Your Definition of Good Design?

>> Monday, November 17, 2014

I am working on a really fun local project right now which has got me thinking about my own definition of good design and how that definition came about. My strange guilty pleasure these days is reading the comment sections of various Facebook posts. When I want to feel good about the world, I read Humans of New York. When I want to be kind of scared of the world (I like scary movies) I read comments under the Obama administration posts or My point is, we all have opinions, really strong (sometimes scary) opinions and all of those opinions came from somewhere, right? My little boys don't walk into my kitchen and say "uhh, ugliest cabinets ever" and trust me, if they thought it, they would. My three year old informed me last week that I needed a bigger neck, fortunately I am very confident with my neck size. But in thinking about design, what have been the major influences on my life? I came up with a few.

Nashville! and good southern architecture

I grew up in Nashville and a couple of school projects in my elementary years involved some of the local historic sites. Two big ones were the Belle Meade Plantation and the Traveller's Rest, which I built a sugar cube model of in the third grade and many moons later danced my first dance as a married woman.

Porches, shutters, shingles, that's my love language. 

TV and movies

I was a child of the 80's and I believe pediatricians were a little bit cooler on the tv allowances back in those days. (30 minutes a day, come on!?) Needless to say, I watched a ton of tv. Anyone remember when Stephanie and Michelle got a bedroom makeover on Full House? Is it weird that I do? 

That room was the bomb. In adulthood I do not think that room is the bomb, but you know what I loved the most about it and still do? Sisters sharing a room. I love that my boys are currently in the same room and hope they want to stay that way until they go to college (doubtful but hopeful). After all, nothing is cuter than a pair of twin beds and the thought of them sharing late night thoughts on life (boys do that, right?)

Home Alone, the movie that had us all wishing that our parents would up and totally forget us on a family vacation AND that our home would be invaded by robbers. Questionable story line, spot on architecture.

And oh Father of the Bride. 

Let's not forget the nursery. I'm glad 8 year old Stephanie had no idea she would be bringing her babies home to a closet. The irony would have just been too much:)

Other things that come to mind are my grandmother's kitchen, which has the dining table right in the middle. I just loved the energy that was always around it. And my great grandmother's garden, she lived in a trailer but had such a luscious array of beautiful, perfectly arranged flowers on her property, you felt like you were walking in the gardens of Versailles. And I'm sure I could rack my brain for more, including some from our time in Boston.

But it's funny to think how something as simple as our preference in design came about, isn't it? Because even if we say we don't, we all have a preference. And like most of our opinions on things, that preference was somehow shaped by our lives. It may seem trite, but people are as passionate about their design preferences as they are with their politics. If you don't believe me, spend some time over here. I have come to the conclusion that some people have stronger opinions about different species of granite than they do over who controls the Senate, making me feel very validated (as a design practitioner) and very scared (as a human being:)


A Reminder: Bloom Where I am Planted

>> Friday, November 7, 2014

I have written before about striving to be content in every situation, but let me tell you, the past two months have been a struggle. And it's all for ridiculous reasons that are so dumb and pointless, leaving me with no real case to complain at all. But none the less, I complain. And quite frankly, I am getting so sick of myself. Somewhere between residency and this new post residency life, I have become entitled. ENTITLED!? My own worst enemy. When did that happened?

But every morning when I leave our apartment there is this sweet little reminder for me to bloom where I am planted.

The apartment door of the 20 something year old girls next door (who loooove Taylor Swift, but I digress). 

And you kind have to see how dark and stale and void of natural light the little corridor that leads to all of the apartment units is, to really appreciate this decorating effort. Mums, y'all, MUMS! And me, the crotchety old lady next door saw them stick these out a few weeks ago and thought, those are never going to bloom. It's dark in here, they never see the sun. And you know what? They bloomed! (I obviously know nothing about mums)

To give you better appreciation of the contrast, this is my front door. A stick, in it's negotiated keeping place once it was established my three year old was not allowed to bring it in our house. And no doormat. I think in the back of my head it's been my notice to anyone who is wondering, including the Vanderbilt football players whose college experience was severely dampened when the parents with young children moved in downstairs, we are not staying. But we are. We're here and life is happening now. And despite my Pinterest board that I spent countless nights alone over the past several years curating for this phase of life, life does not look like that right now. And that's ok. Do you hear me Stephanie Sabbe!? It's OK.

But back to those mums, they bloomed! And I am going to do my best to do the same.


Good Friends Make Great Clients

>> Friday, October 24, 2014

Probably not in every type of business, but as far as interior design goes, I think good friends make great clients. I'm not just talking about acquaintances or social friends (although those can make great clients too) GOOD friends. Like friends that you've confided in about how hard breastfeeding is or laughed with about how you still cannot jog without peeing your pants. Basically, good mama friends. I have had a couple of good mama friends become clients over the past couple of years and it has been the best. Jody Rose is one of those friends. This Sunday the Boston Globe Magazine featured a few spaces in Rose's home and my friend Marni did a great job telling the story of how two good friends can work together. You can read the full article HERE.

We originally shot this home this past summer and because Jody and I are friends and I have been toying with the idea of having my clients in a couple of shots for each project in my portfolio, I made her model for us.

Oh yes, have I not mentioned? She is also a super model. Little TJ and my Remi were born just a few weeks apart, so I love that he was able to slow down long enough to be in this shot. There was bribery involved. 

The Globe Magazine wanted to do something a bit more casual so they got this sweet shot with Channing, who is just a few weeks younger than Wells.

Love these kids, love this family. And as far as working with friends, I think if you're comfortable enough to share that you have mastitis for the third time, you're going to be just fine sharing that the crystal chandelier she loves is going to look like a bad Versailles knock off :)

All photos by Michael J. Lee who loves his job just as much as I do. And just to prove it, here is a shot we took to show Jody and TJ what we had in mind for their scene. Nailed it.



>> Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Do you guys follow Orlando Soria's Instagram? You should. He uses the hashtag #victim liberally and it's hilarious. I saw this on the Humans of New York Facebook feed today and had to share.

"We're all victims of the architect. Architecture is the only art that you can't help but feel. You can avoid paintings, you can avoid music, and you can even avoid history. But good luck getting away from architecture." 

Whew, I feel passionately about this one, especially after house hunting over the past month. But I think my issue is more of a disclusion of an architect and mass take over by the rubber-stamp-builder. Either way, #victim.


To Market, To Market

>> Monday, October 13, 2014

I am going to High Point Market in North Carolina this weekend! Are you? I am very excited. I have wanted to go for years but being in Boston with two little babies and a husband in residency made it basically impossible. But now that we're back in Nashville, I'm there! Say hi if you will be there too.

Speaking of Nashville, my oh, my you have gotten so cool in our absence. I read an article Saturday afternoon about the Biscuit Love Truck that is parked in the front of White's Mercantile on Sunday mornings. So after church we made a beeline that way. Bryan and I both had The Princess, so good.

And White's Mercantile, such a well curated space! Reminded me a little bit of Hudson in Boston, but more general store-esk. In heaven, I will roam through one continuous general store. I spent an hour this summer in Alley's General Store on Martha's Vineyard while my husband threw Cheddar Bunnies into the back seat to keep our children at bay. I bought a set of blue gingham napkins and held out hope for the entire 60 minutes that I was going to run into the Obamas. Did not happen.

I am very proud of this pretty city I grew up in, although this level of coolness has only left Bryan and I acutely aware of how uncool we are. He cannot grow a beard to save his life and I have had one too many kids to attempt to wear my jeans above my belly button. Unless mom jeans worn by actual mom bodies is coming back, I got that:)


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