Monday, June 13, 2011

Worldly Wise

Home of Madeline Weinrib

Whether kuba cloth pillows or tribal masks, Moroccan rugs or Indian block prints, I love a bit of exotic flair in a home!

Guest bedroom by M. Design Interiors

Home of Theory's Istvan Francer

One of my favorite rooms ever! I love the accent colors (lavender and orange - so unexpected), the kuba cloth pillows, the glass lamps, the portraits, the accessories... I love it all!

Bedroom from the Viceroy Mayakoba - Design by Kelly Wearstler

Dining area by Peter Dunham

Typical Dunham style: colorful, cozy, and classically eclectic. (Yes, yes, again with my alliteration!)

Bedroom by Westbrook Interiors

Isn't this room so bright and so interesting? What an amazing combination of pieces.

Library by Tom Delavan
I love the traditional seating mixed with modern (aka, the Saarinen table and zig-zaggy task lamp) and exotic (antique suzani and tribal masks) elements. So sophisticated!

Bedroom by Martyn Lawrence-Bullard

Sky-high mosquito netting? How dreamy!

Living room by Thomas Hamel

As you can see, exotic doesn't have to mean wild or over-the-top. These spaces are comfortable, sophisticated, and sure to intrigue both guest and owner alike!

Here's to a great week ahead!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Easy like Sunday morning

Bedroom by Celerie Kemble

I hope you've all been lazing around in bed this Sunday morning! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

Friday, June 10, 2011

V for Vignette

Vignette by Jeffrey Bilhuber

I thought we would wrap up the week with the simple beauty of tabletop arrangments. Creating vignettes is like having a real, evolving still life in your own home: an opportunity for artistic expression and a place to showcase your treasures!

Vignette by Dan Marty

I love Dan Marty: his interiors are exotic in that Colonial sort of way, perfectly curated, and yet so comfortable and warm.

Bedside arrangement by Scout Designs

Photo courtesy of Victoria magazine

Vignette by Paula Caravelli

Caravelli uses artwork by her uncle, Augustus Mino, to give personal meaning to the arrangement on this lovely secretary.

Vignette by Perch owner Caroline Robert

And last, but not least, some fabulous New Orleans style by Miss Robert to end our week.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Serengeti Style

Living room by Dan Carithers

I've noticed the attention my Creature Comforts post has been getting recently, so I thought I'd give you guys a little more of what you want! (And, as I said in that post, a little animal print goes a long way!)

Study by Elaine Griffin

Bedroom by Bradley Thiergarten - Photo courtesy of Habitually Chic

Library by Schuyler Samperton

Bedroom by Stephen Shubel

Half way through the week!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Take Home: Bernd Goeckler (cont'd)

Foyer in home of Bernd Goeckler

Alrighty, so where did we leave off?.... Ahh, accessories!

So, we need to gather some interesting accessories for the console table. First, I would find a nice little piece of framed artwork to just lean against the wall.

Framed Architectural Column Print in "Corinthian" by Pottery Barn

I love the architectural element of this print and the washed-out color of the frame. Adding subtle texture and color to a vignette is always a good idea (especially for only $47)!

Next, we need a pretty (but large) glass vase for the table.

I found this blown-glass version at Home Goods for only $20 (and it is almost a foot tall)! I like the pale amber color and irregular shape. (Again, adding another texture/color to the mix!)

A pretty vase like this is going to need some flowers and I think some in a happy, pale pink color are just the ticket!

Vignette by Joe Nye

Just as Joe Nye illustrates in his fabulous book Flair, carnations are a great option when you want lovely, but inexpensive flowers that will last forever! (Even a large bouquet of carnations will usually still be under $10!)

Table setting by Joe Nye

Or, if you prefer a totally neutral palette (and want to stick with grocery-store-flower options), you could go with a very large arrangement of baby's breath as Nye does above. I would definitely stick to his rule, though, and use this flower only by itself.

Now all we need are a few unique little doodads and our space is complete!

Roman Sandaled Foot Sculpture from the Met Store

A foot, you say? Yes, a foot. I love this. It is so different and sculptural and you are not going to see this in anyone else's house! (What a conversation starter! And right there at your front door too!) It is pricey ($125), but I think it is worth it for that "wow" factor!

Moorish Brass Pitcher from TheTonyHouse on Etsy

Here we add a little more brass into the mix, while also gaining a slightly exotic element. (Doesn't it have that genie-in-a-bottle sort of feel?) It is $42 and a perfect addition to our happy vignette.

Welding Votive Holder by Anthropologie in Lavender

This little guy (only 3 inches tall) is only $10 and adds that perfect amount of sparkle that we need to finish our table arrangment!

So, let's gather up all our [make believe] receipts and calculate the grand total for our room....

Drumroll please....

Alrighty, so for everything from the furniture and tapestry to the books and flowers (but not including paint), our total is $1330!

Not too bad considering the first tapestry we looked at was $90,000! I know it is still a significant amount, but this price is for a completed room, and most people tend to accumulate things over time, not all at once like this.

So, I hope the next time you look at a picture of a beautiful room and think, "I wish I could have that look", remind yourself that you CAN!

Here's to the idea that anything is possible and a great week ahead!

Take Home: Bernd Goeckler

Foyer in home of antiques dealer Bernd Goeckler - Photo courtesy of NYSD

I hope everyone had a very nice weekend! So, today I want to do something a little different...

I saw this picture of Mr. Goeckler's home and thought it was so beautiful and unique: one of those spaces that, I fear, many people may look at and think, "I could never make my house look like that."

Well now, that just makes me sad! I think good design is available at any price point. Yes, sometimes it takes time and a lot of scrimping and saving, but it can happen. And that's exactly what I want to prove today!

So, let's take the foyer above as our first example. The main focus of this space, to me, is that enormous tapestry. Where can we find such a thing? I'll use 1stDibs to aide in our search....

Grand 17th C. Gobelin Tapestry from Ambiance Antiques on 1stDibs

Here we go! This is perfect: 17th century and Flemish, just like the one in the picture! And, at 9 by 14 feet, it's only $715 a square foot (aka, $90,000 total)!

Oh, too expensive, you say? Yeah, I hear you. I was going to use that money for my weekend on Necker Island anyway.

17c Flemish Tapestry from Balzac Antiques on 1stDibs 

Okay, here we go! This one is not quite as big (only 8 by 10 feet), but it fits the bill and is less than half the price of the other one!.... Only $32,750!

What? Still too pricey for you? Alright, alright, you strike a hard bargain, so I will show you one more....

French Aubusson tapestry from English Accent Antiques on 1stDibs 

So here it is! It's our smallest yet (6 by 9 feet) and French instead of Flemish, but the colors are perfect and, at only $17,500, you are surely going to want to snatch it right up.... right?

Ha ha! Okay, these are all amazingly beautiful pieces, but, all kidding aside, finding a true bargain - especially when you are attempting to translate fabulous interior design into accessible furnishings for your own home - is a real challenge!

But, I think I can help... Let's take a look at Mr. Goeckler's foyer once again...

So, I'm seeing five key components in this space: wall hanging, chairs, console, mirror, and lighting. (We'll take care of the accessories a bit later.)

Let's start, again, with the tapestry. Now, when looking for a bargain (as I'm sure you're all aware), you really have to make compromises. Here, we will have to compromise on color, quality/age, and, especially, size, but that does not mean we can't have a gorgeous finished product!

Vintage Tapestry from Etsy seller Allmndjy

Here is a lovely example of a tapestry that someone on a budget (isn't that everyone?) can afford. It is $110 and, at 2 by 4 1/2 feet, is an appropriate size for most entryways.

Now we need some chairs to go in front of our hanging...

I found these two Louis XVI-style chairs at the Home Goods here in Birmingham. They are a warm (but not too dark), wood finish and are upholstered in a really lovely linen fabric. At $149 each, they are not too hard on the pocketbook and are a similar style to those in our sample foyer. (For a comparison, Ballard Designs offers a similar chair, in a multitude of fabrics and finishes, starting at $329.)

Next, we need a console table...

Handpainted Balustrade Console by Wisteria

I really like the lines of this one by Wisteria (although I'm a little peeved that they upped the price $40 - to $229 - in the week or two since I've been looking at this item). The arching metal work below the apron mimics the shape of the one in the sample photo, and the dark, black finish gives it a stand-out, graphic look.

Now we need a mirror to hang over this pretty piece...

Art Deco Mirror by Ballard Designs

I like this one by Suzanne Kasler for Ballard Designs for $169. It has a clean, slightly rectangluar shape, a pretty mirrored mosaic surround, and, at 32 inches wide (when hung in landscape orientation), it is a good fit over our 44 inch wide console. (Plus it has that sort of French modern thing going for it too!)

Now for some lighting...

Nautical Mini Pendant Light by Hampton Bay for Home Depot

I am a big fan of brass. It's not a material you see much anymore, but I see a comeback soon!

This little pendant light would be so neat in an entryway, a sort of unexpected use for this style, and it is only $40! Speaking of unexpected, I think our sconces for either side of the mirror really need to pack a style punch...

Pair of Brass "Beehive" Mid-Century Modern Sconces from RetroReality on Etsy

So here you go! Punchy and modern and totally fun, these sconces weigh in at only $50 (for the pair) and give the space a happy, mod twist. 

So, these items take care of the basics for the space. Now we need all those finishing touches that will add polish to the design.

First, we need to find a curtain like the one in the background of the photo.

West Elm Luxe Curtain in Zinc

I just adore the color and shimmer of this one by West Elm, and the way they did the pole pocket with hidden tabs gives it the look of expensive pleating at the top. It is only $59 for the 48 by 96 inch panel, which can cover your front door, closet, or hallway while adding a ton of drama to the space.

If you own your home (or are allowed to paint in your rental), I would go for a crisp, neutral backdrop as Mr. Goeckler did, and use white paint for the walls.

I would use White Dove by Benjamin Moore. I know, white is white, right? Well, sort of. Some whites come off very bright, some almost blue, while some have pink or yellow undertones. (You could paint a bunch of swatches side-by-side, or you could just take my word for it!) White Dove has some warmth to it, so it wouldn't be too glaring. I think the style of this foyer dictates the need for softness.

Okay, what now?.... Oh, books!

A variety of design and garden books from discount book seller, 2nd and Charles

Well, let me back up: I would hang the tapestry about 6 inches down from the ceiling (if you have 8 foot ceilings) so that the bottom would hang just a little bit behind the back of the chairs. Then, instead of putting the chairs on either side of the tapestry, mix it up a bit, and put them side by side (about 3 or 4 inches apart), slightly off center of the tapestry. Then you can take your little stack of books (the stack shown above was $120) and sit them on the floor next to one of the chairs. How casually elegant!

Next, we will find some accessories for that console!

***To be continued in the next post***

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Living room by Dan Marty

One of my favorite living rooms ever: unfinished upholstery, armchairs in lieu of the traditional sofa, massive fireplace, towering palm, custom fabric lampshades, punches of red, and plenty of weathered, worldly charm. What a talent.