Design Sensory

The way we feel in an environment is typically more than just the paint color, the layout or the furniture arrangement. While these are all significant contributors, your connection with a space is truly a collection of senses and impressions. It's the rich softness of a mohair upholstered settee, the way the sun beams shine through the window, a dramatically lit piece of artwork or an artfully arranged cocktail table. In an outside environment it might be a crisp breeze combined with the perfect melody of tinkling wind chimes and far off laughter. Life is in the details. I think I might be the most receptive to the sense of scent. It is pretty notorious that a wood burning fire on a chilly winter's evening gives you that homey-cozy feeling that only winter can provide. The smell of your neighbor bbq-ing confirms that long summer's nights are in full swing.  The slight rustle of musty fall leaves and you know kids are back in school and football season is well underway.

Aside from seasonal scent signals (say that 5 times fast!) the slightest trigger can jig an moment or a memory. I walk into a garage filled with gardening supplies and fertilizer and instantly I am reminded of my grandparent's garage in North Carolina. On the other hand, give me a hot day, a warm breeze, the beach and someone striking up a Marlboro Light and I am back to being 8 years old playing in the sand with my other grandma, Bebe. Surprisingly for someone who doesn't smoke, this scent, in this instance, isn't repulsive but almost comforting. She also had those miniature French lavender soaps in her powder room. I don't encounter a miniature soap that I don't think of her.

Speaking of soap.  You know that cheap industrial pink soap that fills almost every gas station, school or medical office's soap dispenser? Yeah. You know it. It has that kind of squirmy iridescence (or, should I say iridescent!?) to it. One squeeze of that soap and I am taken back to my sophomore year of high school, feverishly washing my hands after completing yet another day of our "fruit fly experiment". Gross. Talk about making someone weary of fruit aisles for life. Another high school trigger? Gucci Rush perfume. I didn't wear this scent, but one whiff and I am dancing at Sadie Hawkins or on my way to the Euro Disco dance. There are a few other strong scents that remind me of this short, but impressionable chapter in my life, but discussing them here might make you question the image that I was ever anything but a poster child for exemplary behavior.

Votivo's Red Currant will forever remind me of my college dorm room. As I tried to make my first real space have an air of sophistication (the futon covered in a batik print sarong, christmas lights and disc chair counteracted this effort) I would lightly spritz some Red Currant before by guests arrived. This, I thought, was way better than those Glade Plug-Ins.

I might be walking the streets of my small town in suburbia, but one sewer line goes awry and I am instantly transported to my time in Chicago, walking to work with the El rumbling under my feet (conjuring up a squalid scent potion all on its own!) and the cold wind whipping around the buildings. Oh, and chocolate. For some reason Chicago always smells like chocolate.

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Where might I be taking you but a quick trip down memory lane? Well, to tell you that while I have come to the realization that I am keenly aware of scents I also am attentive to how they contribute to the overall atmosphere of a space. Like I said in the beginning, it's the details that create the ambiance. Smells activate memories. The good, the bad, the gross and the beautiful. It is my sincere hope that from now on every time I smell lilacs I will think of a perfect day biking in Innsbruck- hopefully such a memory will be as easily obtainable as a fruit fly experiment. I always try to have candles lit throughout my home while I am entertaining, but also as I sit at home by myself. It's a small indulgence that can make any moment seem a little more special. When having guests over I like to mix in one scented with non scented candles to get the overall glow of candle light without smelling like a potpourri shop. When sitting at my desk (as I am right now!) I have a scented candle lit to ease some of the mundane. I change my candles by the season- keeping a diverse mixture in a convenient chest drawer in my living room. That drawer has a smell of fall spice mixed with spring tulips sprinkled with white pine and the bold notes of a currant rose musk. It's a fun drawer to open. Making these little extra efforts are not only inviting, but elevating. It's the way you utilize a space, make it a home and help create something a little more special.

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At the end of the day I'm not sure if people will associate my scent with white pine or white tulips, but I know it won't be Marlboro Lights, industrial pink soap and most likely not fertilizer. There might be a hint of Red Currant somewhere in there- that's a habit I'm still trying to kick.

 

Welcome, 2013

Happy 2013!

I hope you all had a nice holiday and are ready to embrace a new year!  There is always something very exciting about January and a fresh start. It gives us time to reflect, set new goals and go forward with an open mind. Here is a little visual recap of the last couple weeks:

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Myself, Scott and a couple of our friends started the Born & Raised Detroit Foundation.  This year we partnered with COTS to bring a little extra holiday cheer to an awesome local family. The car was packed to the brim with all sorts of goodies and we had a fabulous time shopping, wrapping and delivering the gifts.

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With many merry occasions I loved to accent with splashy red. This handbag by sarah oliver, was a gift last year from my friend, Stacey. Not only was it incredibly thoughtful, but I absolutely love that each bag is individually knit by the "Purlettes", a band of sassy seniors (average age 88!) at the Redwoods Community Center in Mill Valley California. I mean, how cute is that?! Not to mention, I visited Mill Valley last summer and it was one of my favorites little towns.

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Due to a fairly hectic work schedule, I did about 70% of my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the festive atmosphere of grabbing a few last minute gifts, but this year I might have saved a little too much for the eleventh hour. Even though I was running around like a crazy woman, I couldn't say no to grabbing a quick coffee and popover with two of my favorites at the Neimans cafe. I mean, you can't shop on an empty stomach, right?

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Christmas Eve we did the early service at Cranbrook (aka the Children's service). Loved seeing all those kiddos in their festive holiday attire!

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We had a gaggle of guests at my in-law's for Christmas Eve dinner. The food was delicious and it is our annual tradition to do a Chinese Gift Exchange. We put all unmarked, wrapped gifts in the middle and according to your number you either pick from the center or steal a previously opened gift. These are not gag gifts, but more so $100 very desirable gifts. It can get... feisty.

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I always love giving socks for Christmas. So much so that this year I think Scott got about 8 pairs. I just think a little unexpected foot flair is very exciting. These PACT socks I saw on the Today Show and bought them immediately because a percentage of the sales goes to support Detroit homeless women who sew winter coats that turn into sleeping bags for the local homeless- providing both jobs and warmth. Looking good for a good cause? Can't go wrong!

photoMy nieces are obsessed with princesses. It was maybe the cutest thing I have ever seen when they found princess tee shirts at the end of a scavenger hunt set up by Santa. Yes, that teeshirt says "Princess Molly is going to Disney World". Yes, she is in Christmas pjs. And, yes, she is test driving the Ariel beach towel. I die.

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Speaking of cute kids, this is my husband, Scott when he was about 3. This picture kills me.

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I hadn't done a puzzle in so long that I thought 1000 pieces seemed reasonable. This puzzle brought us all hours of entertainment on Christmas. I think this reinvigorated everyone's puzzle enthusiasm. It is on.

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Maybe my best gift was a total sleeper. I had no idea creating this memory game from Pinhole Press would not only entertain by excite my nieces. I made a set for each of them and they loved looking at the pictures of themselves with different family members. Instead of playing the game it was more of a show and tell- but all in all very engaging!

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As for my gift for Scott, my amazingly talented friend, Paige, painted this custom crest to commemorate Scott's 30th birthday.  She is a print designer at Lilly Pulitzer, so I knew it would be fabulous, but it even looks cuter in person. I am having it framed in a simple gold frame and we will have to find somewhere very special to hang it!

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What's Christmas without a yule log?

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Something about the way my mom does her mantles and garlands is just so familiarly festive. Their house always seems like the hub of Christmas spirit!

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Santa really stocked my bookcase this year. I cannot wait to dive into these design books. I really want to read them cover to cover, but in the meantime I cheated a little bit and took a sneak peak at some of the gorgeous photos. Also, we got some trusty Eyewitness guide books for a trip Scott and I area going to take this spring. Even with the ease of the internet, I love pouring over guidebooks and then fact checking with the internet resources. I am ready to put on my planning cap!

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I love the quite nights after the holiday rush where you can do super fun things like enjoy an evening crafting with one of your best friends.

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I also like the quite nights that allow you to go on an OCD cleaning spree.  Out with the old in 2013!  I did an efficient closet, basement and car clean out. Did it feel good! It appears I really love colored pants-ROYGBIV 4 life.

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Lastly, we welcomed 2013 with a little dinner party with close friends. With this new year there is a sense of the unknown. Who knows how we will be feeling this time next year, or what we will be reflecting upon. Whatever it may be I am excited to be ushering in a new year and another new chapter. Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

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It seems as though December has just flown by. I hope you all have enjoyed this season. I know it is still in full force as we narrow down to the actual days of Christmas but, as in most years, I always enjoy the days following up to Christmas almost more than the actual day. Don't get me wrong, any time you can be surrounded by friends and family gives one a reason to be thankful- especially with all that is going on in the world. Everyone keeps asking me if the holiday stress has caught up with me. In all honestly, it has not. Everyone on my list is getting one meaningful gift than a bunch of random gifts (meaning less running around!) and Scott and I have not overdone ourselves to make every holiday party or event. All in all I have been feeling very festive this year- here's a few highlights:

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Nothing really says Christmas shopping like popping in at RL. While this always will have one of my favorite interiors (grass cloth, seagrass, blue & white, navy, oils with picture lights, amongst many other things) and they really do a fabulous job jazzing it up for the holidays. This is my #1 spot to get in the retail spirit of things.

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Cookies, cookies and more cookies. I haven't decorated Christmas cookies in years, but when my mom's friend, Barb, had us over for a cookie bake (10 dozen to be exact!) I remembered what I have been missing out on. It was so fun! We also munched on some Christmas bark, warm chicken salad and vanilla coffee. The cherry on top of this Christmas sundae was that while decorating we watched a Hallmark Christmas movie. Boom!

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The cookies were a great thing to serve guests. My guests (pictured above) ate my entire 3 dozen over an evening of Pictionary, cocktails and a white elephant gift exchange. A new tradition for sure!

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Hogan might have snagged a couple of those cookies as he was exceptionally well behaved. Honestly, does this dog know how to be cozy, or what?

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I got really into hosting this holiday. We pulled out the nice stuff for my mom's birthday and I had a lot of fun setting a holiday table.

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I created these vintage inspired Christmas cards to send out to some showrooms and vendors. As you might have noticed, I have old photos on my website homepage and I thought I would continue that trend into this year's cards. Paper Source always is an inspiring place to kick off any craft project and once I was armed with the right supplies I found these photos of my Dad as a kid. He was just the cutest! And, yes, I decided to ditch the holiday stamps and pay tribute to Miles Davie & Edith Piaf, two artists I play throughout the day to get me through the boring hum-drum of paperwork.

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I always try to shop locally. Local Independent, Local Chain and last resort I resort to places like Amazon. Being a business owner, you have to realize the risk others take to open up a brick and mortar location. Also, it's an asset to any community to have thriving business districts. I like to support my neighbors who in turn contribute to making this a better place to live. These candles are from the independent pharmacy down the street from me. They have some fairly obscure European brands, not to mention an awesome market stocked with snacks and wine! For those of you local to Birmingham, stop in at Mills Pharmacy + Apothecary for some holiday treats :)

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Lastly, I have been running around this week to meet holiday deadlines and also get some images together for my portfolio. Last night I got down with my green thumb and made these arrangements to help stage a couple of the photographs we are taking today.

Alright, thats it!  I am signing off through the holidays, but I hope everyone has a safe, happy and exciting new year!

xo, Anne

Deck The Halls!

'Tis the season. The holidays are upon us and there is an undeniable festive vibe in the air. Maybe it's your traditions, maybe it's the red cups at Starbucks, twinkly Christmas lights or the holiday tunes you hear everywhere from the auto mechanic to the shopping mall. While life is always going to be fast paced, I am going to try to make a conscious effort this year to sit back an enjoy what the season brings. That probably means simplifying, but when you step back and look at the big picture that seems a little easier to do.

Fall Back

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend soaking in what could be some of the last fall color before we go into winter mode. There might be a couple weeks of crisp fall weather left, but when the next season is filled with holiday flair, festive parties and a lot of yuletide cheer, you realize there is always something to look forward to.

Fall Color Collections

Up to now, this fall has been pretty ridiculously awesome. Sandy and her destructive impact on the East Coast falls more under the frightening, frantic and imposing category, but something such as a hurricane must surely remind us that we humans are sometimes... human. In a day and age when we create solutions to test our own limits in order to overcome the constraints of mother nature (the space jump and Palm Islands off the cost of Dubai jump to mind) there are occasionally those moments where it is made very clear that we are all just at the whim of what this crazy world throws our way.

I really wanted to just throw some photos up here that show some of the great new Fall 2012 fabrics that have been showing up in my mail, but I felt it a little insensitive to discuss textiles when there is obviously a serious storm occurring out East. Not to mention, as I type this the winds that have made it all the way to Michigan still seem pretty darn dangerous! It's just a sampling, but every time I get a new padded envelope through my door slot I get pretty excited at the new beauties that are going to be inside.

chartreuse & purple

caribbean blue & tangerine

leaf green & lilac

and the good ol' standard blue & white!

Summa

'round these parts we are known for fabulous summers. Long days, cool nights and an anticipation from chilly winters creates a a lifestyle where people know how to sit back and enjoy the small pleasures of the summer months. And, one of the best perks from being on the western edge of the eastern time zone is that you can leave work at a reasonable time and still be able to enjoy a few hours of daylight...

  

  

  

 

Spring Cleaning

I know we are all are familiar with the age old phrase "spring cleaning". Whether you are one to abide by this seasonal purging ritual, or one to forgo the customary, cathartic cleanse, there is something we can all appreciate about the "out with the old and in with the new" mantra. You know what comes hand in hand with spring cleaning? Garage sales! Filled flea markets! This past week we kicked things off into high gear. While seasonal marketing can take place year round on sites such as ebay at etsy, there is nothing that can surpass the thrill of the hunt. The real deal, in person shifting, grazing, picking and choosing is where it is at.  Here are some pictures of the last couple days and as things are looking, it seems that we will be having favorable luck all summer long.

I am envisioning these hung up in a mud room and a cottage or lake out. Perfect storage for tennis rackets, beach towels, fishing poles and possibly the occasional nerf gun. That huge disk/ bowl in the back would be a to die for fire pit. Big, hunkin' piece of metal? Bring on the s'mores.

Delicious monogram inspiration. The worn leather cover and corner silver detailing aren't bad either.

Oh heyy........ There is enough going on in this snap shot to keep oneself drooling for a long time.

Sometimes it is just amazing to see the things that people decide to collect.  This might truly be a collection to be described by the ol' saying "one man's junk is another man's treasure".

This is a gorgeous French knot table cloth is simple, but still elegant. It has such a beautiful overall design I am thinking I might turn it into a duvet cover or coverlet to have someone enjoy the pattern and design everyday!

DYING over this wallpaper.  It's looking like this might be the perfect accent for a powder room. I always love black and white and these dogs add just the right dose of humor.

Speaking of dogs.... this picture keeps cracking me up. Poor Hogan, he sometimes must wonder why human's find the silliest things so entertaining.

You see this picture and you might not be able to get the tune "99 bottles of beer on the wall...."out of your head. Like I said, garage sales always provide entertaining and surprising  twists and turns. You really get an intimate look into people's lives! I think some of these beer cans were about 50 years old. I have a feeling authentic items like this might be a set designers dream, all I see is that the idea of a "man cave" is surely not a recent concept.

Lastly, I will tell you that I am in the midst of working on my own spring cleaning. This didn't consist of purging as much as I like (although later today I will be tackling the wardrobe switch over), but more of the organization aspect. I ventured out to IKEA to get some bookcases to organize fabric samples, furniture catalogues and everything that comes from working out of your house. Obviously, the only way to approach such a retail monster is to start in the IKEA cafe with a coffee and one of their world renowned cinnamon buns. Hype up on caffeine and sugar glaze and you will feel that pep in your step needed to navigate the high seas of big-box shop shopping (that and the self inflated confidence that you can in fact assemble anything). 

I was very excited when I made it back from my retail adventure and Scott not only volunteered to unload my car, but he also was pumped to confront the task of assembling the shelves and storage units. It is well known amongst our family and friends that while Scott excels in other areas, being handy is not really at the top of the list... or anywhere near the list for that matter. That being said, coming down to the basement and seeing Scott in full assembly mode with his hockey gloves doubling as his "work" gloves was met both with both hilarity and verification that proficient in-house handy work might not be in my immediate reality.

 

Happy Sunday!

 

 

 

Transcendental Transitions

I feel as though I find myself talking about the weather fairly often.  In our daily routine's weather always seems to play a relatively important role and, I mean, we have had some pretty funky seasonal changes in 2012. 85 degrees in the beginning of March? Who needs to season down in Florida with that kind of weather!? With our premature heat wave, we have inevitably fallen back into some of the growing pains of spring and are experiencing cooler mornings, threats of frost and blustery days. What these impulsive shifts allow us are some pretty magical early mornings. I took these photos around the Cranbrook grounds on an early morning in late March. It was pretty spectacular. I don't know that I have ever experienced a morning quite like it. I felt like I had stepped into the cover of the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. With a seemingly boundless fog creating a magical veil over the landscape I grabbed Hogan and we soaked in this special morning.

Winter Bliss

It seems to be if you are north of the Mason Dixon line and east of the Mississippi, you are going to have some serious gripe with the winter months. I've got news for you: unless a dynamic shift in global warming happens in the next 40 years, it's probably something you're going to have to get used to.  Although, for us Michiganders, we have had an eerily mild winter. This is not something that has me praising the snow gods, but rather wanting to embrace every snowy, cozy day.  As a kid, I used to be obsessed with watching the weather channel around the Christmas months, tracking the weekly high and lows  in hopes that the temperature would fall somewhere in that blissfully snowy sweet spot. Part of the beauty of living in a place with seasons is experiencing them.  Basically, if it's winter, I want Mother Nature to bring it.

To celebrate President's day 2012, Scott and I hopped in the car and headed to Northern Michigan for a weekend with friends filled with outdoor activities, long walks, fires (the real wood, crackly kind), homecooked meals, and long lazy days.  Now that's what were talkin' about.