Thursday, September 30, 2010


Design by Miles Redd

Bold and fiery, red can make a room come to life, create coziness, or inspire passion. It is not a go-to color for me (at least not in wall color), but, through these pictures, I can begin to see the draw of this sanguine hue.

Todd Alexander Romano keeps it classic in this cozy room. I like the traditional hunting scene on the wall, the deer hide rug, and that gorgeous chinoiserie fabric on the armchair. I believe it is Le Lac by Brunschwig & Fils, which is a favorite of mine - as well as design star Joe Nye, so much so that it is featured on the cover of his book, Flair.

Nye used a coral-tinted red in the beach house above to add some fun and playfulness, he explained. It is an unexpected color for the beach, but I agree that the room has a much more festive feel than if he had used a neutral or cool blue palette.

Thomas Britt channels a graphic, funky vibe in this living room by contrasting the rouge tones of the damask wallcovering with black and white furnishings and overscale artwork.

Robert Passal ups the intensity in this room with deep scarlet walls. He plays with an exotic theme here, using a zebra-print rug, pale leather headboard, and buddha lamps.

Chiqui and Nena Woolworth create a fun, fresh look using a combination of red walls and cheerful patterns. Again, we see that mixture of pink and red that is so unexpected and modern.

This bedroom, by Domicile Interiors, is my favorite version of a red room. I like how the red is more orange-toned and the intensity is lessened by the crisp white bedding and headboard, serene wallpaper panels hung as art, and the lively side tables. I think this room illustrates a perfect mixture of heat (from the red walls), tranquillity (that a bedroom needs), and curiosity (that comes from engaging accessories - like the super fun, blue foo dogs on the bench).

Although I probably won't be painting my walls crimson any time soon, I can't deny the allure of red. I use it in pillows, accessories, table linens, and artwork. It can create a buzz, a hum of energy, that you can weave into just about any interior.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Well read

Hatfield House library

Since I was a small child, I have loved libraries. Maybe not the 1960s, public version that exists in my home town, but those in English manor houses and, now, those commonly found in private residences. Perhaps my admiration is genetic: my father modeled the two-story library in his law office after the libraries from the Hatfield House in England, and the Château de Groussay outside Paris (which was reinvented as Henry Higgins' library in My Fair Lady).

Château de Groussay library

I love that now, using built-ins or simple bookcases, many designers are recreating the wonderfully cozy, cerebral feel of these larger, more formal predecessors.

In the room by Jay Jeffers above, a lovely peach color defines the space, complete with a traditional library table. I love to see these more feminine incarnations of, what used to be, traditionally masculine rooms. Muted pastel tones, floral fabrics, and gleaming accessories recreate and reinvent truly useful, homey spaces.

Lavender library by Angie Hranowsky

Library by Aman & Carson

Although I love how the rooms above come off fresh and modern with their mixture of colors, textures, and more modern furnishings, I admire the elegant, timeless versions as well.

Some designers give tradition a twist by adding graphic, modern elements to the room. Above, Tracey Garnet uses modern art, cubic bookshelves, and bright colors to keep the room contemporary while, below, Jeffrey Bilhuber subtly uses yellow book bindings (or are those, perhaps, National Geographic magazines?) to create a color-blocking effect in this otherwise neutral room.

I think, if you are truly an avid reader, cozy and comfortable are your two primary goals for a library. This beachy room by John Barman (above) is as inviting as it is bright, whereas the snug room by Todd Alexander Romano, below, is perfectly packed with artwork, pattern, and personal mementos that create a warm, eclectic air.

Whether traditional, modern, or even exotic, libraries can become a sanctuary within a home. With these fabulous images filling my brain, I can't help but fantasize about having my own literary retreat someday...

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Come to Papa...

Papachristidis, that is!

Each time I find a really gorgeous room and think, "Wow! Who did this?" It's Alex Papachristidis! The evolution of his style from one client to the next keeps me guessing, while his commitment to luxe interiors unites his designs. Just fabulous.

I only have a few minutes to share with you today, but I wanted to bring you something beautiful from someone who truly knows beauty.

Have a good Tuesday!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I want to go to there...

Speaking of fireplaces.... Check out this gorgeous outdoor setting by designer Hillary Hayne!

Listening to the fire crackle and the cat purr...

Design by William Hodgins

Just kidding. I have neither a cat, nor a fireplace, but this cool September morning is making me wish for the latter. I love, love, love lighting a fire on cool days, not just for the warmth, but for the glow and the ambiance it creates.

Design by Jay Jeffers

A fireplace, to me, epitomizes luxury and lounging (two of my favorite things!) and creates a cozy (or opulent) focal point in the room.

Steven Gambrel added this amazing deco fireplace surround in a bathroom. Oh, the extravagance! It is so unexpected and so perfect with that marble. Classic Gambrel style.

Alessandra Branca keeps it traditional in this lovely living room. Notice the way she manages the monumental scale of the room: accenting it with a tall mirror, bringing it down to residential scale with the large vases and floral arrangements, and arriving at human scale with the cozy seating surrounding the fireplace. 

Eric Cohler illustrates here, in his Charleston home, that he also knows how to manipulate scale in a room. I love the huge etageres standing guard on either side of the hearth. I also love the way he casually leaned the photos and artwork on the mantel, as opposed to hanging them, giving the room a more modern, breezy feel.

As usual, Melissa Rufty wows us with bold, playful colors that, here, act as a perfect contrast to the classic marble mantel.

As you can imagine, I love the color of this room in the home of Jared Goss, a curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I also love how the room, designed by Bill Brockschmidt and Courtney Coleman, has a fabulous blend of styles: the traditional portrait, the dark - almost Victorian - mantel, the antique mirrors, and don't miss those lucite "ghost" chairs!

Love the wallpaper, love the ikat, love the tiny lamps, and LOVE that roaring fire! Contemporary cozy at its best!

Of course, Charlotte Moss knows how to pull off cozy elegance. This room is so classic and even grand, yet, as always, Moss manages to make it a comfortable retreat, perfect for curling up by the fire.

Another fabulous example of the work of Eric Cohler. This room seems soothing to me, perhaps because of the muted blue and green palette, but there is really a lot going on: the checkered floor, the tufted settee, the ornate mantel, the collection of sunburst mirrors. I find his work is truly a treat for the eyes!

Well, the sun has come out, the temperature is back in the 70s, and so my fireplace fantasies must be put on hold for now. But I will leave you with one last superbly cozy fireplace....

Unknown from House Beautiful

Friday, September 24, 2010

To Grandmother's house I go

My Grandmother, who is a beautiful and stylish lady all around, has a wonderfully cozy bedroom, tucked away at the back of her large, 60s-era home. She has stacks of books surrounding the bed and the most perfect shade of blue-green on the walls.

With that as my inspiration, I set out to find gorgeous rooms that use the same or similar shades to bring interest and elegance to the spaces.

How totally glamorous is this room? I love the hints of animal print, the overscale art, the modern stone fireplace, those lanterns, and - of course - the walls! Britt even decides to carry the color into the kitchen as well, where it creates a fun and fresh look when contrasted with the white molding and furniture.

Albert Hadley settles on just a hint of blue by hanging a framed, painted panel of the bright hue. I love the contrast of the blue to the black console, stacks of books, and layers of artwork.

Living area by Miles Redd

Dining room by Delphine Krakoff

I love how this color can impart liveliness and fun to a range of styles, from classic to modern and glamorous to minimalist.

This is such a classy, funky room featured in the late Domino magazine. After doing a little digging, I discovered that, although Domino is officially gone, was granted access to their digital archives. Now, viewers can browse through the steadily expanding Domino albums!

It is so sad to me that more and more shelter magazines are closing their doors. It's nice to know that all is not lost (especially not the wonderful photos)!

In this fabulous room by Bunny Williams (created for the 2009 Kips Bay Decorator Show House), there are so many colors, styles, and textures, but, to me, the room doesn't feel overwhelming or busy. I love how there are so many cozy places to sit, as well. A fabulous, inspiring space - just what you'd expect from the inimitable Miss Williams!

I can't get over this arrangement of art! So perfect! The wall color keeps the space fresh and modern, while the collection of pictures and furnishings grounds the space and makes it warm and engaging.

One last photo for the week, this one of an actual bedroom done in this fabulous blue!

I love this bedroom in the home of Julian and Olatz Schnabel. Julian is an artist in every sense of the word and Olatz is a former model who now runs a linen and home accessories shop. You can totally feel an exotic, international influence in this room!

I love how Olatz mixed that regal purple with a brilliant red, all contrasted against that perfect blue. I think this space illustrates so well how to achieve a captivating, yet soothing, space.

Happy Friday!  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Over the moon for overscale art

Artwork says a lot about a person. (Like that they're a huge Dirty Harry fan perhaps?) I love collections of artwork (as you will see in an upcoming post), but, sometimes, one overscale piece makes a much bigger impact than even a hundred separate pictures could.

I absolutely love this room in the home of Victoria Pearson. It is cozy and earthy, and that wonderful picture of a hawk is the perfect addition. Although it is the only piece of art on the walls, the room doesn't feel like it's lacking in artistic expression. Between the wooden floor lamp and the oversized hawk, the room feels engaging and interesting, while keeping a calm, minimalist air.

Sometimes overscale art can be used to bring a new color into the space. The flowers in the picture above tie into the pale blue/lavender of the pillows, while the green in the background adds a new element of freshness and depth.

The black fabric panel and lampshades in the room by Martyn Lawrence-Bullard below add drama to what would be a rather neutral, airy space otherwise.

Room by Eric Cohler

Overscale art can also bring a graphic element into a room. I love how the pattern in the artwork above contrasts with the ladylike bench and cozy pillows. The same effect is found in the living room at the home of Philip Gorrivan, below. The linear shapes in the photo by Michael Wolf complement the chevron striped curtains, but contrast with the plush sofa and classic console. I love the creative tension these pieces can create!

Rooms above and below by Martyn Lawrence-Bullard

In this gameroom at the home of Windsor Smith, a polar bear overlooks the space, bringing some depth to the endless black walls, but creating a bit of playfulness as well.

Space by Miles Redd

Miles Redd and Peter Dunham both have a handle on playful. I love all of their richly textured and brightly colored work. Their creativity is endlessly inspiring!
Room by Peter Dunham

Even a traditional landscape painting can have the same impact as a more graphic piece when it's done in a super-large size.

Our last picture for the day features an artist I just love (and dicussed at length in a previous post), Massimo Vitali. His prints are always amazing in larger sizes because you can make out so much of the detail that makes his photos so fascinating. 

You don't have to buy artwork from a gallery to achieve this style. I took a photo from a trip to Italy and had it blown up to almost four feet wide! I had it done at FedEx Kinkos and it was not expensive at all! Perfectly artistic, but perfectly personal as well!

Here's to living large!