Saturday, January 18, 2014

True Freedom

Every designer has a story of her first recollection of wanting to decorate homes. Most stories I've read sound eerily similar to my own.

This picture is of a piece of land that is now fenced off; but when I was a very little girl, this and all other fields around my home were wide open and kids were free to do just about anything they could dream up to do without the land owner objecting. It was usually non-invasive and harmless.

We would ride our bikes through rough fields for a short-cut enough times that

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cargo Re-Imagining

For many years I have offered to help clients "Clutter-Bust".
If, like me, the client has hoards (not to say they hoard) of wonderful, memorable items they simply cannot part with, I have realized that those words sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.

I have changed my spin on the duty ahead of us..."Can't you just imagine if these were all consolidated and put in a more prominent place as a collection, the impact they would have as a unit?"

I will go on to describe the process of categorizing their treasures into "like items".
When we finally get to the task of "cargo re-imagining", it often appears as though a tornado has touched down. It only lasts for a short period of time and the results are liberating. What at one point was occupying their minds as "too much cargo", now may appear as a table scape or offer up more utility and purpose.

Taking pictures is a useful tool as well, as everything looks different two dimensionally as opposed to standing in the middle and having the advantage of perspective and 360 degrees of rotation. When the room is seen in whole, it may seem better appointed. Seeing it in pictures, helps to identify spots needing more attention.

And very often, things evolve as items find their rightful resting places...

In the picture above, the art seems like it is hung too far above the sofa; but in the environment, it makes sense and feels right.
The whole project is an ongoing "work of art". And like a master painter, at some point you have to know when to quit. There is no such thing as perfection.

The job of the Peripatetic Designer is to "walk around" with the client, help them categorize, minimize and maximize all of the items they adore.
"Yes, no,, try this."
You will find out a great deal about the person by the treasures that they keep.

I now have realized that I can't ever say anything approaching "busting", as though some things will have to go. And I truly believe what I tell them, "You won't need to get rid of anything. It is all a matter of how they are arranged, organized and displayed."

There was a PBS special lately where they took viewers on a tour of several unusual dwellings. One was the home of a man who never throws anything away. And I mean anything. It was absolutely amazing what he had done. His entire home was like a museum of artifacts. He had jars of nails and other mundane everyday items. The way he had organized and displayed them was the difference between hoarding and art. Eventually items found their rightful places. He was especially fond of jars as they held all of the items for display. Each jar ended up with a "hood ornament", something wonderful topping it off.

The most important thing about making a home is to remember that it is yours. There is a point that accumulations become hoarding, but it is a very fine line and more a matter of what it is doing in your life rather than in your home.

I think the test is if you can move an item without getting overly anxious.
Moving it doesn't mean it is leaving. At least not yet.

There is always tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Risky Business

The wall color is Behr, Wisteria White. It has just a super subtle hint of purple; but in just the right light, friends have said to me, "Purple Haze!".
I love nuance; things that don't slap you in the face but come at you slowly and in disguise.

I used this color extensively as my white of choice until I found Ralph Lauren's, Picket Fence White, which I just adore.

Putting it on a wall, I have thought it had a yellow cast as it was going on; but in the larger scheme of things, it looks just like it is described. It has a friendly, quaint appeal.

The white on this wall is probably a conventional contractor's white. The folding door panels are painted in the "Picket Fence White" . You can see how clean the white on them looks in comparison; but while putting it on an interior wall, it truly can look like it has yellow in it. Colors are very tricky. Very, very tricky.

The white in these squares is the same "Picket Fence White". adjacent to the yellow, they really look white. It is a matter of context.

It's always a good idea to test colors. Large swatches of this, believe it or not, very white looking color on the swatch card, looked sand on the test patch. After it got on all of the walls....another story...
It's amazing. When I specified this color for our church, I studied and studied it worrying that it would be too dark. After the painter finished and I came in to see, I thought for a minute that he hadn't painted at all. It looked white.

Sometimes designers will tell a client that the color will intensify the larger an area it covers.

Not always.
As was said, color is very, very tricky. Hold on and trust your instincts. And...give it time to sink in. You have to live with color for awhile. It grows on you. A sudden change can shock you and you may think you won't like it. Give it time. 

I am such a fan of Tricia Guild. I just love color. I love her colors. She has an amazing, amazing sense of how to use it. I spent last night revisiting her book, "Tricia Guild in town" It's so saturated with color, it is hard to get through very many pages without taking the time to absorb what you see. The book is of her own homes as well as others.

After spending time in her book remembering my passion for color, I realized just how inhibited I have been. Far too often, we let what we think others will think inform what we will or won't do. Life is too short not to live your own passion.

Again, I say, "Trust your instincts... And, be true to yourself!"
Do what You love.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

And to all a good night!

Custom, hand-made drapery panels can be a work in progress. In the mean time, they look pretty hanging. A good way to ponder what next. 
And why not just throw up all the other panels that might work together in some kind of fashion. That's the Old English way to do things; as if they have been added over years.

The Aluminum tree comes out and is in the process of being fully loaded with sequined ornaments from of old. It looks simple and uncluttered like this, but the favorite collections need to be appreciated...

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Do What You Love

"Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of product or service." - Steve Jobs

Many years ago, after reading
"Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow" by Marsha Sinetar, the inspiration came for following a dream of economic independence. However, the road to success is never a straight line.

Not to give up or give in.

Design, "to create and bring into being", can be applied to most anything; life itself, success, a thing.

Doing what you love has to be by design. No one can tell you what you love.

Staying on that path can be tricky. Things come up, things get hard. It may even seem like it isn't happening. It is not hard to fall into despair. Especially when the walls start falling in.

Ms. SpoolTeacher uses sewing as a default antidepressant. Whenever she feels like she is circling the drain, she tries to creates something. Usually something that has been spooling around in her mind's eye for some time, driving her to cutting something out of fabric and dreaming something up.

Go to to see what she's been up to lately to ward off the evil uglies. This is a first attempt. A prototype? When she was trying to reverse engineer a sleeping futon a while back, she got sidetracked and spent that day spooling around and ended up making a haute handbag from an old flannel shirt. She also made the shirt pillow the same day. She got a crazy idea then of what could be done with the disassembled collars. She's finally getting to it. Although, this one was developed from scratch, not one from up-cycling.

It's a crazy item. Halloween around the corner, she was led to the color scheme you see. As it is shown above is how she imagined it to be used. However, it takes on many rolls. It can be worn as a crazy headband, wrapped around the breast as a silly topper (best over something since it is sheer, unless it is for a special someone in a private showing). It can be wrapped around the neck the other way (up) and then the ruffle stands. Maybe she will do a shoot and show you the alternatives...once she finds a wispy willowy model who has an avant-garde look.

She will keep you posted. Until then, she wishes you great success, however it winds around..

"Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle." - again, Steve Jobs

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Jackson Pollock Style Floor Treatment

It was fun to pretend to be
Jackson Pollock  for a minute or two. At the least, it made one want to study his methods.


When it came time to bring Lollipops & Polka Dots Variety Shop to the home "studio" garage, it was time also to do something about that awful peel-n-stick floor.

First things first; it had to be cleaned. Scrubbed, and scrubbed. This old garage conversion has holes all over and is like a sieve. It was converted for the previous owners to place an elder in to live. (Don't know how they survived.)
Only 1/2 of the space has these tiles on it. Of course all the contents of the room had been shoved to the other side which is concrete. One side at a time. The picture above this one is after this scrubbing and it was ready for a high adhesive primer...
Much better already. This was a Glidden product and worked especially well. Very happy with the quality and results. (no sponsorship here, just a happy camper) Whenever something works well, it is hard not to recommend it. That's the point of something being good. It will sell itself, without paying. Kudos Glidden!
The next step was to paint on a base coat as a background. To be sure there would be enough, several cans of left-overs were combined, adding only the shades that would create the undertones desired. Knowing that it would all "brown/gray" out, cool undertones were chosen to keep it fresh seeming.
Now for the Jackson Pollock fun!

 Be sure to put on a pair of old shoes or socks you won't mind throwing away. (could always frame as their own "work of art"?)
You could always tape up some paper to keep the "slings" from throwing up on the wall, or you could just paint over it "later". (Ms. SpoolTeacher's famous last words)


Start slingin'...

Use your intuition...

Get into it...

Let your mind go...have fun...don't think too hard...


Clean up the walls "later", maybe?
Maybe not? Kinda looks cool?
Try to balance the distribution so there is a sense of unity throughout. 
Don't let the doggies in until it dries...unless of course, their "signatures" are required.

(See Ms. Purple-haired Annie up on the shelf?)

(Polka Dot Chairs hand spray painted by Ms. Spool Teacher)

This arrangement didn't last very long. It was too much of a sieve, the dirt and dust were impossible to keep at bay, the weather was too hard to control, the City came a callin'...The "studio" really needs an overhall. But; The Shoppe is home, in holding, waiting on the next miracle!

There's always HOPE.

This was the room, high 5 Ms. SpoolTeacher. A job well done!
(you don't even want to know..!)