Fill in the Blanks

We all have that one tricky space that is either difficult to find art for or that needs a special focal point to make a “Wow” statement.  If this sounds familiar then read on.  No need to buy generic art just to fill a blank wall, here are some ideas of how to make it personal.20380_312992596499_287501911499_4187568_452658_n

If you have a large wall thirsty for art, hanging a series of engravings as shown in the photo above, this is a very elegant and soothing way of displaying art.  Make sure the frames are all the same finish if the images are all coordinated mixing frame colors or sizes would distract from the symmetry of the grouping.

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Sometimes you just can’t find the right piece of art or the right size for your space, or maybe you find things you love but your budget won’t allow you to purchase them.  Why not get crafty and make art of your own?  The graphic art in the photo above is metallic tape on canvas.  When you make your own artwork you can go to the art store and buy the size canvas you need, when you stand back and admire your work of art you can enjoy a sense of pride!

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Adding art in spaces with lot’s of doors or windows can be tricky.  However, you can still add art above the doors and windows which gives any room tons of personality.

 

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Let’s not get stuck on the fact that you need art.  When looking to fill in the blanks, get creative, think outside the box!  If you have a collection of plates or platters, why not hang them artfully on your wall?  We recently added some wonderful ceramics to our online store, they would be wonderful grouped on a wall.

tumblr_ljpgrmsfHN1qzbcjoo1_500Or, a collection of baskets could add a dose of color and texture to your space.  I love how these are hung tightly in the center and then there is one random little basket off in the corner, it’s haphazard and very interesting.

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I love the idea of hanging textiles in simple frames.  Don’t be afraid to cut up quilts or cross stitch pieces or even antique linens to create a very interesting collection of patterned art.  Again, this would work well on an odd sized wall where traditional art sizes are difficult to find.  Imagine what a conversation piece this would be!

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Hopefully this post full of photos has inspired you to fill in the blanks in your own home.  Whatever you choose to display, be sure that it resonates with you, that it is personal and important to you and your family.  I strongly feel that anything that ends up on your walls should have a special meaning for you, it should evoke an emotion or make you recall a fond memory.

 

-April

 

Spring Fever

As I write this blog I realize that millions of people on the East coast are covered in snow and are probably hunkering down to stay warm.  However, here in Austin it feels like Spring has sprung!  Every Spring I get the urge to take on a project at home.  Something about this time of year makes me crave change.  It’s like all those months of keeping warm make me want to emerge from my cocoon and spread my wings.

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What projects around your home have you been procrastinating on starting?  What little tweak can you make that will breathe a breath of fresh air into your space?

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Perhaps you just need to add some plants to your home to give it a fresh feel.  Maybe a pop of color is what you crave.  This charming space is so happy and vibrant.  I love the neutral walls and floor with the bold striped rug and sink skirt, it’s an instant mood lifter!

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Maybe your garden is in need of a little TLC.  Sometimes if I can just makeover one or two pots on my deck or porch I feel energized.  I love the combination of textures and colors in the pot above, it’s so unexpected and dramatic.  Re-planting is an inexpensive way to get an instant boost.

Photo courtesy of Pinecone Hill.

Photo courtesy of Pinecone Hill.

Maybe shaking up the pillows on your bed or sofa will give you the change you desire.  I adore switching my bedding for Spring and Summer.  When I do this, I typically opt for lighter textures and colors, crisp cottons and fresh prints go with the longer days and warmer temperatures.

 

Whatever change you decide to make, big or small, I hope that this Spring inspires you to continue to make your home the nurturing and inspiring place that we all deserve.

-April

La Vie en Rose

Happy Valentine’s day!   Instead of telling you how wonderful love is (and it is), or how lucky I am to be happily married for almost 16 years (I count my blessings every day), I thought I’d share some yummy photos featuring one of my favorite colors with you; pink.  Something about the color pink just makes me happy.  So, whatever your plans are for Valentine’s day, take a moment, put on your rose colored glasses and  and enjoy la vie en rose!

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 My favorite pink peonies, each time I see them I remember my gorgeous wedding bouquet.

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I’m not sure where this is, but isn’t it just magic?

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Touches of pink in this bedroom make it happy and inviting.

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Pink can be an energetic choice for a wall color, but it’s also so elegant.

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Outdoors the use of pink in this lush setting is unexpected and very sexy!

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“Hold me close and hold me fast 
The magic spell you cast 
This is la vie en rose” –Louis Armstrong

What is more romantic than a Paris sunset?  Enjoy la vie en rose, happy Valentines day wherever you are.

-April

Love

Whether it’s an adorable new puppy you’ve just brought home, a fabulous and caring man who has miraculously appeared in your life, or just a good healthy dose of self-nurturing, February is the hallmark for Love!

How can you encourage Love in your home this month?

What if carving out a quiet and gentle space for meditation would help you connect to higher consciousness and bring more Love into your life?

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Creating a space for the two of you to share an intimate moment of conversation and connection could be just want your marriage needs to feel a renewed sense of Love.

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Want to ignite some passion in that special gent’s heart?  Try something unexpected!

53ffa19a2c92cec1c5da5d04c2833b70Possibly, if you had a fun space for the whole family to enjoy together, the Love would flow!

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And whatever you do, make sure that the cute little bundle of joy you’ve just brought home has an uber-comfy place to rest her precious head!

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Now that’s Love!

-Kathy

Color Your World

Photo courtesy of http://forkingtasty.tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of http://forkingtasty.tumblr.com

Remember when you were a kid and the most important thing you needed to know about someone was their favorite color?  I recall that even as a little girl I had a difficult time choosing between red, pink, purple or any other color for that matter.  I’ve always had a love affair with color.  My opinion is, if you don’t have to choose why should you?  If you could devour all of the delicious macarons in the photo without suffering any tummy aches or extra pounds why wouldn’t you?

Sadly, when it comes to decorating our homes we do need to decide on a color direction.  I often get the question from clients, “What’s the big trend right now for color?”  To which I reply, I do not believe in following trends, go with whatever color makes you happiest.  Some people furrow their brow, and others just smile a relieved smile knowing that they can relax and go with their gut instead of worrying about what everyone else is doing.  I firmly believe that you can design a tasteful space around any color palette.  The photos below are a sampling of this belief.

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This living space highlights the owner’s collection of green pottery.

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Even a color as surprising as this blush pink can be soft and serene.

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This muted purple dining room is very elegant.

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You can be bold with blue as this sunny space shows.

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Even happy yellow can be quite chic.

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Shades of aqua and blue liven up this dining space.

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The pops of red in this sitting room are warm and inviting.

As you can see, these are all spaces where one color dominates. What’s important in using one color primarily is that you get it right and that there is balance.  If you use a jarring yellow (yellows and greens are hard) you probably will not like the end result.  But if you find a nice muted shade of yellow or green with just enough grey or brown in it then you will find that it is much easier to live with.

If you have a favorite hue why not go big with it?  Take a chance on painting a whole room in that color or use it in a way that makes an impact.  There is no such thing as a color that is out of style if it is used correctly.  Don’t worry about the current color trends, listen to your gut and go with what you love.

-April

Nature’s Inspiration

I love to hike! Being outside in nature energizes me, renews my spirit, and inspires me. Recently I traveled to Big Bend National Park, down in the “elbow” of Texas, where I hiked and camped for four glorious days. So much fun!  Such beauty!  Let’s see how this beautiful scenery can inspire some creative interiors.

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I fell in love with these lichens and their vivid colors.

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Here is a jazzy Powder Room echoing the same palette.

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What a great texture!

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Bring it into your home with a split-face stone tile.

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Sometimes Mother Nature surprises us with unexpected color combinations!

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Create the unexpected in your home.

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These warm tones translate well…

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…in this antique Khotan area rug.

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What great shapes nature gives us to play with!

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So look around your world!  Notice colors, textures and shapes.  What will inspire you next?

-Kathy

Honesty in Design

The issue of honesty has been coming up for me in my personal life and it prompts me to explore the idea of honesty in design.

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Remember how I mentioned the importance of creating a space that helps you feel the way you want to feel?   Well, what if you disregard that idea and follow a trend instead? What if you really feel comforted and soothed when surrounded by soft, muted tones, but your best friend thinks it’s really cool right now to use energizing vibrant, saturated colors?  If you are not true to yourself and end up following your friend’s “truth”, you will struggle to find the peace  you desire.

Design by Jane Coslick

Design by Jane Coslick

Be honest about what you want and create your soothing space.

Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens

Sometimes a Client will hire us to design their home with a design direction that is purely driven by their need to impress others. We are given no indication from them about how they want to feel when they are in their space other than the un-spoken “I want to show off”. These projects typically turn out flat and leave us feeling unfulfilled as Designers.

Instead, give some thought to how you want to feel in your home and you just might discover that feeling joy is what you desire, even if it doesn’t have a big price tag dangling from it!

Design by Camille Roskelley

Design by Camille Roskelley

Or maybe the warm glow of afternoon sunshine that reminds you of your trip to Barcelona is exactly what makes you feel nurtured.

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If sunshine is what you need, don’t lie to yourself and create darkness instead.  That will be someone else’s truth!

Design by Danielle Wallinger

Design by Danielle Wallinger

We often talk about model homes and how they seem empty in some way. They could be filled with all of the most appropriate pieces of furniture, fixtures, artwork and accessories and yet somehow they feel void. Void of personality? Void of soul? Void of feeling? It’s difficult to put your finger on it. I think it boils down to not having the essence of the people living there. It’s not reflecting anyone’s truth. The only idea that it knows to reflect is “sell this house”.

Kylemore Model Home "Dublin"

Kylemore Model Home “Dublin”

Aim for uncovering your truth in design, surround yourself with colors, textures, and objects that help you feel the way you want to feel and your soul will be filled!   Let the world know that someone lives here, that you live here!  This is the most important and fulfilling goal for me as an Interior Designer:  to reflect your truth.

Want to feel peaceful?

Design by Heloísa Malaga

Design by Heloísa Malaga

Refreshed?

Designed by Lilly Bunn Weeks

Designed by Lilly Bunn Weeks

Or just pure bliss?

Designed by Suellen Gregory

Designed by Suellen Gregory

Then don’t lie!  Discover your truth, reflect your truth, be your truth!

It will set you free.

-Kathy

A Fresh Start

Happy 2013!   This time of year is always full of promise and excitement, we wonder what new adventures are headed our way.  January is also a perfect time of year to take inventory of your home, to look around and decide what projects you’d like to tackle in the coming months.

Image courtesy of Tobi Fairley

Perhaps this is your year to finally organize your clothes and shoes into some fabulous system.  I always love the feeling I get when I implement a new system of organization in my home.

Image courtesy of Decorology

Maybe this year you will finally make your garage a functional and attractive space.  I know that sounds crazy, but I dream of opening my garage door to find something like the garage pictured above.  It’s just so happy and fun!  Why shouldn’t your garage get a little love?

Photo courtesy of Harlequin UK

Take a chance, find a space where you can incorporate a fun wallpaper or a bold paint color.  If you have a powder room that needs spicing up or a wall in your entry way, you can make a bold statement with a fun pattern or a beautiful color.

Photo courtesy of Verandah House

Why not take an old chair or footstool and breathe new life into it by giving it a fresh coat of paint and a wonderful fabric?  If you are hanging onto Grandma’s chair but hate the worn out velvet that it’s covered in, maybe it’s time for a change.

Whatever big or little projects you choose this year, it will bring you one step closer to felling more content with your home.  Make 2013 the year you finally get things done in your home.  I plan on doing my own little re-vamps throughout the year so stay tuned to hear all about those adventures!

-April

Kathy is Going to Swaziland!

Some of you may remember a post I created in June called “I Fell in Love with a Basket Today”.  It described my meeting with a woman from Swaziland, Africa who runs an organization that helps women from the surrounding rural villages by employing them as basket weavers while providing all sorts of wellness programs for them.  The woman’s name is Sheila Freemantle and the organization is called Tintsaba.

Everything about  Tintsaba and what Sheila had created resonated with me so much that I contacted Sheila, told her I wanted to help, and we made plans for me to travel to Swaziland!  Graciously accepting my offer she lined me up to work on the design direction of their products for the Western markets, including creating a new jewelry line.  She felt it was best for me to spend about three months in Piggs Peak, Swaziland, immersing myself completely in Tintsaba, the products, the process, the culture, the women.  Everything was a “go”!  And then the unthinkable happened.

On October 29, 2012, Sheila Freemantle passed away.  If you stop by Tintsaba’s Facebook page you will see how loved and revered this woman was in her community and around the world.  Please take a moment to learn about her, you will be so impressed.

So now, with even more passion and desire, I continue my plans to travel to Swaziland.  I believe my efforts and energy are needed even more now that Sheila is gone.  She has created a solid core of individuals who are bravely taking the reins and moving Tintsaba boldly into 2013.  I will be by their sides helping as best I can!

My plan now is to travel to Swaziland in March and return in June.  I am actively working to finalize my travel arrangements, which will take a bit of extra funds.  So, the exciting news is that we are selling a small assortment of Tintsaba baskets on our website, and the profits we earn from these sales will go directly to funding my travel to Africa.  It’s a win win!  You get to own the most beautiful basket you have ever seen, and I’ll get to go help 1,000 women in Africa!

Oh, and for those of you who might be wondering about Vivid Design Group, we will be running full force while I’m gone :-)

Now, go buy a basket and create some happiness!

Thank you,

Kathy

 

 

A Season of Giving

Sometimes I am struck with a brilliant gift idea for friends and loved ones, but more often I’m stumped on what to buy.  The problem is we all have so much stuff!  When we want something often we just buy it for ourselves, leaving others to scour up something they think we will enjoy just because they feel like they need a gift under the tree.

So, I started doing some research about charitable gifts that one can purchase for our loved ones.  There are so many options, really you can tailor the choice to match the recipient.  If you have a nature lover in your life, The Conservation Fund is an excellent choice.  They are  involved in projects all over the country where they help to preserve the natural beauty of our great land.

 

If you are choosing a gift for a child there are many charities where you can make a donation in their name.  A few of those are Make-A-Wish Foundation , World Vision and Save the Children.  With as little as $20.00 you can give a gift that will make a difference in a child’s life.

 

If you know someone who is passionate about food or travel there are some really cool charities that allow you to purchase livestock, equipment or materials for people around the world.  These are gifts that literally keep on giving.   One of these non-profits is Oxfam America.  On their site you can even create a gift registry, what a great idea!

If you need more ideas of places to give there is a great resource called Charity Watch which rates different charities based on strict criteria so you know that the charity you choose is legitimate and that your money is really going where they say it will.  They have a complete list broken down into different categories so you can find just the right one for you or someone you love.

So, this holiday season start a new tradition, tell your friends and family that what you want is something that cannot be put in a box under the tree.  Tell them what matters to you and ask that they make a gift in your honor.  Any time of year is great for remembering how lucky we are and take a moment to think about how we might be able to share our good fortune with someone who might need a helping hand.  Throughout the year when you need a teacher’s gift or a present for that person who has everything, try giving them the gift of giving.

-April