Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Happy 2014

Cook christmas 2013

The Cook Family at the Gorge of Doan Brook in Shaker Heights, Ohio 2013

As we look forward to next year, we are excited to start the year off with a plethora of wonderful clients, tons of momentum from a successful 2013, and lots of great ideas to grow and expand the Blog.

All of our clients this year gave us great joy from artists to art collectors, whether big or small projects,  we loved clients willing to take a risk and knock down a wall or just paint the fireplace a cool color. We got the pleasure to design master suites, teenager rooms, glamour kitchens, and swanky living spaces. Thank you for inviting us into your homes.

It’s a joy to do this job and always fun in the process. Even though our clients entrust their money in our vision, we always want the design to reflect back to the Homeowners heart and soul.

Gingerbread houses

Gingerbread Houses, Mom and Daughter Holiday Event, 2013

A few days ago, Sophie and I made gingerbread houses with friends, and it was great fun and right up my alley to “build a house made of cookies”. So whether it’s a house made of brick and mortar, house of cards, or house of candy, this is my passion and I enjoy sharing it with each and every one of you.

Cheers to you and yours in 2014. May your days be Beautiful and Bright in 2014!

Dawn, Linda, and Sadie


Opening Image Photography: Linda Smith of Blulens


Dazzling Dahlias…. Autumn’s Delight

 dahlias fieldBrian and I love to travel to the Pacific Northwest. We have friends in Portland and Seattle. We always try to go in the fall because the weather is gorgeous, sunny, and with perfect, crisp blue skies.

Ten years ago, while visiting the Pike Place Market in Seattle, I was blown away by the huge bouquets of Dahlias in amazing colors for give-away prices. Later that trip, we visited the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. As a garden lover, I will tell you, that is one place – You. Must. Visit. Nothing can compare. The gardens are breathtaking, but the display of dinner plate sized dahlias, bed after bed, in saturated and vibrant color was stunning. Something about the climate, makes these flowers grow there like they belong in a Jurassic Park set.

Dawn in PortlandNorthwest flower market, Portland, Oregon  Fall 2010

DahliasImage Source: Deb Reny

Dahlias are actually rhizomes that you plant close to the surface in the Spring, and they grow tall and with stalks thick as a trees by August. In this planting zone, they need to be stacked and require a little tender loving care. But once they start blooming, they keep producing until it frosts later in October, the more you cut them, the more they produce. They need their own home in the garden, and I usually dig them up every Fall,  let them winter overnight in the garage and replant them the following Spring. Gorgeous!

Dahila types/plum dahlias1|2

In colors of deep plum, bright pink, persimmon, and glowing blush, how can you not appreciate their dazzling display? So while it’s too late to plant them this Fall, pick some up (I just bought some gorgeous ones at Heinens!), and enjoy the beauty of Fall. And mark you calendar alert to plant some in your garden next May, it’s well worth it!

Coopers 1st halloweenMy son Cooper’s first halloween in the dahlia garden, Fall 2003

Bundle of dahlias/tablescape


 Opening Image Source: Portland Monthly




Pattern Play #4: Sweet As Honey: Hexagons


I know I have blogged about patterns a lot lately, I can’t help it, the geometric pattern play is hot for the moment in design. Right now, it’s all about the hexagon, or honeycomb pattern. After the lavender farm visit see “Lavender Dream: Our Visit to the Farm”, and talking to some of my beekeeper friends, the sweetness of the honeycomb pattern is more complex and yet engaging than ever before. Represented with six even sides, the hexagon is a symbol for efficiency and community.


As traditional as can be, many of our classic 1920’s style homes in the neighborhood have hexagon tile patterns in halls and bathrooms. Yet now, the shape is rendered on carpets, rugs, and fabric patterns. Every room needs some geometry, and a geometric pattern is evident in the hexagon. Recently, I shopped for a hexagon shaped table lamp for my client, the hexagon was just the shape we needed. We didn’t want any sharp corners and we needed to get around it easily, but have some visual interest.

Table and Stair runner1|2

Traditional, Classic, or Modern, everyone can make this shape work in their design. Take a little tip from the bees, it will be sweet as honey!

Hex floor in kitchenImage Source: Flourish Design + Style

To learn more about beekeeping, read this quirky post from Gardenista: The Beekeeper Diaries: Rob Keller Does Not Get Stung (Today)


Opening Image Source: Gardenista

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Sunflowers and bikers

I have always loved everything French. French décor, French wine, French living. This week I was with a road biking-obsessed friend who spent some time explaining the Tour de France to me. While it all looked so intriguing and athletic, I was gripped by the gorgeous French countryside, scenery, and choreography of the event. (For you biker aficionados we were watching the team time trials in Nice). Oh and of course, the yellow jersey…while that color and role has been tainted by all the rhetoric around the famous Lance, it is still so powerful and quite an honor to obtain.

French Shot 3Image Source: Cote de Texas

I have a yellow living room. With some country french décor – that I still like – a lot. But I always think of how I can take it to the next level of design and modernize the color and décor a bit. So Linda and I played around with it and omphed it up a bit this week. Hung some modern art, changed some of the accessories.

Great Room

Designed by: PPDS Design + Interiors

But the ideal would be to execute one of these amazing yellow designs! Still a little fussy French, still a little mellow yellow. Mixed with stark white, shades of grey, charcoal or black. More modern lines would change the flavor significantly. Someday!

Chair in DRDesigned by: Abode Interiors

What makes French Design so appealing?…the intrigue of Versaille and the Hall of Mirrors, the classic Fauteuil chair, the Rococo silks and damasks that remind us of Marie Antoinette. (An amazing movie of rich French eye candy of scenery and fashion, a must see) Even this fancy, overdecorated look can be executed with a modern flair. And yellow will always be in fashion for French style. Even today, fashion forward design still dominates in this cosmopolitan city of glamour and culture. A continual influence on our interior design aesthetic. Just recently we saw the Christian LaCroix collection for Designers Guild..magnifique!



Designed by: Christan Lacroix Image Source: Fiercer than you

“The Tour” as bikers call it, will be on for a few more weeks, so make sure you check it out, eve just to appreciate the sheer athletic prowess of these riders, but also to catch some amazing shots of the French countryside and a little yellow power along the way.

Biking ShotImage Source: Bike Radar

C’est La Vie!

Dedicated to Scott Smith’s bike no more, may a new one be in your future soon!

WineImage Source: Kimber Lane

  Opening Image Source: Clipzine


Summer Solstice: Celebrating In Outdoor Spaces

I love the longest day of the year, it’s such a great time to entertain outside and enjoy that special magic that is in the air when the seasons cross. Vamp up your outdoor living with some suggestions from my friend Mari at Acadian Home. Enjoy!

Hi, all! I’m so excited to be here with you at Dawn Cook Design with a guest post from Arcadian Home blog. It’s a wonderful place to find interior design inspiration including great decorating ideas for everything from cool Contemporary Floor Lamps to colorful decorative accessories that work beautifully indoors and out.

Today, we’re going to explore summery outdoor spaces that are both beautiful and comfortable. Please enjoy! Thanks Dawn for letting me stop by to visit.

~ Mari

Rustic Patio with Mountain View Nothing says summer outdoors quite like white slip-covered furniture. Here, four comfy armchairs are dressed up in white cotton. Set under rustic beams and with a lovely view, it’s a perfect summery outdoor space.

Chic outdoor space with green accentsMasses of hydrangea blooms and lunch by the pool—it must be summertime. I love the blue and green color scheme and the capiz shell Modern Pendant Light.

Modern Small Seating Area How pretty is this simple outdoor space shaded by a dark painted pergola? Surrounded by green foliage, it’s a cool spot for reading and relaxing.

Dual Conversation seating areaDual conversation areas in this open air living space are made for pampering guests. Complete with delicate wrought iron chandeliers and ornate hanging lanterns, this outdoor living room works as beautifully after dark as it does for daytime entertaining.

Clean Lined Roof Top DeckA summery outdoor retreat doesn’t get any better than this. Furnishings are stylish but also comfortable and inviting.

Pool Patio and FireplaceWith plenty of light from recessed Outdoor Lighting Fixtures overhead, this outdoor dining space offers the perfect place for enjoying a leisurely weekend dinner with family or friends.

Covered patio with modern furniture This long pavilion offers all the comforts of indoor living in an open air setting. With lots of comfortable seating for dining and conversation, this simply beautiful space also includes a fully equipped outdoor kitchen.

Garden with seatingAnd so we leave you with this dreamy outdoor space—summer at its best. Here’s hoping we’ve inspired you to create your very own summery outdoor space in your favorite style. Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

What do you think of these outdoor spaces? Leave us your comments below and visit our blog for more home decor and lighting inspirations!


A Little Obsession…Peonies in the Garden

Peony Bouquet

Here’s a fact. I’m a Garden nerd. I haven’t blogged about gardening this season yet, I was waiting for the right inspiration. Well I found it. Many years ago, (pre-kids), I spent a lot of time going to garden shows, garden expos, and community garden lectures.  I would go to meetings at the Perennial Society at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens with all the lovely Senior ladies with their gardening hats and vast resource of gardening knowledge. At the ripe old age of 22, I knew more about soil, deadheading, ph levels, sun exposure, and planting zones, than one newbie gardener could absorb!

So, on to my inspiration. When I started gardening, I had visions of rambling old-fashioned cottage gardens in my head. While attending a local garden show closing, you could snap up all the gorgeous plants for a steal. One of the displays had the most beautiful array of peonies. Now if you know anything about these showstoppers, you know they are persnickety to their environment – as far as sun and moisture, and take a VERY LONG TIME to establish and start producing blooms. So I deciding to give it a try and planted them in our front yard.

Peonies in yard

Many years later, this is my late May/early June display every season!

Some are full, some are double, some are single, some look like an old-fashioned rose, and others smell like heaven. But all are magical, and have been around as a strong design motif in Western cultures since the 17th century, and date back to the Ming Dynasty.

All types of peoniesImage Source: Crushed Me

As they come alive in the Spring, the ants scurry over the buds, forcing them to open, it’s a cool process. We always stake them with a grid when the shoots first appear, otherwise the heavy blooms droop and don’t last long. And for one week out of the year we get sheer bliss. An added perk living in this house 16 years this week!

Peonies Image Source: All Things Shabby and Beautiful

Clients often ask me for garden design and landscape architects, its an extension of our interior spaces, and “our summer living room” . So choose wisely and just like anything other investment it makes sense to start with a plan. You can reap the benefits for years to come!

So whether indoors our out, real or just on some great wallpaper, add some beauty into your lives with peonies.

 Peonies on deskImage Source: Habitually Chic

To check out some amazing displays of peonies in the Cleveland Area, Stan Hywet Hall  and Garden has fields of them, as does the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland. Hurry or the pretty peonies will be pretty over soon!

 So what’s your favorite garden flower??


First two photos are from my garden, 2013.


Moss Chair

Happy Earth Day!

Today we think about our carbon footprint, sustainable living, and a greener planet. It’s a wonderful day to celebrate the earth and focus on a healthier and more responsible lifestyle.

In our continued efforts to “think green”, what are small changes we can make to incorporate some of these aspects into our own homes? And still come up with beautiful design? Even Designers struggle with how to do this on some levels. When I think of green design, I think of LEED certified commercial spaces that are clean and modern and have the coolest sustainable technology.

Roof top green space

Designed by: Frits de Vries Architect Photography by: Lucas Finlay

A few years ago, a group of designer got to tour the Adam Joseph Lewis Center at Oberlin College for Environmental Sustainable studies. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in the green design world. With a living “Green Machine” that recycles wastewater, and a climate controlled system that continually regulates the balance of “energy used to energy produced”, this is the pinnacle of green living. A building that supports its own functionally and leaves no impact on the environment. If you are in the Cleveland area…worth the visit…a must!

But reality wise – how do we add a little “emerald” to our lives on a daily basis?

1) Walls: Zero VOC paints – this past week was “National Paint Week”, a good opportunity to try the new Sherwin-Williams paint – Emerald, or Benjamin Moore – Aura. Both high quality, good for your home choices. Be smart about what you put on the walls in your home, its good for the environment and your family.

Green walls and furnitureDesigned by: Kishani Perera

2) Lights: LED and CFL bulbs – We are all trying to save on energy-efficiency and switch to better lighting options. CFLs are a good alternative for closets, garages, basements, and storage areas. CFLs are not a good choice for table lamps, foyers, ceiling lights, bathrooms and kitchens. They turn our skin, paint colors, and food green…not something we want. LEDs are still directional in their light output. So they are a good choice for recessed lights, under cabinet lights, outdoor lighting, and art lights. Still not a good choice for table lamps. But this technology is truly something that is developing at an incredible pace. stay tuned… www.energystar.gov

3) Water: Plumbing fixtures– We all need to replace a toilet or faucet occasionally. Even when we aren’t in the mist of a major renovation. I spend a lot of time thinking about toilets believe it or not. And the world is switching to duel-flush options…yes this means what it says…you figure it out. But seriously, between that and faucets and showerhead with flow restrictors, you can majorly cut down on your water usage. I’ve been to Kohler, WI. Some amazing options there. Even one change here can drastically reduce your water bills.

BathroomImage Source: Linen and Lavender

4) Glass: Window Treatments – This isn’t just about how your windows are constructed; it’s how you cover them. Many clients don’twant window treatments to cover their pretty windows. But controlling the sun exposure into your home, helps nature save on your heating/cooling bills. Major coverage such as black-out roman shades, can significantly block drafts and sun. But even gauzy casement panels absorb a lot of heat transfer. Plus they add a decorative element that softens up the room. Window treatments aren’t just pretty they are functional. Window films also add a huge benefit in cutting heat transfer, and protecting your lovely fabric investments; in today’s world they are clear and pack a huge technological punch in greening up our homes.

michaelabramsDesigned by: Michael Abrams Limited

5) Décor: Furniture, fabrics and flooring – So many to choose from. It’s not just about bamboo flooring anymore. Some of my favorite green residential companies are Hartmann and Forbes for natural woven shades, Interface Flor for carpet tiles, Cambria for quartz countertops, Pollack textiles for fabric, and Lee Furniture Industries. All these companies have green philosophies that are integral to their design aesthetic. Something we can truly appreciate to save our planet!

lee industries furniture shot

Designed by: Allison Jaffe Photography by: Brio Photography

6) Bring the Outdoors In – simply said, outdoor organic elements in the home will add to indoor air quality, improve our stress levels, and help us commune with nature, its good feng shui! Bring it rocks, water, branches, or plants, natural green materials add life and wellness to our homes.

A lot of this is nothing new, but real design. It’s conversations I have on a daily basis with clients, vendors, and other Designers. Today we may not be able to incorporate “the green machine” but we can all try on a little “Emerald Green” and make our homes a better place.



Spring Fever or Spring Fling?

Flowers/Spring Fever

Yep. Spring Break is almost here. And nope…no trip for the Cook Family this year. We are still under inches of snow, sitting by a fire. But earlier today I went to run errands and Spring is in full bloom at retail. Shops were packed, streets were jammed and at least the sun was shining on this chilly “Spring” day.

Months of being cooped up inside does make us go a little stir crazy. We get an occasional respite with a fun get away or trip, but the continual dreary days do tend to drag us down. Also, I think we often get tired of looking at our own walls, our own things. A little perk up is just what we need, either in our wardrobe, or our homes!

 Spring Blog Post 2

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Earlier this week, I worked on a Living Room presentation for a lovely family that just bought a historic home in Shaker. Such a great old place with gorgeous windows, beautiful moldings, and classic design. I love the Design plan we came up with and they were happy too. Very sophisticated, but casual too. As we sifted through fabrics for various pieces of furniture the sun was streaming in. The client was naturally drawn to warm, textural linens, silks, rich minks and greys with touches of poppy, pink, and coral, and finally crisp white. I love this color scheme. And it truly does reflect some of Spring…the warmth of the earth with some pops of color beginning to peak through. As I have mentioned before, the lines between fashion and home décor run true, so we just have to look to the runway for a few fresh ideas!

Spring Blog Post::

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So as we turn to our Easter tables, in hopes of the Bunny hopping by, let’s welcome Spring. Add some bright color into our lives, and add something fresh and new!

 Opening Image Source