At this time of the year we think about all the people that have meant so much to us along with the ones who continue to be a big part of our lives.
The other day I was thinking back 10 years, when I first met, Bill Shaver. Bill was an Interior Designer with tons of talent who never had the opportunity to shine. We were in the market for some furniture and he was the salesman who approached me as I entered the store. We hit it off right away and he mentioned that the store had a policy that encouraged their Designers to make house calls to help the buyers with their choices. That statement stuck in my head! He was so helpful with my selection of a sofa and chair and gave me wonderful hints about future projects.
A few months later, a cruise we were planning on taking to celebrate our 40th Anniversary, was canceled four days before it was to sail! We were devastated. Then, when I realized we were getting all our funds back, I had my first EPIPHANY !
Bill had mentioned that there were lots of ideas he had to "finish" the look I was after. He said: "When you're ready, come back and we'll work together." EPIPHANY……use the trip money and finish my design dream.
That was the start of a lasting relationship that evolved over the next 5 years. He helped me with area rugs to candles. You name it, he had wonderful ideas and new ways to do things. He loved to add little touches of whimsy, and like Kenneth, loved that pop of RED. He told me he had many plans for our home and would let me know in steps, because I was too eager to do it all at one time. He taught me to use restraint, that less was more, and that I didn't have to have everything I owned displayed. He was the inspiration for my warehouse! The idea of putting some things away and bringing them back out at a later time for a different purpose has been a wonderful tool I owe entirely to him.
In his last year he was very ill and became housebound. The furniture store supplied him with a special chair so he could sleep in his living room. He could no longer climb the stairs to his bedroom and when his fellow employees realized he was sleeping on the floor they got to work and supplied the chair. He was hospitalized the last few weeks and Emil and I would visit him daily bringing him design magazines. The next day they would be spread out across the bed with tabs marking his favorite "projects" for the future. We also made him tapes of all the HGTV design shows. He didn't have cable and missed his favorite designers, none of which are on at this time. Kenneth Brown was a new designer that we would catch on Designer's Challenge. Bill loved his work. He said: "That guy is going places… he has what it takes- that special talent… Patty … learn from him."
Emil and I miss Bill very much, but we know he is in a better place and is no longer in any pain. But……. the story doesn't stop here. Bill's work wasn't finished when he died. He remained with us….
He stayed for almost a year. We had many "happenings" and strange events that go beyond the "natural" during that time. You might think I am crazy, but we are positive Bill was with us. If I got an idea on a design project, he let me know if he approved.
One of the first "strange" happenings was after we put some mirror tiles on a wall. We were trying to think of a product for another project we were working on, a backsplash in the kitchen. In the middle of the night, we heard a loud crash! We looked all over the house and finally discovered one of the mirror tiles had fallen to the floor. Immediately we realized Bill was telling us…."use mirrors for your backsplash." We did, and it was perfect!
Occasionally, furniture would move during the night. Heavy furniture. The small adjustments would be improvements from their original placements. We started looking forward to his comings and goings. I was constantly getting ideas from him in one form or another. He was there to the end of the design project.
One sunny morning, about a year after his death, we looked out onto our balcony, we saw two large footprints. The weather was so clear and sunny that day, but these two prints were wet and as clear as a bell. They were facing away from our home…..Bill had left… His job was finished. He approved of all our work and he could rest.
Today I have been thinking of Bill quite a bit. I believe his spirit will move with us, to our new home in Georgia.
"Merry Christmas Bill", put a little whimsy on the clouds and add that pop of red to the stars.
Over 1000 upbeat visitors came through. We were told that our home was THE BEST...
The comments and questions were unbelievable. Erica's art was among the most asked about. The picture of Kenneth Brown and yours truly at High Point was also a big conversation piece. Emil's den/guest room gave the visitors an insight into our past with our Air Force and Va. Tech accessories. EVERYONE loved the tree and the decor. The evening tours were by far the favorite. The city added the Christmas Magic ...the VIEWS from our home are fantastic and they definitely showed themselves off these last three days. The entire event was something I will never forget and will treasure for many years.
Today things are back to normal. Although, normal in my life isn't quite the norm!
We are now looking forward to Santa with Steve and Tess. We will miss not having Angela here and will look forward to seeing her this summer....at the BIG party....
In a few days I will get back to regular entries. Have some news and want to share it with all of you.
What a fun week! Since my last entry I have actually put order back into my life, found the "PLAN", and finished trimmings down to every last crystal!
We have been told over 1500 people will most likely tour our home. That's a staggering thought!
The tour is in the evening, on Friday and Saturday, and ending Sunday afternoon. I think the two nights will be the best. The city lights that are visible from our windows will make the room glisten all the more.
The "décor" consists of 300 yards of ribbon, six large sheets of different gift papers, hundreds of small crystals, silver and crystal balls, and numerous crystal accessories…. Not to mention the glitter debris that took two days to clean up! I am sure I will find "sparkle" in the shag rug well into June!
"Thank You, Erica," for the wonderful Design Plan. The table runner and the bed pillow cover you "whipped" up finished the look! Your talents are fantastic and I greatly appreciate all your help. I could not have done it without your contributions.
I am looking forward to the Christmas Season. As most of you know it's my favorite time of the year. Every year I am transformed into a 7 year old little girl, looking forward to Santa, for the entire month! This Christmas will be extra special because Steve and our 9 year old Granddaughter, Tess, will be here for Santa. It's always magical when the little ones are part of Christmas morning.
I cannot end this entry without giving tons of credit to Kenneth Brown. He graciously and generously answered my questions and gave me wonderful ideas. "Thank You, Kenneth" ….. you are a VERY special, giving person.
Don't stop now. There are ten more pictures below. Also remember that by double clicking on the pictures, you can make them larger.
We are almost at a milestone !! We have 996 hits on the blog. That's fabulous! I would love four of you to hurry and click on. Check the total number at the bottom of the site and let me know who hits in at 1000 !!!
Sorry no prize---just the honor of being #1000
I'm working on the REVEAL......MAYBE in the morning
Thank you all for the wonderful support you have given me.
Sitting here looking out our windows over the beautiful city of Charlotte I must share my thoughts of nature and it's best show!
I know everyone loves Spring and Summer, but I have always thought nature was smart and saved the best for last. The maturing of the year in all it's color and beauty makes me compare it to ones own life. The air is crisp, the sky is pure blue and the colors of orange, yellow and red are breathtaking.
I can't say we are our best, in looks, but as we go through the years, we grow with knowledge and wisdom. This is nature's way of leaving the best of life for last.
Life is a wonderful voyage and each stop along the way has it's ups and downs. I have learned to love the stop I'm at, and not regret leaving the last. I enjoy the memories but look forward to the next. It's exciting and fun. I am always thinking ahead and planning. To stop would be to give up. None of us have any idea what lies ahead. Isn't that great? All those surprises to look forward to. It's the same as waiting for Christmas morning but BETTER. When all the gifts Christmas morning are opened, the anticipation is over. While with our lives the anticipation is ALWAYS there…..
Today, I am introducing Erica as a contributor to my blog. She is formally listed as: Creative Assistant.
In reality she is much more than that. Erica is the one who suggested I write a blog and she has been a great source of help. She said "Grandma, you can do it, if you need help just call!". I took her advice on both.
Erica has had an artistic talent her entire young life. At 23, she has accomplished so much in numerous mediums of the art world. When you check out her website, you will see why I am so proud of her.
My first hint that something was stirring in that creative mind was when, at age four, she designed and built a house for her Barbies. This was before you could purchase a Barbie Townhouse at Toys R Us! She also spent hours making clothes for the dolls and furnishings for the rooms. She did it all!
I first called upon her for a project several years ago when we wanted a large pop of color for a wall above a 10 foot counter in our kitchen. We had just resurfaced the counter with one inch glass tiles. She used the shapes and colors as inspiration and even incorporated tiles into the piece. There actually are three, two by four foot, panels that interact with each other. They were perfect in the kitchen and today they are absolutely fabulous in our foyer. They carry the pop of red from our living room ottoman into the foyer space.
Fast forward to our move to Charlotte------. This time we were looking for a large art piece for over the sofa. Again, all she asked me to do was supply her with those paint swatches! The result was unbelievable ---the color, texture and shapes are perfect for our new home. She incorporates the architecture of our home and building into the work and it really customizes the art to our space.
Last month when I was trying to figure out a way to make our bedroom "feel" more comfortable for the Fall season, I remembered she had done an interior design project for a friend's daughter who was entering her teens. The mother asked Erica to help transfer the girls room from "little girl" to a room fit for a young teen. With paint and fabric she performed her magic! So that was it----------I called, and again "commissioned" her work! The result was featured in last week’s blog. The fabric and lining are very heavy and I know she had a "time" with it and the sewing machine! I can't thank her enough for our new spread. It's just what the room needed.
If I think about it, our bedroom would lack any design if it weren't for Erica---------------
Next month our home will be one of the homes featured in Charlotte's Christmas Open House Tour for a local charity. Erica and I came up with some great ideas. She has made two pieces that are a vital part of the design. One is a special pillow for the bed and the other is a runner for our table. She also sat down, and with ease, sketched out wonderful ideas for me to "work-on" to properly show our home for this event. I can't wait to post the pictures when it's done!
Erica, I know that as time goes by, your talents will expand and grow. The future holds so much for you. Whether you follow your vision with oils, silk prints, jewelry or all of the above ----I know YOU can do it!!! GO GIRL GO!!!
Thank you for all your wonderful, talented help and welcome to my team.
P.S.---note my special custom Grandma bag! Love, love it!
Things come in threes. Isn't that what we have been told? I have to admit that I thought about that as I sat down to write. I was about to write about my latest epiphanies: Three entirely different ideas that were all in the process at the same time. (By the way, objects look better to the eye if they are grouped in threes. Just thought I'd throw that little design knowledge in!) But getting back to my latest epiphanies--------------
Before we left for Korea I had decided to have a darker, heavier spread for our bed. Lately, our Heavenly Westin White Bed Linens gave me a cold feeling every time I entered the room. I remembered my Grandmother had two sets of draperies, one for the winter and one for the summer, and she used slipcovers on all her furniture in the summer. I never knew why she went to all that trouble. I loved the way her home looked at Christmas. It was filled with soft, warm, fabrics of velvets and brocades, all in luscious rich colors. By the time Easter was upon us familiar items were being replaced by lighter and brighter versions. It all makes sense to me now. I will bring back the white bedding in the late Spring and meanwhile enjoy my new winter look. Erica, my talented - artist - seamstress, Granddaughter agreed to do the labor. I found a dark, khaki, linen fabric and she graciously agreed to make it for me. She said she would work on it while we were in Korea. To my delight, it arrived the day after we got home ---- it's PERFECT. The room now feels warm and cozy and I love the color. She also has made some items that I will use when our home is shown during the Charlotte Christmas Home Tour. Thank you, thank you, Erica.
I was watching TV a few nights before we left for Seoul and the new "TV Out of the Box" wall was missing something. Just like that--- ANOTHER EPIPHANY---- it needed a "HAT" ! I figured all it would take was a shelf across the top, about 14 inches from the ceiling and painted black (of course). I would place three stacks, of three books, and put a small object on the top of each pile. That would top it off and finish the look. Poor Emil, I made him promise that the moment we got home we would start on it. He agreed --- he liked the idea! Yesterday he went to Home Depot, got all his supplies, and by the time we went to bed it was finished. The books are up, and on the top of each pile is a small white candle. Now it's correctly dressed! HAT and all. The candles are the white gloves!
I had the horrible realization I made a mistake when I hung the drapery panels on either side of our dining area window/sliding door. I had them hanging from the top of the window/sliding door. I decided they would look better if they went to the ceiling, but I had made the mistake and would have to live with it. Shortly after we settled in at Steve and Angela's I remembered seeing a piece in Kenneth's Journal about trim/fringe accessories and how they changed the look of a room. I thought maybe that would give me the added inches I needed to raise my panels up to the ceiling. I pestered Steve to find a shop in Seoul that sold "trim and or fringe". We never found one, but by the time we returned last week the idea had formed and I knew what I needed to search for.
I looked around and couldn't find exactly what would work. Too short, too fancy,--- TOO EXPENSIVE ! So I decided to buy 2 yards of a contrasting silk and make a border at the hem to add the length. Of course I got BLACK silk, the same weight as the existing pewter color silk panel. The fabric arrived yesterday and we just finished it an hour ago! They are gorgeous!
Oh---have I ever mentioned that sewing in not among our list of talents----we used iron-on tape!
I think I will agree that the theory of threes is true. Three epiphanies and three successes!
Emil and I have experienced the trip of a lifetime. Steve and Angela treated us to a wonderful, unforgettable visit to their home.
We were able to let old memories fade and form new, wonderful memories that will fill our lives forever. The people of Korea are the most gracious, kind, generous people in the world. They have a marvelous history! They open their homes and arms and want to share all they have with you. This was demonstrated to us first hand with our time spent with Angela's family. Her Mom, Dad, and her siblings, are among the best people I have ever know. We are so lucky to have them as part of our family. Steve is a very fortunate man. He has the Best Mother-in-Law anyone could have!!! We have a lot to learn from the Korean people! They treasure their traditions and cultures, things that maybe, we here at home, have forgotten.
The countryside is beautiful! One is surrounded by rivers and mountains with beautiful foliage and color. The city of Seoul has been transformed into one of the worlds largest growing cities. The 1988 Olympics started an enormous building boom and today it rivals cities such as New York and Chicago. On a lighter note I found more Starbucks than I saw on my last visit to New York City. The older "city" is still there. There are neighborhoods that reflect the ancient ways that are only steps away from the new modern world.
Steve and Angela are living a dream. Their home is on the top floor (22) of a new condominium. The views are magnificent! The home itself is large and filled with Asian and Western amenities. The kitchen has all the new bells and whistles any kitchen in the USA has plus they have kim chi refrigerator drawers!!!!! The wall coverings are fabulous. Papers I have never seen; three dimensional textured papers I can't even attempt to describe. I photographed them, but I'm afraid the shots don't do them justice. All the closet doors are covered with an ostrich skin material and are amazing!
The most remarkable invention and one to experience is the TOTO toilet. This is something everyone has to have. I demand our builders make them a must in every American home built!!!! I suggest all of you search out one and experience it for yourself. I can say no more!!! I want one --------now!
I had Steve and Angela's permission to rearrange and make design suggestions. Due to jet lag I was unable to sleep the first night and was at work immediately! Before they were up I had rearranged the entire living room! Their reaction was fantastic and they couldn't believe what I had accomplished. I was surprised myself. It's always fun when you have free rein and your work is appreciated. Of course I had a beautiful space to work with. One of my favorite features in the apartment is what I named, "The Great Hall". It runs 48 feet long and is over 4 feet wide with marble flooring and foiled papered walls. They purchased an antique Korean chest that is at one end facing the entry into the living room at the opposite end. What an affect! Along the walls are beautiful pieces of art that they have collected over the years. The foyer, which is entered in the center of this hall, is another unique space. The side walls, covered with the ostrich paper I mentioned before, are sliding doors that open to cubby spaces from floor to ceiling to hold shoes, which are always removed before entering a Korean home.
I'm going back to putting the pictures after the script this entry because I think it's more telling to see all the pictures together. I have included some of our day trips to Olympic Park, typical Korean streets, the modern city it has become, plus other interesting shots!!
Has anyone noticed I haven't mentioned my experiences with the traditional Korean foods? Truth be it ---- I didn't do good on that subject.-------- Maybe I'll just throw in a picture!