Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Happy Place

Working at the Designer Bath showroom for the past six months has opened my eyes to a wide range of beautiful fixtures that I never knew existed before. Along with being crafted of the highest quality materials, the product lines they carry almost always have brand-specific collections created for them by world-renowned designers (Jason Wu for Brizo, Barbara Barry for Kallista, and Phillipe Stark for Duravit for example).

Since I have a few bath renovation projects on my to-do list (well technically on my husbands list : ) I have been daydreaming about bringing home some of the pretty pieces that I have recently discovered. Since there is no way that I can choose just one look (I have come to love and appreciate so many different styles, choosing one will be like choosing a favorite child) I am going to start putting together a few different design plans and then see what works for my “significant others.” Seeing that I share my space with all guys, I have to come up with a look that is boy friendly, but that still appeals to my need for a bit of glam.

My first design plan incorporates a collection from Duravit that is called Happy D created by Sieger Design of Germany. This classic, yet modern, Bauhaus-inspired style is pretty to look at, but not the least bit fussy. I am particularly fond of the metal console beneath the washbasin that functions as a towel bar. Geometric patterns like the herringbone shower curtain and hexagon floor tile work for both boys and girls, while a print of a tuxedoed bird speaks to the formal art of getting dressed in a gender neutral way. By including some bright red accents to this mostly utilitarian space, I get my girlie-fix in a room that still welcomes the yin to my yang. 

Stay tuned for more design plans featuring brands that have caught my eye in the showroom. If you could design the bath of your dreams, what would it look like? 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Northshore Magazine Launch Party

I admit it, I love a good party! Seriously, who doesn’t? And when business and pleasure intersect, well sign me up! I recently attended the launch party for the Home issue of Northshore Magazine at Lucia Lighting. Designer Bath has been advertising with Northshore for years so a few of us from the Beverly showroom were there to toast the latest issue.

With my friends from Designer BathBeezee Honan and Sharon Hunt

Our most recent ad in the magazine features the work of Finn-Martens Design. Patricia Finn incorporated items from the Designer Bath showroom in her vignette for the North Shore Design Show held at the Wenham Museum last May. As the Marketing Director at Designer Bath, one of my goals is to support the work of local design professionals. We loved how Pat created a spa retreat with her favorite items from our showroom, and I knew this professional photo taken at the show by Eric Roth would look great as a full page ad. I plan on showing off more designers work in the future ... click here for more details!

Pat was at the launch party with her husband Leon. Our mutual friend, Mary Donovan, who is now working with Landry and Acari, was also among the invited guests. Mary has helped me find the perfect carpet for many of my design show spaces.

Mary Donovan of Landry and Acari
with Leon Martens

Lisa Amore of Lucia Lighting with
Kelly Schetzsle of Northshore Magazine

Along with being a fun place to host a party, Lucia’s has the most amazing selection of classic and on-trend lighting options. I have bought items from them for my own home and have sent many decorating clients their way over the years. In the works is a collaboration for the next North Shore Design Show as well as a special event that we will announce at a later date. 

Selections for the home from the March/April issue of Northshore Magazine

While the Lucia showroom dazzled with its ambient lighting set against a backdrop of historical elegance (the showroom is in a multi-story renovated Victorian mansion), the event itself was beautifully coordinated by my good friend, Laura Gifford of Gifford Events. The food presentation was beyond gorgeous ... click here to see mouth watering photos of the entire menu (plus launch party guests) taken by Barbara Lynch Photography. I really wish I ate more when I had the chance but as usual I was too busy chatting. Here are a couple more photos that I took (and some that I borrowed).

Suzanne Roche of Northshore Magazine with event coordinator Laura Gifford

Sally Wilson of Wilson Kelsey Design with
Kathy Keegan of Northshore Magazine

John Kelsey of Wilson Kelsey Design with Debra LaPorte

in the current issue of Northshore Magazine.

We all left with a full bag of goodies (above are just a few of my favorites) including Designer Bath guest soaps (they smell like lavender and have our logo embedded in them) that I ordered through Sweet Soaps, a great company that I discovered while on Twitter. This is what they looked like before sending them off to the Northshore team ...

Cakes for Occasions of Danvers

Another favorite from the goodie bag was a sprinkle covered chocolate cake pop which was promptly eaten as soon as I got home! Thank you to the team at Northshore Magazine who put together this fabulous event and to Lucy Dearborn at Lucia’s for being such a bright and gracious host!

Click here to see the online version of 
Northshore Magazine Home section.
(I am quoted on page 27 : )

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Pinterest Valentine

A carnation sundae (so easy!) created at our Garden Club
pre-Valentine’s Day meeting (red oasis is the secret ingredient) 

Homemade sugar cookies served on a silver tray
(Garden Club ladies know how to host a pretty party ; )

Dove chocolates that I received from my boys
(discovered on my bed forming the shape of a heart)

Origami heart with hugs + kisses pattern
 for my boys (I made them each one)

{origami heart how-to}

happy valentine’s day
xoxo yvonne

ps all photos are mine but feel free
to pin them if you are a fan : )

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Decorating tips with Valentine’s Day in mind ...

Color consultations are a big part of my design business.
Here is a taste of some pretty sweet spaces ...

On Lynnfield Patch:  D E C O R A T I N G  W I T H 
C H O C O L A T E , W I N E , A N D  R O S E S

{click here}

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dear Sweet Tooth ...

A true love confession from guest blogger,
Pamela N. Simoneau

It’s not my fault. It’s genetic. I can trace the lineage of the pesky gene back several generations. Fortunately for me, the Bean in Beantown refers to the cocoa bean. At least it does for this chocoholic. Needless to say, my Valentine’s Day – ok and most holidays – must feature some kind of sinful, soul-satisfying treat. That’s mainly because unlike regular days, the calories don’t count on special occasions like holidays and birthdays. Yes, Anybody’s birthday. 

This Valentine’s Day, consider giving your chocoholic friends or loved ones the sweetest experience in Boston: The Boston Chocolate Tour. Envision sampling the sublime while strolling Boston’s picturesque sidewalks. Pre-planned stops en route allow local purveyors to showcase their best creations and to offer a subtle education on the origin and evolution of their chocolate delicacies.  

As any fanatic worth her salt, or sugar, will tell you, a chocoholic can easily source a tasty morsel to quiet a craving. But the experts at Boston Chocolate Tours have assembled a heavenly smorgasbord of chocolate confections for indulging. For my first Boston Chocolate Tour – oh yes, there will be others – I chose the Back Bay route from a list of five individual Boston area tours.

From cocoa infused espresso at the Nespresso Boutique through Ben & Jerry’s chocolate chunk ice creams, Back Bay tour members encounter layers of previously-uncharted chocolate territory. Consider a chocolate lip balm from natural cosmetic company Lush, for example. “Lips like sugar” takes on a whole new meaning.  

Then check into Hotel Chocolat to experience a more luxurious suite of chocolate. Better than a traditional hotel, this shop is a highlight on the tour. It is by all definitions a sanctuary of authentic, gourmet chocolate. A few minutes in their tasting room will have you happily reaffirming your addiction. Their knowledgeable staff shares the establishment’s fascinating history and philosophy while you follow along, tasting chocolate that can only be described as transcendent.  

On the day of my tour, our guide Victoria steered the party down Newbury Street while narrating amusing stories with chocolate-related anecdotes. The group also stopped at Teuscher to savor their signature Champagne truffles. Afterwards, those not blissfully intoxicated by sophisticated concoctions, moved on to the award winning SWEET Cupcakes.  Here, the seasonal delights are as tasty as they are decorative. 

via Sweet Gallery

My advice? Try everything. Take home the few samples you’re too full to eat during the tour to share with family or to squirrel away in your own secret stash. Either way, this sensational tour will leave you and your Valentines celebrating the day chocolate ascended from dessert menu to main event.  

For more information about the Boston Chocolate Tours, or to make reservations for a tour or a chocolate making workshop, go to www.bostonchocolatetours.com

image via MIT Endicott House

This year as a special bonus, Boston Chocolate Tours is offering a Valentine’s Day Weekend of chocolate-related events. Taste of Chocolate and the MIT Endicott House have teamed up to present A Chocolate Lover’s Weekend on February 11th and 12th. The weekend begins Saturday at 9am with an Introduction to Chocolate and wraps up with a Chocolate Truffle Workshop on Sunday. Come for all or for part of a day. For information and reservations for the Chocolate Lover’s Weekend, call 617-253-5211 or email info@mitendicotthouse.org

Pamela N. Simoneau is a regular contributor

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Designers and social media ...

Photo credit: Yvonne Blacker

A couple weeks ago I stopped by a friend’s house (Linda Hentschel) to help set her set up a facebook page for her interior design business (Renaissance Interiors). We were going to start with a blog, but figured facebook would be a good place to try out the whole “online sharing” experience.

While we were sitting in her lovely dining room, the black painted sideboard above caught my eye. There was something vaguely familiar about it. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew I had seen it somewhere before.

Linda told me she had found this piece at a vintage store and had to have it, even though at the time of purchase it was your standard dated-looking wood finish sideboard. But she could tell it would be the perfect piece on which to set up a buffet station and to store large serving ware until needed for entertaining (which Linda does a lot!)

Turns out, I had been following the transformation of this piece on facebook (and not on my friends page, because she wasn’t even on facebook at the time)! We both follow the work of Linda Holt, a designer in Boxford (she had a decorated space in the Boxford Holiday Homes Tour). She is part of a new business called Chalk It Up established with her friend, artist Susan Siefer (of MadPatter ArtDesign). The piece above was taken from ordinary (but with pretty lines) to one-of-a-kind fabulous with a special chalk-based paint plus hand applied wax finish. See the before – and during – photos below ...

Pretty cool, huh? On February 11th, Chalk It Up will be hosting a hands-on workshop in North Andover featuring how to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Did I mention there is no stripping or priming needed??? Like Chalk It Up on facebook to get the details on this workshop and follow them to see more furniture transformations.

Congrats to Linda Holt and Susan Siefer on their new business, and also to Linda Hentschel for dipping her toe in the social media pool! You will be blogging in no time : )

Maybe you can start by sharing the story of how this peacock from New England Fine Living ended up in your family room??? Or reminisce about our days working together at The Stevens Estate in North Andover? Or share with us some behind-the-scenes at the Steampunk room you are designing with the ModVic team at Audio Concepts?

We always share a lot of laughs and designer secrets when we get together – I can’t wait to read your stories online (and please throw in a couple family recipes, too, while you are at it!)

Nancy Faye Glass, Linda Hentschel and Yvonne Blacker
The Stevens Estate, North Andover, February 2011