Monday, March 30, 2015

Formal details in a foyer

Just got the go ahead for a project that I'm really excited about.  The house is a gorgeous 1920s home with beautifully proportioned rooms, but it hasn't gotten the love it deserves along the way.  The homeowner was looking to bring some of the elegance back, so we will be adding architectural detail, wallpaper, and lighting to the main entry foyer.

We will add paneling with grasscloth above, a new stair runner in a pretty and transitional pattern, elegant furnishings in the foyer, and a big upgrade to the lights, including adding in a chandelier over the stair landing, framed by gauzy drapery panels.

This was some inspiration for paneling:

And for the grasscloth:

Here is the carpet, William Morris wallpaper for the entry vestibule (no the brown ground), grasscloth for above the chair rail, and sheer embroidered linen for the landing drapery.

And here are the three options for the foyer looks:

Can't wait to see this one come to life!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A bathroom (making sense of previous choices)

I generally work with clients who want to make improvements, but most aren't starting from scratch.  This means that the most challenging part of my job is often creating a design language where none exists.  I'm working with a lovely client right now who has redone her kitchen and master bath, and we are doing her other bathroom, among other things. Here's the before:

Her kitchen is fairly traditional, with cherry shaker cabinets, granite counters, and a travertine backsplash accented with blue corners.  The hardware is nickel, and contemporary in shape.

Her master bath has contemporary tile (large format rectangles in the shower with a glass-mixed border), cherry cabinetry, and more traditional oil rubbed bronze hardware.

My goal in designing the new bath is to have it feel as though these spaces were all renovated at the same time, not three separate renovations.  Palette is one way to do it, but we knew we wanted light and bright colors in the guest bath. So here's the plan:

- a cherry cabinet with shaker styling connect to both rooms (and the recessed cabinet and small scale sink solves the largest space problem in this tiny room!)
- we repeated the same oil rubbed bronze fixtures from the other bathroom, and I will recommend swithcing the kitchen hardware to ORB as well.
- I took the idea of the kitchen backsplash--beige travertine squares with a corner detail--and put a version of it on the floor
- The tub surround gets clean white subway tile, but a border connects to the upstairs bath.  The border combines travertine and glass.

The client loves texture, and we all know how much I love a good grasscloth, so we used that for a finishing touch.

Can't wait to see the transformation!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Freaking out

Lately I've been feeling a little bored.  I flip through magazines and blogs at record speed, barely feeling like anything registers because it feels like so. much. the. same.


But then!



Okay, so I generally hate it when people post whole spreads from the glossies.  I feel like that content is getting "scooped" for me and I prefer to experience it in the magazine first.  But I am making an exception because you guys!  The brick work!  The headboard!  Those sculptural roman shades!

I love what the designer has to say about artisan's creativity:

People kept asking me to sketch everything out, and I said, "No, I'm not drawing the herringbone fireplace or those angled tiles."  I need artists I can tell, "Here's how I want this to feel.  Don't think too much!  Get excited!  Put your energy into it!"  All these tile setters would come up to me, beaming, to show me what they had done with subtle tone changes, like they were putting their own stories into the house.

The designer is Erin Martin, and now I am down the rabbit hole of her pinterest pages and her website (which is NOT your average cookie cutter designer white box of a site!).  The story is in House Beautiful, so go buy it if you don't subscribe.

My faith in creativity and originality is fully restored.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Perfect Bedding

I often think about what I would do differently with my wedding registry today, nearly 10 years later.  One thing that I did right was my hotel bedding from Macys, in white with a neutral golden/taupe embroidery, seen here in its original place, my Brooklyn bedroom.  It is plain and simple, a great backdrop for changing it up with pillows, and the hotel stripe gives it enough structure to avoid looking like a sheet.  ( I recently went with a similar option in my guest room.)

After 10 years of near-continuous use, the duvet cover is literally coming apart at the seams, putting me in the market for a new one.

In the "if it ain't broke" camp, some hotel-style options:

Pottery Barn
(I used a similar "dotty" duvet here)

Restoration Hardware

Restoration  Hardware

Restoration Hardware
(I used similar, here)

Crate and Barrel

Another possibility is white on white, with texture for interest.  I can still layer in an ever-rotating cast of pillows, and the duvet is interesting enough on its own.

West Elm

West Elm

Crane and Canopy



Ballard Designs

This is sort of where I'm at in the bedroom.  

What bedding would you go for?

Of course there's always the wild card:

So in love with these embroidered stripe options from Coyuchi!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Late to the Party

So, I'm on Instagram.


I know.  I'm late to this party.  I didn't "get it" for a long time, but now I'm loving it.  My (much younger than me) cousins were recently talking about their instagram "personas" and "voice" that they are cultivating, and unlike some other social media platforms, where persona can mean fake, I'm enjoying the conceptual possibilities of instagram.  I find that the square frame has me seeing things differently, and I am looking out for little details in a way that makes me engaged with my surroundings.

Anyway.  Follow me here, if you are so inclined.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Crochet shams

Sometimes I realize that I have suggested the same item to many clients, without any of them biting. And sometimes when this happens it turns out that I am the one who really wants whatever it is that I'm pushing.  Whoops!  Luckily, I'm very easy about clients saying "no" and I have a strict policy that if you don't like it I won't try to put it in your home.  (Seems obvious, but surprisingly isn't how all decorators operate.)

Case in point: crochet shams.  It's no secret that I love a pillow case with a pretty detail--the ones that look great and can actually be used.  Linen shams with a crochet edge are the perfect example, and they bring in texture instead of pattern.

When PBTeen recently had theirs on sale for the price of a regular old pillowcase, I snapped up a pair.

They're no longer available, but the whole Pottery Barn family does a great job with these--not too fussy, not too country, not too sweet.

PB Kids version has a smaller, more delicate edge, but the same even scalloping.  The colors are pretty for a kids room, but for an adult space I would stick with the white or the (surprisingly sophisticated) grey.

The Pottery Barn version is scaled like the PBTeen, but a little more detailed and delicate.

When we registered for our wedding, I chose plain white cotton napkins made special by a simple crochet edge.  I love how this detail makes them prettier, but also brings another layer to a space--in the case of my guest room, I love the femininity coupled with the hotel bedding.  And paired with the embroidered suzani, it's just a bit Bohemian, too.

What about you:  anything you've always wanted in home decor?  Will you treat yourself?

P.S. I posted two days in a row--crazy, I know.  Don't miss yesterday's post.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ladders are not just for climbing

Sometimes you need to fill a vertical space, for balance or to divide a room.

The Sapien bookcase can dot his well (or just a plain old stack of books).  I used one in my dad's room:

Art can be another way to do this, like the stack of frames I used in my dining room.

(The curtains and tree don't hurt, either).

Another great strategy is the decorative ladder.  I re-did a master bedroom where they already owned one--I just moved it and added blankets for softness.

I've been stumbling upon more and more of these ladders around the interwebs.

Amber Interiors, above and below

Design sponge, above and below

I recently came across these gorgeous ladders, but they're a bit spendy.

So I rounded up some options and better price points for you.  There are plenty of options out there in all styles: modern, bohemian, rustic.  Something for everyone!

For sources, go here and click through to the individual websites.

What do you think: would you ever use a ladder in your decor?


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