Monday, August 30, 2010

Writing with Design in Mind

 Today I am featuring my first guest post from Heather Spiva of Writer's Mana. Enjoy!
I have this passion for writing. You know, stories, articles, fiction, poetry. So I’m sure you’re wondering: How can she possibly relate writing to interior design?

In all honesty, I was stumped when first presented with the idea of guest blogging for a designer. Some designers have the ability to write, but not all writers can design.

Then I realized, after thinking about it, that a well-designed room has a story to tell. And that these stories, the rooms or buildings, set the background information for most books. The design ends up being critical to specific scenes or dialogue because it sets the mood and temperament, and reveals detail necessary for a quality story. This is accomplished through any and every thing: the color of the walls, the style of the protagonist’s favorite chair, texture of a bedroom duvet or even the run-down fifties-era kitchen. These descriptions all have to do with design.

How is this true? Well, look at your favorite book-turned-movie and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Take Harry Potter’s less than perfect sleeping conditions at his Uncle and Aunt’s house, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and watch how it comes alive with just a few words: “Harry found a pair [of socks] underneath the bed, and after pulling a spider off one of them, put them on. Harry was used to spiders because the cupboard under the stairs was full of them, and that was where he slept.” The mixture of socks and spiders is what sets the scene. The set decorator (to me, also known as an interior designer) has to find the creepiness factor and does this by splashing the room with cobwebs and darkness. This is design and literature meshed to perfection.

Mystery writer, Michele Scott writes this in her novel, Murder Uncorked. “The furniture was done in distressed leather and warm woods. The walls were painted a gold tone, and a Navajo rug hugged the hard wood floors.” Michele’s writing and interior design descriptions make me want to go there … and live their too! Writing and design blend well because together it sells the story; it makes the scene and characters not only come to life, but through these details we feel, smell and hear everything we read.
With that thought, I have to inform you of something amazing. What if you could see this idea of design and literature in action? What if you could go to a place with rooms designed for specific authors, mixed with elements from their works, from Virginia Wolfe to Mark Twain or Tolkien and Emily Dickinson? What if this was on oceanfront property and you could not only visit this place but stay in it? At Sylvia Beach Hotel, in Nye Beach, Oregon, you can. This is a book-lovers hotel, inside and out. There’s even a restaurant called “Table of Contents,” and a library on the third floor that takes up the entire west wing. It’s literature and design together!

Take Agatha Christie’s room for example, it has a private deck, fireplace and ocean view. As soon as you’re a guest in this room, you can read from Christie’s books and even find clues from each mystery hidden somewhere in the room. Hello? This is incredible. And it proves that writing about interiors, and even matching it with the author and their writing, not only creates great literature but also creates unforgettable characters and authors.

Writing and design are relatable and necessary to each other. I think without it, books would pretty awful stuff to read. And for me, if the design aspect were to disappear, it would signal the end times.

Heather Spiva 

Friday, August 27, 2010

And the Winner is...

Congratulations to Rachel Crisman, aka meeyeehere for winning two throw pillows from  She mentioned she loves this Gold Tamborini pillows which will go perfect with her colors.  Enjoy the freshened up look on your sofa!

Thank you to all who entered!  I'm sure there will be another giveaway soon and maybe it will be be you who wins!

Have a fabulous weekend!


Image from

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Modern Dose of Rugs

In doing research for a project, I was looking through the fun website, Modern Dose.  I have been here before and had forgotten about it.  Years ago when the firm I was working at needed an inexpensive zebra skin rug, we somehow found this site.  They may have been at the Las Vegas Market, I'm not sure.  At any rate,  I keep this website tabbed for the day when I can put the fake zebra skin rug in my own house.  This rug is actually a cow skin dyed to look like a zebra, which is good enough for me!
The zebra is not the only fun rug they offer.  Take a look at these others:
Can't you picture this fabulous round rug under a great looking round dining table? 
And you might as well browse the rest of their site while you're at it.  You won't be disappointed.

Images from Modern Dose

Monday, August 23, 2010

Trying Something New

It's always exciting to try something new.  My sister's puppy, pictured here, is experiencing nothing but new things every week of his new life and is loving every minute.  Present him with a new toy and he usually approaches it cautiously but is soon tumbling around on the floor with it.  I feel like that is me with the subject of guest blogging. 
Guest blogging has always been something I've been interested in but never really thought about how to start doing it.  I am cautiously approaching it now.  In the Blogging Your Way class by Holly Becker from Decor8, the subject is broached but I thought maybe I was too new of a writer or too small of a blog to think about it.  However, I have always enjoyed when the blogs I follow feature guest writers because I usually discover a new person I want to follow. 
Thanks to the opportunity provided by my sister, Heather Spiva of Writer's Manna, I am featured today on her blog with my post entitled, Designing Writer.  She recently was a guest blogger for someone else and she has only just begun her blogging career!  So with much encouragement from her, I submitted an appropriate post to her "writer" audience, bridging my subject with hers.  I hope you enjoy!
On the flip side, I am now accepting entries for guest bloggers in the month of September.  If you are interested in writing on the subject of interior design, please email me your post to 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Did I mention.....Giveaway!!

So, to start your weekend off great, I am offering another giveaway for one of my readers!

This time we are talking throw pillows.  You can't have too many throw pillows.  Let me add a disclaimer that you shouldn't always have ALL of your throw pillows out at the same time.  Throw pillows are great ways to change the feel of the room seasonally, adding color or maybe just to change out on a whim.  Keep a stash ready for when the mood strikes!  Here is a great way to add to that throw pillow stash.
One lucky winner will be able to select 2-16x16 pillows from Pillows and and have them shipped out to them at no charge!! (US only, sorry!)

Here are a few I'm liking (notice a theme?):

To enter:
1. Look through the selection at Pillows and and let me know which one catches your fancy
2. For an additional entry, tweet or blog this contest and leave the link in the comments
3. Let me know if you are a new follower for a bonus entry!

Contest ends next Thursday, August 26th at midnight, Pacific time.  Winner will be chosen using and announced next Friday, August 27th.  Good luck and happy pillow dreaming!

Images from

Some Free Advice

Here is a freebie for your Friday!
One of my blogging buddies, Bonnie, over at Going Home To Roost is offering all of those "indie biz" people on etsy and other places a free ebook.  This is a compilations of all of her business musings and advice and is just a taste of what's to come on her ecourse for the handmade market.  If you are thinking about getting into the handmade market or already are, then this is the course for you!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Images from goinghometoroost

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Happy Place

I visited one of my happy places last week - Anthropologie.
The moment I walk into the store I'm immediatley carried away to beautiful color palettes, exotic styles, creative and inspiring displays and heavenly aromas.  This time I narrowed in on the scents.  I noticed that there was "that scent" every time I walk in the store that was just, well, Anthropologie.  I sniffed around and found home fragrance candles burning by the entrance.  I made a note to self to bring home these scents as soon as my budget allows.
The only not so happy thing about my happy place is the price tag attached to it.  My budget forces me to wander back to the clearance racks where I can usually find something reasonably priced.
I don't mind too much though, since hanging out in the store just puts a smile on my face.
I had a brief discussion with the store manager who noticed me taking photos of their latest display, describing how they made it.  She told me that the store managers and artists collaborate in the installations which take much time and precision but are always worthy pieces of art.
Can't wait to go back to get my next fix!

Monday, August 16, 2010


So I was interested to a new coffee shop in my area that has amazing coffee.  It's called Bloom Coffee located in Roseville,CA.  It's very much an artisan cafe with an individual vibe that no chain cafe can ever have.  Each coffee is crafted with special care.  Most espressos are finished up with that artistic foam patterns that leave me hesitant to ruin the work of art.  I haven't tried their teas yet but I'm sure they are equally as good.  If you are ever in the area, you must stop by and try it!
Images by Rebecca Ward

Friday, August 13, 2010

Living in the Grey Area

When I saw the subject line of Z Gallerie's email this afternoon, I couldn't wait to open it.  The subject is "Living in the Grey Area" and I was not dissapointed.  The Grey-lover in me ate up all the lovely grey, black and white items they had grouped together from Z Gallerie's available products.  But really, you don't have to be a grey-junkie like me to appreciate this grey rose pillow
or these charcoal curtain panels
or this area rug
See anything you like on Z Gallerie's grey area page?

Images from Z Gallerie

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Little Luxury and Glamour

As you know, I'm always adding to the books in my design library.  I especially like these latest additions.  The first one is Glamour: Making it Modern put out by Metropolitan Home.  I had been eying this one since it came out last year.  The interiors in this book are the epitome of what I love: modern but glamorized.  Just the cover itself sets me drooling.

The other book is The Luxury Bathroom.  Since I love working with hard surfaces usually the luxury bathroom or kitchen is where I can have the most fun with those surfaces.  I found many inspirational bathrooms in this book that I can definitely use to illustrate some designs to my clients.

You can find theses books available in my bookstore link if you're interested in adding these books to your own library, which I highly recommend!

Photos by Rebecca Ward

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Love for Dovetail

I got an email from one of my favorite vendors announcing their August sale.  I so wish I needed some furnishings for myself but am hoping that maybe I can satisfy my Dovetail craving through a client ;)  I'm sure I've mentioned Dovetail before and will probably bring them up again because everytime I see their inventory, I get excited.  Here are some of the sale items I have been drooling over but you might want to browse their great inventory for yourself!
Images from Dovetail

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cupcake Anyone?

Cupcakes stores have been trendy for the last few years, like self serve frozen yogurt.  I haven't been to any before yesterday but I think they're a great idea.  I'm about to start a new project with one of my architects to open  new location for her cupcake shop.  I stopped by Esther's Cupcakes in Sacramento to see how her flagship store checks out. 
It was adorable,as you would expect a cupcake shop to be.  Marble counters and pink walls with clean contemporary display cases.  My job will be to transfer the same image into a new, larger space with a few minor details and then an even larger store location that will double as a coffee shop. 
I met Esther, a lovely lady who seems to know her stuff about cupcakes.  I even got to sample on of her creations, the Earl Grey cupcake with Lavender flavered frosting.  It was amazing and made me wish for a cup of tea to accompany it!  I can't wait to get started on the project!

Images by Rebecca Ward

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Out Of This World

My recent trip to San Diego was a little more than vacation.  My husband and I were there attending Comic-Con for our first time, which is, as the city of San Diego so eloquently put it, the celebration of popular arts. 
This convention was unlike any other I have attended.  It was normal to be in costume, representing your favorite sci-fi or fantasy character or your own creation. 
Amidst the numerous panels of actors, tv and movie promotions, comic book vendors and video game promoters we managed to fins a place outside the convention center to eat. 
We pushed our way through the crowds of zombies dragging down the streets in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter to the Hard Rock Hotel where Syfy tv channel had leased a cafe space, renovating inside and out to resemble the Cafe Diem from their show Eureka
We got a prime seat outside where we could people watch to our hearts content as we ordered more food than we could eat.  It was quite the entertaining crowd and as the sun went down, the usual Saturday nightlife showed up looking oddly out of place in their hip clothes and normal hairstyles. 
We had so much fun at the convention, we may even go again, and this time I'll bring a better camera to capture all those kooky costumes and celebrities.

Images by Rebecca Ward