Friday, February 29, 2008

SHOW + TELL MORNING PORCH

Okay, I thought I'd shock you with another of my lovely Before and After Show House rooms.



I'll start off with an After photo so you won't be too frightened to read further. You can click on this one to get a closer look. Now here's a couple Before's:



This Show House was all the way back in 1999. I was told by some of the other designers that if they had been given this room to makeover they would've shot themselves. Okay...thanks, I actually picked this. It was a long, narrow space that more resembled a bowling alley. It was a boarded up porch on the back side of a neglected mansion. While I scratched my head and wondered what I'd gotten myself into, my husband Tim went outside to investigate. As he tredged around he tripped on some wrought iron that was buried in overgrown ivy and weeds. To our pleasant surprise, someone had unscrewed and pushed the original wrought iron railings over the hillside before boarding up the back of the house. They were rusted and in sad shape, but after huge amounts of loving care, they were restored to their former glory.
Another amazing thing is that I was able to locate a wedding photo of someone who had actually lived, got married and threw her bouquet off the very porch of this mansion quite a few years earlier.





This is what the porch looked like from the outside before I started the restoration process. I'm just sorry I can't find an After picture. It was beautiful. I had the 3 outside walls removed, replaced the restored decorative iron railing, and not only added screens, but had a remote control, retractable awning installed and topped it off with plantation shutter doors on the inside. So awesome, since the St Margaret's Guild Decorator Show House starts in a usually very chilly and rainy April.


I hand painted the floor and trim just below the ceiling, and hand made and painted 2 privacy screens. I used an antique french daybed, vintage wicker and planter full of greenery and flowers. There were so many details that can't be seen from these angles, but it really did turn out nicely for the time; this was 10 years ago. I won the Maggie's Award. "The Maggie's Award is given each year to one designer (interior and landscape) who goes above and beyond the call of duty". I also got 2nd Place People's Choice Award. The Indianapolis Star did a huge writeup about my screens and I was interviewed on TV. Okay, that was scary. Good thing is that it was way too early in the morning, so if I said "um" or "absolutely" too many times anyone up wasn't really awake yet.
This Before and After journaling is helping me sort photos that were otherwise thrown in different locations. I've had to organize as well as recollect events. Nice.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Our Note Cards Featured On Absolutely Beautiful Things


What a lovely treat to get on one of my daily reads, Absolutely Beautiful Things, and see our Pink Lattice note cards featured under {Current} Favourite Things. Thank you so much Anna!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

SHOW + TELL COTTAGE DINING ROOM



Yesterdays post about the Before + After Boys Bedroom proved quite challenging for a new blogger like me. I can't figure out how to make my images be neatly lined side by side...Before photos on the left side and After photos on the right. And something happened that won't allow the images to get larger when clicked on. So today I'm going to install one image at a time. Blogging is similar to learning how to drive; and I'm not ready to parallel park yet, that's for sure.

This is another room I did for the St. Margaret's Hospital Guild Decorator Show House in 2001. (This yearly event is held in Indianapolis which gives interior designers an opportunity to showcase their skills and the proceeds go to Wishard Hospital. Very worthwhile in every way). Now this tiny dining room was in an almost abandaned cottage (it had a few critters that had taken up residence...eewww!) behind the main mansion. It was a daunting task, working through the winter without heat, and a huge hike to the nearest restroom after drinking too much coffee to stay warm. The floor under the bad, bad (double eewww!) carpet was "spongey" and had to be replaced. The boarded up window in the "before" photo with the air conditioner became known as The Mystery Window. We found the window in the basement, but it was just the frame and in many pieces. Then the window pieces vanished for months. Poof. The mystery of the missing window was resolved, repaired, assembled and put in place almost as the show opened it's doors to the public.


The walls were old plaster and required much attention. I was determined to apply vertical stripes to visually raise this less than 8' high ceiling. None of the walls were straight. My husband and I measured and remeasured a bazillion times and finally tricked the eye by slightly changing the size of each stripe, and in the end it was Perfecto Mundo. We did the stripes ourselves, since these show houses become quite expensive undertakings. The tiny fireplace was deemed unsafe so I left it closed up, and instead, put wrought iron over the front of the brick to provide interest. The light fixture was actually brittle plastic and came apart with unexpected ease.



I reupholstered these Parsons chairs in a cotton stripe and had the wreath and bee imprinted on the inside backs. I brought these chairs back to my studio after the show and we use them to this day, albiet they have shown some wear since their hayday. I loved the backs of the chairs which have a long pleat held shut by a button with the bee imprint. Keep in mind, this was 2001 when the country french/bee was hot, hot, hot. The venue for the show houses I participated in were centered around historical preservation. Bringing a home back to life; to it's former glory.
My efforts paid off. This room won me a First Place Key Award; and a First Place ASID Award (American Society of Interior Designers) and a huge amount of press. Here are a couple magazines below. I'll have to dig around later to see which other magazines carried the story (I'm writing this on the road). The best experience, by far, was having the front cover of Better Homes and Gardens Window and Wall feature my little design. The editor flew in and came to my place to hand deliver a copy. Surely she had other business in Indianapolis, but did make an effort to let me know the front cover WAS a big deal. I can't even remember her name now, but I remember how warm and gracious she was toward me and my work.




I don't know how to show the inside of magazines and books in a creative way. As I learn more I might come back and redo a couple things. If anyone reads this and feels sorry for me, I'd love to get some technical pointers. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this flashback Before and After as much as I've enjoyed pulling up old photos and memories. This is actually kind of fun.

Monday, February 18, 2008

SHOW + TELL TEEN BEDROOM

I have been pondering how to introduce myself and what subject to tackle first. So, what better way to begin than to start with a SHOW + TELL of some of my own past interior design makeovers. While, of late, I focus primarily on my own accessory lines, I have spent many years as an ASID interior designer. I love Before and After's, so I went back to my own archives to SHOW some of my own B+A with you. Keep in mind, I'm drawn to extreme makeovers.





In 2003 I participated in the St. Margarets Guild Decorator Show House in Indianapolis. This was a bedroom that had previously been the older sister's space, but now that she was away at college, the 13 year old brother inherited a bigger room with a much needed redo. Since he was going to be using this room for the next several years, I wanted to design a space that would serve him well for several years. His love for sports, his cleancut personality and the home's architecture led to many of my choices for this space.

The color choices were navy, cream, black and a splash of orange which gave it a Nantucket feel. I made a custom upholstered bed with a dramatic headboard. The feminine cubby/extra sleeping area and painted-one-two-many-times lower storage was replaced with new cabinetry and privacy curtains held up with boat cleats . I salvaged the dresser with paint, a navy banding on drawers and stripped the paint off the hardware. By moving it to the longer wall I was able to make a casual seating area reminiscent of the deck on a lake cottage. Finally I removed the former make-up area and added a built-in workstation. I was honored with the First Place Key Award and the room was featured in the Indianapolis Monthly magazine.



So , that's the first installment. Just a little snippet into who is behind this blog.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WEBSITES RELAUNCHED

After 6 months of planning and working and reworking on revisions, I am the proud owner of two pretty darn good looking websites. My http://www.mimiscollection.com/ (children's decor line) not only got a makeover, but got a companion site http://www.paulaprass.com/ (home decor line). Please stop by and take a look.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

TIMES SQUARE AFTER SUPER BOWL!


I made a motherly decision that Jennifer and I should be safe in our hotel room by the time the Super Bowl game was over Sunday evening. We had a long day of working our booth and I was feeling a bit cautious. That is, until the Giants won! We were in our jammies and I could hear and see helicopters above and people below from our window. I threw caution to the wind, broke my own rule and in a few minutes we were out on Times Square with half of New York! Our Colts and Peyton didn't make it this time, so it was great to see Eli win. And to think, we almost missed this moment.

The New York Show is over now and we're finally back at work today. We made several new friends and our products will soon be in many stores throughout the Eastern states and Canada.

Each day was a blur and we had little time to do much away from our booth, but all we did see were layers of incredible colors, textures and patterns at every turn.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

LIVE FROM NEW YORK-IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!

Well, we're here and we've just finished up our 2nd day of the show. We've had a great reaction to the new Spring styles and we've also had the oppportunity to mingle with many fellow vendors - it's inspiring to hear their stories. We've got another 2 days of the show so we'll plan to give you more details once we return.

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