July 12, 2012

This is what perfection looks like because it’s not perfect, but it is.  One great thing about this room is it feels like it happened, not as if it were planned.  There is a great balance between light and dark, delicate thin dark accents and wide swathes of whites and creams…  Dark floor grounds it all.

A new good friend told me say less, so I’m leaving it at that today…



April 13, 2012

The truth is I could write and post blog entries all day long.  I have dozens of photographs on my desktop waiting their turn to become a blog post, I have to fight the urge to post 6 or 8 photos in one post just to use them.  I’m going to post a few today that focuses on color palette, yesterday was orange and chocolate… today aqua and neutrals.  I will admit up front that I love this palette, I’m probably most comfortable working with this palette and I live with this palette in my own living room.  It’s easy to live with.  It’s interesting and has depth without being so strong that you can mix in temporary punches of color with art or accessories.  It’s chic and sophistocated and stradles both contemporay and traditional well ( so of course I like it ) and I find it restful and calming.  It’s not a crazy bold color story that grabs you, rather it gently exposes itself to you and it’s depth is slowly discovered as you spend time with it.  

Here’s a shot of my living room.  I guess it’s going on 7 years or so that I have had this wall color (Thunder Bay – Ralph Lauren) these drapes (custom-made silk with banded edge and contrast welt – Melinda Eaton work room – Kravet silk) and most of the upholstery.  Of course, because of my love for decorating and design I move furniture constantly.  I enjoy working with existing pieces and making new groupings – it’s my think tank in a way.  I do rotate art, I do experiment with strong floral arrangements, bold accessories and unexpected textures, but I’m always so happy to have this classic – trendy, not trendy, trendy – palette as my base.

My last thoughts are Aqua and neutral doesn’t have to mean “safe” or boring… It all depends on how you apply the colors, to what degree you punch up the aqua and of course how much texture and pattern you employ.  Here is a sneak peek of a favorite clients new sofa, still in storage waiting to be installed with the rest of the furniture, lighting and accessories.  Far from boring!  Not so “safe”, this sofa ( frame by Lee, fabric by Noblis ) is bold, playful and beachy and at the same time chic and beautiful.  Can’t wait to see this room come together.

…and this last image, pulled from the pages of Traditional Home ( a favorite believe it or not ).  The image is a guest room at a resort in the Bahamas, the bed is by Redford House… the color palette, sublime.  Happy Friday the 13th! Thanks for reading.

A Room With A View

March 13, 2012

Take a cue from these pretty dining rooms, I like a nice window treatment but sometimes the best look is naked!  Every house has them but so often the windows either go unnoticed or they are “dressed” beyond seeing out of them.  That’s right dare to leave you windows bare.  If you have privacy issues or need sun protection a micro thin Duette blind from Hunter Douglas will last years and it folds up to almost nothing, mounted inside your window trim it disappears almost completely.  Here are a few tricks to making sure your naked windows look good.

1. A fresh paint job and clean glass is paramount!  Got ugly storm windows or dirty glass? figure it out or you will only call attention to the flaws of your windows if you leave them bare.

2. Your room needs to be very spare – minimal furnishings and clean surfaces – the vibe of the plain window must translate into the room OR the room has to be interesting enough and have plenty of detail that the naked window is a relief, like the first image will the strong wallpaper.

3. Pick the right room when you leave out the curtains… most of the time bathrooms, sun-rooms and kitchens really don’t need decorative treatments.

Some clients want beige linen and dark wood accents, others want shiny mahogany and gold accents, and still others want historic colors and wide pine floors.  Every now and then a free spirit walks though my doors, looking to take major risks and to have a little fun.  I’m lucky enough to have a “regular” client – meaning we have done several homes together – and she is the type of person who makes decisions well and is not afraid to take a risk, or many as were.

The house we did most recently included many shell themed fabrics and wallpapers including the red fabric and matching wallpaper from Thibaut in the image above.  The over the top moment came when we found this natural shell trim for the lead edge of the roman shade, so perfect for the fabric and the room and the perfect scale for this bold but tiny powder room.  The house is beautifully built and appointed with quality finishes everywhere, views that won’t quit and it can be yours… that’s right it’s for sale!  The client and I are on to the next project.  To see more of this house click this link.

Something fishy

June 24, 2011

Summer Theme continued…

No shortage of whimsy around here in the summer months.  This week had me personally stretching fabric from Raoul Textiles to the backs of these fishy valances, conceived by the need to hide  blinds in a clients livingroom.  We got them up the day before a photo shoot the client had lined up.  I have to thank the talented carpenters from Pimental Contractors for cutting out all those fish, painting the valances and getting them hung in the nick of time.

Of course, the dream client is the necessary ingredient to a dream job and this client has a strong opinion (that’s always a plus when designing and decorating a home) and the guts to go out on a limb (another important ingredient to design success).  This remodel is waiting for a coverlet in the guest bedroom, and that’s about it.  Then is done. It’s always a little sad to finish… who knows maybe we’ll get to do another one someday.

I’m Working On It

March 27, 2011

I stayed up until 2AM last night drawing.  Not because I had to… no deadline, no frantic client needing decisions yesterday because the contractor “had to start” (or lose him to another client ).  Nope,  I was just having fun sketching  design ideas for new clients. Out of my head and on to paper is a good thing… before my 44-year-old mind loses track of them.  I know I’m not the best illustrator, but sometimes all it takes is a conceptual image, vague or even half-drawn images to get an idea across.  So the above sketches are some of what I was working on.  A built-in bookcase that will “wrap” around a sofa with wall mounted swing arm lights in the new alcove.  Designed for the largest livingroom wall that faces the diningroom at the opposite end of the long space because the husband wanted a wall of books, the wife more seating for cocktail parties and family events.   This option gives them both what they want and creates a vignette I feel will look thought out, complete and pretty.  I’m thinking grass cloth backed bookcases and map lights highlighting their collection of old books would finish the look.  Pull out trays above the closed door base cabinets will allow for coasters, reading glasses or a pretty orchid and eliminate the need to create the built-ins and buy end tables.

Window treatments are also being discussed, even though we haven’t even decided on floor plans for the house.  This is a remodel, and I think the couple is still seeing the house as it once was.  I need to work on getting them to see the house they have been in for many years as a new space that doesn’t have to go back exactly as it was.  I like the idea of shutters in the family room as it is on the front of the house (I don’t know about you but the blue glare from a television on at night is not the prettiest look)   so I want to be able to “shut down” that room in the evening… and panels on the french doors off the formal livingroom.  The vertical line of drapery panels always lends a vertical line to traditional height rooms.

Here is a sampling of furniture I’m thinking about using…

You may have noticed a good percentage of my work is what I would call “whimsical”.  Mostly second homes by the sea, many of my clients are usually looking for fun, bright fabrics and colors… a break from their regular day-to-day.  I deliver with strong bright fabrics like this one from Thibaut.  I like it because it’s got a vintage vibe without feeling dated or dusty.  This fabric was perfect for a guest room at a recent clients and it looks great as a box-pleated valance.  Because the fabric is already feminine I wanted to get away from anything gathered or frilly so I (we, the client, the workroom and I) made this cleaner more modern box pleat work for the valance and the bed skirts, and a reduced scale box pleat on the shams.  The box pleat valance allows for fullness and some fluidity without feeling too prissy like gathers or a balloon style would.  This style would look good in a plain fabric with a banded edge or trim, or even just “as is”.