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Thank You Notes

Gregory Vaughan - Friday, January 01, 2010

When I finally sat down after all the holiday festivities of the season to write this column I was still not sure of a topic to expound upon. Too late to talk about holiday decorating (I still have boxes of the dismantled décor stacked in the upstairs hallway awaiting their banishment to the attic for the next 11 months!) and too early to talk about upcoming trends from the January interior design trade show in Atlanta (it begins in a few days.) Hmmm…….

Several distractions later I found myself writing a note in my day planner to remind me to send some thank you notes to all the wonderful people who opened up their homes to me this holiday season. They entertained me with great food, fine wine, and provided some cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Everyone’s home was so warm and welcoming, maybe it was the extra glitz and bling that go with the holiday season. Or, maybe it was not. I started thinking about how each of the homes I visited was so unique and reflective of their owner’s tastes and lifestyles, even when not decked-out in holiday splendor. Then I thought, isn’t that what truly successful interior design is all about?

Take for example the home of my dear friends and neighbors, Barbara and Ralph. Each year I have the pleasure of attending phenomenal dinner parties hosted by them on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. One of Barbara’s passions is gourmet cooking and one of Ralph’s is horticulture. Their home is always filled wonderful flowers, tropical plants, and the scent of something delicious cooking in the kitchen, especially this time of year. Vibrant color, playful patterns, and fun accessories match the owners’ love of entertaining. When they did a total renovation 10 years ago they took the structure all the way back to the stud walls and actually rearranged some spaces, making room for a big, beautiful, sun-filled kitchen that provides space for both of their hobbies.  The ease with which they accommodate guests is evidenced by the effortless way they create a bountiful table and buffet, overflowing with delicious treats to savor the same way the décor provides a feast for the eyes. It is a fun house to visit and so obvious my friends enjoy living there.

My classmate and fellow alum from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Layne, hosted a New Years Eve party at her 1920’s bungalow. She has been updating and renovating her house over the last couple of years. In fact, he last time I visited her, the kitchen consisted of a few catering tables for counters and the sink was missing. I am happy to report her newly installed kitchen is sleek and modern, with frosted glass cabinet doors and European appliances, all under a U-shaped swath of cool ivory colored Caesar Stone countertops. An ornate, antique billiards table serves as her center island and a stark contrast from the mod and minimal cabinetry. The rest of her home exudes the same smart, edited look that is refreshing and comforting. Being a set and costume design consultant for television and movies, I figured that with her travels and incredible job experiences, her personal space would be overflowing with memorabilia and trinkets from all over. She confided that being on location for weeks or even months at a time makes her want a quiet, stress-free zone to come home to when she finally wraps a shoot. Layne’s home is so well thought-out and put-together, it epitomizes this aspect of her personality.

No matter what type of lifestyle you have, or your personal tastes, your home should always make you feel comfortable and enjoy being there. It should provide shelter and respite from the daily stresses of life and energize and inspire you to make the most of that life. As I look around my living room and admire the new art adorning my walls (gifts from Santa), I cannot wait to invite some folks over for a night of fun and conversation and good times. But first I need to wrangle those boxes of holiday ornaments up into the attic and get busy with those thank you notes.


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