I crave the feeling of new decor, I think I am actually addicted to it.  I love retail therapy for my home. Too often I find myself buying new pillows, pictures, dishes, vases, throw blankets, duvet covers, towels, and most recently a new scale.  That last purchase is when I knew I had a serious problem, I bought a scale because it looked cute in my bathroom, not because I intend to stand on it. I decided it was time to break this obsession with purchasing new items every several days and that I was going to love what I already have. I am on a "no home decor purchase" pact for the next 6 months!  I can still redecorate, but I have to get creative with what I already own.  Here's five tips to show you how I have been coping. Tip #1 Moving my artwork around!  This is my favorite tip, moving artwork from one room to another creates a whole new room and a fun decorating challenge.  First, I started in my bedroom.  I took these love birds by Judy Paul that were above my sofa in the living room and hung them above my bed.  I love how modern the bedroom looks! Tip #2 pile on your pillows.  I grabbed every pillow I had in my entire home and put them on my bed. I am so pleased with the results and it doesn't bother me that they are all a little different.  As I went through other parts of the house, I pulled pillows from the bed to decorate the other rooms and still have 8 left on the bed. Yes I even got carried away and threw a white boa left over from Halloween on the side of my bed to throw the symmetry off a bit. Next up was my living room. Tip #3 I rotated my floor rug by 90 degrees.  This was scary at first, but I stuck it out.  I moved the sofa away from the wall by 3 feet after reading that moving your furniture to the center of the room can make a room look bigger.  I am not sold on this idea yet, but it did give me plenty of wall space behide the sofa to place large pieces of artwork. Tip #4 I took several books piling up in my book shelf and made a side table! How brilliant is this? Tip #5 I took all the blankets I have and placed them on various pieces of furniture. The sofa, reading chairs, even the ottoman. Bonus Tip: #6 I had a small curtain with a black and white pattern laying around. It's actually part of my winter collection.  I placed it on the table in the breakfast nook making a table cloth!  I then filled a vase with some fresh fruit, mostly oranges for the splash of color and to give it a summer like feel. Have a revamp your home tip for us? Please share with me in the comment section below, as I still have 5 months of no spending to go!  Wish me luck.    

Selecting Art with a Point of View

Tweet Summer is the perfect time to update the art around the home. I like to change it up at least once a year, and access to a variety of imagery is one of the great perks of working for … Read More

Summer is the perfect time to update the art around the home. I like to change it up at least once a year, and access to a variety of imagery is one of the great perks of working for a fine art publisher. My project this summer was to update the art in my home office, and I knew that deciding what to display would be the hardest part. When selecting artwork it helps me to define a point of view. Sometimes it is as straight forward as choosing artwork that I personally find beautiful or interesting. Sometimes  it's the desire to showcase photos I took during a family vacation. Other times, the reasons go deeper. I recently lost my grandfather, who was 100 years old. That was a joyous occasion, not because he was a mean old man, but because he lived a full life worth celebrating. Shortly after, I also lost my 41-year-old cousin to breast cancer. She left behind 2 young children, a devastated husband and her widower father.  Somehow I wanted to give a face to the emotions and thoughts I couldn't necessarily express or fully understand. I wanted to reflect on these events and acknowledge that life just keeps marching forward. It was in this mind set that I choose these 3 works from our digital photos library. There is peaceful silence in each of these photos. Because of the fog and muted colors there is also uncertainty and melancholy. The images fit my emotional state, and I enjoy looking at them as a set. They pull me in and my mind can wander and think about what it will. The next step was to customize each image. Gallery Direct allows for a multiple customization options. This is both a blessing and a curse. The options are so varied that it can be overwhelming. I can customize the size, the material the images are printed on, and the frame. Deciding on the size is easy. The room and purpose dictates the size. Learn more about sizing an image here. I wanted the images to be large but my office at home office is small. I had a discussion with myself, measured the wall twice, and we decided that 26" x 26" (outer dimensions) would do the trick. Not too big for the room but big enough to see detail from my desk. Now I had to decide what to material to print on. Gallery Direct offers prints on canvasframed paperaluminumacrylicmirror and birchwood. The home office had a lot of natural light,  and I knew that I did not want a lot of reflections, so that meant aluminum and mirror were out. I also knew I wanted a frame so birchwood was out as well. I didn't like acrylic glass for these images. Prints on acrylic glass offer great clarity but there is a levity to the material that I felt was inappropriate for the subject matter. I was down to framed paper or canvas and eventually decided on framed paper because I wanted a matte around each image. White space around the image was important to me. It allowed the images to "breathe". I then choose a clean white frame to go along with my white walls. This was a pure aesthetic decision. Because of the relatively large size of the set (about 82" across) I felt a darker finish or a heavily ornamented frame would  take away from the subtle and quiet nature  of the images. Overall, I am very pleased with the finished results. It is in part a personal memorial to family members that have passed and a reminder that life moves quickly, but at the same time the selections reflect my taste and personality. -Jhonnie

Most Delish Design Eye Candy: Desire to Inspire

Tweet I’ve been on a mid-century modern kick in my search for design inspiration lately. There’s something about the strong shapes, clean lines and utilitarian flourishes that appeals to my brain. Granted, I have waaaaay too much stuff to ever … Read More

I've been on a mid-century modern kick in my search for design inspiration lately. There's something about the strong shapes, clean lines and utilitarian flourishes that appeals to my brain. Granted, I have waaaaay too much stuff to ever fully embrace the minimalism of true mid-century modern design, but a girl can dream. And, I know that even if I can never have a magazine-ready mid-century modern home from top to bottom, I can always incorporate pieces that fit the MCM aesthetic. For example: [caption id="attachment_3898" align="aligncenter" width="528"]Design Inspiration from Jaime Bush via Desire to Inspire [Jaime Bush (http://www.jamiebush.com) interior, via Desire to Inspire][/caption]Chair. Desk. I love you. Get in my living room now, please. More from Jaime Bush here.

Want More MCM Design Inspiration?

One of my favorite blogs for mid-century modern design inspiration is Desire to Inspire. Kim and Jo are an amazing pair of bloggers. Despite having never met (Kim is in Canada and Jo is in Australia!), they have put together a meticulously curated blog full of drool-worthy images. Desire to Inspire features a variety of eye candy: interiors by fabulous designers! Reader house tours! Interesting architectural projects! Jo and Kim give us all a glimpse of great design and architecture from around the world. And who can forget the weekly Pets on Furniture series? It features--what else--cute pets on great furniture. It's design inspiration for animal lovers!

From Inspiration to Reality...

Of course, many of the rooms featured on Desire to Inspire contain amazing art. Here are a couple of my favorites--along with Gallery Direct art to fit the bill if you happen to be inspired by what you see. What a yummy living room by Anonymous Architects: [caption id="attachment_3899" align="aligncenter" width="528"]Design Inspiration from Anonymous Architects via Desire to Inspire [Anonymous Architects (http://anonymousarchitects.com) via Desire to Inspire][/caption]Right? Get a similar geometric vibe with a piece like Geometric Conclusion III by Benjamin Arnot from Gallery Direct's collection: [caption id="attachment_3900" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Geometric Conclusion III by Benjamin Arnot [Geometric Conclusion III by Benjamin Arnot on framed paper][/caption]How about this dining room from Desire to Inspire reader Irving's apartment: [caption id="attachment_3901" align="aligncenter" width="528"]Irving's dining room via Desire to Inspire [Irving's dining room via Desire to Inspire][/caption]Mimic his monochromatic/eclectic gallery wall by mixing paintings like Shirley WilliamsShadow Play IV (brand new to our collection!)... [caption id="attachment_3902" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Shadow Play IV by Shirley Williams [Shadow Play IV by Shirley Williams on framed paper][/caption]...with other types of images--like a vintage map of your favorite city, like this map of New York from 1840: [caption id="attachment_3903" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Map of the City of New York (1840) by Calvin J. Smith [Map of the City of New York (1840) on framed canvas][/caption]And I could go on and on. Head over to Desire to Inspire to see for yourself! Where do you find design inspiration?  

What Your Mom’s Art Says About Her

Tweet With Mother’s Day only a few days away, you are probably thinking about the things your mom likes and hopefully, you have purchased her gift already.  Every mom has some type of art in their home. Have you ever … Read More

With Mother's Day only a few days away, you are probably thinking about the things your mom likes and hopefully, you have purchased her gift already.  Every mom has some type of art in their home. Have you ever thought about what your Mom's art says about her? Let's take a look:
Does your mom have a bright bold image in her kitchen or dining area like this one?  Moms that choose bold statement pieces of food love to cook and be social.  This mom is the one that is always over feeding her guests and still cooks you your favorite meal from when you were in high school. Does you mom display education material like maps or travel images as artwork?  She probably loves to learn new things and stay busy. She is the type of mom that loves to try new things, from learning a new language to underwater basket weaving, your mom is in the front row! Does your mother tastefully display adult beverage images as artwork?  Moms that display their passion for alcohol as art are outgoing and love to have a good time.  Your mom is the bell of the ball and loves to raise a glass to you being home. Does your mother go for the old masters with her decor?  Moms that love Van Gogh, and Klimt, are classic in their taste and a sucker for old memories.  This is the type of mother who insists that you try on her wedding dress. Does your mom's walls adorn landscape and floral artwork?  Moms that display timeless floral prints and scenic imagery are sweet as can be. They love all things that let people know they are a mom and most of all, they love you being in their home. They are the moms that will always remind you that you can come home anytime, no matter how old you are. http://www.gallerydirect.com/

Art Historical Humor

Tweet Despite reports to the contrary, art historians can be funny, that’s why this post is dedicated to “Art Historical Humor.” Sure, our jokes are nerdy to the point of embarrassment and potentially oblique (in other words, not funny to … Read More

Despite reports to the contrary, art historians can be funny, that's why this post is dedicated to "Art Historical Humor." Sure, our jokes are nerdy to the point of embarrassment and potentially oblique (in other words, not funny to anyone else), but we try. One of my favorite instances of art historical jocularity came about two weeks ago, when Amsterdam celebrated the reopening of the Rijksmuseum, a Dutch national treasure whose main building had been closed for ten years due to a major renovation. The reopening of the museum was celebrated throughout Europe, and art and architecture critics have hailed it as a vast improvement. In order to publicize the museum's rebirth, the museum staff called upon a modern phenomenon - the flashmob - combining tradition and the new age with singular style. Taking place in a popular shopping mall, staff members recreated one of the museum's most well known and beloved paintings, Rembrandt van Rijn's Night Watch.
rembrandt night watch
rembrandt night watch painting Widely considered to be Rembrandt's masterpiece, the 1642 oil on canvas measures approximately 12 by 14 feet, and is one of the finest examples of Rembrandt's mastery of chiaroscuro. The eponymous night watch is led by Captain Frans Banning Cocq (the central figure, marked by a red sash) and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch (in yellow), accompanied by a cast of characters, all of whom are portrayed in the flashmob recreation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6W2ZMpsxhg See? What did I tell you? Our humor is top-notch.

DIY Diptych Gallery Wall with Family Photos

Tweet A perfect gift idea just in time for Mother’s day, this style of gallery wall uses portrait style photos of your loved ones. Using this tutorial you will learn how to crop your digital family photos to then arrange … Read More

Gallery Wall, DIY, Family Photos, Mother's Day A perfect gift idea just in time for Mother's day, this style of gallery wall uses portrait style photos of your loved ones. Using this tutorial you will learn how to crop your digital family photos to then arrange as a diptych or triptych. The possibilities are endless and it's really up to you to decide how many cropped sections you would like to create from one image. Learn how to create your own in just a few simple steps by following the tutorial here. For more DIY projects like this, ideas and inspiration, check out our section for Design Help & Inspiration here. Follow me on Google+    

Impressions of Motherhood

Tweet As I am absolutely certain you’ve all remembered, Mother’s Day is fast approaching. And I bet you’ve already picked out the perfect gift for the occasion, and it’s sitting all wrapped up and ready to go. But on the … Read More

As I am absolutely certain you've all remembered, Mother's Day is fast approaching. And I bet you've already picked out the perfect gift for the occasion, and it's sitting all wrapped up and ready to go. But on the off-chance that you haven't yet found something special for your wonderful mother, Gallery Direct's got your back. We've got a few ideas for you for how to best commemorate a lifetime of love and devotion, so be sure to check back soon for some great DIY tips and other exciting ways to celebrate your mama. In addition to beautiful meadows, gardens, and seascapes, motherhood and family portraits were among the subjects and themes favored by the Impressionists. Gallery Direct's own image vault has a great collection of motherhood paintings from the period, particularly from Pierre-Auguste Renoir, who is famed for his beautiful, cherubesque female figures.
renoir gabrielle children
[caption id="attachment_3707" align="aligncenter" width="300"]renoir gabrielle with children painting Pierre-Auguste Renoir, "Gabrielle with Renoir's Children"[/caption] Renoir's use of soft brushstrokes, warm colors, and round, rosy cheeks that are so characteristic of his depictions of families, particularly of images of motherhood, are sentimental and sweet. He manages to capture the strong bonds and closeness that naturally occurs between a mother and her children with such ease, perhaps because he often used people he knew as subjects, such as the family of his contemporary painter Claude Monet in Camille Monet and her Son Jean in the Garden at Argenteuil. [caption id="attachment_3708" align="aligncenter" width="300"]renoir monet jean garden argenteuil painting Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Monet and Her Son Jean in the Garden at Argenteuil[/caption] Berthe Morisot, one of the few women who were consecrated into the Impressionists' circle of artists, was also known for her beautiful portraits of mothers and children. As a woman with children of her own, her images of familial life give us a unique look into what it meant to be a mother in nineteenth-century Paris. [caption id="attachment_3714" align="aligncenter" width="300"]morisot in a park painting Berthe Morisot, In a Park[/caption] What's your favorite painting of motherhood? Maybe Whistler's Mother, or Monet's painting of his own family? Or perhaps Paul Gauguin's Maternity, a beautiful depiction of Tahitian women and children, or van Gogh's The Man is at Sea. Personally, I think Edgar Degas's The Conversation best captures the intimacy of the relationship between a growing girl and her mother. [caption id="attachment_3716" align="aligncenter" width="300"]degas the conversation painting Edgar Degas, The Conversation (Mother and Daughter)[/caption] No matter your preference, these paintings are all great images through which to contemplate the role of motherhood in your own life. If you're still searching for the perfect gifts for the mothers in your life, consider a print on canvas, or framed on paper.

How to Hang Level Artwork

Tweet   Learn how to hang level artwork perfectly with this Easy Tip* Now you can hang level artwork yourself! Visit our Design Help & Inspiration section for more DIY tricks like this and inspiring design direct from our talented staff!

  Learn how to hang level artwork perfectly with this Easy Tip* How to Hang Level Artwork Now you can hang level artwork yourself! Visit our Design Help & Inspiration section for more DIY tricks like this and inspiring design direct from our talented staff!

Art, Missing in Action

Tweet In my last blog post, I revealed that one of my more eccentric interests is art-related crimes. As such, last week I was bombarded with news about the 1990 theft from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. … Read More

In my last blog post, I revealed that one of my more eccentric interests is art-related crimes. As such, last week I was bombarded with news about the 1990 theft from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. Last Monday marked the 23rd anniversary of the heist, which lasted approximately 81 minutes in the early hours of March 18th, 1990 in the wake of Saint Patrick's Day revelry. It is the single largest peacetime property theft in history, with the spoils valued at about $500 million. [caption id="attachment_3544" align="aligncenter" width="400"] The empty frames of works taken from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Photo courtesy of artnews.com.[/caption] Last Monday, the aforementioned anniversary, the FBI, who has valiantly headed up the investigation since 1990, put out a press release claiming that they have identified the thieves that have eluded them for all of these years. According to Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge at the FBI's Boston office, “The FBI believes with a high degree of confidence in the years after the theft the art was transported to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region and some of the art was taken to Philadelphia where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft. With that confidence, we have identified the thieves, who are members of a criminal organization with a base in the mid-Atlantic states and New England." My news conduits have been filled with hurrahs and hoorays and anticipatory speculation these past few days, but I have not been able to shake my admittedly jaded perspective that this is all just false promise. The Gardner case has haunted the FBI and the Boston arts community for over two decades, and people are understandably desperate for some good news. That the press release came out on the anniversary of the theft is all the more telling - it all just seems too neat to me. Additionally, the quote above forces me to raise an eyebrow if only because I was surprised to learn that this information was news to the FBI. Organized crime syndicates are behind a significant percentage of art thefts, and countless leads from the Gardner theft have been related to criminal organizations. That this particular organization is based in New England and the mid-Atlantic should come as no surprise, given that the theft occurred in Boston. This same kind of celebratory sounding-off occurred when Whitey Bulger, a longtime suspect associated with Boston criminal organizations, was arrested in June 2011 on charges unrelated to the museum theft. Almost two years later, we may be experiencing yet another false victory high. I can understand why this would be the case. The Gardner heist is not only an egregious act against the public's right to its cultural heritage, but it also appears to be a very complex and intricate crime. It has been the subject of countless articles, books, and documentaries, and speculation has taken investigators all over the US and Europe in search of the paintings and the culprits. If you find yourself intrigued by the case, I highly recommend Ulrich Boser's book, The Gardner Heist. There are simply too many ways for me to get carried away with talking about the Gardner case, so here is a very simplified version of the events: On March 18th, 1990, just before 1:30am, two men dressed as policemen approached the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and requested entrance from the night security guard, claiming that they were investigating a disturbance. Against protocol, the guard allowed them to enter. The guards on duty were bound and gagged, and were put in the basement of the museum while the thieves, in just over an hour, took 13 works of art, including three Rembrandts, five works by Degas, a Manet, and a Vermeer. The loss of the Vermeer has been noted as particularly devastating, given that there are less than 40 extant Vermeer paintings known today. [caption id="attachment_3546" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The thirteen missing works. From the top left: Vermeer's The Concert, Rembrandt's Self Portrait, Degas's La Sortie de Pesage, Degas's Program for an artistic soiree (one of two), Rembrandt's Storm on the Sea of Galiliee, bronze finial in the form of an eagle from the top of a Napoleonic flag, a Shang Dynasty Chinese Ku, Rembrandt's A Lady and Gentleman in Black, Degas's Program for an artistic soiree (two of two), Govaert Flinck's Landscape with an Obelisk, Manet's Chez Tortoni, Degas's Cortege aux environs de Florence, and Degas's Three Mounted Jockeys. Image courtesy of The Art Newspaper.[/caption] No one has their fingers crossed more tightly than I do that the paintings are eventually recovered. As Anthony Amore, chief of security at the Gardner (whose excellent book Stealing Rembrandts is a fantastic resource for those looking for an introduction to the study of art crimes) said, "this investigation is an exercise in finding 13 needles in a haystack by making the haystack smaller." It seems to me as though the haystack is still quite large. A colleague of mine said it best: I'll believe it when they find the paintings and start prosecuting. For now, I'll spend some time wistfully staring at the RembrandtsDegasManets,and Vermeers that are still around.
Spring is here and we just released our Spring Art Trends for 2013! Today, Gallery Direct announced that bold colors, geometric shapes and transparent inspired decor are some of the top art trends for spring 2013. We caught up with Nick Nichols, the Director of Design at Gallery Direct. Nick says, “Bold colors are everywhere this spring. The use of digital enhancement programs and high-definition mediums has really ramped up in every aspect of our visual lives, making our eyes more attuned to vibrant images. As a result, interior designers are choosing brighter, more saturated hues—and we’re seeing consumers pick up on that trend in their own homes. Bright wall décor is an easy way to modernize any space.” 2013 Spring Art Trends from Gallery Direct Embrace Emerald: This jewel toned Pantone Color of the Year adds sophisticated energy that creates balanced depth in your space--and it’s perfect for spring time. Choose an emerald hued statement piece printed on your favorite material with an elegant frame for a classic look.  Browse Gallery Direct’s Emerald Collection here.           Go Bold with Botanicals: Flowery fine art is always in season.  Placing a few vibrantly-colored botanical canvas prints in a room can make your space feel vivacious and harmonious: bright primary colors add a pop to the room while the flowers keep it rooted in calm tranquility. View Gallery Direct’s Botanical collection here.        
Get Creative with Transparency and Reflection: Art printed on transparent or reflective materials like glass, acrylic, aluminum or mirror can create an eye-catching impact.  This is a sophisticated way to incorporate gloss and shine into your décor, and allows you the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.  Learn more about unique printing materials for artwork here.
                                                                                                                                                Grow with Plant-Inspired Patterns: Patterns inspired by plants are making an impact this spring. For example, Sia Aryai’s Zen Series has been very popular with interior designers this season. The organic lines of nature soften the pattern, lending your space a refreshing and relaxing touch.         Update Your Geometrics: The trend of using geometric shapes and patterns in design is still popular. Update this trend for spring by adding stripes.  The stripes will complement the geometric shapes for the perfect sophisticated-yet-bold combination—don’t be afraid of mixing patterns!  Browse Gallery Direct’s Geometric Artwork here.
    Got a Spring trend to tell us about?  Post a comment below!