Monday, January 30, 2012

What I am needing today...

via Home

Today, I am feeling like a rag that has been run through the wringer.  

On Saturday, I hosted a benefit for a friend of mine, Julie, 

who became paralyzed in a car accident last November.

She broke two vertebrae in her neck and now

 is wheel-chair bound with limited use of her arms and hands.

  There is only a 2% chance she will walk again.

She is 49 years old and prior to the accident, she had been 

a nurse, a student in a massage therapy program, a kayaker, a dancer, 

My friend,  Julie in her kayak

a mother, grandmother, a painter, a musician, and a baker. 

I spent the past two months coordinating this event, which included

food, a silent auction, and 6 hours of live music.  

The community really pulled together in a stunning show 

of support.

 Six hundred people attended and raised over $21,000--

not bad for an economically depressed, rural area!

Silly woman that I am, I neglected to take today off work

to allow myself time to recuperate.  

Saturday was like running a sprint for 14 hours straight.

My mom teased me about launching a second career as an event planner,

but I don't think I could do this type of work all the time.

I am glad to have been able to help Julie.  She has a long,

difficult road ahead of her, and she is facing this

challenge with grace and strength. 

Please send up a little prayer for her.

Have any of you undertaken a fundraising venture like this?

If so, I would love to hear your stories and the stories of those

whom your efforts benefitted.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why decorating?

The passions we have are a curious thing.

Some are innate, some are cultivated,

via Restoration Hardware

while others, still, seem to be a combination 

of both nurturing and natural ability.

In my own experience, the things I am drawn toward

are things I enjoyed as a child-- 

art-making, decorating, writing.

These were pursuits I followed from as young 

as age four.

While other children I knew played house to emulate the 

gender and familial roles

they were immersed in,

I played house so that I could decorate a space 

with things 

that I found to be pretty.

via Elle Decor France

Playing house, for me, required a physical space 

set apart from the rest of the world,

whether it was a tree house; 

via Still Here Waiting

or an outdoor room, enclosed by trees.

via Bohemia Designs

 I would bring my favorite objects into that space 

to make it my own.

So, this love for prettifying spaces has been with me 

a very long time!

via That's Chic

In my professional experience, I have come to note that

human beings have a need to create order out of chaos 

(although there are many people who have a need to also create chaos out of order.  

I avoid them in my personal life when at all possible).

I advise my clients of this need for order 

and point out ways in which it is met, 

even on a minute scale:

playing solitaire, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, 

organizing a drawer,

cleaning out a closet, washing dishes,  

doing soduku puzzles, 

putting dishes and clothing away.

via House Beautiful

These are all examples of situations 

where things are either a literal mess to be cleaned

 or where things are in a random arrangement.

It soothes the psyche to find ways to create order.

With order comes predictability.

We like to know what to expect.

And when life throws fast balls at us, 

if there are areas of our

lives which are already ordered, 

it will be easier to respond in ways

that lessen the damage that comes when we are hit.

My love of decorating serves the function 

of adding order to my life,

via Pottery Barn

tapping into a desire to express my creativity, 

allowing me to work with tangibles 

(when my profession deals with mostly 

intangible things).

What about you?  

Have you thought about why you are drawn to 


What functions does this passion serve?  

What needs does it satisfy?

Until next time.. 


Sunday, January 15, 2012

I'm in the mood...

via Marie Claire

As a psychotherapist, I am a professional student of mood.
Our mood is transient, based on feelings we have at the time,
which in and of themselves are a complex stew
of varied, and sometimes conflicting, ingredients.

via Stinemos
Interior spaces have great power to influence our feeling states.
Style sets the tone of a space and contributes to its mood,
and the mood is related to
the associations we possess, the memories conjured up for us,
and the dreams that are inspired.
Other factors that contribute to how a room feels
are lighting, color, texture, sheen, furnishings,
 scale, and how sparse or cluttered it is.
Dim lighting is easy on the eyes and invites relaxation.
Softness in furnishings and color creates a sense of comfort,
as do pieces that are perfectly scaled to the size of the room and for adult bodies.
Clutter can feel chaotic, but austerity can feel cold.

via The Design Files

Rooms that magnetize me are moody ones, with drab walls, 
time-worn finishes,and loads of visual texture, 
sprinkled with hints of refinement.
Add a sparking chandelier to that mix, and you've got me every time!
I associate these spaces with listening to the music of 
Eric Satie and Franz Liszt, with reading tragic love stories,
with afternoons spent writing in my journal,
and nights of candlelit passion. 

via Marie Claire

And then there are the rooms that suit my desire for reverie.
These spaces are light, aptmospheric, ethereal.  
They seem to be spaces where dreams are launched on the wing,
where poetry and music take flight.  
They speak of spring and warm breezes,
of birdsong and butterflies,
of crisp white flowers. 

via Pottery Barn

Light has a magical power on mood.  Bright spaces inspire me to create.
In winter, our need for light is even greater.
Many people who experience some form of depression tend to have
a worsening of their condition in winter, 
mostly due to the lack of sunshine.  
Rooms like this one above evoke thoughts of afternoon tea with close friends,
of spreading out piles of decorating books and magazines to scour,
of projects to be hatched.  

via Pottery Barn
This room is also a congenial one, both bright and warm,
just like my favorite people!
It is a space where happiness abounds and comfort rules, 
a place where it's okay to put up your feet,
sip on a cocktail, and share your funniest stories. 

via the beautiful life

As you can see, my tastes in decor are as varied as my mood states, 
(and this is not to say that varying mood states necessarily equate with pathology).  
We all have times where solitude is required, along with times where
we need to be around others.  

The challenge in decorating a cohesive house is in accommodating those
divergent needs, in balancing private spaces with public ones,
all in a style that reflects who we really are
and the mood we hope to foster when we walk through the front door.
I invite you to consider the impact of mood on your spaces and 
the way your spaces influence you feeling states.  
Changing any element in a room, from the way it is lit to the color scheme
will affect the way it makes you feel.

Playing around with these elements is half the fun of decorating afterall!

Until next time...


Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Today is a sick day for me, and an opportunity to indulge a desire

to meditate on the use of texture in living spaces.

Using a variety of textures is a must

when pulling together a neutral color scheme.

If color is the body of a room,

then texture is the soul.

It elevates a room beyond the visual

and into the sensuous.

Softness, warmth, and comfort are all qualities that are derived from

smart use of texture.

In the main room of my house,

there is a multitude of textures.

Here you see gray velvet chairs

ultimately touchable and luxurious,

flanking a white painted table.

The table is decorated with fresh, fluffy flowers;

a chrome lamp topped with a linen shade;

a stack of woven boxes; a matted photograph; and frosted glass

votive holders.

On the wall above are an etched mirror and pressed

botanicals, also textural elements.

This photo shows the flooring change from glowing pine

to soft carpeting. The metal bed adds contrast in both color

and material.

Bookshelves are a great way to introduce texture and interest

to a room (although they can easily become a catchall, as mine seem to have done here).

Rustic baskets and books of all sizes line the shelves.

Books represent knowledge, escape, and relaxation,

begging to be opened and devoured.

A wool rug at the front door denotes a tiny entry.

Flooring sets the tone of a room and is one of the largest

sources of texture in the house. Paneled doors and routered edges

add texture and depth to furniture. Even video boxes provide

visual interest and invite you to spend some time in repose.

The close-ups that follow reveal additional detail.

Dried hydrangeas from the garden pair with a woven bee skep

and a black-and-white photo atop a bookshelf.

A vignette consisting of a potted, cloche-covered plant; crystal candle sticks;

a silver candle holder; a deer antler; a frosted glass votive;

and a thickly woven table runner sits atop an antique dresser.

Houseplants add living texture.

Fresh flowers delight all the senses.

The matelaisse spread on my bed feels delightful

beneath the fingertips (so does Igby's fur).

As a tactile person, one who is often running my hands over fabrics

and materials, having a variety of things to touch

makes spaces feel more peaceful to me.

I often run my hands up and down the arm rests on those

velvet chairs.

On cold nights, I snuggle beneath the fuzzy wool blanket while

watching movies.

And on hot days, the cotton canvas slipcovers stay cool to the touch.

I invite you to consider the textural elements in your own home

and to use this aspect of design to breathe depth into your own rooms

and comfort into your life.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Campaign Bed

Oh, the joys of a room make-over!

The best make-overs involve some things old

and some things new; and in this re-do,

I have acquired the bed of my dreams .

In my last post, I waxed rhapsodic about the allure

of campaign beds and mentioned that I had recently

ordered one from Restoration Hardware.

Their 19th century campaign bed is as gorgeous in person

as it is on their website!

I adore this iron canopy bed, which now dominates our bedroom,

filling it with grandure, inspiring a total make-over of this

tiny space. A new mattress by Stearns & Foster provides support

for slumbering bodies.

This is my bedroom prior to the make-over.

The walls were VERY green and much too dark

for my taste. The headboard was simply slip-covered in white cotton.

I had made it to try to add more white to offset the intensity of the green.

No matter how much white I added to the space,

the walls felt oppressive to me.

In the process of the make-over,

I painted the walls "Toasted Almond" by Olympic paints,

and the room is now soft, even in the harsh afternoon light.

The new bed brings vertical lines to heighten the

drama of the room.

I have owned this dresser for 20 years and am

still in love with the voluptuous lines of the mirror,

which beautifully reflects the curving lines of the canopy

An old sewing machine table that once belonged to my

grandmother serves as a bedside table.

Wall-mounted, swing-arm, aged-bronze lamps

added to either side of the bed, allow more surface area

on both bedside tables.

This is a great space-saving strategy for tiny bedrooms.

So each night, as I lie in bed reading myself to sleep,

I gaze around this bedroom and bask in its elegance.

As a hopeless romantic, bedrooms are my favorite rooms

in the house, and I have a need to both slumber and

awaken in beauty, calm, and luxury.

Now the bedroom I live in satisfies these basic needs.

Sweet dreams, dear readers. May your bedroom dreams

also come true.

Until next time...


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