Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tiff's Charlotte Discoveries: Max and Company

Since our last week was spent mostly indoors avoiding the ice and snow, I was unable to find anything worthy to print. So....I'd love to share a place that I discovered early on that is so noteworthy, I should have called it "find of the year".  The showroom is called Max and Company, located in the Dilworth area of Charlotte at 1001 East Morehead Street. The store is owned and the interior was designed by renowned Jacksonville designer, Phoebe Howard and her husband Jim.

The building itself is a historical landmark of sorts, an old "ladies club" with beautiful bones to work with. Mrs. Howard and her design team really out did themselves with the interior design of this building. Separated by two floors, they created a more casual living space on the first floor, called Max and Co. and a touch more formal living on the second, named Mrs. Howard. The attention to detail could be found on every surface, and masterfully executed, from the space planning and architectural materials to the furniture and fabric selections. Even all of the accessories and artwork have been carefully selected and placed just right.
The flooring detail in this entry is amazing.

I love this dining room. The picture molding has insets of a texturized wallpaper,  very subtle, very elegant.

This hallway has an application of stone on the wall.
The color scheme is really soft and liveable.

The contemporary art work, the high ceilings and the parquet flooring work really well here.
Look at those gorgeous skylights.

I am not one who would use this saturated color blue on the walls, it would seem too sweet for me....but this room is so elegant and bright. It works well here with her mix of transitional and traditional style furnishings.

I love how the bed has been placed in the center of the room. It is floating unexpectedly like a cloud, yet it feels grounded. Most people would never think to put a bed in the middle. (The room is also enormous, most people don't have enough room for this to be possible.)

This bedroom has the most spectacular hand painted wallpaper, and the bedding is equally stunning.

In entering the building, one could be intimidated by its size and feeling, but the staff are extremely down to earth and the pricing is not out of line for the quality of the merchandise. There are plenty of other stores and showrooms in the area that have much more expensive merchandise. The most surprising thing I have found is that not that many people know about it. Maybe because it's not located on one of the main streets in the neighborhood, but don't let that deter you from coming to see this lovely and enchanting place. Even if you are not in the market to buy a single thing, please go and take a look. You will come out inspired and ready to take on at least one project in your home and make it a little better.

You can also visit their website and blog at or

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall....

I've had a mirror in my closet, just collecting dust, that is about circa 1989?? I have had many thoughts about trashing it but there was something telling me to hold onto it. With the new year upon us, I have been moving things around, and have decided to change my entryway design by cleaning up the clutter and moving a cabinet to another spot in the house. I need that mirror. Now the time has come to take it out, clean it off, and try to make something better out of it.
Putting your ideas on paper is a great way to help yourself visualize the finished product and to solidify a "plan of attack."
In its original state, it had a gold/silver finish. The finish itself has come back in style, but with the design of the mirror, it definitely said "dated".

With our gallery white walls the light finish also washes out. I feel like it needs to pop a little more. Since our house is predominately asian inspired with modern and danish accents, I was inspired to finish it in a chinese red....maybe not that bright. I have a carved fish that has a beautiful rich finish of rusty red with black and gold rubbing. I think this will be my 'muse'.

First I will set out to find the color paint. I usually take one of my many fan-decks (which most paint companies carry, and are easy to bring with you in your purse, very handy)  over to Lowes and just match a paint up. I've mentioned before that Lowe's sells a small container, custom color for only three dollars. You can't beat that price, and usually, for most small projects, that's all you need.

Next, I bought a sanding block, for two dollars, with a fine texture. I sanded the whole mirror until most of the finish was rubbed off, but some was still remaining. I painted a base coat in the red.

After two coats, I rubbed my old friend, the bronzer, on top. First I used a small cloth and dabbed texture, and then continued applying the bronze with a stencil brush adding more depth into the creases.

The mirror has been transformed. I thought about adding some gold to it eventually, but for now, it's just what I needed. The perfect backdrop for any fair maiden to have a quick look.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tiff's Charlotte Discoveries: Post and Gray

As I start off the year with good intentions to "do what I say I'm going to do", I spent a few days scouring the city. This week's pick is a straight forward, no frills place. Post and Gray, located in the historic South End and the sister company to Interiors Marketplace which is in Meyers Park, is actually a warehouse of sorts, filled with some antiques and one of a kind pieces, interesting accessories, and in my case, hope that I will find the next amazing purchase, and maybe get a deal on it.

I'll just tell you flat out, I did not get a deal, or find the next latest and greatest thing for the house. But I did see a lot of really nice pieces, and if I was in the market for buying a special piece of furniture, like a coffee table or a chest, I could have easily purchased a number of things. I loved their selection of unique case goods, and some of their lighting was also great.
This piece had a lot of charm with the hand painted element

I've been looking for a small media cabinet, this one was really cool but inside was an actual TV built-in. I tried to take a picture to show, but I couldn't open the cabinet back up...oops.

Please don't let the disturbing collection of porcelain dogs distract you from this  wonderfully painted screen. I had a thought of using this for a headboard but decided that I have overdosed on Asian art work in my house. This would have been over the top.

I could see this piece in a hacienda style house. Really nice scale.

OK......if anyone read the post about the "basket' light fixture idea that I was trying to do, look no further. I saw this and had to take a picture. I had the right idea, just couldn't execute this look. Darn, this one is soooo cool (also $500). I still think one day I can do this.
Another aspect of their store that I thought could be useful to anyone, is there vast array of pre-made draperies. There were also a lot of fabric remnants at very reasonable prices.

A big reason, for me personally, to put this store on my "cruise by to see what's new" circuit is the small Asian section in the middle of the store. This booth had an array of really nice things from baskets to foo dogs to jade and stone carvings and tassels. I've actually been in the market to find an Asian carved tassel to help keep a cabinet closed that has lost it's magnetic closure.I guess I could try to just replace the magnet....but that's not as fun! And a new magnet does not promise to bring me prosperity and abundance either.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year

As I embark on a new year, I can't help reflecting on the past one. I think about how much my family had to change and adjust to our new surroundings and how remarkably resilient we all are to new environments. In March we moved from one coast to another. With that came a culture change as well. Being native Los Angelenos, moving to a city with all the Southern "charms" took some time to adjust to. But really it was the simple things that changed the most for us.  My son got on the school bus for the first time. My daughter experienced her first rainbow. Brett and I sat and watched our first major electrical storm of our lives. I could go on and on.

I have to say, though, for me, one of the most exciting experiences was discovering all that the design industry in this city has to offer. I still have tons to learn, many more people to meet, and I hope in return, to share some ideas right here. Most of us each year make a list of resolutions we hope to accomplish....I usually don't get through half the year before I forget them all. I will say this...I'd like to try and blog more this year. I am working on a few ideas for the next few months.