Monday, July 26, 2010


Are you symmetrical? Do you like things in balance? These are questions I often ask my design clients. Sometimes I get a confused look instead of an answer . . . . and then . . . . a slight shake of the head . . . . What?

I am a balanced girl . . . I like everything symmetrical. If I put a lamp on one side of my sideboard, I put the matching lamp on the other side. If I put a topiary on my mantle, I put the matching topiary on the other side. I feel at ease when things match.

My daughter showed me a pair of earrings on the Louis Vuitton web site that she liked. They were small studs, one with the flower from the logo and the other with the diamond shape from the logo. I commented to her, “Why don’t they match, do you get two pairs?” She laughed at me and claimed that would not bother her at all. I told her I could never wear these because they do not match. How could someone, especially Louis, make something to be worn in balance, not match? Then I looked at the price and REALLY wondered why someone would pay that much for earrings that don’t match.

When I was a little girl, my clothes had to match. I would frustrate my mother because I would always bring shorts and a shirt to her and ask her if it matched. She would tell me it didn’t matter, that I was only going out to play. But, it did matter . . . they must match. I would continue to bring her ensembles until she found one that matched. Oh, the patience of my mother, bless her heart.

Being symmetrical or asymmetrical is neither right or wrong, it is just what makes you feel balanced. It is okay to use a floral arrangement on one side of a sideboard with a lamp of similar size on the other. Or on the mantle, to use a candle holder or a grouping of candle holders with the topiary on the other side. Both are great options, it is simply a personal style choice.

When decorating asymmetrically, there still needs to be balance. For example, you would need to use an item about one third the height of the item on the opposite side. If you placed a 30” high lamp on one side of a chest, you would then use an item (flower arrangement, topiary, candle holder, etc.) of approximately 20” on the other. Then, in the center of these two taller items, you would need to place an accessory that is wider and lower. You could use a box, bookends with books, or a low bowl with spheres or fruit to fill the center space on the chest.
This is a decorating guide that I like to follow, probably because I am balanced. I hate to see a huge lamp on one side of a chest, then a little bitty picture frame on the other. It makes my head tilt to one side at the thought of the imbalance. Oh . . . the perils of balance.

Look around your home. Are your chests, mantles, and rooms in balance? If not, what would it take to balance them out? If you have questions about a particular spot or room in your home, take some photos and e-mail them to me a and I will see what you have going on. Or you can bring the photos in with you to First Fruit Collection, and I will be happy to help you with your balance.

Happy Decorating, Lisa

Monday, July 19, 2010

Our Atlanta Market Trip

I have attended Atlanta Market many times over the inception of First Fruit Collection. This is the gift and accessory market where we find many of our lamps, pictures, linens, and all of our Christmas merchandise. It is held in January and July of each year.

I always look forward to seeing what is new, what is the latest trend or color, and all the shopping. It is a rush like no other. It is definitely work as you ponder what to buy, what color and how many to buy? Whenever you hear me say at market, "There isn't a number that is enough", that means I love it! Like last Christmas we sold the Santa hats to cover the backs of kitchen chairs ... that was an item that I claimed there would never be enough. Sure enough, we sold over 400 of them in two weeks and there were many of our customers that didn't get them. Sorry! :(

How many of an item to buy is one of the hardest decisions I face at market. I ponder how many people will like it as much as I do. I wonder if anyone will like it, if I am the only one that thinks this item is great. A good buyer will make or break a store! I have definitely learned that over the past 11 years.

The last two markets I have taken a new young addition, Ashley Toney, with me to market. She is 20 years old, newly married, and pursuing her degree in Interior Design. She has been so helpful to me in buying for the store ... she is amazing. she is teaching me what her generation is looking for in home furnishings. I realize the success of the future of First Fruit Collection is keeping our look fresh for all generations.

Ashley can communicate with me just with her facial expressions ... she doesn't need to say a word. I can tell if she likes an item immediately. Last market I purchased "Scary Bunny", as Ashley named him, and he still hasn't sold. I don't know what I was thinking, but there is something cute about him, right? Anyway; he will be marked down tremendously this week, so if you find yourself attracted to him, come see me this week and I will make you a deal!

Scary Bunny ........ Please take him home!

The items we purchased, with her input, last market .... they sold out immediately and we have reordered many times on these items. She has an eye for product that is amazing. She has a God given gift in Interior Design and we are very blessed to have her working with us. I look forward to seeing her blossom in this field.

This is a photo of all of us girls waiting for our delayed plane in the Atlanta airport. We finally flew out around midnight. A big thank you to all of the girls that made this weekend unforgettable.

You will see First Fruit Collection transform into a new store in the next few weeks, we came back with a new inspiration and look. Don’t worry . . . you will love it. First thing to do today . . . BIG SALE . . . we need room to put all our new finds. So, starting today, we will be marking down lots of merchandise. Be sure to come by and find a great bargain. This will definitely be our biggest SALE ever. The next step will be . . . . oh you’ll have to wait and see. First, we must move all this sale stuff. Then the changes begin. Stay in touch.

Happy decorating. Lisa

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Outdoor Living Spaces

Like most Southerners, I love my garden and outdoor space. I find myself entertaining more outdoors than indoors, especially when the weather is warm and the sun is shining. We eat on our patio almost as much as we do in our kitchen in the spring, summer and fall. I love to read, nap, sunbathe, pull weeds or practically anything if it involves being outside.

We have been in our current home barely a year and our yard and gardens have been a constant project. We began with the beds around the house and we put in an English garden at our side entry. We planted trees and shrubs, installed a brick and stone walk, created planters with stacked stone, added wrought iron pieces, put in a water feature, all with the help of Mike Omar from Morgreen Landscape. He is a joy to work with and a master of design of outdoor spaces.

This year we installed a pool, added a waterfall, created more stacked stone and blue stone beds, added an iron fence and gate, installed more walkways and added an arbor to extend the back patio. The pool was done by another wonderful man named Jay West, of West Pools. His vision for the pool was amazing. He was also a joy to work with and we are most pleased with the project.

I really think that my outdoor space is now complete, except for a few more plants I would like to incorporate over the next few years. I just have to be patient now to let the new plants mature. It looks so beautiful now, I cannot imagine how it could look any better in years to come, but I am sure it will amaze me.

I love to entertain in our outdoor spaces. Having an outdoor area to eat, sit, talk, or play can expand the square footage of your home. Take a look at your outdoor spaces. Are you using them to expand your living space? Do you need to replace furnishings, cushions, or add a table and chairs? What could you do to improve your space and make you want to spend time outdoors?

There are so many options now for outdoor furnishings and fabrics. There are fabrics that resist fading, mildew and water. There is wicker that looks just like the real thing, only it is a vinyl product that will last for years. Outdoor aluminum never needs to be painted, it is very lightweight and comes in many colors now. This time of year is a good time to purchase outdoor furnishings, many stores have items on clearance now. Maybe you could use an old discarded table and chairs and paint them with an outdoor paint to use outside. Imagine how cute it would be with a big sunflower painted on top of the table and each chair painted a different color. So many ideas and so little time!

Here are some pictures of my outdoor living spaces, I hope you enjoy them. Stop by and have a glass of lemonade and I'll be sure to show you my tomatoes that are almost ripe.

Happy Decorating, Lisa