Friday, August 1, 2014

Behind the Scenes of Design–Our Latest Buzz

Oh my goodness!  I’m glancing at the date of my last post and it looks like I’ve been asleep behind the keyboard.  I’m happy to report all is abuzz in the world of interiors, even though not much sharing has been going on. 


A lovely, kitchen remodeling project has been secured, along with some interior design updates and a fun change is coming to a local swim academy.  I can’t wait to share more about all of them!

Meanwhile, I’ll share a glimpse of our completed project in Ardrey, a lovely Charleston-style neighborhood in Charlotte, NC.  We were finally able to schedule the shoot, in between all of summer’s activities.  It takes a LOT of planning to pull these together, not to mention the selecting and styling all of the pieces, including the food!


(Too much color would have distracted from the fabulous backsplash.)


(Wish I could say I baked these.  Flakiness and all.)


(Mixing just the right amount of texture and pattern.)


(And, oh, the flowers!  These beauties came home with me at the end of the day.)

The pictures are in the process of editing so I just clipped in a few detail shots.  Of course, I think they look wonderful but my photographer, Whitney Gray, is a stickler for getting them just so.  We creative types do suffer from that affliction.  While I was fretting over the styling and placement of everything, she said, “Oh, it’s the perfectionist in you!”  Ahem?  I think we’re two peas in a pod on that one.

I’d like to take a moment to thank Kim Rushing, at August Lily Florist, for her stunning work!  It’s so much better than me running to the grocery shop to grab a bouquet or two.  She gets to see the progress pics and finds some gorgeous flowers and greens to bring the scenes to life.  I also so appreciate the kind support and help of my design friend, Davetta Moore.  It’s sure hard to hop up and down on a ladder to decide if something needs to be tweaked.  There’s nothing like having a second set of talented designer eyes!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  I’m going to do a little recharging as a rested mind is a creative one, in this neck-of-the-woods.

All my best! ~ Wanda

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

It’s All About Priorities– Don’t Save it for Tomorrow

I’ve been taking a little blog break . . .

I don’t expect this to be the equivalent of “breaking news”, by any stretch, but after checking in and looking at the date of my last post, even I was surprised!  I used to try to post at least weekly.  (And to my defense, lest I sound to have checked out of writing, I’ve been creating bi-monthly posts for Hooker Furniture Corporation, with lots of story boards and design ideas.)

Kim Seybert Tabletop

(My latest post for HFC – “Style from Sea to Shining Sea”)

Pardon me for digressing.  One of the pitfalls of being off of the blog is I have so much to share but I’m supposed to be on a hiatus, which means my mind becomes full of ideas, again!  Typically, I take off the week of July 4th to slow down a bit and to take stock of the half-way point of the year.  A break is good for me.  This one has been about tweaking some things in my design business, clearing out the accumulation of clutter and information, and figuring out some priorities.  Of course, a bit of relaxation is supposed to be mixed in there, too! 


Relaxation, for me, can be this weird thing called “organizing”.  Afterwards, I feel like I’ve been to a spa day.  I’m so at ease when things are back in place and all of my muscles feel lighter because I’ve gotten rid of that which weighs me down.  I also tend to slow down a bit as I’m intentional in my thoughts and the questions about what to keep and what to either give away or toss.  It’s a very Zen kind of experience.

While I’ve been into closets, files, and drawers, it brought to mind a wonderful article, maybe written before some of you were born! 


“What Special Someday Are We Saving For?” (<click on for reading),was originally featured in the LA Times in 1985 and a reprint was run in 1998.  It’s a touching story about cleaning out the author’s sister’s drawers, after her death.  I think it just goes to show, while our life and times do change, there are some things which should remain the same . . . Priorities.   

At this stage in my life, I can feel my priorities shifting.  It doesn’t mean I’m heading to the extreme, of which I’ve read about some folks presenting living in almost an empty box.  I’m an interior designer, after all.  I do enjoy my “stuff”.  I’m just looking at some of it in a different way. 

And, yes, I DO eat off of the good china . . .


I WILL be back on the blog with my mix of interiors and ponderings.  Some fun projects have been in the works, (think swimming tots and kitchen updates), as well as some exciting news for a new service.  I think the next post will be about age appropriate interiors.  See, I told you my brain is perking!

All my best to you! ~ Wanda  (Have a safe and happy Fourth!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wisdom Comes From Living Through It

We knew her words were wise because she had lived through the many she had shared . . .


♪♫☜(˚▽˚)☞♪♫ ~Maya Angelou

If you only have one smile to give, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home and then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good Morning' at total strangers.

....maya angelou.....


And who could forget that brilliant smile?  Soar on, Dr. Angelou.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Designing Your Home From The Garden

Have you missed me?  I’ve sure missed being at the keyboard to share the latest happenings and adventures in the world of interiors.  A “little” respiratory thingy had me appreciating my  Pearson chair and ottoman for more days than I would like to count.  Thank goodness for comfy furniture with great cushions!  

I’ll have lots to share about some of the projects in the works, but since it’s the holiday weekend, I’d rather post some of our garden happenings.  I’m so thankful my dear husband has been tending to things and keeping them well-watered and nurtured, much like his wife, while she was feeling a bit wilted!

It’s beginning to turn towards the hot and muggy season, in the south, but the mornings are still wonderfully breezy.  My cup of coffee has tasted extra special as I’ve meandered through our special outdoor spots.  My walks have also nudged me to look at all of the beautiful options of nature-inspired interiors.

Come along for the tour . . .

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(The herb garden, after one of our spring rains.  It’s a combination of pots and plantings in mulch.  Of course, every garden pot looks lovely with a trellis of ivy.)


(Thibaut:  Allison Wallpaper in Apple. 

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(Herbs, brushed by breezes, make for a wonderful aroma.)

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(The peonies have all bloomed but I have my little still life to enjoy.)


(Peony fabric by Victoria Larson.  I’m in love!)

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(The rhodendron are at their peak.  I wish they could bloom all summer!)

Rhododendron wallpaper by Dorothy Draper

(Did you know Dorothy Draper, one of the most revered decorators of the 20th century, used fifteen thousand rolls of this exact pattern to cover the walls of the famous Greenbrier Resort Hotel?  Image from the Cooper Hewitt Collection)

Dorothy Draper’s 1948 rhododendron-patterned wallpaper is reincarnated as upholstery fabric in a new mint colorway on this sofa in the Greenbrier’s West Virginia Wing elevator lobby. The combination of graphic fabric, bold flower-and-trellis carpet, and mint awning-striped wallcovering is a classic Varney nod to Draper’s neobaroque style. | Photo by Michel Arnaud, from the book Houses in My Heart: An International Decorator's Colorful Journey by Carleton Varney (Shannongrove Press)

(Carlton Varney for Dorothy Draper – At The Greenbrier.  So many of these elements are timeless and classic.  I do love a Chippendale sofa and Asian panels.)

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(These squash blossoms are the epitome of happy!  I’m predicting a color trend on the horizon.  And some tasty dinner sides, too.)

4 - Homearama FR 2

(A flashback to a showhouse family room I designed.  Everyone deemed it the “Happy House”.  I think the wall color had a lot to do with it and the garden-like feel of the area.  It won the People’s Choice Award, too!)

(Lamps Plus)

Designing your home from the garden?  Absolutely!  While I may not literally be filling your homes with specific garden elements, it’s definitely the place where my thoughts are allowed to run free and I often think of creative solutions with a trowel in hand.  Or with that wonderful cup of coffee, meandering away.

All my best! ~ Wanda

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Weekend Design Finds: Black Crow Studios Is Back On Etsy!

Sometimes, as a designer, I so hope I can get a client to step outside of the box and dare to be different with their walls.  Of course, when I mean different, I usually mean custom and not something found in a wallpaper book.

Tracy Hiner, of Black Crow Studios, has designed some phenomenal wall coverings and if you’re not familiar with her work, take a peek at her website!  I’m a huge fan of her watercolor series, as not only does it provide a stunning backdrop, it surrounds a room in pure magic!



You can imagine how thrilled I was to read she has opened up her Etsy shop, once again, to share some of her bursts of color and design in smaller pieces.  I can imagine putting together a whole grouping of these for a big statement!

If you’re a little more conservative about covering an entire wall, take a look at some of her pieces, below.  Just click on the image to head on over to Etsy to make one of these your own!




I hope you have a color-filled weekend and will stop by for a visit to Tracy’s shop.  And if you feel even more adventurous in your interiors, give me a ring to help you pull it all together.  Tracy loves a great design collaboration!

All my best! ~ Wanda

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

As spring and Easter symbolize a new beginning, I wish you and yours many blessings on this special day!

Paster Colors Easter Story Board

All my best ~ Wanda

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Year of the Individual’s Story– A Design “Trend” I Applaud!

Thursday was the last day of the High Point Market and as I organized some pictures and press kits, from the show, I pondered what to share as my observance of “top trends”.  There certainly were some repetitive designs, (albeit in different contexts), from showroom to showroom, but there was also an undercurrent of designing for the individual.  I wanted to jump up and down and applaud!

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(There were no shrinking violets at Lillian August!  Sophisticated, metallics glisten amidst a cerise and eggplant palette.  Notice the French style crystal chandelier juxtaposed with the Asian art.)

Some of the showrooms got it and others were still hanging on to what we’ve seen in the past few years on Houzz and Pinterest. 


I hope I don’t offend anyone but it’s time to let the cat out of the bag . . .  I’m so OVER formulaic, beige, boxy/modern, rigid, overly predictable interiors!  I’m past the copied-to-death motifs which could almost be sold at the corner gas station, (or big box/catalog store), kind of design.  (Bless chevron’s heart, it sounds a lot like you could drive through for some, doesn’t it?  One of my favorite designers and I had this discussion, whilst sitting in the press area.)  Remember the moment you’ve looked back on a room and instantly know when it was created?  Yes, that kind of stuff!


I know we designers speak a lot about honoring client preferences, but I happen to think a lot of what people think they “should” like is what they see in proliferation.  I mean, after all, it’s what’s available as a prominent point of reference. 


(Shameless plug - Keep tuning to my Pinterest Board as I’ll be uploading some of my favorite showroom experiences and inspirations from the market.  Just click on the board photo, above.)

I’m guilty of asking clients to show me images of their favorite spaces and some may think we’re literally going to duplicate them.  What I’m really searching for is a particular color, a shape, a function, or a recurring style reference so that I can have a jumping off point.  What I don’t want to do is to recreate the exact same space for them.  It’s not going to tell the story of who they are. 

I think many people have held back on expressing a personal style, for reasons of the inability to commit, or perhaps, even fear of being scrutinized by mass opinion.  Maybe, they don’t know the story they want to share.  I’m the kind of designer who LOVES to help clients with writing on their pages.  I can supply the background and the flourishes, while helping to edit and put it all to print!  An autobiography of design, as it were.

If you need a little help in the inspiration department, here are a few parting shots of my market trip . . .


In full bloom at Sam Moore


Hidden treasures.  Lined drawers at Hooker Furniture.


Leave the fretwork to us! – Hooker Furniture.


A ‘bit’ of hardware detail.  Equestrian flair from Abner Henry.


And finish choices beyond vanilla!


Plum delicious – Botanica


I named him, “Percival the Peacock”. Stunning work by Botanica.

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Inking in the design.  Lillian August

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Sunrise, sunset.  SAMS International

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Totally transparent.  Reprotiques

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. . . or . . . as you like it.  Reprotiques

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Have a hassock?  SAMS International

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Peak-a-boo wrappings at Wildwood Lamps.

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Keying in on fabulosity at The Antiques & Design Center.


All aglow at Caracole.


Fabric textures, metallic finishes set a new gold standard – Caracole.


Going neutral can still mean daring!  A stellar example at Caracole.


Lighting the way.  Smart design from Caracole.

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Trimmed and tailored for maximum impact.  Eastern Accents.

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I’m totally about Thibaut!  Their patterns bring my rooms to life!

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A crowning moment meets happiness in pagoda land.  Thibaut  (And by the way, this fabric book just arrived at my office.  Very happy, indeed!)

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Prepped in pink.  I like this softer side of life!  Eastern Accents

Can you believe this is just a sampling?  I haven’t even downloaded all of my pictures but it’s time to get back to some projects.  I think those clients will be thrilled I took a few days to head off to market, though.  I’ve found some lovely things, just for them!

If this is where you’re stuck . . . .


or this . . .


or this . . .


. . . just consider it an empty page.  I’ll help you to script the rest!

All my best! ~ Wanda

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