Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Droopy Hydreangeas

As I was walking on Merrimack Street downtown Lowell this weekend enjoying our nation's largest Folk Festival, I was thrilled and ecstatic that finally a new floral shop had opened within walking distance to my loft.  The Flower Mill stocking fresh cut flowers for purchase (one of my favorite passions) is my new hang out!  Joanne Hall the owner and lead designer at the Flower Mill was so helpful and educated me on keeping my blooms fresh and alive longer than normal.

I was unaware of how to keep these precious summer blooms alive and kicking for up to 2 weeks.  If you've every cut your blooms and notice the next day they are drooping, you might think they are dying. This is not the case at all.  Hot water is the secret!  Joanne had educated me on this little tip.  Cutting the stems under running hot water and placing them also in a vase of hot water helps to keep the stems open popping the blooms back to fullness.  I've found I need to perform this ritual every 2 days and it works like a charm.  All these years of "hydrangea loving" without a clue.

Would love to hear any other tips on keeping your hydrangeas full of life!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Blog Name Change: Designs for Daley Living

To all  followers, my blog title name change is official, from Debbe Daley Designs  to "Designs for Daley Living". The name change fits the content of this blog perfectly! Thank you for following and look for my next blog post titled A Piece of History Adds Inspiration to a New Space.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Concrete in the Kitchen

While I was sitting at the bar of the Flatbread Company in Portsmouth, NH, http://www.flatbreadcompany.com/FlatbreadPortsmouth2010.html I was intrigued by the magnificent concrete counter top glaring back at me. What was so intriguing about this piece was the added embellishments mixed within the finished surface resulting in a beautiful counter top masterpiece.

Concrete is known to be used in more modern designs.  However, the beauty of concrete is creating your own design shape and mold. Concrete can be colored and tinted and is very durable lasting a lifetime.  The word "concrete" would make one think they were getting a cinder block look, gray and unattractive.  This is not the case.

Sea glass and a variation of multicolored stones compiled this concrete concoction creating an interesting counter top surface.  Create your own design with your own collections. Whether it be sea glass, shells, white gray or black stones collected at the beach, these can all be used to create a unique design piece.

Try a smaller project at first.  Possibly a bathroom counter top.  Here's one scenario... find or create an interesting base to showcase the counter top.  The base must be strong and sturdy as well as the floor under it as concrete is very heavy.  A stainless steel frame created from piping, an old Singer sewing machine base would work, just a thought.  Create your concrete counter top from your collections.  How about old keys embedded into the concrete for that nostalgic feel or even your loose change, pennies for instance.  The Natural Handyman gives great instructions on making your own concrete counter top.

Whatever your style, light, white, dark or bold.  A concrete counter top will emminate style and create interesting kitchen conversation!

Share with us any of your concrete design stories and suggestions for added embellishments.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

From Dress to Decor

Shopping for the perfect dress to wear to one of two weddings next month, I thought a soft shade of coral or peach and something very simple would be perfect.  Believe it or not while walking through TJ Maxx I found a multitude of dresses varying in shades of coral.  Most  being brighter than I preferred, I found one in a dusty coral and the style was light and airy. Not believing my eyes I will reveal the dress price of $12.99....yes!

The fit was perfect the price was right so snatched was the dress and on to accessorizing. Looking through my jewelry collection my eyes were immediately drawn to the special antique turquoise slide enclosed in sterling silver and a sterling cuff which had been given to me as a Christmas gift. Looking further, I thought of my spa green sea glass and sterling ring and the perfect turquoise pashmina hanging on my dressing hook.  Fantastic, now footwear. The dainty coral pink strappy sandals embedded with rhinestones and sitting on the shelf of my shoe cabinet for years were just right.  Putting the whole look together, I was ecstatic at the cost of this fabulous looking ensemble.

Once my excitement subsided, I returned to work on my laptop. I turned my head to catch a glimpse of the beautiful sunset available to me from my large loft windows looking out over the back acre of Lowell.  You may be asking, where am I going with all this?

 The ugly turquoise painted house that faces my windows which I have despised from the first day I purchased, and considered mailing suggested paint swatches to their home anonymously,  had been embellished by the sun setting sky and the beautiful corals, peach, oranges and shades of blue/green hovering over the roof line of the house.  I laughed to myself looking at the fashion ensemble I had just put together having the same colors I was viewing in the sunset with the exterior turquoise paint colored home.

I will never look at the ugly turquoise painted house in the same way again. Seeing it in the light of the sunset made me realize all things interior and exterior can be made beautiful through embellishments.  Whether it be shoes and jewels or a kiss from Mother Nature.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Decorating Under the Pergola

Summer is finally here and the long awaited weather and sunshine is finally upon us. Now is the time to take advantage of your outdoor living space. A sitting area that is useful and relaxing can be created by decorating the interior perimeter space of your outside pergola or deck area.

Create a comfortable sitting area by using weather-proof fabrics. Rustic wood frame seating for a sofa or love seat with a neutral fabric base and colorful pillows makes for a warm and inviting seating piece.  Add a rustic framed mirror or colorful picture over the sofa.  This can be grounded and hung by cable or chain bolted to the beams and side columns of the pergola.  If a deck space is being used, utilize the back side wall of the house or structure to hang this piece.

On the top center beams or arbor of the pergola, add creative lighting. A large glass lantern to house a wide pillar candle that can also be mounted on a pulley system for easy lowering in order to light the candle is also an easy task.

Create a coffee table for the space by re-purposing pallets.  Two pallets can be used here.  One for the top surface and one for the bottom base will add additional storage shelving.  Add casters found from your local home improvement store for easy mobility.  Stain the pallets to the color of your liking.  


If the space allows add a stone fire pit for those chilly evenings of entertaining and toasting marshmallows.  A portable water feature such as a small fountain or fish pond will add sounds of tranquility to this space.

Accessorizing is the really fun factor of this project.  An abundance of potted plants scattered through the space will add more warmth.  Standing tall candle sticks 4 – 5 feet in height will add more evening lighting and ambiance.

Enjoying this newly created outdoor sanctuary will surely add joy, peace and relaxation to the short summer season.

How do you decorate your outdoor living space?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Paint Inspiration and Color Transformation

Looking to choose paint color for the inside of your home?  Need some inspiration? Begin to look around your home at some of the accessories you may have and enjoy.  This could be an area rug, a painting a vase or even a floral arrangement with bright beautiful colors.

Recently I was hired by a client who purchased a floral arrangement to show me when I initially arrived at her home.  Her living space was empty and although she had some pieces of furniture to possibly use in the space, she wanted to begin new and use the colors in the floral arrangement to incorporate in her new space.  I knew this was going to be easy.  We had something to work with – inspiration - multicolored flowers!

I went right to work. I needed a wall color that would serve as a soft backdrop to vibrant purples, blues, and gold’s and fuchsia colors.  Woodwork being white, I chose to go with a soft butter cream in tone. The color chosen was Benjamin Moore's 923 French Vanilla.  The fabric on the sofa would be a gold damask pattern, and opposite the sofa would be two chairs in a floral pattern in colors to match the floral arrangement.  An accent chair of celery green would sit next to the sofa.  Two contrasting pillows on the sofa would be of the floral fabric from the chairs and one celery green.  In front of the fireplace would sit a round button tufted box pleated ottoman in the same celery green fabric as the chair.

Now because the living space was open concept incorporating an eating area flowing into the kitchen, was necessary.  A round glass dining table with fabric covered parsons chairs would fit the space nicely.  A collage of fabrics was used on the chairs – a vibrant floral on the body of the chairs and a multi stripe for the chair skirt.  This would allow the colors to flow from the eating area to the living area with ease.

Sometimes all it takes is something as simple as a vibrant color floral arrangement to set the decorating scheme for your space.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Small Jar Obsession

Ok, so I'm obsessed with the small empty marinated artichoke jars.  I use them to store every day condiments on my counter top.  They look clean and neat.  Painting the covers a shade of metallic gold gives them that more "gourmet" look.  I love to store grated cheese, chopped nuts, dried herbs for cooking and easy access.  What do you use your empty jars for?

Welcome to my decorating, design, creative lifestyle blog!

Welcome to my new blog.  I hope to use this forum to share decorating, redesign, staging and lifestyle topics here.  After writing a decorating article in the Merrimack Journal for 7 years and working in the interior design field for over 25 years.  I have a lot of interesting home knowledge to share.  I'm also interested in what my followers are working on in regards to their home and creative projects.  Please feel free to ask me any questions in regards to your dwelling lifestyle.  I'm not sure all always have the answer but as my mother would say "she has the gift of gab".  Thank you for following!

Debbe Daley