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On the Radio: Jennifer Post

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Yesterday my guest was Jennifer Post of Jennifer Post Design. Her home designs are modern, sophisticated, and always stylish. We chatted briefly about what inspires her work.

What’s your absolute dream project?

I’d like to build a cantilevered three-story glass home over the Indian Ocean. I go on a biking trip once a year to have my own design time and my own quiet time. I choose a different country each time and I go by myself; I think it’s a big reason for my success. I went to Cape Town South Africa and I’ve never seen more beautiful water. The mountain comes down to the see and the coral color of the rock of South Africa and the blue ocean ...

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What always reboots your creativity?

Water.

What’s your secret design resource?

A lot of times I go to travel magazines and I just let my mind wander. I look at a lot of commercial projects; I like big open spaces and really gorgeous, designed stores. (That’s a big secret, I shouldn’t be saying that!)

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What's the last great book you read?

Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir by Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin. It was very inspirational. I have a lot of respect, I think we all do. I think Jackie O is an icon to the American Woman. I use it all the time in my design, I say, “It’s Jackie O.” She was an understated, really class act woman and my designs are understated. They're timeless.

[Ed. note: Check out Jennifer's latest book, Jennifer Post: Pure Space: Elegant Minimalism]

What’s your go-to work uniform?

Tailored. I’m kind of like the old Jil Sander. I don’t like fluffy, feminine; I don’t dress that way. I take it very seriously. It’s work.

On the Radio: Maryam Montague

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Maryam Montague, photography by Tiffany Kirchner Dixon

Maryam Montague, photography by Tiffany Kirchner Dixon

Last week Maryam Montague, humanitarian, hotel owner and Moroccan design expert called into my show. Given my recent travels in the country, is was a treat to learn more about the lush designs. Here is my extended interview with Maryam.

You seem to be a bit of a modern renaissance woman. How do you juggle all of your different passions and projects?

It’s true – I’ve a lot on my plate!  I work in international development (humanitarian aid) – a job I’ve had for over 15 years and which requires considerable travel. With my husband I also manage our boutique guest house in Marrakesh, Peacock Pavilions and have an online shop, Red Thread Souk, which sells Moroccan carpets and textiles. My blog, My Marrakesh is important to me and these days, I’ve also become enamored with Pinterest. And I can’t neglect time for my husband and two children either!

So time management is an essential part of my lifestyle! I keep a running To Do List on Teuxdeux.com, which automatically moves tasks to the next day if they are not completed. I then use the Pomodoro Technique to maximize my efficiency. The basic concept behind the Pomodoro Technique is to work in focused sprints – it has literally doubled my productivity.  I take all my notes and keep track of my all my different projects in separate notebooks on Evernote. To make sure that I keep my energy levels high, I have a personal trainer that comes to my home and puts me through my paces 2-3 times a week.

You and your husband, Chris, built and designed Peacock Pavilions. What’s been your favorite part of creating a new space and environment?

Chris is an architect, and I’m passionate about interiors. So we make a good team. It’s been exciting to design and build Peacock Pavilions from scratch. It’s a sort of modern day Kasbah in our Marrakesh olive grove. My favorite part of the process is being able to display all our goodies that we’ve collected from our travels – from textiles from Afghanistan to talismans from Yemen, to antique doors from India, and so much more. The world is endlessly fascinating to me and I love to surround myself with its beauty and objects of curiousity.

Marrakesh by Design_hi-res_FIN

Your book, Marrakesh by Design, is a complete Moroccan style guide. What advice can you give to decorators who want to infuse a bit of Morocco into their homes?

My book targets the everyday decorator in so many of us – people who just want to make their homes more interesting, meaningful and memorable; that’s so easy to do with a little Moroccan flair!  Accordingly, Marrakesh by Design is broken down into 3 sections. In section 1, there are chapters on Moroccan architecture, Moroccan features and finishings, Moroccan color and Moroccan pattern. In section 2, I discuss Moroccan design in every room in the house, with practical Bringing it Home boxes and how-to projects. In section 3 I talk about all the best Moroccan things to buy for your home and where to buy them, whether in Morocco or anywhere in the world. I feel so lucky that House Beautiful Magazine named Marrakesh by Design one of the top 6 design books of 2012, and the editors at Amazon also selected it as a Best Book in the Home and Design category.

Aside from the opportunity to travel the globe, what is most rewarding about your international humanitarian aid work?

My work keeps me grounded, gives me perspective, and helps give me a higher purpose. It’s also taken me to over 40 countries. I’ve worked on diverse projects – from prisoner rights to women’s rights. Right now my projects in Morocco and Egypt work with a wide range of civil society organizations that promote and advocate for youth, women, and the handicapped.

Your blog, My Marrakesh, is a little bit of everything that inspires you. How did you start blogging and what do you enjoy most about it?

I started blogging as a way to chronicle my adventures in my new home town, Marrakesh. I tell little tales about everything from my travels to shopping. Photography is a very important part of my blog and way to share color, pattern, and life! I’m lucky that My Marrakesh has won Best Blog in Africa for the last two years in a row. It’s been an amazing way to connect with people all over the world – I’ve made so many new friends and had so many interesting projects directed my way via the blog.

Marrakesh by Design: Decorating with all the colors, patterns, and magic of Morocco, $20, Amazon

On the Radio: Jamie Meares

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photo of Jamie via Glitter Guide

North Carolina interior decorator/blogger/business mogul Jamie Meares stopped by the show yesterday while on a trip to NYC. Meares eclectic, brightly colored blog I Suwannee led to the opening of her fabulous warehouse store Furbish. We talked about blogging and finding inspiration on Pinterest.

Catch my show every Wednesday on Sirius channel 110.

backgroundJamie's latest inspiration board for Furbish

Your blog as a very light-hearted tone – I love your recurring features such as 'What is Rowdy On?' featuring your dog Rowdy on various pieces of fabulous furniture. How did you develop your writing voice?

Well I tried to keep it really concise. I thought that that was one of the best things I had going when I started. I didn’t try to write an essay or to get into the theory of decoration or anything like that. It was ‘this is what I’m doing, this is how it looks, this is what I’m having for breakfast’ and that’s sort of how my sense of humor is – quippy and short and kind of dry. That seemed to work for me. I just kept it short and sweet.

How do you find time in your schedule to make blogging a priority?

Everything I’m doing now with my business is because of my blog so it has to be my first priority. Just recently I created an editorial schedule for it so I know what I need to be blogging about or what I need to be looking for or I have this feature coming up so I need to be taking pictures of things that Rowdy’s on. It’s like ‘Rowdy, come on over, today’s your day.’ I’ve made it a priority. It used to be just a hobby, but I’m lucky that it’s a hobby that really turned into a career so it never feels like work. It’s easy to always be doing it. I’m always looking for inspiration or something cool to take a picture of.

You have more than 2,500 pins on Pinterest. How do you use Pinterest as a tool to discover and organize?

When Pinterest was just in its heyday, I was opening up a brand new store, a huge store in a warehouse, and I needed so many ideas for it. So it literally was a way for me to catalog the things I wanted to do and what I wanted to try, from things as simple as how I was going to merchandise to how I was going to reupholster pieces of furniture to what I was going to sell.

Now it’s everything I want to try: It’s what I want to try in the store, it’s what I want to try for dinner, it’s what I want to try to wear.

I also use it with clients that we do redecorating with to compile inspiration images and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Your store, Furbish, has such an interesting mix of items, everything from jewelry to wallpaper. How do you find and source those things?

Just like with Pinterest, if I see something that I like, we’re lucky because Furbish is kind of a playground where I can try it. I have sources where I can build new pieces of furniture or I can upholster old pieces of furniture, I can get the fabric, I can have it painted, I can take something or turn it into a lamp – it’s just whatever I see somewhere else that I want to try.

I get the most inspiration from traveling. We were in Vegas last week and I’ve been in New York all this week and my hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina is just not that progressive. To see what’s cool I have to watch the Kardashians to see what they’re wearing or come here and everything, from the graffiti on the street to checking out the shops here in New York, I just see things and I take them back and tweak them and just try what I love.

What are your plans for the future?

Well, we are focusing most of our efforts on growing our online business so the  shopfurbish.com site is where we see the potential for the most growth, it’s where we can reach the most people, it’s just easy. So, I think the that’s the direction I’m going to head. I see myself more as a creative director for the company than an interior decorator or a blogger. I think all of that is going to play into keeping a vision for this company as I try to grow it.