Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Interior Design - The Artist - Comparing Apples to Apples

On most projects, I feel very capable of putting my design skills to use in pulling together the finishing touches for a final reveal, once I’ve got received the project's go-ahead and the real budget has been approved.  I become the artist who layers in the final brush strokes with the tools of their trade. 

If each of those strokes needs to be revisited or reviewed, it impacts project management as it does slow down the entire process with second-guessing and it stifles the creative capacity - and well, let's face it, retracted budgets don't always bode well for the outcome.  It's not necessarily awful, but it's not necessarily great, either.  When the client(s) allow for the follow-through to unfold, it's literally a beautiful thing!

We begin with an inspiration image, with the understanding it will be personalized to accomplish an end goal.

The process begins . . . Yes, the beginning can create some anxiety.  And it's during this time of project development, if clients are involved in every step of the way, there is temptation to change course.  It takes a firm but gentle designer to lead the way and a willing and trusting client to follow.

It’s at this stage I can hear a sigh of relief.  While collaboration is important, notice there is one hand controlling the brush.  

Comparing apples to apples . . .  it's in the artist's designer's mind and in their final touch which makes for a beautiful picture.

I like those apples, very much!

Thanks to 

for sharing a great lesson in art.

All my best! ~ Wanda

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Bridging the Balance of Interiors and Lifestyle

In the last few years, there has been a certain trend in interiors where embellishments have been kept to a minimum.  A cleaner, more modern approach.  Some say it makes for a calming quality and the practicality of less maintenance makes for an important purpose.  

I think there are many underlying reasons for this aesthetic to have gained so much popularity.  Some are the ones I mentioned above, but I think it goes far beyond the surface, as beautiful design should always push deeper, with more meaning and intention.  

Soft, elegant design details made for a beautiful bath escape for our clients.

The world has transitioned from a period of excess, in many ways.  Interior design has been affected by this, as well.  The elaborately bloated pieces of furniture with the "more is more" attitude are fewer and further between.  More editing and less layering in accents.  Living lighter and a less encumbered lifestyle.  There's a fineness to the small details, when embellishment is allowed.  A more meaningful experience is provided rather than feeling compelled to own a lot of "stuff" to showcase a certain station in life, especially if the accrual doesn't reflect the pure spirit of good design or its owner.

Image:  Captured by Wanda S. Horton on a recent project sourcing trip.  A stunning finish on a desk.

I believe; however, as with any design direction, there can be extremes . . . just as in the way we live with or without the perceptions and expectations of how our world should be defined.  During the aftermath of any catastrophic event, be it financial, health-oriented, family-focused, or anything which can put our personal world on it's ear, there is a tendency to pull back, to refocus, to let go. Sometimes, though, we can even place ourselves in a mindset of paying penance for having let ourselves go off our "diets".  The kind of fear thought of including an occasional treat which might send us back to the extra weight we just lost, so there is a denial of savoring some extra frosting, as it were.  So much so, this disciplined approach can rob of us our spontaneous joie de vivre.

Image:  Kravet Fabrics - Barbara Barry Collection

As an interior designer, I strive to honor my clients' aesthetics and their requests.  In fact, I want to be absolutely certain we spend a great deal of time in the discovery phase of their projects, to be sure they aren't feeling compelled to follow what they think is a must-have, in terms of the "latest and greatest" because, in the end, it won't be so great if it's not authentic to who they are.  There's a fine balance which takes time and careful thought, just as in any important decision - no matter what some outside party might be pushing on the latest shows or pages of the internet.

Image:  Kravet Fabric - Barbara Barry Collection
Personally, I'm glad to see a return to well-executed details and embellishments, as I'm not a big fan of austere interiors and well, living.  I can work in just about any aesthetic but if "To thine own self be true"applies to working with my ideal clients, (and it should), my cup of tea will be someone who wants a story to be told in their homes and not a pretentious gorgeous book filled with blank pages.

The dining room may be formal, in appearance, but the comfort and ease for gathering was key for this project.

Of course, I do believe there should be a few pages remaining, as our life stories are always being re-written, edited, re-balanced and added to.  Totally by design.

All my best!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Snow Day Inspirations

There's nothing like a cozy snow day to inspire the designing mind.  In my area of North Carolina, we wistfully yearn for the rare excuse to celebrate a pure, crystallized play day.  I'm not so wistfully watching the formation of icicles as I know the longer they become, the more opportunity we have for a loss of power and I'm furiously working away on some new project proposals.

Ah, but back to the inspiration . . . 

(Click for larger image.)

While taking a brief survey of outdoor activities, I captured the frosted gazing ball in my front "flower-less" bed.  Through the glazed over surface, a color palette caught my attention - probably because one of the new projects on board includes a client who happens to love deep plums and purple.  We're also considering coppery, metallic washes and a rich/warm aesthetic.  I also suggested we punctuate some built-in's near her fireplace with some color. 

While we're not doing an entry, like the image above, I'm still cataloging it for the hue as well as I love the good use of a space where folks can hang up some coats and pull off messy shoes or boots.  It sets the tone for the next interior round, too.  

If you're in the path of the storm, stay safe and warm, but if you can, get out and about for some winter inspiration.  We'll make sure you have a lovely place waiting for your return!

All my best ~ Wanda 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happy New Year - 2016! Daring to Begin

Isn't it funny how we receive messages we need at just the right time?  I was cleaning out some data files, as part of my goal to live lighter in 2016, and I found a saved image which summarized it all.  It also reminded me to forget perfectionism, which is the greatest stall point for me.

I know this will be one of a gazillion posts about starting fresh in the New Year.  What makes it so unique?  Simply said - Me.  And - You.

Each of us has our own set of core values, our own reasons for motivation, and our own method for accomplishing our goals, visions, dreams . . . whatever you want to call them.  We also have our own circumstances for some of these to come true and for others to be kicked to the curb.  Mix in a dose of destiny, add some faith, maybe a stirred-in bit of luck, and the results can take us down varied paths.

2015 has been an amazing year.  I'm so appreciative of it being so.  While it's important to take time to plan ahead, it's also important to take time to look back to see what made all of this happen.  That's a part of the process we sometimes forget.

For interior designers, "amazing" can mean so many different things.  The one thing which made this one of my best years?  I looked inward instead of outward because my measurements for success are for me and for me, alone.  I did have some wonderful projects and worked with more of my ideal clients.  I accomplished some personal goals and plan to continue to check off lists which allow me to maximize my time in many different ways - carving out more time to honor my thirst for learning and cultural endeavors, for more meaningful experiences and relationships, for optimal health, and for giving when and where I can fill a need.

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the help I've received along the way.  Sometimes it came when I directly reached out and asked for it.  Other times it came from someone not knowing they shared a post or a comment which ignited a spark in my head and in my soul.  In some cases, referrals were made which fortified my business.  Vendors who had my back.  The list goes on.

This week I'll be writing notes to share my appreciation to these people.  An important item to honor on my 2016 list.  Share gratitude above all.

So . . .  while my list is being formulated and the quest to reorganize and prepare is underway for what is to come, come what may, this is the image which inspired me today . . .
All my best to you!  Happy New Year, Happy 2016! ~ Wanda

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude comes from different places and in different moments. It should be a daily ritual . . . practicing thankfulness. I'm still glad there is a day we set aside on the calendar to appreciate our gifts and one another.
Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!

All my best ~ Wanda

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Soaking It All In - High Point Market and Life Experiences

This is the week of High Point Market and I’ve already been soaking in so many beautiful sites and seminars!  There’s nothing like the beautiful combination of business and pleasure.  Truthfully, I’ve had so much on my business plate, it’s a welcome respite which I’ve decided to turn into an extended time away from the office to squeeze in a family visit and then a jaunt to the mountains to fill the rest of my cup with even more meaningful experiences.  Inspiration comes from separating oneself from the day-to-day tasks.  At least that applies for this designer! 

I’ll be keeping interested eyes up-to-date as I spot some of the latest trends. Be sure to tune into my Instagram feed, to see “What’s new, what’s next” in the world of interiors.  While you’re there, thanks for clicking on the ‘follow’ button, too!

Meanwhile, a parting shot of one of the interior spaces we’ve had in the works . . . .

All my best! ~ Wanda

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What's on my Instagram?

It took me awhile to join in on the Instagram fun.  I’m a Samsung fan so I had to wait for this wonderful app to come my way.  (The camera on my Galaxy S6 is amazing and makes Instagraming way too fun!)  My Apple friends were ahead of the curve and I couldn’t wait to catch up.

I love being able to look back over the collage of photos . . .  there are days I am more philosophical, days where I’m entrenched in interiors and projects, or days where the garden beckons me to take a deep breath and shake off the dust.

Pretty soon, we'll begin to see the seasonal changes and I’m sure those will impact the texture I capture and the variety of related activities.  Fall will softly settle in.  I do promise to hold down the pumpkin influences!  It seems folks are already “pumpkin’d out from the early influx of flavor marketing.  No pumpkin lattes, here.

So, what’s on my Instagram?

Be sure to stop over for a visit to my corner of the world!  I’m @wshortondzn
All my best! – Wanda