Saturday, November 22, 2014

Treasures for Your Table this Thanksgiving

From time-to-time, I like to share special posts I’ve penned as a writer for Hooker Furniture Company’s “Experience Your Home” blog.  When I really share personal content and stage a lot of the images, I can tell it resonates with their readers.  I hope you’ll enjoy it, as well!

Bountiful in Blue

Sam Moore Adele Chair

Bring in a bit of Nature

In this post, you’ll get to see just some of an extensive collection of my English Transferware, as well as how I would pair it with the lovely Sam Moore upholstery line and the casegoods from Hooker Furniture Co.  You’ll even get to see a lovely example of how to transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

So, without further adieux – Just click on <here> to read!

All my best! ~ Wanda

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Moments of Thanks– Twelve Days of Thanksgiving

With there being a lot on everyone’s plates, (no pun intended), before the Thanksgiving Holiday, it’s important to carve out moments, in the course of the day or evening, to reflect on the blessings which come our way. 

I sometimes read where folks refer to the word ‘blessing’, defined as “a beneficial thing for which one is grateful; something that brings well-being”, as somewhat contrived or overly sentimental.  Perhaps some things are viewed as givens’'; however, I think giving thanks is ALL about recognizing that everything in life isn’t to be expected and should be considered a gift, whether or not it’s earned or given. 

Over the next Twelve Days of Thanksgiving, I’m going to share “Moments of Thanks”.  Gratitude is a key component in a well-designed life and home.

Albert Schweitzer Quote - Wanda S. Horton Interior Design

(My “Frozen Up” transferware pattern enjoys a bit of extra attention, during Thanksgiving and the winter months, ahead.  Today it definitely felt, “frozen up”!)

All my best! ~ Wanda

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Saving the “day” when the clock falls back.

As I sit at the desk on this glorious, sunny Sunday afternoon - and the first day of Daylight’s Savings Time – I sense that many folks are feeling a little less than enthused about the early arrival of what we fondly refer to as “dark-thirty” in our home.  Getting up in the dark and arriving home, by way of streetlights, may not be so appealing. 

Night  Spaces - Wanda S. Horton Interior Design

(A watercolor-style, photo rendering of a library I completed, a few years ago.  I’m proud that this design could still be applied in today’s world of design.  Classic is timeless.)

While I’m a sunshine kind of person, I do appreciate the placement of a happy porch light to welcome me inside.  Who also doesn’t love driving by a lovely street of homes, in the evening, if only to admire beautiful interiors popping from within?  (You know we all do it!)

As an interior designer, I often limit my later appointments, during Daylight Savings Time, because many of the sites I’m visiting are often challenged with having adequate lighting.  Not so great for viewing colors or making great selections.  Of course, as we near the end of our meetings, when twilight begins to settle in, it’s a great opening for that kind of discussion!

Wanda S. Horton Interior Design Dining Room

(The adjacent dining room, also in a watercolor-style, photo rendering.  The chandelier, sconces, rope lighting in the dome and the china cabinet made the room magical at night.)

If you’re feeling a bit blah or sad to be missing the extra daylight hours, take a critical look around your rooms.  Are they only illuminated by an overhead fixture?  Is there consistency in all of the corners having some sort of wash of lighting?  Are you digging for the extra flashlight?  It may be time to consider adding some lumens to your life!

And that’s my light bulb moment for your week!

Enjoy your week! ~ Wandaimage

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Meanwhile, Back at the Blog . . .

So enough of the “excuses” reasons for not blogging as religiously as I used to.  If you’re still checking in to see what’s new in the world of interior design, I thank you for keeping up with the latest happenings.  Turns out, each time I wanted to post something about those events or projects, time was weighted more towards the accomplishing of them, rather than posting about them.  I had the epiphany that I’ve tended to put them into the category of one big lump rather than snippets, which are so much easier to read, right?

Since September has passed and October is almost at the end, I’ve created a handy collage of images to give a few of those snippets.  Perhaps, as time permits, I’ll do a dial back as photos of finished portions are available. 

Without further adieu, here’s October at a glance, from left to right:

Wanda S. Horton Interior Design October 2014

  1. A Matthews, NC family room is under an update, along with a complete kitchen transformation!
  2. The Matthews project began with a thorough space plan.
  3. One of the great furniture pieces we sourced for a project.
  4. The backsplash tile is going to be one of my favorite features!
  5. It was an honor to be the chair for decorations for our local community shelter’s Boots & Bow Ties fund-raising event.  We raised over $55,000 to help support their efforts.
  6. One of the lovely pieces of artwork for Boots & Bow Ties by Blackboard’s Daughter.
  7. The update for Charlotte Swim Academy was completed just in time for a tour by the United States Swim School Association’s National Conference.
  8. I was honored to be asked to be a key speaker a the USSA’s National Conference, too!
  9. High Point Market popped up in the midst of all of this and all of the lower photos were captured, just in the last few days, at the largest home furnishing’s show for my industry.  There will be more to come about trends and updates.

And with more to come . . . My previous Charlotte, NC clients have moved to Cleveland, Ohio and are ready to begin making that house a home.  I’m looking forward to getting back to the design board with lots of inspired ideas!

Happy October! ~ Wanda

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Treading Water–A Swim Academy Interiors Project

I’m finally coming up for some air in the midst of a busy summer!  I somehow thought, with all of the kids being out of school and vacations reemerging as the seasonal norm, July and August might be a little slower.  Thankfully, these months have been filled with some project completions, stunning photography and some new work with fast deadlines. 

Sink or Swim

While I like reasonable turn-a-round times, I also enjoy knowing we’ll have a projected beginning and ending to our work.  It makes for a much better outcome than to have things drag along.

One of the lovely project surprises came from a previous client, who happens to be the owner of a local swim school, Charlotte Swim Academy.  A side note:  If you happen to be a parent who would like to get your little fishes into the water and with personal attention and care, I’d highly recommend checking them out, and not just because they’re my client.  They have a very client-oriented business model and can articulate it much better than I might be able to share in a post.  Just know your child will have the ultimate experience as they work with them, one-on-one.  In fact, after having a great chat with my client, Martha Sue Crowley, it sounds like we have similar philosophies in personal client care.

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We’ve worked together on her residential projects, so I was honored and excited when she called me about helping her to update the pool area, as well as some entry and lobby spaces.  The goal was to make it feel be more connected, more cohesive and well, fun! 

The turn-a-round time on this project was one week.  Yes, we had six days to make it all happen!  Before it begins to sound like a “TV” moment, let me assure you, we had several months to work out all of the designs and logistics.  What may seem simple isn’t always the case.  As we go along, you’ll see some of the challenges we faced.

Here’s where we started in the pool area.  Definitely the core of her business:

Charlotte Swim Academy Pool Area Before Photo

The equipment and training devices were pulled away from the wall and you can see the beginning of the taping as it went up.  Thanks to Bob Andrews for this shot from his scaffolding!  More about Bob, in a few.

With every project, we not only consider the design concept, we also consider the method of which the concept will be implemented.  It’s all well and good to put some “pretties” on the drawing board or the computer, but we have to consider the environment and how we’re going to make it happen. 

To make a long story short, after going through the virtual team rolodex, I realized we needed to outsource some of the work and I was so fortunate to have the team of Bob and Cindy Andrews brought to my attention.  They not only do decorative painting, they also train others and create custom stencils for amazing projects.  I was sure this might be a little more “routine” being that we were working with stripes.  Ah yes, that “assume” word gets you every time.  Think textured walls and a humidity level that would keep any complexion glowing, even in the dead of winter!  Thankfully, we had built in some wiggle room into the timeline and we used every minute of it.  Duct tape works miracles when all else succumbed to the moisture - but having someone who will stick through a project, even to tighten up rough edges by hand with an artist’s brush?  . . .  They got a huge high five!

Here is a ‘during’ shot of the opposite end of the pool.  We added some nautical stripes, life rings and customized banners to help bring in some visual interest, as well as it helps to incorporate logo colors.  The elements also added a way to bounce light back into the space. Another goal was to keep things interesting but visually uncluttered.  I think we hit the mark.

Charlotte Swim Academy Pool Installation Being Completed

Another shot from Bob’s perch, above.  My installer, Anthony, could almost reach the top band without a ladder.  We’re definitely Mutt and Jeff, when standing side-by-side.  I’m off to the right, with my client, as we consider placement of the life rings.

Charlotte Swim Academy Installation by Wanda S. Horton Interior Design

This shot gives you a great perspective on the scale needed for the banners we installed.  Proper scale is one of the key ingredients to a creating a great end result.

Even though it took “just” a week to get the major installations and painting completed, we had to allow for the pieces to come to us from other areas.  Laurie Laizure, of Customized Walls, was my savior!  We needed to create something whimsical, sustainable and moisture-proof for this space and Laurie’s team met all of our needs and in a blazing-fast turn-a-round.  From NH to NC in a week from final approval to delivery!  The 30” life rings had to be ordered from a California company because only small sizes were available, locally.  They freighted them via a Virginia warehouse.  Yes, we spend a bit of time tracking down deliveries to make sure everything is in place, come installation day.

Charlotte Swim Academy Installation - Wanda S. Horton Interior Design

The entry to the pool also received some extra “zip”, here the stripes took away the “tunnel” effect of a one-color hallway.  Some informational photos will be placed in the frames and those will continue down the wall.  New cove base is arriving, too.  My client had found the adorable fish lights at IKEA, last year, and it was a jumping off point for our design.  Definitely fun and fresh!

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A big difference from the ‘before’, don’t you think?  A bit less clinical and a lot more welcoming.

Charlotte Swim Academy Before Pool Entry

The phone photos don’t do this all justice and we’ve got some signage and a few other tweaks to go, but come Monday morning, the pool will be back in the business of teaching little ones some confident swimming skills.  We hope the parents are going to be delighted with the changes and while the interiors don’t make for superior swim instructors, we know how important ones work environment can be in allowing us to bring out the best of ourselves to the world.  And I think the clients will also enjoy their overall experience, too!

As they say at Charlotte Swim Academy, “Great beginnings lead to great finishes!”

All my best - Wanda

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. 

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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!

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

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

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

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(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

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