Friday, May 25, 2012

Inside Peek of Memphis Interior Decorator Morgan Armstrong's Home

Today's guest post comes from Morgan Armstrong, a long time friend and an interior designer with Fresh Perspective in Germantown Tennessee. Morgan has never ceased to amaze me with her hawk eye for a treasured piece and stunning design. One of my fondest hawk eye moments with Morgan took place in an antique store in a sleepy French village years ago where she and I discovered the most beautiful mint green 90 piece dish set and Morgan convinced me to bring it home in our suitcases. That's some serious friendship and an unwavering commitment to bringing home something special. Her home is a beautiful collection of pieces gathered from near and afar and I'm super jazzed for you to see an insider's peek at her gorgeous home. Take it away, Armstrong!

Thank you so much to the lovely and talented Hillary Butler for allowing me to guest post today! Hillary’s art is so inspirational to me and so beautiful that I absolutely had to own a piece for myself, which you’ll see featured. I’m Morgan Armstrong, I have an MS from University of Memphis in Residential Interior design and I’ll be featuring my own home to give you ideas for yours. Like many of you, much of my furniture has been passed down to me and reworked to for my style. Hopefully from walking through my home together you can take away a few inspirations of you own. Please feel free to visit my blog for more ideas:

Living Room Mirror:

This amazing custom mirror in Brazillian cherry is flanked by dupioni silk drapes that have to be a little shorter to accommodate the stair case. One chair, a bergere, and ottoman is done in an ivory microfiber used on a couch in the same room, which is easy to clean and a perfect place to curl up with a good book. It’s paired with a discount store chair that I actually recovered myself with my husband’s staple gun. The patina color (green/blue) is a great contrast to the ivory. Between the two chairs is a piece of art done myself which rests on the mirror. This is a risky, break-the-rules kind of move but it really paid off because I layered it with branches, books, and corals from my travels.

 Living Room:

Pulling an eclectic room together takes some finesse but can be done with careful editing. Here, I have twomismatched sofas one of which is from the 70’s, believe it or not. The 70’s hand-me-down was done in the same ivory microfiber as the bergere and ottoman and the other is in a super lush velvet. The rug is by Surya, the cocktail table by Viva Terra, and the green lily pad plates by Global Views. The pairing of the traditional olive couch with a more modern couch and cocktail table really keeps the room updated and gives the couch a contemporary spin.

Guest Bedroom:

The chocolate brown walls envelop a room of mostly white furniture. If you go with a super bold dark color on the walls, you’ll need to balance it with white or light colors. In most cases, the reverse is true, when you do super light walls, the contrast of dark furniture normally works well. The art in this guestroom is actually leftover wallpaper samples that were mounted to foam board at my local arts and crafts store. This is a great example of being creative on a budget and using unconventional or discarded items in a new way. 

 Master Bedroom:

In my master bedroom you’ll see a low headboard and a soft gray wall color that really complement the gorgeous art by Hillary called “Safe Harbor.” This artwork is the “magic” piece that ties the entire room, including the bedding seen here. I love crisp white bedding paired with silk pillows. The front pillow actually has an antique pin on it that adds a touch of glamour and formality to the space. The other pillows were actually made of fabric remnants with a different fabric on the back. This is a great way to splurge on a special fabric and save on the rest.

 Screened in Porch and Accent Fabrics:

One of my favorite rooms in my house is my screened in porch. While enjoying my wine, coffee, or
sweet tea with a great book, I realized that I’m far too prissy for bugs so we decided to screen it in! It
makes the outdoors much more soothing. Most of the time we want to bring the outdoors in but I really wanted to take the luxuries of the inside out. I’ve done fabric ottomans in a stunning Ikat fabric and gives my slightly faded outdoor furniture a boost and makes it look more purposeful. I placed a pattern called “Imperial Trellis” on the pillows, which is so beautiful that I might want to be buried in it! I’m addicted to these two fabrics-they absolutely make the porch super inviting.

 Here, a silver demilune table, that was once covered in a painted fruit motif, rests at the base of my
staircase. Many people would fill that small area with a table that fills the entire space but negative
space, or the space around an object, is needed in this case. The white trellis wood wall hanging was
painted and was once even hung vertically to make a full sized headboard in a bedroom. I absolutely
love the iron work banister and it was a huge selling feature when we purchased the house.

Thank you for visiting today. I hope you've gleaned a fresh idea or two to spruce up your space!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Abstract Summer Painting for My Living Room!

As promised, here's a sneak peek of the hot pink painting I worked up for my living room. I wanted something abstract and bold for summer and I needed a fresh pop of color that would accent my slates and neutrals. I played around with this composition and colors for a while til I arrived at this piece.  I secretly also wanted to use this frame I've been saving for a while as well for a dramatic accent..

Designer Isaac Mizrahi once said that anything goes with pink, and I couldn't agree more. The execution of incorporating pink is the tricky part, though, unless you want your space to look like it was vandalized by Mattel... Here's a tip on using a bold color like pink in your decorating scheme. Use small touches of your chosen bold color, surrounded by lighter shades of the same color and neutrals (white is a favorite of mine!) to set off the main hue. Use a pop or two of a complimentary color ( I chose avocado green for this piece) to set off your color even more, providing an alternate hue for the eye to feast upon.

What colors are you drooling over for summer? Any bold hues like these? 


Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Morning Indulgence: Bacon Chocolate!

Mondays deserve something special to...well... make them less Monday. They deserve something naughty that your mother would have never let you get away with for breakfast as a kid: maybe something like chocolate slathered in bacon.

I can't think of anything more simply indulgent than pancakes stuffed with bacon and chocolate or a chocolate graham cracker enveloping crispy bacon, decadent melted chocolate, and a squishy marshmallow to start off your day with a kid-like guilty pleasure. This is sure to put a sneaky grin on your face all day long because you defied the breakfast rules and maybe a little because you have a 6 hour sugar buzz following you around...

Happy indulging in decadent chocolate and bacon today!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Moroccan Dinner Party

So, a few friends of mine and I are throwing a little dinner party this weekend for a friend who's graduating from med school. Such a great accomplishment calls for a special celebration! I've been on a Moroccan kick after thumbing through the May issue of Lonny Magazine (if you haven't read this month's issue, you must stop what you are doing and read now!). I might have persuaded the group to go with a Moroccan theme & I put together a little inspiration board for the event. I'm looking forward to an evening with these great friends to celebrate another milestone in one of our lives!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Inside Peek: Mississippi Memories

I just recently finished up this piece for a lovely friend of mine, Emily, to serve as a focal piece in her living room.  She and her husband have an absolutely beautiful home based on a neutral color palette and wanted a piece for her mantle with pops of color to add a bit of dramatic flair to the room as you walk in. Emily is from Mississippi and also wanted this piece to be reflective of the cotton fields of her old stomping grounds and this is the final result- a blending of peaceful Mississippi memories and colorful hues.  

(I must confess my envy of those chairs you see before you with the haute circular detail on the frame...)

Thanks for a wonderful experience and a chance to be a part of your living room, Emily!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Morning Indulgence: It's Lounge Time!

This post is an exciting one- several years in the making! I am so happy to be able to show pictures of a lounge area in our backyard that we've been working on for a while now. This started out as a hammock court that David built and then when my grandmother gave me this amazing lawn furniture it became grounds for a new idea- a lounge area for indulging myself with long sips of coffee in the morning, naps in the afternoon, and some cocktails with the girls in the evening. It's fun to trace back all the little items I have collected for this place. In fact, this whole area is a communal labor of love. The cushions covers are a gift from my aunt. The iron work is from our porch when David updated it. That orange flower pot used to hold my baby lemon tree, and then another baby lemon tree until I realized that I did not possess the ability to grow lemons... The sconces came from our old bedroom decor and I got that star as a Christmas gift a while back. Those twinkle lights actually grew into the tree after a few years and had to be replaced! And, yes, that is my dog's behind. She loves to photo bomb.  I'm looking forward to many a recharging morning out here this summer!! A very happy Monday to you!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Color Crush: Haute Pink

 It's a good thing that pink and I have always gotten along quite well because everywhere I turn these days, I see hot pink staring back at me and I couldn't be happier with this current trend. I think at some point in most girls' lives, they have a pink phase and I've never quite gotten over mine. The shades that I am drawn towards change, but this color has a very soft spot in my heart. I think this love affair started in middle school when our idolized fashionista friend, Theressa, made it her signature color. I've been daydreaming about a large abstract for my living room with giant swashes of hot pink- perfect for summer. I'll post as soon as it graces my walls. 

What about you? How do you feel about this overwhelming pink trend and how bold are you feeling about putting hot pink on your walls?

Image credits: All images except outdoor patio from April/May issue of Adore Magazine 
Outdoor Patio Elle Decor

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Inside Peek: Interior Designer Lana Zepponi's Abode

I'm excited to share a sneak peek of Memphis Interior Designer Lana Zepponi's desk area in her bedroom. I really love her mixture of lacquered materials and accessories, namely the coral lamp and  I was so thrilled that she wanted to showcase "The Evelyn" painting of mine in her space. 

Lana is a a very talented designer at Chestnut Hall Interiors who wears several hats very graciously at this home furnishing and design store. I have greatly enjoyed admiring this space and working with the lovely lady behind the decor!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Morning Indulgence: Picnic at the Park

The best things in life truly are free and what a better way to start off the week than with a wee, free, picnic at the park? I love a good outdoor lunch time to soak up nature when I've been closed up all morning inside. It truly is a luxury to escape to the park for a bit. Pack a lunch and grab a quick picnic on lunch break. Heck, invite a group to meet you there for an impromptu rendezvous... If your schedule is more flexible, grab some vino and a blanket and really treat yourself. The great outdoors awaits you today- picnic it up!! Happy Monday!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Kentucky Derby, ergo Mint Julep's!

It's that time of year- Derby Days are here and what's a derby without a mint julep? ( I believe the answer is a large hat and fast horses)... I've been in the illustrating mood lately and came up with this little lady as a fun project in honor of this weekend's festivities. 

This recipe is from Sweet Paul's blog, an absolute favorite site of mine. I do love a good sugary mint beverage, but I especially like to go against the grain on the Julep, adding a few favorite ingredients for an icy glass of perfection!  Ice up your julep glasses, mix, and enjoy! Happy Derby Days to you and a very, very HAPPY FRIDAY!!

Inside Peek: Interior Designer Morgan Armstrong's Bedroom

A dear friend of mine and insanely talented interior designer, Morgan Armstrong (with Fresh Perspective Interiors in Germantown), bought the "Safe Harbor" painting and hung it above her bed. Her color palette is rich with cool tones of blues, neutrals, and pale slates. I cannot get enough of her fresh look and posh style.  I am so honored to have a presence in her home !