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Designer Monthly Preview

The woman who helped usher the interior design industry into full flower in the United States was prolific in putting out ideas that will help freshen up today's interior design business. Look at our latest Designer Monthly, Interior Design: Look Forward by Looking Back to Dorothy Draper.

Did you ever have a problem designing small spaces?  Take a look at how top interior designers solved this common problem in our latest Designer Monthly, How to Design Small Spaces at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House.






Decorating Tips: Accessorizing in the Arts and Crafts Style

Dragonfly vase, courtesy of Craftsman Touch

Do you love decor with a crafts feel and the hand-made look? Then the Arts and Crafts style may be for you.  The style was popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century and included the work of many popular designers and architects such as William Morris, Gustave Stickley, Frank L. Wright.

The features of Arts and Crafts included strong lines, stylized florals and insects, simple ornamentation, and employed materials such as wood, tile, stained glass and mica. Pottery - as seen above and below - was very popular.  The Dragonfly vase and the Prarie Globe vase is from Door Pottery at Craftsman Touch

Prarie Globe, courtesy of Craftsman Touch

Bogt Clock, Frank L. WrightThe strong lines and use of plain wood is evident in Frank L. Wright's designs. The Bogt Clock and light fixtures reflect Wright's design motifs from his famous buildings. Wright incorporated these motifs into stained glass windows or doors.

In the table lamps below, the first is from the Avery Coonley Playhouse; next to it is from the Robie House. Below that is from the Dana House and the Martin House.

Light fixtures, Frank L. Wright

The use of tiles in home decor was also popular.  Designers and homeowners hung welcome plaques in front of their homes. They also decorated the face and mantel of fireplaces with hand-made tiles. 

Motawi tiles, courtesy of Craftsman Touch

Plaques, courtesy of Craftsman Touch


Interested in learning more about accessorizing?  Take a look at Sheffield School's Complete Course in Interior Design.  At Sheffield, you will learn how to transform a space, create color schemes, and select furniture, lighting, and accessories.


Vintage Botanical Dinner Party

photos courtesy of Meghan Sadler

Are you planning your next dinner party and have no clue what theme to choose?  Check out this beautiful yet low-key theme for a backyard party. The design team of Yeti & the Beast chose vintage and botanicals as its running motif.  They brought in honeysuckle vine from the backyard for the table centerpiece and berries and flowers for spots of color. 

photos courtesy of Meghan Sadler

The designers were inspired by vintage prints of florals and insects and used those images for the invitations and table decor.  They transformed simple wood planks to serving trays, tying together their simple rustic feel.  

photos courtesy of Meghan Sadler

photos courtesy of Meghan Sadler


photos courtesy of Meghan Sadler

photos courtesy of Meghan Sadler



Thanks to 100 Layer Cake for their beautiful photographs, posts, and wedding inspiration. 100 Layer Cake is a unique, comprehensive wedding planning resource for and by thoughtful, crafty modern women. Their vendors, projects, weddings, resources, sponsors, and marketplace are hand-picked and thoroughly researched with the hope that every single one is a truly unique addition to both your wedding and your planning process. Visit the 100 Layer Cake website today.



Spectacular Macrame Jewelry


Macramé is a stitch that requires knotting, rather than weaving. Going way back, long before the 1970's made it a fashion statement that spread into home decor with owls and plant holders, it is believed to originate around the 1300's by Arab weavers.

It was popular with sailors who would decorate knives and wine bottles, while at sea, for trade when they reached new towns. This helped spread the technique globally. It was most popular during the Victorian Era. Homes were filled with macramé blankets, table cloths, draperies and wall hangings. 

Making its resurgence in the 2000's, Danielle Welmond has created some spectacular updated and exquisitely crafted weaved pieces. Above are hoops and a bracelet with sterling beads incorporated into the weave.


For Sheffield School students who love weaving techniques, these are some alternative ideas for setting stones. Whether you use rocks like Little Owl or decide to wrap a beautiful gem stones like HyppieChic on Etsy these are not only interesting to look at but can get you inspired. 

These colorful bracelets were found on Marta Mccall's blog by an unknown artist. I thought they were quite impressive but I have no idea how they were made.


This beautiful wrap bracelet by Chan Luu reminds me of friendship bracelets from the 70's that are remade in an upscale way for grown ups. 


Are you interested in taking a great jewelry design course and learning more about how to make your own jewelry or get started professionally in this creative field? Sheffield School began as an Interior Design school in 1985, and then expanded our course offerings to train people in other design-related fields, including Feng ShuiWedding and Event Planning, and Jewelry Design. With thousands of active students and more than 50,000 graduates, Sheffield has trained more design professionals than any school in the world.

  • Request a free Sheffield School catalog describing our distance education courses.
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  • Wednesday

    Weekend Getaway: Sunnyside on the Hudson

    Washington Irving's Sunnyside

    Why visit Sunnyside? If you’re looking for a bucolic retreat that’s only a short scenic drive by the Hudson River from Manhattan, then Sunnyside is a beautiful destination.  But don’t just come for the scenery; visit Sunnyside because it’s also the home of writer, Washington Irving. You may remember his chilling stories around Halloween – of headless horsemen and the time-travelling Rip Van Winkle. 

    As a teen, Washington Irving went to live in the Hudson Valley area to escape a yellow fever outbreak in New York City.  In Tarrytown, he discovered the old Dutch ghost stories that eventually became the basis for his stories, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle



    Irving later traveled extensively throughout Europe, living in England, Germany, France, and Spain.  While he was in Spain, he received access to the Spanish archives, and as a result he was able to write a biography of Christopher Columbus and stories of Granada’s old Moorish palace, the Alhambra. Due to his book of the Alhambra, Irving was able to raise awareness of the deterioration of the palace and consequently managed to save the palace from decay. 


    Lions Court at the Alhambra

    Irving came back to the Hudson Valley and began work on his home. Sunnyside started out as a simple cottage and grew to incorporate Irving’s interpretations of Scottish Gothic Revival architecture and Spanish monastic buildings. Much of the house’s original interior design and furnishings is still intact.  Irving’s study, where he wrote his books, remains the same and in good condition.

    Irving's study at Sunnyside

    A 19th-century costumed guide will give you a lively tour of the house and the grounds – which also include an ice-house and a Spanish tower. And when you're done touring Irving's house, take a walk through his estate. His house overlooks the Hudson and commands stunning views. 

    Hudson River Valley 

    Interested in learning more about architectural history?  Take a look at Sheffield School's Complete Course in Interior Design.  At Sheffield, you will learn how to transform a space, create color schemes, and select furniture, lighting, and accessories.



    Maybe All You Need is a Music Box


    In his book, Speak with Courage, author Martin McDermott cites Harvard professor, Howard Gardner, on his research on students’ studying abilities. “Professor Gardner, in brief, discovered the intellectual equivalent of cross-training: As swimming laps helps with running, playing music helps with math.” If you’re a parent with a child with difficulties at school, you may want to look further into this study. It could be helpful.

    Professor Gardner’s ideas on intellectual cross-training echoes a phenomenon we see frequently in feng shui. Commonly, when someone is trying to address a specific issue in their life, looking at another part of their life can shed a lot of insight as to what is really going on.

    For instance, if a client calls me because they are frustrated with work or don’t have enough money coming in, we’ll look at the aspects of their space that relates to their self-worth or how they honestly view themselves for clues. This can give us important information to address which may help their initial quandary.Music

    Music is an element in one’s space that we can use for new solutions to issues. It is also a wonderful additive to any life. It can stir up creative juices and help us see things differently. One of my clients was adamant about giving away a baby grand piano. It was taking up an inordinate amount of space and just didn't seem to “go” anywhere. After having a conversation, she learned that the issue was not with the piano itself, but with her not playing it. She then decided to invest some money in it and turn it into a self-playing piano. She kept it.

    I’m not saying you have to spend a lot of money to bring music in your life. You don’t need a music room. A music “corner” can do just fine. Here are some pointers as to how to bring a little music in your life.

    • If you have an instrument already, take it out and play it whenever you can. It doesn't matter how well you play it, but it’s the fact that you are using it.
    • Take note how often you play music during the day. If you don’t play it often, consider turning something on when you are cooking, cleaning, or just folding clothes. And, take note how that activity makes you feel when doing it to music.
    • If you wake up to an alarm buzzer or radio station, check to see if you really enjoy what you wake up to. You may want to change the station to a more soothing one.
    • Start singing in the shower, even if you sing out of tune. It can help your creative juices flow and perhaps lead to great ideas.
    • Consider playing sound music. Listening to the sound of a thunderstorm or ocean waves breaking on shore can really add to a bath or help with filing papers away. The sound of humming birds while dusting can make the room feel even cleaner.
    • Add imagery of music in your space. Perhaps get a musical note-shaped note pad, kitchen towels with instruments on them, or frame your favorite album cover. Or maybe a music box may work. Finding imagery that works for your own space is very personal. But take that look to see what might work for you.

    For your homework this month: Observe the amount of music that is in your life. And, find ways to add more to it. Keep in mind nature sounds are a form of music. Music can help stir creative juices, find solutions to problems, add a smile to the day, or even just soothe your temper. All of this can lead to subtle shifts within your life, as long as you are mindful of them. And, don't forget if your child is having trouble at school, research what kind of cross-training can be helpful for him or her.

    Until next month!