Saturday, August 28, 2010

Great design is in the details

The following pictures show great example of the importance of attention to detail in design.  I love details.  They're the magic secret and who doesn't love magic secrets?

Kathryn Scott

What I'm lovin' about the above room is that there are a LOT of lines in the room, so the designer made sure that there's some curves to balance things out and make the space feel comfortable.  No curves would have made it stiff and overly formal.  And look at those accent pillows on the sofa to the right.  That little pop of blue really does it for me. 

Miles Redd

Oh, that blue lacquered wall!  Wow!  I could eat it with a spoon.  And I can see some lacquer on the bottom of the beam across the wall, too.  Details!

David Lawrence

The detail I want you to pay attention to in this blue room is at the top of the drapes.  That litle border of gray silk (or whatever it is) brings the eye up from sofa.  Nicely done.

Eric Cohler

This beige sofa (my favorite color for a sofa) is brought to life with those pillows, especially the bold introduction of primary colors right smack in the middle.  The green vase full of fat peonies on the coffee table is nice, too, although I'll bet that's just a staging accessory.  The peonies (is that spelled right?) are exactly the same color as the sheer drapes!

These photos come from House Beautiful, a lovely magazine.  Hope you have a great weekend.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

A delicious, healthy breakfast to start the new school year off right

I tried.  I promise I did--I tried really hard.  At least once a year I make a big bowl of hot oatmeal for breakfast.  It looks delicious and full of nice texture.  This time I added dried cherries and brown sugar to the bowl.  I let the fabulous grandboy help me make it so we both could enjoy it together. 

All I can say is yuck.  I DON'T like it. Grandboy wouldn't even try it.  He's not a fan of mushy things--he just recently gave mashed potatoes a try (imagine life without mashed potatoes?).   I ate most of my bowl, but I did not like it one bit.  WHY?  Why can't I like hot oatmeal like so many millions of happy people?  I love, love love oatmeal cookies.  I enjoy an ocassional bar of oatmeal soap (not to eat silly) and I moisturize faithfully with Aveeno, that stalwart of colloidal oatmeal. 

I gave the oatmeal a try today kind of as a penance.  Yesterday I ate 3 Ding Dongs.  Yes, 3.  It was a bad day and Ding Dongs just make me feel better.  I read in Ree Drummond's blog recently that she eats Ding Dongs too.  Made me like her even more. Her photos of life on a ranch are phenomenal.  Gorgeous horses, cows, sunsets, sunrises--all everyday occurences in her life.

I'm not giving up on the oatmeal and I will give away the rest of the box of Ding Dongs (oh, did I not mention that I bought a whole box?).  Hope you have a great day and I hope that all the kids you know have a GREAT year at school.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Despicable Me

While I'm still thinking about how much we enjoyed "Date Night," I want to mention that we also recently saw "Despicable Me" with the grandboy.  Another funny, funny movie!  That Steve Carell is on a roll at our house.  The movie made the 5 year old giggle and totally kept his attention the whole time, but Hub and I laughed throughout the show too.  Excellent!


Date Night

Hub and I watched the movie "Date Night" last night.  It is SOOO funny.  Kinda weird and edgey, I can't put my finger on why I say that, but we laughed and laughed and kept laughing after the movie was over.  So that's 2 thumbs up! 


Thursday, August 19, 2010

The benefits of custom bookshelves

I enjoy designing custom bookshelves.  They can be built to suit a client's wants and needs, fit into just about any space and give a plain room some nice character.  Even if the built-ins are going to span the entire wall, I don't want them to overwhelm the space. The way I do that is to really watch the depth. The above cabinet shows a completed project that the homeowner loves.  The entire piece is only 12 inches deep, which is lovely for books, but kind of narrow for other uses.  BUT I just had doors put on the lower half, installed shelving inside and laid down that non-stick shelf liner (in black) on those shelves.

Two of these cabinets give the client a ton of storage space for china and glassware in the room, while leaving plenty of space on the rest of the wall for books and collections.  You can see that the homeowner could easily add another shelf inside, but it's important not to pack things too tightly--makes it a little dicey when pulling out those antique goblets and cake servers.  We put baby locks on the doors since the room is also used by children.  They don't even know all that breakable stuff is nearby (hope they don't read this blog)!  It works really well.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Great design at Quintiles

Grandboy and I went to have lunch with my sister-in-law at her workplace, Quintiles, last week.  She thought it would be a fun field trip for Alex, and it was, but it was even more fun for me.  The place is fantabulous!  Just a beautiful space, top to bottom.

The decor is very mid-century modern, presented in a totally up to date way.  Finishes were consistent, comfortable and organic.  Marble, stainless steel, river rocks, leafy plants, glass and water are used over and over again, on each floor and provide a lovely flow to the building. 

Everything is easy on the eyes and the ears.  Colors are blue and green (I've mentioned the impact of that combination in a recent post). I got the sense that this company really values it's employees as they've been given a great environment to work in--not to mention a lunchroom with lots of delicious choices (including the best chicken salad I've ever tasted).  Loved it!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Midtown magazine

Latest issue of Midtown

Midtown magazine highlights and promotes the businesses in "midtown" Raleigh, the area surrounding North Hills and North Hills mall in particular.  The Midtown neighborhoods are just jumping with activity, so it's nice to have a guide to all the changes.  One thing I've often noticed with clients who have moved to this area is that they don't go out and explore other parts of Raleigh and the Triangle as it can be overwhelming.  Every bit of the Triangle is worth exploring because there's so much to discover.

Anyway, I digress.  I always find out about new stores, great medical practices, local artisans, builders, interior designers (my favorite), schools, etc. in this magazine.  You can find a copy at all kinds of businesses.  Just look at those magazine racks that are usually near the front door.  Free for the taking!    I almost always see someone I know personally in each issue.  Now that's local!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Studio 123 ITB

Yesterday I went to Studio 123 in Seaboard Station, right off Peace Street in downtown Raleigh.  This is such a fun place, jam packed with fabulous finds.  The owner obviously has a sharp eye for old things that are just waiting for a little resuscitation (i.e. a coat of paint or new upholstery).  Prices are reasonable and parking is easy. 

Here's a shot inside.  See anything you like?  There's lots more.

I want this. 

It's a soup tureen.  I was being so good (darn austerity program) that I didn't even look at the price!  Of course, now I regret that terribly.  I've thought about it ever since.  It reminds me of our trip back home to New England last summer and this fabulous meal in my brother's back yard:

 Good times.

Anyway, go to Studio 123 the minute it's a tad cooler (any minute now) and enjoy the hunt.  Plus, they're members of Shop Local Raleigh, just like me!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An interesting creature of summer

What the heck is this?  Well, I know it's a butterfly of some sort, but I've never seen a brown one and look at the body--very freaky!  But what a gorgeous thing with those markings and colors.  On most blogs that I read there are plenty of fabulous pictures of birds, bugs and animals of all kinds through-out the summer.  I just love it!


Traditional Home

Everyone has a favorite magazine.  It's the one you've been reading for more years than you can count and always makes you happy when it arrives in the mail  These days, magazines are folding so fast it makes us all tremble.  I'm happy to report that my favorite is still alive and kicking.  Traditional Home has successfully kept up with the times and is always chock full of information on new products, trends and classically designed homes and their interiors. 

They feature homes of many styles--don't be mislead by the word "traditional."  That word encompasses a feeling of quality, stability and timeless appeal as these pictures from past issues showcase.  Featured each month can be a mid century modern home, a classic cottage in Nantucket, or a renovated townhome in Chicago.  This month's issue focusses on a number of interiors in Brooklyn.  Each home showcases the different ideas and lifestyles of its owners. 

I have a local favorite, too.  Will post about that one tomorrow!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Affordable design help

Sometimes a client needs to pull together a room quickly for all kinds of reasons.  This was a bachelor's condo that needed furniture fast--before law school began.  Shop, shop, shop, grab some pillows to color things up, make sure there's a place to put down a cold mug of something refreshing and...done!

I should have mixed up those pillows a bit more before taking the photo, but you get the picture.  Yes, the accent tables are matchy poo, but that was the client's choice.  Drapes would have really been a nice addition too, but design and decor choices are very personal.   Sometimes a person just needs a little of my time to make a comfy space that they can pursue life in.  It doesn't have to be complicated!


Friday, August 6, 2010

The zen of design

A great place to start

While very few, if any, rooms in this world could feel this peaceful, it's not a bad image to keep in mind when choosing colors, fabrics and furnishings.  Soft, quiet, tonal, restful.  A good place to start.  Even in rooms that need to be stimulating, efficient and productive (kitchens, offices and playrooms for example).  There should always be a place to rest the eye, to soothe the overstimulated mind, even if it's just an unadorned piece of wall or a wooden bench painted in a cloudy blue or piney green.  The working brain needs a moment here and there to pause before becoming creative again.

Recently I did a guest room where we painted the walls a very vibrant shade of chartreusy green--Sherwin's Impetuous, #6916.  The room was fairly dark, so it could handle the bright color, which was set off nicely by white moldings and a white bed.  I cannot for the life of me get a decent shot of this room, but the above picture shows the fabrics we used and hopefully illustrates some of what I said in the preceeding paragraph about starting with a soft, peaceful vibe.  There's a lot of color, but the white cuts it down and rests the eye.  It's hard to go wrong with blue and green as a combo since it's the color of the sky and the trees (or at the beach--the water and the seaweed)!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Trying to outsmart the birds


Do you see all the little green figs on the branch in the above picture?  In less than a month, they will be fatter and a lovely amber shade.  They will be SO delicious.  You will wonder what the heck that stuff is in a Fig Newton, because it tastes nothing like a fig fresh off the tree!

However, the birds and squirrels also know about the figs.  And I guess they stay up late at night, because they beat me to 99% of the figs, year after year.  So this year I'm trying to outsmart them.  Actually I'm trying to scare them away, but in a very gentle manner.

See those aluminum pie plates?  I've hung 9 of them up, on branches all over the tree. They're supposed to scare away the little darlin's because they twist in the breeze (what breeze?) and reflect the sun.  We'll see if it works.  I'll report back.  My husband wants to ship some figs to his dad who had a fig tree next to his house in Italy.  I have no idea how to ship figs, but will cross that bridge if I get any figs.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

DeCocco Design, Back in the house!

Several years ago, I had a successful interior design business, based in Chapel Hill, NC.  A good time was had by all.  Wonderful clients, beautiful homes, booming economic times.  Then life intervened and my priorities had to turn in another direction. So the business was closed up, temporarily.  That was a over 4 years ago.

In the ensuing years, the economy ground to a screeching halt, the furniture business changed a whole heck of a lot, transportation costs skyrocketed, many businesses closed, etc.   It was a great time NOT to be looking for clients, that's for sure. But I've sat on the sidelines for long enough, so DeCocco Design is back in business.

I love being an interior designer and look forward to working again, although I know it's going to be different.  The economic boom times are, temporarily (remember that everything is temporary), over.  So I'm working on a new business concept that might be a better fit for clients right now.  Design Direction is a 2 hour consultation, in the client's home.  I will provide ideas and guidance and the benefit of many years of experience and formal training (B.S., interior design with a minor in art). 

Design Direction could make a huge difference in your DIY projects, but it can also be a big help if you're ready to work with a contractor on a remodel, renovation or new construction project.  I can advise on lighting plans, paint colors, possible resouces, floor plans, additions and on and on.  Working with a trained interior designer can save everyone time and money.  I'm betting that there's still a good amount of demand for design services out there, but people aren't comfortable paying a lot of money for it.  It's not that our talents aren't valued, it's just that we're all being more careful right now and that's just the way it is.  But feeling good in our homes is never more important than in tough times.  Design Direction is an affordable alternative, so here I am.

My new website is done and will be online today.  John, the web designer that I'm working with, is talented,  knowledgeable, creative and endlessly patient with me. Can you imagine what it's like to do this sort of thing with an interior designer? We're extremely visual and picky, picky, picky. He's a saintly man. He's putting the finishing touches on the launch as I type this.

The picture on the top of this post?  It's an illustration I did back in design school.  It's just a silly thing, I know--I drew it from a magazine picture.  But I cannot draw, so I'm proud of this little picture.  Must've taken me quite a few classes to do.  I still can't draw though.  I just thought I'd throw it in.  It's my blog.