Friday, October 30, 2009

More from BH Design Studio

Pick up mini pumpkins, gourds and
other fall decorations
this weekend at
Beth Hylan Design Studio.

Found by Beth ... large scale, pear-shaped
and goose neck gourds. Very cool!

White pumpkin centerpiece with fresh flowers by Beth.

What a whirlwind kind of week this has been! I have been catching up on a number of projects (and attending some great events which I will mention at another time) while planning for this weekend at Beth’s studio. Here are some more images from last weekends version of the shop. As I mentioned, it will be constantly changing to reflect seasonal inventory and guest designers. Since I was the main guest last week, I had three corners in the store to call my own. One is my permanent “Designer Corner” where I have put together a table with a designer vignette. Come by to see the entire space in person (I don’t want to give it all away) but here is a glimpse ...

Corner Number 1

Grapevine wreath with dried flowers created by
Beth hangs on a large black door
that serves
as a stylish backdrop to my designer table.

See if you can spot this bird in the shop ...
it has
been a design favorite of many!

Look for the white tag with the key logo on it ... these
are items that I have found or designed for the shop.

Corner Number 2

Vintage fabrics, wicker pieces and organic elements
with botanical art in the Garden Room.

I designed this space to represent the vintage look and feel of Beth’s work. I also have a table of fabric remnants in this corner that was enjoyed by many visitors who could not pass up a pretty floral print, toile or stripe (just like myself!)

Corner Number 3

The third space I set up as a childrens corner. Vintage games, baby items and youthful decorating ideas filled this space (plus a basket of books to entertain our littlest visitors).

My boys loved these black pencils in the pink decoupaged bucket.

Sweet pin by Beth.

This weekend this booth-like area will be transformed by our new guest, Donna Dreher of Threads Couture. I have partnered with Donna on a number of custom embroidery projects, most recently for The Stevens Estate in North Andover. Come by during the month of November to place your own custom embroidery order.

Loving these!

Donna has a lot of great new items like “cashmere-soft scarfs, gloves and shawls that would make sublime holiday gifts (order one for yourself while you have the chance!) And if you are looking for an accent piece for your home (like a monogrammed pillow) Donna and I can help you in creating it.

Shown here are just a couple of Donna’s items. This corner
is completely
filled now for the weekend ahead.

Beth Hylan Design Studio

159 Ash Street, Reading, MA
Open Saturday 10am to 5pm
Sunday from noon to 5pm
phone 781.246.8552

Napoleonic bee in frame by yours truly.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

First weekend at the Design Studio ...

Beth Hylan Design Studio is officially open! We had a great first weekend at the shop and I took lots of pictures that I plan to share with you over the course of this week. I will start with an “After” and “Before.”
The front of the store has two booth areas that will feature guest designers and vendors of unique items. For the opening weekend, I had both booths to design however I chose (will show inside views later).

This chalkboard frame at the entrance to these booths, was formerly a mirror that had broken. I discovered it in my neighbors trash last week (serendipity!) I rescued it (or picked her trash in broad daylight) and transformed it into this perfectly-sized-for-the-space chalkboard (chalkboard paint $15 for the quart). Many visitors to the store just loved it (sorry, not for sale!) but they left thinking about the value of broken items in a whole new way. Here is the mirror at the time of its roadside rescue ...

A designer vignette set up in my permanent corner of the shop.
Mini paper weight by Beth sells for less than $10.00.

My boys came in with my husband (can you say “four bulls in a china shop?) and we were all impressed with their very grown up behavior (huge sigh of relief from me ... Beth said they were more like busy little bees!) They particularly liked these black feathers that I used to decorate my cafe table.

Designer pick of the week #1:

Love these!
This pendant should go in my Lucky Charm collection!

Another “after”

After we closed the doors at 5 pm on Sunday, Beth sent me home with this very pretty arrangement that she just whipped up (she can do this stuff with her eyes closed ... it just amazes me!) I will post more pictures this week of how we decorated the shop for weekend one. The beauty is, the look will constantly change. It is almost like participating in a designer show house, but being able to do all the rooms I want.

I am very happy to be a part of the launching of Beth’s new business (thank you thank you thank you!) and to be able to show my stuff at the same time is icing on the cake.

Just one of Beth Hylan’s Antique Paper Art Jewelry creations.
So sweet!

As I used to write in my diary,
ML (more later ...)

PS Thanks to my husband for being Super Dad all weekend! Next Saturday and Sunday I will be in the shop for select hours which I will post later.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Have you seen me?

Do you recognize this fabric?

Everything has been going very smoothly with the launch and visual merchandising of my friend Beth’s new store Beth Hylan Design Studio that is scheduled to open on this Saturday, October 24th in Reading. Maybe a little too smoothly ... I recently discovered that a fabric I had planned to use for a new collection that I wanted to show in the store has gone missing. I am not sure where it ended up, but if it were to magically reappear I would be very happy! If anyone knows the name of this print please send me an email ... I miss it!

On a chair-ier note (pun intended!) here is a sneak peek at a before and after that will make its way over to the shop ...

Before ... I loved this fabric that I chose for this hand-me-down chair when it was in my dining room. A couple of mac ’n cheese lunches coupled with a few playdough sessions later, and it was no longer on my best-dressed list.

I have since made peace with my reality (“we just can’t have nice things” is a common phrase around here!) ...

Leather Parsons Chair from Target

My new chairs are completely kid friendly and look quite stylish with my traditional mahogany table (check back next week for a post on tables).

And now that I have a safe place to bring out some of my more delicate pieces, I decided to rescue the old chairs from their banishment to the garage and have since prettied them up to use as display for Beth’s shop.

After ... I am in love again!

Come see me (and the chairs) in person this weekend at the Studio. I will be there as much as our weekend schedule allows (hoping the hubby is looking forward to quality time with his four boys!)


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Designers take to the road.

Furniture by Sebastian Carpenter Design
I love how the round feet contrast with the
straight edges of this chair and ottoman set,
which are dressed in a new-to-the-line geometric
print and trimmed in chocolate brown velvet.

I had the opportunity to get a sneek peak at this warmly modern furniture vignette that was set up over the weekend at the home of architect/furniture designer Sebastian Carpenter.
These pieces (including the very cool sculptural green wall) will go on the road to the Fine Furnishings & Fine Craft Show being held in Providence, Rhode Island this weekend from Friday, October 23rd to Sunday, October 25th at the Rhode Island Convention Center.

Admission is only $10 to view over 100 American artists showing and selling handcrafted furniture, accessories, fine art and craft. Get a chance to see a wide variety of pieces – from traditional to contemporary – and talk to the designers themselves, just like I did (I love to hear the stories behind the design process). Here is what I saw this weekend:

Sebastian’s pieces are strongly influenced by his architectural training along with an inherited artistic eye (see my previous post from June ’09).

He strives to create furnishings that honor the use of natural resources. Many of his techniques, like the rich patina achieved by actually burning the wood of the sofa frame as seen above, employ unique methods to create aesthetic pieces in a
green way.

His lamps, with shades from Blanche P. Field, are elegantly sturdy and would certainly fit in the back of most cars if you are lucky enough to make it to Rhode Island to see the show.
These pieces are also available through the Boston Design Center or contact SCD directly to plan in advance for your next fine furnishing purchase.

These always make me smile ...
a pair of Pony Cubes from SCD.

Also at the show (among other exhibits) will be some incredible work presented by students that are currently enrolled in 3 furniture making programs throughout New England (one being at Rhode Island School of Design). I always wonder if my life would have been different if I had gone to RISD when given the chance way back when. Perhaps one of my boys has inherited my artistic talent and will take that route (although to be fair, BC was very good to me!) Either way, I guess my husband and I should start saving ...

“Mom and me” by Ben, age 5

As for me, this weekend I will be in Reading, MA for
the opening of my friend Beth’s new design shop:

Check out her new website and blog (which I designed for her) and be sure to stop by some weekend to see the great stuff that she has put together. She has taken antique paper (that she has been collecting for years) and has combined it in the most amazing ways to create jewelry and home decorating items that are simply inspiring. Beth will also be offering fresh floral arrangements “to-go along with vintage treasures. Her shop already feels very Beth to me. I find that I feel more creative just being around her!

This week, I will be helping with some prep work on the display areas in the shop for the Trunk Shows that will showcase guest designers over the nine weekends that the studio is open. As I have mentioned, design items from my collections will be on display in the store (thanks, Beth!). These pieces have been my own personal field of dreams (if you build it, they will come). In my case, if you are compelled to create art out of fabric and wallpaper, a store will magically appear to sell them!

From my “Best Friends collection.

Items like these are looking for a good home ...
come check them out for a limited time at:

Beth Hylan Design Studio
159 Ash Street, Reading, MA
Open Saturdays from 10 am – 5 pm
Sundays from 12 noon – 5 pm
Call 781.246.8552 for more info.

If you stop by the store, please sign my
guest book if I am not around to say hi!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Field trip ... fairgrounds as inspiration

Fall’s Bounty at the Topsfield Fair, 2009
Topsfield, Massachusetts

This weekend, my “boys” and I took a short ride from our present day farmhouse to see what working the land is really like by way of The Topsfield Fair. Started in 1818 by the Essex Agricultural Society for the purpose of promoting agricultural interests, The Topsfield Fair still educates and amuses visitors of all ages with its colorful displays, adorable creatures, and food you know you shouldn’t eat but what the heck! Although I have to say, even the prize-winning vegetables were tempting ...

In case you did not get a chance to go yourself, here is more of what we saw while walking the fair grounds.

A beekeeper vignette ...

I loved the sweet honey-yellow
painted floors in the bee house ...

Colorful coats ...

Designer-style coats ...

Of the hundreds of bunnies that we visited in the
Rabbit and Cavie House (a cavie is a guinea pig), not one was as darling as our family pet, Lucky Charm. Lucky is a Giant Flemish rabbit – the largest rabbit species there is (he could weigh in at 20 pounds or more when he is fully grown). We obviously chose a bunny big enough to survive four boys ... who actually treat him like gold!

Lucky at home.

I did take home this cute bunny business card holder (to add to my rabbit collection). I think I will bring it over to Beth’s shop when it opens in a couple of weeks. A small lucky charm for our new venture!

Speaking of collections, now I know what to do with all the found-on-the-side-of-the-road chairs that I have been “saving” in my garage ...

Chairs exhibited at the
Grange Building.

Chairs displayed by:
Norman’s Chair Caning & Upholstery
Ipswich, Massachusetts

The flower exhibit (my favorite) ...

“New England’s Premier Flower Show”
“Special Days to Green Up
in conjunction with the
Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts

A color trend for fall, inside and out ...
lavender with green

Ornamental cabbage always steals the show ...

A pretty window box idea ...

I wish my fall garden looked like this ...

This unusual floral mobile reminds me of ...

Pearl Lotus Flower Chandelier
from VivaTerra

Love the flower pots stacked one on top of another. Very sculptural. Almost looks like the carved wooden urns below from The Furniture Institute of Massachusetts.

Furniture Making Classes ...
Nights & Weekend Workshops, Fall 2009
with Philip C. Lowe, Master Furniture Maker/Director
Beverly, Massachusetts

I would consider taking one of these classes (perhaps as a night out with the hubby?) I always catch him whistling when he is doing carpentry work. We could make a pair of new chairs!

The rich colors of autumn ...

Fresh, stylish, gorgeous ...
Dahlias in a Perrier bottle.

More stand alone drama ...
a red Chinese Lantern Flower
gets a blue ribbon.

I love red paired with light blue ...

Pondicherry wallpaper from the
Cypress Collection by

Funnie on a rainy day ..

Shade for a sunny day ...

How I felt after so much visual stimulation ...

Sand sculpture by Justin Gordon

The above images represent the work of many talented artisans and craftspeople. I apologize for not writing down everyone’s name and information, but I was doing my best to snap a few shots while keeping an eye on four boys (plus one husband) who were going back and forth between fried dough stands and petting zoos (I was actually handing out Wet Ones as a just-in-case back-up after they used the stationed-everywhere-Purell!) Overall, each of us enjoyed a fun day (something for everyone) courtesy of the Topsfield Fair (until the sugar kicked in on the ride home ...)

What inspired you today?