10/13/2014

IN THE OFF SEASON

I love the ocean in the off-season. The thick veil of sticky humidity is graciously lifted, leaving empty, gray beaches and crisp, salty air for all kinds of cozy enjoyment. It's a time of year when the locals reclaim their coastal territory and get bundled up for oyster roasts, beachside bonfires, and holiday boat parades.  

The magic of the coastal off-season is unlike anything else and has been the sole inspiration for our recently launched Amen Domestics Neutral Territory collection. (Which we're so stoked for!!)

But for designers, this wonderful off-season can also be quite busy. Rental property owners and managers often call on us in the fall and winter months to help breath fresh life into properties that sometimes haven't seen a new paint job or furnishings since 1992. 

We're working on several vacation parcels and I thought I'd share a little peek at one of the concepts we've put together for one such deserving (and in-need!) space. 


I always have so much fun working with these spaces because I know how much enjoyment they bring to so many people. As almost all Charleston locals do, I get such a thrill out of seeing people enjoying the unique and precious culture of our amazing city. And I feel like I get to play a part in that with this work, which is really cool. 

To me, this concept showcases the laid-back vibe of our Charleston coast with it's comfy-cool upholstery and rich neutral texture. It feels coastal, but not like your typical mint green and coral dolphin themed ocean-front property (#fixitjesus).

And the best news is...if you like any of the pieces in this concept and are interested in having them in your own home, you can order the pillow, throw blanket and table lamp (items 7, 8, and 9) in our Amen Domestics shop! And if you're drooling over any of the other pieces (like I am), don't be shy! Drop us a line at hello@ameninspireddesign.com, and we can get you pricing and availability! 

A while back, I started this Pinterest board, Beach Bungalow, full of coastal cool inspiration! Check it out and be inspired. 

Happy off-season, y'all! 


10/11/2014

SAY HELLO!

So it's been an absolute madhouse around here. We have only two clients who are not pregnant/did not have a baby within the last week.

Babies for days!!

Seriously though, I am so, so happy for all my sweet clients and their new babes! And I'm also so thrilled for our very own Jessica who's baby boy is due this month!! Can you believe it?

So we've been working hard to make sure everything is scheduled on time so as to make our mamas happy and comfortable. We've also been super busy working on our new Amen Domestics website which is launching the new collections in our online shop THIS MONDAY! Maybe even sooner if we can really make things happen! 

I seriously can't believe how amazing our new collections are and I can't wait for you to see!

But in the midst of the craziness, I realize I've been super lax in introducing two lovely ladies who are helping making it all happen. I'd like you to say hello to our two awesome interns, Lacey + Brooks!

They're so fabulous, we decided to make them models too! You'll see them in a shot just like this on our new Amen Domestics site!

And I'm sure you want to see their faces, so it's my pleasure to introduce you to them and let them tell you a little bit about themselves in their own words:


Brooks (left):

Greetings! I am Brooks , a junior Arts Management major at the College of Charleston. Originally from Charlotte North Carolina, I am happy to begin my interior design intern work at Amen Inspired Design. I have mainly worked in fashion, but hope to expand my knowledge in interior design with the Amen Inspired Team! 
Designing and creating home spaces is a personal job, specific to each client, which is why I enjoy interior design. Homes are a space where families feel comfortable, and can entertain, so they wish for their home to look finalized and welcoming with all the d├ęcor designers choose.

Lacey (right):

Hi! My name is Lacey and I am from Raleigh, North Carolina. I have the pleasure of living in the beautiful city of Charleston as an Arts Management major at the college. I am so excited to be apart of the Amen {Inspired} Design team. I am ready to find my own aesthetic interests and experience the world of interior design and entrepreneurship with these fine ladies. I hope to take what I learn with this team and apply it to my own future home or maybe even a little coffee shop [fingers crossed]. In my free time I love walking around the city taking pictures of all the fabulous sites.


We're so thrilled to have these girls as part of the Amen Team this fall/winter and I can't wait to see what amazing things these girls will do!

Happy weekend, friends! (And get ready for Amen Domestics THIS MONDAY!)


10/02/2014

LOVE, NOLA

One of the things I love about my job as a designer is the challenge to stretch and grow creatively. Sometimes it's  hard to comprehend working on a project that doesn't feel like it's in your wheelhouse, and while I do think you have to know your aesthetic and know that design work isn't one-size-fits-all, it's good (and fun!) to take on challenging work.

So I'm super excited to be working on a space that has strong roots in old-world, French + european influence. It's generally guaranteed that you'll find some variation of laid-back white upholstery or a slipcover in our finished projects, so when my client said she really doesn't dig that vibe, I was surprisingly excited to take on something different and I'm having so much researching for this space. 

This client spent time in New Orleans as a student and fell in love with the aesthetic, which is really shines through the eclectic, gracious elements already in her home. 






And I'm super inspired by these gorgeous interiors from the Big Easy and translating similar elements into this space.

{via}

{via}

{via}

You can catch more NoLa loveliness on my Love, Nola Pinterest board. 

So what about you? Is there a city that's stolen your heart? 


9/23/2014

MOODY GRAYS + MESSY BEDS

It's a rainy Tuesday morning, and right now, I'd love nothing more than to hunker down beneath the covers and take a little snooze. 

We've been in high gear with new client projects (more dining rooms!),  fun blogging collaborations, and our Amen Domestics site revamp as we prepare for our fall/winter collection launch. 

It's exciting. Also crazy. 

So as I sit here listening to the rain and sipping the last of my coffee on this melancholy morning, I can't help but forget my to-do's for a few short minutes and get lost in a some cozy pictures of moody gray rooms with perfectly unmade beds, taunting me from my computer screen. 




Beyond their gorgeousness, I'd also like to point out that each one of these beautiful spaces make an excellent case for not really making your bed.

And on that note, I think it's time for cup o' coffee number two. Otherwise I may just crawl back in bed for real. 

PS- You can check out more cozy bedrooms on my #ontheblog Pinterest board!



9/17/2014

[OUT OF] FOCUS


**Don't adjust your screen. That is, in fact, a blurry, out of focus, picture.**

A few days ago, Eva let me braid her hair for the first time. We were having breakfast and she looked so dang cute with her little braids, sitting in her little chair eating her little yogurt. Clearly, it was a situation that required immediate documentation and subsequent Instagraming. So you can imagine my panic/horror/disappointment when the camera on my iPhone refused to focus it's lens! I could hear a faint buzz when it tried (and failed) to focus. 

And just like that my momentous,  blurry little photo-op slipped away. Frantic Googling ensued and I tried everything. I tapped the lense. I tapped the outside of the phone. I installed the software update and just to be safe, backed up a bunch of stuff and then cleared out a bunch of memory. I tapped some more.

But to no avail. It's a mechanical problem, I'm sure. So I either have to get it fixed or get an iPhone 6 at the end of the week. 

For the record, I'm suspicious of this timing, Apple. Verrrry suspicious. 

I was sitting at the kitchen table this morning, getting my to-do list together and my head clear. The light was really pretty and I was gonna snap of picture of the rubber plant on the table, when I remembered my sorry camera situation. 

My notebook, cup of coffee and Bible were sitting in front of me. I sat down with the intention of doing a little Bible reading, something that I rarely ever get to do in silence, but I'd gotten distracted. By the pretty morning light. By how it struck the deep inky green rubber plant leaves. By the growing list of things looming over my head. Then by the fact that I couldn't take a picture of it all. 

Don't get me wrong. None of these things are bad. There's nothing wrong with appreciating beauty. In fact, I think you always should, and you should seek it out, even where you think you're least likely to find it. 

There's nothing wrong with having a to-do list. And there's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to document your life via photograph. 

But sometimes I let all of these things, which are perfectly ok in their own right, steel my focus. Suddenly, sitting there at the table, I could relate to that faulty camera lens. And I realized something. I need to get better at focus. 

When I have the time, I love to help other entrepreneurs plan and brand their start-ups. I enjoy the conversation and sharing what I've learned. I always tell them that it's ok to start small. Start with one thing and do it really well. Stay focused, and take things step by step so they are sustainable and doable. Staying manageable is key to creating a foundation for healthy growth.

I tell other people to stay focused. But so often, I don't. I let things get blurred. I want to design spaces and textiles and furniture. But then I regain focus and realize that it's ok if the textiles are on hold. I don't have the capacity to make them happen right now. I need to focus on my primary work goal, which is to create authentically beautiful, functional, and mindfully designed spaces for my clients. I do this by working with my clients directly, and also in a less direct way as we begin to offer some of our favorite pieces in our Amen Domestics collection. 

In my personal life, I blur the lines between my time and work time constantly. I let work seep into moments that really should be reserved for loving on and taking care of my family and myself. For me, I know the priorities have to be in this order: Jesus, family, work.  

So I'm rounding the corner to the last year of my twenties in just a few days. And instead of resolving to get better at all of this when the New Year rings in, I'm resolving to do it now. At the beginning of my new year. For what I can help, the last year of my twenties will not be spent navigating chaos and blurred lines. 

It's time to get the focus back y'all. For me, this verse basically sums it up:

"And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

We're all called to something unique, and the struggle for focus looks different for all of us. But we can do it! And for me, I know the only way I can is to do exactly what this verse says.

And I'll be starting this new quest for focus by standing in a line that stretches halfway down King St. on Friday, waiting for a new iPhone.

Just kidding. 

But really. I do need a new phone. 



9/10/2014

PROJECT IN PROGRESS : ISLAND-CHIC DINING ROOM

When I was about three, our family moved from a little townhouse in a DC suburb to the single-family home I spent most of my childhood in. I loved that house and recently got to drive by during our last trip to Maryland. I was flooded with so many memories, one in particular that's actually relevant to this post (I know you were wondering).

There were a lot of funny things about that house that we had to fix when we first moved in. And by "we" I mean my parents. I was only three.

But even in all my toddler craziness, I do remember one thing we had to change, and I remember it vividly. The pumpkin wallpaper in the dining room. Pumpkins. Bright orange pumpkins geometrically sprawled on weaving vines. All. Over. The wall.

You think I'm being dramatic about it now? Ask my mom how long I sat and cried in that room and with my fat, grubby little hands and tear-stained face tried to peal it all off myself.

Hey, I wanted to help. And even as a three-year-old, I knew that some things just weren't right. And in the early 80's, most wallpaper was one of those things.

But luckily, things have changed with wallpaper. It's not news that it's come a long way from the pumpkins and butterflies and mauve florals of my childhood (thank God). And despite the wallpaper trauma of my youth, I absolutely love to see a room dressed in a bold vintage print or soft modern pattern.

So here's where my snotty-nosed story is actually relevant to our work.  I was trying to so hard to hold out for our more professional, less iPhone-ish pictures to share, but when a room is this pretty, I don't really even think it matters. We've been working on this most fabulous, wallpapered dining room and I just couldn't be more thrilled with how it's all coming together. So thrilled, in fact, it's almost erased the emotional pumpkin paper scars.



Here's the scoop: when I first met with these amazing clients, they already had the soft, mossy green trellis wallpaper installed. Hello. I knew this relationship would be a beautiful thing right then and there! People can be so hesitant about wallpaper (probably had their own 80's wallpaper trauma) and working with clients who'd already taken the plunge without a pesky designer coercing them is really spectacular.


They also had most of the key pieces including the table and the stunning capiz shell chandelier. Being in a coastal region, we're pretty big on capiz, so of course, we were in total support of this decision too. Our role in this project really just entailed dressing the room and bring together all of the wonderfulness that they'd started, and we couldn't have been more excited to do it.

There hasn't been a single part of this space that's felt off. From the gorgeously understated glam of the alabaster lamps to the warm gold accessorizing tones and our little nod to the sea in the coral mirror and shells, I'm just totally smitten.

We're still waiting on a few pieces to complete the space, but you know I can't hold something like this back for long. Or resist reminiscing about my childhood.

Thank God the pumpkins are a thing of the past.

9/05/2014

[LATE] SUMMER LOVE

When we first moved to Charleston, I was always disappointed this time of year. All of my expectations of turning leaves, cozy lattes and wearing what feels like actual clothes without sweating my brains out, would be cruely dashed by the stubborn indian summers that hang on for dear life all of September and sometimes until Halloween. 

But I've grown accustom to this hazy, deep hued season, and have <gasp> sort of come to love it. Everything is so ripe and rich. Red and fuchsia oleander are at their gorgeous peek as you drive out to the beach. Verdant foliage and seagrass is so gorgeously decadent in it's greenness that I don't blame it for holding off it's golden fade just a little bit longer. 

And it's never a bad thing to schedule an extra pedicure or two so that your sandals or open-toed wedges (my personal fav) can stay out for another couple of weeks. 

It's a pretty fade to fall here in the lowcountry, and this year I'm soaking it in, patiently anticipating autumn while sipping chilled bourbon cocktails, fending off bugs in as gracefully as possible, and listening to mellow tunes as summer slows. 

Here are some of the things that get me through and bring me me flawlessly into fall...

{1}{2}{3}{4}{5}{6}{7}{8}

I should say that I haven't actually tried the Aromoflage yet, but I'm looking forward to testing out the travel size. Cedarwood, citrus, and vanilla seem like a pretty good situation, and if it really shoo's away bugs, than it's a win/win. 

And side note: Broods. So good. So moody. So love it. Especially Mother & Father from their newest album Evergreen, which just makes me all mushy, ya know, being a mom now and all. 

So bring on the indian summer, Charleston!

And then bring on fall. A girl's gotta wear boots sometime.