Wednesday, May 7, 2008 anyone home?

Usually, when I get a new issue of one of my favorite design magazines, my heart beats a little faster, and if I allow myself a quick flip through the pages, I get really excited when I spot a house or room that sings to me......I can't wait to sit down and really enjoy the magazine, cover to cover, reading and studying every feature.

Recently, however, when I got the May-June issue of Veranda, (and please note here, I LOVE Veranda, and don't remember feeling this way before) I actually felt disappointed, and then actually, well.....sad, truly, sad. (I know, weird....... if you are reading this and you don't suffer the same design disease that I have.)

This particular issue is filled with exquisite design, beautiful rooms in gorgeous settings, all created by excellent, well known designers. Somehow, though, they seem empty to me this month. I don't feel any soul or personality in the houses I see.
This room, designed by the fabulous William Diamond and Anthony Baratta, is a child's room in a beautiful Cape Cod beach house. It is colorful and delightful, creative and clever, but who lives here? Not that toys and books have to be scattered about, but who is the little person who gets to sleep in this fun boat?!

Just today I read about Rose Tarlow over at Habitually Chic.
Rose's book, The Private House, is one of my absolutely favorite design books - one of my design bibles, if you will! I have read it cover to cover and refer to it often when I get scattered and off track, which I do easily.

Habitually Chic quotes Rose - "There are those who spend lifetimes in houses that have nothing to do with who they really are. They may be perfectly designed, yet if they fail to reflect the personalities of the people who live in them, the very essence of intimacy is missing, and this absence is disturbingly visible."

That is how I feel with the houses in this issue - to paraphrase "....the absence of intimacy is disturbingly visible"

Now, granted, the story in Veranda is about how a husband surprised his wife with a re-do of their beach home, working with the two designers they know and trust. (Oh yeah, I'd take that surprise - no, on second thought, I wouldn't, I would have to be involved!) They love the water and the wife collects sailors' valentines. I am not saying the house doesn't reflect "the personalities of the people who live there" - I just can't FEEL it.

Forgive the redundancy, but here is another quote by Rose Tarlow that nails what I am trying to express:

"A house is what we design and decorate to suit an image of ourselves, and a home is what we establish by actually living there. To be at home in our house is ultimately the reward of all the effort and thought we put into that most private process of decorating".

This room, in a Charleston home, is exquisite. Designed by Deborah T. Lipner, it is gorgeous. I love the color of the walls, the lamps and the peek through the window to wonderful, old blue shutters, but it looks like a stage set to me - a very perfect stage set! It reminds me of a room that Joni would love to live in - only hers would be filled with books and art and treasures that reflect who she and her family are.

Is it just me? I love all sorts of design, and can appreciate the off beat, the classic and the finest of furnishings and art............maybe I am just a little "off" this week, but this issue just didn't nourish my soul like most do. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hot Off the Press.......Almost!!

A while ago, I wrote about a local shop in Fredericksburg called red.
Created and managed by my good friends, the Moore girls, (Carolyn and very talented daughters, Nikki and Sam), the store has evolved over the last year. While it is a fun and whimsical place to pick up a great gift or a new pillow if one needs a decorating fix, it has also become a wonderful place to buy serious furnishings - good upholstered pieces, classic chairs and sofas, dining tables and beds.

In addition, the unusual or quirky vintage piece makes the visitor smile, and adds interest to a room. These are often finds from the great Texas antique shopping excursions the girls go on. The store is a happy place to visit, with the ever present smile of sweet, creative display talent, Theresa, greeting me when I stop by for a visit to see what's new!

Designers and homeowners come in to order rooms full for new homes in the area. (Did I mention the hill country is booming with new construction and renovation?!)

On another note, but definitely related to this story, Fredericksburg has been known for many years for it's abundance of charming bed & breakfast accommodations. Carolyn built a sweet cottage next door to her house years ago - in fact, friends of mine stayed there even before we moved here and Carolyn and I became friends! The cottage has been published several times in various home decorating magazines, and has taken on a new look in the last year as Carolyn has grown as a designer and store manager, as well as b&b hostess. Abby's will be recognized soon in a national magazine and I am here to share the news !

Abby's will be featured in the next Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion and here is a preview of the article. I am afraid we will all have to wait for the magazine to hit the news stands to actually read the fine print, but what a great feature it promises to be!

For the full scoop, go to and read Nikki's comments on the whole event.

Way to go red!! Puttin' Fred Patch on the map once again!!


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