Monday, August 31, 2009

Bedrooms Full of Color and Life

Not everyone may be comfortable with a bedroom
full of color - but they sure do make for fun and
interesting rooms... Rooms full of life.

I have a soft spot for rooms with dark colors because
they usually feel cozy and have a certain atmosphere
to them - a certain ambience if you will.

Flowered wallpaper isn't usually a favorite of mine,
but I have to admit that the flower print looks fantastic
in this room. The flowers are larger and not too busy
making it a perfect backdrop for the clean white bedding.
Simply gorgeous.

Green is such a soothing color - with the right
hue, the room can also feel fresh and alive.

The greens, chartreuse and yellow really liven
up this attic bedroom.

Monochromatic rooms can be really fun to put
together when there are so many shades to work

Here's a sweet room done up in a dusky rose.

This blue and white reminds me of
blue and white chinaware.

A rainbow of colors.

The same dusky rose with a different look
simply by swapping out blankets and

I absolutely love how rustic this room looks with the
wood paneled walls. The deep magenta really gives
the room a nice pop of color.

Greens, blues pinks and yellows - who says
one has to stick to a monochromatic scheme?

This is a super inspiring room for color if I've ever seen one.
You'll notice the walls are white and all of the color comes
from everything else in the room - the curtains, bedding,
pillows - right down to the super fun striped chair.

Hope this post has given you some inspiration to bring
some color into your bedrooms.

Photos from Country Living

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Balck & White Photography and a Simply Seductive Blog

I simply adore black and white photography. Close up faces
in black and white get me every single time - especially the
ones that show such amazing details.

Her eyes look so luminescent in this photo.

Now this is a striking composition of a feminine face.

The lips are actually the subject in this photo by J.
Borodina is cleverly framed in a way where the photo
evokes class and mystery since the photograph only
shows the lower half of the face at an angle.

Even grainy black photos can look very
good when exposed correctly.

I found these gorgeous photos on the blog
Simply Seductive. There are many beautiful
fashion photos as well, this blog is definitely
worth checking out.

I love this photo of a gorgeously clad woman
in mid stride.

An utterly enchanting photo.

A beautiful street scene of a woman in the fall.

I hope you've enjoyed these photos as much as I have.
Do you prefer color or black and white photography?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sugar Plum Fairies, Juicy Black Currants, and the Rich, Deep Color of...Why of course PLUM!

As many of you know, purple is one of my favorite colors.
Purple is the color of royalty...of mystery...and of cassis
(black currant) macaroons ^_^

Of the many shades of purple, Plum is one that can be used
diversely. Plum is deep enough color to have depth. It can
easily be used as the main color in a room or as a great accent
color. Flat, lacquer or satin finish? Plum can be great in all 3
types of finishes.

Here, a muted plum color is paired with grey
for a very chic and refined palette.

Rococo furniture? No problem. You can
pair plum with it as well.

This entire living room is colored in a deep
plum color. The shiny and mirrored finishes
give the room a level of sophistication and luxe.

Here it is as an accent color in a very modern
room. As you can see, plum can go very well
with a bright pop of yellow. Who'd of thought?

This whole entire home has plum and yellow
accents. It's a lot of fun!

And here we are in the same home - in the
living room. Plum and yellow accents all around.
The yellow really makes the plums stand out more.

This shade of plum has some burgundy in it.
It's a surprising choice of color for an entry
room but it's rich and very nice.

Plum and brown - also a nice combination.

A rich dose of plum for the bedding anchors this
colorful and eclectic room.

Plum on the walls, plum for the accents...
Why not indeed?

Somehow, this matte purple paint goes wonderfully
with the neutral whites, linens and beiges in this room.

Plum accents galore...

What do you think? Beautiful color? Too dull? Too feminine?
Or can it be a unisex color? Now one thing that I haven't seen
is a Plum colored kitchen to go with those Sugar Plum cookies...
That would be interesting.

Photos from Domino, Elle Decor,
Trine Thorsen, Amanda Nisbet

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Chat with Nancy Van Natta: A Wonderful Teenage Girl's Bathroom for the 2009 San Francisco Decorator's Showhouse

On Monday, I showcased the teenage bedroom's room by Palmer Weiss.
Today, I'm following up with the en-suite bathroom for the same show-
house that was designed by Nancy Van Natta and her time designed to
match the bedroom. I must say that the bathroom is every bit the smashing
success the bedroom was. This bathroom is chic, sophisticated, functional
and you cannot mistake that it's for a girl. Girl Power! One look at those hot
pink lacquered cabinets with a marble counter top and I was drooling.
Everything in the bathroom down to smallest detail was thought out. Beautiful
shades, high end materials and fixtures, and a seriously cool photo illuminated
illustration of the silhouette of a woman.

I posed the same questions to Nancy as I did to Palmer and she was
also gracious enough to share with us details about the bathroom.

Are there any particular styles or designers that you would say has
influenced your design sense?

I like working in many different styles. When I have an Art Deco project
I’m in love with all things art deco. And the same for Arts and Crafts,
Modernist, Mediterranean . What I look for consistently in all styles is a
sense of symmetry, a beautiful line and elegant proportion. I love interiors
that reflect the Japanese definition of beauty – Wabi – tranquil simplicity,
Sabi – patina of age, and Suki – elegance.

In the spring, you completed a project for the 2009 San Francisco Design
Showcase. The project was a teenage girl's bathroom. There's been a lot of
excitement about the bathroom and I had some follow up questions for you.

What was the initial inspiration for the room?

I was inspired by Coco Chanel who as a teen had virtually nothing –
no money, no family support, no prospects – and who went on to create
a style empire based on her own talent and hard work. I wanted my
room to celebrate Chanel and her amazing style.

Do you have a process that you go through when putting a room like this together?

My ‘process’ is just an uncomfortable muddle for a time with many random
ideas all stepping all over each other as I gradually refine and refine. I always
try to put a lot of creativity into a showcase room – details that people have
never seen before – and this provides a lot of added pressure.

The bathroom was attached to a room that Palmer Weiss did. Did you
collaborate with her to make sure there was a uniform look between the
adjoining spaces?

It was very important that my room coordinated well with Palmer’s. I
looked at her board and got a sample of her fabric to use for color check.

I think many readers would be interested to know about the sourcing for
the items in the bathroom. Can you give us information about where you
procured the items in the room?

- The paint color used for the cabinets (absolutely gorgeous.)
The paint is Benjamin Moore Pink Ladies in a gloss. I thought it was fun.

- How you achieved the lacquered look on the cabinets.
I had no time to spray. I hired a good painter and he brushed the cabinet.

- Where you got the light fixtures attached to the mirror?

The light fixtures are from Emanuel Morez through
Wroolie & Co.
I think his lighting is fabulous.

- Where you got that fun painting with the luminescent girl's face on the wall
(a stroke of genius I think as I love lighting and silhouettes.)

I created the wall panel. The face was carved glass based on a photo of my
granddaughter, Bailey. The panel was something of a technical feat with
portions backlit and others done with glass inlay. The finish was a hand
rubbed white lacquer.

- How you put the Chanel images on the shower doors? (tons of fun)

We created a stencil of the Chanel perfume bottle and used a Rus-Oleum
spray for the ‘etching’. Then we applied vinyl labels for the wax seal and the

- Did you create the frame for the large mirror?
We had the mirror made with a traditional frame that we sprayed white lacquer.

- Anything else you would like to add about he bathroom?

I really liked the room when it was done. I loved working with the stark white
walls and intense pops of fuchsia and lilac. I also felt good that my backlit panel
looked good – and it has opened up a new area of portraits in glass and light.

I’m proud of the work my team and I are doing right now. Everything is
very tuned to the clients – their color palette, their furniture preferences.
But wabi, sabi, suki prevails!

I just can't get over the fact how perfectly lacquered these cabinets
are when they were brush painted! It looks like a spray finish.

I don't know about you but I'd venture to say that Nancy Van Natta
definitely has the philosophies of Wabi, Sabi and Suki down! She and
her team obviously pay attention to details as she crafted this bathroom
to match the teenage bedroom based on a sample board and fabrics only.
They truly look like they belong together.

Hope you enjoyed the interview and especially feasting your eyes on
this wonderful bathroom filled with fantastic ideas and creativity.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Chat with Palmer Weiss: Fabulous Teenage Girl's Bedroom for the 2009 San Francisco Decorator's Showhouse

Many of you have already seen this scrumptious bedroom,
but in the case you haven't - you're definitely in for a treat.
Palmer Weiss is the designer of this teenage girl's bedroom
for the 2009 San Francisco Decorator's Showhouse. The
room has an en-suite bathroom that was designed by Nancy
Van Natta who is also a bay area based designer.

I would have died for a room like this when I was young...
Actually I really wouldn't mind having a room like this now!
When I first saw photos of this room, I loved it so much I
made it the wallpaper on my computer at work. I mean...
what girl Wouldn't want to hang out in a room like this? It's
chic, sophisticated, fun and comfortable. I can totally imagine
myself curled up on the bed - reading a book.

Palmer Weiss was kind enough to take some time out to
answer some questions about this room.

Although Palmer Weiss' talent for design clearly shows,
she did not start out as a designer. My questions to her
are as follows:

I noticed in your profile that you used to be in investment banking.
What made you decide to change your career to interior design?

In high school and college, I had studied a great deal of art
and photography and then went on to pursue a number of
careers in business – retail merchandising, internet consulting,
banking, etc. I could never quite get the mix of left and right
brain right in a job and felt unsatisfied. I also felt strongly that
I wanted to find a “calling” not just plug away at a paycheck.
I had grown up with a mother in design and a father in real estate
development and always been drawn to those professions. Finally,
I decided to just go for it!

Are there any particular styles or designers that you
would say has influenced your design sense?

Of course! I always cite the architecture and style of Charleston
(where I grew up) and the inhabitants there as a huge influence
on my work. There is such a deep respect for tradition, quality of
furniture and architecture, combined with a healthy dose of eccentricity
that makes for one of the most beautiful and charming places on earth.

My style is a more modern and colorful take on that tradition. Some of
the key designers that influenced my work are: Jonathan Adler for his
emphasis on happy d├ęcor, Amanda Nisbett for her incredible sense of
color, Ruthie Summers for her Southerner goes to California general
fabulousness, Miles Redd for his glam use of surfaces and materials
and Jeffrey Bilhuber for his incredible gift with the details.

In the spring, you completed a project for the 2009 San Francisco Design Showcase.
The project was a teenage bedroom's room. There's been a lot of excitement about
that room and I had some follow up questions for you. I love the room so much (even
though I'm 31) that I put as my wallpaper on my desktop.

That is so flattering – thank you!! Obviously it was a pretty sophisticated
room for a true teenager - I tried to design a room that would work for my
young girls and that adults could enjoy too. I think people should not
underestimate teenage girls – they can rock out to the Jonas brothers
and still like want a pretty room that they treat with respect. They turn
into young women in no time at all and it would be nice for their room to
make that transition with them.

- You had a really great photo on the wall of a woman in what looked like a Parisian
store, is that a print from a particular photographer/where did you find this print?

This is an archival photograph from Conde Nast. It is called At the
Cador in Paris and was shot by Arthur Elgort for the March
1999 issue of Vogue.

What was the initial inspiration for the room?

It seems like so long ago now, I can barely remember! I know there
were many images that helped guide the design - a shot of a patent
leather chair
, a picture of Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively perched on a bed
with laptop and cell phone in hand, a few dramatic bed canopies, etc.
In general – and this goes to your next question – I almost always
start with a great fabric and a color combination. I loved the China
Robin’s Egg Blue paisley and wanted to see as much of it as
possible. I think fabric walls (not padded, but applied as wallpaper)
are the world’s greatest luxury and one I have yet to afford myself
so this was my chance! I love the blue/lilac combination and
playing with different tones and textures of similar colors.

The scone lighting really gives an intimate and cozy
feel to the bedroom.

- What kind of floor covering did you use?

Tibetan Jute – I love the look of this natural fiber, but unlike the other
ones like sisal, seagrass, etc, it is very soft on the feet and better suited
to a bedroom.

Do you have a process that you go through when putting a room like this together?

Again, 99% of the time it starts with fabric and color for me. Many times,
I know the window treatments before I have chosen a stick of furniture.
Then I layer in floor plans, individual pieces – upholstered and case, art,
rugs, etc. I always like to leave about 10-15% until the very end to see
what is needed to round things out in terms of composition, color, etc.
This can be a bit of a gamble – especially when on a Showcase deadline,
but it is the only way I know how to work!

There was a bathroom attached to the room that was done by Nancy Van Natta. Did
the two
of you collaborate to make sure there was a uniform look between the
adjoining spaces?

It was sort of a one-way collaboration. The committee had chosen my design
for the bedroom and then asked Nancy to design a bathroom that would
coordinate with it. She did a great job!

I always get frustrated when I see a really great room and have
absolutely no idea what the sources were to design the room. Palmer
was kind enough to answer some of these questions as well. Her
answers have been threaded through the post with more below.

I think many readers would be interested to know about the sourcing for the items in the room.
Can you give me information about where you procured the items in the room? In particular:

- The fabulous upholstered bed frame with the sofa arms (I thought that was genius.)

Thank you! I designed it and my wonderful upholsters fabricated it for me.
It is an antique size ¾ bed which is between a twin and a queen – perfect for
teen slumber parties or a comfy lounging space.

- Fun netted chandelier.

Vintage find locally.

- The vinyl or patent leather chair in the corner. What fabric did you use
and where did you find the chair?

I was going to design a chair but the cost was a bit prohibitive so I decided
to look for a frame. I found this at a local vintage shop and loved the lines
on this! It was better than what I had even imagined myself. It had to be
completely rebuilt and was upholstered in Keleen’s Chocolate Brown Patent

- The fun, small squiggly squarish end tables.

An inexpensive local retail find.

Just so all of you know, there will be a follow up post about the
en-suite bathroom for this room ( you can see a little bit of it int
the photo above.) Nancy Van Natta, whose firm designed the
bathroom had also been kind enough to be interviewed about the
bathroom. The bathroom is every bit as fantastic as the room
itself so stay tuned!

Over at Decorati, they also wrote a piece on Palmer Weiss
with great comments from Jennifer Boles of The Peak of
Chic who has wonderful taste. Do check it out.

I find Palmer's style and taste to be the perfect balance between
chic eye candy, practicality and functionality which can often be
a difficult blend to do -- Especially infusing it with the right amount
of color and character. Although it's beautiful, her room looks like
it wants to be lived in and not something so beautiful that it's not
practical to live in. I'm definitely a fan.

In the mean time, I hope that this in depth article and mini interview
with Palmer Weiss about her fabulous room had good inspiration for
all of you. I wanted to ask what you thought of Palmer Weiss' teenage
room, whether the interview was helpful and whether the sources were

Photos from Palmer Weiss and Godutchbaby