Friday, February 28, 2014

Personalize with Custom Artwork---Yes, You CAN do This!

·In keeping with the trend of Design In The Real World in this month's newsletter here are some ideas on adding personalization to your home using custom artwork. Custom Artwork???   Whoa…hold on now.  I’m not suggesting you commission an artist or drop the equivalent of a college education to decorate your home with expensive custom art.  I am merely suggesting that you find things that speak to you and use them as artwork.  Purchase some acrylic paints and some canvases from your local hobby store, Hobby Lobby happens to be our favorite haunt, and let your kids go to town.  If you choose the paint colors to compliment your d├ęcor, then you will end up with an uber-personal masterpiece that compliments your space.  Photography is another homerun IMO.  Use photographs you love and decoupage them to a canvas 

      or place an order with a canvas photo printing company, like The Canvas People.
      Family rules signs are another way to decorate in a personal way.  You can search "family rules sign in handmade on 

    THIS is my next art project.  

      It is typography print involving dates.  Each date is significant to our family.  Talk about custom and personal!  

      None of these ideas break the bank, but they give oh so much for the dollar, and besides the art on the walls of your home should bring you joy and evoke memories...a la personalized design.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Crazy Like A Preservationist! Oh Yeah!

Are you NUTS-CRAZY for historic homes like this Urban-Mama?  Well, if so, then this is THE post for you.  

To get your retro, transom, gables, corbels, estate, porte-cochere, beautiful oak built-ins, butler's pantry, period detail FIX...check out Preservation Dallas at 
This is a wonderful site.  It is maintained by a wonderful organization dedicated to protecting the history of Dallas neighborhoods and historic buildings.   "Preservation Dallas is a nonprofit membership organization. We champion initiatives to protect the history and culture of neighborhoods and historic buildings throughout the community, enhancing the quality of life and economic development of our great city."  Let me just say...I've spent hours, HOURS people {!!!} on this website reading about many of the different historical Dallas neighborhoods.  Inquiring minds can even read all about Urban Armadillos....NOT what you are thinking, but actually quite intriguing.  

You can bask in all the glory of  these grand old homes during the Annual Swiss Avenue Home Tour.  The date for  2014 is Mother's Day weekend, May 10th & May 11th.  What a lovely treat for MOM!!!! Quality time and time spent learning about the Swiss Avenue Historic District and the beautiful homes it works to protect....that's a bargain!  We will be there, will you?  Keep watching the Swiss Avenue Historic District's Website for details. 

The Hollywood Heights & Santa Monica neighborhood also has an annual historic home tour that occurs with The Art in the Park festival.  The predominate style in this gem of a neighborhood is Tudor, but other styles abound for equal opportunity obsessing!!!  Are you with me TEAM-PRZADA Fans?   April 26 & April 27 are the dates for 2014 in Hollywood & Santa Monica.  Listen...this is one not to be missed, it is complete with local artists exhibiting their work and Food Trucks!  

If you really want to become an expert on historic real estate and share your knowledge on said home tours, check out A Field Guide to American Houses:  The Field Guide to Identifying and Understanding America's Domestic Architecture, by Virginia Savage McAlester.

If historic residential architecture is not your bag baby, well, here is another option, all
within our city limits.  The Dallas Arts District conducts group or private walking tours of Downtown Dallas.  "The Arts District has been a thirty year plan in the making and now boasts buildings by four Pritzker Prize-winning architects within a span of several blocks. The district’s architectural richness extends beyond that, however, with examples of significant buildings erected as far back as the late 1880’s, just 40 years after Dallas’ founding. We will explore the history of the buildings and the culture of one of Dallas’ most interesting neighborhoods".  In this Urban-Mama's humble opinion, Lost Dallas by Mark Doty would be a great primer or companion for this tour.  In his book, Doty explores those lovely lost buildings, places, and neighborhoods that inevitably came and went before an appreciation for their significance could make landmark status a possibility.   
On a side note,while in Downtown Dallas with your exploring shoes on.....Old Red Museum at The Old Red Courthouse makes for a lovely weekend afternoon exploration, if, you so desire!  

So now, I suppose the cat's out of the bag.   I've let you in on just a bit of the crazy that is my passion for historic architecture. Who knew you could find so much of it as well as the resources to help you explore it right here in Dallas.  I did!  ;)  I hope you enjoy!