Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Picture Perfect Console

Windsor Smith's home in Los Angeles (House Beautiful)

Consoles are essential to creating a gorgeous interior. Not only do they perform a function of holding things- art, figurines, lamps- but they also create little vignettes of interest where there would otherwise have been nothing. When creating a look on a console there are several things to keep in mind, and guidelines I like to follow.
  1. Art/Mirror should be placed above it, and fairly close to the top of the console.
  2. Floor Accessories- Put something underneath it, either an ottoman, chest, boxes, etc. The look should flow from bottom to top- like it is one whole unit.
  3. Collections- I recently posted about how each room should have a collection of some sort. Here is a collection of clear perfume bottles with silver tops and a collection of Hermes boxes.
  4. Stacking- Whether it be books, or in this case boxes, it adds a horizontal effect to a vertical look. You want to mix and match heights when accessorizing.
  5. Flowers- EVERY room needs fresh flowers. Adding the organic feature freshens and romanticizes the look.
  6. Figurines- Pile figurines on top of other things. It keeps order to the small space (no clutter) but allows you to bring different heights. See the little elephant on top of the single Hermes box?
  7. Theme- Having a theme, like the orange in the photograph, the Hermes boxes, and the box at the bottom,brings the look together. Be careful though- too much of a theme can make it look like a visual display in a retail home store.
  8. Unexpected accessorizing- Like this vintage Gucci handbag and black riding boots. Just because it should be going in a closet, doesn't mean it shouldn't be in the hallway of common space in a family home.
  9. Layering- Put things of different heights in front of each other. See how the flowers are taller than the frame and in front of the picture? Just make sure the flowers, vases, candles, books, etc, aren't obstructing the main portion of the art.
  10. Lighting- Though this look doesn't require it, a small table lamp could have been placed to the left of the photograph. Often consoles are a great way to provide a space to add light, especially in dimly lit hallways. On larger consoles, I love the look of two lamps or sconces flanking art or a mirror.

The Designista

Monday, September 21, 2009

Shop Stop: Terrain- Philadelphia

I know that summer has officially passed and we are into the beautiful fall season that I have yet to see. Literally, I think the only time I have ever experienced a season change was when I visited Connecticut to visit my sister at Yale in Fall 2000. Wow....

That being said, I know we are ending the season of outside dining and gardening here in the city. However, that season is never over for the California crew. I wanted to introduce an amazing store, Terrain, that I found in Domino March 09 (sadly their last issue) and explore what they have to offer. In my opinion, exterior furniture can easily be brought inside for adding something unexpected to the design. The light fixtures are amazing. As well as their visual displays.

Originally, I tore this out of the magazine because I was so inspired by the dining design. How lovely would it be to dine outside with these gorgeous globe lanterns above head with dangling blown glass figures? If you have a patio cover/ pergola, you could easing hang several globes, and get individual glass/ crystals from the local craft store, hang from fish wire, and you've got the same look. Not to mention it would be so pretty during the day to have the prism effect from the sun hitting the faceted crystals. Day and Night design!

Filagree Spheres- I am in LOVE with these. 3 sizes (16",20",24"-$498-$1298)
Hand-crafted hammered and drilled brass.

Texas Glider- This chair screams my mother's name :) The colors and age give so much character to this antique- $398.

Bespoke Slatted Bench- $1998. A little more expensive, but due to it's construction of galvanized steel, it will last forever, and keep its sheen. This is a reproduction of an antique, but I think this bench would look amazing in a garden, but could also be used indoor. I picture it in an entry with a couple of graphic pillows- Not in every interior, but if you are courageous enough to put a galvanized steel bench indoors, you probably have a fairly quirky design mind!

Rust Wire Edging- Knotted wire edging?!?!?!?! How cute is this? It is a little pricey at $24 for 18" of length, but could be perfect for a small length of garden patch. What about around a little pumpkin patch. Love it!

Two-Tier Plant Stand- $598 This reminds me of something that should be in the garden of the movie Great Expectations. Old, with peeling paint, yet still whimsical and romantic.
This store is in Pennsylvania, which isn't too far from NY. Looking forward to visiting one day. I know my green thumbed mother would be in heaven here!
The Designista

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sticker Decor? Not Just for Kids

Remember when stickers were so fascinating to us as little children? Was it the color and texture and the fact that it gave us the ability to have a little design creativity- meaning we could "stick it" wherever we pleased? Remember when we would inevitably "stick it" in the wrong places; mirrors, car windows, car seats, counters, clothes, walls, etc.

As I look back, stickers are often given to little children in happy meals, which to me, is sort of silly since kids have no regard for nice things, making it a constant struggle between parent and child to keep the child from doing what is natural and "sticking it" somewhere. Why do people who give stickers to children want to create chaos I ask?

Alas, a day has come to bring the child out in all of us. Blik, is a company based in Venice, CA which has found a way to create interesting and bold wall art that is impermanent. I spoke about them yesterday, in my posting about Black and White.

"blik is made from an ultra-thin, self-adhesive matte vinyl film. blik Re-Stik™ is made from a slightly thicker, self-adhesive, polypropylene film." I used something similar to this once for two events I designed. This material is great for residential or commercial interior projects (they can even do custom murals.) All you do is pull it off the sheet and "stick it" wherever you like. This is great for renters or even those who want something unique and colorful on the wall but don't want to spend the money on wall paper or a custom hand-painted mural. All of these decals range between $30-$100 (pretty much.)

Here are some of my favorites:

Rococo Pop

Nessa Headboard

Lacy Sunday

Wrought Iron Headboard

Iron Vines

Classic Chair Backs



Incredible Circus

The Birth Day

This is a great option for a quick fix to a wall covering dilema, and adds a huge impact. Whether you want to make it more of a POP ART type installation, or infuse it into your classic interior, these decals are a brilliant idea.


The Designista

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Amy Hard at Work

I had to take these pictures for a client in Orange County, CA who needs some customization done to our Atlantis fixture. I thought it would be fun to share the kind of things I do for my clients.

Client is worried the draping pieces might be too long. We are showing her what the piece would look like if they were shorter or completely removed.


The Designista

Seeing Your World in Black & White

I love the drama of black and white. I am immediately drawn to anything of this type of color scheme (Black= complete saturation of color, White= absence of color.) I love to wear it! I love fabrics, wall paper, stripes, etc. It creates ultimate drama in interiors and fashion. It can be playful, but most often I think it creates a "sexy" environment.

I think people get nervous to try this scheme for fear it will be too much of a contrast, but I wanted to show some examples of this look. You can go over the top, or understated. Try it in a small space first, if you can't bring yourself to go big with a larger room- i.e. a powder room, a single wall, even a piece of furniture- and I know you'll be impressed with the outcome.

I want a B&W striped powder room or entry so much I can hardly stand it! I love it! This is easy and affordable. This is a fun look, and an example of going over the top, by creating a "Circus" tent in the powder room.

Versace Home in LA. Sophisticated.

An example of creating massive drama in a small space. This is the entry into his apartment. In NY, for many apartments, you only have small spaces to work with. Why not go nuts?

Cythia Rowley's apartment in NYC. Here she has applied a decal to the walls of her shower. This is becoming quite popular for quick, inexpensive, dramatic, and easy for renters. Check out this site that sells these. www.whatisblik.com

This look can be achieved through actual molding or you could even paint it yourself.

Walls painted a glossy black in contrast with white high-relief molding is a wonderful and unexpected color scheme that is perfect for more classic interiors.

Anna Sui's NYC apartment/ Studio. Like her fashion designs, her apartment reflects her patterned and fun style. Here she adds a lot of patterns with touches of color just to bring a little pizzas to the spot. Love the commode turned lavatory!

Adding a black glass to an all white Secretary is a perfect little DIY/ custom feature to bring this scheme into your home.

Don't be afraid to make some risks when it comes to "risky" color schemes and pattern. Black and White works perfectly in modern or traditional interiors, whether you want to do an entire room or just a piece, it creates drama and makes a statement.


The Designista

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Long Island R&R

With the start of my new job, it is an understatement to say I have been stressed out. I have been working super long hours each day, which has been one of the reasons I have had less postings. And with that stress, comes a lack of creativity. So.... as you may have noticed, I have been going away each weekend, to basically decompress, as well as ground myself. Now with a little security in my career- had two big sales this week (hip hip hooray!)- I am able to relax, at least mentally.... for a bit. Definitely better design oriented postings coming. Actually got a lot of tips from friends this weekend on what they would like to see me add to the posting mix-up.

This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting my sister in Long Island, where we spent the day going to the marina at Port Washington, ate raw oysters and martini's (one of my favorite things,) drove around all the large estates, toured the Merchant Marine Academy (where Jeannie's Fiance coaches football,) and listened to all our favorite music we grew up on- Violent Femmes, Bon Jovi, Hootie and the Blowfish, Save Farris, and so much more....

A couple of highlights:

Jeannie and I walking the marina after stuffing our faces with Blue Point oysters, a Grey Goose vodka martini, and some fabulous sweet pea ravioli's....MMMMMMM

Tasting the most amazing wine I have ever had. Jeannie bought this bottle on a wine website where she finds expensive wines at discounted prices. She has been saving this, and let me tell you, UNBELIEVABLE! Australian Syrah- the best! I suggest buying this wine for a special occasion. Clarendon Hills

Enjoy your day everyone!


The Designista

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Collections- A Must Have

Accessorizing your home is what brings your personality to the space. However, there is a fine line between creating a cohesive space that is polished with bits of your quirkiness and style versus one that is a modge podge of chotchky junk/ trinkets that is reminiscent of a salvation army accessory wall meets great Aunt Margie's living room.

One thing that I feel all interiors need are collections. They can be collections of anything- tea cups, vases, perfume bottles, milk bottles, spoons, rocks, shells, etc. And...they don't have to be expensive. Collect them throughout your life, or set out one weekend to find "your collection." Like the picture of blue candle sticks and vases on a mantle, collections create a repetitive element that bring order in a unique way.

Some of my favorite places to find additions to collections: Ikea, Ross, TJ Maxx, Salvation Army, Target, Tuesday Morning, and don't forget finding pieces throughout your life on all your travels- cities, states, and countries.


The Designista

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 11, 2001- September 11, 2009

The view from my apartment. That is where the WTC Twin Towers once stood. A commemorative memorial that stopped me in my tracks on my way home from work. With the hazy night, the way the light beams shot into the sky and hit the clouds was as if they transcended into heaven- beautiful and surreal.

I have met people since I lived here, and even prior to my move, who were here that horrible day. I know people who have lost loved ones and cannot imagine their pain on this day. I still get emotional even thinking about it, and truthfully, I try not to. With a brother who toured twice in Iraq as a marine, a sister who works daily on the rebuliding of One World Trade Center, another brother at the Naval Academy, as well as knowing many others who work to rebuild our community, the country, and the fight for our freedom, I believe, in fact I have to believe, we have made progress in this fight against hatred.

God bless those no longer with us and the families of those who served our country selflessly- 3,000 people who went to work on Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001. And let us not forget all the service men and women who dutifully went abroad, many enlisting after 9-11, to serve and protect our freedom and what we stand for as a country, the United States of America. And to them, I salute you and thank you with all my heart.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Confirmed- HEARTS are a Trend!

Last month I posted about how I expected to see hearts as a theme throughout interior design. Well..... I should get a job as a trend spotter, because I open up Interior Design magazine and see this editorial collection of Red/ Heart furniture! Yay for me!


The Designista

Art Walls- Easy with a Big Impact

My friend just moved into her apartment in the West Village, and finally has some wall space. She asked me to come over and help her with some design ideas for her new home. She has one wall that is quite large, for NY standards, and I kept trying (came over twice) to get her to do a wall filled with art - paintings, photos, posters, etc - which would fill up the space, give some color to the wall, and make a graphic statement. She was apprehensive to do so, until I started picking up the paintings and actually showing her how great it would look!

Trying to convey my idea of creating an "Art Wall" to Isil, my friend who just moved into her apartment in the West Village. What was supposed to be a quite night at home with a glass of wine and a few decorating tips, quickly became a 2am night with a lot of wine and many decorating tips, including moving things, hanging pictures and surfing the web for new and cost-effective lights and accessories!

Sitting in her apartment, thinking about how to hang all of her art, was a creative endeavor, and got me thinking about how most people have no idea what to do with their wall space. As mentioned, one of my favorite type of art displays is creating a wall that is covered in art and frames. It sounds like it would create chaos, but in fact, if done properly it can give order makes a cohesive environment. Now it seems like home.

I like how the frames are equidistant apart.

Framed and unframed thrift store finds- eclectic and romantic

Repetition of one type of art - great if you have a collection. These pieces are hanging on a piece of fabric.

Wall completely filled from top to bottom- I like how it is mostly black and white photos in frames.

You could find frames, and paint them different colors, and you've got your own art installation.

Drew Barrymore's office at Flower Films- Just printed photographs.

If you are artistic, you could make your own collection of art and hang it up. I know someone who framed her children's art. It was so playful!

The multiple frames on this wall look contemporary and orderly, even against the striped walls.

Gwen Stefani's LAMB office- her photographic inspiration wall.

When you hang art, make sure that there are different heights and hang vertical and horizontal frames. It adds dimension.

Notice the frame on the mantle- something unique. An unframed canvas, sitting behind a single frame.

Another photo wall. I like this idea, but make sure all four corners are tacked down, otherwise, with heat and sun, the corners will start to curl up.

Here they have hung art on the wall, as well as a woven piece around the top picture, added a figurine at the top corner, and set a canvas on the floor. A lot of different applications, but it flows well.

I love this advertisement for ROMO. For you DIYers, try this idea. Find some beautiful graphic and textured paper and frame them. You don't have to scour high and low, create your own. This is soooooo me!

Art is an expression of yourself. It is personal and subjective. You can't go wrong!


The Designista