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TBT – Revisiting Old Design Projects

July 17, 2014

It’s another Throwback Thursday so I thought I’d share one of my most successful design projects, Shadetree Inn in St. Francisville, LA. I say it’s successful because my daughter’s Dad and former husband Kenwood Kennon no longer has to practice law for a living. He tells everyone he’s in “the romance business”. It also happens to be ranked #1 with 5 stars on Trip Advisor.

It all started back in 1993, shortly after our daughter Alexandra was born, when we decided to turn the upstairs of Shadetree Antiques where Kenwood lived before we were married, into our first B&B suite, The Loft. Within the first year, it was written up in Southern Living Magazine in their article “Eden in Louisiana“.

The Loft already had Adirondack charm with its Louisiana red heart cypress walls & ceiling, so we just added a wet-bar and an outdoor stair & balcony entrance and furnished it with rustic willow furniture.

The Loft already had Adirondack-style charm with its Louisiana red heart cypress walls & ceiling, so we just added a wet-bar and an outdoor stair & balcony entrance and furnished it with rustic willow furniture.

The Loft was booked every weekend, so we decided to turn an unfinished building on the property into what is now the Gardener’s Cottage.

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The Gardener’s Cottage is nestled between a wonderful old cypress tree and the Shadetree Garden.

While we were building the Gardener’s Cottage, a friend said “you should turn the whole place into a B&B!” so with a little thought, we realized that to create another suite, all we had to do was close off a couple of doors to the shop, add a wall and wet-bar to close off part of the glassed-in front porch, and voila–The Sun Porch was born! I’m most proud to report that thanks to having a shop filled with furnishings and accessories, we were able to build, renovate, and completely furnish each suite for very little money. The Loft for $5,500, The Gardener’s Cottage, which included new construction of a living room, bathroom and porch, for $25,000 and The Sun Porch for $10,000.

ST SP Bath Web

The Sun Porch bathroom is the original shop bathroom. We just added a jacuzzi for two and had artist Nancy Buras Rothschild paint the walls to feel like you’re outdoors.

At the time, I had recently moved back down to Louisiana from Manhattan and was disillusioned with the field of interior design. I felt it was materialism at its worst (back in the eighties in NYC, mind you). After spending so much time in nature and immersing myself in new age books on color and healing, I focused my energy on creating spaces at Shadetree that would enhance their connection to nature and nurture the energy of love. After all, love is what life is all about, right? The comments in the Guest Journals were so profuse with glowing comments about how wonderful the spaces made them feel, that I began to look at being an interior designer with new eyes. I realized that it wasn’t at all about material things, it was all about the energy that you create in a space. “Magical” and “healing”, words used so often in the guests’ comments that my design career was reborn and I created a new brochure for myself with a collage of guest comments on the cover:

"Magical" and "healing" were the two words used throughout the Guest Journals.

“Magical” and “healing” were the two words used throughout the Guest Journals.

So here we are 21 years later and Shadetree not only books weekends in advance, but weekdays are also heavily booked. (To reserve, call Kenwood at 225-635-6116 or email shadetreeinn@aol.com. We do get cancellations, so follow Shadetree on Facebook for the latest on cancellations.)

I am finishing up another project that will also be available for rent here in West Feliciana Parish within a few weeks. Named “The Bridge”, I have to say, it, too, will be quite magical! I’ll post photos very soon!

In the meantime, if I can help you create some magic in your spaces, email me!

 

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Summer Sale!

June 24, 2014

I finally posted a Spring 2014 newsletter that announces that we are having a sale on all paint products through July 4th. 10% off on all paint ordered online. Simply use the code “summer” in the coupon box at checkout and it will give you the discount. Also, if you’re not a Louisiana resident, there’s no sales tax, so that’s another 8-10% in discounts!

By the way, did you know that our paints cover far more square footage than most other paint brands? Most brands only cover 300-350 square feet per gallon, but our Lifemaster eggshell covers 450-475 square feet per gallon which is only 13 cents per square foot! Considering what a difference paint makes in the overall project, it is by far the best deal around.

We also have a couple of new types of paint samples! One is an 11″x17″ color chart poster of all 100 of our stock colors, as well as a smaller 8″x11″ color chart of our 10 whites and 20 magical gems and brights. Especially helpful when putting together color palettes,  the 11″x17″ chart features 100 fail-safe colors that compliment each other flawlessly in any setting, be it an ultra modern office or a historic plantation home. These nature-inspired colors have proven themselves consistently beautiful and therapeutic no matter how they are paired or lit, so seasoned designers and amateur homemakers alike can benefit from using this simple yet broad and effective palette.

100Colors

Hand-painted 11″x17″ Color Charts feature all 100 stock colors.

 Our 8″x11″ Whites & Brights Color Charts feature 10 Ethereal Whites and 20 Magical Gems and Summer Brights, the colors featured in House Beautiful Magazine as “Colors from the Deep South”. The whites include several new ones that we recreated full spectrum formulas for of some of  Benjamin Moore’s most popular whites: “Barry’s White” is our version of “Dove White”, “Pottery White” is our version of “China White”, “Nautical White” is our version of “Maritime White” and “Designer White” is our version of “Decorator White”. Did you know that our “White Opal” is whiter than Ben Moore’s “Super White”? What makes our whites so much better? No black and seven pigments in each one makes a huge difference!

WhitesBrights

Ethereal Whites, Magical Gems & Brights

Many clients use the more saturated colors to create jewel box spaces out of closets, bookcase and cabinet interiors, powder rooms and other spaces where you want to add pops of therapeutic color. Artist Hunt Slonem, who inspired many of our brights, often uses these colors for his plantation homes which surprisingly can easily handle these more saturated colors.

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“Albania Mango” walls in the Parlor at Albania Plantation

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Harmony House Ready for Guests!

June 17, 2014

So much for good intentions! It’s been two weeks since I set the goal to blog about old design and color projects on Thursdays. Although it’s not a Thursday, I wanted to follow up on my previous post about Harmony House, the house I created the architectural design of  that’s now available for rent as a private B&B retreat (private meaning you get the whole house to yourself!). I was there visiting the new owners yesterday who were putting the finishing touches on it for their first guests due to arrive this Friday, so I snapped a few photos to share.

You enter both houses from a large screened in porch, which many say is their favorite part of the house. I call Harmony House “Mon Soleil on steroids” because we added five feet to the width and eight feet to the length, a much grander staircase and a bay window in the living room.

HH Porch

The spacious screened porch is comfortable year around with its ceiling fans and fireplace.

 The extra width increased the ceiling height in the Living Room from 20′ to 23′ and it includes a kitchen and dining area with a staircase leading to a loft bedroom with two built-in Dutch beds.

HH LR

The main living area is open onto a kitchen and has another huge fireplace that shares the same chimney as the porch fireplace.

HH Kitchen

The kitchen has all the modern conveniences and a huge island around the stove where everyone likes to gather at parties.

The Master Bedroom opens onto a spacious deck complete with hot tub and outdoor shower:

HH MBRMaster Bedroom walls, ceiling and trim are all painted “Edgewood Green”.

The downstairs Guest Bedroom has two twin-sized Dutch beds and with the added square footage, its size increased considerably from my little 7′ x 10′ guest bedroom, so that this one has a reading nook:

HH GBRWalls and ceiling are painted “Spring Green”. Trim throughout the house is “Edgewood Green”

The most spectacular part of Harmony House is the outdoor areas. I wish I could take credit for these but those kudos go to the previous owners. However, I supplied the willow furniture made by Fred Hunt of Broken Bow, Oklahoma who is now operating his own B&B (www.thepastureatwillowsranch.com). He also made 20 pieces for Michael J. Fox’s Sharon, Connecticut home, thanks to their designer Marc Charbonnet who put together that sale for me!

HH deck

This covered deck is one of several decks.

HH OutdoorThe screened porch leads to an outdoor fire pit and picnic area.

As you might have imagined, this wonderful little oasis is deep in the Louisiana woods and has a 60′  foot bridge with a deck in the middle spanning a 150 foot ravine that leads to another house which is currently being spruced up for guests. Photos and more on “Melody House” soon! For more information on Harmony and Melody House, email Keith Koppens at keithkoppens@aol.com, Vincent Chatelain at vincentchatelain@hotmail.com or Pam Randazza at pamran@bellsouth.net.

If you would like your own little sanctuary/retreat, that’s my specialty! I have taken these house plans and re-worked them for two other clients, so email me at ellen@ellenkennon.com.

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Throwback Thursday: Harmony House

May 22, 2014

For my second Throwback Thursday post, I thought I’d share a local project I’ve been helping with. Back in 1998, I was asked to design a house based on the design of my own home, but bigger. Part of my task was to come up with a plan to market and rent it out as a bed and breakfast.

As luck would have it, the local historical society’s annual Audubon Pilgrimage home tour was scheduled about the same time as the construction completion date, so we came up with the idea to turn “Harmony House” into a decorator showcase house as an added bonus to the tour. We named it “Harmony House” since several designers had to work together due to it’s open floor plan.

The large one-room living, dining, kitchen area has a staircase leading to a loft bedroom upstairs. The designer for downstairs wanted mustard walls and the designer for the loft upstairs wanted red brick walls, but there was no way we could use both colors together as there was nowhere to stop one color and start another. Personally, I thought both colors were too strong for the huge space. To compromise, we created “Terracotta Sand” which worked beautifully with both designers’ fabric choices. (This was before I had my line of Full Spectrum Paints.)

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“Terracotta Sand” walls & ceiling with “Edgewood Green” trim, which brings the outdoors in.

Since then, the house was bought by one of the B&B guests and recently sold back to the original owner who plans to rent it out again as a bed and breakfast. He hired local painter Mike Small to repaint everything, using the same colors, but this time the colors have my full spectrum formulas!

Today I got to see once again what a huge difference full spectrum makes in not only brightening up the place, but also in the way the energy shifted. I’ve had countless psychics, channelers and regular folks like you and me rave about the great energy radiating from our paints and this project is a perfect example. Dr. Doreen Virtue in her book, 21 Days to Improve Communicating with Your Angels, says one of the first things you can do to purify your home so that angels will want to come in, is to paint your walls!

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Since the beginning of Full Spectrum Paints, I have visualized and prayed that everyone who comes in contact with them is joyful and balanced.

Mike Small, who is doing a fabulous job painting, also gave me a couple of painting tips I’d like to share. He said when painting with an eggshell finish, it’s important to paint “wet on wet”, meaning to start rolling the walls while the paint from cutting in is still wet. This avoids lapping or flashing. He also said he adds a little bit of water to the paint when touching up. Having never used our products, he’s loving both the coverage and application of our products and is using all three finishes from the Diamond 350 and Lifemaster product lines. Locals, Mike can be reached via his cell: 225-245-1269.

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The former Harmony House owners used “Terracotta Sand” again in their new home shown here because not only did they like it, but it also happened to blend in perfectly with the already pickled cabinetry! Since the rest of the trim was white and nothing special, we minimized it by painting all walls & trim the same “Terracotta Sand” in an eggshell finish.

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Throwback Thursdays

May 15, 2014

I love Throwback Thursdays because I always post a photo of my daughter who has had so many different looks over the years, it’s hard to believe it’s the same person. Also, I always tag her so that it appears on her Facebook page and try and post early in the morning before she has a chance to delete it off of her page. It has become a little game we play. She did tell me that in one of her theatre classes at Loyola, that my Throwback Thursday photos of her were quite the topic of conversation with everyone, including her professor, saying how much they looked forward to seeing them.

This got me thinking that I should start recycling old color and design projects on Thursdays for my blog. This might be a good way to inspire me to post more often. So, hopefully, this will be the first of many!

I’ll start with one of my first color consultation projects. Shortly after I started my line of Full Spectrum Paints in 2001, Mercedes Whitecloud asked me to meet her at the Pitot House Museum in New Orleans because they were doing some repainting. I didn’t have nearly as many stock colors to choose from back then (now we have over 100), so what was surprising to me, was that many of my colors were actually dead ringers for the historical colors original to the circa 1799 plantation. The interior millwork was all “Edgewood Green” and three of the rooms were the equivalent of our “Wedgewood”, “Citrine” and “Ruby” which is from our Magical Gems Palette. I was floored to discover that this saturated, bright red was used back then!

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“Ruby” walls with “Edgewood Green” trim recreated from the original colors used in this bedroom. Photo from the book Creole Houses.

Today the Pitot House is home to the Louisiana Landmarks Society who saved it, moving it about two hundred feet in the mid-1960s to prevent its demolition for the construction of a school. The Landmarks Society focused its restoration during the period of 1810-19 when it was occupied by Jacques-Francois Pitot, a native of France who became the second mayor of New Orleans. Pitot previously spent time in Saint Domingue, now Haiti, hence the Creole architectural and colorful influences.

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We created our full spectrum formula for the shutters and named the color “Pitot Shutter Green”.

Although I had already created several of the colors used in the Pitot House, I was so taken with the unusual colors of the shutters and the mango-colored parlor, I later created full spectrum formulas for those colors for colorful artist Hunt Slonem, who used them at both Albania and Lakeside Plantations.

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Our version of the Pitot Parlor wall color was used in the parlor of Albania Plantation so we renamed it “Albania Mango”. “Edgewood Green” is on all millwork including the ceiling. Note how the trim is so neutral it goes with every color in the house!

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“Citrine” walls with “Edgewood Green” trim used in one of the bedrooms. Citrine is a color we use often to brighten an otherwise dark space. Works every time!

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“Wedgewood” walls with “Edgewood Green” trim used in this bedroom is probably the most subdued color in the whole house and still one of our most popular bedroom colors. To get samples of these colors, visit: Full Spectrum Paints

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What’s New?

May 8, 2014

We are still enjoying a glorious Spring like never before down here in Louisiana! For weeks, each day has been filled with blue sky days and breezy temps. I am chomping at the bit to write my Spring newsletter but am anxiously awaiting the finishing touches on two projects that I plan to feature in it. The Advocate already has first dibs on featuring one of the homes, so I must wait until after May 15th!

In the meantime, we have finally completed a little project I’ve wanted to do for years. We now have hand-painted color charts featuring paint smears of all 100 of our stock colors. Each 11″x17″ color chart shows how well each color coordinates with all of the other colors in our palette. It’s the perfect tool for putting together color palettes and before investing in larger paint samples. You can order one in our online store: Order Color Chart Here.

ImageAlthough I try to make it easy to select paint colors and put together color palettes by creating “tried and true” paint colors that work in most any environment, I am always happy to help. Just email photos to me at ellen@ellenkennon.com and we can set up a time to talk color!

 

 

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Happy Spring!

April 15, 2014

So nice to finally have some beautiful blue sky days! It’s been a while since my last post because I’ve been following my own advice from my Winter Living Well Newsletter which was to take advantage of the season to “go within“. We have had such a long winter and with all of the arctic storms we’ve all endured, being home bound has certainly had its advantages. We created six new paint colors! Ash, Dove, Smoke, Spanish Moss, Thunder Cloud and Pomegranate. All except Pomegranate are various shades of gray.

In the same newsletter, I also shared tips I’ve used to create the healing energy you feel when spending time in my little sanctuary in the woods. Besides finally being able to open our windows and breathe in some negative ions (i.e. negative ions are invisible molecules that, when we inhale them, produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of seratonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress and boost our energy), you can also use quartz crystals and Himalayan sea salt crystals for ionizing and purifying your environment.

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Although raised Episcopalian, I love all kinds of religious artifacts: Evil Eyes, Angels, Christian crosses, Buddha heads and a collection of Quan Yin statues can be found in little altars all over the house, both indoors and out.

I have little altars everywhere, and you’ll see quite a few Quan Yin figurines and statues. The first time I ever heard the name “Quan Yin”, was from a healer in Mt. Ida, Arkansas. This woman is absolutely amazing! While you lie on a massage table, she pulls negative energy that has been stored in your body from emotional traumas. As she does this, she also tells you what she “sees” which can range from visits from loved ones who have passed on, descriptions of the emotional trauma that caused the body ailment, and in my case, she also relayed advice from Quan Yin. At the time, neither the healer nor I even knew about Quan Yin, who as it turns out is the most revered Goddess of Asia. Known as the equivalent of our Mother Nature and the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, Quan Yin told me I was always giving, but it was important for me to learn how to receive because she said to receive was to “experience”. I didn’t think much about it until a week later, I received a demo CD, “The Tao of Healing” for our shop. On both the front and back covers, were images and descriptions of Quan Yin! Once I saw the spelling (there are several spellings since she is popular in both Buddhist and Taoist countries), I Googled her and discovered much more about her and realized that the beautiful three foot tall porcelain figurine in my favorite local restaurant was Quan Yin.  After telling the restaurant chef & owner, Philip Plaisance, what I had discovered about Quan Yin, he gave me the beautiful white porcelain figurine of her (in the photo above) as a house warming gift. (As it turned out, he had quite a collection of  Quan Yins but didn’t know why he was so drawn to her.) Since then, I have stumbled upon various Quan Yin statues in my travels and she now plays an important part in creating the healing energy of my home. 

Mantle at Mon Soleil

This photo taken by Anna Addison for an article in Houzz.com shows my most powerful altar which has three Quan Yin statues, in addition to Hunt Slonem’s Archangel Sandalphon painting, amethyst and clear quartz crystal clusters and a Himalayan Sea Salt crystal bowl/light.

Recently, Philip sold my favorite restaurant (The Oxbow) and gave me the wonderful porcelain Quan Yin (seen on the mantle) that I admired every time I dined there. I am so grateful for such an amazing gift!

Speaking of Hunt Slonem, his latest book, Bunnies, is now available on Amazon.com. It certainly deserves all 25 five-star ratings received as of this post.  It is a gorgeous book filled with beautiful images of Hunt’s bunny paintings and a forward by John Berendt (author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) which is a fascinating description of how Hunt paints a dozen or so bunnies every day as his warm up before creating his larger paintings. Although there are book signings all over the U.S., the book is discounted considerably on Amazon and makes a stunning Easter gift.

Hunt Slonem Bunnies

Some of Hunt Slonem’s bunny paintings featured on our “Coral” wall color that was featured in New York Magazine.

Hunt Slonem Bunny Paintings-Ogden Museum

More Slonem bunny paintings on our “Monteverde” color that was featured in the Ogden Museum Exhibit & CBS Sunday Morning.

If you’d like samples of our new colors, just email us and we’d be delighted to send them out to you: ellen@ellenkennon.com

Happy Spring, Happy Easter & Happy Passover! May all the seeds you planted this past Winter blossom into your fondest dreams!

P.S. About the healer I mentioned. I not only felt light as a feather afterwards, she was able to rid me of a pain I had in my hip for years. It has now been over a year and the pain has never returned! She is very private, but if you are interested in seeing her, email me for her contact info.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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