My Blog

Category - Bee-inspired

05.05 20140

One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

The old saying is true! As an interior designer, I find cool items in junk sales, yard sales, and flea markets all the time that can be repurposed, recycled, or even used as-is in the appropriate type of decor. This bench is on display in my store and showroom, Lilly Designs and City Market. This could fit right in to some people's existing decor. Some people might want to spruce it up with paint or a different fabric, or by adding pillows or a throw. It's certainly not junk, though. Too many people just put their old furniture in the dumpster and don't look for a new home for it. Bench   Here's a group of pretty blue Mason jars, vintage bottles, and even a kitschy doll from the days when ladies crocheted doll dresses to cover scandalous toilet paper in the bathroom. While I don't personally need a toilet paper doll, someone else might find it adorable and nostalgic. But those pretty blue Mason jars do speak to me. They could make a messy pantry look uniform and organized. A little chalkboard paint or other creative label would make this "trash" modern and trendy at yard sale prices! Yard Sale Jars Antiques Roadshow is coming to Birmingham in June. This is a perfect example of turning trash into treasure. Things that are gathering dust in the attic turn out to be gems worth a fortune, just because a collector somewhere sees the value in it. If an accessory has a history, it's got more value than if it's simply an attractive piece. ar-logo_t250 This is the time of year for yard sales! As more people are spring cleaning, there will be great opportunities to turn someone else's trash into your treasure. Or, on the flip side, getting rid of your own clutter can be a great way to revamp your house and let someone else decorate with your old furniture, accessories, and art. The great part about it all is, nothing ends up as waste or in a landfill. It's all reused and getting new life.

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24.04 20140

Design Color Forecast 2014

Spring is a time for renovations, renewal, and rejuvenation! While there are many fashion trends going around, one of the most exciting is a focus on color! In past years, money was tight. That seems to be easing up for a lot of people, at least somewhat. That means neutrals like beige are becoming less and less popular. At most, these neutral colors will serve as a base backdrop to more exciting splashes of interesting color. Here's one of my design projects to give you an idea of how you can blend neutrals with bright colors to make the most of your current look while capitalizing on new colors for something fresh and new.

Blues are featuring heavily in design I'm looking at all over the web. From turquoise to navy, blue is making a big comeback. If you've always wanted a nautical theme, soft blues can be just the thing. Even a few accessories can make the difference in your interior design:
  And of course, there's the Pantone Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid! radiant-orchid-pantone   This color is bright, vivid, and springy! It's perfect for this time of year. I'll have to figure out ways to work it into projects that are coming up. What colors inspire you? Are you ready to give your home a spring makeover, or just add a few dashes of color here and there?

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31.03 20140

Organization and Interior Design

Organization is something that I struggle with on a personal level at times. I'm an artistic type, and while I see the beauty in everything, sometimes finding a spot for it or remembering what I did with it is a challenge. When I'm redoing a room for someone else, it's easy, but my own space can get put on the back burner.  My interior design shop in Pell City just got a facelift, and one of the biggest changes I made was simply finding a place for everything. Although there are many items, now everything is artfully and carefully placed. It's a huge relief to see the well-ordered store and to know where items are.

second view of kitchen

One of the major focal points of interior design is how to arrange a space to its best effect. Many people struggle to do that, in part because they have too much stuff and not enough organization. Tiny spaces only make this harder, and every surface may be cluttered with papers, trash, and junk. Consider this image of a room from the Edward Drinker Cope House in 1897. It's got some great elements, and in fact is now a national landmark. But at the time, it was a bit of a mess, too .

Edward_Drinker_Cope’s_study_in_1897

  On the other hand, a well organized room is a thing of beauty. Finding a place for everything might be a challenge in the beginning, but haphazard clutter and mess, even in a clean house, can be a source of stress. It goes much deeper than not knowing where to find your car keys. It can be a burden on your mind, tugging at you. By contrast, open spaces can be welcoming and inviting. Here's a recent interior design project I worked on. Doesn't this counter top seem like the perfect place to cook? Organization is beautiful!

P & M Project

  Fortunately, there are some simple ways to add organization to your life. As I discussed recently, well-ordered bookshelves can turn an unsightly stack of books into a focal point.  You might embrace a bit of chaos, but having a hiding place in an ottoman or a bench (like this one available in my shop) can be a great solution that helps to bring some needed order into your life.

Hudson

  What are your favorite organizational tips? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook. I'd love to discuss it more with you.

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25.03 20140

Tricia from Tricia’s Treasures, Homewood

Recently, one of my favorite antique dealers turned 70! I was lucky to be there for the party as Tricia from Tricia's Treasures in Homewood celebrated another year of life.

Tricia

As you can see, Tricia is serving up burgers herself. The party was a blast, and reminds me that we can bring style and class to every aspect of life. Beautiful details like flowers during an outdoor party when spring has just begun bring joy and life to the celebration.

tricia's birthday

Inside Tricia's store, there are a trove of treasures to be found, too.

tricia's treasures

Tricia is an inspiration to us all. I love her shop, and she's one of my favorite local dealers. Happy birthday, Tricia!

Reneesig

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10.03 20140

Books as Accessories

Books are beautiful, and they really can add a dimension to your home that makes a statement. Books are erudite and sophisticated, and make great conversation pieces. People who walk into a home with books will never be at a loss for something to talk about.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about how important accessories are this year as a design trend. Bookshelves and bookends are obvious accessories to a room. This adorable set of bookends can help display your personality, for example.

Roll Tide Bookends

Working in a bookshelf in an unusual nook or creative way makes a bold and beautiful statement.

Bookshelves

It's not just the accessories you buy that make books great to have in a home. This is because books are great accessories by themselves! Even a haphazard shelf of well-loved paperback books can be colorful and eye-catching. Libraries are beautiful places.

paperback books

E. Lawrence, LTD is a recent discovery I'm very excited about. They take books and rebind them in parchment, leather, and any number of interesting and artistic ways. I recently picked up some of the Haute Couture collection below, and mixed it with some other bindings to create an unusual and interesting display shelf.

elawrenceltd haute series

A talented designer has a knack for pulling the colors, designs, and so on together in a great way that enhances the room. Artistically arranged groups of books with complementary bindings are an inventive way to make a statement. The possibilities are endless! Do you decorate with books?

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04.03 20140

Time to Garden!

Let's face it - winter has been brutal this year. It has been cold, and there have been several cold storms that the South wasn't ready for. So almost everyone is ready for the green and new life that spring brings. Some people are forcing their bulbs to bloom right now to bring a little life into their world.

force tulips

 

This particular indoor garden is a little ray of sunshine in the middle of the winter.

winter garden

  A terrarium is a nice splash of green that would brighten up any room.  

Terrarium_small

Or perhaps this set of wicker trays (available at A Design Resource):

Wicker baskets.jpg

  Some people are getting ready to plant. Even the littlest helpers are excited about new life!

  Planting a garden

 

If you don't have a lot of space, you can always consider container gardening. herb garden

Look how great this balcony looks. It's a little oasis in the middle of a city.

balcony garden

The city of Pell City is working towards a community garden. I am on the planning committee and we're working on possibilities. As with any public work, we've got a number of issues to work through, including funding and plans. I'm very excited about the potential to bring some beauty to downtown Pell City!

High_Point_community_garden

Most of all, though, it's time for SPRING and LIFE and RENEWAL!  I love this time of year for so many reasons! What's your favorite part of spring? Do you have any plans for a garden or to add some green into your life?

 

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21.02 20141

Focus on Accessories

The newest High Point Market video just came out, and it's all about accessories!   Accessories are an important part of any interior. They fill in those details that maybe your lighting and curtains can't convey about you. Your accessories can show if you're the type of person who is elegant and sophisticated, has a touch of whimsy, or is a nature lover. I work hard to find accessories that will work in any room I'm designing with the personalities of the people who will be enjoying that room. Here's a great example. You love books. You're a Bama fan. How can you tie your interests into the accessories of your room to have people know a little more about you? This set of "Roll Tide Bookends" for sale at A Design Resource is perfect!

Roll Tide Bookends

As mentioned in the video, even a piece of furniture itself is interesting enough to be a bit of an accessory. This goes back to the layering concept. Layering of accessories is important. A set of candlesticks, napkins, napkin rings, and beautiful plates all set on an elegant table can create a gorgeous place setting that is sumptuous and refined looking. All the details in their place.

Handcrafted silver finish candlestick

Accessories don't have to be simple bric-a-brac, either. You can accessorize with useful, functional pieces like a throw to keep you warm or a pillow that says you love your dog and want him to have a great, snug place to sleep!

Always Kiss Your Dog

Wall art counts, too! The right piece can give your kitchen that touch that reminds you of a French bistro in Paris.

La Trielle Boulangerie Wall Art

Accessorizing draws a room together and completes it. Just like the earrings and necklace you pick to match your evening wear, your choice of accessories for your home can change and enhance your room in myriad ways!  Changing out a few accessories can give a room a facelift on a tight budget, too. It's no surprise that this year's trends are focused towards the humble and powerful accessory. They're some of my favorite parts of designing a room.

Reneesig

 

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11.02 20140

A Few of My Favorite Kisses

One of the favorite gifts my husband has ever given me was back when I was taking photography classes. For Valentine's Day, he gave me a beautiful photography book of kisses, A Kiss is Just A Kiss. This book, by Bruce Velick, has 60 of the most famous and delightful photos of kisses of the 20th Century. It even has an introductory essay on the kiss by one of the great wits of our generation, Tom Robbins.

A Kiss is Just a Kiss

 One of the most famous kisses in the world is Gustav Klimt's painting, "The Kiss."

gustav-klimt-the-kiss

  My first concert was KISS.

KISS

This piggy kiss is pretty terrific!

Piggies

  And of course, who doesn't love these kisses?

hersheys kisses

  Here's hoping you have a great Valentine's Day, filled with lots of kisses!   Reneesig

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20.01 20140

Design Inspiration: Madison214

Over the holidays, I traveled to visit family in Dallas. On vacation, I shopped in a gorgeous store named Madison214. Becca showed me around the store. It was bright and colorful, and I loved the details in this shop. Place settings and displays of china were cheerful and beautiful, as you can see.China   I got a couple of closeups of individual pairings. more fine china   What a beautiful variety.Fine china On display with flatware on a table, as if ready to serve: Colorful dishes   Books and accessories that were on sale provided some of the interior detailing as well. bookshelf The titles almost suggest a story themselves, don't they?   Books Planners and notebooks lined up in bright colors:Binder display I love this display of monogrammed handkerchiefs!   Napkin display   This little bird is distinctive and stylish. Partridge   Bright, sassy purses all lined up in a row!  Colorful purses   As you can see, the overall effect of the store was chipper and friendly! I truly enjoyed shopping here. The owners, Kirsten and Kelli, have put together an inspirational showroom to be proud of. Colorful display   Which are your favorite pictures? Are there design ideas you can use here? Let me know what you think, and if you're ever in Dallas, stop by Madison 214 and tell them Renee Lilly sent you!

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14.01 20140

Design Inspiration: Melissa Benge Collection

Over the holidays, I visited family in Dallas, Texas. Of course, I’m always on the lookout for inspiration and design ideas when I’m out and about! One place I discovered while seeing how the old neighborhoods have changed was Melissa Benge’s store in Dallas. I was given excellent service by Monica, who invited me to look around and gave me Melissa’s card. Melissa gave me more information about her store.

mannequin at Melissa Benge

The building that the Melissa Benge Collection is in was built in about 1938. The part of the building she occupies housed the Alamo Glass Company for 70 years. Melissa says that when she moved in, it was very much a 1970s office building, complete with white peg board, low ceilings, and fluorescent lighting. It took her almost six months to remodel the space. She designed her logo and all of the store fixtures to coordinate with the logo.

Melissa Benge Logo

The building itself was pink, and the windows up high were boarded up. After taking the boards down, she replaced all the glass. She also restored all the original vintage hardware, and they still hand open by chains. Melissa decided to expose the original ceiling tin. They also kept the original floor by simply polishing the terrazzo in front and the old concrete in back. Melissa has vintage grill work at various places in the store, creating what she calls a "hacienda/maison" feel.

Grillwork

She also designed the front door, laying out design elements purchased separately for a French boutique feeling.

Storefront at Melissa Benge Collection

Her attention to detail was really remarkable. She told me in her email:
My style has always been "tough & tender" so I think the design elements appeal to both men & women.  I am so happy that men really enjoy looking around my shops, also.  I have always combined old & new, also.  Vintage pieces strike a chord in people's hearts & memories & "new" keeps it all fresh & exciting.  Crazy about "opposites"!

Heart in antlers

You can see that tough and tender aesthetic throughout. This buffalo head was created by a chainsaw artist.

Buffalo head - chainsaw artist

She sells fashion accessories, clothing, and items for the home.

necklace

Details matter! Even the soap was wholesome and beautiful.

Soap

Melissa Benge tries to buy from American sources, and finds great pleasure in looking for that rare, unique piece that will set someone's interior apart.

Antlers

For more of Melissa’s collections and learn more about her, visit her sites: www.gunslingerofbandera.com www.melissabengecollection.com It was truly a pleasure visiting her store. I got a lot of inspiration from the trip. It’s always a joy to find someone else who puts a lot of thought and emphasis on beauty and design. What inspires you? Have you visited some amazing stores lately? Let me know about it in the comments or on Facebook!

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