Friday, September 2, 2011

Birds of a Feather Part I of III (Barry, Birds, AND Pink)

Come On In . . .

fist full of air
hand full of light
sigh of pears
look from a pencil
glance towards nail
. . . doorway to an illusion
Waking up is always
A place well feathered

                    Colleen Ross

A great big Mississippi welcome to my MS Design Maven blog  --   a champagne cocktail toast to you, my first followers!


When I was growing up in the Mississippi Delta on the Coldwater River, my very wise and expert homekeeper maternal grandmother, whom we lovingly called Nanny, had an expression for EVERYTHING, and I find myself using one or another of her expressions nearly everyday. 

One she often used to admonish us to ''stay away from the WRONG crowd" and to "associate with the RIGHT crowd" was, "Birds of a feather flock together."

When I started getting serious about launching my design blog last spring, I found myself gravitating toward Facebook to explore and feel my way around the virtual design world.  I have ''met"
 so many great friends in the design community there, and I often find myself commenting, "We are birds of a feather," when they post great design photos, and we find that we share similar design tastes.  And of course, since I happen to love birds, nests, eggs, and feathers of all sorts, again thanks to Nanny,  I get a little secret satisfaction for somehow working birds into my comments.  

Nanny and Me, ca. 1961

Nanny loved her well-tended yard and constantly talked about her shrubs and trees, and always pointed out to me every species of bird that she saw in her yard.  "Oh look, there is one of my little redbirds," she would say.  That must be why I am so drawn to birds and find myself often using "bird things" in my designs.  I have a true penchant for everything from concrete bird statuary to antique bird prints and bird cages.  I think this is one of the ways I am able to incorporate nature and the outdoors even into the most formal room.  I do LOVE that juxtaposition!

Hand made enamel and sterling silver pink bird earrings from Design Options on Etsy.

At the top of my Birds of a Feather List, because I seem to absolutely adore every project he designs AND he has Mississippi ties, is Barry Dixon.  I was thrilled and inspired by the September cover of House Beautiful featuring the living room of a Victorian row house on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. that Barry has designed in shades of pinks and brown. Barry, Birds, AND Pink!  I am in heaven!

In the accompanying article Barry says, "There's nothing that evokes emotions more than color.  The bleaker your life, the more important color becomes.  Color makes you happier. "

This is indeed a happy room. It got me to thinking about PINK

 I love the use of the pink in this room.  The older I get the more I am drawn to pink. I used to be a totally orange girl, but as I get older it seems just a little too harsh for me to wear.  As they say, "Pretty in pink."  (I do still love orange for design projects though! And anyway, it looks great WITH pink and there are great shades of salmon and pinkish orange when we examine the whole range of pinks.)  I think it indeed sets the mood, smooths, soothes, and  brightens and freshens things up all at the same time. 

 Pink has so many shades and facets, from the palest, palest sweet pink like Benjamin Moore's Soft Pink 2012-70 to vibrant coral pinks (Hydrangea Flowers 2008-40), shocking carnation pinks (Springtime Bloom 2079-40), raspberry pinks (Vibrant Blush 2081-30), and even pinkish sienna (Terra Cotta Tile 2090-30).

Barry explores this gamut of pinks in the room.  He says, "I wanted to play with different shades of pink."  He mentions using a "frothy strawberry milk shake" pink, a coral pink, raspberry pink, and pink with a lilac cast all grounded by a cocoa chocolate and vanilla, creating a no calorie Neopolitan. 

 No calorie, perhaps, but it IS yummy!

The other details in the room also make the heart sing.  In an interview published last fall, Barry commented, "Design harnesses the exterior elements and brings them inside." I am naturally drawn to bringing outside elements in. Barry has done just that here, with the bird painting, the natural fiber rug, the statuary elements by the mantle, and of course the fresh flowers.  All elements that I tend to use in every design project.

I also like to repeat shapes when designing a space.  Note Barry's shape repetition using round and circular shapes in the room, from the mirrored chandelier medallion on the ceiling, to the circles on the Bergamo fabric, which is tufted with round buttons, on the walls, and the round rug on the floor with round nailhead detail on the border.  The pink Tuscany ottoman,  referred to by Barry as "a  cupcake", and made by Stewart Furniture  is definitely round.   And the barrel backs of the Niermann Weeks French Club Chairs are round and upholstered in Barry's Vervain Crop Circle fabric. 

It is ALL in the details, and Barry is a master of detail!

Barry Dixon, Birds, AND Pink!  I AM inspired by Barry Dixon's work.  He is a bird of my feather and a great inspiration.

I am really enjoying working with Barry's debut fabric collection from Vervain, here in a pink/melon/orange palette. The Cacao Vine Draperies are shown here in Mustard.
(I am working on client draperies in Cacao Vine in Citrine for a client right now.  I can't wait to see them completed.)

Barry Dixon wearing pink.  I do love a man in a pink shirt!


"Nothing is more inspiring than the natural world beyond the window, the father/mother of all artful creation. That, and the rich history of ornament & decoration that is the legacy of generations of gurus and geniuses who inhabit and define the continuum of design."
                                          Barry Dixon

Barry Dixon's newest book Inspirations is one of our Birds of a Feather Blog Launch Giveaways

Two of our precious little Mississippi hand painted pink pottery birds are also
part of our
Birds of a Feather Blog Launch Giveaway. We will also have flocks of these birds available in many colors in our Etsy store soon.

O birds, your perfect virtues bring,
Your song, your forms, your rhythmic flight,
Your manners for your heart’s delight,
Nestle in hedge, or barn, or roof,
Here weave your chamber weather-proof,
Forgive our harms, and condescend
To man, as to a lubber friend,
And, generous, teach his awkward race
Courage, and probity, and grace!
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, May-Day and Other Pieces

Pink Silk by Kathe Fraga 
 This painting by Kathe Fraga would be a fabulous inspiration and focal point for a pink room similar to Barry's. 

Stay tuned for Birds of a Feather Parts II and III for more birds, more great pink design, and more Birds of a Feather Blog Launch Giveaways. Don't forget to subscribe to MS Design Maven and 'like' MS Design Maven and Per Design Studio on Facebook to be eligible to win one of the great prizes including a copy of Barry Dixon's new book Inspirations and two hand painted in MS pink birds in nests. 

We will announce more giveaways in our next post!  All winners will be drawn September 19, 2011.

Special thanks to my grandmother Nanny (I miss her everyday.),  my inspirational client Pamela Walton, fellow blogger Maureen Bower of Eclectic Revisited who is a bird of my feather and an inspiration, and all of my Facebook friends, especially Colleen Ross,  Kathe Fraga, and Danielle Charney!

Photo Credits:   Unknown Sources, House Beautiful, Vervain, Barry Dixon, Birdhouses -  1st Dibs


  1. Hi Marilyn,
    congratulation on your first blog post!! it's very Pinkalicious..and what a lovely token of appreciation to you Nanny to dedicate this post to her as well as a favorite Barry Dixon..
    am looking forward to more fabulous posts..

  2. Hi! Congratulations and warm regards on your new blog and post! You are in the pink! Wonderful photo of you and Nanny, too. :)))) Warmly,

  3. Hello Marilyn.

    Congratulation on your new blog and your first post. I too, also love birds and nature inspired items and I'm sure your Nanny would be very proud of you!

    Tried to go to your Etsy shop but there was nothing there?


  4. Hello Marilyn, So excited for you and I love your first post. Lot's of work getting it all together and you have done a fabulous job. Signing up to follow everywhere and look forward to more posts. I'm a huge Barry Dixon fan as well. He is just so talented. Have a great weekend. Mona

  5. Congratulations, Marilyn! Your blog absolutely made my day and allowed a complete escape to BEAUTIFUL for a few moments. Thank you for sharing your loves and inspirations with us. Delightful!


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