In honor of Celerie's first book, "Black & White (and a bit in between): Timeless Interiors, Dramatic Accents and Stylish Collections," The Mint Museum Auxiliary brought Celerie to Charlotte last week as the guest speaker for its annual Room to Bloom Decorative Arts Symposium at a private country club.
Interviewed on stage by Circa Interiors and Antiques owner Cindy Smith in a Palm Beach-worthy setting (the antique wicker fan chairs they were seated in were later auctioned off as part of the fundraiser), Celerie was as gorgeous in person as she is in photos. She was also refreshingly funny and honest with her forthright observations about interior design and her hectic life as a working mother of three young children under the age of six living in New York City with a husband who has his own demanding career.
She won me over at the start when she said, "We shouldn't strive for perfection in our homes, there is beauty in things that are worn and imperfect."
But two really perfect things did happen at the symposium thanks to Wells Fargo. The bank gave everyone in attendance a copy of her book (thank you!); and the bank surprised Celerie by making a $25,000 donation in her name to one of her favorite charities, the Alpha Workshops.
Her are some of the inspiring thoughts she shared with guests:
- A home should reflect the person who lives in it. When you go into someone's house, you should leave feeling you know them better just by the way their home was decorated.
- Your house should be functional for your lifestyle. Think about what you want, what your husband wants, what your kids need and how you like to entertain.
- Rules of proportion and scale shouldn't be broken, but other than that, every decorating rule can be broken to suit what you like and what works best for your home. One interior design rule she loves to break is having a large rug with a smaller rug on top, although technically rugs on tops of rugs are a design no-no.
- Everyone has something weird - some piece of furniture or an accessory or painting - that you have to incorporate into the design. Instead of looking at what you can't remove, work with it and go from there. It's in compromise that you get distinctive interiors.
- Creative renewal is vital. Whether it's a quick nap, a trip to a museum or a vacation, you have to take a break from your normal life to keep your energy and creativity flowing.
- When you see something beautiful it's like a jolt of caffeine.
- A room is more interesting if you have pieces with different textures. She likes to use something glass, something laquered and something natural in every room.
- Get out there and look. Browsing through stores and markets is the only way to find out what you like and to get an idea of how much things cost.
- Have an area where your children can play freely, but also teach them to respect the rest of the house. Instead of getting rid of all your nice things until your children get older, teach them to appreciate and respect beautiful things.
- Working mothers cannot do it all so you have to have priorities. For Celerie now, it's snuggling with her children. She and her husband really pick and choose what they do at night because they don't want to be away from their children. She jokes that she only brushes her hair twice a week and that her good friends know that if they want her to return their phone calls they have to tell her it's an emergency.