Mind of the Makeover… Modern Romantic

Well, here it is… my little dream of a website has finally come to fruition. I thought for so long that it would never happen but kept the idea firmly placed in my mind and didn’t let it go. Long nights in Photoshop and many hours brainstorming and editing later, I am giddy as a school girl with this exciting announcement. It just goes to show what a little determination, a positive attitude, and shear hope will do.

If you haven’t already, take a moment to watch my video from earlier today in which I take you on a quick tour of the site. As you can see, a lot has changed… perhaps even more than you initially realized. I want to make sure that you enjoy the full experience.

Now, if you thought that this snazzy new site makeover was all I would be sharing with you today, you are greatly mistaken! I have also composed a special behind-the-scenes look at my inspiration for the re-design. Like any good designer, I gathered a diverse collection of inspiring photographs, fonts, website bookmarks, book covers, sketches, and descriptors to better inform my developing concept. This vignette is a compilation of items that communicate the visual aesthetic I had in my mind’s eye for so many months.

Curated Collection by a Modern Romantic – an exploration of the personal art of style.

I knew a clean, neutral backdrop would accentuate the content of the site while also creating a classic and timeless atmosphere. To bolster it’s subtle foundation, though, I decided to work with bold, architectural typography that was at once modern and reminiscent.

The idea of our lives as a personal art where the values, message, and aesthetics of an individual are carefully chosen and communicated has been incredibly fascinating to me. Naturally, I was attracted to the image of paint marks and splatters as indicators of work in progress and a reference to this notion.

I have always been attracted to rich, saturated colors primarily in jewel tones. Although, going forward, I hope to shift the focus of this blog from exclusively my style to incorporate the personal style of many others, I did want the site to reflect a few of my specific preferences. So I chose to use accent colors inspired by this wall calendar of illustrations by Erte (published by Orange Circle Studio). It has rested on the wall beside my desk during this entire design process and frequently offered moments of eureka and inspiration.

Lastly, these words above which came from my pin board atop my desk were constant reminders of what I have been working towards. It would bore you to explain all the ins and outs of why, but perhaps you already understand without me having to say anymore. After all, this is a visual journal… let’s leave it at that.

If you care to know more about the directional changes I have been envisioning for Hilary Inspired over the past several months, visit my new “About” page HERE. You may like to know what the future holds!

My last note for today is one of gratitude to my husband David for being a wonderful counselor throughout this process and to my brother Andrew who made this all possible. No, really… none of this would have happened without his generous guidance and assistance in all technical aspects.

Thank you both from the bottom of my heart!

Rosy Embers

I’m beginning to believe my fruit selection is guided more heavily by the coloration of the produce than I originally thought. I mean, I’ve always know this was a factor in my decision making, but without a doubt, I selected these glowing red pears purely because of their gorgeous skins.

A pile of yellow-green cousins sat in the next bin over and I gave them hardly any thought. But whose to blame for this slight? Me or the unappealing appearance of the ordinary green pears? I think the answer is clear. The spotted ruby red is so perfect for this time of year! I love the dark undertones of purple and gold that are only noticeable in a certain light.

When housing beauties such as these, I also enjoy displaying them on pretty embroidered tablecloths. The tablecloth is such a simple and beautiful way to change the feeling of a space and combined with a bowl full of tantalizing fruit, a room comes alive.

Did I mention that these pears are sooo delicious?

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Fading Colors

I hesitated to post today’s images. I’m sure by now you’re tired of seeing my country bouquet of late summer flowers since their first appearance in THIS post. But I’ve completely enjoyed watching their evolution from fresh, peppy buds to rich, full blooms and now softly faded shadows of those initial blossoms. Surprisingly, I think I prefer the last stage the most! The muddied hue of their petals gives the feeling of time and history and the crinkled leaves against others still fresh and alive creates a beautiful depth within their composition.

By now, they are far past their prime (or even the denouement after their prime), but I still love looking at them everyday. I’ve come to anticipate their ever-changing appearance and will be sad when it’s time to bid them adieu. Looking back, I’m amazed at their remarkably long life. Talk about bang for your buck! Much like this Texas summer, though… dry, shriveled, and long beyond it’s peak, the time has come to move on. David returned to school this week and while that doesn’t mean cooler weather (in fact, far from it) that does mean the beginning of something I have always associated with the Fall season, the Fall school semester. Bye, bye summer… and bye, bye flowers. Thank you for all the beauty in the end!

P.S. I’ve started working with watercolors as you can see by my brushes in the photo above. So far, all my paintings have been very basic and abstract. I can’t wait to paint these flowers next, though. They almost look like living watercolors, don’t you think?

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A Simple Tablescape (yes, that’s a word)

A couple weeks ago, I pulled together a few odds and ends to create a simple table scape on our living room coffee table. Up until that point, our table sat bare and lonely… nothing on it to keep it company. I had grown so accustomed to the empty surface that when I added a few pieces to its top, the difference was surprising! Suddenly our living room felt more complete and official. For someone that has moved six times in the past six years, those sorts of details are important!

I don’t typically choose glass accessories… I like things that are a bit more sturdy and less dainty but I love the way the light reflects through these candlesticks and I enjoyed collecting unique pieces of different shapes to compliment one another. This Asian inspired dish is probably my favorite part of the group. I love the colors and am using it as inspiration for the rest of the room, which is obviously still in progress as you can see from the picture below. (David and I have big plans for that bare spot on the wall!)

I can’t help but mention that today’s post feels perfectly timed after yesterday’s launch of Rue Issue 6. Did anyone see the “Arabian Days” spread? I thought it was a beautiful fantasy!! (especially that cover photo!)

My table scape, with a touch of exotic, lends me a similar feeling of escape and that’s what I love about it! (it should also be noted, for those shopping on a budget like me, that the contents of my table decor cost me in total no more than $20… a keen eye, patience, and clear sense of one’s style are all that’s necessary to shop on a budget).

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Gallery Opening!

Several hours of work and much deliberation later, my paper templates are filed away and my gallery wall of personal photos and artwork is complete!! (or, at least until I decide to make the next batch of changes… things are always evolving around here!)

Take a look at the beginning of this project HERE.

My inspiration started here:

This room, designed by Kristen Buckingham, is full of such beautiful and unique layers. When I first saw it, I was immediately attracted to the bold wall of artwork, the folksy and old-world sofa, the small Art Deco lamp on the right, and the bright green glass lamp on the left offsetting it all. In my opinion, the perfect balance of sophistication, artistry, playfulness, and comfort…. all goals of mine in creating the environment of our home.

Now, this is my version.

The wall above was already painted when we moved into our house and naturally acts as a focal point when guests enter our home. It’s open to our living and dining areas, acts as our library, and is the passageway to our bedroom in the back of the house. A gallery of artwork and personal photos that are significant to David and I seemed like an appropriate use of the space.

Urged on by commenters in THIS post, I decided that a little neon punch would help up the edge factor in our fairly traditional home. So, I included a bright, apple green vase in my design found totally by happenstance at a local thrift store. (those are the best discoveries)

Our main living area has one less bare wall now. I am filled with a great sense of accomplishment every time I walk by it and reminded of the many things I love. It’s far from perfect but that’s part of what I like about it. There’s room to grow and change!

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Color Blast

Maybe it’s the fireworks, maybe it’s my recent focus on neon hues, but this cherry red top is quickly becoming my closet fave. I’ve never been a big fan of the color red, but this shade has just the right amount of orange & yellow to make me crazy about it! Those who know me well (yes, that’s you, dear husband) are very familiar with my attraction to sometimes blindingly loud colors.

However, even I know that all bright, all the time can be overwhelming. So, to avoid color fatigue, a careful balance should be struck. That’s why I like to pair this top with my favorite pair of cuffed jeans or this neutral number from Club Monaco. (They are a great office to casual choice).

Oh, and I painted my nails, too, which I rarely do (not sure why). Can you tell I’m having fun yet? Put some color in your life and grab a bright top, sparkly earrings, and paint those nails! I promise, you won’t be able to help feeling a wee bit cheerier!

Like me! (btw, this is me…looking cheery)

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Our home’s color scheme seems to be my main subject of consideration these days (after all of the hundreds of other things I also have running through my brain, of course…ack, to do list, will you ever leave me!!!). I have finally decided to paint our walls… in the near future… sometime soon… down the road… maybe. Alright, even if I don’t have a specific paint date, I do at least want to have a specific color palette prepared for when that day arrives. In the meantime, my eyes are constantly scanning for color inspiration.

A few days ago, my Garden Table post sparked some interest among commenters in my plans to paint our dining room chairs. Later that day, my husband informed me that he thought bright, neon green would be a cool idea… the more I think about it, the more I am starting to understand his vision. We need a little modern edge in our home! I am running dangerously close to the line of being over crowded with traditional antiques (for my taste, that is). Time for something punchy to balance it out! Neon furniture, maybe I’ll give you a try.

1. Kazumi Yoshida in Elle Decor, Photo: Eric Piasecki 2. Living Etc., Photo: Mel Yates 3. Kristen Buckingham 4. Lee Mindel in Elle Decor, Photo: William Abranowicz

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“Raw Color”

I’ve been thinking a lot about color recently. (notice the swatches on my desk in THIS post) I finally committed myself to carefully planning the colors, concept, and design of our home rather than the usual spur of the moment, undeveloped decisions that I usually make. Of course, this is going to take some serious time and consideration, but I am 100% up to the challenge! While taking my daily jaunt around the internet yesterday, I happened upon THESE artists’ project that seemed to fit my current state of mind perfectly! Here’s a brief description of their exhibit:

“A visual research about vegetables and their powerful color. Vegetables are dismantled and purified to their visual essence ‘RAW COLOR‘. The harvested color is captured by a new process preserving their intensity on color cards. Categorized by shades and families, a new map is created which shows their beautiful diversity. This project reinterprets the vegetable and puts it into new context.”

All photos property of Daniera ter Haar & Christoph Brach of Raw Color, Layout: Hilary Walker

Fascinating project! Especially when one spends most of their free time considering the minute and subtle nuances and intricacies of color in its endless varieties.

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