Road Warrior . . A Week in the Life

Hey There . . . .

My little brother flew in from San Francisco this past weekend for my Dad's 75th Birthday . . it was a surprise. I loved my family day . . . especially after catching up all week from being gone the whole week before.  Swooping through the house with crudites in one hand and the vacuum in the other, I was just thankful the weather was pretty and we were together for a little down time.

I was quite the road warrior recently hooking up with 3 out of town clients, a Blog Conference and 1 of my favorite vendors.  The trip started in Atlanta, I then ran to Chattanooga then Bald Head Island. Whew !  It was a design frenzy, inspirational overload, ending with scenic beauty.  It was great. Love seeing new things then using those new ideas and thoughts with my clients.

Stop number one - Atlanta.  One of my long-distance client has successfully gutted her kitchen and is ready to roll on all the final details to pull this new look together.  I loved helping her come up with a game plan for her kitchen, family room and powder room, with a design in place for phase two - living room and dining room.  All these spaces will tie together seamlessly with the new kitchen she has dreamed of . . .

Loving the kitchen design that started it all !

If you know me at all, I have a love for pale grey . . . it's the perfect neutral that works with any combination of colors.    We narrowed down all the paint colors and fine tuned the design.  It's going to be a clean, crisp, pulled together look.

Stop number two - Nicole Hasan.  I have been working on her home for about a year. Having successfully completed the living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, and media room, I stopped by to deliver her master bedroom window treatments.  All this space needed was a little tweaking.  We added wall paper, new side tables, new bedding and now new curtains.  All in peach and grey, it's now a little more feminine.

What amazed me about their house . . .  spotless, and every single thing I did on my last trip was in the exact same place, exact !  I still love these rooms every time I see them.

Stop number three - the Grand Hyatt for a 3 day Design Blog Conference.  This was quite the event designed for Interior Design Bloggers.  Three days of information overload, in a good way. (see the full agenda here)  The event presented by Design Sherpa and sponsored by numerous others, it was an invaluable networking opportunity.  Speakers included Candice Olson, Timothy Corrigan, Suzanne Kasler, Susanna Salk, Jennifer Boles and Jeffrey Alan Marks, Stacey Bewkes, Tobie Fairley, Paloma Contreras, Jane Bills and Toma Clark Haines - not to mention bloggers I have followed for years, vendors and authors I love.  Their stories and beginnings were inspirational and in a lot of cases rang such a feeling of familiarity.  It was such a fun 3 days !

Stop number four - Chattanooga.  This was unplanned.  I decided while in Atlanta to detour over to visit Jane and Billy of Stray Dog Designs.  Having working with the duo for some 10 years, I thought it was time to visit and see their operation, as well as talk to them about a new project I have underway (stay tuned).  They graciously put me up at the Read House on Broad Street.  Oozing with history (and a good ghost story).

I was given quite the interesting history lesson from Spencer at the front desk . . . he even took the time to elaborate for me in this email . . . gotta love a history buff.

“ The Sheraton Read House has been the center of commerce and development of Chattanooga since its original structure opened in 1872. At that time it was called the Crutchfield house after its owner Thomas Crutchfield, he later sold it after his brother William had an altercation with Jefferson Davis over secession and left the Crutchfield family in poor favor with the rest of Chattanooga. By 1863, the Civil War had engulfed Chattanooga and resulted in the Read house being the first building to be occupied by Union forces and in turn being converted into a hospital. After surviving the ravages of war, the building burnt down in 1867, shortly after the property was purchased by Dr. John T. Read and his son Samuel.
  Dr. Read built the first Read house in 1872, his son would later purchase it in 1879 and in 1926 he commissioned it to be demolished and rebuilt to the structure that currently sits at 827 Broad Street. The hotel was designed by Holabird and Roche, an architectural firm from Chicago, and built by George A. Fuller and Company of Washington, D.C.  It was built in Georgian style with terrazzo floors inlaid with marble and quarter-sawed walnut paneling as well as hand carved walnut accents and woodwork. The famous Silver Ballroom is known for its lavish silver leaf ornamental cornice and medallions and Waterford chandeliers which hang from the 25-foot ceiling. 
The Read House played a pivotal role in the expansion of the Western and Atlantic railways as they built Union station directly across from the hotel. This served as the main railroad station for both railways in the southeast. During this time Chattanooga became the focal point of development and commerce comparable to present day Atlanta. Throughout its rich history the Read House has had many distinguished guests such as Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, and even Al Capone (against his will). The Read House has maintained its luxurious beauty and allure for most of the 20 century and will do so long into the future. “

- Spencer Carroll - front desk

 The lobby had such gorgeous ceilings and trim work, heavy wood - very library like.

I met up with Jane and Billy who gave me the quick tour of a few of their favorite places in Chattanooga, with only a few hours I know now a trip back is in order.  We did stop at one of their favorites, Revival.  Located in Chattanooga's historic Warehouse Row this design studio and shop is simply gorgeous.  What I love most of all is the mix of new and old.  Their vintage pieces were so unique and when paired with new pieces the showroom (and their clients) can achieve the perfect look of old and new.    Take a peek at a few images from the showroom.  It's a must visit.

Back at Jane and Billy's workroom at the base of Lookout Mountain, I received the grand tour.  Filled with color, pattern and lamps galore.  The vibe was eclectic, slightly gypsy and right up my alley.  I am working on a new project featuring Stray Dog exclusively so stay tuned for that !

Stop number five - Charlotte.  I came back for the day to meet with one of my favorite clients, Barb Peterson.  We completed her living room turned eclectic, cozy office and started the adjacent dining room with this bright and "all her" wall paper.  It's now time to finish off the room.  We went back and forth on chandeliers and chairs but quickly chose just the right look for the space to complement the office.  Take a peek.

Nice tie back I think.

Stop number six - back in the car, this time with Keith and Kate.  We adventured to Bald Head Island.  One of my Charlotte clients just closed on their amazing new place on the island.  I wanted a good look to see if all the pieces we picked long distance would fit and any another other detail I might need to know before our install.  This will have to be a well orchestrated install in that we need to book a barge to get everything over . . no cars allowed on Bald Head, hence the beauty !  Take a look at what Kate and I came across on an early morning walk.  The sun had just come up and the slight blue and purple cast was everywhere.  I couldn't get over just how silent it was.  Now I know why Windy O'Connor loves it so much (and Windy, thanks for the use of your beautiful digs).

This house, with all it's rambling decks and porches will be transformed into a cleaner, simpler space  inside and out.  With a mix of sleek and rustic, the open floor plan will now have a more cohesive look.  We both are scoring on this project !  After posting on Facebook a few pieces from our showroom that I wanted to sell to make room for our re-design, Amy quickly snapped them up.  I am working off those pieces, add additional ones to complete the look.  Their home will now have the colors and feel of my former showroom, it's a win win.  Take a peek at what I came up with.

We have 6 weeks to make the boat on this one.  I cannot wait to head back over there to install this whole island home.

It was a crazy, traveling week.  I shifted from one design direction to another, a conference, and ended on a brief calming note.  Playing catch up is always fun, but knowing I had Bree and Maggie to hold down the fort made it all less painful.  We are gearing up now for my Spring Break clients.  While they are gone, we will be transforming their spaces for a big welcome home reveal.  All three of these homes are simply amazing and I have been lucky enough to really see all the things I wanted to happen, happen . .  Mekenzie will be on a shooting frenzy this Friday !  Stay tuned.

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