When I was 23, I spent the night in a horrible, it-rubs-the-lotion-on-its-skin-or-else-it-gets-the-hose-again type motel after visiting a college friend. From the sandpaper-ish sheets and sinister guests to the foil-wrapped-TV and smell of mold, everything about it left me scared to sleep anywhere besides an actual home. But Silence of the Lambs flashbacks vanished when, in my late twenties, I encountered the glorious joy known as business travel — the kind that involves gorgeous hotels paid for by the same nice people who issue paychecks. From stunning, big-money chains in Los Angeles to ultra-modern boutiques in Manhattan, I’ve luxuriated in the best of hotel design. However, since I dig fun over fancy, I recently found the mothership of let’s-just-have-a-darn-good-time lodging…Disney’s Pop Century Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL. As a huge fan of all things retro, this Disney resort is a dream come true, one packed with gigantic, colorful nostalgia and shiny, happy people everywhere. A larger than life time warp journeying from the 1950′s through the 1990′s that will have you saying phrases like ‘remember when’ and explaining to your children the concept of cassettes and mixed tapes.
So, what happens if you fall in love with the overall idea of something over the top but want to adapt it into your own home in a less-is-more manner? How do you take away big ideas from hotels, retail stores or theme parks, then make them liveable? I’m glad you asked! Take a look at some of these jaw-dropping inspiration images, then check out toned-down Aha! ideas certain to add artistic nostalgia without swallowing spaces entirely. Hey, if your significant other won’t let you have a nine-foot Sony Walkman to workout to in the backyard, maybe there’s a next best thing that makes for a better use of space…and won’t scare away the neighbors.
Click Here for the Big Idea
My internship at HGTV.com is wrapping up, and in mere days, I will be graduating college. While I’m thrilled to be done with school, (term papers, final exams, etc.) I’m also nervous/excited about what lays ahead. As I’m determined to make my parents proud, (and start paying off my student loans) it’s time to launch my career. I couldn’t have asked for better job hunting advice than I received from Erinn Valencich, Brian Patrick Flynn and Michelle Wiebe.
Erinn Valencich :: Brian Patrick Flynn :: Michelle Wiebe
These talented and busy interior designers took time out of their schedules so I could interview them about becoming an interior designer. Huge thank you to them! And I’m sure, like me, you’ll find their advice to be incredibly valuable, whether you’re a recent grad or making a career change to pursue the job of your dreams in this awesome industry.
Portfolios, Resumes + More
When I initially meet with new clients, I request they bring tear sheets of their favorite shelter magazine rooms with them. Nine times out of ten, either the spaces are celebrities in their own rights, or the interiors belong to actual celebrities. The usual suspects? Jenna Lyons’ black, white and yellow Brooklyn home from Domino, Thom Filicia’s lake house, or Sarah Jessica Parker’s house in The Hamptons. Over the past year, a whole new batch of famous — or famous people’s — homes have made their way into the mix. Albeit uber-feminine, gender-neutral or bachelor-chic, here’s four different celebrity homes certain to always be ready for their closeups.
Which Rocker Calls This Home?
Okay, so I’m totally not into all this royal wedding mumbo jumbo—like, at all. In fact, I change the channel immediately when I see graphics sporting the words “Kate”, “William” and/or “April 29th”. When asked to write an article about The Royal Wedding and decorating, I struggled to find an angle until I thought about getting inside the oh-so-proper digs and shaking things up a bit by going unconventional. After a few hours googling terms like “modern royal”, “contemporary English” and “cheeseburger sombrero” (hey, why not?), I came across some great spaces and items that, when used correctly, could reinvent royal interiors in a not-so-safe, less expected manner. Or should I say “manor”? Oh bloody play-on-words hell, let’s get to it already.
Ah, the classic handsome English library—overall a sophisticated man’s world. The graphic lines of the wood paneling are just about the only thing in this space that could even remotely have an iota of modern appeal. Hmmm, what would a totally modern, manly-yet-Victorian-inspired library have? Glad you asked, hit “more” please.
So I have this friend who has a titanic design crush on a particular superdesigner on HGTV, Sarah Richardson. This super smart, super tall friend (whose name I shall not mention) has a lot in common with Ms. Richardson: both started behind the scenes as set decorators before transitioning on to the small screen as hosts, they both run production companies and produce their own content, and they both seem adamant about tailored draperies and upholstery in just about every space. Of all the interiors featured on the network, everything Sarah touches — whether it’s client’s homes on Design Inc. or her own properties on Sarah’s House — looks as though it’s an ElleDECOR cover shot come to life. If you’re unfamiliar with the stunning spaces of Sarah Richardson, allow my friend to serve you up a bowl of eye candy via Ms. Richardson’s HGTV portfolio. Although I’d like to also reveal the identity of my friend, I simply cannot; however, I will give you a hint: I am him.
Sarah’s mixing of prints is often like a master class in both pattern and scale.
More Crushworthy Designs
A few weeks ago, I trekked from my temporary home in New York City to Florida for an event at Epcot. After several attempts to inquire as to all that Orlando had to offer, I was quickly corrected by the locals that Disney parks are part of a city called Lake Buena Vista. Hours later, I found myself on a stage presenting one of my HGTV.com projects on creating a mobile container garden.
As a TV producer, my job is to have three backup plans for every great idea should it fall flat. Overall, my job is to ensure content keeps viewers/readers/audiences both informed and engaged. For the sake of not losing the audience to their iPhones, I turned the focus onto the crowd thinking to myself “I wonder if I ask them their likes and dislikes about design and decorating whether they’ll actually tell me.” And did they ever.
Oh, Did They Ever
As I sit on my sofa feeding my eyes toxic reality TV content, it’s a sure-fire bet I’m simultaneously googling the ages of the people I’m watching. Once I realize the person I’m vetting has achieved success at a younger age than myself, it makes me wanna set the TV on fire or punch myself in the face—well, most of the time, that is. If said person is insanely talented or skilled and seems deserving of success, I give them my blessing and become a perma-fan. Two perfect examples: Niki Papadopoulos and Nick Olsen.
Recently, another twenty-something, force-to-be-reckoned-with made the list: LA-based interior designer Kyle Schuneman. I was first introduced the up-and-coming gentleman’s work through House Beautiful’s Next Wave List. A googlefest just moments later resulted in some serious retina therapy as my eyes absolutely fell in love, image after image, of Kyle’s brilliant body of work.
From his use of color and meticulous editing to his layering of pattern and fresh prop-styling, take a look at someone I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the years to come. If he’s churning out spaces this jaw-dropping at 25, can you imagine what we’ll see from him at 35? Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the stunning work of Kyle Schuneman as photographed by Joe Schmelzer.
Kyle Does Mid-Century & More
Ah, spray paint: The easiest and quickest way to customize just about anything, right? No, spray painting is kinda tough! About 8 years ago when I started working behind the scenes on home makeover shows in Miami, I was mesmerized at exactly what it took to get a good looking finish out of a can of high gloss. Art department and design assistants made it look so easy. For any of you who’ve tried your own hand with canned magic only to end up with a sticky, gloppy, over-sprayed mess, this post’s for you. Now step 8 inches back from the surface of your object and let’s get down to business.
To get that perfect sprayed finish, you’ve gotta do some hard time. Not behind bars but behind the paint—with the proper prep. Invest in an orbital sander, medium-grit sanding block, spray primer and a spray paint handle. These things will come in handy time and again. While the orbital sander is ideal for removing heavier finishes from larger, more expansive surfaces, a sanding block will get into tight nooks the orbital cannot. A can of spray primer is essential to getting your first finish coat to adhere properly. The spray handle? We’ll get to that later.
Spray Paint Tips & Tricks
As a decorator, I admit to being a major fabric snob, and when I say snob, I mean addict. For years, I’ve enabled my high-end fabric addiction by shopping solely at to-the-trade-only showrooms which non-professional decorators or designers can’t get into. Since this is all part of how I make my living, there’s no need for a 12 Step Program even though my reasoning is somewhat out of whack. I’d rather spend $12 on a chair, then use a $50 per yard fabric to recover its seat cushion than the other way around.
My to-the-trade-only situation recently changed—thanks to my amazing project manager, Dayka. She brought me to a magical place where everyone is welcome to purchase designer fabrics without enormous designer price tags, Calico Corners. Of all their offerings, I fell in love mostly with those from Thom Filicia and Iman. While I go pick up custom pillows and tableskirts made from them, you go scroll down and take a look-sie.
Iman’s “Punjab Peacock” is $39.19 per yard shown in Radicchio.
Check Out More Budget-Chic Fabrics
A couple of days ago, we ran a post on Facebook.com/HGTV, asking you to vote on your favorite room by our pal Brian Patrick Flynn. You picked Stacy Elgin’s gorgeous home office.
As promised, Brian wrote up his design inspiration + tips for recreating the look. I love #5—it makes me feel better about my catalog addiction.
1. Due to time and budget, I needed to use products I could purchase online that included reasonable or gratis shipping costs. The wallpaper is from Graham Brown, console is from Wisteria and flooring came from Lumber Liquidators.
2. Entire build-out and installation took two weeks.
3. When using bold or busy wallpaper, keep furniture simple and graphic or else it will just be clutter.
4. To keep spaces from looking matchy-matchy, pair different styles together that introduce a mix of shapes and finishes.
5. When designing from catalogs, DO NOT buy everything from the same one, it will look flat. Buy several pieces from different catalogs so the overall look seems more evolved.