“word to the wise” wednesday — billy baldwin

Architectural Digest Billy Baldwin Woodson Taulbee Living Room

When you’re decorating, you must learn to break rules, but not all of them.  Take the case of pattern on pattern.  Some decorators today think you can willy-nilly mix prints.  Not so.  This only results in confusion.  There always must be some connection if you are using more than one print.  It can be the color, curves, or line, but the connection must be there.  I also think it is very important to establish a connection when you mix pieces of furniture that have different provenances.  They must become good neighbors.  It is possible to place a superb modern table next to an antique chair, but if you put a reproduction table next to an antique chair, it will look wrong.  There wouldn’t be any connection at all.

Billy Baldwin

Billy Baldwin NY Studio ApartmentI read Billy Baldwin: The Great American Decorator by Adam Lewis over the holidays, and it is fan-flipping-tastic.  Seriously, it is so so good.  The last third of the book is devoted to a verbatim transcript of the “Decorating Today” lectures that Billy gave at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.  Did I mention that the book is so so good?  Order it.  Today!

Top photo by Billy Cunningham via Architectural Digest.  Interior design of Woodson Taulbee’s apartment by Billy Baldwin. Bottom photo via the Wall Street Journal, where it appeared courtesy of Rizzoli/Horst.  Interior design of Billy Baldwin’s New York studio apartment.  


how to practice gratitude … and a giveaway

Let Gratitude Maya Angelou Quote Maidservant of Encouragement Etsy
As long-time readers know, I adopted “dream” as my first “word of the year” in 2013.  What a perfect choice that was!  I found that reminding myself to dream helped to push me farther and faster than I might have ordinarily been inclined.

Bring Joy Back Sara BlakelyLast year, I focused on “joy” — to remind myself to find joy in the process, not only the destination.  Truth be told, I was DONE with “joy” by mid-year.  Over. It.  Yes, yes, I appreciated the reminder.  But I wasn’t feeling particularly joyous when trying to meet a deadline, or get cranky kids to bed, or …. well, you name it.  And I almost felt guilty if I wasn’t overflowing with joy every minute of the day.

Joy Out of Being Not Doing Fehr QuoteSo what was the problem?  I think I finally figured it out.  I’m an ACTION girl!   I try to meditate, but I fall asleep.  Every. Durn. Time.  “A New Earth” by Eckhardt Tolle has been a revolutionary book for so many people, but for me — Major Snooze Fest.  No need to tell me: I recognize my personality flaw.

Happiness Lies in Joy of Achievement Franklin RooseveltMaybe “joy” felt too passive.  Of course, I want to be joyous.  It’s a wonderful thing!  But for my 2015 touchstone, I want to DO and not just BE.

Live Simply Typewriter Quote Merci Merci EtsyInterestingly, writing this blog post gave me a clarity that I hadn’t managed before.  In 2015, I will practice “gratitude.”  I will let gratitude be the pillow upon which I say my nightly prayers.  Thank you, Maya Angelou!

Gratitude is the parent of virtues Cicero QuoteSee what that does?  For me, it’s simply taking “joy” to the next level.  I can find many reasons to be grateful, even if I am not feeling joyful.  And it serves the same purpose of reminding me to appreciate what I have now — even as I grow, change and look toward the future.

If you’d like to follow along, meet me here on Sundays!

PS:  To encourage you on your 2015 path, I’m giving away a downloadable art print of your choice from the Etsy shop, Maidservant of Encouragement.  Easy-peasy to enter; just leave a comment on this post.  If you are so inclined, I’d love to know what your 2015 word will be!

Maya Angelou graphic by Maidservant of Encouragement and available for purchase as an instant download on Etsy.  Use promo code HAPPY2015 to save 15% until the end of the year!  Live Simply typewriter quote by The Love Shop and available for purchase on Merci Merci’s Etsy shop.  All other graphics by Carolina Consulting Company for Traci Zeller, Inc. 

traci zeller