A Closer Look: Eugène Atget

I’ve just begun to rediscover Eugène Atget, one of the great photographers of the early 20th century.

Versailles - Cour du Parc

His straightforward compositions belie the heavy subject matter he brings to each image.  Each exposure is a meditation on impermanence & solitude.

St. Cloud

These are photographs that remind me of the world at dusk, when colors become indistinct, shadows run into each other, and foliage turns into a black profile against the sky.

Rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Geneviève

His pictures seem shrouded in a gray mist, which (in a way) reveals as much as it conceals.




images: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Design Defined: Marble Countertops

classic marble bathroom

Marble has been used as a building material for centuries, and if it’s lasted that long, why have you been warned against using it in your kitchen or bathroom?  It’s sometimes seen as taboo because marble is a softer stone than granite.  But if it’s that beautiful veined look you are after, it’s hard to be satisfied with another stone.  So what are the risks?

Marble is known for staining and etching.  I recently helped a client redo her bathroom after ripping up the existing stained marble floor and saw this concern first hand.  I found this blog post a few weeks ago where a blogger was told many times to forget about her dreams of a marble countertop for her kitchen.  Instead of believing everything she heard, she decided to test a sample of marble by sealing one section and leaving the other unsealed.  She used everything you’re not supposed to put on marble – wine, tomato paste, and acidic fruit – to see what would happen.  She was surprised to find that the next day, once the stone had completely dried, it wasn’t stained at all!  She decided to get marble for her kitchen and concluded that having it sealed really prevents stains.

That post didn’t address etching, so I searched for another experiment and came across the Granite Guru’s post here.  They also tested marble by leaving samples of many different foods on the carerra samples overnight.  They really did their homework by testing several different types of sealers and using both honed and polished marble samples. 

They found that no matter what sealer was used, the marble etched.  Even if lemon juice was on the surface for just 10  minutes, it took the sheen right off the stone. 

Last but not least, I checked in with our own expert, Judy Pickett, who has lived with beautiful calcutta gold marble counter tops in her kitchen for the past four years (shown above).  She takes care to use a cutting board underneath fruits and vegetables and immediately wipes up spills.  She doesn’t regret using marble in her kitchen, but mentioned that if she did it over again, she might go with a honed marble since it doesn’t etch quite as easily.  After all, her philopsohy is, “You can live with colors you don’t love just because they are practical. Or you can live with what you love and clean it.”

– Lauren

Design Defined: Pillow Talk

Have you ever wondered why there are so many pillow options out there?  It’s crazy talk. There are some that are perfect for your head and others just plain stink, leaving you with little to no support while you sleep. We are starting a new series called “Design Defined” which highlights the simple luxuries within your home.  

Most pillows are filled with either a poly filled, a feather/down blend or a combination of both.   Down means the pillow is filled with either duck or goose feathers, and a poly filled pillow has synthetic stuffing. The real question is what do you like? Your bed pillow is all about your personal preference and the position in which you sleep. On your side, back, or tummy. Do you want to go the organic route? IS someone in your family allergic to dust mites or is sensitive to fibers? The DLL team always recommends getting pillow protectors – which can be found at your local Target stores. We are a fan of the ones from Garnet Hill.

Spending an extra couple of dollars on pillows might insure a restful nights sleep.  Experts at Real Simple put 35 different pillows to the test and have come up with 7 different winners. Check them out!

Believe it are not pillow cases do matter. No one wants a rough fabric rubbing up against your cheek. Try a washed linen look from Garnet Hill. These are oh so luxurious.


National companies like Serena & Lily & Potterybarn  have even gotten creative when dressing the bedroom. 


Sweet dreams! 

Images 1. Pinterest  2. Garnet Hill 3. Potterybarn

2011 Trends from Furniture Market: Painted Furniture

Throughout the showrooms in High Point, we couldn’t help but notice the painted furniture pieces.  And they weren’t what you might expect.  Painted furniture can sometimes look coastal, but these pieces took on so many different styles.  Check them out below!

 In the Hickory Chair showroom, their Surry chairs were painted in a stunning deep orange tone.  It provides such a nice contrast to the wooden table, neutral floors, and neutral walls.  To the right, a simple chest was accented with a Greek key pattern.  Adding a graphic like this takes a plain silhouette and makes it a focal point!

Another chest took on a tribal look with the interesting motifs shown above.  Hickory Chair has skilled artistans that can paint a piece any way you wish! 

 The Jonathan Adler showroom was filled with painted pieces in white.  Their lacquered finish has such a modern look!  Also popular: two-tone finishes.  Whether its just the drawer fronts or the frame of a table, contrasting painted areas with stained brings great interest and lessens the dose of color. 

Hickory White introduced three new finishes in a spice orange, slate blue, and butter yellow.  The distressed tones reminded me of a colored version of the driftwood finishes that are popular now.  They have a certain richness that would be appropriate for any season! 

– Lauren

Current Projects: Johnny’s Atomic Ranch {Part 3}

For the third and final chapter of Johnny’s house transformation, we proceed to the dining nook in the kitchen and the foyer/stairwell.


The only thing that changed in his space was the light fixture.  In making your style mark on a space- nothing is as easy as switching out that builder basic lighting which can often date the house.  We chose this pendant from Arteriors- and it’s egg yolk yellow interior casts a beautiful warm glow when it’s illuminated. We re-purposed Johnny’s existing leaning bookshelf from the living room and put it in the nook.


In the foyer- another lighting surprise! This simple lantern looks like an updated version of a classic colonial fixture- but makes a dramatic impact when you arrive.

Last but not least- something you can try too! Paint that oak stair rail black (with an oil-based paint) and it modernizes the stairs instantly.

Thanks to  Johnny for sharing his home on the blog!


Photography for this series taken by Lauren McKay

Molly’s Finds: Occhio Fine Art Photography


Occhio Fine Art Photography 5

Our clients occasionally will share their personal hobbies or lifelong passions with us. One of Molly’s current clients really enjoys fishing and about a year ago came across internationally acclaimed underwater photographer Marc Montocchio at a fishing tournament off the coast of North Carolina. We had to share! Aren’t these photographs fantastic?

Occhio Fine Art Photography 2

After seeing and being fascinated by these photographs our client and his friend decided to do something about it. They wanted to promote the fishing lifestyle using Marc’s photographs. Today, the company is called Occhio and there is a storefront right in Morehead City, North Carolina. 

Re-used board and batten from a home right here in Raleigh was planed down and put on the exterior of Occhio’s Dockside storefront. Interior floors of heart pine, simple sheet-rock walls with neutral paint show off the artwork in the gallery side and the t-shirts, Kaenon glasses, OluKai flip flops and other great merchandise in the other side of the store.

(Below is a picture of Marc inside the store. To see a complete video about the gallery click here.)

Marc inside Occhio


Below is an example of  the t-shirts.

Occhio T-Shirt Design


Occhio Fine Art Photography

Marc, a native of South Africa now lives in Morehead City, North Carolina and still travels around the world taking pictures of underwater creatures. The fascinating part besides the vivid and rich high-definition picture quality, is the camera angle and that the photographs are printed on aluminum. The viewer gets the sense as if they are looking streight into the eye of the fish, almost as if nature is staring right at them. 

A true “full circle” of adventure photography turned into an unbelievable work of art to enjoy for years. Drop by if you are ever in Morehead City and get hooked on the “Occhio” experience.

Occhio Fine Art Photography 3

My kids love their new t-shirts and snatch them from the dryer to show off to their friends at school!


Occhio Fine Art Photography 4

East 2 West Series {South Beach Miami, Florida}

After this blog post I want to go to Miami and experience the rich and vibrant culture of South Beach. Thank you Dalia from Berlin Designs, Inc. for the wonderful recommendations and advice on everything to do and see in Miami. This is a real treat!

For all you readers out there, we are building our East -2- West series. We want to give our readers their personal connection to global design, create a designer-to-designer network, and provide you with the very best in each city. Leave it to the interior design experts and with that lets return to the series with Miami!!!!  

1. Best antique find in Miami: Right in Design District

SusaneR when looking for very eclectic pieces, This is the way to go!

Susane R Lifestyle Boutique

2. After you have had a morning to shop what is your favorite place to grab a bite to eat and take a load off your feet in Miami?

While shopping right in the district I would go to Michael’s genuine – for a relaxed leisure meal with clients you can sit outside or inside and always run into someone you know. I highly recommended especially for dinner their heirloom tomato & golden beat salad with green beans, hearts of palm and blue cheese crumbles is my fave! Very refreshing for our Miami heat.

 Michael's Genuine Food & Drink Logo

 Michael’s Genuine

130 Northeast 40th Street
Miami, FL 33137
(305) 573-5550 

Now for dinner I would venture down to Brickell and try Dolores but you can call me Lolita – their gazpacho is famous and they even give you the recipe (minus their secret ingredient: creme fraiche but don’t say I told you, it’s sumptous!) You pick from column A and then from column B and then desert all for $18. Now with a great ambiance and situated in the original and restored Miami Firehouse (look for the sliding poles) how can you go wrong?


3. What is artistically unquie about Miami? What is the Miami known for?

Oh wow! In Miami visitors must visit the South Beach District. Take a walk on the boardwalk or better yet a walk on the famous pedestrian street Lincoln Road (between Collins and Alton on 17th Street).

South Beach District

Carl Fisher, the wealthy original developer of Miami Beach, envisioned Lincoln Road to be the Miami Beach counterpart to Fifth Avenue in New York, or Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. And indeed in the boom times of South Beach in the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s, it could match those upscale fashionable shopping districts. Fisher’s concept was that Lincoln Road would be the way to draw together the east and west sides of Miami Beach.

Today, Lincoln Road is a pedestrian mall between Alton Road and Washington Avenue. It is once again thriving as a shopping and dining area. Unique stores offer items not typically found in malls, and restaurants and cafés are common. Most restaurants offer either indoor or outdoor seating, including in the middle of the pedestrian mall area. And without question, the people watching on Lincoln Road can match any place in the world. There seems to be a constant flow of stunningly attractive women and men passing by, and many wear fashionable clothes with a major dose of sexy.

duck tours copy

If you are up to it, a fun and educational tour believe it or not, is the South Beach Duck Tours, which describes all the lines of the miami modernism/deco style architecture while on the bus tour and then it transforms into an amphibious boat and takes you through the backyards of the rich a famous, Shak and the like all while enjoying the bay, reserve a must!


 4. Describe the current design trends in Miami.

I would emphatically have to say that the interior design industry in our area can be surely called the “delano hotel design.”

Like they say if I had a dollar for every time a client has quoted the interior of the Delano hotel designed by Phillipe Stark I would be well who knows.

Delano Hotel Miami Florida

The Delano was the first hotel in America which featured a true indoor/outdoor lobby, and a marvelous interpretation of bringing the outdoors in. In South Florida where our focal point is always the Ocean, and Mother Nature, we cannot compete with the beauty that G-d surround us with, so instead we bring all of the outdoors in. This then reflects in the color palettes of our design, the billowing white sheers that reminds us of the ocean breeze, and the casual style of the furniture lines even in the most elegant of interiors.


5. The best art gallery in Miami.


Wow so many… too many to choose from…I love the Wynwood area. Take a great pair of comfy shoes and spend the day gallery hopping. Below is a quick guide to help you get started.


Wynwood Art Guide


6. The one unique thing you can do in Miami is by far to eat at Joe’s Stone Crabs.

11 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 673-0365

Eat at Joe's.The Joe's Stone Crab Resturant

Reprinted with permission from Eat at Joe’s: The Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant Cookbook

Joe’s Mustard Sauce

1 tablespoon Colman’s dry mustard, or more to taste

1 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Worcestershire

1 teaspoon A-1 sauce

2 tablespoons light cream


Place the mustard in a mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the mayonnaise and beat for 1 minute. Add the Worcestershire, A-1, cream, and a pinch of salt and beat until the mixture is well blended and creamy. If you’d like a little more mustardy bite, whisk in 1/2 teaspoon more dry mustard until well blended. Chill the sauce, covered, until serving.

For reviews on the sauce click here.

7. Favorite accessory stores are Urban Art and Jalan Jalan both in the Miami design district. 

Totally unique each in their own way and a must revisit at least once a month for all their new products.

Jalan Jalan

3921 NE 2nd Ave Miami FL 33137

(305) 572-9998

Jalamniami copy

Urban Art Home

Modern ehnic and eclectic a collection for every interior space. They have furniture and art too.



8. The coolest hotel to stay in Miami I would say is the Fontainbleu, in Miami Beach.

Fontainebeau hotel miami florida

Many guestrooms and suites have breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the twinkling necklace of lights that reveals Miami Beach at night. Rooms and suites are fully equipped with high definition flat screen TVs, advanced sound systems, 20” iMac® and ultra-luxurious amenities. Modern, sophisticated interior designs create an atmosphere of quiet and calm for effortless relaxation.

9. My personal connection to Design Lines is with Judy, whom I consider a friend and design colleague in our exclusive BPN membership. It is a real honor counting Judy as a dear friend. 

Drool-Worthy Weekly: Dining in Style

This dining room was on the cover of Elle Decor, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since!  Even though it wouldn’t fit in with the style of my own house, the design, by Larry Laslo, is playful, bold, and formal all at the same time.  With plans to join friends and family this weekend for Easter dinner, I thought it was the perfect time to share this dining inspiration.

Larry Laslo - Dining Room Green

Have a wonderful weekend!


East-To-West Series: Salt Lake City UTAH

With the Winter  Olympics opening this weekend and the weather in Raleigh becoming ever more blistery- our thoughts turned to the Winter Wonderland that is Salt Lake City, Utah.  For this new series, Design Lines is interviewing our friends in other cities.  I had the pleasure of interviewing designer Kathryn Evans of Denton House Interiors.

1. Best antique store in Salt Lake City, Utah?

Housed in a historic Greek revival mansion, Anthony’s does not only unique and ultra high quality antiques, but some lovely fine art as well. For eclectic items in a lower price range, Salt Lakers are also big on consignment shops, with the charming Emilee Jayne leading the way. My favorite thing about Emilie Jayne is the way its organized, all vignettes are arranged by color and the displays are flawlessly styled by the shop owner.

Anthony’s Antiques

401 East 200 South

Salt Lake City, UT 84111


Emilie Jayne Home Consignment

801 South 800 East

Salt Lake City, UT 84102


2. After you have had a morning to shop what is your favorite place to grab a bite to eat and take a load off your feet?

The perfect lunch spot for the truly weary shopper is Cafe Niche. With a simple yet elegant menu (And brunch on the weekends! Yum!), the cafe is also adjacent to a fabulous salon. Dexterity (http://www.dexteritysalon.com/) is the perfect after lunch relaxation with a whole selection of “quickie” services, like a half hour massage, express facial or express pedicure.

Cafe Niche

Cafe Niche

779 East 300 South

Salt Lake City, UT 84102


3. What is artistically unique about Salt Lake City, Utah? Or what is Salt Lake City, Utah known for?

Most well known as the headquarters of the LDS church, Salt Lake’s rich history is exemplified in its historic downtown area, the heart of which is Temple Square. The most visited place in all of Utah, Temple Square is a 10-acre enclosure with meticulously cared for gardens and centered around the stunning 6-spire LDS temple a granite feat that took Utah pioneers over 40 years to build. If you visit around Christmas time you are in for a special treat as the whole area is lit up with hundreds of thousands of lights, a life-size Nativity scene and regular musical performances.

My favorite modern bit of architecture is the Salt Lake City Public Library. Designing by Moshe Safdie of Habitat ’67 fame, the structure is spiral shaped and ethereal, with a five-story curved glass wall making up the front facade and a spiraling grand staircase. The library also houses an art gallery for local artist’s work and a rooftop garden with a path that walks you along the ridgeline of the descending spiral and lands you back on the ground at the end.

salt_lake_lds_mormon_temple-Rick Satterfield

(Image by Rick Satterfield)

Temple Square (Visitor Center)

50 West North Temple

Salt Lake City, UT 84150

Salt Lake City Public Library

SLC Public Library

210 East 400 South

Salt Lake City,  UT 84111

4. Describe the current design trends in Salt Lake City, Utah.

As any mountain city would be, Utah style is typified by a rustic Western American look, especially in its posh ski resorts in and around Park City (which is just 20 minutes up a canyon from downtown Salt Lake). As we say in my office, “very Ralph Lauren.” However there is a growing trend towards more transitional, luxe looking pieces. The perfect example of this is the gorgeous Alice Lane Home Collection in Orem, a short 45 minute jaunt down south and well worth the trip. A little modern and a little vintage, Alice Lane speaks to the next generation of taste makers in Utah.

Alice Lane Home Collection

Alice Lane Home Collection

1350 South State Street

Orem UT 84097


5. Best art gallery in town?

With its architecturally striking space and unique collection, A. Gallery is our go-to place for fine art and custom framing. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and professional, I did a job with over 150 images with them last month and they were wonderful to work with.

A Gallery

A. Gallery

1321 South 2100 East

Salt Lake City UT 84108


6. What is one unique thing you can do in your city?

Salt Lake is fantastically located within easy distance of a number of outdoor activities. Park City, with its 5 world class ski resorts and high-end shopping is only 20 minutes away. There are also literally hundreds of other spots for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling, and during the summer there are any number of water activities on the various lakes and reservoirs, as well as plenty of rock climbing, hiking and backpacking. Downtown Salt Lake has the perfect “Little-Big City” feel with restaurants and clubs and concert venues, its always full of life but without running the risk of feeling over crowded.

7. Top 2 favorite accessory stores in Salt Lake City, Utah?

Hip & Humble

Hip and Humble A jumble of collectibles, many on consignment. This place is true to its name!

1043 E 900 South

Salt Lake City UT


Light Spot THE spot for all designer favorite modern brands, like B&B Italia, driade, Tre-P, movi and Gallotti & Radice. Plus their space is stunning, a simple visit is sure to inspire.

2927 South Highland Drive

Salt Lake City, UT 84106


8. According to you, where is the coolest place to stay in your city?

The Peery Hotel is a charming boutique hotel in a wonderful building that is actually on Utah’s National Historic Register. From the romantic facade to the crisp white bed linens, this hotel is all about understated elegance. And when you stay there you must go across the street to Setebello, Salt Lakes only true Napoletana style pizzeria. Unfortunately the decor does nothing to whet your appetite, but the margarita pizza is to DYE for!

Perry Hotel

The Peery Hotel

110 West Broadway

Salt Lake City, UT 84101




260 South 200  West

Salt Lake City, UT 84101


9. What is your connection with Design Lines, Ltd?

k evans b ruch

My best friend and college roommate,  Brittany Ruch, has been working there since we were both starry-eyed interns in the summer of 2006. A few times a year I make the trek down south and have had the wonderful opportunity to meet the other designing women of DLL.

Be sure to check out Denton House’s You Tube channel.