Friday, April 29, 2011

The Un-Staged Home

Earlier this summer I received a fantastic article written by Bunny Williams for William Sonoma Home's "To the Trade" series. It's all about Making A House A Home, something too many of us designers (and clients) tend forget. 

Everything doesn't have to be hidden that is not entirely by design, or arranged for maximum impact. I'm all for the beauty of cool objects and the serenity of an orderly, well designed home. However, I love that she reminds us that, when arranging furniture, we should think first of maximizing easy conversation rather than style; that people should display the books they truly read rather than the pretty ones, and that it's okay to let newspapers and mail be seen, just not "left lying around willy-nilly." (Who but she could use the term "willy-nilly?") 

I think this is why I tend to gravitate toward European home magazines. The rooms, even in all their glossiness, never look "staged," but rather like living, breathing, spaces occupied by living, breathing people. That's always more interesting to me. Like perfect people, perfect rooms, no matter how stylish, are totally boring.

A Bunny Williams designed salon for Kips Bay.

I think the vibrant eclecticism of this space makes it all the more inviting.

In a world of pretentious kitchens, this one actually makes me want
to cook big meals with my kids and hang out with friends.

Perfect for a long family breakfast (coffee reading at hand) or 
a formal dinner with friends.

Images: Kips Bay shots via Cote de Texas, Bunny's seaside living area as seen here in Lonny, my pinterest, Minnie Mortimer's Malibu home via Vogue

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Too blue, or not too blue

Ironically, this post was going to be about my break up with blue and white. I grew up in a blue and white house, ate off Blue Willow my whole childhood, even registered for everything blue and white some 16 years ago. We've all been served such a glut of this now totally cliché classic that I even steer clients away from it, imploring them to toss in some red, orange or apple green. But...

...going through old inspiration photos and cleaning out my garage this week, I'm like a girl trying to toss her wedding dress. There are just some things we will always hold dear as a part of ourselves. 

How gorgeous was this HB cover? I just remembered, I have 5 yards of an Italian blue and white outdoor stripe. Not to mention a garage full of blue and white vases. Anyone? Quick, I've been know to change my mind. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What I'm Working On- Hollywood Bungalow

I loved the term "Global Regency" when I read it on Camila's post about melding these two styles. It is exactly what I'm constructing for my latest clients.

Remember they want "comfortable, casual with a little bit of Napa Style." The kitchen was already remodeled in contemporary Craftsman and there is brown wood panelling throughout the living areas. Both of these things dictate what will feel appropriate in the space. 

She originally said she wanted a totally neutral scheme, greenery being the only color in the room, but she fell in love with the fabric at left. It's intensely bright in person. Somewhere between an acid apple and a malachite emerald. I thought it would be difficult to thread through the organic, neutral room (even though it's an ikat)--until I found this room from the DC Design House. Perfection. LOVE those super gloss green lampshades! The rest will be like icing the cake.

Here is my mood board for my clients' living room.

Here are some of the finishes and fabrics we were playing with in the studio.


The ikat (on my board) will be pillows. The velvet flocked trellis fabric (right) will be the drapes en lieu of the black ones in the inspiration room. (I know, I have a tiring thing for green trellis patterns. Ever since my neighbor's" garden room," as Mrs. Barbetti called it, back in the early 80's. I'd vie for sleepovers just to hang in that room. It even had the great pop of color from a bright red gumball machine. But I digress). So, What d'ya think? We'll add the 'Napa Style' they like with textual elements like fishermens' baskets and a bricklayers table. An unlikely mix for me, but I'm liking it!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Don't judge a client by their...well, anything.

My latest project is a home here in Los Angeles. I have to say, I was very surprised at how wrong I was at summing up this client. I'd like to think I can usually see their dream home in my head upon first meeting, right down to a penchant for Carrera vs. Soapstone. But this one caught me totally off guard.

This young, Ivy League/D.C. Debutante has somehow managed to find her way to the top of the Hollywood PR food chain. She's a super stylish Hollywood journalist, friends with celebrities too hip for me to even know. She's used to the red carpet treatment in the hottest new restaurants from the Beverly Hills to Vegas. I thought for sure this was going to be a very edgy, totally modern pad. I was already scouring 1stDibs for outrageous finds, laying out boards for a total entertainer's dream. Was this my chance to finally channel Tony Duquette--at least professionally? 

Apparently not. At our first meeting, my stylish, painfully in-the-know client floored me with this revelation: "We want a really traditional, casual comfy home... Comfy and super cozy. Neutrals with a little bit of Napa style." Scratch, record screech. She later forwarded me pictures of interiors that reflected her beautiful, almost rustic taste. (See below) I sent her pictures of my own home, which reflects my own casual style of "family living." Hers will actually be a family home very soon. Yep, there is a baby on the way. (Yipee! Another nursery to design!)

I began scouring Malibu's Room at the Beach, Santa Monica's Rooms and Gardens and other places that  embody what I affectionately call "Santa Barbara Style." So off we set, designing a home like Beth Rubino's set for "It's Complicated," complete with reclaimed wood tables, sisal rugs and cache pots for herbs. Need I mention she and her hubby truly cook. So there will actually be entertaining!

I'm really excited about this project. I'm off to find a bricklayer's table, some organic linens and a big comfy sofa!

Cheers to your weekend!

Sources: My client's inspiration files, "It's Complicated," set design by Beth Rubino via Traditional Home.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Daily Designer Deal: Fabrics TDF

Gorgeous handblocked suzanis, ikats and kazak-inspired fabrics at Roberta Roller Rabbit. I'm happy to have some fresh, new patterns in this vein for those clients who don't have John Robshaw in their budget. Their prices are as great as their fabrics and furniture. Take a look at some of the offerings at RRR.

These first two are going to be the main fabrics for the Sherman Oaks nursery. (Yes, I'm doing a third nursery-- That's three in three months!) 

I might be setting myself up by titling this post with "Daily." I plan to make this a regular feature here at MPS, but "Weekly" might be more realistic...Here's to ambition ;-)  

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunny with Patches of Blue Sky

This happy room, published by Martha Stewart Magazine, has me falling for yellow all over again. The muted coral throughout the space is the perfect shade to prevent a sunny palette from going too high key. The whole feeling is also kept cool with lots of white and splashes of blue, black and green.  I love the easy eclecticism; like the Louis XV chair beside white lacquered nesting tables. Notice all the cheap chic details. Those are IKEA bookcases! She added radiator grills to the insides of the glass doors. (Home Depot and IKEA--doesn't get any cheaper than that!) Clever girl. 

The wainscotting is actually balustrade. The lampshade detail--an easy DIY project.

The graphic orange trays, sitting on folding cots, are another DYI. Check it out here.

Here are few things I found to get you in a Sunkist mood for Spring!
Coat ($99! Seriously!, J. Crew); bag, Marc Jacobs, (Matches); shoes, Christian Louboutin ($732, Blue Fly); dress, Max Mara (Matches); 
umbrella, Manolo Blahnik for Liberty UK

Sources: Martha Stewart, Posted by the Fab Camila at Effortless Style