Archive for March, 2010

Treasures Discovered Traveling

Today I’d love to share a treasure I found while traveling. I have traveled extensively throughout my life and ferociously this past year. After doing the Calfornia/Illinois shuffle, I boarded the plane again and again and again for travels to Europe, Africa, Colorado and Hawaii.

Besides amazing pictures, adventurous stories and some odd experiences, I have picked up a few fun decor pieces while traveling.

My biggest love and biggest piece to carry home on an airplane was a Camaroon headdress that I call “feathers” which I picked up in South Africa. You can’t even imagine bringing this beast home but it was so worth it. I look forward to the day when I can paint my walls and it can really pop.

My hubby hung up “feathers” the morning after I got home and I was so excited that I insisted on a photo. I had originally seen a Camaroon feather headdress in Ali Wentworth’s home when it was featured in Elle Decor

Photo Credit: Elle Decor

Okay, so my apartment is not exactly up to par with Ali Wentworh and George Stephanopoulos’ Georgetown home but we may be working on different budgets. I also spotted a Camaroon headdress in a upscale flower shop in Old Town, Chicago. However, they were selling it for $500.00! While I admired it, I knew there was no way I could justify such a buy. I tried looking on Ebay and I had no luck. Disappointed, I decided to just forget about it.

A few months later, we landed in the Johanesburg airport and I saw feathers in all these cool shops. People thought I was having a heart attack when I shrieked in excitement. Then I really made a scene when I saw the price tag. I still had to give up 1/8 of a square foot of a future apartment but it was so much cheaper then any price I’ve seen in the US and it is something that I treasure.

Photo Source: Style Collective

Photo Source: Apartment Therapy

Photo Credit: Living Etc.

Photo Source: More Ways to Waste Time

I agonized over what color to choose: red, orange, white or natural. I was in Africa for a month and I mentioned the headdress every single day. I was gung ho red but I ultimately decided to go with white because I don’t know what color my home walls will be one day so this was the most adaptable. Plus, I am a sucker for white. Finally after shopping for the best price and shape, I found one that I loved.
Photo Credit: Branc

A few trip photos I took in Capetown and South Africa wine country…

Wine Country: Franchoek, South Africa
Wine Country: Groot Constantia, South Africa

Table Mountain: Capetown, South Africa

I’ve had some wonderful vacations this past year…I know, I know I suck. You’ll be happy to know that I’m officially done with long vacations.

March 31, 2010 at 6:14 AM 2 comments

James Radin’s Beautiful Homes

Do you remember the movie, “Something’s Gotta Give”? Have you seen “It’s Complicated?” They are two of my favorite movies and I’m pretty sure it’s because I love the design of the houses in the movies. Well, the director: Nancy Meyers sure knows how to pick set designers. She used James Radin’s expertise for both of the movies as well as for her own home. Let’s peer inside Nancy Meyers’ house.

Photo Source: House Beautiful

This is the kitchen that inspired the kitchen in “Something’s Gotta Give”

In an interview with House Beautiful, James Radin expressed his style as being, “Traditional, in a light way. I like interiors to be calm, restful — that’s what underscores my work. I think that’s what people responded to in the movie. You can imagine yourself in those rooms — you want to be there. That’s a lot of the appeal, just being pretty.” That rings true with me.

Now for the movies….”Somethings Gotta Give” – Diane Keaton’s Hampton’s Home:

And here is the set for Meryl Streep’s Santa Barbara home in “It’s Complicated”

If you haven’t seen the movies, I suggest that you watch them; the movies have much more to them then pretty houses.

March 30, 2010 at 8:18 AM 6 comments

Happy Grandfather Day

Yesterday, myself and my three siblings, spouses, nieces and nephews gathered at my mom’s house for “Grandfather Day” and it was a very joyous occasion.  However, the reason for gathering was on sad terms as “Grandfather” (to my nieces and nephews, but dad to me) passed away a year ago today.  Despite the sadness, the day was very happy indeed.  We worked together in the vegetable garden and made sure to take lots of breaks to play in the backyard.  We barbecued ribs just as dad would, the pure way with salt and pepper.  We had dinner outside on a glorious California March day and drank wine from his vineyard.  We listened as mom read love letters dad had written her in 1965 when she was studying abroad in Vienna.  It was a very cheerful day for Grandfather.

Looking back on the year, I know that Dad would be extremely proud on how far we all have come.  Don and Lucy have two beautiful and very active boys.  Don is working hard at Imwalle Properties but has also slipped in some wonderful family vacations.  Miles and Brittany welcomed baby Abigail to the world this past year; they now have two joyous little girls.  Abigail means adoring father and we are all sure that Grandfather is adoring over her.  Joe and Bridget are enjoying life in Oakland; Joe is excelling at teaching, writing and playing music and Bridget has started her own children’s clothing line.  Graham and I are loving our home away from home in Chicago.  I have begun my own ETSY business and Graham has accepted a job in San Francisco for the fall.

But most importantly is Mom.  I know that Dad is most proud of his beloved wife.  Even though she misses him dearly every day, there is not a day that goes by where she doesn’t feel him with her.  A love as strong as theirs, their souls will forever be intertwined.  She continues to seize all the opportunities that life brings her way with a curious eye and astonishment for the beauty that is life.  She has travelled to Africa, Mexico, Arizona and many parts of California.  She has begun a memoir class and a photography class along with her book club, hiking club and symphony outings.  I am not only proud of her but strive to be as courageous a woman as she is.

Throughout it all, we know that dad is watching over us and sending blessings our way.  This year has been more difficult than words can express yet we remain a happy loving family feeling blessed wth all the good things that life has brought us.

This picture is from Christmas morning.  Dad’s self given nickname was Chico.

March 29, 2010 at 11:20 AM 9 comments

Happy Friday

Happy Friday Everyone,

Today is my last day in Hawaii. Tomorrow, I board a plane for California. As bummed as I am to leave the beauty of Hawaii and my friends behind, I actually am looking forward to the departure because I get to be with my family this weekend. The reason for the reunion falls on sad terms as March 29th will mark the one year of my dad’s death. While it is an incredibly sad anniversary, I am comforted by the fact that my family will be together. On Sunday, we plan to plant the vegetable garden; we used to work in the garden pretty much every Sunday growing up. My dad used to always say, “The family that works together, stays together.” He was correct about that. As begrudgingly as my brothers and I would start up the lawn mower or slump over to pick up a hose, it was these days that we now remember fondly because all six of us were there sharing in the experience.

In Hawaii, I thought of Dad many times. One particular incident was when we struck up a conversation with a fellow beach dweller. He told us that he went to Bellarmine, the high school that my father, my brothers and my husband went to. He graduated in ’61, my father in ’63 and so I asked if he knew of “Don Imwalle.” His response was “Oh yeah, Imwalle; everyone knew Imwalle.” He later asked me to ask my dad if he remembered him. I assured him that he would with a smile on my face but inside; I yearned for him to be able to answer that question. However, even though he isn’t a phone call away, I could feel him around. I could feel his presence when we watched the sun go down with a cocktail in hand, when we went on the very same beach walk that he and my mom have walked just a few years ago and when we were preparing fresh fish and veggies on the grill.

I thought I’d end this weekend with pictures of gardens since my family will be working on planting one this weekend. I hope we all have a chance to dig our hands in soil; nothing is more gratifying then a green thumb.



March 26, 2010 at 10:42 AM 3 comments

Important Shopping Update

I feel the need to pull an unpresidented Kate Collins Interiors blog move and to post twice today. Huge news, I know. 🙂 The reason being is that my friend Aimee informed me about the Land’s End Canvas line. This was Land’s End’s attempt to move away from their traditionally dowdy look and to move towards a more updated J.Crew-esque look. I love the new direction!! Take a look. I was so excited I had to post twice. And now I’m off to the beach!

(Also shown in Lonny Magazine)

And everything is affordable. Yippee!! You can find the look here.

March 25, 2010 at 2:13 PM 1 comment

Get that Signature Look

Since I was a little girl, I have shopped at L.L. Bean. My mom and I used to get matching swimsuits from there – it’s embarrassing to think how long we did that for (I refuse to reveal). As I grew older, L.L. Bean’s style and mine did not meet eye to eye. There were items that felt outdated or too “mommy.” Although, I remained a faithful shopper for their raincoats and tote bags.

My lovely sister-in-law sent me an e-mail informing me that L.L. Bean has now formed a “signature” line. To be honest, I think that some of it is just plain dull. The goal was to stay true to the L.L. Bean look which they have accomplished, while giving it a more updated look which they could have worked on. I think the company could have taken a stronger departure from their 98 year history of classic clothes; this was their chance to experiment. I believe they could afford to be more bold with their patterns, colors and hem line lengths while remaining true to the L.L. Bean look. All in all, I find the signature look a step in the right direction. I would be thrilled to have all of the items below in my closet. Take a look at the line, what do you think? What would you buy or what wouldn’t you buy?

All items available here.

March 25, 2010 at 1:44 PM 3 comments

Praying to the Porcelain God

I vividly remember first hearing the saying, “praying to the porcelain God” when I was in grade school. I heard it from one of my brother’s friends who is 8 years older then me after they had a weekend of partying. I didn’t know what it meant but it sounded really cool, especially because it couldn’t be said around parents, so I went to school the next day and I said it to my friends. Ha ha. The things you say as a kid.

These are porcelain God’s worth praying to. If a bra can be covered in diamonds, why can’t a toilet? Here are some toilets that I find hilarious. There are so many things I could say that my mom would consider bathroom talk but I’m refraining myself. I’ll leave that up to my brothers in the comment section.

Commodes by Jemel Wright:

March 24, 2010 at 11:20 AM 7 comments

Kathryn Ireland

Do you love color? How about patterns? Kathryn Ireland creates lively rooms with her genius design eye. I love her fabrics and all of the homes that she has designed; they are such fun. If you are lucky enough to live in LA, she has retails stores there. Otherwise, you can always buy online.

Take a look at her portfolio:

What do you think? Do you like her style or is it too much color and pattern for your taste?

March 23, 2010 at 11:23 AM 4 comments

Gossip in the City

Come on now, it’s not just the clothes on the hit shows, “Sex in the City” and “Gossip Girl” that we covet….it’s the decor as well! I love when they have interior shots of the characters apartments. Which “Sex in the City” apartment would you live in? I think I’m a Charlotte.

These interiors were designed by Christina Tonkin. Let’s take a look at her creations…

Here are some rooms from “Sex in the City”. Guess whose apartment each picture is, I’ll reveal the answer at the end of the day in the comments section.

Apartment A

Apartment B

Apartment C

Apartment D

Moving on to a more updated look lets go to the set of “Gossip Girl.” Whose room is whose?

Apartment E

Apartment F

Apartment G

Sorry these pictures are small. Even with the tiny size, I think it is easy to figure out whom the room belongs to. I clearly watch too much TV. Can I chalk it all up to research?

For more information on Christina Tonkin, visit her site here.

March 22, 2010 at 11:34 AM 3 comments

Happy Friday Everyone!!

Ahhhh, I made it to Hawaii. It’s so nice to be back in this glorious state! It is now 4:46 AM Friday morning Chicago time so I am going to bed.  I wanted to say a big thank you to my in-laws, Brian and Glynnis, for letting us stay at their beautiful place. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Here are some beach decor shots from Coastal Living:

March 19, 2010 at 3:48 AM 5 comments

Older Posts


Hi, welcome to my interior design blog. This is my little spot to attempt to express my design style and to show wonderful inspirations for making a home. I hope you enjoy it!

Follow me on Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Chance for a free Kate Collins Interiors' designed gift...

Join 361 other subscribers