Thursday, April 25, 2013

INSIDE OUTSIDE

The kitchen is the place where I post messages of all sorts.  It's my original Facebook page and can be changed as often as I desire.  Above the cabinets, mirrors wrap the room and dry-erase markers are used with abandon.  Snippets of poems. Advice.  Passages from great books.  Birthday greetings.  Messages to myself  (if I ever need to know what's going on in my head, all I need to do is look at my house, for example).

Mirrors provide perfect chances to say what is in your heart or on your mind.  When you have guests coming, nothing says we're glad you're here like writing that on their bathroom mirror. 

There is no end to the magic you can make for a loved one simply with a tender word of greeting  at 6 am.  Even apologies are meaningful in writing. 

Have fun, be creative, love your home, make it yours. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A WALK IN THE WOODS

Inspiration comes from everywhere.  A  walk in the woods in early spring can be a moving, as well as a learning experience.  The bright red berries of the British Redcoats peeping through.  Exquisite miniature orchid blooms on the multi-speckled leaves of the ground-hugging Trout Lilies.  Lavender violets.  Buttery yellow violets.  Endless interesting wildflowers just beginning to show off.  Electric green moss by the stream.  Shadowy grey lichen visible now, but soon to lose out to the leafing on the branches. All these are signs of life springing forth in all it's glory.
And to make your interiors reflect the life outside is an exciting  goal this time of year.  Maybe in throw pillows?  How about an inexpensive afghan in a rich spring color?  Look at the shades of green just beginning to differentiate trees on the mountainside.  And draw a little inspiration.  Things are unfolding!  What a wonderful universe. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

ABUNDANCE ENDORPHINS



As much as winter weather creates excitement and  drama--great holidays, fluffy weather-- spring generates abundance-endorphins.  These little known chemicals tickle our brains, urging us to all kinds of interesting ideas and fun projects.   We long to ready both our homes and ourselves for this season of brilliant blooms and fresh air.  In the old days, our grandmothers threw open windows; spring-cleaned every inch of their homes; hung clothes on the line and truly knew the spring. They instinctively knew these abundance-endorphins We throw our clothes in the dryer; perhaps can't even open most of our windows; and spend inordinate amounts of time indoors.  Maybe this spring, we can change our ways.  We can experience the tickle.  We can do something really kind to our homes. Let's love on them in new creative ways:  rearrange all our accessories;  clear all the kitchen counters and put everything possible underneath or in the pantry;  create a computer center in a closet;  just do something to change our lives.  Whenever you feel that tickle...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

WHAT TO DO ON A RAINY

Sleep in(don't we wish!)
Jump puddles.
Buy an artsy umbrella.
Make soup.
Build a fire.
Light a candle.
Get wet.
Drive carefully.
Listen to glorious Mozart; energetic Steep Canyon Rangers; silky Shannon Whitworth.
Write a letter to someone.
Call someone.
Appreciate someone at work.
Make Cupcakes and give them away.
Memorize a poem.
Read Madman's Daughter.

And, make sure the room you sleep in is cozy, softly lit(except when reading in bed, which you must do!), tidy, welcoming and comfortable.  It needn't be fancy.  Make it yours--reflecting your personality, tastes, beliefs.  Most of all, enjoy those sacred moments in that special place of your own.



Thursday, February 14, 2013

HEAL YOUR MIND

I heard today on  local public radio station that it is time to do serious pruning in the garden.  Maples, Hydrangeas and many other plants and shrubs are waiting to be prepared for being their most shapely selves now.  It is an early gardening task to enjoy with the expectation of beautiful rewards.

Not so unlike our interiors right now--probably a bit of pruning needed there, as well.  Are the walls coming in you, yet?  If yes, take an unbiased look at your space and decide what to put away, use in another room or share with Habitat.  A room that emanates a clarity of purpose, with fewer focal points, permits the furniture and accessories that remain to stands up and say 'see me'.  And, you'll find that clarity of space promotes clarity of mind.  That works in the reverse as well.  So in the healing world of interior design, heal your mind...

Monday, January 28, 2013

One Day At A Time

The move is well underway and tomorrow all the really heavy things will be out soon.  Then the cleaning and turning over the key.  One day at a time, one step at a time.
This process, as so many others,  is completely overwhelming when seen as a whole.  But I can do anything one step at a time.  Progress measured in teaspoonfuls.
There is magic in staying in this moment and not borrowing from another.  It is a practice worth honoring. 
More to come, one day at a time...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

COMING RIGHT ALONG

Our relocation efforts are bearing fruit and slowly, slowly, we are making enormous headway.  This time next week will see us nearly finished with this seemingly endless process.  Things are coming right along.
Shredding old files; dumping outdated samples; recycling fabric remnant; selling whatever isn't nailed down-- these acts allow us to develop muscle, spiritually and physically.  Sentimentality has no place in this.  And we say farewell quite easily--happily, even-- to the things we held on to simply because we could. 
We must remember this lesson for the future.  What fun it will be to begin our new studio without so much 'stuff' weighing us down.  Clean and sparse will be the guidelines, as much as a design studio can be.
Our new design studio is coming right along... Come with us.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Behind and Ahead

Hard to imagine how much time has elapsed since we last met.  Holidays have come and gone.  2013 is firmly here, perhaps even beginning to sound familiar.
Our own style of looking behind and ahead is taking us into new places.  Relocating our design business is the goal for the month of January.  We are busy parting with samples we rarely use; files older than the hills and generally making choices that, until now, we've avoided like the plague.  No longer anchored in the past, we are moving forward with our newly born year.  We are making decisions about what makes us happy and fulfilled--how we as designers want to work.  We are parting with the leftovers.  We are looking ahead. As in most undertakings like this, things will get worse before they get better, but, no matter, we are exhilerated by new possibilities, more manageble schedules and the challenge of the unknown.
Come along.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

LOVE JOY PEACE

Just saying the words 'love', 'joy' or 'peace' seems a bit difficult.  So much pain and grief is in our nation these past days.  The best gift we can offer to each other right now is a belief that the inconsolable will be consoled;  the sad will laugh again; the fearful will be free; the sick will be healed. 
This is the season of hope.  Cling to hope.  May our holidays be a new thing this year.  May we offer solace and optimism and the gift of presence to each other. 
May we learn to love the 'other'.  May we welcome the unwelcomed. 
May we make our homes a shelter for all.
 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

IT LOOKS A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS

We've rounded the corner and are heading for home!  The holidays are officially here and preparations are joyously being made.  We're so busy...making schedules and  numerous lists for everything from gifts to groceries to garage-cleaning.  Parties are already piling up on the calendar and aromatic trees are being bought and decorated.  It's a wild, wonderful and wooly time.  Or, at least, it can be.  But only if we are able to maintain perspective.  Only if we require ourselves to establish personal limits, acceptable budgets.  Only if we seek to  remember the why of it all.

The home we create is always a  reflection of love and joy, spontaneity and warmth, as well as stress, obligation and pain. At this time of year, choose the golden opportunity to bring in all the love and gratitude that so abounds in our lives.  How?  Try focusing on the "one room" rule: never tackle more than one room a day.  When you do spend the hour or hours preparing that room for love and life, make it thorough.  'One room a day' isn't asking too much, it's exactly enough to be creative, focused and smart.  'One room a day' gives us a chance to lavish tender attention on a space and see it anew--a time to renew.

Enjoy this season as never before.  And practice the 'one room a day' rule, as you sing along, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

THE SEASON OF HOSPITABLE LIVING

It's just a few days before delicious joys of Thanksgiving!  Enjoy it to the fullest.  And then we move, full-bore, into the wonder of the Holidays.  Hospitality suggests that we welcome opportunities to give to and serve  others.  Yet, my focus often seems a gordian knot  of perfectionism.  I intend to loosen that strangle hold this year. Why?  Because the never-ending work of being perfect precludes spontaneity, laughter, peace.  Perfectionism  is addictive.  But, writer Louise Erdrich suggests in her glorious poem "Advice to Myself"(my thanks to Garrison Keillor and The Writer's Almanac) that we tell the dust bunnies they are welcome and that we "pursue the authentic."
So, may we pursue with all our hearts what really is hospitable this season.  May our hearts overflow with love and may our dedication to the idea of simply being 'enough', turn us into enough. 
May we fully experience this season of hospitable living as never before.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Make Happiness Your Home

Isn't this an insightful quote from Esther Hicks?
                "The greatest gift you can ever give another person is your own happiness."
And one of the significant places to fuel personal happiness is within the four walls of home.  That's where we live--it should be a place of joy. Creating your personal joy-spaces is a happy task.  That's why paint, art,  furniture rearranging, good space-planning, beautiful sewing, fresh flowers, worn family pieces, bring us contentment.
They point us in the direction of gratitude.  Which leads to happiness. Which enables us to radiate that to others that we meet. 
What's in your way?

Monday, October 1, 2012

MONDAY ORGANIZATION BLUES

It's Monday again. And just a bit of random happiness with Garfield(thank you Mr. Davis).

Leaving the random--Thank goodness for the structure of the calendar.  Without it, it's conceivable that we'd be aimless blobs, wandering in and out of long, aimless days, congealing for a moment here, a meeting there...imagine it, if you can!  I delight in those little boxes divided into hours, days, weeks, months and years.  I enjoy filling in the appointments and checking them off.  I thrill to the pleasure of a clean page each day, but with the option of the weekly overview. Now, we most often use our Google calendars, but if there is anything more satisfying, in the world of marking days, than opening up a hardbound New Yorker calendar(your name embossed on the front, all the better), I haven't found it!

Organization.  Our entire lives run on it, exist because of it.  From our bodies to our transportation systems, organization is imperative for our world to function.  Perhaps this is one reason why there is the frightening and ever popular genre of apolcalyptic movies and television shows--what if the power grid shuts down?  Or a pandemic kills most everyone?  Or Zombies try to eat survivors? (I personally adore these!)

Organization.  It's raining where we live and rain creates the perfect mood for organizing one room, one closet or one teeny, weeny drawer.  Just do something.  Turn up the lights.  Put on some music that speaks to you.  And make a step towards satisfaction.  Organizing the possessions you are a steward of, and have been blessed with ,is a way of expressing appreciation.  It is a way of living in your space with joy. It is a new beginning.  On a Monday, even.   

Thursday, September 20, 2012

HELLO BEAUTY

Hello change!  Here is the gorgeousness of fall and soon the bracing starkness of winter.  That is, if you live where the seasons actually do change.  We know that some live in tropical and sub-tropical zones and never see leaves mottled with brilliance, then full-throated color, then gone. That calls for a fall vacation. 

And then, when the leaves have breathed their last rustle and drifted through the air into a heap, the stark line of the tree is visible for the first time in many months.  The forest becomes an abstract painting with upright trunks, criss-crossed with fallen tree limbs, branches and deadwood, interspersed with evergreens. It is a feast for the designer-eye.

Take it inside: tall branches fill an oversized red urn in a corner; pinecones layer in a tall glass cylinder on the dining table (later to be twinkling with white battery-powered lights); moss sedately carpets a clay saucer piled with miniature fruits; vases of aromatic fir cuttings explode on the mantle.  On and on it goes.  Ideas exist to be exercised, to create beauty, tranquility.  Innovate.  Dream.  Look at life upside-down every now and then.  See a tabletop, a room, a house or an apartment as you never have before and say Hello Beauty, what can I do for you?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

TIME. WHERE DOES IT GO?

In only a few weeks, summer will be a memory, yet  it seems as if it has just begun.  And fall will be short and so sweet.  And so it goes... 
Time.  Where does it go? 
Reflecting on the subject of  time creates  a perfect segue into one of the most underrated principles of interior design--TIME!  Yet, a beautifully thought-out room will have something(s) in it that causes us to be present in the moment:
To slow down. 
To savor. 
To observe. 
It might be a knock-out painting or sculpture.  It could be an amazing bird's nest in a glass vessel. Perhaps it is an old Christening gown, framed and hung. Or a fine collection of sterling silver Cigarette Cases from back in the day--whatever makes you shiver with joy.

These things can cause us to pause and be present, if only for the moment.  Consider how you can  use this in your spaces as you create and rearrange. 
Time.  Where does it go?
Perhaps, we should reframe the question this way:  Time.  Where do WE go? 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SPLURGE RIGHT NOW

It is a privilege to be in a profession that demands a holistic approach.  And Interior Designers, to be relevant, must embrace the "who"of you, as well as design form and function.  Outstanding interiors are always a collaboration between you and your designer.  Imagine a 'three-legged' stool that consists of  careful listening, thorough understanding and good communication--essential to every successful relationship--and you have the beginnings of a happy relationship with your designer. Chemistry between you and your designer is important, as well.  Do you feel connected?  Understood?  Respected? Embraced?  
Healthy interior design is a mystical union of your desires, tastes, psychology, philosophy, budget restrictions, time limitations and stage of life.  Healthy interiors bring comfort, healing, joy and welcome. 
Splurge right now.  Be as good to yourself as you are to your friends and your family. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Isn't Change A Beautiful Thing...

The leaves of the lush trees of summer are beginning to feel the advent of fall.  Slight changes are beginning to happen up and down the I-40 corridor between North Carolina and middle Tennessee.  The same is true heading North up I-95 .  What a heralding of the magnificence of the coming season.  Good-by to blistering hot days, drought and doldrums.  Hello to flaming golds and yellows, joyous russets and merlots, laughing oranges and umbers that surround the highways and byways of  areas blessed with changing seasons!

Good-by to Summer in our home interiors, too.  Hello to cozy afghans, cinnamon-scented candles, maybe a few new pillows for the sofa in soft wools or rich autumn colors.  It's a time to invest in a rich wool rug for the floor.  Roll up the sisal and coir and warm-up the look, as well as grounding the space with it. Wood bowls of miniature pumpkins, richly colored gourds and pinecones will soon follow to  add more ambiance.

Schools are beginning now.  Life is shifting. More structure is part of this time of year.  And still,  fall brings a reason to slow down our minds for just a little while before the major holidays get here.  So, for now, breathe slowly and deeply and watch the earth birth a new season for us.  Isn't change a beautiful thing?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DIY'ers Rejoice!

There has never been a better time to be a DIY'er!  Television, books, magazines and newspapers all offer thrilling ideas that encorage us to be cleverer than ever before. And we want to be a part of the revolution with you.  With our exciting new online design service, i Cocoon, let us do the "academics" of your design, releasing you to allow your creative energy flow with abandon.
Sound like a great trade-off?  For more information, check out our new website: http://www.icocoondesign.com/ and take a look.  While you're online, also take a look at our http://www.cocoondesign.com/.  We welcome the privilege of partnering with you in creating a better world, one room at a time.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Announcing -  icocoon - interior design online



We are so excited to see our many months of planning come to fruition.  Cocoon now offers both our traditional interior design services and, through icocoon, our new online interior design service.  Now you have wonderful options as you approach your interior design needs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Remember To Learn

After months of planning and preparation, Historic Flat Rock Foundation's Showhouse will open this weekend!  Now, we can breathe for a time and focus on client work until the next phase--the dreaded Move-Out...Not so bad, really,just a lot of exercise.

Which leads to the obvious:  much of  life is like that Showhouse. We plan and work so hard and so long for a certain event, day or goal and, before we even know, it is over. And what are we to learn from that?
It is the best reason in the universe to live with awareness of this very moment, enjoying every step along the way--even the hard ones--and remembering that everything we do has import and influence. 

There is a wonderful thought from T.D.Jakes about this.  He says(and I'm paraphrasing), "Every day you go to University and everyone you meet is a teacher.  Remember to learn."

Monday, July 2, 2012

SHOWHOUSE ADVENTURES

It's a bit like Santa's workshop in July around here. We're doing a showhouse in a week and  Lee and Becca are busily locating and pricing boutiques items.  Mary and Paula are making decisions about what has yet to be bought or borrowed, and what to remember to load into the moving van on the move-in date (rapidly approaching, by the way...).Linda is fabricating fabulous soft treatments and Jimmy is artfully painting a number of items.  While at the same time, we're doing our client's design work--# 1 priority.  And the busier we are, the busier we are.
The wonderful thing about being busy is the sense of fulfillment that most always follows.  It's a mind-set that needs cultivation, though.  We live in a time when retirement is planned from an early age.  We long for the day when we don't have to go to work, whether it be in a New York skyscraper or the local convenience store.  Somehow, we have allowed ourselves to believe that resting after a long work life is to be desired.  It just doesn't seem to work that way.  Every successfully retired person I know is busier now than they ever were.  They fill their days with worthy causes and volunteer activities, sometimes Grandchildren,  to the great benefit of us all.  And, if they have any time left, maybe they squeeze in a round of golf or  a game of tennis. Being busy and productive seems to be what we're made for. Our days work best within a structure. 

Suggestion: the next time, we begin to complain about being too busy, let's remember the wondrous nature of it. Perhaps, we can reframe how we think and speak about this gift.
  
 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SOAKING UP THE JOY

So, just for today, resolve to live in joy.  Treasure your home, your work, your family, your friends, yourself.
Make beauty a priority by bringing it into the lives of others--be the smile in someone's day; be generous with courtesy; pick up a piece of trash on the sidewalk.  Be the person your mother wanted you to be!
And in your home, resolve to flood joy into every corner:  color, energy, light, air.  Plan to be as good to your little piece of the universe as you are to yourself.  Live to the fullest and wallow in joy.  Make it a daily intention in your home and outside.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

STREAMLINE YOUR SUMMER INTERIOR

How's this for a novel idea:  don't spend any money on your summer interiors!  So much can be changed without it.  With completely unbiased eyes, be an observer(like the Fringe guys -what, you don't know about Fringe?  Sigh...).  See your space as if you're walking into it for the first time.  Then pull out anything you don't have to use.  Don't worry-- you will be putting back lots of them as the seasons change.  The idea is to "cool" the space down--save the abundance for your Fall and Winter space change-overs. Leave negative space around your pieces. Don't know about negative space?  It's space where there is nothing to grab the eye, thus giving other things their own moments in the sun.  Exercise the option of saving your pennies for that sumptuous afghan to throw, ever so casually, on your sofa in winter.  Or maybe even save enough for a great piece of original art that you've been longing for.  Stop the nickel and diming, and you can accumulate cash for important pieces.  Have a ball rethinking your spaces and a joyous summer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW

Th gifts that a well-loved home offer us everyday of our lives are immeasurable.  So, what can we give back to show our appreciation?  How about something clear like a mountain stream;  clean like sweet-smelling laundry dried in the sun;  and sparkling like those tiny white lights on trees after it snows.  Imagine freshly washed windows!  Almost nothing opens up a home to the beautiful world outside like this simple, but dreaded chore.  An easy, approachable way to do this is to divide it into room segments.  Instead of conquering the whole army of windows, just do the kitchen today.  Maybe, tomorrow make the bath windows gleam like diamonds.  And, soon enough, you have easily made your way through your whole home until--voila--you have done it! You have added a note of pristine serenity.  Now, your home is alive and open to the outside world.
Just like your beautiful eyes are your  windows on the world,  the 'eyes' of your home expand your universe.  Love it well. Now, as reggae-great Jimmy Cliff did so well, let's all sing "...it's gonna' be a bright, bright, sunshine-y day!".