Did I ever tell you...

...that after I met with my first paid client, he wrote me a check for the design consult and included a single dollar bill with it for me to frame (as Vintage Simple's first step into the world)?

Such a kind gesture, I thought. And although for some reason I can't bring myself to frame it, I keep it safely tucked away in a drawer along with his thoughtful note.

I am currently working on a couple of projects, including one in Maine, which I'll get to in a minute, and another one in Brooklyn.

First, I thought I'd share a few little peeks from when I was up NYC in November. Most of the painting in the house is now done, bringing out the gorgeous details of the old brownstone...

Some of the light fixtures have already been put up,

while others still patiently await to be installed...

This one, by Cisco Brothers, will go in the parlor. I think it was love at first sight for my client, and it makes me smile to think that it was so. (Such things do happen after all.)

The parlor has a new fun blue couch and wire chair, and a big mirror over the mantel to bring a little more light into the space... It is a north-facing room, so it can be pretty dark in there. I think the chandelier will be a great addition to the space.

We're thinking perhaps a light such as the one you can spy in the next picture will go in the dining room, creating a beautiful foil to the more rustic one in the parlor.

But then again, we may look into having something custom made that relates more directly to the parlor's chandelier, without exactly replicating it. Perhaps something along these lines...

As far as Maine, I thought I'd post some of the sketches I've drawn for my client there, just to give you a little sense of what's been going on with that project.

Here's one of the foyer, with a proposed antique Swedish bench, mirror, window treatments, and lighting suggestions (still trying to figure out my new scanner - heh)...

A sketch of the sink wall in the kitchen, filled with sources and recommendations...

And here is one with ideas for the lounge/TV area in the living room...

Both projects are still, clearly, far from being completed, but I thought I'd share with you a little bit of what I've been working on for the last couple of months. These things do take time - what with the business of living, and budgets, and dreams... but the work itself is great and I am happy to report that I am thoroughly enjoying it.

On a more personal note (related to this idea of dreams), I've been trying to watch myself more closely, paying attention to all these hopes and plans and dreams of mine. And as I watch myself trying to stubbornly hold on to them all, I am also painfully aware of my wish to rush them into certainty right away. But that is not really the way life works... is it?

And so it is that I hold my many dreams with my many imaginary arms... And I am starting to think that perhaps the trick lies in the holding - with purposeful intent, but patiently and...lightly. Ever-so-lightly. And always (always) with an open heart.

So, I am working on finding more balance in the way I hold myself and that which is dear to me, including my dreams. And I hope that with each passing year, I will be able to hold myself and my goals more lightly - in a more forgiving, quiet way.

It is not a complete thought, I realize - but it will have to do for now. I am wishing you all peace, my friends - now and always. See you at the other end of 2010.

(images: 4. cisco brothers; 6. rebekah sigfrids via design sponge; 7. photo by richard powers, collaboration for lights - fearon hay and katie brown; 11. & 12. katie daisy's etsy shop; all others by me)


  1. the cisco brothers chandelier is exquisite! great work on all of this! can't wait to see more from Maine...xoxo {av}

  2. Maria, So good to see you here. You are doing such lovely work. I adore your sketches as works themselves. If you were creating sketches for my little pad here, I'd definitely want to keep your original sketch(es). I'm especially pleased with your thoughts on holding yourself and your goals more lightly. I'm sure this is something most of us can work on. Thank you for leading the way.

  3. Thank you both.

    And Denise..! My dear friend, Denise. Thank you. You are always so thoughtful and encouraging... and maybe I'm just having a moment, but I'm tearing up because that holding myself lightly piece is hard - and you just gave me a beautiful gift with your comment. Thank you, always.

    much love,

  4. Maine?! Where in Maine? We venture up to Kennebunkport and Portland a lot and love it up there...

    I love your outlook on your goals. I think we are too hard on ourselves when we it comes to goals and dreams and where we think we should be and what we think we should be doing. We should be kinder to ourselves, no?

    Happy Holidays to you and your family!! :)

  5. So good to hear from you again, busy lady! Your work seems to be coming along great...love the changes you are making at the NYC space. Your sketches are wonderful, as well as your ideas.

    I have the same feelings much of the time as you do. I am always afraid that if I rush forward too much, I will lose sight of my true goals. I have every bit of confidence in you though, my friend.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours, Maria.


  6. See, this is why we all rush over to visit as soon as you put up a post.

    The pictures are beautiful, as is your eye. Clearly. Lucky clients.

    Your words are thought provoking and life enhancing.

    Have a wonderful, wonderful holiday and to thy own self be true.

    xo jane

  7. You are working on some amazing things here. Love your ideas, and indeed your clients are lucky. I am glad you are trying to nurture and forward your dreams and hopes gently. It is so easy to wish everything to happen at once. Happy holidays and best wishes for 2011.

  8. i love this quote, maria, "...And so it is that I hold my many dreams with my many imaginary arms... And I am starting to think that perhaps the trick lies in the holding - with purposeful intent, but patiently and...lightly. Ever-so-lightly. And always (always) with an open heart." so so beautifully said. and it's wonderful to see your sketches and your work in progress. happy december you. xoxo.

  9. I'm so in love with your sketches. I did the same thing while planning out our living room. I wish I could buy everything all together!

  10. Sweet sweet Maria, Jane is right, we do all rush to your posts. As much for your thoughts and insights as for the beautiful images. I'm so delighted for your clients who get to live surrounded by your peaceful and thoughtful aesthetic.

    I'm so encouraged by your Thoughts on dreams, I needed that insight today!

  11. what a lovely post! it really helps me feel that even my dreams can come true! =)

  12. It's nice to see you keeping so productively busy and in such good heart. You're clearly bringing a lot to those projects, and you are a master light-finder. Could you have that on a bronze plaque by your door, 'Maria, Master Interior Light-Finder'?

  13. Maria, I love the way you write. I'm inspired by the way you decorate as well as the way you put your thoughts in writing. Your writing is something that always touches deep in my heart. I like the way you took the photo of the dollar bill by the way. (Nice pink flowers!) When I come visit your blog, I think of Joanne. I think you and she are alike. Both of you are so genuine and sweet. Congratulations on getting the first step to the world of interior designer. You're getting closer each day to realizing your dream. I have a long way to go. I am not good at being patient, so I hear you about wanting to rush into certainties. I hope to find more balance in the way I hold myself and my dreams, too. Have a wonderful weekend. xo Kaho

  14. Qué proyectos !!! qué bueno que muestres en lo que andás. Qué lindo lo del dólar, qué gesto, no? Te mando un beso grande !

  15. Congrats, Maria! It is so good to see your dreams coming true!

    Have a wonderful holiday season!

  16. Oh wow Maria - this is incredible work. You're amazing!! Merry Christmas to you. I wish you all the joy in the world for 2011. xxx

  17. Oh it just makes me smile when I read of someone following their dreams and beginning to see success. I believe peace and balance really find their roots in people discovering what they love, and then thru doing that, they bless those around them. Don't you think? The most frustrated folk are those that have either never tapped into their passions, or those who can't find it within themselves or their circumstances to follow them.

    I'm so excited for you Maria! And you are doing great work already. LOVE your sketches...truly art.

  18. Congratulations, this is such exciting news! This is all so inspiring-- the work you're starting, your sketches and the thoughts about dreams. I can't wait to see more of these projects!

  19. Gorgeous..I love the paint color!

  20. I absolutely loved reading your post! I can relate to the sentiment so much when it comes to the difficulty of holding lightness. My dreams and goals create dizzy swirls in my mind until alas, I sometimes choose security over the leap into the unknown. I have leapt so many times. For right now I just want to be. But please know that is is so rewarding to watch you create your desires and gather support around it.
    Lovely Ganesh painting. Where is the image from?
    :) peace, Hillary

  21. Hi Hillary,

    Thank you. The print is from Katie Daisy and you can find her store by clicking on that name at the bottom of the post, where the credits for the images are.

    Thanks again to all for your kind words.


  22. Wow - the bones of that Brooklyn brownstone are amazing. What a great place to be able to work with. Balance is definitely the key for getting through life although sometimes it is harder to find than we think. All the best for 2011.

  23. Hey girl! I am so excited for you! Congrats on all of the amazing and wonderful things that have come your way!

    The photos of the home in NYC are fantastic! I love what you have done, and can't wait to see more!

    Merry Christmas!


  24. Maria, so great to see your work in progress! Thank you for sharing it with us. I'm so happy for you that you have found such a perfect fit with your design talent and your work. Wishing you a lovely holiday and best wishes for 2011. As always, looking forward to seeing more of what you are up to.
    xo xo Jill

  25. I feel like this post is chalk full of wonder and excitement. Thank you for that personal touch at the end--we need to hear it, be reminded of it, and savor those words! Thank you!

    And congratulations--that dollar bill will be something to treasure!

  26. i love all of the lighting... your sketches are fantastic and remind me how important all the details are :)

    congrats on what sounds like a year full of dreams mixed with daily life ~ your expression is filled with grace and inspiration ♥

    happy holidays

  27. I so love your sketches. Can we commission you to do sketches of our imaginary spaces? I think I like imaginary spaces better because they are easier to keep free of the piles of dog hair and Legos that mix freely in our real spaces.

    I want a Maria sketch of a pretend place! To frame and put on my wall (walls don't collect Legos and dog hair like floors either)! Can we include this in your design job description?



  28. Dear Maria,

    What a great post!

    I loved following the development of your NY and Maine projects, and love your illustrations! How wonderful that you are now working with what you love! Congratulations! So well deserved!!

    How sweet that your first client sent you that dollar bill. You MUST frame it Maria - even if it feels wrong to do so. It's such an important first step towards your dream and a brilliant reminder to always stay true to that path!

    I loved your words about holding yourself lightly. I think you are so right. Any kind of 'force' in trying to hold on to something will eventually destroy it. I wish you beautiful guiding light from within, happiness and success for 2011! I have a feeling it will be a big year for you - in a good sense!

    Lots and lots of Summery Christmas hugs from the other side of the world. You are such a special person Maria and I feel so happy that we have met.

    Let's catch up more regularly next year. Miss our chats! xx Charlotta

  29. Dear, Maria,

    We are about to start cooking a great Christmas feast, but I just wanted to drop you a note first.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. As you noted, my business idea took on a life on its own -- and I am beyond thrilled (but very busy)! I will call you before New Year's and fill you in.

    I am so happy for you and your design work! I can't wait to hear all the details. And your sketches are unbelieveable (I can't draw to save my life).

    Merry, merry to you.

    Love always,


  30. hello maria....
    i love your sketches and photos....
    i was just popping in to say merry christmas!!!
    hope you are well
    all the best to you

  31. Maria, your image of the many arms holding dreams is lovely. And the words that describe the need to hold them lightly is something like a decoder ring for what I've been feeling and struggling to communicate. I always find inspiration here and today I've found something else entirely. And it was just what I needed. Lightly. I like that idea. Beautiful new year to you and your family.

  32. Wow! I'm thrilled for you, Maria! Your ideas are brilliant. And your style, I adore! Oh yes! A much lighter hold --forgiving and quiet. Great words for all of us to remember this new year. Thank you so much.

  33. May your New Year be filled with many Blessings and abundances of Joy for 2011. From my mountain to yours, Until next year
    Hugs and Smiles Gl♥ria

  34. Hi dear Maria. This is such a fabulous post in many ways. It is wonderful to see your amazing projects and to 'hear' the excitement in your words! I am beyond happy for you my dear, to be doing something that you obviously have incredible talent and passion for!! I am looking forward to following the progress of your work:) Hoping that you, Bill and Noah have had a fabulous holiday season and our family wishes your family, nothing but happiness and wonderful times for 2011. Looking forward to 'catching up' more in the coming year!! Huge hugs to you sweet friend. ~ Txx

  35. Dear Maria, just wanted to stop by and wish you a very happy new year! You have accomplished so much, I am so happy for all your new projects! I really relate to your desire to hold lightly to all your dreams. It's so true, we want it all now, but I think I'm finally embracing the wisdom of being ok with the fact that everything doesn't materialize overnight. Much love to you and your family.
    xo Mary Jo

  36. OH Maria! I love, love, love what you have done. Congratulations on seeing your dreams come to life. I am beaming with happiness for you and totally smitten with your sketches and that foyer. OMG that foyer is gorgeous. Well done and so completely sweet of your client to send you the $1. Hugs and happiness.

  37. Maria,
    I love stopping by this space. Congratulations on your design work! Your sketches are brilliant. I bet your clients are over-the-moon to be working with you. I can't wait to hear more about what you've been working on. You really inspire me to chase down my own dreams.

    I hope the new year is treating you well.


  38. Gosh I hope we meet one day. Though, now, after seeing how fabulous your designs are, I don't want you in my home till I get it fixed up more!

  39. hola maría!!!!!! muy muy feliz año llenísimo de sueños y muchos proyectos lindos para vos y toda la familia !!!!!!!!!!!besos enormes!!

  40. A rather belated Happy New Year Maria! Love what you are doing with the Brooklyn house, and can't wait to see more of the one in Maine. And how wise your words on dreams, holding onto them lightly, and finding balance...thank you for sharing them

  41. This is a great post; it was very informative. I look forward in reading more of your work. Also, I made sure to bookmark your website so I can come back later. I enjoyed every moment of reading it

  42. Hi Really nice one blog@@@

  43. What is the type of ceiling molding called for photo #3? and could it be a diy project or it must be a hired contractor type of project?


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