Posts Tagged ‘Interior Decorating’

fairy light collage2Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a slight crush on Nigella Lawson; her cooking style is really similar to mine, and while I will never be as talented as she, I do tend to waltz around the kitchen at all hours, want everything to be delicious, and just know that daydreaming is an under-appreciated art.

One day, I was watching her cook, and I noticed that she had fairy lights around her kitchen window; assuming it must have been filmed during Christmastime, I thought they looked pretty, but didn’t think too much about it. The next time I watched, they were there again, and I realized that they weren’t just there for special occasions, she had them up year round. It was the first time, apart from being styled in magazines, that I had seen anyone use fairy lights in their everyday life.

It seemed so indulgent and fancy, that it just gave me another reason to like her even more. While I had often thought about buying my own fairy lights, I was never sure where I would put them, and I suspected that they might look a tad silly in my own corner of suburbia; after all, my home isn’t featured on television, and I can only ever pretend to be Nigella.

So, I added them to my wish list, and went about my daily life, until a few months ago when a friend and I visited our favorite home and garden shop. When we walked through the door, the sky high room was literally dripping in branches that were covered in teeny, tiny fairy lights. Excruciatingly beautiful copper wires had been delicately wound throughout the shop for miles; we couldn’t even see where each one began, all I know is that we couldn’t stop smiling. and we decided that we must curl up in a corner and spend the night there.
We never did, but our reluctance to leave was a small price to pay for a few, giddy hours of happiness.

When December came, I had my Christmas tree lights on all day, and I started to wonder how it would be when they were gone. I would miss having the small sparkles appear at the press of a button, but I petulantly told myself that they were only for special occasions, and they would be plugged back in again next year. Besides, who buys fairy lights when there are so many other important (grown-up) things to worry about?

A few days after the tree had been taken down, my friend and I exchanged presents. Inside mine were glorious strings of copper, fairy lights, and the happy, grateful madness began. My inner child took over, preconceived ideas were abandoned, and I immediately put them on the small tree in my living room. Now, whenever I want to, I just press the button, and the room (and my life) feels just a bit more special ….

Thank you, Stephanie!

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Photographs: Top left: Pinterest Top middle: One Kind Design Top right: We Hang Christmas Lights Middle: Tesco Bottom right: Babble Bottom middle: Pinterest Bottom left: Home My Design



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281461a253c81bc7c31957dcb7e72022One of our Education Affiliates (Newbury Design School) shared this on their FB page and we thought we’d share it with you.

Texture is one of the most under appreciated design elements in a home. Spruce up yours by adding organic elements with ease. Nature is our best teacher. Bring in branches, berries, leaves and other beauties. Don’t toss a broken door: sand it down, brush some antique glaze through the crevices, all while adding patina and character to cast-away objects. Now hang it on the wall in place of art or lean it for a more casual look. A big basket is a must-have. Fill it with towels in the bath, newspapers and magazines in the living room, or to toss papers to recycle in an office. When you’re at a loss for pulling a room together, think texture! (Image: HGTV)

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New Trends in Window Treatments – and How You Can Make Money Selling Them

​with Veronica Marr

Do you have clients who are interested in window treatments, but you just don’t feel like you know enough to advise them? Would you be interested in an additional stream of income selling window treatments – without all the stress? Then join us for October’s webinar New Trends in Window Treatments – and How You Can Make Money Selling Them with Veronica Marr of VOOM Window Fashions. With her 25 years’ experience as an interior design professional, including everything from simple consultations to full scale home renovation design and beyond, Veronica knows all about window treatments – and now she’s sharing that information with you! So join us Tuesday October 13th from 7-8 pm ET for our monthly webinar. This webinar is FREE for ADE members, or for the low cost of $24.95 for non-members.

Register here: http://www.associationofdesigneducation.com/ADEClassDescriptions.html

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I never thought I would be so happy to see a dandelion!


It is so nice to be able to run outside with no shoes on, and grab the mail without getting frostbite and sprinkling ice melt ahead of me. The sunshine is a welcome change, and despite what we might be thinking in the darkness of February, Spring does always manage to find its way back to us.

People are happier, they are shopping, and they are decorating; we are all so grateful to grab onto the feeling of warm, blue skies and fresh, green grass.

Someone asked me the other day what the trends are for the season.
It’s a question I get asked a lot, and my answer is to often look to the runway; design seems to follow fashion, and in Spring I think the biggest trend anywhere always ends up being a celebration of life.
I don’t mean in the deeply spiritual way, I mean literally.

After six months of Winter we become nostalgic for what we haven’t had;
we want to be less restricted in our clothes, we want softness and color around us, lots of warmth, and we want to be surrounded by things that
feel more alive and organic.

So if you can’t find a dandelion, and you need a little bit of design inspiration,
here are five of my favorite Spring trends.



Bohemian fabrics, a relaxed style, and the color blue are here to stay.
Not too precious, the slightly worn colors are still saturated enough to be our favorites, but comfortable enough for every day.
If you’re not quite ready for a pile of floor pillows on your Living Room floor, why not update your patio or deck with a more temporary take on this gorgeous global inspiration.

flowers - roses


Flowers are dominating the fashion and design houses this year.
If you don’t want a sofa covered in daffodils, or a brightly colored floral dress, buy (or pick) yourself a bunch of roses.
A very formal flower, they look their best when they don’t look like they are trying too hard; snip them down to a smaller size and pop them into a jar (skip the baby’s breath).



Influenced by the vintage military and automaton trend, steam-punk has gone mainstream; what once used to be on the fringe of the design world is now the perfect way to add a small amount of quirk to your home, without committing to a certain industrial style.
I think that every home should have some elements of metal in it, so I am happy that our options are endless and pieces of metal can easily be mixed and matched into any room.



Maybe it’s baby boom nostalgia, but shelves are back in style.
Whether it’s for storing your collection of books, or a place to keep your favorite coffee cup, we now want to see what we have.
Of course they are great for organizing, but they are also the simplest way to add personality to your home; why not share your randomly found objects, remember your treasured vacation souvenir, and use your now defunct wedding china.
Enjoy what you have, and if dusting all those open spaces is a worry,
then don’t dust.



The opposite of so many things,
a pile of something natural is often the best trend of all.
When I first saw cotton growing in a field, I had to stop the car.
It was breathtaking to see acres of pods bursting with pure, soft white balls of fluff. To this day, it is still one of my favorite things in the whole world, and I have a small bundle of it in a glass bowl in my Living Room.
Whether it is pine cones, twigs, cotton, rocks, or a fallen, abandoned bird’s nest, adding something raw and organic will always be beautiful,
and never go out of style.

Wendy E. Wrzos https://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com

Photographs borrowed from: M.inmagine (Dandelion)  Houzz (Moroccan) White Flower Farm (Roses) Restoration Hardware (Steampunk), Bookmania (Bookshelves) and Vertboitex (Cotton).

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word collage 3


Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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The Association of Design Education Conference

A not to miss event! Held October 16th & 17th in Lowell, MA. Speakers will educate you on how to get noticed, how to get published, and how to keep it all together. Representatives and speakers from Sherwin-Williams, ABC Carpet, Zeigeist Gallery and more. Come and learn, explore, and be inspired. Hurry! The early bird special ends June 16th! http://www.associationofdesigneducation.com/Conference2014.html


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Years ago, I fell in love with someone else’s bedroom; the furniture, the simplicity, and the color on the walls were absolutely gorgeous. I had been entertaining ideas of painting my Living Room blue, and had never found the right shade, until that day.

After I stopped gushing, my friend gave me three samples of the blue for me to take home.  Lovely, little pots of promise, just waiting for me to paint with them. As soon as I got in the door I grabbed some giant newsprint (not ideal, but what I had) and painted the colors on several sheets of the paper.

I barely waited for them to dry before I had them taped all over my Living Room. As I stood back, I nearly burst into tears; it was horrible. The gorgeous grey blue that reminded me of a serene retreat in my friend’s bedroom, looked like a hastily thought out, baby boy’s nursery in my own home. The blue was too light, and it just looked cheap and silly. The richness of the color was gone, and all I saw was a bad blue.

You see, the light was totally different; my Living Room is larger, filled with too many things, and has a lot of windows. The warm blue became cooler, more basic, and far less important.

I moved the samples around again, and it just kept looking worse. Even as  a decorator, it was hard for me to accept that the color looked nothing like I had imagined. I thought if I stared at it long enough, it would change, and the room would be just as beautiful as hers. But that didn’t work; I took down the colors, folded up the paper, and frowned.

Am embarrassed to admit, that years ago I would not have taken the color pots. I would have asked her for the color that she used, bought gallons of paint, and been really angry at the manufacturer. Then, I would have either gone and bought more, or, still been disappointed, and continue to paint my walls a color I wasn’t very keen on.

I honestly thought that it was just another marketing tool, to make consumers spend more money. But, when you are faced with millions of different color options (yes, millions) how the heck could you possibly choose just one from a small piece of paper in an artificial environment? Even the natural light in a paint store isn’t natural, and it certainly has no relevance to your home, your windows, and your suede La-Z-boy recliner.

I know that it feels like a lot of extra steps, when all you want to do is paint a room, but it is more than worth the effort. Most custom paint colors can’t be returned, so why would you not take the extra time to get it right. Yes, it is just paint, but there is nothing worse than that awful feeling when you roll on the color, and it looks nothing like you had imagined.

Since my blue experience, I have tried lots of other paint pot colors, but still can’t seem to find the right one. My Living Room is still, a very sedate…. Antique White.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Photograph borrowed from Remodelistata

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Picture 24

Whenever I return from a holiday by the sea, I always find my home to feel a little boring; a little dull, and not quite as cheerful as I imagined it had been the week before. I know the light is different by the ocean, and the place where we stay is decorated kind of “beachy”, but for some delusional reason, I still expect to walk in my front door and feel like I am still on holiday.

Crazy really. After-all, a holiday should be different. Even if I stayed home, wore my bathing suit for a week, listened to a CD of the ocean, and spritzed salt water in my hair, it still wouldn’t feel like I was on vacation.

After a week or two, I settle back into my home, enjoy my new tan, sort through the bathing suits, and vacuum the sand out of the car (which is a little like trying to clean up the pine needles from your Christmas tree). The lawn gets mowed, I prune and water the plants, and I try to remember what was normal. I make long lists of things that I should be doing, I get distracted by thoughts of sand between my toes, and I find myself longing again for blue and white nautical accessories.

Truthfully, there is rarely another time when I like a theme. But, immediately after vacation, I understand why so many people go in that direction; wanting to recreate a permanent space in their home that evokes a happy memory. Unfortunately (as I bust my own post-holiday bubble) those places exist somewhere else for a reason. It gives us something to look forward to. Something special.

People who live in the English countryside, don’t dream of a quaint, thatched cottage, because they already have one. Nestled in a quiet village, or a beautiful, abandoned field, their home feels right; the colors compliment the English weather, and their home perfectly suits their relaxed lifestyle. While we are dreaming of castles and long, brisk walks to the pub, they are dreaming of sunny skies, sandy beaches, and an extra large bathtub.

With themes, a little does go a long way. If you want to remember a place, or a holiday, choose just one or two elements to decorate your home. It can be as simple as a pile of shells from the beach, or as bold as painting your kitchen a gorgeous, deep ochre. Whatever you decide to do, think of a way to remember the happy times, without trying to duplicate them….

The photograph above is a still from the delightful movie “The Holiday”.

Wendy E. Wrzos  http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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living-room-armchair-country-Country-Homes--InteriorsThis week has been unusually busy for me; I have felt like I was chasing the train, instead of sitting in a comfy seat traveling to my favorite destination. Not someone who thrives on feeling over-scheduled, I found myself dreaming of bed-time, or, at the very least, walking through the front door, and into my home.

I know I’ve said this before, but when you come home, it should be somewhere that makes you feel comfortable. It should welcome you in; your home should be your refuge, not a place that makes you roll your eyes as you turn the key.

One of the simplest ways to do this, is by placing some tangibles around your home that will make you feel happy straight away, with barely any effort at all.

When I come home, I look forward to seeing my pink geraniums, the daybed with my Union Jack pillow on it, and no dishes in the sink. These small things instantly remind me of life, family, and how grateful I am to have a dishwasher. (In my perfect life, there would also be dinner cooking, and a fire lit). Making sure I have these things,  is like giving myself a little bit of emotional insurance.

Have you ever wondered what would give you a bit of emotional insurance when you walk in the door? Would it be:

–   To see all the coats and scarves neatly hanging on hooks?
–   A clutter free entryway, with all coats and shoes hidden from view.
–   Seeing a favorite photograph before you even take off your coat?
–   A vase of flowers, or a plant, on the table?
–   A neat pile of books waiting to be read?
–   A big basket for whatever you wanted to put in it until later?
–   Having the coffee maker set, so all you have to do is press the button?
–   Knowing your favorite comfy chair is free of stuff, so that you can have a sit down?

Write to me, I’d love to know what is on your emotional insurance list…..

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

(Squishy, comfy, patchwork chair from: Couch in England)

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trashbucketMy kitchen garbage is almost overflowing this morning, but I don’t mind. It is tucked away in a vintage cupboard, and no-one can see it. Of course, I will empty it soon, but if I had to look at it, out in the open, I would be mortified. And, I admit, it would cause me a wee bit of stress.

Having a lovely home is personal, and we all have different styles, but no matter how much we love our home, we still have to deal with the ick factor. Sometimes, it’s the utilitarian things that distract us the most, creating the biggest impression in the worst kind of way. Sadly, a beautiful room can be quickly undone, if we choose to ignore the things we don’t like.

Useful things are the warhorses of our homes; they do so much, work very hard, and we need them.

Garbage Cans and Toilet Brush Holders are two of the worst design offenders. Even the words make us cringe, but every home has them, and just because we don’t like them doesn’t mean that their ugliness becomes invisible. We all use them, so why not give ourselves another excuse to decorate, and accept the ick factor on our own terms? Here are three easy ways to get you started…..

  • Treat them as an accessory – a decorative feature that goes with your room. Be adventurous in your choice of texture, size, shape etc. Ignore convention in favor of good design.
  • Make them invisible – blend them into your home decor. Buy subtle colors (or ones that coordinate with your room) and stay with low profile, classic, simple designs.
  • Keep them hidden – store in a cupboard, or under a sink. Losing one cupboard to a garbage can may be worth it to you.

Think of useful things as just another creative opportunity (or, a reason to go shopping). Either way, here are a few photographs for you to look at (while I go and empty my own garbage…….)

PicMonkey Collagetrash

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Photographs borrowed from…..
Trash Bucket (Urban Outfitters)  Simply Human Cream Garbage Can (Amazon)
Flower Bucket and Brush (Remodelista)  Red Kitchen Cart (Wayfair)
Wicker Basket (BasketLady)  Under Cabinet (Cliqstudios)
Red and White Striped Can (Sears)  Green Retro (Rayfei)

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