Whatever your preconceived notions of Nashville are, drop them. Sure it’s a little bit country here, and a little bit rock n roll. It’s been dubbed Nash-vegas by some and Cashville by others. It’s urban and sprawling and more New Yorkers than you can shake a stick at have decided to make it their home, but try as they might, it’s still the South, and Yall – they don’t do that down here.
It’s a design mecca, this sprawling little city. Not in the way others cities are with their interiors and home stores, and art galleries, and artisanal craftspeople expressing themselves with their jaw dropping talents. It’s in the design of their restaurants, and tiny boutique shops. It’s in the gingham wrapped cups of sweet tea they hand out as you breeze across the threshold. It’s in the beat-up old camper turned cup cake shop that’s been painted in such a happy, glossy shade of yellow you can’t help but smile. It’s the gritty and brass determination to make something shine on that patch of dusty earth.
Nashville is cool. There’s no getting around it. It’s a fresh reminder that the dimentionality of design is what keeps it fresh and interesting, and oh by the way – they have a spring here – unlike Boston.
I made the boat with 4 minutes to spare. Not exactly a relaxed entry into vacation mode, my sister’s Mercedes tailgating every unlucky tourist on 28 she happened to be behind. She asked “Are you worried you wouldn’t make it?” She’s a speed demon, a hot dog, a lead footed roadster. I wasn’t really afraid. If you are going to be late, be late with Jo-Jo. She’ll get you there.
I love and look forward to my annual visit to the island – this being suitable in its timeframe, not a fly-by. Arriving by water allows for that relaxed dismissal of the world you are leaving behind. The mainland retreats in the distance, a wake forms in your path, and it’s not too long at all before you spy Brandt Point Light in the distance. I take deep gulps of air, a luscious mix of salt and oxygen filling my lungs, awakening my senses, anticipating what’s to come.
Slow it down. Take a peek.
I’ve stayed in lots of different places on this island, but the last few years, we’ve gravitated to places that surround town, or are cozied in and among the cottages of the boat basin. There’s a freedom to being close to town that appeals. Coming and going doesn’t require a taxi ride, a coordination effort, a render-vous point – though don’t get me wrong, I love to render-vous. It’s free and easy.
Willow in a haystack.
Dolphin Court might be little, but this house that I am staying in —- is not! Four bedrooms, all en-suite baths, living, dining, den, kitchen, patio, deck, widows walk. Serene and simple in its detailing, extravagant in its art. No brand loyalty, but not a no-name brand in sight, it even has a mud room, and I’ve always wanted a place I could get dirty in, or arrive that way.
Live like a child.
I spend a lot of time looking at places and asking myself why one pleases me or it doesn’t. I’ve decided I can be won over – that’s right – I have a secret weak spot for perfect details, for beautiful craftsmanship. It doesn’t even have to be my style or color palette. If I feel that it’s been executed flawlessly – I’m in.
Gone Fishin’ . See you in the fall.
Beyond that – what’s not to love about the magic number, on whatever old street she’s on in Nantucket. She’s lucky and I am lucky to call this my vacation spot for a week.
It’s the opposite of “buyers remorse”. Granted I don’t experience that emotion often, but in this particular case, the act of restraint I exhibited has haunted me for years. Ok, it’s not like I think of it every day or anything, but periodically something will fire a synapse and the next thing I know, I’m at Cynthia Driscollon Charles Street, turning my back, to what can only be described as pure genius.
Kathy Dalwood Sculptures are genius!
It’s true that I was probably without the means to purchase this beautiful sculpture, but when has that ever stopped me in the past? It was the holiday season, and while I rarely get to Beacon Hill, it’s just outside of my circuit. I make a point every year of visiting during the month of December because it is so quaint, the decorations are beautiful, and it gets me in the spirit. That and the fact that there is one very intriguing (to me) home decor shop on the main drag. Oh there are many if you are looking for them, but this one – Cynthia Driscoll – also an interior designer – always seems to have the most interesting objects des arts.
Designed for the Olympics in 2012
One of her featured artists all those years ago – perhaps 7 now, was an artist out of London named Kathy Dalwood. A sculptor that uses real objects as the base for her pieces caught my attention, because she is so clever. The piece that I liked the most was entitled Gold Diggerand featured a proper looking English Gal with a dramatic hat upon her head. A closer inspection revealed that the hat was actually a back end loader. A truck to you – a rather large one. It put a smile on my face immediately. I am in construction after all, and I am digging for gold through the sawdust, as we all are in our own ways. How utterly perfect is that I ask you?
Gold Digger – Perfection.
As perfect as it may have been, I did not seize the opportunity, and when I went back to buy it, it was gone. Not only that, but Cynthia told me there would be no more as these fragile and special objects kept arriving broken. Quelle domage!
Why I thought of it again the other day, I have no idea – my brain is a strange and mysterious place. One could get lost in there if they aren’t careful. So I did exactly what an obsessed girl might do, I started googling with the tiny bits of information I remembered and voila. There she was – on the web all along, and guess what….I can custom order a piece. Happy Saturday.
2 days, 4 rooms, furnishings and accents. No lighting, no renovations, no wall coverings. I went to Dallas with no plan in place other than to visit my beloved Blue Print Store. The timing and the demands that I am currently facing are both exciting and challenging, and didn’t allow for the pre-planning that I recommend so strongly when putting down cold hard cash, and working to turn your house into a home.
I spy a magnificent pice of art.
It sounds a little dramatic when I write it like that, but our home is a sanctuary of sorts. Many of us don’t recognize how supportive, restorative, and healing our environment can be, and any environment that can be all that can certainly be the opposite. Whether it’s “unfinished” or “disorganized” you are contending with, like a constant complainer at the office, it wears on you. Having the opportunity to help someone create a space that will nurture and make them happy is a pretty awesome gift to receive.
So we started with art. I’ve decorated 2 of my 4 places with a single piece of art in mind. One of the paintings came from Blue Print, the other from a local artist with whom I have great respect, and who casts swirls of paint on the canvas like the ocean waves of my youthful upbringing. Talk about generating joyful feelings. I loved my Cape Cod upbringing, so it seemed fitting that one of the designs would reference my earlier years. My friend and I felt the same way. Art is such a personal thing, and while no price tag can be put on something that elicits strong emotion, the pricer price tags can elicit the same for reasons contrary to our objective. Still – we launched off with that in mind, and as is often the case with Blue Print, we fell in love with not 1, not 2, but a slew.
Restoration Hardware Belgian Linen Single Cushion Sofa. The cleanest look with no messy cushions!
With the clock ticking, we immediately decided on one main piece from which to build the design, and a secondary, and quite different abstract to help pull together the elements of the dining room.
Ethan Allen Barrymore Dining Table – sale on now through the end of March!
Every project requires a budget and we had one – though generous, the task of furnishing two complete bedrooms, a living room, which we only going to allow 2 chairs, a carpet and some drapes to remain, proved daunting. I’ve made enough mistakes with a sofa to measure twice and cut once, but I’m always a little nervous. No space is going to accommodate all that you want without some compromises, sacrifices, and cleverness, but dare I say we did good.
One Kings Lane Seagrass Console Table.
Paintings really help to bring disparate colors into the palette and create interest in a room. If you know roughly what you like, and you are exhaustive with your search, you can come up with a close approximation, as we did when we realized the bed room set for a young boy wasn’t in the color we hoped for. Houzz provided a perfect substitute and at a price that was jaw droppingly low.
Houzz . Coaster Zachary Full Bed. $318.66!!
A long weekend, but an incredibly fun one. We did good. Now if we could just find that elusive coffee table.
Ballard Designs . Linen and Burlap Color Block Pillows from $39.
Blue Print Warehouse . 1516 Edison Street . Dallas Design District
I take a deep cleansing breath right before I open the door to Blue Print. That door that I have come to know so well, that door that says: “Hello”. To say its welcoming seems so insufficient, but it is, just that. It’s southern without being steeped in sweetness. It’s friendly without being overly solicitous. It’s passionate about the artists it represents, and excited to share the stories of the lands from which their very special rugs have traveled. It’s unapologetically happy, bright, and light. Even the antiques when rested gently atop a rug in bright oranges, purples, and pinks take on a more cheerful countenance without loosing their sophistication.
Color collection perfection.
They have a very special gift – these gals. They have an eye for art, a nose for the next trend, and a head for business, and I love and admire them for it. I want to move right in, tuck away in one of the back living rooms, in close proximity to their lovely garden. Even the kitchen, which is meant only for employees, but which I have stumbled upon during previous visits, is perfection with it’s raised moldings in the shape of a diamond – J’aime bien!
To feel grounded and uplifted all at once is a heady feeling. I aspire to be one of them, and in the interim, am happy to be among them. My visits there inspire me. It’s like visiting Paris or Bali or being on the water. It’s like grapefruit Perrier (which they always offer me when I arrive), mint chocolate chip ice cream (which is one of my very favorite things in the world), it’s like wild sock-eye salmon (which I need like the air I breath). It’s like being loved.
Black Birds Singing in the dead of night….
I will admit to feeling a little worried that they were moving away from the Turkish Oushak, which came into my periphery four years ago during one of my first visits to Blue Print. A new rug has made its debut on the big stage. It’s a little nappier, and decidedly happier than an Oushak. One of them looks just like a Picasso Painting, and the price only slightly reflected the reality that it is not. It could easily reside in a kids bedroom, or in the uber sophisticated Upper East Side Apartment of a socialite style-maker. In other words, it brings some serious bang for the buck.
The new nappy – Turkish carpets gone wild.
Today will be a test of my will. The question of course is will I leave with one of those rugs. I’ve put it on hold. Pugga (my boyfriend) said that it was a foregone conclusion. I want to prove him wrong, but I’m not sure I’m strong enough to do that. I can be stubborn, but I don’t want to cut my nose of to spite my face. Is saving face more important than the sheer joy I’ll get from having that rug? These are the universal questions I grapple with. Give me strength and a little of that Irish luck.
I would take a sable under the tree, that would most definitely please me. A duplex and checks – I’ll take it with two decks, and with a majority share in Tyvek, because what the heck, I wasn’t born yesterday. Santa Baby, hurry down the chimney to me. Eartha Kitt and Henri René sang this timeless classic for the first time in NYC in the summer, ironically, of 1953. Her timeless crooning in her low sultry voice makes her requests for a platinum mine, a 1954 convertible light blue, and a ring – not on the phone – totally acceptable, and somehow, feasible.
It got me to thinking about what my own outrageous list might include, and decided I should put it out there – just in case Santa was curious. After all, I’ve been an awfully good girl. Santa Baby – slip the deed to a two bedroom condo at the Lucas under my tree.
I’ll take an Areostream for all my “Glamping” adventures. An Eclipse 550 because commercial airline travel is …. disrespectful! I’ll take a Goyard Travel Trunk too – in blue, because you simply can’t land on the tarmac with duffle bag in toe.
There I found – yet another pop-up shop. I love pop-up shops for their cutting edge introduction of products and services that might never have caught my eye otherwise. I do sometimes wonder about Big Brother and how omnipresent he is….Framebridge showed up in terms of a store in Nashville and then uncoincidently on my Instagram feed!
This company is super cool. It offers a really inexpensive alternative to framing art, and if you have ever tried to frame a piece of art – however insignificant – you know it can cost an arm and a leg. Often way more than the cool coaster that you picked up in a Montana Ranch Bar, or on the CA Coast on one of your surf adventures. Still, don’t they deserve to be memorialized? I think so. Framebridge just might be the answer.
Commemorate special moments.
Don’t know exactly what your style is? They’ll help. You’ll be guided through a visual questionnaire that isn’t just fun, but will identify your style. From there, their team will work to pick a number of options from which you can choose. Know exactly what you want…don’t fret – just ask for it and it will be delivered.
Start small . think expansively.
Delivery – it’s on them. Now if you have a bit of a pessimist in you, let me clear it up. You can of course send them digital images at no charge and they will frame and return to you for free, but that’s also true of your diploma, your print, a canvas that can be rolled. They’ll send you a tube to place your art work in, and 3 – 5 business days later – you better be ready to hang your art.
Remind yourself what it’s all about.
Want tips into turning your home into a carefully curated masterpiece – Framebridge can help there too. With prices that range fro $39. – $199. it’s pretty hard not to be surprised, and delighted.