Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Countdown

I am sorry to have been neglectful in blogging these past few days, the holiday countdown got underway and then I got walloped by the flu - so a big change for my holiday plans.  But alas, Christmas is a season and my mother always says, "as long as you have Christmas in your heart it's with you everyday".  I'm sure she's reinforcing this so I don't get discouraged staying away from my loved ones this holiday season, so as to not to pass along my flu, but I'm also sure she's right, because she's my mother after all.

another holiday window display from my trip to NYC, it's been my screen saver since I returned and has been a fun reminder that the race is on!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

By Candlelight

I absolutely love the glow of candlelight at the holidays, well, really all year long, but especially during the darker wintery months since their warm light cozies up my home.  Couple them with the soft twinkle of white Christmas tree lights and I wish it could be Christmas all year long.  So, naturally I fell in love with the "Pixel Hurricane", (pictured below from Crate & Barrel) and told my husband that "Santa" definitely needed to bring those!  Santa delivered early and dropped off two for my holiday decorating.  They mix perfectly with my antiqued silver candle holders and mercury glass and the warm "pixel"ated light they cast remind me of those white Christmas tree lights that I love so much.

While at Crate & Barrel, I scored with these little gems - the Raj Candleholder, for votives, only $3.95 and going fast!

I absolutely love this - from Restoration Hardware - the Pillar Candle Light String.  Spread the glow of candlelight without the fear of flames. Strung on a clear cord that winds its way invisibly beneath a garland or along a windowsill - this is a must have and currently on sale! 

These Indoor Outdoor Flameless Candles are battery powered, they can be grouped together or used individually.  Also available through Restoration Hardware

And here's just a fun one - the Blomster Lantern through IKEA.  It's a good size at 12 1/2" tall and 8 1/4" in diameter.   This one screams, "let's throw a  New Year's party" - with it's "bubble" motif, I'm seeing a champagne toast!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Annapolis Christmas

Two years ago I had the pleasure of decorating a space for The Springhill Center's "Christmas House", located a short distance from Annapolis, MD.  I figured being that close to Annapolis - I needed to take inspiration from The Bay - so, with a mix of soft seaglass colors, pops of white and textures of bamboo, sisal and linen, this relaxing retreat quickly became one of my favorite spaces.

from concept

to completion

I titled the space, "Santa's Retreat", a title befitting a Christmas House...
I figured when Santa needed some R&R, this space could provide him quiet respite.

Notice how Santa never fully relaxes, he's is always checking his Naughty or Nice list.

Santa would enjoy a comfy chair and catching up with the latest Coastal Living.

soft seaglass colors - I chose "Moon Shadow", from Benjamin Moore, for the walls and mixed in furniture and accessories of white, turquoise, green and antiqued silver.

What a find!  I snatched up the mercury glass urn at HomeGoods - it made a perfect tree stand!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Don't look past your walls, look at them...

It's amazing what a little carpentry can accomplish.  I am certainly not implying custom built-ins to be a DIY project, but more a quick update to a tired space without a full blown and costly renovation. Custom built-ins provide a stylish solution for display and storage needs without adding visual bulk to the room, not to mention
demolition dust.  So next time you feel your room closing in on you, don't blame your walls -  look to them for inspiration, the results can be dramatic.

BEFORE:  The fireplace was being crowded by the armoire, on the angle, in the corner.

AFTER:  What a dramatic difference!  The room opened up with the armoire removed and the new cherry mantle and tile work complete the updated look.

BEFORE:  From drab...

AFTER:  ... to FAB! 
Yes, it's the same wall - new custom built-ins clean up the mismatched furniture and even give this client some much needed filing storage and a handy spot for the printer!

BEFORE:  This is good...

AFTER:  But this is better!  Even the radiator got a face lift.

I don't have a before to show, but imagine the nooks to the left and right of this fireplace void of the custom built-ins.  This is a town house in Old Town Alexandria and space is at a premium - so rather than fill in the space with furniture, we decided to add custom closet built-ins!  The middle storage is equipped with hanging rods and the top and bottom hold folded items - a perfect solution. 

another view. 

I love this room, it's formal but still has a TV - cleverly hidden out of view when this room is used for entertaining, but family friendly when the time comes. 

I can't take credit for this space - it's just one I saved for my idea folder - but what a nice look with the built-in window seat - I want to curl up with a good book!

Holiday windows in NYC!

I was able to make a quick visit to the city yesterday and while there, took the opportunity to gaze at the magical holiday window displays.  My absolute favorites were found at Bergdorf's -  the use of cut paper to create elaborate three dimensional works was particularly fascinating.  Of course, I fancied the animal scuptures the most.

a memorable quote from "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus", Macy's display

see, it's in The Sun - YES, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus.

it's not evident in my photo, but the paper seaweed  rippled as if the current was washing over it - very cool!

At Bergdorf's - just loved the industrial light fixture, upper left corner.

A paper sculpture husky and the paper was printed with a map motif - very cool!

This display featured zodiac characters - this must be Leo the Lion.

Loved the raven and the flamingo.

Another character from the zodiac window display.

A shaggy terrier - created from paper no less!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Big Band and The Bubble

Just in from the Michael Buble (and just where do I find that little swashy thing to put over the e in Buble on this keyboard?) concert at Verizon Center - aka The Bubble.  My girlfriend, who treated me to this evenings show, typed in the subject line of her earlier email to me - "Michael Bubble", hence The Bubble.

Michael Buble is like a glass of milk on Red Bull - full, wholesome and energetic.  And his voice, the croon with a swagger - I can see why all the women this evening looked like they were about to faint. 

I must admit, before tonight, I had heard just a handful of songs - but after tonight, I have a whole new appreciation for Michael Buble, the singer and the entertainer.
Bring on The Bubble - I'm a fan.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

It's my favorite time of year!   It's just turned cold enough to pull the cozy throws out of the linen closet and chilly enough to light a fire (for me, that translates into reigniting the pilot light).  All that's left is dimming the lights and settling in to watch one of my holiday favorites.  Of course, no season would ever be complete without "It's a Wonderful Life", "Miracle on 34th Street" and "A Christmas Carol" and I could never forget the characters I grew up with as a child; Rudolph, Frosty, Snoopy and the Grinch, but there are a few new titles that have recently worked their way into my repertoire and into my heart. 

I never tire watching Nicholas Cage, as a modern day Scrooge, in "The Family Man", the irresistible romantic comedy, "While You Were Sleeping" (Bill Pullman is my kind of guy - he loves furniture), the loveable dysfunctionals in "The Family Stone", "The Nightmare Before Christmas" - which I watch both in October and in December since Jack Skellington transcends both Halloween and Christmas in that one, and my season wouldn't be complete without the racy and raucous Denis Leary in "The Ref".  That one gets me laughing as if I was watching it for the first time - not to mention, throughout the year I sometimes find myself quipping and quoting some of its more racier lines.

So, grab a blanket - pop some corn and pull out your favorites.
Happy Holiday Season!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


For me, it's a day of reflection, a personal recount of all to be thankful for and for those I am thankful to share my life with. 
I am thankful today, as I am everyday, for the good in my life, and even the bad, and for those who continue to love and encourage me through it all.
Happy Thanksgiving ~ Nancye


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Went West Elming...

So, the day before Thanksgiving proved to be a good day to start a little Christmas shopping.  The grocery stores were packed, so I hit the mall and one of my favorites, West Elm, instead.
I saw many things, but limited my expenditures to gifts for others, rather than gifts for me.
That said, here are a few things we could all use in our homes ~

Martini Side Table, Metal, Silver
Who doesn't have room for this little fella?  Made from recycled aluminum decked out in 5 sporty finishes (one of which is silver) and only 15" in diameter, it's the perfect spot to drop a book or perch a cup of coffee.

Soft Jute Collection
Braided jute baskets, small or large, hold everything from firewood to magazines - they're even comfy to look at.
Detailed View
a unique little space saver, a set of three stackable bottles that form one large bottle.  Perfect, I thought, for bath lotions and potions or even infused olive oils as each has it's own cork!  So cool, I picked up a couple - perfect for hostess gifts!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rabbit Runn?

I am often asked how I came up with the name for my design business and I credit it entirely to my husband. 

One afternoon, while trying to come up with a clever and catchy business name, I pulled out some old drawings and logos, I had done in college, for inspiration.  I came to a stylized rabbit logo and pondered.
Now, I love animals.  I mean, I love animals and the thought of coming up with a business name that incorporated not one, but two passions - well, this idea had merit.

The rabbit was outstretched and appeared to be leaping - or running as the case would prove.

My husband, in the kitchen making a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, came walking into the dining room - sandwich in hand - and studied the "mess" I had spread out on the dining table.   Before taking his first bite, he said, "why don't you use the rabbit logo and call yourself Rabbit Runn Designs?" 

Hmmm, I thought.

Then, with that first mouthful he added, "and put two n's on Runn, since your mom made the spelling of Nancye unique by adding the e".

and so, I did.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Treasure hunting in one of Alexandria's hidden treasures - DelRay!

Today was another perfect Fall day - perfect for a stroll along Mt. Vernon Avenue and perfect for popping in and out of some of the avenue's best hidden treasures.  I first hit Potomac West Antiques - an all time favorite where I can always find just the right decorative accessory or special piece of furniture for my clients (and for myself).  What's the expression, one for you and one for me...   

Right next door to Potomac West is it's sister store, Not Too Shabby Consignments, which is equally impressive - scented candles, lotions and soaps mingled with its trinkets and treasures, you are sure to leave with something.

A hop, skip and a jump away I found myself feeling particularly festive upon entering Eclectic Nature.  There I met Max, the orange tabby shop cat, sunning himself on a pretty plaid stool amidst green garlands and colorful ornaments - of special interest to me were the colorful sock monkey ornaments - which I already informed my husband (hint hint...) would look great on our "animal" tree, a Christmas tree devoted to only animal ornaments.
Sock Monkey Ornaments - Set of 4

I ended my stroll with a peek inside Bungalow Homewares Gallery and was instantly attracted to their simple and industrial store display shelves, made from scaffolding parts, and a convertible ottoman.

See pics from my stoll, below:

Tight on space?  The fold-away gets a sophisticated update - inspired!
from Bungalow Homewares Gallery

Who says display shelving has to be boring - this could work in an interior space as well!

Max, Eclectic Nature's mascot

A festive display, Eclectic Nature
Assorted scents and lotions, Not Too Shabby Consignments

Assorted canning jars and rolling pins, Potomac West Antiques

Mercury Glass, vintage books, artist originals, pottery and everything in between, Potomac West Antiques
Even a turkey tureen - and in time for Thanksgiving!
Potomac West Antiques


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wild for Oaxaca!

Can I just tell you how wild I am for Oaxacan woodcarving?  Really wild!

The Oaxacan region of Mexico is known for it's food and folk art - for me, it's the folk art. 

Talented artists use wood from the indigenous copal tree and carve fantastical animals, fish, insects, birds and even imaginary creatures from each sinuous piece allowing it's form to speak to which figure they carve.  Once the fresh copal wood carving has dried, they begin painting the figures in bright color, patterning and unique designs.  Most artists have his, or her, own style and can often be recognized by the figure's carving and it's style of painting.   

I've been collecting these brightly painted animals for nearly ten years, first becoming interested after purchasing an alligator from a local shop in San Antonio, TX while vacationing.  I was so enchanted with another figure at the shop and couldn't make up my mind, that my husband sneaked back the next day and purchased the armadillo, although I thought it was a possum.  That's where my love (my husband says obsession) first started.  I now have over 30 of these in my collection and am most proud of my 15th anniversary gift this year - a gorgeous bat in flight, carved by renowned artists Jacobo and Maria Angeles.  Jacobo carves and his wife, Maria, does the painting - reportedly with a cactus needle!  All I know is the Zapotec symbols and designs are so small and precise, I need a magnifying glass to appreciate the intricacy of her craft.  

I've even been able to work some of these little painted gems into my interior design projects - recently I purchased a Luis Pablo dachshund for a client's mantle, becoming a whimsical conversation starter as well as a personal touch.

Two of my favorite websites and galleries can be found below - as well as one local resource, The Phoenix in Washington DC (Georgetown) - be sure to visit!  I've also included photos from my personal collection - enjoy! 

El Caracol Zapoteca  and Solmar Imports Art Gallery

Here's the fella that started it all, by one of the Castillo brothers.

Handstand Rabbit, by Arsenio Morales.  He's known for using marbles as the eyes.

A giraffe couple, by renowned artist Luis Pablo

Zebra, also by Luis Pablo

Hippo by Arial Playas 

Rabbit by renowned artists, Jacobo and Maria Angeles

Just look at the detail!

Pig, also by The Angeles'

My bat! 

Detail of underside of wing

Inticate pattern and detail