Photos via Designer Pad and Gardenista – Split-Leaf Philodendron and Fiddle-Leaf Fig
Cold? Hot? Warm? Seriously, cold again? Yes, it’s that time of year when the weather won’t make up its mind, and it feels as though spring will never come. It’s called the in-between season, where nothing is consistent and everything feels like it’s in slow-motion.
Many of my clients call toward the end of February panic-stricken with an intense desire to completely re-decorate their home. And when I say re-decorate, I mean they want to strip the house down to the studs immediately.
Sound familiar? Yes, we’ve all been there. The key is not to panic and order the bulldozer. You simply need a refresh, not a new home.
So how do you decorate during the in-between season? The solution is quite simple: greenery.
Indoor plants can give a drab interior instant panache. They bring in an element of surprise, color and even art-like qualities. These greens spruce up a space with little effort and give a lot of bang for your buck. They are also healthy for you! Studies have shown that plant-life in the home creates a happier environment, as well as cleaner air.
What to buy?
The No. 1 question I am asked about indoor plants is “What plant do I buy?” First and foremost, keep it simple. I encourage clients to choose indoor plants that are more sculptural, easy to maintain, and complements their design style. To make things easy, I’ve gathered the top indoor plants trending for 2016.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree: This large, ruffly leaf tree has been making waves in the home décor scene since 2013. Although there are a few contenders to take its place this year, the Fiddle Leaf is not going anywhere anytime soon. Easy to maintain and looks gorgeous against white walls.
Peruvian Cacti: Incredibly tall, prickly, stately and needs little water — this is the perfect plant for a modern space. It’s also great for all you plant killers out there. These guys are strong and can handle poor caretakers. As of late, this plant has been showing up in a lot of home magazines and will likely be one of the most popular plants of the year.
Staghorn Fern: In a pot, on the wall, mounted or hanging, these antler-like ferns are a playful plant that has lots of styling options. They vary in size from 6 inches to 3 feet wide.
Hanging Pitcher Plant: These Old World plants come from the carnivorous plant family. They look delicate, but they are anything but. Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to fall into one of those beautiful cups.
Bird of Paradise and other palms: Elegantly long stems brimmed with beautiful fans, the palm is a décor staple. Whether your décor lends to modern styles or old world antiques, a single palm will elevate your space with a classic, timeless look.
Split-Leaf Philodendron: A little more playful than the Birds of Paradise, with its stems branching in multiple directions. A nice combination of modern and whimsical. Looks best in minimal spaces.
Snake Plant: This plant is as modern as you can get. Sharp, clean-lines and all vertical. Ideal plant for those looking for something more architectural.
ZeeZee Plant: Similar to the Snake Plant, as it is also very sculptural and looks great in a modern space. But it is a little less serious and a bit more playful. Excellent choice for transitional interiors.
Succulents: These tiny plants have been incredibly popular over the years, and their popularity is still going strong. This year you will see them less on their own, and more clustered together in terrariums, mounted on wood, inside various desert wood, and hanging in glass and ceramic planters.
Where to buy?
When you are buying plants of any kind, always buy local. Your local garden stores and nurseries not only carry a wide variety of plants that will grow properly in your area, they also offer care instructions and delivery, and they’ll even pot your plant for you.
My two favorite local garden shops are All Seasons Gardening & Brewing Supply and Gardens of Babylon (all photos were taken at these shops). Not sure what to buy? Afraid you’ll kill again? Don’t fret! Both companies love to share their knowledge, and it’s just as important to them that you keep your darling plants alive.
Recently, I was in Atlanta for the Home Décor Market at Americasmart. When I am at “market”, I rarely give art vendors a second glance. In fact, I don’t give a lot of vendors more than a glance. My job is to find the best of the best, and so much being presented at market is junk. I find myself sounding like the Devil Wears Prada “No, no, no, no, yes, no, no, no, no. Awful! Horrendous! Maybe. Absolutely not!” It’s a big deal when I find a winner. And when it comes to art, I am seldom impressed. Most of the artwork is cheap imitation and not worth my time.
But! Sometimes you find gems in unexpected places. After a long day of perusing the many vendor aisles, I was about to call it a day and head home when suddenly a sweet lady popped out in front of me, almost knocking me over, and said “You have to meet my friend, Xima Lee. She’s an incredible artist in Nashville, and this is her new art collection – a series of farm animal portraits inspired by her family farm”. Farm animals are not usually my forte, but Flip and Homer (a cheeky goat and donkey) caught my eye and I thought “maybe this lady has something I haven’t seen before”. So I kindly stepped into the booth and met the darling Xima Lee Hulings.
Hulings is the quintessential Southern woman. Within seconds, I felt as though we had known each other all our lives. Her joyful Southern accent was alluring, and the excitement in her eyes was infectious. She brought me into the vendor booth as if welcoming an old friend into her home. Before discussing the paintings, we talked for the longest time about Nashville, traveling, returning “home”, her family farm Harlinsdale in Franklin, TN., and all the mutual connections we shared. The woman knows everybody! And it’s not hard to understand why: the woman is delightful.
Hulings’ latest art collection is called The Walking Papers Series – a series of farm animal portraits inspired by the characters she sees daily on Harlinsdale Farm. “This collection celebrates the many characters found on the farm who live their lives with authenticity and attitude. The cows, chickens, goats, donkeys, and other friends never feel the rush of time or the pull of technology but live life in the present. These portraits are meant to capture the spirit of each animal and to honor their world on the farm.” This collection is a mixture of giclee prints, haystacker glass, stable and field trays, derived from her original paintings executed in watercolor, gouache, ink and pen with a 23k gold-leaf background. You can purchase these beautiful pieces online at Walking Papers Studio or in Nashville at the lovely Harpeth Gallery where they have a wonderful assortment.
Although I adore the animal portraits, it was the Disfarmer Series I found on Hulings fine art website that took my breath away. The Disfarmer Series is a collection of original paintings inspired from the photography of Mike Disfarmer. Each painting is derived from one of Disfarmer’s images, using watercolors to create her subjects and then surrounding them in gold-leaf and William Morris wallpaper patterns.
Disfarmer was a photographer in Heber Springs, Arkansas during 1910-1959. He was the town’s photographer, and all day everyday he photographed ordinary people. He was known to be quite the curmudgeon, and never saw himself as an artist. But his photos were incredibly unique with haunting, mesmerizing imagery. In 2004, these photographs emerged from the small rural town and found their way into Manhattan art galleries. This is when Hulings first laid eyes on Disfarmer’s photographs and was forever captivated. She spent the next several years trying to put context and shape around the feelings she had towards them.
“It wasn’t until I began working with egg tempura that something shifted in my relationship to his photographs.” She then moved on to acrylic ink, trying to go deeper, looking for the key to unlock all the stories. And then found herself experimenting with watercolor, where she finally found the magic.
“Many of the figures in his photographs look wary, anxious and timid; the combination of visual information and emotional distance is what I find fascinating. These characters are reacting without the tainted sophistication that we do today when confronted by the ever-present camera. They are honest, raw and complex. Their faces and worn hands drew me in but their distance continues to entice me to keep looking.
No matter how many stories I can imagine of the lives documented in his work, I know that I will always be on the outside. I created patterns as a way to give each a new context and to lift them into a new world of understanding. These patterns, while a part of the narrative, keep them a bit unsteady too. The gold leaf surround is intended as a blessing of sorts; I am honored to be a witness.”
Although Disfarmers imagery drives the collection, Hulings innovation and genius interpretation is what makes this contemporary art series remarkable. My fingers are crossed that a Nashville gallery will scoop this collection up and we can all experience them in person.
To purchase a painting from the Disfarmer Series, please contact Xima Lee Hulings at www.xima.net.
Dusty chairs stacked high, chandeliers of every size hanging from the ceiling, knickknacks crammed in every corner, obscure items long forgotten, a wonderland of polished junk waiting to be someone’s treasure – this is the ubiquitous antique and vintage retail scene.
Nashville is chock-full of antique and vintage shops. Many of them, like Gas Lamp Antique Mall I & II , have become destination places for tourists who’ve come from all over the country. I am a huge fan of these shops, and spend a large portion of my time shopping in them for clients. They are filled to the brim with well-curated items, and they have made the antique shopping experience a breeze.
But sometimes, the picker in me needs to get out of the city and find treasure in places a little less expected. You may be surprised to find that some of the best flea markets, yard sales and antique shops can be found in small towns. The prices are lower, and you’re likely to find a larger selection of rare finds. The shops are not as fancy and digging through junk is required. But the hospitality and charm of these small establishments will win you over quickly.
Last week I went north to the quaint town of Goodlettsville and spent the afternoon antiquing. Goodlettsville is an easy 25 minute drive from downtown Nashville and all the antique shops are within a few blocks of each other on North Main Street.
Each place was uniquely their own and worth every minute of my time. A bit rough around the edges, but the selection was extensive and diverse. From 17th century dining sets and velvet couches to turn-of-the-century phone booths, there were gems in every direction. If I had brought a moving truck, I would have taken an entire house back with me.
So the next time you are thinking about taking an antique expedition, think about going to the Goodlettsville antique district. It’s definitely worth a trip.
Below are my top 3 antique shops and a fantastic place to eat in Goodlettsville. Enjoy!
Goodlettsville Antique Mall
Favorite Finds: High-End Antique Furniture, Vintage Chairs, and Rare Collectibles
A family owned business for over 30 years with a large selection of antiques and vintage furniture, collectibles, dinnerware, tools and automobilia. The shop has recently been renovated, and has a great layout, the booths are well-organized, clean, and the items are of high quality. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable.
Tara’s Antique Mall
Favorite Finds: Ephemera, Military, Whiskey Jugs, and Primitive Furniture
A charming shop ran by longtime antique collectors, Claude Bellar and Nancy Pennington. As you entire the 12,000 sq. ft., store, you are greeted with smiles, cookies and fresh coffee. The environment is deliberately slow and laid-back, and you are encouraged to take your time. The staff had an incredible knowledge of each item they carried, and welcomed any questions.
Rare Bird Antique Mall
Favorite Finds: Art, Mid-Century Furniture, Collectibles and Unusual Finds
A refreshingly quirky multi-dealer store. The shop showcases everything from automobilia, advertising, glassware, pottery, furniture, jewelry, rust, as well as the largest amount of country store collectibles in the country. Many set-designers and prop-stylists have purchased items from Rare Bird for TV shows, major motion pictures and magazines. Voted best antique mall in the area.
Chef’s Market (don’t forget to eat!)
Delicious, unbelievably good southern cuisine. Owners, Jim and Cheryl Hagy, set out to bring a casual, chef-inspired dining experience and a fresh approach to the classic meat-and-three to Middle TN.
And finally, here are a few of the things I took home with me. These rare finds were less than $25 (total), and their value is well over a $150. Aren’t they fantastic?!
(American Folklore & Legends educational chart by John Dukes McKee, Rolling Stone tenth anniversary with a fifty-page color collection of Annie Leibovitz greatest hits, and a pair of mid-century silk-screen crane prints)
Photo and Curation by Ruthie Lindsey
Have you heard of Strolby? If you not, you are in for a treat.
“Strolby is a curated e-commerce site showcasing remarkable products from the best small shops around the country”. What does that mean? It means the small brick-and-mortar scene finally has friends, really cool online friends. These friends are partnering with them, shouting from the mountain tops about their wonderful business and give them a real fighting chance in the retail scene. Strolby is on a mission to help people discover and shop online from the best small shops in the world. And most importantly, to help those shops thrive in an ever growing (tenacious) market place.
And guess what? They just launched a Nashville market!
The Nashville shops include Hey Rooster General Store, Emil Erwin, Cadeau Nashville, Arcade Nashville, Ceri Hoover, Nisolo, H. & Clark, Jamie and the Jones, Wilder, Scout, and Peter Nappi. A lovely mixture of gifts, fashion, home décor, and kid’s apparel. They also have a wonderful Nashville Guide created by the talented travel blogger, Lauren Greenberg with The Weekender .
In case you didn’t notice, small shops form local culture. They also create new trends, provide jobs and give a place for the creatives in the community to show their wares. These shops are important! Without them the city lacks spirit. And yet all too often, they get lost in the shuffle – usually due to a lack of convenience or awareness.
Although Nashville shouts with a mega-phone “Shop Local!” you’d be surprised how few people actually step foot into a small shop and make a purchase. I know this from the personal experience of owning a home décor shop in Nashville. I also consult regularly with local shop owners, and the story is always the same – lots of local love, but few customers and even fewer sales. This is why Strolby is such a great company. Their mission is to bring additional exposure and customers to these local gems, making it easier for both customer and shop owner.
One of my favorite things about this website is the easy navigation and the encouragement to look around and stay awhile. The vivid photography, the excellent selection of high-quality goods and the flow of the site creates a similar experience one would have if physically shopping in these stores. And that is no small feat! Strolby’s unique approach to online shopping is going to change the way retail does business. With this much thought and care, we are likely to see the war between brick-and-mortar and online stores finally end.
So, no more excuses! Put your money where your mouth is, and actually support your local shops. All your favorite Nashville goods are now just a click away.
Photo Credit: Calico Wallpaper
Over the last two years we have seen various patterns pop up in fashion and home décor that are reminiscent of marble and watercolor paintings. Trend watchers have forecast numerous times that it will be the biggest trend of the year, and yet it never seems to make a huge splash. Cool patterns pop-up and then it’s gone. But this year seems to be different. Hand-marbling and various manipulated ink patterns are popping up in more luxurious designs – a sign that they are here to stay. At the 2015 New York Design Week last month, marbleized and hand-dyed patterns were found in furnishings, décor, fabric and artwork. During the 2014 & 2015 fashion weeks in Paris, London and New York, various designers used fabrics covered in brushstrokes, ink-blots and watercolors. And in the makers & artisan scene, marbleizing or hand-marbling has become the latest experimental craze.
One of the reasons the marble pattern hasn’t exploded in years past is the patterns were too literal. The faux marble look has been done, and each time it has looked cheap and awkward. And for the watercolor effect, the colors and style have been a bit immature. The key is to either keep it simple and use the real material/or style, or reinvent the pattern into something completely new. This year I am finally seeing a new creation – lyrical, abstract patterns with natural movement made from a mixture of marble patterns, ink manipulation, and hand-dying. And of course, the real deal is being used in furnishings and home decor as well. Beautiful white Carrera Italian Marble in tables, shelves, dressers and home accessories. Many of them paired with brass hardware and it is absolutely stunning.
What about the geometric patterns and cut-outs we saw trending earlier this year? This is where it gets exciting. The biggest trend of all is the juxtaposition of hard-line geometric patterns paired with blurred organic movement. So be on the lookout! The marbleizing and painterly watercolor trend is already trickling in. And come fall, we are going to see a whirlwind of pattern play.
CERAMIC DINNERWARE & DECOR: Tortoise Marbled Dinnerware by Tao Oudomvilay, The Gradient Vase by Leif, Modern Black and White Teapot & Cups by RK Ceramics, Rose and Gold Swirl Plates by Suite One Studio, Belay Dinnerware by CB2, Blue Ebru Marble Ceramics by Simple Life Instanbul, Botticino Marble Coasters by Anthropologie
FURNISHINGS: Surf Coffee Table by Worlds Away, Anne Marble Dresser by Steven Shell, Marble & Brass Wall-Mounted Shelf by CB2, Elke Side Table by Crate & Barrel
AREA RUGS & WALL FINISHES: Night Slate by Calico Wallpaper, Marble Wall by Kelly Wearstler, Marble Rock Zebra Rug by Lulu & Georgia, Droplet Rug by Michelle Weinberg, Banshee Rug by Surya
PILLOWS & LAMPS: Marble Cushions by Ferm Living, Marble Cascade Pillow by CB2, Carrera Italian Marble Holiday Rose Pillow by Society6, Casa Bonita Indigo Pillow by Scout & Catalogue, Flynn Lamp by Arteriors, Swirl Orange Table Lamp by Safavieh
DIY: Marbleized Ribbon by Oh Happy Day and Marbleized Paper by A Beautiful Mess