Happy Holidays from Blulens and Dawn Cook Design

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As the days of December draw to a close, Blulens and Dawn Cook Design will be taking a short break to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. It is our wish that you do the same. Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2016. See you in January!

Our office will be closed from December 24th through January 3rd.

Thanks for a great year!

Dawn, Linda, Sadie and Maria


We Have a Studio!

Yes we do! Many of you have wondered where we have been. Well the Dawn Cook Design and Blulens team have been busy! After 8 years working from home we decided to combine efforts and move into a collaborative studio space. While the whole world gets more virtual, we are going brick and mortar. With a staff of four and growing, working among dogs, cats, kids, and day-to-day home operations got the best of us and our families. Now we have our own design home and we couldn’t be more excited! Moving into studio space was our growth opportunity solidified during our participation in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program last year. Now we can take on more business and be more efficient in the process.

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As part of the Shaker Heights Van Aken District renovation, space became available in the hometown strip by J. Pistone Market on Warrensville Center Road. We are now part of the community that we serve.  While we do design all over the Cleveland area, the majority of our clients are right here in Shaker Heights. The studio is a great place to meet with clients, vendors, and other business partners.  With all the excitement around creating a new center for Shaker Heights, we feel fortunate to be included in this transition. We will be featured in the October issue of Shaker Life magazine in the Work/Live Section – check it out!

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And of course, this is what we do so we are in the process of making things beautiful. Clean white walls, beautiful white glazed maple floors, and black accents – we are going for a minimalist approach with an open floor plan, which is perfect to pull together any design for our clients. The best part of our studio is the combined product library! We have almost 1000 square feet of fabric samples, stone samples, storage, catalogs and more that put everything we need at our fingertips to design our clients spaces.

We are dedicated to design. We love creative inspiration. Now we can achieve both successfully in our new home. We are looking forward to sharing it with you and  working on exciting design and great design blog posts to come!

Stop in and say hello at our new address: 3235 Warrensville Center Rd, Shaker Heights, OH 44122

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Color Your Spring with Sophisticated Coral

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Nothing like a little warmer weather to get us in the mood for brighter fashion and color trends. We are ready to brighten our days with Sherwin-Williams Color of the Year pick: Coral Reef 6606. Now we have blogged about coral before as a favorite for Spring, but what I love this year is how sophisticated the color is for home décor. Coral actually grows up and becomes pretty sophisticated when paired with warm neutrals, navy,  and lighter wood tones. Even looking pretty hot when united with black and white accents. The biggest trends I am seeing is either mixing coral with bold neutrals, graphic florals, or muted down blush shades.


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To give us a little more perspective,  I invited our Sherwin Williams color expert and account executive, Rebecca Luckhardt, to give us her thoughts on this peppy shade.

With its easy balance between peach and pink, warmer thoughts of sunsets on the beach, blooming flowers, and flattering cosmetic tones make this color a source of inspiration for a place of happiness. However, initially feeling a bit of commitment phobia when the color was announced mid-January. Can I really incorporate such a feminine and flirty palette into my décor? The answer is YES! Don’t forget the 60/30/10 rule in color, which makes it easy to swap out that 10% accent color annually, or even seasonally to keep your home and wardrobe fashion forward and fun.

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Fun with Fashion 

So, my flirty little love affair with Coral Reef began with a few accessories; a pale, petal-like scarf to compliment my teal wool jacket, a bright coral wallet and chevron patterned phone cover to make these items easy to spot in my vastly bottomless bag. And if I were to really splurge, I’d be sporting lip color by Tom Ford in True Coral that Real Simple magazine assures me is the favored by beauty editors everywhere.  I am lucky enough to have the right skin tone for coral shades and so when I do look to my closet, several blush toned blouses, a flamingo spiked blazer, and even a pair of coral crop pants are already waiting for me. So now that the fashion part of the trend covered, I’m finding ways to bring the cheerful color in to my décor. So fun to mix with graphic floral patterns for Spring.

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No Color Palette for the Home is Complete Without Coral Reef

I lucked out with how easily Coral Reef integrated with my existing color palette in the home. Swapping the out the pillows on my wicker settee for coral and aqua was fun, painting the small side accent table was a quick weekend project, and changing out the area rug for a lighter (both in coloration and material) were easy ways for me to transform the space to spring and introduce this lovely shade. For my living room, a darker, moodier shade between charcoal and navy, Grays Harbor SW 6236 sets the tone for my TV binge watching. Adding coral and mixed with  a grounding neutral, woven linens and textures, and classic navy, greys, blacks, and whites incorporates this color easily into the home.

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Spring Flings

As spring cleaning strikes you with warmer weather, here are some additional ways to flush out your Coral beauty with some quick paint tips.

  • Use a moisture resistant paint, like Resilience, to paint the front door of your home in a gloss finish.  (see front door post) No matter the weather forecast (cold, wet, humid) it will dry evenly while the higher gloss finish provides a protective barrier to the sun and ensures the color will lasts.  What a cheerful welcome to come home to.
  • Move your furniture, clean, and paint. Spring is the time to open the windows and let the cleansing sunshine in. For me that means cleaning under the sofas, flipping the mattress, and taking down all the window sheers and blinds for a good vacuuming. With all of this moving furniture and freeing up walls – it’s the perfect time to paint. Tape off stripes or create color block that add geometry, Consider a floral accent with textiles or wallcovering for romantic drama. Or hand stencil some wisps of color to dress drawer fronts and add some whimsical knobs. Even if you aren’t a DIY person, there are many creative spirits between Esty and Pinterest who can inspire.
  • Pop in peekaboo color in your bookcases and cupboards. It is inspiring to see rich color or funky patterns used in an unexpected places like behind a vanity mirror, lining the inside of  silverware drawer, or inside a hall coat closet.

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For more inspiration on Sherwin-Williams’ 2015 Color of the Year click here

Rebecca Luckhardt, Sherwin-Williams Designer Account Executive, has a degree and background in residential interior design, is an avid traveler with an occasional blog, hosts Sherwin-Williams color seminars for designers, and has a ceaseless passion for the craft of color. 

Opening Image Source: Chameleon-Interiors

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What’s inside the Red Room?…Designing with Red

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I should be writing about “50 Shades of Grey” this week. But what’s more interesting is what will be inside Christian Grey’s Red Room right?!  We all can’t wait to see what’s really behind that closed door. Come on you want to know! Anyone who knows me knows red is my signature color. It is just…. me. I love the drama, the intensity, the fire. And what better month to discuss it than in February. The month of valentines and heart health, one of my other favorite topics.

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Red décor isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s bold, it’s bright, and it definitely makes a statement. For many years we all had red dining rooms. It was elegant and stately. You may think of Chinese lacquer or provincial French Country design. But red doesn’t have to be so stereotyped. It can be fresh, modern and most definitely sexy.  Think red lips and a little red dress.  Just a hint gets the mind wandering. That same principal can be applied to any room in your house including the kitchen and bath. In today’s design it’s not limited to the library or the boudoir, it can be anywhere.

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At the KBIS show in Vegas we saw a lot of red hard surfaces. This red is candy apple red, glossy and very saturated. Not barn red, or Ralph Lauren muted reds, this is bright and crisp! You have to be bold to make an investment in very expensive kitchen cabinets that are full on rouge. Or bathroom tiles and a freestanding bathtub that reflect this strong hue.  This design will be something you plan to love for many years to come.

KBIS RedAnother interesting use of the color red in today’s design is to mix it with different shades and hues, like lighter wood tones, indigo, turquoise, and tangerine. Getting away from black and white also will make using red more interesting and unique. This has a worldlier feel more diverse and global and will be something your eyes won’t tire of over time.

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So let’s face it, there is something about a lacquered red wall or piece of furniture that is just seriously hot!  I can’t wait to see the movie, and peak inside the Red Room. Are you brave enough to open the door to your design?

For more posts on the color red, click here

And for more tips on heart health check out Go Red For Women

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Opening Image Source: The New York Times

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The Gold Standard: Vegas Furniture Market and KBIS

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Vegas Baby! Yes, Dawn Cook Design, Blulens, and Monarch Interiors hit the road and traveled to Design and Construction Week in Vegas. Schedules lined up and we were able to visit five trade shows all relevant to our industry and see alot of inspiring design as well. It’s never boring in this “Disney World” for adults, and there was definitely a common theme across all the shows – maybe it was the luxury of the Strip but GOLD is back and it was present across all product lines!

For a long time, people have preferred cool tones in metals: lighting, plumbing, and hardware, even in furniture finishes. Last year, we blogged about how mixed metals were making a come back. But it has taken awhile to catch up in actual product offerings. Gold used to be very traditional. Brass finishes were super old school and the more transitional clients couldn’t find a modern look that worked in warmer tones.

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Well things are heating up and gold was all over the place. Clients are now requesting brass finishes all the time and they want a more modern or more transitional styling. Now they can get it. Gold eludes a sense of confidence, elegance, and grandeur. I think there is a desire to go back to an aged or gilded feel in some of these metals.

And the gold isn’t always muted down. It was in your face, shiny, sparkly, and bright. Rohl and Kohler had new introductions in plumbing gold finishes. Hard surfaces showed it strong in lighting, plumbing, cabinet finishes,  and door and drapery hardware. Robert Abbey and Noir showed fantastic new modern lighting in gold finishes. Even Ann Sacks came out with gorgeous metallic tiles that were bronzed to perfection.

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Accessories and furniture companies were “all about the brass”, mirrors, cocktail and side tables, and  even accents on upholstery such as nailheads and legs took on a warmer finishes. One of our favorite vendors, Phillips Collection, had new mirror and wall accents that we all fell in love with. Also one of our favorite art vendors , Natural Curiosities, had gilded angel wings to show off, definitely an ethereal quality in gold.


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We can’t get enough of this new look and plan to use this warmer shift in metals. While we have been doing it for awhile now, it is so refreshing to have materials available to specify in our upcoming designs.  So while silver is stellar, get your glam on and be ready for the gold!

And of course we had a lot of fun too, how can you not?

mead lakeJen, Sadie, Dawn and Linda at the Mead Lake overlook, on our way to the Hoover Dam.


Cozy & Comfortable: Creating Personal Spaces

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Yes it’s snowing and freezing again. But as a variation on last week’s theme, I still love the peace of January. Often we get called to decorate or design grand common spaces such as living rooms, foyers, and glamorous kitchens. While they represent form and function, these areas are for gatherings – presenting your home, making an impression. Everyone is different, we love to accommodate every person’s design desires when it comes to these spaces.

But what is really inspiring for us and helps us to get to know our clients is designing their personal spaces.  The places where you show your true self, where you want to be alone.  Nooks, dens, window benches, reading niches, bedrooms, desks, alcoves, and outdoor spaces. These are somehow more intimate, and are really a peak inside of….well you. It’s the place you go to rejuvenate, recalibrate, or just breathe if you need to. Organize your personal space, organize…well, your life.

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These little  “get-aways” inside your daily routine have some commonalities to consider:

1. Carve out your niche – it doesn’t have to be big, just a place that is all for you. No kids, no work, no bills (visible), no PTO reminders. Make it a place where you enjoy hanging out and being you. I would go so far as to say, limit electronics. But let’s be real here.

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2. Make it your own  – as Designers, we often have to “clean-up” a space. Sometimes personal items impede a house sale, or too much of it is overwhelming and puts too much out there in those common areas. For your personal retreat surround yourself in items meaningful for you: Photos, books, cards, mementos, found objects, anything that makes you happy or joyful.

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3. Create beauty – This is a place for a little luxury. A pretty fabric on a chair, a comfy settee, a shearling or sheepskin throw, a gorgeous lamp. Add artwork that again resonates within you, and add some personal items to comfort the soul.

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4. Organize – Now this one is a hard one for me too. But find beautiful containers, bins and baskets to hide away the clutter. More stuff creates chaos. And this is the place you want the opposite of that. This may be the place you “get it done” but keep it in check and you will feel more accomplished.

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In our efforts to keep life, families, and work under control, we need to reflect upon ourselves and create a little personal “get-away” at home (and remember to  take the time to go there!). We will all be much happier and productive in the end! If we can’t take a true break (ala the image by the pool), let’s all give ourselves one at home!



Opening Image: Domaine Home


Winter White: Snuggle Into 2015


My favorite day. My favorite week. The first Monday of January. We have a whole 51 weeks to get it right. Start fresh. I always love this feeling of purity and renewal.

As the wind blows snow and howls outside, let’s allow ourselves to reflect and mentally detox the last few weeks of chaos, stress, and adornment. Scale back our homes, lives, finances, diets…whatever your whim.

As the holiday decorations come down, we are more open to donating, organizing, rearranging the furniture, finally getting rid of that “thing”! Let yourself be open to trying something new in your home, or just take this month to live “without” something. Let’s not be so quick to fill in the blank space. Negative space is good, it balances out the positive, the good energy.

I love white. The color, or the absence of color. White may be the most evocative color on the spectrum. Culture, lifestyle, or profession may weigh in heavy on white’s symbolic quality. A scientist’s white may conjure a color that glows from many thousand degrees of heated filament. A farmer’s white may be barren frosted fields or piles of wooly shearling cornered up in the shed.  While kids see white as sled hills and endless flying balls of snow.

White can define a space, diminish or expand it. It serves as either a contrast or compliment.  It’s an open palette for our imagination. The appeal in white is its basic undercurrent of softness, as well as it’s clean smooth finish. Either way the power of white is what it evokes. Design is meant for expression so trust the purity of your own expression and embrace the simplicity of white.  Embrace emptiness during this quiet time – however artistically it reveals itself. So grab a cup of tea, curl up with a good book, watch the snow fly and enjoy the stillness, you never know how you we will be inspired.


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Copy contribution: Cindy Evans


Dress It Up: Wrap It Up Holiday 2014

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As we wrap up 2014, we leave you with last minute tips on styling yourself, your mantle, and your table for the Holidays. Thanks to you our clients, friends, and followers for a terrific 2014. We have been busy behind the scenes with improvements to the blog. In 2015 check our new About Page, Press Page, and Top Posts for a little refresher on what were well-loved reads.  We have great ideas for blog posts and we can’t wait to share them with you.

So take a look at our inspiration for the season and we hope you enjoy the glamour of the Holiday but remember the joy and love that lives in your heart!

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During the Holidays, add a little something extra to your tree, table, or mantle. But keep it simple. Simple is elegant and sophisticated and remember less is usually more. This governs my design philosophy: classic yet modern. You can make a statement with a white blouse and a gorgeous necklace, or a simple tree with handcrafted ornaments. You want embellishments to feel special and unique, not theatrical or over the top. This approach adds importance to what is truly meaningful.

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As a child, I remember lying under the Christmas tree, looking up into the myriad of flashing lights. Maybe this had something to do with both my Dad and Grandfather working for General Electric at Nela Park. We always had the hottest new Christmas lights. Somewhere this sparked my passion for lighting, and this is still my specialty. I tell clients right up front that lighting is important and be prepared to invest in this. Lighting ends up making the design in the end. It’s the jewelry in the room, the sparkle, the….glow. So for the holiday, it’s never too late to add lights, candles, & votives. Try some of the great LED options or flameless candles. These will add just the right sparkle to your shine, and show off your holiday décor.


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I love coats, wraps, ponchos, capes…any outerwear. Our coat closet is bursting at the seams. Linda always says an amazing coat is all you need. Throw that on with black leggings and boots and you can go out in your PJs and be in style.  It’s a staple having a few winners in your wardrobe. When you are out shopping or meeting friends for holiday gatherings consider a wrap or cape, getting warm as you go in and out will just throw off your “street style”.

Wrapping up gifts has always been my favorite holiday task. It’s no wonder as it is the décor part of the job. Using recycled and organic materials like kraft paper, fabric, shopping bags, newsprint, and butcher’s paper, twine, leaves, and twigs make the gifts even more special. Call it a wrap and stylize those gifts with flair.

Happiest of holidays to you and yours,

Dawn, Linda, Sadie, & Maria

Opening Image Source: Made in Heaven


A Ghostly Good Idea: Disappearing Design

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Designers have always been fascinated with invisible design. Whether in the world of fashion or in the home, “see-through” fashion statements are all the rage. While always hot on the runway in jewelry and accessories, this trend became hugely transparent to the décor world in 2002, when Philippe Starck introduced the Ghost Chair, produced by Kartell. Made of Lucite, which was originally developed in 1937, lucite is actually a brand name for an acrylic resin. Wickedly popular, The Ghost chair comes in many varieties from Louis to Victoria. Philippe Stark is a master at taking a classic form and reinventing it as a modern icon. Using a single piece of translucent injection-molded polycarbonate, Stark has created the most recognizable chair of the 21st century. For more ghostly chairs, check out this link.

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But what is it about these disappearing pieces? Seriously, we as Designers sigh when we see a piece of Lucite. It is surely not functional, but I have never had anyone say they run into these invisible objects, or miss the surface as they put down their cup of tea. It’s truly a crowning jewel in any design. The last piece of “bling’ but in an entirely, absent way.

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This summer I bought a Lucite necklace that I wore ALL the time. It just worked with everything. It has a hip, yet “not there” feel.  Whether dressy or with a t-shirt, I pulled it out regularly. One of my favorite items passed down from my maternal grandmother Louise is her Lucite clutch. I use this whenever we go to a special event. People ask me all the time where did I get it. Yep, it’s probably from the ‘40s era long gone. Yes now you can see your iPhone light up in it in today’s day and age, but a pretty tube of lipstick and a special linen hanky still look fond at a wedding.

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So instead of thinking about disco and stripper stilettos, think glamorous and be open to adding a touch of the ethereal into your design. We love Lucite on benches, cocktail tables, frames, knobs, drawer pulls, lights, and of course chairs! Even just a touch will add to the design. It’s truly the finishing touches like this that will make your design sing instead of scream in horror!

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Happy Halloween! Dawn

PS, I’m back! Stay tuned for more regular posts on design, fashion, and inspiration – thanks for following!


Opening Image Designed By: H2 Design + Build


Vote for Dawn Cook Design to win a $150,000 grant!

Mission Main St. Grants

Help Dawn Cook Design qualify for a $150,000 loan! Every vote counts! Need 27 votes by tomorrow 10/17.

We are growing thanks to you our followers, clients, and friends! We love Design and want to continue to bring you inspiring design for your home, on trend ideas, and fabulous resources. We can’t keep up with all the requests for design work. We are looking to hire and train, and build a design studio to support this growth.

Chase is offering a program to grant $150,000 to 20 small business owners. To qualify you need 250 votes via Facebook. Please follow the link, it only takes a click! We need 27 votes by tomorrow, we are very close!

We promise to be back with inspiring design next post. Thanks for taking the time to support us!

Best, Dawn and Linda

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