Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Journey of Healing

Generally my blog is all about home decor, and not too much about me. But today I felt like sharing what's really going on and why I haven't felt like posting lately. I suppose it's very strange to post personal things on a website that anyone can read, but I'm hoping it will be somewhat therapeutic, and maybe some of you out there can relate.

My husband and I have been trying to start a family now for what feels like forever, and other than our two beautiful dogs, have had no success.

We've finally decided to move forward with adoption, but after the disappointments we've faced so far, that is a huge step for us and a giant leap of faith. Although mentally I am excited about the prospect of adopting a beautiful child, inside I'm still grieving the heartbreaks and disappointments we have encountered along the way.

Since I have a month off between semesters (one of the many benefits of being a poor teacher!), Ben and I traveled down to Florida to see his family, and then made the trek up to Asheville, NC to see mine.

While we were in Asheville, I had determined to take a personal retreat. Last fall, my brother took me to a beautiful chapel somewhere in the mountains called Quiet Reflections, and I knew that would be the perfect place to get away. So, I took off up the mountain, even though there had been a foot of snow the week before, and I didn't know the conditions of the roads, or if it would even be open. On the way I enjoyed the beautiful lakes and rivers, chilled by the remaining heaps and drifts of snow. As I neared my destination, I realized that the roads were not as clear as I had hoped. And when I turned onto the steep, winding dirt road that would lead me to my place of quiet retreat, I began to notice snowy, icy patches. Still, I persevered! Not far from the top, I spotted a man up ahead who looked like he was taking care of the property (truly the quintessential mountain man, long bushy beard, over-alls, banged up truck and all). Fearing the worst, I rolled down my window and shouted to him, "Is the chapel closed?" He assured me it wasn't, but that I would probably want to park at the retreat house, and then walk the rest of the way up to the chapel. It was then that I thought about the shoes I was wearing...

I suppose I hadn't truly prepared for my journey. But nothing was to stop me this day. I needed to kneel before God and seek healing for my pitiful, tired out heart.

As I slogged my way through the mud and snow, the crisp mountain air and the chilling wind began to invigorate me (even as the snow and ice was quickly numbing my toes). And as soon as I reached the chapel, I knew it would be worth it. It was just as humble and majestic as I had remembered. As you approach the door, it appears to be nothing more than a tiny, unassuming, log cabin.

But as you enter through the heavy wooden doors, you are greeted with majestic splendor. A giant window overlooks all of God's creation as if to remind you of your own profound insignificance. I bowed in awe and worship, and what followed was a time of deep sadness, and great comfort. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4

I can't say that I truly understand how comfort, even the comfort of the Lord is a blessing, in light of the pain of mourning, but I do hope to one day understand. And although my heart still aches for ungranted hopes, dreams and desires, in that small mountain chapel, in the face of all creation and majesty, I once again gave these dreams back to the Lord, for He knows me and cares for me.

It is my prayer that He will surprise us with blessings beyond what we can imagine, ("I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer. 29:11. But in the meantime, I continue this journey, often troublesome and wearying, but sometimes full of beauty, wonder and delight.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nina Campbell

This is the coolest wallpaper from Nina Campbell's Spring 09 collection. Amazing designer, and marketing genius, she has her own line of wallpaper, furniture, home accessories, etc. And it's all lovely. See for yourself.

I know it's hard to do wallpaper well, but her designs make me want to at least try! She has translated many of her wallpaper designs into fabric--great idea for those less inclined to try pasting something to your wall.

I guess my penchant for fabric and patterns really comes through in this post, but I just love her bold, unique designs. Yummy to my eyes!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chloe Warner

So last week I got inspired, and then I got busy. So, here's the first installment of my new plan.

Chloe Warner of Redmond Aldrich Designs (also an editor for Lucky magazine) caught my eye with this particular bedroom ensemble.

A Harvard graduate, Ms. Warner is clearly very talented. I think I was drawn the eclectic, yet traditional nature of this design. I love the interesting bird lamps, and their cheery yellow. I am also a sucker for patterned drapes. So, I checked out this lovely designer a little further, and realized that this very pic, really does epitomize her style. You will see the same type of fabric, throughout many of her designs. She seems to love florals and birds. Kind of a twist on your grandmother's style.

So, to be honest, after checking out her webpage, I wasn't totally in love with all of her work, but I did really like the room posted below.

This next shot is a close-up of the drapes. Don't you just love how the light shines through them and illuminates the pattern?


Friend Heroin and a New Inspiration

So, my three best friends from high school were here this weekend and let me tell you--we had an awesome time! In fact, it was like a triple shot of friend heroin. They left at 1:00 today and now I'm going through serious withdrawal! You forget how much fun you have with people that you don't get to see regularly, so then when you finally get to see them, you feel their absence that much more!
So one of my dear friends, Tara, gave me a great belated birthday present--the Domino Book of Decorating, and I'm so excited!

So I've gotten re-inspired for my blog. I'm starting a list of every designer from this book that inspires me in some way, then I'm going to research them further and post all of their coolest designs. I feel kind of like Julie from Julie and Julia (great movie!). But instead of french recipes, I'm going to post about fabulous designers! I see all of these great designers highlighted on my fellow design blogs, and most of them I've never heard of--so I'm going to educate myself. Now I know you're just dying with curiosity to see who's going to be featured first...but you'll have to wait until tomorrow (or sometime this week).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Office Envy

I spend so much time these days in my office, that I often get distracted thinking about how I wish I could really re-decorate it. One of my good friends helped me rearrange (and I put up my super cool curtains from IKEA) and it made a huge difference! But I really want to start over from scratch. Here's a nice office from Pottery Barn. I think I would definitely get more work done if I had a new desk! But why is mine always sooooo much more cluttered than this!? Oh, I know, because I don't live inside a magazine! Oh well, some day...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Windsor Smith

As I'm busily procrastinating my homework, I decided to take a few much needed minutes to try to catch up on my blog reading. And as La Dolce Vita has become a staple for me (as for most of you I'm sure), I really liked the room she posted today by Windsor Smith, and so I investigated her page, and was not disappointed. Paloma chose one of her rooms from the "Mandeville Bungalow." The first picture I've posted is another shot from the same house, and the next two are from the "Beach House." I hope you enjoy them as much I did.

Great mixture of colors, styles and textiles!
I totally want to hang out at this house! I feel relaxed just looking at it. Can you imagine if this were your beach get-away?
Have a fabulous weekend--we're headed to the mountains instead of the beach, celebrating my mom's birthday!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I'm no longer an IKEA virgin

A while ago I mentioned that I finally made my maiden voyage to Ikea. Now for those of you design professionals who live in your big fancy cities where you're practically tripping over shops with fabulous with cutting edge design, this might not be very meaningful to you. In fact, you might not even be that impressed with Ikea at all. But for those of us living in third world countries, such as Columbia, SC, relatively devoid of all fashion and style, it is a BIG deal to finally have an Ikea within close driving distance.

So, on my last trip though Charlotte, I dragged my loving husband with me to experience the wonderland of Scandanavian design. And let me tell you--it did not disappoint! Just driving up to the big blue and yellow building was an awe-inspiring event.

I knew that good, affordable design was finally within reach. Walking through the doors was an exhilirating sensation, although I was slightly disoriented by the enormity of the building. We headed upstairs to the showroom (other friends had made the pilgrimage before us and brought back tales of the expansive display of home delight and perfection) where let me tell you, I was NOT disappointed. I began to skip and dance through the rooms as an unspeakable joy coursed through my veins. (I really did dance through the rooms until I ran into a stranger who didn't seem quite as entranced as I, and in fact thought it was odd to see a 30 year old woman skipping about like a small child at FAO Schwarz).

As I made my way through room after perfect room, sitting on every hip, cool, mod, fabulous chair, opening drawer after drawer of slick modern storage compartments on super cool wheelie thingies, I realized that my entire home needs redecorating. I mean, why not? It's so affordable!

After about 30 minutes of wandering through the maze of modern, fabulous chicness, my husband said to me, "You've got about 20 more minutes til I'm done with this." What? I've only just begun! I could stay here another 3 hours! How could he not understand that this was the happiest I've felt in weeks.

And so, I raced through the rest of the showroom breathless with wonder and delight (also because I really was practically running), so as not to miss a single thing. I was patting myself on the back as I headed down the escalator because at least I'd managed to see everything, only to be confronted by another whole level with millions of other must-have items that would make my life so much better! And so, I swore to myself that I would be back soon when no one could stop me from soaking in every drop of the marvel that is Ikea.
I came out with only this set of curtains, which I love! I'm putting them in our office and wondering what accent color I'm going to use since they are so neutral. Right now I'm thinking a deep purplish red, the color of my red shamrocks. What do you guys think?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Brain Dead

image via anne nauman photography
Just in case anyone is wondering why I haven't posted in a while, it's because I will never catch up on all of my reading for classes long enough to have a creative thought!!! Someone please inspire me and give me a good idea for a post.
I'd like to post on the fact that I finally made my maiden voyage to IKEA, but I don't think I can do it justice right now. So, maybe if I can finish one of the 3 books and 5 million journal articles I have to read by next Saturday, I'll attempt it. (I'm sorry if this is sounding too whiny.)

The books I'm reading aren't quite this picturesque, but you get the idea. Someone, please inspire me!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Unique Style

Once again, my turquoise friend (okay, we've never met, but I really like her blog, so I think of her as my friend) has introduced me to someone cool. On a recent post she featured some photography of Joanna Henderson, but true to her obsession, she only posted the aqua elements. So I followed her link to Joanna Henderson, and was intrigued by some of her other rooms. And being the equal opportunity color appreciator that I am, I thought I'd feature them here.
What style would you call this? It's such a nice mix of styles that it's a little hard to classify. Maybe some of you real designers could enlighten me. Any thoughts?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Any Phoebe Howard Fans?

Thanks to some fabulous blog out there, I'm sorry I don't remember which one, I was turned on to the designs of Phoebe Howard. I checked out her website and found her style to be beautiful, yet also versatile. The ones I've featured here have some definite similarities in color and style, because those are the ones that appealed to me. But I really liked how she is able to create many varied looks, some bold, graphic, fresh and new. Others more classic and traditional. Still others very simple and/or artsy. Ms. Howard's got something for everyone. How do you like these?

Here I'm drawn to the softness of the pink.

The symmetry in this room is fantastic.

Of course I'm always drawn to textiles.

And once again, the pink just does it for me!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Blogosphere Made me Feel Better

When I saw this picture, I thought, "It must have been taken before everything happened! She looks way too happy and carefree." But it's true. Everything that happens does make us stronger if we let it. And today this made me feel a little bit better.

image via jolie marie

And something that made me feel a lot better were all the belly laughs I got while scrolling through and reading Mabel's House. It started with "Tyler Florence Nearly Made Me Barf." As I laughed out loud my husband had to come in to the office to see what I was laughing about. Then I came across this picture...

...and the belly laughed turned into a guffaw.

And by the time I got to "Sleeping With the Enemy" I had erupted into furious giggles so that I could hardly read the post out loud to Ben who was also giggling along with me.

Anyway, if you haven't read her blog, you should!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Passion for Prints

The only thing that ties these rooms together is how much I love all of the textiles.

images via

Porch Envy

Ben and I have a cute little porch on the front of our house, but it is so small, and Columbia is so hot, that we really spend zero time out there. So, as I was browsing through this tour of homes on, I was hit with a little porch envy. You can probably see why.

Our porch...

Dream porch...

Can't you just imagine spending all day here?

Here's another one.

And this little side porch is perfect for the buggy days since it's screened in.


Another New House

Recently I posted about a friend who just bought a new house, and needed inspiration. Well, I have another friend who just bought her first house and has painted the kitchen a VERY bright yellow. She wants help knowing what else to do with it. I suggested using black and white as accents, but she also wants to work in red to match her dishes. Here are some pics with yellow as a part of the room. Any suggestions of what to do with this much yellow on the walls?

images via elle decor and house beautiful