Thursday, October 31, 2013

Special Order rugs

Well, West Elm has done it again.

Have yo noticed that they now offer special order rugs?
Six rugs that can be ordered in custom colors and extra large sizes.

That Andalusia Dhurrie is an old favorite, and I love the idea of ordering it in pink--very Madeline Weinrib on a budget.  That offset stripe might satisfy dome of my Indian dhurrie dreams, too.

There is a long lead time and no returns--but such is the case any time you have a rug made.

I'm always impressed with the ways this retailer innovates the shopping experience!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New Wool Flatweaves

What do all of these flatwoven wool rugs have in common?

They are from Ikea!

That's right: perhaps inspired by the wild runaway success of their black and white broken stripe dhurrie, the Ikea folks are at it again.  I saw a number of these in person today, and out of context would never have guessed the source.  (Well, maybe not never.)  Most are good sized (around 5x8 or around 8x10), and all are under $300.

I personally love all the classic stripe options.  Surprise, surprise.

Have you stumbled upon any great finds lately?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Swan's Way

It feels like we're really cycling through the animal trends, people.  Elephants, Camels, Horses, and of course that age old favorite, cats.

Well, how about swans?

Cottage Living

The Style Files

Little Green Notebook

Fenton and Fenton

Nina Campbell for Osborne and Little

via Sadie and Stella.

(Always wanted to use this paper in chartreuse!)

And of course, the swan in my own guest room...

I feel compelled to tell you I have had this photograph for AGES, just ages.  (In fact, you can see it in my Brooklyn bedroom in 2001).  A photographer friend gave it to me back when I was in the biz, and it was one of the first pieces I had professionally framed.

If you want in, Jenny rounded up some prints here, or there are these lovelies through Natural Curiosities. 

Swan Song 3

Swan Song 4

 Beautiful, yes?

What say you: animal art?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Three not meant to be

Sometimes it take some work finding a client's style.
I recently sent 4 living room designs along that each felt quite different to me.  (The direction we went with, not shown here, is the biggest departure of the group.)

So, just for fun, three designs that will live on only here.

The space is an NYC duplex loft with modern finishes and big steel windows front and back.  The client has the sectional....and not much else.  They wanted fewer pieces, nothing layered, and fairly neutral,so we went sculptural and textural, with an emphasis on shapes....

The end result is SO different from these, bust I am loving them, especially the first.  If I was a sexy gay male loft dweller, that is TOTALLY what I would do.  Right down to the fabulous Marquee light art.

What about you, any favorites?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Are you sick of hearing me talk about process in my own house?
I know that's what I love about the blogs I read, but I am also aware that I have a shocking amount to say/think/process/do on the topic, and that perhaps it is getting just a little bit.....boring?

Well.  Sometimes, you just have to take a step back.

This is the challenge with both incremental decorating and the "collected" vibe: I have been working so hard to find the one piece that makes everything "work", I didn't really stop to consider if I like what's going on.  I'm pretty sure this is a common phenomenon.  Some call it "throwing good money after bad."

So I did what one does.  I made a design board.  Of my own dining room.

But first I asked: what do I love, what stays, what goes?  (I'm a professional, but yes, you can try this at home.)

What stays: vintage blue eames chairs (someday: upgrade to dowel bases); church pew; chinoiserie cabinet; sale block print pillows from Pottery Barn; ceramic hex tile backsplash in the kitchen

What goes: the temporary art and the rug that I love love love, but which also represents where I was at 15 years ago.  Turns out, these two pieces are majorly bossing around the palette in this room.

Could go either way: While I feel that the Maskros light is "over," I actually simply love it.  It stays.  And the chartreuse curtains?  Well, I am not averse to swapping them out for some plain white Ikeas, but really, why?

And here's what I got.

Is this for everybody?  Hell to the no.  In fact, I may lose clients just posting this.  That is A LOT of color and mish mash.  But this is what I want: happy color, bold but worn in rugs, big, strong art, a slightly exotic feel, pieces with stories.  A home that says: yup, we are interesting.  Disheveled, but interesting.  That's just what I want to come home to.

So....I'm curious.  Which scheme do you hate the least?

Those Indian Mughal portraits at the top, quick: love or hate?


Monday, October 21, 2013

Creating a dramatic headboard wall...without the headboard

I recently went trolling for inspiration in a stack of old House Beautiful magazines.  There's something fun about paging through years of a magazine to see the progression of some trends (striped dhurries!) as well as some good ideas played out in the hands of different designers.

Take the small space conundrum of a tiny bedroom: the room that could most benefit from the drama of a headboard doesn't have the space to support one.

David Netto solves this problem by upholstering the wall in a high drama Josef Frank print.

And Stephen Shubel sheaths a guest room wall in book wallpaper in his own cottage.

"Like Marie Antoinette in a T Shirt," he says.  Love.

Want to accomplish this on your own?  Anthropologie has a bunch of great wall murals and retail papers that would do the trick.

Party Animals is like a cheekier Josef Frank, while this Great Meadow mural is a lighter take on the matter.

Anthro's got the books, too, more colorful and a little less serious, as they are all stacked paperbacks.

Or you could go for the same cheeky tromp l'oeuil (and hit the gallery trend to boot) with the Gallery Curator paper.

Makes me wish I had a little bed niche somewhere in my house!

What do you think: would you wallpaper a headboard wall?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Windowshade Art

Via Apartment Therapy

Via Design Scouting

via Martha Stewart

Don't you just love these artful window shades?
Such a good idea, especially if you have a focal window that generally needs to be closed for privacy.

What would you print on or repurpose as a shade?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

An actual "after."


Project finished, photographed (badly, by me, but still), and posted.

Oh, how I wish there was a before of the dated 80s wallpaper and blond bedroom set!

(The carpet will eventually be replaced in here, but it is part of a larger project and had to wait)

Love the way the palette of the Schumacher print is echoed in the painting they already had.

I really need to learn to take decent picture.


I am in LOVE with this space and it just doesn't come through.  But I am also way to impatient to wait until I can either learn my way around a DSLR or afford to hire someone to shoot some projects.  :)

A few useful tips, tricks, and sources from this room, coming this week.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Style Finder

Are you a fan of personality quizzes?
Do you kind of wish Emily Henderson would give you a style diagnostic?

I stumbled upon this style finder on the Lonny Magazine website and thought it was pretty fun.

I am "Boho Bravura"--how about you?

Go here to take the quiz, and report back.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Who is Kathryn Ireland, Anyway?

At book club last night, a friend said to me "I don't know who Kathryn Ireland is, but I like her advice."

Yesterday I posted about her advice to accept all hand me downs, but I neglected to tell the uninitiated about her style.  Made (more) famous by her role on Million Dollar Decorators and designing Lindsay Lohan's house, Ireland is an LA-based British designer with a genius eye for pattern, color, and textiles (she has her own line, which I totally covet) and a knack for knocking the formality out of traditional elements.  The result is warm, beautiful, eclectic, colorful, lived-in interiors that look collected over time but don't take themselves too seriously.

In comparison to other designers with some of the same abilities, I think what I love about Kathryn is her English-ness.  That slightly disheveled, slightly regal way of making a threadbare carpet or wall of askew photographs seem utterly chic.

Does this help you see where I am going with my dining room?
I just want to up the happy a little and make the soulful hand me downs work with the new.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Feeling Kathryn Ireland

If you have been reading along with this blog for some time, it will come as no surprise to you that I am struggling to pin down "the look" of my own house.  I talked a little bit here about letting the house speak for itself and dictate what it becomes.  I have talked somewhere about always wanting to have it two ways: while I love a number of things consistently, I don't come down hard on one specific overall look.  (This desire has even spawned a series.)  To top it all off, I jumped in impatiently with this house from the get go, and have changed and tweaked and completely redone all the bedrooms at least once in less than 3 years.

At some point I should have made a plan.  (But where's the fun in that?)

Part of the challenge is working with so many items that I have had for years, and feeling locked in to a style direction and a color palette based on those.  So when we took the dining room rug to be cleaned earlier this year, I got to "see" the dining room possibilities without the piece that set the palette, the piece that I love (love love love) but that may be fighting with the house and that, in truth, I bought when I was 25.  Times change.  Styles evolve.

Are you still reading?  Wordy, I know.

Without the rug, I threw some new, way-on-sale yellow hand-blocked Pottery Barn pillows on to the old church pew and I fell in love.  Looking at this vignette day after day, I found myself thinking of Kathryn Ireland.  The Indian-inspired textile, the quirky antique church pew, the off-kilter formal window treatments.

Kathryn says: "Always accept hand me downs, even if they are not exactly your style."  This is what I have done over the years, and I love that I can turn to her for inspiration to pull it together and make it all work.  Kathryn Ireland has a more-is-more attitude (amen!), tempering all the exotic textiles and strong color with antiques, rustic wood, oversize lamps, and casual rugs.  I love that she uses formal elements (like dressed-to-the-nines beds) without her spaces feeling formal at all.  It's a hard trick to pull off.

(Let's look at some of her work together tomorrow, shall we?)

What this means is I am re-thinking the rug situation again.

Womp womp womp!

I torture myself, oh how I do!


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