Travels: Indulgence in the City of New Orleans

Having some fun in New Orleans this week at a design conference.

I have been touring the amazing homes of art collectors, architects, artists and have met some of New Orleans' most interesting characters.

Writer and designer Wrenda Goodwyn in New OrleansNew Orleans gets into your soul. I always think of Harry Connick Jr. singing  "Missing New Orleans."

Moonlight on the bayous
Creole tunes fill the air
I dream about magnolias in June
And I'm wishing I was there

This week, I am indulging in everything that the city offers...the French quarter, architecture, historic neighborhoods that are being rescued, mansions, cottages, shotgun houses, steamboat houses. A visit to the lower 9th ward. Walking on the levee with great views of the river and city. Amazing food. Jazz. New green-based architecture and design. Brad Pitt's neighborhood of almost 100 cutting-edge homes built since Katrina. Traditional mansions. An eclectic artist's residence on the Esplanade Ridge. Antiques. Jackson Square. Julia Street galleries. I met a voodoo priestess and toured her beautiful home. 

Masks in Jackson Square in New Orleans.New Orleans has a ghostly allure. The winding alleyways lead to the past and when you follow them, you never know what you will find.

The light is glorious and the sensory pleasures are almost overwhelming. I am still here and I already miss New Orleans.

And did I mention that the city is totally immersed in Halloween? Perfect.


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Inspiration: Behind the scenes at Kravet's NYC studio

It was the best of days in New York City.

After a week of meeting top designers, home magazine editors, fellow design bloggers and touring fabulous Manhattan show homes, came the cherry on top of the sundae.

Photo of colorful Kravet fabricAs a southwest Florida interior decorator, I have long considered Kravet the Walt Disney of the fabric and home furnishing world. The level of quality and customer service results in a tremendous comfort level for designers. I often work with Amy Jimenez at the  Kravet showroom in the Miromar Design Center in Estero. Finding just the right pattern, palettes and textures for a room is the most exciting part of my job as an interior decorator. It is a good day for me when I have clients who want fabulous fabric for a new project or want to design a piece of furniture to fit their space. It is always a great collaboration between a decorator or designer and Kravet.

Currently, I am working with Kravet on a gorgeousBarbary Barry carpet collectionBarbara Barry's Indochine Collection for Kravet.  Barbara Barry Indochine rug for a vacation home for one of my Fort Myers decorating clients. Fabric for drapes, pillows and several other projects.

So, on this last day in NYC, I headed to the Flatiron district where Cary Kravet and the Kravet family opened their studio and welcomed 168 designers with open arms for breakfast and a studio tour. They made us feel like family and gave us a peek behind the scenes. Shared a few secrets that are soon to be announced, showed us the latest fabric designs, product development and merchandising for three of the industry's respected brands: Kravet, Lee Jofa and Brunschwig & Fils. In a word: Inspiring.

My heartfelt thanks to Gary, Lisa and Ellen Kravet. To Beth Greene, Ann Felstein and Jennifer Powell. You gave me my best day in NYC.


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Home Inspirations: All that glitters

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• June 9, 2012

Photo to Baccarat chandelierMarie Coquin chandelier designed by Phillipe Starck. Photo: Baccarat.

Women love them. Men often aren't crazy about them.

They are romantic and sexy. The right one with the perfect dimmer switch setting makes anyone look beautiful.

They are dazzling and add style and a touch of refined culture to a space.

They go anywhere in the home, including bathrooms, closets, a walk in pantry. I have even seen one in a laundry room.

You can spend a little or you can spend thousands.

Photo of Baccarat chandelierZenith chandelier with clear pink and mist crystals by Phillipe Starck. Baccarat. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

Chandeliers are an accessory that can make an entry or dining room. It does what the perfect necklace does for an outfit. And as with jewelry, before you head out the door, you want to know that you selected the right one.

In southwest Florida, many homes sacrifice chandeliers for ceiling fans. While women are most likely willing to say goodbye to a fan in hopes of adding a beautiful, sparkly chandelier, men often need to be coaxed into considering one.

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Inspiration: Heading to NYC and Blogfest 2012!

It doesn’t get any better than a trip to New York in the Spring.  My favorite thing to do: Long walks in Central Park. Beautiful. And shopping. Museums. Just being in NYC.

But this coming week (May 21-23) will be an exciting, extra-special NYC adventure and I am counting the days! I am so fortunate to have been included in Blogfest 2012, a three-day tour planned exclusively for interior design bloggers that features the industry's top shelter magazines, A-list design celebrities and breathtaking venues. Sponsored by Kravet, Lee Jofa, and Brunschwig Fils, it is jam-packed from morning until night with design events that have my head spinning!Blogfest 2012 logo

Jennifer Powell, Kravet’s social media wiz and overall amazing person, assures us that there are surprises around every turn and guarantees that we will experience the very best of interior design in NYC. I have my running shoes ready to go!!

An added bonus:  I will finally have the opportunity to meet some of my favorite designer/bloggers that I have communicated with via social media.  And my friend and Houston designer Pamela O’Brien of Room Redo and I will be going a day early because after all, a girl must have some fun time in NYC. 

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Outdoor living spaces: Makeover for a Bonita Springs lanai

One of Spectacular Spaces most rewarding interior decorating projects done recently was this Bonita Springs condo.

It is interesting how we all get used to the rooms in our homes. Then one day we wake up and suddenly realize that we are really tired of it and need an interior makeover!   And we can't make the change fast enough.  Out with the old and in with the new! There is not necessarily anything "wrong." We just need a change in our room designs.

Like this lovely condo in Bonita Bay...the lanai was ready for an update. So, Spectacular Spaces came up with decorating ideas and provided the design services to get them done.

photo of condo lanai before makeoverBEFORE
photo of condo lanai during makeoverDURINGPhoto of condo lanai after makeoverAFTERMeticulously cared for by its out of state owners, the condo is used for weekend family getaways and golf vacations. The lanai functions as a dining area for entertaining guests and is comfortable enough to serve as a place to relax, watch TV and to enjoy the view.
We were happy to be given the go-ahead to redo the entire lanai. The owner wanted it to reflect the feeling and colors of its southwest Florida location and to give it a beachy, whimsical look. This is what we did:
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Decorating ideas: Searching and finding a vintage treasure

The only thing more fun than going to one of the winter Antique Extravaganzas at Renningers in Mount Dora is when you are lucky enough to find a real treasure.  And I found one yesterday.

I knew the moment I laid eyes on this 1800's, primitive farm table in one of the more than 800 dealer stalls, that it would be going home with me.  Nothing gives me more pleasure than repurposing a vintage piece. It is gratifying to "rescue" a piece of furniture that at one time functioned as an important part of a home someplace. After being forgotten for so long, it will once again be the focal point of someone's home interior.  I can just imagine the conversations  that took place in the farmhouse kitchen around this table. 

Rennigers Jan. 2011 003 Table.jpg

Once this table is cleaned up from the years that it sat neglected in an old shed, it will be a great accent piece.

Because one of the services offered by Spectacular Spaces is searching for unique accent piecesfor its clients, I am constantly on the 1st Dibs site so I know the value of rare, vintage pieces such as this lovely table. If you are not familiar with 1st Dibs, check it out. It markets itself as the purveyor of "the most beautiful things on earth." And it totally delivers.  I first learned about 1st Dibs from Nate Berkus and have been hooked ever since.

If you are looking for an accent piece for your home, here is a decorating idea from Spectacular Spaces:

Buy what you love.  What speaks to you.  What fits your design style.  Blend the piece with other styles in our home.  Don't try to make everything in the room match in the same style. Instead, decide what works for your lifestyle.  Search for it and create a beautiful space around it.  

I think I have found a new home for this treasure.  Mine.