fashion. wine. design... and my life.

Posts Tagged ‘design’

Ready. Set. Click. Yes, she Canon!

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2015 at 1:18 pm

unnamedIntuitively creative and artistic, eh?

Those in my circle would offer that as an assessment of my current photography skills… and humbly, I would  agree.

Attracted to every aspect of photography… countless hours of snapping images, reading, studying other photographers and web searching have been invested.  Haha — an abundance of trial and error indeed — if you only knew how I have pained over creating bokeh in my compositions!

Self- taught, and a decent photographer… I know that the information untapped is considerable.  Still perplexed by aperture, still perfecting composition and working my camera in manual mode, the mission of becoming astute continues to be the goal.

Action plan?


The action plan has been implemented and it is time for that next step… one that is LONG overdue.

Actually, it should read as such:  L. O. N. G. OVERDUE… for commencing tomorrow, yours truly is beginning studies as a student in the Washington School of Photography, Professional Photography Program.

Shhhhhh.  Listen carefully… you can hear me shouting from the rooftops…“Oh freaking happy day!”

All things happen for a reason…. and the reason that this endeavor hasn’t happen sooner, will perhaps one day be revealed.  I know for certain that timing is crucial; patience even more so.  Especially since two years prior, I participated in conversations with the program registrar and opted out — knowing that a “right-fit” wasn’t right then.

Since that conversation, the signs indicating that I needed to move forward, have been everywhere.   Even more so now…

How does one describe that feeling… the feeling of knowing that the moment is now right.  Elated?!  Yep… elated!

Big picture though…  29 days ago, my 45th birthday was celebrated.

For me, birthdays offer wonderful opportunities to be relished by loved ones, reflect on accomplishments and roadmap the way for new birthday wishes made.

Since turning 40 in the midst of an awful snowstorm… celebrating with friends and family in Paris on my 42nd birthday and shaving my head on my 43rd birthday, that day, 7 February, serves as momentum for newness.

More important, the wisdom that is gained with each passing birthday, I am truly compelled to share.  Since I am constantly learning from others, my hope is that perhaps someone; mainly my two children and especially my daughter (who, even though she will not admit it, is always carefully watching her mother’s actions) can possibly gain something from my experiences.

Back to the big picture…

Tomorrow marks more that just the beginning of a photography program.  It marks the notion that all things are possible and it is NEVER too late to pursue your aspirations!

Back in late December of 2014, serious preparations for this program officially went into play.  All with the objective of pursuing a dream and entering another birthday with a next step of improvement secured — fulfilling a wish made.

In being transparent, the African proverb – It takes a village – is applicable to me.  Without embarrassment I say that even at 45 years of age and working full-time outside of the home, the financial investment of family has enabled this opportunity to become reality.  For that, I am eternally grateful… and deeply touched that they too share my dream and see my potential.

More transparency…

What used to embarrass me and cause me angst in conversation is no more.  Never a untruth told… I just artfully evaded the question or skillfully used semantics in my favor when answering… but truth be told, I did not graduate from college.  For a long list of reasons (some 23 years later, many of which now seem so frivolous) the years spent at The College of William and Mary did not yield a degree… instead, a wealth of knowledge, an unforgettable experience, a close circle of friends, a compassionate man who became my husband and a career in interior design.  Haha — perhaps I did graduate, eh?!

Sans degree, I still know that knowledge is key and educating/investing in yourself is a nonnegotiable.

So… with the many hats that I wear, I am eager to add another and take my photography to the next level.  When my children become adults and coherent to rhythms of adult life, I am hoping that my actions make them proud.  I am hoping that they view me as a role model and see my appetite to improve myself as tenacious… and in their own life, they too follow suit.

This past Christmas, my husband gifted me with a phenomenal 50mm lens for my camera.  His way of offering me a nudge in the direction of my goals.  His words… “Kisha, you are about to blow up!”  My interpretation of his words… in a true T.I fashion, “do it, do it, do it… whatcha waiting for?  Big things poppin’!”

I’m on the move… and my appetite for photography is ravenous.

And… over this year-long program, I intend on quenching it and getting full!

Taking it one step further, my life as a stella & dot stylist and the company mission have definitely been a fantastic influence on my photography ventures… that mission:  to give EVERY woman the means to style their own life.

Well here I go… here I go!

Ahem… what was that?  Did you say you needed to hire me to take your picture?  (wink. wink)


Very soon.











































Host and Hostess chairs: create your dining statement!

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Who says that everything has to match?

Surely not me!

As a lover of an eclectic vibe… pattern mixed with pattern, mixed with even more pattern, I tend to jump at the opportunity to infuse contrasting elements into design.  Elements that on the surface appear to be unconnected but once placed together – into a composition – they read harmonious and seem to sing.  A melody that I find both thrilling and soothing… yet others might find peculiar, perhaps even difficult to understand.

Haha… not to go off a tangent on the subjectivity of design, the point is this:  sometimes mixing things up a bit adds to the charm, interest or DRAMA of a space.  So I say… why not adopt that concept at your table?   Creating a dining space that packs a punch, generates conversation and makes a statement can be easily accomplished simply by adding unexpectedly designed Host and Hostess chairs!

A Host and Hostess what?

You know… the chairs that flank the end of your table.  Chairs traditionally reserved as seating for the Host and Hostess of the “event”… leaving all of the others chairs that surround the table for the guests.  Most often, people tend to keep the Host and Hostess chairs uniform in style… having the differentiation solely noted by the addition of arms.  Works for many… and to prevent anyone from perceiving me as judgmental, this homogeneous look can be appealing.


Why not add another dimension to the look of the room and to the table?

Mix it up, eh?!

Make the design of the Host and Hostess chairs completely different and make them distinctive.  My vote?  I am the one who would suggest that the chairs be mildly over-the-top… border-line obnoxious with their difference.  An over sized pattern.  A bold color.  A noticeably different scale.  A different texture.  Even an added touch such as adorning it with nailhead.  Something that sets them far apart from the other chairs.  Haha… now here comes the trick.  How does one implement this look in a manner that doesn’t read chaotic or random?


It all boils down to the virtue of design.  Design is subjective… and for the most part, there is no right or wrong — beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder!  Keeping that premise in mind as your springboard will make creating your Host and Hostess chair composition practically effortless.  Truth is, there really aren’t that many nonnegotiables with design.  If you allow your individual “design” style to be your guide, practically anything is acceptable and looks good!

Sooooooo, with that said… why not have a bit of fun?!

Take a good look at your surroundings and determine what you like.  Pay close attention and REALLY determine what attracts you.  How would you classify your style?  Any recurring colors? What type of art hangs or leans in your home?  Who utilizes your home… any parameters due to roommates, children, pets, etc.?  What type of dining space do you have… any constraints?

Once you establish your outline, the answer (or answers) for the perfect style of Host and Hostess chairs will certainly follow.  Half the battle is being confident that you are able to make the right decisions.  We are intuitive about our spaces… and we really know more than we think we do about what will work.  However… if needed, help is never far away.  Soliciting the aid of a professional designer will afford (no pun intended) an appropriate solution.

As for me…

My husband and children greatly impact my dining space.  Since we often entertain and “use” the space on the regular, my nonnegotiables stem around comfort and sturdiness.  When adding Host and Hostess chairs to the table, the goal was to make them eclectic in style, find a practical user-friendly fabric (for the husband and kids) with a memorable overly exaggerated pattern (for me).

Happy to report, mission accomplished.

Two Martha Washington/Gainsborough style chairs… traditional in silhouette and upholstered in a luscious ikat print now flank my very rustic table.  They were definitely worth the investment for I LOVE them!  Absolutely makes an impact and adds a bit of “the unexpected” all while being comfortable and incredibly user-friendly.  Haha… with each meal, we all fight over who gets to sit in them.  Like I said, mission accomplished!

Your turn!

If you haven’t already found them… time to get started, eh?  I guarantee that no matter the size of your dining table or space, a pair of unique Host and Hostess chairs will make a difference.  Mark my words… you will not be sorry!

Pssst… now you know that I am a mere email away if you would like suggestions.

I’m just saying…



A gray area.

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm

My gray area was literally turning into a gray area.


My gray area – the “gray” themed master bedroom design that I desired – literally created a gray area for my husband and I.  Our differing opinions as to the gray direction were extreme.  So much so, that neither one of us could clearly define what we wanted – especially the color direction that we sought.  As a teacher and a football coach, articulating a “look” and designing a space is foreign to him… but for me, a designer — this task should be child’s play, eh?  Not the case.

To say that it has been challenging is a definite understatement.  Surprisingly puzzling and nothing short of me feeling as if my design expertise is slipping through my fingers.  Haha – the concept of the master bedroom design became unclear – downright murky.  So many options, so many directions… what to do?  What to do?

No lie…  the difficulty in design often emerges when attempting to design your own space.  The effortlessness and creativity you possess when designing clients’ spaces seems to quickly vanish.  Pair that with having to consider and incorporate your mate’s opinion into the design — pffffft — sometimes it can stop you in your tracks.  I am talking a complete halt!

How about 564 days of a complete halt… ridiculous, eh?!

Ever since we moved into our home, we have been trying to come to a compromise on the color direction and design for the room.  Adamant… already envisioning the various charcoal tones mixed with whatever pop color we selected  – I want gray.  Insistent… hmmmmm, just insistent – he doesn’t want gray.  Now mix in a little “get situated in a new house, life, work, children, school, football” and you will gain a better understanding as to why we have remained stagnant and STILL sleep in a master bedroom that is a hot mess!  Haha – there is a reason that when company visits, that door is left with an opening just big enough for that cat to squeeze through… a glimpse inside and my design credibility would surely be in jeopardy.  I say again… the room is a hot mess!

But there is hope…

Especially since ashley gray, #HC-87 has entered my world!

Can’t even believe it myself – but we have FINALLY found a gray that we both approve.  A gray that isn’t too gray, and not too blue and not too dark and not too green — you get it, right?   As much as I deal with paint colors, I should have known that Benjamin Moore’s Historical Colors would provide the solution.  This collection contains a refined array of staple colors that offer rich tones and depth.  Incredibly fitting for a myriad of design styles – I should have known!

Thank goodness for the resources available at my full-time gig, especially my colleagues.  The many days of playing around with fabric sample books and paint colors has paid off  — HOT DAMN — success at last!

I am ecstatic that my husband and I were able to find a solution.  The ideas are aligned… we have determined a wall color, a floor plan, window treatments and the fabric/bedding color scheme — now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and implement this plan.  Really… really?!  Is this chick really about to get the gray area, the master bedroom haven that I have been yearning for?  Isn’t that what we all want?  A bedroom that provides a peaceful and relaxing retreat… an area of solace that rejuvenates your mind, body and spirit… a respite from the world.  Hey… that’s what I want — and well on my way to owning!

Wish us luck as we commence.  Haha – and do say a prayer that it doesn’t take another 564 days to achieve!

Oh… if in need of a new paint color – check out the Historical Colors;



The wall…

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm

The wall is painted eggplant.  Classic color #1379 by Benjamin Moore.

Hands down – my  husband’s favorite color.  A regal color.  Majestic and grand.  And for this small space, just what was needed for making the room cozy and warm, while offering a jolt of color.

The room?

A half bathroom.  A compact yet spacious half bathroom with a customary pedestal sink, a casement window that allows the sunlight to pour in, and a petite three-tiered black table which holds an oversized pewter lantern (LOVE my candlelight) and a bounty of toilet paper.  Haha – we will have none of that embarrassing and awkward crying out for the paper!

This room is also home to the wall.  Hands down – my favorite element to my home.  The wall – dubbed that by family and friends – is an intimate pictorial collage that literally spans the walls of my half bathroom.  The candid pictures, which are all printed in black & white and displayed in a variety of classic black frames, depict random life moments; priceless moments, a slew of silly faces and even more pearly white smiles.  Truly it is a “working” collage and it transitions with my life.  Beside my non-negotiable favorite shots, I am constantly adding and subtracting pictures.

A pictorial documentary might be a more fitting description.  Journalistic insight?  Reaching, I know.  Bottom line is this; it is merely a creative way to freeze time, use the unexpected to infuse a bit of humor and to keep loved ones who live near and far in constant thought.  Did I mention unexpected?  I do relish the reaction of those who unknowingly enter my half bathroom.  Plenty find it novel – say how they loved scanning the wall and announce that they are going erect a wall of their own.  Most amusing though are those who comment about using the bathroom while a myriad of onlookers gaze intently!   My half bathroom, the “fun house” bathroom with cackling big-eyed faces peering at you… I guess that could be odd, eh?

Regardless of the reaction, the wall is always well received.  This tool that I use as a means of artistic expression is a definite conversation starter!  In concept, the wall is not a far reach from what many have implemented in their homes on walls leading up and down stairways.  But there is something… something  about a small space loaded with an obnoxious amount of black & white pictures that just packs a punch.  Haha – it evokes those Frankie Beverly “happy feelings” and it leaves a memorable impression on both my family and guests.

Established in my first home, the concept of the wall is now 9 years old.  Started in a teeny-weeny half bathroom… with a knee wall behind the toilet, painted a robust roman orange – Valspar color #WV36014, the wall just keeps getting better with age.  Hmmmm… perhaps I will credit a better eye and improved photography skills, eh?!  Side note — black and white pictures look fantastic on almost any color wall.

Surely I am not the only one with a wall?  I know that my girlfriend who just visited me from out of the country said that she can’t wait to get her’s started — amen for IKEA and their stylish yet incredibly affordable frames!

What about you?  Do tell… do tell.



Closet Combat… will I ever reign the victor?

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2011 at 9:04 pm

As it stands, I am waving the white flag.

This battle – better yet, war – will it ever cease?  I am weary… completely exhausted from the fight.  My arsenal depleted.  All creative tactics and maneuvers outsmarted.  Damn you closet!  When will you let me win?  All I want… SERIOUSLY, all I want is a little organization!

Embarrassed to admit this… but my closet is out of control.

Not because I have an abundance of garments and accessories, but because I have yet to master a system of organization that suits my needs, style and personality.  Sigh… it’s a shame, eh?!  Sad and humorous, right?  Haha – me – a self-proclaimed fashionista, I have absolutely no fashion sense when it comes to maintaining my compact 72″ x 60″  walk-in closet.  Hands in the air… I need some help!

Don’t get me wrong, I have had scattered moments of triumph.  Very short stints, usually achieved by soliciting (or bribing) a partner in crime.  As a matter of fact, a few months before my sister moved to Alaska, she helped.  I know when she sees this current picture of my closet, she is going to shake her head in disgust.  Faint traces of our… ok, her work remain.  Hey… I try.

Come on now… I am a designer.  I possess the basic fundamentals and smarts necessary to accomplish this task.  My strategy, my closet 1, 2, 3’s?  I group like items together.  Within the groups, I categorize by color.  And  for aesthetics, you know, a nice visual effect (mainly to pacify the “Mommy Dearest” in me) I only use wooden hangers.  Apparently, my system isn’t working.  Since I am tired of the piles of shoes on the floor, the stacks of bunched sweaters, jeans in toppled piles and accessories leaking from every shelf… I’m thinking that it is about time for a revamp – maybe even add the 4, 5 and 6?

Hmmm,  I don’t mind being a charity case.  I am open for volunteers with outstanding organizational skills.  Hey now, those that assist never walk away empty-handed.  Trust me, you will be gifted.  In my closet, there  is always something that I am willing to part with… you know the adage about one man’s trash?!

Honestly, I think I need professional help.  Something like AA for closest junkies?  “Hi, my name is Kisha and I’m a closet-holic.”  Or maybe my cutie pie and one of Oprah’s favorites, Nate Berkus?  Perhaps he will swoop in, give my disheveled closet a swift karate chop, wave his magic wand and “poof”… closet utopia!  Pffftt… a pipe dream, eh?  Surely no one wants to tackle this monster… I know I don’t.

So what’s a girl to do?

Probably a more realistic approach:  me, just sucking it up.  I need to roll up my sleeves, pull myself up by the bootstraps and simply jump in.  Or… call and partner with the real pros!  This is where I rely on my BFF – Google!  Do you know how many results the words “closet organization” yield?  Enough to make your head spin!  Easy Closets, Closet factory, Closets by Design, Closet Maid, California Closets, The Container Store… AHHHHHHHHHH!  HELP!

Ok… ok… ok.  I can do this.  Let’s put it in perspective – I mean I have delivered two babies – this closet thing should be a breeze.  I am going to mend my wounds, polish off my battle armor and go back in with a new plan of attack.  Resolve.  Determination.  Game plan:  rally the troops and find some help.  Victory in numbers, eh?  Let the research commence, for one of those website will be utilized!  From my initial research, many offer a free consultation — whew, that’s a start in the right direction!

Surely, someone out there in my blog world must have a similar war story.  Closet combat tales must be shared.

Well… wish me luck as I take on the beast.

In battle position and taking a very deep breath…

I’m going in.  I’m going in!



…the design of HIS man-cave.

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm

“It is your space to do with what you choose.”

My words to him.

With his head tilted, offering a suspicious stare, he responds “Really?”  I respond with a reassuring “Yes!  It’s your space… your man-cave… all yours to design and decorate.”

I said it.  I put it out there, right?  So then can someone tell me why I just can’t let go – relinquish control – let him set down his coach’s whistle, pick up a measuring tape or a sketch pad and design HIS man-cave?!

Who knows… maybe I was being a overzealous with my proposal.  As a designer, I naturally assumed that he would consult me and solicit an opinion prior to executing any design decisions – AND – if I disagreed, he would yield, letting the “designer’s” suggestions prevail.  Let it be known – the intention was genuine.  I was never opposed to him having a man-cave… actually elated that after many years of hard work, we could afford a home that provided that option.  Haha – isn’t that pinnacle for guys…  a man-cave?!

All jokes aside – he is deserving of that space.  Hard-working.  Family oriented.  Dedicated.  Honest.  A damn good man, who simply wants a private haven to prop up his feet, listen to music, watch sports, play a lil’ chess and enjoy an ice-cold brew.  I get it!  And he has that… but, what is wrong with me wanting to participate in the design (ok… now that I typed that, maybe the truth is that I want to CREATE the design so I too can secretly retreat there as well… hmmmmm)?

So… here is the scenario:

After 15 months of his man-cave being nearly complete and moderately user-friendly for the both of us, he decides that the placement of the TV is the source of recurring headaches – thus a change is needed instantaneously!  Makes sense.  Can’t have headaches.  And yes… prior to shifting any electronics and furniture, he did inquire about placement.  Haha – apparently I was a wee bit too demanding with my requests for he moved on and revamped the space… without me – his own way!

I would be lying if I said that it didn’t cause a tiff.  Yep.  It did.  Even more infuriating on my part – because design is not his forte, his focus is on correcting the problem in the space… not the “big picture” and overall composition.  Can I just tell you that as he was chillin’ and experiencing some headache free TV watching, s#%t is everywhere… and if I am going to be able to chill as well, I have got to fix it!

So… here is the solution:

Get strategic — just like in his beloved game of chess.

Him… the king; the most important piece but weak for he can only move in one square in any direction ( parallel to his design skills).  Me… the queen; the most powerful piece for she can move in any one straight direction as far as possible as long as she doesn’t move through any of her own pieces (parallel to me tweaking his design).  I’m thinking you have figured it out.  Yes I did… I exercised a few creative liberties on the design of HIS man-cave!

Not even attempting to acquire a checkmate… reiterating again that my intentions are genuine.  Rolling up my sleeves with my measuring tape in hand, I am actually acting more as a rook – working together and protecting each other (haha- do I need to say that this is parallel to our design skills).  So, while he was busy at work,  I just finished what he started… completed the layout and created a composition.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!   Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

My big reveal — I sent him an image on his phone.  His texted response, “I guess that looks nice.  Haha!”

All I am saying is this – as I am home alone… this entire blog was comfortably typed, with my feet propped up, listening to music in HIS (shhhh —  really our) man-cave.

Success, eh?!



Nailhead… my nonnegotiable.

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Luscious.  Decadent.  Scrumptious.

At first glance, one would think that my adjectives are describing some irresistible and savory entrée.  Yep, calculated and intentional.  My word choice is meant to arouse your taste buds – but definitely not for food.  The goal; to whet your appetite and make you hungry for one of the best ways to adorn and accent your furniture.  My nonnegotiable — Nailhead!

Ooh-la-la!  I really can’t help myself!

Nailhead on furniture is like that tall, dark and handsome (or beautiful) stranger in the corner – your eye is just naturally drawn their way and the connection is inevitable.  Nailhead is a sensory treat and the ultimate chameleon.  Available in an array of finishes and design applications, it can be interpreted as sultry, masculine, elegant  – even rugged.  Haha – the candid me would imply that nailhead immediately elevates your “wow” furniture to a tantalizing “WTF” status!  Seriously?!  Have you ever taken your fingers and traced the path of nailhead — the rhythm, the texture and the sound are enough to make you want to apply nailhead to everything you own!

For those unfamiliar; nailhead is ornamentation, resembling the head of a nail, that is applied to upholstered and wooden furniture — probably most commonly applied to sofas, chairs, benches, ottomans and headboards.  Basically, it highlights and enhances the silhouette of the furniture.  Dating back to 1560 with the introduction of the French Country style, nailhead are still applied to the furniture in the original manner – hammered in one by one.  The nailhead can vary in size, shape and metallic compositions… it is all determined by the scale and proportions of the furniture on which it is applied.

As you shop, you will find that many retailers and design centers offer this fantastic option for their furniture.  For me, the difference rests on customizing the nailhead for your design project.  In other words, walking into a retailer and being offered a limited assortment versus (mainly with upholstered furniture) going to a retailer in which you choose options based on your design project.  You create a custom piece.  You select the fabric, the finish of the legs, etc… including the style of nailhead.  Obviously, I prefer the latter.  As a designer, I can assure you, nailhead makes a difference!  It aids in adding character and personality to your design.  And lucky for us, since design is so very subjective, it works with each and every design style!

Do I dare tell that I might be a wee bit addicted to nailhead?  Perhaps even subconsciously, I steer my clients towards this option.  I think it should be a nonnegotiable for every design.  Every home should have at least one item in it that is embellished with nailhead.  Honestly, it absolutely makes THAT much of a statement!

Maybe you are curious, so I will share… so far, I only own three items containing nailhead – a sofa, a tufted bench and an incredibly rustic console table.  You did see that I said “so far” – haha – indeed I do have a detailed list of several items that must be added to my collection!

Naturally, I do encourage you to follow suit.  Yes… I know, design is individual – to each his own.  I get it.

But… it would make such an impact.  More than likely, many of you share my passion, eh?!  For those still contemplating, I say, be bold and daring — take a chance and be adventurous with your next purchase.  Add a lil’ spice with nailhead!



We are all looking for something…

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2011 at 12:14 am

Perhaps it begins as a leisurely stroll?

Or, does it shift to hustle bustle?

Touch this.  Taste that.  Confined yet strategically structured kiosk placements, luring one to come -hither.  Crowds.  Crowded.  So please, don’t forget your manners!  The purchasing options are varied and plentiful.  The exposure for the vendors – surely they would easily proclaim “priceless!”

All in a day at Eastern Market… actually, if I am being honest, my very first day.  Yep… after living in the DC area for over two years, I have finally managed to partake in what many have established as routine.  A visit to one of DC’s oldest fresh food, arts & crafts public markets nestled in the historic Capital Hill neighborhood.  Haha… it appears that I am slowly stripping away my newcomer status, eh?  Wearing my favorite jeans, a black tee, a head scarf tied in an artsy side knot, and my “never leave home without them” sunglasses, I immersed myself in the market experience.  I was ready.  Eager to find inspiration… or that diamond in the rough.  Aligning myself with the drove, I was looking.  We all were looking for something…

Initially – sensory overload!  My shopping stride was staggered and rhythmless.  Stop.  Hmmm… need a plan of attack.  EUREKA!  Shift gears and follow my friend’s lead.  What at first resembled a labyrinth, quickly transformed into a fruitful path easy to navigate.  Vendor, after vendor, after vendor… some worthy of a glance others meriting my undivided attention.  Haha – borrowing from Jerry Maguire, the market had me at “hello!”   Now I understand the buzz… the fondness and allegiance felt by patrons.  Eastern Market is a hub – a nucleus – that supports and promotes the community… all the while, housing vendors with unique and desirable products – and enabling them to be profitable!

Yes… yes… an emphatic YES!  I am going back.  Surely, a multitude of reasons would spark my return… my artistic eye was appeased!  But for now, two reasons prevail.

Number one.  I discovered a vendor that carries vintage posters.  Some in frames, the others not – but in plastic sleeves, supported by cardboard to maintain their shape.  In my opinion, an amazing assortment and moderately priced.  If the vendor had been more engaging or even a bit friendlier, his link would have appeared here ______________.  At any rate, the subject matter of the posters was surprisingly unique – from vintage football images, black & white photos of the Negro (yes, Negro) League baseball teams, African safari images, French boudoir settings and jazz.  One Thelonious Monk poster is calling my name… actually my husband’s name!  Humph… still perplexed by the vendor’s lack of energy – but pushing my personal feelings aside, I will support his business — next visit!

Number two.  I found an African batik vendor!!!!!  Batiking is an art form that has always captured my attention and finally I have access to a local artist.  The vendor, from Kenya, was incredibly friendly – probably even flirtatious – especially when he saw the birthmark, reminiscent of the African continent, on my forearm.  Bordering stalking – he was adamant “You need to go to Africa!”  Even told me of a pub in a baobab tree that I should visit  Nonetheless… his abstract batik prints depict images such as women dancing, women carrying baskets on their heads and men hunting.  They are packed with vibrant colors, available in an array of sizes and (what seemed to be a common thread) reasonably priced.  I did purchase two 5″ x 7″ batiks for $10 each and even though I will have to frame them myself – I still consider it a steal!  Unfortunately, no link to post… I suppose you just have to visit Eastern Market and track down K’Owino Batiks.

Pretty snazzy market – bursting at the seams with selections – most definitely a place that I intend on frequenting!

Check it out:

Even walked away with a $5 bottle of Capital City Mumbo sauce for my husband.  Hey… he was born and raised in DC, that Mumbo sauce is sweet nostalgia!  Haha – probably should have put a bit more thought into that decision… for of course he wants fried chicken wings for the sauce.  But – did I mention that frying chicken is not one of my strengths?  DAMN!  What have I gotten myself into?!



Pillows, plants, candles and throws… oh my!

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2011 at 8:40 am

What in the world would we do without accessories in our homes?!

Wait… let’s not even ponder that question.  You know the answer – homes without accessories are just uninteresting.  A bland collection of rooms void of character and appeal.  Lifeless and just plain old dreary.  It has got to be common knowledge… accessories are a nonnegotiable!  A must for every decorative composition… they provide the flair and zing – they ARE the panache!

So how important are they?  Just imagine that the accessories are acting as a three-dimensional “connect-the-dots” puzzle… one in which each accessory is linked to and dependent upon the next for its definition.  In my profession, when working with clients, we always suggest that a minimum of 1/3 of the project’s budget be dedicated to accessorizing the space.  Minus the upholstered pieces and wood pieces, everything else in the room – the embellishments and frills – are considered accessories and are mandatory.  Suggest as we may, it’s a fact… not every client complies with our advice, and many projects are sold with out even ONE accessory.  But, experience has taught me to be patient.  They come back – it is inevitable!

Really… 1/3, eh?!  Well, in a perfect world, we all would have an abundant income that would grant us the ability to purchase whatever we wanted for our homes.  However, in the real world – especially in my world – we are on a budget!  We tend to pick and choose what to add to our homes and when to add it!  For those of us who can identify with the latter, I can assure you that budget aside (even with a minor tweak that 1/3 ratio) you too can have a well styled and sophisticated space.  Pssssst.  Wanna know the real secret about accessories?  The secret is:  understand their impact, shop with an ardent eye and absolutely incorporate them into your home.  A piece of cake… just do it!

By far… accessories have got to be the easiest, most economical, sure-fire way to quickly transform a space.  Ladies, think of your little black dress… fellas, think of your favorite dress shirt – well, in the same manner that you add snazzy jewelry to accentuate the dress or a dapper neck tie to give the shirt oomph – our homes require that same action.  If executed properly in your home, the accessories will interpret your personality.  Trust me – they will add layers and depth to your home… making it not only more enjoyable and gratifying to you, but for your guests as well.

Some of my favorites, my nonnegotiables?  Besides artwork, I can’t live without (nor should you) accent pillows, plants, candles and throws!  Hey, perhaps not the classic elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire  – but in a design domain, they carry a similar impact.  These four elements are fundamental and can easily wake-up a tired space.  They are fairly inexpensive, they are appropriate in every design scheme, and – to suit your personal style – are available in a plethora of shapes, sizes and styles.

Pillows and throws are the power house for adding color and texture.  Since they can be added and removed from a room with ease, I say go crazy!  Experiment with them… go out of your comfort zone and buy something that you normally might not gravitate towards.  My handy tip.  Invest in well-made pillow inserts and locate the best fabric shop or upholsterer in your area.  This partnership will enable you to better customize your pillows… and as simple as undoing a zipper, your pillows can be changed as often as you wish.  Wondering how many to purchase?  Grouping of pillows can be in odd or even numbers…its all about your look and the design style that you desire to inject in the space!  With throws… haha – just throw them!  On the back of a sofa, the arm of a chair and even tucked in a basket… throws provide warmth on a chilly day but, better yet, they add a richness to your space.

As for plants and candles… they add the softness and ambiance.  Not even going to debate real versus artificial plants – depending on the type of plant and where it is to be placed — in my home, I do both.  All that is important is that you bring a portion of nature inside your of home.  The type of plant is, once again, relative to your design.  Orchids, succulents, twigs, fronds and trees… you decide.  They refresh a space, infuse energy and… not to sound cheesy – they make us happy!  Speaking of moods – let’s talk aura!  Candles.  Candles.  Candles!  They create the atmosphere… the ambiance of the space.  Whether it be pillars, tapers, votives or tea-lights… placed on a candle holder, in a lantern, a rock-filled hurricane or even hanging on a wall – candles add appeal!  Especially when entertaining… they add an intimacy to the gathering and heighten the magnetism of the event.  Haha – and seriously… doesn’t everyone look better by candlelight!

I’m thinking that I may have a few converts, eh?!  Hey… these are mere suggestions.  Me… spreading the love.  I do adore decorative accessories – and as a compliment to self – I do have a knack for arranging them.  Of course, always open for questions and assistance.  So… what are you waiting for?  Time to go accessory shopping!



Pizzazz at home… easier than you think!

In Uncategorized on August 8, 2011 at 1:53 am


Isn’t that a fabulous word – pizzazz?!

The dictionary on my mac defines pizzazz is an attractive combination of vitality and glamour.  I define pizzazz as characteristics of a person, place or thing, that capture your attention, arouse your interests… make you look twice and definitely want to linger!  Relevant in so many realms of our life, eh?  I would most certainly agree!  But for this blog, I use pizzazz in reference to your home… your space… and absolutely, your personal style!

Before you even begin to think it, I know… I know!  There is an abundance of information at your fingertips regarding home design, interior decor, personal style…blah, blah, blah!  Umpteen publications and television shows detailing the “what” that you need to do in order to achieve the desired look.  Hey, considering that interior design is my profession, I realize that there is a saturation of information… I also know that sometimes that saturation does more harm than good – leaving some directionless and confused.  Tip after tip after tip… I mean really – who is right?  Who do you listen to?  With confidence I say this to you:  it is a beautiful thing that all of that design guidance and instruction is so easily attainable… BUT the true beauty resides in an understanding of who you are – what you like and (I have said this many times before) the implementation!

Haha – so now, like all of the others, I interject my opinion and present yet another recommendation regarding adding style… or rather, pizzazz to your home!  No pretentious credentials to flaunt.  Armed with artistic talent, a keen eye and a large dose of intuition… I embrace this innate gift and love assisting with all types of projects!  To give you insight – my personal style could be classified as global and eclectic.  A traveled look that incorporates a variety of texture and furniture with striking details.  I appreciate color and think that combining pattern on pattern gives a space an irresistible flair.  Bold accessories, assorted toss pillows and touches of animal print are my favorites and you will find them sprinkled throughout my home.  Sophisticated and comfortable is the look… and for me – my pizzazz!

Trust me… infusing a bit of pizzazz into your space is easier than you think.  Years of interacting with clients has provided  invaluable insight regarding the roadblock that many face when designing or re-doing a space.  Without a doubt, the hurdle is throughly describing your personal style and defining the elements necessary to complete the look that you seek.  Of course there are those that know their style and capable of elaborating… but believe me, even for those people, when it comes time to invest and put that hard-earned dollar behind your decision – something tends to change and feelings of uncertainty emerge.

No worries thou – the remedy is easy.  What is most humorous is that the remedy takes us right back to that abundance of information we have at hand – magazines, magazines and more magazines!  Probably taking you back to grammar school with this phrase… “The more you know, the more you do.  The more you do, the more you know.”  Apply that thought to the magazines and use them to generate a collection of pages that simply, pique your interest and make you look twice.  Seriously it is that easy… purchase several design magazines and rip out pages that you find appealing!  It could be a wall color or an accessory or a piece of furniture that speaks to you…if you like it, tear it out and add it to your collection.  Eventually, this collection is going to have a common thread – a style thread – one that could easily help you find a direction for your project and help you to articulate your personal style.  And the more you know about your personal style, the easier it is to achieve your pizzazz!

Skeptic?  Well then, I insist that you at least try.  Success should be attainable!  But, perhaps even after trying you still find yourself confused… don’t be discouraged for again, the remedy is a breeze.  That’s when you gather those pages and take them to a design professional.  Speaking from experience – that collection is golden and will most definitely aid in having your project completed in a cinch!