Friday, April 24, 2015

And the winner is ...

Thank you to everyone who left a comment and went over to visit the UNICEF Market by Novica.
Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Picture is Worth ...

"Leo" in the Pied-à-terre
One of the first things that I bought for the new apartment was this Scandanavian Pine armoire. I fell in love with the rugged and yet luxurious look of it at first sight, and drove 13-hours round trip to call it mine. It's still probably my favorite piece of furniture in the whole place.
I found these mouton leg stools at an antique shop in Salamanca, New York and made the slipcovers myself. The seagrass and zebra are from my old house, as is the French chair that acts as part additional seating, part library.
I painted all of the doors in the apartment black, a contrast that I thought was absolutely necessary. Bamboo roman shades are hung over the existing mini-blinds, which I can not take down. But I bet you'd never know they're there!

The lamps and sofa are from the old house, but the chairs, mirrored nesting coffee table(s), and art by the wildly talented Dianne Ballard are all new. I've thought long and hard about adding pattern to this space, along with color ... but after having lived with so much color in the old place this is incredibly refreshing.
Next up, the bedroom. Soon, I promise!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Giveaway Day!

Wheeew! I know, it's been a while since I've checked in - but there are all sorts of things happening around this neck of the woods that have just kept me from finding time to sit down and share anything worthwhile.

Until, today! In fact, today - I have something REALLY worthwhile. I've blogged about Novica before, and have offered giveaways with them before, and you always really love it. So, when they asked if I'd be willing to do another giveaway, I jumped at the opportunity.

Novica has partnered with UNICEF to create the new UNICEF Market. Most of the products on the site are the Novica products that you've come to know and love, but when ordering through this new website, you directly and positively impact the lives of children through UNICEF's global programs.

As you may or may not know, Novica is all about creating an online global marketplace of real artists, creating a viable, sustainable, and healthy business for individuals living in areas where opening up a store on the corner isn't as easy as it is here. Now, when you order these beautiful, handmade goods, not only will you help Novica artists, you'll be helping children around the world!

I did a little peeking through the website myself in preparation for this post. Wondering if I could limit myself to just a few things I'd love to have if I were to be the lucky winner of a $50 STORE CREDIT to UNICEF Market by Novica. Yep, that's right! $50 bucks!

How cute is this for summer entertaining? Made in Mexico, these glass water tumblers and pitcher would be a great addition to any current dinnerware set for summer entertaining! What a great little set for margaritas! (I'm just saying!)
The website is great for sorting through your different needs when shopping. I love browsing around the Home Décor category, you never come up short! And you can shop by artist, price, or type of home décor you're looking for, like vases, for instance.

I must be in a blue sort of mood, because I love this collection of three bud vases made in Thailand. Maybe because I feel like they'd pepper well into my growing collection of blue and white porcelain, maybe just because I like blue, or perhaps because they're just so darn cute!
One of the things that I also love about the site is that there's SO MUCH STUFF to choose from. Home Décor is obviously something I am interested in, but they also have clothing, jewelry, and even greeting cards! 


It's always nice to have a set of fantastic cards that are blank on the inside! When you need to write a thank you note, a get well card, remind someone to have a nice day, even for birthdays and anniversaries - you can never go wrong with a blank card and your most honest and sincere, kind words. These cards (a set of 12) of ancient door ways are so inexpensive, and so beautiful - you might be able to just sign the inside and call it a day! And, if you're looking for an inexpensive option for creative art, you could frame the doorway cards! Photos were taken from doors in Kasbah, Morocco; Paris, France; Jaisalmer, India; and Mombasa, Kenya.
So, what do you have to do? Well, you need to head over to the UNICEF Market and take a stroll through the store. Come back here and leave your name and what you'd be buying with your $50 store credit (just because I'm nosy!) and I'll draw a name by Random Number Generator on Friday, April 24th!
The winner will have until June to use the store credit! Good luck!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ohio State Reformatory

This weekend I spent some time in Ohio, and had an amazing time. I visited lots of great art galleries, (bought a wonderful piece) furniture stores, antique stores, (bought some chairs I'm super excited to show you!) and the highlight of the exploration side of the trip, the Ohio State Reformatory.

The Reformatory is probably most widely recognized as the filming location for the movie The Shawshank Redemption, but it was also used in several other films including Air Force One. Built between the years of 1886 and 1910, the historic prison is a stunning example of architecture conceived by noted Cleveland architect, Levi T. Scofield. Scofield, inspired by European castles and the nobility and gentility of that era, designed the sprawling reformatory in an effort to encourage inmates to be inspired by their surroundings, thereby correcting their egregious behaviors. The superbly landscaped grounds, Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, and general scale and footprint of the building in the middle of the Ohio plains was something of a marvel at the time it was constructed. People would come from far and wide to picnic on the lawn of the prison, and tour the scenic landscape.

Hard to believe having lunch in the prison yard would be fondly approached!

The reformatory closed in 1990, and a new prison was built behind it. Luckily, saved from being torn down by the notoriety it received after The Shawshank Redemption filmed there, it now is owned and operated by a curatorial 501C3 not for profit with goals of restoring the space to its former condition one room at a time.

I was able to grab some pretty good shots of this stunning place with my iPhone, and I can't wait to go back sometime in the warmer months with my actual camera, and maybe take part in one of their overnight ghost hunts!



If you're looking to make a trip, you can find more information on the website about hours of operations, ghost tours, special functions, and directions.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Picture is Worth ...

The Pied-à-terre
A quick little shot taken with my iphone this morning. I'm still looking for pillows, but there have been a few new additions. The ballet tie slipcovers are done for the mouton leg ottomans, the Trader Joe's orchid looks happy in its new home, and the Hollywood Regency candle sconce has found a happy wall to live.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dianne D. Ballard - Artist Supreme

The Pied-à-terre
So many of you are familiar with the old rooms of CDLV. While they were lovely, they were dark, heavy, and they had become somewhat oppressive. I knew that I needed not only to be able to move forward in my life, but to move away from that dark and heavy interior and into a bright, neutral space in my new apartment.
Having such neutral interiors means that anything with color becomes a standout, so I knew that the art had to be two things: 1) really beautiful and of great quality, and 2) meaningful and interesting. Enter my friend, long time reader, and amazingly gifted artist Dianne D. Ballard.
Dianne lives in North Carolina, and grew up in a family that valued art. When she was a child, her parents had her portrait done by a local artist. It was before computer technology, and she had to sit daily for the artist to study her features and paint them on canvas. For Dianne, it was magic! The canvas came alive with every brush stroke, and in watching that process, Dianne knew that was what she wanted to do with her life.
Dianne D. Ballard
After graduating from college with a degree in fine art, Dianne worked in every facet of the interior design business, from doing department store window displays to working with clients on interior design projects. She continued her love for art - painting, doing faux paint treatments, murals, and finally teaching art in the public school system. When she retired from teaching, she knew that it was just the beginning of having the freedom to paint whatever she wanted each and every day.

Dianne D. Ballard
Naturally, having such talent for interior design and having been a long time reader of my blog, Dianne knew without hesitation exactly what she wanted to paint for me. Within a few days, I went from conceptualizing art with Dianne via email, to having the art in my hands - wonderfully packaged for safe and secure shipment, and ready for framing.
 Dianne D. Ballard
Each of my four paintings from Dianne are hand painted on paper, something I requested for ease in framing. She used a mix of media for the art, including soft pastel and acrylic. For other commissions Dianne has done both canvas and paper.

 Dianne D. Ballard

Dianne was a joy to work with from the beginning, right through to the end. She communicated with me throughout the entire process, letting me know what she thought would be best for the space, collaborating with me on color ideas and the way that the art would be hung. I could tell that Dianne wasn't just painting something I could buy to hang. She was painting and creating ART for ME!

Dianne D. Ballard
Having been the first time I had ever commissioned anything at all, I was unsure what to expect, what to think, how to feel. But Dianne held my hand through the whole process, and was comforting and reassuring. She was confident in her ability to make the art exactly what I wanted - and boy did she ever! 

Dianne D. Ballard
I love everything about the paintings that Dianne did for the pied-à-terre; including how they work en masse and separately. It will be art that I will enjoy for a lifetime, and isn't that what art is supposed to be? They are exactly what I wanted for the space: interesting, provocative, soothing, emotional, captivating, and personal. Without a doubt, the most incredible art I own, and by far one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had in creating a living space.
When I asked Dianne if I could blog about my art, my experience with her work and the process of commissioning art from 400 miles away, she was gracious enough to let me share with you not only the art she had created for me, but work from past clients as well.
 Dianne D. Ballard

Dianne D. Ballard

Dianne D. Ballard

Dianne D. Ballard

 Dianne D. Ballard
 Dianne D. Ballard

Dianne D. Ballard
Dianne writes: "I am grateful to God for this gift of talent. I thank my parents for supporting me with so many opportunities while I was growing up and I feel very lucky to have adult children that remain my loudest cheerleaders. I am Southern to the core and have lived on the Carolina coast most of my life. I now have a studio in my home and am represented by Studio 413 on Broad in historic New Bern, N.C.."
If you have ever thought about commissioning art for your space, I recommend you talk with Dianne and have her create something as spectacular as she did for me, for you. Pictures can not capture the warmth and character of these pieces. To know, and experience art is to hold it in your hands, and study it yourself - and if you get the chance to do that with one of Dianne's pieces - well, you'll be in for a real treat!
If you wish to commission a painting there are many ways you can do it. Dianne can be reached at or phone 252-497-6246 to discuss the possibilities for your space.
Thank you again Dianne, for creating such wonderful art for the pied-à-terre, I love it!