My Blog

Archive - November 2000

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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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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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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01.02 20130

Painting Furniture Brings New Life

      Painted chest of drawers

Recently, I went to Atlanta on a buying trip. The wide variety of vendors at market means that I always come back with interesting new finds as well as interior design ideas. One of  the most exciting ideas I've been focusing on lately is taking old furniture and either refinishing or painting it to make something old new again.  

Painted Furniture detail

  I am always finding interesting old furniture at estate sales. Sometimes it just needs a little polish and cleaning, but other times the piece is outdated or in desperate need of a new finish. Sometimes, this means a chance at a fresh, vibrant new look. Other times, a weathered, antiqued look would fit in well with someone's existing decor and the style of the furniture. There are really so many possibilities.  

bathroom paint

Americans throw away around 10 million pieces of furniture a year! While some of that is truly ready for the trash bin, think of all the money and resources that are being wasted! Look at your old table and think how you could show your creativity and liven up your room with just a little imagination.

Paint contrast

  If you want to learn more about painted furniture, I would love to talk to you about my ideas for changing an old piece into something new. Martha Stewart has a great article for those with a Do-It-Yourself mentality, but most of us don't have the time or space to devote to the trial and error, though. That's where Lilly Designs: A Design Resource can help you. I can look at your existing interior design and give you ideas on how we can breathe new life into furniture that has become boring and familiar to you. Instead of throwing those pieces out, contact me and let's talk about the possibilities.   Before PaintingAfter painting               .

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27.03 20120

Cahaba Heights Show House

Interior Design March 20th was the last day to visit the Show and Sell House in the Cahaba Heights area of Birmingham. Thankfully I got there in time to see it and sneak away with some great photos! The house was developed by Charles Kessler but all architecture and interior design was done by Christopher Architects. The house was recently built in a new neighborhood not far from the Summit called The Cove at Overton.  

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