Invaluable life lessons from 3 of the industries top designers

I’ve had a pretty amazing August, in which I flew across the country to meet some of the industries top designers. These design Mavens all have dynamic careers in which they employ a variety of their talents. I can’t wait to share with you what I learned, so read along as I unveil valuable insight garnered from these talented designers/authors/bloggers and TV personalities.

Justin Blakeney and Faith Parker at Las Vegas Market
Justin Blakeney and Faith Parker at Las Vegas Market

Justina Blakeney author of The New Bohemians, is one of my all-time design idols. She not only authors one of the best blogs out there, The Jungalow, she also has her own custom lines of wallpapers and rugs and she just launched an entire line of furniture and home decor items called Selamat. I could go on… but I wont because all the sudden I feel incredibly lazy and unaccomplished.  (insert weeping emoji here)

While attending the Las Vegas Market earlier this month I got a chance to see Justina Blakeney host a panel of design experts. Mainly they discussed design trends, but that wasn’t the big take away for me. I found the fact that of the six design panelists, only one of them went to design school. Which answers a very important question, just how do you become a  famous blogger or designer?  The general consensus from the experts panel was….Umm basically you just put yourself out there and give it everything you’ve got. There is no formal university degrees in blogging (is there? I am pretty certain there isn’t… but I could be wrong) there may be universities that offer degrees in interior design but some of the top designer and Instagram influencers didn’t get to where they are via those routes. They got there by hustling hard and getting better everyday (of course a large dose of natural talent never hurt either, just saying)

Photo Credit stylebyEmilyHenderson.com
Faith Parker with Emily Henderson

If you don’t know who Emily Henderson is, then you shouldn’t even be reading this blog right now. Obviously you have no interest in design or you would know this extremely popular author, designer, and HGTV Design Star winner and host of Secrets of a Stylist.

So if you know Emily, then you know she came prepared, she had notes, slides and volumes of content. Here’s what I gleamed from her presentation on blogging, at HGTV’s Bloggers Block Party.

My Girl EM HEN believes that getting started is the biggest step. She stressed the importance of putting yourself out there. In the beginning aspiring blogger like myself, should focus on producing content. It might not be gold, or even good, but it’s a starting point and it will give you something to build upon. The idea is that you will naturally improve as you continue on your path, which makes it crucial to be consistently publishing content.

She continued to say how important it is to find your authentic voice. “Universal and unique” were words she used to urge us blossoming bloggers to find a balance between appealing to everybody and not appealing to anybody. She stressed not to be “too weird, but rather compelling”.

She continued to advise us to own what we know, and be transparent about what we don’t know. Basically she was saying don’t be a phony, everybody hates a phony. There’s nothing wrong with taking on tasks that are out of your comfort zone, but be careful not to over sell yourself, know what your limitations are and be as forthcoming about your experience as you are about your inexperience.

Retro Living room designed by Meg Caswell Photo from HGTV.com
Meg Caswell with Faith Parker

Meg Caswell

If you follow my Instagram account than you already know just how desperately I wanted to win the NyNow design challenge which would include breakfast with the Meg Caswell. Thanks to everyone who voted,  I was selected as one of the 25 finalist.

So what does Meg have to teach us?

Her story is inspiring because she has truly combined hard work and intention to get where she is today. She believes in the law of attraction and actually credits the secret for helping her to achieve her career as a HGTV design star and television host.

Looking back on my decision to don bright yellow clogs, I am feeling that perhaps they were prophetic and symbolic of the Yellow Brick Road. As Dorothy and her friends find the attributes they were lacking, my bright yellow clogs lead me to find just the advise I was seeking. To summarize, Justina and her design panel showed me that, what’s more important than a fancy-pants design degree, is talent, drive and an initiative, Em Hen was the kick in the buns to get started with a healthy reminder to always be authentic, while Meg taught me to work really hard, but also not to forget to trust the Universe, and remember to ask it for what you want.

 

To paint or not To paint

I purchased this gorgeous dining set on craigslist for a song and while functionally it was a fit for my space, stylistically it wasn’t working.  The idea of painted furniture amongst the design community seems to be a polarizing topic.  After fighting the urge to paint the credenza for years, I finally surrendered to my desires and out came the paint brush. I suppose I broke a few unspoken rules regarding the custodial responsibilities of antique ownership but I couldn’t be happier with the results. Secretly it delights the rebel within.

Details: I made my own chalk paint by mixing plaster of paris, water and Benjamin Moore’s paint color Geranium. I then used Olde Masters crystal clear paste wax to seal and protect the finish.

Two Years of Awesome!

Two years have rocketed by since Vintage By Design first opened. Like a proud mama, I glean so much joy reminiscing over photos from the past. I’ve put together a collection of some of my favorite moments. Enjoy

I love how this little vignette came together.
Rosewood and leather ’nuff said.
Classic mid-century Credenza. These never seem to stay in the shop for long.
These mid-century wood frames chairs were Bee-You-Te-Full.
Good Ol’ Moby-This pretty little Brass whale didn’t spend too much time at the shop before it was scooped up and taken to it’s new home.

Before and After

Few things excite me more than a really great furniture rehab. Similar to alchemy, the thought of taking an essentially worthless item and giving it value, life and beauty is such an a thrilling concept. So here are a few B&A’s that I have been working on. The side table below just needed a little Boho Chalk Paint and some love to make it amazing!

Before chalk paint
After chalk paint

With just a 1/2 yard of fabric, this mid-century-modern foot stool has been transformed into something I am eager  to rest my toes on.

Before footstool
Footstool covered with a new Guatemalan

This mid-century office chair was lacking in style. With just over a yard of fabric, some spray paint and a staple gun. Voila, fun and fabulous!

Before photo of mid century office chair
After photo of mid century office chair

I hope you find some inspiration in these transformations! Don’t forget to stop by and see me at Vintage By Design in Occidental.We love visitors! Thanks for reading,

Faith P

A $0 makeover

Before
After

My entryway has been sorely neglected as you can see in the “before” picture above.  Once you get settled into a home it’s easy to stop seeing things for what they are. One would think that since I own a vintage furniture shop and am admittedly obsessed with interior design and styling, that my house would be beautifully furnished, one would be wrong. Not to say that it’s all horrible, but there are some areas of my home that are just a little more desperate than others. I think the thing that holds me back from making little changes is that I really want to make big changes i.e new flooring, windows, paint and so on. So rather then bothering to make the place as good as it can be, I end up settling  for blah. So today’s post is an example of how little changes can be effective and fabulous even if you still have ugly beige walls and hideously gross carpeting. The reason that I am evening sharing this mini-makeover is not because I think it’s totally awesome and a perfect representation of my style, but rather because, I didn’t spend a single dollar or even leave the house. I simply worked with what was available, and while the improvements were subtle, they were improvements non the less. So here is a quick summery of my styling goals: A. Bring in a consistent color pallet. According to fung Shui, my entry way falls into the career and life path section of the bagua. This bagua belongs to the water element meaning I should incorporate things that represent water. For example, round objects, undulating shapes, colors blue and black and mirrors, are all important for insuring that I can continue to succeed doing the the work that I love. B. Add  texture. I was able to incorporate texture by introducing the sheepskin and the basket C. Bring in some pattern. Admittedly I would like to bring in more pattern, perhaps by replacing the throw rug, but here we see pattern in the armadillo, and the framed print. D. Greenery. I have a rather large plant family, it was pretty easy to relocated a few to the entry way to infuse it with some life. E. Shapes. When styling a space it always helps to showcase a variety of shapes. In this little vignette, you’ll notice that the rectangle shapes of the books and the mirrored tray contrast nicely with the round shape of the vase and planter. In addition to round and square we have the the little black and white armadillo to add a sculptural shape and introduce much needed pattern. F. Introduce personalized items. It makes me happy to see the the  the arrow that we brought back from our trip to the Amazon river in Brazil has found a home. The armadillo was a gift from a dear friend who purchased it for me in Nicaruagua after we spotted a baby armadillo while we were hiking on a volcano in the middle of a lake.

Close up
Close up