Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sneak Peak!

Each Spring, I usually participate in one of the area Designer Houses as a first tier contributor.
This year, we are putting our efforts into the Bucks County Designer House, supporting the Doylestown Hospital.

There is so much thought that goes into our room design! First, all the participating designers view the house and "bid" on the room they want to do. A design board is submitted and reviewed by the Designer House Committee and you are assigned a room. It' not always the room you selected as your first choice, but it's a happy day when it is!

We struck gold this year and was asked to do the room we bid on, the dining room.

I'm pretty well known for color and I don't think this years room will disappoint! While the room is now completed (the paint, that is!), I only have photos of the beginning day to share.

My totally darling and agreeable painter (always first on my list!) started right in covering the dated and not "oh so susan" trim color of Wedgwood blue. My pallet is, on the other hand, "Oh! So Susan!". Lipstick, warm stone and a taupe-beige. I always like using the impact of a color from current trends, and I was impressed with this one which was shown in abundance at the winter Atlanta Market! It's daring...high gloss...and lipstick! That should paint the picture in your head.

Walt putting the last stroke of new trim color on the window! Just compare it to that baseboard.


Here's the first peak at the wall color (look up!). I always paint walls and ceilings the same color...don't fear, you'll love it! I decided to pick things up a bit with the high gloss finish. It is some kind of industrial finish from Sherwin Williams!

The room is completely painted now. I heard a few comments today that it is quite the talk of the house! It's a shock for sure in the state that it is in, but I can promise you a fabulous transformation from drab to fab. I suppose it's good to be the talk of the town and a little hype and buzz doesn't worry me.

I'll be delivering furniture soon and will keep you posted with some more photos.

Hint: Jeweled buttons, zebra, urban drapery panels, and lime accents.

Just you wait!

Walt is the best.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Spring!

Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The first day of spring did not disappoint!

I love forsythia! In the picturesque roads of Bucks County, you will find meadows full of this.


Rural split rail fence flanked by tender blossoms. I want some.

The wonders of bursting Spring!

Weeping plum in full takes my breath away.

Magnificent magnolia...

This is real!

Masses of daffodils. So cheery!

Spring wreath, courtesy Black-eyed Susan! Fresh color and contrast.

My favorite reindeer moss nesting pale robin egg blue eggs, just inside my door!

Welcome Spring. Stay awhile.

Day Off

I took the day off and enjoyed spending time at home! This doesn't happen often, and I found myself involved in multiple baking projects. I remembered how much I love to bake when I am not thrown into a "crisis deadline" as my daughter, Michelle, identifies it!

In between my sifting, baking, cleaning and starting over again, I also;

wrapped and mailed my darling sister's birthday gifts
worked out on the cross trainer
did a little grocery shopping (baking my stylish yellow apron with ruffles)
delivered two chests and lamps (two hour delay...)
filled out Designer House forms
worked on a new ad with Sneelock
put out a little spring decor!
lost another pair of reading glasses. Ugh
took my alterations to the dry cleaners (T-rex arms)
soaked and cleaned all my styling brushes
ironed the guest sheets
skipped lunch...and dinner
visited a darling elderly man in the hospital
paid a few bills

All in all, I did a lot that I seldom have time for.

Take a look at some of my favorite spring accents that have lived far too many years in the bowels of my storage room;

I found a treasure box in my storage room of fabulously colored fiesta-type dishes! Chartreuse, robin egg and red. Ahhhhhhh. What a pleasant vintage surprise! I used them in stacks on the dining room table. Here is one with a crocus bulb nesting in it. I couldn't recall how long ago I had purchased them, no doubt at a flea market or tag sale somewhere.

This velvet rabbit with ribbon-tied egg is a personal favorite, purchased from my Yardley cottage store some years ago! The chicks have beads in them that rattle when you shake them. So cute.

I gathered these paper mache eggs with tinsel trim and found a vintage silver basket to display them in. Another BES purchase from years ago!

This crouching Bunnie has two friends, each as realistic as he! He has a home on my large oval mirror-tray, along with these bright eggs and tendril-sh vine.

It was a creative and productive day, yet I find my self at the end of the day feeling as if I had much more to do...

All in all, a nice day off. I'll play catchup tomorrow.

Monday, March 19, 2012

That First Green Blush!

Spring. It makes my heart sing!

On my frequent drives through the picturesque back roads of Bucks County, that first blush of the green haze seen on the weeping willows just takes my breath away! One day, it is just a hint-a tease. The next day, wow! It's all about Spring.

Just one week ago, I was half an hour early for my first appointment (chalk it up to Daylight Savings!). As I drove slower than my usual break neck speed, this favorite sight made me happy.

At the end of the day, when I pulled into my driveway a sweet reminder of my darling mother had popped through the mulch. My staff had given me a tender basket of spring blooms at the time of my mother's death two years ago. Each spring, when they peek their stems up through the soil, I smile and recall that dear one I love so much.

I picked a handful and took them into the house where they found a home in one of my vintage juice glasses. Oh yes, Spring is the best time of the year.

This week it should be in full bloom everywhere. Ahhhhh.

Take it in. I'll be smiling.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Look! Look! Oh, Look!

I just returned home from my weekly "night shift" work. I have a great team-in-training (for my retirement, of course) in Shannon and Ann. We make a great threesome! I'm pretty sure they didn't sign up for midnight shifts and heavy load detail, but all in all, we have a great time finding our creative moxie. The late night hours result from the need to create chaos in the process of new creations in our visual displays.

Upon arriving home a wee bit earlier than usual (!) I promptly sat down to the dinner of champions...

A porcelain tea cup of Cheerios is just the ticket for a midnight dinner. The teacup provides perfect portion control, not to mention keeping the cereal from getting soggy!

After several days of multiple truck-loads of cool inventory coming in the back door, paired with Evelyn and Connie power-teaming through the unpacking, pricing and taking multiple loads to the dumpster, we had a stock room of inspiration to work with.

Here's just a tiny tease of what to expect next time you visit!

This is the fabulous rustic bird cage I ordered during the last Atlanta Market! Shannon went on a hunt through the stock room for my props and came up with a box of straw...Ann gently maneuvered the concrete pigeon through the door. Oh. My. The replica of the old fan has a working clock face, making the the perfect accessory. I added the shallow compote with bird's nests, a few vintage books, letters, and postcards, a favorite myrtle topiary and, WOW!

I love visual display. It's such a fulfilling type of creativity. And, Ann and Shannon really make the work fun!

Last week, same time, same station-you might say, we designed an entire setup around an original oil painting of a flock of smiling sheep (so Bucks County). Ann and I patted ourselves on the back as we left. The entire mantle sang of spring. Two days later, Jackie announced that she had sold the painting. She was gleeful, I responded with a scowl! So, tonight, we were forced to create a new vignette. This clock face made into a large mirror started as our focal point. Flanking the mirror, two chic lamps. The rest of the formula was made up of assorted globes and book storage boxes. Great color story with a very Ralph-y globe theme. We relocated some great warm stone colored cachepots to ground the story with a few favorite maidenhair ferns.

All in all, a good save from the previously destroyed vision. Selling Susan's favorites isn't all it's cracked up to be, Jackie! See if you can keep this one through the weekend, please.

And, to all our Black-eyed Susan fans....come see the magic.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Oh My! My Windows...

Last week in the wee hours of the morning, I said goodbye to a favorite window display (oh yes, I took the ornaments and stars out right after Christmas.) January was calm and still with my white Hawthorne branches and historic stone.

It's always a challenge to design the next window display...sometimes I like the previous one enough to want to keep it a while! My new windows (oh dear again...two years now!) are not as easy to display as my Yardley ones were. Soooooo.....I gave some thought to just what would be an eye-catching window display and here's what I came up with:

There's a lot of interest in bright color right now. If any of you are Pinterest pinners, painted furniture in all hues is a subject often found. I have an entire board labeled Painted Furniture that you can look at. I took this vintage English claw-foot console and gave it about 4 coats of a bright teal paint-high gloss! The moment I set it in the window, I knew it was the right choice.

I had purchased this french chair at a tag sale some months ago with the intention of painting it some unexpected color, and while I have not had time to do that yet, it found a home in the window with the suggestion of an upholstery fabric that married the painted console table to the chair perfectly. Naturally, with the trend for these deep teal colors, I had multiple selections in my stock room waiting patiently to be put on display. Enter the pottery platter. *sigh*

I tacked the fabric around the front of the chair to resemble upholstery and turned the chair just so to be part of the set.

The month of March is our semi-annual Vanguard Upholstery Sale. I included some rolls of upholstery weight fabric, a showy bucket of spring viburnum, and the appropriate signage...


Welcome my new spring window. As much as I wasn't ready to stash my beautiful exotic, foraged Hawthorne branches, I'm pleased now with this happy sight.

It's all about the color!