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Preview: Interior Concepts by Wanda

Wanda S. Horton Interior Design Blog





Last Build Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2018 11:52:57 +0000

 



Moving Announcement - Effective March 2, 2017 - A New Blog Location

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 23:38:00 +0000


Thanks for enjoying our posts!  We hope to "see you" soon!

All my best,
Wanda



When the Stars Come Out At Night–A Special Award!

Sat, 17 Sep 2016 01:25:00 +0000

If you’ve read my recent post, “Finding the Perfect Fit – The Luxury of Service”, I mentioned recently shopping for some special attire and how much I enjoyed that experience.  Well, there was a good reason for my update to the wardrobe!(By the way, I loved my dress and all of the beautifully detailed elements.  How nice that it was comfortable, too!)You see, the North Carolina Home Builders Association held an awards gala to honor a list of those who represented excellence in their industry.  Unbeknownst to me, a new residential construction project, (for which I had been included as the interior designer), was submitted by the builder, Arcadia Custom Homes and Renovations.  I’ve collaborated with them on some previous clients’ homes and have always enjoyed the stellar manner in which they’ve managed their projects, as well as the top-knotch professionals they bring to the table.  To make a long story short, the category for which they submitted our clients’ home was in the luxury group and it took the top award!  I was so excited to be there to share in the evening and it was an honor to be included as they received the trophy.(Jeremy Schumacher and AJ Foard, both Managing Partners, took the podium as the project was featured on the screen.)(The Omni Hotel is a lovely venue but goodness, we couldn’t find a place to get some decent lighting for a photo!  Left to right:  AJ Foard, (me), Jeremy Schumacher and Daniel Queen, all Managing Partners with Arcadia Custom Homes and Renovations.)(Maybe this is a little better in the selfie/close-up category.  I was so happy my husband, life partner and business partner, could attend, too!  He makes it possible for my boutique design firm to keep moving effortlessly between projects!)Some of the biggest stars of this evening, were behind-the-scenes.  Our shared clients generously allowed access to photographing their home while maintaining privacy.  We’ve been able to capture some beautiful spaces.  If you read my blog, you’ve already seen some of these photos.  (Thanks to our talented photographer, Whitney Gray.)(One of my favorite spaces, the Owner’s Suite Bath, features an elegant free-standing tub. I was able to emphasize the wall behind it by getting AJ to bring it forward and to showcase my design for the mosaic tile feature.  The homeowners were so open to ideas and that’s why it allowed us to create a show-stopper!)  Image ©: Wanda S. Horton Interior Design  Photography: Whitney GrayI’m happy to report I’ve got another project in the works with Arcadia and I’ll be sharing more updates as we get closer to some of the permanent selections installations.  Ironically, I was putting some finishing touches in place when my new clients did a walk-through of this property.  I can truly say, I’ve had the good fortune and pleasure to team up with the best!All my best to you – Wanda[...]



Finding the Perfect Fit - The Luxury Of Service

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 19:24:00 +0000

Over the years, we've worked diligently to find the best vendors and service providers to bring the experience of luxury design to our clients in their homes and vacation retreats. With each client and project, the goal is to continue to grow and excel as we move forward. Just recently, I was reminded how great it feels to be on the receiving end of some special attention and having my own needs met. I love it when serendipity allows for an "aha" moment, don't you? An occasion arose where I needed, (translated - wanted), to shop for a bit of evening attire. Being it was a little while since that corner of my closet had been graced with an updated offering, a more-than wee moment of panic ensued in how I might accomplish this and in time to find something to fit and for it to be ready-to-go. When you're under 5'2" and not a size '0', well you definitely have to plan for the inevitable challenges of alterations! Finding the right scale and proportion even applies to rooms.  Love this vignette from Thibaut!  Their new Venus wallpaper pattern is divinely luxe! Fast forwarding from the moments of angst and after making some phone calls, I found my fit - in more ways than one - at our local Nordstrom store. First, I was amazed I didn't hear a 'click' at the other end of the phone, when describing what I perceived to be all of my issues. Then, when I met the calming miracle-worker, Ghesoun, I knew I would be in capable hands and perhaps had found the person who could help me with future needs, too.       Nordstrom has a great reputation, as a brand, for excellent customer-service. They also offer options within their specially selected vendors to help them put their best foot forward.  Absolutely some of the reasons I decided to make the appointment. They give their staff members the autonomy to take care of their customers, above and beyond whatever department they may be located.  Not only did Ghesoun have several dresses selected and waiting for my arrival, she also pulled together the coordinating shoes, jewelry, and clutch purses. They all went home with me, by the way, because they were perfect in every way!  As a past Girl Scout, I go by the motto: "Be prepared." (My husband chuckled at this rationalization!)   A Sweetie of an Evening Clutch from Jimmy Choo. A glimpse of a shimmering project we have in progress for a Charlotte, NC dining room, with accents waiting for the rest of the “outfit”. Definitely black tie ready but it’s been designed for comfortable everyday gatherings, too. That’s how we approach luxury design – a blending of the best of both worlds. After happily jaunting off with my purchases, I acknowledged some important take-a-way's from this experience: Preparation and homework is key to any successful outcome. Ghesoun knew I was already feeling a bit overwhelmed and had she waited for me to walk through the entire store for a shopping expedition, I would have been lost in aisle 3. She asked the right questions and then went right to work to narrow down the options. It's all about timing. I was so thankful they had immediate options available, but was prepared to accept having to customize or alter something to be a better fit. I went in with realistic expectations, sprinkled with optimism. Let people do what they do best, in the spirit of collaboration. In this case, Nordstrom stands behind their customer service but they also foster decision-making skills among their team. An import ingredient when establishing key relationships and decisions. Chemistry and respect are everything!  Even with considering all of the above thoughtful details, these two factors seem to rise to the top. Call it chemistry, communication capacity, similar values, like-minds - or whatever - there is an "it" factor in every working relationship which can make or break it in the end. You know it when you feel it and it makes you want to share in the experience, all over again, as well as pass i[...]



Interior Design - The Artist - Comparing Apples to Apples

Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:30:00 +0000

On most projects, I feel very capable of putting my design skills to use in pulling together the finishing touches for a final reveal, once I’ve got received the project's go-ahead and the real budget has been approved.  I become the artist who layers in the final brush strokes with the tools of their trade. If each of those strokes needs to be revisited or reviewed, it impacts project management as it does slow down the entire process with second-guessing and it stifles the creative capacity - and well, let's face it, retracted budgets don't always bode well for the outcome.  It's not necessarily awful, but it's not necessarily great, either.  When the client(s) allow for the follow-through to unfold, it's literally a beautiful thing!We begin with an inspiration image, with the understanding it will be personalized to accomplish an end goal.The process begins . . . Yes, the beginning can create some anxiety.  And it's during this time of project development, if clients are involved in every step of the way, there is temptation to change course.  It takes a firm but gentle designer to lead the way and a willing and trusting client to follow.It’s at this stage I can hear a sigh of relief.  While collaboration is important, notice there is one hand controlling the brush.  Comparing apples to apples . . .  it's in the artist's designer's mind and in their final touch which makes for a beautiful picture.I like those apples, very much!Thanks to for sharing a great lesson in art.All my best! ~ Wanda[...]



Bridging the Balance of Interiors and Lifestyle

Sun, 06 Mar 2016 17:49:00 +0000

In the last few years, there has been a certain trend in interiors where embellishments have been kept to a minimum.  A cleaner, more modern approach.  Some say it makes for a calming quality and the practicality of less maintenance makes for an important purpose.  I think there are many underlying reasons for this aesthetic to have gained so much popularity.  Some are the ones I mentioned above, but I think it goes far beyond the surface, as beautiful design should always push deeper, with more meaning and intention.  Soft, elegant design details made for a beautiful bath escape for our clients.The world has transitioned from a period of excess, in many ways.  Interior design has been affected by this, as well.  The elaborately bloated pieces of furniture with the "more is more" attitude are fewer and further between.  More editing and less layering in accents.  Living lighter and a less encumbered lifestyle.  There's a fineness to the small details, when embellishment is allowed.  A more meaningful experience is provided rather than feeling compelled to own a lot of "stuff" to showcase a certain station in life, especially if the accrual doesn't reflect the pure spirit of good design or its owner.Image:  Captured by Wanda S. Horton on a recent project sourcing trip.  A stunning finish on a desk.I believe; however, as with any design direction, there can be extremes . . . just as in the way we live with or without the perceptions and expectations of how our world should be defined.  During the aftermath of any catastrophic event, be it financial, health-oriented, family-focused, or anything which can put our personal world on it's ear, there is a tendency to pull back, to refocus, to let go. Sometimes, though, we can even place ourselves in a mindset of paying penance for having let ourselves go off our "diets".  The kind of fear thought of including an occasional treat which might send us back to the extra weight we just lost, so there is a denial of savoring some extra frosting, as it were.  So much so, this disciplined approach can rob of us our spontaneous joie de vivre.Image:  Kravet Fabrics - Barbara Barry CollectionAs an interior designer, I strive to honor my clients' aesthetics and their requests.  In fact, I want to be absolutely certain we spend a great deal of time in the discovery phase of their projects, to be sure they aren't feeling compelled to follow what they think is a must-have, in terms of the "latest and greatest" because, in the end, it won't be so great if it's not authentic to who they are.  There's a fine balance which takes time and careful thought, just as in any important decision - no matter what some outside party might be pushing on the latest shows or pages of the internet.Image:  Kravet Fabric - Barbara Barry CollectionPersonally, I'm glad to see a return to well-executed details and embellishments, as I'm not a big fan of austere interiors and well, living.  I can work in just about any aesthetic but if "To thine own self be true"applies to working with my ideal clients, (and it should), my cup of tea will be someone who wants a story to be told in their homes and not a pretentious gorgeous book filled with blank pages.The dining room may be formal, in appearance, but the comfort and ease for gathering was key for this project.Of course, I do believe there should be a few pages remaining, as our life stories are always being re-written, edited, re-balanced and added to.  Totally by design.All my best!Wanda[...]



Snow Day Inspirations

Fri, 22 Jan 2016 19:49:00 +0000

There's nothing like a cozy snow day to inspire the designing mind.  In my area of North Carolina, we wistfully yearn for the rare excuse to celebrate a pure, crystallized play day.  I'm not so wistfully watching the formation of icicles as I know the longer they become, the more opportunity we have for a loss of power and I'm furiously working away on some new project proposals.

Ah, but back to the inspiration . . . 

(image)
(Click for larger image.)

While taking a brief survey of outdoor activities, I captured the frosted gazing ball in my front "flower-less" bed.  Through the glazed over surface, a color palette caught my attention - probably because one of the new projects on board includes a client who happens to love deep plums and purple.  We're also considering coppery, metallic washes and a rich/warm aesthetic.  I also suggested we punctuate some built-in's near her fireplace with some color. 

While we're not doing an entry, like the image above, I'm still cataloging it for the hue as well as I love the good use of a space where folks can hang up some coats and pull off messy shoes or boots.  It sets the tone for the next interior round, too.  

If you're in the path of the storm, stay safe and warm, but if you can, get out and about for some winter inspiration.  We'll make sure you have a lovely place waiting for your return!

All my best ~ Wanda 



Happy New Year - 2016! Daring to Begin

Tue, 29 Dec 2015 18:00:00 +0000

Isn't it funny how we receive messages we need at just the right time?  I was cleaning out some data files, as part of my goal to live lighter in 2016, and I found a saved image which summarized it all.  It also reminded me to forget perfectionism, which is the greatest stall point for me.

I know this will be one of a gazillion posts about starting fresh in the New Year.  What makes it so unique?  Simply said - Me.  And - You.

Each of us has our own set of core values, our own reasons for motivation, and our own method for accomplishing our goals, visions, dreams . . . whatever you want to call them.  We also have our own circumstances for some of these to come true and for others to be kicked to the curb.  Mix in a dose of destiny, add some faith, maybe a stirred-in bit of luck, and the results can take us down varied paths.

2015 has been an amazing year.  I'm so appreciative of it being so.  While it's important to take time to plan ahead, it's also important to take time to look back to see what made all of this happen.  That's a part of the process we sometimes forget.

For interior designers, "amazing" can mean so many different things.  The one thing which made this one of my best years?  I looked inward instead of outward because my measurements for success are for me and for me, alone.  I did have some wonderful projects and worked with more of my ideal clients.  I accomplished some personal goals and plan to continue to check off lists which allow me to maximize my time in many different ways - carving out more time to honor my thirst for learning and cultural endeavors, for more meaningful experiences and relationships, for optimal health, and for giving when and where I can fill a need.

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the help I've received along the way.  Sometimes it came when I directly reached out and asked for it.  Other times it came from someone not knowing they shared a post or a comment which ignited a spark in my head and in my soul.  In some cases, referrals were made which fortified my business.  Vendors who had my back.  The list goes on.

This week I'll be writing notes to share my appreciation to these people.  An important item to honor on my 2016 list.  Share gratitude above all.

So . . .  while my list is being formulated and the quest to reorganize and prepare is underway for what is to come, come what may, this is the image which inspired me today . . .
All my best to you!  Happy New Year, Happy 2016! ~ Wanda




Happy Thanksgiving!

Wed, 25 Nov 2015 22:15:00 +0000

Gratitude comes from different places and in different moments. It should be a daily ritual . . . practicing thankfulness. I'm still glad there is a day we set aside on the calendar to appreciate our gifts and one another.
Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!

All my best ~ Wanda



Soaking It All In - High Point Market and Life Experiences

Sat, 17 Oct 2015 17:33:00 +0000

This is the week of High Point Market and I’ve already been soaking in so many beautiful sites and seminars!  There’s nothing like the beautiful combination of business and pleasure.  Truthfully, I’ve had so much on my business plate, it’s a welcome respite which I’ve decided to turn into an extended time away from the office to squeeze in a family visit and then a jaunt to the mountains to fill the rest of my cup with even more meaningful experiences.  Inspiration comes from separating oneself from the day-to-day tasks.  At least that applies for this designer! 

I’ll be keeping interested eyes up-to-date as I spot some of the latest trends. Be sure to tune into my Instagram feed, to see “What’s new, what’s next” in the world of interiors.  While you’re there, thanks for clicking on the ‘follow’ button, too!


Meanwhile, a parting shot of one of the interior spaces we’ve had in the works . . . .




All my best! ~ Wanda



What's on my Instagram?

Wed, 09 Sep 2015 01:34:00 +0000

It took me awhile to join in on the Instagram fun.  I’m a Samsung fan so I had to wait for this wonderful app to come my way.  (The camera on my Galaxy S6 is amazing and makes Instagraming way too fun!)  My Apple friends were ahead of the curve and I couldn’t wait to catch up.

I love being able to look back over the collage of photos . . .  there are days I am more philosophical, days where I’m entrenched in interiors and projects, or days where the garden beckons me to take a deep breath and shake off the dust.

Pretty soon, we'll begin to see the seasonal changes and I’m sure those will impact the texture I capture and the variety of related activities.  Fall will softly settle in.  I do promise to hold down the pumpkin influences!  It seems folks are already “pumpkin’d out from the early influx of flavor marketing.  No pumpkin lattes, here.


So, what’s on my Instagram?


Be sure to stop over for a visit to my corner of the world!  I’m @wshortondzn
All my best! – Wanda




What is an "artistic advocate"?

Sun, 30 Aug 2015 20:53:00 +0000

In the middle of pulling together some copious project notes, I sat back and this thought came blazing to mind:


A project for a dear, long-term client is underway. It’s a bittersweet one as she is relocating to be closer to family and it’s also a rite of passage as this move means she’ll be leaving behind the last home she shared with her now deceased husband. My heartstrings are tugging as she has also become a lovely friend and I’ll miss being close, geographically.

Today, I called her to go over several questions, and I could sense the concern in her voice as to how all of this will come together . . . the move, a new place needing some tweaking and personalization, leaving behind a home where we’ve spent the last few years making it a softer landing after her husband’s passing and hoping she’s made the right decision in making a change which requires this kind of attention.

I hope I gave her reassuring advice and when I said, “All will be well”, she really felt it. Not empty words of promise but the understanding I would know how to communicate with the contractor, the electrician, the plumber, the painter, the tile folks, the stone yard and all of the various other players who are part of a new team of which I’ve become an honorary member. Yes, this is my profession and I should be taking care of handling the services for which I’ve been hired to implement. But - this goes deeper for me and it’s important for me to take a moment to recognize and acknowledge it.

I am an artist. I am an advocate. When both roles merge, it reaches a depth beyond “interior designer”.

 All my best – Wanda



French Garden House–An Honored Feature!

Sat, 23 May 2015 16:01:00 +0000

For several years, I’ve enjoyed reading the blog on French Garden House, penned by shop proprietor, Lidy Baars.  As the title indicates, Lidy loves pieces with European flair and her site is chock-full of everything from furnishings to décor to jewelry and one-of-a-kind treasures.  I’ve admired reading about her in various publications and to my delight, I’ve gotten to know her over the past year, in real time, not just online! When Lidy asked me if she could conduct an interview to share on her blog, I was beyond honored and thrilled!  Her questions were so thoughtful and made me think about the things I enjoy and are important to me in my everyday world.  I think that’s what makes for a lovely exchange . . .  engaging with others and being interested in their day-to-day happenings.  Here is the opening page of the feature.  Please do click on the image, below, to read it in full. You can see why I’m so attracted to the pieces in Lidy’s shop.  She curates the best combinations! Meanwhile, we’re working on some ongoing projects in the Horton Home.  This post has inspired me to give a little TLC back to freshen up some spaces and the garden.  Lately, I’ve been ALL about the garden! From clippings to plantings to visiting our local shops . . . I knew this potted begonia would have a spot in my antique coal fireplace grate.  I love looking at options for repurposing pieces. In fact, if my Instagram page is any indication . . . Perhaps it’s also because we’re getting ready to heat up a bit, over the next week, so I’m enjoying some cooler mornings before the “wilting season” hits. I hope you’re enjoying the holiday weekend as much as I am!  Thanks for taking a little break to stop by.  Now go out and have fun! All my best ~ Wanda [...]



Remembering–Memorial Day

Fri, 22 May 2015 16:37:00 +0000

As we begin to embark on this holiday weekend, let us not forget . . .

(image)

Have a beautiful weekend!

All my best! ~ Wanda




A Stylish Arrival–Doors, Gates & Doorbells

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:39:00 +0000

In a few short days, I’ll be heading to Charleston, South Carolina for a lovely mix of business and fun.  Meanwhile, my head is still swimming with images of all of the fabulous home furnishings from the High Point Market, and after touring the Hooker Furniture Showroom to see some of their new collections, I can definitely tell there will be an overlapping of posts about my experiences in Charleston and a new collection HFC has launched, based on inspired designs from doors and gates.  One of my favorite things about this southern city is their huge variety of entryways to homes and gardens.  It’s my cup of tea . . . steeped in history and stories. Definitely stay-tuned in May for several articles.  (I’m one of their contributing writers and I’m way overdue in putting together a submission.) Here’s a sneak peek of a Hooker Furniture Collection gorgeous credenza.  This collection is most definitely architecturally inspired.  It’s as if they scooped up some antique doors and resized them to fit the opening.  The next image showcases their attention to detail in the custom-designed hardware.  Back to my Charleston visit . . . I’ve always loved this area of the country, and while I had previously taken many photos, a computer crash seems to have put them missing in action.  Thankfully, I’ve learned how to embrace the “cloud” and the next batch will be downloaded, uploaded and safe-guarded in a much better way!  This image, of a segment of ironwork at the College of Charleston, is a stunning example of what I expect to capture with my lens.   Ironically, while putting together this post, an email landed in my inbox with doorbell buttons, worthy of gracing the entries to any historic property.  Signature Hardware is one of my favorite “go-to” sources to suggest for specialty hardware items.  I think you’ll agree when you see what they have to offer. I love this old-fashioned twist ringer style.  Sobecki Twist Doorbell The Griffen in Brushed Nickel The Chancellor in Chrome The Harvey – And, yes, do push “press” to see all of the selection options - I’ll be “chiming in” from time-to-time on Instagram and Facebook with more news and info.  Please be sure to follow me at both spots as I roll out the welcome mat to Charleston! All my best! – Wanda [...]



Performing Miracles–Schedules and Fabrics

Sat, 11 Apr 2015 20:24:00 +0000

It’s off to the races and off to High Point Furniture Market, in a few short days.  Which also means I’ll be offline for a bit – well, except for posting some great market photos on Instagram.  It’s going to take a miracle to get everything done but I’ve got faith it will all fall into place.

There are several lovely projects in the pipeline and it would take so much time to share it all so I’ll leave you with some parting shots . . .

I’m tweaking options on our project in Shaker Heights, Ohio.  Oh why do some of my favorite options have the words “backorder” or “discontinued” bringing me sighs?  Yes, that perfect, Greek key trim is a goner!  The good news is, most of the rest of this is safe.  More swatches on the way!

(image)

Finalizing so many details on our Union Co, NC project.  It’s time to finish up the new construction portion and move along to the interiors.  I’m working away on combinations for the upholstery. 

Speaking of miracles . . .Almost all of these selections fall under the category of “performance” fabrics.  Not only are they super strong, they are very easily maintained, mostly with just soap and water clean-up.  No worries about spills or accidents.  And they have a lovely hand, (designer-eze for touch/feel factor), too.  Living in the south, that’s important because it gets pretty humid and there’s nothing worse than sitting on a scratchy sofa or chair, in the midst of a hot and sticky day. 

(image)

Now I’m off to finish up a few more things and to book that much-need mani-pedi appointment!

How true this is . . .

(image)

All my best! ~ Wanda




New Beginnings . . .

Sun, 05 Apr 2015 17:36:00 +0000

As I listened to a message about faith, this Easter Sunday morning, Cardinal Timothy Dolan eloquently shared these thoughts – paraphrased:  “Anyone who claims to use religion as a cause of hatred, division and bloodshed, is creating a perversion of faith.  Instead, it should be about bringing people together, affirming life, friendship and reconciliation.”  Such a powerful message for all, no matter ones faith or belief, in regards to the turbulent times in which we’ve been living.

Perhaps it sounds simple, but considering many of life’s complications are “man-made”, forgiveness is a powerful thing.  It allows us to either reconcile or to let go and to move forward.  To have it bestowed, with unconditional love, is even more beautiful.

(image)

(Hostas – A member of the lily family, symbolize devotion.)

Each spring, I look forward to new growth and beginnings.  Not for perfection, but for a positive push.  Much like the fronds, buds, and green tips making their way towards the light of the sun.

All my best ~ Wanda




Copper Sinks and Tubs– A Healthy Choice!

Sat, 04 Apr 2015 00:43:00 +0000

The warm glow of copper has been enticing designers to consider incorporating more of this metal into our interiors projects, as manufacturers are providing us with more choices, across the board.  We’re seeing it in furniture finishes, lighting, hardware and especially in plumbing. (33” Vine Design Copper Farmhouse Sink – Signature Hardware) Not only is copper quite fashionable, did you know it has natural antimicrobial agents inherit to its makeup?  That’s right.  Since copper has properties which can cause the bacteria’s surrounding membrane to rupture.  It also “punches” holes in this membrane, causing a loss of the nutrients and water, which weakens the cell.  It also allows for the release of the copper ions into the cell, which in turn, overwhelms the cell and disrupts its metabolic process.  Long story short, without all of the details, the bacterium can no longer “breathe, eat, digest or create energy.”  (Thompson Traders Tub and Sink – found right in my home state of North Carolina!) To be sure to clarify, in order for copper to be officially labeled, antimicrobial copper, it has to meet specific standards.  The alloys have to demonstrate a certain effectiveness under rigorous, EPA-approved test protocols.  (Think hospital grade sinks or vessels.)  Of course, this isn’t to say one would never clean a sink or tub, just because it’s copper.  It just means you get some extra help in the war on bacteria. (Just in case you’re more partial to gold tones, Thompson Traders Gold Karma Bath Sink is hammered copper, highlighted with an antique gold finish.  My heart just skipped a beat!) (The Archeo Bathtub, from Kallista, will set you back a “pretty penny”, starting at $45,000.00.  It’s solid copper and would be a focal point in a most luxurious bathing suite.) (I used a hammered copper sink in this butlery, a few years ago.  It’s tucked over to the left.  I just recently visited this client and it’s aged to perfection with a beautiful patina!  Image – Wanda S. Horton Interior Design – Photographer – Whitney Gray) From this very detailed and interesting article:  “*Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, antimicrobial copper surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: MRSA, VRE, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7.”  My understanding is there will be more manufacturers looking to transition from healthcare/hospitality options to retail. Stay-tuned for more design updates on copper, as I look through the showrooms at the upcoming High Point Furniture Market.  I’ll be sure to share some posts and pins! All my best! ~ Wanda [...]



A Miniature Garden Spot - Charleston Window Box Company

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 23:13:00 +0000

In a few short weeks, I’ll be heading to Charleston, South Carolina, to take part in the Southern Coterie Summit.  It sounds like it will be a field day – or three – for creative minds and tastemakers, among many other things.  (I’ll bring you up-to-speed when I get back, as it will be a first time for me.) Charleston is one of my absolutely favorite cities and it’s been way too long since I’ve visited this lovely, southern belle.  To be able to enjoy her in the springtime is even more of a bonus!  Walking down the side streets, where almost every home has window boxes overflowing with gorgeous plantings . . . well, it just brings delight at every turn! The smart folks at The Charleston Window Box Company, figured out how to design a structure to keep those beautiful blossoms happy.  As they share on their website, in order to keep the boxes intact, they’ve built them like boats with marine-grade plywood bond and a special epoxy, as water is the enemy of most outdoor furnishings.  The designs are clean and simple, to allow for the show-stopping flowers and plantings to be front and center. I sure hope to see some lush examples, like this one from The Garden Buzz. One of the reasons I love this city is the vast display of architecture and details.  I’m definitely going to be bringing the good camera along.  (Rainbow Row – A collective of row houses in bright hues.  Look at those window planters!) Conde Nast Traveler’s readers ranked Charleston the #2 city for the best vacation destination.  Since it’s just a half day’s drive for me, it’s easy to take it for granted but I’m going to the conference with a new found admiration.  Perhaps it’s true how absence makes the heart grow fonder.  (Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn) While it’s a little early to plant in our area, here’s a great tutorial, from This Old House, when you’re ready to begin.  Don’t forget to order your window boxes from THE source – The Charleston Window Box Company.  (I’m not paid to share this source – I just love well-made products!)  Happy Weekend! ~ Wanda [...]



Home Textiles Make A Difference in Design Details

Thu, 26 Mar 2015 01:35:00 +0000

When Carmen Natschke, of the Decorating Diva, messaged me to see if I’d be interested in sharing some insight on the use of textiles in the home, I said, “absolutely”!  Carmen is a fabulous writer and speaker and I’ve had the good fortune to get to know her through various industry events and her great blog posts.  She keeps a keen eye open on all things about design.

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Carmen’s latest article, for Beautiful Design, Made Simple, featured our interview, along with Canadian designer, Meredith Heron, and interior designer, Linda Merrill, of Massachusetts.  We all have a different approach and aesthetic but have penchant for textiles and how they are a key ingredient in pulling any space together.  What good company to be included!

Please click on the photo, below, to hop on over to Carmen’s post . . .

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Speaking of textiles, I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of a local event, “An Evening of Design Magic”, as I showcased some patterns from Thibaut and Anna French, mixed among gorgeous flowers and accents, from August Lily Florist.  Kim Rushing, and her wonderful team, opened their doors to a special list of guests and we did a “walking tour” through different vignettes to illustrate how one can live well in their home. 

I’ll share a peek at one of our tabletops and then post a little more, later.  I never get tired of a classic, blue and white theme!

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Until then . . .

All my best! ~ Wanda




Someone’s knocking at the door . . .

Sun, 08 Mar 2015 17:57:00 +0000

Isn’t there something marvelous about a beautiful door knocker?  Even the plainest entry can become delightfully decorated! Entry doors and hardware have been front-of-mind, as of late.  I’ve been working on a lovely custom home build, in the Charlotte area, thanks to Arcadia Homes, and we’re in the midst of finalizing doors and hardware. I’m also in the progress of updates to a couple of clients’ existing exteriors, as well.  These are all totally different dwellings.  One is a classic style with rustic touches and one contains brick accents which will disappear, as we take the traditional styling to a cleaner, Craftsmen direction.  The other one is in Oak Island, NC, so a beach cottage aesthetic will definitely be in play.  Who says an interior designer has to stay indoors?  With longer, sunnier days ahead, it’s a happy thing! Even though there will be some technology governing the methods of alerting the homeowners to their guests’ arrival, I still love the beauty of a hand’s-on approach of saying “I’m here!”. I found some stunners at Fabbricreations . . . (Razzle-Dazzle Door Knocker – And yes, it is!) (Modern Door Knocker – A piece of sculpture!) And at 1stdibs   (Bronze Face Door Knocker by Cellura – Via Lewis Trimble) Retroricks offered a very Zen approach . . . (Vintage 1969 Terra Sancta Guild Brass and Enamel – Totally chill.) And then there are estate sales and local shops with some gorgeous offerings . . . (This was shared by Jennifer Burnham on her Instagram page, regarding an upcoming estate sale.  Don’t even think about it.  I so want this one!) I know we’re glad spring is a few, short days away and it’s going to be all about the view as we welcome in the extra sunshine and thawed-out visitors.  One of my favorite services is exterior transformations, from concept to completion.  What a difference they can make! Now, back to the design boards.  Happy, longer days! All my best ~ Wanda [...]



Welcome to March–North Carolina Style

Sun, 01 Mar 2015 17:20:00 +0000

First, let me just get this out of the way . . . Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit.  (A custom, shared among several of my friends, to welcome in the 1st day of the month.)  It’s believe that uttering these words, upon waking, will bring in good luck for the duration of the following days.  I never snub my nose at the prospect of anything lucky or fortunate!

Upon glancing at the calendar, it seems as if Mother Nature isn’t quite certain how those of us in my area are to plan our attire for the coming week.  Low’s in the upper 20’s and the highs hoover somewhere around 70°F, with everything else in between. 

Welcome to March!  A month of transitions, between seasons, as it sets forth our “great expectations” of spring’s arrival. 

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Today I’m celebrating with a glorious bouquet of tulips nested on my French parquet table in an ironstone pitcher.  (Thanks to August Lily for having these beauties in your shop.  The grass cloth background is from Thibaut Wallcovering – available through moi.) 

March is definitely a favorite month – and not just because daylight saving’s time extends my day or that spring is around the corner.  I’m celebrating another anniversary with the love of my life and my best friend, this month.  My father’s birthday will be forthcoming.  And . . . I get to celebrate the legacy of my ancestors on St Patrick’s Day, too.  (It doesn’t hurt to have green as a favorite color!)

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Now back to planning this week’s wardrobe.  I think there will be layers involved!

Live well! ~ Wanda




Weathering the Winter–Mud Room Musts

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:24:00 +0000

As I watch a dusting of rare snow, from my office window, I’m also seeing my mom friends’ briefly worded posts of “Really?!” – and – “Again?” – “School is CLOSED!” – and “What a mess!”.  While not quite totally feeling their pain, as I have no little ones or teenagers running in and out of the house, I think I have a pretty good clue as to the mess and muck of which they’re trying to keep under control. (Image via – source) This is where I think a proper mudroom is more than a luxury, it’s a necessity in keeping the family unit’s gear and garb from piling up at the back door or hallway.  It contributes greatly towards keeping sanity, too! (Image via Quintessence Blog, from Veranda Magazine and designed by Gil Schaffer) The mud entry, above, is a stunning example of functional storage married with an outstanding aesthetic.  Everything has a place to be tucked without feeling as if one has stepped into the abyss of a catch-all space.  (Image attributed to same sources, from previous photo.) Imagine having storage for more than just hats, coats and gloves . . . backpacks, play gear, dog leashes and pet toys . . . An important part of planning any storage space is anticipating what you have on hand and also peering into the future.  (To help absorb wet paws, both furry and human, get a super absorbent floor mat, like this one from Frontgate.  It’s available in several colors.) Of course, depending on where you live and your stage of life, five to ten years down the road will make an impact on those decisions.  I’ve often had to consider storage for multiple generations.  When an aging parent visits, a place to tuck a walker or a cane can be more than welcome.  Oh, and if a slip on the ice causes more than an embarrassing bruise, no matter the age, vertical storage can come in handy for a set of crutches.  A reminder to salt or sand those walkways! (There are a variety of boot trays for designating mucky boots and shoes.  You can created your own or find some pretty options at places like Ballard Design.  They can save your floor from unwelcome tracking.) (A few years ago, while a client was in transition before we added in a custom cubby unit, we utilized some accents to create hidden storage.  The lidded basket, the storage ottomans and the small boxes on the custom wall console, all had a purpose in keeping order.) A huge part of my mission, in designing spaces, is to help folks remember it’s not just about who lives in the house but it’s also about putting out the welcome mat for family and friends.  It’s about considering multiple needs for everyone, especially in auxiliary spaces. A new-build project, in which I’ve been included, will have some generous rooms for accommodating many of the family’s needs.  This is just part of the area, to include laundry and pet facilities.  Stay-tuned for photos of our progress!  (Cabinetry by Distinctive Cabinets.) Of course, mud rooms have more than one season, depending on where you live.  Mud and show aren’t required ingredients.  Sand is welcome, too.  I sure could stand to feel some between my frozen toes! Signing off from frosty North Carolina! – Wanda [...]



Designs on a Dressing Table–Tray Service

Mon, 23 Feb 2015 04:11:00 +0000

Perhaps I’m enamored with dressing tables due to my overdose of Downton Abbey episodes – if there is such a thing - or it could be because of the articles I’ve been writing for other blog sites, regarding living well and the beauty we can bring to our homes, even in small doses. Either way, there’s something about having a delegated space to capture all things dainty, glamorous and feminine.  Mine isn’t so much a dressing table but a chest, topped with an Italian tray, along with some crystal jars and porcelain pieces.  It gives me a place to end the day with a little ritual of turning off the lamp and it greets me in the morning with all things sparkling. I have an affinity for these Florentine style trays.  They come in a multitude of colors and patterns and not only are they perfect for catching a necklace or a collection of perfume bottles, they’re great for creating a wall display.  Each one has a link to the source, if you click on the photos. I remember being able to see these jewels piled high at several, local antique shows.  Now, they seem to be a little more difficult to find.  It’s funny how we want something even more when it’s not so available.  Perhaps I’ll have to start putting in my orders on Etsy, where all of these are featured, sans the one I’ve got on my dressing chest.  I’m sure I’d find a spot for them! All my best! ~ Wanda [...]



From the Interior Design Desk . . .

Fri, 06 Feb 2015 21:48:00 +0000

In the midst of getting ready to upload this to my Facebook business page, it morphed into a blog post.  (And here I’ve been thinking my writing skills had taken a hiatus or been directed elsewhere!) After sorting through copious notes from a tile showroom visit, and merging them with other selections for a new build project, this thought came to mind . . . Why did my clients decide to hire an interior designer?  What value do I bring to them?  It wasn’t a question of doubt but rather a reflection why I believe they’ve made a wise decision. (This is just one of the story boards being put together, with many detailed sheets included with it.  It's one room.  Can you imagine handling an entire home, if this isn’t your day-to-day profession?  What a learning curve.) (The pretty part.) (The “must do” part.  Measure twice, cut once.) What were my conclusions? 1.  My clients are successful business owners who have a very busy schedule and decided it was worth the investment to seek help.  (Thankfully, even though busy, they have made this project a priority for input and feedback.  That’s another blogpost as to why some projects get derailed . . . lack of investment of a different kind - time.)2.  They are in the middle of a new home build.  3.  There are many moving parts to each space.  4.  There are many vendors with whom to make selections and to relay their selections back to the contractor, perhaps needing translations in terms with which they are not familiar or also in need of sketches and specs.5.  They want their home to reflect who they are, while being pulled together in a cohesive and functional manner.6.  They also enjoy capturing spare time for family, travel and fun.  A new home build can be a process of 8 months or more.  Truly custom can be more than a year, from the blue-print stages forward.  They are able to get away, knowing a team is in place.7.  They appreciate having a designer who is organized and plans ahead for the next step, to keep the project in motion.  Staying on task can cut a lot of unnecessary expenses.8.  They are SMART.  :)  (They were that before they hired me!)  On three separate occasions, this week, several vendors wanted to express their appreciation for my professionalism and organization in handling projects.  In being prepared.  As one said to me – “Thank goodness you’re not a hot mess!”  They could have given me a crown and a scepter and declared me “Queen for a Day” with that! I think I might have to remember this the next time I’m in mud boots on a jobsite . . . All my best! ~ Wanda [...]



Interior Design Quotes

Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:51:00 +0000

I love to share thoughtful quotes about home and interior design.  Today, I had one of my own to pass along.

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What do you think?

All my best!  ~ Wanda