Design Tribute – Memorial Day

St. Paul's on the Green

Have you ever been driving and gone back because you saw something so breath-taking you just had to stop, take a photo and share it?  Today, I was driving home when I passed this sight.  I had to drive around the block and back to the church’s parking lot, because I could not let that moment pass by.

Flags at St Paul's on the Green

The front lawn of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on the Green in Norwalk, CT has 5,481 flags on it.  Each one represents a US soldier who has given his or her life for this country in Afghanistan or Iraq.  It’s easy to ignore a death toll until you are given a visual reminder.  That number is not so staggering as wars past, but why should even one person have to lose a life?  Why should one mother or father or spouse or child have their child or spouse or parent taken away?

Sea of Flags

Look, I’m not going to get all political on you.  Whether I am for or against the war in the Middle East is not the point.  I lost twenty people in 911.  I have friends who lost over 100.  I have heard countless hair-raising stories of survival from that day and close calls from my own family members.

Mine is a comment on the preciousness and precariousness of human life.  How do we take this in?  How do we put our heads around it?  When do we stop fighting and learn how to love one another – no matter our skin color, or politics or faith?

Normandy Cemetery with Flags

It took me back to this moment in time – Summer of 1991 – last stop on the continent.  I had backpacked solo across Europe and spent my last weekend in Normandy.  I will never forget staring out at a sea of crosses with an occasional star of David.

Prayer for the Soldiers

Imagine what it must have been like for the people who came together to install these flags.  Can you envision them talking about how they would ever fit over 5,000 flags on the lawn?  Thinking – should we put in a path or just make it a sea of flags?  Walking through the path is so moving.  Did someone carefully plan it out and draw it up?  Or did it evolve in that organic way projects do when a group comes together?

Were they thinking what price do we pay for needing to be right?  What price freedom?  What price peace?

Imagine…

Imagine Central Park

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

–John Lennon

(Photos of Normandy and Imagine from latribune.fr and konradprojects.net respectively)

Wednesday Word on Interior Design from a Graphic Designer

There are days when you are a solopreneur that are so hard – an onslaught of no’s or missed opportunities,  space planning frustration and then to add insult to injury cutting the bottom of your foot while organizing the supplies closet.  Did I mention bleeding all over the recently professionally cleaned carpet?  Yes, interior designers have to have their carpets cleaned too.

Of course, my planned reward for all of today’s hard work was a long overdue visit to the spa for a pedicure.  But no one in their right mind would get a pedicure with a foot injury!  That’s just asking for a foot fungus.

And then just when I wanted to throw in the towel and get a real job…  I came across a blog post from my client that’s all about me!  And in a good way!  And so I had to share the highlight of my day in a most unusual twist on Wednesday Word:

I’m going to have to warn you folks: traciedesigns is about to take a very sharp turn towards interior design for a while. See, renovations are humming along nicely (this week, they mentioned the P word: PAINT. As in, we’re going to PAINT THESE PRETTY WALLS WE PUT UP. Do I sound excited about this? Just a tad).

Anywho. I am so very fortunate to be working with my awesomer-by-the-minute-friend Catherine Avery (of Avery Design Interiors) and she. is. the. bomb. This weekend, she actually assigned us homework–remember that show Trading Spaces? It was very Trading Spaces of her. Our assignment was to pick up samples of the colors for each room upstairs, and paint a big piece of posterboard, and hang it in the room to be painted that color.

Problem was, we didn’t have any clue what color to paint our bedroom–because we had no bedding. I searched the internet. I searched Fairfield County high and low. And where did I finally end up finding our bedding? Homegoods. (note from Tracie’s interior designer aka me:  Calvin Klein bedding in a pale grey with just a hint of the new ‘in’ mauve – to. die. for.)

Oh, and Catherine’s whole paint on the posterboard on the wall? Brills. We nixed a potential color for one of the girl’s rooms, and lightened ours by a shade.

And our Homegoods comforter? The more I have it, the more I love it. I CAN’T WAIT to post pics of the real deal room all finished and put together.

I can’t wait to post photos either – my tweeps are already asking to see them.  For the record tweeps, I have seen the painted walls in the still empty upstairs rooms and the colors are great, but the rooms are still empty…

Bottom line – this made my day.  I love working with this client.  Tracie is so much fun, open-minded and patient.  Good thing as we are spending a lot of time together in her upside down total renovation home.

Tracie, I know that it’s going to be amazing when it’s done!

I love to hear from you.  What’s been your lift on a difficult day?

Magical Monday: Interior Design Color inspired by House Beautiful

Every once in a while, I find a moment to peruse one of the latest design magazines.  The other day, I opened House Beautiful’s Favorite Paint Colors and could not put it down.  I so enjoyed reading about the reasons behind other interior designers’ choices of colors.

I offer color consulting services and find that color is very personal.  Each client is drawn to very different colors for different reasons – some are bold with a deep wine entry wall, while others are more timid with a soothing creamy white in the  living room.

Here are some of my favorites from House Beautiful’s special edition.

Benjamin Moore Black Satin 2131-10

This look is unbelievably rich.  I love it for a library.  Note how the rug, fireplace and accessories are light-colored or reflective to offset the drama of the black walls and cabinetry.  This room works because the all black reads as a neutral.

Benjamin Moore Overcast C43

Here’s a neutral as we usually think of them.  The pale blue furnishings and rug bring out the bluish undertones of the paint.  I would feel like I am floating in a cloud in this room – so relaxing.

C2 Paint Tangerine 104

I am working with a client now in Fairfield who would love orange in her home office.  I can’t wait to show her this photo tomorrow.  The shelves are made of white Corian – love their sharp linearity.  The orange looks amazing grounded by the white rug, grey chairs, white shelves and white trim.

Benjamin Moore Spring Iris 1402

By now you know, I am not a purple person.  But when I saw this room in the magazine, I was smitten.  Maybe it’s that the rest of the room is that lovely shade of cream with the really dark wood floor to ground it.  I have a client who loves everything Swedish design.  We are talking about renovating her vacation home in Vermont and I think she would love this color.

Benjamin Moore North Creek Brown 1001

I work with quite a few male clients, either still single or recently divorced.  They are always looking for great masculine colors that won’t freak out the future girl friend.  I frequently suggest colors in the brown family.  Rich and warm with the bronze undertones – this brown is a stellar choice!

Hope you enjoyed this quick look at House Beautiful’s Favorite Paint Colors.  To see more, you can purchase on it now on the newsstands or follow this link to housebeautiful.com.

I love color and I love to hear from you!  Which is your favorite room color and why?

Interior Design: Thursday Treasure is Snug Furniture at ICFF

On Monday, I snuck away from my office for a few blissful hours to see the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF).  It was interior design nirvana – I learned so much and saw so many amazing design ideas in those few hours.

I also met a whole group of Twitter friends IRL for the first time: @tkpleslie @maybellinete @tracyhiner and @sweetsoaps to name a few.  The last few weeks have been a social media meets real life extravaganza.  It has been so much fun to put faces to the names.  Great to see social media friends working together to make things happen in the interior design world.

There are far too many great designers from ICFF to feature in just one post.  Stay tuned for future features.

Today is all about good friend May’s Snug Furniture line.  On a side note, I was thrilled to see Twitter friend Tracy Hiner’s wallpaper as the backdrop to May’s furniture.

The Pugella sofa is a modern reinterpretation of a classic.  Pairing it with the sleek and fun Tattoo Coffee Table makes quite a statement.  The henna “hands” on the table are an exquisite detail and serve t0 enhance the grain of the wood.

May told me on Monday that the Maze Dining Table is my style.  She’s right.

Bambooty Benches

Fun to sit on (once you get the hang of it) and fun to say.  Really, try it.  What could be a more fun story to tell in your home than a Bambooty Bench?  Every home needs a sense of humor.

That’s just a small taste of the treasures that lie in store at Snug Furniture.

Which piece do you want to take home?  I love to hear from you – let me know!

Magical Monday: Interior Designers at Spring Awakening

The Spring Awakening event at Le Beau Chateau in New Canaan last weekend was wonderful.  I do hope you had a chance to see it if you live locally.  But for those of you who did not, I am posting just a little taste of a magnificent evening.  On Wednesday night, we were treated to not only beautiful tabletop design by fantastic interior designers, but delicious hors d’oeuvre, wine, and singing.  On a social media note, this was my first chance to meet so many wonderful interior design Twitter friends in real life.  We had a great time!

Hairspray by Priscilla Potenza

Priscilla Potenza’s interpretation of Hairspray made me laugh out loud.  This design is so much fun!

Patty Tomasetti's Bye Bye Birdie

Patty Tomasetti created a guitar inspired tabletop for Bye Bye Birdie that would have had my husband green with envy.  Love the records as placemats.

Irwin Feld's Breakfast at Tiffany's

Far and away my absolute favorite design was by Irwin Feld.  I know, I know I am friends with Marcy Feld, but still… it was breath-taking.

Breakfast at Tiffanys

Beautiful art, a simple bench.  Note the repetition of the swirl pattern in the horse and in the mirror and the hint of lace on the lamp in the corner.  It is all in the details…

Tiffany Blue

What says glamorous luxury better than sparkle, strawberries and the little blue box?

The Love Nest

Go ahead, tell me you don’t want to lounge in this chair…

The Chair

The fabric that inspired the design.  I can’t get over how gorgeous it looks on these swanky bar chairs!

Hope you enjoyed this quick tour through Spring Awakening.  Which was your favorite design?  Let me know.  I love to hear from you.

Magical Monday: A Preview of Spring Awakening at Le Beau Chateau

I am so excited to share with you some of the sketches from the event Spring Awakening, which will be taking place starting on the evening of Wednesday, May 12th in New Canaan, CT.

Without further ado, let the sneak preview begin.

Charles Pavarini 'A Little Night Music'

What could be more magical than stepping back in time to turn of the century Sweden in ‘A Little Night Music’?  Think candlelight, romance, the waltz.  Makes me want to put on my little black dress, pearls and heels and dance the night away…

Priscilla Potenza 'Hair'

Then again, let’s toss those pearls and bring on the peace chains.   Though I am far too young (really) to have seen Hair the first time around on Broadway, I have always loved the music and the vibe.  I am a bit of a 60s throwback when it comes to music – think Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors and let face it, does it get any better than Janis Joplin?  No need to go back to the Age of Aquarius, but it will be fun to visit for a moment in time.   I especially love this tongue in cheek hairdresser’s chair.

Randall Tarasuk 'Jekyll & Hyde'

This is the moment – the one that defines the line between good and evil.  Can’t wait to see Tarasuk’s interpretation.  The mysterious air is making me wonder what’s in store…and that’s a ‘good’ thing.

Love to hear from you!  Which is your favorite sketch?  Will you be coming to Spring Awakening?

Please join us and purchase tickets through Summer Theatre of New Canaan.

Thursday Treasure of Interior Design: Spring Awakening at Le Beau Chateau

The designers are busy readying their tabletops for the Spring Awakening event at Le Beau Chateau in New Canaan, CT next week.  Twitter friend, Laura Newman, who I met IRL last week at the Toast the Tour event for Near and Far Aid (so much fun!) has been sending me information about the upcoming event.  I can’t wait to share it all with you.

Spring Awakening is a Broadway inspired tabletop show to benefit Summer Theatre of New Canaan.  It begins on Wednesday May 12th with a Gala Opening in the evening and runs through Sunday May 16th.

A 22 room mansion set on 52 acres, Le Beau Chateau is  one of the last great estates of Fairfield County.  Purchased in 1952 by Hugette Clark, it has remained unfurnished and unoccupied for decades.

52 breath-taking acres!  Believe me, in Fairfield County, even two acres is a lot of property.

The floors are beautiful – simple elegance.  I can’t wait to see what the designer of this room will conjure up!


A grand staircase with the motif of the iron railing enhancing the wonderful curve of the stair.

I love the clean look of this kitchen with a large stove and lots of countertop workspace.

Won’t you join me next week at Spring Awakening at Le Beau Chateau?  It’s sure to be an amazing trip through a found treasure of Fairfield County.

To purchase tickets, go to http://stonc.tix.com

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