Ah-mazing Hues for 2009!

I might be a tad late on blogging about color trends for 2009. Cocokelley has been reporting about it for two week’s now and Sarah Klassen’s take on it is very interesting. But what the heck, another one won’t hurt.

Here are Design & Decor’s (a resource magazine for independent retailers & interior designers) picks. Drumroll…..

Sunny Hues:

The economy has probably been downright gloomy but there’s nothing more cheery than the vibrant yellow. Pantone calls it Mimosa, their 2009 color of the year.

I seriously thought, mellow yellow was 2008’s color. Remember my canary birdcage & table?
True Blue:

From dark to bright, the experts states expect this color to be include in any pallete. They name a striking hue”Dignity” dubbed as an all American blue.

Purple Royal:

Eggplants & plums. This color has never been a personal favorite but this rich hue is amazing in this purple-lacquered wood chair by Deluxe.

Flamingo Pink:

From fashion to interior design, all style predictions point to this bright & lovely color.

Water-inspired:

In celebration of the most important renewable resource, aquamarine, soft blues with hints of green are going to be everywhere. Restoration hardware has loved this color for soooo long.

In 2009, it seems like brights are in and drab colors are out. There’s no sense getting gloomy with the economic downtrend. I love the color predictions this year. Uptrend!
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My Living Room

House Beautiful’s February 2009 issue showcases the living rooms of several designer bloggers. Ok, I’m not an interior designer, architect or decorator but I still think I did pretty good with my living room . There’s no designer wallpaper or a vintage artifact from interesting travels or an heirloom from a great Aunt. Just beautiful, certainly not-pricey pieces that just go together. I just couldn’t find myself buying thousand dollar pieces no matter how chic and cool that would be. I wanted to during my first (and only one so far…hopefully not the last) visit at the Les Puces in Paris, I was overwhelmed by beautiful authentic pieces but just the freight charges itself almost gave me a heart attack .I was able to afford their old postcards though. Those are the ones featured in the wrought iron dress form. Now the dress form, I got for a steal at a local Mexican garden shop selling patio furniture and chimaneas. Also the dwarf ferns in moss-covered pots. I love my white tufted salon chair from Ethan Allen as well as the white starfishes and coral tree my sister-in-law (would be) got from her Florida trip. The distressed, architectural-looking mirror is from a small, furniture store in my old town. Chic books courtesy of Amazon; Living Yoga by Christy Turlington, So Chic from Margaret Russel , Modern Glamour by Kelly Wearstler and Design Alchemy by Ashley & Allegra Hicks.
Ahh, I can only dream of $3400 Helena Rubenstein’s Lucite chairs right now or flea market trips in Europe. Maybe next time, I can afford accent and even furniture pieces and not be afraid of the freight charges…

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Have a blast in the Coming Year!

I’m currently nursing a nasty congestion. Maybe it’s the awful Texas weather, one day it’s in the 40’s, the next it’s in the 70’s, yes all in December. Or the lack of activity, I’ve been off since Wednesday & my lungs are not getting enough aeration. I do feel somewhat productive though, I finished two books & wrote down my goals for the coming year (what most people know as “resolutions”). Sorry, this is not a blog on decorating for the New Year & pictures are going to be very few.

As far as the books, I finished a book about running a PT private practice (Keys to Private Practice Success) & “Know Your Own Mind” by James Greene & David Lewis. The latter is a must-read for all introspective people out there (please tell me I’m not the only one). It’s essentially a workbook & has enlightened me so much.I’ve read a lot of books this year & so far I liked this one a lot, as well as “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur” by Mike Michalowicz.

As far as my goals, I’ve included the usual. Keeping a healthy weight, exercising at least 200 minutes a week (not a fitness buff but this is attainable & enough), eating less sugar & complex carbs. Of course, I have my career & financial goals, relationship goals & even personality goals (it’s not too late to change or better my core personality). I’ve even gone so far as planning to put myself in a monthly allowance. We’ll finish furnishing & decorating our Austin pad & watching how much we spend. Even though we love this media center from Crate & Barrel (ringing in at $1699),

We’ll settle for this one from West Elm (ringing in at $399) without sacrificing the style & feel we want to achieve. The other goals are pretty personal so I’ll stop here.

I am often delighted to know how a lot of my friends & acquaintances read my blog (I even have followers!) & I am very grateful. Please check out my other blogs at Smarter which I contribute to twice a month and if you haven’t yet, subscribe to my Monthly newsletter & my blog (found at the top of my blog page).

I wish all of you an amazing 2009!

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Decorating your Tree with Your Favorite Things

My wish list this Christmas is not that long. A Kooba black purse, French Rosetta stone, a new luggage set, paloma picasso bezel cut earrings, stacked heel j. crew brown boots, a cartier watch, a new linen & comforter set (better yet if it comes with a bed for our place in Austin), any unique Williams-Sonoma kitchen gadget (even if I don’t cook, they are just so cool). So, did I mention it’s not long? I’ve never been an impulsive buyer & believes in delayed gratification (not too delayed though) & although my fiancee thinks I shop too much (oh gosh, he should have seen those women with 10 bags at Barton Creek yesterday), I’ll have to wait until I can fulfill my wish list.

At least I can decorate our Christmas tree with my favorite things. Now, these things I can afford… right away:

From Urban Outfitters & at $4.99 each. Reeses peanut butter cup…yum, my thirst quencher, a Diet coke & colorful & cutesy cupcakes.

I love yellow & I love bird themes, this yellow bird from Anthropologie is just right. It’s pretty pricey though at $18.

I haven’t mentioned that I would like a Vespa, too. Bu this one would do for now.

I still love those adorable traditional trees with gorgeous ornaments, whether they’re traditional keepsakes or vintage finds. But I think decorating your Christmas tree with ornamnets of your favorite things showcases your quirky side & makes the holidays more warm & cozy.

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Of Orange & Spice and Everything Nice

Orange is everywhere in my neighborhood. Harvest wreaths with autumn leaves, pumpkins of different shapes & sizes and the occassional scarecrow with the orange hat. But of course, orange starts sprouting everywhere around fall, halloween and thanksgiving. In feng-shui, it is also known as the “social color” suppose to spark lively conversations & good times. In interior decorating, it is considered a warm color closely related to browns, yellows & reds.

Room with analogous colors orange, red and brown.

Blue is its direct opposite considered to be its complementary color.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/poseidonsimage/231720482/

Can you see a hint of orange in your home? Consider the following ideas.

Orange sofa. (freephotosbank.com)

Accent table from Shine.


Even an orange refrigerator. (comet.co.uk)

And throw pillows with hints of pumpkin, tumeric and saffron at Bliss Studio.

Or find fabulous stationery & cards at a letterpress boutique appropriately called, Orange Beautiful.

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Kitchen Back to Basics

I’m still under the woes and bad spells the retail industry has reported. But despite the overwhelming negativity, there is some positive news. One retail giant has exceeded their sales from last year…Wal-Mart. I know, it didn’t come as a surprise to any of you, but it seems like even the high-income earners has decided to buy just the basics. I still yearn for the design & exclusivity of other retailers such as DWR (Design within Reach) which targets the urban rich & Williams-Sonoma, the traditional rich. Ikea also continues to give alternatives that are overwhelmingly cheap & somewhat trendy & stylish at the same time.

Let’s look at some common kitchen gadgets. First up, the metal can opener, it may be just a couple of bucks at Wal-Mart. A better-looking one is available at Ikea for $9.
Better yet, from DWR, it’s $32.
Serving trays anyone? Cherry wood serving trays, set of three is only $32 at Williams-Sonoma.
But at DWR, a set of 2 will set you back $350. Why? Well, they are crafted from forest-salvaged Douglas fir.

While, the klack tray from Ikea is only $4.99.


How about kitchen timers? The top of the line at Wal-Mart has a modern edge & cost about $9.
It has a close resemblance to what Ikea has to offer which is about the same price.

At Williams-Sonoma, it is $32.

So are the basics good enough for all kitchen gadgets? I’m not an avid cook & I’m not a fan of hanging-out in the kitchen anyway. My bread just stays on top of the kitchen counter but I know that this bread box which rings in at $240 at DWR is a must-buy for somebody out there.

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Retail Gloom?

For the past few years, I’ve been forcing myself to consciously see the positive & brighter side of things. It’s years of affirmations and multiple inspirational books. Yes, it’s a little cliche but I do believe in “the secret.” Even bought the DVD & totally fell in love with Rhonda Byrne’s voice. Yup, I do believe everything around you is because of your thoughts & that how you respond to circumstances is the difference between being entirely happy or hopelessly miserable. Yet this year has been a challenge. First up, in my practice, a partner buy-out in the early part of this year threatened the liquid assets of the business (I was so worried but we’re doing ok). It was tough working & assuming so many hats at one time. The practice desperately needed another licensed clinician which we have been searching for, perhaps for almost a year (just all of a sudden, a new therapist graduate who lives in the area applied for that job). Then two hurricanes hit our hometown which has also threatened the viability of the company (we’re back & slowly picking up again). I guess what I’m saying is, problems & situations always work themselves out. I had faith that they would.But what about the looming economy? Bad news seem to be everywhere. Not just the people in Wall Street are worried, everybody is. The retail industry has been hit hard. Consider the following store closings:

* Most information from Retail Information Systems (www.risnews.com)

Linens n’ Things-the company is being liquidated
Steve & Barry’s-103 stores
Sharper Image-86 stores (think that’s all of their stores)
84 Lumber Co. — 30 stores
Ann Taylor — 117 stores
Charming Shoppes (Lane Bryant and Fashion Bug) — 150 stores
Foot Locker — 140 stores
Macy’s — 9 stores
Movie Gallery — 160 stores as part of reorganization plan to exit bankruptcy
Pacific Sunwear — 153 Demo stores
Pep Boys — 33 stores
Sprint Nextel —125 retail locations
Wilsons the Leather Experts — 158 stores
Zales — 100 stores
J. C. Penney, Lowe’s and Office Depot are scaling back or delaying expansion. Office Depot had planned to open 150 stores this year, but will now open 75.

These are just some, there is now almost 6000 retail closings in 2008. Pretty scary isn’t it? How quickly things change. The business plan I finished for The Inglenook in the earlier part of this year raved how the retail industry has made big leaps as far as sales in the last 6 years. My new statistics are n0w entirely gloomy. Signs of the times? I’m not sure. I’m still up for the challenge of opening the storefront. But the word “soon” seem to be out of reach at this time.
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Musee des Montreal

It was ahh-heaven for me when I visited the Musee des Beaux Arts in Montreal, Canada. They have a permanent collection of furniture & decorative items from Renaissance to today ranging from Eames to Rietveld.

These teapots truly deserve to be in a museum, they are made by Michael Graves. The masses came to know him as the first designer who introduced a line of revolutionary household products at the big box retailer, Target.

A few other items caught my eye, like this emerald green giant fan & these oh-so-cute capsule lamps.

High design meets high fashion as “LOVE” is showing, a Yves Saint-Laurent Maison de Haute Couture collection. I was able to take a pic of this gown before a museum guard caught me. Oopps!

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Store Inspirations-Part II

I’ve been to New Orleans several times but last November was my first time to see the Garden district in a different light. If you happen to go, don’t just stay in the French Quarter; the Garden district is a fabulous stroll for oh-so-charming shops, good eats & beautiful houses & mansions. I loved the store Perch.

It’s also in New Orleans that I found $8000 vintage chandeliers. It came all the way from Paris & made of salvaged parts.

Abroad, I fell in love with this window display in Paris.

The lighting was very good & the tufted walls are just lovely. This window is just better to see in person!

So, sorry, I didn’t take a lot of pics at that time of shops. I think I was scared of being kicked out by boutique owners.

In the Philippines, my home, I visited wholesale companies like this one. I seriously loved these venetian ispired mirrors & frames, but to tuck them in with my luggage would have been a total disaster and this hammock/sofa is just way too big.

In Austin, my would-be-home, these are my favorites.

Mercury Design Studio, this shop is very chic.

Finch is one of the new kids on the block in the second street district.
At The Domain, I loved Rachel Ashwell’s Store. All white & shabby chic.
My recent finds, Zone Maison in Quebec City and Beige in Montreal.
Beige

Zone Maison

Haah, so many shops, so little time. More window-shopping opportunities to come!

 

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Store Inspirations-Part I

Ever since I started conjuring the idea that I’ll open a shop, I started visiting fabulous cities & checking out their wonderful home décor shops. It gives me a visual of what I want my shop to be when it grows up (or in my case, when it’s born). These places are awesome! Of course I have my own vision, but they sure give me a lot of inspiration.

Jayson Home & Garden in Chicago is already very popular and for very good reasons, of course.

I wasn’t able to take a picture of this shop, Zella Brown (which happens to be one of Home Décor Buyer’s retail stars of 2007). What a feat, I’m so jealous! But so well deserved. Here’s a piece at the store, a media cabinet from Shine.

Honorable mentions are Porte Rouge (all Parisian items) and Willow, a shop specializing in tabletop items & small accents.

In Seattle, I saw Maison Luxe for the first time. This place is really glam.

Outside.

Inside.

I also saw the most beautiful decoupage pieces & learned about the John Derian Company at Sirenza. Sirenza is not a home décor store but a fragrance & bath shop. I only took a picture of their sign, which I thought looks vintage & cool.
More to come: New Orleans, Paris, Philippines and more.

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