(it’s time to) Kiss Summer Goodbye

Lots of people would argue – myself included – that autumn in Cedar Rapids can be absolute heaven on earth. This year we have had phenomenal leaf colors, moderate temperatures and glorious sun filled, whirly-twirly windy days. We all love that!

BUT – I decided to do just one more “summertime” post. These are some images that remind me of summer colors and summer energy, so I’ll just share them with you before I get ready to order up my October pumpkin flavored latte.

Enjoy the sights!

How can you tell  this is not a  photo of me?

Right – I don’t own tennis shoes, but I do have about 40 paint decks!

Below are “summer ” colored night-light tables.  Aren’t they (ahem) just a blast!?

Cupcakes are craved all year long, right? But these colors and the confetti just  sing out “summer!”



I can hear the heat of summer two-stepping!



Betcha don’t know what these are?!

Well, if you ever feel like you’d like to light it up in the bathtub, these citrus discs can be purchased from HimeyaShop to accomplish just that!  They’re from Japan and, floating in the tub they REALLY do shoot light throughout the bathroom.


I hate to say it, but it’s that time.

Time for me to let go of  all summertime thoughts and images. . .

Time to kiss summer goodbye.


Goodbye Summer. I’ll miss you.

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer / Phelan’s Interiors


Honeysuckle – HOT HOT HOT!


Last year’s Pantone color of the year was turquoise because of its calming effect (much-needed after a tumultuous 2009). This year, they’re forecasting a way more vibrant color: Honeysuckle! According to Pantone Color Institute Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman, “In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues.” (Ariel Kaiser)

So, what DOES the color “honeysuckle” look like? According to pantone it is a hot pinkish-coral! That works! But many people see yellow or orange when they hear the word “honeysuckle.”     

Here is a sample, a tempting snack, if you will, for your eyes. Prepare for Honeysuckle 2011!                 

interior photos by rhonna designs

I am SO ready for honeysuckle! Thank you, Pantone!


Dianne Ross

Interior Designer/Phelan’s Interiors





 “Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2010″ Turquoise:



Lucky for me, Pantone LLC declared Pantone 15-5519 Turquoise as the Color of the Year for 2010.

Lucky, because I love the entire blue-green spectrum.

It is flattering to everybody.


Each year Pantone Color Institute®, creates standardized color palettes used in the graphics, design, cosmetics and fashion industries. As per the color experts, the color turquoise evokes a soothing feeling of a tropical paradise, and positive, relaxed energy.





I love it.  I love it.  I love it!



Dianne Ross

Interior Designer / Phelan’s Interiors


Iowa Rain verses Pretty Shoes

 Several pairs of my shoes have been flooded out. So far this year, over 40 inches of precipitation have graced the fair community of Cedar Rapids. That’s right – and we still have three of our “tradtionally wet months” ahead of us!


Normally, I wouldn’t go off on a rant for this blog, but sometimes the Iowa weather makes me cranky. It makes everybody I know cranky. I find myself wishing I owned stock in a flip-flop company!




 Frankly, we midwesterners are extremely weather-sensitive. The very first decision we make each and every day depends on the weather: what to wear. And this year (actually last year must be included as we remember THE flood) we  must decide what shoes we can or cannot wear based on how many inches of rain have been predicted. 

I mean,  don’t misunderstand – I am fully aware of heartland beauty. I appreciate each season with its unique spectrum of colors, and spicey or earthy scents, and comforting ambience.

But then it rains.

Every season.


    So yeah, I’d wear these to work! 


Dianne Ross

Interior Designer/Phelan’s Interiors


A Touch of Heat: PINK, not Red

As promised, this week we are looking at how to add a touch of heat to a black and white palette. I’m suggesting to think pink!


fred and ginger2

 Hot pink is making inroads, again, into home decor.  Shocking to the eye at first, it soon asserts itself much like the flavor of the pink pepper – when used sparingly – it is warm with a lingering romantic after taste!

The hue is delicious.


                                              Room setting at Phelan’s


So, here is a strategy to fire up a  palette without totally burning it up. Here are two more groups of accessories available on our floor.


Think pink.



 Add a magenta pillow to your sofa.  Add a fuchsia orchid anywhere.  Add electric-pink stemware to the formal dining table.  Add a handful of pink peppercorns to your Lucite pepper grinder.  Add a touch of heat. 

Show off!




Be warned: Hot pink is dramatic. It is confidence.  It is ego. It must be controlled. In the era of Hollywood Regency design, this one color demanded a presence of front and center on the set, and yet when used with restraint, never stole the show. It simply added a touch of heat!


If the hue of  hot pink doesn’t add enough heat for your decorating style, stay with me because we will burn it up with lipstick red . . . caliente! 

If you have photos you’d like to share of your successful hot ( pink or red) decorating ideas please send them to me. I’d be pleased to post them.

If you are in a dilema, let me help.


Dianne Ross

Interior Designer / Phelan’s Interiors


Post-flood thunderheads

Dianne Ross photo


As my post from last week looked at the partnership of beauty and chaos, and as the flood waters recede, the people of Iowa find ourselves seeing more and more of these exact images.  2000 homes have been condemed. 20,000 volunteers have been diligent in their efforts.                 

                     Devastation and recovery.  Darkness and light. Yin and Yang.

The clouds put on quite a performance as I was driving back into Cedar Rapids last Friday.   As sunset approached I shot the schizophrenic thunderheads in their confused glory. One side was sugar white, fluffy, fairytale clouds full of hope and the other was as black as a betrayed heart, fearful, saturated with doom and gloom.  Once again nature was showing all sides of the argument simultaneously like a couple of innocent children in the backseat punching each other. And if the enormous size of the visual battle wasn’t enough, Mother Earth wasn’t quite satsified with her bedazzled sunset. She added a Bobby Flay Throw-down sunbeam! 

            What does any of this have to do with interior design, you ask?

Well . . .  nothing.  Almost nothing.  But, whenever something grabs your attention because of the seeming paradox, pay attention. It’s all there: color, proportion, texture, continuity, beauty, catastrophe, drama, awe, contrast and balance. Odd bedfellows indeed, but a visual and emotional Throw-down, a real feast. You might even shoot a photo out the car window while driving down Interstate 380!

To be continued . . .


Dianne Ross / Interior Designer

Phelan’s Interiors






photo: Scott Dingman


This is the one! Really. It’s my inspiration piece. I promise.

My designer told me to simlpy find a piece that I love and go from there. She said I would love the end result if I pick something (that I already love) to inspire me. Something. Anything.

 I said , “Do you mean a piece of art work, like a painting?”

She said, “Anything.”

I said, “Maybe a lamp?”

She said, “Anything. Do you love your lamp?”

“I love my shoes! Call the painter!”

She said, “I’m just sayin.”



                                                              “Set me free why doncha, babe?”

                                        Diana Ross



Dianne Ross / Interior Designer

Phelan’s Interiors





SPECTRUM: 1. a band of colors, as seen in a rainbow, 2. a range of ideas or thoughts.




Today’s blog will be devoted to color – but from a different angle.


The dazzling neon colors in the photo above show the depth, the sensitivity, and the creativity of a boy with Asperger Syndrome. On the autistic spectrum this is just one diagnosis, just one of the colors in the spectrum.


The Autism Society of America (ASA) has chosen the rainbow to represent the range of symptoms seen in autistics kids. Colors! Additionally, brightly colored puzzle pieces symbolize the struggle to understand and help these kids. SPECTRUM.


Westdale Mall will be the place to meet and gather to support this cause on Saturday morning (April12) at 8:30. The goal, of course, is to raise awareness as well as funds. The money collected will stay in our community to help local children diagnosed with autism.


Not a day goes by, I realize, that someone doesn’t ask for a donation for a worthy cause, but because April is National Autism Awareness Month I emailed my co-workers asking for sponsors. The result was immediate and overwhelming! WoW!


It was then that I was overwhelmed. What color would you call humble? What hue is gratitude? Can you name a shade for generosity? Probably not.


I like the idea of SPECTRUM – a band of colors and/or a range of ideas. So, I will simply say thank you for and from Lachlan. He is the glowing little guy in the photo – and he is my beloved grandson.


Walk with me on Saturday – and (along with your snow boots) wear something colorful!





Dianne Ross / Interior Designer

Phelan’s Interiors