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me, Kathryn Ireland and Cheryl Draa


You’re probably wondering what Kathryn Ireland has to do with coffee tables and what I put on mine.

It just so happens that last week while I was in Las Vegas for the Vision 2011 IWCE, I had the opportunity to meet her. A group of us were invited to a special Wine & Design event being held and she surprised us with a visit.

Now, we weren’t totally caught off guard, because she was the keynote luncheon speaker for the next day  but it was a very nice surprise all the same.  Believe it or not, my shyness got the best of me and so I didn’t engage in as much conversation with her as I would have liked to.  Funny how hindsight has a way of making you wish you would have done the opposite of what you really did.

What I discovered later the next day was that she has a house in France.  Oh my!  I have been to the area of France where she lives, and can totally relate to the beauty she was speaking of, what with the markets, the food, the land.   

After her presentation the following day, she made herself available for signing copies of her book.  Not one to randomly buy a book for the sake of a signature, I was so intrigued by her presentation, I WANTED that book.  And I got it.
Which brings me to the point of this post.  In all the trade magazines out there, you see books of all sorts on coffee tables used as props.  I have seen some that are so stacked and styled that I wonder to myself, do those people REALLY read those books?  I personally want things on my coffee table that have meaning to me.  I guess I’m at a stage of my life where I am trying to simplify, go uncluttered, thin the herd out so to speak.
This is my coffee table in my sunroom.  It is not the usual table.  It is actually a Lane chest I bought myself when I was 20 and now stores my wedding dress and other items of special meaning to me.
my coffee table/Lane chest
 I want to surround myself with things that have a story,  something that to someone else’s eye might not be significant, but to mine, remind me of  a certain place or time or person in my life that has special meaning to me.   

Madeleine Vionnet book

 To the right of my coffee table/Lane chest I have the book about Madeleine Vionnet, a French couturière.   There was an exhibit about her and her dresses at the Museé des Arts Decoratifs back in January 2010 which I went to see with a group of other like-minded designers and workrooms.  I don’t normally buy books after these events but I was so captivated by her style of draping and all those dresses,  that I had to have something by which to remember her.  That too and the fact that we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the dresses either, would prove to be a powerful stimulant to my brain!
Oh, and that glass of wine!  My friend makes wine so this is a glass of his Pomegranate Zinfandel.  Yes, it is as good as it sounds.  And, it is in one of the wine glasses that my mother in  law left us.  What better way to read and relax!
greenwashed tray with candle, bronze by R.C. Masson and fresh roses
 I love fresh flowers and I love them in small doses all around my house.  A dozen roses for $10 goes a long way with me!  I love the delicate petals, the soft fragrance and the feeling of life it gives to the room.  I also have a bronze on the tray given to me by my late sister in law.  She worked in a very artsy neighborhood in the Ville Close in Concarneau, France and on one of my visits there, she gave me this bronze.  It’s number 4 of 8 by R.C. Masson and he had some beautiful bronzes displayed  for sale in the shop where she worked.  She always gave me the neatest gifts.

Kathryn Ireland's "Creating a Home" and "Everyday Bliss for Busy Women" by Maryam Webster, M.Ed.

 To the left is my newly acquired book from Kathryn Ireland.   I am really enjoying this book.  This is the house designed by Wallace Neff in which she found in such a state of disrepair that she had to buy it and make it a home again.  What I like about this book are of course, the photos, but the commentary as well.  She doesn’t bore you with every little detail, but instead breaks up the areas of the house and tells you why she did what she did and what motivated her in the process.  I also love the fact that although she is an A-list designer, she is not afraid to get down and dirty with the house to see its structural bones, work with the landscape designer and everyone else involved with the project to do what needs to be done.  Her approach to design makes you want to just kick up your feet and move right in.  It can be lived in and loved in without having to fuss.
It takes a lot to keep my attention but she does it very nicely and so has earned a place on my coffee table/Lane chest.
Note too the book “Everyday Bliss for Busy Women”, by Maryam Webster.   I am a busy woman and get so caught up in my business that sometimes I forget to breathe.  Having this book is a reminder for me to stop and smell my roses!

“Creating a Home” personally autographed by Kathryn Ireland

Little did I know  that when she signed it by telling me to enjoy,  how much I really would be enjoying it.  I can’t put it down! 


page 44 quote that struck a chord with me

 I hope I don’t get in trouble by taking a couple pics of the pages, but, being a designer and fabricator of couture window fashions, page 44 jumped out at me like a neon light flashing in my face.
She gets it!  And so the quote by Windsor Smith stating that “furniture without curtains is not a room”  made me want to jump up and give them both a high five!  Woo Hoo!  

pages 44 and 45 focuses on hardware

 And so on pages 44 and 45, she goes on to talk about the different hardware that was made by the on site blacksmith who truly was a master at what he made.  The photos of the hardware capture the details nicely.  What I also appreciate about her approach to this project was that she noticed the details in the beauty of this man’s work.  She chose to use it regardless if it matched or not and that was a lesson for me.  Not everything has to be matchy-matchy if you are highlighting the workmanship and keeping the project as organic as it calls out to be.

page 95 inviting space beckons me

 Here on page 95 was an area that just beckons me to want to get lost in.  I can totally see myself  curling up with a good book, or eating a great dessert or even creating some awesome window fashions as this would be such an inspiring niche.  I love sleeping so I also see this as a  “cat nap with my cats” go to place. 
my coffee table in the sun room

Now back to reality!  My sun room with the things that have meaning for me.

What about you?  What do you have on your coffee table?