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Confessions of a Design Blogger

Dear Friends,

I have a confession to make. I’m not concerned about the evolving state of the internet, the frantic pace of blogging, or coming up with new things to talk about here. Hanging out with you each day is fun. It’s the constant exposure to products that have me worried. I think my days before blogging had their benefits. Let me explain.

You see a tiny fraction on decor8 of what I field in a week via email. So many inquiries, everything from strollers to high tech gadgets, and beyond. And then there are the gems. Those are the things that I post. The sincere emails that actually address me by name (!) and completely blow me away with their talent and overall design aesthetic. But it takes a lot of digging to locate the diamonds. A lot. And frankly, I often miss the old days when I was a bit naive to it all. I could walk into a store and not feel like I’ve see that already a thousand times. I’m not being uppity, I’m being honest. You must understand. You read blogs, so you see tons of great stuff constantly, too.

The overwhelming exposure to products is wonderful on one hand, because when you are a somewhat new writer trying to balance interior design consulting and clients, the more you know the more you are considered a valuable resource and are looked to for guidance, and that is undeniably a great thing. But on the flipside, ignorance is bliss, right? It’s almost like the internet and email in general. You don’t know how you survived without it, but you certainly have no life now that it’s here. And you wouldn’t trade it for the world, but still.

So! Here’s the real issue. I was standing in the middle of BoConcept over in Cambridge the other day looking for a simple bed. Nothing crazy. And I felt a tad bit overwhelmed. I think the sales associate noticed, because he grabbed me a bottled water and asked if I had additional questions. I detected that he put emphasis on additional a little more than all the other words, but who can blame him? I was absolutely determined to know everything about their beds, aside from all the product knowledge I already had from pouring over their catalogs and website before I even hit the showroom floor. I think I covered every single question known to man about a bed.

But the one question he couldn’t answer, that I need to know desperately, “Will this bed truly make me genuinely happy, or once it arrives, will I have regrets because 100 new styles will be available by then?” I didn’t ask him that, but the thought crossed by mind. I mean, God forbid it arrives and there’s a pang of regret because a new style is introduced that I like even better. This is a bed people, a bed. And I’m having hot flashes. But I assume this is the life of most designers, and design bloggers, and anyone else who is constantly surrounded by product, product, product. Blog readers included. I can only imagine how a magazine editor feels after about 10 years of sifting through product submissions. I know that the average consumer feels overwhelmed when making design decisions to, because I hear this constantly from readers and clients.

Truth is, I can make decisions and decorate for you and all of your friends, but lately, I can’t seem to make a single design decision for myself. Okay, I purchased those Alex drawers that I blogged about from IKEA recently, but I’m talking big ticket purchases more than the under $500 stuff. I have no problem spending money in other areas of my life, but when it comes to big ticket items for the home, my brain freezes.


So I’m throwing these thoughts out into the world today, somewhat Dear Abbey style, to see what you have to say on this topic. Does anyone else suffer from design ADD? What do you do to manage it so that you can make decisions, throw down that wad of cash, and just roll with it?

(image from holly becker for decor8)

Posted in inspiration, small business on July 03, 2007

Victory Vintage Home

If you’re looking for a few good mid century finds, Victory Vintage in Georgia just listed some exceptional finds today on their website. I’m keen on their customized card catalog coffee tables. Aren’t these the coolest?

(images from victory vintage)

Posted in furniture, inspiration on July 02, 2007

Just Add Orange!

Flickr user Robertspeg sent me a lovely little note a few days ago that I’d like to share with you since it gave me a few thoughts on orange that I’ll mention below. She begins, “I loved your orange post today. Orange is a color I never thought I would use in decorating. Then a couple of years ago, I found I really loved it with pink. Now I use it all the time.”


Peggy is right, orange doesn’t always “click” with everyone at first, at least until they spot it mingled with colors they do love. Eureka! A feeling of surprise sets in, orange suddenly becomes your new best friend. Peggy adds that for her, there was a certain something that she had to do to make orange click in her apartment, “I painted the walls white and now I find I use orange, blue and pink constantly. I never thought I would use such a strange color combination.” And it works, as you can clearly see from Peggy’s photos above.

Orange looks great with pink, also with blue (remember this mood board from Starlee Matz?), and of course, green and cocoa brown, too. They all work nicely together in nature, which is where a lot of designers draw their inspiration, so of course they’ll work indoors, too.

Consider the colors of the desert, the coast, a sunset, or those in your flower garden. When I see color combinations in nature that interest me, I photograph it and save for future reference, as these often inspire my own work. Even if you don’t consider yourself a shutterbug, purchase a digital camera and carry it with you at all times. Just the other day, I saw the most beautiful whitetail and I asked my husband to photograph it (I wasn’t patient enough to chase it as he was!) because it was so pretty – the gorgeous blue body combined with silvery gray wings with cocoa accents. It made me think of a room where the key color is blue, accented with gray and of course, some cocoa and silver.

Artists have looked to nature for inspiration over the centuries, so when decorating your home, look to color combinations outdoors as your guide and let them ignite your creative spark. With every photo I take, I’m stopping to “smell the roses” and it feels so good. Not only am I looking for terrific color combinations, but in the process I discover beautiful little creatures, flowers, plants, all that I may have missed otherwise.

Maybe this weekend, you can carry your camera with you and snap some photos of terrific color combinations in nature? It’s a fun study and will most definitely fire up your imagination. You’ll be surprised to see what you find. :)

(images from robertspeg)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Color Inspiration, inspiration, walls on June 29, 2007

Letter from Amy Butler to decor8 readers…

Dear Decor8 Friends,

Hello!

I just wanted to say how BLOWN AWAY I am by your mood boards! They are all so beautiful and inspired. The passion, thought and energy you put into them is incredible. I’ve spent a lot of time with all of the boards and each one is a fully imagined experience…… really works of art. I’m so jazzed to look at them, they are dreamy studies with luscious detail, you all have such lovely design eyes! I wish I could meet you and talk to you in person and learn more about what you love and what inspires you. I imagine all of you were as excited as me to see everyone’s vision. This kind of design experience really feeds my soul!

I love to make mood boards myself, I create several color stories before I sit down to create my artwork for my fabric lines. I’m getting ready to start a new collection and I’m so inspired by your creative fire!

Thank you all for participating in our contest. I appreciate all of the effort you put into this project. It’s a personal thrill for me to be able to connect with all of you. I love working with Holly too and I hope we’ll have more opportunities in the future to do more projects together.

Hats off to all of you! Thank you for sharing your love of design!

XO,
Amy Butler

Amy Butler at work in her design studio.
Posted in contests, inspiration, small business on June 27, 2007

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