Friday, May 27, 2016

Luxe Magazine


If you live in Arizona, the new Luxe Magazine is worth checking out. The feature titled "Fresh Start" is the home of a client of mine and features an interesting mix that is not more of the same design elements we see everywhere.



The painting above the mantel is one that the client purchased from me several years ago but check out that chandelier and table!
I only wish that Luxe did not only do regional issues. Lucky for me my mother lives in Arizona.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

3 tips for mastering your decorating budget

I have recently had conversations with several people who seemed baffled about decorating their spaces. "I can't afford to redo everything." or "If I buy that chair I will have to change all of the furniture." were repeated.
I had a few ideas that I thought would be helpful to share here.

1. Keep the expensive stuff simple


The priciest items will stay in you favor longer if you keep them simple. For instance, custom window treatments can be the most expensive item in a room and chevron pattern that was trendy several years ago will seem super dated in another five years. Opt for fun fabrics on pillows or throws.
The same goes for flooring and upholstery.

2. Choose a "floating" color

What the heck is a floating color, you ask? My best example is an heirloom chair I had recovered in black velvet. It has lived in five different rooms in my house in five years. It works everywhere for me. 



I also painted a bamboo dresser in black that lives in my breakfast room instead of hot pink so that I could use it elsewhere without a new paint job.
It does not need to be black. White, beige, gray and navy can work really well as your "float" color just make sure that you don't end up with everything in that color.

3. Patience

Rome wasn't built in a day and your living room will benefit from patience. Thoughtful consideration of your lifestyle and aesthetic are a start but it also helps to shop without expectations. If you go sofa shopping with the goal to choose that large piece by the end of the day you may regret that decision. 
I once went into a junk shop (and I do mean junk) and there sat a gorgeous Sheraton style settee.

 I inspected it for damage and even sniffed it. It was a very high-end piece for $350!! I was not shopping for furniture that day but took home a prized possession that I still love.
I have been guilty of the opposite only to find myself unloading that funky bowl or lamp that I bought because I was looking for accessories that day and bought just to avoid coming home empty handed.

So to recap, keep the most expensive items simple by choosing solid colors or subtle pattern. No trends unless you can afford to change them when you tire of them. Choose a color that works with everything else for items that you might move to other rooms. This includes tables, single chairs, ottomans and dressers.
Lastly, have patience. You never know what you will come across if you wait. Rushing out to fill your house will mean that you won't have a spot ( or funds) for the truly fabulous items that you will find over time.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Life Lately

"April Skies" helping me sell my house

If you have ever read my blog you know I am moving...soon. 
It is amazing that when you have to get a house ready to show you realize how actually clutterific your life is. This is the first time I have ever had to live in a house and show it. It can be exhausting.

CR Laine showroom artwork available through Anne Neilson Fine Art


High Point Market was a whirlwind that was closely followed by a trip to Charleston. That trip was meant for house hunting but ended up with mainly client meeting and catching up with my childhood friend. I stayed at her house in Mount Pleasant and it really gave me a feel for where I want to be. We had dinner at Chez Nous. I had been stalking them for months on Instagram, the whole time my mouth watering. It is a lovely simple restaurant with 4 star food and not an ounce of snobbery.

Joann and me at Chez Nous

Our house went on the market last week. We have nowhere to live in Charleston  scratch that. I am in the process of leasing a house around the corner from Joann (we lived around the corner from each other in elementary school)and trying to get a realtor to answer your calls is infuriating. My husband has no job and has not looked yet. This is a fly by the seat of our pants operation.

My family room


I mentioned before that I took 13 paintings to High Point and went back to attend market. Well, I also had to pick up the paintings! I took my husband as a helper and we continued on to Charlotte to deliver some to Anne Neilson Fine Art and return home on the same day. That was Tuesday. 


My daughter turned 7 on Thursday and we had three celebrations. Culminating with her party on Saturday. It was truly one for the books. Our standard is to rent a bounce house, make mini cupcakes and pigs in a blanket for the kids and have more interesting gourmet choices and beverages for the adults. Parents always stay for our parties. It was funny that this year I mentioned that "scaled back the food" guests looked at me like I was crazy and said, "THIS is scaled back?!" The champagne flowed and there were lots of laughs.

Leis, champagne cocktail, and my painting "May"

As the party wound down and we chatted with our fun neighbors, they told us how envious they are. "I want your life. You are so lucky to to be able to just up and move because you want to." one said. He repeated that he constantly tells people how ridiculously cool our life is. It doesn't feel cool when I am wiping down the kitchen counter for the 18th time in a day but it it did put me in a more grateful state of mind.
You never know know how others see you.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The little things


Laugh with me a little...
This is what I got done the other day.
High on my to do list these days is packing up non-essentials ahead of the real move and decluttering, staging and photographing each room.
I thought I might pack up some barware but then I had the idea to photograph my living room because it did not look too bad.


See that flat shelf and column on the right? Well, it has never been styled right and neither has it's twin on the other side of the room. It was loaded with antique books so I started packing them up in a too small box. Then I got a larger box and tried again but halfway through the marks on the painted white shelf bothered me. Off I went to grab cleaning products to remove the scuffs. It didn't work so I went to find a can of paint. I painted the shelf but the matching shelf had clutter. I left it there.
I started pulling things of of all tables and shelves and piling the on my dining room table to be packed. Then I thought it looked a little dusty...

Can you see where I am going with this?
I got the living room photographed and two boxes of books packed and a bit of dusting done and it took me hours!
I am so overwhelmed with work and travel and moving that I could barely complete a single task.
Sorta pathetic but this move is happening!

P.S. If you are going to go to High point market be sure to stop by CR Laine showrooms and say Hello! The party is Saturday 5:30 - 7:30 and is co-sponsored by Duralee.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Paintings, floors and chaos


I gave you a sneak peek at this a week or so ago. It is a 70 x 50 inch canvas that I did for the CR Laine showrooms during High Point Market 2016. I actually did quite a few special pieces for them.


I was given fabrics to coordinate with and free reign when it came to my ideas. It was a joy and also challenging but the two go hand-in-hand to me.
You can see a selection of my work for CR Laine on this page of my website or better yet, come to market!

Whilst this was going on my studio, that is still in my home, major tile work has been underway.
My dear husband did tile work right out of college with his brother in-law. They were meticulous. Lucky me.
Our house had 100% builder grade and ugly finishes. Last year I got new quartz counters in my kitchen and my tile guy installed the backsplash.


The floor was was much debated and the quicker solution than hardwood throughout was chosen to facilitate the move to Charleston.
Take a gander of the floors I lived with for 5 years.


It was always ugly but recently began to delaminate.
Our goal is to upgrade at a reasonable cost. Many of my choices would have been different were we staying but I was not willing to compromise on style and harmony. We are going for ROI not cookie cutter suburbia, yet cost was a consideration.
Welcome lovely new tile!


This warm gray tile paired well with the counters and the warm, mahogany colored cabinets. It also works beautifully with the Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray on the walls.


At less than $2 per square foot, it is a deal my husband, spent 9 days on the floor at a cost of about $700 in materials.
We love it!
It was not pretty process. Our fridge had to live in the foyer, and my large paintings were leaned wherever I could find a spot. The pantry was emptied onto the dining room floor and our kitchen table was in front of the TV. Oh and my kids in college came home for Spring break. In case the level of chaos is not apparent...


As I write this, my dear husband has finished a 13 hour day of tile work in our master bath (a blog post all its own just for the sheer crazy factor) Today was day 8 on said bath and tomorrow appears to be another 12-13 hours of backbreaking work for him.
Master bath goodness coming soon!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What I learned about color while painting commissions

One of the best things about being an artist is the places it has taken me, both literally and metaphorically. I am partnering with furniture manufacturer CR Laine again for 2016 High Point Market. This time I was given sizes and color palettes to create pieces specifically for their vast and inspiring showroom.

I love this new colorway in Bruschwig and Fils' Le Lac fabric

This kind of project is what I live for. I love the process of color matching and the wide open freedom to create whatever I think will work in a space given a set palette.
While I can't show you any of the completed pieces yet I want to show you the process and how it changed how I get to a finished work.

Detail of larger work

The fabrics above were the collection I was given for a 70 x 50 inch canvas and the color palette scared me. There are viridian and turquoise and Pthalo blues that I normally avoid in my work. I decided to use the yellow ochre as a starting point. I really used a bright yellow spray paint and some ochre for my first layer. Next I layered sheer and opaque whites. Grayish, beige-ish, yellowish, and bright whites but those bold colors still needed to find a way on to the canvas. In the photo above you can see areas of viridian that were part of my next step that absolutely terrified me.

Detail of larger work

I spoke to an artist friend and she said the thing that she has often said, "Give your self permission to paint something ugly." I knew she was right. I only had two layers on so I began roughly adding all of the scary bright colors with no clear idea how I would turn it into something that someone would want to look at or hopefully, buy.
I began adding in the black and brown found in the fabrics and had a little epiphany. You see I was also painting a 36 x 48 canvas for the same space and I started with a painting that was in progress that had a few of the right colors but also had a peachy coral and a hint of lavender. Why do I have to stick firmly to these colors, I thought ? Maybe add another green or a variety of grays along with the prescribed colors. I did and also continued layering on the grays and beiges while finishing with more ochre and the bold blues in the fabrics.

Wet ochre color in this detail of a larger piece

Well, I can tell you that the most challenging painting is my favorite of the bunch and it taught me something about how I use color. The discovery in each painting is a big reason for my doing it at all and this did not disappoint. I heard an apt quote recently. 
"You will never know everything about something you love"
Stay tuned in April and I will be showing you what I take to market. If happen to go to High Point Market this Spring please stop by the CR Laine showroom and say Hi. I will be there on Saturday and Sunday.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Choosing art to add to a collection

The simplest rule for choosing art is to find pieces that speak to you and that you love but they can also make sense with your decor and other art.
Paying attention to a theme, color palette and /or mood can help you pin down something that you will love for many years.


In my son's room I wanted to create a gallery wall with a theme. I had inherited block prints and a portrait by my grandmother and another antique portrait. It did not quite fill the wall so I created a few abstract portraits and commissioned another of my son, from a favorite baby picture.



I purchased several paintings through Etsy shortly after buying my current house.
One of my favorites is this abstract by Linda Montfort.


It was the start of my art collection by choice. The colors and exuberance spoke to me and made sense with some of the still life paintings that are by my grandmother.


I think it can be helpful to allow your thinking to go beyond theme and color. For instance, abstracts don't have to be hung alongside abstracts and warm tones need not be in the company of only more warm.
I purposefully choose items that are decidedly feminine in mood for my formal living room. The blush walls and ladylike ivory fabrics were the base decor and art (as well as accessories) must fit within the same feel but without necessarily conforming to a set of colors.
I also bought this little painting on Etsy.




Conversely, my adjacent dining room is very masculine and I combined family silhouettes with my collections of antique fox hunt prints and gentlemen.



The choices for my daughter's room were definitely color and mood driven.

Ellen Levine Dodd

Sally Kelly landscape
It tells an interesting story of the owner, when inherited or vintage pieces are combined with the new, as layer of decor with meaning.