Thursday, May 26, 2011

Viceroy Anguilla

I think I'm about a year late in posting about this, but I was at the Kravet showroom today and on the front page of their newsletter was a photo from the Viceroy Anguilla. I love most of what Kelly Wearstler does, but above all else, I think I love the way she uses all kinds of stone. In slab or tile form; honed or polished; on furniture, walls, floors, and columns; I can't get enough.



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Well-Made Rugs

Tabriz (above)

I'm thinking about starting a series on my blog called, "a bit pricey, but well worth it" in which I would talk about the following:

  • custom window treatments
  • custom pillows
  • wallpapering an entire room (none of this "one accent wall" business)
  • artwork and proper framing
  • hand-blocked fabric
  • and what I'll be posting about today: a well made rug

Rugs fall into 2 categories: rugs that are cheap and will fall apart in 6 months - 2 years (and generally don't look that great through the process), and rugs that are an investment that you can pass down to your grandchildren. For a larger hand knotted wool or wool-blend area rug, prices start at around $2000 and go up from there. The size and style will affect the price, but as I mentioned above, it's worth it.

Ikat Uzbek:

Antique rugs are my personal favorite and have a lot of detail and character that contemporary rugs attempt to emulate, but often fall short (with a few exceptions). Antique rugs are 80+ years old and made with construction techniques that are often replaced today by machine construction that produces inferior design and durability. Antique rugs encompass so much life and history and the fact that they are still being used today stands as a testament to their durability and timeless beauty.

Vintage Moroccan Oriental:

Nazmiyal Collection has an amazing assortment of antique rugs from all over the world. Prices vary greatly depending on size, construction, and country of origin. I have posted a sampling from their incredible collection. Visit their website here for more information.

Vintage Deco Chinese:

Antique Kilim:

Antique Agra Oriental:

Early American:

Antique Chinese Oriental:

Antique Kilim Persian:

Antique Beshir Afghan:

Don't underestimate the impact a beautiful, well-made rug can have on your room. If you're on a tight budget, purchasing a cheap area rug is an easy way to cut back, but if you can budget for a well-made rug, it's money well spent on something that you can enjoy for years to come.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Keri Russel's Brooklyn Brownstone


The WB show Felicity came out when I was in high school and my sisters, friends, and I would watch it religiously. I continued to not miss an episode until the show ended my junior year of college. Every relationship problem I have ever had (and there have been many) can be linked back to a Felicity episode. Through the four year series, J.J. Abrams seemed to cover it all in a sincere and realistically comical way, which made it so relatable to me. (The cute boys didn't hurt either.)

I've been a huge Keri Russel fan ever since and was delighted to read about her home on Elle Decor's website. 


She decided on a brownstone in Brooklyn and did a complete remodel under the convenient direction of her contractor husband. (Maybe I should look in to getting one of those.) The house is adorned in reclaimed wood cabinets and side tables and other creatively repurposed materials.




Get the full scoop here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ruthie Sommers: Tells It Like It Is

I looked through March's House Beautiful a while ago and noticed that it featured Ruthie Sommers' newly remodeled home in Los Angeles. I was a big fan of her store, Chapman Radcliff, that was on La Cienega, and like the rest of the design world, fell in love her style after her feature in the first ever issue of Domino (below).


When I first became interested in interiors, I had a very white/neutral design aesthetic. Looking back, I'd have to say that Ruthie's interiors are probably one of the main things that opened my eyes to the world of color, so it is fitting that her House Beautiful article is all about her bold color choices.

It wasn't until just this past week that I actually read the article in House Beautiful and it was by far my most favorite interview to date (although I don't read every article). I was cracking up at some of her answers to the interview questions. Her honesty is refreshing and I ate up every word. Below are some of the highlights (via House Beautiful), exemplifying her extreme confidence in being who she is as a designer.


David A. Keeps: How do you make three or four colors in a room work?

Ruthie Sommers: Matching is for amateurs. That's Decorating 101. I like all colors — soft, light, shimmery, deep. I'm a watercolorist, and one thing I learned from painting landscapes is that if you're ever stuck, lighten your lights and darken your darks to create contrast.

Almost all your ceilings are vividly colored. What's wrong with white?

White is boring on a ceiling. I may not know where my car keys are, but I know when I need a yellow ceiling.


So why did your red room need a yellow ceiling?

I wanted it to feel like a lush old English study, or a cozy room in a Paris B&B, so I put red damask on the walls. But the room needed an edge. So I did a canary yellow ceiling. One person said it looked like McDonald's. I told them they needed to leave.


How can you be so confident about such bold choices?

I don't think about it too much. You know, Sister Parish never used a tape measure. I don't use a color wheel. I probably should use one more often. But when you do what you love, sometimes you can pull it off. There are a lot of clients for whom I do minimal colors or soothing ocean shades. And I don't want them to come to my house. It's not their cup of Crayolas.


You're really cuckoo for color.

It gives me a panic attack when I can't get the right color. At a client's house we painted the bathroom periwinkle, and one day we looked at the sky and it was the exact same color. I would choose seeing that over winning the lottery or sex. It tickled me pink.

A good expression.

But sometimes I'll come in here and think, 'I just want to throw this house in the ocean. Why is it so wacky?'

Don't be so hard on yourself, missy.

I have Chinese, Indian, Queen Anne, Victorian, midcentury, Georgian scroll, Greek key.... I'm envious when I go into people's houses and see their restraint. I wish I were a die-hard one-style person, but I am way too ADD.


How do you draw the line between decorated and overdecorated?

I'm sure I'm overdecorated. But I want visual candy, and it's my house, so who cares? When I can't decorate anymore, I go to the ceiling. It's the fifth wall.

What's your idea of a design mishap?

People with too much money buying things just for show. If you put in your home what you love, the bravado with which you do it outweighs any kind of provenance.

What do you consider a luxury?

Rearranging furniture all night with some great red wine. And my own tail number on a private plane.


Tufting: Terrific or tired?

No design detail gets tired to me. Tufted has never gone out, and people who say it has are paying too much attention to blogs.

What are you 'over'?

I'm over the idea that a decorator is anything more than a decorator. You sit on the floor with clients, talk about chairs, push fabrics. Lifestyle architect? Tastemaker? Please. If you have taste you never even say the word!

images via Simply Seleta, Love Forever, Coco & Emma, & House Beautiful

My Kind of Art

Today I purchased the last available ticket for the Newport Mesa Home Tour about an hour and a half after it started. Sometimes I procrastinate on purpose, but today it was actually because I hadn’t heard about the home tour until I drove passed a sign this morning.

One of my favorite homes on the tour was the Bay Shores residence of Diane Nelson, owner of SCAPE (Southern California Art Projects and Exhibitions) in Corona Del Mar. The decor was stunning (designed by ML Stockwell Interiors), and I absolutely loved how the home owners decided to keep the existing house from the 40's instead of doing a tear down and rebuild. Even though the ceilings were a little low at times and the floor plan wasn't as "open" as some would like, I really appreciate that kind of preservation of history and character.

But what I loved most about the house was the amazing art everywhere I turned, which is to be expected judging by SCAPE's aesthetic and taste. The art spoke to my soul and I wanted to own every piece, not to mention that the framing and placement were spot on - I wouldn't have changed a thing. Like many art lovers, I really do have an appreciation for all types of art, but there are just certain pieces that make my heart skip a beat. They are the pieces I’m dying to take home with me to make a plain wall something amazing and a good room something great. I have a love of oil paintings in muted colors no matter the subject. I obsess over abstract charcoals and pencil drawings. Any art portraying the human figure, especially sketches, I absolutely love. I also adore portraits that are painted, penciled, collaged...the list goes on.

I'm not sure if I was allowed to take photos, I'm guess not since no one on the tour was taking any, but I couldn't help myself. Here are a couple quick shots that I snuck of the upstairs landing which had a beautiful collection displayed down to the floor.



The works in Diane's home were exactly my taste, and heart did skip a beat.

Below is a smattering of art that has been previous exhibited at SCAPE. If you're looking to continue or start a serious art collection, SCAPE can help you in your art journey, and judging by Diane's own collection, I think you'll be in good hands.

Eric Zener

Wolfgang Bloch

Michael Eastman

Jeff Leonard

Julie Easton

Marco Sassone

Paula Rubino

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Alexander Calder @ the OCMA


The new exhibit at the Orange County Museum of Art features the work of beloved artist Alexander Calder along with other contemporary artists influenced by Calder.

After studying to be a mechanical engineer, Alexander Calder later went on to study art and eventually became famous for his miniature circus acts that he would carry in suitcases and perform for audiences. "Cirque Calderfeatured circus performers made from wire, string, rubber, cloth, and other found objects. Thanks to YouTube we have access to Calder's fascinating little circus' at the click of a mouse. 

Alexander Calder is perhaps most famous for creating the mobile. Calder had said, "To most people who look at a mobile, it's no more than a series of flat objects that move. To a few, though, it may be poetry."





And to is poetry. 

Go to the OCMA and see for yourself. The Calder exhibit runs through September 4, 2011.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

The older I get the more I realize the kind of impact a loving mother can have on a child. I know that all of the good things about me; all of the success and confidence that I enjoy is due in large part to my amazing parents, who are still my biggest fans today.

This year for Mother's Day I had the opportunity to celebrate 3 of my most favorite mothers on the planet: my own mother, who is mom to myself and my 4 siblings; my oldest sister Mikken, fabulous step-mom to 3 adorable kids; and my next older sister Melissa who is pregnant with my very first little niece or nephew!

I made each of them a little floral bouquet using peonies, ranunculus, molucella, and tullips - above and below are some photos of the arrangements.

Our new tradition, which we started last year is to do a Mother's Day brunch. We all decided that breakfast food is prettier anyway, which makes for better photographs! My sisters, mom, and brothers are all amazing cooks; most of the food for our brunch today was made by Melissa.

This year was especially fun because my entire family was in town. We are all lucky enough to have pretty flexible jobs which allow us to see each other often, even though we don't all live near each other. Even still, one of our favorite things to do is sit around the table when we're all together and eat and talk...for hours.

My little brother Jeff & my dad:

My parents:

Smiling pictures can get boring, so sometimes I like to change it up.

My brothers and me:

Mikken's handsome husband:

Melissa and my mom:

My mom took this and was pretty proud of her artsy photo.

As the remaining single siblings, sometimes we high-five to celebrate our singledom - it is generally initiated by someone saying, "Singles, up top".

I mentioned in a previous blog post that I am helping my oldest sister with her condo, so you can see a little of her dining room progress in the photos of our table setting.

At the end of the day, a table always looks better with fresh flowers, and food always tastes better eating it with my family.

Happy Mother's Day Mom, I love you!
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