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

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.

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!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Come on In!

I just returned from a fantastic week in Paris!  I am always so inspired by the beautiful doors in Europe.  It's so fun when they are ajar and one can peek inside.  You can find everything you need to replicate the beautiful and luminous paint jobs that you see on these doors with Fine Paints of Europe's Dutch Door Kit.  Now all you need is one of those fabulous center knobs!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rental Blues

What to do when faced with a somewhat generic bedroom in a rental? Having just moved from a house which I designed and built, I struggled with how to decorate without any permanent changes or a big investment while living short-term in a rental.  This room is surrounded on three sides by large banks of windows, which is a typical setup in a south Texas house built before air conditioning.  This meant not a single wall to place the bed against!  Serendipity struck when I found this charming handpainted chinoiserie screen.  The colors tied right into my favored soothing bedroom palette of blues and greens, and I knew it would be a treasured addition wherever I used it in a future home.  The scene is of the silk trade...could it be any more fabulous?  Bed-against-window feng shui nightmare averted!
I painted the walls Benjamin Moore's "Bennnington Gray" which is a pretty khaki color which ties into the beigey silk curtains trimmed in a blue Rogers and Goffigan trim that were extras from the house of a favorite client.  I always have curtains made with super-deep hems and line and interline them, which really protects the fabric from sun and wear. A well made curtain can follow you from house to house and is a great investment piece.
My silk velvet headboard (fortuitously reminiscent of the facade of the Alamo in our new town of San Antonio) looks great against the screen. I moved a Madeline Weinrib striped dhurrie from my former living room into the room and hung four Matisse lithographs in silver leaf frames from my former dining room (House Beautiful, November 1010) A jumble of Fortuny and Porthault shams completes the springy makeover....for now!
Sweet Dreams.