Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gone to the DOGS!!!

I tried to perform my usual task of driving my two teenagers to high school, which usually takes me 50 minutes round trip. I don’t really mind it because it gives me a bit of alone time on the return trip to think about my day, but today was different! Yes, today my two dogs decided it was their turn to accompany us and they weren’t taking no for an answer.  I don’t have lap dogs, I have a 90 pound Labrador and a 45 pound Border mix. Needless to say they do take up some room!  So, my usual quiet morning was filled with complaints from neatly dressed, freshly perfumed teenagers that claimed they now smelled like dogs!  My response was ”Cant live with them, and we sure cant live without them”!   During the drive back home.. while f keeping windows open for the dogs in 36 degree temps, this really does hold true evening design!   Its part of our client checklist, children, dogs, cats...etc.  We make sure fabrics are pet friendly, rugs are durable, drapes don’t puddle and that plants aren’t poisonous. All this in the name of the Dog!  So here is a little tribute to that furry creature that brings such joy and havoc to our everyday lives.

Elle Decor, I think this bench was made for these two!!!

Eric Cohler

Niche de Chien

Schumacher greyhounds love this one!

Waverly "hotdogs", cute for a kids room!

Sorry couldn't resist!!

Fun mud room pillows!

Great Brass Andirons!

Have these!

Sharp Hermes trays!

Modern Tribal: A Pulp Art Project!

Modern Tribal: A Pulp Art Project!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Architecturally Challenged Spaces!

Its so lovely to be able to design a space that has either an abundance of original architectural charm, or is being newly built by a great architect who is conscious of moldings, windows, doors and details. However, we are not always that lucky!
What does one do when you have a client who shows you a dream room from Veranda magazine that has soaring 10foot ceilings, crown moldings and coffered ceilings, but the client’s space has 8 foot ceilings, 4inch crown moldings, and small windows! Well, one has to improvise. I believe besides the furniture pieces, art and lighting there are two tricks that I think go along way, “Fretwork” and “Shutters’!
There are ways to sneak in some faux architecture and I love anything with fretwork. You can add fretwork panels to walls as art, or to windows as window treatments. Fretwork can be easily installed on walls, or detailed onto fireplaces. I love some of the simple applications using fretwork book shelving flanking a sofa to mimic a built in. It immediately brings in an element of interest and takes out the boring factor of the room.
I also love big old shutters, or shutters that have been decorative painted to appear aged.
They look good as window treatments, as doors, and over fireplaces to cover up flat screen televisions. The larger the shutter the more architectural presence it adds to the space. So, when stuck on a boring room, bring a little detail and charm that wont break the bank, yet only looks like it did!

Okay I know its a stretch but if you did a wall with ready made asian fretwork it could work! (Christopher Corcoran)

Rather than solid doors to separate a space add some simple fretwork screen.(Colleen Fox)

Large fretwork shelving used as architecture.

A simple tall fretwork standing screen adds interest!

Fretwork as wall divider, all else can stay very simple!

Alternative window treatments.Elle Decor!

Over scale shutters in a stark white room, looks wonderful!(Darryl Carter)

Large aged shutters for window and then again on walls!

In place of doors..

The shutters and artwork give room surrounding detail.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Southern Accents

I took my first college road trip this past weekend! My eldest daughter is looking at colleges,"much to my dismay"! We travelled through farm country over the Mason Dixon Line to good old Virginia. There we visited the lovely campus of Sweet Briar College! The  all girl college was dripping in southern architecture and charm! It was like a step back in time as we viewed the campus filled with beautiful old brick buildings and the reception rooms with  traditional high ceilings, sofas covered in Scalamandre- Quail fabric, and antique persian rugs everywhere! Here are a few photo's that prompted me to continue my search for good southern design during my stay down south.
Sweet Briar College

Archival Photo of one of the faculty buildings.

the Faculty building today.. not much has changes.. the detail is incredible!!

The college presidents building, true Southern Charm!

This is the nurses building if you could believe that!
My search for southern design began as my daughter was able to spend the evening on campus, and I went back to my lonely hotel room! I made the best of it by reading magazines, and pondering Southern design, and it occurred to me that I missed one of my all time favorite magazines,"Southern  Accents"! I always looked forward to my monthly issues, and  I was so disappointed when it went out of publication. I decided to google Southern Accents, and luckily the last issue was still on the web!  I picked out some of my favorite photo's from this very missed  Southern magazine! Enjoy!!
I saw a few of these antique sofas present in the college reception room.. upholstered in Scalamandre!

Lovely mix of antiques and Gracie!!!

A modern southern twist!

Definitely pushing the envelope for Southern Accent Magazine!

The Modern painting and mix of antiques give this a calm appeal!

Such a traditional southern foyer!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Great Gatsby!

Well, I have to say I am anticipating the release of "The Great Gatsby"! I say this with hesitation because the original is a classic and I am afraid this new movie  may not measure up!  The first Gatsby had a cast of amazing actors." Robert Redford and Mia Farrow" really took center stage in this tragic story. Also, it helped that the setting was decadent, dripping in jewels, cars, and a mansion that could take anyone's breath away.  I know the story line was a bit harsh., and a tad reminiscent of the wall street heyday of recent years. It was the era of wanting more, and living like there was no tomorrow. I was enthralled with the fashion, the style , the interiors, and I began to wonder who would  Jay Gatsby have used to design his mansion? Thus began my research on top designers of the roaring 20's! I found a few that I feel would have worked well with Mr. Gatsby. They are as follows: Syrie Maugham, Eileen Gray and Sybil Colefax. These designing women would have been able to keep up with Jay Gatsby's lust for fine things, lavish lifestyle!
Syrie Maugham

Queen of highgloss, which I am a fan of too!

Syrie Maugham was famous for her rocky marriage to Somerset Maugham (British Novelist). The pair was married from 1917 until 1929 when somerset left Syrie for Frederick Haxton. It was probably through those long years that Syrie began her pursuit of design merely out of boredom.  She became famous in the 1920's to 30's for all white rooms!She established a great shop London, and pushed her love of high gloss, white leather, suede, velvet.. and fur into the interiors of many wealthy clients who could afford her goods. For more on Syrie check out the book"Syrie Maugham:"Staging The Glamorous Interior"by Paul Metcalf.
Eileen Gray

This could be a penthouse today!

The Pirogue sofa is incredible!

 Eileen Gray was born 1878 and died 1976. Gray’s father, James, was a painter who encouraged his daughter's artistic interests. He took his daughter on painting tours of Italy and Switzerland which encouraged her independent spirit. Gray spent most of her childhood living in the family's homes in Ireland or South Kensington in London.In 1898, Gray attended classes at the Slade School of Fine Art, where she studied painting. ol. She continued her studies in Paris at the Académie Julian and the Académie Colarossi. Gray later became interested in furniture when she came across a lacquer repair shop in Soho, in London, where she asked the shop owner, Mr. D. Charles to show her the ways of the lacquer trade. He also connected her with lacquer artists, one of them: Seizo Sugawara (or Sugawara-san). He originated from an area of Japan that was known for its decorative lacquer work and had emigrated to Paris to repair the lacquer work exhibited in the Exposition Universelle. Eileen worked with Sugawara and finally at the age of 35, was able to display her lacquered pieces.
In 1914, when World War I broke out, Gray moved back to London, taking Sugawara with her. At the end of the war Gray and Sugawara returned to Paris. There Gray was given the job of decorating an apartment in the rue de Lota. She designed most of its furniture (including her famous Bibendum chair), carpets and lamps, and installed lacquered panels on the walls. The result was favorably reviewed by several art critics who saw it as innovative. Given a boost from the success of the apartment, Gray opened up a small shop in Paris, Jean Desert, to exhibit and sell her work and that of her artist friends.
Sybil Colefax , I am unable to find a photograph of the amazing designer so enjoy her interiors!

Sybil Colefax of "Colefax and Fowler" in of my favorite showrooms at Cowtan & Tout in NYC; was a notable English interior decorator and socialite in the first half of the twentieth century.She was born Sybil Halsey in Wimbledon into a noted society family] and lived in Cawnpore, India, until the age of 20 when she went on the Grand Tour. In 1901, she married patent lawyer Sir Arthur Colefax, who was briefly the MP for Manchester South West in 1910. They set up home at Argyll House, King's Road, Chelsea and at Old Buckhurst in Kent. Widely admired for her taste after she had lost most of her fortune in the Wall Street Crash she began to decorate professionally, using her formidable book for contacts. She was able to purchase the decorating division of the antique dealers Stair and Andrew of Bruton Street, Mayfair and established Sibyl Colefax Ltd in partnership with Peggy Ward, the Countess Munster. On her 'retirement' (following a family tragedy) Peggy Ward aske dif she would to take on John Fowler (1906-1977) as her partner, which she did in April 1938. Unfortunatley,war cut short this partnership. In 1944 the business, managed by John Fowler, took a lease on 39 Brook Street, Mayfair where it remains to this day. Also in 1944 Sibyl Colefax sold the business to Nancy Tree (Nancy Lancaster as she became in 1948) for a sum in the order of £10000. She renamed the business Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler Ltd, the name continuing today as the decorating division of the Colefax Group Plc.

Finally, some posts of the movie which started my designer search! Let us hope that Leonardo DiCaprio will do the role of Jay Gatsby justice! I cannot wait to see the set design,especially now that I have found my favorite designers  of that era!

I think a little flapper dress maybe back this season!!

Very Sybil Colefax!

Oh the pastel colors.. I need spring!!

Okay, nothing more to say!
Thank you Wikipedia, google and "The Peak of Chic"!