Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry, Merry Holiday Wishes! Taking Time & Making Time

As we dim the lights in the office and are about to set forth to fully enjoy this holiday season, (for my family, it’s Christmas, for others it may be Hanukah, Kwanza, Boxing Day, Winter Solstice), it’s time to thank everyone one of you who have dropped by my blog to see if I’ve updated with articles or news.  I often feel I end up making references to the obvious . . . I’ve not been “dropping in” with the frequency of years past.

Figure reading from Pinterest

(What a thought-provoking image.  It reminds me I  still have this page as a placeholder, waiting to be filled.)

I’ve been working on other things.  Relationships, business, and me.  The order of these changes from day-to-day.  For me, they are all a process of creation.  And a work in progress because I don’t think we’re ever completely “done”, if we’re moving forward.

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One of my New Year’s resolutions is not to feel so guilty concerned about the frequency of posts or if they are “perfect” in nature.  I’m so thankful to say I had a surge in business, in the last half of 2014, and I hope to see it continue.  Ironically, one of my sweet friends has nominated me for:

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To be nominated for the Design Bloggers Hall of Fame is certainly an honor; however, in comparison to the other blogs, where they’ve updated to stunning platforms and regularly post . . . I’ll just say “thank you” to the gracious soul who has overlooked one more of year of not being so “spiffy” and with less than regular contributions. 

This philosophy may not ring so true for career bloggers but it definitely fits my philosophy.  I believe private journaling is a great learning tool and not everything needs to go online.  I think we’re at one of those crossroads, in my humble opinion, where we have some decisions to make about maintaining more real life balance.  In reading other blog posts, this past year, I know I’m not alone.  (Ah, the double-edged sword of such a statement!) 

25 Quotes That Will Inspire You To Be A Fearless Writer

As a side note, I DO write for a national furniture company, Hooker Furniture Company, and I hope it’s pushed my skills to a new level.  Sometimes I miss some spelling or punctuation and cringe a bit when those posts are published, but I do dig deeper for worthy content, while weaving in their furnishings to inspire different ways readers can incorporate pieces into their interiors.  A few weeks ago, I covered two amazing home tours.  You can read all about it by clicking <here>.  Some of the gorgeous, historical residences are drool-worthy! 

If you see I’m a bit absent, here, be sure to drop by for a visit at their Experience Your Home blog.  I usually pop up every month and our group of contributing writers love to share great design and home ideas!

Holiday Season

(A peek at one of the homes.)

So - as I sign off for 2014, I wish you all of the best!  If you’re online reading this, be sure to get out and about to share a smile, a good deed and a hug!

Wanda S. Horton Merry Christmas

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

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