Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Flea Market Season has Arrived

It is officially garage sale and flea market season. I must say, until a few years ago, I would never have even thought about attending these event. However, I now see the pull a flea market could have on a person. You never know what you will find at a flea market or a garage sale. One style of design that I love is cottage. You can achieve a cottage look by using things bought at a flea market. Old wooden tables and chairs that can be painted and distressed, old linens, napkins and fabrics that can be turned into pillows. Old window frames and birdhouses that can accessorize any cottage home. The possibilities are endless and just take a little imagination. I am hoping to find a few flea markets this season to get my fix. Let me know if you know of any great flea markets or garage sales!!

I Could Sleep Here All Day!!

I absolutely love this bedroom! It is so cozy, warm and inviting. It makes me want to stay in bed all day!! The texture of the matelese adds dimension to the room in a very subtle way. The designer of this room did a really nice job of using different materials like the iron of the bed, the wicker trunk and the wooden beadboard on the walls. This is a great example of romantic cottage style.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Moving Beyond the "Man Cave"

Quite a few times in my professional and personal life, I have met men who speak very highly of the “Man Cave”. Men wanting to retreat to a dark, dank and dirty refuge usually in a garage or basement. They want a place to go away from the wife, the kids and the floral wallpaper that they were forced to hang throughout the house.

I guess I get this weird ritual. I go to a lot of homes where the décor looks more like a beauty parlor or a tea room than a family room. I understand why some men might feel they need to go to a place that is all “guy”. What I don’t understand is the décor of these so-called “man caves”. Walls plastered in beer and sports memorabilia, old recliners stained with spilled beer and nacho cheese dip. Why is this so much better than the other rooms in the house? Maybe this is not for females to understand??!!

However, I do feel like these rooms could be done more traditionally tasteful and still be filled with plenty of testosterone. I like the idea of having that “pub” feel for a man cave. Maybe a nice bar with comfy stools, a few tasteful pictures on the wall of old brew houses or old mirrors. I like the thought of having items from a favorite sporting team, however, they need to be a bit better than a foam finger or shot glass collection. Maybe an antique pennant in a frame, golf balls or baseballs in a wooden display case. Avoid posters if you can unless they are framed. (That does not include posters of half naked women, those should just go!)

Furniture in a man cave can still be clean and comfy without being old a dirty. A great leather sofa and a comfy leather recliner make the room feel like a den, a place where you could go and watch a game or maybe read a book. A cocktail table and end tables would give the room a complete look and a place to put drinks (with a coaster of course). A pool table with a great Tiffany hanging lamp would complete the overall “Man Cave” look and give the guys something to keep them entertained.

I may never understand the need for a “Man Cave” but I do understand the need for good design. Maybe we should re-think the “Man Cave” idea…maybe move onto the “Gentleman’s Lounge”. I think that has a nice ring to it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New look for the blog!!

I am so very excited to announce that I will soon have a new look for my blog!! After MANY days trying to do it myself, I have enlisted a "blog designer"!! I am thrilled and cannot wait to see the finished product!! Be on the lookout for a new blog soon!!

Great finds in Cincinnati

Last Friday, the hub’s and I took a day trip to Cincinnati Ohio. Not really for any particular reason, however, it turned out to be a really great shopping trip for our house!

The first place we visited, Ballard Designs outlet in West Chester Ohio. Now, Ballard Designs is a catalog and an internet site I feel like I could just walk into and be at home. I love the simplistic charm of the furniture and accessories. Not to mention the price! So, you can imagine my delight when I walked into a store with even cheaper prices on all of my favorite items! I was in heaven! Immediately I see artwork, lamps, tables, pillows glassware and placemats! I was totally overwhelmed and felt my credit card slowly slipping into my hot little hand.

We are currently accumulating items for our formal living room that still sits empty except for a few pieces of artwork and a large mirror. I have had upholstered pieces selected for years, and now I am are pulling case goods together as we see them. It is truly a work in progress; I now have 3 tables and nothing to sit on!

I walked away from Ballard with a topless cocktail table (just the base, will need to find a top for it) a leather ottoman, and a trio of wooden stick woven wall art. I was pleased, but still yearning for more. So, across the hall was a shop I have never heard of before, Grandin Iron. Basically the same look as Ballard Designs, just a little more modern. The best part was the price; everything was 50% off the already discounted outlet price! I left with a round glass top table that had a decorative metal pattern on top. Very cute!

After 2 hours at the outlet shop, we had fabulous Cincinnati chili at Camp Washington Chili and then found our way to the downtown area. We visited a place called High Street. This place was unbelievable! The design, the décor, the products, everything little single thing was amazing. I was incredibly impressed by the furniture selection, but more impressed by the contemporary accessories and lighting. High Street has a full design staff that does commercial as well as residential design. You can visit their website at If you are ever in Cinci, it is worth stopping in!

High Street was enough for me; I could have ended the trip right then! But we still had the architectural salvage store to visit. This place was incredible! I have never seen so many old doors, fireplace mantles and pub bars all under one roof! It is a great place if you are building a new home and want a unique touch or if you are searching for a piece that fits the time period of an older home. They had it all and then some.

After a few more stops and a really great dinner, we headed back home. Who knew Cincinnati has so many great places to visit for furniture and accessories?? I must say, I was impressed and I am already planning my next trip back. Hopefully with a bigger car next time!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Parade of Homes: Remodel Before

Recently, I became very busy again. The winter months really seemed to drag along, and with the first flower bloom came my first design call of the spring season. I was excited to learn a local builder wanted my help with a re-model they are doing for the Parade of Homes. YIPPEE I said!!! What a great opportunity for Spire Design Group!

The Parade of Homes is traditionally a chance for builders and home owners to showcase their recent work, usually new construction. However, the builder I am working with has purchased an existing home that needs a complete face lift. This is where I come in! The builder has asked me to draft a new floor plan for the kitchen, bathroom and a basement bedroom and bathroom. In addition to the drafting, they have also asked me to select new tile for the floors, back splashes, new lighting, the cabinet finish and style, paint colors, molding and base board. Pretty much everything decorative, I have been asked to select.

While I have been given a lot of freedom with the selections, I also have to keep in mind the fact that they hope to sell this house. So, everything has to be kept pretty neutral for re-sale. I think I can still put a fun twist on the property and definitely put Spire Design Groups stamp on it.

So, in the upcoming weeks, I will post updates as I have them. I finished up with the drafting already, so walls will soon come down and cabinets will be ripped out. I am extremely excited to see the progress in the little ranch house. The pictures are a few of the before shots I took last week. Now, off to pick out some tile!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Have a Design Question or Problem??

If you have a design question or problem you would like to address?? Please feel free to shoot me an e-mail anytime! I love to help and I hope that my advice will help you have a more livable home!!