Home Textiles Make A Difference in Design Details

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

When Carmen Natschke, of the Decorating Diva, messaged me to see if I’d be interested in sharing some insight on the use of textiles in the home, I said, “absolutely”!  Carmen is a fabulous writer and speaker and I’ve had the good fortune to get to know her through various industry events and her great blog posts.  She keeps a keen eye open on all things about design.


Carmen’s latest article, for Beautiful Design, Made Simple, featured our interview, along with Canadian designer, Meredith Heron, and interior designer, Linda Merrill, of Massachusetts.  We all have a different approach and aesthetic but have penchant for textiles and how they are a key ingredient in pulling any space together.  What good company to be included!

Please click on the photo, below, to hop on over to Carmen’s post . . .


Speaking of textiles, I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of a local event, “An Evening of Design Magic”, as I showcased some patterns from Thibaut and Anna French, mixed among gorgeous flowers and accents, from August Lily Florist.  Kim Rushing, and her wonderful team, opened their doors to a special list of guests and we did a “walking tour” through different vignettes to illustrate how one can live well in their home. 

I’ll share a peek at one of our tabletops and then post a little more, later.  I never get tired of a classic, blue and white theme!

Table Top Event

Until then . . .

All my best! ~ Wanda

Someone’s knocking at the door . . .

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Isn’t there something marvelous about a beautiful door knocker?  Even the plainest entry can become delightfully decorated!

Entry doors and hardware have been front-of-mind, as of late.  I’ve been working on a lovely custom home build, in the Charlotte area, thanks to Arcadia Homes, and we’re in the midst of finalizing doors and hardware.


I’m also in the progress of updates to a couple of clients’ existing exteriors, as well.  These are all totally different dwellings.  One is a classic style with rustic touches and one contains brick accents which will disappear, as we take the traditional styling to a cleaner, Craftsmen direction.  The other one is in Oak Island, NC, so a beach cottage aesthetic will definitely be in play.  Who says an interior designer has to stay indoors?  With longer, sunnier days ahead, it’s a happy thing!

Even though there will be some technology governing the methods of alerting the homeowners to their guests’ arrival, I still love the beauty of a hand’s-on approach of saying “I’m here!”.

I found some stunners at Fabbricreations . . .

Razzel-Dazzle Door Knocker

(Razzle-Dazzle Door Knocker – And yes, it is!)

Modern Door Knocker

(Modern Door Knocker – A piece of sculpture!)

And at 1stdibs



(Bronze Face Door Knocker by Cellura – Via Lewis Trimble)

Retroricks offered a very Zen approach . . .image

(Vintage 1969 Terra Sancta Guild Brass and Enamel – Totally chill.)

And then there are estate sales and local shops with some gorgeous offerings . . .


(This was shared by Jennifer Burnham on her Instagram page, regarding an upcoming estate sale.  Don’t even think about it.  I so want this one!)

I know we’re glad spring is a few, short days away and it’s going to be all about the view as we welcome in the extra sunshine and thawed-out visitors.  One of my favorite services is exterior transformations, from concept to completion.  What a difference they can make!

Now, back to the design boards.  Happy, longer days!

All my best ~ Wanda

Welcome to March–North Carolina Style

Sunday, March 1, 2015

First, let me just get this out of the way . . . Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit.  (A custom, shared among several of my friends, to welcome in the 1st day of the month.)  It’s believe that uttering these words, upon waking, will bring in good luck for the duration of the following days.  I never snub my nose at the prospect of anything lucky or fortunate!

Upon glancing at the calendar, it seems as if Mother Nature isn’t quite certain how those of us in my area are to plan our attire for the coming week.  Low’s in the upper 20’s and the highs hoover somewhere around 70°F, with everything else in between. 

Welcome to March!  A month of transitions, between seasons, as it sets forth our “great expectations” of spring’s arrival. 

Welcome March - Wanda S. Horton

Today I’m celebrating with a glorious bouquet of tulips nested on my French parquet table in an ironstone pitcher.  (Thanks to August Lily for having these beauties in your shop.  The grass cloth background is from Thibaut Wallcovering – available through moi.) 

March is definitely a favorite month – and not just because daylight saving’s time extends my day or that spring is around the corner.  I’m celebrating another anniversary with the love of my life and my best friend, this month.  My father’s birthday will be forthcoming.  And . . . I get to celebrate the legacy of my ancestors on St Patrick’s Day, too.  (It doesn’t hurt to have green as a favorite color!)


Now back to planning this week’s wardrobe.  I think there will be layers involved!

Live well! ~ Wanda

Weathering the Winter–Mud Room Musts

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

As I watch a dusting of rare snow, from my office window, I’m also seeing my mom friends’ briefly worded posts of “Really?!” – and – “Again?” – “School is CLOSED!” – and “What a mess!”.  While not quite totally feeling their pain, as I have no little ones or teenagers running in and out of the house, I think I have a pretty good clue as to the mess and muck of which they’re trying to keep under control.

(Image via – source)

This is where I think a proper mudroom is more than a luxury, it’s a necessity in keeping the family unit’s gear and garb from piling up at the back door or hallway.  It contributes greatly towards keeping sanity, too!

Gil Schafer

(Image via Quintessence Blog, from Veranda Magazine and designed by Gil Schaffer)

The mud entry, above, is a stunning example of functional storage married with an outstanding aesthetic.  Everything has a place to be tucked without feeling as if one has stepped into the abyss of a catch-all space. 

Gil Schafer

(Image attributed to same sources, from previous photo.)

Imagine having storage for more than just hats, coats and gloves . . . backpacks, play gear, dog leashes and pet toys . . . An important part of planning any storage space is anticipating what you have on hand and also peering into the future. 

WATER & DIRT SHIELD ™ 1'6" x 2'3" Entry Mat

(To help absorb wet paws, both furry and human, get a super absorbent floor mat, like this one from Frontgate.  It’s available in several colors.)

Of course, depending on where you live and your stage of life, five to ten years down the road will make an impact on those decisions.  I’ve often had to consider storage for multiple generations.  When an aging parent visits, a place to tuck a walker or a cane can be more than welcome.  Oh, and if a slip on the ice causes more than an embarrassing bruise, no matter the age, vertical storage can come in handy for a set of crutches.  A reminder to salt or sand those walkways!

Ballard Boot Tray

(There are a variety of boot trays for designating mucky boots and shoes.  You can created your own or find some pretty options at places like Ballard Design.  They can save your floor from unwelcome tracking.)

Mudroom Altnerative

(A few years ago, while a client was in transition before we added in a custom cubby unit, we utilized some accents to create hidden storage.  The lidded basket, the storage ottomans and the small boxes on the custom wall console, all had a purpose in keeping order.)

A huge part of my mission, in designing spaces, is to help folks remember it’s not just about who lives in the house but it’s also about putting out the welcome mat for family and friends.  It’s about considering multiple needs for everyone, especially in auxiliary spaces.


A new-build project, in which I’ve been included, will have some generous rooms for accommodating many of the family’s needs.  This is just part of the area, to include laundry and pet facilities.  Stay-tuned for photos of our progress!  (Cabinetry by Distinctive Cabinets.)

Of course, mud rooms have more than one season, depending on where you live.  Mud and show aren’t required ingredients.  Sand is welcome, too.  I sure could stand to feel some between my frozen toes!

2015-02-24 10.10.20

Signing off from frosty North Carolina! – Wanda

Designs on a Dressing Table–Tray Service

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Perhaps I’m enamored with dressing tables due to my overdose of Downton Abbey episodes – if there is such a thing - or it could be because of the articles I’ve been writing for other blog sites, regarding living well and the beauty we can bring to our homes, even in small doses.

Dressing Table Tops

Either way, there’s something about having a delegated space to capture all things dainty, glamorous and feminine.  Mine isn’t so much a dressing table but a chest, topped with an Italian tray, along with some crystal jars and porcelain pieces.  It gives me a place to end the day with a little ritual of turning off the lamp and it greets me in the morning with all things sparkling.

I have an affinity for these Florentine style trays.  They come in a multitude of colors and patterns and not only are they perfect for catching a necklace or a collection of perfume bottles, they’re great for creating a wall display.  Each one has a link to the source, if you click on the photos.

Italian tray in muted oranges and gold colours

Italian Venetian Gilt Wood Tray, Perfect and Delightful

Vintage Italy Florentine Toleware Green Gold Gilt Tray 1950s

Set of 2 Italian trays

Set of 2 Italian trays

I remember being able to see these jewels piled high at several, local antique shows.  Now, they seem to be a little more difficult to find.  It’s funny how we want something even more when it’s not so available. 

Perhaps I’ll have to start putting in my orders on Etsy, where all of these are featured, sans the one I’ve got on my dressing chest.  I’m sure I’d find a spot for them!

All my best! ~ Wanda

From the Interior Design Desk . . .

Friday, February 6, 2015

In the midst of getting ready to upload this to my Facebook business page, it morphed into a blog post.  (And here I’ve been thinking my writing skills had taken a hiatus or been directed elsewhere!)

After sorting through copious notes from a tile showroom visit, and merging them with other selections for a new build project, this thought came to mind . . .

Why did my clients decide to hire an interior designer?  What value do I bring to them?  It wasn’t a question of doubt but rather a reflection why I believe they’ve made a wise decision.

Owners Bath

(This is just one of the story boards being put together, with many detailed sheets included with it.  It's one room.  Can you imagine handling an entire home, if this isn’t your day-to-day profession?  What a learning curve.)


(The pretty part.)


(The “must do” part.  Measure twice, cut once.)


What were my conclusions?

1.  My clients are successful business owners who have a very busy schedule and decided it was worth the investment to seek help.  (Thankfully, even though busy, they have made this project a priority for input and feedback.  That’s another blogpost as to why some projects get derailed . . . lack of investment of a different kind - time.)
2.  They are in the middle of a new home build. 
3.  There are many moving parts to each space. 
4.  There are many vendors with whom to make selections and to relay their selections back to the contractor, perhaps needing translations in terms with which they are not familiar or also in need of sketches and specs.
5.  They want their home to reflect who they are, while being pulled together in a cohesive and functional manner.
6.  They also enjoy capturing spare time for family, travel and fun.  A new home build can be a process of 8 months or more.  Truly custom can be more than a year, from the blue-print stages forward.  They are able to get away, knowing a team is in place.
7.  They appreciate having a designer who is organized and plans ahead for the next step, to keep the project in motion.  Staying on task can cut a lot of unnecessary expenses.
8.  They are SMART.  :)  (They were that before they hired me!) 

On three separate occasions, this week, several vendors wanted to express their appreciation for my professionalism and organization in handling projects.  In being prepared.  As one said to me – “Thank goodness you’re not a hot mess!” 

They could have given me a crown and a scepter and declared me “Queen for a Day” with that!

I think I might have to remember this the next time I’m in mud boots on a jobsite . . .

All Southern Belle's have to adjust their tiara on occasion... then proceed to smile & wave.

All my best! ~ Wanda

Interior Design Quotes

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I love to share thoughtful quotes about home and interior design.  Today, I had one of my own to pass along.

Interior Design Quotes 1 Wanda S. Horton

What do you think?

All my best!  ~ Wanda

Thanks for sharing my posts!

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