Monday, May 31, 2010

Celebrate Memorial Day


Memorial Day is a holiday that many look forward to. It brings a three day weekend, and it is the official kick-off to summer. It represents parades, picnics, barbecues and baseball games. It truly is an All-American holiday. What is sometimes forgotten are the reasons we have this holiday, and that it symbolizes the sacrifices of every American soldier in the time of war and conflict. 

Many have lost their loved ones- Husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, and friends who have made sacrifices for the preservation of our freedom. And as the death toll in Afghanistan passes a thousand, this year's memorial holiday takes on a more poignant meaning. 

I'm reluctant to go off on a rant about a heart-felt remembrance of those who have paid for our freedom, giving up their tomorrow's for the conservation of our today's. After all, this is a blog about pretty, shiny, decorative things-right? Well I suppose my point in all this is that Memorial Day is more than just a three day weekend, and a shopping extravaganza for the best deals on the planet. (At least that is what it seems to be all about according to the newspaper. BUY, BUY, BUY here are the BEST Memorial Day Sales this weekend!) This holiday commemorates those who have given their precious lives in defense of the United States, and our liberty.

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. — General George S. Patton

From Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
~ John F. Kennedy

As we remember the sacrifices of the nation's servicemen and women, we pray for the souls of the fallen, let us also pray for those who are still fighting for our freedom, those who are paying for our freedom, giving up their tomorrow's for the conservation of our today's.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Interview with Colorpodz by Amanda Burdge

About a week ago, Kelly Berg from Arte Styling announced that Colorpodz would now be offered on iTunes. Like the bashful, samurai designer I am, I discreetly yelled in her ear how fabulous and exciting this all was and that "I WOULD LOVE TO SIT IN WITH Y'ALL ONE DAY!!!!" With such a quiet footnote of elation I doubted that anything would come of it, and brushed it off as if I was too busy anyway....after all I'm a VERY busy person.(insert dejected sigh here)

Well yesterday, Mrs Kelly herself emailed me and said she was not the one in controlling power, and I needed to talk to the Grand Poobah, Mrs Lori Sawaya from Color Budz. So I shot Lori a quick little note saying "I WOULD LOVE TO SIT IN WITH Y'ALL ONE DAY!!!!" Poor gal must of felt bad for me because she said YES!! Hooray!

Colorpodz is a 35-45 minute podcast of 3 professionals who talk shop about color. They cover various topics, generally related to color, from color psychology to color design, and our upcoming podcast  will be on lighting and how it effects color!

Lori Sawaya

Lori, AKA Grand Poobah, host/producer/master mind, is a color strategist and principal owner of Color Strategies. She has over 20 years of experience in color, and she offers multi disciplinary guidance in an array of architectural color, color psychology, color classes, and she is a writer, and speaker.

Kelly Berg

Kelly is a wonderful Color Expert out of San Francisco, California. She has achieved numerous things in the design world from recipe development for a lifestyle company, produced projects for HGTV, set decoration and many residential and commercial projects. You can see more about how ridiculously fabulous this gal is at her web page, Arte Styling.

Rachel Perls

Rachel Perls from HUE is also a bay area color consultant, fine artist and colorpodz host. She teaches color theory, and helps select colors for your home or business.

I am so EXCITED to be amongst such wonderful talent and look forward to our discussion on one of my FAVORITE categories, lighting! We are taping on the 9th, but Lori said it takes a few weeks to edit and get it live, so I will keep you posted as the story unfolds!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Amanda Burdge, nashville interior decorator -Vacation blues

My vacation bliss has quickly turned into the vacation blues. Today was the day to roll out of bed and come back to reality. BOO!! I had to wake up and face the day knowing full well that by this afternoon I would have to become a full functioning, responsible, and sober adult. Humph!

The lake at 6:30 this morning

The good news is we had time to make one last run into the thrift store and I found two more treasures, this stool:
And this beautiful chair:

Both in excellent condition, I was surprised to find that the stool not only had the original vinyl on it, but also has the original price tag from Sears Robuck & Company on the bottom! That is ALMOST enough to lift my spirits to make the trek home. BOO!

One last look at the dock before I go. BOO! Over the past week this dock held the boat that carried me out to the oblivion of no responsibilities, liabilities or culpabilities. An ice chest over flowing with booze, sandwiches and various other snacks, and a bag full of potato chips, licorice, and cookies. Laying out in the sun (with 50SPF) like lazy bums, drinking and eating sandwiches. Ahhhhhhhhhh.....

We loaded up the car to head to the airport (BOO!). Heres Dad with the most worthless...I mean most precious poochie on the planet, Mrs Willow.

We headed to Branson Airport, just built and opened in May of 2009. Yay! It is privately owned and funded and has to be the cutest darn airport I have ever flown out of. If you have kids, or just want a good old fashioned family vacation, go to Branson. It has water parks, lakes, shows, and entertainment galore for young and old. And the best part? Branson is known for being easy on the pocket book, so they strive to have the cheapest airfare around!
This is the ticket counter. They have six kiosks to check in, and thats it. Whew! It's so busy hope I can get my ticket in time.
Heres the daunting security line, sure hope I have time to make my flight, with this crowd.

Heres grandma and grandpa. They came along for the ride. These two cuties have been married for 64 years! My grandpa is the sweetest man I know, and my grandma is the light in his life. He does everything for grandma. And chivalry is not dead. Grandpa carried my bag up to the ticket counter because a lady shouldn't have to...awwwww. I told grandma and grandpa to pose for the camera so I could blog about them. Of course they had no idea what slog was. Must be something us kids do on the lake.
After I hugged everyone good bye I headed through the dreaded security line, and made it to the gargantuan terminal:
Yup thats all of it. The terminal at Branson Airport

They called out the flight, number 44 for Nashville now boarding, and I dragged my feet to the door. I handed the gal my ticket and walked outside to the plane to prepare my journey back to physical existence. BOO!
I had SO much fun on the lake boating, hangin with the parentals and their friends, and shopping at the thrift store. I can't wait to go back! Maybe in a few weeks? Im bruised, sunburned and sore, I MUST have had a good time!! 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Vacation Bliss-Expert Designer Amanda Burdge

  On a whim I decided to come and visit the parentals, in Camdenton, Missouri this week. They have a beautiful home on Lake of the Ozarks and I am very happy to report that we will be enjoying a day of boating, in a pleasant 90 degress today, yay!! We have had partial sunny, mostly cloudy days ( whatever the heck that means, are they not one in the same?) And today will be our first day of full, 100% SUN!!

Seriously, does it get any better than this? I do have to say myself that I could wake up to this every morning. No wonder the people back here are so happy! I would be too, now if I could just figure out how to become independently wealthy.....

Seven in the morning, large cup of coffee and blogging. This really is the life. Is this not the best way to blog? Perhaps I just sell AB HOME and move here. I could be property management. Make sure everything is as it should be....
Well the good news is I have managed to get a little work in. Mom took me to the local thrift store, where to my surprise, lay some of the worlds best treasures...who knew?!
As we approched Bear ( name of the converted Wal-mart, now a thrift store) I was dragging my feet. Nothing good could possibly come out of a dilapidated store, with crusty windows, dust bunnies, and the depot for redneck central. We walked inside to find broken fans and cell phones, disassembled bed frames and smelly clothes. Why on earth am I here, I thought. But then out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of this
My excitement suddenly turned giddy. What a gorgeous peice! This would look beautiful in a lacquered white paint, and carrera marble top. Oh the thought of it in my store with my acid green lamps, pure design magic! Then I saw this,

Can you stand it? I was drooling over this hardware. This would be gorgeous in black, and would also make an incredible bathroom vanity. At this point the employees were starting to give me the stink eye. They couldn't understand why I was getting desperately excited over junk. But the piece de' resistance, ( no joke I may have peed myself) were these beauties. At this point the angels were singing, and design magic was occuring right underneath our noses! I scooped these up, and dad put them in the truck to come home.

So I did what any GOOD designer would do. I immediatley contacted Dayka, over at meditations on life and style and rubbed it in. I emailed her all my fabulous finds, and like a coy fox, I asked her what she would do with them, knowing full well she was shorting out her computer with envious drool. I think she may have even cracked a rib when she fell out of her chair because she was having a hard time breathing. I was too, but luckily my mom is a nurse and could administer CPR if necessary!
(Ok no joke, she really did hurt herself doing something, so head over to her blog and give her some well wishes!) I hope all of you are having a fabulous weekend and I will be thinking of you while I'm out in the sun with booze and boating! Happy day to all!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sofa envy by Nashville Interior Designer, Amanda Burdge

David Demattei and Patrick Wade

These days the proverbial beige sofa has really lost my interest. Now, I know that it is a tried and true favorite, and a "go-to"must have for any home, but after ten years of solid beige and brown sofas, I'm ready to move on. As I was doing research for a new client, (who LOVES color) I decided a bold sofa was just what we needed. Why on earth have I not been doing this? Here were a few of my favs!

John Willey

Ken Fulk

Jeffrey Bihuber

Jonathan Adler

David Lawrence

Really are these not gorgeous? How great would it be to walk into your room and see a vibrant orange sofa? Or a bright acid green one? Just the thought of it brings a smile to my face. I think it's high time to buy a new sofa and add some flavor to the house, who's with me?!

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Amanda Burdge on Shopping Smart

So often when a consumer decides to take the plunge, and buy furniture, they do it in haste. On a whim, they decide it is time to redo the family room and they go out to the stores like a ticking time bomb in a Macgruber movie. The reasons for this decision, Sally next door just did her new room, HGTV told me to do it, or you finally received the tax return, and these excursions are never well thought out without a PLAN.
Take your time when exploring all your options. There are a dizzying array of retailers, catalogs, discount stores, online stores, and boutiques. All have something fabulous to offer, however, without a plan, you might as well walk up to the salesman hand him your money and walk out. 
Look through books and magazines, and determine who you are and what your style is. Study the various brands and construction of pieces. And most importantly research price points. There are different price ranges for everything, but without a plan you will end up making huge sacrifices, costly mistakes, or worse end up having your eyes pop out when you realize its impossible to redo your entire room for a thousand dollars, despite HGTV telling you it could be done.
Always make sure you have an idea of what will fit, and not fit. Don't go into a furniture store and buy a sofa that is 96" long if the space will only allow 72".  Determine the layout that will work in your room, along with measurements, and take it with you into the store. This will eliminate half the available selection on the floor, and make decision making much simpler.
Learn the terminology. For example, do you know the difference between a nightstand and a bachelors chest? A hassock and a foot stool? Well students, these items are one in the same. How about a casegood or occasional chair? Many items on the floor will look similar but be entirely different in terminology. Learn the general vernacular so you can easily speak with your sales assistant and find what you need quickly. Also, knowing the language will give you an inside edge. Those of us in the industry never use certain words. We never say couch, we say sofa. Another example, we never say curtains, we say drapes.
Know your woods. When shopping for casegoods look for info that labels which woods or veneers are used. Woods have different properties, durability, and behave differently in certain climates. Look for strong construction. Where does the piece bear the most weight- the legs, shelves, braces, drawers? Look at the doors and drawers. Do they open and shut easily? Are there any visual imperfections? 
Bone up on the manufacturer that you are purchasing investment pieces from. For instance, I sell LEE Industries upholstery. I favor them over many of my manufacturers for several reasons. They are made in the USA, (very important) their pieces are kiln dried, eight-way hand tied, hardwood joined with dowels, tempered steel springs that are sagless, and their quality is unsurpassed for the money. Not to mention the fact that they have hundreds of styles to choose from, for any kind of interior. 
This is where hiring an interior designer can really help you. Developing a plan can be the hardest thing for a consumer to set in motion. They do not always know where to start. A designer can help you decipher what works and doesn't, and build your space plan that gives you direction. Once a design concept is mature, you can easily be let loose into a furniture store with confidence, and build the room of your dreams.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Nashville designer Amanda Burdge- Decorating ingredients for the real you

If you had to list the most absolute essential ingredient for your home, what would it be? For me, no place would be home without comfy down pillows, fragrant candles, custom draperies and fresh cut flowers.
More importantly, if you have a passion for an item, do you find places around the house to put that item?  Do not let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn't do, simply because this magazine or that magazine says not to. Gone are the days of the "living room" for special occasions. Today we LIVE in our homes. They are our havens, our sanctuaries and our retreats. A refuge to get away from all the headaches of the day, and find peace. So isn't it important to find places for those special items even if you think you don't have the room?
Alison Whittaker
For example, if you have a dining room that is nothing more than a storage unit for papers, mail, sports paraphernalia and miscellaneous other items, and you really need a study, then turn that sucker into a study.
Margaret Norcott
In the wake of the tragic flooding here in Nashville, now more than ever, people are seeking refuge in the few items that are left. With the overwhelming devastation of loosing just about everything, now is the time to take stock. And this is a good lesson for anyone who's life has been turned upside down, and forced into change. 

Reevaluate your passions. What are your must-haves that encourage you to be who you are, and still remind you of where you've come from? As a designer I cannot tell you what ingredients to put into your home to create the blueprint of the real you. These are the items that are collected over lifetimes. But I can offer help to create atmosphere, serenity and help you develop a lifestyle with these items. I can offer solid decorating ideas and information, filled with options, options, and more options, so that you have the tools and the know-how to build that blueprint, that showcases the real you.
 I've no doubt that change, whether good or bad, always promotes renewal and reflection on the catalog's of our lives. We archive in our memories what is important and gives us value, striving to reach our end goals as quickly as possible, while overlooking the journey. Things are just things unless you make them the building blocks to enrich the real you. The pilgrimage of daily life that takes us on our unexpected excursions, be it long or short, expected or unexpected, the journey is where you will find a snapshot of who you really are today. The travels in between the destinations create a homemade prescription to life. Thus, creating a home filled with the ingredients that make you, you! Each recipe special and unique only to those that inhabit that residence, and a lifestyle to call home.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

River Plantation-2010 relief efforts

Our volunteering efforts for Saturday were a huge success. We loaded the van with hundreds of cases of water, sandwiches, cookies, toiletries, cleaning supplies and stuffed animals for the kiddos.
We arrived in River Plantation subdivision around nine thirty Saturday morning. This subdivision is located in Bellevue, TN and is one of the hardest hit areas from flood waters. The main entrance to the subdivision was barricaded off by metro police, ensuring that the traffic was not there to rubber neck. The devastation is incomprehensible. The streets are lined with worldly possessions, antiques, furniture, insulation, drywall, mattresses, appliances, clothes and piles of debris.

Every single home in this area had a minimum of three feet of water in their homes, and several had up to eight feet of water. The debris lined streets go on for more than two miles. The smell of sewage, wet drywall, wet rubble, and dampness is indescribable and unforgettable. Helicopters buzzing in the air, police directing traffic, Green Serve pro company trucks parked everywhere for flood relief support, and crime scene yellow tape strung everywhere. I felt like I was driving in slow motion into the twilight zone.

Every home had their entire lives on the front lawn.
The streets lined with debris for miles

As we drove into the first neighborhood the carports were lined with cars destroyed by flood waters, filled with left over condensation, mud and garbage. Clothes hanging out to dry, boxes with the few remaining items that could be salvaged and wet waste everywhere.

This family had the courage and the pride to hang their mud stained flag a top their dilapidated carport, showing their strength and TN spirit to all. Nothin like the south, ya'll!

The sidewalks were littered with trash bags, insulation, appliances, mattresses, pictures, accessories, books, and furniture.

Miles of flotsam and jetsam scattered along the road ways as people try to put back their lives. This car shown above, destroyed by flood water, seeping condensation, broken windows and filled with dust and rubble, stalled and no longer running.
This is now Bellevue's reality. Although I feel my efforts were a needle in the haystack compared to the vast damage, I was able to help folks box up their items, provide them with a little water, and help them move their stuff. My biggest contribution was my company van. We were able to load peoples belongings into the van and get the items to local storage units. Most people lost 80% of what they own, but had no way of getting the 20% out of ground zero. 
Thanks to all who came out, and thanks to everyone who made sandwiches, cookies, and helped folks box up their items. All in all it was a good day, and while our efforts were small, I think we accomplished a little relief, and helped with the overwhelming stress and disbelief of this event with a little TN volunteering.