The Amazing Mr. Nowalk

We came across this article about Francis Nowalk and his lighting showroom in the most recent issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly, and we had to post this blog.  We have been to Francis J. Nowalk Lighting in Bloomfield, talked to this amazing 90 year old gentleman,  and gawked at the array of fabulous chandeliers and lamps, both new and antique.  Nowalk is a true lighting and furniture artist who has been in business since 1948 , and he has recently cut down his working day from 10-12 hours to only 7 or 8!  Over the years, he has restored and refurbished beautiful old lights from buildings being renovated or demolished to give them a second life. He has worked on restoring the giant chandelier at Rodef Shalom as well as lighting in other Pittsburgh landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, Soldiers and Sailors, and the Duquesne Club.   Mr. Nowalk actually calls himself one of the original recyclers!

 Many of the pieces are extremely rare and expensive, and we have not found a client who is interested in any of the beautiful chandeliers, sconces, lamps, and furniture in Mr. Nowalk’s shop, but we sure would love to!  Luckily, we were able to take a few broken lamps to him, and he was able to fix them beautifully. He is a craftsman extraordinaire, and we worry, as he does, about what will become of his massive inventory as he grows older. He has said that he dreams of a talented multi-millionaire who wants to buy his business, and we certainly hope he does.

Photo Credit:

Mr. Nowalk.jpg

Pantone - Color of the Year 2019

Pantone – Color of the Year 2019

For 20 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, as well as product, packaging, and graphic design. The Pantone Institute is basically a “think tank” that studies the emotions and psychology of color.  Each year, the experts at the institute search the world over to find new inspiration to influence their choice. While, the institute does not make any of the products, all of these industries jump on the bandwagon each year with new product lines when the new color is announced.

The color of the year for 2019 is Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral.  Warm, comforting, joyful, optimistic, and playful are words that the Pantone Institute has used to describe Living Coral. Somehow it is vibrant, yet mellow.  

Whether you would like to paint the whole room in this bold color or just add a smaller pop of color, these are just a few examples of the many options that are available.

Photo Credits

Living Color –

Tommy Bahama Home Chest –

Pop Color Modern Ceramic Table Lamp

Granger Rug –

A Few Trends from Highpoint Market

We have been following the Style Spotters who were at the recent fall market in Highpoint, North Carolina.  They reported on new trends that they found to be redefining the shape of home fashion – it seems that what is old is new again in many cases.

So, here are just two of their new product picks.

Internationally renowned designer and forecasting expert Stacy Garcia focused on pieces that featured unexpected pairings of materials and finishes.  We particularly liked the contemporary, yet rustic Double-Sided Bookcase Room Divider by Artitalia Group which combined the natural elements of raw wood with a modern material of steel.

Three other noted style spotters all selected this Egrets pattern from York Wallcoverings, but for somewhat different reasons.  Mary Douglas Drysdale chose it for its historical reference to eclectic romanticism. Designers Bria Hammel and  Holly Hollingsworth Phillips noted that designers are now introducing color more than ever into their projects. They both liked how this wallpaper packs so much punch into a space and reflects fearless design and whimsey. Designers and their clients who choose this wallpaper don’t shy away from color or pattern. These two designers feel that “it’s all about bravery and color this season.”

Photo Credits



Bespoke Details

Century Furniture has a wonderful custom cabinet program where consumers can design their own case. There are a myriad of choices for finishes, base, hardware, including finish and even placement, along with front designs for a number of pieces such as media chests, bar cabinets, dressers, and many more. On their website, Century has a new section with this bespoke program.  Simply click on it see dozens of choices after selecting a piece and selecting “Customize Me.”  For example, one may chose a bar cabinet, select an espresso finish for the box with white for the doors, a fretwork front, chow legs, and an oval ring pull in antique brass.  The visualizer is so incredibly easy to use and really fun. The dozens of choices allow for true customization. Century Furniture is high end and certainly not inexpensive, but to have these options is amazing.

Take a look at this example and then go to www.centuryfurniture.comto see for yourself.

Century Bespoke Cabinet.jpeg

Tete-a-Tetes, Then and Now

When we think of tete-a-tetes, we usually think of Victorian times, but there are many more modern versions as well.  Tete-a-tete literally means head to head in French, and it is a two-seat sofa, basically consisting of two chairs joined together. Its primary use was for private conversations as its other names suggest.  The tete-a-tete is also known as a courting chair or a gossip couch. It was developed during the early 19th century in France and was popularized during the Victorian era. The Victorian ideals of modesty and controlled courtship are illustrated by the shared armrest which provided a slight barrier between the couple sitting on the sofa!

One of the most famous examples of a tete-a-tete is this one which was made by John Belter, an American cabinetmaker, around 1850-1860.  His extravagant use of carved ornamentation is typical of Rococo Revival style.  It is displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

In many mid-century modern versions of the tete-a-tete, the shared armrest for modesty is gone – in fact this Edward Wormley tete-a-tete from 1950 looks more like modern double chaises we see today.  We saw this one for sale on for $15,000.

We thought this ultra-contemporary tete-a-tete that we saw on Houzz is a very unique and dynamic art piece, but we could not find any information about where it could be purchased.

The rattan Confident armchair from Maison Drucker that we saw in Elle Décor comes in a range of colorful options as a part of its outdoor bistro seating collection.  It is priced at $3912.

For some, two heads may be better than one!

DeKauri Bespoke Bath Cabinet - Art Meets Utility

We noticed this piece in a design magazine, and it piqued our interest so we did a bit more research, and we found some interesting information.

If you cannot stand a cluttered vanity full of toiletries, and if you can afford to spend $25,000, this freestanding piece of furniture designed to house and conceal both the sink and storage may be just the ticket.

Renowned architect and designer Daniel Germani debuted this piece at the 2018 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show last January.  He won the 2018 NYCxDesign Award in the bath category for its beauty and functionality. Germani used Dekton by Cosentino to craft the washbasin along with Kauri wood from New Zealand for the credenza. This 50,000 year old wood is exclusive to Riva 1920, an Italian furniture manufacturer whose skilled workers transform it into furniture as true works of art. Kauri is wonderfully preserved and has an amazing rough beauty that caught the attention of Germani. Once Germani added a faucet from Fantini Rubinetti, a high-end Italian design/manufacturing company and the upscale architectural lighting from Brooklyn-based Juniper Design, his credenza was complete.

It was fun to learn about this new product!  If you know of anyone who may want to purchase this outrageously priced bath credenza, please let us know because we sure don’t!

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?



Styling your Coffee Table

Think about your coffee table as a focal point in your living room rather than as a spot to put down a snack or drink or a place to put up your feet.  By using several diverse elements, you can turn this flat, plain space into a beautiful eye-catching display. Following some basic design rules should do the trick.

We suggest these ideas from HGTV.

·      Keep your coffee table balanced by varying the scale and height and by grouping like objects together.

·      The coffee table can be a great place to rotate seasonal decorative elements.

·      The rule of threes is an age-old decorating trick, but it does work its magical appeal to the eye.

·      Think about using a tray to corral your favorite small finds and make them easily removable if you need to clear the space for entertaining.

·      A bit of greenery or a beautiful floral arrangement is a way to bring the outdoors in.

·      Last, but not least, the decorative objects on your table should be special and personal – they can tell your story and express your memories and passions.



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  -

Lobby -

Rotunda -






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 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!

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!


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.


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

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

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.



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 

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

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

This is the unusual color scheme that caught our eye on

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 - 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. - 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. - 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”.


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 – – in this small space, the door and the wall behind the dressing table are clad in a traditional trellis pattern. – 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. – 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

Anjie Cho – collected apartment from

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.


Beach Thoughts

Just last week I was sitting on the beach gazing out at clear skies and listening to the soothing sounds of the waves, and I could not help but think how I could transport some of this calmness and serenity back home.  I wanted a bit of this feeling in my home without the kitschy shell mirrors, lamps, and boxes or an overdone nautical theme so often associated with beach décor.

While it is difficult to achieve this tranquil and comfortable feeling without making it too cliché, try these suggestions:

  • Use neutral, sandy colors but definitely break up the neutral with unexpected shots of color – turquoise, blue, or coral colors are classic. Add crisp white accents.

  • Go for bare wood floors – light stained or cerused wood creates a fresh look.

  • Casual distressed or painted furniture is easy to care for and creates a relaxed style.

  • Mix styles and materials using natural elements for rugs, window treatments and furnishings – rattan, bamboo, wicker, sisal, grasscloth and cotton are all great.

  • Think about washable white cotton slipcovers or using outdoor fabrics indoors for easy care.

  • Sheer fabrics bring in the light and feel breezy.

  • Evoke that beach-like feel with subtle hints – awning striped fabric on pillows, vintage marine life prints, a vignette of a FEW beautiful shells, a bit of driftwood , or coral  or a lovely seascape painting can reference the theme without screaming it!

I wanted the tranquility and lovely memories even next winter when the skies are gray and the temperatures plummet!  Since my vacations to the shore don’t come often enough, a sea-inspired décor can be my getaway!


Photo Credits:  Dining Area by Dwight Loudon from HGTV Rate My Space: notice the natural light-colored floorboards, the sisal rug, painted furniture, and the wall color.

Living Room – photo by Mark Lohman for Coastal Living: notice the slipcovered furnishings and the attractive coastal vignette on the coffee table.

Bunk Room - photo by J. Savage Gibson for Coastal Living: We love a bunk room to accommodate family and friends with kids!  Notice how the small scale prints along with the plaid rug anchor the room with coordinating beachy colors.  The curtains on the bunks are an added bonus for privacy.

Nature Inspired Design

Well-known designer, Thom Felicia, has said that, “People think natural materials are about rusticity, but really they are about softening modern shapes and humanizing a room.”  (House Beautiful, June, 2015). We could not agree with him more. Homeowners have strived to bring nature into their homes over the centuries.  As a design aesthetic, our love of the natural and organic can make us feel calm and at peace in our surroundings.

Think of colors, materials, and textures.  Colors that are usually used in nature inspired interiors are the subtle ones - beiges, browns, grays, soft greens found in sand, stone, wood, and plant materials. Using various textures, such as rattan, wicker, driftwood, or seagrass, leather or coral, natural fabrics such as cotton and linen, and natural wood with its gorgeous imperfections of knots and grains in reclaimed wood for flooring and beams can all provide a good start at creating nature inspired interior. The curves and imperfections of all of these materials should be embraced. The wonderful tonal variations and different textures in all of these materials are what give a space greater depth and dimension.

We strongly believe that interior spaces should always inspire those who inhabit them. Nature continues to be a dominant source of inspiration, so we hope you will bring the outdoors into your home with these nature-inspired décor ideas.  We love the layered look and juxtaposition of rough and smooth, old and new, and rustic and refined that these design elements can help to create.

Photo Credits

This 1960’s vintage driftwood lamp is from 1stdibs and is very expensive at $5000!  But it is a perfect example of a natural element juxtaposed with a very modern lampshade.

We love the sculptural quality of this updated wing chair from Grandin Road.  It is hand-woven from seagrass and rattan in this beautiful herringbone pattern. It is priced at $399.

We think this Terra-Acqua Montecito Natural Stone Oval Vessel sink that can be found at Lowe’s for $612 is very cool.  It was cut from boulders found in riverbeds!ced at $399.

This coffee table with its reclaimed wood block top and contemporary stainless steel legs certainly offers the juxtaposition of styles we mentioned, and we think it would be a beautiful addition to a nature-inspired room.  It can be found at Woodland Creek Furniture.