Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Retirement wishes...

More and more often, I find myself yearning for the lazy days of retirement! "What?" you say? I'm not sure I will lounge around and sleep in until 9:00am every day, never go through the long process of hair and makeup (after all, I do have the primping gene, as identified by my sister Denise).

I do find that when I have been away from my retail "home" I often yearn to return and get my hands back in the thick of things. I'm not sure I would be happy for too long without some of the stresses and challenges of my work. Maybe I'll always have a hand in consulting and designing. Yes, most likely I will. That being said, I still yearn for the lazy days of retirement, be they what it may.

While we were away in the Outer Banks, my youngest daughter, Jessie and I walked the quiet and historic streets of Beaufort, NC. It was here that I was reminded that Jess and I have always shared the dream of having a bed and breakfast! We love to cook and bake. We can be very entertaining (especially Jessie!), I have set after set of beautiful old dishes, at least 30 cake plates. Probably 25 compotes for jams, jellies and fresh fruits. Vintage linens galore (and don't forget my fetish for ironing).

Just think how often we could redecorate the rooms! Recycle the furniture and by new! Create a "designer room " of sorts and sell it off, only to create something more interesting! I could use all of my favorite art and collectibles, hang as many plates as I wanted and repaint at a moment's notice. And, we would have Sneelock to complete the tasks!

Somehow it doesn't sound very relaxing.

Here are some of the homes that were for sale that could be the new retirement venture! I'm sure you can see the possibilities with me.

Almost every house was white! The old fisherman's captain's homes dated back to the early 1700's.
Porches everywhere for the lounging. Rockers facing the sea. Black shutters. Charm.
This sidewalk had a welcoming name written in oyster shells at the beginning of the walk. I thought I was getting it in the photo...oh, well.

Gates and fruit compote finials. This side porch faced the enchanting guest house in the rear.

Old wooden fences, freshly painted, more porches and black full length shutters. Yes, this could be the one.

This one looks like a fitting challenge for fabulous design. *note the private balcony*

Bella, one of my four year old grand daughters stopping to check out these dainty yellow blooms.

I'm pretty sure we were meant to own one of these. Oh, and did I mention that Jessie has plans to "rent cats to sleep in your room" for those who desire...

I'll let you know when the place is ready for reservations.

It's good to dream.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dream Clients, Yes!

Every designer has a handful of "dream clients". These projects are the most satisfying, delightful and fulfilling in the scope of interior design work.

I remember the time that we were coming down the home stretch after designing an entire home. One last room remained and I selected several color pallets and associated fabrics for approval. When I called to set up the appointment to present my ideas, she said, "Oh, you decide! I'm ready for a surprise! Music to my ears.

Then there was the time when we had another full house project, and my client and I were on the same page the entire project. I don't recall a selection that I made that was ever turned down. Unusual and wonderful.

Just a few days ago, the final installation of our Las Vegas project was completed. When we left Las Vegas after the initial visit, my client didn't even care about seeing the final color selection. She "trusted me to make the decisions". Oh,yes.

And what about my client who gave me a key to the house and had me come in and hang three walls of generational photos while she was away on vacation?! That was a treat! And, how fun it was to imagine her delight upon returning to the completed project. Cool.

This brings me to the real story, a report from a colleague and fellow designer, Johnathan Adler. Johnathan is a very hip designer who does full interior design and has his own accessory/furniture line as well. I purchase his line at times for the store, and we exchange emails and comments at times. His taste is impeccable,as are his designs. Not long ago, I received this email regarding his "dream client" and I really had to chuckle as I could totally relate! I thought you might enjoy it.


On the eve of her 50th birthday, interior decorator Johnathan Adler has decked out a real-life 3,500 square foot pad overlooking the Pacific Ocean to look like the blond doll's outrageous home.

Adler, who was commissioned by toy make Mattell Inc. to decorate the house for Monday's party, said outfitting the sleek mansion (a property that's frequently rented for film and photography shoots) took six months of planning and a few weeks to install.

"Barbie was a dream client because she doesn't exist as a person," Adler said. "She exists as fantasy and is the perfect client because she is always happy and fun and loves everything. I thought to myself,'How would Barbie live?' What I thought was Barbie would have a house that is glamorous, kittenish, chic, colorful and happy--as well as functional."

Adler lined Barbie's bedroom with wall-to-wall pink carpeting emblazoned with her initial. The close is filled with 50 pairs of pink peep-toe heels while her kitchen is stocked with cupcake-making ingredients. An in-house museum features 25 vintage Barbie dolls on display. In the garage? A pink Volkswagen New Beetle with a motorized pop-up vanity in the trunk.

I thoroughly enjoyed Johnathan's imaginary "dream client" (because she doesn't exist)! But as for my dream clients...they're real!

Are you a dream client waiting for the next open appointment? I'll be waiting!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Generally, at the end of each day I sit down with my laptop and review emails, respond, check the blogs I follow and get inspired by the design happenings of the day in th form of a blog post.

As I set out to share an entertaining account of another designer's written word, I noticed that today is my 100th post! Thanks to the inspiration of my darling and creative (in all ways!) daughters, I entered the world of blogging to inspire others in the matters of style. I have a number of followers and they hale from 14 countries! I have had just over 9000 visits from the countries of: United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Switzerland, Brazil, United Kingdom, South Africa, Bahrain, and Iceland! (Google analytics is very interesting!) 66.49% of my visitors are returning followers and 33.51% are new. I am amazed, but I love it! I run into "my people" (tee hee) in various places and situations and feel genuinely honored. Style...or not...is all around and in this past year, I have found so many stylish subjects to document.

"I'm for style. Fashion changes too often" Coco Channel. I echo that favorite quote!

So, here's to the next 100 posts. And thanks for the interest!

p.s. I'm not so stylish late at night.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Susan on a roll...

Today we spent an hour with a darling client, Brenda! Okay, I'm just going to say it right off, I forgot to document anything with my camera...drat!

During our month long gig at The Bucks County Designer house, where we did the living room, we passed out complimentary one hour consultations as an introduction to our services! Brenda took us up on it, and we so enjoyed her quaint and personal home. She had loads of interesting areas where she "broke the rules" (!) and great style sense. I never cease to be amazed at how apologetic clients get-over what?!

Brenda was amazed and most likely a bit overwhelmed at the plethora of ideas that spewed forth. I can talk pretty fast! And, when ideas are just abundant, it's hard sometimes not to say too much. She kept wondering how I came up with ideas, on and on, but did her best to furnish yet another room for inspiration. When she asked me how I did this, I realized that I felt totally free to recommend everything that came to me, without reservation, because I wasn't really trying to sell any of them! In a complimentary consultation, it's more about what I would do and not so much about giving advice that someone could immediately embrace. It's more about expanding the imagination (as Anne of Green Gables would do!) and stretching your comfort zone beyond what you would do on your own. It was really a fun and rewarding appointment, as most all of the ideas were met with enthusiasm! Thanks, Brenda!

And, I am truly sorry that I didn't document one single idea while I was there....you'd think I would have the knack by now.

Perhaps there will be another chance to snap some shots of this way cute house. We'll see.

Style Sightings from the Outer Banks

Why is getting back to real life such a rude awakening after being on vacation?!

Today was my first day back at work after a beautiful, long, lounging, relaxing week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It turned out to be a rather late night after pulling the store back together and putting out the new merchandise that was received while I was away. Due to the hour, here is just a taste of the stylish documentations you can look forward to!

The ever stylish Southern rocker---always enough for a small party to view the beautiful vistas from every angle. Reading spot, conversation pit, napping, sunning, breakfasting in true southern style.

Our very stylishly private doc, generally occupied 24/7 by my 8 year old grandson and his father, my son Ryan. Ample sunning, fishing, fishing, fishing and more fishing, reading, swimming and leisurely walks down the boardwalk. High tide proved successful for the best fishing, midnight or dawn! Stylish beds were furnished for those of us who cared not for fishing. Tales of the sea the following morning, very stylish indeed!

Stay tuned, as there are numerous style reports yet to come...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Susan's Personal Stash...Now Available!

We had a particularly busy week in the retail store last week. To me, that is both good news and bad news! I don't mind telling you that I often have a problem selling the things that I love, and especially right after I have spent hours re merchandising and designing inspiration vignettes. I realize that the whole name of the game is to sell the merchandise, but I still have issues! Of course, I realize that the profitability of the retail division depends on selling the treasures that I have found. In addition to this, good sales translates into work for me. Don't get me wrong, I love the merchandising and while it is definitely my "night shift" , I enjoy the time I spend alone and the creative outlet along with moments of inspiration are really fulfilling. I often wonder how I ever turned this over to others in past times, as I really love this work.

That being said, at the end of the week, as I looked around the store and saw blank spaces and bare walls everywhere, I had to agree with the grave concerns of my staff members as to the condition of the store on the eve of my leaving town for a beach vacation with my darling family members. As often they do, there was encouragement for me to go right home and scour the garage and basement for inventory that might fill in these blanks. Generally, I roll my eyes and scold them for supposing that I could part with personal "inventory" for the betterment of the store...but, as I looked around, I had to admit that it must might be what was needed.

I began the objective rifling through my storage areas for items that I had purchased for my own use and somehow never found a place for in my own home. And, I ended up with a whole van full of favorite purchases that I reluctantly felt I could donate to the cause. (I might say that Sneelock was extremely pleased with the culling and very ready to load up the van!)

This is my stash unloaded in the back of the stockroom! Needless to say, all were totally surprised when I showed up with the requested goods! I had a pang of regret as we began to open the boxes, some purchased from Black-eyed Susan years ago and in their original boxes. Many of my very favorite floral items, containers, art...yes, indeed, some real second thoughts as Connie began to quickly enter the items into inventory and print the price tags before I could snatch them back !

Many of my long time supporters and fans will remember these cut roses! They even have insect bites out of the petals! Assorted colors and looking like they were just cut, they now are available for your homes. How happy and pleasing the colorful bunches look. My gift to the cause!

Here is a collection of some of my absolute favorite hydrangeas, viburnum, queen anne's lace, berries, and chinese lanterns. I had always meant to make a gorgeous wreath from this prized collection. Now, Joanne will put it together for an inspiring wreath to be sold. Sad for me, lucky for you!

And, there's a lot more to choose from! Favorite containers, art and small accents of all kinds to be had.

I think you'd better come in soon before I decide to take it all back home.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Visit to Racheal's Room!

It's always a joy to arrive at the destination of a new client's home and find so many instant treasures!

Of course,I was thrilled that this charming parcel had a name!

This tiny historic door (with Black-eyed Susans on the front to boot!) filled us with instant anticipation for what might be in store. We weren't disappointed.

Racheal's cute mother had seen our sheer 100% linen embroidered dot soft roman shades in our recent designer room and the rest is history. Take a look at this adorable 4 year old's room dressed in twin beds with one of my favorite sytles of bedspreads. Linen upholstered twin beds flank this family heirloom-- the petal pink chest of drawers. It was my suggestion to move the chest between the beds and it was an instant "yes"!

I didn't think to take a shot of the windows dressed in the new linen shades, but you'll have to take my word for it...perfection!

We "ooo'd and awe'd" as we took in all the collectable accents around the room and Jackie quickly made notes while my mind worked overtime to conjour up additional layers needed to complete the room.

You must stay tuned for more progress on this project!

As we were leaving, I peeked into the rear courtyard, and just look at the color Amy (homeowner) had painted the guesthouse! Almost perfect "venetian gold"! This made my heart sing. I'll be anxiously awaiting our next visit to this charming historic home.

BES Backstock?

Last Saturday our first annual Summer Wreath Sale launched!

Enter Andrew!

Andrew is a regular! Never mind that he has to treck almost an hour to get to us. So much a regular, that on his visit early Saturday morning, it was decided that should Black-eyed Susan fall short of inventory, and Susan's personal stash along with Trish's basement stash fell equally short....aaa would be our next (and most likely, equal) source for immediate back stock!

Andrew purchased an abundance, one could say, of my favorite lime green peonies-both large and small! Although this image is not the finest (taken by Trish on her I-phone), it was a great documentation of the purchase of one our finest and most loyal fans. The day was off to a great start...except for the many clients who came in after aaa to purchase this popular flower!

Oh well, the early bird gets the worm.

Come in for more options for beautiful summer wreaths...still at 30% off for one more week!

(Try not to fret, more of these beauties are already on the way!)

And then, there's always Andrew's basement!

*Does anyone else out there have this BES back stock problem?*

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Susan Rules; "Forget the Rules, Arouse the Senses"

Tonight's event was "the Susan Rules...Forget the Rules, Arouse the Senses!" We had a great turnout and alot of great interaction and comments in discussion form. The discussion with photo examples, was to inspire us to design with our own signature, inspired by others and outside sources. We talked about designing a little outside the box of the norm, and unexpected yet purposeful placement. We got a bit involved in talking about the obsessiveness of collecting and had one darling participant who's problem was not knowing what to collect! Oh, my, to have such a problem.
This is an example I embellished last night prior to leaving for home, adding layers to the existing art and finding homes for many of the accessories I brought back from the Designer House.
In the process of returning the furniture, lamps, and accessories to the retail store, one huge domino effect occur ed and resulted in an entire floor change (come in to see for yourself!), and my new summer themed windows. Sneelock usually photographs the windows for me, but just as I was leaving tonight I took a chance on getting something worthy to publish...until the real thing is done by him.
I learned recently that my windows are "famous" and a real draw! I'll take that.
Take a look for yourself, and you can always ask to see Fred's (oops, Sneelock's) in the next few weeks. It's darn hard to not get the glare, the traffic, and the stop light involved.
Orange a green, a great theme.

Dressing and changing the windows is a huge project to tackle in the late night hours, but all in all, totally rewarding! A trip to see them in person would be the real ticket.
I'll be waiting!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Well, it's almost over. The room is empty. The rug gone. The holes patched and painted. The furniture re-delivered back to Black-eyed Susan and my client. No more books. No more letters. No more buttons. No more pillows. No more sofas.....you get the picture.

We spent the day today packing, hauling, patching, vacuuming, painting, and occasionally being sad! At the end of the day, I took a look around and couldn't resist arranging the last few items waiting to be picked up from Designer Sales, into a more pleasing presentation than just "on the shelves"...see for yourself!

Making it cute for sold items waiting to be picked up....

Sad,sad,sad, very sad.

Until next year...

All in all, a very busy day. And, a little bit sad.