Sunday, October 31, 2010

Quiet Time

I randomly came across this and thought in the midst of all the bullying and everything else going on it was pretty timely. I think I am nice to everyone...compassion and kindness I would like to think are strong traits of mine. But what about that slow driver when I was late, what words crossed my mind. Or that annoying lady at the grocery store, did I stop to think what she might be going through...nope. Hmmmm. Glad God is patient with me because I have a long way to go.

Image and many more Moments In The Lens on Etsy

Friday, October 29, 2010

Take Two...A Blog B-Day

There is one more thing to celebrate at the end of October, Haven & Home turns 2.....
A huge heart felt thank you for your support! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I never dreamed all the doors this little blog would open for me and more importantly all the wonderful people I would meet along the way (even if I have never actually laid eyes on you). You are awesome.

Lately life has been busy I feel like this at the moment...
I am not complaining, I very thankful for the craziness that is my life at the moment. However, I need to make more time for other things so I may not be as present for a while. I am not sure what the plan is but I just wanted to put it out there. For now I have taken down sponsors to take some of the pressure I put on myself off. Thank you if you were a sponsor who was about to be listed, I appreciate your understanding. We will see how everything is going in a few months.

Also, I cannot express my appreciation enough to H&H's readers and followers. You make my day...every day. Y'all are the best blogger friends a girl could ask for. I look forward to many more years with you!

Changing gears, I hope you have a wonderful Halloween weekend. I had to do a double take in Target the other day...
I had no idea Simon Doonan did a costume line for Target this year. Very cool. Anyone have a great costume for this weekend?

Pictures WeHeartIt (1&2) and Pink Wallpaper

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Love The One You're With- Emily A. Clark

I am so excited to share with you the next post in the "Love The One You're With Post". Emily, from Emily A. Clark, is one of the sweetest bloggers you could ever hope to meet. I was thrilled to meet her in New York, then we shared a cab back to our hotel and it wasn't a ride I will soon forget! I know I have said this before but I swear we could have been life long friends....

I'm really loving Marianne's idea for this series. So many times, it's easy for us (especially those of us who love design!) to focus on what still needs to be done instead of all that we've accomplished and enjoy about our own homes. In other words, I'm glad Marianne is forcing me to be positive for a day instead of adding to my wish list and scrutinizing every last detail of my own decor.

So, on that note, I'll share the one space in our home that I am currently enjoying most--our home office. It's tucked away downstairs, and was one of the main selling points for me when I first looked at our floorplan.

I loved the idea of having a space where I could "escape" away from the chaos of the rest of the house. And, while the process of decorating it was a slow one, I made a plan, took my time and used colors and pieces that really felt like "me."
I started by repainting this campaign dresser (a thrift store find) a bright kelly green. I've always been so drawn to color, especially painted furniture, and thought this would be a stylish storage solution.
The wall above it also gave me an opportunity to display some of my favorite family photographs. I am not the world's best at actually printing photos and having them framed, but this wall makes me happy every time I look at it.
Not only do I love a brightly painted piece of furniture, but I also have a thing for "happy" fabrics. This one is called "Wilmington" by Covington and gave the space a much needed dose of pattern against the dark gray walls.
And, finally, I love the big Expedit bookcase (from IKEA). It has a really clean look with tons of storage for my favorite books, design magazines, etc. Even if I don't have time to read them, it's nice to be surrounded by them.

Thanks to Marianne for the opportunity to be on her wonderful blog. I had the chance to meet her last month in NYC and she is just as sweet as she is beautiful. I could've spent hours talking to her. Unfortunately, most of our time consisted of a 30-minute cab ride together that ended with me leaving my phone in the backseat. But, that's another story, for another day. . .

Now that is one talented blogger! I am dying over that office- the gray, the green, the curtains, the storage. Love, Love, Love. Thank you Emily for being part of this series!!!! If you haven't yet, be sure to check out Emily A. Clark!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Milestone and the Great Debate

Last week my business, Marianne Strong Interiors, turned another year older. It is hard to believe that a few years ago I went out on my own. I always dreamed of owning my own business and rarely a day goes by that I don't realize how lucky I am. I often get asked for advice about getting into Decorating/Design and starting a business. For those interested in how I started in the business, you can read a brief recap here. Today I thought I would touch on some points I get frequently asked about:* My best advice: Learn under an experienced Decorator/Designer and don't be afraid to start small. Although I have my own business now, I started with a well-established Decorator. I highly recommend this. Decorating/Design is not just about picking out fabric or drawing plans, you are running a business. The accounting alone is enough to make your head spin not to mention the insane amount of work that goes into every move: tracking orders, checking dye lots, requesting samples, quoting everything, handling tax (sales, county, city, state, etc.), finding vendors, etc. I can't imagine being where I am today without such a great mentor, boss and friend.

Also do not be afraid to start small. Several people warned me early on about something called "snob appeal" in this industry. In my opinion, it is not as prevalent as some think but it does exist. Do not let others make you feel bad for starting small. It can be a competitive industry, keep others negativity at a distance. Just remember as you grow in size and success to avoid becoming a snob yourself.
*On your own or under a wing: I have had a few people ask me if I ever wished I was not on my own. Working for yourself as opposed to working for a firm could be debated either way and it really depends on your personality. Are there times I wish I was under the umbrella of someone else? Yes. As a business owner e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g down to the Christmas cards is your responsibility (and money) and that can be overwhelming at times. However, for me, I am so, so thankful I have my own company. It is little moments that catch me off guard - a piece of mail addressed to MSI or seeing my name on a business card or letterhead that remind me I did this on my own. Even after a few years these small things still make me proud. My success is because of my hard work and those around me (especially Patrick and my family), not because of a company I work for or with. I hope this does not come off sounding pompous, trust me, it is not meant that way.

When people ask me about being on my own I always ask if they consider themselves to be entrepreneurs or not. It is important to know that before you go out on your own because it is hard and you have to really want it. There is a lot to be said for working with/for others. Some of the best Designers/Decorators in the world work for a firm. The pros of working in that type of environment are numerous and very valid. In general, I don't think one is preferable to another, it just depends on you and your situation. For me, I know I am where I am supposed to be.*Best part of the job: Every profession has some aspect that makes it worthwhile. For me, it is the clients and the ability to be creative. I love my clients, probably too much. This is a very personal field. You know their kids, dogs, quirks and the alarm code. I love that. When a client is thrilled with an installation or calls to say they love living in a space you created, it just doesn't get much better. These moments are why I do what I do and keep me going during the really bad days.
*Worst part of the job: I always have to laugh at this questions because depending on the day the answer varies. When I tell people I am a Decorator I sometimes see visions they have running through their minds - paint swatches, floating through fabric stores and hours spent shopping for fun. While paint swatches, fabric samples and shopping for clients are some aspects of the day-to-day job, it is actually much harder than I ever imagined. Regardless of the changing issues/problems (some worse than others), this job is worth it to me.
*School? Decorator vs. Designer: Without a doubt, I am asked the most about going to school and if it is necessary. Whew, this is a tough one and I can only offer one point of view. First, there is a difference between Designers and Decorators. It varies from state to state, but a general distinction is a degree in Design and passing the NCIDQ. I went back to school for Design for a year, but I left when I realized it was not necessary to pursue the career path I wanted to take. I have not taken (nor ever plan to take) the NCIDQ.

I started with a Decorator who told me, "you either have it you don't" and I have found that to be true. There are certain things I can't do and I am fine with that. If I have a client who needs a Designer or an Architect to do something I am not capable of, I have no problems recommending them to someone else. However, just because I can't sign off on a plan does not mean that my opinion does not count. Personally, I have found that my clients don't care whether I am a Designer or Decorator. That is not meant to slight Designers. Design School is hard and I understand the NCIDQ is even harder. I have the utmost respect for Designers.

My advice would be that being a Designer is not the only way to be in this business but may be a good option for those interested in that path. School does not guarantee success/talent and lack of school does not mean you can't be great in this industry.All Images Above Marianne Strong Interiors

I always appreciate e-mails asking about business even it takes me forever to get back to you (sorry to those of you reading who know this first hand). I hope this has helped a little.

The other day my good friend Camila sent me an article from HGTV named Designer vs. Decorator: What's In A Name? and it made me think of the numerous people who have asked me this question. The truth is, I know being a "Decorator" has worked for me and it is what I love to do but I never want that come out as disrespectful to Designers. I would never want to offend anyone. I decided since this article offered insight into this from some really big people in the Industry I would paste it below or you can read the original article by Bryan Patrick Flynn HERE.

****Once again, everything below here is from HGTV and Bryan (and I must add I LOVE Barry Dixon even more if that is possible):

Designer vs. Decorator: What’s In a Name?

I have a super-successful older brother who gets a kick out of discrediting my profession. He has a party trick that starts out with him saying, “Hey, wanna see what my overrated, interior-decorator brother considers a “skill”?” Then he picks up a pillow from his own sofa, moves it three inches to the right, hands someone a faux-invoice and says, “I just placed a pillow….so now I’m a designer! That will be one hundred fifty dollars, please.”

As I visualize clocking him in the face with a Christmas ham, I can’t help but think, “Are decorators really perceived as people who simply shop for pillows and paint walls?”

Technically, I’m considered the four-syllable D-word since (a) I’m self-taught, (b) I care more about tailoring, upholstery and objects than repositioning doors and windows and (c) I possess the drawing skills of a kindergartner. But I fully embrace it, reserving “designer” for those who are formally-trained, with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans to prove it. Sure, I conceptualize most of my furniture, sketch it for my fabricator, then see it through to completion. But still, I’m totally cool with being labeled a decorator. In fact, prefer it.

I decided to ask 10 colleagues their opinion on the D-words. A few interviews later, I’d apparently created a Name-Calling Monster. Every design-type I reached out to had more to say about this subject than I could possibly jot down. I think you’ll be interested in the Three-Ring Decorator vs. Designer Circus. Consider me the sideshow.

Photo Credit: Habachy Designs

Michael Habachy, Interior Designer, Atlanta, Miami & Buenos Aires

BPF: Creatively, what’s the difference between a ME (decorator) and a YOU (designer)?
MH: None! Some designers really suck creatively but have more technical skills than they know what to do with. Many of the most creatively chic spaces I’ve ever seen were, in fact, created by decorators.
BPF: True or false: All designers can decorate, but not all decorators can design?
MH: False! Decorating is a talent — either you have it or you don’t. Design is a skill that can be learned.
BPF: Just like Kelly Wearstler, you’re known for designing almost every object in each of your
spaces from scratch, from light fixtures and furniture to accessories and wallcoverings. That being said, do you get offended when someone refers to you as a decorator?
MH: Nope, not at all. I believe that decorating is a word that means to create beautiful things and spaces; therefore decorating is an enormous aspect of what I do.

Ronda Carman, Blogger, All the Best

BPF: You’re probably the most passionate person I’ve ever met when it comes to discussing decorating, design and lifestyle. What sets a designer apart from a decorator?
RC: An interesting question, especially since I am neither. I think the lines have blurred. I would guess that most people associate designers with formal training and a degree. However, in my opinion, nothing beats learning by doing. Bottom line — you either have it, or you don’t. Some things you can’t learn in school; style is one of them.
BPF: Although you’re from the United States, you currently live and work in Glasgow. Do the two terms translate differently in Scotland than they do in the States?

RC: In Scotland, a decorator is someone who paints and hangs wallpaper. Until I figured that out, I was shocked that everyone I met seemed to have decorators coming and going. Actually, I was a little disappointed to learn that only their loo was being repainted!
BPF: Based on your own needs for putting your new office together, would you be more inclined to hire a decorator over a designer?
RC: I could not care less about their title, as long as I love their work. And, if I hired a decorator, I would want to make certain that they weren’t coming over just to paint.

Photo Credits: Burnham Design

Betsy Burnham, Interior Designer, Los Angeles

BPF: How do you differentiate designer from decorator?
BB: To me, a decorator is someone who furnishes a house and a designer is someone who
provides interior architectural details, as well as furnishings.
BPF: Are you insulted when someone refers to you as a decorator?
BB: Absolutely not! I am not a design snob; I’ve got an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth in Fine Art, but, as far as interior design goes, I’m basically self-taught. Sticklers in the design field would surely call me a decorator, but, at Burnham Design, we’re known for putting together seriously thorough spec books, and we rarely even pick an end table without drawing it into plan first to be sure the scale is right.
BPF: What are we seeing in the two spaces above?
BB: The first space was more of a decorating project since I chose color, furnishings and window treatments, but I did nothing to alter or enhance the architecture. The second space is best described as fully designed. I selected the windows and walnut flooring, designed
baseboards and casings, and I even designed a custom wall treatment. Once the house was remodeled, I did all the furnishings as well.

Photo Credit: Erik Kvalsvik

Barry Dixon, Interior Designer, Virginia

BPF: What sets apart someone who decorates from someone who designs?
BD: Decorating does not always require the training and technical aptitude that designing does. Designing often infers an understanding and command of certain basics, like the history of ornamentation or the laws of proportion and scale. Basically, the sorts of things you would
study in the pursuit of a degree. That said, there are many talented people who can decorate circles around some educated designers. This may be because they possess an innate gift that can’t be learned. They simply have “it” — that magic mojo that allows them to see and create in a special, intuitive way.
BPF: Do you think there’s any truth in stating that designers can both design and decorate, but decorators cannot both decorate and design?
BD: Technically, that may be so. A designer may bake the cake, and decorate it too, while a decorator might just ice the cake. I don’t care what clients call me, as long as they call me.

Photo Credit: Vogue

Erica Reitman, Blogger, DesignBlahg, New York

BPF: First of all, you are brutally honest and deliciously snarky. I like it. I like it A LOT. Fill in the blank, a designer is _______________.
ER: Someone who guides others towards their own styles using a combination of creativity, innovation, color theory, architecture and psychology. Reed and Delphine Krakoff’s New York Home featured in Vogue is the perfect example of a designer room.
BPF: Stereotypically, the term decorator makes me think of _________________.
ER: The difference between a nurse and a doctor. Nurses work super-duper hard, can take pulses, wrap patients up in bandages and assist; however, doctors are authorized to fully operate. I see designers more like the doctors of interiors and nurses similar to decorators.
BPF: Best design talent on HGTV?
ER: Emily Henderson.

Photo Credit: Josh Gibson

Phoebe Howard, Decorator & Entrepreneur, Jacksonville, FL & Atlanta, GA

BPF: The first time I met you in Miami, you politely corrected me when I referred to you as an interior designer. Do you remember that, and, if so, is there a reason you very clearly state that you are a decorator rather than a designer?
PH: Yes, for many reasons. First, the profession of decorator has been around for hundreds of
years and has a definite cache. What I do every day requires a natural skill for putting together all of the elements to beautifully furnish a home. Florida, where my company is based, closely regulates the profession of interior design and requires licensing to use the title of interior designer, but interior decoration requires no testing or license. The real intent of the law is to focus on commercial design, which I am not interested in.
BPF: If someone were to argue that a decorator simply has pillows made and picks colors, you would strongly disagree?
PH: Absolutely! I am 50% creative and 50% business-minded. In addition to decorating, I own and operate five residential showrooms throughout the South. It is unlikely that I would still be in business if I were just picking colors and pillows. Decoration is the comprehensive and
conclusive finishing of a home. It is about arranging furnishings in ways that are both pragmatic and beautiful. My expertise was formed after years of creating beautiful rooms in my stores. I purchase furniture from all over the world, design and make much of what we offer in the stores, make selections that will embellish and decorate more than 90 room settings in our stores every day. Picking colors and making pillows is about 5% of the story.

Photo Credit: William Waldron, Elle Decor

Nicole Cohen, Blogger, Sketch42Blog, New York

BPF: After completing the interiors of your Manhattan home on your own, you came across a Chicago space that made the cover of Elle Decor with a similar look and feel–I’m sure that built confidence! What do you consider the main difference between designers and decorators?
NC: My personal opinion on designer versus decorator: You can learn how to draft, you can learn how to plan a room, you can learn a heck of a lot from design school, but you sure CANNOT learn taste.

BPF: Is there a cache attached to one title versus the other?
NC: I was at an Elle Decor event last year called Women in Design. Margaret Russell asked Kelly Wearstler, Charlotte Moss, Holly Hunt and Michelle Nussbaumer if they prefer to be regarded as designers or decorators, and none of them seemed to care. I guess when you are on top, you don’t have to be insecure about what people call you.
BPF: Your reaction to this statement: “Decorators just play with fabrics and choose paint. Designers actually make stuff from scratch.”
NC: That seems to be the common belief; however, I am neither a decorator nor a designer, and I have had tons of custom furniture made to my specifications, not to mention all types of window treatments, mirrors, wall treatments, etc. I don’t really even think that it’s possible to create a home without designing SOMETHING from scratch. I totally disagree with that

Photo Credit: Katlyne Hill Photography

Erika Ward, Designer & Blogger, BluLabelBungalow, Atlanta, GA

BPF: Do you consider yourself an interior designer or a decorator?
EW: I often refer to myself simply as a “designer.” While I do not have the interior designer designation, I have the professional and educational experience to perform the job as a project
manager and decorator. As a PM, I
employ subcontractors to execute the foundation of my design plan then complete the job alone in decorating the space.
BPF: Is it safe to say that all designers can decorate; however, not all decorators can design?
EW: I think it’s safe to say that ANYONE can decorate in some sense of the word. Decoration is relative and judged by individual preferences. Its emphasis is placed on adornment and creating beauty in a space. However, I believe that not all decorators can design. Design, in this case, considers more than just aesthetics. It also considers function, safety and even psychology. Some decorators consider such, but most focus on primping the space.

Photo Credit: Sarah Dorio

Annette Joseph, Producer, Photostylist & Decorator, Atlanta, GA

BPF: You’re pretty much a Renaissance woman when it comes to interiors. Which title fits you best, decorator or designer?
AJ: I would choose both! I’m technically a photostylist/producer for shelter publications. When I work on interiors for magazines, I’m really designing and conceptualizing the overall
intended look. But then I end up getting in there and decorating the space for the photographer to capture the perfect image. I really think of myself as a stylist.
BPF: In addition to magazine editors, decorators and designers also hire you to style their PR images. That being said, what’s the main thing that sets your decorator clients apart from your designer clients?
AJ: Most of my designer clients have seen a raw space through to completion, whereas the decorators have taken an existing space and made it more beautiful by adding the right furniture and home accessories.
BPF: Any truth in the misconception that designers move walls and decorators just fluff pillows?
AJ: I would say that we all fluff pillows and pick fabrics in the end. If you’re into design, you’re into it all. Whatever you call us, designers, decorators or stylists, we’re all preoccupied with
beauty, style and elevating our lifestyle by how we live. In my world, we all get along beautifully, since we all bring something to the table that, in the end, collaboratively creates a beautiful space.

Photo Credits: Rebecca Phillips

Nick Olsen, Decorator, Blogger, NickOlsenStyle

NO: To my understanding, calling oneself an interior designer requires a degree in the field, a professional certification, accreditation and so on. I think the biggest difference between designers and decorators is that the former literally moves walls and other structural elements of a given space, while the latter decorates the box.
BPF: Since you’re in New York and see it all first-hand, why do you think many designers wanna stab themselves in the ear when referred to as decorators?
NO: I think some designers scoff at the term “decorator” because it does have a more frivolous connotation — simply picking out paint colors and fabric swatches — but it’s one I’m perfectly
comfortable with. I have no formal training in decorating, but perhaps if I completed a four-year program in interior design, I’d fight for the distinction too.
BPF: You have a master’s degree in architecture, yet you are a decorator. ‘Splain please.
NO: I gained so much from my undergrad (Bachelor of Arts) degree in architecture, but I quickly realized that I have the patience of a five-year-old and can’t bear all the minutiae architects must master: electrical outlets, building codes, etc. So I didn’t pursue the necessary master’s degree needed to practice. By comparison, decorating offers instant gratification…having a room repainted or a chair reupholstered takes only a few days, and the makeover factor is one of the most satisfying parts of my job.
BPF: If you were working with a client that was adamant you design a room around a velvet print of dogs playing poker, how would you handle it?
NO: I’m not in the business of making clients feel ashamed of what they love (even if it makes
my eyes spurt blood), so if the room had a clubby, library feeling, and the dog painting had EXTREME sentimental value, I could make it work.

(my frequent coworker and his favorite work position)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quiet Time- Two Wolves

My sweet Mother-In-Law forward this e-mail to me and I had to share it....


One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

"One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

"The other is God - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pull Up A Chair

The weekend is almost here! Last night I hosted a supper club for some of my favorite people so mine already started on the right foot. However, relaxation cannot begin just yet, a busy day is ahead. I am ready to prop up my feet for some R&R! Which brings me to this picture. I snapped it this week at a client's house. We recently reupholstered these chairs and they make me very happy. More to come as it progresses....Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In The Bag

Dear L.L. Bean,

I am loving your new signature collection, especially the bags, one of my many weaknesses in life...Love that you have "archive" items, 1933 never looked so good...
It is not just the bags I love though, this outfit could be my late fall/winter staple...And while I could never pull off this look, it makes excited for the coming season and makes me think L.L. Bean...
All images L.L. Bean

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Let's Stay Together

I have come to realize that the new website for Marianne Strong Interiors is going to take longer than intended, probably a lot longer. In the meantime I finally got my business/blog Facebook page up. Hopefully over the next few weeks I can get pictures up of my work that I have not been able to share yet.
Also, I signed up for Twitter. Something I vowed not to do until my recent NYC trip where I realized I was missing out, so I am going to give it a try. I will warn you that already I am overwhelmed by it so any tips would be appreciated.
If you are on Twitter or have a business/blog Facebook you would like to share with me, send me your link!

Image Lonny Magazine via WeHeartIt