Friday, December 30, 2011

Cancer Society Showhouse day 2

In the dining room I designed a custom gueridon cabinet with mercury mirror. I found this phenomenal painting by Anton Weiss at L. Ross Gallery here in Memphis and created the color on the cabinet to compliment it. 
I needed another sitting area in the family room and I didn't want to block the view to the backyard. So, I designed this backless sofa to see the view while having ample seating for entertaining. I actually love backless sofas. Twice the amount of people will sit on one of these styles than a standard sofa with a back any day. The clean lines and simplicity of the color palette make it so calming. The fabric is F. Schumacher.
The breakfast room was  not very large but I loved the view of the lemon tree outside. I decided to keep it light and airy and applied  our white venetian plaster  on the walls and polished to a high sheen. The drapes were a embroidered linen in taupe and white. Because of the small space, I decided to use just intaglios as our art. Notice the zinc console that sits up high. I loved mixing the water gilded torcheres on it with this adorable crusty old urn. I am a texture fanatic. The chairs were a new design for the show house. I knew I needed something somewhat dainty while being a statement piece.
Here is a better view of the dining room. I wanted to have it where anyone would feel comfortable eating in this room. Also, using it as a buffet table if the owner wanted to entertain a large group. I adore using real candles in a dining room! It adds an element of romance and people are so surprised when they see them. I just make sure to put halogen wall washers on dimmers in the same room. They give an incredible ambiance.
The armoire is a great visual anchor for this room. I have always said that everyone room needs a little black. Bringing the outside in with some English box woods added so much.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cancer showhouse

I was so excited to be asked to decorate the National Cancer Society Show house in Memphis this year. I was able to design and create furniture for an entire  home with no parameters. Yes... all designers dream of jobs like this. I suppose that is why we love doing show houses so much. The drama of drop dead time frames is balanced with the joy of having hundreds of people see your handiwork. This mirrored Madison console has over 380 bevels on it. I love the positioning of a Deco piece with the 18th Century prints. I was leaving one night and had these three marble balls in my hand. I literally played with lining them up and simply loved the look they gave, so I left them there. Always have an element of surprise in a home. I think the biggest mistake that we make as designers or creative people is to be safe and expected. This piece was a total shock in the study. Even the most conservative guest  loved it!
I had an option of putting in bookcases on either side of the fireplace or making over sized chests. You see what I chose. I love symmetry and balance! The painting is by Memphis Artist Nancy Stephenson and notice those cute little trick carnations again on the mantle. I used the zinc pots to pull the grays out of the painting.
Anyone that knows me knows that I get bored easily with furniture styles. I have to mix all periods with lots of finishes and textures. This house was not that large. I decided to keep a neutral palette to make it flow and feel larger. Notice the fabulous cocktail table. It was a new design that we made out of iron and then gilded it in gold and put a cerused oak top on it. YUM. I loved it so much, I made one for my house!
Isn't this so dreamy! The shape of the chair, the Fortuny fabric on the pillow and the print. I am happy to say that I have a dear couple who are the best clients ever.  We placed this in their new home. I cannot wait to show you their home. I am going to be installing it the end of January. So stay tuned. All of the fabric in the showhouse (with exception of the Fortuny) was F. Schumacher.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Looking forward to warmer days

18th Century garden bench. One of two that sit in the front yard. A little find from Scotts Antique Market in Atlanta! We meet there the 2nd weekend of the month!
I was looking at these photos and it made me dream of the days when we will have warmer spring weather. I love the Holidays and especially being with friends. BUT...  I love New Years....clean new calendars, getting organized and cleaning up. Then I start scouting out new fabrics and new colors to redecorate with.
 We love living in Memphis. We have a great church, great friends and  fabulous humid summers. We had to plant arborvitae and English Box woods to survive the weather. However, in the cold winters we still have these beautiful plants to look at even in the coldest of days.Hence why I love evergreens!
I must confess that we never close up our pool. It is just depressing to look in a back yard and see a lovely pool cover.  I believe a water feature of any kind is so calming.  On our trips to Palm Beach ...I would  always wonder who lived behind those glorious hedges.  When we built our home in Normandy Park, I had to have a privacy hedge. It has taken almost 7 years to get to this size and coverage that we needed to have a private oasis. I must say that I enjoy our back yard more than any other part of our home. Goodwins in Memphis worked with me to design the backyard plantings. You should also check out  Ben Page in Nashville.Ben  is another fabulous landscape architect. He incorporates statues and antique elements into his formal landscape designs.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hands on Workshops in January

I am excited to share the January workshop schedule with you. The November workshops were a huge success and many were filled within 2 days. I must say that I have been shocked at how much I have enjoyed teaching the workshops.
Everyone from Decorative artists,Professionals, Homemakers  and CEO's giggle when they see what they have done and are really proud of what they have created. The safe environment of having someone give you clear direction in your execution and having something completed that you have the bragging rights to display in your home and it rival any fine antique.... is so much fun. 

I think that I am most excited about partnering with Habitat for Humanity nationally in our Rescue, Restore, Redecorate® work shops. You can bring in your old piece (pre-approved at and finish it in our one day workshop to look like a great new piece that you are proud to give new life to. If you are in Memphis, we would love for you to come and be a part of this exciting new DIY adventure call the store at 901 547 1448 or email us. Cold winter days can be the perfect time to redecorate with things that you have made yourself. We have 19 Amy Howard at home Studios that will be teaching workshops around the country. Feel free to send me a note if you would like to know of a workshop close to you. 
I do hope you have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy celebrating the birth of our Savior! Amy

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Decorations

I love using wreaths all over the house. I especially love hanging them on mirrors. A simple vintage ribbon and no bow... keeps things simple and elegant.
When you come in our home I have two large concrete urns that I usually have palms and some ivy in during the year. When the holidays roll around we exchange the palms for two Christmas trees. I enjoy not having the trees on the ground. Having them up high and in these urns give them such a regal look. Also, flanking the front door makes the house look so festive from outside. Living in Memphis, it rains a lot and walking in with lots of muddy wet feet. There is not a day that I regret spending the money on our  campania stone floors. They are so easy to keep clean and they look great under rugs of all kinds.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Ornaments are not just for the tree

I am always looking for ways to have the most impact for the least amount of money. I use tree ornaments all over our house. I fill bowls up with them, tie them on the mantles garland, hang them from chandeliers.   Since my library has black walls, I chose the color from the fabric on my bergere for the ornaments.  Here on the  chandelier I hung ornaments with large vintage looking fabric ribbon.
I think it is important to make sure that your ribbon and your ornaments are the same color. Also, I would be careful to use the same color ornament. The ribbon needs to be a nice thick fabric ribbon, vintage is even better. Satin would be fine, I just prefer older more matte fabrics.... since the ornaments are so shiny. You can use different shapes of the same color. I also did this treatment to the chandelier in my master bathroom with silver and pewter ornaments. I must confess, that I left them up in the bathroom...  all last year.

Monday, December 19, 2011


I love using fountains in bathrooms. On our last trip to Rome we purchased fountains to go in our bathrooms when we built our home. We hung it from the wall and installed foot petals to use. Notice the antique door, it is  one that we purchased from THE BANK in New Orleans. We just love the raw pine doors and using the Amy Howard at home dark wax to give it a warm patina.

Special Wall Treatments

 When I saw this F. Shumacher fabric I knew that I had to upholster the walls with it. Only to find out later that it came out a wallpaper. I love the drama that it gives the room. I adore the impact with the Paul Edelstein painting. I was careful to keep the rest of the room fairly monochromatic grays, since all the impact is in the upholstery on the walls.
Here in our sons room, we used a Toile  that became a beautiful backdrop for the antique cabinet we made into a vanity.  Upholstering walls can be very easy. First you glue upholster batting onto your walls from the ceiling trim to the base trim. Then sew the pieces of fabric together in long pieces long enough to cover one entire wall and end in the corner. You can come back with a hand upholster stapler and tighten the fabric onto the wall over the batting. Then you will sew welt cord out of your fabric and hot glue over the staples. Pay special attention to your corners.
 Upstairs, in our main hall,we have a sitting area. I wanted to have a cozy area that if the children wanted to sit and read a book they could do so. Imagine a teenager sitting in a french bergere and reading a classic. Well.... as you can imagine... that never happened. The idea was nice.... so I have a beautiful area to look at. Here is a little chair that I found at an Estate sale and I love the color of it with these beautiful peach  silk drapes. Notice the tie back! Love these antique tie backs, this one is bronze and 18th Century.  The wall treatment here is rice paper that has been gilded in silver leaf and embossed then glazed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Details Details Details

When designing a room for yourself or for a client.  You must be  keenly aware of what is going to make the room beautiful. Yes... fabrics and colors and the layering of textures, all add to it's success.  What really draws people  into a room and makes them want to stay there awhile..... are the details! Like this photo, the craved detail of gold gilt and the worn bole showing through.  Always look at a piece of furniture and it's function. Then  look at it as a piece of art and how  emotionally drawn to it you are going to be, day in and day out.
I simply love looking at beautiful tie backs. They are so easy to find and add so much character to any drape. Especially when you have a window that is in a prominent area in your home. The Chelsea Flea market in NYC, Don Scott's Antique show in Atlanta and of course the Paris Flea Market are some of the best places to find them.
This is the capital and bonnet detail on the Juliet bed in our master bedroom. What glorious attention to detail. Incredible art and all done by hand. The craftsmanship and detail on the trim is just spectacular. This is the attention to detail that makes someone want to just stay in a room and study everything.
I adore lamps made from antique  iron fragments and antique architectural  terracotta fragments. Even more wonderful are the handmade shades. Mind you, they are expensive, but you will enjoy them more and more with each passing day. Next time you go antiquing, look at fragments and think how you could make a stand for them and electrify into a beautiful lamp. I am going to start posting more DIY and  how to do things and take you through the steps to make a lamp. Let me know of other things that you would enjoy doing yourself. I might be able to shed some light on it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm allergic to plastic flowers!

There are three essentials that I have to have in my home every day. 1. Great music playing  2. A beautiful fragrant candle burning  3. Fresh flowers! I simply cannot have plastic flowers or plants. My children will laugh and say Mom is allergic to plastic flowers. Maybe I am allergic to the dust they collect! Here is a beautiful arrangement of tulips and roses. I love the rustic tree root container that they are in.
Literally every flat surface in my home is covered with collections of shells, antiquities, books, photos and  scrumptious FLOWERS.
This simple square vase becomes a base for a flower sculpture! The cabbage,  hydrangeas and ca lilies with the carnation tricks are a visual feast! Who ever thought that bear grass would make a great little handle.
Hydrangeas, roses and ca lilies oh my.
I enjoy the  impact that three vases are so much more powerful than one large one. It almost seems like they are dancing.

Cocooning bedrooms

Every night when I go to bed, I love to look at some beautiful flowers or something blooming in this little french cup that I use as a vase. I  really enjoy using little quirky containers for flowers. Since, I don't like seeing the stems on the flowers, I like using things that you cannot see through.  This particular day, I had a succulent in lieu of flowers....these can literally last for weeks. There is something very special about having some of my favorite pieces at my bedside to enjoy every day.
My days are filled with meetings and deadlines. I enjoy having a bedroom that is tranquil and monochromatic.

When we first starting making furniture, this Juliet bed was one of our first designs. I so love the canopy and the feeling  of cocooning, when I literally crawl into bed at night. I enjoy combining an 18th Century style bed with a modern take on mirrored furniture. I did finish the stanley nightstand in antiqued sterling silver. That way I can have the black pulled finish and the mirror nightstand compliment one another.  After looking at so many options I finally  upholstered the walls in  Belgium linen. I enjoy  having the drapes the same fabric or value color as the walls.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Putti sconces and 18th Century Trumeaus

I love repetition and the impact of having several things shown together. These are a great little carnation that is fuzzy and wonderfully fun. They are officially called Tricks. Yes, tricks! They will last for weeks, if you keep the water fresh. These adorable zinc containers from the Paris Flea market are great to use as vases. I also enjoy putting candles in them when we entertain outdoors.
In my salon  I have trumeaus on both ends of the room. Trumeaus are pronounced Troo-moh

Trumeaus are mirrors that have wood carvings or paintings above them. They were originally put in between two windows to reflect the light that came in. If they were used over mantles, you will see where there were sconces that would hold the candles, that would reflect the light. I love the gold leaf detail on this trumeau. If you look at the other end of the room in the next image. I actually purchased these fab early 18th century wood panels and created trumeaus. I painted them bauhaus buff Toscana paint color. Antiqued them and and added trim to go all the way to the base molding. I then added panels of our antique mirror to make them look more like  architectural statements in the room. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Collecting and displaying all things typography

As you can tell, I have a collecting obsession. When Gene and I go antiquing, I am always drawn to all things typography. I love taking old documents that have waxed seals and beautiful script, framing them and using them in displays. This is a chest in my family room that I have an array of different things that we have collected. I do enjoy keeping with the theme of things that are gilded in gold. I adore this clock face with a simple acrylic stand. 
I have two of these chests in this room, covered with goodies. It is really important to make sure that you have varying heights and weights of frames and accessories. Notice how they all play off each other. Having composition with oval eye track to allow everything to complement each other. The grody textured lamp was made from an iron fragment. The torchere is 18th century and has a wonderful polychrome finish. The sunburst mirror is from our  collection and has a dirty old mercury mirror in it. I want to encourage you to do make some antique mirror yourself and put into an old frame that you may have. I love the patina of old mercury looking mirror. Check out

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Architectural Digest AD 100

The AD 100 Designers for 2012 has come out. One of my favorite designers and clients is Bunny Williams. Here you can see our Gloria bench with the a tufted top and beautiful lucite legs. I adore lucite and love the edge that it gives this elegant room. Check out the entire home in the new AD 100 at
I love how the vistas are the rooms natural artwork.

Classic and timeless... Trompe- l'oeil painted domed!
Of  course the Eglomise Mirror and painted furniture, send me!
Love the understated elegance of the painted demilune and the lavender fabric on the chairs with the peach silk drapes. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Decorating with your collections

I simply adore these laurel wreaths! I have collected these for years and am always on the look out for them. The wreaths were given to people like a trophy would be. They were presented to someone when they reached a high level of education or success in a profession etc.. Most of my wreaths are from the 18th century and are water gilded. They have the most impact when you display them in groupings. I am excited to be offering hand made replicas,  in our new accessory line in Highpoint, NC. April Market 2012. 
These flowers simply take my breath away. My dear friend and florist, Kevin Coble, owns Le Fleur in Memphis and these are his creative genius. This room is actually my library/office. My desk was made from 18th Century pedestals. The bergere is from the AHC furniture line and is gilded in gold with a warm glaze. The drapery fabric is from F. Schumacher and is a Kelly Wearsler design. I simply fell in love with the fabric. I knew that I had to redo my library, so I painted the walls black to act as a backdrop for the drapes and all neutral linen upholstery.
I love how the acrylic cocktail table of lucite allows flowers to look as though they are just floating.
Needless to say, this is my favorite room in our  home

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dressing tables

For years, I have collected little sterling silver frames, perfume bottles and sterling hair brushes. I love elegant things, such as linen and all things sterling silver. Fresh flowers in in these estate sale found vases make my dressing area so happy.
When we were building our home in Normandy Park. I decided that I wanted a dressing table. This is the area from our mater bathroom and closet. I adore monochromatic gray rooms and wanted to use my favorite fabric, Fortuny. I covered the walls in a raw silk and found this fabulous venetian mirror in New Orleans. I decided to create a draped table and take one of our existing venetian benches in the line and paint to... match the fabric. I love taking little sterling candle sticks and electrifying them for lamps. Remember light floor and dark walls... or darker floors and lighter walls. That is what can create the most impact when you have monochromatic color themes. I also hung a very contemporary painting in this room for visual impact. I am also very careful to not stay with one period of design. It is best to mix all styles and periods for the most impact.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A fresh look in the family room.

For years, I had had an old dark console in this window, in our family room. I love the combination of acrylic and industrial. Since I am in perpetual redecorating mode. I thought I would get rid of the wood console and exchange it for this acrylic console. I love mixing old and new and lots of texture. The torcheres are 18th century and are 23kt water gilt. The urn is late 18th century- love the crusty flaky feel to it. The ottomans are some of our industrial look that I put on casters and are great for additional seating when we entertain.
The marble balls are some that I found at Don Scott's Antique show in Atlanta. I have always had a fetish for old books, especially the ones with no real binding. The wonderful old paper has so much character. I use tons of coral and shells with barnacles on them in my interiors work. They are organic and add  to the composition of this arrangement. Of course, little paintings are great in an arrangement. This one is a little french painting that is late 18th century. The dead gray colors in the painting, were just the right value for this monochromatic window decor.