August 19, 2014:

Quality Investments - The Plan

I've been at this for long enough that the phrase #NotMyFirstRodeo is entirely applicable in most circumstances. Sure there are things design-wise I've yet to do and I'm mostly good at either faking it until I figure it out or because I'm almost 42 I just plain ask for help from people who I think may have a better idea than I do.

When I first got started in the business I was always fixated on what something cost. This doesn't mean that after 16 years in the business I'm oblivious to price - hell know I'm extremely realistic and aware of what things cost but more importantly I am acutely aware of what QUALITY costs and what I am not willing to settle on.

Recently, someone reached out from a former life and asked about a colour consultation which I once did. Heck, I pretty much started out my career doing house calls to pick paint colours. I'd be paid for my time - which I way undercharged but I was doing something that made me the happiest I'd been in a long time and it was a start. Where it would lead I didn't know but it was a good start and I was happy. Flash forward to now and a person I did a colour consult for almost 10 years ago is looking to repaint, loved the colours I chose for her then and would I consider doing a colour consultation for her now?

My initial reaction was - "Oh God, a Colour Consult?" Now it did then occur to me that they aren't worth my time but I didn't think that was entirely big of me to actually say so I marinated on it for a few minutes and then it struck me. Trust me, this was a pretty HUGE AHA moment about why I didn't want to do it and here it goes: Picking a paint colour for your room on the whole is the least of one's design worries. A colour is not going to make your room. It's a foundation, it's a backdrop but in order for your room to really sing - it needs to be designed. If you are going to hire a professional to pick a colour for you - then you need to go all in and have them design the room. You may phase it. You may use it as a general guide and try and DIY it but if you aren't prepared to design the room, why the hell paint it? My hesitation to even respond was because I don't want my name on a room that I didn't design even in a small amount. I don't think a $40/can of paint is going to really make a huge difference to an undesigned space. To me the better investment is in a plan which is what I ended up offering this person. I'm happy to work on a plan for your space and help you to realize a better vision for it but picking just a paint colour - well that's not design. I don't even know if it really qualifies as decorating. I don't believe in designing or decorating a room around a can of paint. It doesn't do the colour or room any justice. Build a concept, choose your investment pieces or work with existing ones, find fabrics that pull the look together and THEN choose the paint.

Now back to quality. I charge a premium for consultations such as these because I know the value of them and if I'm not going to be overseeing and implementing there's a risk. My name is on it so I'm happy to put the concept together and walk away knowing that I've been compensated. I also know that I will exceed expectations with this plan and in the past, the clients have come back to me to have me help with part or all of the implementation. We've worked with one client now on several rooms of her home - just finishing up the powder room and we are the ideas and procure the goods and she implements. She is always raring to go when it comes to a slightly out of the box suggestion and the results have been amazing. She invests in the concepts and plans and then gets to have access to products that she might not be able to find on her own. The results sure beat a new coat of paint let me tell you!

I should note that I never heard back from the person. I know people get busy but my hope is that she wasn't offended. I'm just very passionate about what I am able to achieve when I'm given a little bit of room to you know - dance. And Sing. I sing too right Kim??

Egad. Not a paint consultation says Will.

This is magic that is in the middle of being made. Don't sell yourself or your home short. Invest in magic. Make magic happen. You deserve it!!!!

August 19, 2014:

Inspiration Strikes

I troll instagram a lot. Which reminds me - why aren't you following me there? @meredithheron I find a lot of inspiration there and sources too. The New York Gift show is on at the moment and I'm following along using the #NYNOW hashtag. I did the same for #LVMKT though there weren't a ton of posts and I did the same for the Atlanta Market just before it. I find that if you can't get to the market itself, following the hashtag is about as good as it gets. I know that when I post during #HPMKT there are lots of goodies. I share suppliers when I'm a #Stylespotter as it's part of the agreement. Other times, I do not share as I've discussed - you have to buy the pieces through a designer or ME for that matter. Happy to share in an offline way to other members of the trade. Reminds me, I had a lovely inquiry from a gentleman the other day asking about a fabric on the stools in my living room. The coral needlepoint. I get inquiries about these ALL of the time. I bought the stools on Ebay and the fabric came with. I was surprised to find them to be needlepoint when they arrived but they are awesome and still much beloved. Sadly I don't know where the fabric is from. This person though was so very thoughtful and respectful. He asked if it was a proprietary fabric and if so could he arrange to purchase through me. I told him the story about them and assured him that if ever I happen upon it I will happily share the information. I was just so pleased that he thought about it when sending the email. Class - total class.

So anyway, I was flipping through instagram and I came across this picture and I had to screen shot it. The colour combination made me gasp out loud. It just speaks to me. I love it. I've included the name of the original poster as well so feel free to follow him he's got a great eye. It's SO what I am after for my own living room. It is so damn perfect. I know that lighting plays such a big deal. Sterling Roses have always been a favourite. They are thornless. If you've watched Bed of Roses back when Christian Slater was still hot - you know why I am weak for them.

August 15, 2014:

Adding on to an Existing Project…

Phases. We all go through them. Sometimes willingly and sometimes it is what it is. Same with design. Rome wasn't built in a day and projects sometimes have to be phased in order to be financially realistic. Working with a design professional to devise the how and what this will look like is ESSENTIAL. Rarely do I regret our initial choices, but often when forced to revisit a space due to budgetary limitations at the outset, I find that I am able to elevate the room to a level I didn't plan or expect initially. I love this. The look you get in the end is often transplendent because the space feels lived in and thoughtful.

Now this doesn't always work out. Clients who wait years between phases often lose bang for the buck but if it is over a period of 6-12months between phases you are usually golden.

We are changing things up at our #Brooklin project. We've added in layers and more are on the horizon.

If you recall, we recently added artwork, a killer mirror and a chinoiserie media cabinet. Our plan is to change the sectional to a chinoiserie print sofa and add another pair of chairs. I made a few initial choices on the new chairs but I wasn't sure about them. I've got a new plan of attack though and I think these will be killer. Let's discuss.

Sorry for being a negligent blogger of late - lots on the plate including social and fun stuff that just has me hopping. In fact, I've actually been enjoying the summer more than most and that makes blogging a touch difficult at times!!!

I'd initially considered these. They break up all the straight lines in the other upholstery in the room. I don't want clean straight lines. Well I'd never describe the look I'm after as such.. However then I saw these and well I can't get them out of my head.

Forget the snakeskin but I'm really taken with them. I love the height of them vs the lower seats. I think they could be really dramatic and interesting. They give me total opportunity to play around with fabric mixing and matching too. Hmmmm what do you think?

August 14, 2014:

Palette Play - More on #ChezMoi

I find this time of year to be a bit of an oddity. Most people the end of August aren't thinking about their homes they are thinking about back to school and trying to squeeze every last ounce out of summer. At least those of us in Northern climates. The pace is slow - as evidenced by emails. Not getting much in the way of URGENT!! RESPOND NOW (okay we had a few a week ago). We're getting ready to install some projects and looking forward to new ones around the corner.

This means I have a moment to breathe and focus on my own house and my mom's bathroom. 

More on mom's bathroom later.

Our house - with floors slated to come out and new ones going in I have a slew of other considerations to make. With floors out we'll take out baseboards and the putting back of the good ones, adding new ones where appropriate means we'll have to paint these. If we are going to be adding new trim, shouldn't we consider some crown moulding? We've got a few other areas that need resolving that have needed resolving for a decade in fact. An archway that needs to be well an archway or something architecturally relevant vs neglected. Once the baseboards are back in, then we can wallpaper. We've got walls and ceilings in the den and that leads me to wonder about whether or not I want to paper the living room or paint it.

Another dilemma.

I'm torn. I love and adore paper. I just don't know if it's in the budget to paper the living room. I hadn't planned on it. Paint could be the short term answer and then we could decide on paper. That's the beauty of paper but it's a pain in the butt and we know how quickly I DON'T act on things in my own house...


I'm still obsessed with this picture I posted yesterday.

Leather is the sofa. On either side are drapery fabrics I'm considering but I'm also still considering a sheer option which I know is mind blowing. The two fabrics at the top are silk wallpaper options. The one on the left is a grey striated faux silk and the one on the right is a cream actual silk.

I'm not entirely sure how I am envisioning each of these coming in to play in the living room or dining for that matter but it's totally floating my boat.

Lots of pattern but not a lot of contrast.... you see where I'm heading?

August 13, 2014:

#ChezMoi an Update….

I am trying to finalize choices and make commitments for my own house but all I want to do is drink wine and look at fashion inspiration on pinterest. You think I'm joking. Oh and eating. I am rather obsessed with food too. Food is not conducive to fitting into said fashion inspirations so I'll pretend my lemon water is actually a cocktail mkay??

So my house. My small small small little house. I have big big plans for you but you are taking a back seat to fashion stalking. I find that this is often the case. I'm never house-obsessed and wardrobe-obsessed at the same time. My bank account rejoices at this. However, we've got installers coming to confirm quantities regarding a rather major upgrade which we are undertaking - our main floor floor. Yup. We've made the leap and we are headed for a gigantic overhaul of my secret shame. Yes, our flooring in our house is my secret shame.

Flashback (to warm nights... almost left behind sorry Cyndi Lauper ear worm) to 10 years ago. Asa and I had been together for almost a year when a house on the same street he was living became available and we jumped on it. We literally toured it once and said we'll take it. We had a month to transform the former illegal rooming house into a place for us to live. It had about 30 years of smoke built up on the walls. When you washed the kitchen cabinets for the next SEVEN YEARS they would streak with nicotine I shit you not. Four layers of smoke blocking primer didn't do the trick. We had to do more. We also had to cover the lino that had been layered year after year and opt for a floating floor. To be honest, the stars of new love and a new house clearly blinded me because WHAT THE FREAKING FARKING HELL WAS I THINKING when I chose barnboard laminate for a Victorian house. I mean what the hell???? I did and I pretty much regretted it from the get go. Seriously, thinking only with your budget in mind can really cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture. I focused on settling and that is never a good idea when you are talking a large ticket item.

So how are we rectifying things? Well first off, we've partnered with Preverco who is one of the best names in the business when it comes to hardwood floors. We've spec'd them for so many projects I think I probably have lost count at this point. A Quebec based company - their quality and selection is bar none. Okay that makes life a touch difficult when you are a designer because it means having to choose. We checked out their selection first online HERE and then we hit up a local showroom to see what was available sample wise and quickly narrowed our choices down to three options. I say quickly... well that's relative but Asa and I were mostly in agreement... mostly.

Here's what we came up with:

Okay here we go... the finalists. Pretty distinct difference colour wise but I will share with you our inspiration and then you can see which one you think we chose!

This is my inspiration for my living room. The moulding. The light. I love it. It makes me almost want to do only sheers in my living room. Can you freaking imagine? That's how much I love this. Sadly Elle Decor didn't share the credit beyond it being from an old Metropolitan Home back issue.

Club Monaco's NYC store is to die for. I love this palette. It's a huge departure for me I know but I really do love it...

I think the photograph is what I love most about this room and I'm totally making one of Asa's Roman photos happen very similar to the scale of this but less contasty. This is from Miguel García de Valcárcel and was featured in a recent issue of Nuevo Estilo. I love that magazine. Hard to find in TO.

This is from a lighting ad. Again I love the muted palette. So. What say you? Which Preverco floor did I choose???