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

Friday, April 4, 2014

High Point, Here I Come! (And other random thoughts.)

I’ve been so bad at posting, as of late.  So many ideas and some expanded services have been swirling in my head!  Almost too much to put into words. 


I’m not one of those who likes to speak in vague terms and mislead folks about “big news” or to create an air of false intrigue.  I really do have a lot of things in the development phase and some concepts may stick while others go on the back burner or disappear.  So . . . it’s more of the mindset that I need my ducks-in-a-row before I use this blog as my chalkboard for figuring out the formulas.  Believe you me, when it’s all said and done, you’ll be the first to know!


Anyhooo . . . I’m heading off to the High Point Furniture Market with an open mind for taking in lots of great information from a few, select seminars and lots of showroom visits!  I have a feeling I’ll refine and define some of the afore-mentioned thoughts, just by being surrounded with the deluge of beauty of design.  I hope I’ll run into some favorite friends, too!


Until then, be sure to give kudos to those who wear the creative hats.  They work hard to bring your visions to life.


So many places to see so I’m off to finish my list!

All my best! ~ Wanda

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

They’re only words? Keeping the language of interior design beautiful.

I’ve thought about writing this post for a while, and somehow, today seemed like a good day to share it.  I was somewhat inspired by the courageous post of another designer, but in a different sort of way.


I chose to be an interior designer for many different reasons.  I do love the ability to work in an industry where functional solutions provide the capacity for amazing living experiences for folks.  I’d like to think my clients reap the benefit of that acquired knowledge.  One of the biggest reasons I’m here; however, is that I appreciate beauty.  I love beautiful images, beautiful flowers, and beautiful design execution.  I also love beautiful spirits and beautiful language.


(Click on image for link and credit.)

Because I write a blog and I also communicate on other social media channels, I hope I paint a verbal picture in a way which shows my readers how beauty is an essential part of the world.  Life may have less than stellar moments, but I don’t think you’re tuning into an interior design blog or other such channels to read about drama, tiffs, or to be entertained by it being shared in a particularly coarse manner.  If you do like the stuff of reality TV, my blog definitely will seem like milk toast to you.  I choose not to fan any glowing embers for the mere sake of it. 

Everyone is different, I realize, and I’m not saying that in the heat of the moment I’ve never expelled frustration in a way which might bring a burn to the apples of someone’s cheeks.  No excuses and no polishing of a rusty halo, here. 


(Click on image for link and credit.)

I do know this to be true for me . . . Words are about intention.  Keeping certain ones or some commentary to oneself isn’t about being less than authentic.  Filtering isn’t an act of fakery or being lazy.  Far from it.  It takes great thought to determine the ultimate cause and effect of what is said or written.  The cause and effect isn’t just about the recipient, either.  In this wide-open world, a lot of people are looking in.  I know I’m pretty astute at picking up on character without a lot of verbosity. 


(Click on image for link and credit.)

Anything which degrades or belittles a person or their work, can also bring that “ick” factor to any reader.  We are a lot of what we absorb from our surroundings.  Why not let ALL of it be as lovely as it can be? 

I’ll reiterate for me, it really is about the intention.  Is the exchange meant to be a teaching moment, sprinkled with compassion?  . . . Then let it be done in private or within a respectful connection.  Let’s put it this way:  Who would normally stand for their child to be put in front of the entire school to “be taught a lesson?”  Or picture being a fellow staffer while the boss dresses down a peer, even if they have erred.  I think those instances take the deliverer down quite a few notches, or “cool points”, if you will.  It appears they don’t have things under control so they need an audience to back them up.  Sometimes it can create a divide or worse yet, a “pack” mentality.  Compassion isn’t necessarily about emotion; it also includes sound judgment.  It should allow us to think before we speak – or write. 


(Click on image for link and credit.)

There is enough “ugly” in the world without having our words contribute towards it.  I’ve decided to cancel some of my reading subscriptions, for this very reason.  Unlike, unfollow, unfriend, whatever the case may be.  I’ll admit, I found myself feeling less than enthusiastic, less encouraged, and less supported/supportive by continuing to stay attached when I questioned the underlying reasons. 

One more thought:   Whether you’re an interior designer or part of the consumer public . . . just because you CAN say it, doesn’t mean that you SHOULD.  When it appears there is an open invitation to jump on the nasty bandwagon, just send a mental RSVP and move along. 

Better yet, don’t get that party started.  Once the conversation turns to the darker side, it will be difficult to extract what’s been said.  Does it seem you’re a supporter of that person or thought?  There is guilt by association, you know?

Life is short.  Keep it beautiful.

All my best ~ Wanda

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Springing Forward

I’m so ready for longer, sunlit days and this . . . .

Spring Board

Happy weekend and don’t forget to move the clock forward on the wall and in your rooms!

All my best! ~ Wanda

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday’s Musings– “Brinner” and Breakfast in Bed

One more week in February!  Before we all do the happy dance for spring’s arrival, I understand it’s time for another winter blast to hit.  The sun has been teasing us with a warm-up, here in North Carolina.  Yes, my car read 77 degrees last week.  I’m thinking Mother Nature is having one of her “transitions”. 

I wrote a recent post for Hooker Furniture Company, “The Ultimate Winter Luxury: Breakfast in Bed.”  I think it’s my answer to coping with all of this crazy weather.  Just click on the picture and I’ll share how to not only make the best of things, but you may even decide to enjoy “Brinner in Bed”.  (Yes, it’s actually in the Urban Dictionary, meaning:  Breakfast for Dinner.)

Tray Chic

(A few stylish bed trays make the setting comfy and glam.)

Since the sun is streaming through my office window, I’m having difficulty believing the forecast, but as I’ve got projects with tight deadlines, the other part of me says, “But of course!”

All my best! ~ Wanda

Sunday, February 23, 2014

How did you find out about me? Interior Design Inquiries

One of the areas a busy interior designer often struggles with is the marketing aspect of their business.  Well, I shouldn’t be speaking for all of us, but I’ll just say it’s a challenge of balance between keeping our name out there while trying to provide quality services for clients. 

I get so engrossed in projects, it’s easy to forget that I need to be thinking about where the next project might be.  Will it be from a past client who is ready to refresh or has a lifestyle change, a referral, or will it be from new someone who is considering hiring an interior designer and they’re flipping through websites to determine who might be “the one?” 

One of the first questions I ask, when a call comes in, is:  “How did you find out about me?”  Referrals are more commonplace than online but that’s changing in today’s world of web searches, especially of the mobile kind.


I’m always updating and tweaking services based on what I see as the direction and constant shifting of what the consumer feels they might need.  I also have to be careful not to go too far with that, because it can be confusing to them as to what they really DO need. 

I know in my own personal experiences, from looking into service providers, I don’t always know what’s available until I schedule a consultation and everyone has a different twist or experience to offer.  (And I’ll preface it to say, if it’s going to be more than a phone call, I never expect for them to offer up advice for free.) 

I also know, if I go in to a meeting with such a super definitive thought process, I may not be aware of options because, after all, I’m seeking assistance in an area in which I don’t have a total skillset or expertise.  I loved that a recent client shared with me that while she’s had advice, outside of our working together, I’ve spoiled her with knowledge, listening to her, and also in how I take care of her.  Oh, I need to ask her to shout that from the rooftops!

Okay, back to the subject at hand.  I do try to take time to make it easy to find me.  There are so many “channels”, that it’s like taking on the elephant, one bite at a time.  And I can get a bit “full”, after a while.

Of course you are already here, reading my blog:


And then there is Facebook:


And my Houzz page, which really needs some attention.  I understand that’s a great way for clients to find designers:


And my guilty pleasure, Pinterest.  It’s my sit-down-and-relax-at-the-end-of-the-day time.  Who knew I should be thinking of marketing there, too?


I’ve recently dabbled in Google+.  I’m still figuring out this one:


And then there is Twitter, LinkedIn . . .

Oh, and I’ve just added a YouTube business channel.  Would love for you to subscribe for the future videos, I hope to create.


There may be other places I’ve even forgotten about!

For clients and for folks who are interested in my newsletter, I try to create something monthly.  This month’s was short and sweet . . . just like me!  (We had a few snow days and it was time to play a bit.)


I’ve also guest posted for companies, like Williams-Sonoma Designer Marketplace, Hooker Furniture Corporation, and have shared information for various other publications. 

With all of the promoting of my work, this gave me pause to think, does this sound like I’m just always tooting my own horn?  In my personal life, I tend to lean more towards this:


Yes, I know it’s difficult for people to know if one is worth knowing if they can’t be found.  But the first portion of the phrase is the part that can be missed with all of this other activity.  It may be a slower process, too.  But I think it allows for more depth.

So, I’ll stick to my guns on being engrossed in client projects, first and foremost, because the latter won’t mean a hill of beans if I don’t deliver on the former. 

All my best! ~ Wanda

PS – You can click through all of the images to visit those pages.  I really don’t mind! (wink)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Interior Design Priorities and Commitments vs Temptations

Oh, those bright, shiny objects!  They are so attractive to those of us in the creative field.  They dangle in front of us, tempting us to put away the paper piles and deadlines to do all of the “fun” and ever perceived glamorous activities associated with the world of interior design. 

Lately, there have been a few of those jewels hanging on the vine, seemingly ripe for the picking.  Some involving fabulous travel, some involving events, and certainly good for face time and photo ops, of which I’m sure would be considered amazing for my business.

Dining Chandelier Ballantyne Project

The thing is, if the only activity that I did was to create the “pretty”, it might be so easy to run off to do all of the afore mentioned.  I could pop together some boards with lovely images and let design inspiration or suggestions be just that.  Nothing involving my follow-up or guidance.  And off I’d go!

Instead, as a full-service interior designer, I make commitments to see things through until the project scope has been completed or the sand in the hourglass for the project time has run out. 

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This is the toughest thing about being a small business owner.  The decision-making process.  For me, it’s all about priorities.  Knowing what they are and who they are allows it all to fall into place.  Priorities are different for everyone and it all has to do with timing.

Meanwhile . . .

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. . . and that time is now.

All my best ~ Wanda

Now booking  projects for completion - Summer 2014!  Inquire here > Wanda S. Horton Interior Design

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