Fickle Fashion: Spring 2014 Fashion Trends

Pastel girlsThis has been a tough winter….it’s still snowing on March 24th, yet the calendar stays it’s Spring! As it seems everyone is either on Spring Break, or preparing to head to warmer climates, we thought we would be nice to spice things up by highlighting some of our favorite fashion trends this season. The stores were jammed this weekend as everyone attempted to lighten their wardrobes with brighter colors, florals, hot oranges, and interesting textures. As always, fashion and interior design go hand and hand, so watch for these trends to not only be on the runway, but in your living room as well!

Orange1 | 2 | 3

I tried this orange lipstick. The yellow base is not so great on my olive complexion, but, if I consult my expert Bobbi Brown make-up consultant, Jane Penny, she would tell me to try one that has a bluer base. My hubby Brian, looks great in orange. Same goes for the home, a pop of orange adds a little wow to any room. I’m ready to go buy some orange ranunculus or tulips and add some orange accents to my home.

Floral1 | 2 | 3

Florals are always part of Spring fashion, but this year, they are out in full force. Definitely a feminine and girly vibe, this trend is more sophisticated and mature this season.



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We love this trend! Fringe is on everything from stilettos to upholstery pieces. Not to mentions skirts, jackets, and bags. I don’t know if it’s a little “American Hustle” influence or #throwbackthursday images that flash across our social media but fringe is all the rage.

Embellished1 | 2 | 3

This is not brought to you by Bedazzler! Embellished accessories in fashion or interiors show a worldly culture, a handmade effect, a level of handcrafted attention to detail that shows exquisite expertise and usually expense. It’s the opposite of the sleek, cleaned up look that has been all over the place. We still love beautiful embellished textiles – always!


Pastels1 | 2 | 3

Whether it’s Spring or Easter, last years neon has softened to a pastel version that shows up in many unexpected places from sporty clothing to lighting. We think pastels will be big multi-seasonal trend this year.

Eyelet and Sheer

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And probably the biggest trend is the sheer, eyelet, caged effect. Fabric is being constructed differently, with an open weave that adds again a global effect to design. White, white, white is still big, so why not make it sheer as well?! We all crave this lightness, airiness after the harsh winter months. In our closets and in our homes. My favorite interpretation of this trend is the caged shoe. And also gorgeous window panels that are a textured sheer. Who needs all that heavy drapery?

So let’s lighten and brighten for the season and welcome Spring!

Thanks to Sadie Kuncel, our resident fashionista, for scoping out these hot spring fashions! 

Opening Image Source: Le Catch


Cat and Shamrock

It’s not the luck of the Irish we need. It’s a greener lifestyle. We are constantly bombarded with options for greener living today. The color green has been popular in Design for many years now, influenced by the movement toward a healthier way of life, a purer existence, a cleaner way of living.  It can all be very confusing, but we do the best we can!

Green design has exploded over the years with products with low VOC paints and wallcoverings, energy saving appliances and lighting, and zero carbon footprint carpets. There’s up-cycled, recycled, and repurposed as design options. Many great sustainable and beautiful products with more and more options exist. It’s almost becoming a requirement to be LEED certified as a Designer in some markets. I continually tell clients that these products are usually more than the less environmentally friendly products. It’s more work, and more expensive to bring these exciting products to market, but worth it in the end.

LR and Fashion1 | 2

Emerald Green was all the rage last year, as the Pantone color of the year, (see “Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City -Part I“). We were flooded with images of green used in new and exciting ways in the home. Where green was always considered taboo in the kitchen, associated with rotting food, it’s now a fresh alternative and linked to the healthiest food options with power packing kale, spinach, and other “farm to table” selections that are so good for us.

Green and LR1 | 2

Green is associated with nature and the color of Spring which we all so crave at this point in the year, When we use green inside, it brings the outdoors in, and we all love and need some organic qualities in our homes.  Green brings us piece of mind, peace in our hearts (the color of the heart chakra), and a quite place to regroup and find our happy (and lucky!) place in our homes.

For more thoughts on the color green, see blog posts: Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City -Part IFeeling Lucky?…Don’t Take a Chance on Design, Emerald Green Part II: Celebrating Earth Day and Green Design and my Pinterest Boards Color of the Year-Green, and Greener Living


Opening Image Source: 1 | 2



Restyling Scandinavian Design: Add Color!


So with all the Olympic Hockey these past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the power Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway. While these countries certainly pack some skills on the ice, they also pack some stylish design trends.


Creative Living

We’ve all been in love with this look for awhile. From stark white everything, to minimalist furnishings, and black and white decors void of color, we have been loving this look. The idea is that functionalism meets modernism. Materials include form-pressed woods, plastics, aluminum and steel.  And it’s not just the likes of IKEA driving this trend. While there certainly is a lot there to choose from, clients are asking for very complex version of this style in their homes.  

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 4.50.32 PM1 | 2

But let’s evolve this. For one, those Nordic natives live in 6 months of darkness, they like color just like the rest of us to brighten things up. But I think the key is to present a white base, and stay focused on function.

So while we start with a black and white ground, warmth needs to be added in to keep the space warm, and invited. And while these furnishings may be simple, they are definitely full of details and style. Warm elements can be added back with warm colors such as oranges, aubergine, and soft pastels. Organic wood tones are important too, and can be everything from bleached whites, to veneered pecans and walnuts.

Flowers/Bedroom/LR1 | 2 |3

Lighting is definitely important too to brighten up those dark nights. While Scandinavian design has lots of super cool minimalist fixtures, don’t be fooled, it has the latest technology with white hot LEDs that are all energy efficient.

Office/Bedroom1 | 2

This trend won’t be going away, so let’s brighten up our design, add some warmth to this minimalist approach, and add some color for some Scandi style!



RED: Go Red For Women & Another Year

hear and wear red

I’m seeing Red. Because it’s February, and my favorite month. February is American Heart Health Month. On February 7th, it’s “Wear Red Day” to support the organization Go Red For Women and Heart Health Awareness. Let’s all wear a bit of red to support this important cause! More women die of heart disease than any other cause. And truly, I could have been one of them.

red pants and hearts1 | 2

Tomorrow February 6th is my birthday, I turn 45! Good! How appropriate that it’s heart health month! Because I have a newly repaired “bionic” heart. Yes, I am old (ish). But I get to see another year. Another year with my kids and family, of health and happiness, of drama and woes. It’s ALL GOOD, because I am here. Yes I dread the wrinkles, and the grey hair, and someone calling me “middle age” (and they did), because I guess I am. It’s ALL GOOD because I am here.

Fashion collage

 Kaftan | Bra | Heels | Necklace | Sunglasses | Bag

On February 21st, I will be honored as a Heart Survivor at the annual Go Red For Women Luncheon and Expo. 1100 women, heavy corporate sponsors. I get to tell my story to the masses about how everything came to be. I can’t believe the company I am keeping. My story sounds “boring” compared to some of the other ladies experiences. But the American Heart Association assures me it is quite moving and important, and people will want to listen. Again, I am here to tell it, with a new and improved heart, when the situation could have been much different. I am truly honored and excited for this experience.

paris and lips1 | 2

Did you know that the American Heart Association funds over 9 million dollars in heart health research in CLE alone? Wow, go Cleveland! What a great place to live when you need heart care.

So I Go Red, for doctor’s to find cures for early heart disease; for my kids to understand the causes and protect their futures; so every woman understands their body and takes pause to listen.

Celine and rug1 | 2

Perfectly, Red is the color of Dawn Cook Design, so you all know I love this color. It’s fiery, and bold, and dramatic, and strong, and I guess it sounds a lot like someone you all know.

So Go Red and enjoy some of these lovely Red images that inspire and move me as we celebrate February!

(See….”Be Still my Beating Heart” for more inspiration)

Cheers, Dawn

Opening Image Sources: 1st image-Five Alive Friday 2nd Image – Atlantic-Pacific



Goodbye Emerald City, Hello Plum Paradise

Color of the year doors Yesterday, We took the kids to see the Broadway Musical Wicked as a Holiday treat. What a wonderful production that we all enjoyed thoroughly. We had really good seats, so the scenes in the Emerald City were flooded with gorgeous shades of Emerald Green, Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year. You don’t have to be in Oz to appreciate this color, (see “Follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City Part I“).

Color of the yearImage Source: Inthralld

As we close out the year and turn to 2014, Pantone and Sherwin-Williams have announced their colors of the year for next year, variations on a shade of Plum. While Sherwin-Williams Exclusive Plum is grey’ed out and more of a neutral, Pantone’s Radiant Orchid is a bright, tropical almost pink version of the hue. I asked Rebecca Luckhardt, of Sherwin-Williams, to compare and contrast the two selections. Here are her thoughts, expertly crafted in a “Naughty versus Nice” list for Santa. Which one are you?

Naughty vs Nice – 2014 Colors of the Year

PantoneSource: Simone Design Blog

When two of the biggest color forecaster’s announced their 2014 Color of the Year, both as shades of purple, I couldn’t help but wonder if they planned this creatively or competitively.  Sherwin-Williams’ Exclusive Plum, SW 6263 is grayed violet in a deeper shade with a mysterious quality to transform its self into a neutral and adapt to a variety of sophisticated color palettes. Pantone’s Radiant Orchid, 18-3224, is a charming and perky purple radiating tones of fuchsia, purple, and pink. Described as ‘creative and embracing’ it energizes a space with a jolt.

Sherwin WilliamsDesigned by: Anne Hepfer

When it came time to investigate design applications with these colors, a differential quickly rose to the surface. While both are shades of purple, they can evoke two different moods entirely.  I couldn’t help but compare them as one would evaluate a child’s behavior as Naughty or Nice during the holiday season.To me, Exclusive Plum is a bit “naughty,” dark, and suspicious. Even the name itself implies superiority and begs you to give it attention.  The underlying tones of gray make this color adaptable to existing furnishings and easy to incorporate but give it that suspicious quality of having shifty and layered neutrals.

Sherwin Williams Color of the year1 | 2 | 3

I’d use this color in interiors where I’d want to create a gender neutral space like a study or home office since the subtle undertone of gray brings a balance of masculinity. Suggested parings include bronzes, and pewters, leathers and textures. Another application may be to use it in a place of quietude and respite such as your bedroom that can become more refined or elegant in this deeper shade. When partnered with whites, creams, and deeper plums, you can build layers that add romance and intrigue.Pantone’s more vivid hue energizes spaces and adds a dynamic dimension or pop of color.  This Radiant Orchid makes the “nice” list when cleanly partnered with black and white; it becomes uplifting when partnered with olive and hunter greens, and spunky with teals and turquoise. Psychologically known as a creative color, purples are invigorating and can stimulation innovation. This shade of Radiant Orchid provides that cheerful and motivational boost.

Pantones Color of the year1 | 2 | 3

I’d use this color in a communal space that you’d want to evoke and encourage conversation. An accent in your kitchen that people would be sure to circulate amongst, the high-energy family room where the kids hang out using their high-tech video games, tablets, and gadgets.Explore these applications and considerations on my pinterest board; “Color of the Year: Naughty vs. Nice” and perhaps you’ll see as I did, that we might even be able to compromise on a truce and partner these two colors together. Opening Image Sources: Right-M{pressions Left- Mary Antenucci Interiors-Pintrest  


Mad for Plaid

Plaid skirt

As we head full steam ahead into the Holiday Season, it makes sense to cozy up with some Plaid décor. One of my favorite holiday movies is “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Judd Law. Gotta love everything that has to do with romantic English films. With that said….the countdown to Downton Abbey season premiere Jan. 5th is on the radar as well! We are so ready!

CastleInveraray Castle

A designer friend of mine, Sophia Burkart, designs custom luxurious robes and lounge wear. She also happens to be British. We had a chat about her friend’s home project in England. Here is her commentary, “Turkeys & Hummingbirds“.

Skirt and pillows1|2

After reading her post, and after considering multiple photos for English décor, here’s my conclusion: No one does plaid better than Burberry and Ralph Lauren, and our friends across the pond. Plaids and tartans evoke a certain level of warmth, coziness, style, and comfort. So of course they make sense for hearth and family rooms during the holiday season.

Burberry and Ralph Lauren1|2

Everyone is Mad for Plaid this season in fashion, accessories, and the home. So go for it. A little goes a long way. All of our favorite fabric Designers, Romo (a British company mind you), Brentano, and the like have come out with menswear plaids that well, we just love. I keep saying I am going to make a blanket out of them…for my clients (read…myself!).

Plaid coat and skirt1|2

As Sophia says…”An Englishman’s Home is His Castle”, so put your luxurious robe on, grab a fancy coffee or hot tea, and cosy up in some plaid and give yourself a break this Holiday season, you will be so glad instead of mad!

English HomePin Lovely


Opening Image Photography: Chris Nicholls


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Entertaining By Design II: Setting the Perfect Table

Dawn Cook-Wide Shot

The Entertaining By Design Event at the Ohio Design Centre was a huge success! We were in very good company with designs by 30 different Designers all putting their unique spin on setting the perfect table. With very different themes, we all pulled out the stops and excelled at what we do best: being creative! I was so impressed with the inspiring and original energy my fellow Designers represented.

Dawn Cook Design was honored to win the Best Over the Top Award for our Bohemian Chic wedding design and our Intimate Wedding Affair theme in the Baker Showroom. Three awards were presented for Best of Show, Best Over the Top, and Best Execution of a Theme.  Three different tables won Peoples Choice awards. With over 800 people attending the 2-day event, the turn out of friends, clients, and the public was spectacular. We were honored so many of you joined us for this terrific event.

Dawn Cook-Detail shotTuxedo napkins with vintage hotel keys and rosemary boutonniere inspired by Alexander McQueen and a Birdcage centerpiece accented with floral, Dawn Cook Design

Monarch Interiors

Sizzling Havana Nights in the Jacque Garcia room at Baker, Monarch Interiors

Creating the perfect table, requires some thought. I noticed many of the Designers worked off of basic Design fundamentals, and then added their special zing to their table scape. Here are the three most common trends among all the creations. Follow these principles and you are on your way to Holiday Entertaining.

1) Be Unique: Pick a different Color Palette or Item to Highlight 

I chose plum, navy, blush, coral, and chocolate as my pallete for the wedding. Everyone commented on how “warm and fallish” the design looked. We mixed in moody lighting, lots of was a big hit. Those are not necessarily “fall colors”, but it worked well with the Design. Fellow Designer, Jennifer Monachino, of Monarch Interiors had to work around a shocking yellow room for her Havana Nights theme. Electrified candles added the necessary glow to reflect this color amist the man’s world of cigars, vintage leather luggage, zebra print rug, and barware, pulling it all together with a touch a moustache panache.

Weave Ideas-Wide Shot

 Polynesian dining at this organic feast with woven linens, rugs, and asian elegance, Weave Ideas

2) Represent Organic: Materials Matter

Sandy Varelmann of Weave Ideas, won Best Interpretation of a Theme based on her authentic table from Bali from  the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”. With the bamboo structure, natural linen floor pillows and placemats, gauzy panels, the natural materials pulled off this theme perfectly. Reflections had a gorgeously decorated Enchanted Forest theme. Their organic moss, wood chargers, and even water ball hanging accents, made you feel like you were in the middle of a Mid-Summer’s Night Eve. This table appealed to the masses, winning the Peoples Choice Award. Natural materials will add the authenticity to your table, the natural texture adds design interest.

Reflections-Detail Shots

 Evening in the Enchanted Forest, Reflections Interiors


Barrie Spang

Bubbles and La Boheme, Barrie Spang, Lee Meier Interiors 

Have a Focus: What’s your Wow?

Whether it’s the centerpiece, the buffet, or the artwork behind the table, have something truly be the masterpiece of your table design. My table had fabric ribbons dressing up a traditional chandelier and a birdcage as the centerpiece. Barrie Spang, of Lee Meier Interiors, had a gorgeous original artwork mural behind her buffet, and then place settings with hand painted mini canvases of each of the guests at her La Boehme table. And sometimes it can be understated and still be a wow. Her attention to detail won her the Best of Show Award.

Overall, great ideas were shared by all, so try something a little different with your table design this Holiday Season. Learn from the experts, you will be gathering in style!


Opening and 2nd Image Photography: Linda Smith of Blulens


Entertaining By Design: An Intimate Wedding Affair


 No Sophie has not magically come of age for a wedding. But I have had fun getting to know all the hot trends in Wedding décor the last few months. I’m planning a boho chic wedding in the Baker Showroom. The Ohio Design Centre is hosting a huge table event this Friday, November 8th and Saturday, November 9th.  30 Designers are decorating tables to fantastic themes such as “Eat, Prey, Love” and “Carnivale”. Linda is hostessing a Midcentury Madness party in the Bello Design showroom. You must come visit us, it is going to be fun.

Flower ChandelierImage Source: Paper and Stitch

The Design Centre approached us back in January to begin preparing for this event. The bespoke wedding theme really spoke to me. Weddings are so personalized these days. If you look at the top wedding blogs, ruffledblog, stylemepretty, and 100layercake, everything is so personalized, unique,…its not about how grande the décor is, its about how eclectic and handcrafted the design is…very intimate. Very individualized.

Party favorsDesigned by: Christine Wisnieski

Quickly realizing I was out of my design element, I partnered with Ann King, of Borrow Rentals. She stylizes wedding with vintage finds, antique furnishing, and her own sense of style. I had a look in mind; warm fall colors, plums, navy, ochre, charcoal, and gold, with vintage table décor and settings. My table is set on Laura Kirar furnishings in the Baker Showroom. My theme works perfectly with her artistic sense of style.

“I’m attracted to the juxtaposition of raw earth and manmade splendor, it implies a history, a kind of interrupted formality that is casual luxury in its truest sense.” – Laura Kirar.

EBD-Color schemeImage Source: 100 Layer Cake

I have excellent vendor partners for this event, Hummingbird Bakery, Miranda’s Vintage Bridal and Alterations, and Molly Taylor Floral Design. If your planning a special event or want to try something new this holiday party season, these ladies are where it’s at in CLE these days.

Wedding CakeImage Source: Style Unveiled  Photography: Jamilah Photography

It’s been so fun being a part of this event this year, and thanks to the Baker Showroom for choosing me to participate!

FlowersImage Source: Studio Blush

My intimate Wedding Affair, is boho chic, elegant style that’s so unique its classic. Just what you would expect out of me! See you there!

AMDesigner: Alexander McQueen

For a special treat, visit between 12-2pm on Saturday for sounds from a string quartet from the Cleveland Institute of Music tutored by Annie Fullard, of the Cavani String Quartet.  It is a wedding after all!


Opening Image Source:Sbdigs  Photography: Jose Villa


Trick or Treat? Gothic Glamour meets Rocker Chic

Black LR

Ever want to be a Rock Star? Well get your rocker on with some of the new design styles that are trending. Remember last week how I talked about “dark and moody” (see “Highpoint Market 2013 Update: Show Us Your Dark Side“) Well that ties perfectly with another design trend we saw at market, the whole naughty rock star meets gothic gal mash-up. Key elements: skulls, thorns and horns, hammered metals, studs, leather and of course black. But this is not so manly, its more…messy. Just think “a hot mess” of design. Now this design trend may be more for the Millennial Generation, and you are probably thinking more Soho than Suburbia, but who doesn’t like a little..bad to the bone?

Studs and skull1 | 2

Urban chic, yet gothic, black can take center stage in any room, on a rug, on a wall, on a bed. Mix in a few crosses, and gothic elements, add some moody lighting and I can see a super cool den, lounge, or bedroom. Favorite black wall colors are Farrow and Ball Railings, Off-Black, and Pitch Black. We just painted a friend’s powder room Sherwin-Williams Peppercorn. It’s fantastic.


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Those of you who know me, know that I would like this trend! I still remember the black handkerchief dress I wore to sorority rush at Miami University freshman year, when all the other girls wore Lilly Pulitzer. But now the fashion world has grasped this trend and named it “rocker chic”: leather jackets with studs, tissue-t-shirts and flowing skirts with killer boots. Why can’t you do that in your living room? Take the gorgeous lighting Currey and Company introduced at market by celebrity jewelry designer Shannon Koszyk. I have always said, “lighting is the jewelry in the room”, well Mick Jagger wears chains crafted by her, you can have her gorgeous Antiquity Chandelier be the centerpiece of your living room, all sparkly and wild? Mix in some leather with great nail heads, some hide on hair accessories, and contrast it all with some stark white. This look is cleaner than you would think, more minimalist.

Skull, horns, chandelier1 | 2 | 3

Religious elements seem to be important – maybe its all that reference to the dead, or the walking dead in some cases, crosses, crowns of thorns…it’s the whole gothic, mid-evil reference. Linda and I found a terrific place in Rocky River called Devout Home – very stylish home accessories that are handmade with a religious, spiritual slant.

skull bookshelf and LR1 | 2

And the skulls… skulls were everywhere on wallcoverings, fabrics, and accessories, even lined up alone, mixed with antique books. This may be a little morbid for you, but anatomical drawings and elements have been on trend the last few years. A fascination with body parts per sea.

boho rocker and skull wallpaper1 | 2

So dark and moody, or gothic and glamorous, have a happy and safe Halloween!


Image Source: Gardenista

Opening Image Source: Remodelista


White-Washed World: Making a Tudor Modern

LR-Before and after

In the Spring, I was approached by  a lovely couple that had purchased a historic home on Fairmount Boulevard in Cleveland Heights. Grand and stately, this corner Tudor was designed by well know industrial architects, Walker & Weeks. Designing iconic buildings such as Severance Hall and the Federal Reserve Building, Walker-Weeks is know for much of the architecture designed during Cleveland’s industrial revolution. Therefore, this home is special, loaded with tons of architecture detail – layers of crown molding, gorgeous stone and granite, structured gardens, and wrought iron moldings.

LR- Close up shot

It’s all in the details: tufting and a mirrored try, makes a cocktail ottoman functional

Pillowstwo sided color blocked pillows, makes a solid fabric special

My clients are young and appreciate the cleaner aesthetic of today. More modern, cleaner lines is what they requested. They said –“ the heavy wooden details could be a deal breaker to buying the house.” And my original reaction was “don’t paint it! “ But then I thought about it and what they wanted. Part of this job is listening, nudging out of a comfort zone, and then negotiating to a design that works for everyone. I need to stay true to my design principles, the structure of the home, but most importantly deliver what the client wants.

I researched, and thought. “Why can’t we paint it? If we do it right, it will look stunning!” Then one design day, I was speaking to the very British owners of Romo Fabrics and Wallcoverings (US Headquarters located right in Chagrin Falls). When I was discussing my inspiration with them, they said “We paint 900 year old moldings white, don’t worry about it!”

Wood work shot

local accessories from 78th Street Studio artists: Susie Fraiser and Michael Greenwald

So we chose a gorgeous color – Farrow and Ball Great White – which has a pink undertone. Perfect for entertaining spaces. Farrow and Ball also is a British company. The most beautiful paint colors hands down. Also, such high quality paint, it coats in one layer what other paint would take 2-3 to get close too. It’s more expensive, but worth it. You don’t want those wood grains popping through when you are painting woodwork white.

Also, a more modern look, painting the ceiling and moldings the same color (see Third Eye Blind- The Neglected Ceiling ). Just change the sheen to a glossier effect on the trim, it will pop the details, but unify the space.

DR- Close up shot

custom made window panels frame the dramatic gardens with Romo Fabrics

With dark ebony stained floors and white walls, ceiling and trim, the Living Room and Dining Room turned out fabulous. Comfortable but with functional furnishings for young children to jump on, and a more modern aesthetic – exactly what the client asked for. I have no doubt they will enjoy the spaces for many more years to come.

DR- Before and after

A word of caution…I still tell other clients – “No, don’t paint!” It truly depends on the space, the quality of wood, the design goals, and the client. So think twice before wielding the paintbrush!

This design installation will be featured in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in October, and on Stay tuned! 

Photography by: Linda Smith of Blulens Design

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