Welcome to Design track mind by Melissa Gulley

I am an interior designer from Newton, MA having a lot of fun writing this blog between client appointments, kid stuff, kid school stuff, dog stuff, husband stuff, husband's company stuff (http://www.fueldog.com/), life stuff, old house stuff, family stuff, extended family stuff and the rest of the detail stuff. I am not a writer (clearly) so please ignore the typo's, spelling mistakes and desperate need for proofreading.

Herringbone floors

Sometimes when looking at finished room I so appreciate a patterned floor.  Now of course this can be easily accomplished by purchasing a rug.  However, I have to say a two tone geometric floor with an energetic pattern sometimes is just the verve the room is needing.  It could be installed or a carpet, but check out these rooms with herringbone floors- very classic but a little zingy and only two colors to pop everything else in the space.  These first ones are carpets- amazing how they work with more traditional and less traditional spaces alike.
herring bone floor
miles redd bedroom herringbone floor
Then of course we have the incredibly beautiful installed hardwood Herringbone floors:
CHH8fireplace herringbone floor
erin_featherston_domino pink
New York social society herringbone floor
Then finally we have the painted variety:
herringbone foyer paint
And the painted over style:
herringbone floor books

The Drip Dry House

My Grandmother Alice was a very fancy woman. She bought the best in quality and fine detailing (really, she was a hideous snob!). Some/most of the fancy things she was drawn to would be totally impractical to most but she existed around her things, not really using them.  When I was a kid she used to wear these tailored, smart looking (at the time), belted ultra suede dresses in the most fabulous colors (With coordinating jewelry, of course).   According to the Met in New York this very dress was perhaps Halston's greatest commercial dressmaking success in the 1970's. (See photo of lilac dress from the Metropolitan museum).  I remember she had this dress in Navy, Coral, Aqua, Purple and Kelly Green (many had matching coats, hats, bags and shoes).  The best part of this dress was that it went into the washer and dryer.  I remember baking with her and she spilled some batter on the dress (the navy one), I said “Oh no Grandma what should we do you spilled”- her reply was “not to worry dear it’s drip dry!”.  This was amazing to me that something of grandma's (oh woman of fancy living) had anything that was this fabulous and DRIP DRY- REALLY!!!.  When we went to visit her house you had to be on best behavior (the fear of breaking or staining anything was crippling). metropolitan museum of fine art ultrasuede dress
I remember temporarily liking the feeling of being in her house, like a fancy princess in a castle of priceless treasures.  For about a minute- then I had to be a kid again- in our house at home where (unfortunately) NOTHING was fancy-except in the museum room (we all grew up with a room like that).  Everything was shop worn and/or chosen for kid proofing or extreme comfort.  I have thought about this drip dry concept a lot in my life.  I now have little kids, two dogs and a sloppy husband and I need this drip dry but fabulous concept in my whole life- not just my wardrobe.  The fact that my very cerebral/professional parents never really cared how our house was decorated or looked for that matter has forced me into a life of constant craving for visual fabulousness.  I am caught somewhere between their practical, relaxed no nonsense ways and my Grandmother's impractical fancy formal style.  I have been asked many times what my personal style is, and I always say “traditional on acid” but maybe I should add “fabulous and drip dry”.


As I begin my Blogging career most of you who are reading this are friends, family, co-workers, clients and neighbors (please comment so I know you're there and I can stop harassing you to read my blog). As I was saying many of you know me and can see I just did a post about Yellow- Pantone’s color of the year 2009.  Well you should all know that the Pantone color of the year for 2010 is (drum roll)…………………………………………………………………………………….
Yeah, I know.  Can you stand it?  It really does not get better than this in my mind.  I mean after turquoise when do they go from here, it’s all down hill.  So as you can imagine I am going to take this year as my opportunity to celebrate Turquoise (my all time favorite color).  All of you who know how I dress or have been to my house know this is a whopper of a year for me and my love affair with Turquoise.  And I'm not the only one, there are entire blogs dedicated to turquoise. Check out: http://www.houseofturquoise.com/ and http://www.everythingturquoise.com/
So let’s kick off this year of Turquoise with some Fab Photos, shall we?
JaneMcGarry_6 turq kitchen
Janet Hiltz turq chairs
home sweet home white turq bedroom
Turq lamp
2009 master bath shot
Lavender house turq sofa
la dolce vita turq sofa082108_turquoiseyello


MariDRPan tur
pieyer Estersohn turq room
questbritt4 turq room
southern accents turq bottles

traditional home turq tile

via_littlegreennotebook turq bedroom
via_maya_lee_on_flickr turq vase

Let’s talk Yellow

Yellow is the color of the sun, of flowers, of happiness!  Also last year’s color of the year from Pantone (it’s ok to be “sooooooooooo last year”)House Beautiful Yellow liv room When we lived in our last house my kitchen walls were the best color deep yellow with a hint of red in it.  The adjoining family room was painted a great chocolate brown with chunky white molding, and that great yellow reappeared on the ceiling- very dramatic and totally fabulous (yes the ceilings were very high) This color yellow made me happy everyday just looking at it.  
In this new house (3 years we’ve been here- still new???) I decided I wanted to be void of color and actually go beige and cream- serene, tranquil, and organic, a basic neutral pallet that could change like a chameleon with different accessories whenever I was inspired.  Maybe by that time I had done dozens of houses in every color and the colors reminded me of other people’s houses and clients no matter how dear. Design-crisis yellow drapes Like when a school teacher gives birth to her first child and
can’t find a name that doesn’t belong to one of her students past and present.
What was I thinking?  I am not a beige person, I appreciate it in hotels, in other people’s houses- oh hell I have designed completely beige houses that have been so totally terrific.  But I cannot live without color- me – beige- I don’t think so.  Paul Costello yellow drapes I started itching to change the beige blank slate to a happy yellow blank slate even while my beige drapes were being installed.  Now I have another use for the beige fabric and so I’m going yellow- not just any yellow, but that deep rich yellow that’s not mustard but still a deep yellow with a tad of red.   Why couldn’t yellow be used as a neutral- well it can!  In our fashion lives denim blue is a neutral, no one goes out in all color matched denim- it just goes with anything.  So will my yellow! Check out my inspiration:
Kelly-Wearstler1-775919 yellow bedroom
veranda writing room
steven-gambrel-urban-loft2 yellow ceiling
country_living_ yellow
Farrow and Ball Yellow foyer
Jessica Clair yellow office
_kelly_wearstler living room

Love to want

Remember when you were a kid and you wanted something so badly, you did extra chores, you saved your allowance, you begged anyone who would listen, you tried to convince your parents that life would be so much better if you had that 'thing'…  This year for Christmas my daughter didn’t want much- she could not think of what to put on her Christmas list.  Her grandparents and aunt/uncles would call and ask what they could get her and I had to say I didn’t know.  In speaking to many friends over the holidays they too experienced a similar phenomenon.  Now we can all look around and easily find family’s that give their kids more than we do.  I never thought I was over indulging them to any great extent- maybe I am though.  Maybe we all have too much stuff.
Experts say there is a diminishing rate of return for the happiness felt from an average gift- for kids and adults alike.  Where once, long ago we were happy for a much longer period of time with whatever was new to us, now it seems we're lucky if we get an hour – a day at most - and then it’s forgotten about and on we go to the next.  Now much of the economy is in a tangle due to everyone continuing to buy and pursue that momentary happiness of the “new”.  Really does it make us happy at all anymore or actually eventually just stressed out.
As an interior designer who has built a great business over the last 10 years, I am feeling great concern and confusion.  For my business to continue, people need to continue to want- the next – the new- the better.  Or is this going to be when the supply and demand chain is permanently reduced to actual need?  At this point what is actual need- really?
As most families have over the last year- need to or not, we have cut down, reduced our spending, reduced going out to eat, cut out things that just months ago I thought I could never live without.  You know what I’ve found- Happiness.  Happiness in the simplicity, the reduced stress- less stuff- less responsibility- more time- quiet time- time sharing with friends and family.  For the first time in 10 years I get so excited to go out to eat- because once again it’s special. 
But where does this leave interior design?  As someone who has been fastidiously studying ways to go green- reduce waste- protect our earth, I think it amounts to needing quality- not the temporary fix that fits in the budget but the choice with the best conscience.  “Buy the best and cry once”, “Quality is a poor man’s gold” or just buy the best quality and timeless styling, take care of it and keep it forever- really love it!  Interior furnishings are expensive and they should not be looked at as throw away.  People will always need to move- adapt their house to their needs- be comfortable in their house especially in this stressful world.  Maybe they will just start to WANT again- save for the best- dream for something so beautiful that they will wait for it.

The passing of some old friends

My need for visual design stimulation used to be nearly satisfied by 24 subscriptions a month to design magazines- and shopping like a mad woman (ahhhhh heaven!).  Lately I have been going through severe withdrawal!!!  Design magazines are folding left and right and shopping like a mad woman is just a bad idea (especially in this economy).   I used to feel like I was easily able to keep my finger on the design pulse-now I’m searching for the heart beat that kept me going (it’s faint but I know it’s out there) This change has been so difficult for me, not only do I not get my required amount of visual references but I feel sad that the magazines that I have lived in anticipation of every month, are now gone.  They each had their own personality and gave back to me constantly with different inspirations- I feel like I’ve lost my friends.  RIP: House and Garden (the first big blow), Domino (the step child I learned to love as my own), Southern Accents, Metropolitan Home (huge loss! First published in 1969), Country Home, Cottage Living, O at Home, HOME (since 1951) Mary Enelbriets home companion, I.D. Magazine (55 years in publication), Gourmet (1941) not to mention the dozens of magazines on other subjects (yeah I know, who cares)  http://adage.com/mediaworks/article?article_id=132779 check out the carnage to it’s fullest extent.
I have since turned my serious addiction to design books (gets expensive and really should not continue!) and reading design blogs (I’m so responsible-NOT).  Like the magazines I so loved, design blogs have their own personalities and continue to inspire me every day.  Some are prolific like www.cotedetexas.com an incredible source- must take weeks to write a single blog post.  Some are quick yummy tid bits of humor and design www.maison21.com .  The thing that the blogging community has in spades over the magazines is just that- community. Because of the ability to comment it creates a back and forth of ideas and conversations with return readers.  When the economy is again in full swing (from my mind to gods ears) it will be interesting to see if there is an onslaught of new shelter magazines or if the design community supports the great blogs instead- probably a little of both.

Welcome to Design Track Mind

Hi All,
I’d like to introduce you to my Blog…holy crap did I just type that?!? I guess I did.

Due to the relentless urging of my husband (the pushy b#$t*rd) and certain design friends (the pushy b!&%ches) I have decided to give this a try. I can only think of three reasons why anyone might care enough about what I think to read this blog – 1. Design 2. Design, and 3. Design. If you know me, or have worked with me, you know that in the Dictionary next to “one track mind” there is a picture of me dreaming of design. Not only do I think about interior design nonstop but I seem to require a never ending stream of visual design stimulation (my husband calls it Design Porn). Hummmm, I guess this is like when they say men think of sex every 4 seconds- I’ve always wondered how that’s even possible. I guess I do know how
it’s possible but never thought of it that way.

So I am going to feebly attempt to boil down my design obsession into a blog post every so often. Maybe it will amuse you, make you think, challenge you or quite possibly convince you that I am completely nuts. Please make comments so I know you’re out there, I want to know what you think so please let me know.