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


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


Back to School for Dawn Cook Design


Many people have asked me where I have been on the blog this summer! It makes me happy that so many people are following Dawn Cook Design for design inspiration and style. Clients, friends, and design enthusiasts, have all wondered – where did I go??

Well, it’s a good thing! The short answer is the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.  If you aren’t familiar with the program, it’s a life-changing experience for entrepreneurs. It’s similar to a small business incubator. In conjunction with Cuyahoga Community College, it helps business owners’ focus on growing the business, versus just being “in” the business. Earlier this year, we applied to the program, it’s a 10-week program with full day courses as well as lots of homework, and meetings with business advisors. After extensive applications and interviews, we were selected to participate. I have to say it felt a little like “Shark Tank”. The cool thing is that all the work focuses on Dawn Cook Design and how to make this wonderful operation we are running even more successful.

I questioned if this program was worth the time investment, well it has already paid back 100%. From evaluating leadership, to growth opportunities, and putting numbers behind it all, we are on the path to making our business bigger and better than ever. Linda and I will keep you updated as our plans evolve!

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With a busy client workload, kids home for the summer, and sitting in class a lot of the days, I have not had much time for blogging, (or anything else!). The program is over in a few weeks, so I promise to be back this Fall with all kinds of good design ideas and trend forecasts, and just my thoughts in general (scary!). Most importantly, we are dedicated and trained Designers, so our clients take top priority. It’s fun to live in the virtual world of the internet, but living in the trenches gives us the perspective to execute a job to perfection, not just dream up an idea. The Design bloggers keep us all inspired, but we have to live the reality every day.

The best part of this class experience has been the networking opportunities and shared resources. I’ve chatted with toy manufacturers, legacy memorial craftsmen (read gravestones), industrialists, and my favorite – an apple farmer, and many more – Who would have thought we could all help each other with similar experiences, even though our businesses are all so different?

So if you know a small business owner, who has a great vision, good idea, or just plain savvy, pass this on – it’s truly one of the best moments of my life! As we continue to bring you exciting and inspirational design for your home,  stay tuned for more Dawn Cook Design to come. We have lots planned for the Blog and the DCD/Blulens business this Fall so thanks for your patience and support!

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Goldman Sachs 10000 Small Businesses is located in 10 cities around the country. The program is fully funded by Goldman Sachs foundation, in partnership with Cuyahoga Community College. Dawn is in Cleveland cohort 6, and looks forward to becoming a scholar on August 22nd, 2014. If you or anyone you know is interested in the program, please check out the website, or contact my business advisor, Patrice Blakemore at Patrice.Blakemore@tri-c.edu



Time to Start Anew


I know what its like…getting a fresh start. In 2011 I had open heart surgery. Some factors I knew, others were a complete surprise. But the day I opened my eyes, I made a commitment to myself that I would appreciate each new day that I had in front of me.

For that reason, I LOVE January. It’s quiet. It’s calm. All the hustle and bustle is gone. And more then anything we all make resolutions for the New Year. Discover something fresh. Get rid of the old and try something new. As part of my healing, I discovered that I love writing and chatting. So I decided to start a blog, about what I do, Interior Design, but with a little twist and a whole lot of me thrown in. Going forward I will post about design topics that matter to me, I’m a visual person too, so lots of great inspiring images by my Design partner, Linda Smith of Blulens Design.

So to that, I challenge you to get rid of the cell shades, donate the couch, embrace the color grey (and not Fifty Shades, unless you want to of course). Try a new design style, industrial chic or mid-century modern? And filter out a third of your knick-knacks. You will not believe how refreshed you feel. Linda and I regularly pilfer each others houses…”that would look great at my client’s house!” “Well…OK”, just a good excuse to clear out the old! So Happy 2013…looking forward to the future and lots of good design to share with you!

Photo by Linda Smith of Bluelens Photography.