Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Eclectic style: this is often used to describe rooms that are a bit of a mish-mash of styles. But exactly what is it meant to be, to have "eclectic design style"? 

Webster's dictionary defines eclectic as deriving ideas, style or taste from a broad range of sources.  It is basically a very 'collected' look, many layers, with pieces from varying points in time.  It is an accumulation of items that cannot be easily fit into any one design period; it is neither truly contemporary nor traditional, but rather a blend of all of it.

These photos of Soho House hotel in New York are a quintessential example of an eclectic approach to decorating: carved antique European beds, mid-century modern sofa seating, and dramatic velvet drapery in the aqua color that is very "of the moment" in 2010.

If you are looking to create a look that has your "fingerprints" all over it, eclectic style is probably where you are trying to fit.  Nothing "doesn't go", it's layers are developed over time and utilize pieces that are thoughtfully chosen but not because they match - more because they don't, which makes them all the more interesting and noticeable.  This is a style you can truly have fun with, because the rule is that there are NO rules.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I LOVE LAMP! (that's a little humor for any fans of the Anchorman movie out there).  But I really do love these lamps by Arteriors.  A lamp can seem very utilitarian by it's very nature, but don't forget it's an easy way to add a lot of style, a lot of punch, and a lot of whimsy to a decor very quickly.  These ones are just as sculptural and artistic as they are functional - doing a lot more for your design scheme than just adding light to a dark corner.  Do you love them as much as I do?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Patio Furniture Pods

Welcome to spring! Here in California we spent some time this weekend laying by the pool, soaking up the sun's rays (cuz even Californians get pale skin during the winter months, and who doesn't want a LITTLE bronze glow on your arms and legs by the time the summer clothes come out?).  So, naturally, the decorator in me turns to thoughts of.... patio decor!

Most people these days are working with really limited outdoor space.  Even if you are lucky enough to have some square footage surrounding your house, it's often a lot of landscaping and a little patio or deck area to entertain.

I came across these very cool patio furniture "pods", so the furniture grouping is literally stacked into one of those Russian-nesting-doll-looking configurations.  I've always had a weird affection for those little nesting dolls, so much so that my sister recently sent me a set of measuring cups in the style of those adorable cherub-faced trinkets, so maybe that's part of my attraction to this product, besides the obvious space-saving benefits of this patio puzzle. I found these particular ones at www.chairsource.ca.

It's made of weather-resistant material and I think it takes on an almost-sculptural, definitely conversation-worthy quality when it's assembled into it's pyramid for storage.  Unpacked, it's instant style and party - and with the first day of spring already behind us for 2010, who isn't looking forward to the summer soirees just around the corner?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

City of Light

You've probably all heard of this nickname for Paris... the City of Light.  Well for me, on my last trip there, it was the City of Lights! As in LIGHTING, fabulous, unusual, 21st century lighting.

I had seen this not-very-obvious but still incredible little light fixture in an apartment that my uncle had rented for a couple of weeks. It was subtle, very small in scale, and a wall sconce - so if you weren't paying attention to it (easy to do since it is a clear acrylic mounted against a grey wall in this case), and especially if the fixture wasn't turned on so you could see how the light projected a chandelier's shadow on to the wall - you'd have never been able to appreciate the design. It was pure glam, fun, and eclectic - take a look!

We poked around a few lighting magasins in Paris to see if we could find the same fixture, but realizing the difficulty of getting it properly re-wired for North American electricity made it not a worthwhile souvenir afterall.  Luckily I have just found that a store local for us in the LA/OC area of California is now carrying this fixture - the store is Room Service, which I've blogged about before.   Start dreaming... where could you fit in this bit of fun in your design???

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Are You An App Addict?

I've never had any affection toward the Blackberry line of devices, but I am definitely in love with my iPhone.  If you are also a "user" (remember when that used to mean something completely different, and not good?) and if you are interested in checking out applications for your iPhone in the realm of decorating and design, I can recommend a couple.

First, if you are a fan of HGTV programs you will like the app by them called HGTV's Staging and Property. It contains a number of links to video clips from their popular line-up of home improvement shows that you can watch at your convenience, and without wrestling for the remote control or sitting through commercial breaks.

Another one is called A Home Decorating Book: What Would You Do With This Room?  The author has published his top 10 "commandments" for great decorating and includes photo examples of the implemented rules.  It's quite in line with my approach to decorating and offers some great tips.

There are probably hundreds of great app's out there in the interior design field and all will offer something great depending on what you, specifically, are looking to get out of them and carry with you as handheld reference.  If you have any app suggestions for me (because obviously, if I checked them all out myself I'd do nothing else all day) I'd love to hear from you in my comments section.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Do You Like Pottery Barn? You'll LOVE This!

This is Flamant, a sort of original European comfortable, casual, lived-in style. Flamant's muted colors, many textures such as linen and heavy woven cottons and glassware with a decidedly vintage feel are what  make it effectively informal.

I had the great pleasure of perusing their Paris store myself (on the fab Rue St. Honore) and knew immediately why the North American Pottery Barn aesthetic has been so successful.  This is where it all began, creating furniture and accessories and textiles that look as though they've got great history but have been well-enough preserved and weathered to make them soft, welcoming and so incredibly interesting today - like a strong, down-filled and slip-covered sofa rescued from a great European manor.  You can create this same feel in your rooms by using pieces that are not too structured or flashy, stick to a soft, graying color palette, mix in a few pieces in imperfect woods with lots of texture, and keep the backs of chairs and sofas low to create that informality.  Layer in different materials including iron, books, glass and a nubby chenille throw and the only thing missing will be you, relaxing.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

My thoughts turn to... springtime in Paris!

I love France!  As the weather finally turns more to our typical springtime temperatures here in California (after three weeks of unseasonably cool winds and temp's) I can't help but think of Paris.  All of the trees will be sprouting new buds, the spring bulbs will be poking their first signs of life through the ground.... and I think of the rolls of those exquisite silk fabrics I saw in that amazing store on the Left Bank last May! The magasin is Nobilis, and I get butterflies just thinking about what fun I could have there, if only it were near me!  Here is one example of their store front display from my last visit:


What I also love about French style is that it's so timeless.  Today we still covet many of the iconic funiture and decoration styles that were popularized almost 300 years ago! Take the curvaceous, feminine lines that were so distinct during the period of Louis XV.  Take a look at this loveseat I saw recently - it's rich chocolate mohair and white glossy lacquered frame say 2010, but the style is pure Louis XV, and it is spectacular! Viva la France!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Perfect Photo Wall Collage

Good day everyone! Yes I'm back.  It's been a hectic week or so, dismantling all of the rooms in my home and then reconstructing their decor piece by piece since my house painters have now finished.  I will post some photos for you to see very soon, once all of the final decor is together (because you didn't think I'd get the house painted and then NOT do new drapery panels and other adjustments and additions once I had  the opportunity, did you?).

In the meantime, this project made me realize how important the photo collections are that take up residence on many of my various walls throughout the house.  My husband and I love to travel, and we love to have some framed photos around the house to remind us of some of the particularly special moments in our history together from those travels.   Also, we have a tradition of renewing our wedding vows to one another each and every single year on our anniversary, so the collection of photos from our various "re-weddings" is becoming a rather large collection by itself now that we are moving into our 10th anniversary this fall.

I know many people love to display photos of their travels, their families, or even just artistic images that you've cleverly photographed yourself such as a beautiful Hawaiian orchid in bloom or memorable sunset. This company, The Picture Wall Company, has made the concept of a picture wall collage into a very simple do-it-yourself project.

The Picture Wall Company provides the wall frames and hanging templates that are virtually dummy-proof.  They've assembled the perfect layout for the frames you are purchasing and even have templates available for hanging a collage along an angled staircase wall.

Take a look and imagine which blank wall in your home could use some personalization - or even an artsy still-life collection - and the rest will fall into place.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Hello blog audience, sorry for the lapse in blog updates... I will be moving into a hotel early tomorrow for a couple of days while my own home gets a fresh new paint job inside, top-to-bottom! I'm very excited about it but it certainly has taken up a lot of time this week preparing each room for the paint contractor and his crew (not to mention my 14 year old son telling me to "stop trying so many paint samples on the walls - they are starting to look like Fred Flintstone's clothes!").  So yes, I want every room to be just right and I've tried several paint colors to make sure I get exactly the look I want.  I can't overstate the importance of doing this... for instance, I color I thought for sure I'd be using in my home after seeing it in another home turned the ugliest, drab gray once it was sampled on my walls.  The various lights of day and other surrounding surfaces such as tile and carpet can completely change what you think you are going to get.

I'll post more next week. Until then, happy decorating!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Architectural Feast

I've been blessed to see many amazing architectural works all over the world.  My husband and I love to travel and it's fascinating to me to see not only iconic historic buildings, like the Coliseum in Rome and Big Ben's hands atop the legislature in London but also the newest structures that are quickly gaining notoriety.

I am always astonished at the results when an endless imagination blends with logistical engineering necessities.   Most recently I had the opportunity to see Las Vegas' newest marvel, the City Center.  It includes various new residences and hotels such as Aria, Mandarin Oriental and Vdara which are grounded by Crystals retail center at the nucleus.  I love that in the desert there is such vast room (both vertically and horizontally) which allows for voluminous spaces that would dwarf an airplane hangar.  The sky literally is the limit here, and alongside the adult Disney-esque hotels we are all familiar with for their gimmicks and themes there are more sophisticated structures taking up residence.   I took a couple of photos with my iPhone, hence the somewhat low resolution, but here they are for you to see. The wooden skeleton tube you see houses a fantastic restaurant, Mastro's Ocean Club, in it's "belly".

We visited Dubai two years ago and I was astounded at what I saw recently constructed, what was still under construction, and what is planned for the coming decade.  The photos below were taken across Dubai Canal looking at the cityscape as the sun was going down - notice how many construction cranes are visible atop the buildings even at this distance.  The photo on the right is the Burj Al Arab Hotel, the world's only 7-star hotel (ok, self-proclaimed 7-star, but quite exquisite just as you'd expect).  As a little note of interest, the tiny oblong pod you see near the top of the hotel is the restaurant where we enjoyed dinner on Christmas night 2007.  As much as my passion is the interior finishing, I love that I have been able to see some of the world's greatest architectural wonders - and who knows what among them will still be standing and be the Roman Coliseum of the next millennium.