Fall Entertaining - Let the Parties Begin!

Living in the southeastern part of the United States means we are still transitioning from summer to fall, no matter what the calendar indicates. We’re going to have some warm days, ahead, but with the hopeful promise of cooler evenings. I’m a fall baby so this feels like it’s my season! Outdoor parties can certainly be fun and casual; however, given the opportunity to “play dress-up” with a tabletop, I’m all in! As we move closer to the holidays and special events, it’s time to polish up the silver and bring the sparkle back to the china and crystal.

Photo: Wanda S. Horton

Photo: Wanda S. Horton

A few months ago, our design team began a project to refresh a lovely, historic home in Union County, North Carolina. This was our second home in a historic district and we were excited to be included in the update. To give the condensed version, the home needed some interior work of a different kind, as most older homes do. After getting behind the walls and ceilings, we put it back together so we could move on to the interior design portion.

Back to the party planning . . . We began in the more public areas of the dining and living spaces. Our clients had purchased a large table and multiple chairs, along with a new buffet, since they often entertain both family and friends and needed the expanded capacity. They had a favorite sofa they wanted to incorporate, along with some antiques and a favorite crystal chandelier. We identified some negotiables for new furniture or recovering existing pieces, along with new art, accessories, and lighting.

Photo: Wanda S. Horton

Photo: Wanda S. Horton

My client brought out her grandmother’s china for me to see and it helped us to determine the overall room color and elements. We added some silvered glass chargers, by Monique Lhuillier, to accentuate the platinum rimming and to provide a transitional look. Aren’t they simply timeless and beautiful?

Photo: Wanda S. Horton

Photo: Wanda S. Horton

Photo: Wanda S. Horton

Photo: Wanda S. Horton

It’s difficult to choose a favorite angle as each one has something beautiful to behold. The commissioned art from Kathy Cousart may have had a little something to do with our table setting inspiration. You can get lost in her pieces!

I had in mind I wanted to find some blue and white vases or jars, but the new ones tend to go a bit more purple in the blue. I was so pleased to happen upon six of them at a recently-opened shop in Charlotte, H and S Antiques. They’re just the right size and my friend, Kim Rushing, from August Lily Florist, also had some beautiful votive/vases in smokey blue, gold, and clear glass. We discussed flowers and fruit and voilà, she brought in beautiful Fuji mums, orchids and white roses, graced with textural greens. Since it was the first official day of fall, we added a different twist to pumpkins by using oranges and tangerines as a nod to a russet accent.

The vases are able to stand on their own, after the fresh flowers go away. They’re also flexible enough to work with all of the seasons to come.

Photo: Wanda S. Horton

Photo: Wanda S. Horton

We’ll be capturing this space through a professional’s lens, as I know my limitations behind a phone camera. Still, I wanted to share some behind-the-scenes images. My client is a wonderful cook and host. It was so much fun to collaborate on this project. She had the most creative invitations and found lovely napkins and silver chopsticks to finish off her tableau.

Happy Fall, Y’all! I hope this has inspired you to think of some ways to enjoy entertaining for the season, be it for an intimate group or a feast for many.

All my best ~ Wanda

Bring on the fireworks! Our new website is live!

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According to the late Lucille Ball, "If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do."  Lucy is one of my all-time favorite comedic actors and from what I understand, she was also a brilliant business woman.  Still, I have to think there were times she must have delegated some of her brilliant ideas to a team to facilitate.

What on earth does this have to do with the excitement in sharing our website "remodel" and launch . . .  especially on the Fourth of July?  First, there's a sense of celebration that we made it to the finish line with everything else on our plates.  It's a handful when you're in the midst of collaborating on the design, while desiring language to convey both your process and passion for your work - and - while also switching gears back and forth between projects and everyday obligations.  Just cue the scene at the chocolate factory where Lucy and Ethel hilariously attempt to keep ahead of the finish line.  Yes, chocolate was indeed consumed!

Though we have some gorgeous, new shots for our portfolio, (soon to be uploaded), this is one of the projects I've been most proud to have accomplished.  It's been an enlightening experience as we move through another revolution of working in the interior design industry and with the clients I have loved the most.   

It's a much longer story but suffice it to say, it's taken a team to get here.  I'm immensely grateful to them and have appreciated their responsiveness to the final tweaks.      

Over time, we'll be adding more features.  There will be storytelling, as it's part of my DNA.  I think of it as extending an invitation for you to visit with us more often and I hope you will.      

My passion for interior design still burns.

"Walking into a home should make you feel uplifted. Living in one should bring a familiar comfort; confidently guiding you towards experiencing something different – something imaginative." ~ Wanda S. Horton

Have a safe and happy July 4th weekend!

All my best ~ Wanda

My Favorites - Please have a seat

Hardly more welcoming words can be heard, after walking miles and miles of the High Point Furniture Market, than “Please, have a seat.”  This market I made sure to visit more of the side buildings to source some special vendor wares and I could certainly feel those extra steps!   Of course, the showrooms were more than happy to seat us during our visits.  There’s nothing better than taking the sit test to assist us in sharing their comfort stories.

Though petite in size, I love the Claude Chair from Ambella Home.  It feels modern and fresh, while the design is based on an English parlor chair, from back in the day.  Great for floating as an extra seat or paired at the foot of a bed.  It supports the lumbar area in a lovely way. 

Though petite in size, I love the Claude Chair from Ambella Home.  It feels modern and fresh, while the design is based on an English parlor chair, from back in the day.  Great for floating as an extra seat or paired at the foot of a bed.  It supports the lumbar area in a lovely way. 

I must admit, I have a thing for chairs.  I think it’s hereditary because I tease my mother about being able to play musical chairs in her home.  She’s a petite one, less than five feet, so I think it’s partly a comfort item as well as she loves the option of mixing styles.  A great chair, (or two), can be akin to bringing a piece of art or architecture into your space.  It can make it frillier, more tailored, more modern, more traditional . . .  and so on.

One of my favorite showrooms, Thibaut and Anna French, offers a stunning array of side chairs and dining room seating.  I like to think we find selections which extend an invitation to linger around the table.  I'm in the process of letting go of some French antique chairs and I think their Stirling Chair is in the finals.  Very comfortable and I love the Dorothy Draper-esque leaning.  Dressy-casual is so me!

One of my favorite showrooms, Thibaut and Anna French, offers a stunning array of side chairs and dining room seating.  I like to think we find selections which extend an invitation to linger around the table.  I'm in the process of letting go of some French antique chairs and I think their Stirling Chair is in the finals.  Very comfortable and I love the Dorothy Draper-esque leaning.  Dressy-casual is so me!

One of my favorite showrooms, Thibaut and Anna French, offers a stunning array of side chairs and dining room seating.  I like to think we find selections which extend an invitation to linger around the table.  I'm in the process of letting go of some French antique chairs and I think their Stirling Chair is in the finals.  Very comfortable and I love the Dorothy Draper-esque leaning.  Dressy-casual is so me!

One of my favorite showrooms, Thibaut and Anna French, offers a stunning array of side chairs and dining room seating.  I like to think we find selections which extend an invitation to linger around the table.  I'm in the process of letting go of some French antique chairs and I think their Stirling Chair is in the finals.  Very comfortable and I love the Dorothy Draper-esque leaning.  Dressy-casual is so me!

Chairs can also be like shoes.  They’ll have us oohing over their gorgeous style and then sighing with regret when misery sets in, especially when ill-fitted, in a short time.  If you’re making selections for the long term, comfort comes first.  It’s fine to have that one museum piece.  We all have one, on occasion, but know the reason it will stay almost immaculate is that no one will want to sit in it, including you!  (Like that pair of Valentino spike heels in the top of your closet.) 

Gilding may not be for everyone but if you love it, this pairing of Theodore Alexander Gothic Library Settees would have had you at "hello".  The marbled pattern covering and the restrained elegance, in blush, paired with the coffee-colored walls and the ebony and gilt bookcase . . . No, these are not meant for slouching.  They are meant to be adored!  

Gilding may not be for everyone but if you love it, this pairing of Theodore Alexander Gothic Library Settees would have had you at "hello".  The marbled pattern covering and the restrained elegance, in blush, paired with the coffee-colored walls and the ebony and gilt bookcase . . . No, these are not meant for slouching.  They are meant to be adored!  

Conversely, there’s more to being cozily outfitted than having that old, baseball mitt-styled/security blanket chair commanding the wrong kind of attention just because someone in the house can’t let go of it.  We know who they are and it's why there should be handsome options. 

Sometimes you'll be totally surprised by appearances.  This Lee chair might look to be a bit more rigid, because of the frame, but I can tell you it was super comfortable.  Over 700 people on Instagram thought so, too.  

Sometimes you'll be totally surprised by appearances.  This Lee chair might look to be a bit more rigid, because of the frame, but I can tell you it was super comfortable.  Over 700 people on Instagram thought so, too.  

This is the perfect example of upholstery morphing into sculpture.  The new Atelier Chair, from Ambella, was a huge hit at the market.  Art Deco is slipping back into design and I'll be sharing more in a future post.  Notice how the back has become the support, without feet?  It takes a skilled manufacturer to carry off this construction. 

This is the perfect example of upholstery morphing into sculpture.  The new Atelier Chair, from Ambella, was a huge hit at the market.  Art Deco is slipping back into design and I'll be sharing more in a future post.  Notice how the back has become the support, without feet?  It takes a skilled manufacturer to carry off this construction. 

Of course we can't forget bar and counter seating.  This new introduction, from Woodbridge Furniture, was also another surprise in the looks and comfy category.  We can order this in a wide array of paint colors, too.  Super sleek and fun!

Of course we can't forget bar and counter seating.  This new introduction, from Woodbridge Furniture, was also another surprise in the looks and comfy category.  We can order this in a wide array of paint colors, too.  Super sleek and fun!

There were so many options to be discovered and I think the lights may have been turned off on me, had I gotten to sit in everything or photograph it all.  I have my tried-and-true, preselected lines to take away the guess work for my clients.  In fact, I'm excited to share I'll be bringing in some pieces for their own sit tests.  It will make the design studio pretty, too!  

Who said style and comfort have to be mutually exclusive?  Not I!

All my best! ~ Wanda

My Kitchen Favorites - Including the sink!

Being a residential interior designer, who happens to work with clients on kitchen remodels as well as new home construction, I'm often asked to share some of my favorite kitchen features.  It would make for a long read as I've got so many; however, I thought I might share some items I consider in creating beautiful kitchen transformations.  These go beyond some of the larger items - like cabinets, appliances, and knocking out walls.  

One of my favorite remodels still looks current with classic lines and beautiful elements.  It's chock-full of examples on my list!  

(Kitchen Design and Interior Design:  Wanda S. Horton)

(Kitchen Design and Interior Design:  Wanda S. Horton)

  • A "wow" glass tile backsplash transforms the all-white cabinetry into a space with major personality.  The client was such a delight and this fits her to a 'T' for her tile! 
  • Having a window over the sink fills the room with sunlight and being able to gaze out to experience a bit of nature does wonderful things for the soul when clean-up is the task at hand.
  • The hidden beauty, in this picture, is the LED tape lighting.  It showcases that stunning backsplash while also providing super illumination for the work surfaces.  When needed, it dims for a soft ending to the day.  It fits into the tightest of spaces, too.  Getting rid of the undercabinet box lights is so liberating from dark corners.

Meaningful kitchen design is all in the details.  I know you probably hear this a lot but it bears repeating, especially when we're speaking about a space where some of the decisions become part of what we often refer to as the "permanent selections".  Of course, you can always make changes, after the fact, but swapping out a paint color isn't nearly as costly as taking out a counter selection gone awry or reworking a layout for better function.  

Even the smaller items, such as cabinet hardware or light fixtures, can make a big impact on how you may appreciate the finished project.  Basic cabinets can really sing with the right accents.  Making access easier with some pull-outs or smart storage adds an ease to your day.  Instant hot water dispensers are necessities for those who not only love to have a quick cup of tea but want to have piping hot water at the ready for different recipes. 

The kitchen sink is another place I love to add color for the client who knows their palette preferences will remain true.  'Safe' isn't a word they embrace for design decisions and they want their kitchens to reflect their adventurous side.  Potted herbs and plants are an absolute must for me!  Not only do they add the most beautiful green to a space, (one of my favorites), but they add a freshness and fragrance to fulfill the senses.  Herbs enhance so many dishes, too.

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So there you have it, almost everything including the kitchen sink!  If the world could be your oyster, what do you think some of your favorite kitchen elements might be?  I'd love to hear from you!

All my best! ~ Wanda

A Project in the Spotlight - Interior design for his and hers

When clients entrust our team with their design projects, it's always an honor.  When they also allow an editorial team into their personal domain, knowing it will be publicly featured, it means the world!  

Back at the end of 2016, I submitted a project to "Charlotte Home + Garden" magazine with fingers crossed.  I knew the clients loved the outcome of their project and hoped we could share it with the readers of this lovely publication.  In February, the editor contacted me to let me know it was a go and we coordinated a photo shoot to capture more images, as well as to plan for interviews. 

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I'm happy to say our latest feature, in the Spring 2017 issue of Charlotte Home + Garden, is now on the newsstands!  A traditional, Tuscan-influenced interior was transformed into a classic/transitional design with a modern twist.  It was a melding of preferences and you can read more in the online version -  "Designing A Home That's Equal Parts His, Hers".  

While it's a desire to have each client feel as if their home will be photo ready, the bigger focus is on creating and implementing my exclusive, master design plan to provide them with a personalized home which fits their lifestyle, while also honoring the timeline and investment plan.  These clients were very engaged with work, family, and friends, so taking the burden off of their plate made the process much easier and an enjoyable experience!  

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While you're reading through the magazine, there also happens to be a bonus article with a designer question and answer session featuring your's truly!  You can click on <here> to read more.  I'm glad I had my extra cup of coffee, that day!  

It's always fun to create a different aesthetic for each project.  I'm so honored to be able to showcase some of my work and to share it with a great couple, too!

Be sure to pick up your copy, available through the end of May.

All my best ~ Wanda

The Magic of Market - Inspirations from High Point

It's that time of year!  The BIG fashion event in the home furnishings industry has arrived and I'm taking a brief, rainy day break to share some of my gorgeous finds from market.  I've still got a bit of list-making to do for my return trek so photos will be plentiful and descriptions will be brief.  After all, isn't there some adage about a picture being worth a thousand words?

Photo: &nbsp;Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Fresh ideas are plentiful at the High Point Furniture Market.  The Thibaut Showroom is the epitome of lush beauty!

Photo: &nbsp;Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Anna French Fabrics and Wallcoverings are part of the Thibaut offering.  Decidedly soft patterns mixed with stronger elements work with intention.  This look honors the kind of design accomplishment where someone might say, "I would never have thought of mixing these patterns"!  . . .  And they'll be glad their designer did!

Photo: &nbsp;Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

Another view from across the showroom.  Neutral still reigns with soft colors inserted for a customized preference.  Fresh flowers always bring a room to life - from the perspective of my gardener's heart!  I have noticed geometric designs are being contrasted with organic or floral patterns.  We all could use a little 'soft' in our world.

Photo: &nbsp;Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

More companies seem to be embracing the idea of personalizing pieces with color and varied finishes.  While there isn't a thing wrong with showcasing beautiful wood stains, using a colorized accent piece can provide a needed relief, as well as it can draw your eye to a key color element in fabrics or art.  Theodore Alexander carefully curated a gallery of furniture for this sole purpose. 

Photo: &nbsp;Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

The newly remodeled showroom at Theodore Alexander also shared some amazing new collections!  Steve Leung debuted his line with great reception.  An architect and native of Hong Kong, the shapes and motifs hearken his structural and yet organic aesthetic.  His company's motto is:  "Bringing space to life/ Creating space for life."  I think this dining room, above, has applied these principles very well..  On a side note, the chairs are incredibly comfortable!

Photo: &nbsp;Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

A line with many color options, along with the ability for designers to add their own fabric choices, is Woodbridge Furniture.  Included in their bevy of stained and customized painted finishes, I found the growing segment of textured wood.  Oak, with lightly washed or limed effects, as well as cerused/grayed tones add depth to modern spaces.  I'm dying to use the tufted cocktail ottoman in the right project!  A future beach house, perhaps?

Photo: &nbsp;Wanda S. Horton

Photo:  Wanda S. Horton

On occasion, some of the showrooms have so many people, it's difficult to capture a shot without them filling the background.  Ambella Home had lots of attendees, but lucky me, I get to slip back in before closing on Wednesday!  I promise to share some of their amazing pieces in larger detail.  Sometimes, though, I need to work in smaller-sized items to complete a design.  Even though the scale of the above tub chair is more petite, she's got some killer curves!   Perfect for a bedroom, a reading corner, or to slip in beside of a fireplace in a pied-à-terre. 

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Did I mention how beautiful the flowers are at market?!!  Peonies are always one of my favorites . . . which reminds me, before the rain washes them away, it's time to snip a few from my garden.  

Thanks for sharing the visit and be sure to watch for more posts, as well as my Instagram updates!

All my best and I'll see you after the show! ~ Wanda