Planning Ahead

It's that time of year, believe it or not. I'm planning BR's fall collection. The upholstery frames and fabrics have all been chosen. Things will start to arrive at the end of August. This means 2 things: 1) Our current floor samples are now on sale and are available for immediate delivery and 2) Time for me to draw out my floor plan.

Cindy and I are very excited about the look for this fall. Great sofas and fabrics and tables and case goods and accessories and... 


We're going to feature 3 dining tables this fall. That's the most we've ever shown.



 My little doodle that I created when I was at the High Point Furniture Market helps me visualize the collection. Arrows next to an image indicate which pieces swivel or recline.



The new Gibson Dining Table is gorgeous. This should be in by September. Now we will have our rustic Farm Dining Table, a Fine Antique Cherry Dining Table and this modern dining table. We got all the bases covered!



We'll be getting in this beautiful sofa this fall. Stevens is a comfy tufted back sofa with great style!


We hope you'll stop by this summer. There's lots of great samples on sale, as well as our usual great gifts and accessories. Happy Summer to all...





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The Arrangement


1. the act of arranging or being arranged
2. the form in which things are arranged: he altered the arrangement of fabrics in the room
3. a thing composed of various ordered parts; the result of arranging: a fabric arrangement


For the past few months, Nelson and I have been talking about rearranging all of our upholstery fabrics here in the store. Typically, we arrange our fabrics by color. It looks nice having a rainbow that moves from whites to deep purple. Sometimes I stand in front of the fabric wall and pass by the fabric I want over and over again…frustrating!!! Of course, it ends up being right in front of me but, its really hard to find a particular fabric when it is floating in a sea of fellow creams of the same shade.

Many times when we're working with a customer who wants to order a sofa or chair, we want to make a fabric suggestion, but finding the fabric? Not too easy when the fabrics are arranged by colorway. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams' fabrics are much easier to find now that they're alphabetized by fabric name! 



Most of the time we know each of the fabrics, especially Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams’, by their name like Whit-Espresso or Keswick-Lake or the like. So, we decided to put all of our fabrics in alphabetical order by fabric name and see how it would work. So far, its like a dream! We both can pull a fabric much faster than before to show customers. 

But you know when you suggest a change, Nelson can make it an extended project..for both of us.


Nelson does like his projects...


He decided to build an entire new rack system for our Rowe fabrics. We took the existing fabrics off their cumbersome ring system and clipped each fabric on its own hanger. We’re talking over 400 hangers folks! And all this was after Nelson reverted to his childhood and rigged up an amazing erector-set for displaying the fabrics. Can you tell he’s in his element?!



We bought about 450 hangers and used them all. Much easier to see the whole range of fabric choices when they are hanging up, instead of on rings.


It's coming along....


As you can see, the final product is pretty cool. We can access all fabrics from either line with ease***.


The finished fabric rack! 


***After all this work I can actually say that I can tell you which fabric is which in the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams line by touch alone. Just another added extra benefit of organizing them by name.

Until next week. Ciao!




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Spring House Projects

I always get asked how the house is coming along. "Are you all done?" As much as I'd like to be, am I ever done? I find there's always something to do. This spring I continued to add to my garden, as well as, get to some other projects I've been meaning to do for months.

New Paint For The Front Door

I painted our front door, finally! One of those things that was bothering me, but never got to until now...I'm getting a black screen door as well. Will keep you posted.

The front door looks much better painted black! Now I have to paint the door frame white! (See? Always creating more work for myself...)


A Trellis For My Climbing Rose Bush

I designed the north bed of our back yard garden with a climbing rose as a centerpiece and anchor. This week I installed a 15' wide trellis behind it. It will be pretty spectacular when the rose spreads and fills it up with blooms!

Ernesto at Finkle's Hardware helped me out with the pipes and the airplane wire!


I planted this rose (Rosa 'ZLEEltonStrack') last year and it's really growing in just fine. I designed the trellis using industrial galvanized pipes and airplane wire. It has an overall length of 15' with one pipe in the center and one at each end. Pre-drilled holes are fitted with the airplane wire.


Another view of the trellis.


Airplane wire gives the trellis a great, industrial look.


The Front Garden Is In!

After living in the house for 3 years and having just a patch of dirt in front, I finally have a garden!

A few weeks ago I bought the plants I would need and placed them where I wanted them to grow and spread. A lilac and a hedge of Cherry Laurel will give the garden structure. 


The front garden planted and mulched! Eventually the Echinacea purpurea and Black-eyed Susans will spread. I will also fill it in with some Forget-Me-Not seeds and some Lychnis Coronaria, which is one of my favorite plants.



A David Austen English tea rose Young Lycidas will be a highlight of this garden.


Well, here's hoping you are all having a great spring! How are your house projects going? Hope to see you soon in the store or around town. Ciao!


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She's The First

Here at Blue Raccoon we are passionate about supporting causes that make a real difference in our world. Whether it be supporting the environment by selling sustainable furniture in our stores to backing policies allowing all people to love each other equally.

Sometimes, our customers make us aware of something wonderful that we can throw our support behind and we’ve done just that for an amazing group here in Lambertville.

The organization is called She's the First, a 501C(3) non-profit organization that provides educational scholarships for girls in low-income countries with the goal of graduating high school. Most often the scholars are The First to graduate from their family and/or community. 


Tomas Kerns, board member of STF, speaks to the gathering.

Tomas Kerns, board member of STF, speaks to the gathering.


Since 2013, an amazing group of women from Lambertville including Leigh McKay, Sharon Dietrich, Naomi Drew, Shirley Kessler, Jane Wesby, and Joan Millsaps to name a few, wanted to do something to improve the lives of girls, particularly those in developing countries who struggle against impossible odds.

They all joined forces and host an annual May Day Fundraising Luncheon to support the efforts of She’s the First. This year they raised raised over $12,000 and will send at least 10 girls to school in Nepal, India and Gambia. 

Leigh McKay, a favorite customer of Blue Raccoon, talks about how each donation can make a difference in a young girl’s life.


Its truly amazing what a group of determined women can do to support each other and young women throughout the world. We love how our customers expand our horizons and we're equally thrilled to support She's The First in expanding the horizons of girls throughout the world!


If you want to donate to help support young girls to get an education you may go to She's The First.



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Pillow Talk

Let's talk pillows...

Anyone who's walked through the store knows that I don't shy away from colors and patterns. I believe that, as long as you have a firm design base, layering colors and textures becomes easy. In fact, I feel strongly that a room needs all the pop it deserves. Usually the base in a living/family room, for me, is the upholstery. I start with a sofa and, maybe, a pair of chairs in warm neutral fabrics. Then I layer on pillows, throws, rugs, etc. that add color, pattern and texture.  


At home I used orange as an accent, but I found some beautiful pillows in one of my favorite stores in Key West and thought that these would give me that mix and match, yet, coordinated pillow collection that I always love. It's easy, breezy decorating style... Don't fret. Just have fun with patterns and colors. The blue block print pillow has a beautiful orange whip-stitched edge. The little kidney pillow is actually block printed with metallic gold and silver. It all works!


Number one rule for me with pillows is don't be afraid of pattern. This picture shows a simple start. A big ticking stripe coordinates beautifully with this gorgeous, colorful Indian block print pillow.


There's definitely more happening here. A mass of different patterns mix and match, creating a bold design of patterns in similar colors. 


A neutral gray sofa is dressed up with a chenille throw and 3 different patterned pillows.


 Using fabric swatches (Why not get custom pillows made?), I've created a rich collection of colors and patterns, as well as, textures. A rich gray velvet (lower left) is paired with a taupey gray Shantung silk (right) and a bold modern pattern. The addition of the unexpected "acid green" linen weave gives it all zing!


 A big bold pattern is offset by the rich green velvet (right) and a striped chenille. Love it.


I could go on. It's easy for me to play with patterns, colors, textures, as I love doing it. I think you get the idea...Let's talk about your home. Need any fun accessories, pillows, throws? We love helping our customers "put it all together". Hope to see you soon.


Until next week. Ciao!


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