Wishing I were at a beautiful hotel instead of in CT with Hurricane Sandy

Hello from CT in the path of Hurricane Sandy!

We are bunkered down and the winds and rain are swirling. For us, up on a hill closer to the Merritt Parkway, our biggest concern will be wind and downed power lines. Many of our friends have been evacuated down near the beaches and the storm surge is going to take its toll. We have made all of our preparations over the last few days. We are as ready as we can be.

Below some really cool looking hotels for your enjoyment.

Sending everyone warm wishes, prayers etc. No matter where you live, if you are in harm’s way, may you be safe, enjoy your family and friends.

See you on the flip side…

Source: google.com via Mark on Pinterest

Source: lashotels.com via Emily on Pinterest


Travel Inspiration – Hotel Xeriscaping in Phoenix, AZ

Last week, our family took a once in a lifetime trip to the national parks of the West with a Tauck Bridges tour. One of the best parts of travel is the opportunity to see different types of design. I particularly enjoy design that reflects the local landscape and culture.

Our first stop was the Four Seasons in North Scottsdale. While my husband played eighteen holes at Troon, I snapped these shots around the hotel. I particularly loved how the pots were incorporated into the landscaping. This is xeriscaping from the greek word, xeros, which means dry. The primary purpose of xeriscaping is water conservation. I love its subtlety of texture and color.





Photos taken by and property of Catherine Avery of Avery Design Interiors at the Four Seasons Hotel Scottsdale, AZ

So you Design, Blog and Want to Travel? BlogTour 2012

Well I know I do!

If you are a design blogger and have not yet signed up, Modenus and the sponsors of BlogTour 2012 are offering an opportunity of a lifetime. Click on the BlogTour logo above and brag about why you should be considered for BlogTour 2012. It’s that easy.

BlogTour 2012 will kick off in New York City in March around the time of the Architectural Digest Show. It will then be making stops in Milan in April and London and Paris in September. Can you imagine any better opportunity, as a lover of all things design, than to go to one of these design capitals and see firsthand the latest and greatest and then to tell all of your social media friends, colleagues and clients about it?

While you are there, if you haven’t already, check out Modenus, the brilliant brainchild of the ever dazzling Veronika Miller. Modenus is an amazing resource of endless interior design inspiration. Enjoy!

As seen on the Modenus site:

Modenus is a networking platform and resource catalog for the interior design community.  Design professionals and anyone else passionate about interior design can connect in our forums, find inspiration in our daily blogs, Before & After submissions and live event coverage.  Modenus is free to users and very easy to use.

Scenes from an Interior Designer’s Vacation

bay, vacation, travel, sunset, relaxation, Fenwick Island

Can you believe the shift in the weather in the Northeast?  We have had over a week of one glorious day after the other.  You could nearly wear a sweater in the evening with the breezes blowing off the ocean.  I feel so fortunate to be on vacation during this time.

family friendly, children, beach chairs, outdoor, dining, screened in porch, garden, bay view

When you are a mompreneur and an interior designer, you are not really ever on vacation.  First of all, design inspiration is everywhere – you can’t help but see the patterns the waves leave in the sand as the tide goes out.  I was even able to attend the annual Beach & Bay House Tour to benefit the South Coastal Library with my mom and cousin.  The houses were a great mix of contemporary zen and kitschy beach.  Lots of bright colors were featured – I love color.

While here at the shore, I have been working with an interior design client on her master bath – ordering tile and faucets from my blackberry on the beach.  But working for yourself gives you such amazing flexibility with a little help from technology of course.

And most importantly, with a little help from your friends…  Thanks to my Twitter friends, I have some guest posts going.  Rob Jones of BuildDirect has graciously provided a guest post last week and then Amy Dragoo of ABCD Designs has offered to guest post about her new home renovations.  I am so excited about my first foray into guest blogging.  And I am  fortunate to have built some amazing relationships with great people through social media.  This next segment at Relaxed Elegance will be a bit more architecture, home improvement and inspiration and a bit less strictly about interior design.  But creatives find inspiration everywhere; it won’t have a boring moment!

beach, house, architecture, deck, bay

My parents have a home here now on the bay side and my aunt has one on the beach side.  It’s a quiet town.  While it has grown quite a bit with condos springing up along what used to be hauntingly beautiful long stretches of marsh and shore, the small town flavor has remained.

grandparents, beach, house, vacation, travel

We came here to visit my grandparents when we were very young.  They had an old beach cottage near the shore.  I remember a sleeping porch with a window to the inside.  I thought it was the coolest thing to sleep on the sleeping porch and talk to my cousin in the bedroom just on the other side of the window.  We would be up whispering and giggling until the wee hours.  My grandparents are long since gone and new owners have changed the old cottage quite a bit, but it still brings back those memories…

minigolf, vacation, travel, family, kids, activities, outdoors

We still come back every year and rent a small condo about a mile from the shore.  We love it there because we can make meals, do laundry and if it rains, we can watch movies on DVD.  It’s the simpler side of life with important decisions to be made.  Kayak or mini golf?  Beach or pool?

boathouse, kayaks, vacation, travel, property, bay, investment, retirement

We recently purchased a property here.  For now, it is an empty lot except for the kayaks and a boat house on the water.  But being an interior designer, I can envision my future home in my head. I love standing in the lot and imagining watching sunsets on the bay from my big back porch in my eco-friendly new home.  We are several years from building.  I often wonder what new materials will be available then.

I love to hear from you.  Do you have a dream vacation home?

Magical Mondays: interior design of Emerils Orlando

Just back from an exhausting though exciting family trip to Disney.  I’ll be posting all week about the sights and sounds of the Land of Mickey.  Let’s face it – everything about Disney is magical.  It’s going to be hard to limit the magic to just interior design and just Monday!

First up Citywalk at Universal.  Wow, this place must be a blast for singles and marrieds pre-children.  It bustles with nightlife.  We did the pre-K version of course.  First stop, the carousel and then an early dinner at Emeril’s.  In a word delicious…

With the large windows across the front, drawing you in, it is bathed in the sun during the day.

And sparkles with the lights of Citywalk at night.  Aren’t the light fixtures amazing?

I love the raw industrial feel of the space.  It’s refreshingly not pretentious.

Happy Chinese New Year! Interior Design Inspiration is Everywhere

What could be more fun that escaping reality for a day with your family!  At the last minute we jumped into the car and headed into New York City to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  I love how we can drive an hour from Fairfield County and feel like we have entered another part of the world…

We took the subway to Canal Street, because C loves riding the subway.  Really, C loves everything about the city.  It must be the vibe.  We break out the stroller, which she loathes.  But… for the city, she will gladly ride in style.  It’s just so much easier for us to keep tabs in a busy crowd with C firmly planted in her stroller.  At nearly 5, she is getting way too big for the stroller, but I digress.

We started our day out with the most delicious dim sum at Ping’s and then walked all around Chinatown.

Onward to our trip in photos…  My design eye is never turned off so the camera is a must!

Fish Market

You really have to know fish to buy at these markets.  The freshest fish around – outside of Fulton Fish Market – heads, tails and all!

Brilliant Colors

Kites, flowers, toys… kid paradise…


I love the simplicity of the bracelets lined up in rows by colors – eye candy.


I am ever attracted to fretwork on furniture and a big fan of greek key design – must be the simplicity of the lines and the pattern.

More fretwork

What can I say?  Drawn to it…  One day I will find the perfect large panel of fretwork and it will be mine for our master bedroom headboard.

More shopping

Because it’s hard to be an interior designer, if you don’t like to shop.  Just have to say, perfect pair of plump pigs because I can.  LOL!  A sense of humor, doesn’t hurt either.

Chinese Dragons

You can bet C insisted on taking home one of the dragons.  Can you guess which color?  Why pink of course…


Buying loose leaf jasmine tea for my dear friend who adores it.  I just happen to love jasmine too.


What could be more fun than lots and lots of glass jars filled with candy? Enough said…


You can’t have a parade without confetti.  Right?  Right?  Right?  Really. So. Cool.


Brrrr… or why we had to leave before the parade started.  We secured our great viewing spot at 12 noon for the 1pm parade.  At 1:30pm, the parade had still not started.  I have to confess that even I was getting tired of waiting.  I give C credit for hanging in that long.  And what fun is it to be bundled up to the eyes for a parade?

So we called it a day and went back to the apartment for a “picnic” of hot chocolate, cheese and grapes – much more fun than sitting outside in the cold.  Our parade viewing will just have to wait til next year.  Or til Disney where hopefully, it will be a bit warmer!

Starting tomorrow, I will be posting “Magic Mondays” – each Monday a view of one breath-taking room that I think is magical.  This is all part of my overhaul to my blog and other social media.  Let me know what you think!

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