Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So Much Design, So Little Time...

Wow, what a week this has been!  Design bloggers, design shows, design lectures...my head is spinning!

Tuesday was the infamous trip to NYC to see the taping of the Nate Berkus show!  Yvonne and I survived the bus trip down by talking about the upcoming events of the day and trying to memorize the faces of the bloggers we were going to meet.  Well, Yvonne was memorizing...I gave up!  Too many faces!  We made it to NYC in record time, if you didn't count the traffic jam that made us an hour late!  Once on line, it was a virtual sea of bloggers!  We met people from all over the country and as far away as Canada!

Yvonne, Sara and Harold

Sara and Harold were two design students from the midwest who ditched school to come to the taping!  Real life experiences always add to your education! (Hope their  professors feel the same way!)

Me and Yvonne on line


No mention of Nate Day would be complete without mentioning Janet and Joy, the Moggitgirls from Canada who were instrumental in getting this whole blogger audience process off the ground!

Once inside, we were taken from waiting room to studio, all under the watchful guard of the studio pages.  Not quite sure if we were the "crown jewels" or "dead men walking".

The process of shooting a TV show is fascinating!  Our "handler", Dina, kept us entertained during the segment changes and made sure we all knew how to clap until our hands fell off!  Cameras were poised inches away from audience members trying to catch the right expression for the right moment.  Many times our view of Nate and the guests were blocked by burly cameramen trying to get the perfect angle.  But no fear, monitors were strategically placed so we didn't miss a second of the action!

Nate was introduced.  Our hands were stinging from applause!  Emily Henderson, recent winner of  Design Star, was part of the first segment in which an Army wife and her husband had their home restyled using items they already owned.  The wife needed a serious lesson in the school of  "Less is more."  Purple bunnies in boxes on the sofa....serious design faux pas!

The next segment featured Christian Siriano, winner of  Project Runway, who restyled a woman with some wardrobe issues.  One dress, three pairs of shoes, and three purses later, the woman was ready for a day at the office, night on the town, or weekend hanging around.  Why can't my wardrobe do that??

But the star of the day was Nate Berkus.  I saw his debut show, and I have to say, he was a little stiff and awkward.  Fast forward a couple of weeks and he was much more comfortable on camera interviewing his guests.  Conversation flowed...no awkward moments....practice makes perfect or at least you can learn from your mistakes!  He took a few moments after the taping to stay and answer our questions.

His one mistake of the day - if you are going to have an audience full of bloggers, do a segment on the bloggers!! Or at least mention them on camera! The blogosphere was abuzz the next day with a lot of "Nate negativity".  Give the guy a break! We realize the show is new and the guests were probably scheduled long before we were invited to be audience members.  Lesson learned - don't piss off the people who are going to write about you on the internet.  And bloggers, don't pass judgment until you see the final aired show!

The rest of the week was filled with design seminars at the Boston Design Center.  Lillian August, famed furniture and fabric designer, spoke about "Exploring the Individual Style of Today's Design Client.  Beth Lowenfeld of Hue Home and Colour, Inc., gave a fabulous seminar on " Color Trends for 2011."  "Aquatics" - beachy colors of aqua, light mint, sandy beige and "Urban Decay" - steely colors of cement and charcoal with pops of lime green and sunshine yellow are all the rage for the upcoming  year!

During lunch, I got a chance to speak with New England Home Magazine Editor in Chief Kyle Hoepner and Stacy Kunstel, the magazine's Home Editor. It's my favorite design magazine because they present many different styles, but all done with great taste and very attainable for the average human! They have a lot of great ideas for upcoming issues, so if you don't subscribe, what are you waiting for!!

Julieann Covino, Amy from Maison Decor, Kyle Hoepner, Stacy Kunstel, me, Katherine Hawkins

It was a whirlwind week filled with great design, style and inspiration.  I'm glad I got to be a part of it all!

Heard at one of the design seminars..."Leave the diva at the door"!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Berkus and Bloggers

Sunday night...in two days, I will board a bus at 7 am with my friend and fellow blogger, Yvonne, to go to a taping of the Nate Berkus Show in New York City.  It all started innocently enough.  Yvonne sent an email asking if I liked Nate Berkus from the Oprah Winfrey Show.  To be honest, I've seen Nate on Oprah, but that was years ago when my work schedule allowed time for afternoon TV viewing.  My friend Tina recently purchased a condo in Manhattan.  On a visit this summer, she went on and on about how Nate lived in the neighborhood.  She is a total fan!  But, a Nate sighting still hadn't happened.  On our last day in New York, on the way back from a flea market, who did we see standing on a street corner???  (three guesses...the first two don't count!)  NATE!  She asked if we could take a picture of him and in 100 degree Manhattan heat, he graciously said "sure".

Nate - so cool on a hot summer's day!

Back to my friend Yvonne.  She said the Nate show was doing a special taping for design bloggers and would I be interested in going.  After some debate with myself on the practicality of going to NYC and back in the same day,  I said "sure".  So I watched an episode of the Nate Berkus Show which debuted this week.  He is warm, engaging and I LOVE the way he picks up flea market finds and turns them into treasures!  Recycle, reuse, repurpose!!!  He's got my vote!

A Blogger who was invited to the show,  got a list of the email addresses of all the audience attendees.  (I heard Twitter was abuzz with tweets about the show.    I don't tweet, so I was semi out of the loop.)   Within two days, we had everyone's email and blog address, a directory of attendees complete with headshots  (Thanks Chanee!), organized get-togethers before and after the taping (thanks, Camila), and invitations to an HGTV luncheon and a launch party for Rue Magazine!  Emails were being sent fast and furious - "Anyone need a ride?  A hotel room?  Anyone want to hang out Monday night?"  Connections were being made...friendships started.  Had we known all this at the beginning, we would have planned on three days in the city!!!  Oh well...no use crying over missed parties!  We will attend the "before" event and the taping.

All this got me to thinking...design shows...HGTV...I don't watch them!  A designer who doesn't watch design shows??  I tuned in years ago and caught a show where this designer hung half a bicycle on a wall and called it "art".  Everyone around him oohhed and aahhed and called it "genius"!   For me, not so much.   Actually, for me...NOT AT ALL!!  Another show I watched glued all kinds of fabric and trim to a wall.  THEY HAD CHILDREN for goodness sake!!  That would have lasted about five minutes before one of the little ones realized that all they had to do was grab a corner and pull!   Not based on reality and everyday living so I stopped watching.   Well, now I decided to see what the new generation of design shows bring to the table.

In my next series of posts, I will first tell you all about "Nate Day" in NY.  (Can't wait to meet these other bloggers!)  Then I will review some of the current shows on HGTV.  Let's see if they offer some practical design ideas or just more "genius"!

"I didn't know this was going to be my calling, I just knew I was sensitive to surroundings."   Nate Berkus

Monday, September 13, 2010

Visual Display - The "Drool" Factor...

Visual Display....what comes to mind? A store window filled with the latest fashions that you know would look just fabulous on you? A bakery showcasing trays dripping with sweet delicacies that are calling out to you?  Doesn't the display in a storefront window make you want to walk into... or totally avoid a shop?

When I shop, I look at the displays and try to figure out what speaks to me.

The first thing that grabbed me about windows I liked was my interest in the content....clothes...yes....food...OH YES.....shoes and pocketbooks....LET ME IN THERE!!!  Not every shop will appeal to everyone and I guess that is the point.  Interest in what the store is selling is key.   But there are dozens of stores along the block with the same type of items,  yet I only stop into several.  So why some and not others?  I like displays that are bright, clean, eye catching (a little bling helps) and set up so I can see most things at first glance.  I like displays that have interesting groupings, patterns, heights.  I also like the "surprise" element and the "drool" factor.


While riding on a bus in London, this window caught my eye.   Fashion, lights, a little sparkle...I loved the effect.  If I wasn't on a bus, I would have been shopping!

London Shop

This display in Manhattan, made me want to run for the hills. 


 Its dark, scary and felt like walking in would mean the start of my worst nightmare! (My apologies to the shop owner and anyone who is into the dark side!)  That is why different shops appeal to different people. BUT, it did catch my eye and that is the purpose of good visual display.  However...no clothes...no food...no shoes.....NO ROSANNE!

Sicilian Pottery

This next display I love. The colors alone make you want to give this shop a second and third glance. Bright colors, interesting grouping of  pottery...its a happy display!

This display does nothing for me.  The suitcases are brightly colored, but they are just stuck in the window without regard to placement. Boring. No visual interest and no surprise.

Mouth watering goodies - complete with a bottle of Pistacchio liquor - yum!

 Now, the food....in Sicily....I DARE anyone to walk past a display with food! This shop had the “drool factor”! If a small display in the window gets your mouth to water, the inside will make you slobber like a dog waiting for its dinner! Food in Sicily....the only thing better, is the Italian shoe store next to it. I'm in heaven!!

Shop at the Chelsea Market

 A Manhattan cheese shop also has a big "drool factor"!

Not what it looks like!
 This picture on the left has the "surprise" element I was talking about.  It's visual,  but it's not the usual storefront display.  The shop from the front looks like a church, but the crystal chandelier poking out from the doorway just didn't feel "religious".  There were no signs, but that open doorway invites you to "take a look".  Well, SURPRISE!  Instead of seeing an alter and pews, inside were a bunch of small shops selling clothing, cosmetics, handbags....a multitude of items just waiting for someone to take them home!  That chandelier is an excellent example of good visual display.  It caught my eye, it caught my interest and pulled me in!

 The next time you find yourself with your nose pressed against a window, ask yourself why this display appeals to you.  If you find yourself drooling,  please go inside.   But wipe off the window first! 

I would love to have my readers comment about what they like in visual displays.  Let's compare notes!

"A visual image is a simple thing,  a picture that enters the eyes."
Roy H. Williams 

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Last Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer...

As I sit here on Labor Day after a wonderful weekend of kayaking and street fairs, I realize that even though its LABOR DAY, I don't feel like laboring.  I'm taking the the week off but I will leave you with some lasting images to remind us all to "Stop and Smell the Roses".  We all need some down time in our hectic worlds, but don't always take the time to refresh and recharge.  So enjoy this glorious day, and all the last vestiges of summer.

Newburyport  Photography by Rosanne Palazola

Kayaking the Charles River  Photography by Rosanne Palazola

Swan  Photography by Rosanne Palazola

Loosestrife  Photography by Rosanne Palazola 

The Charles River  Photography by Rosanne Palazola 

Easter Lily  Photography by Rosanne Palazola 

Ipswich River  Photography by Rosanne Palazola 

Monarch Butterfly  Photography by Rosanne Palazola 

Rainbow  Photography by Rosanne Palazola 

Until next week....