Sunday, November 29, 2009

Appointments Part Two: Should You Edit or Add?

As promised, Appointments Part Two: Should You Edit or Add? has some interesting finds for your home. I have included ranges of size, price and style.

I hope you find something you like. If buying for yourself isn't an option, ask for a holiday gift that will grace your home. I always rationalize a gift for home as something everyone can enjoy. Even if it's a budget buster, there is added value in it not being tucked in my jewelry box. I also love having objects that my husband gave me on a holiday or special occasion.

Some items are from shops I visited while in New York several weeks ago (I hope they are still available), others are from on-line shops I frequent in my design work.

If this item is your pick, call Flair in New York. This store is absolutely fabulous. Everything in the shop is wonderful. I placed some objet d'art in client projects but these are still available.
Anyone who follows blogs, or interior design in general, knows the remarkable work of Vicente Wolf. These items are from his shop, VW Home. The shop has a great website but if you can't find them online, call Trudi, the showroom manager (she's awesome).



VW Home
Both of these groupings have strong presence and appeal. Visit VW Home if either group is your pick.
I use vessels like this for large scale appointments. Visit VW Home.



This vintage art piece would give any space a cool vibe like no other. Visit Flair to purchase.

A simple glass globe sits atop any table with style. Visit Flair to purchase.



Not in every location, but a little humor always helps lift the mood. Don't we all need a laugh at least daily, if not hourly? If this guy was in my midst, I would giggle every time our eyes met. Visit Flair to purchase.



Love this beautiful and elegant piece. Visit Flair to purchase.

I think this would look fabulous on a coffee table in a formal space. Visit Flair.

These jars are very large in scale. Sometimes it is better to have one big item than several small things grouped together. Visit Crate and Barrel to purchase.
Buy 1, 3 or 5. I think these have a beautiful finish quality, especially for the price. Visit CB2 to purchase.



Love this pair of objects. Vist Flair.



Flair
I use boxes in groupings alot. These, along with many others, are available at Flair.



I love the mecury glass candlesticks and urn. The reflective quality coupled with this mirror has an amazing effect. Also, the large scale appointment sitting on the floor is a great idea. It's a way to add interest without cluttering your console top.



I use lots of different metals in my design work. Silver, brass, copper, zinc all have a place in interiors. The antique brass of these objects help give this space warmth.



The use of books, as well as appointments, are an effective part of this room's design. Items atop pedestals highlight the beautiful art pieces used as appointments.



I love this appointment: a gardenia floating in water. Any flower that has a flat base will work to float (zinnias, dahlias, gerber daisies).



This tablescape has small paintings on easels or leaning as part of it's appeal. Also love the single apple.
If these are your pick and what your room needs, visit Wisteria to purchase. Mecury glass is a favorite of mine. I always want something with sparkle and reflective qualities in my design.



This Ethopian Cross is a statement piece. No need to have much around it to compete. Visit Wisteria to purchase.
My grandmother had many busts in her home. I spent a lot of time there as a child. Having them around has always been appealing to me. Now her busts reside at my mother's. They are so stately flanking her living room mantle. To purchase this one (it is small), go to Mecox Gardens.





Books, books and more books, I can't have enough. I have lots of bookcases in my home (and lots of books). Books are one of the easiest ways to decorate. Several strategies apply: go to the bargain book table at your local book store to find titles that speak to you, go to amazon.com or purchase these fun faux books from Z Gallerie.



I use bowls, or containers of any kind, for appointments. To purchase this one, visit Mecox Gardens.
Another beautiful bowl from Mecox Gardens.



I'm not sure what appeals to me about these, maybe their organic quality. I could see 3 used together in a linear fashion. Visit Mecox Gardens to purchase.



Another statement piece from Mecox Gardens.



Funky finds from Z Gallerie.




These cool cactus vases come in 2 sizes. I would use them together. Visit Mecox Gardens to purchase.

How many horse items can a girl have? I love them. Having spent my childhood in Kentucky, I have great comfort with horses in my midst. It's also amazing how many different aesthetics I use them in for client projects. They always look spectacular. Visit Mecox Gardens to purchase this one.


I hope you've enjoyed my two part series on Appointments. Please let me know what was helpful and what other subjects you would like featured on Ragland Hill Social.

We'll talk soon.

Gwen

Images courtesy of Elle Decor, Eric Cohler, Gwen Driscoll, Mary Evelyn McKee, Anthony Todd, Mecox Gardens, Wisteria, Crate and Barrel, CB2, Flair NYC, VW Home, Z Gallerie






Appointments Part One: Should You Edit or Add?

During the holidays I find my friends and clients always wanting their house to be in tip top shape. Preparing for this time can induce real panic.
One simple way to improve your home quickly is to evaluate your appointments, items that are easily removed or added without much trouble. It's always best to assess what you have, and then what you need. It can make or break a house.
It's about "The Big Edit". A most important thing a designer does is assess what a client has and if it's worthy of being used again. The question is, "Does the item add value and beauty to the space in which it resides?"
Get out your digital camera and focus on each vignette in a room. Look at each surface and evaluate what is or isn't working. It's always good to snap a vignette photo to focus on, not the entire room at once.
Then, really get honest with yourself. Is the dried floral arrangement that has been there since 2000 really adding value to your space? Are the cherished valuables you have sitting beside it being overshadowed? Do you really need 10 picture frames? Is the lamp on the table the right look and scale? If the answer is, "This is not working" then get busy and edit. Take away something (probably the dried floral arrangement) and move things around to see how they look.
If you do this for every surface in your house: mantels, tables, consoles, buffets and even the kitchen island, I promise you will feel and it will look better. It's also a good idea to move appointments from one location to another. It amazes me how different items look when placed in a new location.
Below, I've included some images of edited spaces. They are clear and clean, with only what is necessary to make each space fabulous.
This space works because of its symmetry and very few items in play at once. Wouldn't you love to sit with a friend to have a cup of tea?
How inviting is this living room? Large scale furniture calls for very few appointments. See the mantel, one item and a painting. Stunning and beautiful.
This fabulous entry hall has not a single appointment. Perfection!
This image is from my house. A beautiful French buffet, in the past, has been full of picture frames, objet d'art and many other things over time. It was killing me, so, I had to edit. The sun room now feels refreshing, not visually exhausting.
Another image of clean and clear table tops. Books are a great way to add some interest without being overpowering. I use them a lot in my design work.
I hope Part One inspires you to focus on your appointments. Look for Part Two tomorrow, "The Big Add". If you have nothing to move around and play with, I've put together some great looking appointments that can be gotten quickly. I often ask myself, "What did I do before the invention of Internet shopping?"
We'll talk soon.
Gwen
Images courtesy of Metropolitan Home, Elle Decor, Gwen Driscoll, Southern Accents, Interiores

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fab House Friday

I've spent the majority of my life driving by houses and wondering as I gaze in the windows what life must be like inside such charming and special places.
And now, after many years of interior decorating, I'm constantly snapping photos of things I find interesting either in Memphis or when I'm traveling. I plan to share my archives with you every Friday. Enjoy!
I love this house for its beautiful stone and slate roof.
This special place could be straight out of a movie, a holiday one at that. Look at the precious reindeer in the front yard.
This house is painted a beautiful color, somewhere between a soft pink or peach. Lovely.
This house is in St. Louis, Missouri located about 4 hours from Memphis. We travel there as a family from time to time. Beautiful houses everywhere in St. Louie.
Interestingly enough this house has been shared by two of my good friends' families. One friend's cousin sold it to another friend's mother. And, to finish the house swapping off, the 2nd friend's mother sold her previous house to the 1st friend mentioned. Do you follow?
I hope everyone has a great weekend. I've spent all day long decorating for Christmas. Glad the big job is done for this year. Tree up and all.
We'll talk soon.
Gwen

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gobble, Gobble. Gobble It Up!

If you could choose only one thing to eat on your Thanksgiving menu, what would it be? My grandmother's dressing is something I can't live without. My mouth waters at just the thought of it.
Everyone I've seen in the last weeks has been talking about one thing: Thanksgiving Dinner and what they plan to eat on Turkey Day. It's a time to come together as a family and enjoy some great food, being thankful for all our blessings.
Feast your eyes on these fantastic photographs and get ready to gobble, gobble, gobble!
Yummy, Yummy!
We have popovers twice a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It makes them all the more special. They melt in your mouth.
Squash Casserole is my mother's specialty. She has people calling or e-mailing her from the world over for the recipe. Delicious!
Granny's Turkey Dressing
My grandmother made this dressing for zillions of years. My husband, who loves to cook, now takes it on every year. Plan several hours to complete this task.
1 1/2 loaves white sandwich bread toasted and torn into bite size pieces
5 medium onions chopped
1 whole bunch of celery chopped
1 1/2 bunches of parsley, remove stems, chopped fine
2 sticks of salted butter
6 large eggs
Handful of sage to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Toast bread & tear into pieces. Set aside. Beat 6 eggs & set aside. Saute onion, celery, parsley using 1 stick of butter until translucent. Swirl a small amount of water in skillet and add toast to the vegetable mixture. Add eggs & mix all ingredients really well. Add sage, salt & pepper to taste. Add half of last stick of butter when mixing all ingredients. You can either stuff in your turkey & cook it according to its size or put in a 9 x 13 pyrex dish to cook separately. If cooking apart from the turkey, use the other half stick of butter slicing it and placing on top of dressing. If cooking in a casserole dish, cook for 45 minutes and check dressing to make certain it is still moist. If not, have slight amount of chicken broth ready to pour over top to moisten.
This recipe is definitely an art, not science. It is so delicious that I could eat it for days on end. And in the off chance there is some left, we do.
Chocolate is my all-time favorite.
Happy Thanksgiving. I can't wait to taste that dressing. Bon Appetit!
Images courtesy of MarthaStewart.com, Alexandra Grableswki, welcometogirlland.com, amyleonard.com, ezrapoundcake.com, Sweet Paul, 101cookbooks.com, the pioneerwoman.com, Miki Duisterhof
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