Friday, May 30, 2008

Barbara Barry

I spoke to a woman today who often visits my blog (and may also be a potential client :) and she and I talked about designer Barbara Barry and her beautiful furniture. I decided to do a post about Ms. Barry, whom I think is one of the most fabulous, talented, phenomenal designers of our time.
Shown above: Beaded Chandelier - so clean and sophisticated; Felted Wool Pillow - absolutely stunning; Low Ottoman - I love the detail of the base; it's just exquisite!

One of her classics, the Oval X-Back Chair and the Glass Front Cabinet, which is one of my favorite pieces!

Barbara Barry credits her mother for teaching her to always believe in herself and that "style has nothing to do with money and everything to do with how you feel about yourself." She is influenced and inspired by the quality of light, the colors of nature and the harmony of perfect proportion. I think all of these elements show in her designs, which are clean lined, sophisticated and elegant. What designer do you admire or find inspiration from?

Photo Credits: Baker / Kohler Interiors

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Okay, so I'm trying to see the brighter side of things in my was my last day at my job of four years. It was my dream job - I was a project manager / interior designer for a firm that specialized in designing model homes. Business was great until last year, when the housing market started to go down in flames and as a result, my boss was forced to "downsize"her business to just herself and her husband. It's all very bittersweet for me. I'm sad to close that chapter in my life but am really looking forward to what God's plan is for me and where I'll end up next. I've wanted to start my own business for about 7 years and now is the time! We'll see where I end up and how long I can keep this positive, light-hearted attitude (check back in a week - I'm sure it'll be a bit different...). Anyway, I'm looking forward to more time for blogging and for doing some much needed "blog hopping." There are so many fantastic blogs out there! If you'd like me to visit yours, please leave a comment!
Photo Credit: Women on Beach from

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dwell Studio

Table Linens from Dwell Studio. Their linens are just so crisp and fresh and come in great patterns and colors.

I'm loving their bedding collections! I appreciate the simple patterns and subtle colors of each one. They also offer adorable bedding for babies and children!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Create a Chic Home Office

As I prepare to soon work from home, I've been doing a lot of research on home office ideas and have found a few fantastic sources for inspiration!
Shown above and below, a favorite of mine: the Bedford Project Table Set from Pottery Barn! This versatile work table can be used for all kinds of different workrooms - craft workroom, an artists loft, scrap booking room, photography studio...I could go on and on! The open end shelving on each side is key, providing lots of storage, also allowing you to display your all your favorite things.

I absolutely adore this Rectangle Cutout Bookcase from West Elm. A twist on your traditional bookcase, have some fun displaying books & accessories by making them more of a focal point for your office.
Replace the usual boring leather desk accessories with these clean, polished Silver Raffia Desk accessories courtesy of William Sonoma Home. Team these up with the crystal lamp below and voila! you have a clean, sleek work space that's both functional and lovely.

Who says you have to use old boring task lighting in your home office? Add a little glam with Small Square Crystal Lamp from William Sonoma Home. I especially like it stacked on a couple of cool books as shown!

The Stanhope Library from William Sonoma is beautiful, clean lined and practical. I love the crisp white finish mixed with the bright pops of color! This combo creates a bright and fresh workspace that makes you want to sit down and actually work.

The Framed Secretary from West Elm. This super sleek, modern secretary is perfect for small spaces. Now if only I could keep my desk that clean!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Photo Gallery: Doorways

I am obsessed with photographs of old doorways. There's something magical about each one and I can't help but wonder who has traveled through these doors, what they lead to and how long have they been standing...not to mention, the beautiful bold colors, intricate designs, vintage hardware and architectural detail! I'd love to create an art gallery in my apartment with every one of these photographs, using different frames and different colored mats.

Each photograph was taken in a different country...Greece, London, Mexico, France, Ireland, Guatemala, Spain and China, to name a few! All images from Click here to see more fantastic doorways from around the world.

Turning a New Leaf

I'm working on updating the layout of my blog. Please check the section to the left, "Explore Belle Maison," for exciting new things! I'm also working on a new title block and new weekly features, such as: My Obsession of the Week, DIY tips and project ideas, the latest design trends colors, eco friendly topics, and much more, so stay tuned!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Spy...

In a recent Pottery Barn catalogue, I spyed a super cool banana bowl displayed on a cocktail table. The item was not available from PB so I did a little research and found it!

The Harry Allen Banana Bowl is cast from a real bunch of bananas in resin. Display your bananas in style with this funky fruit bowl. It also comes in chrome and gold (that's where it gets a little scary).

1,400 Square Feet of Luxury

Interior designer for the stars, Jeff Andrews, shows off his own place in Home Magazine. Built in 1924, this 1,400sf home was in desperate need of a make-over. Jeff wanted to maximize the cozy space to create an updated, sophisticated look and feel. His home is beautiful and inspiring!

"I've found that a really dark color in a low-sheen finish has no boundaries to it; it's less space-defining, which makes a room appear larger," Andrews says. Newly installed wall sconces reflect light off the paint's satiny surface, adding to the sense of spaciousness.

"Brilliant use of color, clever furniture placement, and inspired juxtaposition of decorative styles make Andrews' layout uniquely his own. "Everything in this home is a direct reflection of who I am as a person and a designer, which I think every home should be."
(Quotes and photos from Point Click Home).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New from Amy Butler!

I absolutely adore and admire Amy Butlers work! Every time I visit her website, I get so inspired! Her designs are fresh, whimsical and chic, and the color palettes she uses are fun and refreshing. Take a look at her latest quilting fabric collection for Rowan called Midwest Modern.

Pink Dahlia pallette
Ohio Sky palette

Orange Dahlia palette

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Angela Adams for Ann Saks

I can't get enough of the beautiful, stunning tile designs by Angela Adams for Ann Saks! Her designs are playful, graphic, whimsical and the color selections are amazing! The sky's the limit with these little works of art: tile an entire wall in your powder bath; create drama in your kitchen by using her tile as your back splash paired with a sleek CaesarStone counter top; tile the risers on your stairs for an unexpected pop of color...there are infinite ways to get creative! Click here to see more of her fantastic Ceramic Art Tile Collection.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Summer Bedding

Fresh floral and botanical bedding just in time for summer! With summer just around the corner, it's a great time to spruce up your bedroom with some bright colors and bold patterns!
Aarikka Collection by Marimekko

Musette Collection by Designers Guild

Amanda Purple Duvet Set by Blissliving

Ayanna Duvet Set from Blissliving

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New @ Z Gallerie

I visited Z Gallerie today for the first time in months. The store was set up beautifully and I saw quite a few new items that were somewhat inspiring. Here's a peek at some fun new finds...

Chandelier 1 art - Swavorski crystals hand applied on image and framed in 1" black moulding; Never lose your luggage with the Not Yours Luggage Tag; Super cool art: Welcome; Black Patent Travel Wallet.
Gabrielle Table Lamp with a crystal base - so elegant; Montego Cannister Urn; Sunburst Wall Clock; The crisp white frame paired with mirror makes the Arno Frames just beautiful!
White Ceramic Elephant; Green Ceramic Imperial Horse; Set of 2 Ceramic Books - use as bookends or accents; Add a pop of color and some fun to your space with the Pescado Pillow! For more fabulous decor for your home, click here!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Giving Back

I was talking to my husband tonight about how I've been feeling the urge lately to "give back" to the community and do my part to donate time or money to different charities and organizations. The only problem is, I don't know which ones. I found a website called Charity Navigator and their slogan is "your guide to intelligent giving." Who they are: "Charity Navigator, America's premier independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of over 5,300 of America's largest charities." You can look up almost any charity and check out their stats - how much they take in each year, how much they pay out in expenses, how much their CEO's and top employees make, etc. It's very interesting and kind of an eye opener in regards to doing all your homework about an organization before becoming involved, whether it be with your time and/or donating any money. I did find a couple of websites that give options for charities to get involved with: 1) Animal Charities of America: "Protecting pets, wildlife, and endangered species. Teaching people to treat animals with respect. Humane training of animals as helpmates and companions to people in need." Through their Members section, you can view various charities that focus on specific areas of animal rights and choose for yourself which charity you'd like your money to go to; 2) Just Give is an organization that is "Dedicated to creating tools and services to make charitable giving part of our everyday lives, JustGive is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase charitable giving by connecting people with the charities and causes they care most about." They also have a database of charities to choose from, ranging from animal rights and education, to arts & culture, hunger & poverty, and everything in between. I did come across one charity that looks pretty legitimate: Born Free Foundation, "keep wildlife in the wild." They are actively involved in stopping captive animal suffering in zoos, etc.; rescuing big cats from being held captive in tiny cages; rescuing orphaned apes involved in "bushmeat" and exotic pet trades; the protection of wild elephants and their habitats as well as fighting ivory trade and the capture of wild elephants for zoos...these are just a few areas among many that this charity is involved in. I have such a passion and love for animals and feel so strongly about protecting their rights and being a "voice" for them.
I think I have my homework cut out for me to find something I connect with and that I trust to become actively involved with. Do you have any suggestions, comments or experiences with "giving back?" If so, please share!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fab Finds from Downtown

Downtown offers wide variety of vintage and antiques. "Significant design of the 20th Century and earlier. Downtown's efforts are focused on outstanding Italian, French and American pieces from Interior Designers and Architects." Check out the selected pieces below - some are original antiques that have been given a fresh, updated look; others are new reproductions.

I love the crazy fabric on the Milano Chair and the unique, curved super high back (new); A pair of Grosfeld House Stools circa 1959 - fantastic turquoise leather upholstery!

With a new lacquer finish and new upholstery, these "Louis" Chairs by A. Rudin, circa 1970's, are truly beautiful and are proof of how we can take something old and dated and whip it up in to something new and stunning!

Pair of large French Wire Garden Chairs, circa 1930 from France - they updated these with new paint and fabric and voila! you have a very chic accent chair for your garden or your living room! The wonderfully funky Plateau Mirror measures 3'h x 4'w, circa 2008. These two pieces shown together make a nice "couple," despite their 78 year difference!!!

A restored pair of Geoffrey Harcourt Swivel Lounge Chairs for Artifort, circa 1968!

The Canopy Chair (new) - so dramatic! What a statement this one makes! The Italian Chandelier with Glass Globes is circa 1960 and is just fabulous!

Shown here, circa 1950, a Rare Paul Williams Cutsom Cabinet. Bleached Mahogany, Walnut Burl, Orginal Mirrored Drawers. Recessed Plinth Base. Absolutely beautiful, but it will cost you...$22,000 to be exact! Check out their website for more unique treasures!