The Design Library – 2015 Holiday Gift Guide for the Book Lover on Your List

Carmen NatschkeMISC Style Files

Holiday gift ideas for design book lovers. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

This year, my holiday gift guide recommendations for the book loving decorating diva on your list is comprised of three new releases covering a divine range of topics from gardens to artfully executed interiors to inspiring moments found in everyday life, and then there are three older books. These tomes, released in the last two to three years, are destined to become modern decorative arts and design classics. And in my opinion, I believe they will be a required and cherished addition to the design lover’s library. So now on to naming names for the books that made the cut for the Decorating Diva’s 2015 holiday gift guide for the stylish and sophisticated book lover on your list.

Holiday gift ideas for design book lovers. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Book titles and authors from left to right:  “Carrier and Company: Positively Chic Interiors” by Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller, “Beyond Chic:Great Fashion Designers at Home” by Ivan Terestchenko, “Staircases: The Architecture of Ascent” by  Oscar Tusquets Blanca, Martine Diot, Adelaïde de Savray, Jérôme Coignard, and Jean Dethier, “Carolyne Roehm at Home in the Garden” by Carolyne Roehm, “Absolutely Beautiful Things” by Anna Spiro, and “John Robshaw Prints: Textiles, Block Printing, Global Inspiration, and Interiors” by John Robshaw and Elizabeth Gamsey.

Background image credit: Home library design by Spanish designer Luis Bustamante – see it in its full glory below.

Luis Bustamante library. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

 

3 Hosting Ideas for the Perfect Holiday Party

Carmen NatschkeDecorating Diva U, Design the Holidays, Entertaining

Ralph Lauren Home Ski Lodge Design. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Ralph Lauren Home Ski Lodge Design. | The Decorating Diva, LLC
Here are three ideas to get you started on the path to that fabulous holiday party.

1. Holiday Decor: Your guests’ first impression will also be the most lasting, remember to wow them as they come in the door. Decorate your entry-way with beautiful floral arrangements and soft candle lights.

Get the party started before guests even step foot into your home by dressing your home’s exterior with holiday décor ranging from wreaths to stunning ice lanterns or lumières. Keep the style and color theme consistent with the interior décor for a seamless transition – giving your guests a sense of calm. What I’ve learned from my experience in visual merchandising and store design, is that the ‘transition time” (usually about 10 to 20 seconds) can create a favorable impression or an unfavorable impression. Keep exterior decor subtle and coordinating the color and style with the interior decor. Lovely, lighted topiaries flanking the door entry are elegant and can be used throughout the year. Door wreaths, are a traditional favorite. I’ve seen gorgeous wreaths ranging from modern silver “ornament ball” style to one gracefully beaded with sea shells and yet another dressed in icy crystals.

Set the mood from the moment they step inside and continue it as they continue their journey to the party room. Create conversation seating areas. Sometimes the floor plan for everyday living at home fails in the party environment. Make it party friendly by creating intimate sections that will encourage guests to chat. Use multipurpose centerpiece displays such as ice sculpture vessels to dazzle guests and to serve as a chilled bowl for some delicious confection.

Standing for long periods of time is a  recipe for an early night. Don’t lose guests to tired legs – give them the seating they are seeking. Free their hands. Guests will love you when you provide them with tables to set their drink glasses and plates upon. It’s tough to have fun, engage in conversation and feel festive when bogged down (for a substantial amount of time).

Add drama and beauty to your table by using festive table linens, settings and holiday creative centerpieces.

2. Party Food: Careful menu planning here will save you time and money. Decide if you will be having a formal or casual dinner. Then create the menu outlining each meal and its accompanying recipes this will be used as the basis for your shopping list. For formal parties an elegant touch would be to create individual menus for each place setting.

3. Party Favors: Party favors can serve a dual purpose as a decoration during the party as well as a nice parting gift for your guests. From elegant treat cones that hang on a small tree to playful matchboxes filled with goodies, use your creativity to personalize your favors.

9 Luxe, Glam Sofas and Seating for 2016

Carmen NatschkeDecor by X

Luna Bella bright blue armless sofas/sectional. | The Decorating Diva, LLC
9 Best Sofas: Glamour & Luxury Spotted at 2015 High Point Market. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

9 Best Sofas: Glamour & Luxury Spotted at 2015 High Point Market.

Nathan Allan Furniture tufted velvet sofa. | The Decorating Diva,, LLC

Nathan Allan Furniture tufted velvet sofa.

Ambella Home's Venus sofa. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Ambella Home’s Venus sofa with sublime shimmering upholstery and channel tufting.

Cynthia Rowley for Hooker Furniture blue velvet tufted sofa. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Cynthia Rowley for Hooker Furniture blue velvet tufted sofa with glam brass base.

Pink daybed by Cynthia Rowley for Hooker Furniture. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Pink daybed by Cynthia Rowley for Hooker Furniture.

Julia Buckingham's "Conversation Rondele" for Global Views | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Julia Buckingham’s “Conversation Rondele” for Global Views.

Silvered lavender tufted velvet sofa from Huntington House. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Silvered lavender tufted velvet sofa from Huntington House Furniture.

Shimmering cobalt blue velvet sofa from Emporium Home by Ashley Childers. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Shimmering cobalt blue velvet sofa from Emporium Home by Ashley Childers.

Luxe lilac purple settee with channel tufting from Cynthia Rowley for Hooker Furniture. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Luxe lilac purple settee with channel tufting with dainty, feminine tapered brass legs from Cynthia Rowley for Hooker Furniture.

Luna Bella bright blue velvet armless sofas/sectional. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Luna Bella bright blue velvet armless sofa.

 

Creative Cafe // Artist Gloria Graham Sollecito

Carmen NatschkeArtful Consideration

The Repetition of Days currently on exhibit at The Armory Art Center, West Palm Beach is an acrylic painting comprised of twelve 12"X12" canvases.

South Florida mixed media artist, kitchen and bath designer, and avid world traveler, Gloria Graham Sollecito joins us in the Creative Cafe to discuss her artistic journey, share what’s inspiring her now and offer insightful advice to creatives.

Artist and kitchen designer Gloria Graham Sollecito at work in her studio.

Artist and designer Gloria Graham Sollecito at work in her studio.

I am inspired by the rich and varied history of art, and delve deeply into learning about other artists,especially women and those who have come before us. Female artists of the past have so much to offer us but we do not hear of them nearly enough. I am also invigorated and inspired by books, travel and my native South Florida.

I see creating art as an essential vehicle for human expression. I perceive my art as an intuitive journey and a means to my own personal growth. Having been a world traveler since childhood, I clearly see the need for human connection and the realization that we are all on different paths of the same journey.  Through my artwork,  I wish to facilitate realization of the essence we all have in common. The viewer connecting with the artist and, in turn, with the truth within themselves.

Art attracts me because it offers infinite possibilities for personal expression. I also enjoy working with my hands and feeling the work as it comes into creation.

Inner Beauty- 17"X14" encaustic (beeswax, resin, pigment) painting on wood with painted Florida Pecky Cypress frame.

“Inner Beauty”  a 17″ x 14″ encaustic (beeswax, resin, pigment) painting on wood with painted Florida Pecky Cypress frame.

If not pursuing art, then I would be doing something else creative. I also like to write. I am a kitchen and bath designer by trade. I merge all of these things together with my business, Artful Kitchens.

Being an artist informs my world view by allowing me to experience all I see and do more fully. I have found that an artist’s perspective has the power to enrich the human experience.

The most recent art-related book I’ve read and would recommend is Eva Hesse” by Lucy Lippard. Hesse was a sculptor known for her pioneering work in materials such as latex, fiberglass and plastics. She is one of the artists who ushered in the post-minimal art movement in the 1960s. The book is an in depth exploration of her work and life. Although I am enjoying this book, I would also recommend  “Daybook” by celebrated twentieth century sculptor Anne Truitt.  “Daybook” is the first in a trilogy of her diaries in which she writes of her everyday life experiencing all the stages of being a woman and an artist.

The Repetition of Days currently on exhibit at The Armory Art Center, West Palm Beach is an acrylic painting comprised of twelve 12"X12" canvases.

“The Repetition of Days” currently on exhibit at The Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach is an acrylic painting comprised of twelve 12″X12″ canvases. Each piece examines the repetitious nature inherent in daily routines.

The most challenging artistic project I’ve undertaken is “The Repetition of Days” art series which examines the redundancy of daily routine. It seems, on the surface, that our lives are so repetitive yet at the same time each day it is absolutely unique and never to be repeated. It took me 12 months to create and consisted of  twelve 12″X 12″ canvases. Each  background was created as one whole, each square related to the next but resulting in the first and last canvases being totally different. The smaller squares within the canvases are a documentation of my days, thoughts and feelings at that time. It was important to me to keep the technique (acrylic paint on canvas) very simple and minimal to emphasize the conceptual aspect of the work. In order to complete this work I had to stick with it for one year and then I had to find the courage to put the finished product out into the world. I’d have to say it is the artwork I am most proud of at this time, and it is currently on exhibit at The Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach as a part of a show called Artists of Art Salon: A Collective Dialogue

My creative endeavors including writing for my blog,  Artful Kitchens (formerly titled Kitchens for Living) have allowed me to travel to trade shows both domestically and internationally to learn about the products of my industry. And these creative undertakings have also provided me with the opportunity to meet inspiring people and to immerse myself in many different cultures.

Abstract Homage to Edna St. Vincent Millay- 12"X15" mixed media collage on canvas board in white wood frame When an artist or writer captures my attention this is what happens!

Captivated by the writings of Edna St. Vincent Millay,  Gloria created this “Abstract Homage to Edna St. Vincent Millay”- 12″X15″ mixed media collage on canvas board in white wood frame.

The project I dream about creating someday is to create a body of work, at least 25 pieces, enough for a solo show. So far I know that three dimensions will be involved as well as layers, assemblage, natural rocks and shells. I’m still formulating the concept but this dream is on its way to becoming something real, a legacy for my children and who ever finds connection and validation in the work. Stay tuned!

SurfAcing- 12"X12" encaustic mixed media on wood panel  This painting was made using the encaustic medium of painting with a combination of molten beeswax, resin and pigment. The lone natural element is a beach stone emerging from the wax. The ocean is referenced and as a native Floridian is never far from my mind.

“SurfAcing” a 12″X12″ encaustic mixed media on wood panel. “This painting was made using the encaustic medium of painting with a combination of molten beeswax, resin and pigment. The lone natural element is a beach stone emerging from the wax. The ocean is referenced and as a native Floridian, it is never far from my mind.”

My advice to those who feel the call to pursue their creative dreams is to understand that we are all creative in some aspect, so my advice is CREATE!! You will never be done with all the chores of everyday living. Don’t say I will do it when the laundry is done or the kids are grown. Begin now in small ways. The only way art will happen, for most of us, is if we thread it into our daily lives, a sketch, doodle or stitch at a time. Involve the kids and they benefit, too. Do it – it will enrich all the other areas of your life. If you read “Daybook” you will see how a professional artist merged art and necessity.

Best of Design at 2015 Fall High Point Market

Carmen NatschkeInteriors by Design, To the Trade: Design Shows & Events

best design vignettesl 2015 high point market007
9 Best Interior Design Vignettes at 2015 High Point Furniture Market. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

My top nine picks for best in design at the fall 2015 High Point Furniture and Design market.

Ambella Home design vignette High Point. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Ambella Home – Always creative, always beautiful and always a leader in design direction.

Wesley Hall showroom vignette. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Wesley Hall – for their very beautiful furniture and exquisite design collaborations with design divas that I adore including Meredith Heron, Taylor Burke Home, Peter Jacob Kind and Cotton and Quill.

Julia Buckingham for Global Views High Point 2015. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Global Views – for wowing me each and every season with extravagant, exuberant and exquisite design vignettes filled with even more divinely exquisite furniture and decor like this one featuring products from the always effervescent Julia B. Buckingham’s debut collection for Global Views.

Glam and sophisticated decor and furnishings at Bernhardt Furniture. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Bernhardt Furniture – for their honed ability to convey effortless elegance and refined luxury by creating a visual narrative that instantly captivates you and transports you into a world of impeccable style, and glamour.

Tobi Fairley design for CR Laine and Woodbridge Furniture. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

CR Laine – for their magnificent and completely fearless approach to using color in design. Consistently showcasing colorful, polished, and sophisticated interiors that are elegant and timeless, like this one featuring Tobi Fairley’s home furnishings collections for CR Laine and Woodbridge Furniture.

2015 Fall High Point Market French Heritage Showroom. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

French Heritage -for their enchanting, elegant and eclectic French style mixing classic styles with a contemporary flair that simply captivates you the moment you arrive on the steps of their beautiful showroom. Oh, and they have the cutest dog ever, Nelson! Which may prompt me to start a Cutest Dogs of High Point Market list for next furniture market.

Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley furniture and decor collection for Hooker Furniture. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Hooker Furniture – for its debut of the Cynthia Rowley furniture and decor collection. It was stunning and absolute perfection. As my fabulous friend Saxon Henry said of the showroom design, “it’s like being in the front row at fashion week and watching the models sashay across the runway.” And it was!

Deloach Designs at the Antique and Design Center of High Point. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Deloach Design in the Antique and Design Center. Designer and vintage dealer extraordinaire Michael Deloach designs and styles must-see vignettes of deftly mixed vintage furniture and decor, and in some cases, salvaged industrial pieces like this round metal strainer he converted into a wall sconce/art piece. He is seriously brilliant, and his booths are always on my must-visit list for market.

Luna Bella luxury high-end design at High Point market. | The Decorating Diva, LLC

Luna Bella – for their rich, beautifully creative design confections that delight at every single market. Their showroom is pure magic, and a mainstay on my must-see list.