Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Simple Joys

This year my holiday decorations
are quite minimalist in nature.

Perhaps I left a lot of my best ideas at Glen Magna?

But at least we have our tree up at home and shopping is (mostly) done! Now it’s finally time to celebrate spending quality time with my family. Have a wonderful holiday!

xoxo yvonne

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Show House Good Morning!

Last weekends show house brunch provided
by Linda Hentschel of i-Design Interiors

There is just one week left to visit the Designers Holiday Show House at Glen Magna Farms (ticket info here)! When I was first invited to walk through the estate back in early January to imagine how it would look renovated for a design show, I knew it would need a lot of work and TLC. Once show house preparation officially began, there were many individuals – designers, volunteers, and hired contractors – behind the transformation of each room. In my three spaces alone, I worked with over two dozen people to accomplish my design goals on time (we had just one month to work on-site). When I post final photos of my rooms, I will share the pros behind the makeover. For now, take a peek at my post for Williams-Sonoma Designer Marketplace where I share advice on “How to Have a Good Relationship with Your Contractor. Because in the end, every great project is accomplished with teamwork!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Designers Holiday Show House Sneak Peek!

flower arrangement by Laura Thomson Design for one of my rooms
at the Glen Magna Farms Designers’ Holiday Show House

For the past month, I have truly enjoyed traveling down the long unpaved drive that leads to the grand Endicott Mansion located at Glen Magna Farms in Danvers. I have spent the last four weekends working on my suite of rooms there (with lots of help during the week from a list of others), transforming these spaces and furnishings from worn and weary to show house ready. And with each visit, every time I took the first turn off of Centre Street to follow the signs to Glen Magna Farms, I felt a little bit like I was heading home.

I am not exactly sure why the property has this strong affect on me. Perhaps the emotional imprint is simply because I worked there for a number of summers in my twenties, enjoying the view of the landscaped grounds and the fleeting luxury of being a part of the mansion lifestyle. Even still, there is something about passing the open fields, stone walls, and tall mature trees leading up to Glen Magna that just feels right to me. Most likely this strong association is a result of being New England born and raised, but there is also a part of me that tends to imagine that perhaps I lived there hundreds of years ago during a time when every day was unplugged and people dressed for dinner and danced in the evenings to live music in the ballroom. 

This past Saturday night was the preview gala at Glen Magna, and it truly felt like a step back in time. There were elegant gowns and well-tailored tuxedos, sparkling champagne being served on silver platters, a harp playing classical music mixed with traditional holiday favorites in the foyer. A large tent (heated) was set up just off the back porch where designers and guests could mingle before heading in for the guided tour.

with my honey, John, who I met while working
summers at Glen Magna over 20 years ago

my dear friend and designer of the Bride’s Room
Linda Hentschel with her husband Kurt

with new friends, fellow Glen Magna Farms Show House designers
Candy Weston and Jennifer Dunn Coen in the dining room

Matthew Martin, Buildings and Grounds Restoration Manager
with Heather King, Glen Magna Farms Special Events Manager 

A press day photo in the two story foyer at Glen Magna Farms. From left to right ...
Front row: Caitlin Flynn, Diana Kennedy, Linda Hentschel, Jennifer Dunn Coen, Donna Terry. Back row: Elyse Parkhurst, William Ralph, myself, and Michael Carter. Missing from photo: Candy Weston

Designer Candy Weston and decorative artist Karen Ward received the “traveled the farthest prize for making many trips back and forth to Glen Magna from their homes in Vermont and Nantucket. While my ties to Glen Magna began a couple decades ago, Candy’s history to the estate goes back much further (and was somewhat of a surprise to her). You will have to come see the estate for yourself to hear and see the details!

I will post room photos after the show closes on December 15th. Please consider visiting the show and taking in the holiday and design inspiration while helping to raise funds to continue the renovation and preservation of this lovely historic property that all are able to enjoy today and for years to come.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Relationships with Designers + Clients

photo credit: Andrew Swaine

Every so often, I am asked to serve on a committee to assist in the promotion and marketing of an event. In September, one of those events was with the New England chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID NE). It was a two-part event that offered both a Distinguished Speaker presentation and then concluded with the Excellence in Design Awards. The event was hosted at a former Lamborghini showroom on the North Shore that is now used for catered events. It was the perfect venue for a group of designers who appreciate a unique space. 

photo credit: Andrew Swaine

With Katherine Hawkins, Amanda Greaves, Jill Janasiewicz, Lynda Onthank

Our committee meetings leading up to the event were so much fun! We were fortunate to have a busy group of designers involved who know how to get things done. Each of us had specific tasks (my job was event graphics) but all of us pitched in wherever needed to help make the event a success. During our meetings leading up to the event, we often shared stories about the design projects we were working on, and how we handled client needs. Since client relationships can determine how much fun one has on the job, we decided to have our guest speaker discuss this topic.

Mary Beth Haggerty and Jill with guest speaker Angela Merola

We selected professional speaker Angela Merola, a life-business-spiritual coach to present Client Magnetism: Tools to Attracting Clients. She was very engaging, encouraged audience interaction, and shared many valuable tips on how to find perfect clients and increase profits while doing so.

event florals for the evening were done by Laura Thomson Design
photo credit: Andrew Swaine

Angela actually offers confidence-boosting presentations on her website. But if you are an ASID designer and need CEU credits before the year ends, you must purchase an actual DVD and then take an online test afterwards to receive the credits. It is definitely worth the commitment either way! Details here. 

I wrote a brief blog post for Williams-Sonoma Designer Marketplace highlighting some of the client relationship building tips that Angela shared with us back in September. Check it out here. For this post, the Designer Marketplace team chose some great photos from Williams-Sonoma. There is actually one in the post that looks a lot like how my coat closet for the Glen Magna Farms Designers Holiday Show House is going to look. How did they know??! Stay tuned for my own photos in a couple of weeks. Better yet, come visit me there! The mansion has been buzzing with designers and artists working their magic in preparation for the big reveal and we can’t wait to show it off! It opens December 1st. Ticket info here.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Magic of Glen Magna ...

My next few weekends are devoted to pulling together my three rooms for the upcoming Glen Magna Farms Designers’ Holiday Show House. There will be a gallery space, a small powder room, and a former coat room that will be transformed into a glamorous walk-in-closet-type lounge. I have many people working with me to make this all happen by the gala preview party which is November 30th. The show will be open to the public from December 1–15th. There is a great group of designers involved in the transformation of this historic property that is used as a special events venue. Many of us, we discovered, have a special history with the estate. Here is a look back to how my relationship with Glen Magna Farms began ...

Friday, November 8, 2013

House Beautiful shout outs!

What does it mean when two people that I know are both noticed by House Beautiful within the same season?  #talentedfriends Laura meet Tami. Tami meet Laura.
Happy to know you both! 

– my go-to-pro for floral design –

– met on #BlogTourLA in October –

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stalking the Jet Set at Walker Zanger LA

#BlogTourLA paparazzi capturing the reveal of “Jet Set
the new mid-century modern collection from Walker Zanger

Even though I work at a bath showroom, I am discovering that there is still a lot for me to learn about designing with tile. There are so many great options out there beyond white subway and tumbled marble! While an invited guest on #BlogTourLA in early October, I was exposed to some of the latest collections released from the tile artisans at Walker Zanger. I was inspired!

The members of #BlogTourLA were invited for a showroom tour which began with the introduction of the Jet Set collection which is a nod to mid-century design. This modern day collection was influenced by the bold graphic patterns of the 1960s – an era when air miles were not accumulated for points, they were enjoyed en route to exotic (often times this meant domestic) destinations. Patterns from around the globe are present in this worldly collection that speaks to a time when traveling by air was indeed a luxury. After flying over 3,000 miles from the East Coast to enjoy being a part of #BlogTourLA, I felt a kindred spirit with the concept behind this collection.

Jet Set Collections from Walker Zanger

Below are some snapshots from our blogger’s tour of the beautiful Walker Zanger showroom ... 

Architectural Digest West Coast editor Mayer Rus welcoming
#BlogTourLA to Walker Zanger showroom on Melrose Avenue

A bit of brunch served at Walker Zanger showroom

Fabulous showroom moment: marble soaker tub with
Perrin + Rowe tub filler, Afina mirrors, mosaic tile

Tile love: subtle bubble backsplash

I am also loving: chevrons!

Moroccan style: a favorite for Cheryl Kees-Clendendon

Noteworthy: blogger Ronique Gibson posing with tile that poses as wood

On trend: rustic furnishings paired with sleek tiles in neutral colors

Recently discovered that these monogramed decanters (there is a W on one wooden orb and a Z on the other) are available via West Elm. They looked striking next to the mosaic wavy wall tile in the Walker Zanger showroom.

Thank you, Mindy Miles Greenberg, for taking this photo
of me with a favorite pattern from Walker Zanger: AnTeak

Stay tuned for some upcoming bath and kitchen tile projects inspired by Walker Zanger! For now, check out my #JetSet inspiration board on Pinterest.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Comparing kitchens ...

A newly remodeled kitchen by Kristina Crestin Design
features super sized light fixtures, glass tile backsplash
bright green metal stools at the kitchen island.

An older kitchen that’s still on trend when outfitted
with industrial chic stools and black Viking hood.

A couple weeks ago I visited eight distinct kitchens that were on the 6th Annual Wenham Museum Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour. Check out what I discovered is trending in some of our neighbor’s kitchens via my post for Designer Bath. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

writers block ...

– image that will be in an upcoming post –

Maybe challenging myself to write a complete post everyday was too much to ask? I did work on a post today, composed about two dozen emails, and tweeted a number of times ... must check word count on all of those combined ...

For the aspiring novel writers out there, a twitter prompt is available for motivation – @NaNoWordSprints – encourages quick bursts of unedited prose. Just like runners who push themselves to go their fastest knowing it will only be for a brief time, writers are coached to come up with 1,000 words in just 30 minutes. Topics are provided and the goal is to get word count as close to 1K as possible. Perhaps there is something to be said for putting a time limit on the writing process? I will give it a try ... tomorrow.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Putting pen to paper ...

(bloggers = wine rings?)

I recently discovered that November is National Novel Writing Month. Across the country writers are being challenged to pen 50,000 words in 30 days, and are gathering together in person and online to encourage one another to write that novel that is inside them. I have always imagined writing a novel. These days, however, my story telling is strictly blog related. My son, who is just 11, loves reading and writing. He has been actively working on character studies and plot development for the past year or so. He just might be the real writer in the family.

#BlogTourLA designers/writers on our last night held at
the private rooftop club at boutique hotel Petit Emeritage

When I was in Los Angeles in early October with the dozen or so members of #BlogTourLA, we each discussed our blog writing schedules. Some of us were down to one post a week or month, while some still try to write every day. A lot of us write not just for our personal blogs, but for other online design destinations, so our own blogs sometimes get put on the back burner.

There was a time when many bloggers felt compelled to write multiple times a day. I remember enjoying morning, noon and night updates from some of my favorite bloggers (I was home with the kids back then, so it was a great way to connect with the outside world!) Today, there seems to be much less free time to write and enjoy posts. But the need to “tell a story is still there.

I am the first to admit that my blog posts tend to run long. I do a lot of research and try to fill each post with original photos and valuable links to learn more. This takes a lot of time. Sometimes I put off writing because I need a good chunk of undisturbed quiet time to finish a post. Even so, I am going to challenge myself to dedicate more time to writing this month – the posts may end up being shorter or less fine tuned – in order to share all the great design content I have experienced lately.

The aspiring authors participating in National Novel Writing Month set a goal of 1,667 words a day. I may not write that many, but I will try to pen something daily as an exercise in writers solidarity!

Today I am kind of cheating by sharing a post that went live this week on Williams-Sonoma Designer Marketplace where I explain the pros and cons of participating in a designer show house. Seems appropriate that this post came out the day that work began on the Danvers Historical Society Glen Magna Farms Designers’ Holiday Show House. I was there today doing some measuring and prepping ... stay tuned for updates (see, more content to write about!)

photo credit Eric Roth // interior design by Katherine Hawkins for Trio Design

{Read my 1,500+ word Designer Marketplace post here.}

Sunday, October 20, 2013

#BlogTourLA in the Kitchen

The Poggenpohl LA showroom hosted #BlogTourLA Oktoberfest style

One of our first nights in LA was hosted by three of the premier #BlogTourLA sponsors: Poggenpohl (custom kitchen cabinet solutions), Blanco (designer quality kitchen sinks and faucets) and Gaggenau (German engineered cooking appliances). We carry Blanco in the Designer Bath showroom, so I am quite familiar with their innovative product line. The other two I have also seen before, but learned a lot more about the history of these exceptional brands while enjoying authentic German-fare and a stein or two with my BlogTour pals in the very chic, just opened Poggenpohl LA showroom.  

A modern all white kitchen by Poggenpohl with backlit back splash.

Washing dishes in this extra large sink from Blanco would be a pleasure!

Poggenpohl kitchens are completely customizable. In their LA showroom, warm wood finish cabinet doors combined with stainless steel accents and glass wall panels creates a look that is predominantly modern with a hint of traditional. I’d call this clean look professional minimalist. 

Poggenpohl pull-out drawers provide accessible storage and ease of use

– photo courtesy Gaggeneau –

This induction cook top from Gaggenau will recognize a pan regardless of where it is placed. Induction ranges use a magnetic field to immediately transfer heat to a special cooking vessel designed to work with induction. It is an extremely energy efficient way to cook that also allows for precise control of temperature. Another bonus is that the cooking surface is cool to touch as soon as the special pan is removed, instead of it having to “cool down like a typical cook top. I love this safety feature, especially with children in the house (although almost all of mine are old enough – or at least tall enough – to prepare their own meals now!) 

– photo courtesy Gaggeneau –

The Vario cooling series from Gaggeneau offers modular units that may be combined countless ways to create a custom refrigeration wall. The spacious interiors are stainless steel, and these sleek units are noted for being the quietest in their class.

Blanco Silgranit sink in cinder (on my kitchen remodel wish list!)
with the matching Alta faucet // photo courtesy Blanco

Blanco products have won numerous awards for rethinking the kitchen sink. Their Silgranit finish comes in a wide range of appealing colors (biscotti, truffle, and metallic gray are just a few). The surface is extremely durable while being scratch, stain and heat resistant. Silgranit, which is composed of about 80% granite, is also inherently anti-bacterial. I love how the sink above looks like a modern version of a traditional slate or soapstone sink. I know it will fit in perfectly with my farmhouse kitchen remodel. #onmylist

Finally meeting Lori Dolnick of Blanco

Poggenpohl cabinetry is meant to feel furniture like, allowing them to function beautifully in open concept living spaces.

Part of our BlogTourLA group enjoying their Oktoberfest meals.

Thank you Poggenpohl, Gaggenau and Blanco for sharing your brand stories with us, for a delicious Germany-inspired dinner, and for sponsoring #BlogTourLA! 

Saying goodnight: bloggers Emily Anderson of Good with Style
with Los Angeles designer Christian May of Maison21

The following day, we got to see some of these quality brands on display at the WestEdge Design Fair, staged in the Barker hanger in Santa Monica. Gaggeneau had a number of chef-worthy cooking combinations set up for us to explore.

BlogTourLA capturing Emily posing with Gaggenau at WestEdge Design Fair

Gaggenau Vario cooktops at just 15 inches across each combine seamlessly

A Boston area Poggenpohl flashback ...
A couple of my favorite Poggenpohl finishes seen while attending
a design event at a local showroom that carries the line.

Our LA gathering captured by Blanco ...

Watch the BlogTourLA Oktoberfest video here!

Thank you Modenus and BlogTourLA sponsors!

More of what we saw while on
#BlogTourLA to come ...