Design Challenge

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.

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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.

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Bungalow 5 Camille 2 Drawer Side Table . Moss  Gray Tweed

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ballard Designs . Linen and Burlap Color Block Pillows from $39.

Happy Sunday.

Into the Blue: Blue Print You’re My Home

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Gone Fishing.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Astounding Beauty

Mary Oliver – famous American Poet gave instructions for living a life.

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Mary Oliver

PAY ATTENTION . BE ASTONISHED . TELL ABOUT IT.  It’s good advice.  There is beauty even in the mundane.  The things we take for granted, the snow that we lament as it piles up – looking past the flakes, all startlingly intricate in their icy formations, all worthy of our attention.  A blade of grass, an artisans technique, commitment and belief.  A meal savored rather than devoured, a kind gesture given or received. A smile, a tear, laughter. Inspiration is all around – even in the sawdust, I am beginning to see gold.

This year I didn’t buy anything or sell anything.  What the heck?  I am a buyer and a seller.  I feel empowered by the frantic energy that is expelled in the activity, and this holding pattern that I am sitting in – doesn’t sit well.  Still is is giving me an opportunity to see things not only as a whole, but for the rather amazing sum of their parts.

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Ladurée . The Grove . LA

I discovered that my commitment wouldn’t wane regardless of this year spent without spending.  I learned a few new tricks.  I remembered a few that I had forgotten.  I became acquainted with several designers for whom I have great admiration including; India Mahdavi who designed Ladurée in LA and Sketch in London – regarder – Ils sont fantastic.  Sandrine Place a stylist and interior designer who collaborated with Baptiste Legue on the design of a Pied a Terre above the Owner’s retail store – Chez Marie Sixtine. Oh lordy, do I ever want to hide away in the perfect pink and gray little home, and write myself silly.

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Chez Marie Sixtine

I began work on my biggest project yet – the Manse.  I traveled to Dallas, I would be remiss in my round-up if I didn’t make mention of my fondest state-side house of interior inspiration – Blue Print.  I visited Nashville, Nantucket, New Hampshire, New York City, and Nauset.  DC and Paris where i saw the single best exhibit of my existence, but even that did not top the very best thing I did in 2017…fall in love.

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Blue Print . The inspiration makes my cup overflow….thank you.

I feel blessed.  I am amazed, and I am telling you all about it.

Happy New Year.

Tap twice if it’s love…Instagram

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Blue Print Store . Dallas . TX – I would go every day if I could.

Back when I worked in the architecture firm I used to browse the aisles of the design library in awe of all the materials. Samples of wood, tile, plastic laminate – yes, and ugh, Forbo sport flooring, paint decks, you name it, it lined the shelves.  I loved it, and had no idea that it wasn’t sexy.  We designed public schools and libraries — the materials primary characteristics where durability and durability.  Still, I was inspired, and longed to be one of the lucky few that got to put together the design sample boards for Client approval.  It feels like a long time ago now.

Visiting The Design Center in Boston (now called the Innovation Center) was a rare, and intimidating adventure.  Back in the day, a non-designer like me, was not welcome.  They made it abundantly clear that they’d rather I leave.  My desire to see, touch, and be exposed to all those lovely textures, furnishings, materials and wall coverings, superseded my need to follow the rules, and I tamped down my fear of those foreboding dictatresses of design, in favor of five minutes inside the vault.  They exhibit a modicum of welcome nowadays.  Do go in.  It’s worth it.  Act like you own the place – pretend you’re French.  You’ll be fine.

Pink perfection….

In-between these rare visits  I scoured design magazine for inspiration.  This remains a favorite pastime, but with just 12 editions annually the mags can’t fulfill my rapacious desire for design.  Enter stage right….Instagram.  It’s like an old friend that one day you awake to realize is full blown love.  It delivers constant inspiration.  It connects me to people, and places I would never have known, or visited.  I see old things in a new light.  New businesses that harken back to a time when things weren’t mass produced.  I see just how I will design No. 5, and I owe it to InstaG.

As I scroll through the feed I feel almost as happy as if I’ve received a love note, aka a text, from a boy I really like.  That vulnerable spot between my belly, and my breast is aflutter with wonder.  Everything I have ever wanted, and some that I never knew I needed, is there.  The tech savvy of the grammers, use tags.  These tags tell you the designers or materials that are the point of focus in the photo.  Fear not, if the item you are interested in isn’t tagged (by the way, you won’t see these tags unless you tap the photo once), you can simply send a note through the comment section to get the product details.

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The community is so friendly, so willing to share.  So happy to promote others.  It’s lovely.  Today I will open the boxes that arrived this week (I have not intentionally been delaying the moment of gratification), and examine my new lucite and brass curtain rods, courtesy of LuxHoldups via Etsy.  These I found on Instagram through Collins Interiors, a sister design firm to Blue Print Store in Dallas Texas.  My favorite.  Lux is a Brooklyn based woman-owned company that does amazing things with lucite.  Do check it out, and if you don’t already have an Instagram account, what are you waiting for?

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Blue Skies: Even when it’s raining

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While I arrived to rainy skies in Dallas, Blue Print Store was a sunny day.  It’s a breath of fresh air.  It’s home in the most unlikely place.  bp-sculptureIt’s also apparently full of surprises.  As I took in all the beauty on display I overheard one of the Owners explain to a patron, in her lilting southern voice, that they also had a warehouse.  “A WAREHOUSE” she said.  I burst into the salon in a very unsouthern, and not at all ladylike way upon hearing this news.  “How is it possible.”  I shouted, “all these years have passed since my first visit, and I am just learning about this now?”

You can imagine my dismay as I briefly allowed myself to consider all of the lovely things I may have missed, that may have sadly been waiting to be discovered and carried on a pilgrimage to a distant land..Boston.  I won’t think about it now.  It’s simply too sad for words.

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Don’t be distressed when I share this additional bit of news, I need you to prepare yourself and be assured that it will all work out exactly as it’s intended.  Ok – the warehouse wasn’t open, so I will need to save that treasure trove for my next visit.

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The store makes me happy – perhaps happier than any gathering of material goods should make one feel, but it does.  It’s vintage and contemporary, antique and Asian.  It’s unknown, and established artists.  It’s the perfect mix of pale pastels and bold pops of color.

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I’ve grown so fond of it that when people ask about my design style, I’ve decided I am going to say simple…”blue print”.

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These photos offer a visual explanation of this style.  So now you know.

 

 

The Aculalization of Style

I don’t think my design style has reached its full potential.  Yes it’s a bit creative, a tad spontaneous (often resulting in regret or a fire sale), most decidedly independent, and it – my style that is – definitely comes face to face with real world realities when I spy the price tag on a much coveted item, or go to pay the American Express bill.  ugh.  None-the-less, I feel that it has a long way to go before it will become exactly what it was meant to be.  I’m not worried about it.  I see it taking shape.  I recognize more clearly what I like, and in what strange and magical combinations.  It’s surprising, and intriguing, like it’s telling me something about myself that perhaps I should have known all along.

Blue Print Store. Dallas. YES …. TEXAS

It is always my visits to Blue Print Store in Dallas that reinforce my belief in what my style is to become.  The sophistication of their design eye, their ability to bring together antique chests, modern and vintage upholstered pieces, lucite, and brass, soft linen and wool, emerging and established artists.  They are crafty and pristine.  They are elegant and cool. It begs the question how does this ensemble balance it so beautifully – accent it with a Chinoiserie vase like the proverbial cherry on top of the ice cream sunday?  That part is the mystery.  I’m getting closer – just out of my reach.  Perhaps by number 10 I’ll have arrived.

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Never Gaudy . Just gracious. Oushak Runner 8′ x 3′ $1K with lavender, pale blue, and yellow . yum-o!

One of the Artists they feature I have been a fan of since my first visit.  Stephanie Shank paints mesmerizing works that feel quintessentially Blue Print to me.  They are what makes the pillows pop, give the furnishings pizazz, and make you forget the walls are only white.  Plain, simple white.  They were featuring twin beauties (I am certain in preparation for an art show to be held there this weekend) that stole my breath.  They also would have cleaned out my account.  I considered just the one on the left, but that still would have left my account dangerously low.  I inquired about the possibility of negotiation.  I was scoffed at – which was a bit of a shock.  I know Dallie is full of ludicrously wealthy folks, but still….I was also told she didn’t accept commissions – she didn’t like to fence in her creativity.  Perhaps its all true, but I am going to reach out to Stephanie anyway and plead my case.  She should at the very least understand the hardship she is imparting over my untimely parting with this Greek God of piece of art.  Amen to things this beautiful.

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Parting in Sweet Sorrow. 

The painting stayed behind but I took the pillow.  I had to have something to cry my eyes out onto.  This plan was foiled too – the pillow was too pretty to cry on.

Fingers crossed.  I’ll get one of those paintings yet.  Happy Saturday.

 

 

 

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