Dark and Moody Floral Wallpaper

We have always loved dark and dramatic walls, and they are definitely on-trend now. Deep, rich backgrounds lend an air of drama and sophistication to any room and give the space a strong identity and real sense of character.  This is especially true of these moody florals which are reminiscent of still life paintings from Dutch Masters of the Golden Age.  Oversized and printed on a background of decadently deep shades, these wallpapers are not for everyone, but they are truly beautiful. Somehow, they are traditional, yet modern and luxurious, and they are clearly not your grandmother’s wallpapers.  They can make a major statement in a small powder room or can be used as an accent wall in a living room or behind a bed in the master bedroom.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Photo Credits:

This vintage-style bathroom has a feature wall that looks like an antique painting – www.shelterness.com

Dutch Love is one of Ashley Woodson Bailey’s collection of six photo-based wallpapers.  The flowers practically jump off the wall – ashleywoodsonbailey.com

Noted designer Ellie Cashman says that “her designs are meant to serve as narratives of optimism and celebrations of beauty.” She has created a series of florals including Dark Floral II Black Saturated Wallpaper – elliecashmandesign.com

A moody floral may not be the first color one would think of for a little girl’s nursery, but it is gorgeous – greenandmustard.co.uk

This floral wallpaper is lovely, feminine, sumptuous, and sexy as a backdrop for the bed in a master bedroom – www.shelterness.com

 

The Minimalist versus The Maximalist

Over the years, design trends have waxed and waned and there have been many times when minimalism was popular as well as times when maximalism was in vogue.  Today, we have been seeing both styles in shelter magazines. There are often spreads on beautiful and sleek contemporary spaces as well as wonderful “over the top” maximalist rooms.  “Less is more” is absolutely the way to go for some while others follow architect Robert Venturi’s credo that “less is a bore.”  We say to each his own.

Minimalism highlights the essence of a room, stressing clean lines, clutter-free spaces, and a limited color palette.  Designing a beautiful, functional home in a minimal way is not easy. Skill, restraint, and a great deal of discipline are needed to pull it off.  We love this living room by Tara Benet Design in New York City.

Minimalist Design .jpg

 

Maximalism is the antithesis of minimalism with its audacious display of bright colors, bold patterns, and a love of artful clutter. Maximalist spaces reflect their occupants’ travels, pasts, and quirks. Exotic Bohemian glamour comes to mind when thinking about maximalist design - rather than trying to achieve a perfectly coordinated space, maximalists strive for a layered look to embrace a beautiful, cozy chaos as can be seen in this photo from Architectural Digest.

Maximalist Design .jpg

 

For more examples, take a look at the White Glove section of the May/June issue of Traditional Homeor the April issue of House Beautiful which featured a home in Philadelphia.

Which style speaks to you?

 

 

Refrigerator of Art

Dolce&Gabbana, the Italian luxury fashion house that was founded in 1985, has teamed up with the high-end Italian appliance manufacturer Smeg for the design of a special edition of the FAB28 refrigerator, transforming it into a work of art.  While the two companies belong to different creative sectors, they both have strong values and a tradition of “Made in Italy” excellence.  The hand-painted refrigerators feature images of lemons, the trinacria symbol (which is located in the center of the Sicilian flag), cart wheels and medieval knights done by Sicilian artists. This colorful and super high-end refrigerator is clearly not for everyone as it can cost $34,000 or more!

If that price point is above your budget, it is possible to purchase a range of small kitchen appliances that could turn your counter into a work of art. This toaster or electric water kettle can be found at Williams-Sonoma for a mere $600!

Who can ask for anything more – Smeg quality and technology combined with Dolce&Gabbana style!    

 

 

 

 

 

And, Finally, Pantone!

 The Pantone Color Institute is a consulting service that forecasts global color trends. After numerous announcements from many paint companies, several weeks ago Pantone finally announced their eagerly anticipated choice for their Color of the Year 2018!  They chose Ultra Violet, a super-bright purple which Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Institute, says "communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking."  This year's color was not chosen because it is regal, though it does resemble a shade that has historically been considered to be majestic.

As a color that can take you in so many directions, Ultra Violet makes a statement in any space, whether it’s one of tradition and elegance or unexpected boldness. While it is clearly dramatic and provocative, it is a difficult color with which to decorate, and there have been many diverse opinions expressed about this choice.

Would we choose this color in our designs?  It would certainly depend upon the client and how they feel about it. So, because it mixes well with grays, soft shades of green, and other neutrals, we would love to use it as an accent - perhaps, a soft mohair throw or a few pillows.  Ultra Violet can be softened with other shades in the same family such as mauve or lilac.  It could be pretty and feminine in a young girl's room when used in this way. What do you think of this shade?  We would love to hear your opinion.  But, just remember - no matter what our opinions may be, we will be seeing Ultra Violet everywhere in home design as well as in fashion this year.

Photo Credits:

www.apartmenttherapy.com - This purple upholstered bed certainly does pop!

www.housebeautiful.com - This living room has a lot of purple, but it is pretty and tasteful.

www.the penneyhoarder - Touches of purple in this mostly white teen room is a conservative way to use this color.

www.pantone.com - Paint chip

 

2018 Colors of the Year

Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year, Caliente AF-290, is strong, radiant and full of energy – and RED HOT!

A collision of rich blue with jewel-toned green, a color that is both accessible and elusive, Oceanside SW 6496, is Sherwin-Williams pick for 2018 Color of the Year. 

 PPG Paints,  named Black Flame (PPG1043-7) their new "it" shade. They describe it as an "unprecedented, statement-making black with deep tones of indigo." 

Meanwhile, Glidden Paint has selected Deep Onyx (00NN 07/000), which they describe as a no-fuss shade of black that encourages a "less is more" approach to decor.

Union Trust Building

While walking in downtown Pittsburgh several weeks ago, we decided to pop into the Union Trust Building to see firsthand the $100 million renovations we had heard about. Wow!  What a beautiful old building with spectacular renovations. Many of the original interior features were retained while the lobby space was updated with Pittsburgh themed artwork and a fabulous palette of bright peacock blues, purples and pinks.

This historic building was designed and erected in 1915-16 by Frederick Osterling for Henry Clay Frick.  Most Pittsburghers will recognize the Union Trust Buillding with its amazing mansard roof boasting terra cotta dormers and two chapel-like structures housing mechanicals. But, we were completely blown away by the interior lobby with its central rotunda and stained glass dome. The Davis Companies completed the stunning restoration

We applaud the architects and designers and recommend stopping in sometime if you are downtown.

Photo Credits:

 Exterior and Roof  -https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=172346

Lobby - thedaviscompanies.com

Rotunda - www.jekko.com

 

 

 

 

 

Tie Pillow

Ellen had this patchwork pillow made from her retired pediatrician husband’s old ties.  When he was practicing, he always liked to wear “kid-friendly” or doctor themed ties.  But, since he had retired, they were just hanging unworn in the closet.  Our wonderful seamstress made the pillow. It was a fun project, and a huge success with Ellen’s husband.  Let us know what you think!

 

 

Fifty Shades of Green (and Brown and Gray!)

While on a walk in Swallow Falls in western Maryland, we were inspired by the beautiful colors in nature that were surrounding us.  After taking numerous pictures, we immediately went to our trusty Sherwin-Williams app – Color Snap!  Using this app, it is so easy to create a paint palette for any room.  Take a look at these photos and the corresponding paint colors we pulled from them.  Very cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

fabrics 1.JPG

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

2016 Serenity and Rose Quartz.jpg
2016 Color - Alabaster.jpg

Simply White - www.benjaminmoore.com