Something Special for the Holidays!

Hi Everyone,

I know it's been a while since I posted last. Things have been so crazy!

I wanted to tell you about special holiday offer my most favorite area rug collection - The Dabbieri Collection - is running.  To celebrate this season, Dabbieri is offering their fans a 10% discount off of any hand knotted wool Just Shorn™ area rug!

Choose a showroom near you to take advantage of this holiday offer!

Pretty great, right? If you visit one of their showrooms - tell them I sent you. You might get a little something extra! You never know. :)

Five Floors of Luxury on Beacon Street

A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of touring a beautiful home on Boston's famed Beacon Street. How did I get an invitation? Well it just so happens that my good friend, Jerry Arcari, owner of the award-winning Landry & Arcari Oriental Rugs & Carpeting in Boston, MA, created and curated the floor coverings for all five floors of the luxurious townhouse. The floors, all from The Dabbieri Collection, consisted of silk rugs, leather floor tiles, wool carpeting, and so much more!

I took a few photos (not sure if that was appropriate) because I just couldn't stand not sharing with all my friends on! So, here's a quick tour...

One of the many balconies facing out to Beacon Street.

The beautiful kitchen sitting area was laced with grey marble!

One of the many sitting rooms featuring beautiful rugs and a grand piano.

Our hosts served delicious Blood Orange Martinis, all catering by Davio's.

One of the 6ish bathrooms I counted. I say 6ish because I think I lost count!

And finally, a picture of the outside of Landry & Arcari in Boston, MA.

Landry and Arcari, one of my favorite floor covering showrooms, was founded in 1938. There are actually two showrooms - one in Boston's Back Bay and another in Salem, MA. With the largest selection of handwoven rugs in New England, I'm always overwhelmed by the beauty that lies in a wonderfully crafted floor covering. Jerry loves to feature fine antiques, formal and traditional designs, tribal rugs and kilims, and Tibetan and other contemporary rugs. They also design and weave custom rug for their more adventurous clients.

If you're in the area I highly recommend stopping by!

Our Wanted Design 2012 Wrap Up

This post, contributed by Kathleen Callahan, is part of our Designer Event Series. The Designer Event Series features guest posts from authors and friends of

New York's Wanted Design
, an international design event wrapped up earlier last week and lived up to its hype as one of the most interesting and well curated shows of NYC Design Week. A feast for the eyes and fuel for the imagination, the show is a platform for international designers, architects, interior designers, craftsmen, manufacturers and students to feature their latest inspiring creations. Here's a taste below of what we saw...

Transformation expressed through reuse, art, preservation.
Transformation was a prevalent theme throughout the show, the inspiration for which ranged from sustainable reuse, art, preservation and more. From a delicate vase that transforms air into form, to a sink (Synk) that transforms sound waves into visible waves, to the unique and fun reclamation of big city taxi lights into energy-efficient LED lights for the home - the event didn't disappoint! One of my favorite pieces, the lights (pictured above), display eight different configurations and are perched on a metal base, mimicking the taxi rooftops they once graced.

Taxi lights reclaimed as energy-efficient interior lighting.
The sustainable lighting of New Zealand artist, David Trubridge pushes the boundaries of design with a mesmerizing collection that transforms light.  Featuring Ikea-like kits of bamboo sections for assembly into functional and artistic pendant lights (also available as reassembled styles in anodized aluminum for outdoor use). The collection also features magnificent, 8-foot, large scale fixtures that flood open spaces with light and shade producing transfixing shadows and ambiance.

Large-scale pendant fixtures provide a unique ambiance.
Student innovation took center stage as the second year of the Metaproject showcased the partnership between the Rochester Institute of Technology School of Design students and this year's industry partner, the Corning Glass Museum. 

Students were tasked with transforming recycled glass into a usable domestic vessel. Some of the most practical and useful concepts presented include:

Another favorite of mine was USB jewelry - a fashionable, wearable vessel for data made from a USB and the neck of a wine bottle.  The high tech design jewelry encases the USB in a way that protects as well as allows it to switch back and forth for easy use.

Form, function, and reuse at work in these cocktail glasses.
Pictured above, is an innovated solution for juggling both a cocktail and a plate of hors d'oeuvres at a party, leaving one hand free for greeting other guest uses recycled glass.

If you take the time to review all the Metaproject entries you will not be disappointed and it will reaffirm that American ingenuity is alive and well in the next generation of designers.

12 X 12 NYC, which advocates for increased lumber reclamation within New York while also benefiting the under served population of the city was one of the most impressive exhibits. Supplying twelve contemporary furniture designers with the reclaimed wood of twelve demolished New York City buildings with the goal of of transforming the spirit of these classic structures into contemporary designs. The salvaged woods represent a range of structures, historical eras and species - from the old growth Pine of the American Express stables in Soho to Brazilian Ipe from the Coney Island boardwalk.

12 X 12's twelve furniture creations will be auctioned off on May 25th with proceeds to benefit woodworking education and job training in New York City through the not-for-profit Brooklyn Woods. Through their efforts, the furniture makers were able to transform the crumbling remains of the city into beautiful, functional pieces while transforming lives with job training for the under served of the community.

Unique, reclaimed wood used to create this liquor cabinet.
Above is artist Fiyel Levent’s liquor cabinet is made out of Antique Spruce, from the now defunct but beloved East Village Mars Bar. It's just one of the many stunning creations showcased at the Wanted Design 2012 event!

The Principles of Feng Shui In Interior Design

This post, contributed by Maureen K. Calamia, is part of our Designer Guest Series that features guest posts from talented interior designers and unique design product brands. Ms. Calamia is a Feng Shui consultant, author, speaker, and teacher. She works with clients to create spaces to enhance well-being by using concepts of environmental psychology and biophilia. For more on Maureen, see the full bio at the end of this article. If you would like to be featured in our Designer Guest Series, email me at

Interior design is significant in our lives for two reasons: 1) We now spend 90% of our days in indoor environments; and 2) Research proves that our environments have a significant impact on our behavior and well-being. This is probably why there is an increasing interest in Feng Shui principles.

The Four Basic Principles of Feng Shui

There are 4 basic principles of Feng Shui. They include:
  1. Nature
  2. The Concept of Ch’i
  3. Yin and Yang
  4. The 5 Natural Elements
Basic Principle #1: Nature

First and foremost in Feng Shui is connection with the natural world. We accomplish this connection through acknowledgement of room orientation, proportions, window views and daylight. In addition, incorporating natural materials, textures, and colors help us re-connect to nature in our spaces. This is also where green design comes in. Filling our rooms with earth-friendly, organic, non-toxic fabrics and materials contributes to living in harmony with nature and is human-friendly as well.

This kitchen feels connected to nature.
Basic Principle #2: Ch'i

Ch’i is also known as life force energy and inhabits everything in our universe. When describing a room or building, such as bright, inviting, boring or stale, we are describing the ch’i of the space. Ch’i needs to flow in a meandering way through a room and building. Ch’i that stops flowing is stagnant and contributes to blocks in your life. Ch’i that moves to too fast causes chaos and stress in your life. Gently flowing ch’i is the primary objective of Feng Shui.

Basic Principle #3: Yin and Yang

Yin and yang are complementary opposites. Dark and light, hard and soft, quiet and loud and examples of yin and yang in a space. Interior designers often intuitively bring a balance of yin and yang into the design of a room. Area rugs to balance hard floors, lighting to balance dark spaces, window treatments to soften the hard angles of a window – these are all ways we work with balancing yin and yang in a room.

Yin and yang are represented well in this living room
Basic Principle #4: The 5 Natural Elements

Most designers that I have taught really love the idea of harmonizing the five natural elements. The five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The “Five Element Theory” contains a creative cycle as well as a controlling cycle where each element is supported by another, and each element is controlled (or subdued) by another. The five elements are represented by material, shape, and color, as well as natural symbols.

The Five Elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water
Feng Shui As Interior Design

The basic principles of Feng Shui are found in Chinese philosophy and permeate the culture as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture and herbology) and martial arts. Chi, yin and yang, and the five elements explain the underlying structure of the universe and the dynamics of change and life.

Feng Shui can be mundane as well as spiritually-moving. Moving the positioning of someone’s bed to optimize their health as well as helping them identify how the clutter around them connects to stagnation and blocks in their life.

Studying Feng Shui is a life-long journey for me and brings me great rewards in helping my clients improve their lives as well as their living spaces.

Maureen K. Calamia | Luminous Spaces | BBA, CFSP, BBP  |  Facebook |  Twitter
Maureen works with commercial and residential clients to create spaces to enhance and maintain well-being through working with new structures, renovations, or just looking for low-cost solutions to enhance their current space. She uses concepts of environmental psychology and biophilia in her work to inspire balance and joy by re-establishing a connection to the nature. She is currently writing a book on the Human-Nature Connection. Featured on News12 Long Island, speaker in Las Vegas for interior design national conference, Huffington Post blogger, Faculty of the Feng Shui Certificate Training program and online courses. Certified Feng Shui and Building Biology Practitioner. Board member of the International Feng Shui Guild and Sweetbriar Nature Center. Contact her for a free assessment of your project. 

Sign up at for her monthly enewsletter, and latest Feng Shui Report

Photos: courtesy of

Sally Wilson on Trends, Tools, Inspirations + More

Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting virtually with with Boston interior designer Sally Wilson of Wilson Kelsey Design. Wilson Kelsey Design is an award winning residential and commercial interior design company co-owned by Sally Wilson and her husband, John Kelsey. In our interview, Sally discusses how she got her start, where her inspiration comes from, advice for new designers, and more!

Sally, Can you tell us why you became an interior designer?

When I found myself at a secretarial position after graduating from college with an English Literature degree, I had to sit back and take stock of my situation. I knew I couldn't survive long as a secretary! I did some career exploration and talent assessments and came to understand that I had to be in a field where I could be creative. As I investigated a few fields (such as art gallery ownership and journalism) the career of interior designer came out on top. I went back to school for a second degree and studied architecture and interiors.

Wilson Kelsey Design Interior on Comm Ave
And can you tell us more about how you got your start?
I’m a big believer in study and education, so I knew I wanted a full degree in interior design before going out there and trying to be an expert. So, after 4 years at an architectural college I graduated magna cum laude and started with a local architectural firm as their sole interior designer. They did a lot of schools and office buildings. I became creative with tile! I also worked on an Inn, for which I did custom wrought iron designs in the New Orleans manner. That was quite an interesting start. I was only there one year while my husband finished his PhD, and then we move to Boston. I set my sights on working for a big, famous firm, either in interiors solely, or architecture and interiors. I felt I would learn more of the essential construction details in a corporate setting than I would in a residential firm. And those skills I could take with me into anything I wanted to do in the future. I landed a position with a firm that was named Hugh Stubbins and Associates at that time. My first job with them was doing the New England headquarters for the Prudential Insurance Corporation. My boss was a great mentor.

Wilson Kelsey Design Interior of Beach House Game Room
Where do you get your inspiration?
From drawing. When you are trained with sketching it allows you to “see” a space when you are drawing it. I find that ideas come to me when I am sketching that might not have come to me if I was just sitting back and "thinking." You are accessing your brain in a different way. But I’m a firm believer that "design is thinking." It’s just that you can think so much better with a pencil!

Wilson Kelsey Design Interior for Design Show 2011
What design tools can you absolutely not live without?
A pencil, naturally, and mathematics. Design involves a lot of numbers and accuracy, geometry and such. Otherwise, color and fabrics are probably two of my signatures. I love being adventurous with them.

Wilson Kelsey Design Interior of Pride's Crossing Sitting Room
On that note, what hot trend are you loving right now?
I have always avoided trends, because I like my designs to be there for the long haul. I like things people won’t get tired of. The only time I even think of trends is when I know a space has a limited life span - like a 5 year lease, or a family that will only live somewhere for three years. Then I think the sky is the limit, because the long term is not in the program as a requirement.

Wilson Kelsey Design Interior of Sullivan Living Room
What advice would you give to up and coming interior designers?
For up and coming designers: keep studying throughout your life and never think you know it all. Contain your ego and don’t fall in love with your own designs. Be flexible. Think of 7 different ways of doing a space, knowing 6 of those solutions will go in the waste can. That’s creativity. The best idea rises to the top.

Great advice. What else?
For people who think they want to BE a designer: Think not twice, but 4 times! HGTV has made it look easy, cheap and fun. Real creativity and handling the public (your clients) has never been easy, cheap, and totally fun. It is difficult, demanding work, and only the really, really good people survive. Don’t skip school because you think you have "the touch." You'll learn things in the critique process of studio teaching that you won’t even know to ask yourself if you are on your own.


Sally Wilson, ASID, is the co-owner of Wilson Kelsey Design in the Boston area. She has been an active designer for 30 years, working in both the commercial sector and residential sector. Her work is noted for its attention to detail and thoughtful layering of ideas, individualized for each client’s personality. She and her husband, who is her design partner, are both known for their ability to anticipate and intuitively understand their clients’ needs and desires. They work wherever their clients are.