Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Post & A Nomination

Just wanted to pop in and let you know that I'm guest blogging today about finding Affordable Vintage Treasures over at Style Blueprint. While my focus is Nashville, there are some other tips non-Nashvillians might find useful, so please check it out.

One of my flea market finds that is featured in the post.
If you're not familiar, Style Blueprint is an extremely popular Nashville-based lifestyle blog that shares the latest information on where to shop, where to eat and what to do in Music City. They've also ventured out into other Southern cities as well like Louisville, Memphis and Birmingham, and they feature specialized hand-picked daily deals (sort of like an elite local Living Social or Groupon). I'm honored they asked me for my shopping tips.

In other news, I've been nominated (along with about a million other design blogs) for Apartment Therapy's The 2012 Homies Awards in the Best Home Design Blog category.

While I'm pretty sure someone I'm related to nominated me, I'm thrilled nonetheless. Really, it's an honor just to be nominated. Go check out the list (it's VERY long) of nominees, and if you pity me enough feel so inclined, feel free to vote while you're there (My Interior Life is WAY down at the bottom right now with 2 votes - yay!).

I know I don't say it nearly enough, but I so appreciate all of you who read my blog. It really means a lot to me!

Monday, February 27, 2012


I thought about titling this post "It's Greek To Me" or "My Big Fat Greek Key Obsession" or some other corny clever take on Greek key, but I figured those had all been done before. So, instead, I googled the term Greek key (my form of in-depth research) and found that it is known as a meander (in artistic/archaeological terms) which means a decorative border constructed from a continuous line, shaped into a repeated motif. Since my mind and, consequently, my blog posts sometimes meander, I thought this was the perfect title. Okay, now on to Greek key designs.  Are they over done? Can we ever have enough? I hope not, because I still love them. Exhibit A:
some Greek key trim I bought this weekend to dress up a simple white bed skirt I got at Bed, Bath & Beyond. My husband asked me what happens when Greek key goes out of style?? Can you believe that blasphemy. I didn't even answer him.

Exhibit B (and C): On Sunday, I returned to the Flea Market (I had gone on Friday with ModFruGal, got nothing, but then obsessed over one item until I had to return. It was gone. Boo.) and bought a few accessories - two of which had Greek key on them.
Do you see it?
See the tiny one at the bottom of the lighter? Not sure why I bought a lighter . . . I do not and never have smoked, but I do light candles. Of course, it doesn't work anyway. Okay, I just thought it was cool and cheap. I bought it and that onyx cube for $5. And you know I can't resist a little Asian ginger jar. It was only $3.

And, of course, there's the faux bamboo Greek key mirror I've had for a while . . .
Are you as crazy about the key as I am? Or am I just some sad Greek-obsessed nut?

Friday, February 24, 2012


Sorry for the lame post title, but seriously, it is so windy here I almost got knocked over earlier and am currently watching a huge cedar tree bend and sway a little too much toward my screened-in porch. So, what should I post about on this blustery day? Art, of course. (Sorry no good segues into that). The truth of the matter is a very talented artist named Liza Hathaway Matthews got in touch with me this morning to share her art, and I immediately wanted to share it with you. Just take a look . . .
oil, acrylic and charcoal 
(currently out on approval)

24 x 36
oil, acrylic and charcoal

24 x 30
oil, acrylic and charcoal

24 x 24
oil, acrylic and charcoal

Aren't the colors beautiful? I want to do a moodboard just around one of her paintings. Liza has a BFA in painting AND interior design from the Maryland Institute, College of Art and lives in Baltimore with her husband and three children. You can find more of Liza's paintings at Oriet's Fine Art, and she also does commissioned pieces. Just contact her at brent.matthews@comcast.net to inquire. 

Thanks to Liza for sharing her beautiful pieces. Hope you enjoyed the beautiful art to kick off your weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chain Letter

Sweet Heather from Love Your Space included me in a little blog chain letter going around. While I usually don't love snail mail or email chain letters, this virtual blog version is pain-free and didn't suggest I would experience bodily harm if I broke the chain. So, I decided to play along. Here are the simple rules:

1. You must post the rules!
2. Answer the 11 questions the tagger posted for you and then create 11 new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

So, without further ado, I shall attempt to answer Heather's questions. Here goes:
1.  Do you blog for business or pleasure?  Tell us more.
I blog for fun, however I'm not opposed to blogging for money. In fact, I recently established a decorating business - ek interiors - with my friend Elizabeth so I will be sharing projects and information about that on my blog going forward. So, I guess in that respect, I will be blogging a bit for both. Very exciting!

2. What's your favorite post (on your own blog), and why?
Wow, that's a tough one because I work so hard on all of them (well, most of them) that they feel a bit like children. And you can't choose between your children, can you? But if I must, I'd have to say one of my favorites and consequently one of my most popular posts was when I revealed my dining room that I painted Champion Cobalt by Benjamin Moore. I still love looking at my dining room every day - it makes me very happy!
3.  You're stranded on a desert island.  What five items washed ashore with you to decorate your newfound home?
Just five items? Oh, this is tough. I would have to say my pagoda mirror (so I can assess how hideous I look without makeup), Milo Baughman-style chair, Parson's console table to set stuff upon (coconuts, etc.), orange velvet Baker sofa and brass garden seat (to use as a side table or additional seating for whatever natives drop by). 

4.  If your blog had a soundtrack, what would it be?
Oh, I'm so bad at picking music. Seriously. My husband usually dictates (well, not literally) what we listen to (he's a huge Radiohead fan). I typically just listen to whatever is on the radio. Lately, I've been loving Fitz and the Tantrums, so I would have that playing . . . it's fun and retro and catchy. Kind of like my blog.

5.  If you could have dinner with any designer or blogger (living or dead), who would it be?
Uggh, another tough one. I would love to have dinner with Celerie Kemble because she just seems so down to earth and normal. Every time I see one of her designs or her in a magazine, I always think she could be a friend of mine - a very stylish friend with great taste.
6.  What is the first major design decision you made?
I guess the first major design decision came when we moved into a new house when I was in 7th grade, and I picked lavender walls and creamy bedding for my new bedroom. The mid 80's were an awesome time for design!

7.  What is the craziest color you ever painted anything?
I don't necessarily think it's crazy, but, once again, I'd have to choose my vivid Champion Cobalt blue dining room (see above). It's probably the most "out there" color I've ever chosen. 

8.   Do you remember paint color (or nail polish, lipstick, etc.) names?  Share one off the top of your head, and what kind of color it was.  Or let us guess.
I do tend to remember paint color names. Here's one for you - Mysterious. Can you guess what it is? Here's a hint, I've used it in my house . . . somewhere.

9. What is your biggest design or DIY fail?
There is so much trial and error when it comes to DIY. I just chalk it up to a learning experience when it happens (although I get severely bent out of shape at the time). I would have to say anytime I try to paint a ceramic lamp it goes badly. Haven't had a good experience with that yet.

10.  What is the coolest opportunity that has come your way because of your blog?
I've had some great experiences and met some wonderful people as a result of my blog, but I think the coolest opportunity or perk came when I blogged about a trip to Chicago and staying at the James Hotel. The James saw my post and before I arrived, they had arranged to upgrade my husband and me to a bigger/better room. Another opportunity that is coming up is the chance to go to Blogfest 2012 in NYC with other interior design bloggers at the end of May (my husband registered me). So excited!

11.  If you were invited to write a decorating book, what would it include and/or what would the title be?
If I were to write a decorating book it would include lots of practical examples of how you can achieve unique, personal spaces and avoid cookie-cutter style.  I think too many people fall into the trap of trying to make their homes look like someone else's space instead of their own. Not sure of a good title. Everything I keep coming up with sounds cheesy. 

Wow, that was probably more than you ever wanted to know about me. Thanks, Heather, for including me! For the 11 blogs I'm tagging, I'm choosing just some of my daily reads (some I'm not including because they have already been tagged by Heather). If you've already been tagged, please forgive me or if you choose not to participate, I get that too. 

Now, my 11 questions . . . 
1. Do you blog daily? Why or why not?
2. Is blogging your day job, just a hobby or an off-shoot of your "real" job (which is what)?
3. If you could pick one room in your house to have decorated by a famous designer, which room would you choose and why?
4. Which famous decorator would you choose to re-do your room (#3) and why?
5. What are your favorite type of posts to write (DIY, sharing new finds, inspiration pics, etc.)?
6. What have you learned/what have you gained from blogging?
7.  For someone just starting out in the blogging world, what advice would you give?
8. What is your biggest decorating pet peeve?
9. What is a little-known fact about you that your readers would be surprised to learn?
10. Who do you most admire in the blogging world and why?
11. What is a trend you still love (even if it's overdone, you just can't help yourself)?

There, now go read these ladies' blogs because they're really good!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Progress Report

First, I must apologize. Last week was pretty much a wash for me. Helping to take care of my in-laws and volunteering at my children's school left little time to write a blog post, let alone read or comment on any of yours. What free time I did have I used to write a guest blog post for another blog. I'm trying to get caught up and back into the swing of things, so I thought I would show you some progress I've made on my bedroom. It actually got kick-started when I found some great (and rather inexpensive) chests at a local antique mall.
I was immediately drawn to them and loved their style. While they're not exactly matching they have the same black lacquer base and top with the fronts being dark walnut stained, and both are in excellent shape. 

Of course, one has drawers with massive brass handles and the other has cabinet doors with a shelf inside. 
Both have slight gilded details which seem to have worn off a bit but that I'm thinking of enhancing possibly with some Rub-n-Buff. When I opened the top drawer and saw this, I knew I was in good shape:
Ah, Henredon. I knew they had to be fine quality after seeing that, and the antique mall employee told me the man who brought them in said they were his mother's pride and joy. I could tell. Of course, I got home and did some research on Henredon furniture pieces, and what do you think I found? You guessed it - the same piece (the chest of drawers, at least) only in white lacquer on 1st Dibs . . . 

And get this, the 1st Dibs site attributes them to Dorothy Draper for Henredon and lists the pair of them for sale at $5,200! I will tell you I didn't pay even one-twentieth that price for mine. Now, I don't have any way to verify that they're Dorothy Draper other than the 1st Dibs listing. All I kept finding when I typed in Dorothy Draper for Henredon was the rather famous Espana chest that everyone in blogland is so familiar with . . .

I don't really care what they are . . . I just like the way they look and think they coordinate nicely with the Asian panels I got from Tag a while back.
I finally hung them the way I've seen other people on blogs do gallery walls . . . trace the pieces on brown paper then put them up and nail through the paper for perfect placement.

Love this idea, and it worked like a charm.

While I still haven't found the perfect bedding yet (duvet, bedskirt and Euro shams), I did pick up a faux fur throw at Marshall's and mocked up a yellow bolster pillow with some fabric and trim I had. 
Here's a reminder of what my bedroom looked like before . . 
I think the darker bedside chests ground the bed a little more and contrast better with the light headboard. While there's still work to do, I really like the direction it's headed.

Progress is a good thing in my book. What do you think?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Goobing Out

This past Friday I got the opportunity to hear one of my design idols, Miles Redd, speak at the Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville. After he spoke, I worked up the courage to go tell him how much I admired him and his work, and get my photo taken with him (and my friend Brandy). This goofy photo is the result:
Yes, somehow during my interaction with him before the photo was taken, I goobed out and must have messed up my hair! What the hell is wrong with me?!?! This just goes to show how totally uncool I truly am. And I worked really hard to look cute for Miles too. I thought I should wear something colorful to catch his eye . . . I was so proud, I even snapped a photo of what I was wearing before I left the house (a fashion blogger I am obviously not) . . .
Despite the strange look on my face, I at least look halfway normal in this picture (well, at least my hair does). This is how I am in the privacy of my own home. Apparently, it's only when I meet famous decorators I become a grinning idiot with a combover. Meeting my idol = fail. 

Oh well, despite my hair malfunction, I thoroughly enjoyed Miles' speech. He was engaging and charming, and I just knew we could be lifelong friends if given the chance. His talk included him sharing dozens of slides of his favorite inspirations and interiors . . . a wonderful chance to glimpse inside the mind of a design rock star. The names and interiors he included varied from Oscar de la Renta (for whom he works as Creative Director of his Home Collection) to Babe Paley to Coco Chanel to some designed by Syrie Maugham, Nancy Lancaster, Sister Parish, Albert Hadley and Billy Baldwin to name a few. He also featured some rooms from the home of artist Cy Twombly including this photo below from his home in Rome . . . simple and striking in its neoclassical style.

One of the other famous rooms Miles referenced included the taxi-cab yellow living room of Babe Paley designed by Sister Parish and Albert Hadley. Miles shared that Albert wanted to paint the room white, but said that, "Sis insisted on painting it yellow, and she was right. The art just pops against that color." Then Miles mentioned that several antique vendors on the floor below used the same taxi-cab yellow in their own booths to showcase their art to great effect.

Another famous taxi-cab yellow room included in the talk was Nancy Lancaster's sitting room . . .

The "Coca-Cola" colored walls of Billy Baldwin (among others) made a big impact on him as well . . . 

Some other little tidbits . . . Miles never met a mirror he didn't like, and it's been said he can't decorate a room without a screen or tray. He admits to having weaknesses for both. He also made repeated references to making a silk purse out of a sow's ear by using nice lampshades, embellishing doors and accessorizing with books. It was truly a delightful and educational experience listening to Miles speak about his inspirations and some of his heroes.

After the lecture, we headed down to the floor of the Antiques and Garden Show itself to peruse the offerings. Please be aware most of these items are for serious collectors, and by serious I mean those who can afford to drop several thousand dollars on one item. Unfortunately, this does not include me, but I see this all as a chance to educate and train my eye. I can definitely appreciate the finer things, just can't always afford them. Here are some of the things that caught my eye . . .
First of all, this garden installation at the entrance was striking. Something about suspended bodies made out of grass was both captivating and creepy . . . the perfect thing to grab your attention.
Loved the juxtaposition of vibrant modern art against a tradtional chest and lamps. 
A beautiful japanned cabinet.

Once again, I like how an abstract piece of art was placed next to something totally unexpected like this screenprint. You ever heard of Banksy, the graffiti artist?
There was a documentary called Exit Through the Gift Shop that features his work and his radical opinions on politics, goverment, society and art. I've never seen it, but heard it's interesting.
All I know is that $15K is way out of my budget for a screenprinted rat with a boombox.

Of course, I loved all the Chinoiserie-inspired pieces in this particular taxi-cab yellow booth (there were several, by the way - it was paper that I'm sure the A & G Show provided. And as Miles mentioned, the art and accessories do pop against it).

Great hand-painted detail on the back of these vivid orange French gilded chairs. Love it.
Miles would have liked all the mirrors. 

 Loved the backs of these French chairs in Le Tigre and the empire bench in Leopardo. Yummy.
I just wanted to curl up on this creamy velvet tufted settee. Isn't it gorgeous?
The contrast of this crane art against the modern orange lamps made quite an impression.
Red lacquered tole pagoda lamps and some dragon candle holders. Need I say more? I don't think I would used them in the same space as they are statement-making on their own.
 A butterscotch soapstone carved goddess.
 This piece was $64,000. I kid you not.
 More Asian goodnesss.
 This was a mirrored Asian bar/console. Very interesting.
And, finally, I'm not even sure if these lucite/glass shelves were for sale or just display, but I loved them.

So, did you enjoy this little glimpse into the Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville? I had such a great time. My only regret is my hair malfunction, but you can't win them all.