Thursday, May 23, 2013

BlogFest 2013: Day 1

So on Monday and Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending BlogFest2013- a conference of Interior Design Bloggers brought together for some fun, learning, networking, touring, lots of laughs (and some food and drinks...and gifts!). Over the next few posts I will share all the wonderful things I took away from this whirlwind of a time!

The first day started bright and early with an opportunity to tour the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse privately with the other bloggers (sans the public!). The Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse has been around since 1973 when it was started to benefit the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club after school programs for NYC kids. It was such a treat and truly inspiring! I took some pictures but the professional ones on the Kips Bay site are much better so here are a few teasers compliments of Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse site:

This dining room was probably one of my favorite spaces. It had laquered blue walls, yellow-ochre curtains, a deconstructed metal buffet and the one gem you can't see in this photo....a gold-leaf wallpapered ceiling that was hand-painted over. I COULD DIE! It was amazing! And the designer was in the room to greet us and she was so lovely. Kudos to Kristen McGinnis- you killed it! 

 Dining Room by Kristen McGinnis

 I believe this room below is the Lounge Suite by Garcia/Maldonado, Inc. It was such a gorgeous and serene sitting area. I loved the unique color pretty!

Garcia Maldonado Lounge

Here is the Master Suite compliments of one of my favorite designers, Kathryn Ireland. It was a beautiful combination of antiques and her always unique play on patterns and colors.

Master Suite by Kathryn Ireland

AMAZING Laquered powder room on the main the play of two-toned turquoise and gold!
Foyer/Powder Room by Andrew Suvalsky Designs

I have to say- the outdoor areas in this Decorators House were unbelievable...each one more enticing than the next. I don't have a photo of the sitting area on the first floor but it was serene and sophisticated done by Nievera Williams Design....and then take a look at this....imagine bathing right outside in NYC! The fifth floor terraces featured amazing work by West Chin Architects & Interior Designers.

Fifth Floor Terrace by West Chin Architects
We were also treated to a lovely breakfast compliments of Doodle Home in this amazingly sophisticated yet rustic kitchen by Christopher Peacock. The wood can't be appreciated in the photos but those cabinets and the hardware were just divine. And Doodle Home had the most delicious breakfast set up for us to start off the day. For those readers who are designers- definitely check out Doodle Home- it is the wave of the future in how you will run your business and purchasing!

Kitchen by Christopher Peacock

After touring the beautiful Kips Bay, we headed on buses over to the Hearst offices which sit high up in NYC for a festive lunch and speaker time! Ok, you've been reading long enough...I think you've earned about some HGTV goodness?

HGTV was so generous in offering the bloggers at BlogFest and our readers a 69% discount on a subscription! Just visit - I am already a subscription but make sure you visit to be able to get your own monthly treat in your mailbox! Stay tuned for the next post on the HGTV lunch and the hilarious speakers.....

Friday, May 17, 2013

What I'm reading...Undecorate

On my last trip to the library, I happen to grab a book that I had my eye on for my design library. I love being able to preview the books through the library before adding them to my already large design library. The latest book I picked up was Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design by Christiane Lemieux.

Christiane Lemieux is the founder of DwellStudio. DwellStudio is known for their very cool style, eclectic mid-century home furnishing and mod prints in geometric and graphic patterns.

Gate Azure Pillow

Mallory Chair in CasaBlanca Geo Citrine
Mallory Chair

While I was reading it my very enlightened six year old asked me why I would read a book called Undecorate when I spend all day helping people decorate. Curious boy. Wasn't sure how to answer this question...couldn't he have just asked where babies come from? That would have been easier.... Seriously, though- the book is about the antithesis of the "decorating process". It's the antithesis of the "act of decorating with intention". The rooms seen in design books are typically rooms that don't make sense for real life.

As Lemieux puts it:

 "Great style isn't necessarily a finished product so much as it is an ongoing process." 

As she states "These aren't flawless residences straight from the pages of some interiors magazine; these homes are imperfect and unbuttoned, a lesson in how to live whether you're a fashion designer or a dentist."

"Undecorating isn't haphazard style; it's not thought-free. It's about being guided by something other than the traditional constraints- whether it's your commitment to the environment, or your love of polka dots, or the fact that you want to feel like you're in Paris when you live in Peoria"

I wish I could share some of the beautiful interiors but you can meander over to Amazon to check out some pages! I'll definitely be ordering this one for the coffee table....

I am also SUPER excited because on Monday and Tuesday I will be attending BLOGFEST 2013 sponsored by Kravet, HGTV among other amazing companies. It is the third annual BlogFest held for interior design bloggers- FUN! Anyone else going? These things are so much more fun when you have someone to hang with!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Staging vs. decorating

Sorry for the radio silence....I had some really big projects going and clearly I am not good at multi-tasking! I have also been having some issues with Blogger that wouldn't allow me to post pictures...and I couldn't do that to you-a blog with no pictures- no fun!

Anyway, I have been working on a huge staging job that just finished and then rolled into another staging job. Not that I am complaining....busy is good! And while I have my degree in Interior Design, I did get certified as a Home Stager and I do enjoy the variety that those staging jobs throw into my everyday mix! While designing is all about pleasing the client, staging is all about pleasing the masses. This is one approach:

Here is one before and after of a previous job I did...perhaps my biggest transformation- Luckily I had money in the budget to paint some rooms but as with every job, there was something I had to work around: silk teal draperies. Certainly not my first choice for a neutral room- but my job was to create a warm neutral space while I incorporated the teal draperies and made them look like they were intended to be part of the design.

Here is the after can see I repeated the teal color in the artwork and in the pillows to balance the strong statement the drapes make.
I think I may have shared these before. On my most recent project, I had to work around about 75% of the homeowner's furniture.  The biggest challenge was a very large (and beautiful) Persian rug in the family room which was red and black- not ideal for staging. While the rug is beautiful- once the room is photographed, the potential buyer's eye will go straight to that rug in any photo and detract from the items we are trying to sell....the double-story windows, the view of the backyard, pool, tennis get the idea. The trick was to balance the rug so it didn't steal the show. I don't have pictures to share yet- the realtor is having the project photographed so I'll share once I have them.

On another note, Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, grandmas, stepmothers, God-mothers, mother-in-law and mother figures out there! You all do such wonderful, selfless things for the special people in your life so this is your day to be hang up your cape! Be lazy and indulgent! Eat bad food! Ignore everyone and don't clean one single thing! Yes...impossible....I know....just enjoy!