These are a Few of my Favorite Things …

We are surrounded by many opportunities to purchase and collect objects for our homes. Just think of all the online resources we didn’t have even 5 years ago!

However, what are the essentials from a design perspective?  Probably very different for each person.

Here is my list of design favorites in no particular order:

Artwork by Matisse – all of his work is amazing; when he could no longer paint he turned to these joyful cutouts and created a new art form. A good reminder to focus on what we can do – so inspiring!

Henri Matisse

 

Blue and White Pottery – I can’t even remember when I started collecting; timeless and classic. I never tire of it.

Porcelain

 

Antique Brass – metallics add a bit of glamor any space. Lamps, sconces, candlesticks, some of my favorites are from my Mom.

Brass

 

Potted Plants – nothing like greenery to make a home feel lived in.

Green

 

Statement Rugs – A terrific way to anchor any space and add color and texture.

Pattern

 

Mirrors – best way reflect light and expand your space.

decoist

 

So there you have it. I tried to keep the list to a top 5, oh well – one bonus item! I would love to hear what your favor things are when it comes to decorating!

Design Influences 2019

Trends in design and fashion are always evolving and always intertwined. Pantone’s color of the year is “Living Coral” is a beautiful orange with gold undertones.  Somewhat of a throwback to the vintage seventies, it’s very lively and fun! At a deeper level, according to Pantone, it’s a hue that speaks to our “innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits.”

IMG_4789

In 2019 we will be seeing lots of variations on this great color, note how well it brightens a lot of gray which has been so popular:

Designdigs

 

Interioridea

In fashion as well, it’s always fun to see how Interiors and fashion mirror one another:

IMG_4788

Color

 

A second optimistic trend continues to be beautiful florals; think of a chintz on steroids!

IMG_4790

Florals

Tulips

Pop

Also very trendy and mirrored in fashion florals:

Fashions

Lastly, the trend of artisanal crafted, one of a kind accessories for the home as well as in fashion continues to gain in popularity. How lucky we are to have websites like etsy.com dedicated unique handcrafted pieces to vintage treasures and hand crafted items!

Pottery

Knits

 

Lapis

Jewelry

So there you have it. Not that any of us want to be a slave to the most current trends; but it is always fun to do a little updating. Bright pops of color in our home and wardrobe can be a great way to incorporate current trends without going overboard. I will be looking to add some “Living Coral ” accents to my gray dining room as well as trying OPI’s “Melon of Troy” at my next manicure!

Wishing you all the best in 2019!

Before and After

Who doesn’t love a good before and after? Whether it’s a new hair style or new room styling, a fresh approach is always welcome. In my opinion the easiest way to update Interiors comes down to these three basics:

Fresh Paint – especially for wood trims
Replacing carpet with hardwood
Updated lighting

These photos beautifully illustrate these ideas:

Fresh paint – replacing the “builders white” with a soft grey creates good contrast for this space.  Note the wood banister has been painted to give a more uniformed look.

Hardwood flooring visually expands this interior,  but appropriate sized area rugs can be added to anchor a space also.

A modern lighting fixture updates and completes the look.

A few more examples:

Easy as one, two, three! Paint, flooring, light fixtures.

A Sense of Place

I have been doing a good deal of work related travel lately and enjoying it! The travel has involved meeting some interesting people from all parts of the US. A lot of our conversations center around regional architecture in our home towns.

These conversations started me thinking how important the idea of a “sense of place is”. I live in a beautiful town on the Hudson River with gorgeous 19th century architecture. To place a Gap or a McDonalds here would be a crime! Archictural landmarks make a city unique and gives each city a sense of identity.

My colleagues span the country, from New York to California. As you may know I have a rich fantasy life (see previous blog post). So when someone says the are from Long Island and have a 1920s style home, my mind goes to – yes the Great Gatsby:

IMG_3823

Gatsby – Perfect set design, the location speaks to “a sense of place”. It is important to embrace where you live and celebrate the regional history and landscape. Enjoy the ways your city and your lifestyle are unique and incorporate these ideas in your home design. A few good ways to accomplish this:

Framed photos depicting area landmarks:

Also framed area maps:

Books about area History:

The idea is to give a glimpse of what makes your city or town unique.

I hope you love your city as much as I do mine. How great it is to appreciate all the uniqueness of where we all live across our beautiful country!

Does This Sofa Make Me Look Fat?

Ok, just one more blog post from the archives:

Recently I was shopping with a friend at the Boston Design Center. She sat on a very petit sofa and being her funny self asked, “Does this sofa make me look fat?” We had a good laugh, but It really got me thinking about what is most important when sofa shopping. Here are my top three:

#1. Scale – Small room, small scale furniture, large room large scale furniture. Also the ceiling height should be considered. You can have larger scale pieces in a smaller room if your ceiling is high. Also, if you are placing your sofa in front of a window, the window sill height is important, because you must also consider the view from the outside in.

 

#2. Quality – Please do not buy a sofa that does not have springs. This is the foundation of the sofa, without springs you just have foam, and foam will compress and lose it’s supportiveness in a very short time frame.

#3. Versalitality – Although it’s always tempting to make a statement with a great pattern or a wild color, neutrals are your best options for sofas. You can always punch things up with pillows and accent pieces that can be easily changed.

Follow these guidelines and your sofa will always make you and your rooms look great!

Opposites Attract

I was lucky enough to stay at my favorite hotel recently, The Edition in NYC.  Oh, how I love this place! While staying there I am always inspired by the interior design.  So much so, that in the moment, I am mentally redesigning every inch of 1865 City House.

What makes it so appealing?  It’s the repeated use of contrast.  Or in other words “opposites”.  Light colors with dark colors.  This is the best tool in a designers tool box!

Contrast works in paintings:

Renoir – At the Opera

Contrast works with food presentation:

Art of Food

Contrast most definitely works at The Edition:

Marriott International New York EDITION

travelforsenses

At The Edition light oak floors paired with dark wood entryways and beautiful dark oversized beds create contrast at its best.  The high contrast concept is implemented with variations on the same theme all throughout the hotel. Even the artwork is great vintage black and white photos in glossy white or black frames.

Here are a few examples of contrast for interiors:

Goodlifeofdesign

Kadvacorp

Decoist

Contrast (light vs dark) is important when designing a room.  It is an easy way to make a statement and add personality to your spaces.

Even monochromatic rooms can be visually exciting when paired with strong accents in constrating colors.  A room without any contrast can be quite boring.  I recommend taking a step back, or better yet photograph your spaces to ensure they are inviting, interesting, and have a good deal of contrast.  Often it is just a matter of adding a few dynamic colors to update the entire look!

Looking Up

I have been to NYC more times than I can count (lucky, I know!). Still more often than not, I end up with a sun burn on my neck. Crazy, first because I should remember to use sun screen, and second, because I look like a tourist – at risk of all touristy pitfalls – but I digress.

I am always looking up in NYC to see the amazing architecture. The same is true in Interior spaces. The ceiling is often overlooked but a great opportunity to add a statement.

Here are some great options to consider:

  1.  Simply paint the ceilings

Decorpad

2.  Add wallpaper

lushome

3.  Apply Tin

Blogspot

4.  Add a coffered design

5.  Or add your own design

Decoist

So basically, just when you thought you were finished decorating (btw you are never finished) “look up” the opportunities are endless!

 

 

Time to Fake It

June, so many beautiful and amazing flowers! Early last week I bought a bouquet of Peonies. I wish I had photographed them, so pretty! In my opinion Peonies are the frangance of summer! But alas all good things must come to an end. I awoke today to a vase surrounded by fallen petals. So sad.

I adore fresh flowers, my garden is planted with the intention of having cut flowers for display inside my home.

However fresh flowers and plants need tender loving care and have an expiration date:

This being said, I will admit to the purchase of fake flowers and plants. These beauties can fill up an empty space and require no care at all. However best to keep them on the small side, as it is harder to find larger arrangements that look natural.

Here are some of my favorities fakes:

Of course there is nothing like the real thing, but once and awhile it’s ok to fake it.

Denial

What’s the old joke, “Denial, it’s not just a river in  Egypt.”?  Ha ha ha, right? I had one of these moments when I realized I have been living in denial regarding my minalmalist quest. I was feeling overwhelmed with all of the springtime maintance of my home, and decided it was time to put my minimalistic goals into action.  It was time to downsize yet again! I came up with a list that looked something like this:

#1. Essential sprucing up details to make 1865 City House market ready for a quick sale.  A couple intense weekends, an it could be done!

#2.  Loft type rentals close by.  Many great options.  Some so appealing!

#3. Essentials to keep. This is where it got real. Choosing just a dozen or less furniture pieces, yikes!

Artwork, even harder, and the China, if you follow me you know I have this China obsession:

So end of story, it’s not happening at this minute in time. I have often blogged “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for an interior designer to become a minimalist”, so very, very true.  And of course “minimalism is a different thing to different people; it’s all a matter of perspective.”  Even truer.

So I will continue to edit my “stuff” and I will complete my sprucing up list, at a more leisurely pace however.  And by the way, I just picked up this beautiful china set from a friend…

That’s all for now, Happy June!

The Year Of the Succulent

It’s been building for some time now. Everywhere you look there are succulents on display.  Just yesterday I noticed a beautiful display at the hardware store and came home to find a furniture catalog in the mail – just about every display photo featured succulents! These lovely plants may just be taking over, we need to excercise caution!  Just kidding, but you could use them everywhere as they are quite beautiful.  Succulents are easy to care for and mix well with all decors.

House to Home

If your not sure what succulents are here is a brief description:

Succulent plants, such as Aloe, store water in their fleshy leaves. In botany, succulent plants, also known as succulents or sometimes fat plants, are plants that have some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions.
Succulent plant – Wikipedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/succulent_plant

I love to use them as a centerpiece:

Center Stage

As unexpected display in a dark corner:

Display

Or just about anywhere:

In Groups

Gardenista

Or all alone:

Too Cute!

FourWalls

If you are missing out on this great trend, don’t worry, you can pick up some of these beauties anywhere, even the hardware store!