Monday, January 31, 2011

My nuevo discovery...

Living room by Luisa Olazábal - Photo courtesy of Nuevo Estilo

I kept coming across references to the Spanish magazine, Nuevo Estilo, recently, and decided I must give it a look myself..... And I was not disappointed!

Room design by Estefanía Carrero and Alejandro Fauquié - Photo courtesy of Nuevo Estilo

The interiors featured in the magazine run from overtly modern to glammy eclectic, but always done with that Spanish flair!

Room design by Magdalena Aguilar featured in Nuevo Estilo

I am so excited about this discovery! I can never have too many interiors to fawn over, and it is so great to see how they do things in other parts of the world. (Beautifully is how they do it in Spain, apparently!)

Here's to a great week ahead!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Inspiration Interpretation

And so it begins....

Artwork by Artman757 on Etsy

Again, this is just an example, but here is how it all started... My friend, "K" we'll call her, saw a painting while we were out and wondered if I could design interiors based on that painting. The painting was not exactly like, but not totally unlike, the painting above. It had horses in it, textural, chunky paint, and maybe an American flag in there somewhere (although K was quick to point out that she doesn't necessarily like Americana kitsch).

So I thought.... and thought.... and thought, then I started looking. I had seen designs (of which style I am unaware) that looked kind of Spanish, kind of California, kind of western, but kind of traditional. So, I set out to find pics that could help me pin down the ideas swirling around in my brain.

Home of Diane Keaton featured in Architectural Digest

It all started coming together when I saw a picture from Diane Keaton's book, California Romantica, that was part of an editorial in a magazine. It displayed (coincidentally enough) a beautiful painting of horses over a heavy wood console. (The photo above is from an older layout in AD.)

Bedroom by Michael S. Smith

I immediately thought of Michael Smith, too. He did a house in Arizona that was featured in last September's Veranda where he employed oriental rugs and heavy wood furnishings to create a eclectic, worldly sort of look.

Vignette by Richard Hallberg and Barbara Wiseley

Vignette by Schuyler Samperton

K is a very fun and colorful person so, when I saw this photo of a stylish but playful room by Miss Samperton, I knew it had to be considered as well.

Design by Joe Minton

And you can never really go wrong with bright, blue-and-white pottery (especially when paired with heavy, wood furnishings).

So, with all of these photos as inspiration, I created the following living room....

These are just a few of the items I put together for K's future living room. (The layout of the room would obviously depend on her future apartment's design.) The background would be the wall color, Cape May Cobblestone by Benjamin Moore. The plein aire-style painting is by Tom Brown, the Karlstad sofa is by IKEA, the linen ikat curtains are West Elm, and the rug is World Market. The blue-and-white ginger jar and French altar candlestick lamp images were found in random online searches, while the metal scrollwork bench and English barley-twist cabinet are antiques found at a local antiques gallery.

K said she wanted interiors she could grow into and layer onto, and I think these pieces would give her home a sense of style, while still allowing her the freedom to build her own collections of artwork and accessories over time.

So.... what d'ya think? (Please be kind! I am a beginner after all!)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Design Challenge

Hello, everyone! I hope y'all are having a good week so far!

I am writing because I would like to propose a challenge to you all. I want you to send me a picture, just one picture, of an item (piece of furniture, artwork, fabric, etc) that inspires you, and I will design a room around it. I will try to find affordable pieces to fill the room, although some pieces may come from local antiques stores and such.

I intend to do this once a month, with the winning "Inspiration Interpretation" room being presented on the last Friday of each month.

I actually got this idea from a good friend of mine who, one night while we were out at a local cafe/bar, pointed at a painting on the wall (by a local artist) and said, "Can you design a room around that picture?" (Or something to that effect.)

Over the next couple of weeks, I gathered ideas, looked at lots of pictures, and came up with a style that I thought she would like. I will feature this room this coming Friday to get the ball rolling. (Although I don't have a picture of the original artwork she identified, I will use a similar painting as a substitute, for our first example.)

Sound good?

Now it is up to you find what inspires you and send it my way! So get to it!

Em at Luster Interiors

PS - Cheating is highly encouraged. If you want to add a note about what styles and designers you like, I am perfectly okay with that. ;)

The Bunny Trail

Bunny Williams at home with dog, Lucy - photo courtesy of NYSD

Today I wanted to feature a few pretty pictures of interiors by a very talented lady: Bunny Williams. Miss Williams is originally from Virginia, and, I imagine, holds those Southern roots dear.

All home photos courtesy of Lonny

These pictures feature a home in Sea Island, Georgia, and perfectly illustrate her innate talent at creating elegant, yet consistently comfortable interiors. 

I love how these rooms are so light and bright, and, yet, are somehow atypical for a beach house. Clean and comfortable, but without the kitsch!

I love this room. Doesn't it make you want to go there and sit a while? When Williams was asked in an interview about the trade-off between aesthetics and comfort, she replied, "I don’t really think you have to sacrifice anything if you work at it." She does this so well: beautiful spaces that are inviting and livable. How perfect!

Half way through the week, guys!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bust a Move: Part II

Manolo Blahnik at his home in England

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Now let's get back to our sophisticated sculptural subject: busts!

I love the contrast of the red upholstery and the cool aqua walls in the room above. The bust, however, is in perfect sync with the grand mantelpiece and moldings.

Vignette by Eric Lysdahl

Living room by Thomas Britt

More red upholstery abounds in this sunny room by Thomas Britt. I love how the plants in the room are used as a type of sculpture, too, punctuating the doorways and large windows.

Design by Jay Jeffers

Another great contrast. Here you can see how the bust (along with that unique suit-of-armor mirror) ground the rather fanciful lavender walls and mirrored dresser.

Design by Garrow Kedigian

What a warm and masculine room. I love the combination of the wall color, painting, and dark, plush settee.

Vignette by Gary Spain

Gary Spain certainly knows how to go bold, but I love how, in this case, he tempers the graphic wallpaper with warm flooring, traditional furnishings (I love that dresser), and solid accessories.

Design by Gary Spain

Dining room by Richard Norris and Mark Leslie

I like how Norris declared that, since this dining room is not isolated, it has become a place to "linger over meals, plan trips, and discuss our problems".

Foyer by Timothy Whealon

Love, love, love this foyer! It seems more like a garden room than a foyer. What a cheerful room to come home to!

Living room by Matthew Patrick Smyth

I am ending today with one of my favorite designers: Matthew Patrick Smyth. I love his elegantly eclectic interiors, and this space is a perfect example. The pair of busts at the far end of the room have great scale, anchoring the space perfectly. My favorite pieces in the room are, by far, the delicate, gothic armchair and the fabulous, painted pedestal table. (Oh how I would love to have one for my own home!) This room is pretty but tidy, and grounded yet bright. Lovely!

Have a happy Tuesday!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Style Definition

William Yeoward's most recent book

William Yeoward is quite the creative personality. He has collections of china and crystal, lighting and linens, even furniture. He is British through and through (and was even granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment as a supplier of glassware to HRH the Prince of Wales), but he is not the least bit stuffy or pompous. His homes showcase his playful demeanor and joie de vivre, as well as his love of nature and graciousness to his guests.

Margot cushion on chair covered in Louisette Damson fabric

Yeoward's collection of fabric for the exuberant Designers Guild firm (helmed by Yeoward's colorful - but kindred - spirit, Tricia Guild) showcases his style: velvets and linens mingle to create patterns bursting with personality.

Collection of cushions from William Yeoward's line with Designers Guild

I've been flipping through my copy of his wonderful book, William Yeoward at Home: Elegant Living in Town and Country this morning (which displays much of his fabulous fabric collection), and I realized how much I identify with his style. I think he is bit more daring than me (and, perhaps, a bit more modern), but his love of playful, comfortable, and colorful interiors certainly hits close to home.

One thing that Mr. Yeoward does not shy away from is the mixing of patterns. Here I have brought together my own random assortment of pillows (some old, some new) on my newly inherited settee (casually covered in a blush-pink slipcover/sheet).

The lamp is antique (a lovely hand-me-down from my mother), the vase is actually an old jug from my family's milk business, Turner Dairy (which was sold and renamed in the early 20th century), the aqua shell dishes are by Bamboushay Pottery in the BVI, and the picture is one I took in Portofino, Italy, just a few days after my 21st birthday.

I have turned my dining table into a library table, of sorts, covered with a vintage barkcloth drapery (in a fabulously colorful ostrich-feather pattern), some design books (Michael S. Smith's Houses, Elle Decor's Style and Substance, and a vintage English interiors book I found at a discount store recently), and my lovely tulipiere.

Connected to my living room is a small, bright, breakfast room where I house my dining chairs and a small table for quick meals. Both tablecloths are vintage: the pink one is from the home where I grew up whereas the blue-green one was found in an antique shop in my hometown. The pillows are custom, the prints are also from my childhood home, and the plates on the wall are vintage Franciscan.

My living room couch with custom pillow and Sferra throw

I can only aspire to have the creativity that is so brilliantly illustrated in Mr. Yeoward's homes and creations, but I am thankful to have them as inspiration all the same. 

William Yeoward "Gosford" Dinner Plate

This plate, alone, epitomizes the whole color scheme for my living room: blue, purple, green, and orange surrounded by gilded accents. Perfection!

Here's to those who inspire us!

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bust a Move: Part I

Design by Michael S. Smith

I love accessories that have a weathered and sort of historic appeal to them, and busts certainly achieve that look. They seem regal and serious, bringing a stately mood to just about any interior.

A few months ago my mother bestowed upon me a bust that had been recently, well, busted. It was dropped by some movers and, she felt, ruined. But I liked the aged look it gave to the poor guy (seen in the photo above with his broken nose) and took him in as my own.

I'd say he fits in quite well with my random assortment of things!

Living room by Martensen Jones Interiors

I kind of like this smaller, more modern variation of a traditional bust. It suits the clean, bright interiors well, don't you think?

Photo courtesy of Cote de Texas

Conversely, the bust above seems right at home in this dark, opulent, and masculine library.

Foyer by Delphine Krakoff

Miss Krakoff gives the foyer above a touch of Hollywood glam with this intense and gilded model.

Design by Steven Sills
This vignette exudes a warm, but museum-like, feel. Is it me, or do the bust and antique mirror totally steal the show here?

Home of Tony Baratta courtesy of NYSD

I love the collection of busts and other sculpture displayed on these amazing shelves. So grand and, yet, so modern!

Design by John Saladino

This last photo for the day is from one of my favorites: John Saladino. His use of silk, stone, and architectural elements big and small, make him the most elegant of minimalists, giving his interiors the "aura of a Renaissance painting" (says one author).

Have a wonderful weekend and look out for more to come next week!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

No Fear

I am beginning to work on a few small design projects for friends and, when I asked another design professional what advice she would give a novice like me, "No fear" was her simple and poignant reply.

So I have looked to the works of the design greats to show me the way to be fearless...

With color!

Design by Cath Kidston - Photo courtesy of Lonny

Bedroom by Miles Redd

With pattern!

Design by Charlotte Moss

Design by John Loecke Inc.

With custom pieces!

Bedroom by Laurann Claridge

Vignette by Michelle Adams
 Here's to being fearless in all facets of life!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Design by Carolina Irving courtesy of Lonny

Due to the overwhelming popularity of my English Country House post, I am working on another similarly-inspired post to come out soon. For now, however, all you Anglophiles out there will just have to sate yourselves with this lovely room above, created by the talented textile designer Carolina Irving.

Have a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Walk the Line

Bedroom design by Peter Dunham

One pattern that keeps catching my eye recently is striped. I love how many variations it comes in, and how, even when saturated with color, it can still provide such a solid base for a room.

Bedroom by Peter Dunham

Ticking stripes are a popular option right now and I love the casual charm they possess.

Living room by India Hicks
Note how the lines of the wall panels are mimicked by the ticking on the cozy sofa, creating a tidy, but comfortable, look.

Carolina Herrera takes stripes in a much different direction, creating calm and order in her very elegant living room. Note how the vertical stripes on the wall really accentuate those soaring ceilings!

Bedroom by Tobi Fairley

I love how playful stripes can be, as well. Despite the boldness of the colors on the bed above, it still remains orderly and refined.

Design by Tobi Fairley

Alternately, in this sophisticated color palette of red, white, and blue, this foyer still feels fun and energetic.

Living room by Jay Jeffers

Don't those chair pillows look just like candy?

Pic courtesy of Pink Wallpaper blog

I love this very simple, yet quite lovely, dining area. The color and width of these stripes is, to me, just perfect!

Design by Chad Eisner

Chad Eisner uses a similar wide-stripe style above, but in a much more traditional setting. I love that etagere, painting, and the plaid window shades paired with the reserved stripes.

Bedroom by Katie Ridder
I love how Miss Ridder carried the smaller stripes all the way up the vaulted ceiling and then used bolder, more variegated stripes on the rug. Love those ikat drapes too!

Our last photo of the day is from the fabulous Mr. Gary Spain. His designs are so original and innovative, bold and engaging. (You must look at his website.) I get so much inspiration from looking at his designs! Anyone that can use Bertoia and Biedermeier, French country and modern, all in one space (and so beautifully) has my heart!

Living room by Gary Spain
I want to call this chair stripe "Venetian" although I'm not sure why. I guess it just seems to have that playful European style so embodied by Venetians!

Have a great day!