Saturday Style Diary

2017 has been a whirlwind; the past two months alone, I have doubled my client roster!!  I have been a busy bee with lots of really exciting design projects ranging from a kitchen showroom, media room, a few family rooms, tons of kids’ rooms, a couple of formal living rooms and so much more!! I can’t wait to share my finished projects with you.

One of my favorite things about being a designer is that (for obvious reasons) no two projects are alike.  Interior Design is a study in psychology, sociology, economics and fine arts.  Each project is different and stretches me in ways that always leaves me feeling like a better version of myself by the end of it.   I enjoy getting to know each of my clients and hearing about their lives, as well as what role they would like me to play in the design of their home.

I always begin asking about how my clients want their space to feel.  I have learned that asking clients this question, as opposed to how they want their space to look, allows me to lead the design process by instinct.  Since clients often have trouble articulating how their space should look (hence, my role in the process), this is the best place to start.  I strive to find unique ways to achieve the clients’ dream room.  I love when a client says “I never would have chosen any of this, but this is EXACTLY how I wanted this room to look!”

With all of the diverse projects I’ve been working on, I thought I’d share a quick post on things that I am loving right now.

  1.  White Painted Rooms

Gray has completely taken over the market the last few years.  It is EVERYWHERE!! I love gray; it is a great neutral. However, it has been overused and is beginning to lose the characteristics that initially attracted us to it.  In addition, when everything and everyone is using gray it begins to suck the life out of a space.

I have been really loving white-painted rooms.  White rooms need not translate into boring spaces.  Quite the contrary; a space with white walls can be very dramatic.  Painting walls in white lets you control where the focal points are and orchestrate what elements you want to showcase and what elements you might want to hide.  It is no secret that art galleries favor white paint to draw focus to each piece of art.  It is the same for interiors.  An heirloom piece is so much more impactful when showcased in a white room.

Bright white paint with blue undertones is perfect for a modern room; white paint with pink or yellow undertones is more suitable for a rustic interior; and white with gray undertones is perfect for a transitional space.

I love the clean and sophisticated backdrop that a white-painted room provides.  However, white is a very fickle color. Hands down, it is the hardest paint color to pick because of all of the undertones.  When done right, it feels fresh, calm and allows all of the right elements to shine.  When done wrong, it feels cold, boring and sterile.

Below are rooms where white is done beautifully:

2.  Antiqued Mirrors

Antiqued mirrors are the easiest way to add interest and patina to a room.  This element immediately elevates any room or piece it adorns.  Adding an antique finish is not cheap, but the visual payout is HUGE!!!

There are so many antique finishes to choose from; they can range from blue, black, brown and gold.  Choose the finish that best conveys the look you are going for, or that shares the same color palette as the rest of the room.

I have backed bookcases, added to cabinets and used them in a myriad of decorative ways.  I can not say enough about antique mirrors; I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this finish!!

3.  Lucite

This is the finish that I get the most initial push back on from clients, and the one they ALWAYS love once they take the leap.  This is also a finish that looks horrid when done poorly.  The key is in the material used, which usually coincides with the price.  Thin, cloudy lucite looks cheap.  Look for lucite that is thick (usually heavy) and crystal clear.  The beauty of lucite is that it takes up no visual space; therefore, it is the perfect piece to put in small spaces or if you want to highlight a beautiful area rug or wallpaper.  There is MAJOR impact in this transparent material!

4.  Matte Black

I have been loving this material for months now (see my post here).  There is something really rich about this color.  I have always felt that every room needs some black.   Black is a neutral.  Whereas some neutrals move the eyes through a room, black serves to ground a space and stops the eyes “dead in their tracks”.  There is something so incredibly chic about black; the matte finish adds a more current feel to this versatile color.   I always compare black elements with black eyeliner.  Like black eyeliner, black serves to outline spaces and creates a portal through which one’s focus is guided.  This is the reason I love to paint the moldings for doorways and windows in black.

5.  Overdyed Area Rugs

Like gray, geometric rugs have been overdone.  I still use them when the space warrants it, but I am loving the depth that overdyed rugs lend to a room.  I also love the juxtaposition and tension that an overdyed rug creates in a modern space.  The saturation in the dye, as well as its absence, adds a really interesting layer in a room.

I hope this post has served to enlighten and inspire you to try some of the elements I’ve listed here.  What makes design so fun, is for the most part, things are easy and inexpensive to change.  If you don’t like the paint, then repaint; if you don’t like a piece, return it.  Design should not be stressful.

Our home is a reflection of who we are or who we would like to become.  It is within those walls that we dare to be all that we truly are.  Have fun. Be bold. Stay curious.

I would love to hear what you think of some of these trends.  Let me know which, if any, you have tried and loved.

XO

Laurie

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The 3 Places Designers Shop (Frequently), But Don’t Want You To Know!

The internet has completely changed the landscape of design on so many levels.  Being able to hunt for the perfect piece from dozens of retailers in one sitting has allowed us to expand our reach, and thus our vision as both consumers and designers, tremendously.  We are no longer limited by geography.

While at the Salon today, I was chatting up my stylist about the parallels of fashion, hair and home (see my posts here and here on this connection).  She was lamenting about how she was ready to redo her home and how hard it is to find good quality furniture.  I have this conversation (or some variation) on a weekly basis.  To which, I usually ask: “when was the last time you bought a sofa?”  The reply is always within the past 5-7 years.  My point being, we are such a disposable society that we no longer keep or pass down heirloom furniture.  We should not look for furniture that could survive a nuclear war, or that our kids will want 20 years from now.  Most of us will go through 2-4 major style changes throughout our adult life; therefore, it is just fiscally prudent to save on furniture and decorative items for your home.  The most successful and interesting design is ALWAYS done with a high/low mix.

In this powder room below, I used a wall paper that is insanely expensive, but the mirror is from PB Teen, and the agate art I actually made for about $60.

Below are the three stores designers can be found on a weekly basis:

  1.  IKEA – If I had a dollar for every time someone turned up his or her nose at the thought of purchasing anything from IKEA, I would be a rich, happy girl lounging poolside with my bestie (my beverage butler 🙂 While I don’t advocate outfitting one’s entire home in IKEA, there are undeniably stylish pieces and décor staples that I go back to over and over again.  I need to do an entire blog post on all of the IKEA hacks I’ve done that ALWAYS end in “I can’t believe that is from IKEA”.   The key to successfully using IKEA furniture is the way in which it is assembled.  Each piece has to be reinforced with screws, and the dowels (most pieces come with) must be glued in. This retailer is a great resource and should not be overlooked.  Here are some of my favorite pieces from this retailer.

The modern classic Tulip table, need I say more?

Pedestal table, DWR Pedestal table

This rug is ICONIC; so much so, that other companies knock off this design, repeatedly!!  It is also one of the most pinned rugs on pinterest!

$300 for an 8 x 12

IKEA Stockholm Rug

I have used the Besta Storage buffet (shown below) more times than I can count.  I’ve painted this piece (gray, black and left it white), added beautiful hardware and voila!…a really nice piece for an entryway, dining room or family room!

Besta Storage, brass pull

I LOVE this rug for a kid’s room!!!  Its color scheme is very versatile.

The other things I love to get at IKEA are towels, faux succulents and art.

towels, succulent, art

2.  ZARA HOME – We all know and love Zara’s clothing store.  I have two pairs of jeans I wear on repeat (seen here and here) both are from this retailer.  This fashion powerhouse defies all that we think we know about fashion.  This brand is known world wide and dictates almost every trend we see each season.  However, most people don’t know that they have a home division as well.  Zara Home has a very minimalist vibe that is big on style, but not on price.  Below are some great staples from this retailer.

decorative coral, WS Home Coral

Love this starburst mirror!  We have seen this classic shape done in metal many times, but this style done in a completely mirrored surface is a unique interpretation.  The beveled “rays” add a high end detail.  At this price, this mirror is a must have.

mirror

Some other great stapes: cabinet knobs, accent table, hotel bedding and stool.

Mother of Pearl knobs,Marble accent table, Hotel banded bedding, hammered stool

3.  World Market – You are guaranteed to find something at World Market.  It is extremely trend driven, so this is a great source if you want to update your home with on trend pieces.    I love their selection of outdoor furniture.  Outdoor furniture can be very expensive, and even if it’s kept covered, it still looks worn and faded after a few years.  World Market’s price point lets you get good looking furniture that you don’t have to feel bad about replacing in a few years. Below are some pieces that are a great find!

The French bistro chair is always a classic and can be used indoors or outdoors.  Serena and Lily has cornered the market on this chair; however, this piece from WM looks likes a pretty good dupe to me.

World Market Bistro Chair, Serena and Lily Bistro Chair

Sectional sofa, Stool, Adirondack chair, Wicker chair

Interior Design is really about creating a space that captures the spirit of those who inhabit it, while respecting the identity of the space itself.  I love the quote by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”.  If you adhere to this, you will never go wrong.

I would love to hear about your secret sources, or the stores that you know will always have what you need.  Also, let me know what you want to read more about!

Happy Weekend!!!

XO

Laurie

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The Home Design Trends That Will Be OVER In 2017

Every few years a major paradigm shift occurs in design;  2017 will be one of those years.  There are so many factors that foster these shifts.  See my post here from the beginning of the year where I delve into some of these reasons.  For the past few years design has favored a neutral palette, organic elements and open concept living.  A cleaner more minimalist style has been the trend.  Less will still be more in 2017;  I don’t think we will ever go back to the “let me cover/fill every surface in my home” again. However, 2017 will bring new materials, richer colors and a more personal approach to designing one’s home.

What WILL be OVER are:

Moroccan Prints: 

This print has had a pretty good run.  This pattern was able to cross style boundaries popping up in traditional, modern and everything in between.  I love this print, it is a soft geometric that lends itself to many applications.  The problem is that it was WAY TOO OVERDONE!  We now have Moroccan print fatigue.  I can’t bear to use this fabric anymore.

If you are not ready to let this pattern go, try an ikat version of this print for a more updated look.

Image via Etsy

Image via Etsy

 

Chevron:

This pattern dating back to the 60’s re-emerged in the more modern realm of design a few years ago.  It has since crept into every sect of the design world.  The traditional version of this pattern will be zigzagging itself out of decor next year.  Like its Moroccan print soul-sister, it too has been over used.

 

If you REALLY love Chevron, below is an updated version that looks more current.

The new Chevron -Image via Residents Understood

The new Chevron -Image via Residents Understood

If you have either of these prints in your home, I wouldn’t toss them.  However, I would not recommend purchasing anything new (especially upholstered or custom pieces) in these prints.

 

We are going to see a lot more new textures than new patterns in the upcoming year.  Some other trends that will be HUGE in 2017 are:

  1. Marble

Beside the obvious marble counter top, marble is now popping up in decor elements and decorative object and lamps.

marble tray (20%off use code MERRY), Lamp, Bookends

2.  Cork

This organic material will be HUGE for 2017!  Everything from entire cork walls, to cork flooring.

Cork Wallpaper, Drum Lighting,

3.  Jewel Tones

Cream, blush and gray monopolized much of 2016.  2017 will make way for deeper richer colors such as amethyst and sapphire. However, I think emerald-green will be the star in the new year.  I predict there will be rich colors done in rich textures such as velvet, tweed and linen.  If these rich tones make you nervous, try starting with one richly colored piece while keeping everything else more neutral.

I am loving this emerald-green sofa from Anthropologie.

 

sofa, arched headboard, dining chair

4.  Nailheads

I love this metal detail!  It elevates everything it adorns, making ordinary pieces look special.  EVERYTHING looks better with nailheads…..no exceptions!!!

This side table from Better Homes and Garden is a major steal!

side table, Chest, mirror

I am looking forward to what the new year will bring.  In future posts, I will discuss some of the other major design movements and trends that are emerging.  Let me know what topics you would like to hear more about, or post any feedback on this topic.

XO

Laurie

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5 Things To Buy In Multiples

Since going to Paris last year, I am obsessed with the Parisian concept of the capsule wardrobe (read about it here).  Parisians believe in buying the best you can afford, but only buying what you need.  When I was in Paris I saw very simple (yet very chic) clothing that was well made and fit beautifully.  Don’t get me wrong, Parisian women love to dress on trend; however, they are not slaves to trends and would never be caught dead following more than a few trends each season.  A Parisian acquaintance of mine revealed that women in Paris view simplicity and minimalism as “tres Chic”.  Conversely, Americans believe that luxury is acquiring as much as we possibly can.  I admit, I fell prey to this way of thinking as well.  My shoes were crammed on my shelves, I could barely fit one more hanger in my closet and I could go at least two months without repeating an outfit. This past year I have done a complete 180. I finally realized that true luxury is in owning a few beautifully crafted items that are current with timeless appeal.

As seen in my post on the home-fashion connection (read here), Parisians feel the same about their homes as they do about fashion.  The key is selecting and showcasing pieces in a refined and restrained way . Their minimalist mentality regarding their home results in a home that is equally as chic as their outfits.  In a typical Parisian home you will find a few well made pieces of furniture, gorgeous fabrics and a few chic, well placed accessories or art.  As with my wardrobe, I have also seen the value of fiercely editing my home.

Below is a REAL Parisian apartment that my husband and I will be renting when we go back to Paris this Summer.  Although it is not professionally designed, it illustrates the chic, minimal and well edited design philosophy of Parisians.

paris apartment

 

So, with this concept in mind why did I title this post “5 Things To Buy In Multiples”? Because, while there is beauty and freedom in a well edited home, there is also a need for functionality.  Spending time enjoying the company of our friends and loved ones is the truest extravagance.  Therefore, there are things that help one in creating a beautiful environment, thus enhancing those special moments.  My short list of items will undoubtedly make life more pleasurable and functional when entertaining those we love.

Here is my list:

  1. Stools/Ottomans:  I love any item that has multiple uses. Stools and ottomans are as beautiful as they are functional.  They can be used as seating or a landing place for a cocktail or small plate.  They are easy to store away when not in use, or artfully arranged to form a chic conversation area.

Here are a few that I love:

Serena and Lily Moroccan Pouf

Serena and Lily Moroccan Pouf

Pottery Barn Vince Stool, West Elm Cross Based Ottoman, Christopher Knight Rosalynn Ottoman, Serena & Lily Moroccan Pouf

2.  Picture frames:  Unless it is a showstopping piece, groupings always look better than a singular piece of art.  Therefore, using the same (or similar) frames creates a stylish and unified look. Read my post here on how to hang art.  The frames below are the ones I use most frequently for my clients. These frames are well priced, have professional quality mattes and are easy to hang.

Here are some of my favorites:

West Elm Mirrored Frames,  WS Home Gold Metal Frames,  Pottery Barn Black Wood Gallery Frames

3. Throw pillows:  Surprise, surprise 🙂 There is no faster, easier and least expensive way to update one’s home than with throw pillows.  The key is variation.  Choose at least three pillows of various sizes, textures and patterns for your grouping. This is the perfect time to update your home with fun, bright accent pillows.

Here are some that I am loving right now:

Z Gallerie Modena Pillow,  Coco Cozy embroidered pillow, Lulu & Georgia Melia Pillow

4.  Lanterns:  Lanterns are such a fun way to make a statement.  They can be grouped together to create a dramatic centerpiece or scattered around to create mood lighting.  My favorite way to use lanterns is to place them along the edge of either indoor or outdoor stairs to illuminate the stairs in a dramatic fashion.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Pottery Barn Malta Lantern, Wayfair Iron Lantern, Pier 1 Bay Harbor Lantern

5.  Throw blanket:  Throw blankets add a well placed pop of color and pattern.  The flat weave throws also make perfect table covers.  I love to drape it in the center of the table and let the ends of the table show.

Here are a few gorgeous throws:

Jonathan Adler Greek Key Throw, Serena & Lily Brahms Mount Throw, Dot & Bo Lattice Throw

I hope this post helps you to reevaluate the way you think about decorating your home.  I truly believe that design is an art and one’s home is the canvas.  Challenge yourself to start editing out the things in your home that no longer serve you.

As  William Morris stated:

Have nothing in your house

that you do not know to be useful,

or believe to be beautiful. 

XO

Laurie

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8 Design Words You are Probably Saying WRONG!!!

Design is a global medium of artistic expression; therefore, it is no wonder some of its terms can be a linguistic challenge.   There are more than a few words we have all mumbled through in hopes of sounding in the know.  It is also no surprise that most of these words derive from one the chicest countries in the world.  Below, are some commonly mispronounced design terms:

Sette – (French) pronounced SET-TEA.  Commonly mispronounced Set-tay  A long seat with back and arms that is made for more than one person.

BERGERE– (French) BUR-ZHAIR  The mispronunciations are too great to list.  An armchair with exposed wooden framing and upholstered back and seat.  Bergère chairs became popular in 17th century France among nobility.

Bergere Chair in a modern print - Image from One Kings Lane

Bergere Chair in a modern print – Image from One Kings Lane

ARMOIRE– (French) ARM-WAAR.  Commonly mispronounced Arm-Wah  A tall wardrobe or move-able cabinet that dates back as far as the 16th century. Today, armoires fulfill a variety of storage needs.

FAUX BOIS– (French) FOH-BWAH Imitation of wood or wood grain.  The literal translation is “fake wood”.

Faux Bois outdoor chair via Neiman Marcus

Faux Bois outdoor chair via Neiman Marcus

FOYER – (French) FOY-YAY.  Commonly mispronounced Foy-yer  The front entrance hall in a home or building.

My Foyer

My Foyer

IKAT– (Indonesian) EE-KAHT. Commonly mispronounced Eye-kat  A fabric in which the yarns have been tie-dyed before weaving.

NICHE – (French) NEESH.  Commonly mispronounced Nitch.  A recess in a wall, commonly used for displaying decorative objects.

Image via Decorpad

Image via Decorpad

CHAISE LOUNGE (French) SHEZ-LAWNG.  Commonly mispronounced Shayz-lounge.  An upholstered sofa in the shape of a chair that is long enough to support the outstretched legs. The literal translation is “long chair.”

 

Horchow Maddox Chaise Lounge

 

I hope to have helped save you from any raised eyebrows at your next party (because really, who does not talk about design at parties 🙂   Now, you can confidently converse on all things design related.

Let me know what design terms you find commonly mispronounced, or any words you may have questions about.

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie

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