Ciao Bella! Beauty products for the home spa experience…

When it comes to creating the spa atmosphere at home, I turn to the Italians.  Let’s face it, Italians know a little something about beauty.  The country has expressed la bellezza in countless forms.  From Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida to the stunning masterpieces of Michelangelo, Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci to the heart-lifting tones of Pavorotti.  Perhaps this rich heritage also explains why Italy’s finest beauty companies, many of them family-owned, have endured for decades, even centuries.

They faithfully use local ingredients for their soaps, skin creams and perfumes, and they adhere to recipes passed down for generations.  Some of these products may be a little off the beaten track, but i think they’re well worth the wander.

First up is Borghese Fango.

The Fango Collection is a rich derivative of Borghese’s spa heritage that brings nourishing minerals, natural botanicals and their exclusive Acqua di Vita® Complex to treatments that polish, refine, renew and restore the skin, hair & scalp – All in the comfort of your own home. Whatever your skin concern, there’s a Fango for that!  Check out the collection.  www.Borghese.com

Acqua di Parma Oolong candle.

Fragrances and accessories for individuals of discerning taste. Because true class is as delicate and rarefied as a scent. It evades definition, fashion and commonplaces. Only in this way does it become a way of life.  www.acquadiparma.com

 

Speziali Fiorentini lavender body cream.

Experience the true essence of Florence. Its’ artistic packaging with lovely scenes and beautiful paintings of Tuscan landscape are a tribute to the old-world tradition of making bath and body products with extraordinary scents from the past. Made in Italy of course. Speziali Fiorentini products are microbiologically tested in compliance with STOP ANIMAL TESTING LAW standard and controlled by the Italian Institute for ethical and environmental certification. http://www.euroganicsbeauty.com

 Valobra Balsam soap.

A soothing soap made from pure, invigorating balsam and enriched with lecithin and vitamin E, Balsamo is a distinguished scent greatly enjoyed by men and is especially good for oily skin. From Valabro Soaps The Valobra family of Genova, Italy has been making soaps with hand-picked natural ingredients since 1903, and continues their commitment to craftsmanship to this day by seasoning each bar for six months and hard-milling for long use and a luxurious bathing experience. These hand-crafted, Italian soaps are made using methods unchanged since the 18th century. The soapmakers season pure soap base for four to six months; hard mill the soap six times with vegetable oils, pure essential oils, and vitamins; then gently hand wrap each beautiful bar with original vintage packaging. The soaps contain no harsh detergents or chemical agents, just skin-softening ingredients that make everything from washing your hands to bathing a better experience.  www.westcoastshaving.com

Valobra Balasmo Soap

Cali Olivia Notte night moisturizer.  In the 19th century, on an olive tree grove, on the outskirts of Rome by the Mediterranean Sea, the Roman nobles discovered the Cali Beauty Farm. There, based upon ancient home made recipes, passed down from generation to generation, the nobles enjoyed and benefited from the recipes.  Since the creation of the Cali Beauty Farm, their philosophy has been to treat the outside and the inside of our bodies with the same care while using the finest ingredients.

“Oliva Notte” is a very rich moisturizer, which replenishes and revitalizes your skin’s tone, texture and beauty while the body is at rest. It also contains rosemary (promotes healing, toning stimulating and softening properties), neroli (stimulates cell regeneration, soothing properties) and chamomile (anti-inflammatory and repairer properties, soothing, refreshing and purifying, neutralizes skin irritants) .

Give these gems a try and let me know how much more beautiful you feel.

-Tina

 

Spring Forward

We Fell Back Now It’s Time to…
SPRING FORWARD

Daylight Saving Time is here, which means warm weather is on the way! It’s the perfect time to spruce up your home or office. Here is a little inspiration from Delia Designs intern Nechelle Trawick.
Our first inspiration is by Nina Campbell. Its over-scaled feathered fern leaf wallpaper in natural colorings, We love this because of the unique texture it brings to the interior of the home it comes in 4 different colors and is a great way to kick of spring, home style.


Laguna- Our next inspiration is by Osborne and Little, this wallpaper is the stork motif extracted from the more elaborate fabric design. With bold display of spring these birds are great for the interior as they help welcome the new season.


Giving Style Some Sass
Butterfly Garden- Osborne and Little sass the interior of the home with an exotic composition of vibrantly coloured butterflies on finely detailed monochrome roses. This wallpaper is uniquely displayed with its dull base behind such vibrant colors, for that we love it!


Cobra – this inspiration is by Osborne and Little. A stylized interpretation of a cobra, sasses the interior with its unique interpretation of a snake, bringing the outdoors in is a great way to stylize your space. We love the art aspect of it and it comes in 4 colors, welcome spring with some of its outdoor creatures!

Party Planning Tips

If you are anything like me, you know parties, both as an enthusiastic hostess and as an appreciative guest.  Great parties are like great opera performances.  People talk about them for years, so why not share some tips to best inspire others.

I recently read Jamee Gregory’s book, “New York Parties, Private Views”.  Armed with a can-do attitude, Gregory put together a high-octane compendium of 15 brunches, lunches and dinners given by top-tier hosts.  But just because the pages are filled with all the right people living it up in all the right places (fashion designers Tory Burch and Michael Kors, Evelyn Lauder, among others) don’t think the book is all unattainable glamour.

My take away from the book is that life is not perfect, so don’t expect a party to be entirely flawless.  Experienced hosts just roll with the punches, and the book is packed with their smart tips and stylish solutions.  Fearful of mixing chic and cheap?  Lauder has no problem combining Baccarat crystal with Crate & Barrel dishware, and neither should you.  Weak cooking skills?  Kors orders in from a favorite restaurant.

Now, since we are not all leading fashion designers with their budgets, here are a few tips for hosting a stress-free fabulous party:

Simple Planning.  Planning a party shouldn’t be stressful or intimidating.  After all, aren’t you excited to host your friends, family and colleagues?  Stay organized by starting early.  Start your cleaning well in advance and make a list of grocery items you need from the menu you created.

Simple Décor.  No need to over-do it on the decorations, unless you are planning a themed party.  If it’s a simple cocktail affair, keep décor to a minimum with candles and fresh flowers.

Photo courtesy of SecretGarden

Stay Relaxed.  Leave yourself an hour before guests arrive to freshen up, slip into something party-ready and light some candles for added ambiance.  This creates a welcoming atmosphere from the moment you open the door with a big smile and cocktail in hand, of course.

So, whether you are staging a country breakfast, a dress up tea party or a cocktail party, the best tip I can give you is that it’s the spirit of the get together that counts.  A party, is a gift you make for your friends!

(photo courtesy of ifoodtv)

Create a romantic bedroom oasis

It may be after Valentine’s day but it’s not too late to create a romantic bedroom oasis for you and your honey.  Take a look at my tips and get to it.  As always, should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me. http://www.delia-designs.com

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/tennistina/create-a-romantic-bedroom-oasis-16675590&#8243; title=”Create a romantic bedroom oasis” target=”_blank”>Create a romantic bedroom oasis</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/tennistina&#8221; target=”_blank”>tennistina</a></strong> </div>

Kitchen design tips for your new construction or renovation.

Image

Photo credit:  Fresh Home

The kitchen for many is the heart of the home.  Families gather there on a daily basis to eat, chat about their day, entertain, do homework and laugh.  The kitchen is where families grow, so you will want it to be efficient, comfortable and of course beautiful.

When designing your new kitchen or renovating your existing, here are some things you should think about:

  1.  First assess your wants and needs.  Ask yourself what it is that will help you to be more efficient in the space.  Is it more countertop space, luxury gadgets, storage?  At the outset make a list of activities you perform in the kitchen as well as the items you need at your fingertips in the space.  Do you need three (3) trash bins, one for trash, one for paper and one for recycling?  Do you need an industrial strength range hood because you cook all of your meals?  Do you need a prep sink?  A butcher block?  The possibilities are endless, hence why it is vital to successful kitchen design that you determine all of this before you start.
  2. Think about hiring a professional.  Despite the picture you have in your mind of the dream kitchen, the actual space you have may not be compatible with your ideal. As with any home project, you have to balance practicality with your grandest wishes.  The most important step in a successful kitchen project is selecting the right people to work with. Because much kitchen work is structural, it’s essential that the work be performed according to the building code regulations of your area. To be sure all work is done appropriately, you’ll want to hire professionals for every aspect of the job in which you are not personally an expert.
  3. Space planning is key.  Hiring an interior designer is one of the best decisions you can make before embarking upon a new kitchen project.  Kitchens come in all shapes and sizes, which accounts for a great deal of their challenge.  Once you hire an interior designer, he or she can help you with the layout of the space.  You will want to follow some time honored traditions regarding the layout.  There are five (5) basic layouts of kitchen designs.
    1. The working triangle.  The three (3) points of the working triangle are the range, the sink and the refrigerator.
    2. Zone design.  A kitchen can be broken up into zones.  For example, the prep zone, the cooking zone, the eating zone and the cleaning zone.
    3. The galley kitchen.  Consists of two (2) straight runs.  Typically the sink is on one side and the range on the other.
    4. The L-shape.  This shape forces traffic out of the work zone.  For more interaction with friends and family, add an island.
    5. The U-shaped kitchen.  This offers an abundance of storage space and a massive expanse of counter space.  It is also very flexible

Selecting cutting edge new appliances and beautiful new cabinets is great fun, but first you and your interior designer will need to figure out where those new treasures will be located. Unless your new kitchen is part of a brand-new house, you’ll need to decide how much change to make in the “footprint” of your existing kitchen. For big savings, I advise working within existing load-bearing walls and plumbing lines. Whatever the shape of the kitchen, there’s bound to be a configuration that gives you an efficient work triangle.  I will go into more depth regarding space planning considerations in a future blog post in this series.

5.  Cabinetry, custom or stock.  Once you have determined the special layout of the kitchen, it is time to determine what type of cabinetry to go with.  Stock cabinets can be given a unique look with virtually unlimited specialty finishes and a change of hardware. If your budget allows for custom cabinets, your choices are even greater.  After determining to select stock or custom cabinets, you then must determine the color and door style.  It is helpful to look at photo galleries of finished kitchens to give you an idea of what is visually appealing to you.  Your interior designer can help you determine what your style is through concept boards.  Do you gravitate towards the modern kitchen, something more traditional, Tuscan, country, French, the possibilities are endless.

6.  Appliances.  The main appliances you will need are:  refrigerator, oven/stove, ventilation system, dishwasher, microwave or convection oven, perhaps a wine refrigerator.  Buying kitchen appliances can be a daunting task when you look at all of the options, from energy saving, to high end designer models, to low cost models, how do you choose?  Choosing kitchen appliances for your home should be a rewarding experience but also fulfill your lifestyle and aesthetics of your kitchen. I will explore kitchen appliance selection in a future blog post in this series.

7.  Finishing materials.  Your budget will have a lot to say about materials used in your new kitchen.  What type of flooring should be used, countertop materials, backsplashes, wall finishes?  I will explore finish selection in a future blog post in this series.

At this point, of course you are eager to get started designing your new kitchen. But heed some advice from the experts and from people who have designed many kitchens.  Take your time at the beginning to make sure each decision reflects your taste and meets your needs. You’ll want to live with and love this kitchen for a long time!

Visit our site at http://www.delia-designs.com

New England Renewal

Hello World!

What’s the secret to staying happy, healthy, and vibrant?  Some would say it’s being flexible in attitude and remaining physically active.  For others, it’s laughing often, taking time to stop and smell the flowers, and loving fully.  The wise believe it’s important to ensure that every moment of your life is spent doing things that you actually enjoy.  Wonderful advice that we can all certainly begin to heed a little more as each day, week, month, and year passes.

Personally, I believe that the secret to feeding the soul is a combination of all of the above, continually nourishing the body, mind, and spirit while staying centered in life.  As a retreat designer, I find personal joy in researching other retreat spaces.  I just came across a New England Retreat, the Mayflower Inn.

The Mayflower Inn’s spa is a luxurious retreat in Connecticut.  Sign up and your individual spa advisor will telephone to assess your interests and begin customizing your stay.  Whether you prefer morning walks or canoeing, Pilates or flower arranging, founders Adriana Mnuchin and Lisa Hedley ensure that personalization is the key to your five-day experience.  Expect tailored treatments, a physical well-being plan, and plenty of nurturing to encourage spiritual awareness.  Slip into the seasonally scented Thermal Sanctuary, a fantasia of healing colors (indigo for clarity, gold for energy, green for balance), scented warm mist, and soothing music before indulging in a facial, mud wrap or a red flower ritual.  In case you need more inspiration to visit, specialty weeks include yoga immersion, couples retreats, and memoir writing.

Photos courtesy of Mayflower Inn.

Take a little time out to just be….re-center yourself and perhaps get away for the weekend to the Mayflower Inn and indulge your body and your senses.

Stop by and see what’s new at http://www.delia-designs.com

Tina

Reduce, Reuse, Hipcycle…

Hello World!

So many of us are becoming environmentally conscious these days and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about it.  I have been an advocate for recycling and more importantly for caring for our environment for well over 20 years!  I’m glad that it’s catching on with others.

A fabulous trend in home and household goods is upcycling.  The process of converting waste materials into newly defined materials and products of better quality and higher environmental value.  A company to know and browse is Hipcycle, an online shop that specializes in selling the best eco-friendly upcycled products that don’t sacrifice style or function.  (www.hipcycle.com) One of the things I love most about Hipcycle is that the majority of the products sold are made in the United States.  Other products are purchased with a committment to fair trade practices.

When you get to the site, you can focus your search on either the purpose of the product or the material used, which is great.  Each product has a story about it such as where it came from and or about its creator.

Here are a few of my favorites from the site:

Put the nest in nesting with this set of three reclaimed teak tables. You’ll fall in love with the versatility of these tables, which look adorable (and save space) when stacked. Pull them out when entertaining to provide addiitonal side tables for guests to set their drinks (Just don’t forget the upcycled coasters!)

In an effort to reduce the wastelands of our landfills, this wall mount key rack will keep your keys and mail organized whether you’re just getting home or running out the door. Three hooks provide a visual key organizer, while the mail rack is the perfect size for incoming or outgoing mail. For those that have difficulty keeping track of their wallet, there is space for that as well.

Without glass insulators, it is questionable whether the industrial revolution would have been possible. A frequently overlooked part of this crucial period of time, insulators were used with telegraph lines, telephone lines, and electric power lines. Today’s telecommunication industry would undoubtedly not be the same if these had never been invented. These were produced by the millions until the 1970s, when modern technology deemed them useless. Now considered collectible items, they are again found useful in this suspended pendant light.

Go now to www.hipcycle.com to check out all of the amazing housewares.  You know you can feel good about spending your money here because you will be reducing your environmental impact.

Happy shopping and happy designing.

The Spa Nursery Retreat

The Spa Nursery

Even before your new baby arrives, his or her nursery will become one of the most important rooms in the home.  Within its walls an infant is nurtured, parents provide love and care and families gather to enjoy their little ones.  Most parents want their nursery to be the perfect place for their baby to sleep and grow, the setting of baby’s future childhood memories.  Whatever design decisions you make, your furnishing and décor accessories should complement the main element of your baby’s room, your love and care.  I encourage you to think about the nursery being a place of refuse for you also.  A place where you can go to feel at peace;  a space in the home that is tranquil and serene.  This is the place where you will nurture yourself and your new little one quite a bit during the first year.  The design elements and furnishings that create this special space should be planned with much thought and love for both you and baby.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Keep function in mind.

Determine at the forefront how you will utilize the space.  Will baby sleep in the space immediately?  Will baby nap in the space?  Will changing take place here?  Now think of the furniture that will be involved with each of these activities. Try to act out in your mind how you will use your furniture and accessories to accomplish these tasks, and how the placement of the furniture will make it go as smoothly and the least awkward as possible.  A quick example of function and furniture placement:   It may be best to group the crib and a chair close together, as it makes it easy to grab baby in the middle of the night and sit down to feed.

2.  Consider heating, cooling, natural light and ventilation.

Keep in mind whether or not you need to install some safe heating.  Does cold air come in through windows?  Will you need to block out light for daytime napping?

3.  Use non-toxic materials which are kind to the environment as well as low VOC (volatile organic compounds) and natural fibers.

Every new mom wants to create a beautiful little space for her precious new baby. She paints, carpets, and buys new things. These things contain can harmful chemicals, many of them known to be carcinogenic. When you sleep at night you are breathing in the off-gassing of these poisons. What is toxic to you is about 15 times more toxic to your baby’s tiny body.

I urge you to buy No-Voc (Volatile Organic Compounds) Paint. When these VOCs off-gas, they may cause a variety of health problems like nausea, dizziness, irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, and more serious illnesses including heart, lung or kidney damage and even cancer.

Another tip is to buy used whenever possible. Besides being gentler on the planet, these items have already off-gassed. Yard sales, thrift stores craigslist and E-bay are great sources for gently used baby items. (the exception to this would be crib mattresses, as these are found to be more toxic in each subsequent use due to more body fluids mixing with the poison chemicals and creating toxic fumes)

4.  Add personality with lighting.

Lighting sets the mood for any room.  It is especially important in the nursery.  Effective lighting can have a dramatic effect on the perception of space and interaction within it. Often an afterthought, lighting should be considered from the beginning when the nursery space is being planned.

There are three basic types of lighting:

  • task lighting,
  • accent lighting and
  • ambient or general lighting.

A well lit nursery will have a pleasing and effective combination of each type.

Task lighting in the nursery is designed to help you perform specific tasks such as reading or changing diapers.  A good choice for task lighting is the stand alone lamp.  It’s a good choice because it’s light and portable.

Accent lighting is designed to add drama and focus attention within a room. By spot lighting items such as paintings, you can highlight your nursery’s  best features.

Ambient lighting provides a room with overall illumination. Ambient lighting serves the same function as sunlight, allowing you to see and walk about safely.

Remember to fit dimmer switches for each type of lighting to help create a soothing effect.

5.  Colorful touches.

Take a cue from nature.  Choose colors that reflect nature in muted shades like sand, pale blues and sages and even dove gray.  Newborns can only see black, white and gray.  As their sight develops, it’s best to introduce them to softer tones. When painting with different colors, choose similar tones. This will enhance the harmony in the space, whereas too-different colors can have an incoherent and hence unsettling effect.

From crib bedding and accent pillows to window treatments & upholstered chairs , fabrics add the finishing touch to the nursery.  Chenile and velvet are cozy, comfortable and help create a special resting place for you and baby when used with extra soft cottons.

6.  Furniture

A must for this space is a good arm chair for breast feeding and later story telling and even later still, lounging on in a teenage kind of way.  It doesn’t need to be a special breast feeding chair, just make sure it’s comfortable, has good back support and low arms.

Other essential furniture items include: a baby changing table, a night stand or table, a nursery hamper and a clock if you are planning to breastfeed.

7.  Listen carefully.

Make sure the room is equipped with music playing capacity.  The right soothing melodies can help melt away the stress and help you feel more removed and can also drown out other household sounds.  This is all very important when caring for a new baby.  It can be a stressful time learning how to care for an infant for the first time, even second.  So, take some steps to minimize that and sooth and calm the nerves with music.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with this.  People spend time at spas in order to feel better when they leave than they did when they arrive.  Whether the point of the visit is getting a much needed massage to reduce tension or getting a facial or nails done, all spa visits leave you feeling relaxed and happy.  Reinvent this experience in the nursery to ensure that you have a tranquil retreat for taking care of both yourself and baby.  As always if you need any help designing your spa nursery retreat, consider Delia Designs first.  -Tina

Courtesy of London’s Chic Shack

Achieving successful Spa/Salon design

Whether you are designing or laying out a new space or already have an existing spa/salon, now is the time to take a first look at your business and learn how the interior design of the space can help you grow.  I’ve come up with my top 5 tips to achieving successful design.

  1.  Signage:
  • The only way new clients know you exist is if something attracts their attention and they see you.
  • The way to demonstrate who you are from the exterior is of utmost importance.  In essence, you need to make your windows talk.
  • Decide what your company is about.  If it is beauty, fashion and hair, show that.
  • You need to talk to the street.  Perhaps put a big beauty image in the window, an image that speaks to the “lifestyle” you are portraying.  Tell your prospects through imagery that if they come to you, this is the life they can have.
  • Keep in mind, the actual sign should be clear and legible.  It should be one of the high contrast so that it can be read from a distance.  An important thing to remember is to include spa or salon at the end.  If you don’t do this, no one will know what you are.
  1. Greeting the Client:
  • If at all possible, don’t put the reception desk directly in front or beside the entrance.  It’s important for you to create some space for the client to walk in and start browsing the retail area.  Allow them to feel the energy, hear the music and see people at work.  Let your clients see what they are going to experience, allow them to take control and make their choices.
  1. Reception:
  • Once you have moved your reception desk to a non-threatening position, make a great impression at it.  The receptionist should be well positioned to welcome clients and thank them as they leave.  If the manager sites up front, he or she can also endorse the effectiveness of any recommended products if the client has questions.
  • Remember, the receptionist desk should be a tool to draw customers into the heart of the salon, not stop them short at the front door.
  1. Lighting:
  • You should start and finish in incandescent lighting.  A warm temperature bulb is the most flattering on the complexion and compliments most salon interiors. What is important, especially in salons is to create levels of lighting.
  • The lighting should flatter the complexion and compliment the interior.
  • The lighting should be positioned to eliminate shadows.  How your client looks in the salon chair is crucial in the salon environment.  If the client feels good about your appearance, it reinforces a positive experience for repeat business and increased revenues.  The easiest way to help eliminate shadows on the face is to position wall lighting on either side of the mirror to directly light the complexion.
  • Regarding the work stations.  The front and overhead are where you will get your lighting from.  The wall lighting is for direct illumination on the face to flatter the complexion.  The overhead lighting should be properly designed to help perform all required tasks for hair styling and color application.  Separate task lighting should not be required if the overhead lighting is properly configured.
  1. Color:
  • Color determines the entire visual mood of your space.
  • Use colors that are warm as all color bounces and if you use cool colors, your clients will not look their best.
  • Color is closest to your clients, especially in salons should be in a warm skin tone.  The closer your walls are to skin tone, the better your clients will look.

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