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When you shop online -- Through Love Where You Live -- the Alzheimer's Association Benefits.

Clara LaForge with her
 younger sister, Margaret.
In the late years of my grandmother Clara's life, I visited her one afternoon. She was napping, and I gently nudged her awake. I was there to pick her up for a family gathering. She slowly opened her eyes and smiled. Clearly happy to see me, or so I thought. She propped herself up and began talking and reminiscing. It became immediately obvious that she didn't recognize me. At some point, she asked me to hand her a large framed picture that contained many smaller photos within of family members. She introduced everyone to me. I went along with this, asking questions and commenting. "You know who you remind me of?" she asked suddenly, her eyes brightening. "My granddaughter, Susan!" That's when I chose to re-state my identity. Her eyes welled up with tears.... I will never forget how scared she was at that moment. And sad, too.

I cannot imagine the pain of lost memories. Nor the dwindling recognition of places, things and people you love. My grandmother had lived long. But for some, alzheimer's disease can strike early. At age 50 and 60. It is estimated that 5.1 million people in the United States have alzheimer's. Let's contribute to research to halt it, cure it!

Love Where You Live is donating 25% of the commissions received, when you make a purchase through the links below, to the Alzheimer's Association.  Bookmark this page, you will be supporting Love Where You Live and Alzheimer's Reasearch.  

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Love Where You Live Book Pick:
Barry Dixon Inspirations
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From Better Homes and Garden
Published by John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

I like this book for two primary reasons. Number1: It's chock-full of really terrific do-it-yourself projects that range from stenciling, and painting furniture,glass,metal, tiles, cabinetry and accessories.  When I say "really terrific," I mean I want to set everything aside and pick a project to do now!  And that brings me to reason number 2: More than half of the suggested DIY ideas within the book's 207 pages require only three steps. Yes, I said 3!  With all of us living such busy lives, a book like this one allows us to have a personalized piece that we can take pride in doing ourselves -- and have it sooner as opposed to later. 

I've pulled some sample projects from the book to give you an idea of what to expect.

I love this idea! And you can do it in only 4 steps! 
Besides the chest, you'll need 7 things. (Two of which are a ruler and a paintbrush.)


This is a nice project for winter -- spend time inside preparing for a nice sunny spring 
and summer.  It's easy. You just need a few items to complete this project. It's done in 
an afternoon.


 Another easy one. Cheap and chic. Artwork that doesn't dry up your wallet.

With a stencil, a pattern -- which you can find in the book! -- kraft paper, plain white curtain panels and a few other items, you can have bragging rights to jazzy new curtains. 

A project that's a little more involved -- but one that can be completed in five steps.
Playful and unique, this project is worth the time required.
Select your favorite stencil -- from the book or craft center -- and get going on creating your own special floor covering. Three steps; this one does require 10 items.


Looks like a carpet runner, but it's not. Looks very doable, based on the instructions.


These fishes were imprinted onto the towel from a potato. Learn how to carve your own designs into the veggie and stamp away -- on towels or anything!


 Learn how to give your table an antique Asian flair. 
Three steps and you could enjoy and show off a similar look!
This book offers a lot of information! Not just in regard to project ideas but what tools you will need. Tips galore. And what works best, too.  The projects address any and all surfaces. Metal and wicker chairs. Book covers. Lamp shades. Purses. Glass jars, Wood panels and surfaces. Boxes. Plates and dishes.... The book also provides a nice selection of stencils.

Publisher's price is $19.99. But you can purchase it here for $14.29

I'd love to hear about -- and see -- your projects!

December 1, 2011

Book Review: Interior Designer Barry Dixon's New Book Inspires, Teaches and Guides

Ever Wonder Where Designers Get Their Inspiration?
Home and Design Magazine's 2010 Hall of Fame Designer, Barry Dixon, 
Shares His Sources.

It's all in his new book, "Barry Dixon Inspirations."
With a publisher's price of $40, you can buy it now on Amazon for $26.40.
AND . . . it's available for you Kindle diehards for $9.99.  

Within the 224 pages, you'll find large detailed photos, resources and 
Terrific Design Tips that range from  
Where to Hang Pictures, How to Decorate With Children in Mind, What to Do in Small Spaces, How to Use Everyday Objects -- and more.
(some of which I'll share with you in this post!)
To get to know Barry Dixon on his own turf, you might like the article in  
Traditional Home -- click this link. 
(photo by Matthew Benson for Traditional Home.)

  This book does indeed inspire. It encourages all who open up the pages to recall fond memories -- to rediscover those "touchstones" that you can incorporate into your own space so that it feels like true home. Simple things, even if it's your grandmother's old cocoa tin or large billow clouds, can spark ideas. Perhaps for fabric or a color palette. Realizing what you like, enjoy and treasure can have huge influences on how you live. And if they don't now, they can and will. Dixon is your guide to mixing styles, colors and materials.

For example, large arched Gothic windows inspired this headboard:
"Their shapes were accented with flat Warwick picot braid trim from Samuel and Sons in a natural burlap color and highlighted with a border of decorative nail heads finished in gunmetal gray." (Barry Dixon Inspirations, photo by Erik Kvalsvik)

 Dixon found the Italian chair (below, right) at an antiques fair and then re-interpreted it for his own upholstered line. For readers, his find can be your own source of inspiration. Assuming you like an old classic furniture designs, buy it and re-think it. Or do as he did.
(Barry Dixon Inspirations, photo by Erik Kvalsvik)
In determining what fabric to select, a print or a solid -- or what trim might work best, take a look around you. As Barry Dixon did here:

 An old Morroccan tooled leather, above, inspired Dixon's Medina Vervain chenille.
So, take his lead . . . do you like the feel and look of textured leather?
Then perhaps that's your answer to the pillow fabric you seek. Or do you like the look of soft rolled hay bales. Then that might lead you to select a linen gold. 
 (Barry Dixon Inspirations, photo by Erik Kvalsvik)

 Dixon does make it look easy. He means it when says to look around you. In his world, he is trying to bring products to market. Here, he turns a favored English transferware pattern into fabric and trim:

(Barry Dixon Inspirations, photo by Erik Kvalsvik)

 Enjoy seven very different project reveals in this visually exciting book. He opens the doors into a Washington, D.C. rowhouse, a sky-high Chicago apartment, a chic North Carolina chateau, a Mississippi inner-city loft, a modern Delaware beach house, a Georgian traditional and a stately Nashville estate. He explains the inspiration within each, specifically why he chose certain fabrics, materials and furnishings. 

A room in the North Carolina chateau. The chaise is covered in Scalamandre's " Bantry House" linen. The 18th century copperplate engravings hang collectively above.
 (Barry Dixon Inspirations, photo by Erik Kvalsvik)
 A photo of the loft in Mississippi. 
(Barry Dixon Inspirations, photo by Erik Kvalsvik)

Dixon spent his early childhood living in such places as Sri Lanka, New Caledonia and South Africa. This early exposure to many cultures and traditions clearly helped him to become a master at blending traditional decor with various colors and textures. The Washington Post has dubbed him an "A-list designer," and is one of House Beautiful's Top 100 Designers.

Design Tips from the Book

  • An overscaled pattern in a small room gives it unexpected drama and makes it seem larger.
  • Favored mementos in an entry give visitors a personal sense of welcome.
  • With children, furnish with low seating with rounded corners and soft edges.
  • Try deconstructed colors and finishes in an urban environment -- such as warm grays, edgy yellows.
  • Hang art lower to make a wall seem taller. 
  • When a room's view is exceptional, avoid busy fabrics that keep the eye from focusing on the outdoors.
"Barry Dixon Inspirations," published by Gibbs Smith.

September 25, 2011


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