Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nesting Dolls - Christmas Tradition #1

Over the years I have started a few holiday traditions of my own.  Most are collections that I have started for holiday decorating, others are special themed gifts given on certain days.  The first that I will tell you about came about because of childhood memories.

When I was young my mother had a small collection of intricately hand painted wooden dolls that fit inside each other.  We called them nesting dolls.  I spent hours playing with them whenever they were on display.  (My mother did not display anything that we weren't allowed to touch - even the nicer things were there for us to discover - I hope some day I learn to be that relaxed :) Anyhow, I now know that these dolls are called Matryoshka dolls and originated in Russia. 

According to wikipedia, a matryoshka doll, or babushka doll is a Russian nesting doll which is a set of dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside the other. The word matryoshka (матрёшка) is derived from мать (mother); literally it means "dear (or little) mother."

The original babushka by Zvyozdochkin and Malyutin
The first Russian nested doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter in the Abramtsevo estate of the Russian industrialist and patron of arts Savva Mamontov. The doll set was painted by Malyutin himself. Malyutin's design was inspired by a set of Japanese wooden dolls representing the Seven Lucky Gods. Malyutin's doll set consisted of eight dolls—the outermost was a girl holding a rooster, six inner dolls were girls, the fifth doll was a boy, and the innermost was a baby.  In 1900, Savva Mamontov's wife presented the dolls at the World Exhibition in Paris, and the toy earned a bronze medal. Soon after, matryoshka dolls were being made in several places in Russia.

 But, enough about history...while I was online searching for a possible addition to my collection, I spotted this beautiful Russian Troika Nesting Doll for sale at The Russian Store.  This one of a kind 30 piece nesting doll is hand carved and hand painted. It is imported directly from Russia. It features a gloss finish and Russian troikas racing across a winter landscape. 

Can you imagine?  30 pieces?  I would be in nesting doll heaven! 
Look at the intricate details that are handpainted on each doll. 
Below are some more beautiful dolls

That's a compulsion - not a collection! (source unknown)

Aliona Doletskaya (Editor of Vogue Russia) celebrated the 10th anniversary of this institution with a collection of 31 Matryoshka dolls

Chanel Russian doll clutch £2.500

These remind me of my mother's dolls that I played with as a child (source unknown)

By the way, the cost of the 30 piece set that I fell in love with?  A mere $1918.99...I am on your Christmas list, right?  Well, if not, be sure to let Santa know that I have been a very good girl this year! [wink]

Friday, November 26, 2010

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - Cleveland/Anderson family will air Dec 5th

Me, outside of the glamourous "Design Producer's" trailer

It has been almost 8 weeks since we revealed the home to the very deserving Anderson family.  The show will air on abc at 8pm EST on December 5th.  I am so very excited to see how the home looks on television.  For the episode, I was able to work directly with the design producers and two of the tv designers to help make this a beautiful home for the family. 

Me and Ty

I met Ty Pennington in the design trailer and listened in on the design meeting he had with the design producer that was working on his projects (whilst I nibbled away on their fabulous snacks and sammies) He is a very genuine person.  A regular kind of guy.
...Of course, those of you that know me, know that I just couldn't leave well enough alone and offered up some suggestions...(of course I received the "Who the "heck" (insert word of choice) is this chic" look several times...) But in the end, Ty did use my suggestions.  And I am so very proud of that! 
The following two days were filled with fabrication, sourcing, putting a ton of miles on my truck, lack of sleep and an accidental photo of happy hour that I sent to the design producer...oops...but, hey, my crew needed stress relief! 
On the last day, I returned to the site to turn in receipts and return the producer's corporate credit card, and was asked to stay to help stage the home.  Almost all of the "blue shirts" were asked to leave the home, but I was in the garage with the senior design producer and all of the accessory options for the home.  WOW!  There were so many choices.  I think I remember about 60 frames, 10 chairs, a multitude of candleholders and vases, and on and on...It was absolutely amazing how quickly things went into the home and came right back out for a different option.  It was so much fun to help frame photographs of the family, and to see the home completed (or darn near) and almost ready for it's close-up.  I was able to "hang out" in the media room for a few minutes with TV designer, Michael, and staged pillows and throws the way he wanted them...he was very gracious and bubbly.  We made close to 85 pillows for the home, but they had purchased even more as "filler".  The producers stock the closets as well, with items like blankets and pillows, etc.  Anything that will make the family feel more at home.  At one point I was in charge of watching "the house" - a model replica that was strategically placed on a table in the garage.  It was nearing time for the  family to arrive, the masses outside were practicing for "move that bus", and I was asked to stay to assist during the filming. I was told that I would not be able to leave the home once the family pulled up and until the filming was complete, which would have been upwards of 8 hours.  As much as I wanted to be a part of that, I was so exhausted by the All-nighter the night before (to complete that media room) that I graciously excused myself, thanked the designers for the opportunity to help the Anderson's and exited through the front door (in front of thousand's of on-lookers waiting patiently but excitedly for the family to arrive.)  I did stay to see the family arrive, and it was very powerful to see.  I will post again once the show has aired to show photos of the weekend that was certainly "Extreme."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

from The Impeccable Nest

photo credit: Martha Stewart Living

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Extreme Makeover Home Edition

So a few weeks ago I received a phone call from an industry professional asking me if I'd like to manage the window treatments for an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (yes, the show on abc) build in Cleveland OH...Of course I said "Sure!" without even realizing what I was getting myself into.  Tomorrow morning is "door knock" day when they surprise the lucky family.  There were some issues, glitches if you will, with sourcing items needed for the windows and the soft goods for this particular build.  But awesome companies that I have connected with have stepped up and offered donations to help out the design team and ultimately the family.  Once the build is finished I can be more specific, but so far we have sourced decorative fabrics from 3 different vendors (some even very high end), decorative hardware from 3 different vendors, 2 full bolts of lining and Kirsch hardware from a very gracious supplier, and we're hoping to find some pillow forms...the last item that we will need....unless plans change, and I hear that happens quite often.  I do have help with managing and I am grateful for that!  The official week hasn't even begun and this has already consumed 2 full days of my life, plus some restless nights filled with anticipation.  Phew!  I like it...bring it on!
...more to come, but you'll have to wait until the show airs for the specifics and photos!  Episode number 9 for this season!  Tune in...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Enhancing your View


These windows look out onto a golf course.  The london shades cut right through the middle of the windows and the top valance cuts out quite a bit of natural light.  The client wanted to dress her windows to enhance the view while still softening the space.


We achieved a bright cheerful look with upholstered cornices that hang loose in inverted box pleats over stationary panels. 

The cornices have contrast microcord and the pleats are "buttoned up" with faux tufting.

French Door BEFORE

The cornices were mounted high to add visual height to the vaulted space.

French Door AFTER

We added custom tiebacks to the end panels to add extra detail and to allow the door to function properly.

Side Window BEFORE

The corner cornices were built out on the diagonal, and the side cornices were designed as "half" of a valance.

Side Window AFTER

Detail of custom shaped tieback.

Coordinating flat rod pocket valance for the back door has a tiny box pleated header and microcord at the bottom edge matches the contrast lining.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Happy Easter!

I just loved this photo of "feltimals" that are for sale here:
They are filled with egg shaker rattles and kapok, an all natural, sustainable, hypoallergenic stuffing.
The colors are fresh and the style, so simple.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Crazy for Purple

Word is that the Maison & Objet Interiors show in Paris last month featured purple at every turn. Designers have been reporting dusty, muted purples, paired with greys and beiges. They also saw a variety of painted finish furniture instead of the standard stained mahogany, cherry and various wood finishes we see so often here in the states. Those "blonde" and washed finish furniture pieces should start popping up on our side of the pond within the next few years.

This recent install over Behr "Fudge Bar" paint was designed specifically for insulating qualities because of the drafty windows.

The first layer is a flat roman with heavy bella notte duette blackout. It is a very lining with a soft layer of "batting" attached to it. The shade has hidden "wires" added during construction to the inside to ensure perfect folds each time it is raised. I was skeptical that the faux leather would cooperate when operating it, but was pleasantly surprised that it works effortlessly!

The second layer is a soft cornice with an arched bottom. (Not pictured is an armoire with an arched top. We actually used the exact same curve from this to design the cornices.) They were a great way to introduce pattern.
And the third layer are the lined and interlined drapery panels that are pinch pleated and hanging from the beautiful oversized medallions. A detail that is hard to see is a microcord at the top edge of the panels to continue the line started across the top of the cornice. Also, the lead edge has a box pleated contrast fabric that can be dressed out to show more or less at the bottom. The tassel fringe has been hand sewn.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Textile Trends for 2010
Fabric specialists from Robert Allen and Silver State Textiles reveal what’s hot in décor textiles this year.
By Holly O’Dell
Textiles play a crucial role in interior design, thanks to the patterns, colors and textures they offer. Here, experts from Robert Allen Group and Silver State Textiles reveal five big trends designers can expect to see in 2010. Au natural. Instead of relying heavily on the dressiness of silk or silk-like materials, designers and consumers will gravitate toward other natural fabrics such as cotton and linen because of their softness and low-maintenance look. "They offer a less elegant and more relaxed style of living," says Christy Almond, operating vice president, design and merchandising, for the Robert Allen Group, which plans to introduce several natural collections in 2010. "Many times these textiles have been washed and finished in a way that feels super-luxurious, even though they’re casual fabrics."Meanwhile, Manoli Sargetakis, principal of Silver State Textiles, believes that some consumers will seek out naturals with a polyester component. "People really like to have a natural fiber," he says, "but they’re beefing things up with a bit of a polyester blend so that the fabric can still keep rich color and dramatically enhance the double rubs [a method that tests a fabric’s durability] and wearability."Color runs the gamut. Like the fabrics themselves, colors will borrow from a natural palette. "Blues, grays, linens and whites are key right now," Almond says. "They’re clean, soft and offer a relaxed feeling. Picture a beach cottage where you can cozy up with a book on the sofa and not feel constricted." Green is continuing its influence on the spectrum. Robert Allen released a color about a year ago called Leaf, "a very clean, classy green that has done really well," Almond notes, adding that turquoise will emerge as an important hue in interior design textiles. Sargetakis predicts a return to jewel tones — ruby reds, emerald greens, sapphire blues. Reconsidering traditional. Textiles will feature a modern spin on traditional, according to Almond. "Many designs look like they’re simple and hand-drawn," she notes. "They’re a little less fussy than they were in the past." Such fabrics evoke an old Parisian apartment full of character, Almond notes, where paint is crumbling off the walls and tables have some wear and tear. "Patterns are more graphic and offer more clarity, but they’re not overly contemporary either," Sargetakis adds. "We’re adding youth to more traditional textiles." Silver State is introducing a new collection tentatively called Enduring Luxury, where the company will add a performance component to elegant fabrics within its high-end Alaxi division. The idea is to return to an earlier time and create a legacy piece. "This collection goes back to the days of when your grandmother had a beautiful piece of furniture that not only had class and style, but also durability and an enduring look that could be passed on to the next generation," Sargetakis says. Green is the gold standard. Fabric manufacturers such as Crypton have devoted their entire operations to eco-friendly products, both in terms of content and the manner in which they’re produced. Textiles made of bamboo, organic cotton or recycled materials will continue to attract consumers. Ethnic appeal. "You can barely open a magazine right now without seeing some sort of African, Moroccan or Middle Eastern design influence," Almond says. "Ethnic designs have been strong in fashion for a couple of years, and they’re now permeating the home on many levels. They’re a little bit irregular and add a beautiful sense of pattern and history to a space." The fabrics take their cues from traditional textiles such as an African kuba cloth but "are reinterpreted into a different type of fiber with a softer hand to make it suitable for today’s homes," Almond notes. To read more about the growing influence of Africa on international design, click here.For more information about the collaboration between Sherwin-Williams and The Robert Allen Group and to view the color cards, go to

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cornices and Portieres

My next BIG project will be furnishing window treatments for Fox Meadow Country Club in Medina, OH

Here is a computer generated rendering of what's to come. There will be five very large cornices and a pair of portiere panels dividing areas of the main dining room.

New paint colors were chosen by Creative Impressions and will add much needed drama and ambiance to the space. The rich fabrics were chosen to bring additional warmth and softness to the space.

This is the color story board that was made for club members to view the plans.

I am looking forward to this project because the changes are going to be very dramatic.