Friday, October 18, 2013

"There is no Such Thing as a Design Crisis"

Ha! I just love that, and I love the rest of this excerpt taken from Celerie Kemble's book, To Your Taste. This comes from a portion Celerie has titled "Apologia." If you've ever struggled with the idea of whether interior design has any real purpose or wondered how to keep a level head amidst the materialism we always seem to be knee deep in (especially as design enthusiasts), this should help give some perspective. It has certainly helped me.

I want to be open about what I do, and put it in a larger social context. Interior design in an indulgence, and one that can be very expensive. An appreciation of nice things is an icing-on-the-cake concern. It seems grossly presumptuous when designers casually discuss as "affordable" prices what most reasonable people consider ridiculous. On the other hand, I do what I do as a business, one in which I take great pleasure. In the expensive and sometimes demanding process of helping people create their dream personal spaces, I work with craftsmen and other skilled workers. Their commissions keep alive the traditions of craftsmanship and art in addition to supporting a web of families. 

In the weeks following September 11, 2001, I felt a piercing sense of emptiness as I wandered around the New York Design Center looking for coordinating fabrics for a client who was pushing me to complete my work before a November dinner party. What I perceived at the time as unnecessary drama about an artificially imposed deadline and the trifling concerns of a spoiled woman was the core responsibility of a collaborative design consultant's job - to respond to my clients' needs. It wasn't until months later that I decided I was lucky to be involved in the work of making people happy, even if it was on the level of stylistic indulgence. In the sunshine of this later mood, I saw that my client's urgency came from her desire to create a beautiful new dining room to share with her family in time for Thanksgiving. 

Catering to the whims of some big-budget clients calls for frequent reality checks. I once met a designer (who later opted out of the business) who put our field in proper perspective. He told me about a client of his who was enraged when he wouldn't give her his cell phone number in case she had to call during a design crisis. He told her, "There is no such thing as a design emergency" and was promptly fired. Yet I understand the desire to make your home the most satisfying and flattering embodiment of the life and culture you live. More than mere shelter, your home is the backdrop of your life, and I think it's worth finding the time, the energy, and the means to make it special. Without apology.

Of course we still have to fight to stay balanced as individuals (and say "no" to ourselves sometimes), but keeping constant reality checks like this in front of us is a good aid. Thank you, Ms. Kemble.

Your Thoughts? And... make that 4 posts this week. I'm on a roll. Enjoy your weekend, friends.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Curtain Rods en Route & Some Extras

When we were in Boston we set out to find a West Elm one day. Of course it was a loong walk and of course we got lost and of course it poured rain. Bleh. We did get to our destination eventually only to find that the things I wanted to see weren't there! Boo. I had hoped to see their brass curtain rods and the geo console. Neither were at the store, and it looks like the geo console has been discontinued altogether. [*Insert pouty face*] The store had some nice things of course, but the things I was looking for were no where to be found. Sigh. 

I just can't wait any longer for curtain rods, so I ended up going with these brass rods from Restoration Hardware. They're very similar to the ones from West Elm, less expensive (with the sale), they come in more sizes, and they ship to Canada. SOLD. I ordered them (larger size) the other day and they should arrive sometime next week. Then I can get sewing!

This art print is on it's way for A's room. So cute, right?

And I found this terrific etsy store called Snake Head Vintage that sells lighting parts for you to create your own fixtures or you can pick up parts to fix old, vintage lamps. We've ordered what we'll need to turn that driftwood ball into a light fixture for L's room. This one...

And we'll put an Edison bulb inside. Yay! One more project to cross off the list. 

And then I hope to order some of these agate slabs to frame in shadow boxes. I'm thinking 5 or 6 of them to hang above the handrail going downstairs. Should be good. via Landi Designs

The weather has cooled off. We're stuck indoors more. And I'm itching to get stuff done. 

Oh, and here's what I'm hoping to make for Halloween costumes. Should be cute and hopefully not too home-made looking. At any rate, it's easy and cheap.

via Oh Happy Day

Cheers! (And this is my 3rd post this week. #feelingaccomplished  Yes, I can use hashtags in a blog post.)


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Boston in the Fall

Hello, hello! This will come as a complete surprise (because I haven't been around here lately to even mention it), but my hubs and I took a 6 day trip to Boston just over a week ago. It was beautiful! We absolutely loved it. We have this idea that we'd like to try and visit one major North American city each year. So far we've been to most of the Canadian cities, and now it's time to tour some in the US. Anyway, Boston was the pick this time around and it was simply terrific. We stayed in the Back Bay area which was perfect - close to parks, excellent dining, shopping, historic tours, Fenway Park, Symphony Hall, etc.

Picture time...

Our view - Boston Public Gardens

Symphony Hall

Here are a few things we did: 
  • We saw the city with the Old Town Trolley Tour (a hop-on, hop-off bus tour). I would highly recommend it. 
  • We threw "tea" in the ocean at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
  • Took a harbour tour on a ship. 
  • Yo Yo Ma was playing with the Boston Symphony so we HAD to take that in -- SO good. 
  • Enjoyed long walks through the Boston Public Garden
  • Stayed here
  • Ate here, here and here (plus other places I can't remember). The food was delish. 
  • Visited Harvard and went to the Museum of Natural History there. It was very, very good. I was wishing the kids were with us for that part in particular. 
  • Shopping. There was tons of it, and everything from regular kinds of stores to high end boutiques. Also, a really terrific antique row in the Beacon Hill area. 

Fenway Park was pretty close to where we stayed (if baseball is your thing); we didn't get to a game. 

Simply walking around admiring the architecture was enjoyable. Both the old and new buildings were interesting. I especially liked the old brownstones. The fall colours were just starting to come out when we were there; I guess we should have gone a few weeks later to see them in all their glory. It was still gorgeous though and quite warm. The flip flops even came out the one day.

I don't know if we'll ever get back here, but I'm sure glad we went. Boston is beautiful, and it was great to get away for a few days. Thankful for me and him time.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello, friends! Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving to you.

Image here

Here's to turkey and pie and time with your favourite people.

We've celebrated hard. Ate just a bit too much. And now we're ready to settle down to some rest. I hope your weekend was wonderful. 

Thankful a billion times over.