Monday, March 22, 2010

From the floor on up...

The theme today is carpet. Not the broadloom that your home may have wall to wall in many rooms, but individual carpets or rugs that you bring into your home to tie your room together, to make a statement, or to make that room complete. Given that statement, it would be easy to assume that the rug or carpet is the last thing to be added into a room. In reading many an article, design books galore and even direct quotes from people in the business, if you are not already thinking this, it is time to change your decorating order. The rug comes first. Speaking with Brad Andonian, co-owner of Pande Cameron (Bellevue/Seattle) , I learned that when you are decorating a space, you should build from the foundation up. Instead of running around with a paint chip, trying to be matchy matchy with your carpet and furnishing choices, find that perfect rug first. Brad said that it is very easy to highlight a given color(s) while at the same time, drawing less attention to others, so your rug does not need to an exact match to everything around it. Once you have that carpet, you can then go about choosing your furniture, window coverings and paint. Brad is the third generation of his family to own Pande Cameron, which has been in the Seattle area since 1924. When asked about assisting clients with a carpet purchase, Brad showed his expertise by stating that he always asks where someone lives, the direction a given room faces and what their needs are (living room, dining room, family room, master bedroom). He is so readily aware of the various areas and neighborhoods in the Seattle area that by hearing which neighborhood a client lives in, he immediately knows the amount of light a given neighborhood has as well as the general architectural feel of that area. Of course the direction of the room in question, allows a good understanding of how much direct or indirect sunlight that room will receive.

When you are ready to shop for an area rug, there are so many options from A-Z as to where you will go to shop for your rug. Initially, go through design magazines and online to get a head start in figuring out the styles that you like but when it comes to purchase time it really is recommended that you go live with the shopping so that you can use more than one sense to find the right one. Touching as well as seeing the rug is good. For mud rooms or the kids art room, area rugs from Ikea, Pottery Barn and the like are just fine but designer John Kurtz (former host of Art Underfoot and now designer for New Moon) says "You should buy the best rug you can afford, even it means living with bare floors while you save up your pennies. Look for good quality natural materials such as wool and silk. A high-quality wool rug will wear well and even look better over time, says Kurtz. Wool has the capacity to develop its own patina through exposure to light and air and feet walking on it. It's like having a wonderful piece of wood furniture and rubbing your hand over it every day". Washington based interior designer, Patrick J. Baglino, Jr. says "Sisal, jute and grass rugs often cost less, but are difficult to clean and don't last as long. "If you spill red wine on it, that rug is gone." The general guideline for how much to spend is relative to how much you are spending on the rest of the room. In a living room, the rug should be priced at as much, if not more, than the sofa. Set your price limit before you shop, then add 10 percent to give you some flexibility within that price range.

Once you do find the one, be sure to take care of it, as you would any other piece of art in your home. Brad, from Pande Cameron recommends the following; "In home broadloom should be professionally cleaned 2/x year for cleanliness, wear etc.
Area rugs should be cleaned regularly to increase life; if not, dirt reaches the base of the knot and acts as an abrasive and degrades the condition and durability of the rug. At $2.50 a square foot, area rugs should be cleaned every 3-5 years and pads should be replaced at that time". When a rug is cleaned it should have both the back and front thoroughly scrubbed and washed to ensure a deep and complete clean.

I did go to visit the Bellevue showroom of Pande Cameron and instantly felt the need to bring home all new area rugs. While, I did put a wish list together, I did abstain THAT day but I know I will be back soon. While Pande Cameron has a large selection of both traditional and antique area rugs, because they design and commission their own carpets, they have created a Craftsman series to suit the older homes of many Seattle neighborhoods but also many contemporary rugs as well. Some of my favorites were:

"Silk Road" - handknotted wool pile on cotton foundation with silk accents. $5995 for 6'x9'

"D Swirl" in kelp - handknotted wool pile on cotton foundation. $5400 for 5'x8'

"Bamboo Coral Honey" - handknotted wool pile on cotton foundation. $2995 for 5'x8'

"Wrought Iron" in terracotta - handknotted wool pile on cotton foundation. $5400 for 5'x8'

"Vase" in charcoal - Handknotted wool pile on cotton foundation. You have to see this one in person, it was fabulous. Traditional design with updated colors. $5995 for 6'x9'

"Border Rug" in cinnamon - other colors include sage and graphite. Handknotted wool pile on cotton foundation. Perfect basic for high traffic areas. $995 for 5'x8'.

I hope this information is helpful and inspires you for the next time you are ready to create or re-create a room in your home.

The most important consideration in buying a rug is finding something that "has a beating heart and is going to please you every time you look at it," says Kurtz. "A great rug, a place to sit, a can of paint and you're done."

For any questions about the carpets above, custom carpets or carpet cleaning and mending, contact Brad Andonian through the Pande Cameron link mentioned above or through his email at:

Happy Decorating!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Rose Colored Glasses...

Back in the day I used to have a boss and everyone said he wore rose colored glasses. Although many of us were frustrated by his "sunshinyness" and wanted him to take those proverbial glasses off, I always liked the term. Tonight when I looked it up on the internet, came back with the following:

"Last week a co-worker bought a pair of stylish sunglasses with rose-colored lenses. When she went outside and put them on, all of the colors of the leaves on the trees (it's autum now) absolutely POPPED! She dashed into our building excitedly telling us of her discovery so we all lined up and took turns looking through her rose-colored glasses.
It was absolutely amazing - I have never seen the world as colorful and vibrant as when I looked through those lens. Breathtaking. It was an Ah-Ha moment for us as we finally understood how beautiful the world is through rose-colored glasses.
Now the question is - where do I find rose -colored glasses? She bought the only pair, dangnabbitt."

The point of this and why this term works, is because the world looks better with a little color.

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved color. I used to jump at the opportunity to go to an art store with my mom to see all of the papers and colored markers lined up and could stand in the various aisles forever just staring at all the different shades. Every new school year, I was always adamant with my parents that even though the school supply list said we needed the 12 pack of crayola's, that it was in fact a typo and we really needed the 72 pack with the built in sharpener. I just HAD to have the selection. Today, I am still the same way and love the various art stores and their massive selections of paint, inks, papers, etc. Another favorite spot is in the office supply section of the Kinokuniya bookstore in the ID of Seattle. Their selection of folders, notebooks, pens and the like come in every color under the sun. Just clearing up my craft supplies had me folding all kinds of tissue paper and something so simple to look at, makes me happy.

So, I think I've now established that color is a good thing. And now to bring it into your home. The easiest, least expensive way to add a little punch to your environment, is paint. Many people seem overwhelmed at the prospect of doing so and therefore we see a lot of walls, in a lot of homes with an eggshell finish of "cosmic dust". Doesn't scream excitement does it? Or really tell you much about the people that live in that home, at least we hope not. When thinking about adding color to your space, think about what inspires you, what brings you calm, what makes you happy. Many people reference vacations when thinking of colors that they like; whether its the calming shades of the beach, the gorgeous hues of fabric from India or Mexico, or the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

A woman named Gretchen Schauffler who moved to Oregon from San Juan, Puerto Rico when she was 10, had missed the bright oranges, pinks, and blues of her childhood but eventually felt like she needed to embrace her new home with the colors of the Northwest. In creating these new colors to inspire herself, she ended up drawing others in with her creations and long story short, came to start Devine Color. She created these colors based on NW nature, from the mountains, to oceans, rivers and deserts and feels her line turns our local nature into a lifestyle. I have gone to the local specialty paint store and had a look at her color palates and they are beautiful. They cost a little more than your local hardware store but supposedly they paint on like yogurt and are of very high quality. They have to since Gretchen feels wall color has a big job to do: "to make every color in your home; floors, countertop, carpet, fabrics, and pictures look more beautiful".

For me, I tend to like my bedroom, living room and den to be darker, cozier, with all my lights on dimmers and candles everywhere. Obviously my cave dwelling does not work for everyone or every room and so where light is needed, my color inspiration comes from my love of all things Asian, focused on the red, lacquered pieces found in antique stores. This too, only goes so far, so a pale but warm yellow tone ties my rooms together and is the primary color throughout the halls. Some rooms are still in question as to "what they will be" but it is a process in living in the space, figuring out what you might like, and maybe even changing it once or twice. At $25 a gallon, that is something that most can do.

Many of the paint company's these days offer either bigger sample swatches or even a "mini" can of paint for a small fee which allows you to take it home, and give it a test run. If its swatches that you have, tape them up on the wall and live with them for several days. With actual paint samples, slap a rectangle of color up on the wall of the room you are focused on and do the same. Check on your colors at different times of the day and see what different light levels do to change the color. That might be cause for elimination of certain shades right there. After watching them over a few days, you will really start to get a sense of what you do and don't like. You may have a winner or you might be headed back to the store. That's okay as you want to love whatever it is you will be living with.

Last week I posted a link to the feature on Fine Living with their color wheel and it looks to have some really great ideas. If you haven't had a look yet, it is worth a peek. When you click on any given color, it gives you a whole range of ideas to incorporate that color into your decor. Some conservative, some very creative and many options in between.,,FINE_26036_64265,00.html

And finally, a modern day assistant to help you with your color selection. For all of you with an iPhone or iTouch, your color app has been created. It is called MyPanatone and it will cost you $10. This app displays 5,251 shades and allows you to assemble palettes of color for everything in a room, from paint color to window treatments. It can also analyze digital photos to find the exact shade of matching Panatone chip. How convenient is that? No more last minute visits to the Home Depot paint guy, you know the one that got moved from the plumbing department last week.

Still overwhelmed? Call me.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Earning your jewels....

With the economy being what it is, most of us are having to choose one thing over another or give up things that were common place a year or two ago. Clothing and jewelry might just fall under this category. If you choose to pass on buying new spring and summer clothes this year, accessories can be the easiest way to update last years clothes and bring them to 2010. But, again, not wanting to spend money in this area, then earning your accessories can be a fabulous solution. You are going to get together with your girlfriends anyways, so why not have an evening in, grab a few goodies from the local Traders Joes or Cost Plus to snack on and host a jewelry party.

One such company that sells their merchandise through home parties is Stella and Dot. Stella and Dot carries bold, statement jewelry that has an Anthropologie feel to it and is truly eye catching. This line is great for those that like a bolder, funkier look in their costume jewelry. Four of their current collections, fall under destination locations to describe the feel of the various pieces; Passage to India which includes lots of gold, silk, and clover details, St. Tropez, which features neutrals, silver coins, chains, and pearls, Palm Beach which is very Lilly Pulitzer with coral, turquiose, enamel flowers and starfish, and finally Sayulita, Mexico. The pieces in this collection feature lots of turquoise with a dark, chocolate brown, wooden beads, suede and leather.

Some of my favorites from their current collection are:

1) The Jardin Ring (14 ct. gold plated - $44).

2) The St. Tropez Statement Cuff in Ivory (hand-sewn Swarovski crystals and glass stones on linen - $118).

3) The Bybles chandelier necklace in silver (silver plated, vintage textured chain with hand cut glass chandelier stones - $148).

4) The Azure Couture earrings (14 ct. gold vermeil with turquoise and green jade - $79).

Stella and Dot was created a few years ago by Jessica Herrin, a mother of two. She was a successful entrepreneur who co-founded and had a vision to create a new kind of company that would allow today's busy woman thrive with a business they would love, selling a product that they would love.

If you are interested in seeing more of Stella and Dot, feel free to contact Sylvia Beer through her email at or visit her websiteat: She will also be having an open house in Seattle on Sunday, March 14th from 3-6 pm if you want to see her "cool jewels" in person.

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Another home based jewelry business that has been around for 25 years is Cookie Lee. This line has a broader range of styles to suit almost everyone and a price point to match with 95% of their items under $40. In 1985 Cookie (yes she is a real person) began taking a shoe box full of the jewelry she had made to her job to sell to her friends and co-workers just as a hobby. By 1992 her business had grown so much that she hired her first consultant, shortly after her business had outgrown their house and they opened the first showroom in Irvine, Ca.

The 2010 spring/summer catalog features jewelry with 4 themes to keep with the current trends. Party Glam, The New Contemporary, Spring Rocker Princess and Relaxed Luxury. The website gives lots of detail on current trends, how to wear their pieces and mixing pieces from different collections to create a bold look.

In the online catalog, some of my favorites are:

The Knotted Mixed Strands necklace for $32 on page 44, the Mixed Chain Cuff, also for $32 on page 56, and the Natural Agate Pendant ($32) worn together with the Tumbled Wood Necklace ($28) on page 19.

While, unfortunately, I am not able to retrieve images from Cookie Lee to show on my blog, you can view the items by visiting the online catalog at: or contact Jeanine directly to hear about her future open house dates at

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So gather your girls for a weekday evening or Sunday afternoon, have a snack, chit chat and earn some jewels to perk up your spring time. No gal can resist a new little sparkle to add to her wardrobe.

Have a great week and I will be back soon with a little interior inspiration.