Archive for September, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A photo shoot, and a twitter tale

Today was the photo shoot for my space at Designer Spaces & Mar­ket Places in Hart­ford, the inte­rior design event which opens Thurs­day evening. There's an inter­est­ing social media back story to how I ended up spend­ing the day with a fab­u­lous pho­tog­ra­pher I had never met.

Way back in June, the savvy Suzi Craig over at Fathom had a, not really a come-to-Jesus talk, rather a come-to-the-new-gods-of-social-media talk with me. She stressed the impor­tance of con­nect­ing to peo­ple in the online world, and I insisted that Twit­ter was sim­ply not a place for me. It seemed ridicu­lous to think the Twit­ter expe­ri­ence could apply to me and my busi­ness.  I have nei­ther time nor inter­est in the meals and minu­tiae of strangers  - and that was my per­cep­tion of Twitter.

If you know Suzi, you know how per­sua­sive she can be, and before I knew it, I had a Twit­ter han­dle (@exuberanthome) and was dip­ping my toes into the twirling mael­strom that is Twit­ter. In short order, I was fol­low­ing and had acquired fol­low­ers. To my sur­prise the vast major­ity of these peo­ple are inter­est­ing. And infor­ma­tive. And con­nected to oth­ers like them­selves. Sud­denly I'm actu­ally IN a world-wide web of fun, cre­ative people.

Apolo­gies for the long-winded tale, but here's another inter­con­nected aside. Last Thurs­day, I attended an AIGA Break­fast Epiphany, hosted by the same Suzi Craig, where I met some seri­ously cool peo­ple. The dis­cus­sion of social media touched an inter­est­ing ques­tion: is your online voice your authen­tic self, or do you por­tray some­one else?  As a per­son who barely has time to have one online voice, I can't imag­ine hav­ing the energy to think up and con­sis­tently apply some other per­sona to my online inter­ac­tions. WYSIWYG with me. But the ques­tion of authen­tic­ity struck a chord.

Of the peo­ple I have "met" on Twit­ter, some really res­onate with me, I think, mostly because I believe their voice is authen­tic. I read their tweets and their blog posts and their nature shines through. It feels uncon­trived. And so I tweeted in August ask­ing "do you know a good, local inte­ri­ors pho­tog­ra­pher?" I received a reply from some­one whose online voice is so gen­uine — Amy Dra­goo at ABCD Designs. Because I believe in her authen­tic­ity, I believed her rec­om­men­da­tion would be worth­while. Does that make me naïve or overly trust­ing, or sim­ply ful­fill the adage that nice peo­ple have nice friends?

I have never met Amy, but she referred me to Michael Parte­nio, some­one she has never met, because she is con­nected to Stacy Kun­stel who is con­nected to Michael. So if you're still with me — the inter­sec­tion of four peo­ple who have never met in the real world resulted in me hav­ing a photo shoot with a ter­rific pho­tog­ra­pher — tak­ing pic­tures of a space titled "Wall Posts". A space designed around the con­cept of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and the noise which sur­rounds us all from places like Twit­ter and Facebook.

The moral of this cir­cu­lar Twit­ter tale: despite the noise, there are real, mean­ing­ful con­nec­tions to be made via social media. When you get there — look me up @exuberanthome.

you really didn't think I'd reveal it before the show opens, did you?

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

designer spaces & market places — opens this week!

A heart­felt thank you to Hart­ford Courant reporter Nancy Schoef­fler for Friday's arti­cle about Spaces & Places!

Tick­ets for Fri­day, Sat­ur­day and Sun­day WILL be avail­able at the door. Please visit,  sup­port two ter­rific orga­ni­za­tions and see a first-of-its-kind show­case of inte­rior design tal­ent from across the metro area. There is truly some­thing for every­one, as the designer vignettes span a broad spec­trum from tra­di­tional to eclec­tic to funky!

Spaces & Places ben­e­fits two won­der­ful com­mu­nity non-profts in Hart­ford CT — Rebuild­ing Together Hart­ford and the Hart­ford Preser­va­tion Alliance. Please join us Sep­tem­ber 23rd for the open­ing night cock­tail party 6:00to 9:00 p.m. The main event will be open on Fri­day, Sep­tem­ber 24 through Sat­ur­day, Sep­tem­ber 25, from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sun­day, Sep­tem­ber 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Tick­ets are $50 for the open­ing night event and $25 for gen­eral admis­sion, and can be pur­chased by con­tact­ing tickets@spacesplace.org or call­ing Rebuild­ing Together Hart­ford at 860.757.9425 or Hart­ford Preser­va­tion Alliance at 860.570.0331.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

musing on muses — interior design inspirations

A client recently asked, with some sense of amaze­ment, “Where do your design ideas come from?”  I believe I man­aged a coher­ent answer at the time, but the ques­tion started me mus­ing on muses.  The idea of a Muse as a source of artis­tic inspi­ra­tion orig­i­nated with the ancient Greeks. The Muses, orig­i­nally three but later a set of nine god­desses, embod­ied the arts and inspired the cre­ative process with their graces.  I love the idea of hav­ing a Muse (or three or nine) for my work! Poets and writ­ers, artists and musi­cians have had Muses since ancient times, so cre­ative design­ers are in good company!

Muses…inspirations…what launches a room design?  My first muse has to be Fab­ric.  I love every kind of fab­ric – from col­or­ful print fab­rics to cot­tons, linens, silks, wovens…they all have a place in my heart. Fab­rics are a muse on every one of my designs.  The col­ors and tex­tures, the com­bi­na­tions and vari­a­tions — they are a prime dri­ver on every project I design, every space I trans­form. I am always search­ing out the newest arrivals from the mills, exper­i­ment­ing with unique com­bi­na­tions I have not tried before, mix­ing col­ors and pat­terns to find those that res­onate with my clients and myself.  Def­i­nitely the first of my Muses is fabric.

a few lovely fab­rics from Kravet

The sec­ond Muse I’ve been mus­ing about is Books. I love books and could not live in a home with­out them.  Read­ing is a pas­sion of mine and I enjoy the solid feel of a book in my hands.  Books are so multi-purpose! They are enter­tain­ing, inter­est­ing, and beau­ti­ful all at the same time. I never feel remorse for spend­ing money on books — they offer so much and always make me happy.

Books are always part of my inte­ri­ors. I think book­shelves are for books, not a lot of tchochkes. I love them on tables and desks and benches. They make inte­ri­ors feel loved and they make peo­ple feel wel­come. A room never feels clin­i­cal if it includes books.  Design inspi­ra­tion might come from a col­or­ful cover, a descrip­tion in the text of a char­ac­ter or place, even the feel of worn leather and faded gilt let­ter­ing.  Favorite Muse #2 – Books.

books add instant warmth to this renewed fam­ily room

Finally, what can be more inspi­ra­tional that Art?  I am an art lover! From the clas­si­cal greats like Bot­ti­celli (whose lush “Birth of Venus” is my all-time favorite) to neo­plas­ti­cist Mon­drian and con­tem­po­rary Cana­dian Karen Rieger, all art urges me to look at color and con­text in new ways.

botticelli's birth of venus

mondrian's com­po­si­tion ii in red, blue and yel­low 1930

rieger's win­ter

When I travel I always make time for muse­ums and gal­leries, and have been lucky enough to visit many of the world’s great art muse­ums. I could spend days in Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum.  Such color, tex­ture, and pas­sion despite the artist’s per­sonal depths of despair – how can a viewer not be moved?  The third of my Muses – Art.

van gogh's self por­tait with felt hat

I’ve mused on three of my design Muses. What inspires you in your own home?

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

designer spaces & market places — blue tape is not my friend

Remod­el­ing, new construction, even sim­ple redec­o­rat­ing, every one of these is fraught with the unex­pected. As a designer, I've come to expect the unex­pected, and I work hard to ensure my clients are com­fort­ably insu­lated from the bumps in the road. For a show house event, I the designer am, for all intents, the client. And I really could use some shock absorbers!

My favorite painter unex­pect­edly got a nice big job at the other end of the state. So instead of work­ing on my show space, he's earn­ing a pay­check else­where, and I cer­tainly can't blame him.  No wor­ries, I said. I can do this. What the hell was I thinking?

I'm try­ing to cre­ate "noisy" walls, so chose black and white hor­i­zon­tal stripes in vary­ing widths. This seemed like an espe­cially great idea when some­one else was doing the paint­ing. But with scale plan of stripes in hand, I tack­led it on my own. What seemed like miles of blue tape went up on the lovely base of Far­row & Ball's Wim­borne White.

Where we started:

Start­ing to remove the cursed blue tape:

The tape is off. Looks okay, right?  Despite my best attempts to ensure a tight seal, the damned blue tape allowed plenty of lit­tle paint bleeds. And so I am in the process of man­u­ally retrac­ing each of those lines, top and bot­tom, with a thin brush to even out the edges. Blue tape is not my friend. Blue tape is a betrayer — it's siren call of per­fectly straight edges draws you in, but then smack! Real­ity is a bitch. Over­promise and unde­liver — that is blue tape's mantra.

Frankly, my free-hand method of re-lining may be a lit­tle wob­bly in places, but over­all it's an improve­ment. May the touch ups con­tinue, as tomor­row friends arrive to start post­ing on my Walls!

And yet another plug for Spaces & Places ben­e­fits two won­der­ful com­mu­nity char­i­ties in Hart­ford CT — Rebuild­ing Together Hart­ford and the Hart­ford Preser­va­tion Alliance. Please join us Sep­tem­ber 23rd for the open­ing night cock­tail party 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The main event will be open on Fri­day, Sep­tem­ber 24 through Sat­ur­day, Sep­tem­ber 25, from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sun­day, Sep­tem­ber 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Tick­ets are $50 for the open­ing night event and $25 for gen­eral admis­sion, and can be pur­chased by con­tact­ing tickets@spacesplace.org or call­ing Rebuild­ing Together Hart­ford at 860.757.9425 or Hart­ford Preser­va­tion Alliance at 860.570.0331.

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