Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Big Apple

I just returned from a great trip to New York with Caroline as a celebration of her 12th birthday.  We ate fabulous meals and walked all over the city together.  Travel is such an inspiration to me and I always return to Texas with some great ideas.
The High Line is one of my absolute favorite walks!
We happened to walk by this brownstone with the fantastic duck-egg blue door.  I may be one of the few people in the world to know that this is Miles Redd's house.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

We bought a house here in San Antonio at the end of last year!  We are still in the same historic neighborhood near downtown, which we love.

I have a few rooms in our "new" 100+ year-old house looking fairly civilized!  We have lots of remodeling projects planned, so I haven't really done much besides paint and curtains.  The walls here are Benjamin Moore's "River's edge" and the curtains are silk taffeta in the same color hung on thin, unlacquered brass rods.

I have collected furniture pieces that seem to work anywhere, and I am always happy to see them given new life in a different setting.  Here is the chinese screen from my ex-bedroom mentioned in an earlier post....I hung it on the wall of the living room in this house and added a fabulous brass picture light from Visual Comfort at the top.  There, yet again, is my green linen velvet Mayfield sofa and my two tiger needlepoint chairs.  Do you think someone can have too much animal print?  It has always been my favorite neutral!

I have my two favorite foo dog lamps behind the sofa - love them! I am getting sick of my Chelsea Textiles shades..I may need to retire those.  I do love a narrow table behind a sofa..it allows you to light the area really well, and it also eliminates that furniture-stuck-to the wall look in the narrow rooms in old houses.

My cocktail table is an antique Chinese tea table cut down to 24 inches, and my pillows are an assortment of Fortuny and silk velvet, plus the Megan Yager Design signature pillow, the tiger silk velvet lumbar.
Wow!  I have not been a very consistent blogger, have I?
I'll try to turn over a new leaf.
I thought it might be fun to give you a glimpse into the creative process that I go through when I am working on a house.  I work in a very intuitive way...I think that rooms are the most successful when not overly "designed" from the beginning.  I like to figure out the main furniture pieces and functional seating arrangements, and then just let things evolve.  It requires a certain amount of trust from a client for them to give the thumbs up to a concept without knowing every last accessory, but it gives the rooms a more authentic feeling and allows for me to work with clients to bring some of themselves into the project so that it actually feels like their house.

I generally do little watercolors for clients in addition to my more technical floor plans.  Above is a little snippet of the bulletin board in my office, which is brimming with fabric and paint samples, inspiration photos and sketches.  This is the living room for client M, who just bought a 1920's house on the upper east side of Santa Barbara.  We are going for a classic American interior with a young and colorful twist. We're using gorgeous colors and iconic pieces and prints in an unexpected, fresh mix.
I'll keep you posted as the project progresses...it's a fantastic house and a fun client with great style.  So fun for me!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Designer Tips

I was asked to give my top ten designer tips as part of the interview process for Trad Home. As an avid reader of designer secrets, I suppose it's no surprise that I was a bit overly excited to come up with my own!  Sadly, they edited them down to nothing and even took some comments out of context.  Here they are in their unedited glory!

  1. If you don’t get the scale of your major furniture pieces correct, then the room will never feel right.  This doesn’t necessarily mean mean a predictable choice; sometimes an over-scaled piece in a small room can be the secret to making a room more inviting and livable.
  2. I love a taller coffee table between 22’ and 24” high. It makes a room look more interesting and is really more functional than a low table.  Cut down a small dining table and lacquer it a beautiful color!
  3. Consider the entire composition of ceiling, walls, trim and floor when choosing a color scheme. Sometimes, painting trim a glossier version of the wall color can give a room a welcome, more contemporary feel, and make your ceilings look taller.  Even with a contrast trim, I often paint baseboards wall color to avoid a distracting horizontal band between floor and wall.  Conversely, black baseboard, as seen in historic houses like Mt. Vernon, can anchor a room with dark floors and feel correct in a traditional home.  I always love blue ceilings; instant sky!
  4. Don’t get too caught up with adding decorative details to everything in a room. If you leave some things plain and simple, the areas where you do add trim or special details will have more impact, and the room won’t feel over-decorated or busy.
  5. Changing out pillows and throws seasonally can be a simple way to make a room feel fresh and appropriate.  My absolute favorites are silk tiger velvet and cashmere for the winter, and fresh Fortuny prints and beautifully colored plain linen in the summer.
  6. Custom lined and interlined curtains are worth the expense. My favorite are inverted pleat panels hung on simple rods mounted as near the ceiling as you can get to emphasize height.  They should break ever so slightly on the floor.
  7. An over-scaled piece of art in a traditional room can keep it from looking too granny-ish (although, for the record, my own grandma is very stylish!) I often paint my own contemporary large canvases with sample wall color pots and scraps of wallpaper and fabrics.
  8. Have a custom monogram designed and have it embroidered as large as possible in your favorite colors on plain white sheets and towels.  The scale makes it feel more graphic and young, yet still appealingly traditional.
  9. Create a chic bar on a beautiful side table or cart and be ready for a party at a moment’s notice.  Arrange a vignette of attractive bottles and whimsical bar accessories on a lacquered tray.  I have so much fun collecting vintage embroidered cocktail napkins, which I have in every motif imaginable!
  10. There are some great, stylish, and well-priced things available for the home from mass retailers.  Make sure that you don’t end up with a room that looks like last season’s window display, or just like everyone else’s room! These stores can be great sources, but mix it up with antiques and personal collections to give it your own stamp.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Trad Home Events in New York!

I just got back from three days in New York for the Trad Home launch!
Have you seen the magazine yet?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Trad Home!

photo by Colleen Duffley
Off to New York on Wednesday for the launch parties for Trad Home!  The link should be live on Tuesday www.tradhomemag.com

Round Top Antiques Show

They say everything's bigger in Texas.  That adage certainly rings true for the Round Top antique show! As a newby, to both Texas and the show,  we were only able to experience a tiny bit of the offerings in one short day.  Round Top is comprised of many shows within a show that radiate out from the adorable town of Round Top.  http://www.roundtop.org/cat_listing.php?cat_id=antiques

Found an amazing Louis XV period trumeau for client H, and a darling antique chopping block for my upcoming Tastemaker Tag Sale on One Kings Lane (uh oh, it looks pretty cute in my own kitchen)
Here are some wonderful rolls of antique rough linen from the Pandora de Balthazar tent, which was blissfully air-conditioned AND serving margaritas....a very appealing combination after slogging through the dust and heat all day!