9/11: A New Tapestry

Today is the 9th anniversary of 9/11, and today I have a much more personal connection with that day than ever…

Just 3 weeks ago my family and I were in New York, and we took the time to go to St. Paul’s Chapel where, through the course of the 9/11 tragedy, it served as a refuge for the workers, the volunteers, the family of those lost or missing.

Today it remains as it was then, a place of worship, but since 9/11, new threads and fibres have been added to its tapestry. Stories of the people and events emerging from that time are captured in the “Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero” exhibit you will find inside St. Paul’s Chapel. But it has more to do with the ‘feeling’ that is present, which words can’t begin to describe and images can only barely translate, that truly captures the spirit that lies within the story.

Timeline of St. Paul’s Chapel – created by ESI Designs

Taken outside of St. Paul’s Chapel, this shot captures visitors reading the timeline of the Chapel’s history up to 9/11 and in the months following. As we moved through the timeline the ‘feeling’ was an introduction to the story about to unfold inside.

Upon entering you are greeted by the banner below.

A banner made by students in Oklahoma

The banner is signed with many, many words of encouragement and hope. On each far side of the banner are more beautifully constructed messages…

THE PEWS sign below is attached to one of the pews and it describes the purpose the pews served throughout the 9/11 relief ministry.

The Pews

It says:

Fireman’s Jacket in Pew

THROUGHOUT THE 9/11 RELIEF MINISTRY, the Chapel’s pews became a refuge for Firefighters, Police Officers and rescue workers. Some came to sit quietly alone; others came to pray. Many came to sleep, stretching out with a blanket, pillow and teddy bear provided by volunteers.  Letters from children covered each pew, offering an uplifting message of hope.

Always ready to be called back to “the pit” at any moment, workers kept their boots and equipment belts on, creating deep scuff marks in the pews. When the Chapel was cleaned and refurbished in 2002, it was decided not to repair the pews, but to leave the marks as a witness and a tribute to the workers.

Today, St. Paul’s Chapel continues to honour the first responders of 9/11 by participating in the 9/11 Neediest Medical Campaign.

Though the photo of the fireman’s jacket in the pew is a little blurred, if you look closely you will see some scuff marks left behind as described above; another sign mentions that it was a common sight to see firemen’s jackets hung over the pews.

Uniform patches sent from across the country

This exhibit is called “Healing Hearts and Minds”. It is a policeman’s uniform covered with patches received from fellow officers, firefighters and others from all over the Country conveying a message of strength and solidarity.

Helping Hands

Helping Hands for the Tree of Hope… In this image of ‘helping hands’ the blue sign explains this exhibit.

It says:

In the Winter of 2003, thousands of our visitors took part in a holiday project to create ornaments for our Tree of Hope. The little hand-shaped cut-outs represented the countless hands that came together at St. Paul’s to pray, heal, comfort and embrace all those who walked through our doors after September 11th.                                                                                                                        

This next image is a fabric art piece. I think it is truly symbolic of the 9/11 tapestry that has been woven so tightly.

Tapestry of 9/11

I find this piece haunting and a stunning work of art.

The images I have shared are just a snap-shot of what you will find at St. Paul’s Chapel. You truly have to experience this for yourself in order to feel the story that unfolds; words simply can’t describe it. With each exhibit there is a sense of strength, a feeling of hope that is bound by unity and bonded by commitment.

Construction underway at Ground Zero

The conclusion is yet to unfold… but new beginnings are taking shape. With the construction of a new tower underway at Ground Zero, fresh meaning is brought to the words above the entrance of St. Paul’s Chapel, ‘Out of the Dust’.

And the memorial that is St. Paul’s in Manhattan is powerful in the story it tells. While there is no sense of deliberate “design” in the traditional sense, the company behind “Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero”, ESI Designs, has done a remarkable job. All one experiences are the displays of loving memorabilia in the most direct way, yet the whole exhibit was in fact carefully designed to tell the story without intruding. The exhibits at St. Paul’s Chapel are not only a testimony to those lost that day, and to those who made such a huge difference in the days and months following the attacks of 9/11…

Crane in the distance sits at Ground Zero

They are also a testimony to united strength, the will for rebirth, and the determination to move forward.

Just Say ‘Yes’

Just Say 'Yes'

When you hire an interior specialist (designer, stylist, decorator, redesigner, stager, organizer, etc.) chances are that you will hear ideas and suggestions you have not considered or even thought of. And that is why you hired the professional! Let your mantra for this journey be to say ‘yes’ first, and stay open for amazing results.

If you have done your homework prior to hiring Sheila Zeller Interiors, then you will know that we listen, create, and connect. In order for us to do this successfully, your part is to be as open, candid and clear as possible in the consultation. The more you are able to tell us about your hopes and desires for your space; your uses and needs for it; and the feeling you want created, the better informed we will be to help achieve your vision. A few things to keep in mind so that we can do our best work for you are:

1. Know your likes and dislikes

Before we can create a space that works for you, we need to have a sense of who you are, and what makes you, YOU. What colours and textures do you prefer? What kind of artwork do you tend toward? Do you like antiques or steer clear of them? What is your personal style and flair – jeans or suits or somewhere in between? Do you like nature, the city, landscapes, seascapes, or sky scrapers? What are your hobbies and interests? This is all about you, and the more we learn, the more your space will reflect YOU!

2. Understand how you plan to use the space

Is this a new space for you or an existing one? What kind of space is this? For example, are we styling a bedroom, an office or den, a living room, or are we doing a few rooms? Does the space need to be multi-functional or is it single purpose only? Does it need to be pet-friendly, child and/or teen-friendly? Will you be using it to entertain in, or is this your oasis?

3. Prioritize your existing furniture, artwork, and accessories

We will need to know which existing pieces must be, can be, and definitely won’t be incorporated in the fresh look (do you love it, like it, or really want to let it go?). We want to learn what things are meaningful to you, and which pieces hold a special sentimental value. We would love to know their stories so that we can better tell your story. We will ask if we can ‘shop your house’:  can we remove items from other rooms and incorporate them into the space we’re working on?  We need to be clear where the boundaries are: what is off-limits, what is negotiable, and what is fair game. And of course, we’ll want to know if adding any new pieces is an option, so shopping for and purchasing new items, and/or refurbishing existing ones… which leads next to the budget.

4. Be budget-conscious and budget-clear

All too often a project will begin with mutual enthusiasm and excitement, only to wane when the beast of the budget enters in. And this is why being budget-clear before we begin is critical: what is most important to accomplish (key areas of focus), what is the time line for completion (haste makes waste), and what is the $$$ allocation (a range between $ and $)? It’s our job to create a space that you connect with within these parameters; it’s up to all of us to be mutually clear on what these parameters are.

5. Enjoy the Journey: Just say ‘Yes’

Relax and trust the professional that you have hired. Expect the unexpected, and allow yourself to think outside of the box. By saying yes to new ideas and being clear about the process, you make it possible for us to create something remarkable for you!

 

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

 

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THANKS FOR READING!


Off to NYC… Just A Little Inspiration!

If you’ve ever watched HGTV/Food Network’s ‘Restaurant Makeover’ and had the pleasure of seeing Chef Lynn [Lynn Crawford] in action, then you’ll understand why I watched her HGTV/Food Network mini series, ‘Pitching In’. Chef Lynn is pure soul; and her passion for creating exquisite meals is an understatement. But the reason I was so intrigued to watch ‘Pitchin’ In’ wasn’t for the cooking aspect (if you know me, then you’ll know the kitchen isn’t where I love to spend my time!!!), it was for the reason Chef Lynn opted into the journey of this  mini series. Lynn Crawford was the Executive Chef of the Four Seasons Manhattan in New York for years, preparing culinary delights for the ‘Rich and Famous’, but she says somewhere along the way she lost her passion, and so she wanted to go back to the roots of ‘food’ to try and find her passion again.

I believe we all have a passion for what we are meant to do, and if we are doing something other than what feeds our passion, we are on the wrong path.

So where am I going with all this? I am going to New York! What better place than New York to soak in colour, texture, scale (definitely scale!), and of course avant garde ‘anything and everything’ from historical to modern extraordinaire? I can’t wait for the osmosis of design inspiration to set in. I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you when I return. And as for Chef Lynn… well, have you heard of Ruby Watchco?

Until then, here are a few images of the places I’ll be seeing, and some of the things I’ll be doing…

A colourful glimpse of ‘The city that never sleeps’.

New York City at Sunset

Uptown Minds

This just makes my heart race!

And ‘Les Halles’, Anthony Bourdain’s restaurant (he’s the chef that never sleeps!)

Anthony Bourdain Restaurant - Les Halles NYC

Virtual Tourist

After dining here, I bet we won’t want to sleep, either!

Of course, there’s Times Square, which is the area we will be staying in.

Times Square at Night - NYC

Top World Cities

I can’t wait to see Times Square at night. Did you know, Times Square is where the famous photograph, ‘The Kiss’ was taken?

Hhhh, so much to see in so little time…

Yellow Taxis in NYC

Scallywag and Vagabonds

Sitting in traffic is just not an option! We’ll be walking, walking, and taking the subway too!

And what’s a trip to New York without at stop at a deli? Like maybe, ‘KATZ, that’s all!’

KATZ Deli - Where Harry Met Sally

Enjoy Your Holiday

KATZ Deli is not just ‘any’ deli. It was established in 1888, and is famous for, ‘Send A Salami To Your Boy in The Army’. And yes, there is a story behind the catch phrase, ‘KATZ, that’s all!’

Do you remember the dessert scene in, ‘When Harry Met Sally’? Well, did you know, it was filmed at this deli?

When Harry Met Sally - I'll Have What She's Having Sign

Gastro Gazette

We’re SO off to ‘have what she had!’

But the biggest reason we’re headed to NYC at this time…

Green Day's American Idiot on Broadway, NYC

Favim

Is to take in the brand new musical, Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’! This is our main Broadway attraction, and we are super excited to see it!

If there’s a NYC heart, there’s a pulse!

I love NYC Art - The Suite World

The Suite World

Hhhhhhh, I think I heart New York already 🙂 Seriously, what’s not to love?

THANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY!

What Does ‘Coming Home’ Really Mean?

Coming home is an expression used so often, but what does it really mean?

As I began to re-brand my company, this question ran through my mind. And I began to reflect on my own journey – back to when I first left home for college to where I am now, and what it is that resonates so deeply with the feeling I relate to as  ‘coming home’.

College was my first big stepping out. I lived in a dorm, but had to share my room with another student. Decorating my space was controlled by the general rules of the college, and then by what space was actually mine – I had my side of the room, she had hers. As dorm residents, we ate in the cafeteria, shared a common TV area, and had a locker-room style bathroom and showers. So though this was a step in leaving home, it wasn’t the full stride. It was however, the first stretch where ‘coming home’ took on a deeper meaning for me.

I learned that coming home – and really knowing I was there – was all about the memories of my senses: familiar sights and sounds, scents and tastes, and of course touch, like the feeling of the sheets on ‘my’ bed. It was the daily rhythms, all things familiar that became the essence of my ‘normal’, and ultimately the foundation of ‘home’ now.

So what does coming home really mean?

It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe… a collection of things, tangible and intangible, that feed your soul. It’s that sense of calm and peace, that the world is ‘right’ as you step through the doorway. It’s that feeling of comfort, like a favourite pair of jeans. It’s where nothing needs to be said, no-one needs to be there, but you know you’ve just been greeted by your best friend. It’s that one place in the universe where you can just be ‘you’, surrounded by the things you love, the memories you have, and where the people you care about are allowed ‘in’.  At the heart of it, coming home is where you can be most vulnerable because you feel safe, and all your senses are fed.

Coming home is about you. What would that mean for your home?

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The Great Scape: Sofa Tables Talk

Ever wonder what makes the difference between simply placing a sofa table and really presenting it? Here are a few tips to make your table talk!

Choose a table to scale. This means find a piece that fits the sofa and really anchors the two together. Stay away from tables that appear to ‘float’ behind the sofa.

Credit: Maria Killam Photo – ‘Before’ Shot

Think outside of the box. Use another piece of furniture in place of the standard sofa table, such as a desk, a vanity, or a narrow buffet.

Buffet as a sofa table (Credit: Traci Zeller)

Create height and interest. Establish your focal point and work in a triangle from there. And don’t forget, symmetrical placement isn’t the only way to achieve visual balance.

Layer, layer, layer. This is all about mixing up the colours and textures of your objects (fabrics, woods, glass, mirrors, etc.), and how you go about placing them together (overlapped, on top of, in front of, to the side of, etc.).

Don’t stop at the table. Remember to fill in the area below the table. This is the difference between just placing your table, and really presenting it!

Example of ‘Filled In’ (Credit: Maria Killam Colour & Design)

Have fun. This is your statement, and a great scape is to ‘e‘scape from ‘rules, ‘rights and wrongs’, and ‘shoulds’… But if you must, then keep in mind the ‘Rule of Thirds’ to help you stay on track for picture-perfect results.

Oh, and one last tip, don’t be afraid to change out your ensembles and vignettes from time-to-time. Mixing it up with the seasons is a nice way to keep your look fresh.

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How Colour Changed My Business Name

I’ve been following Maria Killam’s blog for the last year, eagerly awaiting each new post with anticipation and curiousity – what will Maria say today? Maria has a way of writing that simply resonates, and she shares her expertise as if she were sharing with a friend – well a friend that she has actually met.

So when Maria posted that  her True Colour Expert Training course was being offered in May, I was excited and quick to sign up. My thought, if Maria teaches the course the way she shares in her blog, this is the colour course for me! And… so it was. The course has come and gone, but the impact of it remains. With 14 of us participating, from as far away as New York to as close as Vancouver Island, there was an instant richness and depth to the tapestry of this learning experience that might otherwise have been missing (see in the picture below: that’s me 2nd from left, and Maria is in the centre, 6th from left. Funny thing, right beside me is Traci Zeller of Traci Zeller Designs – no relation, other than by profession… and the colour course of course!).

True Colour Expert Training Class – May 2010

So how did colour change my business name?

Well, Maria’s course provided a palette for focus – three solid days of everything colour with like-minded professionals. And it became transparently clear that what we do best for our clients is really about doing what we love to do, and leaving the rest for the true specialists in those other areas. And that clarity is why I am refocusing to create Sheila Zeller Interiors.

What are my specialties?   Listening – Creating – Connecting

  • Listening: hearing your wishes and needs, and interpreting them in your space
  • Creating: translating your style with a balance between beauty and function
  • Connecting: telling your story by working with your pieces to reflect who you are in your space

Why? Because I believe your space matters as much as you do, and in the end it’s all about you.

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Photograph source: sZinteriors