Friday, May 31, 2013


Today hit 96 degrees in Boston.  Coming off of a weekend where I needed a wool hat, I'm welcoming the heat.  It's finally time to break out the shorts and plant the garden.  BUT, it's almost too hot to do so.  So, instead I'm thinking about porch swings and sitting still, maybe rocking a bit, in my shorts looking at my garden that needs to be tended to, on a cooler day...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Recommended reading

Yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting in on an intimate Q&A between Kravet's media maven Jennifer Powell and interior designer Thom Filicia (remember from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy).  Anyway, long before he became a TV personality, he was a designer and continues to not only run a successful practice in NYC but create a licensed line for Kravet.  He has just come out with a great book entitled American Beauty in which he chronicles his own home renovation in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  His chat was charming and candid and filled with lots of laughs.  The best thing that came from it though was his advice to all of Kravets' VIPs in the room.  When talking about his philosophy on design, he said (and I'll paraphrase what I remember);

Let me put it to you this way - if your best friend won't let you drive his new car then he probably shouldn't be driving that car either.  Possessions shouldn't be so precious that you can't enjoy them, and if you can't enjoy what you have or the spaces that surround you, then you're missing the whole point...  

His new book describes the casual elegance that he refers to as Americana, where his dogs (Taco and Foxy) are just as free to roam the house as his guests in wet swimsuits and sandy feet.  He is very grounded about creating spaces that can be lived in instead of just looked at (though he is really good at achieving a balance of both).  It's his real life, and I really love his message...

note the forward by Tina Fey :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pinterest crazy

Lately I've been spending a lot of time revamping my brand, coming up with an identity that suits my style and the type of clients that I am trying to attract.  My logo has gotten a makeover and I am working on updating my portfolio with photos of more recently completed projects to help bring my website into the next decade (it hasn't been updated since 2009).  

I've also been pinning.  Pinning like crazy.  For those of you not familiar with Pinterest, Wikipedia defines it as pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies. Users can browse other pinboards for images, 're-pin' images to their own pinboards, or 'like' photos.  It's also the third largest social network in the US.

Last year when I started my account, I was convinced that I didn't want to use images that weren't mine.  When looking at random boards, it all just seemed like recycled content to me, and I felt that pulling ideas from others would take away from my authenticity.  There is a big debate in my industry about the use of imagery, protecting your images and whether or not using others' imagery, without credit, is ethical.  I didn't want to be one of those people who crossed the line, so instead, I looked at it as a tool for work, a mood board of sorts.  I kept trying to create presentation boards for clients, pinning ideas of products (mostly from catalog), imagery of inspiration (like a destination), and ideas for fabrics and wall coverings.  I had boards labeled by the job and tried to get my clients to add their ideas to the mix.  It didn't work very well out of context, and I found it easier to just walk my clients through the material in person.  

After a few months of laying dormant, I decided to give it another try and started to use Pinterest as a search engine for visual concepts.  Similar to HOUZZ, you can search for general topics or specific products - Design, Architecture, Outdoor Fireplaces, English Arm Sofas, Persian Rugs - though Pinterest definitely wins on the detailed scope - vintage Hermes, striped painted flooring, metallic herringbone wallpaper, Persian turquoise rings, etc.  And, aside from searching their huge database of imagery (remember #3 in social networking), you can also pin images from outside sources, such as websites, your own personal files, friends' photo books, Facebook, and so on.  I found that I started pinning from everywhere and every site that I found something interesting to pin from.  I also found that when searching on Pinterest for certain items, I came across other interesting pinners; interesting people who had similar interests to me.  I also started reading their blogs - and those who's pins they pinned from...  And soon enough, I realized that my boards were starting to become my own personal idea book; only instead of ripping out pages of design/fashion magazines and putting them into an idea book, I was pinning them and actually categorizing why I liked them.  And, and funny enough, after looking at my nearly 2000 pins-to-date, I'm realizing that my boards are beginning to support my brand.  They have become a collage that not only supports my design aesthetic, but a tool that helps my clients, potential clients (or the network) see what I mean when I'm talking about layering stripes.

So in the end, I have become addicted to Pinterest, and though I will never give up my hard copy design mags, my idea books have gone digital.