Wednesday, November 30, 2011


"Reflection, Oak Island" by Ellen Thayer

First Friday art walk is a great way to spend a night out and enjoy Maine's vibrant art scene.
You are invited to a new exhibit featuring the work of Maine artist Ellen Thayer of Maine Island Treasures. Over 20 original oil paintings and several driftwood sculptures will be on display. Appetizers and wine will be served.
Hope to see you there!
Regency Mortgage, Custom House Wharf Office,
94 Commercial St, Suite 201, Portland, ME
Friday, Dec 2nd, 5-8pm

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Notes from a Maine Interior Designer-Freshening up the Fireplace!

Tiling your fireplace surround is a little change that has a BIG impact.
It can update an older fireplace without being a large demo project, or add style to a simple existing fireplace.

glass tile with a hint of metallic
Diamond shaped travertine
classic subway tile

Fiore Interiors works with a broad range of tile manufacturers and design styles.  What changes do you hope to make this winter?

p.s. Denise this post is for you!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

When a Maine Interior Designer chooses paint color...for herself!

Chameleon Design....
Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue HC-147
This month I am finally working on a project of my own (which never happens). My bedroom. Of course I have all my fabrics and concept pulled together already. Narrowing the color down today.
I like colors that have depth and interact with light.  Enter the lovely shade of blue above....

This color is rather popular with designers. I specified for a client's living room in the west end of Portland, Maine last year.
This is not the simplest color to work with, it REALLY depends on the lighting in the space. Large amounts of natural sun make it appear quite vibrant. Examples below:

Rooms with LITTLE natural sunlight will see the color appear more demure blue-gray. Examples below:
photo by garrison hullinger interiors

Light is the most important factor in choosing paint color.  I don't receive much natural sun into this specific room, the color will appear rather mellow similar to the photo above. Prior to moving to Maine, I would not have chosen a color for the walls. I preferred beige, grays, or a mix of the two. However New England winters are sorely lacking in color and are LONG. Using more color inside meets the fundamental need for balance and makes those harsher seasons more beautiful.

As always, I will be using low VOC paint. If you do not know why that is important, let me know asap!

Fiore Interiors is a full service Interior Design company in Portland Maine. From simple paint color consultations to large renovations-we design spaces that are both functional and beautiful.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Monday!

Sometimes we need motivational qoutes to help get the day started!
 I used to do regular Happy Monday postings. This week I am applying this decal to one of my bedroom walls so I see it when I wake up...and remember that each day has power and purpose. Not yesterday or tomorrow, but today.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Notes from a Maine Interior Designer....Best Runners of the Season!

One of my duties as an Interior Designer is transforming spaces that are often overlooked. Have you ever put much thought into your hallway? A few choice pieces can turn one of the most used spaces into your home from blah to SPECTACULAR.
I love a good runner (long rug) because you can do more with pattern. The overall size is smaller so it won't be overwhelming. Get bold!

Angela Adams just introduced her newest collections, "pathways".  If you have ever walked barefoot on her rugs, you can imagine why I am excited about this new collection. Lush, soft, and perfect for chilly nights.
"The series of rugs called "Pathways" are inspired by walks in the woods, on the beach and in the garden. They transform your home into inspiring spaces that remind us of our favorite places in nature and times spent there."
The organic shape is what drew me to the collection. The flowing lines and lack of hard edges will transform angular  hallways!
"Stream" by Angela Adams. The loop and pile construction means there are different "heights" to the rugs.
"Woods" by Angela Adams, also part of the Pathways collection. Each one is 3'x8', $1800, and can be found at Angela Adam's flagship store in Portland, Maine or online here
Designed by Fiore Interiors and published in the Portland Press Herald.
This is a hallway that I designed over the summer. Simple in its elements (paint, art, rug, lighting) I wanted something that wouldn't clash with the FOUR rooms it opened into but also retain some style. 

The runner is from Portland Rug Design.Julie Omsberg (owner) and I created the color palette (see below). It is wool and silk, the raised circles are silk and incredibly soft. These were a limited edition design. Last I checked there were 2 left in stock so I would contact them directly for availability and pricing:

Creating custom rugs with custom colors. Too fun!

The runner above is an indoor/outdoor runner from dash and albert. These are for those with messy puppies! They can be taken outside and hosed off to clean.  I recommend them for enclosed porches and mudrooms (think salty boots!) Indoor/Outdoor rugs are great for very messy areas. However they are not plush so I recommend a good rug pad to keep it from slipping.  You can buy them locally at

Practical tips for choosing a runner:
-High quality wool and woven silk are good choices. Yes, you will need to clean them once a year or so, but they outlast machine made rugs by decades.
-Don't be afraid of pattern and color. These are small compared to room sized rugs, so have fun.
-Texture! You will be walking on these barefoot at some point, so why not make that an enjoyable experience?
-Don't skimp on the rug pad. It extends the life of the rug and keeps it from moving.
-You can put a runner on top of carpet. Just use the proper rug pad.
Fiore Interiors is a design firm in Portland, Maine. We love shopping locally, attending first friday art walks, puppies, and transforming everyday spaces into beautiful homes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Home Staging in Maine: featured property...

Fiore Interiors' staging division has EXPANDED greatly over the last year. Have a cool listing outside Portland? No problem. What are my criteria for traveling? Honestly?
1. I need to like your broker. Good ones are easy to work with and have their clients' best interest at heart. It feels like a team effort.
2. The house must be remarkable.

Having said the above, let me introduce 16 Boardwalk Ave, Windham, Maine:
Constructed by a builder, its over 5000 square feet of excellent floor plans, layout, and quality details (granite,wood floors, good light fixtures, great windows, finished basement, etc). Oh and an amazing POOL/backyard/garden. So nice.

Listed by Rick Beal
Mobile: (207) 415-5985 Office: (207) 773-1990


Thursday, September 15, 2011

PSO Designer's Showhouse & Artist Freddy Silva

 "I believe an image should ask the viewer to participate," says Freddy Silva, whose photographs attempt to capture those fleeting moments where the line between the tangible and imagined are blurred. And in requesting you to look closer, you find yourself dissolving into another world. His etherial photographic images mirror his work as a best-selling author who writes about ancient sacred monuments, where the veil between worlds is thinner. All this questing takes him all around the world, which explains why he holds three nationalities.

Residence: Portland, ME
Sources of Inspiration: Evans Notch, and headlands around Popham
Favorite Qoutes/words of wisdom: "Wherever you go, there you are."

I find his work mesmerizing.
My current obsession is his Pier #2, which I had put on metal rather than the traditional print/frame (going for the unexpected in the showhouse!).

"Pier #2, is it real or imagined? This etherial image reflects that fine line between worlds we often miss, the place where magic and surreal combine. Shot during a break in fog around Popham, ME, it is a moment where the mind can wander into places less travelled, and when thoughts can be stilled."-Freddy Silva

Freddy is represented by:
Heather Frederick, Director

Monday, September 12, 2011

PSO Designer's Showhouse featured Artist: Ellen Thayer

Maine Artist Ellen Thayer created a one of a kind piece just for the PSO Designer's Showhouse. She was kind enough to work with my color palette and concept.

"Between the sun’s angle, the sky condition, and the surrounding environment, the magnificent range of colors in the resulting rhythmic water reflections have inspired eight of Ellen’s paintings to date.  These mesmerizing reflections have a relaxing and meditative quality for the viewer.  “Reflection, Oak Island” was created specifically for the hallway above the staircase to create a feeling of calm and repose." 
Ellen is gaining recognition for her Reflections series, each of them different in color and mood, which I find appropriate because of how the Maine coastline changes its colors and moods throughout the year! I am so pleased with her stunning piece that supports the PSO.
More about the Artist:
As a former television meteorologist in Portland and Boston, Ellen Thayer has been a Maine island adventurer for most of her adult life.  Living on Casco Bay in South Portland affords frequent boating and kayaking excursions where Ellen finds limitless artistic inspiration in the remarkable rocks, weathered shells, and driftwood as well as island vistas and calm coves.  Ellen’s vast collections, from what the sea discards, inspire a variety of art forms and the images she captures on camera become vibrant oil paintings.  Ellen has been painting in oil for over twenty years and continues her art education through various artist’s workshops.  In recent years, Ellen’s commissions have expanded to include pet and people portraiture.

Ellen’s work has been exhibited at Art of the Sea in South Thomaston, Archipelago in Rockland, and Tara Home and Gift in Cape Elizabeth.  From June to September of 2011, sixteen of Ellen’s oil paintings are exhibited at Townsend Real Estate and Art Gallery in Willard Square, South Portland.  This year, Ellen has been an artisan exhibitor at the Seacoast Home & Garden Show in Durham, NH, the Maine Home + Design Midcoast Show in Lincolnville, and the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show in Rockland.  Ellen’s work has also been accepted into the Ogunquit Museum of American Art’s Invitational.  This Fine Art and Craft show takes place at the museum on November 4 & 5 this year.

Recognizing the significant character of Maine’s islands, Ellen has been a long-standing member of the Maine Island Trail Association whose model of thoughtful use and volunteer stewardship strives to assure the conservation of Maine islands while providing an exceptional recreational asset for the people who use them. Ellen has also been a long time supporter of the Island Institute who works in close partnership with Maine’s year-round island and coastal communities to ensure that these special places remain vibrant and viable. Ellen donates ten percent of all sales to these two organizations. Her original piece inside the showhouse will support the PSO and an ever larger % is donated (Big talent = big heart).
(One of my other favorite pieces-her one of a kind hearth art)
Ellen's words to live by: "“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” - Goethe’s Faust

The current showhouse is open to the public now through October 3rd. It contains many original works of art, decor, and design and raises funds for the Portland Symphony Orchestra.  More info can be found here

Heartfelt thanks to:
Ellen Thayer
(207) 450-5951

Sunday, September 4, 2011

PSO Showhouse Countdown: History and Inspiration via VOX Photographs

The PSO Designer's Showhouse is unique in that the house itself was built in 1920. The house was built in 1920 atop a portion of the John Bundy Brown Estate which was destroyed in 1915. Architect John P. Thomas built this spacious stone and slate tudor complete with a servants’ wing and chauffeur’s apartment above the garage for James C. Hamlen and his family (related to Hannibal Hamlin, Abraham Lincoln’s Vice President). (VIA PSO website)

So it's natural that my original design concept included art from the Maine Heritage Collection by VOX Contemporary Photography. I have worked with this Gallery before for my design clients, and am consistently amazed and the volume and quality of photographers that VOX represents.
Here is a glimpse into the Heritage pieces I am using-and you will have to guess WHICH ONES are actually in the house!
John Carleton Bicknell was born on May 28, 1871. At the age 7 he nearly lost his life, and did lose his right arm, after falling out of a tree. Bicknell’s photographic business started circa 1902. The Golden Age of Hand-Painted Photography was 1900-1940.  And with his studio located in Portland, he just happened to be working in one of the hotbeds of early 20th century hand-painted photography. Yet, although the hand-painted photography craze slowly declined during the 1930’s depression, we see that the Bicknell Picture Co. stayed in business into the early 1960’s and beyond. The vast majority of Bicknell pictures were taken in Maine, including Portland, Rangeley, Eustis, Bethel, and many other areas. He also took pictures in New Hampshire (North Conway, Franconia Notch), Vermont, and several other states. (Via unravel the gavel)

Ralph Farnham Blood

Ralph Farnham Blood's photography dates back to the 1930's and his wife, Laura Blood, hand colored all the photographs.The White House owns a large original of “Portland Head Light, 1931″.
VoxPhotographs sells contemporary, Maine Heritage and vintage works and all are represented in the spaces that Fiore Interiors designed.
"Photographs are my passion. I am not a photographer myself, but love the medium." says director Heather Frederick. When asked for her favorite inspirational qoute, she responded:
“And you will find out that there are all sorts of ways of learning not only from people and books, but from sheer trying.” – Gertrude Jekyll

My sincerest thanks to Heather at Vox Photographs for helping give my creative visions historic authenticity.-Vanessa @ Fiore Interiors.


Heather Frederick, Director

I would also like to recommend the framing gallery and printing house that did such beautiful work. Simple, elegant framing is so important and quality printing is vital to these fragile images. Thank you:
Framing by Christine's Gallery

Lincolnville, ME

Prints by Nickelson Editions
Camden, ME

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Local spotlight: Laura Fuller/Fuller Glass. When Art and Design (fabulously) collide...

COUNTING DOWN the days until the PSO Designer's Showhouse!
I moved to Maine in May of 2010, to an area called Munjoy Hill. I would walk the golden retriever past this beautiful studio and peer into the became quite a habit. When I found out I was going to participate in the PSO Designer's Showhouse, I summoned up the nerve to introduce myself to this awesome artist!
Maine artist, Laura Fuller lives and works in Portland, Maine. She grew up in Bath, Maine and has also lived in Paris, France. Laura was a founding owner of the Hay Gallery in Portland, Maine and now has the Laura FullerGlass Design Studio and Gallery on Munjoy Hill in Portland (my hood!)
Laura has been working in stained glass twenty years. She began putting three-dimensional objects in her panels while still in school. When discouraged by her instructor from this innovative technique, she committed to the craft of incorporating found objects into her complex glass pieces. Each unique relief expresses not only her story, but also that of the objects incorporated within.
For Laura, each object is a reflection of the complex narrative of life-- past, present and future:
"Life is change. That is the only reliable certainty. It is constantly and continually progressing and altering. Unexpected and uncertain in outcome, it is certain in process.Objects are our representatives. 'Living' solid, fruitful, domestic, useful lives: indepedently functional. These objects, having given 2 to 200 years of faithful service, became hidden. In drawers, closets, dumps, underground, and in the ocean --waiting.
Now newly born, part of a different whole. Suspended to be gazed at, in reverence. In honor of their, and our, past lives. The beauty is in the years of touch as marked by many hands. The experiences portrayed trigger memories, of events lived and imagined. And of what will become."

Laura finds inspiration in "Light, memory, love and the beauty of an unexpected line, artists like Mondrian and Kandinski, seeing a beautiful, old, stone building covered with scaffolding, the blending of sleek and worn, ancient and modern"

I commissioned a piece of Fuller Glass for the showhouse, and working with her has been a joy. I walked into her gallery a total stranger with a crazy idea, and have found a kindred spirit passionate about supporting the arts...and creating her own special space within the showhouse. She has combined the spirit of the Symphony Orchestra, Interior Design, our shared organic and the modern influences, the proximity to the ocean....all in one piece. Here is about 25% of the piece, a partial sneak preview:
My inspiration for "Adagio" was the simple, elegant beauty in the shape of a violin. And a sense of peace.-Laura Fuller
Nope! That's all you get to see! So far every person who has seen this piece has been amazed, I couldn't be happier with the response. I chose a great crystal flushmount light fixture for the space that casts tiny rainbows on the walls surrounding it-the tiny entry now feels like another world.

When asked for a favorite quote or words to live by, her response was "Do all things with love." that why I love her work?

Laura Fuller, FullerGlass

129 Congress street Portland ME 04101

Portland Symphony Orchestra 2011 Designer's Showhouse Countdown!

One week to go!
I have been getting MANY questions about the process, so lets address them...

149 Western Promenade, Portland!
For those of you who are wondering, gracious homeowners (Ed Gardner and Steve DiMuccio) moved out of their home and allowed 17 designers to each have their own space to design, create, and often demo/rebuild. Each designer funds their participation. Why? Because this is the largest fundraiser for the Portland Symphony Orchestra, and only occurs every 2-3 years. Hundreds of volunteers participate.
The designers compete to earn a spot within the house. We submit proposals, and a board/committee chooses which design they feel best fits the space.

Showhouse board members Tracy Davis, Susan Dench, and Ed Gardner contemplating my presentation.

More of the other presentations in the background, mine is in Susan's hand.
We install our designs from August 4th-August 31st. This year was a bit different as the projects included a kitchen upgrade/remodel, new tile in the upstairs bath, and a complete remodel of the master bath. Many of the spaces had only a few days to install because of the construction debris. It was a bit like an episode of Extreme Home Makeover! So far all of the results have been beautiful and the remodeling is a beautiful mix of modern technology with respect to the historic character of the house.

The September 2011 issue of Down East magazine contains the designer profiles as well as a schedule of events, which can also be found on the PSO page HERE

I can finally show my design presentation  for my space. Many changes occur from concept to completion, so I am not giving anything away. This is simply a peek into how my creative brain works.
This was my inspiration board created MANY months ago. Highlighting local artists, Maine's history, organic colors, and art noveau lines.

My concept for the first floor

My concept for the second floor
TICKETS can be purchased through PORTtix or by calling (207) 842-0800. They are $25 and you view ALOT of amazing square footage for that price! Tour is open September 10- October 3rd.