (click here to see more from this collection); on the left is a green finish in the showroom (my picture), on the right it is shown in a darker finish (picture from the Century website).  Century has a list of recommended finishes for each of their items, but the sky is the limit with Century’s customized approach to furniture making.

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The blue finish are one of my favorites! Both of these pieces are from Century’s New Traditional collection (a style that really resonates with me). Click here to see more from the New Traditional collection. (Picture on the left taken in the showroom, picture on the right from the Century website).

The silver captured my eye too…

A peek at the outdoor furniture area of the showroom.  The new hot pink Sunbrella fabric took almost five years to develop (as I understand it, a tricky color to capture in outdoor fabric).  I am loving the huge variety in color dinishes on the outdoor furniture, as seen on the chairs perched on the shelves!

As a way to encourage and mentor new design talent, Century sponsored Project UDesign, and SCAD student Ryland Quillen’s wing chair was the winner.  It is now in production and here it is!

I hope you enjoyed getting a view into the Century showroom – I found it to be so inspirational and very interesting.  This just reflects a small, small glimpse into the vast array of furnishings that Century offers.  Much more can be found on the comprehensive, newly redesigned web site that can be found here: http://www.centuryfurniture.com.

To visit my store, Quatrefoil Design, click here – come see the brand new art and scupture items in the store!
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

The amazing High Point Market

I have always loved furniture, even as a young child.  I remember thumbing through the Sears catalog, circling items that I wanted for my bedroom (a canopy bed was at the top of my list).  As an adult, my love for furniture only grew as I became more aware of the vast variety of styles available, and one of the highlights of finally buying a house in Atlanta was picking out furniture of my own, instead of the hand-me-downs that I had used as a newlywed.

When I was invited to attend the High Point market, with a behind the scenes guided tour of five showrooms,  I accepted the invitation immediately.  High Point is legendary for a furniture aficionado like me, and the High Point Market in particular is the pinnacle of the home furnishing experience.  It is the largest home furnishing industry trade show in the world, and it attracts visitors from all over the world.  The sheer number of languages that I heard spoken is a testament to the international presence of the High Point Market.  With over 10 million square feet of space, and over 2,000 showrooms, it is an immense but amazing place.  I had never visited before, and I was looking forward to it as much as my children look forward to going to Disneyland!

The mood was very upbeat, and the attendance was strong with an estimated 80,000 plus visitors this year.  There is a feeling that the economy is turning around, and the showrooms were packed with designers and buyers looking for what’s new and fresh in the world of home furnishings (approximately 1/3 of the attendees are designers, and 2/3 are retail buyers).  The High Point market is definitely a place where the latest and greatest in trends are presented and discussed.  It is also like a testing ground of sorts; some of the showrooms that I visited noted that the High Point Market is their primary place to see first hand how designers and buyers react to their offerings, and the reactions determine what their products lines will contain over the next year.

The trends that I observed and read about were interesting.  Customization was mentioned at just about every showroom that I visited; the designers and buyers like to tweak the designs and furniture colors to suit their client base, and many of the furniture lines can deliver on this.  One showroom noted that the collector’s approach to purchasing furniture is alive and well.  It is rare for people to buy a matched set of furniture these days, and furniture makers are delivering unique and eclectic accent furniture lines that suit this style of buying.  Even in the world of outdoor furniture, the last bastion of purchasing an entirely matching set of furniture, there is a trend towards the art of the mix.

The High Point Marketing Authority also noted the following trends:
  • Furniture that shelters, and makes the home feel like a sanctuary. Upholstered beds, deep wing chairs, products that are made in the USA (the patriotic element of shelter), antique and retro styling
  • Bold florals, fruit, and vegetable style fabrics
  • Strong pops of color in both furniture finishes and fabrics, and fair amount of light toned wood finishes (driftwood and oak colors, whitewash) mixed in with the dark and medium tone finishes
  • Menswear inspired patterns and fabrics (I even saw a sofa that was upholstered in men’s suiting fabric)
  • Focus on shapes – lots of geometrics, and the trellis and Greek key motif were quite prominent
  • Tribal and cultural designs, particularly in fabrics but also in hardware
Here are a few images that I took during my whirlwind day.  I am going to post more details in future posts about the amazing showrooms that I visited, including Century Furniture, Hooker Furniture, Sligh Furniture, Theodore Alexander Furniture, and Hickory Chair.  I learned so much about furniture and presentation and the sheer variety of choices out there – I can’t wait to share my discoveries with all of you, but it is truly too long for one post!  More to come.

Please note that all of the images were taken by me, with my humble camera.  There was so much to see that I feel as if I wasn’t focused on my photography skills, so please forgive the quality of the photos!

Century Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta for Century Furniture

The mix of traditional and contemporary was a signature look at Century Furniture

A piece from Century Furniture's outdoor line - this piece was a best seller at the market
A new line introduced at the spring market - Monarch by Century Furniture
A vignette from the Hooker Furniture showroom
A room scene from Hooker Furniture's new Harbour Pointe collection.
Hooker Furniture's Mélange line features accent furniture that are designed to mix into any home decor design
Beautiful detail on a piece from a chest in the Mélange line
A variety of finishes available on chairs from Hooker Furniture.  Interesting and vibrant colors in wood finishes were seen throughout the High Point Market.
Great office furniture, scaled smaller than in the past, and geared towards the latest in technology, was  beautifully displayed at the Sligh Furniture showroom.
A charming 'D' shaped desk at Sligh Furniture.
Custom color cabilities on many of the products at Sligh, with a very short lead time.

At Theodore Alexander, the Keno brothers were on the floor to showcase their new collection of furniture, composed of expertly and exquisitely crafted original pieces with a classically modern flair.
Hickory Chair's new showroom was filled with light, and there were beautiful pieces of furniture to discover in every room.
This was one of my favorite rooms - with the Candler bed upholstered in a beautiful Hickory Chair fabric.
A view of one of the rooms featuring the Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair collection.
Mariette Himes Gomez for Hickory Chair

Have you ever been to the High Point Market?  I highly encourage a visit for those of you ‘to the trade’!  The next market is October 22-27, 2011.  For more information on the High Point Market, please visit http://www.highpointmarket.org/.

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.
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Twitter: @TTIBlog
To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

An interesting window

A few months ago, I posted about interesting windows, and how interesting windows add so much character to a home.

Here is a view of one of the interesting windows in the new house...this is the same space seen from the inside out in my 'View of the chimney pots' post.

Things are really starting to come together now that the windows are in!  We are working on the paint color for the brick - the color we were considering, Sherwin Williams 'wool skein', is looking a bit too buttery/tan leaning for the house (although it is a beautiful shade), so we are testing out different neutrals from Benjamin Moore.  If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!

On another note, there are six original Melissa Tubbs bird drawings in the Quatrefoil Design store.  They are original ink drawings, one of a kind, and are signed by the artist.  They would look wonderful grouped together, but are sold individually.  Melissa's drawings are in high demand, so it is rare that I have them in the store - they are so beautiful!

Eastern meadowlark custom framed, $325, outside measurement of the frame is 9 3/4" x 9 7/8".

Robin custom framed, $325, outside measurement of the frame is 9 3/4" x 9 7/8".

Berwick wren custom framed, $325, outside measurement of the frame is 9 3/4" x 9 7/8".  

Hummingbird custom framed, $325, outside measurement of the frame is 9 3/4" x 9 7/8".

Steer's Jay custom framed, $325, outside measurement of the frame is 9 3/4" x 9 7/8".

Warbler custom framed, $325, outside measurement of the frame is 9 3/4" x 9 7/8".

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.


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