Things I love...part 1

We all know its February…the month of lllllooooovvvvvveeee…. (as my 7 year old self would say). I thought about this months post… did I want to write about St Valentine. Did I want to talk about romantic restaurants, or romantic settings? Did I want to write about chocolate? The answer…Nope. Nope I did not. But I’m one to waste a good theme. So this month I want to talk about a few things I love.

Now before we dig too deep let me go ahead and get this out of the way… I lllllloooooovvvvveeee my family. I mean like REALLY love my family. I could probably devote an entire blog just on how much I love them. But that seems little out of place for a design blog, so I’ll stick to that subject matter. My daughter’s laughter literally brings me to tears…like “I’m-laughing-so-hard-I’m-either-gonna-pee-or-cry-kinda-of-tears.” Her giggle should be used in peace treaty discussions. It’s amazing.

And my husband’s smile? LIGHTS up a room! His eyes twinkle like he’s up to no good (which he is probably isn’t) and then he smiles and my heart skips a beat. Literally the first time we met, he smiled and I was done.

Ok mushy family stuff out of the way, let’s talk my favorite “things”

Where have you come from and where are you going?

First up Farmhouses. Particularly forgotten ones. If you stopped by this page before you might have seen my Farmhouse Blog. If not, I invite you to check it out…driving along a country road or flying down the interstate and seeing the remnants of a beautiful farmhouse in the middle of a pasture. Or hidden in the woods. Gets my imagination stirring. Who lived there? What did they farm or raise? Was it a big family squeezed in a tiny 2 room house? Or were they more affluent and had room to spread out. Once when I was little girl, my parents and I were walking in woods by our home. We wandered into a big open field with 4 large Oaks trees centered in it. No apparent roads or paths led to the field, but there it was pristine and untouched. Housed in the shadows on the mammoth oaks were the ruins of an old homestead and 2 grave stones. It was fascinating. It was beautiful. It was mystery.

As I’m writing this I realized that I’ve already mentioned two more of my favorite things; long walks in the woods and things you see while driving on a road trip. There is nothing more invigorating to me than walking through the woods, especially in the fall. The trees are a bright myriad of color and the forest floor is slightly damp, absorbing the sound of your boots on the already fallen leaves. There is a stillness in the wood that makes me slow down. Pause. Breathe. Selah.


Road trips have similar affect on me. Imagine with me…you are buckled in. On your way to Birmingham (as I was earlier this week) or Winston-Salem or wherever…The journey just long enough to pack snacks. You set your cruise control and drive. Long stretches of forest, farm land, abandoned rural towns somehow forgotten since the freeway came through…these images, these views, these vistas all frozen in time somehow. You speeding down the highway, catch little glimpses and moments of these scenes. Gems. Brief moments that let your imagination wander as you move down the highway. I often find myself making up stories. Imagining that I see fairies or tree elves or ghosts of times gone by waving me onto my destination.

Fresh Eggs from the farm

Speaking of abandoned towns…you know those flea markets you always see advertised along the side of the road and think…I should check that out someday…but never do? Well I love them! I used to do the same thing. But then for my 39th birthday, my Mama said, “get some rest tonight, cause tomorrow we’re heading to Pickens…huh? Where? Pickins Flea Market. Y’ALL! Word cannot adequately express the adventure that the Pickens Flea Market is. Everything from eggs to chickens, puppies to okra, antiques to farm equipment can be found here. Want to sit for awhile and rest? Why not enjoy a little entertainment while you rest up? They have everything and it is a treat just to wader in and out of the aisles of vendors selling their goods.


The Bass Player

It has occurred to me while writing this entry that I have written about experiences, memories, and dreams. Seems to me that my favorite things are wrapped up not in the “things” themselves, but what they represent. At the afore mention flea market, I picked up an antique olive jar, apple box, and wire basket. Nothing unique or interesting in of themselves, but they tell me that they have stories connected with them. And for me their story continues with the memory that when I purchased them I was with my Mama and My Aunt Mel on my 39 birthday. The sun was hot, but the breeze cool. The puppies licked my knuckles; The bass player from the band plucked a tune only learned from life and experience. The crowds milled about conversing with friends, looking for good deals, and just needing to commune with other patrons.

It is beautiful this life moving about you. Stories discovered in middle of a mundane road trip, or stumbled upon in the middle of the woods. Stories about who have come before us, lend us clues about where we are going.

The things I love can be found in the laughter of my daughter, the smile in my husbands eyes, or the quiet hush of the autumn wood… what about you? What do you love? Why?

Pantone Color of the Year: An animating and life-affirming hue that energizes and enlivens

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral

I LOVE that Pantone picks a new color every year! And this year is no different. This year that mysterious focus group from the Pantone Vaults has pick non other than…LIVING CORAL.

This is a good name. Especially when referring to the color as “living.” The good people of Pantone have described it as “vibrant yet mellow” and “sociable and spirited.”

The alternative of course is “dead coral” and that just won’t do. No not at all! Living Coral “embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.” This seems such an optimistic view on our current world and state of affairs. Its good to know that hope, joyful pursuits, and playful expression are still seen as attainable.

But what exactly is Coral? According to Wikipedia it is, “Corals are marine invertebrates within the class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They typically live in compact colonies of many identical individual polyps. Corals species include the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.

A coral "group" is a colony of myriad genetically identical polyps. Each polyp is a sac-like animal typically only a few millimeters in diameter and a few centimeters in length. A set of tentacles surround a central mouth opening. An exoskeleton is excreted near the base. Over many generations, the colony thus creates a large skeleton characteristic of the species. Individual heads grow by asexual reproduction of polyps. Corals also breed sexually by spawning: polyps of the same species release gametes simultaneously over a period of one to several nights around a full moon.”

In other words… It is a living breathing organism that contributes greatly to the eco system of the seas. We need coral and coral needs us. Kind of like how I feel about good design. We need beauty in our lives. God made us that way. God is beauty. He made coral, and clown fish, angel fish, peacocks, mccaws, baboons, etc…think of the most beautiful creatures and plants you can and understand that they were made to be beautiful by the creator of beautiful things.

And He calls us to make beautiful things as well. They feed our souls, they stir imaginations, they give birth sonnets, sonatas, science projects, and star-gazing sessions. God is the ultimate color specialist and He wants for us to use His glorious palettes to inspire the spaces around us.

So what does this mean for us in 2019? What can you expect from such a color? Well for starters…the consumer won’t truly experience Animated Coral for another 2 years…but at least you know what’s on the horizon. Now you’re in the know, you can look forward to the emergence of the playful and optimistic coral of the seas. As Banu Ibrahim of CNN points out, “It's a subtle reminder that coral, which is bright and lively, is only possible if it's surrounded by a healthy environment.”

So as we step into a new year, let’s be bright and lively in a healthy environment shaped and created by the only One truly capable of giving us that healthy environment.

Be blessed my friends. Be colorful. Be creative. Be you.

Woodloch...a tale of monochromatic beauty

I am in love…with Woodloch. I stumbled upon this quaint and ever so lovely Lodge quite by accident.

While looking through some online articles in Interior Design magazine, I ran across this picture:

A serene porch layered with texture and warmth. So of course I clicked on the image and through a rabbit trail known to many as the internet I found myself on the website of its creator, D’Aquino Monaco. A New York based design firm. Upon further investigation I found a whole gallery dedicated to the spa, lounge, and reception of this quaint Lodge.

What struck me most about this space was its basic color scheme. The textures and warmth all layered in muted tones of beige, brown, mushroom and taupe.

Without feeling dull or boring this space invites you to sit, relax, and stay awhile.

The Lodge at Woodloch is located in Pawley, PA with the closet major town being Scranton.

I LOVE THAT! I’ve never heard of Pawley PA, have you? But it’s remote setting lends itself to quiet; to rest; to peace and calm… coming out of the busy Christmas season and looking into the fresh possibilities that is 2019. I’m thankful for this monochromatic oasis and the ease with which it’s faux bois carpeting runs like the forest floor just outside the back porch.

So if you can’t make it out to Pawley PA, you can make it out your local parks. Step into nature, be calm, be still, and be refreshed…

The Farmhouse

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On Hwy 51 just outside of Sandy Cross Ga, the road bends and then curves to the right. In the middle of that curve is “THE” farmhouse. You know the one...green shutters that compliment the green roof. Set back from the road in the middle of a pecan tree grove just far enough so that you have to really to look for it. When you see it, you also see the peeling white paint, the busted up screened front porch, the elegant and yet simple front door, that has warped with rain and sun.

This is the house that catches my eye and holds my undivided attention every time I head to my husband’s parents home. Out here there are dozens of farmhouses, barns, chicken coops, cow pastures, small brick churches and pecan groves. I am swept up in the story of this house. “Why is it empty? Who would abandon such a home? Is it for sale? Why hasn’t it been fixed up yet? What does it look like inside?” My husband hears me recite these questions every trip and has no answer for me. So instead of asking him the same exhaustive list of questions for another 7 years, I decided to ask these questions of myself and find the answers. But not just for this farmhouse, but for the style itself...for all abandoned farmhouses across America...for any farmhouse. What is the story?

Of course the American Farmhouse has become a design and decorating style all unto it’s own in recent years. Thanks to the talents of “Chip and Jo,” FleaMarket Flip, American Pickers, HGTV, etc… It has been bottled up and mass produced in every Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Bed Bath and Beyond across the country. It is a design phenomenon and everyone wants a piece of it...my question, WHY?

The American Farmhouse Style as described by Andersen Windows is “First emerging in the Midwest in the mid-1800s, the American Farmhouse style ranges from small, simple structures to more elaborate homes bordering on Victorian...The American Farmhouse style is typically one-and-a-half to two stories and features asymmetrical massing with a gable at the front of the house. These homes feature simple detailing, open floor plans with central chimneys and often include wraparound porches.”

Sounds romantic and tantalizing doesn’t it? I wonder if our grandparents and great grandparents would share a similar sentiment? The same generation that lived through Great Wars, Great Depressions, and Wars to End All Wars...would they be held captive by the quaint gables, exposed brick, and shiplap walls or would they be reminded of hot summers, and cold winters. Outdoor plumbing and gas lanterns...working from sunup to sundown and eating whatever was left over from lunch for dinner.

To me the Farmhouse style is more than a style. It’s more than a trip to the local flea market for rusty tools or weathervane parts to hang on your walls. To me its history. It’s beauty. It’s family. It’s life. I come from a line of sharecroppers and mill workers. People who etched and picked their way through the hard Georgia clay and made a life during a time of uncertainty and hardship.

I remember my great grandmother’s mill house in Lagrange. I remember the single light bulb hanging from the center of the kitchen. I remember the floor plan that allowed summer breezes to cool the house from front to back. But could also be shut up in winter to contain the heat from the central double sided fireplace.  I remember the oak tree lined streets, the backyard laundry lines, and sheds filled with every kind of memory from decades of life gone by. I remember oak floors, stained from wear and faded wallpaper peeling to reveal newspaper stuck plaster walls.

Every memory a story of a life lived before mine. Of a generation and a way of life gone. Maybe part of the intrigue and lure of the Farmhouse Style, is that it harkens back to a simpler way of life. No smartphones, Facebooks, Direct TV, and unlimited data plans.  It was just life. A man could work hard, sleep hard, love hard, live hard...but it was basic. It was simple. It was for the grabbing and designing and creating and executing. Everything served a purpose and nothing was wasteful or wasted.

For a time it has seemed that we might lose that history; that drive; that desire to hack out a life of our own. The 80’s, 90’s, and even early 2000’s were decades of progress and new build. Every one wanted new and bigger and better. Family farmhouses and estates were passed over by younger generations for John Weiland Neighborhoods and shiny brass chandeliers hung in double height foyers. These homes fell into neglect, disrepair, and forgetfulness. They were irrelevant to a society moving forward not looking back.

I would never wish back the days of the housing bust of the early 2000’s, but I’m somewhat glad that we had to step back as a society and reassess our “forward progress.” Because what happened during that time has since altered societies perception on home. We no longer look to the bright shiny object of big homes and big cars. Instead we look at the affordable and forgotten homes of the past. In some cases, because it’s all one could afford and in part, because we all took a moment to pause and see the beauty of past architecture around us.

In my humble opinion, the American Farmhouse says, “Come inside and sit down at the table. I’ve got vegetables roasting. Fried Chicken seasoning. Fresh ice cream to churn. Stories to tell. Love to give...and Peace to offer. Come and rest with me.”

A little bit about me...

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Born and raised in the South, I found an early love for all things in the architectural design world.

When I was a child, my parents took me to neighborhoods in development and we would walk the homes under construction. Imagining the finishes, fixtures, layouts of the rooms, etc. As I grew older the fascination of how things got worked together stayed with me and I’ve been designing ever since.

A proud graduate of the University of Georgia, I studied abroad in Italy sketching and learning about Italian design and architecture.

After graduating Cum Laude in 2000, I went to work immediately at Ferry, Hayes, and Allen designing Country Clubs.  As a CAD Draftsman, I really cut my teeth on details structural drawings and precision.

After 2 years at FHA, I went to work for Lane Home Furnishings and began designing their Showrooms throughout the United States and Germany. LHF fostered my imagination and personal style to flourish.

In 2005, I moved on to work with Jillian Van Dresser, a well known and respected designer. It was here that I really learned about Project management and sourcing.

After a year under close mentorship with Ms. Van Dresser, the opportunity to design boutique hotels in NYC came and I moved to the Big Apple to design and project manager 5 star hotels and luxury apartments.

At McCartan, I had the privilege to work on several projects, in particular Avia Napa (now the Andaz Napa), and Avia Long Beach (now Hyatt Centric the Pike). These two project stretched my skills, imagination, and resourcefulness. Really bringing me into my own as a hospitality designer.

As with most things in 2009, my job came to an end due to the economic downfall. I left NYC and came home to start over. 2011  was a big year for me, I met my husband Kendal, got married, and what started as merely an chance to regroup, soon presented the opportunity to branch out on my own and form You In Mind Designs. The brainchild of my husband Kendal and I.

Despite having great success in our newly formed company, it became necessary for me add to our income. In 2013 I joined Ingenious Med as their Corporate Programs Manager and EA to CEO Hart Williford. It was here that I was able to create and lead programs that supported the company culture and promoted a great working environment. I had the pleasure of leading several executive fly fishing retreats for top clients and had the pleasure of visiting places like Gallatin MT, Raton NM, Yellowstone MT, and Sonora Island British Columbia.

I view all my experiences both in life and vocationally as building blocks to who I am as a person and a designer. I am the proud wife of a great man and mom to a beautiful baby girl. Versed in multiple styles and type of design and architecture, I am most happy when I am working with clients and given the opportunity to make their spaces come to life. I am excited about continuing to build YIM Designs into a thriving company and I hope that you will consider partnering with me as we “design with You In Mind.” 

"the intrigue of what lies ahead..."

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Pantone released it's 2018 color of the year, Ultra Violet. 

According to Pantone, "complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.'

I can't help but think of YIM when I read this. While we have been around for more than 5 years and I have been in the field for nearly 20 years. There is a sense of excitement and wonder in 2018 as we relaunch our website and introduce new services and skills that haven't been offered before. 

Just as "Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking," so too You In Mind Designs is looking forward to bringing its clients those same qualities to all projects in 2018.  

To read the Pantone article in full: https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2018