Red White and Blue

There’s one day of the year we share patriotism and pride in the United States with all around us. Although the celebration is to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence of our great country, most relate the 4th of July to parades, fireworks, BBQ’s, hot dogs and all that makes us American!

 

Happy Independence Day to all! Bring on the fireworks and let the party begin!

Hip to be Square

New color and design trends have cycles that last for several years. Trendsetters observe, copy and reinvent these cycles over and over again. The current trends in colors and design motifs like trefoils and geometric angular forms, remind me of my childhood watching Goldie Hawn on the popular TV program Laugh In.

This set design in a 1970 clip was certainly a harbinger for our present day trendsetters of color and design. (That’s over40 years ago!)

Look at those same colors being repeated today in the 2012 Pantone Spring colors! Colors that just make you want to smile like Goldie and that hilarious cast from Laugh In.

Hardware and accessories have taken a modern swing as well repeating from the past, but with a fresh new look.

Designers are creating innovative window treatments using unconventional hardware. Square motifs are now on everything from grommets to finial free rod designs.

 Minimalist styling incorporates unique materials

Faux leather, textured woods and linen covered rods are a few of the newest collections for both contemporary as well as traditional settings.

It’s now  “Hip to be Square!”

 

 

 

An Irish Tale

Today is the day for all things green and for the tellin of Irish tales and limericks and the singin of Irish songs. I was searching for a great limerick for the holiday, which is a short poem, relatively humorous and bawdy in nature and that sometimes has a  dubious history. Limericks (named for the town of Limerick, Ireland) often repeated by the working classes in the British pubs and taverns of the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventh centuries, were therefore created often by drunkards!

Growing up in a Catholic family with my 8 siblings, Dad would remind us regularly of our Irish heritage, sharing his own versions of  the limerick, singing the silly Irish tunes  and celebrated St. Paddy’s Day as if it were Christmas. When I turned 14, he insisted that we all learn of our Irish ancestry and packed us up to tour the Emerald Isle  promising that we would kiss the Blarney Stone for good luck! (It was only later that we discovered the true meaning  of “blarney”) In 1970 there wasn’t the internet to guide, research and inform us, but dad’s tales were all we had.

 

After 8 days of touring and meeting the O’Sullivan’s, O’Neil’s, O’Brien’s, O’Malley’s, McGarry’s, Murphy’s, McCarthy’s, O’Donnell’s,Flannigan’s, Finnegan’s,Fitzgerald’s,O’Farrel’s, Duffy’s Daly’s Kelly’s,Clancy’s McFarland’s, Kennedy’s, Connolly’s,Collin’s Campbell’s, Clarke’s,Martin’s, McMahon’s, Magee’s , MacNamaera’s, O’Reilly’s, O’Rourke’s, Goodwin’s, Gallagher’s, McDonnell’s, McGrath’s but never finding any of the McCormick’s, we were anxious as the trip was nearing the end. When our Irish chauffeur Terry suggested to my dad, “Mr. McCormick, I believe the name is Scottish  not Irish”, we thought dad would have a coronary right there on the spot. We were beginning to believe that all his Irish tales were like the blarney that we had kissed the previous day! (Kissing the stone gives you the privilege of telling lies for seven years!)

On the final day, all packed and heading for the airport on a very remote rural road, dad spots the sign that he’d been hoping to show us!  BJ McComick’s Pub was a very small roadside venue that didn’t appear to be open, but it didn’t matter. We all climbed out of the car to take the family picture before almost missing our flight home.

So today, everyone is Irish and I still wear my “Kiss Me I’m Irish” T shirt and singing my Irish songs. Cheers to all of you and Erin Go Braugh!

Designer Rockstar

Living and growing up in Los Angeles my entire life has left me a bit jaded to the Hollywood crowd. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a rush when working with celebrity “types”, but in this town everyone is a celebrity type! It’s always enchanting when meeting and working with someone you’ve admired and they surpass your expectations.

This last week while attending the conference for Design Bloggers, I met one of my all time favorite designers, Bunny Williams. Before there was Facebook, blogging, Pinterest, tweeting and the overnight sensational designers out of no where, there is still the breed of Interior Designer that learned their craft from hard work, great mentors, and hands on design aesthetic that evolves with time and experience.  Her early career was a dream job working for Sister Parish and Albert Hadley as an apprentice which defines her comfortable and stylish look of her Beeline Home Furnishings today.

I was fortunate enough to chat with Bunny for a while about work, her husband John Rosselli, (a rockstar in his own right!) her staff and  how she’s able to manage it all. Spending weekends at her country house entertaining friends and her love of gardening is the balance she advised to keep sane in our busy work lives where a client can still fire you over a lamp shade! I share her love of gardening and appreciate the advice.

Bunny was the woman of the evening at the Kravet/TradHome reception at Harbinger and was swept away for photos and conversation. She is a Designer Rockstar and I was thrilled to meet her.

All Dressed up!

It’s the Academy Awards tonight and the whole town is a flutter! My little mannequin is in her formal attire in a polka dot embroidered silk gown with leftover beads from a recent project fashioned into a stunning necklace and trim for her “hat” for the occasion.  We dress her up seasonally at the showroom or to display a new fabric for her ever changing wardrobe.

I will not be in my silk gown tonight but instead attending the opening of the LA Design Bloggers Conference at the Millenium Biltmore Hotel where they’ve promised to turn on the big screens so we can cheer on the awards! Good luck to all.

Silly Valentines

The origins of Valentine’s Day has long been anyone’s guess between several Christian martyrs named Valentine. Although there are three recognized “Saint Valentine’s” in different eras, each with their own legend, the Catholic Church took St. Valentine off the Roman Catholic calender of saints in 1969. (Will the real St. Valentine Please Stand Up!) NO WONDER MEN ARE CONFUSED WHAT TO GET US!  This is clearly a celebrated “confusion holiday” not a holiday of Love and Romance!

While Valentine greetings have been popular since the Middle Ages, men were even confused then! King Henry V had to hire a writer to compose a Valentine to Catherine of Valois and needless to say, printed cards soon replaced the handwritten notes, because of  the bewilderment of the Valentine. Today, an estimated billion

Valentines cards are exchanged and more than 15 million e-valentines and “love coupons”. Yes, LOVE COUPONS! I got my own “Love Groupon”! THEY ARE STILL CONFUSED!

I think I need some chocolate.

Showroom Happy Feet

We had fun this year with our penguins and snow in our holiday vignettes. I always hate taking down the Christmas displays and was going to keep them up a bit longer this time. But when I came to work, all my snow had been sucked up by the vacuum and now all I have are a few pictures that were snapped last month! Oh well,,,it’s on to Spring displays I guess!

101 Things!

We recently hosted James Swan’s book signing of “101 Things I Hate About Your House”. What a fun night and such a charming guy! In preparation I must confess, there was much to be done before his arrival as I stood, book in hand, reviewing his powder room tips.

These are things I KNOW from my own mother’s indoctrination straight from Amy Vanderbilt herself! And although this is my workroom, the many designers that frequently powder their noses should expect nothing but the highest quality of good taste, cleanliness and design while attending to their personal needs! (OH MY! I needed to get moving!) Who knew there was really a correct way to put the toilet paper on the roll!

When I confided to James that we had recently hung the chandelier and spruced up our bathrooms for his arrival he acknowledged that they looked great! WHEW! Now we can get back to work!

For more pictures click HERE!


A few months ago while working on my blog posting, I came across a black and white group photo from 1970 that was all too familiar. It was from my 8th grade grammer school graduation and the posting was from Laura, a name I had remembered from 41 years ago but not spoken to in as many years. In the baby booming 60’s, the average Catholic school class sizes were always large and ours was no different with 46 per class and 2 classrooms. Many of the faces in the photo were tagged and the old names and faces were coming back to me like it was yesterday! I contacted Laura to add my name to the post and began to name as many as I could.

In the picture with us were our teachers,  Mr. Kadan and an older nun that we all fondly referred to as SAJ. (aka Sr. Auralia Joseph) How those nuns kept us in line I will never know!

We grew up in a time without computers, 300 cable channels to choose from, instant information or Facebook chats. Ours was a time when knowing your friends and their siblings was easy because every daylight hour was spent together and we only went home when it was dark and time for dinner. These relationships and friends were unforgettable even after all these years.

As more names were gathered, the talk of reuniting again sounded like such fun, and finding everyone would be a task, but that’s what the internet is for right? I became quite the stalker and with the help of Madalene, knocking on doors and peeking into houses in some of our old neighborhoods, and Mary calling every golf course in Temecula looking for JT, we were getting kinda good at it! With only a few days left, I found Mr. Bob Kadan and sent an email hoping that he might know “Our Mr. Kadan” as he looked quite a bit like the man who taught us 41 years ago! To my surprise, and his delight that he was recognizable, he and his wife were able to join in what was an amazing day with some of the best people I have ever been so honored to call my friends!

Thanks to all of you that traveled so far, Tom from Japan, Chuck from Arkansas, Ellen from Idaho, Di from Colorado, Jim from Texas, Pat+ Maggie from No.Cal, all the OC peeps, Laura from San Diego who put up that silly picture and made me think that while we may have moved away from Manhattan Beach, Manhattan Beach will always be with us as will our friends.

Here are is a compilation of photos from past to present.