My Decorating Style

When we moved into this house, I wanted to change everything. And I almost did. I randomly and creatively reformed this old house into an artist’s house. It’s something I just do. I Hardly ever buy newly msde stuff. No way. I must have unique homemade and thrifted stuff. And use it in a totally new way.That’s me.

mantle in the living room from my decorating style on SHALAVEE.COM

I am a little short fused when it comes to going all the way on a project. I’ll try to take shortcuts to get the results I want to see immediately. And that doesn’t always work well. But the spontaneity was always there. And I created a style. Until I stopped.

As I was happily styling something today, it occurred to me why I stopped making the effort to decorate. Because I was never going to do my stuff as perfectly as those perfecty perfect people on design shows and magazines. My stuff just isn’t professional enough. My apples to their oranges.

My kitchen from my decorating style on SHALAVEE.COM

But today, I decided to give myself the credit back. What I do is art. I live artfully. And because of that, there are no rules. And although I’d never make it as an interior designer for my sloppy short cuts, I think a lot of designers could probably use a little artist in their souls to loosen them up.

I desperately need to have the permission to play with my house again. There are so many unfinished areas that I have passed my irritated with it all phase and have moved into my “disgusted give up never going to happen hopeless” phase. I need hope again. I am trapped in my small world and need to be happier with it.

My dining room from my decorating style on SHALAVEE.COM

I know everyone enjoys seeing the house, even in its current state of horrors, so I am going to open my mind up to some possibilities and some risks. I have decided to do another house walk through soon. A real live video containing me walking and talking. Risk is good and it also gives me something to work toward. I know I didn’t come through with the baby’s room yet but this is different I promise.

Thanks for putting up with me. See you soon. Or you’ll see me soon.


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And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.


Even though I would never call myself a graphic artist, seems I keep attempting to design logos .  You’ve probably have already seen the one at the top of my Shalavee website. cropped-shalagh.png

After attempting to get the domain name of Chez La Vie, I had to settle for Shalavee (same pronunciation). Even Shalavie was taken. And that’s when I designed the little house around the letters.I am in love with it. Just as I am with all creations.

Bally Eden business card

But the very first logo I designed was for my shop, Bally Eden.  You’ll hear and see all about my shop here tomorrow. My sister is to thank for the graphic artist work to get all my logos to a happy useable place.

This last one was for the local Culinary School project for which I sat on the board. There was a need for a fresh new logo and I set myself to the task. Never realizing that logos are hard to accomplish by committee.

Here are a few of my raw sketches and the many forms this project logo took until I found the right one.

Ches Cul Cnter logo 001

font, pan, and color paletteMay I say again that I do not do graphic design on a computer. So the most frustrating part is to have to find someone to help me out in this capacity. Especially when we’re talking about a non-profit project. Eee-yikes. I had many talented hands lay themselves onto this logo. My happy ending was that the committee voted to approve the logo and we were done.


Now if I can only get it up on a sign now, I’d be so very happy to drive by and see it in front of the building being renovated to host this auspicious and necessary program.

Next up, Bally Eden is revealed. And if you can take a moment to vote for my blog by clicking once on the badge to the right in the sidebar and clicking the word vote, I’d be so overjoyed. I’m a little behind here. I am aiming for phoenix status. Rising from the ashes.

Trading Spaces

When we first moved to or house in the boonies, I discovered the Home and Garden Network on my new cable box/best friend. We were renovating the house on a “budget”, as in cheaply as possible without making any real progress that money would require. Channel 43 became my bestest friend outside of General Hospital which I maintained a relationship with far longer than is admittable here.

So HGTV housed all the tips, inspiration, and TV personalities I could handle. My favorite shows were ones where a room would be redone in half hour and included Design on a Dime andDecorating Cents. But my very favorite was the unforgettable Trading Spaces from TLC. Even before I was a was a Design Star fan, and it’s more upscale brother Bravo’s Top Design, I was devoted to Trading Spaces. It premiered 3 months after we moved. And had an impressive seven year run.

This was a reality show produced with the premise that two neighboring families would switch houses for 24 hours and completely redecorate one room in each others houses with the “help“ of a designer. It was crazy and fun. I recently found myself thinking about the show as I contemplated a gallon of Venetian plaster I have yet to use.

Venetian plaster was a favorite medium of designer Doug’s. Those poor homeowners up all night polishing, sanding, and waxing those Venetian plaster walls into the perfect sheen that Doug impressed himself with in his design. He was always right. Until that time he painted everything in the couples’ room white.

Doug and Hildy were known for designing for looks and not for comfort. Many a person walked into their “new” rooms and wondered how they’d be comfortable watching their TVs. Where was their TV anyway?

But the designers who cared about comfort, Vern and Genevieve specifically, ended up with their own shows. I loved Genevieve’s style. From papering the walls with pattern tissue pieces to drawing her own charcoal bull for artwork (did I mention the budgetary factor?), she always valued the artistic and the aesthetic and the comfort for the homeowners.

Design should be both visually pleasing and inhabitable. The most talented designers figure this out within the parameters of the homeowners tastes. And surpass their expectations. And I do so miss the drama that was Trading Spaces. I can not even watch HGTV anymore with all the house selling and buying shows.

Apartment Therapy did a pretty comprehensive retrospective and homage to the show back in 2011 that you can find at this location.




My Art “Thing”

Isn’t it funny how the most obvious thing about us isn’t obvious to us at all?  Although I thought hard about going back for a masters in English, I completely ignored my compulsion to redecorate every place I went. Only recently did I realize I would rather have gotten a degree in something design/arty.

During a play-date, my friend queried why my blog had nothing really visual going on. Seems completely ridiculous if you know me the way she knows me. She saw my beautiful shop, now five years closed, in which every room twinkled and cascaded with gorgeous displays of gifts and antiques. Closed before it got a chance, it is a twitch in my life history.

Yet I am constantly compelled to decorate windows, events, and my living space because I love to see how it will turn out. And there’s a secret mission to prove to the pragmatic that design does make a difference in daily existence.

I believe it possible to be of several creative minds at once like being verbally and visually talented at the same time. And yet I don’t think we believe this is true. I have been concentrating very hard on realizing my dream to write while excluding the incorporation of my arty talents. I don’t know how to coexist them.

On her recent visit, my sister asked why I hadn’t offered any of my art for the local arts cooperative space. I said,”All those people have a thing.” I jump mediums. I make floral arrangements or paper sculptures or metal pieces for specific events and then I’m done. When artists do a “thing”, they take one medium and continue to explore that medium without deadlines. I just don’t consider myself an artist in that way. Although I also disagree that to be considered an artist, you have to have a Fine Arts degree.

With all the time I’ve been taking to work on my writing, I miss the visual exploration a lot. I miss playing with my displays at my shop. And I agree that evidence of my talent is sorely missing online. I promise that soon I will figure out a way to begin to show off the other part of me that my friends are telling me they miss. I would however like to have this blog the way I want before I rush off to start a new one. I heard ya’ thinking. The design Shalagh awaits the coming out party.