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About Me

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My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Blog about Blogging - One Year Now!

From French Blog - source
I started this blog about a year ago.  A good friend recommended that I give it a try to broaden my marketing and branding efforts for my little business, Wydeven Designs (link to website).   I learned quickly that there is a huge, other world out there in the "bloggersphere".   I choose to use blogspot to create and maintain my blog link since it provided a nice, clean template for ease of design and is FREE!   I started reading other blogs and talked to friends and family for ideas and inspiration.  I quickly found that there is both synergy and competition out there.  People seem to borrow liberally from each other (generally with accreditation which is the right thing to do) and thereby promote each others blogs.   Some of the numbers of visitors are staggering - some are claiming 10-20,000 per day.   Blogs with large numbers of visitors are generally also making money - how much I do not know.

There ia an annual "design bloggers conference" currently being held this week in Los Angeles which started in 2011 and is SOLD OUT!  link to conference site

So, how would I characterize my experiences and what have I learned?

*  The desired mood, whether you are a multi-million $$ business (e.g, Bunny Williams - NYC Designer)  or a stay-at-home mom describing her day to day experiences maintaining her home and raising her children, it to be chatty, friendly and NOT TOO obviously promoting your business.  It causes a blogger to look far and wide for topics and I have ended up broadening my initial list of "labels" significantly.  Beside the obvious ones like ... green decorating, furniture refurbishing, home decor, estate sales, craigslist, and upholstered furniture styles and colors, I have added ... travel, garden, pinterest, and others.

*  It is hard to know how best to balance "self-promotion" and providing general information  and ideas which may have a broader appeal.  The easiest approach that works for me is to tell stories of my adventures which are linked to the business but are more about my life and passions.  For example, I have had at least 12 blogs on what I am calling my "Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Adventures" and also do a series on garage and estate sale finds - both give me lots of options.

*  It is hard to come up with topics every two or three days although reading other blogs and spending time on my latest obsession, pinterest, does help. Speaking of pinterest,  prior to finding it, most of my design trend ideas came from decorating magazines which may or may not always reflect everyday people's real interests.  Seeing the patterns of what people like has been very informative.  I will do a blog about my discoveries down the road - I just found another topic!!

* Blogging, like pinterest, seems to be mostly a feminine occupation - you don't see many men actively engaged.

* And finally, I am still struggling with how to add followers and get more "hits".  Blogspot has a great program that allows you to see who is reading your blog - daily, weekly, monthly, forever!  It is particularly interesting to see this information - see my chart below - I just reached about 7500 views.

United States


United Kingdom








So, I will continue to study my colleagues/competition in the bloggesphere and apply more lessons learned.  It is fun to be part of this effort at mass and direct communication and I am glad I got started!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In my Home and Garden - 2012 Trends That Might Work for Me!

We are in the process of performing a facelift on our 20+ year-old stucco home in suburban Atlanta.  We had a front stoop that was in dire need of replacing and had put it off for the eleven years we've lived in this house.   It always seemed like such a lackluster and probably expensive project.  That was before I found an iron and wood large-scale door on one of my craigslist trips that I fell in love with and wanted to have in my own house.  So that started us talking about ...
  • let's replace the stoop with one that is a little larger and appealing (nice stonework, etc.) and provides space for more garden containers
  • let's replace the current door and above-transom with an oversized door that would make the entrance more grand in wood and iron (just like that great door I saw)
  • let's protect that new door with a protective cover/portico that takes advantage of the larger stoop footprint 
  • let's replace the tired cement walkway from driveway to front portico and use same stones used on stoop and (by now) columns
  • let's spruce up (OK, replace) the driveway so that the new walkway doesn't but up against our old tired cement driveway, and
  • let's use the same stones to embellish the driveway 
SO, a lot of $$$$ later and about 80% done, our old landscaping is looking pretty tired and some has been destroyed by the work/workmen.   I am calling a colleague of a master gardener friend to get some landscaping ideas and possibly provide us with a redo but in the meanwhile, I am investigating some garden and garden container options (see comment about stoop, above)!   I found an interesting site that discussed garden trends for 2012 - source pinterest
Many old-fashioned plant varieties are getting a facelift! Favorites such as tea roses, hibiscus, lilacs, coneflowers, and Baptisia are now sitting center stage as their plant breeders are tweaking them to better appeal to today's landscape. Bella Anna hydrangea (pictured) was bred to be just as reliable as older 'Annabelle' -- but with additional features such as large, reblooming pink flowers
 I love hydrangeas and would like to add some to my front yard - the idea that I can find some in these new colors is very exciting.  The photo below shows last years blooms (and my watercolor rendition of them)!
Our hydrangeas - in water and on paper!
The other trend that I liked deals with the use of recycled and repurposed articles as part of a container garden scheme - a great GREEN idea!
From furniture to containers, colors are getting more muted. Containers with an aged look -- patinas, encrustations, crackled finishes -- are becoming the focal point in gardens. Use plants with contrasting colors and foliage to highlight the rustic exterior of your planter.

Repurposing materials in the garden is a great way to add budget-friendly accents to a cottage landscape. Think beyond a container's initial purpose and see what it can be used for. If a water fountain no longer retains water, fill it with soil for a cascading display of succulents, sedums, and other plants. Other materials to consider: galvanized containers, wheelbarrows, wire or metal containers, wicker baskets, and toolboxes.

Example of Repurposed Items for Container Garden

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spring Trends and Inspiration

Signs of Spring Blooming - source
Here in HotAtlanta, Spring is definitely in the air.  The daffodils bloomed early this year (January) and no cold-spell has snapped their proud stance (so far).   The air is crisp and clear and colors are emerging all over.  There are days of upper 60's temperatures and it feels just wonderful.  I am inspired by this weather to look critically at my own home and see where I need to move out tired pieces and spruce up the overall look and feel of our space.  I checked a couple of websites for "Spring 2012 Trends" and found some good advice, in addition to a review of hot colors for this time of year.


Light-hearted and ethereal are the buzz words that best describe the 2012 Spring Decorating Trends.

Use of color this spring mirrors the general trend of neutral backgrounds with bright pops of jewel tones such as emerald green, ruby red, golden yellow and sapphire blue. Gold, silver and other metallic elements [see my blog from yesterday on this subject] are back this season, big-time. As are mirrored or lucite furniture or accessories that lend a magical effect to any room. All of these accents add interest or bling to the mostly neutral walls and draperies.

Cost-cutting style trends are a must this Spring. The top choice to purchase is refurbished second-hand furniture found at thrift-stores, antique shops or estate sales [emphasis added}. Using such pieces can really stretch a budget, which is so important during the economically challenging times many are facing, these days.  link to site and full article
 I found a number of great Do-It-Yourself "spring-like" images on pinterest and a series of photographs that I would love to have taken on the web - these really made my day!

All images above - downloadable free images on website

Spring is a good time to evaluate a variety of plans for yourself and for your space - it is time to renew and refresh!  I hope these images help you do that!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Another 2012 Decorating Trend - Metallic Paints!

Furniture and Accessories in Metallica Paint
This House and Home blog declared link to site warm metals as a major decorating trend.  Another source shouts out the trend as follows - link
It’s “in.” It’s “cool.” It’s “hot.” It’s metallic paints. Metal mania, you might call it. In corporate offices, restaurants, clubs, resorts, casinos, retail spaces and private homes, metallic paints are the latest trend.
“It’s very cutting edge and new. Metallic paints are fun, zippy and millennium-looking,” reports Tara Hill, senior project designer with HOK Architects in Atlanta. For example, she says, “Many dot-coms use their interiors as recruiting tools, and metallic paints give the spaces a cool, youthful, energetic feeling.”  
Various metal-like paints are showing up in many of the homes featured in websites, magazines and show-homes.  The paints can be on the walls as described in this Do-It-Yourself segment Link to Tutorial of How to Apply Metallic Paints or furniture or in furniture and accessories.

Color Chart - link to Krylon Site
The colors are mostly subdued, bright brass is still a no-no but a more subtle bronzed version can be seen everywhere.  I have used the spray paints to refurbish legs on chairs and have loved the results.  My local hardware store carries two brands - Krylon and Rustoleum.  I have used the latter which comes is in either a satin or bright finish - the satin is the right level of brightness for me!

The metallic look is a decorative element that goes back to Egyptian times, or perhaps even earlier. The origins of metallic coatings “are as old as people have been experimenting with pigments,” reports Scot Holland, managing director of the Gold Leaf and Metallic Powders Division of NEI Group in Los Angeles.

“Metallic powders are the raw pigment that can be added to any clear or pigmented medium, depending on the desired effect. The only rule is that the medium needs to be clear and be able to adhere. You can add metallic powders to urethanes, shellac, waxes, polyester resin, ceramic glazes, glass and more,” Holland says. source
I love some of the metallic pieces I have been seeing on websites and via pinterest and have been wandering around the house looking for items/furniture to enhance with this great look!  One reason that it is so popular according to this source (same as above), is that it shows so well with the new more energy efficient lighting that many homes and companies are now using:
With metallic paints you get translucency, depth and shimmer. And with the shift away from fluorescent lighting to more use of incandescent and halogen, “the metallic surfaces sparkle,” says Hill. “Metallics play real well in natural light, too. You can see how that is with metallic automotive paints.”
Here are some more images as well as details of the three pieces I have refurbished with these paints (all sold).

Better After reader Rebecca's method seen below. Nothing more than Rustoleum's metallic aluminum enamel paint and a foam roller. And how cool does it look against that wallpaper, huh?    link to source
Rusoleum Image on Web

source link to website

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beach Dreaming!

Scenes from our Vacation this Year - Portugal
I have been planning a 2013 family reunion to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.   The area is so popular that it is wise to plan ahead - particularly for the summer months.  I just found a wonderful property in Palmetto Dunes Plantation (much of the island is divided into "plantations" - not in the traditional sense but as a planned community).  The house accommodates up to 17 people with a swimming pool and nice outdoor space and is in our price range - not cheap but reasonable - unlike most Hilton Head properties.  It is not right on the beach but only a short bike ride or walk away.  It is now booked and we are set to go - I'm already planning family excursions and even meals!

Here's a photo of the setting for last year's family gathering - Lake City, Minnesota (highly recommend this area - it has a lot more going for it than you would think).
Paddleboat - Lake City, Minnesota
We love to travel to beach destinations although we are not "beach people".  I am too old/fair to be out in the sun all day and we are too active to sit around on the sand.  We do LOVE the water and water scenery, however.

Photographs from Trip to Grand Cayman - 2011 
Photographs from Trip to Cancun, Mexico area - 2010

Photographs from Trip to Ireland - 2010
I got further in this "beachy" mood when the March issue of Coastal Living arrived Link to Magazine website.  This is a very fresh looking magazine that inspires me in my love of blue and white since those are still the dominant themes in waterfront decor (see my blog from yesterday on decorating with blue and white).

In my own Wydeven Design collection, I have had a lot of blue and white refurbished furniture over the years and have several available in this lovely, crisp look - some with pops of other colors.

Check these out on my website - link to site

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Blue and White Color Scheme Continues to be Classic

My Newly Refurbished Baker Fine Furniture Wingback Chairs - link to website
I absolutely love the combination of blue and white and have for years.  The photo above, taken in my home sunroom/photo studio,  shows my long-suffering blue and white rug that badly needs replacing and I haven't found one that I like nearly as much.  Blue is such a great color and I thank Ralph Lauren for keeping it alive and fresh as a standard of fine decorating.  I remember about eight years ago when I was shopping at Calico Corners Fabrics and eying a drastically discounted blue and white toile fabric.  The salesperson told me that the color was just not fashionable and they had a hard time selling it.  I purchased the fabric and used it to have club chairs in this same room reupholstered - they still looks great!
My Own Blue and White Club Chairs 
Today, I am happy to say, you cannot pick up a decorating magazine that doesn't have quite a few blue and white spaces and I am finding lots of inspirational photos on pinterest.

I like blue because it is soothing and cool.  It just always looks crisp and works so well with other colors - particularly yellows.  It is not hard to find some great blue and white eye candy - here are some!

Great Sofa and Accessories source 
What a Great Setting - Love the Addition of One Green Piece source
This is a Basement Redo - Great! source

Lovely Foyer (I have a LOT of the Blue and White Ceramic Pieces) - source
What a Great Color on Chest - source pinterest
The Photo Wall Is so Elegant - source
This blogland favorite is a stunning example of how stunning navy is in the bedroom, Mary McDonald Designer
Wydeven Designs French Style Wingback Chairs (sold) 
A soft powdery blue on a living room wall brings instant serenity to the space, Suzanne Kasler, Designer. 
Love the elegant blue and white print here, Coastal Living Magazine. 
This is a Very Sweet Space - source
With pops of white this predominantly blue room feels elegant, airy and crisp, Diamond Baratta, Designer.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Love Affair with Wingback Chairs!

Classic  Wingback Chairs in Black and White Patterned Fabric and Painted Black Legs (source Pinterest)

I have had a love affair with wingback style chairs as long as I remember.   I remember seeing them in old (and newer) movie sets and have often been as mesmerized by the furniture in the background as I have by the action and dialogue.   What I really like about wingback chairs is their structure and shape.  They are truly classic and look good in just about any fabric.  They can also be very contemporary.  I have been refurbishing upholstered furniture for almost eight years (excluding for personal use) and have sought the wingback style chair more than any other style.  It is just hard to go wrong with a wingback.  More recently, I have been "modernizing" the look not just with fabrics but also painting/refinishing the legs - some of the results have been amazing!

Classic Wingback Chair - Clean Lines and Queen Anne Legs (source Pinterest)
In addition to showing (and showing off) some great wingbacks in this blog, I wanted to review the history and "pedigree" of this great style.  From my research it appears that the wingback was first used in the 1700's and became widely used in the 1800's - many of today's styles are very similar to the looks of these early chairs.

Modernized Wingback Chairs (source Pinterest)

Wingback Chairs used as Dining Chairs (source Pinterest)
I found the best information on this site link to eHome News and will summarize some key issues here.
High-backed upholstered armchairs that we now call wingbacks first appeared in the late 17th century. Their most striking feature was side pieces that projected forward from the back at a 90-degree or wider angle. These projections functioned to protect the user from cold drafts and to shield the face from intense heat when seated next to a fireplace.
The tradional wingback chairs of the 18th and 19th centuries were fully upholstered. English wingbacks had more curves to the arms, and wings and were often upholstered in leather with brass nailheads. French styles exhibited more angles on the wings, with exposed wood trim on arms and back and luxurious fabrics as covers. 
Traditional wingbacks were not skirted. Legs were straight or cabriole, depending on the period and country of origin. Classic hardwoods like cherry and mahogany were most often used.

Modernized WIngback Chairs - Modified  Wings and Straight Legs (source Pinterest)
Like the earliest versions, the wingback chair is still often used in front of the fireplace in a living room or den. Sometimes a pair of chairs creates a cozy seating area with a small table between them. One or two wingbacks can be found in many master bedrooms and sometimes large guest rooms. One of the modern versions of this chair makes an ideal piece for a young person's bedroom.
Some of my favorite Refurbished Wingback Chairs (source link to website
Queen Anne style furniture emerged in the 18th century as a reaction to the more elaborate French designs of previous centuries. The Queen Anne wingback chair features a horseshoe-shaped cushion for the seating area of the chair. The back of the chair features fluted upholstered wings that encase the shoulders and head of the seated person. One of the most distinct features of the Queen Anne style of wingback chairs is the elegant cabriole legs. 
Classic Wingback with Deep Wings and Cabriole Legs (from Wydeven Designs Archives)
Classic American Style Wingbacks with Straight Legs (from Wydeven Designs Archives)
An American style of wingback chairs emerged at the end of the 18th century. American wingback chairs were inspired by Queen Anne style wingbacks with a few notable distinctions. Rather than the curved cushion, American wingbacks featured a more subdued flat cushion. The decorative cabriole legs were swapped out for simple straight legs. 
Modernized Wingback Chair - Love this Fabric (from Pinterest)
Contemporary wingback chairs draw inspiration from the dramatic wings of the chair but add a modern element through fabric, color or shape. A majority of contemporary designs forgo the elaborate legs and details of the traditional wingback chair; instead newer designs feature simple lines, straight legs and subtle stitching. Some modern designs introduce a dramatically arched back in addition to side wings; other chairs add a pop of color with unexpected prints like orange white damask or black and white toile.
Modernized Wingback Chair - Modified Wing and Painted Queen Anne Legs (source Pinterest)