Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summertime Table Talk

Our yards are the extension of our interior spaces. Open your drapes and pull up your window blinds. Suddenly the line separating these two spaces is blurred. It's time to have fun and enjoy entertaining outside in this new "room".

Whether you're having friends over for a pot luck or having a formal buffet this summer, prepare a 6'-8' long table(s) to say "wow"! Be inspired by the season and use hot Carribean colors. Lay a tablecloth of hot pink or turquoise to cover the plastic or aluminum table top. Then over this ruche a print, check or striped cloth that has a hint of the color used underneath. Let the solid colored edges of the undercloth show.

Think about the principles of good design...balance, color, rhythm, scale and texture. How can you accomplish a beautiful tablescape and incorporate the importance of each of the principles.

Be inspired by the dramatic colors of tablecloth's pattern to match plates, cups, utensils and accessories. Make it easy and purchase solid colored paper napkins to match or contrast with the tablecloths. Mix up the colors and "spin" the napkins bartender style and distribute piles on the tabletop. Add to the texture of the tablecloth ruching by assembling a summer inspired centerpiece...lemons in a clear glass containers, branches of cleaned greenery from the garden in a vase or bright potted geraniums set inside a hat! Be careful to use the right scaled centerpiece in relation to the size of the table. Use brightly colored different sized upside down bowls to set your platters on. This will create an interesting rhythm.

Your outdoor party buffet table in its new "room" is ready for the fiesta to start!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ronald McDonald Needed My Help

Interior Design services are sometimes needed in the least expected places. I'm at A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children visiting my grandson, Ethan. He was admitted this week with viral symptoms and loss of critical weight. Body weight is needed to help him grow inside as well as outside. Ethan needs another heart surgery but it's best if it's scheduled when his vessels are larger than his 6 months size presents.

I'm spending a lot of quality time with his big sister, Julianna, (almost 4 years old) and trying to be a help and support for my children. During my stay, Julianna and I have been staying overnight at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Wilmington, DE. It's just down the street from the hospital. I can't begin to say how wonderful this facility is...a clean private room with bathroom, help yourself breakfast and lunch and a home cooked dinner made by volunteers every day. Today, Sunday, there was a hot buffet for breakfast set up in addition to the variety of hot and cold cereals. There was scrambled eggs, French toast, fresh fruit salad, bacon and sausage. Of course, delicious McDonald's coffee was hot and fresh as it is all day long. There are tons of toys, books and play equipment for the siblings of the children in the hospital. To keep the adults distracted when they're not at the hospital, there are televisions, computer hook ups and rooms upon rooms of comfortable sofas to lounge on. There's always a smiling face from the volunteers and staff that are eager to help you with your particular situation. All this plus much more for a donation of $15 a day! I know that they must have a huge support system in place within the community and local pharmaceutical companies that contribute too. But I tip my hat to the caring and sharing staff and volunteers. Thank you Ronald McDonald House of Wilmington DE for making life a little easier for out of town grandparents!

Sunday morning there was a lot of activity at RMH. A breakfast and craft party was in progress to raise money. And at breakfast I noticed a salesman showing a woman several catalogs. I heard some catch words from the distance...colors, pattern, laminate. So in my usual way I walked over and introduced myself and the design services that I provide to clients in the DC metro area. About a half a minute passed before I was helping to select just the perfect new upholstery for the dining room chairs and new laminate with contrast edging for the dining room table tops. At least I felt I was giving back to this special community. Before we left to visit Ethan, Julianna played for a while in the room with the huge pirate ship. She busily changed the furniture and the "deck" plan on board. She became an emerging redesigner in training!

If you'd like more info about this and other Ronald McDonald Houses and how you can contribute, click on this link:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"Gray"zing Through the Design House 2010

May 5th was a sunny and most exceptional spring day in the DC area. So it was interesting visiting the Design House located in Chevy Chase that day with my interior design and redesign colleagues. Interesting...why?...the colors (or lack thereof).

We walked into the impressively mammoth house decorated by interior designers with great credentials. There were high ceilings and wonderful original moldings. And then there was the "interesting" part...the sea of gray. Gray everywhere, paint, wall paper, molding, ceilings, rugs etc etc. Now don't get me wrong, I believe in a common thread to pull the rooms together. Many of them paired yellow accents with the gray. Other rooms had a black and white checkerboard floor, coral chairs, red walls, very pale lavender headboard, but still...too much gray. For me, it was hard to see beyond that tint to appreciate the furniture, floor plans and talents of the designers.

Another great part of the Design House tour beyond the weather was that the proceeds of the ticket sales were being donated to the Children's National Medical Center, better known as Children's Hospital. People come from all over to seek help and care for their youngsters. The research and special care given at this hospital is amazing. At $20 a ticket for the house tour, I'm sure that substantial funds were raised.

Enough neutral and cool...enough "gray"zing in the house. I hope the 2011 Design House offers more vibrancy!