High Point Furniture Market Design Trends and More

Making the drive to Furniture and Accessory Market in High Point, NC is always an exciting time.  I’m very lucky as my husband, Rick, makes the journey with me.  Stopping over in Virginia to see our dear friend Lenora, we witnessed the beauty of the fall leaves turning. With paved walks gracing the entire development where Lenora lives, Rick and I took an early morning walk along the reservoir as the cool fall air danced upon our face. Enjoying a beautiful evening dining at The Boathouse at Sunday Park Restaurant, I captured the most beautiful sunset over the reservoir.

 

Upon arriving at the Furniture market later the next day, my senses were on overload with new and creative ideas overflowing. Having traveled there for the past 25 years, you get into an exciting but hectic routine. Walking through the doors of the IHFC Building (International Home Furnishings Center) one building out of hundred’s, not only enlightens your senses but, also renews my excitement of why I do what I do for a living. On the main floor called InterHall, some of the showrooms stage their entrances while others entice you in by the beauty created by lighting, props and their products.

Located in the lower level of the International Home Furnishings Center, this unique entrance to Imagine Home draws you into their showroom.

The Michael Lamb Interiors & Antiques showroom located in the Somerset Bay/Modern History Furniture building is full of glorious antiques. The owner’s dog, George, had apparently had a full day at market and did what we all wish we could do!

George had apparently had enough of market for one day.

So trending now, the hues of blue are artfully displayed in the MT Companies showroom.  I’ve represented this upholstery line for over 20 years and their attention to detail, craftsmanship and representation are impeccable. From unique ottomans to trim details on the sofas and chairs there’s so much you can do to make each piece uniquely yours.

I almost thought I would write a blog on, “The dogs of Market.”  Charlie, a Labradoodle and a star at modeling for a photo shoot, poses upon command on a super comfy chair in the MT showroom.

Located in Market Square, a wonderful complex listed on the National Historic Places was formally a manufacturing complex and has since been transformed into showrooms; some with the original beautiful planked floors. One of the showrooms, Thibaut Wallcoverings and Fine Furnishings does an incredible job with “staging.” Grass wallpaper in a stripe is displayed in this room below. The mirror, top of the end tables and the doors of the console are all embellished with a wallpaper inset.

Thibaut Wallcovering and Fine Furnishings showroom makes you want to redo your living room with this wonderfully cozy feel.

Still on an upward trend is the casual but classic modern.  It captivates a clean, elegant minimalistic styling.  So simple but so softly elegant as displayed in the Lexington Home Brands showroom located in a wonderful building 15 minutes from downtown.

Lexington Home Brands Sligh office furniture line casts a wonderful simple but elegant contemporary style.

Lexington Home Brands showroom featuring the Shadow Play line.

Trends I saw a lot of:  Mixing metals, such as dark bronze with nickel, brass with bronze, polished and brushed nickel; Brass is making a huge comeback; although white walls have their place, seems the jewel tones are very strong.  I saw a lot of white furniture and decor mixed with vibrant hues of orange, indigo and blue; Velvet fabrics making a comeback on sofas; Wallpaper in the living spaces – Geometric patterns are very big in wallpaper and fabrics; Still going strong is the Industrial Style – mixing of wood, metal and stone.  A sort of NYC loft feel with an inviting edge.

The Uttermost/Revelation showroom featured an industrial feel in this dining area. Notice the unique chandelier.

The definition of Trend is a general direction in which something is developing or changing.  You may feel you like the modern design and appreciate it but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can live with it.  If you like something from “the trend” such as a large geometric print, you can add that to your existing style as long as the colors flow well and the new fabric compliments the patterns in the existing room. Following the trends is not all that matters, it’s feeling comfortable with your style. Mixing your style with a trend edge creates a warm personal style and keeps you feeling fresh and new…I love my yellow floral chintz chair in my living room from the MT Companies with a velvet leopard print pillow on it.  Remi does too…

Remi catches a few rays coming in from the skylight on the yellow floral chair in the Living Room.

Finding Time and More….

Most people can’t seem to find enough time in the day… I know I’m guilty. I’ve been trying to find time to write my blog and download photographs on Houzz of a new home I recently completed. I worked on so many wonderful projects last winter that continued into spring.  A personal project of mine included my husband, Rick, painting my workroom.  I decided to pick a new soft white tone.  Sherwin Williams SW9119 Dirty Martini….I promise I didn’t pick it for the name although it sure could have persuaded me.  It’s a soft beige/green. You can see on the photo below the old color on the left wall and the new color on the back wall where the door is. The next photo shows the newly painted walls and the room rearranged from the way it was originally.

 

My approach to the Industrial style home labeled by my clients as the “Dream Lodge” which, coincidentally coincides with the first initials of their last names, was to celebrate the home’s views and uniqueness.  Wrapped in charm and character, the home dons corrugated walls, wood ceilings, multiple paint colors in a room with contrasting trim, metal railings and so much more.  An antique kitchen table draws you in for conversation in the open space while the furniture in the family room from my upholstery company, The MT Companies, beckons you to enjoy the view, read a book, watch television or take a nap in front of the fireplace during the cold winter months. Please visit my site on Houzz.com to see the rest of the professionally taken photographs.  Another project I worked on was a new cottage style home in the Timberbanks development. Comfort and function were the key to this home.  My builder clients, who have been building beautiful homes for many years, decided it was time to downsize from a large home to a more manageable size home.

Windows and a door line three walls in the great room/kitchen area for wonderful views of the golf course. I angled the fireplace on the wall for interest and created a television/bookcase unit next to it. Ceilings are no less important than walls and their ceiling was no exception.  Created to add depth and dimension, the coffered ceiling shows what the builder’s trimmer can do. Adding to the senses of bringing the outdoors in, the walls and inside the coffered ceiling were painted Sherwin Williams, SW7696 Toasted Pine Nut, (not yet painted on the walls in the photograph below) which is a warm rich beige/yellow.

The builder’s trimmer puts the final touches on the coffered ceiling for my clients. An angled fireplace with bookcases next to it added a welcome bit of uniqueness to the usual fireplace planked with bookcases each side.

The topic of conversation always seems to be opened up by the weather……Ok, I am a bit sick of the rain too but, it’s BECAUSE of the rain, the wetlands next to us are filled with wildlife including  new born painted wood ducks that are an amazing array of colors…hence, the name painted wood duck, it’s BECAUSE of the rain, I’ve learned to take my walks in it and I never run into anyone else except for birds, turtles and deer, it’s BECAUSE of the rain we appreciate the warmth upon our face when the sun does come out and of course, it’s BECAUSE of the rain my garden is a watercolor painting waiting to come alive on canvas.  What is your “it’s BECAUSE of the rain” feel good thoughts?

A young great blue heron stands very still in the rain as he poses for me….Actually he found a great spot to fish and he didn’t want to move

Appropriately lined by size, these turtles cherished the sun one day to help digest their food.

 

A doe finds food aplenty with all the rain.

My Heartleaf Bergenia welcomes guests as they enter my garden. It never had so many flowers as it has this year from the rain.

My beloved garden pond was refurbished recently.  It’s been leaking for years and needed a little TLC.  “It looks better than ever,” my husband said. The frogs who have joined me this year think so too..

My newly refurbished pond creates the enchanting backdrop for my flower garden and pagoda I found at the Furniture and Accessory Market one year.

Sometimes stars just align. Overwhelmed and in the midst of work, Remi’s recovery and Chairing the Greater Manlius Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Spring Dinner Auction, my friend, Patty stopped by with lunch for Rick and I on a Saturday morning with a picnic basket full of warm fresh bread she had made, homemade minestrone soup – best I’ve ever tasted even with the substitution of Turkey sausage (recipe below), the trimmings for the soup and yummy brownies. Enter aligning stars….I met Patty over 20 years ago when she walked into the design firm I was working at and needed decorating. We have cultivated a special friendship and share the same interests in gardening, cooking and so much more.

The best Minestrone Soup I’ve ever had even with the substitutions of turkey sausage and chicken broth.

 

Sami poses in my friend’s basket that she brought over filled with warm homemade bread, minestrone soup and cookies.

I leave you, as always, with pictures of Remi and Sami…..Abyssinians are known to have bad teeth and Remi was no exception.  In April, he had 16 of his 20 or so teeth pulled.  It was very painful I am sure and my heart ached for him.  We “lost” our boy for about six weeks.  He became very unsocial which, was the complete opposite of his personality.  Feeling so much better now that his infected teeth are gone, we’ve got our Remi boy back again. For those of you that know Remi, you know he loved to suck on his tail for comfort. Now not having any teeth to hang onto it in his mouth, he no longer sucks it.  He seems alright with it but every so often he grabs for his tail but then let’s it go when he realizes he can’t hang onto it. I loved it when he did it but, I suspect I will get over it as well.  I’m just glad to have my boy back again.

My aby boy recovering in the warmed sheets from dental surgery.

Remi recovering in warmed sheets from dental surgery.

Feeling left out, Sami poses in her warmed blanket.

Feeling left out, Sami poses in her warmed blanket.

Happy Spring

Marcia

No Regrets….Just Dreams Come True

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Sami felt she needed to be a part of the holiday decorating and posed under the grapevine deer I was adding new lights to.

With the difficult time in the US right now, we approach the holidays unsure of what the future holds so let us capture the beauty that surrounds us and as American author, Carolyne Roehm recently stated, “When in doubt, or sadness, I still think the beauty of nature is always inspiring and restorative – whether it encourages you to go on and fight for your beliefs, or promote the intention that we will go through a hopefully peaceful transition.”  And so, I offer some recently taken photographs to hopefully bring some much needed peacefulness to your soul.

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The wonderful mix of voices creates the incredible harmony of the group Pentatonix. I leave you with they’re beautiful rendition of “Mary, Did You Know?”

“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams” John Barrymore…..May 2017 bring all of us peace, harmony and dreams come true.

Marcia

“Why I Wake Early”

 

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Sanvitalia in a pot cascades over the lettuce water plant in the pond.

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Starlight Petunia, new this year, dances above the hedgehog statue known to bring good luck upon ones doorstep.

 

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“My” frog holds very still as he gets ready to leap for a bee on a flower in my garden.

“Why I Wake Early” by Mary Oliver, is a book of poems a dear friend of mine gave me many years ago. She knew I loved the early mornings. This summer, rising as the sun was barely coming up over the Green Lakes hillside, I would make my coffee and head out into my garden to water my plants.  A twice daily chore this past summer that was a reminder of how precious rain is.  The early awakening of wildlife is my love…and the shenanigans were all so present this year.  I happened to glance out of my kitchen window one morning and witnessed two baby chipmunks emerging from their home in the ground among my garden flowers.  They were very apprehensive as they took in their new surroundings.  Their eyes blinking from the now bright sunlight upon them. This year, as in the first year I had my pond installed, there was a frog that “grew up” in my garden.  He went from tiny to medium sized in no time. Ever present as I worked in my garden daily, he was there with me on his various perches in and out of the pond. He loved one rather large rock where numerous flowers cascaded over the rock providing the frog with his daily intake of bees foraging on the flowers pollen.  Sometimes jumping up to grab an insect flying by and landing on the ground with a thud and no insect…I swear he’d look up at me saying, “I was practicing!”

 

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View from the beach at the Chatham Bars Inn.

My husband and I traveled to Chatham, MA the end of September for my birthday.  A wonderful time of the year to travel to the Cape as the crowds have all gone, leaving behind a peaceful sanctuary of fishing boats, empty beaches and time standing still.  We stayed at the Chatham Bars Inn a delightful place recommended to me by a client. Being that it was a slower time of the year, we were graciously upgraded to a suite for my birthday. Arriving back from a golf outing or a walk along the wildlife refuge shore I would flip on the gas fireplace while I worked on emails and phone calls. I sat at a small table next to a bay window that faced the ocean off in the distance.  When we first arrived, we ventured out for a walk. Heading towards the beach, I heard what I thought were dogs howling.  As we approached the beach, there were hundreds of seals on a small sandbar near shore.  Some playfully swimming and some bathing in the sunlight. A wonderful sight to see.

 

 

 

Except for the color, the staircase runner to our room was the exact carpet I installed on my staircase to my office last December.  It is very durable and very forgiving in a high traffic area. But so beautiful!

 

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My clients Brittany Spaniel, Noodle, strikes a stately pose for the photograph I was taking.

 

 

 

 

So many interesting projects this past summer. One I completed this summer was a beautiful “cape” home that longed to be on a beach somewhere. Fabrics of neutral canvas, soft blues mimicking the oceans hues and furniture so casual it begged to have sand upon its seats.  As the furniture was being delivered, I was “staging” the new coffee table to send a picture to my client so she could see it. Her Brittany Spaniel, Noodle, decided he wanted to be in the picture and proceeded to jump up on the sofa where he struck a most stately pose…

Displayed below are the five stain colors we were contemplating for the hardwood floors. We selected the second from the left as it was just dark enough to contrast against the light feel of the home.

hardwood-colors

Five hardwood floor stains were painted on my clients floor so we could visualize the colors that we were contemplating.

 

 

 

 

Soon to be completed is the Industrial Style home I mentioned in my last blog.  It was a project so full of new and creative ideas it made my heart sing. Acid washed corrugated metal walls in the mudroom; the builder, Don Petrocci, informs me they actually use toilet bowl cleaner with acid in it to create the look, instead of cabinets above in the kitchen, we did free floating black walnut shelves on the walls; creatively made and installed by Cazenovia Cutblock, a metal railing with squares in the loft balcony, wonderful paint colors of navy, brandywine and shades of a cozy foggy day.  I am planning on photographing the home in the spring.  I’ll keep you informed.

I was recently informed by Houzz.com that a photograph of a kitchen I did had reached 1000 saved hits on it.  I now have a banner button on my site stating that. If you haven’t already, please visit my site on Houzz.com to view the many wonderful photographs of homes I’ve decorated.

As always, I either start or end my blogs with pictures of my photogenic Abyssinian’s.  While spending a rare full day in my office cleaning out files, organizing and doing paperwork my Aby, Remi, never left my side.  He desperately needed a nap but, he was afraid he might miss something….Finally he got up on the sofa and curled up in a little ball.  I turned around to look at him and as you can see by the picture he was not going to let me out of his sight no matter what!

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Remi keeping a close eye on me as I worked in my office.

Here’s to a wonderful fall…..Enjoy the beauty of the colors that nature blends so beautifully together. It’s a time of inspiration, a time of coming indoors, of gathering around the dinner table and nights by the fire. Let the beauty inspire you to define a new space that’s not used, paint a new inspiring color in a room or just redecorate by rearranging.  I’d love to hear from you.  Marcia

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The beautiful colors of fall inspired me to take a picture on one of my many walks along the Erie Canal.

New York Charm and More

Remi on chair

Remi poses on the living room chair as the Ladyslipper plant creates a beautiful backdrop with it’s periwinkle blue flowers in bloom just in time for spring.

As I sit here writing this, I can hear the rain as it hits upon my skylights.  I think what better way to awaken the garden than a spring rain.  To further awaken it,  I took the winter shield off my pond to reveal mini dancing daffodils, Grecian Windflower bulbs sprouting and Chequered Lillie bulbs emerging all of which I had planted last fall.  There’s something to be said about a garden in the spring that’s full of sprouting bulbs and perennials.  For me, the excitement of watching the perennials and bulbs emerge makes the expectation of the arrival of spring even more exciting.

Last fall, I moved an endless summer hydrangea from the side of the house to the front island bed.  It wasn’t getting enough sun to blossom so moving it will hopefully give it new life. I journeyed to Greenscapes in Jamesville, to find a rock suitable to add as a backdrop against the dominating evergreen tree behind the newly planted hydrangea.   I found a 630 LB rock shimmering in hues of greens and yellows from the St. Lawrence.  It was delivered the following week and became the much needed element in the island.  It became center stage against the existing anemones, white and purple butterfly bushes, black eyed susans and a white cone hydrangea shrub.

“You’re invited to tour a secret garden” was the invite to view my garden from a local garden club.   They are coming mid-June for their breakfast meeting.  I will be offering scrumptious overnight pecan buns (so easy to make!), homemade best ever banana bread, the best gluten free muffins I’ve ever tasted along with Barefoot Contessa’s Banana Crunch Muffins, that are a bestseller at her restaurant, as well as fresh fruit, homemade granola and yogurt.  I will be giving a speech and demonstration on, “Entertaining?”  Decorate your table with flowers.”  They will then do a walking tour of my front “secret garden” and back garden along with viewing my two adjoining neighbors’ gardens who I invited to participate as they both create beautiful gardens as well.

For the second year in a row, I chaired the Greater Manlius Chamber of Commerce’s Spring Dinner Silent and Live Auction which, was held on April 14th, at Traditions at the Links.  The auction, is the Chamber’s biggest event benefiting the Greater Manlius Chamber of Commerce, FM Community Outreach in Manlius and Heaven’s Pantry in Minoa.  There were over 200 people that attended the social event.  As the president of the Chamber stated the other night, I actually created a production. I guess I never thought of it that way but there was live entertainment that filled the air. Brick House by the Commodores came on as the live auction opened up and the first auction item came up for bid, The Lion Sleeps Tonight played as a kayak was carried out by a Syracuse Crunch member. Megan Coleman from a local newscast modeled a bracelet being auctioned off and much more!  I was glad when the event was over.  It was a lot of work and worries but, in the long run, it was a fun evening and very successful! I couldn’t have done it without my incredible committee.

On one of my many walks, I happened to look back over at our condo and felt blessed to have captured such a beautiful watercolor picture.  Almost as if someone had painted it. I have asked my dear friend, Lenora, who’s a very talented artist, to paint the picture for my husband and me.   A few days later, I was working at my desk and noticed a storm quickly approaching.  I went out on the deck to capture the approaching storm clouds.  The lake, spring fed from Green Lakes, was showing it’s true colors!  As I stepped back inside, there was a flash of light and a tremendous crash.  I thought for sure the condo had been hit. The cats disappeared under the bed for hours. The next day as I ventured out on my walk down the path next to our condo, I saw where the lighting had struck.  There was a large tree with its bark completely stripped off from the top down and the pieces were scattered everywhere.

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A “watercolor painting” captured on one of my many walks.

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A storm approaches as lighting strikes a tree very close by. The bark completely stripped off from the top down and pieces of it were scattered everywhere.

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Looking for my pot of gold after the storm with the brightest rainbow I have ever seen.

I  have posted the much anticipated professional photographs that were taken at my client’s beautiful home I recently completed decorating. I entitled it, “New York Charm” as so much thought and detail went into the process of creating their charming home.  Please visit http://www.houzz.com/projects/1729115//new-york-charm to view the rest of the amazing photographs of their home.

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The elements in the living space encompasses old beams from a barn, a bead board ceiling and a stone fireplace that all adds to the comfort one feels in the room while taking in the beautiful view of the golf course.

I’m working on a marvelous “Industrial theme Guest Cottage” in Skaneateles that’s in the process of being built.  We’ve selected wide planked ruff looking hardwood floors, leathered granite in the kitchen and corrugated metal on the walls.  There are no cabinets above in the kitchen. Only shelves held up by metal rods.   I am also working on a glorious new home being built in Fayetteville with a Cape Cod feel inside.  Hues of ocean salt air and shimmering shells fill each space as the rooms unfold.  A soapstone countertop on the island in the kitchen, bead board cathedral ceiling in the kitchen eating area and beautiful marble and limestone tiles in the bathroom.

I will keep you up to date on the process of these beautiful homes.  I feel so lucky to do what I do.  So many great clients/friends that come my way with so many diversified styles to keep my creative flow going.

HAPPY SPRING!
Marcia

 

Sharing Bits and Pieces

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Remi, my Abyssinian cat, seems quite content buried under fabrics being shown to me by one of my fabric reps.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.  With all the disturbing events happening close to home and overseas, I linger longer than normal looking at the small, individual efforts that people make to embrace the season.  These efforts seem to touch me the most….The single lit tree outside, the Christmas tree peeking out through a front window and candles reflecting in the windows for us all to see.  I look in those windows and imagine families gathered around the dinner table laughing and sharing stories and the little ones anticipation of morning to come.  Excitement and peacefulness fills the air while all the while shutting out the world around for that brief moment of time.

Visiting from Massachusetts, my grandniece and Godchild, Kaleigh, spent the morning with me. We had fun making ornaments for Mommy and Mimi (Grandma).

Kaleigh making ornament

 

As winter settles in, I dream of the afternoons my husband, Rick and I played golf.  Enjoying the game of golf and becoming more proficient at it, I found myself taking an afternoon and playing nine holes by myself.  To me it’s not about the game but about a chance to walk and get exercise, to enjoy the fresh air and de-stress as I’m focused on the game and surroundings.  Lucky were we when, my husband and I donned in shorts, played golf at The Links at Erie Village on December 24th.  That was a memorable day.

We were able to get away the first of December to celebrate my sister’s birthday.  My sister, her husband, Rick and I flew into Miami and stayed at the beautiful Thompson Miami Beach Hotel where we sat on the beach soaking in the sun’s rays.  As Rick and I strolled down the beach, we happened upon the Miami Beach Art Fair or commonly known as the” Art Basel Week” that was taking place.  There were amazing exhibits.  One exhibit, showcased wooden crates placed sporadically around the beach.  Upon opening them, one could select a free art poster showcasing the various artist’s work.  Continuing on our walk, there was an actual rollerskating platform that had been erected on the beach.  With skate along music playing, one only had to put on rented skates and skate along with the music and rolling waves.  Being that it was a year ago I had broken my toe so badly, I opted out on venturing into the arena.

The next day, the four of us jumped into the car and drove the Overseas Highway sometimes called, “The Highway that Goes to Sea,” to Key West.  As we came upon the island, I felt an urge to sing Jimmy Buffett’s song, Margaritaville.  Noting this to the other three in the car, don’t you know shortly thereafter, as fate would have it,  the song came on the radio.  As the four of us sang along; I think they were singing…I know I was… we had now entered into another world.  We stayed off island at the Sunset Key Cottages.  A seven minute taxi boat ride from Key West.  You felt as if you were in paradise.  Life was good as we had our own cottage on the water complete with a hammock and a beautiful view of Key West in sight.  Every morning I walked the brick lined streets passing homes that reminded me more of the cape than Florida.  Being there during the holiday season heightened the senses to overload.  Awaiting us on the front porch every morning was a basket filled with fresh fruit and homemade muffins.  Can I retire here!!??

Below are a few pictures from the cottage we stayed in.

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Sunset Key View 1

A few of the homes on the island where we stayed.

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The beautiful lobby at the Sunset Key Hotel.

Sunset Key Lobby

So different was the Island itself.  With so many bars, restaurants, stores and wild chickens and roosters roaming around.  We, of course, had to take a tour of the Ernest Hemingway House Museum complete with 57 polydactyl (six-toed) cats.  About half of the cats at the museum have the physical polydactyl trait but they all carry the polydactyl gene in their DNA.  Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’s captain and some of the cats who live on the grounds are descendants of that original cat.  We also visited the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory which I loved.  I told my husband when and IF I ever retire, that would be something I could do.  As I meandered around the conservatory, three butterflies decided to hitch a ride on my legs.  After seeing the butterflies on me, one of the employees came up to me and said, “they don’t land on people very often but, when they do, you know the person has a gentle and soft spirit.”

One of the polydactyl cats poses on a rock while the tour guide wraps up his speech.

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Butterflies clinging to my legs at the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.

 

Sunset Key Butterflys

Very soon my photographer, Jonathan Beach, will be photographing a few of my client’s homes for me that were recently completed. Keep your eye on my site on www.houzz.com to view the photos.  One of the beautiful homes I completed recently will be photographed in February as my clients were recently married and are off on their honeymoon.  My husband and I were in attendance at their wonderful wedding.  We wish them much happiness in the years to come.

Brad and Erin's wedding

I love David Bowie’s wife, Iman’s Instagram she posted after David’s death, “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”  Enjoy every moment!!!

Wishing you a Wonderful and Glorious 2016!

Marcia

 

 

 

 

 

New and Inspired Fresh Summer Garden Colors

 

A glimpse into Benjamin Moore’s refreshing colors will inspire you to repaint.  Their fresh pales awaken the senses.  The light muted tones of grays, lavenders, blues, yellows and greens invigorate us all.  Benjamin Moore’s 2015 color of the year is called Guilford Green which, has a hint of mint just in time to be inspired by the summer garden.

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Benjamin Moore’s color of the year 2015

 

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Dried flowers from my garden mimic the colors of Benjamin Moore’s Guilford Green.

 

Benjamin Moore Colors

 

With all the rain this summer, my small gardens live large with an abundance of flowers dancing in the breeze.  Light colors of yellows, purples, whites, and a collage of greens intermix with  deeper tones while the grass and sky  seems to become their scenic backdrop.  

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My small front garden lives large this year with the abundance of rain.

 

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The front garden flowers dance in the breeze while the grass and sky become it’s scenic backdrop.

 

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My front porch invites people in with flowers cascading over a stone hedge hog meant to bring good luck within.

 Not only do textures add interest to the garden, but in furniture and on the walls as well.  Making a grand comeback are natural wallpapers such as: natural palms, bamboo, grasses and paper weaves.

Recently remodeled, our master bath, has a light colored textured paper weave by Thibaut Wallpaper. In contrast to that, I recently installed deep colored Java Grass on the walls in my client’s lower level media/bar room above the judges paneling.  The Java Grass boasts deep rich colors of blues, grays and browns adding a rich color and texture to the contrast of the white trim, Benjamin Moore’s Acadia White OC-38. Natural wallpapers not only look great on the walls but also installed into the sections of  coffered ceilings or on the walls behind a bookcase.

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In the process of being built, I installed java grass wallpaper in tones of blues, grays and browns against the backdrop of white trim in my clients lower level media/bar room.

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Our recently remodeled master bath has a light colored textured paper weave by Thibaut Wallpaper.

Textured furniture, when mixed in with non-textured not only adds interest but invites the senses to be alive.  Lexington Home Brands, Ivory Key, is finished in a crisp white coloration with subtle parchment highlights.  Drawer fronts and a headboard of woven raffia create a natural look and also create a wonderful room for a backdrop in a bold color such as Benjamin Moore’s, Carter Plum CW-355 or a beautiful rich beige tone such as Pale Oak OC-70. 

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Featured as a back drop against a graceful fern, Benjamin Moore’s color Carter Plum CW-355 would create a wonderful contrast against white or cream furniture.

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Lexington Home Brands, Ivory Key adds texture to the nightstand and headboard.

If bold color is not to your liking, try an elegant airy gentle white color from Benjamin Moore such as powder sand OC-113.  Lexington Industries new line, Oyster Bay, captures the style and feel of the new whites in a light oyster shell coloration.  Lexington states in their catalog that, “Today’s casual transitional styling blends lighter wood tones, natural textures and relaxed shades of ivory, taupe and gray, with designs that embody a feeling of laid-back sophistication.”

BM Gentle Whites

Benjamin Moore’s gentle whites

 

Lexington Oyster Bay

Lexington Home Brands, Oyster Bay, ” Blends lighter wood tones with natural textures and relaxed shades of ivory, taupe and gray, with designs that embody a feeling of laid-back sophistication.”

Whether your desire is lighter walls with rich toned furniture, a more monochromatic feel or darker walls with a lighter natural feel in furniture, the combinations abound.  This summer and fall, get inspired by the backdrop of the earth and sky mixed with the colors of a beautiful garden with textures from grasses, ferns and plants and colors naturally created from the earth, sky and flowers.

A blog just wouldn’t be the same without a picture of one of my abyssinians…..My star photogenic Aby, Sami, recently posed for me.   In the heat of a 90 degree day, she was looking for relief on a cool glass top in our summer screen room……Loving my new camera….(visit my blog prior to this)sami on table

“I’VE COME TO REALIZE…”

Birds at feeder

My bird feeders overlooking the lake, before it froze, full of migrating geese covered in snow.

I’ve come to realize that no matter how long you’ve lived where there’s snow, you never quite get used to it.  Every time you spoke with someone this winter, the topic of conversation was how cold and bad the winter was…..But now, we’re gearing up for everyone to hopefully start complaining about how hot and humid it is!!!

Cardinals at feeder

I had an abundance of male and female cardinals at the feeder this year. Every morning I feed them shelled peanuts, which all the birds and squirrels enjoyed.

I decided it was time to retire my beloved Nikon semi-automatic camera that I’ve had for many years.   So, in the fall, I purchased a new digital camera.  One thing I wanted to do was to hike into Green Lakes on a sunny, (good luck with that one) snowy day and take a picture of the snow against the forest of tree trunks for my dear friend, Lenora to paint.  Then in December, as fate would have it, I broke my toe really bad.  I missed a couple of steps into our garage while racing around getting ready to go to New York City for a little Christmas sight seeing trip.  Laid up with an open toed shoe for months, I spent some time photographing the birds that visited my feeder daily.  Out of this arose my New Year’s Resolution…..Mindfulness.  I do things slower now and realize that things CAN wait.

Master Bath

My new master bath with heated floors, new vanities, tile and wallpaper from Thibaut.

staircase

Wall to wall carpet replaced with hardwood steps and a wall to wall carpet cut and bound into a runner from Masland Carpets.

Over the winter, I worked on a lot of exciting decorating projects.  One project was remodeling my master bath and staircase. Another one was for a client which, should be completed by mid to late summer.  I hope to get them both professionally photographed and into my profile at Houzz.com along with other projects I’ve been working on.  My master bath project included heated floors, new vanities, tile, wallpaper and a walk-in shower with frameless doors. The staircase that leads to my office was originally wall to wall carpet.  I had the carpet ripped up and new hardwood floors installed.  The finishing touch, a beautiful wall to wall carpet cut and bound into a runner.

In January, I was voted by the Houzz.com  professional staff as “Best of Houzz 2015 for Service.”  If you visit their website and view my profile, you will see the emblem.

I had a “moment” of sheer excitement in January as well, when I received notification from the publisher of a National Kitchen Magazine called, The Art of Kitchen & Bath Design/Kitchens by Professional Designers, that a kitchen remodeling project I had submitted, was accepted and would be published in their March edition.  I was awaiting a proof when I received an email from the publisher notifying me that “After 25 years of publication, the internet information age and its rapid expansion, has had a major effect on all print media retail sales making it prohibitive to continue printing.”  My “moment” of sheer excitement flashed before my eyes…..I had been featured in the magazine in 2009 when a kitchen designer submitted photographs of a kitchen he designed and I had assisted the client with the kitchen selections and I had also created the custom window treatments.  I’d been meaning to submit photographs since then and I finally did……and so it goes.  I will keep trying with other magazines and will keep you posted.

West Palm Beach

The beach on Singer Island in the early morning light awaiting beach goers.

My husband and I, along with my sister and her husband, were able to get away for 10 days to Florida where we had 80 degrees and sunshine.  After wearing an open toed shoe for three months,  I could finally wear sneakers on my foot with the broken toe.  I felt like a new woman but I also felt like I had to teach myself how to walk again!  The doctor’s orders were to not walk without my sneakers on the sand.  There’s nothing like the feel of that warm sand massaging your bare feet.  Not wanting to regress,  I begrudgingly heeded the doctor’s orders.

Sami on bed

Freezing, Sami poses with blankets around her on the new Master Bedroom bed by Somerset Bay.

Lake Path

Finally able to walk again, I recently meandered along our lake path with just a trace of snow left. It’s almost metaphoric as I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel!

Sami on sofa

Sami poses again on the living room sofa for me as I try out my new digital camera.

Once again, I’m realizing that the winters don’t last forever although when you’re in the midst of it it certainly seems like it does.  I am out enjoying my stress relieving walks again and taking photos with my new camera.  The snow scene will have to wait until next year.  Soon we will all be out enjoying the warmer weather.  I will change the timers on my lights, clean the fireplace out and my husband, Rick and I will put up the much anticipated screen room for the cats and us…but mostly for the cats who will then realize as well that winters don’t last forever……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Chance for Celebration

Flowers reflected

Reflected in an antique mirror a beautiful flower arrangement made by Whistlestop Florist sits atop a table on the back deck.

I love any excuse to entertain and my husband’s 60th birthday was no exception.   I planned a full day of celebration for Rick, who hates surprises, without ever spilling the beans.  Hard to do as I always love sharing my excitement with him.

As I gathered my thoughts for a theme.  Rick’s love for golf made my choice an easy one!  I planned a surprise golf outing with Rick’s college buddies.  Checking his phone contacts when he wasn’t looking, I found all their emails and phone numbers.  The fun began……..

Fish Tank #3

A miniature golf Cart, 18th hole flag, imaginary wind blowing a tree, sand trap and water hazard all inside a fish tank.

River Lobster

A river lobster in the right corner of the fish tank sits atop the blue stones that mimicked a water hazard on a golf course.

I called upon my “old faithful’s” and some new ones to add to my creativity.  I started with an idea of a goldfish in a glass vase with a golf ball in the bottom and ended up with the most unique and creative fish tank which included a miniature golf cart, 18th hole flag, imaginary wind blowing a tree, fish, sand trap and a water hazard.  Stopping into a new fish store that opened up called Fish FINatics, I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the owners, Tom O’Conner.  He was intriqued with my idea and said, “let me think on it.”  You could see his creative wheels turning.  Two months later,  Voila!!  I had the most unique fish tank to use as my centerpiece on the buffet table.  There was even a live river lobster in the tank.  At one point, he crawled into the golf cart to check it out.  By the time I grabbed my camera, he had moved on to inspect the wind blown artificial tree.

Zinnias

Wheat grass grown in an antique bread baker plays on my golf theme.

Outside Flowers

Playing on the theme of golf balls, round berries and more are gathered into a centerpiece.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love meeting with Nanette Haynor at Whistlestop Florist.  The final outcome is always more than expected.  I gave her an antique bread baker which she filled with wheat grass.  I made flags and added one of the adorable “flower” golf balls she made me.  Along with the antique bread baker, Nanette grew wheat grass in my clay flower pot containers.  Placing them around added whimsy to the occasion.  The amazing flower arrangement she made for the back deck table filled with sunflowers, mums and round accents played upon the roundness of the golf ball.

The fact that my husband’s party was a surprise obviously made it difficult to do any decorating to the house in advance.  So, when we left in the early morning to go play golf, so he thought, he was so surprised see his friend, Len, pull into the parking lot.  Not dawning on him yet he said, “what the heck is Len doing here?”  As the rest of his friends pulled in I looked at him and said, “surprise!” I left him to play 18 holes and drove home to begin my transformation of the house.

party favors

The personalized golf tee favors displayed in a tray were ready for the taking by the guests as they were leaving.

I ordered personalized golf tees that said, Ricks 60th birthday and placed them in bags with shredded green paper for the party favors.  Gathered them into a tray for friends to grab a bag or two as they left.Grass from above

Water

“Grass,” ball and tee sit under a dispenser filled with cucumber/thyme water.

Thinking the surprise was over when his friend, Len, dropped him off back at the house, he came in with a big smile on his face until he saw the transformation.  “What’s going on, he said, why is the dining room chair over here?”  My turn….With a big smile on MY face I said, “surprise again!”  “Dinner here tonight with all your friends to celebrate.”  I love to cook as you know from my previous blogs but, since it was a surprise,  I enlisted Karen’s Catering who arrived with fresh roasted turkey and pork for sandwiches along with wonderful salads.

donut holes

Powdered Sugar donut holes in a bucket with wheat grass in the background continues playing on my golf theme.

For dessert the wonderful to look at and taste was made by Connie Decker. I added another “flower” golf ball and a flag to the top of the cake.   I also offered powdered sugar donut holes in a bucket.

Ricks cake

A delicious “on the green” cake made by Connie Decker.

Couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day.  The sun was out all day and there was a gentle breeze blowing.  What better way to spend a beautiful summer day than with good friends laughing and sharing stories.  I can’t forget to thank Lydia from Johnson Camera for taking these beautiful pictures.  Nothing like professional photographs to bring the party back to life!

Remi at the party

Always in the center of things. Remi checks out the party favors.

 

 

Design Inspiration

Need some design inspiration?  I know I could use some right about now…..we’ve all had a very long winter.  What better way to start than by visiting Lexington Home Brands Facebook Page to dream and awaken your sensesWhile you’re there, you’ll see they picked up and posted my last blog…https://www.facebook.com/lexington

We recently travelled to the Turks and Caicos where the water is picture perfect and so surreal.  Longing to open my windows and allow a beautiful breeze to come passing through as it did where we stayed, I’ve been inspired to recreate some of my spaces.

Caicos 2

View from our room.

Whether you’re looking to surround yourself with inviting comfort, longing to spend time in a cozy outdoor space or transforming a room into a timeless living space, Lexington Home Brands furnishings will inspire you.  Call me so we can get started!

turks 1

I felt like I was standing in a photograph the water was so surreal.