For the low down on what it is like to be a working designer, check in with me every Monday to read about what I am working on and thinking about!Read More
It's Monday again and it's raining. That's what my kids would call a double whammy. Although the rain beats against my window and the lightning flashes with thunder rumbling close behind, it's warm and cozy inside my office. I love to sit at my desk and think and write on gloomy days. This morning, I am thinking about marble. The gorgeous stone has been used in elegant interiors since practically the dawn of time. It has always signified wealth and for good reason as it is an expensive material. The ancient Greeks revered it not only for its beauty but because it was easy to sculpt. Isn't it amazing how a block of stone can be transformed into something that almost seems alive?
I love the beauty of the veining patterns and the colors in marble. There are many many beautiful marbles and they come in a variety of shades. Honed or polished, in the hands of a good designer, it can make an interior look like a million bucks. Calcutta Gold marble is one of my favorites:
Kitchen counters, backsplashes and vessel sinks are just a few places to use it:
Lighting is another great place to use marble. This lamp by Arteriors is one of my favorite marble pieces:
Another great way to add some elegance to your home is by using a marble accent table. This one is particularly gorgeous with its tray style top:
Marble can be heavy in addition to costly so another fun way to bring some of its pattern into a space is with faux marble. This flatware is a great example:
Or perhaps a blue marble vase?
If you are a DIYer, try painting a faux marble top out of plywood to create a stunning "marble" table. Click on the photo to see how to do it!
My watch broke. Do I need to pay hundreds to fix it? Do I buy a new one? Or do I go watchless?Read More
Mixing a lot of pattern takes skill. But more than skill, it takes guts. Be bold, design rompers!Read More
Feeling tired and uninspired? Spend a few hours in a sculpture garden and see what happens!Read More
Well, happy Friday, design rompers! Another week has flown by and here we are again. I have written about my love of design books (obsession is more like it) in an earlier post and from time to time like to share some of my favorites with you. Yesterday, I came home with a new book and I was so fascinated by it that I actually woke up at about 2:30am and started reading it again! I guess you could say that I took a nap in between chapters between 11pm and 2:30am. Needless to say, I will be a wreck today. But I will also be inspired!
The book is called Parish-Hadley Tree of Life -An Intimate History of the Legendary Design Firm. Not only are the photos of the extraordinary work done by this firm over the years gorgeous, but the stories written in the first person by the designers who worked there are fascinating. An astonishing number of top designers began their careers under the tutelage of the late Mrs Sister Parrish and Albert Hadley: Bunny Williams, William Hodgins, David Easton, Hariette Himes Gomez, Thom Filicia, Michael Whaley, David Kleinberg, Joanne de Guardiola, just to name a few. There has never been another firm that was such fertile ground for interior design and there probably never again will be. The book is a glimpse into what made it so special. Even if you aren't into design, its a great case study on how to build a really successful team.
In addition to learning about how all of these amazing designers got their start and what it was like to work for Mrs Parish and Albert Hadley, so many of the rooms that were done by this firm are still fabulous today. They are timeless and tasteful. Here is a taste of what you will find between the covers of this book:
I can't wait to finish reading it tonight. It's that good.
Have a great weekend!
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This morning's post is going to have to be a quick one. We are bracing for the arrival of Hurricane (or Tropical Storm) Hermine today here in South Carolina and I am about to begin my 90 minute trek to Charleston. I wanted to share a quick post that I saw on Instagram from Southern Living magazine with a quote by the late, great Albert Hadley, whom I had the privilege of meeting when I was involved in one of the charities he began in Southport CT called "Rooms With A View".
"Decorating is not about making stage sets, it's not about making pretty pictures for the magazines; it's really about creating a quality of life, a beauty that nourishes the soul." — Albert Hadley
He summed it up perfectly. That is why I love doing what I do. I hope you all have a restful, safe weekend.
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My daughter, Charlotte, is a wiz at organizing things so I asked her to share her tips on how to organize a messy room on the blog today. Hope it helps you get organized!Read More
Time keeps marching on, doesn't it? The months and seasons roll by with predictable regularity whether we like it or not. It doesn't matter if we are aware or paying attention. There is simply nothing we do can stop it. Like a person is helpless to stop the floodwaters, so too are we incapable of slowing the months. Today, I am keenly aware of the days because my time with my two younger daughters at home is running out, as quickly as the last grains of sand fall through the narrow neck of the hourglass. Many of you fellow design rompers have children heading back to school this week. Whether it's a milestone like the first day of kindergarten, the first day of college, or moving away to begin a new career after college, or it is just another grade older, it is bittersweet for mothers because it is another step forward towards independence from us.
I have 4 days left before my middle daughter joins her older sister on the West Coast. She will be beginning her "real" job in San Francisco and is very happy about it all. First real job, first apartment, first business suit- it is exciting stuff indeed. A week later, my youngest daughter will fly back to Boston for her junior year at BC. Suitcases, boxes, and bags are strewn about the house as they pack up their things. The washing machine is getting a workout, running nonstop. Lists are made and things crossed off and then another list takes its place. I try to help as much as I can, mainly offering an opinion on an item when asked and handing over my credit card for plane tickets, CVS runs and last minute clothing purchases. But this week when I am not at work, I will be focussing on trying to remain in the present. I will try very hard not to think about the moment when the goodbyes are said and the planes are boarded. I will not think think about that today. That moment when the house is quiet. Stu, Ryelee and I will settle back into our daily routines without them. I will catch up with them as I do their sister in LA via phone calls, texts, and snapchat. Trips will be planned to visit and time will continue to march on. But this week, I want it to slow down. I want the days to stretch like silly putty allowing me time for more laughter, more hugs, even more disagreements! I just want more time to be mom.
When my girls were little, I used to tease them by singing the song, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" the week that school was starting. Part of me was happy to have my schedule back and a bit of peace and quiet. But another part of me was sorry that the carefree days of summer and time together was ending. It's okay to feel both ways at the same time. Just try to take each day as it comes, noticing and embracing the special moments without thinking too much about tomorrow. That's what I will be doing this week and next. That and singing "It's the most wonderful time of the year" just to see if I can still get a rise out of them!
Happy Monday and Back to School Week!
I love pillows! I can't help myself. Do you think pillows are a necessity, too?Read More
This is the 131st post on my blog, Design Romp. I will admit that I am rather proud of that fact and view it as a fairly major accomplishment. So many mornings getting up before the sun, so many photos taken and sifted through, so many meetings that I was late for because I had to post and the site was acting up- it did, after all, require some commitment and effort to get here. More astonishing, I had to first create a website and then figure out how to do the darn blog thing! For a non techie person like me, THAT is a huuuuge accomplishment! I will leave it to you to decide if anything written was interesting, memorable or worth hearing about. I hope so.
8 months into this adventure seems as good a time as any to take stock. I would have done it at the 100 post mark but I wasn't paying attention and missed that milestone. One of the most surprising things to me has been how much I enjoy writing. It's as if I were the sole survivor on a desert island who had no one to speak to for years and then suddenly am rescued. Er, that didn't come out exactly right. Stu and I talk all the time about everything that pops into our heads. But writing is different. I can actually craft each sentence, take the time to think of the exact word that will convey the thought or feeling without the distraction of your body language clues to decipher or facial expressions interpret. Most of all, I have discovered how much fun it is to take an idea, a random insignificant thought or idea, and examine it, roll it around, turn it upside down and shake it out until its been thoroughly hashed out. It almost doesn't even matter what the subject is, does it? Well, not quite. I would not take pleasure in describing how to balance your books or the best way to clean your bathroom. But occasionally, I'll talk about something meaningful.
So what is the point of it? I named my blog Design Romp after mulling over what seemed like a million possibilities because I wanted it to be fun and light hearted and free. Let's face it, life can get hard, complicated and not so pretty. Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that we would not have chosen, in a job we don't like, a relationship that isn't working or we just get worn down by the mundane. In the midst of living the daily grind, we lose our ability to see the beauty that is around us. We lose some of the joy and wonder that was inside us when we were small. I think that some of us were put here on this planet to act as gigantic eyes, pointing out what we see and how we see things in order to bring back that sense of wonder we all had as children seeing things for the first time. That's what I want Design Romp to be- full of wonder, excitement and fun! It's not about "How To Do Everything Perfectly" or "I am the expert on everything design related", rather I want to share my observations and thoughts with you as I would a close friend with whom I am free to be myself. Design Romp is where I can speak freely about whatever comes into my head in a way that I can't (or at least shouldn't) with my clients! So, going forward, my aim is to share my experience of living life as an observer, appreciator, interpreter and sometime creator of what I think is beautiful and makes life more beautiful. There is so much worth seeing and exploring. We live in a beautiful place and are surrounded by extraordinarily talented artists and designers. Let's celebrate it!
And I want to hear from you. Listening is an important part of every relationship. Sometimes after I post something, I feel as if I have flung it into outer space and have no idea whether my thoughts or ideas connected with anyone or if they missed the mark, passing by like a falling star. I want to hear what you think, what you like, what sparks joy in you, what makes you smile and even, hopefully sometimes, laugh. Most of all, I want us to have fun with it. I will post on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays for the foreseeable future as my 3 hour daily commute to one of the world's most beautiful cities- Charleston- has cut into my writing and sleeping time making writing 5 days a week impossible. Tune in through the Bloglovin app, Facebook or sign up through my website www.susanalbrightdesign.com or www.designromp.com to romp with me through the fabulous world of interior design plus anything else that pops into my head.
Sometimes, as I mentioned in earlier posts, I become obsessed with something and can't get it out of my mind until I incorporate it into a project. One of my current obsessions is embroidered fabrics. I don't know if its because I am extremely tactile and the way the threads rise up above the fabric like a relief map feels good beneath my fingers. Or if it is a Proust-ian thing. Let me explain. When I was a little girl, I would spend a week at the shore with my grandparents. Just me. No annoying brothers allowed. We would go shopping, spend afternoons at the beach and evenings on the glider on the porch. My grandmother was a strong willed, opinionated, outspoken, smart, glamorous woman. Her costume jewelry collection was vast and her dressing table was, to my 10 year old girl eyes, beyond fabulous. She always wore her platinum blond hair piled up on top of her head and the shade of red on her lips brought out the blue of her eyes in a way that I still remember. One summer, she taught me how to embroider. I remember going to the craft store and picking out a pillow case, a hoop and silky colorful threads, each with a paper band around them. Every evening, we would sit side by side on the sofa with the baseball game on in the background and she would teach me how to make french knots, lazy daisies, satin, chains and all the other stitches. I finished one pillow case and went home with the other to finish. Sadly, I don't think I ever finished the other. Back at home, playing baseball, riding my bike and swimming with my brothers left little time for such quiet solitary pursuits as embroidery. But when I see a piece of embroidered fabric, my hand automatically reaches out to touch it and the memory of that summer and evenings with my grandmother come rushing back, like the little cakes "Madeleines" in A La Recherche du Temps Perdu.
There are so many gorgeous embroidered fabrics available now so don't worry, you don't have to learn how to do it yourself! You won't be able to see the texture of these fabrics from the photos so the next time you are in a fabric store or design showroom, ask to see the embroidered fabrics. They are gorgeous on pillows, draperies, and bedding.
Although I don't have the right project for embroidered fabric at the moment, I believe that someone will materialize soon for whom this will be exactly right!
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