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Kamis, 31 Desember 2009

Diary of an Interesting Year


Patricia Gray living room by Michelle Morelan

A Rendering of my Living Room given to me as a Christmas gift by Michelle Morelan.

2009 is a great year to reflect back on, now that it is almost over. Whew, what a turbulent year - full of challenges. I am not one to buy into the doom and gloom of the economic climate (I have weathered others through the years: early 80's, early 90's, late 90's), but this year was a year of an down economic climate that has seemed to have escaped no one in the 'world.'  There is a saying that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. It is hard to see when you are in the midst of chaos, until you have come through it.....hopefully we are through it!!! One of the benefits for me was that I kept busy and was continually looking for ways to recharge and re-inspire. I was fortunate to have four wonderful trips this year to do just that. It is very important when you are working in a creative field to be continually evolving and expanding your horizons, and travel helps me to do that. I also full filled a life long dream this year and went back to school and took two Art classes in Mixed Media Painting. I subsequently turned my garage into an Art Studio and have spent many glorious days there immersed in painting.

A trip to Palm Springs in the early Spring - where I became fascinated with and wrote a Blog posting on the Mid-Century Post Modern resurgence of 'screen block.'

Palm Springs Modern Architecture and the Use of Screen Block
Palm Springs Modern Architecture and the Use of Screen Block

A trip to the Okanagan with my Dad and a visit to the The Nk'Mip Winery and Resort in Osoyoss where I was inspired by the use of Rammed Earth in Modern Architecture.

 Rammed Earth Wall NK'MIP Winery Osoyoos
Rammed Earth Wall NK'MIP Winery Osoyoos

A trip to New York in September and another in December.  What can I say about New York, other than that it is one of the most exciting and visually stimulating cities in the world.  Being able to see the artwork of great masters at the MOMA, Georgia O'Keeffe at The Whitney, and Kandinsky at the Guggenheim - it just doesn't get better than that. I shopped for clients at the D & D Building, A & D Building, and the New York Design Center, explored Soho, Tribeca, the Meat Packing District, Canal Street, walked Central Park, 5th Avenue, tried the Subway, enjoyed live theatre, ate at wonderful restaurants, enjoyed the lights and shop windows all decorated for Christmas, met new friends, and connected with old friends.

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Kandinsky at the Guggenheim / The Meatpacking district and Highline / South Pacific at The Lincoln Center 

Mixed Media Painting Classes
at Emily Carr University of Art

Frottage 1  24" x 36" Mixed Media: Pastel, Acrylic, Gesso on Glassine

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Experimenting with Mono Prints

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Acrylic on Canvas

The Salton Sea 23" x 36" Mixed Media on Paper

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West Coast Landscape 24" x 48" Acrylic & Mixed Media on Canvas  

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Triptych in My Living Room: Be Still My Bleeding Heart 72" x 36"'
Chinese Ink on Bronze & Silver Metallic

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Diptych in My Living Room: Koi Pond 16" x 16" Gold & Pearl Opalescence (right)

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My painting companion - Nicole
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I am very honored to be on the 'Board of Experts' for LoftLife Magazine in 2009, and to have an article published in BC Home Magazine

I wish you all a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2010 and may all your dreams come true!!

Patricia Gray is an award winning Interior Designer in Vancouver, Canada who blogs about WHAT'S HOT  in the world of Interior Design.
2010 © Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™

Selasa, 29 Desember 2009

Wrapping up 2009

I always revel in the week between Christmas and New Year as a time diverge from routine, and welcome the New Year in with a change in what I usually read throughout the year, which are books on Interior Design. One of the ways I make a choices on what I want to read, is to leaf through several books and read the jacket covers or page through the book randomly to see if anything speaks to me. That is how I choose, What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. I had previously read his book, Tipping Point, and then saw him interviewed on a talk show on his third book - Outliers. While paging through his most current book, What the Dog Saw, I was immediately hooked on his article entitled: The Ketchup Conundrum. This book, What the Dog Saw, contains Malcolm Gladwell's favourite pieces that he has written over the last several years for the pages of The New Yorker. "Good writing," Gladwell says in his preface, "does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head."  It is a fascinating read.

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Another favourite way to choose a book is to ask people what is their favorite book they have read. Usually they are so enthusiastic in recounting the highlights of the book that it gets me excited to read it. The outcome of my most recent enquiry was - the New York Times Bestseller by Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog. This book is set in Paris, which immediately attracted me, but the real focus of the book is about a woman who is a concierge at a bourgeois building in a posh Parisian neighborhood. She (Renee) has a secret: she is a ferocious autodidact who furtively devours art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. Renee hides her true talents and her finest qualities from a world that she suspects cannot or will not appreciate them. It is a story about living out her life in obscurity to hide this fact about herself, and how she reconciles herself to owning her brilliance. 

Last night on Charlie Rose I watched a fascinating interview with the brilliant Orhan Pamuk, a Turkish novelist and winner of 2006 The Nobel Prize in Literature, on his new book: The Museum of Innocence. The story, which takes place in Istanbul between 1975 and today, is about obsessive passion and the great question: What is love, really?, as well as a look into the minds and culture of the Turkish society. I am off to purchase this book tomorrow to wrap up my reading for these last few day left of 2009.

What is your favourite book that you have read lately?
Please leave a comment here, and let me know.

Patricia Gray is an award winning Interior Designer in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada who blogs about "WHAT'S HOT"
in the world of Interior Design: New and Emerging Trends, Contemporary Design, Modern Architecture and Travel,
as well as how your surroundings can enhance the world around you.
© Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™ 2009

Trend Alert: Canopy Beds

Thom FiliciaCanopy beds aren't just for little girls' rooms anymore. Lately, the classic furniture piece has been popping up all over shelter magazines and in interior designer's portfolios -- and I can't seem to get enough. Following the old mantra that "bigger is always better", builders today are making incredibly large master bedrooms. Sure, these may seem like a luxury to prospective buyers,

Blinds On Blinds!

If you don't want curtains in your bedroom why not take inspiration from the idea of using two different types of blinds?

Venetian blinds fitted inside the recess of the window provides the privacy you need without the use of net curtains, whilst a linen blend Roman blind style breaks the starkness, adding a soft and gentle touch which is ideal for bedrooms.

The great advantage of using two types of blinds is the endless possibilities of colour combinations you can use! White Venetian blinds provide you with a crisp clean look, as well as the versatility of being able to control the amount of light entering the room, whilst you can have a fabric blind which matches or coordinates with your bedding sets to bring the room together and provide a sense of balance.

This style of window dressing becoming increasingly popular as it a great money saver! Not only can ready made Roman blinds be bought inexpensively, you can also make your own Roman blinds which opens up a whole world of wonderful fabrics to choose from. Double layering window dressings is also a good way to help reduce heat loss via your windows, especially if you select a medium weight fabric for the Roman blinds.

Image: two ellie blogspot

Jumat, 25 Desember 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you woke up this morning with everything (and everyone) you could want underneath your Christmas tree. As I reflect back on the blessings of this past year, I know that starting this blog has given me some of the best gifts I could have wished for: a voice and an outlet for my creativity and, just as importantly, a community of wonderful and supportive readers

Happy Christmas Everyone!

I hope you have a great day in your own chosen way, receive and give presents to friends and family, along with sitting round the table to tuck into your Christmas diner!

You've probably spent ages making sure your home is neat and tidy, especially if you have guests staying with you during the festive season, as well as decorating your home with your own individual design flair and colour combinations!

If you are spending Christmas at someone's else's home you will no doubt inadvertently look at their décor, colour scheme and interior design style – it's an 'inbred' thing which try as you might you can't shake off!

Obviously its wise not to pass judgement, however, making kind comments and remarks about someone's new curtains and blinds may be just the sort of thing they would like to hear, taking notice of someone else's efforts is a great way to build relationships as well as being a great talking point if you can't bear to sit and watch another repeat on the television!

Other people's interior designs can be very inspirational, rather like reading interior design blogs or thumbing through design magazines!

Image: Surroundings

Kamis, 24 Desember 2009

Christmas Greeting



I got this from a friend, and I thought it might also get you in the Christmas Spirit...... Enjoy the spirit of Christmas, wherever you may be, and whoever you may be with!!! Patricia

P.S. And I add greetings to all the "beautiful men of this world."

Rabu, 23 Desember 2009

Christmas Decorating from Coast to Coast

After posting pictures of my Christmas decorations earlier this week, I was so excited when several of you took me up on my offer and submitted pictures of your own homes all decked out for the holidays. My excitement became even greater when I realized how wonderful so many of these pictures were -- I am so impressed! In particular, I love how many of you go well beyond traditional holiday

Beautiful Festive Colour Schemes

You have probably already chosen your Christmas colour scheme this year, if you haven't try fabulous turquoise! This gorgeous colour is sure to brighten any home style as well as complimenting neutral décors.

Irrespective of what colour scheme you choose the key is not to get carried away and add so many baubles and tree decorations that your tree looks completely swamped! Remember the less is more 'rule'!

The other thing is to buy a tree which suits and fits comfortably within the size of your room! Placing it in front of your lounge window is a great idea just so long as it doesn't interfere with the opening and closing of curtains or vertical blinds.

Whilst it is the season to be jolly, you also need to be jolly careful that you don't expose your house and its contents to the world as sadly opportunist thieves are prevalent over the festive season, particularly if you leave your curtains or blinds open when you are not at home. Of course if you have Venetian or vertical blinds you can simply adjust the angle of the slats or vanes to give you privacy from prying and inquisitive eyes!

Sounds cynical? Or just a reflection of the times we live in?

Image: House of Turquoise

Senin, 21 Desember 2009

Decorating for Christmas

I've been meaning to post photographs of the house all decked out for the holidays for several weeks now, but between long workdays and even more demanding nights and weekends (I can't remember my social calendar being this full since, well, ever!), I've only just gotten around to uploading the pictures. In an effort to work with what I've got, I didn't go out and buy all new decorations this

Jumat, 18 Desember 2009

Christmas in New York City - Art Galleries & Theatre

Christmas in New York City - Galleries & Theatre

This Christmas visit to New York I was fortunate to see the Musical, South Pacific at the Lincoln Center, and two Art Galleries; Georgia O'Keeffe at The Whitney Museum of Modern Art and Kandinsky at the Guggenheim Museum. I love theatre in New York.  There is something very special about getting dressed up and the excitement of the opening strains from the Orchestra.It was a toss up between the new play 'A Little Night Music', the latest revival of Stephen Sondheim's Tony Award-winning musical with Angela Lansbury and  Catherine Zeta-Jones, or the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical 'South Pacific' at the Lincoln Center. I am happy to say that I saw South Pacific and it was as good as the concierge at my Hotel said it was. There was something soothing about hearing songs that I have grown up with and are so familiar. The theme song "Some Enchanted Evening," stayed with me for several days. Here is the YouTube version of 'Some Enchanted Evening' you can listen to.

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South Pacific at Lincoln Center 

The Guggenheim Museum had a wonderful exhibit of the work of the Russian artist, Vasily Kandinsky, who was a pioneer of Abstract Art and broke new ground in painting in the first decades of the twentieth century. The Guggenheim designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was opened in 1959 and, rightly so, is claimed to be one of his most famous masterpieces. The spiraling design of the interior makes this museum one of the best venue's I have ever been in to view an art exhibit. As you walk up the spiral ramps you can view the pieces of artwork as a whole. Magnificent!!!

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The view from the roof top of the Guggenheim across the reservoir & jogging trail of Central Park.

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I want this townhouse!

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These are two of my favourite pieces by Kandinsky from the exhibit. 
You can view the exhibit on line here.

After the exhibit we got directions to a local's favourite restaurant on E. 73rd Street where I had a most memorable lunch of Arugula salad topped with sliced roasted artichokes and topped off with large, (very large) paper fine slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Yummm!!

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Via Quadronno on E. 73rd Street. (left)
A Beautiful piece of street sculpture outside the restaurant. (right)

The walk back to the Hotel was in typical New York style down streets lined with beautiful townhouses all decorated for the holiday season, past apartments with uniformed concierges, among the locals walking their dogs, across streets with bumper to bumper honking taxis, and a short jaunt through Central Park.

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Townhouses decorated for Christmas on E 73rd Street

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Fifth Avenue

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
From the bottom of my heart.

Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Prospero Ano y Felicidad.

Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Prospero Ano y Felicidad.

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas

From the bottom of my heart.

Patricia Gray Inc is an award winning Interior Designer firm  in Vancouver, Canada who blogs about WHAT'S HOT  in the world of Interior Design.
2010 © Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™

Wake Up To The Smell Of Natural Pine Or Spruce This Christmas!

I love the idea of adding festive decorations to bedrooms! What could be more pleasing that crisp, clean, snow white bedding sets and the smell of evergreen pine or spruce sap to make you feel really Christmassy!

This chic bedroom uses natural elements throughout the year with the beautifully carved wooden bed posts and the simple wood-weave Roman style wooden blinds. It's the simplicity of the overall appearance of the room combined with different textures, as seen in the embroidered bedding and scatter cushions and bed posts which has so much appeal. The windows have not been over dressed, so as much natural light as possible can enter the room during the daytime.

It's really easy to emulate designs such as these and what's even more appealing is that you can choose inexpensive bedding sets and blinds, along with odd natural 'finds' (such as the scallop shells) to use as unobtrusive finishing touches. Keep the walls plain and the design simple, no fussiness just beautiful furnishings and personal treasures and the smallest of bedrooms can be transformed effortlessly.

Adding the natural festive touches would be ideal for guest rooms this Christmas and shows that you have great design style throughout your home not just in the lounge!

Image: A Life's Design

Kamis, 17 Desember 2009

Christmas in New York City - The Shop Windows

Christmas in New York City - The Shop Windows

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This year I am fortunate to be spending some 'Christmas time' in New York, which for me is one of the prettiest times of year in this city.  There is so much to see and to do here at any time of year, but especially more so at Christmas.  The displays in the store windows are magnificent, the Christmas lights are bigger and better than anywhere, the concerts, shows and theatre are at their best, the restaurants are overflowing, and the stores are filled with shoppers looking for just the right gifts, and everywhere the city is filled with good cheer. Enjoy the pictures.

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The ceiling at Macy's.

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Swarovski Crystals

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Louis Vuitton at Macy's

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I loved the awnings at Lord & Taylor which were totally covered in green boughs and thousands of twinkle lights.

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Kiki de Montparnasse in SoHo for the ultimate in Christmas lingerie.

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Stella McCartney in the Meatpacking District 

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Brooks Brothers at Lincoln Center featured a Tie Tree for the discerning gentleman.

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Colombus Circle

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Cole Haan Rockefeller Center

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Anthropologie Rockefeller Center had fun and unusual window displays, like this one of the pink Cadillac in the snow bank.

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The Gap

My pictures below of the windows at Bergdorf really don’t do the beautiful displays the justice they deserve. They were so much better than the photos. There were so many people standing in front of the windows, that it was hard to get a full shot, and then the battery went dead on my camera and I had to take the rest of the photos on my iPhone at a much lower resolution.  It is really hard to describe the amount of people in New York, unless you have been there at Christmas time.  When I returned to Vancouver it felt like a sleepy little Hamlet in comparison.

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Bergdorf Goodman 5th Avenue New York 

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Bergdorf Goodman 5th Avenue New York

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Bergdorf Goodman 5th Avenue New York

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Bergdorf Goodman 5th Avenue New York

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Bergdorf Goodman 5th Avenue New York

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Bergdorf Goodman 5th Avenue New York

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Bergdorf Goodman 5th Avenue New York

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Bergdorf Goodman 5th Avenue New York

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The striking glass structure of the Apple Store is iconic.  You enter through the glass doors into a glass cube and a spiral glass staircase leads to the service floor below ground.  I had my new iPhone with me and took it out to show it where it was born.  I am sure that there are going to be a lot of Happy little iPhones under the Christmas tree this year.

 2009 Dec NYC Patricia's iPhone
Glass Roof Apple Store

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here were are as in olden days,
happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
gather near to us once more.

Through the years we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.

And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

Patricia Gray is an award winning Interior Designer in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada who blogs about "WHAT'S HOT"
in the world of Interior Design: New and Emerging Trends, Contemporary Design, Modern Architecture and Travel,
as well as how your surroundings can enhance the world around you.
© Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™ 2009