Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Far away in the sunshine are my aspirations

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

Louisa May Alcott from Elbert Hubbard's Scrap Book: Containing the Inspired and Inspiring Selections, Gathered During a Lifetime of Discriminating Reading for His Own Use

Far away in the sunshine are my aspirations

Elbert Hubbard was, like most of us, a gatherer. He gathered up the spoken thoughts and wisdom of other men and women and this quest lead him far and wide. It was the quest he enjoyed and the thoughts of other writers we remember.

I see their beauty, I believe in them

"Deux fois plus deficile," Twice, my French instructor would say to me, language is translated, first by the author in putting words to paper, and twice by the translator who interprets the subtlety of thought into a foreign language. Context, he continues, gives meaning to the words.

Loin dans le soleil sont mes aspirations plus grand. Je ne peut pas les atteindre, mais je peux les regarder et je peut voir leur beauté, croire en eux, et essayez de suivre où ils me emportent. 

I try to follow where they lead

There is, to my instructor I reply, a third translation, for the lonely the reader seeks understanding from the words, but the path is a solitary one, and one is thankful for the direction.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Design elements

el·e·ment ˈeləmənt/ noun noun: element; plural noun: elements; noun: chemical element; plural noun: chemical elements 1. a part or aspect of something abstract, esp. one that is essential or characteristic.
online dictionary

elements are the building blocks of all things in life. Whether we speak of nature, philosophy, art, engineering, or design, we speak of the elementary principles that create something pleasing and functional.

The elements of interior design can be thought of as the things that make a home, a room, or a simple setting good or bad. these elements consist of shape, size, texture, color, and direction. How these elements are combined determines the unity of the setting. A unified space is both pleasing and functional.

Shape is the external outline of something. Shape gives an object definition and boundaries. Shape may be soft and flowing, suggesting a soothing feeling; or, it may be straight and direct, establishing stability and tranquility.

Size is the relationship of one shape to that of another, as well at to the room or setting. Size gives us a sense of proportion and value to objects.


Texture is the tactile feel to an object. It is the surface quality of a shape - rough, smooth, soft or hard, glossy or flat. Texture is important because we not only see objects with our eyes, we experience the world with our sense of touch.


Color sets the mood. Color may be light or dark, bright or subdued. Color choices may be monotone or complimentary. Whatever the color choice, the selection is critical to creating a harmonious setting.


Every room, every space has direction - horizontal, vertical, or oblique. Horizontal suggests stability and tranquility. Vertical establishes balance and formality. Obliqueness suggests movement and action. The placement of objects within a room determines the movement within that space, the airiness to the setting. We can think of direction as the planning that goes into a room to make it functional.

Life is truly miraculous, and each life, each individual truly unique. We all have our own sense of style. Discovering that style takes time and reflection. Traditions Home has interior designers ready to work with you to discover your perfect room.


For those who are interested, the room above is by Century Furniture. The Coeur de France collection is an eclectic gathering of Country French designs. Literally translated as "Heart of France," Coeur de France captures the essence of Provence and Bordeaux.

Century Furniture Coeur de France, living room

Century Furniture Bordeaux bedroom
Century Furniture Bordeaux dining room

Friday, December 6, 2013

Personality - Yellow

I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends respect me. The others can do whatever the hell they please.
John Wayne

Personality yellow

ellow, no one ever called John Wayne yellow and got away with it. As a cavalry officer in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, an academy award winning Western filmed in 1949, John Wayne was not shy about wearing a yellow scarf around his neck.

Like yellow? You may not possess all the traits of a yellow personality - if this is your favorite color - but you might find yourself somewhere in the description.

On the plus side: You are happy and fun to be with, but you already knew that because you are a take-charge individual. You are creative, but tend to have your head in the clouds where the air is clean and fresh. You are critical of yourself and others - you are a perfectionist. Why not, the sun shows every minor blemish, doesn't it? You are idealistic and impulsive. You make quick decisions, but that is a good thing. Somebody has to shoot for the stars.

Carpe diem, enjoy the day while everyone else worries. You are independent, and you are selective in choosing friends. Why not? Pick the best and enjoy it.

On the negative side:You can also be arrogant, pretentious and snobbish, but then again, why is that so bad?

Have you ever noticed how few people pick yellow as their favorite color?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Color in Design

Color matters, a lot - depending on the individual, their background, and the place the color is to be used. But remember color is subjective. Where one person sees green, another may see blue. Then again, red may be perfectly suitble in a kitchen, but not a bedroom. Individuals react differently to color for many reasons. Sometimes this is personal preference, and other times due to cultural heritage.

Highland House
Red brings forth emotions of love, passion, and enthusiasm. It is one of the strongest colors and is often the first color we see in a melange of other colors. When overused, red can be overpowering, but in the right amount, both pleasing to look at and soothing. In Chinese culture, red symbolizes good fortune and joy, and is found everywhere during the Chinese New Year and holidays.

Candace Olson
Yellow is not for the faint of heart. A cheerful color, yellow makes us joyful and happy, like watching the rising sun each morning. But, like the sun, it can be hard on the eyes and provoke too much mental activity. Use it in a sunny room and it complements the natural sunshine. The Chinese say, "Yellow generates Yin and Yang," implying that yellow is the center of everything.

Century Furniture
Green is a refreshing color with pleasing attributes. It reminds us of nature itself. It relaxes us mentally and physically, like a walk in the park. It brings forth the emotions of peace and harmony.

Highland House
Blue, at the other end of the color spectrum, soothes and calms the emotions. It provokes peace, induces relaxation, and represents loyalty.

A Traditions interior  designer would love to consult with you about your favorite color or a pleasing combination of colors.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Yellow brightens the day

Yellow is the color of gold, ripe lemons, an ear of corn, and the sun. Yellow brightens each day. Yellow signifies someone who is spontaneous, intelligent, reasonable, chatty, and quick-witted. If yellow is your favorite color, then you have a happy disposition. You are cheerful and fun.

Yes, Donovan fans, yellow is even "the color of my true love's hair in the mornin' when we rise." But, beware for yellow is also the color of jealousy.

Global View console with yellow accents
A little color goes a long way, as this image of a Global Views console shows. The yellow accents are few, but their impact is great against the silver and grey tones of the mirror and lamp, and the rich brown wood tones of the console.

An orchid is always a nice complement to any design. In Renaissance Europe, orchids were used as the main ingredient in love potions.

Yellow Orchid

As the seasons change, alternate your choice of color to suit your mood. For, even on a rainy day, colors will brighten the way.

Color on a rainy day

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Green Mountain Falls

[This is summer, so Traditions has invited guest writers to tell their summer stories.]

Green Mountain Falls, altitude 7,800 feet, is located north of Pikes Peak, and 10 miles west of Colorado Springs, off U.S. Highway 24. The town has less than 700 year-round residents, as most folks now-a-days prefer to commute, or just come for the summer.

Pikes Peak Colorado

               In the heat of the summer, why not ditch the hot windy Midwest for the cool mountain air?

               Recently, I (I being Traditions' guest writer for the summer) vacationed in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado. Everything about the trip was peaceful and gorgeous. We stayed in this beautiful old craftsman style house that has been in my friend's family since 1940. The craftsmanship in the home was detailed, yet natural. 

A sign directs us in life

                By definition, a vacation home should be smaller, more intimate and charming, not to mention the plain fact that there is less to clean. The essential features to a proper vacation home are a porch to sit on in the cool summer evenings, the couch and fireplace to relax on and around which to tell tall-tales, the bathroom to wash up, the kitchen to fry up the day’s catch of Rainbow trout, and the bedroom, of course, to lay your head down after the day’s work. 

Leather is indestructible

           I call it play. Summer and vacations are a time to get away from work, to recharge the life's internal battery with a walk in the forest, or a fishing line in the lake.

               Green Mountain Falls is tucked in a peaceful mountain valley, and its natural assets include three creeks, waterfalls, a lake, rugged hiking trails, forests, wildflowers, and wildlife. The nature we witnessed on our daily hikes was breath-taking. One day, we hiked to the top of a mountain and then over to the town reservoir. From there, we could see Pikes Peak covered in Aspen and pine in all of its glory; it was simply amazing. 

Aspen leaves rustle in the wind

               The trip got me thinking, though: How can I bring the relaxing, effortless feel of this vacation home with me? I think it comes down to one central idea: be natural in your design. The mountains are all about serenity where nature speaks softly. 

Shapes and patterns

             To give your home the feeling of a cabin retreat,  use natural colors and textures, like brown leather. It adds a woodsy, refreshing feel to your home. Adding simple but beautiful accents in different shades of green will give your home a lush, fresh-feel look. You can do this by adding pillows or throws. 

Pillow with fern and maple leaf

               The most important thing to remember is to live in that place of serenity that the mountains encourage. Find a few special pieces of artwork that show beautiful landscapes reminiscent of the mountains and add those to your home. A Meissenburg sign is an ideal way to give your home a cabin feel. Most have customizable words, indicated by the green arrows in the picture. 

Add your own place name

               In the end, it's all about making your home feel like an oasis from everyday. All you need is find your happy place and go from there. And if you bring back a woodsy pillow or a sign of the great times, you will always remember the great time.

Monday, July 22, 2013

White is the color of the brightest light. White is the solitary cloud on a summery day. White is fresh milk or pure snow. White is the color of the daisy petal that your true love picks for thee.

For those who like the color white, a fortune cookie in a Chinese restaurant might describe your personality like this - "You are well-balanced, sensible, self-assured, discreet and wise."

Rarely is white a favorite color of choice from childhood. Rather, it is an acquired taste, something chosen upon careful reflection. White means you are neat and immaculate in the way you present yourself to the world. By definition, you are confident and self-assured, relaxed in your environment, but personally fastidious when the mood strikes.

Diane Fletcher, senior designer at Traditions Home in Wichita, says "White is right for any season, the perfect canvas to add color to as the occasion requires." Don't think you can pull off an entire  room in white? In shades of ivory, cream, eggshell, pearl, beige and taupe, white is perfect the perfect color when you add texture and shape to liven the look. An ottoman in a leopard print makes an imprint in the center of the room.

Ottoman in leopard print

The shape of the white sofa is round, complementing the ottoman, or vice versa. Nail-head trim, in both small and large nails, outlines the shape of the sofa and gives definition to the seating area. It is a place of comfort and security.

White Sofa with nail-head trim

Pillows add flair and provide an opportunity to make a bold statement. You have confidence in your choices. You have impeccably high standards and expect others to adhere to them.
Pillows add flair

Perhaps in selecting white you discover that your deepest need is to create simplicity in your life. You do not need the distraction of other colors. Or perhaps it is that white permits you to adapt to the change of seasons, mood, and time. Whatever the reason, trust in your instincts and relax in a setting of intimacy and privacy.

This room in white is by Sherrill Furniture. Traditions Home, with locations in Wichita and Overland Park, has interior designers to help you with your color of choice and hundreds of fabrics to choose from.