Small Town Charms

Despite being located along the busy Grand Strand of South Carolina, we're in a very small town. Small enough for me to go door-to-door and ask shop owners if they wanted wider sidewalks on the main drive. Small enough that the state won't pave my road because the re-paving is already scheduled for twenty years from now, potholes be damned. It's not so charming sometimes, like today. The daily pothole torture finally caused one of the front grill panels to jiggle loose and fall off my cute red convertible, which now has a decidedly unclassy gap-toothed look.  Our main highway has a hodgepodge of tacky signage, no sidewalks, and poorly maintained storefronts from the seventies.. Sometimes it seems like no amount of planning, legislation, or heartfelt beautification meetings can make a change. It's frustrating, looking at the same run-down property across the street for 14 years. It's embarrassing when clients call thinking they've made a wrong turn trying to find my shop - I guess they expect Beverly Hills glamour?

      It's a small town, about two miles long and a mile wide, with a fishing pier and a new library, a dog park, and a Piggly Wiggly staffed by local high school kids. The beaches are nearly pristine, with wide grassy dunes and no high rise condo towers; when the tide goes out it leaves tide pools just right for little kids to play in. My dog Hazel lives for her beach days.  We have a surf shop, an impressive new fire station, tourist attractions, wonderful restaurants. Things are slow to change, even though there's widespread agreement that it's time.  We need bike lanes and landscaping and buried power lines. But there's a Southern politeness, hard for a non-Southerner to grasp, that gets in the way sometimes. Cracking down on a property owner is the equivalent of giving your neighbor a hard time.  The niceness slows things down. It's been suggested to me that maybe I should move someplace more, well, snappy.

Then I have one of those days. The delivery driver drops my package by the house because he saw I wasn't at the shop. A young woman with car trouble is quickly helped to push her car into a parking lot. The surf shop owner brings her a cold drink, two young men offer to jump start her car, and a third calls for help. A passing police officer stops to see if she needs help, perhaps offer a ride.

I think of the time my car stalled in rush hour traffic on Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills.   Even though it was blocking the intersection, no one would help. I was flabbergasted when a nice looking man with a briefcase stopped and said "Car broke down, huh?". "Yes", I replied. "That's too bad," he said, gripping his briefcase tighter. Then he shook his head and walked off. I hitched a ride with a friend, and called an amazed AAA agent and told them to retrieve it from the middle of the intersection.

When I stopped at thelocal  bakery this morning, they'd run out of bagels. A year ago, the bakery was a just an idea; a friend asked me for help with the colors, and now the exterior has a mural, the walls are hung with art, and four nice people have jobs. So I'm happy they've run out of bagels.    And if it takes a bit longer to fix things up around here, it's okay, because I've had a hell of a year, and there are times in life when a friendly face makes all the difference.


Why I do what I do...

I found myself on the phone recently telling a new client what I enjoy about being a designer; I felt so strongly about it when I hung up, that I quickly typed some notes.  The notes evolved into a new About page for Designfolly.com, and since I'm pleased at the way it expresses my thoughts, here's the gist:

Designers are always referring to travel as their inspiration...and it is, and it's so very worthwhile. But travel is a great teacher. Spending time in different cultures challenges me to get out of my comfort zone; to see the truth, that our needs are simple - comfortable shelter, food, security, love and family.   Beyond this, the beautiful things we collect, the fine furnishings we covet, are purely for our enjoyment.
I've been designing interiors for over twenty five years, first at Los Angeles' Indigo Seas, and since 2001 in beautiful coastal South Carolina. Along the way, I've been fortunate to spend time in far-flung places - my hometown of Newport Beach; the American West; the Shenandoah Valley; New York;  Australia; Fiji and Hawaii, Mexico, England, France, and Italy.....
Interior Design is important - we help refine your style, choose quality that will last, and solve problems of all sorts. If we don't, it's just shopping-for-hire.  And lately, so much design is disappointingly the same.  Obsessing over the perfect rug, installing fabulous draperies, or creating an enviable art collection, can seem like..... folly.  
DesignFolly.com is not a corporate "style story", or a discount knock-off site. We support local artists and furniture-makers, and create and produce our own designs.  My style includes sunny colors, Chinoiserie, glamorous fabrics, undiscovered artists, and "cheap and cheerful" creativity (like my PillowFolly designs)  mixed with fine decorative arts and furnishings.
DesignFolly.com expresses my philosophy of wants and needs:  Shelter, Food, Security, Love? Check.   So why should we want more? Why do we decorate, collect, make, and do?  Because we can.  Because creating a beautiful life for those we care about is a form of gratitude. It's a way to give our children roots.  It's a celebration of what we've been given, and a way to express love.

Thanks for listening :) 



Ideas are constantly springing from my imagination, plans and business ideas and solutions to problems, things that are worth pursuing by someone, but probably not me.  I've tried to pick the things that get me going, that are fun and (hopefully) worth the effort, and give them my best attention.  Consequently, I do feel like I'm in at least 3 places at once, every day.  Design shop, online design shop, pillow company, slipcover business, and lately, fabric designs. I've had this blog for ages, (it seemed like the thing to do if one wanted to conquer the internet).  But once I got started, it kinda seemed like a self-promoting distraction since I'm kind of a shy person. So I didn't do it. 
But I wholeheartedly admire people who share their ideas and feelings with the world at large, and really need to work on that.  So I've finally decided what to do with this space.  I have three websites and perhaps more on the way, and there's so much behind-the-scenes designing and discussion and inspiration happening, maybe this is the outlet for it. So, Oxford commas included, I'll be back around with some of the stuff I'm working on, stuff I find that's cool, and hopefully places I get to go (not all glamorous either.)  A bit of a mix-up.

That being said, today went like this:
I planned to make a 4 hour drive to the upstate to see the super-talented folks at the fabric mill. We were going to tour the mill and do some final tweaking of my new line of fabrics. Well, long story short, woke up to epic rain. Biblical flooding, no trip.  Hopefully, next Monday :)
In the meantime, thank you Elizabeth Gilbert for this, which I found today:

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