Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Meanwhile, in Mark's Garden; October 2013

Meanwhile, in Mark's Garden, October 2013 

Fall is my FAVOURITE time of year,....pumpkins, mums, leaves a-changin', crisp, cool air, cloudless, blue skies.  My gardens seem to be at their best in the Autumn, what with new growth over the Spring/Summer, and,....when I (or in this particular month, Dan Cleveland's crew) pull out all the weeds, trim the boxwoods, and plant those wonderful pansies that bloom all Winter here in Atlanta.

Here's a few photos of some of my gardens, taken on a beautiful Sunday morning in October:

Bachus.      And moi.
18th Century stone/pebble water trough

2 of my Japanese Maples

1920's French faux-bois with pansies in antique Majolica

Freshly-trimmed boxwoods

Healthy ferns

My goldfish fountain

Pansies in windowboxes for the winter

Yellow mums coming back in front garden....

As good as I am as an Interior Designer, my work (and any of our work) pales by comparison to what God does outside.  Next time you have a chance,.....go out and "play in the dirt!" 
Keep Calm And Plant A Perennial!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tears of Joy

Recently, I was invited to my clients' (and friends') Lake House in Hiawasee, Georgia. We've been talking about me coming up for over a year; for the last 2 years, I helped renovate and decorate their wonderful home in Marietta.  I had met Larry at Scott Antique Market, and after a brief chat, he took one of my cards and went home to talk to his wife about hiring me to help with some renovation work.  He seemed to like my portfolio on my website,, and called me to schedule a complimentary first-visit to their home. 

I arrived a few days after his call, met his wife, Cheryl, and I knew early-on that they were going to be fun to work with.  They both have an innate sense of style, good taste, and are very intelligent.  Larry has a tendency to buy something EVERY time he goes to Scott's; that was evident when I walked their home for the first time.  They have the largest collection of antique American Eastlake furniture I've ever seen!   

We scheduled their Renovation in two Phases, based on both timing and budget.  Fast forward to 18 months later, when their 1990s home was decorated "The Mark Way," fresh paint colours (Farrow and Ball), furniture re-arranged, some new draperies, and additions from Mark Sunderland Antiques.  I must say, it turned-out pretty-nicely, and they were pleased. 

Sooooooo,....on to the LAKE!!! 

Within minutes of arriving on a Saturday afternoon, the cog wheels in my brain were a-turnin', ....and I immediately started doing my "thang.". I cannot move furniture (lower-back), but Cheryl and Larry were eager to help, and they did (I think we all lost 10 pounds in 3 days,.....Cheryl called it the "Mark Sunderland Boot Camp.").   

As I often do, I forgot to take "Before" pictures.  Suffice it to say that just-about 90% of the furniture you see in these photos was originally in a different place.  

On the third morning, as I was decorating Larry's Über-Cool huge country-store glass-doored cabinet, Cheryl came up to me, touched my arm, and said, "Mark, I can't tell you how happy you've made me and Larry.". She cried.  I cried.  Larry didn't cry; he was labouring in the Guest Bedroom, installing a huge antique shutter headboard!!!....... Maybe he cried later.

Folks, this is what Decorating is ALL ABOUT.  It is SO rewarding receiving positive-feedback, and tears of joy are just-about the highest form of gratitude.  This was certainly one of my highest moments in decorating in the last 20 years.  This Designer, following his passion, becomes even-more energized with feedback like this.  
So, without further adieu, here is their re-decorated Lake House:

Billy Bob

Dog Hall of Fame

Downstairs TV Room

Ducks Unlimited

Better wall for this beautiful Elk Oil Painting

Family Heirlooms; LOVED Grandmama's squirrel!

Gone Fishin'

This Hoosier cabinet just HAD to move upstairs to Cheryl's kitchen

Larry collects antique sportsmen calendars (among other things!!!!!)

Sorry, don't get to hang an elk painting over this beautiul lead-glass window!

My "Ralph-inspired" Living Room

Reeled In
Son's bedroom


Upstairs Children's Bedroom
Max was my "Design Assistant." He followed me everywhere....guess I tuckered him out!

Last Look at Lake...

It's okay to Cry Here
Did you shed a tear or two? Probably not, but I did, and, most importantly, my client did. Thank You, Cheryl and Larry, for yet another opportunity to feature your wonderful things you have collected in all the years you've been married.



Monday, October 14, 2013

"Number One"

Check THIS out, Folks!  My "Number One," Deborah Porter, recently wrote a term-paper for her college course in Operations Management.  Imagine my surprise when I opened THIS email!  I was truly touched.  Deborah and I go way back; she's worked for me over 10 years.  I consider her not only a friend, but a member of my family.   

I am so proud of Deborah and her accomplishments.  She presently handles my bookkeeping and pre-tax financials, but after her graduation in May (and, I would imagine passing a hard TEST), she'll be a full-fledged ACCOUNTANT! 

In 2007, when I was audited, and my accountant, Morray and I went Downtown for our meeting, the IRS agent said, "I don't know who your bookkeeper is, but I've NEVER seen such organization!" ....Such a nice thing to hear, ESPECIALLY given the source. 

I would imagine that Deborah gets a good grade on this fact, I'll let her tell you herself.  As of October 12, Deborah is taking on my Internet posting duties (e-blasts, blogs, and some magical way that my Internet Awareness increases for both my Design business and Antique business).  

Junior DeBarros, my current Internet Guy, is following his PASSION in the Music Industry.  I'm so happy for Junior; his shoes will certainly be hard to fill, but I'm confident that my "Number One" will take the torch and keep me in the race. 

So, without further adieu, here's Deborah's paper on moi:

Mark Sunderland Interiors, Inc. began in 2003 in Atlanta, GA with a focus on high-end homes in Metro Atlanta and the surrounding areas. Senior Designer, Mark Sunderland has been an ASID member since 1998, which allows him benefits that include networking, seminars and education on products and services in the design industry as well as access to the leading sources of information and research, sponsorship and marketing.

A design center in the heart of Atlanta that consists of the industry’s finest product lines including furniture, fabric, rugs, lighting, accessories, art, flooring, kitchen/bath and home theater products just to name a few. ADAC is open to the trade only but consumers may accompany their designers while shopping for product.

Mr. Sunderland specializes in four major design areas; antiques, draperies, framing and furniture. Mark Sunderland Interiors, Inc. incorporates key elements of the design process as it relates to operations management. Whether it is a client who simply wants to recover their old sofa or a client who wants new furniture for a living room or their whole house, Mr. Sunderland starts with a concept then designs the product and lastly it is delivered and he services the customer’s needs.

Mr. Sunderland once said “The right drapery and window treatments often make the difference between a nice room and an interior with intrinsic value and integrity” (Sunderland, M.). Mr. Sunderland uses his understanding and knowledge of fabrics, textures and colors to create looks for every home. Mr. Sunderland believes that trends come and go but furniture will retain elegance and value over decades. He knows where to go to get the best timeless pieces that ensure exceptional beauty, durability and value.

When hunting for antiques, Mr. Sunderland travels to places like Pennsylvania, England, France as well as local areas in Georgia to find unique and popular items that consumers are seeking to update their home décor. Currently, Mr. Sunderland has three separate locations at different antique markets who all sell his antiques; Scott’s Antique Market, Historic Roswell Antique Market and Westside Antique Market.

Mr. Sunderland meets with the client to find out what their ideas are including a theme, style, color, fabric texture and budget. He creates his vision using CAD drawings and work boards with color and fabric samples, which is then presented to the client. Once the client chooses the design the product is ordered.

A typical installation day consists of Mr. Sunderland spending all day at the client’s home placing the new product and he also brings other accessories, including lamps, pillows, home décor, sometimes antiques from his inventory, to try and sell and coordinate with the home. Most clients are over-come when they see Mr. Sunderland’s creation and his master-technique of placement. Upon completion of the install, Mr. Sunderland presents his clients with a gorgeous hand-made floral arrangement, courtesy of Mark Sunderland Interiors, Inc.