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There are so many extremely talented artists in Jacksonville that it is hard to know where to start collecting.  So I have, over the years, kept my eyes open and watched my favorite artists for wonderful pieces that I love and fit in to my art budget.  (Which makes up a ridiculously large portion of my budget……but I will not change a thing!) Recently I stumbled across this little gem from Dennis Campay.  I have enjoyed his work throughout the years and it has been fun to see his popularity grow.  I have not had an opportunity to add any of his work to my collection, however, until now!

When I think of his art, street scenes come to mind, so when I stumbled across this piece I was so excited!  I love cows!! And this one especially!  Whimsically humorous, this little guy standing by a phone booth just makes me smile.  Who is he calling? What plans will they make? Where will he go?

Bessie, is that you? meet me in the pasture at 8...

Bessie, is that you? meet me in the pasture at 8…

I love art that makes you feel good, and I can say without any reservation that Campay’s paintings always do that.  They make you feel good.  They make you smile.  Sometimes, in this complicated thing called Life, that is just what the doctor ordered.

Here is a link to his website:

And should you aspire to own your very own Campay please visit my sweet friends at Stellars Gallery:



Days like today when life becomes art….

I have been an interior designer for going on 20 years now and even after all this time I am still thrilled and delighted by renovation work! Nothing gives more immediate satisfaction than taking something old and making it new again! And in my opinion, some of the most gratifying projects are Kitchens. There is such an immediate and Home-Changing transformation that takes place, it makes the process worth every second! This Kitchen was no exception!

Built in the late 60’s this kitchen had all the modern conveniences of, well, the late 60’s! It featured laminate cabinets, some “built in” appliances, a center island & fluorescent lighting, all of which, believe it or not, were very modern for their time! Somewhere along the way someone decided to upgrade the floor to a ceramic tile printed in a green marble pattern. Anyone remember the late 80’s?

So by the time my clients purchased the house and decided to start a family it was well over-due for a face lift. The first thing they did, which I feel is the smartest thing you can do when renovating, is call the right people for help. Now, I come from a long line of Do-It-Yourself-ers, so please do not misunderstand me here. I know there are many projects people take on themselves that turn out extremely well and they should feel very proud of their efforts. However if you fall into the category of Non-Do-It-Yourself-ers then calling for professional help is the only thing to do.

I was thrilled and honoured to be selected as the Interior Designer to provide the design and project-guidance for this task, and the first thing we did was to enlist the right Contractor. When planning a renovation as extensive as this, having the best team you can in place will help the project to be designed beautifully, materials selected thoughtfully, budgets and schedules established and then held-to by knowledgable, competent people. Your design/construction team will have your back!! It is our job to meet all of your needs and make sure that your money is spent wisely and in all the right places.

So I met with my clients, they gave me their wish list, I added some things I thought were important & gave them a ball park budget, they told me when they wanted to have the project completed and we went to work.

All of the planning was done ahead of time.  The design was based on how the couple likes to live and use their kitchen and also how they wanted it to look. We drew every elevation and detail. We discussed the latest in cabinetry features, incorporating special things such as spice drawer rollouts, pot drawers, a lockable knife drawer, can-shelves on the doors of the pantry for easy access, leaded glass uppers to display their china, trash and recycle rollouts, drawers fitted with adjustable pegs for dishes etc. We also discussed how we wanted to light the space. LED lighting has come such a long way that we decided to go with dimmable LED lights for the in-cabinet and under-cabinet lighting. This will not only save money on their energy bill but also practically last forever!

Another topic was countertop choices and their unique characteristics, durability and performance. Right now white kitchens are very en vogue but can present challenges when it comes to practicality. White marble is a very beautiful and classic look and a wonderful choice when designing a white kitchen. However there are concerns with marble in regards to scratching, etching and staining and therefore can sometimes be the wrong choice for the entire kitchen. Once we discussed this project in particular we determined that we would put a beautiful piece of marble on the island and go with a solid surface quartzite product for the perimeter of the kitchen. The result is not only beautiful but functional as well.

A few other major improvements worth mentioning were moving the range from in front of the window, where it was arbitrarily placed and had no vent to remove smoke and heat, to the end wall thus anchoring the kitchen and providing much needed ventilation in the form of a beautiful new custom Stainless Steel Hood with antiqued “pewter” finish.  Another clear and obvious choice was replacing the flooring. This house had beautiful pine floors throughout the first floor so tearing up the ceramic and continuing the wood was a no-brainer. Adding that layer of warmth and texture to the floor made this kitchen immediately feel as if it had been here all along. Continuing materials through rooms adds a consistency and flow to your overall design and this was no exception.

Another major feature was the ceiling. Previously it had been drywall and finished out around 8′. Given the structure of the house we were unable to raise the ceiling without creating extensive expense and instead decided instead to keep the height but make the ceiling a feature by adding bead-board with flat trim pieces to create a “coffered” look. This small move created so much charm to a plane otherwise largely forgotten! Ceilings are one place that designers and clients can have a lot of fun. Adding some architectural detailing to a ceiling is a huge impact for the buck and I would argue one of the prettiest features of this new kitchen.

Doors and windows were replaced and muntins were added to the style to give extra charm. We also replaced some of the appliances, although most were kept and reused as they were practically brand new which allowed us to spend a little more on other features. We put in new floor registers with a pretty laser cut design in satin nickel, added wall paneling and took a dinette set that had belonged to our clients grandmother and refinished it into a charming little set that works with the new color scheme and overall decor of the home.

With only minor delays which were swiftly handled by our contractor we were able to hit the mark on both the budget and schedule and gave this happy family a wonderful place to raise their children and enjoy entertaining their friends and families for years to come! Take a look and let us know. We think you will agree!!

It was a Soul-Renewing, whirl-wind “tour” through Rome with a group of very talented and wonderful people, that I cannot seem to stop gushing about. My pathetic attempts to describe that trip and what transpired are missing the mark. All I can really say is it was an experience I will never forget and has re-inspired me with my artwork and my design work.

Here is a link to a video that the Institute of Architecture & Art put together that captures snap shots of our time together.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.



Doug Eng’s ‘Message in a Bottle’

Memorial Day is one of those times that you find yourself contemplating things you otherwise might take for granted. It is a day to slow down and reflect on the country we live in and the freedoms we enjoy. Many men and women have given their lives to ensure that we might maintain these liberties. By “given their lives” I am not necessarily referring to loosing their lives, although plenty have done that as well. Rather I am referring to those people whose life in the Military takes them away from their families and this country for extended periods of time. I am truly thankful for those people who have chosen that lifestyle so that I may live the life I’ve chosen and today is for them!

The display really comes to life at night!

In true art fashion my friend & professional photographer Doug Eng was also moved to celebrate the lives of our Military. A few months ago Doug told me about an idea he had called Message in a Bottle. He was going to collect plastic bottles from anyone who wanted to donate. He asked that the donor write one word about our Military on a piece of paper and put that paper inside the bottle. He collected those bottles with inspirational words for months. Finally he had enough to create this beautiful multi panel work that is located in Main Street Park. Each panel is made up of these bottles and they are displayed side by side. At night each one is lit.

The words inside the bottle were carefully documented and with them Doug created a Word Cloud.  You can see the word cloud by visiting the display or their website:

I have to give major Kudos to Doug and his wife Dorian.  Together they have worked tirelessly to bring inspiration to a group of people who deserve more than one day a year.  Thank you Doug and Dorian!  Despite today’s weather I hope you all can venture out and see this awesome work.


I have always had a thing for globes.  For as long as I can remember I have wanted one.  That might sound odd and why I never bought one for myself is a mystery.  I love them!  They are beautiful and full of wonder.  When I am around a globe I cannot help but think about the diverse world we live in.  I look at the different countries and think about the people who live there.  I like to imagine how life would be in that place.  I love studying the relationships of different cities and geographical wonders like the Himalayas (another thing I LOVE) and the Nile.  I don’t know why but when I consider these places I usually allow my mind to go back in time to the people who discovered these areas.  The first person to drink from the Nile.  The first to summit Mt. Everest, K2.  What must that have been like?  I enjoy “traveling” the globe and thinking about what those people look like:  their hair, their skin, their eyes, their height, the size of their hands and feet, realizing we all can trace our roots to somewhere “over there” and its fascinating to me to imagine how we have migrated, changed and adapted to fit our new environments.  Plus its just cool to be able to hold the world in my hands!

I finally received my first globe this year as a gift!  I love it and study it at least once a week.  It is such a simple object but a really cool one.  If you don’t have a globe or have never considered owning one, I urge you to stop and really look at one the next time you are out and run across a shop that carries them.  Let yourself imagine the wonder of our planet and how you fit in to it.  They come big and small and any style.  The bigger the more information, but even a desk top model will do.  You might find that you love them too!

Ok, I have started to answer and changed my mind three times already. I guess, when I boil it all down, what I really love about art is that it makes me smile. I have also enjoyed following Flash Mobs over the years. So I think if it were possible to make a living this way I would want to combine these two ideas: Smiling and Flash mobs!

I would create massive works that would incorporate humor and rhetoric and a hint of a crop-circle mentality. All the pieces would be installed in a very public areas and viewers would have no idea how or when they got there, and I would document the visitors who stopped to enjoy the work. (which eventually, I think, might become another installation.)

Whenever possible I would try to add something to the work that encourages the viewer to get involved so that the piece would change and morph into something completely different from where it started. After all, isn't that what we are all doing every day?

That seems like a wonderful way to make a living and something I would love to do.

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Well new to me!  Thanks to a fellow art affectionado & BFF (who landed herself a pretty great gig as an art representative) I was introduced to a local North Florida artist: Pat Zalisko.  Her work knocked my socks off!  And her story is even better:  In her other life she had been an attorney because her parents encouraged her to go to school and get a good job (sound familiar anyone?).  One day she decided to paint and play instead and boy am I happy she did!  Check out her website to see more examples of her work and enjoy these in the meantime!



What a great chair! Tufted too!!

It is always a thrill to wander thru a museum only to discover that a painting (or several, depending on the museum) you have seen your entire life, studied in school etc. is hanging there.  I know there are people who know exactly where every famous painting is hanging or stored at all times, but I am not one of them.  I am always pleasantly surprised.  That was the case at the Chicago Art Institute a few weeks ago.

The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso during his Blue Period.

When you see a famous painting in person it is different that seeing it in books.  The paint comes alive.  There are brush strokes and texture and detail.

That was the case here too.  Looking very closely I began to make out a shape etched into the paint.

Up by the neck of the Old Guitarist and beneath this painting.

It is a head, with eyes and a nose.  Clearly a man’s head!  Beneath the paint I could see it!  And if you look very closely you will be able to see it too.

That is just so cool!  I guess even famous genius artists paint over work they don’t like.  I kind of thought that was something I did because I’m not very good.  Maybe I’m not as bad as I think?!?