Archive for the ‘Darling Designers’ Category

I have to head out the door to do demo’s at the Minneapolis Institute of Fine Finishes Open House today but, the ever so sweet Nancy Jansson from ‘Affirming Spirit’ http://www.affirmingspirit.com/ sent this over to me this morning and I just had to share it with all of you.

This girl rocks!!!!  Design student Sara Watson Decorative finished her car to DISAPPEAR!!!!  read more here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lancashire/8030766.stm

sara-watsonHave a colorful day everyone!!!!  lulu

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I missed it… I was so excited for the Benjamin Moore Color Pulse.  I couldn’t wait to be  introduced to the 2010 colors from one of my favorite paint companies.  I invited one of my most treasured designers, Erica Cooper, and was even more excited to catch up with her.  I registered, I even saw the reminder for the event on Twitter and somehow, I managed to not put the info in my calendar.


Is it just that time of year?  Where the work is plentiful and I’m such a busy little worker bee that something so important could just slip my mind?

I spoke with Erica as she was driving home from the event and she mentioned that she found  it to be  a bit disappointing.  She mentioned that the colors seemed really far out and that it was hard to visualize incorporating radical fuchsias into her Minnesota clients homes.  Perhaps she was just trying to make me feel better.

Regardless, I missed the event.  I’ll be hitting up Hirshfield’s to grab a color pulse book.  At least I’ll have that.  You can get one here:   http://www.benjaminmoore.com

Jake and I sat in bed last night as I shared my woes about missing the Color Pulse and he mentioned it just was not meant to be… Erica said the same…

He also mentioned that sometimes its god for these things to happen, because it opens your eyes, makes you work a little bit harder and perhaps inspires you to double check something which perhaps may have been looked over.

If it means anything I was having the time of my life during the Color Pulse last night.  My best friends and I were having dance practice at Janessa’s studio.  I remember thinking to myself, “I’m having such a great time” right around the time innovative color ideas were being shared.

and now for my point:

Sometimes, even when you may miss something you think is critical to your profession or to staying on point it can still be a blessing.  For me it was a hidden  blessing in a whole new light.  A chance to step away from my work, without feeling guilty, mostly because I was none the wiser, but that’s a part of what I needed in order to step away.  I would not have gone to be with my girlfriends if I had scheduled the event accordingly.  I would have missed precious and wonderful time with the girls that I adore  and make me a better person.  I feel renewed just being in there presence.

My main struggle in business is the WORK/LIFE Balance.

Last night life crept in and it was wonderful!!!  I would not change the evening for the world. NAMASTE.

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A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with HGTV’s Design Star Challenge winner Jennifer Bertrand.  I have posted some of her designs (see the painted backsplash post)  on my blog before and she offered some kind words, inspiration, and support for those whole love everything and anything with PAINT.jennifer-bertrand_s3x4_al

I was touched to know that there is another sassy little painter out there, working her butt of to create beauty in  homes across America, and inspiring people to re-use and re-fresh with something as simple as a gallon of paint.  I had heard through the grapevine that Jen was a complete peach of a person and would be a joy to speak with, but honestly, I had no idea just how truly sweet this peach was.  I was inspired instantly  from hearing her bubbly laughter and love for her work.  Not only is Jennifer dedicated to creating beauty, she is driven to help people use there budget wisely without having wasteful spending.

Here is the conversation that Jennifer and I shared:

Firstly Jennifer, Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with me, I know how hectic things must be and on top of everything you are pregnant, right?  Or did you already have your little bundle of joy?

J: No, I haven’t had our baby yet, I’ve been so blessed in the past year and in life in general.  Its all kind of happening in one big sweep and of coarse in the midst of everything with Design Star and HGTV I managed to get myself pregnant.  Its our first child and I will be having a C-section in the coming weeks.


(Photo by husband and wife team Bertrand Designs)

L: (This is then when I stupidly expressed my fears of pregnancy…but I caught myself and the  re-iterated how wonderfully blessed she is.)..It only seems natural to be blessed with a beautiful baby amidst all these other wonderful blessings you are receiving.

J: Yes I am so lucky!  Its our first so its really exciting, Everything about it is new and that keeps the excitement alive, Its not the best timing, but its so exciting for us and we have been staying really busy  through all of it.   Our plan is to keep up with the multitasking from teaching to the design business we operate.  My husband is going to be the stay at home dad while I go out and bring home the bacon.  Its actually all working out perfectly.  I get to do what I love by flying out to California for a few days at a time and then will get to spend even more time home with my family since my work schedule will be so flexible.  We have always made a really great team, and none of this ever would have been possible without my husbands support.  I am so lucky.  We have a great team effort in our relationship and are able to balance everything so effortlessly.  March 18th is the due date and we are naming our baby boy Winston Spencer Bertrand!

L: I read somewhere that you sent in your tape for Design Star on the last day it was due.  Did you just know that you were going to get picked when you were sending it off.  Did you get “that feeling” like something big was about to happen?jen-bertrand

J: The Design Star experience for me was so surreal. It was like an out of body experience the whole time.  I can remember sitting on the couch and watching Kim Myles (of Myles of Style) and thinking I could do totally do this.  All of the sudden here I am, in the judging room with all of these people I had seen on T.V. The whole experience never really hit me because we had such busy schedules and were working so hard all of the time.  It was like my brain was constantly on fire.

As for the video tape I sent that in on the very last day for receipt.  It was on a whim, I kicked my family who was visiting  us from out of town out of the house for a couple hours so my husband and I could film it.  It had to be post marked by 4:00 and that was when it was post marked.  I used to always say joking to him “Stick with me kid, I’m going places.”  I’ve always loved what I do, and if you don’t put yourself out there, you will regret it, I guess that’s what made me make that video so last minute.

I was shocked when the casting crew called.  They actually asked me who that funny English man in the background was on the video.  That was my husband, we run our design company Bertrand Designs together and they loved him so much too that we both went out to California to interview for the show.

L: Has your style changed at all as a result of being on the show?

J: My style seems to always be evolving.  It evolves on each job I do to fit any kind of situation or home owner.  It has nothing to do with my taste and everything to do with my clients.  On each job that I do my goal is to make the outcome so much more than they could have ever imagined.  To really take them on an experience.

L: Beautiful!  I love this!  Now I also read that you actually met your husband here in Minnesota.  I have to ask where?

J:I love Minnesota!!!!  I go there a lot.  I was just there over Thanksgiving at the Mall of America doing a demo. We met at a place called Camp Hupert at Camp Lincoln.  We actuallyjen-and-man
hated each other while at camp.  Its a really lovely story.  Something like in that movie “Sliding Doors” .  We never said more than “Hello” to each other.  Then 4 years later in a different town we were having a camp get together for 2 weeks right before I was leaving to move to Italy.  We began talking and instantly we both knew that this was it.  Next thing I knew when I was flying from Rome over to London to meet his family.  We have been together for ten years now, and its just lovely.  Sometimes people think I am a liar with all my travels from being a military kid and falling in love.  But its all true.  I really am so blessed.

L:  I believe you!!!  That is lovely! Is your house positively fabulous?  You have such wonderful style and color sense.  I imagine your home being representative of this?

J:  Oh my its anything but.  After a long day of painting out in the field the last thing you wanna do is go home and work on your own walls.  My house is sort of a hodge podge of different finishes.  I couldn’t do anything for my clients that I didn’t do for myself and know was durable and solid so I have Venetian Plasters in the laundry room and Faux Painting in just about every nook and cranny.  The one room that is lovely is the babies room.  I’ve put a lot of love into that space and we just got the the warmer bamboo flooring installed.  I am going with a more contemporary feel for the room.  The colors are shiny white, lime green, milky chocolate, and then some hints of a red.  I am designing the room more for my husband and I because I feel like at this age its more for the parents to enjoy, and then when he gets older I can paint whatever he wants, even if its Dora the Explorer I’ll do it.

L:  Oh jen1my goodness. I hope you will post pictures once you get that room done.  I love that you are staying as far away as possible from the traditional baby blues and pinks.  Its sounds fabulous!

You are such an inspirational soul and work so hard to inspire people to get creative with paint and there homes.  I am wondering where you draw your own inspiration from?

J: I get inspired by anything and everything.  It could be a book, a magazine article, a piece of fabric, or a shirt someone is wearing.   Usually I draw inspiration from people.   I watch a lot of DVR recordings  of certain inspirational stories, movies or interviews.  There is this

(photo by Bertrand Designs)

great movie about a French Designer that I love or the Iconoclass show where they will take two inspirational figures and have them converse and tape it.  For example, Stella McCartney and a Russian Pop Artist or Tony Hawk and the director for the movie Iron Man.

L: And your incredible drive?  Where does that come from?

J: Sometimes I think that my drive is a sickness.  I am a really creative person and I have always had to believe in myself in order to make everything possible.  Before I went onto Design Star I got a little scared that is was so much bigger than I am but I told myself I was just going to be me, to be true to myself and have integrity.  When my husband was dropping me of at the airport before the show we were laughing because we were sure I’d be the first one to get sent home.  We laughed and said, see you in a couple of days.  You couldn’t have any contact with family during the show so you can imagine how strange it was after 6 weeks of taping and still being on the show.  Most people don’t live in tv land where they have an audience, have to do everything themselves and have millions to spend, so it was a little harder to find drive when things were so different then what I had always known.  Its just something that is deep within you, and tells you to never give up, no-matter how how hard things may get.

L: I know you do a lot of canvas work as well.  Do you have any of these pieces in your home?  Do you sell them often?jen-painting

J:  Yes we do have a couple in our home.  They are really hard to sell but I do sell them from time to time.  Our home is filled with different colors and so are my canvas works.  I love champagne lustrestone, its so calming.  I’m a big fan of lime green, and turquoise is my favorite color.

L:  Is there anything about your upcoming shows that you want to share with us?  I love the Paint over specials available on HGTV for viewing.  I really hope you will be doing more of them, the potential is endless with paint.  Couple that with your unbelievable free-hand and I’m on cloud nine.

J: Yes, I love doing Paint Over.  I love the DIY people out there and look forward to making more Paint Over shows.  It was hard because each show takes 2-3 days, and I am just so pregnant so things are really put on hold for now until after Winston is born.  I have the Showdown Episode that aired in February with Kim Myles, and may be coming out with my own line of stencils soon.  Tell all the other Painty Ladies from your NTA and SALI group happy painting!!!!!

Well, I have to say from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU SO MUCH JEN!  Thank you so much for being out there and creating art!  Thank you for your drive, your passion for paint, your wonderful personality.  You are such a great face for all us painty ladies out here and we will surely be watching your shows and your next moves so we can watch in awe of your talents and designs!

Happy Painting Right back at you!  and the very best of wishes with your new little honey Winston, any day now! If you would like to learn more about Jennifer Bertrand you can find her at:

http://www.hgtv.com/jennifer-bertrand/bio/index.html or you can view Bertrand Designs website @: http://bertranddesigns.com/

Hurray for Paint and Talented Happy Ladies!  with a painted heart, LULU

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I work with a lot of designers in my field.  Before I began building relationships with designers I heard tons of horror stories about designers relationships with painters.  Tales of mis-communication, furious tempers, colors off minutely and problems never fixed.  This did leave me partially worried when reaching out to designers, but being a firm believer in letting the universe know what your looking for, so it can provide for you…I did just this… and one of the gems that I got in my wishing well has been such a gift, that I feel obligated to share such a talented soul with all of you. erica-3

Her name is Erica Cooper, owner and designer for Your Style reDesigned.  I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing her vision first hand on many occasions.  She is spunky, artful, and delightful.  She has a keen eye for even the slightest of details, and calculates each and every more of her wonder rooms for her wide variety of clients and there homes.

*Erica, I have had the pleasure of working with you and have seen first hand the beauty and warmth that you create for your clients. But for those people out there who may not know about your Interior Design company Your Style ReDesigned, how can you best explain your services?*

I design spaces for real-life. Whether the homeowner needs a paint consultation, some window coverings, or a complete design plan- my services are designed to make life easier for my clients.  I believe in starting with functionality first and then creating great design around that, because it doesn’t matter how pretty a room is… if it doesn’t work with your day-to-day life. I believe in celebrating home, embracing the daily, and living creatively.

*So do you have a particular style or does it vary from client to client?*

It’s all about my client’s style. I always start with my client’s belongings to springboard the design process, so it’s never about me or what I like… I can’t have a “signature style” if it’s all about them! I take my client’s wishes and desires for their room and make them happen within their budget, style, and time frame.

*I know how absolutely sweet and easy going you are from working with you in the past. I’m wondering what other traits a client can expect after calling you to potentially use your services?*

It’s all about the details. Making sure that they understand the process and all of the elements involved. I want to make sure I understand my client’s needs, so I do a very detailed interview, including planning a budget for the project. I like to make sure even the small details are taken care of… such as washing the sheets when making the bed; designating a space for the kid’s backpacks when they come in the door; or wallpapering the front closet for a wonderful surprise when they put a guest’s coat away. Most of my work comes from referrals and repeat clients… once I have provided that personalized service, they keep coming back!

*I have been fortunate enough to get ideas and be inspired by the designers that I work with, I’m wondering what would be some of the other reasons that someone would use a Interior Designer? What are the benefits? and what type of costs can a client expect to pay?*

Most of my client’s testimonials tell me that they are thrilled to have someone else do the legwork, find the merchandise, use the space in ways they would have never thought of, and narrow down the unlimited choices for them. I believe it is a stress-reliever to have someone who takes care of the details for them. I don’t cut my own hair, diagnosis my own car problems, or repair my computer…. I hire professionals to do what they do best. So I offer the same service to my clients.

Costs can vary quite a bit when working with a designer, traditional interior designers can range from $95-300 per hour. My services are arranged in several layers to allow my clients to choose what services they do need. If they are looking for a DIY Consultation to get a project started, a single window covering, or a complete design project, I can accommodate their needs. My hourly rate is $85 per hour for most projects. Consultations start at $150 and Redesigns can start as low as $350.


I have had the pleasure of working with you in Bloomington, Eden Prairie, and Minneapolis, where else can we find you designing away?*

I have worked in homes, offices, condos, and businesses all around the Twin City metropolitan area, throughout the greater state of MN, and across the U.S. I have even been privileged to travel to a client’s home in the Caribbean. I have also worked on several relocation projects where the homeowner is moving from one state to another.

What is the one thing that every home needs in your professional opinion?*

Personal items that bring us joy and remind us of special moments and people in our lives. Our homes are so much more than “stuff”, we need to be comforted, rejuvenated, and reminded of what really matters at the end of the day. I once read an article about a designer who said he never used family photos in a living room; he insisted that wasn’t the place for them. I couldn’t believe it! Why wouldn’t we use photos of our loved ones or special moments in our living spaces?

*When we were in Bloomington your clients chose the most unusual light fixture for there dining room, can you share with us a little about the piece and where it came from?*

The piece was a large chandelier that was covered in a form-fitting translucent paper and it resembled a large white seashell. When lit at night, it just glowed. It was brought with them from their home in Houston, TX. The homeowner had loved living in the Caribbean for many years and her home in Houston reflected that. Since she loved it, we incorporated it into her new home in Minnesota. It was her way of remembering where her heart was. erica-2

*What are some of the other unusual things that you have had to use in one of your designs and were they hard to design around?

I have used a variety of things that have belonged to the homeowner and have not necessarily been a design element, but needed to be incorporated into the design. If it’s important to them, then we do our best to include it. Sometimes, it surprises us all by making a really fun contribution to the design overall. I have used a variety of antiques, including crib slats or industrial pieces; I have designed with family heirlooms and unique pieces that one of the children has created. It always works out and makes a special statement for that family.

Whats next for Your Style ReDesigned?

I am always thinking. I have always have an idea…or ten…floating around waiting to come to fruition. I love making my client’s lives easier, so most of my services are needs I see need to be met in my client’s homes. I have expanded my Relocation Services by starting to market for them separately. I have had a huge response to my Turn-key Relocation Service that reduces the stress factor for my clients during that stressful moving time.

In response to keeping my clients updated on all things home… I have added a blog and send out my newsletter more frequently. I relocated my office to allow for even more space to take care of all the details and have expanded my team to make sure I that can make it all happen on a daily basis. I am currently creating a few new programs that I hope to have out and ready to go in the next couple of months. It is an exciting time!

and finally, what are four things that you just cannot live without?

Besides my husband, two teenagers and our dog…

1. Travel… it inspires me and lets me see the world with new eyes.

2. The written word… from a good novel, to a décor magazine, to my bible. I am never far without one of them… food for my soul.

3. My ultra comfy bed… layered with duvets and pillows… the perfect place to read or snooze, a comfort that I couldn’t do without.

4. My hot water on tap… along with really some dark chocolate… there is nothing a good cup of hot tea can’t fix!

Erica you are positively a gem to the design world.  Thanks so much for taking the time to interview with me, for all the fun projects, and more importantly for so very much inspiration!  I’m sure we will be seeing each other soon!

For more info on the very talented Erica Cooper, Please visit her at any of her following websites or blogs:

Your Style reDesigned, Inc

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