Reader Question: How Do I Define My Own Style?

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Don't let a fear of being tacky render you tasteless." - Celerie Kemble

I got this email last week from Lisa in Soddy Daisy:  I am a newlywed and new homeowner and I am so excited about decorating my new place but my husband and I don't have a lot of money to put into decorating.  I am wanting some ideas on how to start decorating my home since I don't really have a style - I really don't know where to start.  Help!


Decorating your home can seem like an overwhelming challenge when you are starting from scratch.The best advice I can give you is to take your time!  The very best rooms are those that evolve over time.  Anyone can go out and buy a living room "suite" but what you will end up with is a room of coordinating pieces that lacks any charm or personality.  Take a look at these photos that feature matching furniture sets.

Matching furniture sets that have no personal style.

And now compare to these rooms that have a more collected, personal point of view.:

This room features a mix of furniture styles in both painted and wood finishes

Another room of non-matching furniture styles pulled together by color and personal collections

Harmony is found in this room through the strong blue walls and accessories and the mostly neutral furnishings (non of which "match")

A close up of diverse yet personal items displayed on a mantel

Rather than color, this room uses flea market finds and collections of framed art and books to make a statement

Collections of books, a white slipcovered sofa and a striped rug give this room a beachy, collected feel.

  So, Lisa, I would encourage you to take your time  and only buy things that "speak to you".  If you love it and it looks good, it is good!

Have you seen Lonny?

Friday, March 26, 2010

"I surrounded myself at the magazine with people who I thought had great taste and great style" - Deborah Needelman

My Saturday jaunts over to Barnes & Nobel at Hamilton Place to devour the latest issues of my favorite design magazines have been a bit fruitless lately as so many great shelter magazines have folded this past year.  Gone are my coveted Domino Magazine, Southern Accents, Country Home, Cottage Living and O at Home.  It seems the slow economy combined with the gaining popularity of design blogs has led to seriously declining advertising revenues for these publications making it impossible for them to stay in production. 

And now for silver lining! The stylish folks that created Domino Magazine have fearlessly launched a new online offering called Lonny that is yours for the viewing - no subscription necessary! 

Lonny showcases a lot of the same features found in Domino, and it has the same the stylish yet attainable aesthetic that Domino portrayed so beautifully.

For those of you whose tastes run more traditional with a southern twang, Southern Accents is also operating an online branch of the magazine. 

How do you feel about e-magazines over printed ones?  I know I prefer my magazines of the printed variety.  There is something so exciting about going to the mailbox and getting your latest glossy copy.  The evening plan is made.  Find a comfy spot with good light, a blanket (and those reading glasses I can never find) and you're off to a beautiful world where all the dinner dishes are cleaned and every last detail is in place!

All images above from Domino - R.I.P.

Next group of photos from Lonny

You can find beautiful images of luxurious southern homes like these at Southern Living

Have lovely weekend !


Personal Shopper: C. Martin Collection Antiques

Monday, March 22, 2010

"I love mixing the old with the new.  I love things that tell a story and have history." - Paula Deen

French design is alive and well in Chattanooga at C.Martin Collection in the 2 Northshore enclave on Manufacturers Rd. Owner Catherine Martin, who lived in New Orleans for a time, hand selects fine french furniture, mirrors, accessories and gifts for her store.  Thanks to Ms. Martin's discerning eye, merchandise is artfully displayed in charming vignettes that are set up throughout the shop.

Not to be missed are the lighting fixtures above the counter fashioned from textural old baskets and suspended from chunky, bronze colored chains.  There are also collections of beautifully framed botanical prints, unique lamps made from pottery jugs and deliciously scented home fragrances and candles. 

Whether you are a dedicated follower of french design or just looking for a one-of-a-kind piece to bring some character to your space, you will be delighted by the selection found at C. Martin Collection. 

C. Martin Collection
313 Manufacturers Rd., Suite 117
Chattanooga, TN 37405
Hours: Tues - Sat. 11-6

These basket lighting fixtures are amazing and would really add an element of warmth and contrast to a slick modern kitchen.

Classic sunburst mirror never goes out of style and this one's exquisite!

French settee dressed in avian print fabric. 

This is one of a great assortment of pottery lamps

I love this charming vignette created around a french sette covered in burlap and accented with those colorful throws.

An antique chair reinvented with avian themed fabric

Collection of mirrors and beautiful colored glass bottles.

A beautiful variety of hand-selected pieces await you at C.Martin Collection

Tres' Magnifique!

Yearning for Yellow

Friday, March 19, 2010

"It's a feel-good color, because it's light and refreshing and bright." - Joe Nye

This winter has taken its toll on many of us. So many cold, gray days and more snowfall than we have seen in over a decade!  I have the perfect antidote for the somber palette we have been dealing with - yellow!  And not that soft, creamy, buttery yellow.  Nope, the color I have a hankerin' for is the yellow with some teeth!   You know, the color of bright sunshine, lemons and canaries.  Pucker up and check these out:

Love how the lemony accents wake up this neutral space!

Design goddess Suzanne Kasler typically infuses a neutral room with accessories in a vibrant hue

Three words: bright, fresh, sunny!

Warming up  yet?

Yellow goes girly in Betsey Johnson's dining room

My eye goes straight to those vibrant yellow chairs!

Lots of pretty yellow pillows available at

Let the sunshine in!

Vintage Style Home for a Young Family

Monday, March 15, 2010

"All rooms ought to look lived in, and have so to say, a friendly welcome for the incomer." - William Morris

I am happy to share some photos with you from a young family's home in one of Chattanooga's oldest intown neighborhoods.  The Victorian style house is currently owned by an active young family with two children (and a third on the way) and an assortment of pets.  They have created a welcoming, friendly vibe that can be attributed to the mix of  antiques & family heirlooms, modern paint colors and accessories and a healthy dose of family photos and keepsakes.  Enjoy!

The home's exterior is painted in an unusual charcoal grey with white trim and accents of pink

Entryway with lovely heartpine floors and staircase

Formal living room boasts baby grand piano and the bride's portrait over the mantel

A dedicated playspace is tucked into a corner of the family room

The dining room is an artful mix with a crystal chandelier, fireplace and farmhouse chairs

Another view of the dining room in fresh green with red accents

The mostly neutral master bedroom gets a shot of color from the red pillows and piping on the duvet.

Master bathroom has heart pine floors and a clawfoot tub

Perfectly pink for the princess who sleeps here!

A favorite color scheme of the homeowner is the boy's room in green and blue

The children's bath enjoys a more vibrant color scheme. I love how the mirror reflects the colorful towels!

Ya'all come back!