Designer Dos

Yesterday was a designer don’t, i.e. buy everything on sale at the same place.

Today is a designer do – incorporate the outdoors into your living and dining rooms. Windows bring the great outdoors in. Open walls that lead from one room into the next creates a natural flow. Decorate with plants. Add flowers for a touch of color, place some green apples in a bowl to freshen the room. Reserve color for a dynamic rug in a geometric shape that complements the house.

Open limited hours, 12 to 5 pm, Mon. thru Sat., and by appointment.

Traditions Home, Wichita and Overland Park


Thinking in Pictures

Walking the Dog

At the park I met a fellow dog walker and we struck up a conversation, naturally, about dogs. Mine is a mutt, but Blue Healer if one has to choose because of the one blue eye, the gray coat and the herding instinct she displays when she runs. My fellow dog walker mentioned Temple Grandin, animal activist, behaviorist, empathist, writer, thinker, autism spokesperson. She from Colorado State University, the subject of the movie Thinking in Pictures.

None of which I was familiar with then, but now, thankfully, I am.

And if you don’t know what an “empathist” is then “you should care” to find out.

Thinking in Pictures

You are wondering, I suppose, what has this to do with Traditions Home. I could describe Gat Creek Furniture as made in Berkley Springs, West Virginia, made of native American wood, locally sourced, solid ash, cherry, maple, and walnut in a variety of hand-rubbed finishes. Made by American craftsmen and women, using time-honored techniques.

Or, I could just show you in pictures as I did above.



Stickley Walnut Grove Collection

“If you want a Golden Rule that fits everything, this is it: Have nothing in your house that you know not to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris, founder of the British Arts & Crafts Movement


An American Ideal

In America, the Arts & Crafts Movement was pioneered by Gustav Stickley and Elbert Hubbard. Stickley created his revolutionary Mission style in Manlius, New York. Elbert Hubbard established the Roycroft Community in East Aurora, New York.

“When a man’s home is born out of his heart and developed through his labor and perfected through his sense of beauty, it is the very cornerstone of life.”

Gustav Stickley

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”

Elbert Hubbard

The New Walnut Grove Collection


The American Arts & Crafts Movement in the 21st Century

Marissa Brown, Stickley’s Director of Design, presents the new Walnut Grove Collection, a fresh interpretation of the American Arts & Crafts style with a nod to Scandinavian design. Made with solid American Black Walnut, a unique collection that includes almost two dozen pieces for the living room, dining room and bedroom.

Marissa’s philosophy continues the spirit of the Arts & Crafts Movement:

“I’m creating things I want to live with, that my friends would want to live with.”




White – Tabla Rasa

White represents both purity and innocence. It is the color of new fallen snow, the color a bride chooses to start a new life. It is the color of the artist’s canvas before he or she begins to paint. White is the blank sheet of paper the writer stares at, before typing the great American novel.

White creates a minimalist aesthetic. It can be very simple, clean and modern, the most neutral color of all. A color where anything goes.

If one wants to get philosophical about white, then think of it as a tabla rasa (Latin: a “clean slate”). In the theory of knowledge and psychology, a condition that empiricists attribute to the human mind before society gets its impressionable hands on us.

Sherrill Furniture has dozens of frame styles and 1,069 fabrics, and more than one hundred whites to choose from.

Learn more about Sherrill Furniture at Traditions Home


Walnut Grove

New Walnut Grove

Marissa Brown, Director of Design at Stickley Furniture introduces her new Walnut Grove collection. Arts & Crafts design with a modern Scandinavian flair, solid walnut, a collection that combines the art of furniture making and nature itself.

This contemporary and modern look spans all areas of the home from living room to dining room and bedroom, and even office. A look that is both light and airy, perfect for any style of home from Craftsman to the Modern Loft. This collection may be the first major innovation in modern design since the Bauhaus movement and Scandinavian Design.

See it now at Traditions Home in Wichita and at Traditions Furniture in Overland Park.

Walnut Grove Round Great Room

Mockado, NOT Mikado


Not to be confused with the comic opera Mikado, by Gilbert and Sulivan, the carpet and fabric named Mockado was a 16th century invention of woolen pile yarn and ends made in imitation of silk velvet. Mockadoes were introduced into England from Flanders by Dutch and Walloon weavers fleeing Spanish rule.


Mockado Rug

Karastan’s Mockado Area Rug is the perfect solution for those seeking a solid color rug. Karastan’s offering comes in six colors and 39 sizes, combining luxurious New Zealand Wool and Karastan’s exclusive SmartStrand Silk. The Mockado Collection comes in both standard and custom sizes, creating endless possibilities for every home and every space.

See it Now


Why New Zealand Wool and SmartStrand Silk

New Zealand wool is considered superior to other wools because it is a blend of of Merino and Downs breeds selected for comfort, strength and performance. Karastan SmartStrand Silk rug fibers are strengthened for durability and softness to provide easy care and lasting beauty for years of use.

Tatami Mat

The Mockado rug may appear visually similar to the traditional Japanese Tatami mat, but that is deceiving. The Tatami is made of rush and cloth.

No white after Labor Day?


Should we blame Daisy Buchanan, that paragon of perfection, and those Long Island snobs for the rule, no white after Labor Day?

Perhaps, but who cares nowadays. White is always in fashion.

After all, white never clashes, it is more minimal, It is bright, which makes it right any time of the year. I am thinking a snowy white Christmas, aren’t you?

Now, add a splash of color as the seasons change and you are there.

The manners bible, Emily Post’s Etiquette, 17th Edition, 2004 gave the go-ahead for white after Labor Day, but we didn’t really need to wait for permission to do what is right, did we?

White comes in hundreds of shades and textures, making it versatile in design.


A chair is still a chair

As I work most days, a chair is the place I spend most of my time thinking up silly stories. It is the place for me where thought becomes reality.

Amato desk chair by Hancock & Moore


Since Socrates first wrestled with the question of what is a chair, philosophers have talked and nothing changes. On the other hand, designers and manufacturers have been struggling to improve the chair.

A chair is still a chair if you are not sitting there, but it doesn’t feel or look the same.

Gilbert chair, Hancock & Moore

Look at it this way.
One could say that all chairs rest upon the ground, but then the tire swing and the porch swing would be out the door. In summer, what child would not choose a tire swing over a creek over the grandest throne? And an old man likes his rocking chair. After a climb to the top of a mountain, a rock will do if you are tired enough. The ground is just the ground and not a chair. A chair is not something to simply be look at and admired. A blind man knows a good chair by its feel and its comfort. A bed is not a chair, but a tired man can recline and fall asleep in his favorite chair, feet propped up, back down, stretched out, without a thought or worry in the world.

Crosby swivel-glider

To come, to sit, to stay and relax and ponder the weighty questions of Socrates. That is the function and reality of a chair.

To understand a chair one must sit there. It is the place where reality and perception come together.

Wing by Hancock & Moore

Let me say, I love the beauty of a chair for its own sake. Then too I love the suppleness of leather, the richness and texture of fabric. Is a chair high or low, wide or narrow, big or small? These questions depend upon space and place. A three legged stool might stand for a pup tent on a camp out, but a fine home deserves more.
Try on any of these Hancock & Moore chairs out for size and comfort. See an interior designer at Traditions in Overland Park and Wichita and discover the beautiful reality of a Hancock & Moore chair.

Then ask yourself, if a chair is still a chair if you are not sitting there.

William Morris – melon fabric

Let me give you a place to sit and something to think about. A Morris recliner by Stickley, a melon fabric.

  Sitting in the Stickley Morris recliner

 Memory is a series of life’s moments recalled when needed.

Last year at Oxford, last summer at Water House, Walthamstow, northeast London, a square, heavy Georgian building of yellow brick, the Morris family home from 1848 to 1856. In 1856, William Morris, twenty two and a student at Oxford, writing as a character named John, in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine:

John took up a garden fork preparatory to running down to the melon ground where the worm-populated dung heaps were; for some strange reason that moment and the half hour were one of the unforgotten times of his life; and in after days he could never smell the mixed smell of the toolhouse, with its bast mats, earthy roots and herbs, in a hot summer evening, without that evening with every word and gesture coming clear to his memory.

William Morris melon fabric

Strange, is it not, that inspiration can come from a dung heap, a melon, and a summer long ago? This first day of May, I have just planted my cantaloupe seeds out behind the store in bed recovered from the compost of last year.


Let me give you as an added bonus, two poems by William Morris:

I am the ancient apple-queen,

As once I was so am I now.
For evermore a hope unseen,
Betwixt the blossom and the bough.

Ah, where’s the river’s hidden Gold!
And where the windy grave of Troy?
Yet come I as I came of old,
From out the heart of Summer’s joy.


I am the handmaid of the earth,

I [em]broider fair her glorious gown,
And deck her on her days of mirth
With many a garland of renown.

And while Earth’s little ones are fain
And play about the Mother’s hem,
I scatter every gift I gain
From sun and wind to gladden them.