Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
Last week I featured the Octavia Headboard by Serena & Lily in a girl’s bedroom setting. This week I want to highlight how that headboard could be used in an adult or teenager’s bedroom. Depending on what style of bedding you select. a room can exude a playful personality or subtle sophistication. It’s all about the mix and match.
First option: The classic Octavia headboard in Navy Linen with nickel nailhead trim is given a fresh, modern twist with graphic prints. Dwell Studio’s Labyrinth duvet set in Dove reminds me of a snake charmer, and their Masala sheets in Citrine provides a pop of unexpected color against the neutrals.
Option2: Here I played the greek key inspired detail in the nailhead design against a loosely drawn Greek Key duvet set by West Elm. I was feeling playful when I chose the Red Star sheets from Serena & Lily to complete the look. It feels a little like the stars & stripes with all that navy, white and red. Or maybe it’s conjures up a bedroom that feels like you are in Greece and looking at the stars in the expansive sky over the ocean. What feeling does it inspire in you?
Option 3: This is a softer look than the 2 previous combinations, but the stripes keep it graphic. The Pewter Linen Octavia headboard is not as bold as the navy version. I wanted to use Dwell Studio’s Draper Stripe sheet set in Poppy with a duvet cover that might be a bit of an unexpected pairing. So I first chose the Parachute Duvet set in White from West Elm (upper right corner). The ruching of this airy cotton creates a lot of volume and a relaxed feminine effect. White sheets with a colored edge or subtle dots would be a more obvious pairing. But I like how the poppy stripes anchors the floaty duvet and makes it more guy friendly.
I couldn’t resist including another version with West Elm’s Stripe Duvet set in white and feather gray. The width of the stripes on the sheets in narrower, which allows the two stripes to work together. Can you tell I like a pop of color against neutrals?
Option 4: The headboard remains in Pewter Linen but a new combination of bedding provides a very different look. Here Dwell Studio’s Peacock Duvet set in Dove has a more traditional styling than previous selections, but the color palette and scale keep it modern in sensibility. Pairing this duvet with Dwell Studio’s Gate sheet set in Azure has been a favorite combination of mine since they introduced it. But I wanted an alternate option for sheets since it is always nice to be able to tweak the look of your bedding. I selected the Dot Print sheet set in Mushroom from West Elm to pull out the soft browns in the duvet cover. Without seeing the two sets in person I’m not positive the colors are right together, but this is illustrative people, so don’t kill me if they don’t work, ok?!
Option 5: Finally, switching up the Octavia headboard to Antique Gold Burlap with Brass nailheads creates a more classic traditional style. The Bativa Duvet set in Citrine by Dwell Studio is a modern update of the Ikat pattern that is so popular in interior design right now. The soft color palette keeps the room from feeling too formal. The coordinating Masala sheet set in Citrine blends in here rather than serving as a pop of color as it did in Option 1.
I’m sure I could create an alternate option for the final headboard color option… but I ran out of energy. So why don’t you create one and show it to me?
So which option would you choose? Or do you prefer something completely different? Bedding shouldn’t be intimidating to select and it should definitely be washable. Beyond that, anything goes. A duvet cover is often the largest expanse of a pattern in your home. It can be switched seasonally or whenever the mood strikes, unlike a the upholstery on a sofa or chair (though slipcovers can serve the same purpose). So don’t be afraid to go for something bid, bold, unexpected or just a little out of your comfort zone.
Photo sources: All product shots from each company’s website. See links for more information about each product.
Thursday, February 10th, 2011
It’s time for another edition of my favorite photos from House Beautiful. You can tell we’re deep in the depths of dreary winter when magazine covers look like this. A light-filled room in bright cheerful colors helps remind us sunny days will return, even if Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and we’re stuck with plenty more winter ahead of us.
I really like these rooms by Alexandra Angle because they all have intesting but subtle details that add to the rooms rather than detracting. The top left image is a reading nook. It’s difficult to tell with the cropped photo, but it seems like the cushion is much larger than a typical window seat cushion, so you could really relax and spread out like on a full size mattress. I could see a pile of kids on here reading books when they are little, and a group of teen girls gathered here gabbing, reading magazines, and talking about boys. Or maybe it’s where mom escapes to read a little Jane Austen (or Jonathan Franzen) in peace and quiet.
The double office would be a great little space to take care of personal documents, and with a desk for each person you don’t have to worry about someone moving that bill on you. Clearly these aren’t home offices, but most people don’t need that much space and storage for managing their home life. A low bookshelf or cabinet fitted with file storage and boxes for basic supplies would be sufficient to provide a functional work space with these desks. I really like the legs on those desks, the small lamp and the artwork leaning on the desks.
There is a nice symmetry to the bedroom with the matching dressers and rugs, but the different lamps and artwork mix it up. I’m loving the green lamp on the left by John Derian. Where can I fit that in my house? (That’s one of the biggest dangers in being an interior designer – we see soo many beautiful objects, fabrics, etc and it’s difficult to not want to enjoy it all in our own homes.)
The detail on these kitchen cabinets by Garrow Kedigian were inspired by the details on the windows in this NYC pre-war apartment. Paired with slab Calcacatta Gold marble countertops and backsplash the look is fresh but timeless. Pairing this look with an Artemide glass fixture (top left corner of the photo), 18th century bamboo chairs and a modern wood and steel table is truly a contemporary spin.
This is a fun feature they have added to the magazine that really shows how a room can be transformed by design professionals in one (long) day into a more functional and beautiful space, even utilizing mostly off the shelf items. What’s really nice is they break the process down into all the steps that took place over the course of that one day, from analyzing the space, to shopping, to setting up the space and trying out different pieces in different locations, to final staging details. These are the steps we take with our clients but the process is not as condensed, which allows us the time to develop custom solutions and evolve the design over a series of meetings with our clients in which we get to know their lifestyle and personal style in more detail.
Would you allow a designer to make over a room in your home (other than a kitchen) in one day? Would you feel it was a benefit utilizing retail products or would you prefer to mix them with custom or to-the-trade pieces?
Friday, January 14th, 2011
To wrap up a week of purple we’re going for saturation. I’m talking about deep, royal purples. There’s nothing bashful about this color. It says “I’m purple. Like me or don’t like me, I don’t care.”
Look at these deep purple walls. They add drama all on their own. In the dining room the furnishings have minimal lines and silvery accessories add a restrained touch of modern glamour. You could be bold and choose a saturated purple velvet for your sofa and mix it up with old shutters as wall art to create an unexpected pairing. Or stick with a neutral sofa and let the wall color, mirrored tile and artwork be the focal point of your room.
Incorporating purple in your bedroom could be an exercise in all out layering (see the bedroom on the left) or just a couple of accessories could be added to a otherwise quiet palette (see the bedroom on the right). Notice how they upholstered a folding screen to create a headboard, and pulled the pale pink color from the fabric for the trim color. Unexpected but interesting. The living room in the middle has deep purple layered in the rugs, throw pillows and wall art. Mixed with gold, chartreuse, violet, silvery grey on the couch and charcoal on the armchair the palette feels balanced and not focused on one specific color. It feels like it has evolved over time, which is always a good quality to achieve in a room.
So, have these purple posts made you a convert yet? Are you itching to paint or run out and pick up a couple of new purple accessories to update a room? I’m actually thinking about painting my own bathroom!
Have a great weekend. I hope you get to enjoy fun decorating projects to give you a fresh look for the new year. And if you want a designer’s perspective and ideas, I’m here as always to help make your home a place you truly enjoy living in day after day.
Wednesday, December 29th, 2010
Okay, so this came in the mail a little while ago, but I figured I had a bit of buffer since it covers both December and January.
I like the cover image – all that great worn wood, tons of bookshelves, a minimal chandelier, linen slipcovered dining chairs and a giant farm table sound like the perfect place to gather with friends on a snowy day with mugs of hot cocoa (with a bit of Baileys or Kahlua for the adults).
This bedroom in a London townhouse designed by Alex Papachristidis has a fun groovy meets eccentric glam vibe that you don’t usually see. The Missoni inspired print on the bench pulls together the colors of the bedding and bedframe. The open framework of the base of the bench helps balance the weight of that large upholstered bed. The nightstands are open as well to keep the proper balance of visually light and heavy items in the room. The neutral walls and flooring let the bed be the start of this room, as they should be in a bedroom. The leopard print footstool, statue base lamps and artwork show the homeowners aren’t afraid to be quirky and individuals. I love that!
This living room is from the same London townhouse as the bedroom above. This room has a similar mix of ’70s, modern and antiques with a warm color palette and curving legs. The lamps have great personality. The gilded finish on the armchairs is a dull brushed finish which somehow seems more casual to me. Again neutral walls and flooring allow the acccents to shine.
This living room was designed by Brazilian Sig Bergamin. It has a very David Hicks meets Billy Baldwin (those slipper chairs!) quality with a preppy meets world traveler (minus the souvenir objet d’art) style. The modern art collection helps keep it fresh so it doesn’t read as your grandmother’s Park Avenue apartment. Clean transitional lines on all the furniture keeps it from being fussy and lets the patterns play against each other without being TOO overwhelming.
All photos from Elle Decor December 2010/January 2011 issue.
Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
Well, this month Elle Decor has redeemed itself. There is a lot of good content to inspire this month, so let’s get right to it!
White kitchens continue to be universally appealing, judging by the countless versions I see each month in various publications. And this house is no different. But the designer Miles Redd convinced the client to trust him with a bold color choice in the adjacent butler’s pantry: marine-blue! It reads almost teal in photos, but I love it regardless. Obviously this would be too much for most people’s main kitchen, but in this secondary space it glows in the most brilliant way. The natural light from the window (which some butler’s pantries don’t have) allowed him to use this darker color.
In contrast, this Valcucine kitchen features minimal dark cabinetry balanced by the open structure of steel shelves against light walls. The color of the glass in the Niche Modern pendant over the island references the glassware on the open shelves beautifully.
The restrained modernism of the kitchen continues into the bedroom of the same home. Natural elements (branch, basket under bed, shearling throw on floor) add texture to the crisp narrow lines of the bed and nightstands. The crystals on the small bedside lamp is a fun pop of feminity in what I would consider a rather gender neutral room.
This dining room has a similarly neutral palette with a splash of sparkle thanks to the C. Jere sculpture over the fireplace. The floating box shelves on either side of the fireplace are a fresh update of the usual built-ins you see surrounding fireplaces in most homes.
Finally we have this living room in Ossining, New York (not far from where I went to college… I always remember the conductor calling this station on the train ride from NYC.) This room features a lot of mid-century modern classics, but the textured walls and corner sofa keep the space from feeling like a DWR catalog come to life (which was the case for many homes featured in Dwell magazine in the past.) The swing arm lamp to the right of the fireplace makes me want to curl up in that corner with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows, and a cozy blanket.
Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
Guess what arrived this week for our viewing pleasure? The new House Beautiful, and it’s their “The Ultimate Entertaining Issue.” I love to entertain and I think it’s fascinating how different people are comfortable throwing different types of parties. For instance, I enjoy a casual cocktail party with an open bar, a long counter covered with unfussy eats that will hold up at room temperature for hours. I’ve tried making fancy hors d’oeuvres or cooking up fresh pot stickers, but when people are milling around for hours time-sensitive food just doesn’t make sense. But if you have a cocktail party with a two hour window, go all out! In contrast, a dinner party for 10 requires a different plan, set up and thoughtful details like the seating arrangement (so the most talkative are across the middle of the table from each other so that everyone will feel involved in the conversation. Or put a quiet and talkative together, as long as they have plenty in common to carry them through the evening.)
Even if your are serving take-out on your best china, you will be spending time in the kitchen before the party begins. A beautiful kitchen makes the party prep more enjoyable. This kitchen has a great mix of rustic and refined elements. The old wood on the walls is all reclaimed as this house is actually brand new. The designer did a great job creating a space that feels like a really nice farm kitchen. The industrial scale faucet is an unexpected touch in this style kitchen, which is all the more reason to do it. And the butcher block counter under the window would make chopping up piles of vegetables so inviting. (But I find chopping up vegetables relaxing anyway, so maybe that’s just me.)
Creating a good impression when entertaining starts with the entry. This is a lovely, warm and inviting example. A nice place to sit down to take off your shoes. (I make my guests take off their shoes in the Japanese tradition. No high heel marks in the wood floors and no dirt tracked in.) The plant softens the space. I like that the rug doesn’t match the pattern on the sofa. It shows they aren’t afraid to be playful.
When entertaining, the front hall closet suddenly takes on importance because you need to fit your guests coats in it in addition to all the usual random items that are stuffed in there. These are a few good examples that highlight both good organization and use of color. I think wallpapering the bi-fold doors to blend in with the walls (bottom right photo) is a great idea for those less than fabulous doors.
Once your guests start arriving you might show them into your living room for some hors d’oeuvres. We don’t want them to get too comfortable and settled, so this living room strikes a nice balance. The beautiful vintage PK Sofa and Finn Juhl armchairs are approachable, so your guests won’t be afraid to take a seat and get conversations started, but they won’t be sinking in and getting lost in giant cushions either.
You might consider returning here after dinner to enjoy a nice fire in the real fireplace. The fireplace surround has such a clean minimal design that complements the furnishings.
An inviting dining area is important if you are hosting a sit-down dinner. This room emphasizes the fact that you don’t need a fancy space. The mix of chairs, worn wood, an old rug and lots of natural light makes me want to sit here for hours catching up with old friends. A couple of bottles of wine, a hearty bowl of soup, a rustic loaf of bread and some good cheeses are all you need for a dinner party.
After dinner you can retire to the library for a relaxing chat with your dearest. I love the mix of mid-century classics (the Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen and the ubiquitous cowhide rug) and a sleek fireplace facade. The wraparound floating wood shelves update the library concept in a fresh way.
You’ve survived hosting a lovely party for your friends, so now it’s time to take care of yourself. Sink into a tub of lusciously scented warm water (bubbles optional). Enjoy a few more sips of wine (you don’t want the end of the last bottle to go to waste) with a truffle you kept hidden for your reward.
Now go curl up in that big bed and look forward to waking up tomorrow morning to a fresh new day in this soft and peaceful bedroom. (How fun is that sparkly stool next to the chair?! A great bench at the foot of the bed offers storage along with a place to throw your robe, extra blankets and throw pillows. I love that the bedside table has room for all the bedside necessities, with both open and closed storage options.)
Now you better start planning your next party so you can go through it all again.