May 27, 2011

happy memorial day weekend!

[image via savvycityfarmer]
"Our American flag does not fly because the wind moves past it...Our flag flies from the last breath of each military member who has died protecting it." -unknown

Wishing you all a safe and wonderful weekend!


May 25, 2011

a change of perspective

Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk about beautiful spaces, design nuances, and how much I love my job (I genuinely do). But there are other times when I can't bring myself to talk about work-triangles, furniture and fabrics- and all I want to do is adopt an orphan, save puppies from puppy mills, build a shelter for homeless mothers, and pretty much change the world. (That sounds like a reasonable side job, doesn't it?) Because while most people want to change a few things in their homes, in wake of the recent tornadoes, there are hundreds...thousands of people out there who no longer have one.
I struggle to juggle these two worlds (don't we all?) and since there seems to be ALOT of need going around lately, I wanted to take a moment to bring it to your attention. Recent reports estimate 122 people dead, over seven hundred injured and many still missing in Joplin alone. Think about that for a moment... within three hours of Wichita, people are experiencing unfathomable suffering and loss. It's hard to believe this kind of devastation is so close to home. 
This morning it became personal. Last night my car was broken into and my purse was stolen. It seems like a relatively trivial thing- shut down the credit cards, get a new drivers license, buy a new purse, end of story. Mid-afternoon I realized that in my purse was a hard drive with every single photo I've ever taken of my son... that's when I felt a small glimpse of what the people of Joplin, Oklahoma, and much of the South are, and have been, experiencing. And I genuinely mean a small glimpse... after all, I still have my son. We have the opportunity to make more memories... take more photos. It was through my small loss that I was able to begin to empathize with those who have lost so much... priceless and precious memories, things and people that can never be replaced, rebuilt or refunded.
A man carries a young girl who was rescued after being trapped with her mother in their home after a tornado hit Joplin, Mo. on Sunday evening, May 22, 2011. The tornado tore a path a mile wide and four miles long destroying homes and businesses.
 I simply have to help! I don't yet know how, but I'm determined to do something
The need is so great. Here are a few ways you can help...
If you're a healthcare professional and are interested in volunteering, you can sign up on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website here. 
The American Red Cross has opened a shelter in Joplin at Missouri Southern State University, where they are distributing food, clean-up supplies and comfort kits in addition to providing immediate medical care. You can make a donation by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or by visiting their website to donate, give blood or volunteer. 
The Salvation Army has mobilized four kitchens in highly-impacted areas of Joplin in addition to  providing relief to other cities that were hit by the weekend tornadoes in Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas and Oklahoma.The Salvation Army's disaster-relief efforts in Joplin can be supported by texting "JOPLIN" to 80888 to make a $10 donation. You can also donate through their website.

Samaritans Purse has initial responders in Joplin and they are asking for volunteers to join their effort to remove trees and fallen debris and help make repairs on damaged homes. You can sign up to help- either by volunteering or donating online here or by calling 1.828.262.1980. 
Jeff, my amazing husband, and I are registering to assist in any way we can.  assistance however possible. We're coming up on a long weekend and I can think of nothing better to do with the time than to help someone else in need. 
If you would like to come along, please email me ( We'd love to have you join us!

Feeling very blessed indeed,

May 11, 2011

simple wisdom

This has proven to be a busy week! I have another post in the works, but realistically... it's not likely to be completed until Friday evening. I'm loving the creative outlet the blog is offering, but clients must always come first.
Each Wednesday, our blog will be featuring a "simple wisdom" post where I'll share some of my favorite interesting and inspiring quotes. Hopefully, they'll be presented creatively, because after all, " it's all about the presentation." (just ask anyone who knows me)
So, without further adieu, here's the first simple wisdom...

 What would you do differently if you weren't afraid of being wrong?
See you Friday!

May 3, 2011

exclusive showhouse preview

We’re excited to once again be a part of the Wichita Symphony Showhouse.  This year the showhouse is located at 225 North Roosevelt. The home is owned by a wonderful young family- Billy & Stephanie Boyle, whom we have become very fond of. Proceeds from the tickets sales benefit the Women’s Association of the Wichita Symphony.

Our room in this year’s show house is the main bathroom.  It is located on the second floor and will be shared by the women of the home.

At 8’-0” x 12’-0”, this space had a lot demanded of it, it needed to: accommodate Stephanie and her three daughters (quite possibly all at the same time); provide adequate storage for all of the things we women require to make ourselves presentable; provide open spaces for display & plenty of storage; and if possible, include a bathtub. This is the space as it was when we started… an empty space that had already been gutted.

We set to work and, after several revisions, this is the floor plan and elevations we presented…

And this is the final result...

[photograph borrowed from the showhouse program]

Now to backtrack a little, here’s a breakdown of the design process. It all started when I toured the home for the first time and walked through the beautiful leaded glass entry door.

I instantly thought of this fabric: Fioretto in the colourway Sprout. (Yes, I have a fabric catalog in my head and frequently refer to it…welcome to my world!)

On each and every project, we search for an element that can be subtly altered and repeated throughout the space. This brings a sense of comfort in the cohesiveness, even if the occupant doesn’t pick-up on the details or understand why. On this project, it was the blending of the organic, undulating line contrasting the sharp geometric angles found in the leaded glass pattern. This contrast was repeated throughout the room and presents itself in the tub splash…

the detailed vanity skirt trim and hexagonal ceramic floor tiles…

the marble backsplash…

and the vintage lantern, which was found, in it’s original brass finish, at Juliana Daniel Antiques. (did you notice it’s also hexagonal?)

We spray painted it celadon and silver and the Kaarskoker candle sleeves just happened to be an exact match. (I really love it when that happens by accident.)  
The vintage secretary was a craigslist find (though it was originally golden oak). We applied several layers of stain and spray painted the interior a rich peacock blue. It now serves dual duty as linen storage and as a dressing table. Since mirrors are prime real-estate in a bathroom shared by women, we provided a small vanity mirror and lamp for the secretary.

We like to mix unexpected textures and styles together as it gives a room its own unique character. Here we contrasted to the traditional American secretary, with a carved African stool. (please forgive the missing hardware… they’re resting safely in the drawers.)

One of the Boyle’s favorite features of the bathroom is the trough sink with dual faucets. We love the contrasting textures of the honed carrara marble and the polished chrome fittings.

Lastly, the bookshelves above the tub have a hidden secret… the bottom shelf is wired and sized for a small flat-screen television for long baths while watching Pride and Prejudice… 
   Calgon take me away!

For those of you who are still reading, THANK YOU!!!

BTW, all photos not credited were taken by my exceptionally talented sister-in-law, Stevie Cowgill, who is currently starting her own photography studio. You can be sure I’ll keep you posted!


April 28, 2011


Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Shannon Schnell and I am a self-admitted Design Nerd. I eat, sleep, breathe & dream, all things related to interior design. Fortunately I have a very understanding family. My wonderful husband cannot remember the last time he watched a movie that I wasn't pointing out the Imperial Trellis wallcovering (though it's not really available in that colourway) or how the set reminds me of a room designed by James Huniford that was published in House Beautiful sometime last year. I'm quite certain that my three-year old son is one of only a select few who recognizes Chippendale chairs and constantly corrects his grandparents with "it's not a couch, Grammy, it's a sofa." My favorite place to hide will always be between the pages of one of my many shelter magazines (the real, paper kind of course), preferably an older edition or out of print title. (Southern Accents, you will forever be missed.)
Since this passion tends to consume my life, I am fortunate enough to own a design firm- Dwellings Design Group, here in Wichita, Kansas. Okay so it's not the most glamourous place one could possibly live, but it is home. I am fortunate enough to work with two amazing people: Tina- who is the organized one, and Lance- who is an amazing kitchen designer. He and I have been known to compete for the most complexly designed kitchen. :)
This blog is where I will share the projects we're working on, inspiring images, thoughts, theories, and who knows what else. 
Here's to a relaxing weekend...

Thank you for reading!