Designer Interview: Adelaide Brown of Anthropologie

June 27, 2009 § 2 Comments

Introducing my friend Miss Adelaide Brown! Before I moved out here to illinois, I lived in Greensboro, NC working for a popular-but-not-to-be-named trendy computer company next door to a lovely Anthropologie store. I had the pleasure of meeting Addie a few times, and of course admiring her beautiful displays on my lunch breaks… read about what inspires her below!

Yes, she IS precious!

Yes, she IS precious!

who are you?
My name is Adelaide Brown, I have lived in quite a spectrum of places in my 27 years.
Born in Neptune NJ… Im a yankee at heart. Spent my high school years in West Virginia, and eventually ended up in Greensboro North Carolina to earn my degree in Design from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After graduation i headed back up north to work in New York City as an assistant interior designer, custom printing consultant, and finally got my foot in the door at Anthropologie. A few months later Anthropologie brought me back to greensboro as the Display Artist in the new store that opened in January of this year.

what inspires you?
I am inspired by the most unpredictable things! It could be a comic strip, a type of music/genre, an interesting typeface, a time period, architecture, color combination, or paper texture…ya never know where it’s gonna come from!
I am also inspired by the people in my life. I know some of the most creative and talented people; each bringing such a unique perspective on life, art, design, and the creative process. Just being around them inspires and challenges me the most.

what are your favorite resources?
i look at a TON of magazines. ID is one of my favorites as well as Dwell and Craft!
I will say it’s a shame that Domino went out of print cause that was one of my favorites!

how do you get started on a project?
I normally start by hunting down some images of anything and everything that coorelates with the concept i am working with. Then i get to sketching…

what do you think is your best work, at anthropologie and in your own home?
Its’ hard to say… I feel as if i am constantly growing and learning through each project! each one hopefully getting better than the last.
I will say my favorite project so far at Anthropologie has been the most recent window display! It was a pretty large scale project and extremely time consuming but i loved every bit of it! Now im looking forward to the next!

Addie's most recent display, featuring hand-dyed fabric swatches.

Addie's most recent display, featuring hand-dyed fabric swatches.

the beehive display

the beehive display

At home, my design style has changed a bit so i am working on integrating some antiques with some more streamline and rustic pieces i have. I would like to think im moving toward a French Country style but friends are calling it “granny”! haha but i dont mind i love antiques and old family photos! I used to be obsessed with more of a moroccan aesthetic with warm rich color and texture, but now somehow i’ve traversed into a more feminine, rustic, and antique using more neutrals and some cool blues and greens. It’s always a work in progress!

Flea market find!

Flea market find!

Great chair!

Great chair!

what’s the best place {in your opinion} to get inexpensive decor from?
I think West Elm is a great source for inexpensive decor, and i love love love thrift stores and flee markets! If you’re up for the hunt and you hit them at the right time you can get some great finds! Design Within Reach is also another pretty well known source for good design and it’s still fairly reasonable.
If you ARE able to splurge a bit, i would highly recommend Jayson Home and Garden. ( Based out of Chicago, it is one of my all time favorite stores for home furnishings!

at anthropologie, you tend to use a lot of unexpected material, and in bulk – what’s the best place to {i.y.o.} to get inexpensive materials from? where do you get those crazy ideas?
We do love to use unexpected materials! I try as best i can to reuse materials that were used for previous displays if i can break them down to their original form.

If reuse is not a possiblity, I have to get creative where i find materials so that’s when dumpster diving comes in handy. (not the most glamorous experience… but super fun!) I also like to take advantage of this major junk yard, DH Griffin, here in town… i found some amazing shutters and windows that were super inexpensive!

We do buy in bulk for certain items. The website came in handy for the bee hive window display i did in the spring! It’s a great site for cardboard tubes, plastic bags, and tissue paper amoung other things.

There is a lot of creative freedom in what we do with our store so it’s always an adventure!

what do you find beautiful?
Trees! Im obsessed! I love the texture and layers of lines they creative in clusters! winter trees are my favorite, the sillouettes that are formed against the sky will stop me in my tracks everytime!

do you read any design blogs? which ones? {you’re not obligated to say mine… haha 🙂 }
I do! i do! Im pretty religious about reading Design Sponge! Love it! And a friend of mine has a great sketch blog called An Open Sketchbook that i follow as well! Such great illustrations… always entertaining! There are so many more i dont think i can name them all…


Creative blocks and renewed inspiration

June 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

Sorry for not posting for a few days. I’ve been a little busy working out like crazy to get ready for the show I’m about to start on Monday (and then you may not hear from me for AWHILE) but I wanted to show you some things that have inspired my next few projects. I’ve also had a bit of a creative block, feeling rather UNinspired, a little discouraged that things cost money in general, and the weather’s been gloom and doom. Anyway, no more excuses! Here are some things I like and will hopefully get to do this weekend.

First, I love this little home-office area from Michelle Smith of Raleigh, NC. She’s an indie designer and has shared some lovely photos of her home on Design*Sponge.

Michelle Smith of Raleigh, NC, my home state!

Michelle Smith of Raleigh, NC, my home state!

Anyway, I usually throw my desk in a corner, and here I don’t really have a corner that I want to devote to it, but I do have a strange little 6-foot wall space between a couple of doors. Problem is, no shelving, so this made me want to do some DIY wall-shelves. My plan is plain ol’ metal brackets and some 2 x 8s. That’s a weekend project, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Over at Apartment Therapy, a couple more DIYideas…

Cute upholstered coffee table bench

Cute upholstered coffee table bench

This bench used to be a coffee table… learn how to upholster your ugly coffee table and turn it into a bench or ottoman here.

Then I found this:

It looks like fabric... but its not!

It looks like fabric... but it's not!

It’s an “upholstered” nightstand, but guess what – she had some Amy Butler fabric that she made color copies of, cut them to fit, and mod-podged them on. Genius. Anyway, the nightstand is a bit much for me personally, but the concept is great, and it got me searching for some cool free graphic patterns to print out, in case you don’t have any Amy Butler fabric laying around. In just a few minutes I came up with a bunch, but really liked these vintage wallpaper graphics – high resolution and free (and also, perhaps the background of that new header you see up there)… They are on the lost and taken blog, click the image below to download the ZIP file, or just go directly to the article!

Click here to download free vintage wallpaper graphics.

The author also came up with a second set, which is also lovely, and you can find by click the next image:

Love this set as well

Love this set as well

Anyway… I gotta hit the gym! I hope you all have a fabulous day, I’ll update more, I promise!

Rearranged the furniture.

June 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

And liking it this way a little better… I think? Still missing the oh-so-important element of kitchen table and chairs, and I really want to wall-mount my TV. So until that day, things are a bit wonky, but I like it this way just because it opens it all up a bit more. Not that it needs opening, it’s big as it is. The items behind the couch are temporary, I have an issue with singular lamps (I just like them in twos, so I’m working on that, but for now it fills the space. I have some big prints in my car that need to come upstairs but it’s raining and I don’t want them to get wet. So keep an eye out! Also check out the cute Anthropologie cup! Mama has good taste!

Trip to Kentucky – cute wine bottles and more antique store finds

June 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

I met up with my parents last week in Frankfort, KY. My dad was slated to have a meeting and play golf out there and my mom came along for the ride, and we spent some jolly time together in the small-town state capital. In comparison to where I live, I’d say it’s about the same, just a little bigger and cleaner. It was sad, though – lots of beautiful architecture, mostly closed up due to business shut-downs. Sad. A lot of the buildings and homes dated back to the mid-18th century.

Anyway, mom and I did some antique shopping and ate a lovely lunch in a little wine bar. I was enamored with the bottle labels, continuing my typography obsession, and also found some lovely cheap goods at the antique store.






Some of you probably know that I’m about to start my masters in Opera and Music Theatre. I went through the decorate-everything-with-show-paraphernalia when I was a kid, but I did love these antique opera vinyls. They were $1 each, and such great colors (…and lettering).

Hatch Show Print

June 13, 2009 § 1 Comment

The June Anthropologie catalog, as all of their catalogs are, is pretty amazing – it features art by Hatch Show Print. Believe it or not, you probably are familiar with their work, even if you don’t realize it. Founded in the late 19th century, Hatch Show Print features classic letterpress design in the same style that they began over a hundred years ago. The company mostly produces country music posters and advertisements, but branches out for other projects. Hatch also used to do a great deal of minstrel and vaudeville shows, as well as circuses.

As we are all aware, I am a typography dork, and I have lately become just obsessed with letterpress. So let’s start where they started, in the beginning.


So you get the gist – now let’s look at this month’s Anthropologie. Oh, by the way, you can order all of these (and MANY more) at very affordable prices as posters on The Country Music Hall of Fame Store Site. Also, by the way, the new Anthropologie catalog’s home stuff is amazing – their room set-ups are cozy, rumpled, bohemian lovely.


Picture 55


Picture 56

Picture 57

Picture 58


Picture 59


June 10, 2009 § 1 Comment

I’m headed out of town today to meet my parents in Kentucky for a little QT and to procure some stuff they are bringing me from home, and they asked for some pictures of my place. I’ve made a little progress, but a lot of things need work, so I thought I’d at least share a few.


Living room... and I just noticed my legs in the mirror back there where I'm standing on a chair.

Living room... and I just noticed my legs in the mirror back there where I'm standing on a chair. The couch needs a LOT more pillows, and they'll get there when I have money. Also, the lamp is just sitting on a decorative box for now - I'm working on a side table. And an extension cord.

Another view of the living room... I hate the vertical blinds and I am going to do something about them

Another view of the living room... I hate the vertical blinds and I am going to do something about them


My little bookshelf tableau in progress

My little bookshelf tableau in progress

The door (which I've posted before from a different angle)

The door (which I've posted before from a different angle)


The closet, also posted before. This time it has more crap in it.

The closet, also posted before. This time it has more crap in it.

I’m heavily debating on the angled living room. It just seemed like a good idea to make the room a little less rail-road-y, but I could use opinions. It does make it cozy, but makes the rest of the room kind of tough. Opinions welcome. Obviously there is a lot more space that I didn’t photograph on purpose, because they are in no condition yet to be published. Soon I will have a lot more wall art, courtesy of my parents, and some other stuff, so look for updates!

My closet project

June 9, 2009 § Leave a comment

Here’s a funny story {note sarcasm}. I moved into my apartment and there are no racks, shelves, nothin’ at all in the closet. Just a room. A large room, mind you, but a room.

I went to Target and got some crappy portable clothing racks. They are now back in their boxes waiting to be returned as they were pieces of poo.

So I dug into my gumption, sloughed off my feminine side for a moment, went to Lowes, and came home ready to make my own gosh-darn closet.

And guess what, I’m well on the way. In about an hour and a half, I installed three shelves and already it’s looking better! 


All three shelves

Rack for tops and coats

Rack for dresses

So now what you’re thinking is, gosh, she didn’t even fill them up! Well, they will be full soon. There are boxes waiting to be emptied once I go get some more coat hangers (and another dresser full of clothes, eight plastic storage bins, and soon-to-be sixteen storage cubes… 

Now, these pictures were taken on my phone so the lighting is kind of bad, but in general it’s a bit yellow for my taste so I hope to change out the bulb to something brighter and make it a very organized, happy, girly dressing room. I’m gettin’ there!

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