Thursday, January 5, 2012

Resolutions: Silver and Gold, Part III

 People always tend to congregate in the kitchen.  That's great if you have a large and beautiful kitchen.  If you don't, or you don't want lots of people in your kitchen, keep refreshments to a bare minimum in the kitchen, perhaps just a bottle or two of wine and glasses on a pretty tray with cheese straws, a southern cocktail party staple.

(If you have never had cheese straws, let me know!  We have a great mail order source for made in Missisippi cheese straws.  They are THE perfect little cocktail nibble.)

Welcome more party guests!

Mary Helen McCoy
Designer, Owner and CEO 
Mary Helen McCoy Fine Antiques
and Interior Design
Charleston, SC


My design resolution is actually an old one, creating a knowledgable mix of furnishings for every client.
A small alcove in a Lakehouse features a walnut commode in the French Louis XV style made by the owner's Grandmother during the first half of the 20th century. Such a nice sentimental piece should always be incorporated into a client's home. I paired the commode with a wonderful  French iron Art Deco style mirror. Scrolls along the top with bunches of grapes suggest that this mirror was originally made in the South of France. 

 In this ever changing world of design, clients are influenced by many external factors, including the whims of the trade magazines.

As a serious antique dealer, as well as an Interior Designer, I encourage my clients to trust my knowledge of furniture, periods, and architecture and to let me teach and guide them to the best quality furnishings their budget can afford, without compromising or being a slave to trends, affecting a knowledable and interesting mix.

 I would always rather see an empty space than see a misfit just to fill the space. 
 This concept of mixing styles of different antiques from different parts of the world, along with a touch of modern, has always been my signature.

 I designed this Living Room for a client in 2005, and it is a wonderful representation of effectively mixing styles. A French Louis XIV period black lacquer bibliotheque, filled with the client's own ivory collection from Asia, mixed with 17 th century French Faience ( less formal ), an 18 th century Italian mirror over a new sofa, flanked by a pair of French reproduction bronze and marble gueridon tables, and lighted by a pair of 18 th century Chinese export vases made into lamps, certainly illustrates this mix. The 18 th century Italian Scagalioa marble panel I placed atop the modern Lucite bases and the pair of French Louis XVI period carved and gilt wood fauteuils by Jacob are a surprise for this otherwise very serious room. This client ( age 74 at the time) did not like the bases but she kept them because she knew that they were a distraction and a compliment to the formality of the room. Using these bases enables one to see the continuous pattern of the antique Tabriz rug.

Here I incorporated wonderful architectural elements into a kitchen design. After I found the 18th century oak panels I worked with the architect and the cabinet contractor to organize this kitchen. The fabrication of the limestone surround was executed in France through one of my sources where I also acquired the 17th Century iron fire back as a decoration against the plaster back splash made to look like stone. The new counter stools from Rose Tarlow, with the 19th Century Dutch brass chandelier and the impressive granite counter top, give the room substance and warmth.

2012 COLOR

All shades of orange seem to be the "hot colors" these days, however I make it my practice to avoid trends when deciding a color palette.

I prefer to let other factors guide me such as the use of a room, an object, fabric, a rug, a painting, and even what is seen outside through the windows. I like to use colors as a backdrop and I prefer warm colors to cool colors.
Each room MUST transition to the next space for a harmonious union of textiles, woods, metals and art.

Mary Helen Is Toasting In The New Year With

My husband and I will toast The New Year in with a bottle of Champagne, Dom Perignon Vintage 2002, which I have saved for this occasion.

 We will share the bottle with my son Michael and daughter-in-law Lee Anne visiting from Tuscaloosa, AL.

Kevin McLaughlin
Designer,  Mae Downs & Co.
Philadelphia, PA


My New Year's resolution is to spend more time in my design studio.This coming May, Mae Downs & Co. will celebrate 25 years.

2012 COLOR

For 2012 at Mae Downs & Co. it's not so much colour as it is pattern. For Spring and Fall we will be showing checks and
 plaids and tartans.

Let's turn beige into something colorful!

Kevin Is Toasting In The New Year With

 My drink has always been the same:
A Wild Turkey Manhattan UP with 2 Cherries!

Lila and I toast everyone a successful and healthy 2012!

Gloria De Lourdes Blalock
Designer, Blalock Interiors
Arlington, VA

My design resolution is all about color this year!

I am thinking of two of my favorite elements, earth and sunshine and their colors. I hope that 2012 fills me with both!

 I adore nature and all its bounty. Additionally… nothing beats the crisp rays of light in the early morning hours, and the golden hues cast at sunset.

In interior design, I hope to use these colors to warm up rooms not only in my home, but in upcoming projects, as well.

This Christmas, my mantle spoke of this inspiration with half a dozen golden vintage peacocks. They ushered in the New Year and reminded me of a certain glow that I hope surrounds my home, my life, and that of all my loved ones. 

2012 COLOR

Ever since the age of 8… I have kept journals, and for the last 15 years or so… I choose a color, or rather a color chooses me, and it becomes my inspiration for the new year.
Often times, it comes to me from nowhere! And it always comes with an accompanying message. I will be doing absolutely nothing... and VOILA, I have to run to my journal and write about it!
This was the case with my color for 2012. It came to me in mid September… and here is an excerpt from my journal entry:
"2012… The year of not only a new chapter… but the start of a whole new book!

Color: "Saddleman Brown."

 It is the first year, EVER, that I have been inspired by 2 colors. It is also the first time in a decade that I will change my journal.

 For the past 10 years, I have used Franklin Covey. This year, Henri Bendel's chocolate brown and white stripes with a gold 2012 caught my eye… and I couldn't resist!  

Then on December 4th of 2011,  when reading one of my favorite blogs, MS Design Maven, written by Marilyn Trainor Storey, she wrote of this golden inspiration and once again… I had to run to my journal… and added it to the mix! 

(The golden inspiration is HERE)

Chocolate and gold are delicious together! Think Godiva… one of my favorite chocolatiers!

When I think of chocolate brown alone, I also think of interior designer and writer Carolyne Roehm's NYC home.

Or one of my favorite interior designers Barry Dixon's business card, as handsome as the man himself, well almost!

Gloria Is Toasting In The New Year With
Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Martini

Kathysue Perdue
Design Blogger, "Good Life of Design"


I am not one that will usually make the traditional New Years resolutions, but Marilyn has asked me to make a Design resolution, and that seems to be easier for me to make. Plus it is so much more fun!!
I have told myself that I need to venture out a bit with color. I love cheerful colors that make me smile, so I plan on trying to add a bit more of Spring-like cheerful colors to my home.

I also love a traditional style with a twist so I want to  venture into maybe a bit more daring, and whimsical look. I am not quite sure how I am going to do this, but it will be a fun journey, and a new adventure.

2012 COLOR

Kelly or Emerald Green.
I use a lot of black and white as a base so this wonderful bright and cheerful green
will be a wonderful mix.

Of course I would have to be wearing my color for 2012 when I make a toast to my Design Resolutions for 2012……

Kathysue Is Toasting In The New Year With

To toast in the New Year, and my new braver desire to be more free with my design and my use of Emerald/Kelly green I would have a gorgeous flute with a cranberry pomegranate spritzer.
I make mine a non- alcoholic drink with sparkling water. 
For those of you that like to add champagne or Prosecco you can go here for the recipe.
It always looks so festive in a pretty Champagne flute.

Alisa Tarver Berry
Designer, Casabella Interiors
Brandon, MS


This is a little difficult for me, I do not make resolutions, instead I just like to hone my core design beliefs and find new ways to improve every year.

 With that being said, I am in love with the industrial look, in accessories in particular, and I will be adding many of these elements in the store in the New Year  to add a bit of fun and whimsy.

2012 COLOR

My color choice for 2012 is a Sunny Yellow Gold. I chose coral for last year so it seems I am always a year ahead for some odd reason, maybe that will continue.

 I do believe that all of the brights will continue to have a huge impact this year.

Alisa Is Toasting In The New Year With

Pomegranate Key Lime Vodka Cocktail


Patricia Hart McMillan
Designer and Author
San Antonio, TX


My design resolution for 2012 is to give my own home my full attention! 
 We moved to San Antonio (and our house) 4 years ago.
 During that time, I've designed 6 interiors (5 in San Antonio, 1 in Tampa, Florida) and I have produced 6 books—so my home got short shrift.
 In 2012, it will be "job 1!"

2012 COLOR
My color "signature" for Year 2012 will be Pratt & Lambert's "Chablis," a pale yellow with a hint of willow green that is both light and rich with surprising depth. 
 I specified it for my client's Berkshires house—a cottage to which they added a 16th Century English barn that draws oohs and aahs from first –time visitors.
The color is ageless--blending beautifully with both antique oak barn timbers and contemporary fabrics in the Raymond Waites upholstery. Some colors are Region-specific--look great only in the North, South or other. But Chablis looks great under any sun!

Patricia Is Toasting In The New Year With

We will toast the New Year with our new drink, The Silverhorn Classic, developed on moving into our Silverhorn Drive home.

The recipe couldn't be simpler: ¾  water plus ¼ Cranberry juice garnished with a twist of lemon! Looks pretty, tastes delicious (Guests swig it down and ask for more),
 but better yet, it's heathy!

One more quick toast
before our final group
of special guests arrive . . .

with my favorite champagne cocktail.
(Recipe HERE)


  1. Marilyn another great post full of wonderful resolutions and information! Thank you so much for including me in such an amazing line-up of designers! It is truly an honor to be a part of your New Years Series, Cheers to YOU,

  2. You are hands-down the most generous blogger I've come across in a very long time. Everything was a fabulous read!

  3. another wonderful line up of inspiring people thank you for the great introductions! pgt

  4. Marilyn,
    The post are so beautiful and inspirational! I am going to add Patricia Hart McMillan's resolution to my own and finish my home.

    Thank you for sharing with us all.
    xoxo, Lissy

  5. I'm so glad I discovered your blog. Great inspiration from talented designers.

  6. What great inspirations! Stirring.... Gloria de Lourdes Blalock's vignette and thoughts certainly provoke an intriguing sense of design. One wants to sit back and see what beauty unfolds, can't wait to see what she and the rest create in this fabulous year. Loved this series. Thank you so much for putting it together and to all that contributed. Happy New Year to all.


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