From Wanda's Desk: It's Business, It's Not Personal. It's ALSO Personal.

In the fall of 2017, I decided to do something unprecedented for my interior design firm.  I scheduled a month off.  Though it took a little juggling to make it happen, I sat down with the calendar and began blocking off the days.  I was at a carry-over point of a large project and had just stepped into a long-distance remodel, where both clients agreed to wait for my return, among a few other project inquiries.  It was both liberating and anxiety-ridden.  You see, it’s been a very long span since I’ve taken off any real length of time, much less a whole four weeks!  Though we’ve had the typical holiday closings, there was always a place to be or I used it as time to play catch-up on projects when they had begun to overlap.  I came back not at all rested or enthusiastic about diving back into creative mode.  It began to feel more like production mode.  Not my happy place!

This is one of my happy place images.  An event where we were charged to create a uniquely individual setting.  One of my favorite collaborators and decorative artists, Whitney Preslar, brought my vision to light by hand-painting the mirrored chargers and the table cloth.  My vintage china was a starting point.  The love of flowers and gardening was infused in the setting with arrangements by David Wynn of Elizabeth House Flowers.  Photography by Chanda Pope.

This is one of my happy place images.  An event where we were charged to create a uniquely individual setting.  One of my favorite collaborators and decorative artists, Whitney Preslar, brought my vision to light by hand-painting the mirrored chargers and the table cloth.  My vintage china was a starting point.  The love of flowers and gardening was infused in the setting with arrangements by David Wynn of Elizabeth House Flowers.  Photography by Chanda Pope.

I had read about how burn-out impacts many creatives and/or small business owners.   Some colleagues shared their personal stories of hitting the wall.  Being determined not to become a statistic, I knew this break would bring a vital advantage for my company, moving into 2018. (Okay, mainly for the head chef and bottle washer, who has been at this for over twenty years.)   Still, I wondered if clients or potential clients would understand and be supportive.

Another happy image!  A long-time client helped her daughter update her first home, a quaint townhouse in Charlotte.  We totally gutted and remodeled the kitchen, among other areas.  The inspiration began with her collection of Fiestaware in all of her favorite colors.  We had to be smart about storage.  On photoshoot day, my client's granddaughter happened to be present and as you can see, she became a darling part of the feature.  I ended 2017 helping my client move into a new home, closer to this now much taller young lady and her sister, as well as her daughter who has since gotten married and had her own wee one.  Yes, we did eat the cupcakes, afterwards!  Deb's Sweet Cakes makes the best and many of my clients now go to her.  (Photography by Whitney Gray) 

Another happy image!  A long-time client helped her daughter update her first home, a quaint townhouse in Charlotte.  We totally gutted and remodeled the kitchen, among other areas.  The inspiration began with her collection of Fiestaware in all of her favorite colors.  We had to be smart about storage.  On photoshoot day, my client's granddaughter happened to be present and as you can see, she became a darling part of the feature.  I ended 2017 helping my client move into a new home, closer to this now much taller young lady and her sister, as well as her daughter who has since gotten married and had her own wee one.  Yes, we did eat the cupcakes, afterwards!  Deb's Sweet Cakes makes the best and many of my clients now go to her.  (Photography by Whitney Gray) 

Interior designers, unbeknownst to what may be portrayed in perfect worlds of Instagram, TV shows, or from general perception, do way more than produce “pretty”.  I’m as guilty as the next of wanting to showcase everything beautiful, because it is my intention to make a positive impact in how people can live in their homes.  Let me tell you, though, just as in life, it rarely begins in picture-perfect mode.  That’s why I’m called in - The interior fixer, counselor, organizer, solution-finder, make-it-happen, renovator of homes and of life/spaces.  Depending on what is needed, I wear a lot of hats.  It was time to put some of them away and to decide the ones to keep - the ones I’ve enjoyed wearing more often.  Of course, there's always a new style or two to try.  As we evolve into different life stages, so does our work and the meaning it holds as we seek the best fit.

More happy photos?  But of course!  When clients are open to pushing beyond a comfort zone with statement pieces, like this chandelier from Currey & Company, knowing it will elevate their design to a new level, my heart dances!  This one almost didn't make the cut, not because of the style, but exposed bulbs would have given one of them migraines.  We rose to the challenge with silk-wrapped, candle bulbs and by adding a dimmer switch.  One of my favorite dining rooms, ever!  We were also honored to have this room published in Charlotte Home + Garden Magazine, March 2017.  (Photography by Dustin Peck)

More happy photos?  But of course!  When clients are open to pushing beyond a comfort zone with statement pieces, like this chandelier from Currey & Company, knowing it will elevate their design to a new level, my heart dances!  This one almost didn't make the cut, not because of the style, but exposed bulbs would have given one of them migraines.  We rose to the challenge with silk-wrapped, candle bulbs and by adding a dimmer switch.  One of my favorite dining rooms, ever!  We were also honored to have this room published in Charlotte Home + Garden Magazine, March 2017.  (Photography by Dustin Peck)

Today, as I’m getting ready for reentry into my new year, albeit a few weeks later than others,  I don’t know that I have all of the answers, but I’ve come to some epiphanies , both small and large.  I’ll be writing about a few, in between some design posts, because I realize writing for this blog can be both about business and personal.  

Which brings me to:

Interior design is a business.  Money is a big topic, sometimes even over and above a design.  Project management and organization are key elements.  Design tools are necessary.  Results are expected to be delivered.  Overhead and business expenses are not an afterthought.  Profitability keeps us sustainable.   We have a plan.

Interior design is also personal.  It may sound lofty but lives are impacted daily by it.  How one lives and works in their spaces.  How they function.  If it’s healthy.  If it invigorates.  If it soothes.  If it’s productive.  And that’s totally subjective to each and every individual.  Design is about relationships.  We work in your homes, amongst you and your families, and sometimes friends.  We work with a team.  We form loyalties.   We believe in human connection. 

I love pieces with a history.  And I love having a history with whom I work.  Before these clients relocated, we finished a guest bedroom by marrying some vintage and new pieces.  This chair is one of a pair I found in one of my special "no-tell" spots.  (Yes, it's sacred time for designers to curate and develop trades sources.)  These happened to come from a well-known family estate and were covered in a faded and torn apricot silk.  They had a modern edge and the carved wood insert - OMG so perfect!  Our upholsterers, brothers, were used to handling antiques so I scooped them up.  We had a long history together.  Sadly, in late 2017, one of them lost their battle with cancer and the shop is now closed.  We've had to move on to address our client's needs, but I'm thinking of his family with a heavy heart as we began working with his father, at the start-up of our firm, and know how much they're missing him.  Business IS personal.

I love pieces with a history.  And I love having a history with whom I work.  Before these clients relocated, we finished a guest bedroom by marrying some vintage and new pieces.  This chair is one of a pair I found in one of my special "no-tell" spots.  (Yes, it's sacred time for designers to curate and develop trades sources.)  These happened to come from a well-known family estate and were covered in a faded and torn apricot silk.  They had a modern edge and the carved wood insert - OMG so perfect!  Our upholsterers, brothers, were used to handling antiques so I scooped them up.  We had a long history together.  Sadly, in late 2017, one of them lost their battle with cancer and the shop is now closed.  We've had to move on to address our client's needs, but I'm thinking of his family with a heavy heart as we began working with his father, at the start-up of our firm, and know how much they're missing him.  Business IS personal.

There are stories created because of all of the above.  More of those stories will be shared in the coming weeks and months.

In the end, this is what I know for sure:  (Sorry Oprah, I just had to say it.)  For me, design is both business and personal.  Balancing it requires emotional intelligence, respect - for self and for others, realistic expectations, agility, handkerchiefs, humor, and daily planking. 

I also know this:  I’m ever appreciative of my best clients/vendors/partners.  Thank you for being you and I’ll see everyone, soon!  

All my best! - Wanda

Bedroom Design Ideas - Visiting with the Twins

A few housekeeping items before I get back to posting.  Yes, it's been a while!  I've had two blog locations and it's time to make sure we get readers over here!  I've missed all of you!  We've been super engaged with projects, the summer months, then into the high season of design, High Point Market . . . well, you get the picture.  Meanwhile, it occurred to me we've had some pretty amazing posts to bring back over to this page, along with some updates.  

One of our most read articles happens to be about using twin beds in guest areas so I thought, why not share an updated version?  Just in time for the holiday entertaining and guest season, no less!  Yes, there's still time to refresh that less than inviting room for friends and family.

Here's our updated post version:

While stopping by various showrooms, during my recent High Point Market jaunt, I made a note to myself to be sure to reconsider twin beds as a solution for guest rooms.  There were so many lovely upholstered headboards, as well as wood frames being prominently featured.  The more I saw, the more I felt as if I was on to something . . . a new interpretation of the 1950’s flashbacks to “I Love Lucy” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, where TV land had married couples sleeping in separate beds.  (What a difference fifty years has made!)

twin beds for adults 

I spotted the pretty, upholstered pair of headboards, above,  in a blush and lavender setting at Highland House Furniture during the Fall 2017 show.

Meanwhile, after thinking of the multiple, beautiful, and practical reasons for offering this as a design concept . . . and for adult rooms, no less . . .  I went searching the net for design inspiration to share.  We’re in the process of installing our lake home project, where a guestroom, design with nieces in mind, will be a beautiful blend of “boho/modern” with a touch of Lilly Pulitzer.  Look for a future post to come but here’s a sneak peek of our design board:

bedroom with twin beds drawing 

We’re tweaking the wall treatment as it will go more towards a tone-on-tone hand-stenciled pattern to really allow the other elements to pop.  This will give you an idea of our direction, though.

Here are some of the images we had in our blog archives, with some helpful interior design tips:

red and white bedroom with twin beds

Gooorrrrgeous!  The art to the fabulousness in this room is the bold patterning.  Love the combo of wood and fabric in the headboards and the cute little feet peeking out from the corners.

Double twin beds

The perfect solution to one of those oddly shaped rooms.  This is a clever and creative way to control light and privacy with the wrap-around rods.  Each guest still has a sconce tucked within for nighttime reading.  (Veranda – Interior Design – Willis and Marsden – NC Mountain Cottage – Jane Marsden Antiques & Interiors.)

yellow and white bedroom with twin beds

Even with odd window placement, there is no fast ruling that a bed can’t be placed in front.  The sheer panels keep it light and airy.  (Thibaut Fabrics - Imperial Dragon)

Forgo the headboards and use fabric and a cornice to add height and interest, along with pattern.  Again, furnishings are simple and allow the over-scale paisley to rock the room with design.  It would be so simple to make this happen in your home!  (Myhomeideas.com)

oversized twin beds

A designer’s trick to beefing up the scale of a twin bed would be to enlarge the visual space.  The horizontal lines of the headboards, along with the placement of the connecting wall art, spread the visual field.  The large-scale, patterned duvets, at the ends of the beds, help to balance it all out. (Apartment Therapy)

colorful twin bedroom aqua and red

Can’t you just picture these at a vacation get-a-way?  Happy times!  (Pinterest)

white twin beds

Flexible design at its best!  Take away the quilts, pillows, and a few accents, and you’re left with an all-white, summery room.  For seasonal design, the slipcovered headboards could be recovered in a heavier texture and different textiles could be brought in to transition you towards fall and winter.  (Full House Blog)

blue and beige twin bedroom

I’ll have to admit . . . I’m a restless sleeper.  The placement of these upholstered-base beds gives me comfort in knowing a wall is there to keep me intact.  No rolling out of bed in the middle of the night!  (Full House Blog)

 

using twin headboards to make a king bed

Let’s just say you aren’t hosting two unrelated visitors and the only extra room is housing the twin beds.  Rather than being stumped for a solution, there are great mattress fillers which allow you to push the beds together to fashion a king size.  Bed, Bath & Beyond offers an Instant King Twin Bed Bridge to assist with the task.  Of course, some headboards are easier to pair than others.  I loved the clever vintage headboard design, offered by Ellen Ward Antiques on 1st Dibbs.  It’s from the 1950’s!  (Those cheeky folks!)

twin beds made into a king bed

Even if you have full-scaled, wood frames, depending on the shaping, they still may be pushed together to make a snuggly sleeping space.

I hope this post has you thinking of those headboards or beds, tucked away in the attic or storage.  Get them out and have fun with them!  Even yet, consider some custom options to plan for a special, personalized space, via a design consultation.  We love creating bedroom retreats and have great resources in our design bag!

All my best - Wanda.JPG

A Project in the Spotlight - Interior Design for His and Hers

When clients entrust our team with their design projects, it's always an honor.  When they also allow an editorial team into their personal domain, knowing it will be publicly featured, it means the world!  

Charlotte Home + Garden Magazine cover

Back at the end of 2016, I submitted a project to "Charlotte Home + Garden" magazine with fingers crossed.  I knew the clients loved the outcome of their project and hoped we could share it with the readers of this lovely publication.  In February, the editor contacted me to let me know it was a go and we coordinated a photo shoot to capture more images, as well as to plan for interviews. 

transitional dining room with modern art

I'm happy to say our latest feature, in the Spring 2017 issue of Charlotte Home + Garden, is now on the newsstands!  A traditional, Tuscan-influenced interior was transformed into a classic/transitional design with a modern twist.  It was a melding of preferences and you can read more in the online version -  "Designing A Home That's Equal Parts His, Hers".  

While it's a desire to have each client feel as if their home will be photo ready, the bigger focus is on creating and implementing my exclusive, master design plan to provide them with a personalized home which fits their lifestyle, while also honoring the timeline and investment plan.  These clients were very engaged with work, family, and friends, so taking the burden off of their plate made the process much easier and an enjoyable experience!   

transitional living room with mirrored armoire

While you're reading through the magazine, there also happens to be a bonus article with a designer question and answer session featuring your's truly!  You can click on <here> to read more.  I'm glad I had my extra cup of coffee, that day!  

wanda Horton design icon

It's always fun to create a different aesthetic for each project.  I'm so honored to be able to showcase some of my work and to share it with a great couple, too!

Be sure to pick up your copy, available through the end of May.

All my best ~ Wanda

The Magic of Market - Inspirations from High Point!

It's that time of year!  The BIG fashion event in the home furnishings industry has arrived and I'm taking a brief, rainy day break to share some of my gorgeous finds from market.  I've still got a bit of list-making to do for my return trek so photos will be plentiful and descriptions will be brief.  After all, isn't there some adage about a picture being worth a thousand words?

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Fresh ideas are plentiful at the High Point Furniture Market.  The Thibaut Showroom is the epitome of lush beauty!

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton 

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton 

Anna French Fabrics and Wallcoverings are part of the Thibaut offering.  Decidedly soft patterns mixed with stronger elements work with intention.  This look honors the kind of design accomplishment where someone might say, "I would never have thought of mixing these patterns"!  . . .  And they'll be glad their designer did!

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Another view from across the showroom.  Neutral still reigns with soft colors inserted for a customized preference.  Fresh flowers always bring a room to life - from the perspective of my gardener's heart!  I have noticed geometric designs are being contrasted with organic or floral patterns.  We all could use a little 'soft' in our world.

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

More companies seem to be embracing the idea of personalizing pieces with color and varied finishes.  While there isn't a thing wrong with showcasing beautiful wood stains, using a colorized accent piece can provide a needed relief, as well as it can draw your eye to a key color element in fabrics or art.  Theodore Alexander carefully curated a gallery of furniture for this sole purpose.  

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

The newly remodeled showroom at Theodore Alexander also shared some amazing new collections!  Steve Leung debuted his line with great reception.  An architect and native of Hong Kong, the shapes and motifs hearken his structural and yet organic aesthetic.  His company's motto is:  "Bringing space to life/ Creating space for life."  I think this dining room, above, has applied these principles very well..  On a side note, the chairs are incredibly comfortable!

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

A line with many color options, along with the ability for designers to add their own fabric choices, is Woodbridge Furniture.  Included in their bevy of stained and customized painted finishes, I found the growing segment of textured wood.  Oak, with lightly washed or limed effects, as well as cerused/grayed tones add depth to modern spaces.  I'm dying to use the tufted cocktail ottoman in the right project!  A future beach house, perhaps?

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

On occasion, some of the showrooms have so many people, it's difficult to capture a shot without them filling the background.  Ambella Home had lots of attendees, but lucky me, I get to slip back in before closing on Wednesday!  I promise to share some of their amazing pieces in larger detail.  Sometimes, though, I need to work in smaller-sized items to complete a design.  Even though the scale of the above tub chair is more petite, she's got some killer curves!   Perfect for a bedroom, a reading corner, or to slip in beside of a fireplace in a pied-à-terre. 

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Did I mention how beautiful the flowers are at market?!!  Peonies are always one of my favorites . . . which reminds me, before the rain washes them away, it's time to snip a few from my garden.  

Thanks for sharing the visit and be sure to watch for more posts, as well as my Instagram updates!

All my best and I'll see you after the show! ~ Wanda