Do you remember before the Internet when there were those paper things with words on pages? People called them books? Well, they still exist and there are some very good ones that are not only interesting but also useful.
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, many people opt to change the world, embark on a new, healthy way of life, and/or possibly break old habits. Not me, I just try to embrace things in the design world that I previously despised. For example, six years ago I found muted color to be sleep-inducing and oh-so-safe. Flash-forward to my current portfolio and a person is certain to find muted greys and blues making up half of my body of work. This year, I have decided to stock my bag of tricks with yellow. “So what? Who cares?” you ask? Well, yellow is one color I’ve avoided altogether, simply because I find it kinda-sorta nuclear and impossible to work with.
In order to start playing with this sunny tone, I’ve tacked two tear sheets of yellow done right up on my inspiration board. One by my friend Tobi Fairley and the other by my friend-slash-fellow-Atlanta-resident, Lee Kleinhelter. For anyone else who’s avoided yellow to escape being blinded by the light, take a look at these successful doozies. Now get your sunglasses on and have a happy new year.
Tobi Fairley is a master with color. Whether it’s walls, furniture, artwork or accessories, it’s easy to spot a Tobi Fairley room mostly because of her ability to update traditional interiors with nontraditional hues.
In this living room, the overall color scheme is muted blue-grey; however, from the contemporary art to the silk throw pillows to the patterned area rug, yellow is the room’s overall motif. As far as what I learn from Tobi, it’s all about sticking with classic lines, then making them modern with pattern and unexpected tones.
Something I take away from the interiors of Lee Kleinhelter is her successful, noncommital use of saturated color; her spaces are vibrant but the color isn’t necessarily on the walls or even the upholstery. Most people [I assume] would look at this room and label it “The Yellow Room”; however, it’s pretty much all white/cream. Just a few jolts of bold yellow in easily removable elements, including window coverings and a sprayed paint finish on dining room chair frames, pack major color-popping punch — without creating an oh-my-God-my-retinas-are-on-fire situation. NOTE: Lee is very small, very gorgeous, very funny and, like me, she is obsessed with all things Real Housewives and Rachel Zoe. This is even more reason to like her.
Okay, anyone else scared of yellow?
Sure, we’ve all seen it: red and green for the holidays. While this famous combo may not exactly be fresh, new or unexpected, it’s obviously working; every retail store is covered in this complementary duo from floor to ceiling. Well, according to the color wheel, crimson and emerald are M.F.E.O. (made for each other, in Sleepless in Seattle terminology), and that’s enough credibility for me to love ‘em together.
But what about when it is no longer November 26th-ish or December 24th-ish? Does this very special pair still scream “Sleigh Bells and Santa Claus” or can it be used year’round with absolutely no tie-in to the most wonderful time of the year? You be the judge: Here are several examples of red and green that defy any seasonalization. Is that even a word? Who cares? It sounds good and seems like a great way to end this paragraph.
Bosch and Ford designed the Lego headquarters and pulled off the red and green combo. What seems to work best with their design is the actual shade of green they chose; it’s more grassy than it is mistletoe/Christmas-ish. An excellent non-Christmas-ish green for walls, very similar to this, is Leapfrog by Sherwin-Williams.
This bedroom packed with KidKraft furniture is an excellent example of how lime and green defy being typecast as holiday. Lime and fire engine red is an excellent pairing for a gender-neutral kids’ room.
Leave it to Ralph Lauren Home to make tartan cool, especially red-and-green tartan. In fact, this brand is a fantastic source for the red/green combo. From bedding and fabric to wallpaper, they’ve got dozens of examples that work year-round.
Okay, anyone else see any successful red/green wonders that defy holiday reference?
There is a four-letter word that takes all of the fun out of being a professional decorator: prep. It can literally take two days to find the right drawer pull for a teensy-weensy kitchen. But, then again, that’s why the pros are paid; they get it done, and they get it done right.
Lately, I have been mesmerized by the idea of what it was like to work as a designer or decorator decades ago, mostly because those poor people never got to shop online, which significantly reduces prep time. Particularly, they never got to experience Wisteria. Wisteria is a dream shopping destination for lovers of everything from European antiques to furnishings with industrial flair.
Many of their headboards, for example, rival those in high-end showrooms yet come in at a medium price point. Picking up the Louis XVI upholstered style here allows a homeowner to splurge on other key bedroom elements, such as linens or nightstands.
Although many of the pieces available on the site fall more into the traditional style of European furnishings, there are constantly surprising new finds with updated takes on traditional classics, such as these extra tall Windsor chairs. I may or may not like these even more because of my 6’5″ stature.
This industrial steel chair jumped out at me months ago, mostly for its lines and aged finish; however, one look at the price tag had me ordering it for a boy’s room I designed in Florida. NOTE TO PARENTS: Industrial chairs like this can really take a beating from your little guys. Plus, when he outgrows it and wants to change to something else, it can be used successfully anywhere else in the home. Investment piece!
Wisteria often uses unexpected materials in unique ways. This console table has an iron base and a top covered in black-and-white bone tiles. It packs graphic punch but with traditional materials, which also warm up a space.
Anyone else have any great Wisteria finds?
The other day, I was shopping for fabric and came across something hideously wonderful. Almost a week later, I still cannot decide whether I hate it or kinda-sorta love it. Imagine a creamy, nubby, organic fabric. Got it? Okay, now imagine it printed with creepy drawings of nudists, muppets and pimps. Yep, that would be what I am talking about.
Some design-related inventions have so much wow factor that they force you to think outside the box. For example: anything Kelly Wearstler. Other times, conceptual designs are best categorized as crazypants suckmasters.
Here’s that fabric I was talking about, by the way. Wow? Or suckmaster?
When my graphic designer, Ashley Bothwell, created this Up Dog pattern as wallpaper for a yoga studio, I instantly fell in love with it.
At first, it reads as a simple, graphic pattern. But look a little bit closer and see that the shapes are made up by several figures of women in yoga poses. Perhaps what makes it so successful is its less-is-more approach.
Anyone else see anything that’s totally “out there” yet awesome? Or something that’s equally conceptual but terriby awful? Do tell.
While, for many, traveling is the most amazing thing in the universe, it makes me want to clock myself over the head with a steel suitcase to avoid what I consider the Dark Side of Travel: canceled flights, cranky airport employees fed up with hearing complaints from travelers all day, people reclining their seats back on airplanes thus giving my 6’5″ self only 2.5 inches of breathing room, and of course, babies who save three weeks worth of crying for their airplane-seated audience.
But after 4 straight weeks producing, art directing and writing editorial for HGTVRemodels, I have learned to appreciate a great hotel like nobody’s business. When it comes to hotels, two words come to mind: Dorothy Draper.
Who is that? Well, she is one of the most influential professional decorators of all time. In fact, hotels were her thing.
After shooting a gorgeous home in San Francisco this past week, I mentioned the similarity of Draper’s aesthetic to said homeowner’s bathroom. This led me to Google the bananas out of Ms. Draper and look up all of her lobbies, most in New York City. What I noticed about her work is its timeless appeal; pretty much any of her hotel interiors could pass as having been completed in 2011. For those of you unfamiliar with the iconic work of Ms. Draper, take a gander below and become a friend of Dorothy.
The stripes? Large scale and high contrast. Very Hollywood. I bet you can name three of four super decorators off the top of your head who’ve done this themselves. And if not, oh well, I can.
How about the super dark colors? Insanely glamorous and packed with high contrast and some elements of masculinity although kinda-sorta overall a femme room, yes?
Super gigantic scaled- moldings! Yes, yes yes! While this may be something many decorators do these days, back then it was totally “OMG, did she really just blow the scale up that large? So edgy, that Draper!”
Got a thing for Dorothy, like I do? Share, friends!
Right now, I’m in San Francisco, a city which I’ve never been to before but have been dreaming of visiting. After a few hours here, my best friend texted me two images she found of our apartment back in the day. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect; it was she and I who’d planned to save up all of our money from waiting tables to come here and check out all the city has to offer. Well, there is something else I would like to offer: advice to my current self to the me that existed in 1997. My design skills back then S-U-C-K-E-D.
Even when I was in college with absolutely zero design experience, I was the go-to person in my social world for all things interior design and or do-it-yourself. Sure, things are different now, especially with 14 years of trial and error under my belt; however, I truly had one of those, “What the hell was I thinking?” moments when I got these two images.
One thing I like: The color blocking and simple dressing up of found-on-the-side-of-the-road-furnishings. A few things I am horrified by: Everything else. Above all, the one thing I took away from this trip down Bad Design Memory Lane is that being a designer or decorator is kinda like having vocal or acting talent; it’s always there, you just need experience and a little bit of training to fine tune it.
Anyone else have any old pictures of their first attempt at decorating and design that, although hysterical now, was something for which to be proud back then?
About two years ago, I embarked on a new chapter in my design/media career and started my own editorial site, Decor Demon, which is kinda like a shelter magazine in blog-roll format.
As a result of my work on DecorDemon and a chance meeting with HGTV’s site director, Jillian, I was asked to start designing full-length remodeling projects for a new HGTV site called HGTVRemodels.com.
While I have been in hog heaven writing, designing, producing, directing, prop styling and hosting decorating-based online content here at HGTV, the stuff over on HGTVRemodels is a whole new world. Everything has a remodeling slant, whether it’s floor-and-window update or a total gut job.
Although I have about 12 more projects on my to-do list before the new year, I’ve already got some favorites that are up and live on the front page. They include my own design studio remodel, my former assistant’s texture-packed attic apartment and a stunning library for an Atlanta jewelry designer.
I’ve gotten quite a few emails from friends who’ve been checking out the site daily for renovating ideas. Just like that Kevin Costner movie and its flag football field (that’s the right sport, right?), HGTV has built a beautiful sister site and the people continue to come.
So my production company is in Park City, Utah, shooting the online videos for the 2012 HGTV Dream Home. Um? Oh. My. Gawd. For any of you who’ve yet to experience this magical state, which is easily the most gorgeous place in the world, you are missin’ out, y’all! Everywhere you look, there’s picturesque scenery packed with to-die-for colors.
And although Utah itself is incredible, the 2012 HGTV Dream Home is just as spectacular. Designer Linda Woodrum has done it again. This time, the house is right smack in the center of a rustic piece of property, which looks out over the Provo River and onto gorgeous Utah mountains. The interiors are transitional and neutral, spotlighting the blue tones from the Utah sky, which Linda used in a subtle, sophisticated manner.
And although I’m stoked to be here working on it, I can’t help but think to myself, “It really sucks that I’m disqualified from winning it.”
All y’all who are eligible to win better plan to get crackin’ when the sweepstakes starts on Dec. 29, 2011, at 9am ET. (You’ll be able to tour the house starting Dec. 1 — until then, stay up-to-date at Dream Home Central.) A life in Utah would be the closest thing to heaven on earth there is. Stay tuned!
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