“My 2 Cents On A Room I Am Totally Smitten With” (Via Blog Friends)

Time again for a little chat with blog friends I find inspirational. (And if I follow your blog, you know that you will be drafted too!). I always look forward to my friends’ input because I know that they will bring something fresh to the table and I love learning from them.

Today I have asked seven talented, smart, good hearted and creative friends to share with us:

I could hardly wait for their responses and loved reading through each and every detail. This segment is a good one! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I am overjoyed to introduce you to these terrific & stylish bloggers! Savor what they have to say.

I’ve been drooling over this airy outdoor lounge since (you guessed it – see the pumpkins?) Autumn! Recently, I’ve developed an appreciation for neutral spaces that exude a combination of rustic appeal and contemporary flare. The antique bottles are one of my favorite elements; they remind me of my town near the beach, and here, really stand out against the white paneled walls. I could easily see myself enjoying a lazy afternoon in this room; catching up with friends, sipping some iced tea, and of course, reading my favorite design blogs!

Visit Kristina’s lovely blog – here.

I picked this room by Madeline Stuart because of its drama. The soaring fireplace, the tribal rug and the bold lighting all make such a statement! Even though the chairs and ottomans aren’t colors I would have normally chosen, the punches of color add that dose of the unexpected to make the room lively and interesting. I tend to be too safe with interiors, so this room also reminds me to take some risks for a much more intriguing space. I also love that the room invites you in with lots of natural light and that welcoming fireplace. There’s just some type of magic about this room that makes me love it every time I see it!

Visit Barbara’s lovely blog – here.

Note: Barbara has just moved to my home town Seattle. Can’t wait to meet with her in person!

I have two living rooms that I go back to time and again, and this is one of them. The room was designed by the talented Suzanne Tucker of Tucker & Marks. I love the eclectic mix of the abstract art, the traditional upholstered furniture, the brass ornamental table, the glass table, the ceramic lamps, and the gorgeous rug. The different textures and contrasting colors work well together.

Visit Teresa’s lovely blog – here.

I love this man’s study designed by Jan Showers for a home in Dallas, TX (my hometown). It’s such a bold, enveloping room, yet totally inviting. With the contrast of navy lacquered walls, zebra rug and old leather chairs it says “I’m stylish, but don’t take myself too seriously”. Couldn’t you just see yourself curled up with the Sunday paper and a cup or tea or entertaining friends for a cocktail hour here? This room turns my head because it begs to be lived in!
Visit Elizabeth’s lovely blog – here.

I absolutely love this space with it’s mix of traditional and modern design. It’s actually a pizzeria in Greece (!) however I think it would be great inspiration for a rustic kitchen too. The lighting and tiles are amazing and together with all the wooden elements, it makes a wonderful atmospheric and cosy space.

(Image via Yatzer).

Visit Lana’s lovely blog-  here.

For so many reasons, I am in love with this great room designed by Eve Robinson Associates. I am a true fan of open-plan living; in my Colorado ski town it encourages big family vacationing and also big, easy entertaining. I usually gravitate toward calm, neutral spaces with lots of natural elements and light. This room has it all: creamy walls, the big dry-stacked stone fireplace, gorgeous metal stair and balcony railings, exposed steel beams, so much natural light, a warm hardwood floor with big area rugs, miles of french doors (love the steel frames) and those built-in bookshelves reminiscent of something Frank Lloyd Wright.

All of the furnishings are right up my alley too. I adore iconic, sculptural 20th-century design and clean-lined, unfussy beauties of any era. (Pay attention to those marvelous David Weeks’ chandeliers!). The one love of mine you don’t see in this image is big colorful art, but it’s definitely elsewhere in this home.

Visit Liza’s lovely blog – here.

Since starting on our kitchen renovation, I’ve become less interested in appliances and cabinetry and more into creating a space that’s really about hanging out and everyday living. A comfy banquette with lots of pillows in soft patterns and textures softens what can be a cold, functional room. I imagine feet up, reading the paper, long, lingering meals, and easy conversation here. Warm woods, cool neutrals, and of course, huge windows to bring in tons of natural light all add to the easy, breezy, calming mood.

Visit Casey’s lovely blog – here.

Wasn’t this educational & fun! I loved learning from these blog friends and seeing through their design eyes. Thank you so much ladies!

I follow all of their design blogs. And you should too. (Blog link below each room image).

The series is to be continued…with more information and “personal 2 cents” from other good blog friends.

Hugs to you all!

Written by Splendid Willow in: 2 cents | Tags: ,


My 2 Cents On A Holiday Gift I Heart (From Fab Friends)

This will be the last segment of the year in  my “2 cents series” and you are in for a real Holiday treat! I have invited 11 wonderful friends, designers & bloggers extraordinaire for my Gift Guide Special. They are all smart, good hearted, creative and oh so inspirational. I follow their blogs loyally (and you should too). I always learn something new when visiting and I truly enjoy their friendship. (Some of these ladies I have known since my very early blog days).

I am extra happy over the mix of styles these ladies represent! Modern with classic, American with Swedish — just the way I like it!

Take your time to read their inspirational gift ideas.

They have all put their personal ideas and heart into their “2 cents”. 

You will quickly understand why I love these beautiful ladies.

One of my absolutely favorite gifts I love to give is a pair of really comfortable and warm slippers. This year I am giving someone in my family the Wicked Good Moccasins ($59) from LL Bean and they come in all sorts of great colors. Enjoy The Season & Happy Shopping! 

You will find Laura’s lovely blog here.

Hi, so happy Mon asked me to participate in this fun post! I like to give personalized gifts, which shows the recipient that I put some thought and time into my gift. I love anything, and I do mean anything!, with a monogram — from monogrammed soaps, to a bowl with the persons initial to a set of monogrammed towels, an ottoman tray…… the sky is the limit. Who doesn’t love receiving something with their own personal stamp on it? So for this holiday, I thought ahead (a first and partly out of necessity with a pending move on the horizon) and ordered several monogrammed/personalized gifts. Below is a collage of some that I really love and are all at an affordable price point. All between $9-$90. Happy shopping & Happy holidays to everyone!

 You will find Tina’s lovely blog here.

Having grown up in a home where we were taught not to be too attached to material things, but  instead cherish new experiences, it has definitely formed my idea of what the perfect gift is. My mother instilled early on that things won’t bring you happiness, but experiences and travel will make new memories that you will have forever.  So not surprising, I’m obsessed with the site, Excitations, where you can buy the perfect adventure gift to someone! So my pick is: “SWIM WITH THE SHARKS”. (Yes, for real!).

Mon also asked me to pick something from my own store, and I must say that I really like these handmade velvet pillows. Just the perfect color for a stylish Winter Holiday!

You will find Jill’s lovely blog here.

This Swiss military-style blanket is perfect for the guy (whether little or big) in your life. (I would purchase it for my Dad!). Classic, well made and immaculately designed, the blanket is large and cozy—and best paired with a hot cup of cocoa and great company this Christmas… Happy Holidays to everyone!

You will find Sarah’s amazing blog here.

I spotted this Kathryn Bentley one-of-a-kind Gray Sapphire Ring the other day and fell in love. It’s elegant and understated with a simple, organic shape – sort of the same things I strive for in life and my own interiors. Kathryn’s jewellery is made using the lost wax technique and every piece is homemade. Her goal is to create timeless pieces that can be passed down to the next generation which really appeals to me. I think we would be a good match! Of course, it would be even more special if someone special like my husband bought it for me. Hint, Hint!You will find Emma’s lovely blog here.

My two cents on a great gift idea is this Agate Trinket Box from my own store. It is so pretty in person, and so versatile…desk top, dressing table, looks great almost any where and is not something you see everywhere….I love giving this for special birthdays and occasions, and this Holiday season I know I will be gifting a few more. For me, the true test of a great gift, is something that I would love to receive myself, and this fits the bill quite nicely!

You will find Sue’s lovely blog here.

When it comes to holiday gifts, we leave the scarves, ties, tupperware and other standard gifts to someone else. Our idea of the perfect gift? Something we would want as a treat but would never actually buy for ourselves. This year, for the ladies in our lives,–mothers, mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, etc.–our pick is these Juliska “Florence” Champagne Flutes. They’re beautiful in a glass-front cabinet, double as gorgeous bud vases and, of course, are just the tiniest bit impractical. We’ll pair them with a yummy champagne, perfect for ringing in the New Year!

You will find Beth’s and Kristy’s lovely blog here.

Anything Scandinavian makes me extra happy! The perfect gift for a person who likes interior design, is a good coffee table book. You can never receive too many lovely & inspirational books! “Life and Work” by the Danish fashion designer Malene Birger, is one of my favorites. For someone who likes flowers, this beautifully designed vase from Orrefors is perfect. The Kubus candlestick is like a modern sculpture. A sheep pelt makes a living room cozy and warm. I always think that pretty bowls, plates and cups (all these are from Swedish Rorstrand) make great gifts because they are so functional. Finally, fun posters with thoughtful statements by the Swedish designer, Therese Sennerhol, are always fun to give and to receive! You will find Susann’s lovely blog here.

I’m a true believer that some mischief and color make a home inviting and fun – so my perfect Holiday gift for a friend would be Happy Chic Colors” by Jonathan Adler. I have this book myself and enjoy reading it for inspiration over and over again – even though I don’t go quite over the top like he does! That’s what books are for after all – to be inspired by book segments you really respond to. And since it’s Christmas time, I’ll give you a little rhyme to go with it too (A very Swedish Thing!): 

I hope this will make you smile
Save it for the gloomy days
With color and a cheeky style
It will bring a modern twist to your chalet!

 You will find Tina’s lovely blog here.

When researching great gift ideas for my Holiday Style issue of my digital magazine ::Surroundings::, I came across these amazing petite cache pots by one of my favorites: John Derian. I just love, love his decoupage work and was even stalking his Provincetown house this summer. Twice I was there and his store was closed! I think these pots would would make the perfect client gift as they embody my love for Paris and beautiful workmanship. And I know I’d be thrilled if one of these babies showed up under my tree! You will find Linda’s lovely blog here.

I would love to have a portrait of my home by celebrated Chicago artist Jack Simmerling. A master of subtle photo realism, he creates treasured keepsakes through original pen and ink drawings that can be commissioned for a limited time through Uncommon Goods for $400. Simmerling is known for his prestigious commissions of historical homes. What a treat!  Happy Holidays to everyone!  

You will find Amy’s lovely blog here.
Well done, ladies! I really needed this Gift Guide myself.

Thank you for all the great ideas & inspiration. You are the best!

The series will continue next year (yikes! 2012 is just around the corner!) when I will have more talented & inspirational friends over for little chats. (Every single one of my blog friends will be drafted!).
Warm hugs to everyone.


Written by Splendid Willow in: 2 cents | Tags:


My 2 Cents On A Design Trend I Heart (Via Fab Friends)

Time again for my series, 2 cents, which you all know I personally enjoy so much. This is the closest to having really good friends over for dinner and quizzing them about topics I am interested in.

Today you will meet six wonderful, smart and design savvy friends each with a global perspective. I adore them all and follow them loyally.

With passion and personal touches (that is why I love them!) they are each going to share their:

Pay attention to what these lovely ladies have to say! You will love their thoughts & maybe even learn something new. ENJOY!

A design trend that I am totally digging and {have always loved} is an eclectic gallery wall. A well-curated gallery wall tells a story, whether it contains photographs, art and framed treasures, there is a story behind each piece. It represents who you are and what you love. I abhor gallery walls with quick slapdash art, just hung for “cute” sake. I feel it needs to have a sense of history and meaning, a reason to be displayed. Do I have a well-curated gallery wall in my home? Sadly not yet, but slowly I am collecting photos, frames, art that is near and dear, and quirky finds that speak to me and my family. But that is what is so fantastic about a gallery wall, is that you add to it piece by piece, building your collection, slowly unveiling your story.
 You will find the talented Barbara over at Hodge:Podge.
Copper, brass, iron, or aluminium (aluminum), I love a touch of semi-precious metal quirkiness! Two of my current favourites are Tom Dixon’s ‘Bass’ and Greta Grossman’s ‘Grasshopper lamps. Unique, well designed, and timelessly stylish!
You will find the talented Charlotta over at Space For Inspiration.
Trends can be fun, but I am personally not that big on them. I try to let my ideas come from a place deep inside me and to surround myself with objects that I really love. I can’t point to a specific design trend right now and say “I want this for me”. A design trend or a room from a magazine doesn’t have all my personal preferences, the things that inspire me or that I bought during my travels, my story – where I grew up, what I love, how I changed with the years, what I have experienced. When I look at an interior from a magazine I look at it as a painting. I enjoy its beauty and just try to learn from it – the balance, the rhythm, the scale, the transition, the emotion. A Coco Chanel quote says “An interior is the natural projection of the soul.” I always try to let my own home be an authentic projection of my soul at that moment of my life.
You will find the talented Maria over at Design Elements.

I’m not the kind of person that breaks the bank for a trend. Does it mean I don’t like trends? It depends. I’m always looking for what’s new in the market but I also like to keep my eyes open and ask myself is this a trend that’s here to stay or if it will look really outdated in a couple of years? I usually like to add trendy pieces that are easy and inexpensive to change. We’re seeing grey more often than ever now and I am loving it! Take for example “Sarah’s house 4” that’s being aired here in Canada (soon to be in the US). If you’re a fan of Sarah Richardson you know she’s very careful with her designs but also adds some fun into the mix. I love the latest kitchen she has designed. It’s grey but it’s also easy to change in case you get tired of it in ten years. For me, the important thing to keep in mind is to use the trendy things you love in a classic and timeless way.

You will find the talented Luciane over at HomeBunch.

A design trend I am digging now is definitely lucite/acrylic pieces. I love them especially if they are modern interpretations of classic silhouettes such as the iconic Louis Ghost Chair or the Bourgie Lamp. Lucites/acrylics are stylish, versatile and blend well with any decor styles. Additionally, they carry little visual weight and are perfect for small spaces. That is why they are clearly (pun intended!) my favorite design trend of the moment!

You will find the talented Jessie over at Mix And Chic.

To me, there is nothing sexier than marrying masculine industrial ruggedness with feminine glamour. Think of a gold mirror against exposed bricks or a beautiful French desk juxtaposed in an otherwise industrial work space. My toughest challenges as a designer are actually at home where my husband and I both have strong views on interior style; industrial glamour is our happy common ground! Restoration Hardware’s Foucault’s Orb chandelier is a perfect example of this style: a sparkly chandelier encased in an iron frame. This beauty got two thumbs up from my husband who is usually not a fan of chandeliers. Result!
You will find the talented Meera over at First Sense.
Thank you so much ladies! How fun was that! I really enjoyed  learning more about which trend (or no trend!) you have taken to heart lately. One thing that you all have in common is TIMELESS style.

The 2 cents series will continue and yes, ALL of my blog friends will be asked to contribute. No one will be forgotten. You see, there are reasons why I follow you all! (:

Happy rest of the week everyone!


Written by Splendid Willow in: 2 cents | Tags: ,


2 Cents On Appetizers Guests Love (Via Fab Friends)


Time for the next segment in my 2 cents series where I let blog friends share their heartfelt opinions on topics I find interesting. Today I have invited a few wonderful friends to share their favorite appetizer recipes! It is a real mixed group, just the way I like it! Two terrific food blogs (I have eaten a lot of their foods and I love their cooking styles. Uncomplicated and really good comfort food!) mixed with three super stylish design & lifestyle blogs.

But they all have something in common, the people behind the blogs. Good hearted, fun friends (I hang out with several of them) who are creative, have great style and who just like me, like food and people! I am over the moon delighted that they all wanted to share their:


And pay attention! Not only did they contribute the recipes, most of them also created their own master pieces and took their own pictures! Enjoy!


Inspired by the classic salmon, caviar and cream combo, this appetizer is as easy to make as it is on the eye and is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser!  Serve as amuse or appetizer. Enjoy!



For pumpernickel crouton recipe — go here. For more on Manvi’s lovely blog — go here.

This is absolutely the easiest and most delicious appetizer I know of. I keep the ingredients on hand at all times for unexpected guests. It is always gone by the time a party ends and the recipe is asked for every time. I am not even sure if you can consider it a true recipe with how simple it is though!


For more on Paula’s lovely blog — go here.  

When it comes to appetizers, especially at parties, I usually make a beeline straight for anything “mini.” I love the idea of nibbling on delicate looking, tasty bites that are packed with fresh and savory ingredients. So of course when I think about what to take to a party or serve at my own gatherings, I’m all about “mini” and “tasty” and these little quiche hors d’oeuvres definitely hit the mark. They are easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time which adds to their winning combination. The only drawback is that you may be tempted to dip in before the guests arrive!




For full recipe — go here. For more on Jodi’s lovely blog — go here.

These are delicious and so simple and easy to make that they are a hit at any party! They are great appetizers since they are finger food. You can make these ahead of time and warm them up when guests arrive.  The caramelized onions and the soft melted feta cheese makes each bite heavenly!




For more on Ewa’s lovely blog — go here.

Be ready for bursts of flavor! I love that this dish is simple, fresh and healthy, and that this time of the year everything is in season. I really enjoy cooking with the seasons. 


For more on Joanna’s lovely blog — go here.

There you have it – some new, great appetizers! Fun to to see what these friends came up with, don’t you think? And don’t you love the photos they took? Make sure to visit their blogs for more loveliness!

I will continue to make my way around blog land and tap into the smarts of my friends. They are all sitting on a wealth of information and I can’t wait to share with you!

Hugs to everyone!

Pssst… Don’t forget to enter the Haute, Right and Splendid Willow Giveaway!


It ends this Friday. Someone out there will win a pair of Ilse Jacobsen’s high-end boots (visit From The Right Bank here) and a stunning necklace (visit Haute Design here)  from my store, Splendid Willow Avenue.

Written by Splendid Willow in: 2 cents | Tags: ,


2 Cents On Summer Obsessions (Via Fab Friends)

Time for the next segment in my 2 cents series where I let blog friends share their heartfelt opinions on a topic I find interesting. Today’s topic is about summer obsessions. For us in the northern half of the world we are living & loving it right now (or pretending we are living it since the weather in the NW has been anything but charming)!

Today you will meet five incredibly talented ladies and friends. They are creative, stylish and successful designers/artists/writers/bloggers and even a magazine owner! It is an honor to know them all. I follow their blogs loyally and I always know that I will learn something new when hopping over for a visit.

With passion and personal touches (that is why I love them!) they are sharing their:

Personal & Educational. Take your time time to read what they have to say.

You will learn a lot from these talented friends. Enjoy!

This summer I am loving the look of the gray Kooboo wicker chair. Perfect in any room, but I’d use just one to mix up my dining seating. I had seen one recently for a good price in a local shop. I looked longingly at it for some time but then left without it. Of course, you know how the story ends, when I went back – the chair was gone!

 For more on Donna and her lovely blog, go here.

When it comes to personal appearance, one of my biggest struggles has been figuring out how to deal with the dry skin on my feet! As a result I’ve tried virtually everything on the market, because really, what ruins a great look faster than less than pretty feet?! However, it wasn’t until I was introduced to Blue Cross Cuticle Remover did I find a solution. I take the time to soak my feet for a few minutes in Blue Cross each week, buffing them with a wash cloth afterwards. And presto, I’m ready to put on those cute sandals!

 For more om Janell and her lovely blog, go here.

My summertime obsession is a tranquil place: A BEACHY STATE OF MIND. The beach is where I feel at home and that much more special since I live in the landlocked midwest. It’s where time stands still, where I can hear myself think, where I find God, and where He shows off. It is where the best colors live: golden sand, white capped waves, and aqua all around. It’s a place adored by my children and where we have discovered sea turtles. It inspires how I live, decorate, dress, and even what music soothes me!    A beachy outlook says slow down and acknowledge that earth is indeed crammed with heaven.

 For more on Michele and her lovely blog, go here.

What am I obsessed about in the summer? Farmer’s markets! I feel so fortunate to have a lot of local markets in my area and of course the ultimate farmer’s market, Pike Place in Seattle. I love to wander from stall to stall and look at the most beautiful flowers, delicious fruit and freshest seafood around. Raspberries are a favorite and I make a batch of jam each summer to use throughout the year. Who doesn’t love fresh homemade jam?! I think I’ll make a batch this week!

For more on Marianne and her lovely blog, go here.

This summer you will find me equipped with a good paintbrush! Yes, really! What can transform a room quicker? What usually takes the least amount of money (unless you have a castle to paint) and gives you instant gratification. Paint can even help you edit a room…as you usually have to take everything out to paint and then you will be more selective about putting it back in! In this before and after of my client’s master bedroom even if we had not changed out things….the old curtains and bed would have looked so much better after painting out all the trim and walls to a pretty chalky white! So get to it! Alternate your beach days with some fun painting projects!

P.S I also go nuts for air conditioners this summer….because it is hot as Africa here!

(Look closely! Can’t even believe it is the same room!/ Monika’s comment)

For more on Sherry and her lovely blog, go here.

There you have it – some personal summer obsessions. Fun to get to know these talented  ladies and see their beautiful faces, don’t you think?

I will continue to make my way around blog land and tap into the smarts of my friends! Some of my lovely most long-term friends I have not even featured yet! So there is no ranking order, folks. It is all topic based.

Hugs to everyone!

Written by Splendid Willow in: 2 cents | Tags: ,

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