what’s inspiring me right now…

I always have a collection of pictures on a giant cork board in my room at home. I like to look at it before I sleep and get inspired to solve design dilemmas in my subconscious.

I thought I’d share some of the pictures I have up now.


From House Beautiful 2008. Interior design by Jeffrey Bilhuber. This montage of images has inspired me all year long. I love the furniture, the subtle plays of color, and the feeling that this house has all these corridors to tuck furniture,sculpture, and art into.


This stairway is so brilliant, it just really moves me. Featured in an Elle Decor from earlier this year, I LOVE the interplay of organic vs. mod. The image below is from the same spread. At first I loved the oversized “mantle,” but now it seems a bit too imposing for me. Still the composition of this room is very masterful.


Below, this article about Barbara Barry in the August issue of Traditional Home really DID inspire me. The lesson I learned from it is that mastery has to do with taking what you do to the most absolute level you can. Barry lives and breathes design and her life is all about aesthetic pleasures. What I wrote in my journal after reading this: “Worship at the altar of aesthetics.” The page is on the board to remind me.


Shifting gears for a minute here, below is an image from a recent Anthropologie catalog. Of course this made me think of how little Aadi is always hanging on a leg, or using me or Michael as a play “tunnel.” But then of course there is the sub-text of Paris and the joie de vivre.  I just love everything about this. I tried on the coat at Anthro last week too : ).


This image inspires me because lifestyle is part of the work of a designer and shop owner and this encapsulates a feeling that I’d love to translate into a room. Here is another set of images of Paris from an old Cookie magazine that is on the board:


Again, this series of images captures that sense of “life experience” or worldliness that I love to incorporate in my design work.

OK. Let’s finish with the most recent design images to make their way onto the board. This first one is from a back issue of Domino mag. I really LOVE it and resurrected it from an old pile of clips.


It is tacked up right next to this one from a 2009 summer issue of House Beautiful.


What strikes me most about these two photos are the similarities in design approach: neutral wall color, the primacy of a single color in the scheme (copper tones in the first one and blues in the second. They are both rather simple and pattern and embellishment is brought in through the furniture and accessories rather than through fabrics. They also both have a dialogue with nature in their own way.

Something in these two images speaks to me about future directions in design. You will hear me talking about this a lot as we approach the new decade! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter at www.furbishhome.com to get the full scoop!

bye-bye portland: the japanese gardens

It was our last day in Oregon and we were exhausted, but I insisted on one more pit stop. The most peaceful place in Portland, the Japanese Gardens. This is a “designer” place as far as I am concerned. Each eye view is meticulously crafted for maximum impact while the overall effect is still soft and natural. I will be quiet and just let you take in some of the sights as I saw them. Shhhh! Time to meditate on the transcendence of nature and design : ).








Bye-bye Portland. I so appreciate the view of earth and life from your lovely vantage point!

the most beautiful place

The Columbia River Gorge is a stunning and magical place. You cannot help but feel a sense of awe and peace.


The shots above were taken from the Crown Point Overlook Vista House, a historic lookout point built in 1916. The building itself is pictured everywhere associated with the gorge so I thought I’d give you a good close up view of the architecture here instead.


The lookout point is along the Old Columbia River Highway, which also hosts stops at the area’s many beautiful waterfalls. Ever since my first visit the sight of these falls have remained in my head as a place I conjure up when I need to relax. On the first visit (five years ago) I stopped at every single one that was open. This time we did the abridged version because Aadi was coming down with a cold…oh, and we were flying back home the same night.

We saw the Latourell Falls again. Really magnificent, a single column of white water. The photos make it seem more intimidating than it is. It really is a welcoming waterfall.


The second stop was Bridal Veils Fall, which had been closed during our last visit. It was a bit of a hike, which would have been nothing had it not been that we had to carry Aadi down and then back up.

But it was worth it, a very pretty site. The approach:


Getting closer:


A very beautiful “veil” of water cascading gracefully:


Of course the ledge of the lookout deck is carved with graffiti.

I really can’t describe adequately the experience of being here. It is really a spectacular place. My words and rudimentary photography skills can’t do it justice. The cherry on top is Mt. Hood. You can see the falls, drive to Hood River and then loop around Hood. We did not get there this time but I kept shrieking every time the majestic mountain appeared as we navigated our way around Portland and environs. Here is a photo I bought from the very talented Peter McNamee who sells his work at the Saturday Market.

Picture 23

Please go and let me know what you think. Plus, I’m looking for contenders for the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Any recommendations?

my top 5 design trends for fall

I just put out a new newsletter with 5 trends I love for fall. Here is the evidence that these are indeed trends! Straight from the September issue of Elle Decor, the bible of interior designers and decorating addicts : ).


Asian style fixture and chairs. Warm color.


Asian styling, purple, warm colors.


Ethnic silver accent, Indian-feel coffee table.


Purple accent, Indian carved panel headboard.

ed eth art

Ethereal art, purple tones.

ed purple dr

Purple dining room!

ed asian accents

Lots of Asian accents. Art with that pale blue background color again!

So there you have it. Design for a new season. Here are the five trends again:

1. Purple tones: I am seeing lovely shades of purple everywhere, from burgundy to heather, to pale almost grey lavenders.

2. Silver revived: Last year saw people gravitating towards soft gold accents for home. That is still true this year, but we also see silver, especially “ethnic silver” with a lot of detailing, like etching, filagree, and carving.

3. Asian styling: I couldn’t resist a good selection of Asian and Indian-style wooden furniture this season, and I’m not alone. Many interiors are incorporating classic Asian and hand-carved Indian pieces.

4. Green gold and copper tones: Warm colors are experiencing a bit of a revival. The yellows are golden with green undertones and the oranges are burnished and coppery.

5. Ethereal art: I have been seeing artwork painted in light ethereal colors in many magazine spreads. The color has softness and translucent qualities, and often themes of nature.

See more at FURBISH this fall!

sellwood: portland’s place for antiques

Sellwood is a very cool neighborhood in Southeast Portland. It is known for its plethora of antique shops. And there are plenty of good places to eat and drink coffee, so you can make a WHOLE day of it. Here are some of the fabulous finds I stumbled upon:


A gorgeous and very big hand-painted Indian doorway that could be used as a headboard, table, or actual door.


Just really liked the color palette in this vintage piece of local art. I definitely developed a thing for the Oregon Coast : ).


I really liked these Asian-style chairs and silk tapestry artwork. There are many asian influences in Portland so stylistically they make sense there.


This wooden art deco mantel piece just felt so right to me. In great condition and the finish had a richness to it.


LOVED this lamp made out of a printer roll for a wallpaper pattern!

Want to shop for antiques in Portland? Start here for some pointers. Want to design a beautiful home around one-of-a-kind finds like these? Call us at Furbish Home to learn about our first rate design services.