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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

light up ... your world

Today a friend of mine gave me a Christmas hug. All I could think about was that he smelled like cigarettes. so I have been obsessed about his horrifying smell. He must have just finished smoking or lighting up one. So thought I would I turn this experience into something positive. Here is a little ditty about lighting. There are different types of lighting;general, task, and ambiance.
Lighting an interiors is probably the most important part of design. It can bring new life to a room. Enhance the colour and textures that you use. There are many choices. My favourites are table lamps. But i recently had a crystal chandelier installed in my dining room.Explore your lighting choices. It can even make your guests look better. That is as good as it gets today.
sincerely, John

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

shopping in Beaumont Village

Tucked away in a little store front in the quaint Beaumont Village shopping district is Azurro. John the owner finds many of his items he sells in Paris flea markets. Right now he has this beautiful settee covered in a heavy Belgian linen. He also has handmade greeting cards, decoupaged clocks and boxes not John Derian. He makes them in his spare time.
Speciality stores are great for finding unique items and fun to have conversations with the owners. With as much shopping as i like to do. I often become good friends with the owners. Tomorrow I will be in a meeting with a furniture vendor and Friday to the Seattle design centre.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Strength of a Mentor

I fondly recall the late Wayne Martin would often say" Your home can be filled with beautiful furniture, unique accessories and surrounded with exquisite art, but if you weren't compassionate toward others then all of this luxury meant nothing".

Wayne founded Wayne Martin Inc. over 35 years ago. He brought the world of fine designer textiles in the trunk of his car to Portland. He did presentations to a few decorators building up a business. Today there are two locations of his wholesale design showroom in Portland and Seattle. Wayne also opened the doors of the world of interior design to myself . Over the next 20 years I would get more than an education. I gained a valuable friendship.

Enclosed is a photo of Wayne's residence. A condo in the heart of downtown Portland. He had a timeless eclectic contemporary style. The neutral walls or "pond scum grey" as he referred it was his favourite colour. The walls were actually painted grass cloth. The perfect backdrop for all of his contemporary art. He also collected fine ethnic antiques such as the Siamese horse and rider which was mixed with other Asian vessels( pottery and woven baskets). My favourite not pictured was the marionette horse puppet mounted on a block of ebonized wood. It was displayed on a steel console table with an opaque glass top in the entryway.

A few years ago Wayne and I had his sofa recovered in Mark Pollack's " Lumina", a woven boucle from their mill in De Pleog @ We also hired a contractor and metal artist to reface his 70's smoky mirror fireplace. It was transformed in a chic brushed stainless steel facade with honed black slate fire surround and hearth. Two African ceremonial wedding masks flanked either side. They stood on acrylic bases with metal stems. His drapery which always remained opened to capture the majestic view of Mt. Hood were made of copper lurex striped sheers lined with the same "pond scum grey" lining.

In his bedroom which had an amazing view of the same mountains and downtown Portland, he had side panel made of Jack Lenor Larsen's' "Magnum" it was woven metallic squares such as the large pillow on his sofa.

He mixed a few antiques such as the French Empire dining chairs which he recovered in Gary Glant's very modern "Liquid Leather" @

His style, his home are no longer. They are forever etched in my mind. The true nature of his kindness and nurturing spirit endure. the value of having a mentor to inspire, to teach, to advise to develope your taste as an interior designer is almost more valuable than a formal education which will never teach you about quality of character. You either have design style or you don't. To have it shaped by a mentor is as valauble as the friendship that will develope. This can be one the most valuable design experiences a young designer can ever have.

In Memory of my dear friend and mentor

D. Wayne Martin


Friday, December 5, 2008

ste. maine christmas party

Erin and Elizabeth hosted a beautiful Christmas party at their store. I had a chance to chatt with them. They simply are very gracious ladies. I am so happy that I went to their party. My day was spent in the oncology dept. Unfortunately I was there longer than expected when a car accident blew out the hospital's power. I did another rendering from a magazine, I chose a photo from the article that I wrote about the other day. I guess I will have a whole portofilio renderings of other designer's projects by the time I get done with 6 more months of chemotherapy.

Back to the party. I was greeted by their staff. they served white wine, fruit, cheese etc. Hot Box Betty(sorry ladies, I can't remember your names) a clothing store on Broadway also showed some of the lastest fashions for women. Elizabeth's husband had purchased some men's clothing so I had a chance to see the beautiful men's cashmire cardigans and jeans. There was quite a crowd of people there. Everyone who was everyone was there, although, I didn't know a soul except Elizabeth and Erin. My friend, Chase was stuck in ugly traffic but would have come to the party. I hope some of you made it. I hope I won the fur throw in the the raffle. It will make a great Christmas present for someone special.

Ok! I did shop also and purchased a amazing framed butterfly(20% discount because I came to the party). It had a wing span of about four inches. It was in my favourite colour( NO NOT STRIPES sidenote: I always tell my clients that my favourite colour is a stripe) This amazing animal had gorgeous white wings with black polkadots. I can't have stripes all the time. When I get it hung I will have to take a photo of it. I told Erin, I always start my Christmas shopping with a gift to myself. That made her laugh and she thought it was a great idea. atleast you get what you really want if you buy it yourself and you can spend as much as you want without guilt. After my LONG VISIT in oncology I deserved it. It really can put you in the mood. Please check out their boutique. oh! by the way! their shopping bags are beautiful.The package was wrapped so divinely i hate to almost unwrap it. It will be a wonderful gift that I can act surpised that a thoughful person got for me for Christmas. OK! i guess I am a shopaholic.

I was so exited to tell you about my find that I had to write one more blog this week.
Please take care and have a great weekend.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

in the mood to shop

While I am in the shopping mood for unique stuff for the home. Two places I would love to go when i am up to traveling again is Great Stuff in Seattle @ http://www.greatstuffseattle/.com . It is owned by a friend of mine, Kirk. He just celebrated one year of being opened, Congratulations!

The other store that I want to visit is in Manhattan in the Flatiron district in New York City. While in the hospital this summer, I read an article about Rayman Boozer, a designer in NYC. The article was intriguing and the photos impressive. . after I got out of the hospital, I thought i was on drugs. Oh! I guess i was. It took me three months to find the article in Elle Decor July/August 2008 issue. Since then I went to his website. I really love the type of interior projects Rayman has done. Very vivid, yet rustic, Very Eclectic. Oh! did I say he sells john derian decoupage also. All the more reason to go to New York. I am writing this early.This is for Friday! I will be in the oncology dept. for an infusion. Blog will continue next week.

take care,


some of my favourite places to shop in portland

Cielo Home can be found at

Greeted with a smile and a caffe latte made in their little kitchen, Matthew and Frederic are true gentlemen in everyway. They seem to play host rather than shop owners in their store in the Pearl. They have everything from hand blown glass, candles,french milled soaps, books on Interior Design, Furnishings new and antique and of course my favourite, John Derian decoupage, My collection of his decoupage is growing. I even went to Target to get his trays and a magazine tote.

The Consignment Gallery @ has been a weekend ritual for my friend Chase and I for years. you can find almost anything there, used Baker and McGuire furniture, Art Deco lamps, beautiful Asian pieces. All coming from some of the finest homes in Portland. It is ever changing. We find a new discovery every weekend. You gotta be quick. Items TEND TO FLY OUT OF THERE! I've lost a few good pieces because I waited to long.

I recently discovered two more stores that are relatively new to Portland. the first is a shop called WhatPDX @ , Terry Dooley, the owner was very delightful. We chatted about the all of his interestering and very eclectic treasures. He has fine European framed art, Architectual Asian temple details, Large trunks from India, handblocked erotic art and even an old painted circus canvas that covers an entire wall in his shop. All of his pieces are original or one of a kind.

The other store is new in Sellwood. It is called Ste. Maine @ It is own by to lovely sisters-in-law, Erin and Elizabeth. their store is very refined, with elegant home furnishings, fine china and small gifts. Their father is an amazing artist which they proudly hang his wonderful paintings. The beautiful boutique is having a Christmas party on 4 December 2008 at 5pm. I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

an introduction to my blog

Laying in bed seems to be a luxury many of us aspire to. whether it is a lazy sunday afternoon reading the newspaper, a lingering conversation cuddled up next to the one you love or just simply sleeping. I on the other hand spent six months in bed exhausted after grueling treatments of radiation and chemotherapy, battling an aggresive stage 2 colorectal cancer. Now with two successful operations behind me. I still have six months more of chemotherapy. I was not going to let the year be wasted. I remained focused on my true passion, my 12 year old son and even managed to complete 3 design projects. I just kept telling myself it was just a sofa or it was just a delayed fabric. It was no big deal. Surprisingly with all of my health struggles and with the help of my good friend and assistant ,Wendy.I was able to complete my design projects.

Tomorrow while having my infusion, I will spend time drawing interiors from magazines.Oh! I will also write down a few places that I love to shop for home furnishings around the city of Portland. Life is precious. Do something with all of your passion. Do it well...

Take care,