Bella Vita is the number one place to go when you need original, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. You may think that is a bold statement to make, but we have all the proof we need thanks to our wonderful, loyal customers. When you stop by the store with your friends and sing our praises, or when we run into you at the supermarket and you are wearing your latest addition, we know that you love our original, local artists who pride themselves on making the very best product for the very best people.
 
Because we know what you love, we are always on the lookout for inspiring talent. Our newest jewelry designer, Niki Gaffrey, is among the best, focusing on the natural and the handmade. She is a local Southerner whose slogan is “Jewelry is art we wear to remember”.


Niki Gaffrey's handmade, ceramic designs are either strung or hand-sewn onto distressed leather ranging from a light tan to a dark chocolate. Based on the personality of the necklace or bracelet up to this point, she then adds stones in a range of hues to play upon the personality and charm of the piece.


She is continually inspired by the world around her, but mostly by her "child's fearless enthusiasm". A child knows no boundaries, does not accept defeat or rejection and continually puts their hearts on the line. Niki is the same way when it comes to making her jewelry. Each piece starts out a mystery, but in the end each piece becomes a wearable piece of art; a way to personally connect to a place, person or time.


Niki works daily out of her home studio where household appliances are her tools of choice. Besides what you would assume are tools to make jewelry out of (drills, sanders etc.), Niki uses a pasta machine! We don't know how, but somehow she figured out a way to create beautiful jewelry from none other than a pasta machine.

Bella Vita has quite the collection of Niki Gaffrey necklaces and bracelets in stock, but they are disappearing quickly! Everyone who comes through our doors comments on the unique nature of the pendants and leather, so if you want to experience Niki Gaffrey for yourself, you had better hurry.

If you have any questions, we would love to answer them so feel free to contact us.

Have a wonderful (hot!) weekend!

- The Girls at Bella Vita

Posted by Stephanie Singley | Permalink

Talk about curbing your appetite. My kitchen was doing a great job for me every time I walked in it.


Needless to say, it was one of the first rooms to hit the chopping block. Off went the popcorn ceilings and down came the brass fixtures. Out went the black Formica countertops and in came new stainless steel appliances.

We didn’t put in new cabinetry, but opted to work with what we had. As you know, new cabinets can get costly, and it really is pretty amazing how you can transform what I like to call “out-of-the-box” cabinets into something of your own. The original cabinets (above) were a cream/brown faux finish that we were not fond of. They are now painted a beautiful antique cream color that brightens up the space tremendously. The dark hardware is gone too (who wants to reach that high anyway!), but it will be replaced with beautiful knobs, hung in a more accessible location, from Anthropolgie. Those will be installed just as soon as we have a spare second!


The black Formica is gone and has been replaced with gleaming granite with flecks of dark brown, white and taupe to complement the new cabinetry.


A new floor went in too—20x20 tiles laid on a diagonal. Keeps things more interesting, less square and static looking. Brinkley loves the tiles too- they are a welcomed cool relief after a nice long run.


Doing the dishes—or shall I say getting them to the dishwasher—has never been more enjoyable, thanks to our new single basin deep sink. Again, to keep the look consistent, we selected an oil-rubbed bronze faucet and coordinating sprayer and soap dispenser.

By the way, if you’re ever in the market for a new sink, I strongly suggest those deep, inset sinks. They hide dishes and countertop cleanup is so much easier—just swipe the crumbs into the sink. No need to worry about food getting stuck into basin edges either.

Curious about the backsplash? Stay tuned. We’re waiting on our beautiful glass-tiled backsplash to arrive. We’ll post pics as soon as it’s installed! Stay tuned for more renovation updates from my happy abode. In the meantime, go back and check out episode 1 if you have not seen the video.

- Stephanie

Posted by Stephanie Singley | Permalink

Jul 22 2010

A Feast For Your Eyes

Take a second to sit back, relax and feast your eyes on the fine art of faux finishing. Faux finishing has come a long way over the years. It not longer requires plastic bags and sea sponges, but a whole new realm of tools and techniques that not just anyone can master. If you are among the few who have mastered the art of faux finishing, consider yourself lucky.

Speaking of the few, standing out amongst them are Jaime and Melissa, the talented owners and artists of Off the Wall. The other day, these (very) busy ladies took a second to answer a few questions we had about faux finishing, and we were definitely inspired by their answers!

To feel inspired and artistically uplifted yourselves, take a browse through Bella Vita's conversation with Jaime and Melissa, and take in the photographs of some of the glorious faux finishing this talented duo has done. To learn more about these wonderful ladies, take a second to view their biography on our website.


This funky floral design fills the walls of Stephanie's downstairs bathroom. The deep copper-like ceiling (also faux finished by Off the Wall) compliments the busy walls and beautiful copper sink (not pictured).

BV: How did you get started in faux finishing?
Jaime: Fifteen years ago, a designer friend was desperate for an artist to do some work in a Vesta Home Show. She called me knowing my love for and gift in fine arts. This immediately changed my direction and I began a very successful career in faux finishing.
Melissa: At 25, after being married only one year and working an office job, I realized I was not fulfilling my purpose. Having a love for art, I called upon a friend who was a faux finisher in the Memphis area. She referred me to her friend (who happened to be Jaime), knowing she needed extra help. Jaime began training me as her employee which soon after turned into a wonderful business partnership.


The shutters on your home are a great place to make a statement with faux finishing. The ladies at Off the Wall ensure the highest of quality when it comes to their projects, both indoors and out.

BV: What do you use or where do you go to gather inspiration for new colors, new techniques or new designs?
Jaime & Melissa: It still amazes us how the most unusual things and places can inspire a new idea. We can be together talking, or even just watching a movie and suddenly we have this crazy idea that turns into a funky design! We NEVER say "we can't do this" or try to follow "the rules". We always go by the belief  "why not? It's just paint". A lot of our designs are inspired by textiles and old, vintage prints. We especially love to draw from the bohemian and eclectic movements in designing our products.

BV: Do either of you have a favorite item or surface to faux finish? Is one piece more fun than another, or does is it dependent on the customer and how far they allow you to push the "artistic envelope"?
Jaime & Melissa: We have the most fun and thrive creatively when we are given the opportunity to take the clients vision and run with it. However, most of the time they have something particular in mind and a clear direction of how they want their project to look. We always find joy in exceeding their expectations.

BV: What is your favorite faux finishing technique?
Jamie and Melissa: When asked our favorite finish, we always find it difficult to pick just one. It is kind of like asking an artist "what is your favorite color"? Our plaster finishes are at the top of the list, along with the finishes that allow us to be artistically "out of the box".

BV: We've heard you are both avid bloggers. What are your favorite blogs to follow?
Jaime & Melissa: When we began our own blog two years ago, we created relationships with other bloggers in that community. Some of our first relationships that we continue to enjoy today are Tracy Porter, The Inspired Room as well as a host of others in the design world. Blogging has become an important tool in what we do because it has opened up many avenues for both the retailer as well as the artist.


Play up your mantle, or any other shelving structure in your home. The faux finishing instantly makes it an art piece on the wall.

We feel so blessed to be able to partner with Off the Wall both in the store and in our homes. Take a quick trip into Bella Vita and you will see just some of the fantastic work Jaime and Melissa can do. Frames, plaques, trays and furniture in all colors, sizes and finishes fill our store and make our lives more beautiful. If you are interested in some of Off the Wall's products, or if you would like to take advantage of their services in your own homes feel free to contact us. We'll get you in touch and on your way to achieving the home of your dreams.

- The Girls at Bella Vita

Posted by Stephanie Singley | Permalink


Stephanie

Hi, my name is Stephanie. Like you, I love all things beautiful. The word. The life. The way it makes your soul feel warm and cozy. So curl up with the Girls at Bella Vita as we share our lives with you- our families and friends, our inspirations and ideas, our homes and nests- quite simply, our take on creating a beautiful life.
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