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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

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Q&A with Kevin

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Many of you had questions about my post on tear sheets - what they are, why I collect them, etc. Simply put, a "tear sheet" is design lingo for any image that one finds inspiring enough to tear out of a magazine - be it from an advertisement, photo shoot, etc. That is the beauty of a tear sheet - you can rip it out and keep it filed for future inspiration. Also, I must thank all of you who gave such great suggestions on how to keep them organized. I will definitely be taking a cue from your tips!

Here are some more of your questions from last week:

Q: I'm currently researching kitchen finishes and exterior paint colors and wondered if you might be able to provide some guidance.  Thank you - Ingrid

A: Hi Ingrid.  Let me suggest investigating the historical precedent of your particular type of residential architecture. For example, Colonial houses are traditionally painted in whites or bright yellows, whereas Victorians tend to break the mold with lavish, rich colors and cheerful pastels. Find paint colors that complement the architectural style.

Q: Do you have any favorite Australian designers? Also, I have mid-tone grey walls with a celadon green gourd lamp.  What colors do you suggest with this  combination?  I was thinking mustards, biscuits, and burnt oranges. -Kassie

A: I have many, many, many favorite Australian designers.  Australian Vogue Living has always been a point of inspiration for me, as well as Donna Hay.  Regarding the color combination for your home, and the details you provided, I think your instincts are right!

Q: I enjoyed your post on lightening the floor in your NY apartment.  I have a client with 40 year old pine paneling, discolored where pictures were hung - any suggestions as to getting an even shade?  We can't sand as you did with your floors... Any suggestions would be of great help.  Thanks. - Sheila

A: Hi Sheila. Unfortunately, I think it's going to be hard to get an even match for the already discolored spots on your client's wall. My first instinct was: Hang the pictures back up! This question may lead to a great future post on Flooring First Aid. Be sure to keep checking back!

Skylands Flower Arrangements

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Dahlia's floating in an export porcelain bowl.

1 Dahlia's floating in an export porcelain bowl.

These dahlias are so beautiful they could have been painted!

2 These dahlias are so beautiful they could have been painted!

Ferns and hosta - just a sampling from Martha's impressive collection.

3 Ferns and hosta - just a sampling from Martha's impressive collection.

Me in front of an outdoor garden urn that I filled with ageratum, which Martha brought inside.

4 Me in front of an outdoor garden urn that I filled with ageratum, which Martha brought inside.

I love using giant leaves for arrangements.

5 I love using giant leaves for arrangements.

One of the many types of dahlias I'm lucky enough to use, in a painted urn.

6 One of the many types of dahlias I'm lucky enough to use, in a painted urn.

More dahlias.

7 More dahlias.

Astilbe and trumpet lilies waiting to be arranged outside the door of the flower room.

8 Astilbe and trumpet lilies waiting to be arranged outside the door of the flower room.

Astilbe for the dining room.

9 Astilbe for the dining room.

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I love using faux bois concrete urns to create mini landscapes indoors.

11 I love using faux bois concrete urns to create mini landscapes indoors.

A simple and interesting centerpiece for lunch on the western terrace. I collected various leaves from the grounds and garden, then put them into small bud vases.

12 A simple and interesting centerpiece for lunch on the western terrace. I collected various leaves from the grounds and garden, then put them into small bud vases.

More mini landscapes using some of the many kinds of moss on Skylands property.

13 More mini landscapes using some of the many kinds of moss on Skylands property.

Single lily blossoms and Queen Anne's lace heads used en masse make for a striking display for a dinner table.

14 Single lily blossoms and Queen Anne's lace heads used en masse make for a striking display for a dinner table.

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As most of you have probably noticed by now, I spend most of my late summer weekends at Skylands, Martha's home in Maine. One of the many fun things for me to do up there is to create arrangements using flowers from Martha's extensive cutting garden. Here is just a sampling...

**UPDATE: New photos added this afternoon! Thanks for stopping back!**

Inspiration: Tear Sheets

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One of four plastic bins in my office full of inspiration and tear sheets.

1 One of four plastic bins in my office full of inspiration and tear sheets.

I never forget a stunning image.

2 I never forget a stunning image.

It's time to find a home for all of these tear sheets.

3 It's time to find a home for all of these tear sheets.

First things first: seperate into categories.

4 First things first: seperate into categories.

After hours of sorting, categories start to take shape.  There's plenty of more tear sheets to add to these piles: Tabletop, Home Decorators, Valentine's Day, Lighting...

5 After hours of sorting, categories start to take shape. There's plenty of more tear sheets to add to these piles: Tabletop, Home Decorators, Valentine's Day, Lighting...

As well as inspiration for Magazine, Outdoor Furniture, Chairs, and Halloween!

6 As well as inspiration for Magazine, Outdoor Furniture, Chairs, and Halloween!

Textiles and fabrics are another passion of mine.

7 Textiles and fabrics are another passion of mine.

Not a moment goes by that I'm not seeking out inspiration for decorating my apartment.

8 Not a moment goes by that I'm not seeking out inspiration for decorating my apartment.

I loved the simplicity of this dining room.

9 I loved the simplicity of this dining room.

I've got a long way to go!  But it'll be worth it in the end.

10 I've got a long way to go! But it'll be worth it in the end.

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Recently, while seeking inspiration for my apartment, I began sorting through bins full of tear sheets in my office.  Several hundreds (dare I say thousands!) of sheets later, I realized just how many resources there are for creativity. I looked at the table full of magazine tears before me and I knew one thing for certain: the amount of inspiration I've found tucked between the covers of magazines, catalogs, and books is incalculable.

Every tear sheet represents a light bulb that clicked on in my mind when I stumbled upon that particular article, photo, or advertisement. The categories of inspiration are limitless: film, eras, pop culture movements, transportation and travel, music... All of the things we come to love ultimately create our personal style, and it's important to hoard as much of that information as possible. Me? I'll keep the manufacturers of manila file folders in business for years to come in my quest to organize all of the tear sheets I've collected!

My blog, more than just a design diary, aims to remind you that inspiration and creativity can be found in anything. I often absorb from everything around me, then put my own spin on it and translate it to the medium of design. I'm interested to hear where you find inspiration and how it helps you cultivate your individual style. As I continue to organize and categorize my tear sheets, I'll be sure to share what I find!