Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vivacious Valances

A quick preview of a few of the hundreds of valances I drew for my book, The Design Directory of Window Treatments. I will show off a small collection of renderings every week until the release of the book in September. Hope you like them!

Monday, July 30, 2007

How I Spent My Weekend Recap

Here is the step by step process for the cork boards. I'll post pictures of some of my more elaborate boards later.

This is my daughters board. Very subtle! It used to be cute before she crammed it full of all of her photos. At least it keeps her from taping them all over the walls.

I have my carpenter make these frames for me with a crown molding topper. They look a bit more substantial than a flat board. They make a great headboard for a kids room. This one is
5' H. x 3' T. I like them big!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

How I Spent My Weekend

In accordance with my recent decision to concentrate full time on writing and speaking I have recently moved my office. I left my 3000 square foot Interior Design showroom for my home office which is 18' x 20'. Needless to say it's a bit cramped. I have had these two cork boards laying around and thought I'd put them to good use in the new room. I love cork boards because they make my very messy office look a bit more organized by throwing everything together within a formal frame. I love to hang my favorite things close to me, pictures of the family, friends, dogs jobs, etc.

I wanted to stack them on each other to create some depth to this part of the room and to soften the look of the larger board so it didn't look so huge. My first step was to hang some stuff on them to see if it was the look I was going for.

Once I figured out it would work I went through my thirty million pieces of fabric ( I never throw fabric away much to my husbands dismay) and chose two that I liked. I draped them over the boards to see if they balanced one another before I went any further.

I thought this looked pretty hot! Kind of a French Watermelon if you will. The iridescent silk damask is a nice foil to the deep red of the toile.

I use spray adhesive ( 3M Super 77 spray adhesive works best) to attach the fabric to the cork. Just spray the cork well with the adhesive on then apply your fabric. I make these for most of my clients and they hold up very well. I hot glue decorative trim around the edges and secured it with decorative nail heads. If you'd like you can add criss crossed ribbons to make a ribbon board. These were way too large. The big one is 6' x 4'.

Voila! The finished product. I like to hang small frames and mirrors as well as other do dads on these boards. Fill them up with anything special to you. The picture in the red matte at the center of the red toile board was drawn by my daughter.

Here is a close up of the trim and nail heads. Both boards took me only about 5 or 6 hours to complete. It's a quick and easy solution to managing some of your clutter.

Friday, July 27, 2007

More San Clemente....

Miss Angelica at Erba Home Interiors....

Another cute shop we browsed through in San Clemente was Erba Home Interiors run by Lisa Rodarti & Marina Goffredo. 103 Ave del Mar, 949-361-1902. My gorgeous 17 year old daughter Angelica ( above) loved it. They had a lovely selection of products from vintage sea life prints to custom bedding and furniture. Here are some fabulous silk embroidered pillows they had for sale. I loved the tiny knife pleated ruffles they used - so sophisticated! Of course the mark of a good pillow is a quality, feather / down, overstuffed insert. Erba Home passed this test with flying colors.

Check out this ultra comfy chaise lounge. It just screams beach house to me. If I had one you'd have to pry me out of it with a crowbar. ( might be a tougher job than you think!)

Great ceramics and an eclectic collection of books and stationary flowed through the store. My sister bought a great set of white porcelain salt and pepper shakers with a little caddy. Considering the fact that she won't eat or cook with salt I would say they were pretty darn cute.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Shopping in San Clemente

During my week away from work I spent a lot of time doing what else - working! I scoured southern California for unusual and unique finds and came across quite a few worthy of note.

Our first stop was the quaint little township of San Clemente. Hugging the coast just south of Dana Point, it is a tiny bit of somewhat unspoiled old California. Many of the old architecture remains and it still has that laid back slow Cali atmosphere familiar to anyone as old as I am ( I'm not telling but it rhymes with forty seven - ughhh).

The main shopping boulevard is the Avenida Del Mar. It is packed with a number of quality shops, restaurants, and antique consignment stores. One I would highly recommend is CHRISTOPHER / LEE LTD, at 158 Avenida Del Mar. Among the lovely items you would expect to find in most home decor stores they have found some real gems - and when I say gems - I mean GEMS!!!

These spectacular pieces are from a local Laguna artist - Philip Kiluk. I am told that Mr Kiluk was a sought after muralist and oil painter who traveled the world practicing his craft. In the course of his travels he collected vintage jewelry and mementos which he now crafts into stunning works of art. I apologize for my bad photos. They do not do justice to the superb craftsmanship of each piece.

This gilded, bejeweled bird is the centerpiece of a magnificent crucifix. Many of the components that Kiluk uses in his creations are everyday objects such as vintage jewelry, belt buckles, watch findings, etc. His frames contain small collages made with items such as vintage postcards stamps and trading cards.

For more info contact: Christopher / Lee Ltd 949-369-0265

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Laguna Beach Then & Now

Just got back from Laguna Beach and it was beautiful as always. Great weather, perfect temperature and some rest & relaxation. More about that later. For now I thought I would share these pictures of Laguna circa 1889 courtesy of the Orange County Library and the beach today. Check out those snazzy bathing suits. Looks refreshing - Yes?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Calling all Boudoirs

As I have mentioned, I am currently writing and illustrating a book on bedding & bedroom furnishings. If you have designed or come across any interesting bedding, pillows, headboards etc. Please send them to me, I would love to include them in my illustrations.

Here is a set of bedding I did for a clients pre-teen daughter. It looked like a yummy assortment of Italian ices when it was finished. I wish all of the beautiful beaded trim showed up in this picture but you can barely see it. I need to invest in a better camera.

One of the keys to specifying beautiful pillows is to always use 75/25 down and feather pillow inserts (unless you have allergy issues). 90/10 inserts can be too feathery and the quills can poke through the pillow face. Order your inserts 1 to 2 inches larger than your finished pillow size for optimal firmness.

You can never have too many pillows !!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pleasing Pillows

I've been doing a lot of illustrations this week and I'm well into my section of throw pillows for my Bedding book so I decided to count the total so far. 252 !!! uniquely beautiful pillows for all of you fellow pillow freaks out there to make. My books do not include how to information, only simple explanations of the design. Most of the designs are made from very basic elements and can be easily made by any soft treatment workroom. Here are a few you might like from my section on Pillows with Bows or Ties. They are only in black and white at this stage but I will post them again once I do the color version.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Beautiful Bounty

I'm on my way to Laguna Beach, California on Tuesday for some R&R with my sister and my daughter. I plan on taking a trip up the coast to one of my favorite stores in all the world Bountiful.

No doubt you've heard about it or seen photos, but nothing less than a thorough inspection in person does it justice. It is a ramshackle collection of rooms and outdoor spaces that look as if they could fall down at any moment. Tiny, rickety stairways lead upstairs past eye candy galore into small rooms filled with treasure. The whole place is just chock full of shabby chic morsels of delight.

My favorite thing about the store are the dogs. Last time I was there I was greeted by two lovely rescue greyhounds. They follow you throughout your journey - around the store - up the stairs - outside to the beautiful gardens. I wanted to buy them and take them home.

The owner, Sue Balmsforth, whom I was lucky enough to meet a couple of years ago, has a keen eye for unique finds. Almost everything has a crackled, well aged coat of white paint or a gilded finish. She stocks a fantastic line of beeswax candles that come in a huge array of shapes and sizes. The cabinet that houses them is almost as impressive as the candles themselves. I have never seen them anywhere else. I can't remember the brand name but I will post it after I get back hopefully with some new pictures of the shop and of course the dogs.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

It's Friday the 13th and I have had a grueling day of trying to get this blog up and running. When I began researching writing this blog the articles I read made it seem so easy. I must confess that I am truly technologically challenged. Count me in as a right brainer (that is the creative side, right - not the analytical one?). In short, just like most things in life this process is harder than it looks. The writing and finding content are the fun parts. I just wish the set up and submission etc was a bit less complicated. But enough complaining!

My first book The Design Directory of Window Treatments is available on Amazon.com now even though it isn't going to be released until September. I must say it was very cool to see it there. It's kind of like seeing your picture in your high school yearbook.

I have a great publisher, Gibbs Smith. They produce beautiful books on a variety of subjects including architecture and interior design. Some titles you may recognize:

Charles Faudree's Country French Living
by Charles Faudree

Inspirations from France & Italy
by Betty Lou Phillips

Scalamandre: Luxurious Home Interiors
by Brain Coleman

Check out their full catalog of titles at www.gibbs-smith.com

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Illustrations

When I began the research for my first book I planned to hire an artist to do the illustrations. I quickly realized that I was probably the only person crazy enough to undertake such a huge task and any professional illustrator worth their salt would cost me a fortune. I decided to bite the bullet and go at it on my own. It took me 9 months to finish almost 3000 drawings.

Step #1 - Rough pencil sketch

Step #2 - Black and White Line Drawing

Step #3 - Full Color Rendering

It sounds easier than it is - there are actually more like 8 steps. One of the most difficult tasks is deciding on the color scheme for each design. By the time you have done about 200 or 300 color renderings you have seriously run out of new color options! I bought every set of colored pencils available on the market today (about 875 pencils) and I still ran out of colors pretty quickly.
A year and a half ago I began writing - and more to the point, drawing, for my clients a collection of window treatments that I had designed over my 20 years as a designer. Long story short, to my amazement within 3 months I had a book contract and began the process of producing 600 pages and 3000 illustrations of window treatments. Hence the description of myself as an "accidental author".

I am now writing and drawing the second volume of this series which will include thousands of options for soft furnishings for the boudoir! Needless to say I have a somewhat obsessive love for all things fabric. It began at an early age and still rages within me to this day. I have tapped into this obsession to create a vast visual directory of design inspiration for anyone interested in soft treatment design.

Over the past year and a half my career has been subject to some radical changes - many of them I will share with you on this blog. Becoming an "author" is a very surreal experience (that word is so serious, I am actually a terrible writer - worse speller and an absolutely non-functional typist - thank goodness for spell check). I think it is sort of like getting an honorary doctorate from the university you never graduated from. You get to call yourself doctor of whatever but you would always be worried someone would figure out you are faking it. Oh well, you know what they say, "Fake it till you make it"!

I hope you will check back with me to see what I am drawing next and find out what super secret tricks of the trade I will be disclosing. If you have any really cool window treatment or bedding ideas please share them with me. I love to see what other fabric junkies are working on ( I usually say fabric ho's but I am not sure if that is acceptable blog etiquette).