Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fall Home Fashion Trends via Bassett

With the fall season approaching, Bassett showrooms are being decorated with new collections that inspire entertaining at home while getting warm and cozy. Granted it’s still in the 80s outside here in New England, but if you’re considering hosting Thanksgiving or out of town guests over the next few months, now is the time to figure out a design plan (or order that sleep sofa for the in-laws) in order to have your home ready for the holidays. If you’re in my area and need help with your design decisions, I’m happy to assist with floor plans and furniture recommendations (email me to arrange an appointment).

While you are putting together your wish list, here are some of my favorite new pieces now available at Bassett. 

“Compass represents the Casual Luxe design trend that works on both coasts and everywhere in between. The sophisticated design and finishes paired with knotty oak veneer brings an everyday softness to this collection.

with Compass accent pieces

Compass Cocktail Table with nailhead trim

Malachite inspired fabrics and canvas prints

A few of my favorites from our new rug offerings ...

Maddox: Hand Knotted 100% Wool

Manor:  Hand Tufted 100% Wool

Zahra: Hand Knotted 100% Wool

Customize your own version online ...

Fabulous new fabrics from Robert Allen

Corinna Accent Chair: now available as a swivel glider

Gray geometric prints (another from Robert Allen)

My instagram sneak peeks ...

New key arm style with nailhead trim

Sutton blend-down U-shaped sectional
on display in our Burlington showroom

The artwork above, White Heron I, was featured in
Design New England Magazine, March/April 2014

design by Amber Price // photo by Joel Benjamin

My next project is to put together an album on my interiors facebook page to show all the room makeovers I have worked on over the last year. Like my page to see future updates!

And dont miss your chance to win a room makeover of your own. Bassett is giving away one $5,000 makeover a week now through October 26th (with complimentary design service, of course!) Enter here. I have also heard that the next HGTV Dream Home giveaway is being built on nearby Marthas Vineyard. If I cant enter to win it, maybe I can at least help decorate it?!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Glen Magna Show House: After Photos

Yvonne Blacker Interiors // photo credit: Eric Roth

The summer issue of Coastal Home magazine features beautiful photos taken by Eric Roth of the design transformation of the Endicott Mansion at Glen Magna Farms. Above is the picture of the lounge I designed, and below are the adjoining two spaces that I tackled for the Holiday Show House in December. Currently, Glen Magna is booked most weekends for special events and wedding celebrations, while during the week they host boxed lunch garden tours. Have you had the chance to visit this North Shore gem lately? I would love to host a family party here, as it feels so much like home to me! 

Yvonne Blacker Interiors // photo credit: Eric Roth
wedding photography: Elizabeth Wertz

Yvonne Blacker Interiors // photo credit: Eric Roth

Yvonne Blacker Interiors // photo credit: Eric Roth
faux finish by Mary Taggart

Coastal Home Magazine // summer issue 2014
cover photo: Rob Karosis

Glen Magna Farms designers at Coastal Home Magazine
launch party at Country Curtains on July 29, 2014

Left to right: myself, Donna Terry, Diana Kennedy, Elyse Parkhurst,
Caitlin Flynn, Candy Weston, Jenifer Dunn Coen, Linda Hentschel
(missing from photo: William Ralph and Michael Carter)
photo credit: K + M Photography

pick up the summer issue of Coastal Home
to view the entire feature story by Katie Curtis

a sneak peek of the article is online 

photo credit: Yvonne Blacker

groomsmen at Glen Magna // photo credit: Elizabeth Wertz

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Bassett Makeover: Before + After

After sneak peek ... a favorite of mine from Bassett, the “Pippa”

Before: great architectural details, lots of natural light, plenty of room to entertain

THE CHALLENGE: with post-teenage children about to leave the nest, this family had outgrown the existing furnishings and were ready for a fresh update. The homeowners, a very nice local couple, came to Bassett to look for a new sofa and we ended up scheduling a room makeover in order to accomplish their goals of working with what they had. A number of pieces with sentimental value and some lovely decorative items were staying in the room. The wall color, a warm tone faux finish, plus the custom window treatments (which I discovered by coincidence were made by a very talented friend of mine!) were used as a starting point in choosing the color palette and traditional design direction for this family room makeover. 

After visiting the clients home, I used the measurements that I took while there to create a revised floor plan with Room Planner which is a free design tool available to anyone who visits the Bassett website. Most of the furniture and accessory pieces from the extensive Bassett collections are loaded into this easy to navigate program, allowing them to be efficiently dropped into place to check that a layout works best for desired function while keeping traffic flow in mind.

THE BIG REVEAL: to accomplish this makeover, we selected the very comfortable New American Living chair in a crisp striped fabric, a tight back Custom Classics sofa in a warm olive green with two sets of designer pillows, a pair of Pippa classic spindle chairs in a richly woven gold fabric accented with leopard print kidney pillows, a tufted chocolate brown leather ottoman with storage shelf, then anchored this updated sitting area with a more appropriate sized hand tufted wool carpet in a colorful, bold print.  

THE KEY: choosing patterns and colors that would complement the existing fabrics and finishes in this open floor plan.

THE BONUS FEATURE: all Bassett makeovers are delivered in around 30 days. For the custom furniture industry, this is quite a feat. How does Bassett do it? The majority of the custom manufacturing takes place in North Carolina. Beautiful on-trend fabrics plus strong built-to-last frames are at the ready. A highly-trained custom upholstery team is in place. The delivery process is streamlined. Customer service experts are in house to ensure complete satisfaction. Design consultants like myself follow each project, from beginning to end, as we would if running our own individual businesses. As a group, we just happen to have the support of the Bassett/HGTV Design Studio behind us : )

What did my Bassett clients think of their makeover? It looks absolutely beautiful. We are so happy!

Are you ready for a custom makeover? Email me at Bassett in Burlington to schedule a home visit, or stop by our showroom to see what we have to offer. This weekend, starting on Friday, July 18th, we are having a 3-day Summer Sale with one item offered at 30% off original price. Bassett is also hosting a “Pin It To Win It” event on Pinterest. Click here to find out how you can enter to win a $5,000 Gift Card to Bassett! 

Follow me on Houzz to see the Bassett makeover above, plus lots more to come ... 

And watch for my regular posts on Instagram to see what’s new in our Bassett showroom and elsewhere in the world of design.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Design How-To: Hang Art Like a Pro

Hanging art is one of the decorating road blocks I come across a lot when consulting with residential clients. The fear of leaving a trail of swiss cheese holes on freshly painted walls while looking for the perfect spot to position artwork or framed photography prevents many people from even starting their wall styling projects. I have even seen some people just use the “well the nail was there so that is where I hung it method of art installation which often results in art hanging without any relationship to the layout of the room.

Getting it Right with Scale and Proportion

The best way to determine where to hang a piece of art is to anchor it with a piece of furniture below it. The piece below should be the same size or wider. If the anchor piece is smaller, it will appear as if the art above is teetering precariously over it.

Don’t make the mistake of hanging your artwork too high. When people think of eye-level, they are usually hanging it higher than it should be. Try to keep the work of art close to the furniture piece below it instead of floating it so far above it that it does not seem like the two pieces go together.

Keep your desired focal point in mind. An eye-catching piece of artwork on every wall in the room will create visual chaos. It is better to select one main star and include supporting pieces that don’t fight for attention. Intentionally leave a wall free from art for a bit of breathing room.

Gallery Walls

When creating a gallery wall consider using the same type of frame on each piece for a cohesive look. Varying mat sizes can keep the arrangement interesting. Another approach is to completely mix it up by using an eclectic combination of frame styles. Vintage and modern frames of different finishes can co-exist nicely if grouped together in a confident manner.

Tracing the shape of a frame onto a piece of brown kraft paper then hanging this one dimensional template on the wall with the help of removable tape is a good way to establish where to hammer in the first nail.

Whether you are installing one, a few, or many works of art, step back to view its placement in relationship to the other items in the room before you commit to the arrangement’s final position on the wall.

Special Challenges and Considerations

Wall surfaces that feature fireplace bricks or architectural curves present structural challenges as do older walls without predictable stud placement. Likewise, after investing in custom murals or expensive wallpapers or grass cloth, the fear of making a mistake is intensified. When face to face with these challenges, it’s easy to see why many choose to avoid hanging art all together.

Traditional picture rail moldings that are installed close to ceiling height are a great way to hang art without damaging walls. A simple hook is placed over the rail allowing the art to be hung at a desired position using picture hanging hardware.

A clip and rod system at the Bassett showroom in
Burlington makes changing art super easy.

Likewise, flexible art hanging systems that utilize tracks, rails, clips, cables and rods can provide the freedom to arrange (and rearrange) artful images without worry, even on the most challenging surfaces.

Use the Right Tools

There are all kinds of great wall design solutions out there, whether you are hanging the finest oil painting, a cherished family photo, or a child’s mini-masterpiece (visit my Pinterest board to see some of my favorites). The key is to choose the type of system that will safely allow your works of art to get the attention they deserve.

All furniture and wall art available via Bassett Furniture

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Weekend with Country Living

This weekend, the colorful pages of Country Living will be coming to life in Rhinebeck, NY at the Country Living Fair and Country Living 2014 House of the Year. This three-day shopping (aka treasure hunting) event opens on Friday, June 6 and closes on Sunday, June 8. From the looks of the attending presenter list, it reads like a celebrity version of Brimfield, coordinated with all kinds of guest appearances from the interior design and DIY/craft world.

Below are just a couple of the highlights ...

All Rhinebeck Country Living Fair ticket holders are invited to visit the Country Living 2014 House of the Year created by Catskill Farms builders. “This year’s project is a 1,500 square foot ‘new old home’ that captures the charm, beauty, and character of the past.” The interior of this year’s House was a design collaboration between the Country Living editors and guest designers Tilton Fenwick. A complimentary shuttle bus is provided to and from the tour via the fairgrounds.

Suysel dePedro Cunningham and
Anne Maxwell Foster of Tilton Fenwick
photo via

I recently had the opportunity to see Anne and Suysel of Tilton Fenwick present their new line of Duralee fabrics at the Boston Design Center. Anne is actually a Boston College alum just like myself. The “Fenwick” in their firm’s name references her first dorm on the BC campus. I heard Anne and Suysel chose to feature a piece from friend Stacy Kunstel’s Dunes and Duchess collection in the house, so look for it if you go!

Also at the Fair will be Cari Cucksey from HGTV’s Cash and Cari who will be selling antiques and repurposed goods in Barn 34 all weekend. Check out the fun sneak peek video of the Country Living Fair below (with appearance by another HGTV design-star Emily Henderson) and let me know if you make it there!