Here on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, we are fortunate to be surrounded by dozens of small successful family farms. Self-sustainability is not a trend in these parts, it’s a way of life. Staff at garden stores and plant nurseries I’ve visited recently (yes, on my search for the perfect pumpkins and gourds) tell me that since the start of the pandemic in late winter and early spring, their phones have been ringing off the hook. It’s been challenging to keep up with the constant flood of questions from customers suddenly interested in sowing and tending their own edible gardens.
Our soil here is full of clay, and we amend it with dark rich worm casings, compost, and manure. Our moody skies shift from sea to mountain over our valleys with fog, mist, and rain. Through fall and winter, the air smells of salt, pewter, and ore, reminding me of the colors in this Emerald Designer Color Collection palette by Sherwin Williams.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve always designed clients’ interior spaces with the outdoors in mind. Earth tones warm and soothe; they feel as familiar as the ground we walk on. Combined with marble or concrete surfaces and punctuated with one-of-a-kind upcycled hardware like this dreamy spigot I treated myself to, from Turkey, earth tones pull together any space—from rustic and rural, to funky and friendly, to urban and sophisticated.
Entering into the first week of fall, before we turn to pumpkins and all things orange and black and pumpkin spice, I’m thinking about color and how it ties in with mood and change. Whether you live in a place with four seasons or two—and with or without this global pandemic lingering on and blurring our sense of time—there is a “feeling” to the end of vacation and the start of school, or as the French call it, la rentrée.
With days already beginning to shorten here on the North Olympic Peninsula, one color palette I’m holding onto from summer are the blues, specifically, true blueberry blue and denim blue like this Maxwell Fabric, Podcast. Crisp and clean set against white, cream, or gold and mustard tones, sincere and stabilizing deeper richer blues mirror the transition away from the baby blue skies of summer. Darker blues, like 2020, are serious; and there is work to be done.
Why do we shy away from wallpaper?
I get it. I shy away from it because I don’t know how to install it....but I know I could install it if I really wanted to. I actually coach people on HOW TO install it when I specify it for my clients homes. Some of my adventurous clients install it themselves. But when it came to my own little bathroom, I hired someone to install it for me. I was afraid I would mess it up... the beauty of wall paper is that you can place it on the wall with the glue intact and if it’s not right, then lift it back off and replace it. Why does this scare me???!!!! Not sure, but I seriously want to wallpaper my whole house now.
This pretty pattern I chose for my little bathroom is one of Maxwell’s exquisite patterns, Lenora #4 from their Expressions in Fabric, wallpaper line. I love that the background color is this sort of ecru white with the detailed flowers in an inky black and subtly accented with a shimmery gold...! This was the inspiration piece that set off the decor for the whole room. More about that bathroom later.....
My advice, if you find a wallpaper you love? GO FOR IT!
Memories•things•places• objects• life
Staging of life
Memories•things•places• objects• life
All bundled up in one item.
Yesterday I helped clients make their house a home. They just downsized to a new “small” home after being in their “big” home for 40 years. Years ago I helped them buy new contemporary leather furniture for their “big” home, it wouldn’t fit in this new “small” home. Instead, the small scale 1980 sofa from the “living room” made it to this home. They now find themselves adjusting to a 2 bedroom, one office and open concept home. Adjusting to downsizing. Adjusting to the emotions of getting rid of items collected for years. Adjusting to the new flow of the house. Adjusting to adjusting.
We moved furniture, hung artwork, fluffed pillows, staged sitting areas and brought out items that have been tucked in drawers for years.
This gem was one of “dad’s toys” as a little boy. It’s cast iron! Heavy and real!
I love to ask about the artwork people have and what it represents...needlepoint hand stitched by someone’s grandma, paintings by friends or family, framed posters from travels, photos by grand kids and the occasional, “not sure why I’ve kept this”! I hear stories about photos (my favorite) black and whites, wedding photos, etc. I’m usually overcome with emotion when I hear people’s stories. And people love to share. ❤️I love people! We discussed the hand made quilt from her grandmother, it has swatches of her dress when she was a little girl, and swatches of her grandfathers ties. It’s tucked in the bottom drawer of an antique dresser. I suggested a quilt rack, we found a perfect spot for one and she’s thrilled at the thought of displaying it! It’s gorgeous, literally hand stitched and full of memories.
My heart was full when I left their home. They were thrilled, we hugged and they said “thank you Trisa, it finally feels like home”!
There's something about contributing to the beauty of your own community. But beauty has said to be "in the eye of the beholder"...
Without getting too philosophical... when we (people) have a sense of place, a sense of belonging, a reference point, then we seem to be able to understand and relate to that thing (an image, a topic, a space).
That's what the goal was for Downriggers a local Port Angeles restaurant, situated right on the waterfront. As a designer, my job is to figure out how to reach that goal, and how to translate that to a space.
I think we nailed it today as we installed a mural of an ariel image of Port Angeles at the entrance of the restaurant. You'll instantly relate to it as you look for where you are on the mural and discover the arrow that states "you are here"!
Special thanks to Pam Russell of Russellworks graphic design and photography, for the aerial shot and the graphic design of this mural.
Special thanks to Kristen and Marilyn for ALL your help and for staying up ALL night to work on this.
All new Restaurant Impossible aires Wednesday Feb. 4th 7pm and 10pm
Zoogs "Betting the House"
Thanks Diane Urbani at Peninsuladailynews for writing this article.
My experience with Restaurant Impossible-Part 1
Zoogs Barbecue, Port Hadlock, WA
The irony of life.
A million movie star faces in the mirror later, I slip on my red working boots and I'm off to volunteer on the set of Restaurant Impossible. I'm in total shock that the show will be filming in Port Hadlock at a restaurant called Zoogs Caveman Barbeque. I have a history with this building. Nearly 50 years ago my parents built and established this building as a restaurant called the Hadlock House. They owned and operated it for a few years before moving away. It has changed many hands within the past 50 years and is now Zoogs. My dad has passed away within this time but my mom recalls the seafood menu, the white table clothes and the Jazz trio that played in the bar.
I show up at noon on the set in Port Hadlock, still amazed that my sleepy little home town would ever have something this cool. I head to the design tent
and right away I'm introduce to Cheryl Torrenueva the head designer and her Canadian assistant Rachel.
There are about 10 of us volunteers at this time. We have the task of cutting vinyl and recovering dining room chair seats. I meet a gal Heather Taracka and we start working together with the other volunteers. As the day progressed, more and more tasks and huge projects were taking place and volunteers were sought after. Starting with clearing out the restaurant and storing items that will not be used in a Pod, built just for this event.
Next steps were things like tearing off the vinyl on the front of the bar and tearing out the carpet in the whole dining room. Dust is flying people are running around and then you hear, "everybody keep doing what you're doing, Robert is going to come in and yell and the cameras will be running."
Sure enough, bigger than life, you hear, "hey, clean this place up" in a British accent and in walks Chef Robert Irvine. Cameras rolling, everyone acting like this is the everyday norm. All of us volunteers trying not to act star struck. So we keep cleaning, tearing out the restaurant and preparing it for the renovation.
At this point I'm pretty much thinking, wowe, how on earth is this place going to be done in two days. There's no way. I talk with designer Cheryl and look over the floor plans and the Sketchup. She shows us the props and she tells us that they have $10,000.00 dollars to complete this remodel. I'm starting to become very intrigued.
As Heather and I run around doing as much as we can, there are a million tasks to be done. Paint the gigantic wood beams, paint all the walls, paint the window trim, the doors, behind the bar, paint enamel on the countertops and the cabinets. Faux finish the walls. Rewire for light fixtures, lay the new vinyl flooring, tear out a wall, texture and frame the ends, frame a new front entry display area and paint it, hang cool boards on walls, redo the fabric on the pool table, then clean and clean and clean and touch up paint. Everyone is doing all these things at once. It's insane and I loved it, I thrived in this type of creative chaotic environment. But what struck me was the sense of camaraderie that ran throughout the volunteers and the RI crew. Everyone was so kind to each other, people laughed, smiled, cracked hilarious jokes, polite and upbeat. In the midst of all the fast pace action and adding new volunteers hourly, the crew was patient and took time to teach people some basic skills.
50 years ago, when my parents built the Hadlock House, my dad selected stones from a local quarry and carefully placed them around the wood fireplace. He created a unique shape like an upside down V. I learned all of this from my mom the day before going on the set. I shared this information with the designer Cheryl, she smiled and said, "the whole remodel was designed around the fireplace, I hope you like what we do with it."
While all this is happening, and the old vinyl has been removed from the front bar, it is being sanded and textured and painted and ready to be faux finished. I am ready for a new job and someone hands me a paint brush and says, "can you cut in?" I say "sure" acting like a pro and trying to remember how my husband Kevin paints at home. We have a saying at home, I like to pick paint colors and he likes to paint. Then this smiley guy says "hi, I'm Mike Dale" hands me a bucket of paint and points to the beams and explains the vision. Which is to basically cut in as close as possible to the wood ceiling and not make any mistakes. Then he grabs a ladder for me and smiles. I start my new project of hanging off a ladder at 10' high cutting in with paint and trying not to get any on the wood ceiling. I look over and the crew is working on the design around the fireplace, and it hits me, tears start to well up in my eyes as I think of my dad. His attention to detail as a contractor, his vision for his restaurant 50 years ago and his love of food and people. Here I am, painting over the beams and being careful not to get paint on the wood ceiling he installed before I was born. I watch as the construction crew enhance the design of his fireplace. At this point Mike comes by to check on my painting skills and I share my story with him, he says warmly, "we'll make it into something you will be proud of", I'm thinking, I like this guy.
As the creative chaos continues and camera crews are in and out, I realize there's a lot of beams. Mike the painter realizes that I'm fast and can cut in really well and that I pay close attention to detail. He nicknames me boots, it catches on, and he starts to put me in charge of the paint colors and locations. I meet volunteers Scott Kusel and Sarah Dexter and we instantly become fast, painting friends. They start painting walls and trim. Sarah tells me later that she was a professional painter. So any crazy detail stuff I hand off to her. Next thing I know, I'm behind the bar painting and allotting paint for other people. At this point I call myself the paint cocktail server. Time is running out for the 1st night and the vinyl flooring is being installed. It's 1am and the walls are being faux finished by Joe Dunbar. I think this guy is awesome and is a great faux painter, I find out later he's a fashion, dress designer, like for really famous people. I am realizing the talents around me and I start to feel humbled.
As the night/morning progresses I see the lead construction guy Tom Bury diligently working away. I comment on this to him. He is still smiling and positive and appreciates the acknowledgement. Mike is getting ready, when everyone is gone, to paint the life size frames in a metal looking finish and tackle painting the enamel counters. That's my cue and everyone else's to end the 1st day. It's after 1am, I take my sore feet home and lay awake thinking about what just happened. The thrill, the exhaustion and the excitement. I realize I will not sleep.
It's day 2 and 10 am, I'm showered, feeling fresh. With my red boots on, I hurry back to the RI set and wonder how the heck we are going to finish today.
Chef Irvine, designer Cheryl and construction guy Tom, meet in the restaurant and film. Chef Irvine hops out of his silver Lexus and walks through the front door. With cameras rolling they discuss todays strategy. We all watch from behind the cameras.
Sometimes while they're filming we have a few minutes of down time outside of the restaurant. We discuss silly things like my red boots getting the paint color Urbane Bronze on them. The discussion turns to other projects these crews have worked on...Extreme Makeover, other RI shows and their next project in 2 days, Treehouse Masters and later this week, another RI in Renton. My ears perk up, another RI just 2 hours away, how can I swing this?
We quickly get back to work and the place is coming together. Sarah, Scott and I are painting away. My new friend Heather has teamed up with the coolest construction girl Lisa Mie Ling Fong, building the front entry design. Lisa is my hero, she has worked with Cirque de Soliel on the sets of the shows as they toured. One of a small percent of women contractors world wide.
As we continue to work, we create new friendships and learn tidbits about each others lives. Starr Salvatore, who just came from a chemo treatment, and has worked on over 10 episodes of RI, sporting a positive attitude. James Walker in from Spokane, he and his crew installed the vinyl flooring. Claire Taylor, the young darling gal from Port Townsend, who was there for me at every turn. Mike from Coogs Budget CD's in Port Angeles, he sanded and sanded and sanded the cutting boards to perfection. Will Wolverton from Seattle, he can do anything effortlessly. We all became a team we gingerly refer to as #teammisfits.
It's now about 5pm and tables are being set, napkins are being placed Chef Irvine is running around in his socks, camera crews are everywhere. We're all touching up paint, sweeping, dusting, fixing and hanging the last art pieces as dinner guests are lining up outside. And then we hear from Chef Irvine say "that's it, we're done, everyone in the design tent". We file in the tent everyone excited. Chef Robert Irvine greets us all with gratitude and tells us the story of Zoogs. And how we have all helped to restore hope and inspiration in this families lives. He thanks us and specifically acknowledges anyone who has served in the military. We cheer and then the picture frenzy begins! Photos with the whole crew!
I learn it's time for the reveal, we race to the production tent and watch wide eyed as Zoogs and his family see their new restaurant for the first time. They are blown away, overjoyed and overwhelmed, we all tear up with pride for our work and a sense hope for this family.
I race out of there to get cleaned up as my mom and I are heading back to Zoogs for dinner.
As we are sitting in the dining room in front of the newly designed beautiful fireplace with my mom and friends, I relay Chef Robert Irvines response when I shared with him my history to this restaurant, "The memory of your father will be continued here".
I think to myself, thanks dad, if it wasn't for you, I would of never had this experience.
Restaurant Impossible Part 2
Dog & Pony Ale House, Renton, WA
Our little misfit group
Inspiration has struck!
The last few months I have not been inspired like I usually am this time of year. Instead of seeking inspiration, I have been looking back, pondering where it has gone, why it is lost and how do I get it back. Stuck more in the "where has it gone" then anything. Typically this time of year I have, designed wearable art pieces, created a New Years list a mile long, made holiday gifts, written blogs, taken a million pictures of things I feel are inspirational, read magazines and have stacks of tear sheets piled up on my studio floor. But not this year, instead I keep saying to myself, "I got nuttin'", as I watch entry deadlines come and go...
But this morning, as I'm drawn outside and down the stairs to my back patio, I'm greeted by warm rays of sunshine. Delighted, I pull up a chair next to my cat BB and together we close our eyes and look to the sun. Its there I felt it, warm inspiration, ray by ray, it slowly fills me. I smile as I slowly open my eyes and see in front of me, my yard. Sunlight streams through drops that drip slowly from the dormant grape vines still recovering from last nights rain. Behind the vines my bird bath statue Naxos, peering down at rain soaked leaves, is also touched by the winter sun. The adjacent grass and hedges appear deeper green on this teaser of a Pacific Northwest December 27th morning. Wishing I had my camera, but staying put, not wanting to leave this rare moment, I look around and I see beauty everywhere. I'm beginning to feel inspiration stir inside of me, but I force myself to continue to sit and look and take it in.
Fast forward an afternoon later the wind and rain have blown in, almost as if inspiration blew in on the clouds itself. In this time I have scoured magazines, dug out my camera (a real camera) rearranged the living room, currently working on the design of a new garment and thinking about cleaning up my studio. I look out the window and between the clouds I see blue skies peeking through.
Thanks to the simple sweet rays of the winter sun, I'm feeling excited now and anticipating the new year.
Wishing you an Inspirational and Happy New Year!
Have you seen my whole website and all the beautiful photographs? The photos were all taken by my dear friend, photographer Pam Russell. Well, she recently moved away...
Whining to Pam on the phone about losing my right hand and trying to guilt her to move back, she delicately said, "well Trisa, you might have to work with other photographers again".
It's not that I don't want to work with other photographers it's just that Pam and I had a great system, we worked well together and enjoyed each other's company. You know, the kind of friend you can be sassy with. Basically I realized I have to step out of that wonderful place called the "comfort zone"! Ugh! So I did my little I don't want to dance, then sent an email to one of my favorite photographers (whom by the way has many beautiful photos of pre Pam, Trisa & Co. interior shots on his website) Eric Neurath. www.ericneurathphotography.com
Eric is so laid back and easy to work with, detailed and organized. He's also a known entity to me, so I wasn't nervous, I was actually excited to work with him again. Our photo shoot was like old times. The ebb and flow of photographer and photo stylist, we jumped right back into our groove. In two days we photographed a *Japanese inspired Masterbathroom suite and a *darling remodeled laundry room.
The next day I get a call from one of my builders, they have hired a photographer to shoot the new model homes. Oh no! Another photographer! My 1st thought was, does he work well with others! I spent months selecting paint, counters, floors, tile designs, furniture, accessories, lighting, and hours staging these homes. The photographs will represent my work, this is a big deal.
I spend the day before the photo shoot gathering props, fresh flowers for each home, books, coffee cups, candles, bags of popcorn, bowls, napkins, towels, throws and anything else I can think of! My car is full. I show up and I'm greeted with "hi, I'm Phil Tauran" in his charming French accent and a smile. Instantly I'm relaxed, I load the garage with all the props and before I can even unpack, he's already starting to shoot. Yikes, this guy is fast! All who know me, know that I'm really fast, but he's faster then me! Impossible! So I kick into high geer and start displaying props. Fresh Persimmons on the counter to contrast with the neutral contemporary gray colors. Lay fresh white tulips near the sink. I light candles, fluff pillows and toss the throw blanket on the sofa as if it were totally natural. Add books to the coffee table. Then quickly move to the other rooms. Phil looks up from his camera and says "I like your work"! Cool! We work like this from room to room, quickly! *Two homes done in 2.5 hours! It's a miracle! I think I met my speedy match. www.philtauranphotgraphy.com
This week I had the opportunity to work with two professional photographers, I am so thankful for each of their unique styles and their years of professional backgrounds.
Pam, I miss you dearly, I took your advice and I think I'll be o.k..
*The photos will be added to the website when completed and edited.
As a professional in the design and events world, sometimes I have the honor of participating and sharing my talents for events with people who are dear to me. This weekend was one of those exceptional times.
Memorial Service for my Italian Familia This was the clincher...setting up, coordinating and participating in the memorial service for my dear sweet Italian family. Being part of this day with the family as they were grieving the loss of their dad, grandpa, husband and friend was emotional. It was an honor and a privilege for me. We cried, laughed, reminisced and had moments of silence. All of this in the midst of family members helping to set up, taking direction and helping to create a beautiful space for a beautiful man! Salute, Mr. D'Angelo! You will be missed.