Posts Tagged ‘contemporary art in traditional interiors’
Dear Clients, Industry Members and Friends,
I was nominated “Best of 2012 Phoenix Remodeling” by the high profile website HOUZZ.com
It is, once again, so rewarding to receive all this recognition for my work and I’m pleased to share it with all of you.
Here’s the link:
Dear Clients, Industry Members and Friends:
This Month “Arizona Foothills” magazine features my clients Bob and Pat Bondurant in their “Living Section”. The article details the remarkable career of this icon in American racecar driving and his lovely wife, partner in business, and tireless worker for local charities. The photographs in the article do not show the splendor of the home’s interiors which you can see in my website when you click this link:
The “Arizona Foothill” article can be accessed by clicking
Long before Meryl Streep brought Cerulean Blue back to our awareness with her hilarious monologue in The Devil Wears Prada, I was experimenting with this color just like Oscar de La Renta and Ives St Laurent…
The background of this rug, woven in Nepal, required three “strike-offs” or test samples, until I was satisfied with the dye used.
I wish I had pictures to show you the magnificently skilled weavers who took four months to weave this beauty!
And here is that memorable monologue by the remarkable Meryl Streep:
This… ‘stuff’? Oh… ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing a sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room, from a pile of stuff.
When I am hired to decorate the interiors of older homes, one thing I am almost always faced with is smaller size rooms. Here are some simple guidelines:
1.) Select a light monochromatic palette. Less saturated colors reflect more light and give a greater sense of spaciousness. By limiting the amount of different colors in a room, the space will feel less busy, more open and airy. Using a monochromatic palette doesn’t mean a room has to be dull or boring. Select fabrics with different patterns and textures in the same tone. In this Living Room I selected a dozen different fabrics.
2.) Try to place furnishings close to the perimeter walls. By using the perimeter space, the room will gain visual openness in the center of the room and actually create a physical sense of space. Most larger rooms have a pathway, or traveling space around the outside of seating areas, but in smaller rooms this space can be moved to the inside of the groupings and make the space look much larger.
3.) Limit yourself to one large piece of furniture. For example, use one sofa or one large armoire and complement that piece with smaller furnishings this will give the room variations in scale without making it feel heavy or overcrowded.
4.) Don’t be afraid to use an eclectic mix of furnishings. Monochromatic palettes tend to unify them and harmonize the look just by color!
5.) Go vertical. Another optical trick is to make ceilings look higher by using vertical stripes on your wall-coverings. These subtle lines will draw the eye upward creating height. By painting the ceilings in a glossy finish you can reflect more light and take the weight of the ceiling out of the room.
Remember: “Small is Beautiful.” Ernesto Garcia, ASID
A stairway in a foyer can make or break the space. It is usually the first impression a house gives to its visitors. A good stairway is like that indispensable broche on a dress or a statement tie to a suite. A stairway’s railing is one of its most important components.
Depending on the style of a home, railings can be richly ornate or simple and understated. If your railing is the focal point, the treatment used on treads and risers should complement and not compete with the railing. These railings are an airy variation of leaves and foliage and draw much more attention than the simple white floating steps. Other spaces may call for stone, wood, tile, concrete or any combination of these materials to accompany different railings styles.
This photograph shows an eclectic residence where the steps are the center of attention. I kept the railings very simple and unfussy because I wanted to create a dynamic effect on the runner by using different geometric patterns on treads and risers. That way you perceive one pattern at eye level when all you see is risers and another pattern when you are stepping on its treads. I wanted to create an element of surprise in the way the stairway is experienced.
It is important to be cautious of how much detail you use on railings and how much detail you use on the steps, because it is rarely necessary to make a strong statement with both. In this grand entryway, you’ll see there are patterns on both the railings and the steps. However since they are monochromatic, using different shades of brown, against a blank background, these patterns coexist harmoniously creating an elegant pathway that ascends through the home.
No matter the size of the steps in your home, treat them like their own space in the house. Add a focal point, add some interest, and make taking the stairs more enjoyable!
Remember: Always elegant, never boring!
What is Eclectic?
To my mind, an eclectic interior is one that derives its generating ideas, style and taste from a diverse range of sources. Half of the clients who hire me want me to design this type of interior for their homes. As for the other half, we tend to start with a definite stylistic direction but somewhere along the way we transition to very eclectic spaces anyway.
Personally, I have studied too many styles, visited too many cities, walked too many museums, and seen too many movies not to be eclectic. How could we possibly be any different in such a globalized world? I have this bank of images and experiences in my mind, a well from which I am constantly tapping for inspiration because there is so much that is so beautiful about every style.
So… What is the key to a well-designed eclectic room? My short answer is a harmonious dialogue between all the parts. It seems simple at first but in fact, it requires extensive editing and evaluation. Comparatively speaking, staying within the boundaries of a specific style is much easier.
Consider this dining room I designed.
The columns came from a late 18th-century English estate, their rich texture surface frames the room and gives it importance.
The rosewood dining table is a French Deco reproduction, its clean lines, and rich graining give it the anchoring weight required in the center of the room.
The stylized Regency chairs in a dark mahogany display their graceful frame against the bone colored walls giving the room movement and interest.
This dining set sits on a wool and silk rug that I designed using the undulating lines that characterized Art Nouveau.
The contemporary chrome chandelier with Murano glass pendants was my boldest move in this room (just think how overwhelming a wrought iron chandelier would look in its place) it is its lightness that allows all the other pieces to reveal themselves.
As I mentioned before, a lot of thought goes behind every detail in order to achieve the perfect mix of styles. Each piece should have similar lines and sense of character to them to be able to work cohesively together. After working with every style, many times over, I can definitively say eclectic interiors are by far the most complex and challenging ones.
Who doesn’t dream of taking their shoes off, wrapping themselves in a cozy throw, leaning against a bunch of pillows and reading a good book on a window seat? It is a classical image, and one that I find young and old still enjoy.
The Window Seat is a very useful design feature that can add great beauty and character to any room. On the practical side, a hinged top can turn them into additional storage (for linens, blankets, pillows, etc.) and in many rooms, they provide additional seating that could not otherwise be achieved. Often times I find that they are the only option for breakfast nooks in my remodeling work.
Another one of their virtues is that they can work as an “anchoring” element for the otherwise uninteresting window, giving it an additional function and providing the visual base it might have lacked before. And as I always say, “they come in all colors,” and I’m not just referring to the actual hues, but also to the infinite design possibilities I find when I use them in my work.
They can be a subtle and understated corner, where lightly patterned shades come down to a crisp white windowsill; next, the seat cushion and pillows present a delicate palette with peaceful patterns.
In contrast, this next image shows their traditional English and French versions which display an abundance of patterns, textures, and rich tailoring details.
One more tip: These lovely seats can also function as an additional bedroom! It only takes a little length and depth to turn them into a daybeds and voila: you have another bed in any room!