Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Out With the New, In with the Old!

I want to start this post by talking about something that has nothing to do with interior design or the design industry but might have everything to do with my post...Vampires!
If you have been living in a hole for the past year or two, you wouldn't know this, but vampires are "all the twitter!".  Everywhere I go, people are trying to sell me the newest vampire novel, TV show, soundtrack, Edward Cullen bobble head doll *sigh* or tickets to the newest flick coming out.  You would think I was better than to get pulled into this hype... but I'm not!  I bit! (pun intended!) 

Don't Worry...I don't have the dolls!

So what does this have to do with interior design?  Well..not much!  I just wanted to talk about Edward Cullen (kidding!).  Vampires are...well...OLD!  They have supposedly been around for hundreds of thousands of years! They have supposedly seen some of the most monumental moments in history and been to some of the most fabulous places on earth!  One of my favorite things about all of these vampire books and shows I am so hooked on is the history part of how they became and when they "lived".  I guess I love history and my passion is design so of course antiques are something I have always appreciated and loved. 

As I thumb through my latest issues of my design magazines, there is one factor in all the photos I love that always catches my eye.  Some of my favorite rooms are by some of the top designers and one of the reasons I love their designs is because they too have an appreciation for antique furniture and incorporate them in every project.  I love the modest presentation of old elements mixed in with new.  It adds so much character to a project and also, if done right, reflects the character and maybe even history of the owners. 

I think one of my favorite things as a designer and sales rep is to get the client and designer as excited about a piece or a rug as I am.  Rugs are probably the easiest for me given my family history and my true believe in our product.  But, antiques are a close second!  I love to talk about the history of a piece. It is so much more fun to sell a beautiful 19th century William IV mahogany dining table that has a history behind it instead of something you could find anywhere you go.

There are so many places to go if you are looking for antiques.  One of the first places you can look is your local phone book.  See what antique stores are available to the general public and go take a look.  Look in the paper and see if there are any estate sales going on.  You are bound to find something beautiful and well treasured that needs a new home. Also, flea markets are a hit and miss kind of thing but always worth going!  You never know what you can find there.
For those of you who are less of a novice when it comes to antique shopping, I would probably send you to a few places that I love.  The first place takes a bit of effort but is well worth it.  Some larger cities have auctions that you can go to every Saturday, every month or quarterly.  You can usually go online or subscribe to their catalog to see what will be auctioned off each time.  One of my favorites is the New Orleans Auction.  They have a great website at www.neworleansauction.com. An easier place and one of my favorite places to go is a fabulous website called 1stdibs www.1stdibs.com .  On this website, hundreds of thousands of some of the most fabulous shops in the world  list their vintage and antique furniture, lamps, accessories and couture clothing on this site.  My explaination doesn't do the website justice though.  You have to check it out for yourself!

This Sideboard that I found on 1stdibs is a Late Georgian Period Mahogany and Greek Key Inlaid Sideboard from England.  This piece is from the beginning of the 19th century.  I couldn't find a reproduction piece that looked so fabulous and had so much meaning!

Antiques are one of a kind.  Each flaw, spec, scratch and ding has a story behind it.  It's probably the most mysterious thing you will have in your home (unless of course Edward Cullin is hiding out!) and if you are lucky enough...you just might know the history behind that beautiful piece you have sitting in your room.  So next time you want to get rid of that old piece of furniture or go out and buy something new...think twice.  Keep history alive and buy an antique or keep the one you have.  Write down how every ding and scratch got on that piece and tape it to the bottom....make your own history for people to read for years to come!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dead Flowers are Out! Floral Reproductions...SO IN!

I don't know about you, but I have been known to kill a plant but just looking at it (same goes for killing a good recipe but that's a whole other post!). My thumbs are more like red rather than green!  No matter what I do or how hard I try...the poor plant is doomed as soon as it crosses my threshold!

You would think I would figure it out and just stop buying live plants but I just can't!  The good news is that I get the hint as soon as the plants start getting a little "crispy" and immediately call on my parents to adopt yet another plant from me.  This is a great plan for now but pretty soon, their house is going to start looking like the Secret Garden!  I walked in the other day and I swear they are feeding their plants something I obviously didn't know about.  The fern I purchased last spring that ended up brown and crunchy now takes over their entire back patio.  It seriously looks like the little shop of horrors plant!!  I just don't know how they do it!

I love the look of crisp pink tulips set in a beautiful clean crystal vase in the middle of a dining table! (Can anyone tell me if these are real or fake????)

But in all reality, this girl is never going to keep real tulips in the house for more than 24 hours without something going wrong.  So...my solution? Floral Reproductions (which is a better way of saying fake).  Now I'm not talking about the old silk flowers you used to find in the hobby section at the back of K-Mart in the 90's.  I am talking about some real high end floral arrangements.  The kind that has even you, the owner of them guessing if they are real or not...even though you know they aren't. 

One of my favorites, is this arrangement of Tulips from a company called NDI.  They have a wide range of just about everything you can think of and the best part is, their arrangements look SO real and add so much to the room. 

When shopping for a good floral reproduction, don't be scared off by the price.  Initially, I was!  However, I started doing the math and realized that every time I went to Fresh Market, I had to fill up that cute little fresh flower holder they have on their shopping carts.  The fresh flowers there are actually priced great but even so, I was spending around $10 a week on these suckers!  The worst part is that I swear they were wilting by the time I got them out of my car!  It's like they knew they were going to my house and just decided to give up on life before I subjected them to a long and painful death! So $10 a week which is around $40 a month really adds up in a lifetime so I decided to take the plunge and invest in something that truly made sense! 

So I have covered table top arrangements but there is more!!!! Sometimes flowers are not as time consuming to keep alive because if they are in a vase of water, they will inevitably be dead in a couple of days anyway (or is that just me?).  House plants are the WORST to keep alive if you don't have them in the right light, take proper care of them or forget to water them.  Well there is a solution to this problem as well.  There are some amazing plants out there that you can't even tell are fake.  Below is a great example. 

This Palm tree from NDI not only looks so real but feels real to the touch!  No one will know but you and everyone will think you are a miracle worker will all of your plants and flowers!

So if you can't keep a plant or flower alive but want to add color and softness to your room, go online and check out this new and exciting world that I hopefully opened up for you!  Don't worry...I'll never tell!!! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New River, New Me!

As I have previously mentioned, I have had the honor of recently joining the New River Artisans family. New River Artisans is a custom rug company in a small town in Piney Creek North Carolina which is set back in Carolina's New River Valley. There are endless possibilities when choosing a rug design and colors.  We can execute any design and match any color resulting in a unique rug the suits each individual project flawlessly! 
You will find our rugs in high end luxury residences, embassies, commercial interiors, resorts, private aircrafts and yachts nationwide and abroad.  You can find out more about them by going to their website at www.newriverartisans.com .

New River Artisans rugs are available to the trade only which means as a representative, I have the pleasure of calling on some of the BEST designer's in the South!!!!  It's such an honor to be involved in some of the most amazing projects and to know some of the most driven, and highly respected designers out there.  They inspire me every single day to be the best that I can be!

Some of you may be thinking "Now what is an interior designer doing representing a custom rug company?".  Well, it's pretty simple (how I got to this point, not so simple but my decision was!).  When I mentioned earlier that I had the honor of joining the New River Artisans family, I have actually been part of the family for all 28 years of my life!  Leith Satterwhite, owner of New River Artisans, is my second cousin.  Gibson Satterwhite, President, is Leith's son which makes him my third cousin .  But wait!  There's more!  My mother, Carmen Martina, has been a representative for many many years (and we now work together!).  She started with the company when I was a kid and used to take me to all of her appointments.  I remember going to their showroom in Tulsa after school and getting to do inventory of the strike-offs, help her with window settings and even got to know all of the designer's she called on, including their clients which ranged from celebrities, governor's and even county music singers!  By the time I was 14, I decided that I wanted to study interior design when I got to college.  I spent the next 4 years of high school focusing my free time on interior design, putting my hands on anything and everything that had to do with it!  I even worked for a couple designers after school every day.
I can honestly say that New River Artisans is what inspired me to become a designer and how ironic is it for me to come full circle, 14 years later, and finally work for the company who inspired me so many years ago!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Monumental Event!!!!

I decided for my debut post, I would talk about something very near and dear to me...my NCIDQ Certificate of completion! 

For those of you who don't know what this is, the NCIDQ Certificate " identifies the qualified practitioner, ensures recognition of expertise and assists development and self-improvement through the individual's understanding of a body of knowledge and a set of professional standards" says the NCIDQ website.  I couldn't have said it better myself except for maybe saying that the NCIDQ Certificate says "I have taken over a year out of my personal life, family life and sanity in order to pass this test and I did it! Even though my neglected cuticles, eyebrows, and house has suffered.  Yikes!".
In all seriousness, I am so proud to be a certificate holder and hope to represent this new world of professional design to the highest of standards. 

So...what now!? This is something that I never would have imagined I could achieve and now that it's done, I am asking myself what is next.  I don't look any different now that I am a certificate holder (besides the cuticle/eyebrow issues).  Am I acting different?  I think maybe so!  I might have a little more jump in my strut as I am walking down the street...I bit more confidence to be the best that I can be.  That is truly what it's all about.  Proving to yourself that those long nights in the design studio as a college student actually counted for something!  I sure am glad they do because I missed a lot of parties to get this degree!!!
Now if anyone is reading this post and wondering if they have what it takes to pass their NCIDQ, or any other goal that seems like it is so far away to obtain, listen to me.  You CAN do it!  Just take it day by day and one morning, you will wake up and realize that the goal that seemed so far away might just be able to reach!!!