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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Creative concepts from the SDP conference

I am back from The SDP (Society of Professional Decorators) annual conference. After three days in high heels my feet are tired. After three days of fantastic speakers my right (writing) hand is in shock and my mind is abuzz. My shoulders are sore from moving furniture around for a design challenge. But my spirit is ablaze with all of the wonderfully creative ideas that I came home with.

But first, I did meet one of my decorating heroines.


I have to tell you that Mary Carol Garrity is one of the nicest ladies I have ever met. Very humble and down to earth. Most of the audience got in line for a photo op with her and tried to conduct themselves in regal decorum to match what this lovely lady has in spades. But, being the goof ball that I am (Who else would wear a skirt covered in chairs?) I went up to her and said, " I know I should act like I have it all together and it doesn't faze me that I am meeting you, but I just want to jump up and down, clap my hands and say Mary Carol Garrity! Mary Carol Garrity! and then I did just that. I received a huge smile, a great big hug and a laugh. She said, "I wish my family at home was this excited to see me." She signed all of my books and I think she really liked my bracelet.


She had so many creative ideas and I will share a few with you. Mrs. Garrity has a true love for silver. She uses her silver on a regular basis but swears she only polishes it twice a year. Her collection of silver trays are used in a variety of ways:

~Placed up against the back of dark bookcases and spaces to add light and sparkle.

~As a back splash in the kitchen.

~To hold her olive oil, spices and spoons next to the stove.

~Smaller pieces are used throughout the house to hold small treasures and in the bathroom to holds soaps and rolled up towels.


She adores 3 tiered trays and stacked cake plate stands. Some of the ways that she uses the stands are:

~Group like items together to create a true collection that makes a greater impact.

~On the patio table to hold succulents.

~With jars on top to hold forks, napkins, etc when entertaining.

She loves to change her rooms out seasonally and recommends that each room have one piece of great quality and then you can use less expensive things with it, but it will still look good.

~Try pairing rustic with formal such as a silver tray with a small mossy covered birdbath filled with apples on a coffee table.

In terms of business advice I loved what she said about difficult customers "The best way to get even with a jerk is to take their money." (smile)

Another speaker that I enjoyed was Terri Bowersock. Ms. Bowersock has dyslexia and graduated from high school unable to complete a job application. She went on to become the founder of the successful franchise "Terri's Consign and Design".






Ms. Bowersock had brought in a truck with some furnishings, artwork and accessories from her local store. We were challenged to use only the items we were given in a short amount of time to create an aesthetically pleasing space.

One entry created a tablescape.







Another showed how a sofa table can be decorated.







Here is a small sitting area that keeps your eye moving.







This entry used all of their items to form a creative sitting area.






The conference meeting room had the perfect niche for this buffet.






Would you like to see my entry?






Of course the first thought is: "How am I going to incorporate bright yellow oriental balls and a ceramic dog sculpture into a pleasing configuration?"

The number one rule in my decorating world is to think outside the box.



An unattractive cowboy print didn't really work as artwork, but it makes a great tray for a cup and a book.

Don't forget to add a little whimsy to your space. I think the dog makes an excellent spectacle holder in this little reading nook. Wouldn't you agree?





Man's best friend is joined by a frustrated homeowners best friend: Arranging Elegance.



Much of the guidance I have been given in how to use my abilities comes from two great women who have been such wonderful mentors.

Joanne Lenart-Weary, aka, The Queen of Decorating.


The gracious Jane Douglas, who is now retired, but continues to provide support and great advice.

Thank you ladies, you inspire me to continue on as the Duchess of Decor.

16 comments :

Kelly of The Vintage Butterfly Boutique said...

What a fab dresser you are! I love the chair skirt and the blue beads with the brown print dress are perfect.
Thank you for the introduction to your design inspirations, I will be checking them out further.

Liz said...

Awwh! How cool that you got to meet her. It looks like there were a lot of really wonderful ideas! My head would be swimming...
It is also pretty neat that you got to me Terri Bowersock! I can remember when she started with just a one little store...

Looks like it was a great trip!
~~Liz~~

Julie said...

I LOVE the idea of using the dog to hold your reading glasses. Too cute!

TRay said...

Ha ha ha...all I could think of when you mentioned "what am I going to do with these yellow balls" was, "Wow! All you need are some stick-on googly eyes & you'll be set for this challenge!"
Strong work.

MoziEsmé said...

I LOVE the spectacle holder. This sounds like such an inspiring event . . . And I like the business advice!

Remixed Rooms said...

Laura, I agree my head is reeling from the conference. I've been a huge fan of Mary Carol Garrity and now have a prized photo of the two of us talking. I'm already excited about next year. I hope Mary Carol is ready for us.
~Marleen
www.thesdp.com
www.remixedrooms.com

Mildred said...

Looks like you had fun at the conference. I've never seen such happy faces. I know Ms. Garrity loved the thoughtful bracelet you made her and I'm happy that you got your books autographed. Your jewelry is lovely in the photos as well. Look forward to hearing more about the trip.

perilloparodies said...

oh, my goodness! you are too cool! thanks for sharing... i loved the ideas you had for the decorating challenge. what gorgeous furniture, by the way, but also loved that dog with the glasses on. that was so fun! you look like you had a blast. i am glad. and always nice to be a littel bit more inspired than usual. :-)

The Berry's Patch said...

Wow, what fun! I would have a blast at a decorating conference. So much great information.

Octamom said...

Thanks so much for your sweet comment over at my Sunday Selah. I have had a ball going through your blog--so many amazing ideas! And I LOVE your 'chair' skirt--simply fabulous! I look forward to perusing more of your posts and being inspired!

Thanks again for your visit to me 'place'!
Blessings!

Shimmy Mom said...

It looks like you had a great time. I love the glasses on the dog. That is perfect!

On a personal note, it looks like I will be moving the end of Sept. and it will be into my in-laws house. My mother in-law has an amazing eye for decorating and I am nervous about making my things look as good in her spaces as she did. I am constantly taking ideas from you and hoping that I can make them work for me so that I'm not a disappointment in my beautiful new house.

Miss Sandy said...

Make that GRAND duchess if you please! What a fun challenge you were given! I loved your eye glass holder the best! The bold graphic chair print skirt is adorable. I agree with Kelly ~ your choices are awesome. Thanks for sharing so many tid bits from your trip.

Katy Lin :) said...

i LOVE the glasses on the dog! sooo cute! i would love to just curl up and read the day away in that little nook!

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

How exciting that must have been! I love your skirt with the chairs on it!

A Romantic Porch said...

It looks like you had a ton of fun! And did you sew your "chair" skirt? It's adorable. I would wear one like that. xorachel

Ready to Cover said...

Laura - I couldn't find a way to contact you on your blog...when you get a moment can you shoot me an e-mail?

Thanks!
-Ryan
ryan@readytocover.com