Monday, November 22, 2010

Classy clutter

I am finally getting moved into my new place and am beginning to realize how many random furnishings and accessories I really have. However, I am going to see this challenge as an opportunity to incorporate all my favorite things into one space. I think it can be done with elegance (and a lot of pizzazz), just like Eric Cohler does in this fabulous room below (one of my all time favorites).

There are so many colors, styles, and textures in this room, but isn't it just perfect?

Friday, November 19, 2010

This week's favorites

Hello, all! Today I wanted to give you a glimpse inside my cluttered, design-craving brain and show you the interiors that I've been pining over this week!

The photos above and below are from the home of the fabulous Candace Bushnell, which was designed with the help of Susan Forristal. I seriously cannot get enough of this room! The pairing of the polite furnishings (like that settee) with modern accessories (check out the multi-colored poufs!) creates such an artful, yet lively air to the space. I love all the colors too: that pretty coral velvet on the chaise and the blue-grays of the upholstery and walls.

Another photo that has caught (and kept) my eye is the one below of a room designed by Erinn Valencich of Omniarte.

I love the cool blue of the walls paired with the bright green of the chairs. What do you think makes this room so special?

Gary Spain created the bright, eclectic room above. What a wonderful combination of textures (like, sisal, lucite, hides, and wood)! Love that cozy Egg chair, too!

Isn't this room by Anne Coyle so comfy-looking? What do you think about a velvet couch with pets? I don't know, but it is gorgeous! That pale lavender color is so soothing, too, and looks great paired with the gray-brown of the couch and coral of the pillows.

This last photo was taken in the home of the extremely talented Windsor Smith. Plush, a bit exotic, and definitely glamorous, this room is a great example of her amazing work. (And you can't go wrong with those pink walls!)

I think my favorite thing about these rooms is that they look real, like you could actually live in them: sit down, have a glass of wine, watch TV, work on the computer. Isn't that what a home is for, after all?

Happy Friday! I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Bedroom by Melissa Rufty

I love just about anything that sparkles (i.e., crystal, silver, chrome), so gold (or, at least, gold-finished surfaces), naturally, is high on my list! In the bedroom above, Miss Rufty uses gold-trimmed bedding (in a fabulous scrollwork - reflecting her classic New Orleans style) and a gorgeous gilded, upholstered headboard to punctuate the serene elegance of the space. (Aren't those blushing pink walls and leafy lamps to die for?!)

Dining area by Jeffrey Bilhuber

I love the finish on these walls. It really gives a depth and formality to the space (and a little bit of 70s glam too).

Room by William Hodgins

This study has such a light, but layered, look to it. I love that golden armillary in the foreground and the touches of gold on the desk, chair, and picture frames. Even just a hint of gold can have a big impact!

Foyer by Jan Showers

Miss Showers uses a finish similar to the one in the dining room above, creating a dramatic entryway. Paired with the sunburst mirror and the shimmering light fixtures, the space becomes quite glamorous (a hallmark of Miss Showers style). I love how the black in the chandelier reflects the painted floor below it, as well.

These last two photos are of a bedroom by designer Gary Spain. I love absolutely everything about this room! The wallpaper is quirky, fun, and modern. The headboard is so classic with that nailhead trim. The lamps are just.... perfection! The faux bois bolster pillow on the bed adds a bit of whimsy, while the three oversized mirrors open up the space and add even more sparkle. Love the portrait, love the armchairs, love it all!

What a perfect room to end on!

Happy Thursday y'all! The weekend is almost here!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pattern at play

Design by the fabulous Hal Williamson

I may experiment with color, but, for some reason, piling on the pattern has always intimidated me, whether in fashion or interior design. It is a shame because, as these designers show, that layered look creates warm, engaging, and, often, dramatic rooms.

Design by Omniarte

Whether using a bold pattern like the wallpaper above, or a combination of prints, the effect is really dynamic and interesting.

The pic above is from decorator Milly de Cabrol's New York apartment as covered in New York Social Diary. I love how she piles on the printed fabrics (and books and art!) in this room, draping the table and settee in hand-blocked prints, giving the room a really cozy feel.

Bedroom by Katie Ridder

I love the subtle patterns Ridder uses above. Isn't that headboard just lovely? The room feels so airy, but textural too.

Den by Raymond Boozer from Apartment 48

I am a huge fan of a chevron pattern. Doing the couch in tone-on-tone greens keeps it from being too bold, while still mimicking the pattern in the rug.

Dining room by Schuyler Samperton

Schuyler Samperton combines traditional and trendy patterns here perfectly, using an ikat on the dining chairs over a gorgeous oriental rug. (Check out the beautiful wall panel in the background!)

I really can't get enough of Phoebe Howard's designs! She is so talented! The vignette above is so well-composed: the splash of color, the textural tortoise shells, the mirror, the avian prints. Look closely and you will see that the wallpaper has the most subtle pattern on it, giving even the walls a woven effect.

Our last two photos of the day come from designer Stephen Sills.

Now this is the way to bring energy to a room by using pattern! Love the rug, love the throw on the back of the couch, love the stripes on the ottoman. (And I totally love that leather chair!) This room is warm and comfortable, but artful and stimulating as well.

Another space by Sills is featured in this month's Architectural Digest (which is newly helmed by ex-Elle Decor editor Margaret Russell) and the interiors are so amazing, you must go get a copy immediately! It looks like Russell is really going to up the ante and makeover AD in the best possible way. I can't wait to see what's next!

Here is a taste of Sills fabulous AD-featured design.....


Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I love.... Lucite!

Entry by Jesse Carrier (in Jason Wu's office)

I am totally loving lucite right now! I don't think I'd want a whole mod room with multiple lucite pieces, but the way these designers add a modern touch using this material is just fabulous.

Bedroom by Eric Lysdahl

What a great contrast to use lucite with such plush and traditional furnishings!

Den by Raymond Boozer

Foyer by Melissa Rufty

This material has the amazing ability to keep the interiors light and airy by not taking up much visual space. (Plus, it adds a bit of sparkle, which is always good!)

I know I've shown this pic of a dining area by Timothy Whealon before, but I think this bears repeating! The pale pink walls and the cane-back chairs combine perfectly with the lucite to create a bright and elegant room.

Design by Tom Scheerer

I love how Scheerer subtly tucks this small lucite side table between the armchairs and the gorgeous marble-top console. Functional and stylish!

Our last photo of the day is a gorgeous room by the talented Katie Ridder. I love the putty-gray walls, the politely cozy armchairs, the sconces, the photo, and, of couse, that coffee table!

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Luxe Lodge

Room by Christopher Coffin

It's another wet winter day here in Alabama, and my desire to hunker down inside has led me to a post all about the coziest of places: lodges. Yes, there may be a few antlers on the walls, but these are no run-of-the-mill, wood-paneled cabins!

Home of designers Dick Ridge and Rod Renault (courtesy of NYSD)

I guess my vision of a lodge is a bit more opulent and, again, British-inspired than something you might see in a true hunting lodge out in these Appalachian hills, but the theme is the same: cozy and warm.

Room by William Hodgins

Bedroom by Kemble Interiors

Bedroom by Christopher Coffin

I love the exotic flair in this room! It is so perfectly contrasted with the more traditional elements, like the oil portrait and vintage luggage around the bed.

Great room by Eric Lysdahl

One way to infuse a lodge-style interior with more modern flair is to use different finishes or pieces in a different style. Although the great room above has all the traditional lodge touches (wood paneling, antler chandelier, comfy furnishings), I love how Lysdahl gives it a mod twist by using a strictly black-and-white color palette. 

Study by Jay Jeffers

Jay Jeffers uses mid-century modern chairs and paneling in a lighter tone to create a more contemporary look in this traditional study. Check out that pair of swords and the brass horn lamp!

At the end of the day, if you've got a roaring fire and a comfortable place to sit, you've got cozy lodge-style perfection.

Design by Cathy Kincaid

Here's to a great (and, hopefully, sunnier) week ahead!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Making a house, my home....

I have finally done it: committed to a place to live (Bham) and found a house there that suits me perfectly. There is a big yard for my beautiful Sophie girl (more on my lovely canine later) and light pouring in from the innumerable windows.

I am quite excited (so many design possibilities!), but there is work to be done. So, since I need to roll up my sleeves and get to puttying and painting, I will have to keep it brief, with only one pic for today.

This room by Axel Vervoordt truly makes my heart sing. The drops of yellow, the hand painted wall panels, and the-simple-yet-elegant furnishings create a space that is as comfortable and inviting as it is grand and sophisticated. Classy and classic!

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Photo courtesy of the late Southern Accents (designer unknown)

I am a bit of a girly-girl so, when I see a room layered with mirrors, crystals, silver, and chrome, I swoon! Isn't the room above just delightful? Those feathery pink pillows, the gorgeous Venetian-style mirrors, those silver Christopher Spitzmiller-looking lamps, and that totally glorious chandelier give the room a lightness and formality that provide quite the contrast!

Dining area by Aman & Carson

The snowflake pictures in this room by Steven Gambrel are appropriate for the 30s temps we've been having around here! They are well-complemented by the faded silver lamps and glass and mirror coffee table. Even the velvet on the couch gives off a wonderfully sparkly sheen!

Gambrel keeps the color palette simple and pale in this lovely dining room. Despite the whitewashing, the room maintains a warm, comfortable feel.

The folks over at Martensen Jones Interiors know the way to cool, shimmering rooms! Their website is full of rooms that have such a freshness and glamorous modernity to them. You must check them out!

Below, they pair a mirrored console, below a curvy mirror, with a glowing stone lamp. What an interesting piece!

Design by Kelly Wearstler

Wearstler is truly a master of glam. Some call her work "Hollywood Regency", but I think it has that hint of old-world combined with a collector's eye, that make the interiors feel so much more complex and multi-dimensional than that label can impart.

Ahh, Tom Scheerer. Talk about refreshing interiors! I love how he combines styles so seamlessly: the curvy Panton chair, the polite settee, the silk curtains, the earthy tabletop planters, and, again, that sparkling chandelier!

Our last photo of the day is from one of the fabulous homes of Mark Badgley and James Mischka. It is astounding to me how their talents apply not only in the fashion world, but in the interior design realm as well. I guess they simply know beauty, and can create it in whatever form they wish!

Just look at all that glimmering silver! This room is fabulous from top to bottom!

Here's to a bit of added sparkle to your day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Where'd you run off to?

I'm sorry I disappeared for a few days, but I have a good excuse! I was lucky enough to accompany my sister to a conference at the absolutely drop-dead-gorgeous Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida!

My adoration for this place is beyond words. The interiors are mind-blowing: giant aviaries, shimmering stars painted on indigo ceilings, arabesque carvings, stone columns, polished marble floors, trompe l'oeil moldings, giant painted wood beams, and every other beautifully crafted embellishment you can think of!

One side of the lobby (read: not even half of it)

The hotel was built in 1926 as a collaboration between hotelier John Bowman and Coral Gables founder George Merrick. It was the best of the best back then (and still is today), hosting opulent parties and weddings, and a myriad of Hollywood guests such as Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, and Bing Crosby. Franklin D. Roosevelt even set up a temporary White House office here when he would come to Miami for fishing trips.

Everglades Suite

It even hosted the notorious Al Capone, who - according to legend - ran a speakeasy out of the 13th floor during the days of prohibition and even killed hit man Thomas "Fats" Walsh in the suite. They dedicated the room to him, politely calling it the Everglades Suite (as opposed to the "Al Capone Suite", as it is known to most of the employees).

For some period of time, the pool was the largest in the world and was the site of many events such as synchronized swimming, alligator wrestling, and diving. A world record was even achieved in this pool, by none other than Tarzan-actor Johnny Weissmuller (who was then a swimming instructor).

I know it sounds cliche', but these pictures truly do not do the place justice. It is fabulous in every way. There is an air of extreme luxury that is imbued without pompousness or snobbery. Everyone who works there is truly willing to help you with anything!

I must give credit here to Frank at the concierge desk, who always steered me in the right direction. I had a day to myself to wander the gloriously tropical streets of Coral Gables (where the yard of each Spanish-style house is manicured yet colorful, and the streets are lined with banyan trees).

Frank suggested I walk into town to this awesome little bookstore called Books & Books, where I found endless design and art books in a modern, yet warm environment. (Let me note here that the people of Coral Gables were consistently friendly, albeit quite curious about where I was from..... possibly due to my tell-tale accent? Ha!)

I had lunch in their open-air courtyard, which was complete with huge red umbrellas, creeping bougainvillea vines (heavy with blossoms), and swaying palm trees. I'm telling you, this whole town is saturated with ambiance at every turn.

As I took in the architecture and the variety of languages being spoken around me, I realized that Coral Gables doesn't even feel like the U.S., a small, coastal European village perhaps, but not a town mere miles away from a booming Florida metropolis. I guess that is what makes the luxury and, more particularly, the fantasy of this town complete.

Design by India Hicks

So, with the memory of swaying palms and ocean breezes on my mind while I bear the freezing temps back at home, here are a few interiors that convey that tropical vibe.

To me, India Hicks is the queen of island style. In fact, she has even written the book on it: Island Life. Although her style is more British Colonial (perhaps due to the fact that her grandfather was the last Viceroy of India), it certainly conveys that exotic and luxuriant feel of the tropics.

Living room by India Hicks

Room by Schuyler Samperton

Miss Samperton has a definite flair for the exotic as well, as you can see in this fabulously bright living room. I love the pink curtains (of course), but it is their pairing with the heavy wood tables and scenic artwork that, I think, gives the room that worldly feel. (Giant bouquets of bougainvillea don't hurt either!)

Room by Schulyer Samperton

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, and I hope we can all find inspiration to brighten the wintery gloom!