For those of us who love home decorating, it sometimes doesn’t take much to excite our inner interior design junkie. It might be the latest copy of Trad Home in my mailbox, a bin of discount fabrics or the chance drop-in at a girlfriend’s house just as she is bringing home tile samples for the new kitchen!
Well! Earlier this year, I found something that tops ALL of that! I got to go behind-the-scenes on a Drexel Heritage catalog shoot for the Adaptations collection. I felt like such a home decor insider, and it was fabulous! For starters, the photography shoots are always done in gorgeous environments. This one was a house that I never wanted to leave. Add to that the fact that you have an incredible photo stylist, an amazing photographer, an uber-talented art director and experienced furniture movers on-site to get everything just so.
In fact, it was the “just so” process of it all that interested me the most. As you’ll see in the video, there is a whole lot more to it than simply putting some furniture in a room, accessorizing and snapping the photos. The meticulous placement of each piece, adjusting of the lighting, the adding (and many times the taking away) of accessories were all as much of an art form as the final product itself.
Want to know what inspired us to start this blog? Actually, it is more of a matter of who inspired us because the answer is interior design bloggers. Now that we’ve been up and running for a few months, we want to start sharing our favorites with you by providing a glimpse into their lives and their blogs.
First up is Tate Gunnerson from Strange Closets. While I have never had the pleasure of meeting him
in person (I can’t believe Ididn’t get to meet him when I was in Chicago last fall for Merchandise Mart!), I have thoroughly enjoyed our email exchanges and have become a huge Tate fan. Here’s our Q&A with him:
How did you become interested in interior design?
When I bought my 2-flat, I became obsessed with transforming it from its dingy and dated state. Eventually I started writing Strange Closets to chronicle my projects, the various shops I was discovering and my general thoughts about design. (I called it Strange Closets, because every change I made to the house – adding a staircase to the basement, expanding the kitchen, etc.- resulted in strange closets). After a few months, I started posting weekly Open House posts, and the rest is history. In 2009, I left a career in sales to pursue a career as a freelance writer.
What is your favorite post that you’ve written on your blog and why? It’s difficult to choose a favorite post, because I tend to fall in love with every home I write about and every store I visit. If I had to choose one, I might pick Barri Leiner Grant’s Open House. In addition to being an all around great person, Barri’s an editor for Chicago Home + Garden, author and terrific stylist.
Thank you, Tate, for being our first featured blogger. We look forward to continuing to visit Strange Closets for fabulous stories and beautiful photography!
I’m not sure there has ever been a more romantic furniture collection than our very own Frances Mayes At Home in
Tuscany that was created based on the knowledge, joy and celebration that Frances Mayes embodies of all things Tuscan.
Yes, that Frances Mayes. The author who was drawn to the ancient Italian region where she purchased and began renovating her beloved house, Bramasole, which inspired her to write the 1996 best-selling book “Under the Tuscan Sun” that became a hit movie starring Diane Lane. Perhaps you’ve heard that Frances (who lives in Hillsborough, N.C. when she isn’t in Tuscany) has been at it again.
I was delighted to read in Friday’s Wall Street Journal that “Every Day in Tuscany”, the final book of her Tuscan trilogy has sold 83,000 copies since it came out in April. The inspiration for this one is a second house just miles from Bramasole that Frances calls the “mountain house” and is her escape from the tourists that the success of the book and movie brings to Bramasole on a steady basis.
Like me, you might be thinking two houses in Tuscany? For those of us without the resources or fortitude to rescue a collapsing villa and meticulously restore it to its former glory, we can capture the essence of Tuscany – and the love Frances feels for it for that matter – with pieces of the collection that she worked closely with our designers to bring to reality.
While I can’t be Diane Lane or live in Bramasole, I can sip a glass of wine while I dream of sleeping in The Florentine Ring Bed, search for the perfect spot in my house for the Waxing Moon Chest and have visions of serving homemade pasta at my very own Celebration Tavola. When I feel like I’m taking too much time browsing interior design magazines to find ideas on how to create
my own private Tuscany, I’ll just remember what Frances said in Friday’s article.
“In America I usually feel up against time—looking at my watch, booking appointments weeks in advance,” she said. “Here time is more of a river to float on, than a current to swim against.”
For fashionistas, there is nothing like the glorious anticipation of seeing the season’s must-haves before everyone else. Snagging that to-die-for little dress, those perfect new jeans or that super funky necklace that says, “Look at me. I’m a trend-setter.”
That’s right…we’re talking about trunk shows. Every hip boutique in town has one (or several) a year. And now, thanks to Denise Alala, our own Drexel Heritage fashionista, you can now get that same rush while shopping for interiors.
From delicious fabrics to botanicals to color themes, we’ve been blogging a lot about Drexel Heritage upholstery and the connection to the fashion world. You might say that ever since market, we’ve been a bit fabric-crazed. In addition to wanting to share on our blog, we wanted to take the show on the road.
Last month, Bountiful, a home furnishings boutique in Easton, Md., and owner Jamie Merida held a trunk show for customers showing of Drexel Heritage’s latest and greatest fabrics. Denise was there to talk about fashion and fabric trends, show upholstery samples and talk about how to mix and match them and make them work based on personal style.
I had the honor of seeing Denise give a similar presentation at market. While the fabrics were giving me visions of grand home decorating projects, Denise as the fashion plate tour guide was the ultimate inspiration to add some updated style to my interior design projects. From her dress to her shoes to her accessories…perfection! I mean, someone who has L.A. in her last name twice must have a certain Rodeo Drive je ne sais quoi about her.
I love Drexel Heritage is a 4-part series featuring Drexel Heritage team members and what they love about working with the company. We hope that you will enjoy this inside look at our brand!
Cindy Neely, Office Manager
If you need something from the Drexel Heritage store in Louisville, KY, Cindy Neely has your number. This bookkeeper turned design consultant turned office manager enjoys doing a little bit of everything at the store from talking with a customer on the phone to helping them on the floor to managing the store’s inventory.
Cindy spent five years working as a design consultant in the store where she is now the office manager. Considering herself a numbers person, Cindy agreed to expand her experience to work on the floor because her
manager wanted to hire her but did not have a bookkeeping position available at the time. She said that working as a design consultant came natural to her and allowed her to interact with customers in a way she wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
“You make a difference in people’s lives when you work on the floor in particular. When you are helping them with their homes, they become your friends. That’s a good feeling,” said Cindy.
Cindy has been involved in retail home furnishing since 1977 and said that Drexel-Heritage is the best company she was worked with in the industry. When Cindy has questions, she knows she can rely on her team members to answer in a prompt and helpful manner. She appreciates the support she gets from her store management and from the corporate teams at Drexel Heritage for nurturing relationships within the company based on making joint decisions that are in the best interests of the Drexel Heritage retail clients.
“The thing that really inspires me here is the great people,” Cindy said. “There is so much cooperation in this company that it’s a blessing.”
Have you ever noticed that trends in shoes seem to match trends in interior design? Or is it just me? Seems like when everyone is decorating with neutral colors and creating calm and relaxing environments, the shoes become very classic and almost understated. Basic black. Nude. Winter white. And now as I’m seeing almost every magazine cover feature color and how to use bright colors, I know that my closet has a Skittles assortment of heels.
If you are following my line of thinking here, you will agree that it is no coincidence that I have wound up with shoes with flowers on them at the same time that florals are making a comeback in home decorating! If you have also gone flower power crazy, you might enjoy some other blooming beauties that have caught my eye….
Country Living, May issue, page 29… love, love, love this chest that has been upholstered with swatches of floral Indian bedding.
Veranda, May/June issue, page 112 – page 117… yes, six gorgeous pages on mixing flowers with indigenous art. Breathtaking!
One of the terrific things about our Drexel Heritage designers is that they can always tell you how to do a little or how to do a lot of something you like. You might agree that floral wallpaper is divine, but you might have some trepidation about papering your bedroom with it. If that’s the case, bedding is a safer bet. Floral accessories are a snap. Photos, paintings, throw pillows or simply gather up a bunch of blooms from the backyard, arrange them in an old glass bottle and voila! You have a centerpiece.
It looks like our favorite designer is turning up on the pages of all of our favorite shelter publications these days.
From the tropical outdoor cover story in the May/June issue of Veranda, to the botanical-inspired lamps that Sabine Rothman wrote about recently in Traditional Home and the lovely birdies on Anthrologie’s Vanuatu Twilight wallpaper featured in the same issue, to the lovely Magnolia (and wonderfully southern, in my opinion) wallpapers that Orli Ben-Dor chose to highlight in the June issue of House Beautiful and the Jack and Lulu seaside motif notecards in Elle Décor’s June what’s hot!, the always-classic designer, Mother Nature is on a roll!
Flowers, butterflies, swans, seashells, ferns… you name it… if it’s botanical, buy it! My hat is off to Melinda and Jim Story, the owners of a Key West cottage and the subjects of Candace Ord Manroe’s story Go Key West in the June/July issue of Traditional Home. They are adept at mixing and matching their botanicals and nature prints with an absolute stunning result. Pick up a copy of the magazine to see how they have used a variety of fabrics and prints that include florals, birds and fish.
The Drexel Heritage showroom for spring market also reflected a botanical theme. Like myself, our designers seem to be drawn to anything with birds on it or related to birds.
In addition to retro prints and throw pillows with birds, they used bird nests and bird cages in their displays. Perhaps my absolute favorite piece from market is the sofa covered in our birdie fabric – see photo above.
If you like the idea of allowing a little more Mother Nature in your rooms but an entire sofa is too much, try accent pieces such as a pillow or a framed print. Or, you can simply do what I do and begin making displays of all the rocks, acorns and sticks that my Earth-loving son brings to me as special gifts.
And maybe the birdie sofa is just the thing I need to bring it all together!