Fringe and Tassels

Sometimes we think we are behind the times with design trends, and sometimes we think we are way ahead of the curve.  For example, several years ago, we trimmed this sofa for our client’s very traditional living room with a beautiful bullion fringe to really dress it up.  Of course, we realized this was not a new idea – fringe was often used liberally on Victorian and Edwardian furniture and lampshades.  But, at the spring markets, fringe was back in more unexpected and bold ways.  We spied the contemporary Nicolene chest from Currey and Company in a recent article by Patricia Sheridan in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  According to Cecil Adams, creative director, “fringe is never completely out of fashion”.   He went on to say that “they chose to embellish this chest with modern brass pulls and leather tassels as a nod to handbag hardware.” On the other end of the spectrum, we found this over-the-top lampshade at www.vintageshades.com a company that specializes in making custom Victorian style shades and reproduction antique lamps. One of their lamps would certainly go well in the Gingerbread Cottages we last wrote about!  Fringe and tassels add visual interest and are always in style – from ultra-modern to traditional to Victorian, there is something for all tastes.

 

Our client was so pleased with this beautiful bullion fringe!

Our client was so pleased with this beautiful bullion fringe!

Contemporary take on tassels!  

Contemporary take on tassels!

 

Beautiful, but awfully fussy for modern tastes!

Beautiful, but awfully fussy for modern tastes!

Lots of Gingerbread

 

While walking around in the quaint town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, we came upon an enclave of gingerbread cottages.  We learned that these colorful, delightful homes are historically significant, representing a unique style of architecture known as Carpenter Gothic Revival. Built during a burst of activity between 1867 and 1872, most of these homes are privately owned and have been or are currently being meticulously restored.

We have not actually had the opportunity to do any design work for a client who has a period home like these, but it would be interesting!

 

 

Earth Day

 

While we always love decorating with beautiful new high-end furnishings and fabrics, we believe that some well thought-out flea market finds can add a bit of quirkiness and eclecticism to any décor.  Reusing and recycling are always good for the environment, and especially now, with Earth Day fast approaching, we went searching for a few new/old finds!

Reuse (or Repurpose)

It is always fun to think of a creative new use for an old item.  Upcycle an old piece, and turn it into something different and new.  We discovered lots of aviaries that were made from old hutches.  Great for all those bird lovers out there!  Check out this one that was made from a traditional dark brown highboy.

Photo Credit:  We saw it on Pinterest along with a number of other creative make-overs!

Reduce

Using reclaimed materials for building projects is a great way to reduce – less energy is used, especially if the materials are sourced locally, less will end up in a land-fill, and the finished products will be beautiful and functional. 

Photo Credit:  We love Antiques on Washington in Bridgeville, PA for beautiful hand-crafted tables from reclaimed wood.

Recycle

Never pass up an interesting old chair.  As long as it is not broken, it can always be repainted or refinished, and with some new fabric, it will probably have a lot of life left in it!  (Hint: mismatched chairs around a table can add some visual interest.)

Photo Credit:  We found this one on HGTV.com

These simple ideas can help to save resources and reduce pollution, not just on Earth Day, but every day.

Bedroom Colors

What is your favorite color for a bedroom?  Should it be light and airy or dark and dreamy? Personal taste is so different for everyone, and it is important to get it right so your surroundings are perfect for YOU!

 

We saw this beautiful smoky blue bedroom in House Beautiful. It was designed by one of our favorite designers, Tobi Fairley, for a client who wanted a little bit of Hollywood glam with a soft and airy color scheme.

We saw this beautiful smoky blue bedroom in House Beautiful. It was designed by one of our favorite designers, Tobi Fairley, for a client who wanted a little bit of Hollywood glam with a soft and airy color scheme.

We saw this bedroom on Pinterest, and loved the contrast between the dark blue walls, bedding, and window treatments and the light carpeting and tufted headboard. 

We saw this bedroom on Pinterest, and loved the contrast between the dark blue walls, bedding, and window treatments and the light carpeting and tufted headboard. 

Two Color Schemes - One Classic and One a Little Bit Out There

From sophisticated black and white checkerboard flooring to more casual black and white ticking stripes, this color scheme has been a lasting one throughout the decades.  Design icon Dorothy Draper used black and white in her decorating schemes in the 1930’s, and today, many designers use black and white as their “go to” color scheme. New black and white furniture pieces from a number of manufacturers were spotted at the Fall Furniture Market in Highpoint, North Carolina.  Highland House, a high end furniture company is no exception. Nathan Copeland, president of Highland House says that “the color black helps to ground a room, giving it a focal point, while white provides a sense of freshness.”  Black and white can stand alone or is amazing with pops of bright color to punch it up.

We all seem to have a pair of colors that we use often – in our clothing or in decorating our homes.  Sticking with traditional pairs like black and white may be a safe bet, but maybe it is time to move a little bit outside our comfort zone.  The Crimson and Deep Violet duo we saw on the Domino Magazine website is beautiful, untraditional, and complementary. It could be risky, but, in smaller doses and in the right place, it will be stunning.  The magazine suggests “filtering in accent pieces that belong within the spectrum of the two shades.”  We also suggest using lots of neutrals to balance the brightness and boldness!

The Beaufort Center Hall Table by Highland House Furniture is a contemporary take on a design classic.  www.highlandhouse.com

 

 

Times Square – Black and white checkerboard floor by Emser Tile – This is the tile that designer Tobi Fairley is installing in her foyer as a part of the year-long renovation of her home.  She is chronicling her project as the newest columnist of Traditional Home magazine.

Times Square – Black and white checkerboard floor by Emser Tile – This is the tile that designer Tobi Fairley is installing in her foyer as a part of the year-long renovation of her home.  She is chronicling her project as the newest columnist of Traditional Home magazine.

Toile Fabric is a timeless choice in black and white – This Bouvier comforter set by Thomasville at Home can be found at www.wayfair.com. 

Toile Fabric is a timeless choice in black and white – This Bouvier comforter set by Thomasville at Home can be found at www.wayfair.com. 

Crimson and Deep Violet - unexpected color pairing - Domino copy.jpg

This is the unusual color scheme that caught our eye on www.domino.com.

A Fabulous Find for Your Bathroom

Stone Forest Sculptural Soaking Tub

We saw this beautiful bathtub in a recent edition of Traditional Home and did a little bit more research.  Stone Forest is a group of artisans and designers focused on bringing the elegant simplicity of natural materials into the bath and garden. The Papillon Soaking Tub is carved from one block of stone – granite, Carrara marble, limestone, sandstone, or travertine. With its curvy and sexy lines, it is truly a work of art that also offers a relaxing spa-like soak.

 Credits:  Silver Travertine Papillon Tub

 Stoneforest.com

Stone Forest Papillon Tub.jpg

 

 

A Fabulous Find for Your Kitchen

Elkay Colorful Sinks

Kitchen sinks have traditionally been white, stainless, or maybe a cream color. But, not anymore!  We love the new Quartz Luxe sink collection by Elkay. This collection comes in many sizes, shapes, and six new colors.  Included are deep, rich colors such as Caviar, Chestnut, and Charcoal as well as lighter Parchment and Ricotta.  Our favorite new and fun color, although it may not work for every kitchen, is Maraschino (just like the cherry!).  Made of material that combines quartz with a UV-stable acrylic resin, these sinks are fade resistant, easy to clean, and satin-smooth.

 Credits:  Maraschino Quartz Luxe Sink

Elkay.com

 

 

 

Pantone - Color of the Year 2017

We have to admit that we were wrong with our pick of Kale for the new color of the year.

On December 8, Pantone announced that the color of the year is Greenery, “a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that is symbolic of new beginnings.”  Although Kale was definitely among the contenders based on trends from Fashion Week, Greenery was the winning color. 

As Pantone noted in their release, “every color of the year is a reflection of society – a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture……….. Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute believes that this color represents our desire to rejuvenate and revitalize.”  After a tumultuous 2016, putting Greenery on your body, around your house, or on your desk can be a symbolic way to relieve stress. It is the color of hopefulness.

It is not our favorite or one that we will recommend often, but, it will probably be a popular choice this year!

Pantone_Color_of_the_Year_Greenery_PCI_Logo_small.jpg

Photo - Courtesy of Pantone Color Institute

Color of the Year 2017

Well, it is that time of year again!  All of the major paint companies have recently announced their selections for the color of the year. This year, purples, grays, and taupes reign supreme.

PPG Paints has selected Violet Verbena, a grayish shade of violet, while Olympic Paints color of the year is Cloudberry, a soft violet that is somewhat paler than Violet Verbena, and Glidden’s Byzantine Blue is really another shade of purple which is peaceful, yet playful.

Color 2017 Glidden .jpg

Sherwin-Williams has gone in another direction with Poised Taupe, a neutral which is both cool and warm with its mix of gray and brown. Benjamin Moore calls its color of the year Shadow, a shade that is dark, dramatic and elegant.

Color 2017 Benjamin Moore.jpg

Pantone, the company that considers itself the authority on colors in consumer trends, will not announce their color for 2017 until December.  In the meantime, they have released the top ten colors for spring, 2017, to coincide with New York Fashion Week and other fashion weeks around the world.   The list is quite subdued with muted and earthy tones such as Kale and Hazelnut predominating along with pops of brighter color such as Primrose Yellow.  So…. We will have to wait and see, but we are trying to be healthy and going with Kale.

 

Color 2017 - Kale.png

 

 

Transparency is Good

Transparency, whether in business dealings, personal relationships, or furniture design is a good thing. So, when we saw an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on July 25, 2016, we wanted too explore and embrace this trend a bit more.  As she said, "a decidedly modern material, plastic gives classic forms a contemporary ambience...see-through furniture can give any interior a clear edge." Both timeless and futuristic, this design-forward material, technically acrylic glass, but generally called Lucite or Plexiglas, has been around since the 1930's.  It became wildly popular in the 1960's and 70's, but today its general appeal is as great as ever. 

Furniture made from clear, transparent materials adds a playful, yet chic, touch to any room.  It can offer functionality without adding visual clutter and can complement just about any existing decor or color scheme seamlessly.  We have seen this crystal clear material used on everything from cocktail tables, bar carts, wingback chairs, and small items like lamps or even tape dispensers!

Photo Credits

www.kartell.com - One of the most iconic transparent pieces is the Philippe Starck Ghost Chair.  In 2002, he recreated the decadent feel of the Louis XV style while still managing to make it simple and minimalist.  Due to its transparency, it can match mid-century modern, industrial or French classic equally well.

CB2.com - We love the versatility of this peekaboo "C" table in combination with a clear console.  It can function as a side table, a laptop stand, or a bar cart.  The casters allow it to roll easily to any location.

www.HGTV.com - The area rug, with its bold color and pattern, is the focal point of this room.  The clear acrylic coffee table provides a nice counterpoint while not distracting the eye from the rug.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Chairs - The Selig Chair and the Chippendale Chair

When Kathleen and I wrote about our favorite things, she mentioned loving the Selig chair, and I decided upon the Chippendale chair – both so different, but beautiful, classics in their own right.

Selig Z chairs are typified by simple, elegant and sweeping lines associated with Danish furniture of the post-war period.  The design of this style chair is most often attributed to three Danish furniture designers – Finn Julh, Poul Jensen, and Ib Kofod Larsen.  Built of very high quality wood such as walnut beech or teak,  many vintage Selig chairs are still available and are very collectible. Rare pieces in pristine condition may be found at international auction houses such as Sotheby’s, but many collectors might find these chairs more easily on-line at bidding sites such as Ebay. Collectors should be aware that there are a number of contemporary reproductions of the Selig chair being produced in the United States, Europe, and Japan.  Authenticity should be carefully checked.  Hopefully, this pair of vintage mid-century 50’s Danish modern Poul Jensen chairs that were sold on Ebay for $4000 are authentic.  On the other hand, a Craigslist buyer purchased an almost identical pair for a mere $50!  After a little cleaning, polishing, and some new cushions, this buyer felt he had really scored a steal.

 

Chippendale chairs, of course, have been around a lot longer.  One of the best-known names in the history of furniture design is that of Thomas Chippendale (1718-79).  After an apprenticeship under his father, he moved to London and began his cabinetmaking business.  In 1754 he published the first edition of his book, The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director. This catalog of English furniture design is probably a major reason he became so well-known.  Because the book became used widely, it is difficult to distinguish the pieces actually made in Chippendale’s workshop.  Thus, the name Chippendale is freely applied to any pieces in the style in which he worked.  Chippendale’s style is seen most characteristically in his chairs. His early works were similar to the early Georgian Queen Anne style with cabriole legs, carved feet and elaborate splat back with a yoke form at the top. In later years, he used a straight Marlborough leg and reintroduced stretchers to add strength.  Backs became even more intricate with elements such as Gothic tracery, Chinese latticework, and ribbon motifs borrowed from Louis XV furniture.  Today, true Chippendale antiques would be rare indeed, but fine quality reproductions have been made by many furniture manufacturers over the years.  Chippendale style chairs are rather ornate, but they are an enduring and timeless design classic.

Photo Credits

Selig Chair found on Ebay

Craigslist Find – The Hunt for Vintage Blog

Engraved Plate from The Gentleman and the Cabinet-Maker’s Director

Chippendale Chair from Maitland Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bar Stools

So many people are opting for islands or peninsulas if space permits in their kitchens.  The open concept kitchen with space for a few cooks and guests who may want to be involved in the action is as popular as ever. Comfortable seating for casual dining, for kids doing homework while mom or dad is preparing the meal, and for those guests who want to be near is important, and there are numerous options that we love.  First of all, there is a difference between counter and bar stools.  Counter stools are 24” high while bar stools are 30” in height.  Some counters have a raised area for the seating and some even have a lower table-height section for the seating.  It is all about comfort, so it is entirely up to the homeowner to decide which height counter and stool they would prefer - for instance, some people may want to pull up a stool to the counter to cut vegetables while others may just want to stand and leave the higher or lower counter area for seating. The clear advantage of having a higher counter dividing the living space from the kitchen is that it will hide some of the mess!

At any rate, here are just a few examples of the many beautiful and functional stools we like.

Photo Credits:  Ballard Designs and Grandin Road

 

Swivel seats are a nice option, and the stylish Marcello from Ballard is very comfy with many fabric choices.

Swivel seats are a nice option, and the stylish Marcello from Ballard is very comfy with many fabric choices.

For those who like a vintage industrial style, we recommend Marian metal seating which comes in a backless stool or ones with backs in Brick Red, Distressed Cream, or Spa Green.

For those who like a vintage industrial style, we recommend Marian metal seating which comes in a backless stool or ones with backs in Brick Red, Distressed Cream, or Spa Green.

Morgan stools feature a graceful, contemporary style with a beautiful sculpted back. They are available in a number of colorful leather options.  These stools are super comfortable with a spacious 23” wide seat!

Morgan stools feature a graceful, contemporary style with a beautiful sculpted back. They are available in a number of colorful leather options.  These stools are super comfortable with a spacious 23” wide seat!

Finally, for those who may like a rustic farm look, there is the iconic Tractor Swivel Stool!  The hand-carved seat allows for extra comfort and it adjusts to various heights from 20”-28”.

Finally, for those who may like a rustic farm look, there is the iconic Tractor Swivel Stool!  The hand-carved seat allows for extra comfort and it adjusts to various heights from 20”-28”.

BIG LIGHTING

At the Highpoint Market last year, we noticed tons of huge light fixtures, and we see this trend continuing this year.  Oversized lighting fixtures can create bold and bright focal points in a room. Light fixtures are considered to be “oversized” when they are much larger proportionally than the pieces surrounding them and the actual dimensions of the room.  It is a common misconception that the space needs to be a large one to incorporate a large light fixture – in actuality, filling any size space with oversized furnishings will make the space feel grander than it is.  Proportionality is an important design principle we try to follow, but sometimes, breaking the rules leads to a truly interesting space, and, in the case of oversized lights, we love their visual excitement, quirkiness, and element of surprise.  It can be fun to add one supersized piece to an otherwise balanced and proportional scheme to add a bit of drama or draw attention to one area.

 

Photo Credits:

Photo of Ellen next to a huge chandelier at Highpoint Market - this is the giant light fixture that started us thinking about this blog.

This oversized square lantern from Holly Hunt appears to be almost as large as the diameter of the table - www.atticmag.com

Ellen found this big old light in an antique store. It is a great example of how what is “old” can be “new” again!

Although this giant drum chandelier from Uttermost dwarfs the other furniture pieces, we love that element of surprise, and it looks amazing in this loft apartment – www.uttermost.com

 

 

Fabric Extravaganza

We loved stopping down at Design Trade back in March as they hosted their annual Fabric Extravaganza. Vendor reps from many companies were on hand to present new products and to show their road line samples.   It is definitely a treat to talk to the reps and ask for their expert opinions about the products. Seeing, touching, and feeling the beautiful silks and embroideries along with the more practical wovens and upholstery fabrics is a designer’s delight.  There were so many beautiful new fabrics in all of the latest colorways from many of our favorite manufacturers such as Thibaut, Kravet, Scalamandre, Duralee, and many others. There is truly something for every taste and budget in these new collections.

 

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Treillage

Treillage - WSJ garden room.jpg

 

 

Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow on February 2, and we all know what that means – he is predicting an early spring.  We definitely hope that he is correct, and our thoughts are already turning to spring home decorating projects!

One design element that clearly speaks “spring” is treillage, French for lattice or trellis work. While we often think of using trellises for outdoor spaces and for supporting vining plants in our gardens, they are also decorative architectural elements with many indoor applications as well.  Cladding indoor walls with trellis work lends both a geometric and romantic feel to the space and brings the outdoors in. Sophistication and beauty can be added to indoor spaces such as foyers, sunrooms, casual and formal dining rooms, and bedrooms by using just an accent wall or the by covering the entire space from top to bottom! While it is quite popular now, treillage is definitely not a recent design fad – rather, it has been used for centuries in Italy and France as well as in China and Japan.

 Many trellis patterns can be easily found in decorative accents such as wallpaper and fabric patterns, rugs, furniture, and mirrors.  These will not require such a difficult installation but will still give the space the feel of authentic trellis work in either a small or large dose. The patterns in treillage can be Victorian,

Asian, Moroccan, or Hollywood Regency in style to name just a few.  These photos are a very few examples of how trellis work can be used in just about any design scheme.

 

Photo Credits:

WSJ Garden Room – The Gothic Arch and the square trellis work create a nice counterpoint.

Elegant Dressing Room – homedesign.marthastewart.com – in this small space, the door and the wall behind the dressing table are clad in a traditional trellis pattern.

HGTV.com – This white-painted chair is re-upholstered in Kelly Wearstler’s Imperial Trellis in a bright green colorway, which speaks to spring in a big way.  We have seen this fabric and paper by Schumacher in many other colors and in many applications.  It could be design overkill if used in an entire room, but we love the way this chair looks.

Decorpad.com – This white mirror is adorned with just a small amount of trellis work to give it a bit more oomph!

Collected Over Time

What makes a house a home with heart and soul, warm and inviting, imbued with memories and evidence of life?  We always aim to help our clients bring together things they love to make the composite very interesting and make the place their own.  There are always new trends that will grab people’s attentions, but we advise people not to just pull out a credit card and order everything on-line or from a catalogue – that is a sure way for a room’s look to date very quickly.  Rather, we try to help our clients in the same way that Darryl Carter, acclaimed Washington, D.C. based interior designer does.  In his book The Collected Home: Rooms with Style, Grace, and History, Carter has said that “the home should be a collected assemblage of treasures meaningful to the homeowner...…it is better to have an empty room than an instant room.  Your home is the story of your life.”  We believe the best interiors continue to evolve and continue to grow along with the family, and that provenance is not important as long as you love the things you live with. We can help our clients to mix various styles such as their favorite modern art piece with a French provincial chair or a Venetian chandelier!  We love to mix flea market finds, antiques, found objects, and our client’s treasured collections.  With careful editing, we can help them to make their homes feel fresh and alive. We loved this quote from Darryl Carter – “Furnishing a room is like hosting a good party.  Gather different, interesting characters and let them mingle.”

Photo Credits:

Darryl Carter room from www.niagarnovice.blogspot.com

Anjie Cho – collected apartment from www.hgtv.com

These two rooms are very different – one more traditional and the other spare and modern, but they both reflect a “collected over time” look.  The more traditional one has many decorative elements and objects on the shelves that are meaningful to the owner while the more modern room looks to us like it belongs to someone just starting out.  The basics are there and some decorative objects and plants are starting to warm up the space.  The bare walls are just waiting for some artwork when the homeowner finds a special piece or two.

 


Color Forecast for 2016

Just as we do every year at this time, we like to report on the new colors that the major paint companies are promoting for the New Year.  This year we noticed a couple of surprising things - Pantone named not one, but two colors for 2016, and both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams chose shades of white.

Serenity, a lilac/blue-gray shade, and Rose Quartz, a pale pink are the Pantone colors to look for this year.  Already manufacturers and businesses are scrambling to unveil new products in these shades by early in the year.  Color trends reflect the current mood in our culture, and according to Pantone, "The seamless union of Serenity and Rose Quartz creates balance in a chaotic world by providing the perfect counterpoint to the fast-paced and hurried lives we live."

While many people think of white as a "non-color", it is definitely a color, and one that attracts many. In a statement from Benjamin Moore announcing the plain vanilla color of Simply White, they said that "white frames and flatters, is energizing and crisp, and helps us to appreciate forms and shapes."  We agree that a neutral like Simply White can be layered with other whites to create a beautifully elegant and sophisticated look.  Alabaster, according to Sherwin-Williams, is the true neutral to set the tone for 2016.  Jackie Jordan, of Sherwin-Williams says that "alabaster provides an oasis of calmness, spirituality and  'less is more' visual relief... it is an understated and alluring white."

It seems to us that, although the lilac and pink shades selected by Pantone and the whites chosen by Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams are very different, they all do provide the calmness that many people are looking for in their homes.

Rose Quartz and Serenity - www.pantone.com

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2016 Color - Alabaster.jpg

Simply White - www.benjaminmoore.com

Ralph Lauren - Fall, 2015

 

 Recently, we attended a wonderful presentation by Mary Ann Restman, Vice President at Ralph Lauren Home. She shared videos of the fall 2015 Seasonal Showroom as well as many fabrics from the new line.  We learned that Ralph Lauren is really all about style, not fashion - everything in his lines is always what is near and dear to his heart and not about what's hot or what's not! When the many designers at Ralph Lauren Home design new collections, they always start as concept boards – and Mr. Lauren always approves everything himself first.

The West Village Collection is one of our favorites. It includes vintage and industrial inspired furnishings along with patterned textiles such as menswear suiting, plaids, corduroys, ticking stripes, denims as well as fabrics inspired by antique rugs and Navajo blankets.

This Market Street Plaid fabric was inspired by the very utilitarian mackinaw jacket.

Merchant Wool Stripe is another of Ralph Lauren's many menswear suiting fabrics.

In this photo from the Ralph Lauren Home Website, we can see a shot taken at the Seasonal Showroom and can see many elements from the West Village Collection.

Thanks to the ladies at Design Trade in the Strip District, designers were treated to this wonderful presentation.