southern creatives: Emily Morgan Brown

southern creatives: emily morgan brown

I couldn't be more excited to introduce today's featured Southern Creative. Emily Brown is not only an amazing talent but she is also one of the most kind people you could know. As soon as you meet her, you can't wait to sit down and talk over a cup of coffee. I find myself so drawn to how real and compassionate she is in BOTH LIFE AND ART.. her joy is contagious! She lives in Birmingham with her husband and three precious daughters. And if you're not following her on instagram, you should be! She shares the funniest and most adorable pictures from her everyday life as well as images of her amazing work. She is one to know! Enjoy the images and answers below!  

also make sure to visit her NEW website to learn more!

tell us a little bit of your background. when did you realize that you wanted to be an artist? i really can’t remember a time when art wasn’t a huge part of my life. i’ve always wanted to be an artist—even when all of the other children wanted to be firefighters and astronauts. but i clearly remember the moment i decided to be a portrait artist. my mom had just commissioned my younger brother’s portrait, and i was in awe! i started practicing portraiture by copying the faces i found in a kevyn aucoin makeup book i was given for my twelfth birthday. i sketched the numerous teachers and pastors in my life when i should have been paying attention. i have always had a deep fascination with expressions, and it is so amazing to me that since adam and eve, god hasn’t created two faces that are the same—how crazy is that? 

i enrolled in a college-credit art class in high school; there, i exploredfaces and expressions as my concentration. then i went on to earn a bfa in graphic design from auburn university. in so many ways, the design education i received from auburn has been invaluable to me as an artist, and the year i spent at an advertising agency was a great learning experience for how to promote my work.

 

what are your favorite mediums to work with?  charcoal—hands down. i love the way it slides onto the paper. it is easy to apply and easy to lift off—although it’s two-dimensional, it feels like sculpting . . . the adding and taking away to reveal the subject

Where do you turn for inspiration?   Of course I am always inspired by the new faces I am commissioned to reproduce. It is a great joy to be trusted with such an important family heirloom, and I never lose sight of that. It is fun to imagine where the portraits I create will hang not only next month but also fifty years from now.    Beyond my day-to-day employment, I am constantly researching other artists, architects, and designers. Process and interesting color combinations always inspire me, and lately textiles have really captured my interest and imagination. 

 

What are your goals for the future of your art? Oh, I have many! First and foremost, I want to improve with every portrait I complete and in the end have a customer whose expectations have been wildly surpassed. My goal is to have clients who not only are thrilled with the result but also enjoying the process. I am looking forward to increasing the visual reach of my artwork through both social media and collaborations with other artists as well as publications and blogs.

 

Advice for others who are pursuing a career in art? It is so important to just create. Put yourself out there, and do it now. Art is such a personal thing that being vulnerable and receiving criticism is difficult, of course, but it will only get harder as you wait to improve. Putting yourself out there is the only way you will truly grow. Also, find a mentor. An artist who has a longer or richer history of creating and selling art will be able to share invaluable advice and experiences with you. 

 

How do you balance your creative passions and raising a family/home life?  I wish I had a good answer for this—that balance is so tricky! I am fortunate to have a job where I can control the amount and speed of the work I take on. I have three small girls at home: twins who just turned three,  and their baby sister, who is almost one and a half. At this point in my life, my time at the studio is very valuable. Currently, I work two or three full days per week. That ratio is working really well for us right now, but I’m sure it will ebb and flow with the stages of life my family and my career will go through. 

 

Does being from the south have an influence on your artwork?  It does! While portraiture is hardly an art defined by a time period or a region, it has a noticeable presence in the south. It is really fun to see how portraiture in the south has evolved from heavy oil paintings paired with ornate, dark-wood furniture and heavy drapery to a lighter, more airy and less fussy depiction of a loved one—whichgoes hand in hand with contemporary southern interiors.

 

how do your family and/or friends play a roll in your art?  my family is extremely encouraging. i wish i could count the number of times my sister and my mother have helped me to identify what seemed “off” asa portrait neared completion but still needed finessing. and i have drawn my sister more times than i remember. actually, i’m just about to take photos of her for another portrait i have planned to hang in gallery 1930 in a few months. 

 

describe your personal style.  currently and realistically, i would describe my style as very practical. taking care of small children and working by myself, i am usually in tennis shoes and a bun, and our home is decorated with slipcovered (washable!) furniture. but if you are looking at my pinterest boards, it’s a totally different story! i am drawn to neutral, casual clothing with lots of jewelry, and i love midcentury, modern interiors with a free spirited vibe. 

 

tea or coffee? flats or heels? dogs or cats? breakfast or dinner?  coffee—but only in the morning or i'll be up all night long. flats—i’m so thankful for the sneaker trend right now. dogs, of course, and dinner—no question. 

 

favorite vacation spot?  high hampton inn in cashiers, north carolina. i grew up vacationing there with my extended family, and jeremy and i were married there in 2010. it is a very special and beautiful place for me to unwind. there are no tvs and there is no cell service, so it is not for the faint of heart! 

 

be honest! what is in your purse?   my wallet, my phone, a sketchpad, a bunch of old receipts, a utility knife, a kneaded eraser, an emergency diaper, a protein bar, carmex, kuumba made “persian garden” fragrance oil, and way too many pens and pencils. 

THANK YOU EMILY!! 

back to blogging 

hi friends- you might have noticed that i've taken a small siesta from blogging over the past few months. my day job has been so full of projects, long installs, and busy days that this blog has suffered the consequences. but i'm hoping to be back around here more often especially as a way of pulling  inspiration for new things coming up! for today, lets start with some sunday pin-spiration! blame it on the  warm weather but right now all i want is  light fabrics and organic materials  ... enjoy! 

inspired: 1.29.16

#tgif 

a picture is worth a thousand words, so enjoy the next 10 or so thousand words .. . 

see y'all on monday! after a full week, its time for some recharge 

xo - kb

project: pink stripe nursery

I'm considering declaring that I only want to design nurseries from this point forward. Sure, maybe thats taking it a little far (y'all know my favorable feelings towards kitchens) but I've been working on several nurseries lately for some of the sweetest clients and its been nothing but a joy. There is something special about creating a room for a precious little thing who isn't even here with us yet. Theres an excitement that surrounds a nursery space that doesn't quite surround  , lets say, a dining room. They are simply happy rooms. I don't like a nursery that is TOO boyish or TOO girlish. Rather, I like a space that is sophisticated and simple (don't want it to scream, i just bought everything from the "store a, b, or c"  girl nursery tab). Also I like to help design a space that will grow with the baby from newborn to young child and on. This means nothing that is too "babyish". All this said, a nursery is a nursery SO don't try to make it into something TOO mature or TOO sophisticated. Rather, let it be a little bit fun and whimsical. It should be happy. The ultimate nursery - father of the bride II. If you haven't seen it, watch the movie tonight (and pay special attention to the nursery). Its a classic (the movie and the nursery). 

See a piece you like or have a question? Email me katherine@katherinebramlett.com for information! xo- kb

better basics: upholstered headboards

Yea, so there are the basic pieces of design- headboards, chairs, sofas, lighting- and then there are BETTER basics- upholstered headboards, iron headboards, modern sofas, classic sofas, wooden chairs, wicker chairs, modern lighting, iron sconce, and so on (you get the ideas...). SO thats what this series is all about. I wanna highlight some of my favorite better basics of design. 

First up, upholstered headboards. there are lots of reasons to love upholstered headboards. My top 2? One- its comfortable. it makes for the best cozy nook when curling up to read a book. two- its versatile -- various fabric choices (geometric, floral, stripe, solid), detail options (cording, nail heads), headboard shape (see cheat sheet below), headboard height (60" is my optimal choice for the headboard to show behind shams but not be too overbearing). any combo of these different elements can make for one heck of a headboard ... 

my ideal headboard (okay my, "today", ideal headboard) an oxford style (straight across), 60" headboard in a ticking stripe with nail heads. 

another great thing about upholstered headboards? there are lots of different avenues for getting your own. there are fabulous design work rooms and designers that can work with you to design the headboard of your dream-- the fabric, the shape, the height, etc. But if this option doesnt make sense for you or  may you just aren't sure of what our want right now, there are PLENTY OF OTHER WONDERFUL OPTIONS. BELOW, YOU'LL FIND A FEW OF MY FAVORITES THAT CAN BE found ONLINE OR SEEN IN STORES. and ANOTHER PERK? WHEN YOU/ IF YOU GET TIRED OF THE FABRIC ON YOUR HEADBOARD FROM STORE ___ THEN YOU CAN HAVE IT REUPHOLSTERED! WIN/WIN/WIN.  also if all fabric headboards aren't your thing- there are many options where the upholstered headboard is framed in either iron or wood. see more below: 

great basics: one, two, three, four, five, six, and a great slipcovered option

wood options: one, two

iron: one,  two

because everyone needs a cheat sheet: 


house crush: Ludlow Homestead

Although I love the ease of scrolling through Pinterest and seeing image upon image from various beautiful spaces (y'all, know how addicting this is), i'm a total sucker for well though out and well put together articles (the english major in me coming out). Its good for my sometimes scattered brain (ok, its really scattered most of the time) to read things that are cohesive and that keep my focus. Not to mention articles like these give you the FULL picture as opposed to seeing just little snippets of rooms a.k.a you get the full story not just the bullet list.

For me, so much of design is telling a story. Whether it is the story of the design choices and the process itself, or the story of the family within the home --of how they live, of whats important to them, of the ways they celebrate, of the way they spend their time.  You know what they say: its the journey not the destination... WELL (i guess) you could also say: its the story not just the ending.  annnd the pictures below tell a beautiful story of the restoration of a home in upstate New York. Read on! 

 The house was built in 1786 with bricks made on-site and the shutters are painted in Farrow and Ball’s Calke Green.  Peter Spears and brian Swardstrom restored the home 228 year old Lulow Homestead in Claverack, NYC into a house that both honors its distinguished history while also extending a gracious and comforting arm to all who visit.

Swardstrom said this of the home: "Our goal was to have it not be a museum piece but rather livable, commutable, warm, and relaxed.” As a history nerd, I love the owner’s intention to honor the phistory of the home.  I love this thought shared by the owners: “Its like we’re just part of the lineage of it now. We don’t really own the house so much as we’re custodians for the future.” what an amazing perspective. 

I love the paint coors throughout the house: Frrow and Ball’s Elephants’s Breath, Farrow and Ball’s Buff, and what looks like to me Farrow and Bal’s Oval Room Blue (although it isn’t credited in the article). 

As intrigued as me? for more, go here

have a design question? email me katherine@katherinebramlett.com

xo - kb

p.s. food for thought: 



friday favorites

Sometimes you just need to return to the classics. These "countryside" classics from OKL have me craving an escape to a creaky, cozy country cottage. Specifically a cottage with an unending supply of hot tea and Downton abbey re-runs. 

and don't even get me started on the vintage pillows -- so much personality but still so soothing. You better believe that those two have already made their way into my cart. Happy Friday to me. 

Have a question? contact me katherine@katherinebramlett.com for any design, sourcing, or art inquiries. Happy Friday friends.  xo - kb

the look for less: a bedroom with charm

This image caught my eye on pinterest earlier this week. The image simply charmed me. i imagine it would be found in a cozy cottage somewhere with big windows. below i've re-created this look for less... hope it spurs on some ideas for your space! I ESPECIALLY LOVE THE LITTLE WALL SCONCE WITH THE SWEET SHADE. THINKING I MIGHT NEED ONE OR TWO OF THESE IN MY LIFE SOON. 

HAPPY FRIDAY friends 

bed | bedside | art | sconce | bedding | rug 

 

shiplap walls

Maybe its the farm girl in me, but i'm a total sucker for a ship lap wall. Sheetrock can be so bland; whereas wood walls provide so much warmth and character.  And lets be real, is there anything more fresh & simple than the horizontal lines of white shiplap? I don't think so. Shiplap promotes all the adjectives that I hopppppeee would define my interior style: simple, clean, fresh, stylish (I mean, a girl can dream). Its particularly effective in mudrooms and laundry rooms because it provides the perfect mix of utility, handsome, and chic. see more below ...

painted floors

While scanning pinterest last night, my eye was caught by the picture below. At first glance, its just another white kitchen (albeit good looking, well designed, great lighting) BUT a normal kitchen, right? nope. Check out those floors. Thats its magic. Y'all know green is my thing. Literally paint it green, i'll like it. Guarantee you. And this perfect shade of perfectly vibrant green is no exception. I love the whimsy it brings to a functional and otherwise traditional space.  I've said it before and i'll say it again: interiors should make you happy. There is enough that is hard and sad in life. Your nest should be a place of comfort and happy. A place where you feel comfortable. Beauty that is welcoming and wraps you up in a big hug. (cheesy, but true). I think if my nest included a kitchen with a bright green floor, I'd be doing just fine. Agree?  

[and just so you know if i was painting my floors green, i'd likely be choosing one of these:]

If bright green isn't your thing (in which case i might need to talk to you and help you see the error of your ways), then there are other great painted floor options. For example, there are beautiful examples of stenciled floors. I especially love some of the gray and white patterns below. 

need a weekend project? check out this site to learn more about how to paint your floors! 

Happy day-before-friday friends... Cheers!

blank canvas

Welcome 2016! While it might be cliche to give into all the "near year, new me" type things, I can't help myself from feeling just a little refreshed by the start of a new year. There is something exciting about a blank canvas... 

You'll see below that the new year has me longing for all things simple, fresh, white.  Cheers to the future, friends! 


merry merry

christmas readying.. 

 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Luke 2 :10

december 16, 2015

just these.. happy hump day!

fireplaces

MY PAST FEW DAYS HAVE BEEN FULL OF GARLAND AND MANTLES. ALL THIS chRISTMAS DECORATING HAS HAD ME THINKING A LOT ABOUT FIREPLACES. THE FIREPLACE IS SUCH A CENTRAL PART OF THE HOME. IT IS NOT ONLY AN AESTHETIC FOCUS IN OUR MOST IMPORTANT ROOMS BUT ALSO SYMBOLICALLY  THE HEARTH REPRESENTS THE HEART OF the HOME.  ON A MORE PERSONAL LEVEL, I CAN VOUCH THAT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I LOVE MORE THAN CURLING UP NEXT TO THE FIRE AFTER A LONG DAY WITH A cup of tea. SOMETHING ABOUT THE WARMTH OF THE FIRE JUST WARMS NOT ONLY MY FEET AND HANDS BUT MY HEART. y'all KNOW I'M ALL ABOUT COZY.  so SINCE WE ALL AGREE THAT THE FIREPLACE IS CENTRAL TO OUR HOMES, WE SHOULDN'T SKIMP WHEN IT COMES TO OUR MANTLES. THE MANTLE SHOULD REFLECT THE CHARACTER OF THE HOME IN WHICH IT IS FOUND. WHILE I WILL ALWAYS REALLY LOVE A CHUNKY, HANDSOME LIMESTONE FIREPLACE, I'VE RECENTLY BEEN DRAWN TO WOOD FIREPLACES IN AN AMERICAN COLONIAL STYLE. i love the architectural molding that can be included on mantles such as these. I ESPECIALLLLLY LIKE THIS LOOK WHEN THE FIREPLACE IS PAINTED IN A CLASSIC WHITE; A PERFECT CANVAS FOR ALL THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT CAN GO ON TOP OF THE MANTLE! THE WHITE WOOD REALLY ACHIEVES THE FRESH, SIMPLE, CRISP LOOK I'M USUALLY AFTER (added bonus- wood cost a lot less than limestone).  TKE A LOOK BELOW TO SEE SOME OF MY FAVORITES FROM ACROSS the WEB. and SCROLL ON TO SEE SOME of my IDEAS FOR THE top of your mantle! 


fireplace ideas 

what i've learned: keep it simple. make it random (sort of). mix up materials and heights. 

WHEN IT COMES TO ARTWORK/MIRRORS, i'm all for a grand mirror and some fancy candlesticks in the right space... but my favorite fireplaces are actually the more casual, simple ones.  I LOVE the look of layering artwork (specifically photography!) or maybe you just lean a favorite piece of art against your hanging mirror. this creates depth and interest on the mantle. 

i love a pair of SOMETHING. I USUALLY CHOOSE TOPIARIES OF SOME SORT. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, THROW A TOPIARY IN THERE.. INSTANT CHIC. TRY IT! I'M SERIOUS. 

THEN HAVE AN "ODD" SOMETHING- MAYBE ITS ONE RANDOM CANDLESTICK YOU LOVE OR AN INTERESTING OBJET (LIKE THE TURTLE SHELL BELOW). THIS ADDS TO THE LAYERING FEEL. IT ALSO JUST ADDS THAT LITTLE INTEREST! 

GROUP THINGS- I LOVE GROUPING together A COUPLE THINGS YOU LOVE. LOVE BLUE AND WHITE POTTERY? CHOOSE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES AND GROUP THEM ON THE MANTLE. 

as always, email me with any questions! 

-kpb

lately: a bathroom scheme & a new top 10

Recently, a sweet friend asked for some ideas for a master bath redo. I loved & so appreciated the opportunity to share my ideas and thoughts with this sweet family. It was especially fun because they have great style and really knew a lot of what they wanted.  This made for a great conversation and will certainly lead to a wonderful final product. Below are some of the images I drew from when putting together a board for them.  Also read on to hear my "top 10" of what I've learned when it comes to bath design.  



10 things i've learned in bathroom design:

1) a bathroom should have a little bit of luxury (even if that just means a soft bath mat).. its where we get ready to start our day and where we get ready to end it. Don't believe me- true or false: nothing heals like a good, warm bath at the end of the day? This is an important room. It should feel like a little retreat for you.  I'm not saying everything should be in marble and god (definitely not my style) but make educated, intentional decisions on those things that add that bit of luxury to your space. For example, there is no replacement for a beautiful, well-made faucet or a beautiful countertop. You can skimp on some things (in fact, you should!) but don't skimp on everything. 

2) take your bath tub on a test drive. You must try out your tub before you purchase it. This means, put on your stretchy pants and tennis shoes and get yourself down to a bath showroom. Take time to try out a few before pulling the trigger. I personally am still a fan of the crowd-pleaser: the tea for two by kohler, but don't just take my word for it. Go TRY it!

3) make SMART choices. Remember its a bathroom, so you are going to need floors that stand up to water and hard use. Ceramic tile, marble, and other natural stones make excellent choices, and they won't suffer from the natural splish and splash of a bath.  Obviously marble is beautiful, but there are other options! Many times, I actually prefer to use a ceramic tile (i love penny rounds, and i am also a big believer in an old school black & white ceramic pattern). There are also great options in the way of limestone, bluestone, and slate.  If you do use marble, I love a small pattern on the floor-  herringbone is a favorite. 

4) lighting is key. Like most places, lighting is important, but even more so in a bath. Gotta look good, am I right? Hard to do that in the dark. SO lighting takes on new importance in the bath. I suggest using 3"/4" recess cans in a few key places (over the sink, over the w.c.) and then sconces on either side of your mirror. Also the new fan, cans for the shower are so quiet and provide great light.  Also like always, remember your dimmers!

5) If you are low on space, consider a pedestal ... Its the grandma designer in me, but i adore a pedestal sink. I know, i know its not as practical as a big, boxy vanity. BUT hear me out! A pedestal, even some of the best looking ones, are so much more cost effective! And you can use baskets or buy a separate shelving pieces for storage.  Just remember to choose one that has a large rim around the bowl so you can sit your toothbrush, etc. 

6) have a budget. Its a small room so it won't cost too much, right? WRONG. Bathroom redos can become costly quickly. This seems fairly obvious but its importance can't be underestimated. Before beginning your project, establish a budget. You'll want to check with your contractor on labor costs and then subtract that from what you're comfortable with spendings so you know how much you have left to spend on the tile, fixtures, faucets, etc. 

7) shower niches are important. Maybe the easiest detail you can add to your bath, but carries a big punch is a shower niche. Have your tile guy work in a little square/rectangular niche into your shower wall where you can keep the shampoo, etc. It will help keep things neater looking and it will also be super functional. 

8) invest in a good w.c. comfort height, elongated bowl. just do it. you'll be glad you did. 

9) don't skimp on the shower head. A good shower head, with good pressure, can be life changing. Don't forget to discuss this with your showroom. They'll surely have good suggestions. 

10) Mix materials and scale. I don't like everything to be too match-y. For me, a bathroom that is just covered in marble everywhere looks like a bath at a fancy hotel. I mean is it beautiful? Yes. But does it have any personality? probably not.  So instead of everything being white marble, everywhere. Mix up the materials and the scale. Use a marble herringbone on the floor but then use a glazed subway tile for your shower walls. The mix of ceramic and natural stone is interesting and keeps it from being too "all the same."  warning- Remember to stay in the same color palette so thinks don't get too confusing. We all still want that serenity feeling. 

 

 

fabric crush: pierre frey's toiles de nantes

i've noticed a little bit of a pattern when it comes to fabric/wallpaper patterns (how's that for a confusing sentence?). it seems that every few months, i stumble across a textile that steals my  heart. y'all know i'm a complete sucker for anything that even rings of art so naturally i have an ongoing love affair with beautiful textiles. even when it isn't a fabric that i'd necessarily want in my room or a project, i still find myself so mesmerized with the color, texture, movement, lines of the textiles. truth: i'm a horrible person to send into a fabric showroom. i'm completely unable to stay focused and instead i leave with bags and bags of memos with no clear purpose. always, easily distracted by beautiful things. 

back to the topic at hand... i've recently found my newest fabric/wallpaper fixation. and since this is a design blog and you are readers of a design blog, i thought that you just might want to hear about it. warning- if you don't want to hear about the many, many reasons i'm head over heels for pierre frey's toiles de nantes, i'd stop reading now. but since you're already here.. might as well go on, right? 

so as i was saying, i am totally enamored by this fabric.  there is something about the history of the pattern that really sparks the art history nerd inside of me. i love that it is a textile with so much history. originally designed to imitate an 18th century scroll, it has been used in beautiful rooms by talented people for years upon years. in fact, mark hampton used it in estee lauder's bedroom in the hamptons and it is still in tact (and gorgeous) today. i just love that. i love that this pattern unites us with designs of the past and informs the styles of the future. i love to see the many different ways it has been used over the years. for example, it has sometimes been used in excess- a bedroom as the wallpaper, bedding, drapery while at other times it has been used to add a punch to a club chair or a pillow.  i think the fabric translates so easy into so many different applications because it has an organic motion to it. (aka pierre frey was doing ikat before iikat was cool). i also think that the way it pairs color (blue, red, brown) with crisp white is effortlessly fresh and chic.  even when there is a lot of the pattern, the eye doesn't really grow weary and somehow even after all these years the fabric still reads "fresh."  you might think that this pattern is a little too much or too traditional for your space (i'll admit i wondered this myself), but its all about how you use it! 

if this was my dream situation, i'd use the fabric as drapery in a bedroom with crisp white walls and bedding, beautiful wood furniture, natural fiber rug, a linen settee, and a big bunch of white hydrangea (hey, a girl can dream!). but honestly i really appreciate all the ways this fabric is used. remember- i'm still in the stage with it where it can really do no wrong. check out the pictures below and i think you'll agree with me...


project files: birmingham home and garden Inspiration house

I've been putting off sharing about the room we did for the Birmingham Home and Garden Inspiration House until the magazine was out. AND it finally is! Although I must admit, I kinda missed its initial debut.  I knew it was the November/December issue, but somehow November 5 was still October 25 in my mind. This time of year flies, doesn't it? SO now that it is november 12 (!), it seemed like the absolute right time to share. 

For the house, we were to do the small study at the front of the house.  Working on a project that doesn't have a real, live client involved is both freeing and tricky. Freeing because you are your own boss and you can be a little more bold/wacky/interesting/etc. than you might be in another person's home. But on the other hand, its hard to design a space when you don't have a person in mind. So much of what we do is a reflection of the people who live in the homes that we work in so when you're left without that important piece of a puzzle things get a bit hazy. 

the beginning stages of the install  - we originally wanted to use these chairs but then decided we needed something fuller and more comfortable 

the beginning stages of the install  - we originally wanted to use these chairs but then decided we needed something fuller and more comfortable 

But not to worry! We fixed this problem by taking the liberty to "imagine" the person who would use our study. Our idea was that this was a study for  a 20, 30 something stationary designer/ blogger who uses this space to work on her projects and posts early in the morning with a cup of coffee by her side and then late into the night with a glass of wine. We wanted to create a space that was calm & peaceful but still interesting with a sophisticated edge. This is a woman that needs a peaceful surrounding for all her ideas to run wild but also needs a space that is sophisticated for meetings. The space’s sophistication is still casual; nothing is too set or too perfect, inviting you to put your feet up or grab something to read from the shelves. 

we decided on this great chair from circa

we decided on this great chair from circa

For the palette of the room, I started with the beautiful Mary McDonald Schumacher fabric that was used for the panels at the back of the room. disclaimer: THIS WAS MY FAVORITE PART!  The panels serve as an anchor to the room and provide interest and warmth to the space. In addition, they can also be used as a pin board for invites, notes, cards.

CUSTOM DESK BLOTTER AND AERIN DESK LAMP  | LOVE HOW THE DECORATIVE PANELS HAVE A FUNCTIONAL USE AS A PIN BOARD 

CUSTOM DESK BLOTTER AND AERIN DESK LAMP  | LOVE HOW THE DECORATIVE PANELS HAVE A FUNCTIONAL USE AS A PIN BOARD 

Using the colors from the panels, we choose other neutral pieces for a calming layered look. Color was introduced by adding in pops of green and blue through artwork and pottery. We love the photo of Venice by the talented Hardie Cobbs, and we made the room a little more personal by adding in one of my own works on paper.

mid-INSTALL... WITH LOTS OF COFFEE 

mid-INSTALL... WITH LOTS OF COFFEE 

LOVED THE POPS OF BLUE MIXED INTO THE BOOKSHELVES 

LOVED THE POPS OF BLUE MIXED INTO THE BOOKSHELVES 

On the floor, we layered a hide on top of a sisal. This is a great way to achieve that layered look without spending too much. The lighting in a space really helps establish the “feel” of the room and its best when the lighting is layered through the space — so think different heights, different locations, different intensities.

ALMOST FINISHED... 

ALMOST FINISHED... 

In order to introduce a contemporary edge to the room, we chose fixtures with tailored lines. For example, the desk lamp by Aerin is both functional and cool — a little piece of sculpture on your desk. Over the bookshelves, we installed some of our favorite book case lights. They serve to wash the book shelves with the appropriate amount of light but they also help “complete” the look of the space. 

SO FUN TO WATCH THE ROOM GET PHOTOGRAPHED BY THE TALENTED JEAN ALLSOPP 

SO FUN TO WATCH THE ROOM GET PHOTOGRAPHED BY THE TALENTED JEAN ALLSOPP 

My hope is that the room would be both peaceful and inspiring to all that take a seat at the desk!

THINGS I LEARNED FROM THIS PROJECT: 

1) YOU CAN literally order books by the COLOR ONLINE.. I KNOW THIS IS NOT THAT BREAKTHROUGH but i'd never tried this before. So i was literally amazed when i googled "white books for design project" in google and boom! there was a whole website dedicated to the particular color book jacket you needed. i went with the white (obviously). i loved having these books to mix in with some design books on the shelves. since its a small space (and make belief!), we wanted to keep it simple with a white palette. don't get me wrong, I'm all about real, beat-up books that are your favorites but in a project like this books by the foot was a life saver. 

2) Always remember that design magazines are always a few months/season ahead. this shoot involved a christmas element that i completely forgot about until the day of the shoot. hard to think christmas when its 95 out in alabama

3) fiddle fig trees are hard to move by ones self. you'd all have been howling with laughter if you'd seen me try to wrangle this thing into my car. so tip- use two people or at least one tall person when dealing with a tall fiddle fig

4) lightbulbs make a huge difference. for this project, we changed the bulbs in our lantern from 60 watt bullet shaped bulbs to little indicator lights with a low wattage and it totally set the right mood in the already bright space

5) good projects involve chocolate. we included a little bowl of hershey kisses in our room and they were a crowd pleaser. 

6) A GOOD OFFICE NEEDS A GOOD CHAIR. WE LOVED the LOOK OF OUR FIRST CHAIR BUT IT DIDN'T FILL UP THE CORNER WELL (TOO WISPY) BUT IT ALSO WASN'T NEAR COMFORTABLE ENOUGH. the ROLLING LEE CHAIR FROM CIRCA WAS the PERFECT FIT... I SAT HERE A LOT JUUUUUSTTTT TO MAKE SURE :)

7) WORK WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE. WE WORK WITH SOME AMAZING PEOPLE AND I'M ALWAYS AMAZED BY WHAT THEY CAN MAKE HAPPEN. EVEN IF IT COST A LITTLE MORE, THE RESULTS ARE FAR WORTH IT. THEY MAKE OUR DREAMS INTO REALITIES, AND THAT IS AWESOME. 

8) friends are the best. WE ARE SO THANKFUL TO HAVE SUCH WONDERFUL FRIENDS AND VENDORS WHO HELP US GET THINGS DONE / don't THINK WE ARE (TOO) CRAZY when WE ASK FAVORS OR TO BOTHER THINGS AT THE LAST MINUTE. THANK YOU TO SO MANY PEOPLE BUT TO NAME A FEW: CIRCA INTERIORS, HILTZ LAUBER, PAIGE ALBRIGHT, GRANT TRICK, HANG IT UP, CDT LIMITED, MARCIA UNGER ART, HARDIE COBBS ART, AND LEAF &PETAL. 

9) EVERY ROOM NEEDS SOMETHING GREEN  (THINK- PLANT, CUT FLOWERS). OUR ROOM WAS COMING TOGETHER BUT WASN'T QUITE THERE UNTIL WE INTRODUCED THE GORGEOUS FIDDLE FIG AND CUT FLOWERS ON THE DESK. THEY WERE A GAME CHANGER; BRINGING THE ROOM INSTANTLY TO LIFE! 

10) BIRMINGHAM IS A SMALL CITY WITH BIG DESIGN TALENT.. I AM CONSTANTLY MORE AND MORE AMAZED BY HOW MANY TALENTED PEOPLE THERE ARE IN BIRMINGHAM. THE LONGER I WORK IN THIS BUSINESS, THE MORE I GET TO MEET THEM OR JUST ADMIRE THEIR WORK FROM AFAR. i AM SO THANKFUL TO BE WORKING IN A PLACE WITH SO MANY PEOPLE TO LEARN FROM AND WORK WITH.  IN FACT ONE OF MY FAVORITE DESIGNERS (LAUREN LIESS) RECENTLY BLOGGED about HOW AWESOME BRIMINGHAM IS; CLICK HERE TO READ.  and a big thank you to the talented cathy mcgowin and birmingham home and garden! we are so lucky to have a publication of this caliber locally! 

get the look

MIRROR: okl // wall panels: schumacher  // desk lamp: aerie for visual comfort // pillow: custom fabric // olive jar: okl // hide- paige albright orientals // desk chair and ottoman and french market basket: circa interiors birmingham (lee industries) // desk: currey and co

 

if you made it this long, THANK YOU TIME A MILLION!! 

design crush: katie ridder

I've been a fan of Katie Ridders since college when I stumbled across her vibrant textiles on another blog. Katie gets color and pattern in a way that I really admire. Her designs are so lively and whimsical but aren't overbearing. I love that she often uses unique color combinations; just when you think its impossible to love purple and orange together.. she does it and you really love it. She is an artist. I also just admire her career in so many ways. As a constant doodler and a sometime painter, having my own textile line is my dream like Katies' is a dream. Enjoy the pictures below. They are candy to the eye. 



white houses and black shutters

If you follow me on instagram, you know that I love white houses with black shutters. Maybe they're my soft spot because the house I grew up in had this traditional combo. Whatever it is, I can't get enough of this look. I love the simplicity (how many times do I say that?!); I love that it is a classic. And bonus (!)- this look never goes out of style. Scroll through the images below and I feel certain you'll be on my side of this debate.  

Notice also how this classic combo can be used for many different sizes and shapes of homes. Its a look that can be used in many different ways, and it always has a strong positive effect for the home. My favorite look? White wood (I know its a maintenance pain but it just looks so good), brick chimney, copper gutters, and black shutters. AND if I could choose all the details, i'd also spring for pea gravel motor court and rolling green grass (oh and boxwoods on the front porch..) Swoon. 

jewelry for your wall: Paule Marrot

Recently, I have been helping several clients choose art for their walls. While I love sourcing local art, I've recently fallen in love with the framed textiles of late, French artist Paule Marrot. I love the color and whimsical nature of her works. And as an art history nerd, I like them even more for their historical background. Marrot was a French painter and textile artist (1902-1987). Marrot's "expressive linework and rich color palate is often associated with Art Deco movement, yet her simple, lyrical style has an undeniable contemporary feel."  Below are some of my favorites of her pieces.