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

Blogfest 2011: Eye Candy from New York Design Center


Enjoy this visual feast for your Tuesday morning!





During Blogfest 2011, Hilarie had the opportunity to explore many showrooms at the New York Design Center! First to visit was Atelier, which was an assortment of sleek, innovative, and contemporary designs.

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Next – the Palecek showroom expressed their effortless ability to mix and weave natural fibers into unique statement pieces. Palecek’s extensive and award winning line draws inspiration from all over the world as well as using renewable materials.

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Arteriors is known for their unique accessories, furniture and lighting with timeless appeal and a nod to latest trends.



The Arteriors showroom featured a new and custom lamp line, Mottega, created by designer Eileen Kathryn Boyd, who is known for her eclectic style and impeccable taste. With choices including shape, color, base, finial, and shade type anyone, even you can design a one-of-a-kind lamp.





With a hundred years under their belt, Hickory Chair has an enormous selection of furntiure, all of which  are timeless and authentic designs drawn from significant periods and places.


images 1-3. Atelier 4-6. Palecek 7-8. Arteriors 9. Mottega 10-13. Hickory Chair

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June and July Birthday Lunch!

The months of June and July were full of Design Lines Birthdays. Traditionally, we all go out for a nice lunch to celebrate the current birthdays. We took the opportunity to enjoy the delicious and custom menu at Flights which is located in the Renaissance Hotel at North Hills.

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Ashley’s husband, Dean Thompson, is one of the executive chefs at Flights and worked hard on our amazing three course meal. We also had the pleasure of touring one of the new and modern Club Suites in addition to the Club Lounge. Everything was beautiful including the food! 

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Make Any Room a Show-Stopper!

In collaboration with  Wilkinson Supply Company  we bring you a bathroom that has show-stopper qualities and inspires your inner design spirit. We searched the internet for this photograph and found ways to re-create this design for an affordable value.

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4. Voluminous Vases – Pottery Barn has a ton of brilliant accessories for every room. The vases can be filled with colorful flowers or even a bouquet of bath salts. 

5. Turkish Bath Towels – Stay neutral with the ‘must have’ towels from Restoration Hardware. We recommend them to every client! 

6. Stark Paint – Keep the environment clean with this zero VOC paint for Stark while creating a tranquil setting with their vast color options. 

7. Snille Chair – We chose the Pink Snille Chair from IKEA. A colorful chair is suitable for a any bathroom and adds the pop of color it needs.


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Designer Profile: An Interivew with Katerina Pugh

We are thrilled to have Katerina Pugh is our current Fall intern! Currently in her second undergraduate degree, as a senior in the interior design program at Meredith College, Katerina brings an intuitive design perspective and a can-do attitude. Her 1st degree is in Music Performance & French Literature from Emory University in Atlanta.  

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What are your inspirations?

 My inspirations come from a multitude of sources – music, art, and nature.

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What is the essential element of any room?

 Lighting can completely change the look and feel of a room.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about business?

 Communication is KEY!

What are your three must-haves?

 Coffee, chocolate, and my puppy dogs.

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in the design industry?

 Don’t believe everything you see on HGTV as reality.

How has the economy affected design?

People are making wiser choices when purchasing product for their home, all while product within the industry is also becoming more readily available to the average consumer.

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What does value mean for you?

Value means having integrity and truthfulness in every aspect of your design.

What’s on your DVR?  What shows do you keep up with?

 Modern Family, 30 Rock, CSI & the Mentalist.

What are you reading right now?

“My New American Life” which is a novel by Francine Prose.

If you weren’t in interior design, what would you be doing?

 Something in the world of music or the French language.

How did you get started in this field?

I fell in love with exhibition design while interning at the North Carolina Art Museum which in turn inspired my desire for interior design.

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Where’s your favorite place that you’ve traveled?

 Morocco, Greece, and Dominica an island in the Caribbean (I’m an avid scuba diver).

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Where’s one place that you love to have the opportunity to work on a project?

 A hotel in Dubai.

In your eyes, what are the biggest trends for 2012?

 Designing with sustainability in mind.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I enjoy creative problem solving and interpreting a client’s vision into reality.