Fun and Funky

Every room may be accented with a fun or funky chair. I particularly love to accent with animal prints, they make great accents on pillows, chairs, table runners and rugs.
If you find an old chair recover it and add a pillow as pictured here for more statement. For an elegant room add an exposed wood chair and upholster it in a fabulous tapestry using a pattern which ties in other colors in the room.

Children's room can be a lot of fun for your imagination adding an accent chair with colors, colors and more colors and will provide a comfortable place for you, allowing those precious moments in your child's environment, for the special bonding moments.

Rugs to Riches

What does a "Real Persian Rug" mean? It means the carpet is hand-knotted in IRAN and is not an imitation made in Pakistan, India, Turkey or elsewhere. This is a significant issue. Even though carpets may look the same superficially, they are not. Carpets that are made in IRAN are dyed differently, usually with vegetable pigments. In addition, the Persian knot is different. If you have a very tight budget, an imitation is probably a reasonable solution, but if you are looking for something that will keep its color and quality for a long time, buy a "Real Persian carpet". Always ask for a certificate of authenticity. I recommend a book titled, "Rugs to Riches", by Caroline Bosley, purchasing authentic pieces is an investment, this book will educate and enlighten most of your questions. I also recommend"Woodlands Rug Gallery which is shown in my links area. Mention your online designer referred you.
A personal favorite is the oriental with a silk wool blend. Always start with size and color choice, then let your dealer educate you and your designer assist in placement and room arrangement, then enjoy this luxurious accent for that final statement of your own style in your home or office.

The Yellow Scarf

Every home or office can add an interesting and intriguing sculpture to fit the theme of a room. This bronze titled, "The Yellow Scarf", by Tom Moss who also painted the, "Prairie Princess", mentioned earlier has created time gone by while you focus on such detail in this sculpture, you wait for him to speak.

A sculpture placed in a room is like adding a rose to a vase, it simply adds the final touch.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Stewart Township, Pa.: Perhaps Wright’s most recognizable design, Falling water perches over a waterfall whose sound resonates throughout the home. More than 120,000 visitors see this renowned home each year. The proximity to water and the ambitious design have forced extensive renovations—they also prompted the home’s first owner, Edgar K. Kaufmann Sr., to nickname the structure “Rising Mildew.”

Indian Summer

Many comments have been made on the photo titled, "Rhythms of Rest and Seclusion". this is yet another taken under the stars in South Africa. Periodically I will post more pictures of these peaceful scenes.....Ahhhh, to sleep under a thousand stars and anticipating the embrace of the moonlight. These are actual open sleep areas in Kenya, not sure sleeping with the cheetahs would send me into a soft slumber of restful sleep, but viewing it from a photo is quite restful. More of these photos can be found at

The Hanging Garden

Throughout the day, magical moments occur that have the power to relax and refresh the spirit. Irene Suchocki has captured that very feeling of harmony in nature with the piece she has titled so eloquently, "Hanging Garden". Time seems suspended in her art. Whether you seek sanctuary from a square foot garden in the city, or in a flower filled bowery in the country, to be in contact with plants in any form such as art brought into your home creates a meditative mood. In these lines from a poem by the English poet Dorothy Gurny, the calming, spiritual effect of the garden is evoked. The kiss of the sun for pardon./The song of the birds for mirth,/One is nearer God's heart in a garden./Than anywhere else on earth."
This article is dedicated to my Mother, who loved working in her vegetable or flower garden, she once told me working in her garden she felt the closest to God.

"I miss you and I love you Mother". We never knew growing up that food didn't come from the fresh cuts in the garden or what can foods really were....everything was hand made with a lot of love!!!


Simple elegance can be added to draperies, pillows, and table runners for a simple touch of class. Holidays and everyday can be enhanced with these accents to create a feeling of warmth and luxury.

Placing a large tassel around a large clear vase and filling it with greenery can also create an elegant center piece. Crystal beads or key tassels can be used as napkin rings to add more glamour to your Holiday table settings. Don't forget the fireplace to top off the perfect holiday mood.Placing eyelash fringe around the top and or the base of a lamp is simply sumptuous.

Sensual Textures

For sensual indulgence and relaxation, your items may be chosen for delicacy of their textures. These luxuries may change with the season or your mood, remember that a little richness can go a long way, be selective and choose a few favorite pieces rather than accumulating clutter. Velvet and silk textures are found in the natural world. Pictured here is Porfiro-Lorca an Italian cut velvet woven with cotton. A sensuous brocade or intricate embroidery will add an exotic tranquility to any design. Tassels and trim evoke a soothing feel of glamour, mystique and elegance.

Rhythums of Rest and Seclusion

Sounds of the wind a rhythmic repetition of motion can create a mood of sensuous relaxation that becomes hypnotic. This mood can be created in your home by soft musical beats or the swing of a grandfather clock's pendulum or gentle breezes from a ceiling fan. The repetition of a sound or action time after time, such as a heartbeat or waves on the shore, creates feelings of reassurance and serenity. Predictable rhythms of sound and movement are comforting; an animal sitting in your lap or the deep breathing of someone sleeping allows a calming background against the days anxieties. Rhythm is the basis of meditation techniques, quietly stilling the mind's stresses like rocking a child to sleep. If you have difficulty sleeping, place a softly ticking clock beside your bed. Concentrate on the the rhythm of your breathing and let them harmoniously take you away to a peaceful slumber. I also recommend a nature sound clock, one with sounds of the oceans or water flowing in a stream, are my favorite.

Garden Moods

A view from a window can be calming, but to experience the sights, sounds and scents of the natural world there is nothing like an outdoor garden. When planning your garden or patio, consider the diversity of tranquil scenes, arranging your furniture toward your favorite view. This can be created by adding a variety of plant life, palm trees, and flowing plants. As you step into your garden, you enter both your private sanctuary and view with nature's wonder. Simple furnishings and comfortable seating add a compliment to the mood of serenity. As we move to the outdoor environment, our artificial perspectives are soothed by the recognition of nature's inexorable cycles.

Tranquility of Water

The presence of water brings us into harmony with nature. To regain a sense of tranquility, listen to to a soft rain. The restorative power of water is widely acknowledged, and certain beliefs invest rivers and lakes with mystical and magical power. A water garden or pool revealing gentle ripples when disturbed by a leaf gently falling or by wind or rain-leave a mesmerizing and soothing feeling.
Sounds and the sensation of flowing water revitalize our thoughts and souls. Larger homes and offices may incorporate flowing water in an interior area, such as a sheet cascade or steady streams falling into separate pools filled with rocks and dimmed lights.
You can add water falls to any room in your home which breaks silence in a room and adds the tranquil feel of watching or listening to water displayed so eloquently by nature. Visit NEPAPhotographer for beautiful sites and sounds of natures water falls.

Visual Symphony

Greg Natale is a hot young Australian interior designer. He’s a master of pattern, a lover of retro and an out and out exponent of glam.  I have featured him many times on my blog because his designs are so hot (and because he kindly shares great shots of his commissions!). This photo being one of his latest apartment designs in Sydney. Ouch! It’s so glamorous and luxe it hurts. What amazing views of Sydney from the windows of this high rise apartment. I didn’t even notice the stellar views at first because I was devouring the design.

Greg Natale has done a stunning job with this design. The decor emits sensuality. You can almost hear slow sexy jazz or Bach playing in the background.

Heavenly Dance

Gary Benfield was born in the West Midlands, Great Britain, in 1965. He studied at Stourbridge College of Art and then went on to do further study at Wrexham College of Art.

After leaving the academic world, he set up his own studio near London and concentrated on drawing and painting figures. Within a few years his work was collected throughout Europe and his reputation firmly established.

Benfield has a natural talent for depicting things as seen. His work is spontaneous and is reflected by his drawn lines and dashes of color. The figures dissolve in and out of their backgrounds and move across the paper. He paints rapidly and disregards most of his paintings and drawings, keeping only those that he feels are perfected in their conception rather than overwork those that he he feels are not correct.

In recent years his work has begun to be exhibited in galleries in America as well as Europe. He creates evocative works that calm the mind with subtle softness and romantic overtures.

Prairie Princess

"Art refers to a diverse range of human activities and artifacts, and may be used to cover all or any of the arts, including music, literature and other forms. It is most often used to refer specifically to the visual arts, including mediums such as painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy which considers art.

Visual art is defined as the arrangement of colors, forms, or other elements "in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beauty. Traditionally the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery, a concept which altered during the Romantic period, when art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science".
Generally art is made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind; by transmitting emotions and/or ideas. Beyond this description, there is no general agreed-upon definition of art, since defining the boundaries of "art" is subjective, but the impetus for art is often called human creativity".
This is one of my favorite pieces of art by Tom Moss, you can feel the wind softly blowing around her, he has truly mastered the term serenity. You can view more work by this artist by visiting

Still Life

A creative arrangement of objects can introduce a serene note of order to any room. This arrangement is displayed in a kitchen as an accent. Simple, everyday items, such as stemware, flowers, or fruit make the most effective still life display, the impact of which lies less in their individual components than in the overall display. Composing still life is a very personal form of art; choose harmonious colors and shapes that will relate well to one another and to the space around them.
Diverse colors and scents of flowers can bring an imaginative focus to still life settings. Ikebana, is a Japanese art of flower arranging, emphasizes form and balance in its deceptively simple compositions. This can be created by a simple flower blossom placed in a decorative bowl enhanced by a single green leaf or twisted wood. Face the flower at an angle, due to the practice of Ikebana, it is "impolite" for the flower to stare directly at the observer.

Simply Scent-ual

Most homes and workplaces may be transformed with fragrance. Aromatic candles and room sprays allow us to match our mood with invigorating scents of the seashore or floral scents, different fragrances evoke memories, such as fresh linen, or cinnamon. Accent on aromatherapy today offers fragrances for the mind and body such as essential oils extracted from plants to relieve both physical and mental ailments, or simply to relax and revitalize. In the home, oils may be used in a burner to create a romantic, uplifting and soothing atmosphere. There is nothing quite like fresh dried plants to provide a feast for the sense's. Herbs in the kitchen,such as vanilla have a "motherly" smell which is reassuring and comforting, while lavender in the bedroom is sensual and erotic.

Rooms for the Mind

The type of environment in which you work best depends on you, work spaces at home allow you flexibility to surround yourself with personal items meaningful to you which give a peaceful area for contemplation and thought. Most office environment work spaces also allow you to personalize your work area. This is usually achieved by adding personal photos or a plant and or allowing the employee to furnish their office with their choice of furnishings, rugs, lamps, art, etc.
Good lighting is important, use natural sunlight whenever possible. Supplement a lack of lighting with an indirect lighting source, which is most calming to the mind, a lamp on your workspace is the most effective. Use your space creatively, by using a credenza beside or behind your area will help you stay organized. This keeps your workspace clear to concentrate on each project individually. Keep other project lists, folders, etc. on the credenza for easy access until you are ready for the next project. Keep floorspace uncluttered, have a source for referencing books or other work materials on a bookcase for easy access. Your workstation chair is very important for comfort, make sure it is properly adjusted in height and is flexible for back support.
Perhaps you have noticed that many businesses are using the low light affect for shopping, the reasoning is to create a calm, serene mood to your shopping experience. This apples to your home/office work space as well.

Setting the Mood

Setting a table designing theatrical scenery is an important contribution to the event's success. In some Asian countries there is a tradition known as, "table talk"-rather than using matching plates and glasses, each setting reflects the interests of the person who is to sit there. Example, if they are a gardener, there may be a green plate and floral napkins, if they are a photographer, the use of a black napkin and a white plate may be used.
A table may also be set to the theme of the food being served, such as chinese food, by using chopsticks and rice bowls will set the style. Flowers for a dining table need not always be in a vase. At a romantic dinner, scatter rose petals across the cloth. Candles always set an intimate relaxed mood.

Quiet Kitchens

Around mealtimes the kitchen is usually a hive of activity, but at other times of the day it can be a refuge, filled with comforting aromas of freshly made coffee or bread baking. The decorative scheme can establish a mood of serenity, while a kitchen needs to be easy to clean, with clear lighting over work surfaces, it's functional elements can be kept soft and harmonious. A subtle wall color, can feel fresh and cheerful in morning light, yet warm and welcoming in the evening of artificial light. Patterned shades or drapes and vases with fresh flowers, add vivid splashes of color. Seat pads can be added to bar stools or chairs to make the environment more restful.
Achieving a calm kitchen calls for a certain amount of organization, clutter and disorder cause feeling of unease. Maintain a tidy kitchen which transforms your mood for relaxation.

Secrets of the Shower

A shower can be both stimulating and relaxing. The steady flow of water over the body does more than a simple cleansing, it also allows your mind a few minutes of peace and tranquility. Scent your skin with a luxurious soap or gel, using a soft sponge to maximize the gentle foam. For an indulgent experience, light fragrant candles whose aromas will linger in the warm moist air.
The shower room's practical, hard surfaces can be softened with muted colors, rounded edging, and draped towels, all of which create a restful mood. Cottons and thick mats offer a warm and welcoming place to stand after stepping out of the shower. Display soft thick towels to make an attractive feature on a shelf, as well as a gentle and pleasurable way to dry a freshly showered body. Many plants thrive in a humid atmosphere, and their natural shapes divert the eye from the hard edges of shower enclosures.

Sensual Baths

The bathroom should be an intimate haven where you enjoy solitude, if it is a few precious moments between waking and dressing, or for an indulgent soak in a bath scented with aromatic oils. Lighting must be carefully planned for practical purpose, yet low light and or candlelight can enhance your serenity. Evening baths are especially peaceful by adding your favorite music.

Calm Oasis

Admiring a view from a window can be pleasant and calming, but to experience the sounds, scents and sights of the natural world, we have to venture out of doors. A sunroom, veranda or screened-in porch brings us closer to nature while offering shelter from the elements. Here we can enjoy the burst of new growth that follows a spring shower, the red-gold tapesty of leaves in the fall, frost glistening in the winter sunshine. These areas also serve as an extra room for entertaining or to simply relax and read.

Enjoying the natural light and shade can be refreshing to the soul, making it a delightful place to enjoy periods of quiet contemplation. As daylight fades, candles or indirect lighting will add a quiet feeling for reflextion.

Natures Harmony in Colors

Nature's palette is based on browns, greeens, blues and grays of earth, forest, sky and water. While extremely varied, this range of colors is essentially restful and can be used in any room to suggest harmony with nature. At the same time, the natural world displays surprisingly vivid colors, such as the fires of sunset, exotic birds, wild flowers and trees in the seasons.
White and cream create a pristine and serene environment and encourage calm feelings. Against pale backgrounds you can add "gems" of color with pillows, pictures, rugs all which blend or contrast.

Design Illusions

In this Tuscan design a single color on the walls can establish the overall mood of your room. Decorative paint treatment such as sponging or graining refines the effect. Simple tecniques add character, texture and a depth to a fresh, smooth surface. Older walls respond well to paint treatments that disguise minor blemishes and make a feature of their time-worn appearnance. Many effects can be created inexpensively with everyday materials such as a sponge, rag, or hard bristile brush.

Color washing with a large brush results in gentle undulations of watery color and creates a mood of rustic charm. Sponging gives a mottled effect; Using a crumpled rag into paint, then rolling it over the wall achieves longer, more jagged lines of color; the type of cloth determines whether the lines are hard or soft.

Note how using a room divider next to an antique chest with greenery has created the essence of an entrance before entering the main living area. The low lighting has once again achieved a soothing mood to the room.

Designs for Living

Many of the most harmonious living spaces combine soft, rounded shapes with crisper, angular styles of design.

Pointed corners and straight lines may "cut" aggressively into the space around them, making them less soothing. Yet the clean, graphic effect they create can be calming if not used to excess.

The secret lies in balancing shapes of a room's features and furnishings to achieve a serene, complimentary pattern. Consider how individual items of furniture will harmonize with the room's main focus and features.

Moods of Color

Color, whether gentle hues from nature's palettes or bright modern shades, can dramatically affect how people feel. Light, fresh tones are generally refreshing and soothing, while darker colors envelop, comfort, and protect; yet response to color tends to be personal and cannot be prescribed. Some people find blue restful and calming, others consider it too cool; to one person, orange is hot and overstimulating, while others relish the warmth that the color emits. The key is to find a color which you feel at peace and then work with it as a base for your theme, tranquil touches of color against a serene background.
Dark or muted colors can create a feeling of contemplative calm and quiet elegance. These colors work well in artificial light. Rich wine colors, used for chair covers, candles, or accent pillows bring a relaxing air of luxury.

Designing the Spirit of Intimacy

Even within large spaces, intimate areas can be created by arranging furniture in small, convial groups. Organization, which in effect produces several individual "rooms" within an open-plan framework, is particularly well suited to high ceilings, loft apartments and converted barn homes, characterized by spaces wihout conventional boundaries.
A sofa, for example, may be placed in the center of a room to form a barrier or low wall. It offers demarcation between one half of a room and the other, and between functions such as dining and sitting. Two sofas facing each other will make a wide room feel less spacious, while a circle of chairs around a low table encourages an atmosphere of comfortable intimacy. As shown in this photograph, always remember the ambience of low lighting or spotlighting.

Indoor Green

A houseplant will introduce living color and warmth to any room. Create the feeling of sitting in an outside garden in each room in your home.

Offices are often air-conditoned and dry, which does not suit all plants, however it is not difficult to create a small oasis of leafy green on or near your desk. You can plan an architectural grouping on a table or by mixing different greens shapes and textures.

Touches of Luxury

For sensual indulgence and relaxation, your haven may contain items chosen for the delicacy of their textures. These luxuries may change with the seasons or your mood, a little richness goes a long way, be selective and choose a few favorite pieces, rather than accumulating clutter. Glamour does not prelude praticality. Fresh linen or cotton sheets are the ultimate indulgence.

Sumptuous brocade, intricate embroidery, and delicate lace evoke times gone by, silk throws beaded or tassle trimmed pillows add romance and an elegant touch.

Harmony in Texture

Exposed or painted brick walls or slate used as flooring or work surfaces, gives the uncluttered look of elegance. This is simplicity soothing in itself, while others prefer to soften hard edges with rugs of silk or wool. The rugs seem even more luxurious on a plain background.
Window treatments can add a tranquil effect. Less is More, however, accent with soft sheer or frame a window with simple top treatments. This room was designed by accenting the stone fireplace. The stone surrounds the bar opposite the fireplace as well as an accect wall in the entrance. Simple elegance is tranquil and relaxes the mind.

Patterns and Thought

You can effectively calm the mind by focusing on something other than your busy thoughts.
Pattern will offer a relaxation process. A design familiar or one that requires concentration can draw the imagination away from problems or worries. In a plain setting pattern can be introduced in the form of a mosaic on pottary, a custom designed pillow or an area rug.

I particularly love tapestry which is a rich blend of woven patterns and subtle colors. Reflecting on designs can bring a sense of peace and harmony to any room.

Achieving Serenity in our Homes and Workplace

Life is often busy and stressful. We seek the calm of the natural world when we look at a beautiful sky, clear calm waters, a soft glow from a fireplace, watching soft breezes flow through trees. These are peaceful retreats to calm the mind and soul. I try to create the same through my design. As Frank Lloyd Wright approached his architectural designs, so do I try to achieve this throughout each room in workplaces and homes. His approach was to see nature through at least one window in each room.

Little do we see Nature in our office environments and our homes. This counters daily stress and will achieve true harmony in our lives, we need to regain an affinity with the natural world. My blog is about creating serenity in our homes and workplaces to restore our energies in quiet places.

Photo taken by Christopher Noessel