April 16th, 2013

Dining Room Reveal

Posted by Cris

I finally finished dressing up my dining room! Of course I have tons of tweaks and changes I’d still like to make, but I feel like I can live with it now. While Dave was in Florida I painted the one wall an emerald green – by hand, with brush strokes. I knew that alone would make Dave FREAK. Then I handpainted a DeGournay inspired gold tree over that, with watered-down paint.


This is a very humble little house, all of 1100 square feet of shotgun shack simplicity. But it doesn’t have to look like a shotgun shack – it can be elevated a bit without going overboard. For the majority of the house, I went with Benjamin Moore’s OC-12 “Muslin” – it’s a very gentle off-white that blends easily with a variety of other colors and backgrounds. I swore years ago that I would never again have white walls… but now that I design in color so much for my clients, I find the absence is pleasant and uncomplicated to come home to.


I just adore the green-velvet framed sketch of a creek over the window. It came from a local antique-and-junk shop, and was love at first sight. Since there is a creek to one side of my house, it just fits. I feel home should be filled with your favorite things – living in a small house makes it really easy to let items you don’t adore so much go. Below is a lamp I found in an antique shop in Illinois. It has been with us for 11 years and been displayed prominently in almost every home. I finally bought it a nice, semi-expensive lampshade (retail at $95) and the glow is just fabulous. There is no comparison between a cheap shade and a good shade.


One last pic – with the chandelier I still need to bring down a bit…




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April 8th, 2013

TerraMae Pictures – Finally!

Posted by Cris

It’s been open for months now – since the middle of December, actually – but I only just got around to photos of TerraMae, the fabulous new restaurant in downtown Chattanooga (and it’s not fabulous just because I worked my ass off to design it and get it done in five and a half weeks ;-)  Their Grand Opening was this weekend, with a fantastic new Executive Chef: Shelly D. Cooper, and a new menu that blends traditional Appalachian foods in a new way – with fresh locally sourced ingredients. Have a peek at the dinner menu to see what I am talking about.


I worked closely with Manager David Mitchell on this project, both of us running around the clock and shy on sleep and dreaming up ideas and shooting them down at every odd hour of the day – but one of the prime things we wanted for this space was soft seating, places to just sit down and enjoy a glass and conversation. Right now there are two prime places for this, with more on the way.


The second space is in the wine room, by the fireplace.


This room was really a challenge to design in many ways – with more changes coming yet. It’s a very long, narrow space, and the chief thoroughfare for people entering the restaurant, so high traffic/high impact also. You can see the narrowness in this picture – it actually makes the room a challenge to photograph as well:


The bar:


I love the lighting. Seemed to take forever for it to arrive, as they were on backorder then lost on a boat somewhere in the Atlantic. The really amazing (and unplanned) part is how their patina is aging in the space – I swear they are picking up some of the blue from the ceiling.


The open kitchen:


Recently, I brought my family to eat here during their Easter visit. My brother had the advantage of having had a taste of the new menu the week prior, and he raved about the awesomeness of the new grilled cheese sandwich. I guess we all took his advice to heart, because when Chef Brian got the order: six grilled cheese sandwiches, all with fries, one without bacon (that would be me), he asked himself “what strange group is this?”


Best grilled cheese any of us have ever had. Hands down.

I can also vouch for the ravioli, the salads, and scallops (I’m pecetarian, so you’ll have to trust the rest of the world that the meat dishes are equally fab). The drink menu is full of  Appalachian-inspired, aptly-named mixology of the best kind. Do you choose a drink for the name, (Mockingbird? Scarlett O’Hara?) or for what’s in it?

We aren’t 100% finished – is any place, ever, 100%  finished? I have lots of tweaks and great ideas for making the space better yet -so look for more, in the months ahead. In the meantime, if you’re in, or near Chattanooga… treat yourself to one excellent dining experience at TerraMae!




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April 4th, 2013

Katharine Hepburn House

Posted by Cris

I absolutely adore Katharine Hepburn. When those silly “who would you like to have lunch with, if you could have lunch with anybody alive or dead” Facebook questions… my answer would be Katharine Hepburn or Susan B. Anthony. I love strong women.

Add in that it’s so New England, on the water… I’d have loved to have lunch at her house. The new owner created an incredibly tasteful remodel of the place – I agree with Sotheby’s: she would be pleased with the changes.



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