Color Obsession: Black and White

The combination of black and white in both fashion and design is always very graphic.

The combination of black and white in both fashion and design is always very graphic.  You have two strong elements that are not at all subtle.  People shy away from using it in interiors, especially those clients with families, but a black and white color scheme makes for a striking environment.  On their own, each color evokes its own singular response (mysterious black, pure white) but when used together, the results are quite stunning.

1.  Painting by artist Renato Freitas

2.  Zebra Cube, Design Within Reach

3.  Oscar de la Renta

4.  Madeline Weinrib Carpet

5.  Black Satin from Benjamin Moore

6.  Alexander McQueen

7.  Platinum, Diamond and Onyx Ring from Tiffany & Co., circa 1925.

8.  Wallpaper by Osborne and Little

9.  Sorenson 18 Pendant from Remains

10.  Black and white foyer, design by Rob Southern

Favorite Things: Chevron

One of my favorite go-to designs, chevron’s classic herringbone pattern never goes out of style.

One of my favorite go-to designs, chevron’s classic herringbone pattern never goes out of style.  It’s a great graphic whether you go with a large, medium, or small style.  A chevron pattern has a subtle or bold impact depending on the color or scale.  I love this pattern on an entryway’s wood floor, but you can implement a chevron design in many other ways.  Here are some chevron examples I love!

1.  Antique French oak floor in a chevron pattern, from Exquisite Surfaces:

2.  Photography by Pattie Boyd:3.  ZigZag Ginger Jar by Emilia Ceramics:

4.  David Hicks Chevron Rug from One Kings Lane

5.  Judith Leiber Chevron Swarovski Clutch

6.  Colorful chevron accents:

7.  Zig Zag Chair from Urban Outfitters

8.  Herringbone Cool by Arjumand

9.  Even in a shoe!  By Fendi

10.  Chevron Floor, design by Merrilee McGehee

11.  Missoni Jarris Fabric from Safari Living

12.  Great painted floor with two tones and alternating size.  Design by Mary McDonald.

Menswear Fabrics

Conveying a sense of luxury and a gentleman’s lifestyle of elegance and leisure, this “old is new again” trend has plenty of appeal.

Holland & Sherry Fabrics

Perhaps inspired by the popularity of television shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, the use of traditional menswear fabrics on furnishings has become an extremely popular idea.  Conveying a sense of luxury and a gentleman’s lifestyle of elegance and leisure, this “old is new again” trend has plenty of appeal.  Drawing on classic film icons and fine clothiers like Holland & Sherry, we can see why this timeless look has such appeal.

Armani Suit
Fred Astaire

Interior design with a Savile Row flair imparts a room with a sense of permanence.  Pinstripes, leathers, tweed, flannels, houndstooth checks, and colors such as camel and cigar brown all evoke the image of a stylish, well-dressed, confident man from romantic days-gone-by.

Handsomely Structured - David Kleinberg
Great combination using Holland & Sherry
Courtesy of blog 2Modern
Hudson Street Lounge by Ralph Lauren
The warmth of wool suit! by David Kleinburg

cover image via Vogue UK and Holland & Sherry

 

 

Greek Keys

Simple and versatile, the Greek key as a design element can be implemented in any color or scale

Also known as meanders, what we today call the Greek key design appeared in ancient friezes and on pottery from Greece’s Geometric Period onward.  Most likely a symbol of eternity and unity, Greek keys are an easily recognizable pattern.

I like to use Greek keys as trim.  It brings a touch of classicism to a room whether the pattern is part of a window treatment or piece of furniture.  Simple and versatile, the Greek key as a design element can be implemented in any color or scale.  It can be paired with other patterns or used alone for maximum impact.  With so many possibilities, it’s no wonder the Greek key has endured for millennia.

When you start to look for it, you find Greek keys in all kinds of places.  It’s amazing to think how long this element has been part of architecture and design!

Tortoise Shell Boxes

I love tortoise shell boxes. When placed around a room, these beautiful accessories add warmth and richness to the environment.

I love tortoise shell boxes.  When placed around a room, these beautiful accessories add warmth and richness to the environment.  They seem to absorb light and exude their own golden glow.  Tortoise shell boxes come in many shapes and sizes and may have elaborate ivory, silvery or gold decorations.

I’d suggest looking for these pieces with your favorite antique dealer.  True tortoise shell was primarily produced from the shell of the hawksbill turtle.  Prized for it’s beauty and durability, this material hasn’t legally been available since the 1970’s when worldwide trade of tortoise shell was banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.  Real shell is naturally able to command a higher price than imitation shell, but both can give a space the same look.

Tortoise shell, ivory, and mother of pearl

 

Set of nesting tortoise shell boxes
Carved bone and tortoise shell box
Indo-Portuguese tortoise shell and ebony table box

 

Mah Jong tile storage box

 

Zebra Print

If you’re looking for something bold and dramatic to add to your home, zebra prints certainly fit the bill.

If you’re looking for something bold and dramatic to add to your home, zebra prints certainly fit the bill.  It’s difficult to open any design magazine these days and not see a zebra print area rug.  The black and white contrast goes well with many color palettes and looks modern and exotic at the same time.

Zebra stripes don’t have to stay on the floor, and they don’t only come in black and white.  Take a look at this nursery featuring zebra patterns in pink and brown.

 

 

 

 

 

Accents in a zebra print, like pillows or this mirror from Oly Studio, are another great way to incorporate zebra prints into a room.

It’s certainly possible to use zebra patterns in a space in other ways as well, from wall art to accent pieces.  Finding unique ways to show off this trend is a challenge that also allows you to personalize a space and make it into something unique.

Wallpaper, Off the Wall

There’s no hard and fast rule that says wallpaper can only go on your walls.

There’s no hard and fast rule that says wallpaper can only go on your walls.  Applying wallpaper to the ceiling instead adds color and interest to an often-ignored part of the room.  Most people spend a lot of time considering how they want to decorate their floors and walls but neglect the ceiling.  Think of it as a potential canvas, blank and usually bare of obstacles.  Why leave it white and bare when we have access to an infinite world of wall coverings that work just as well on a ceiling?

 

 

 

Here, a colorful striped paper on the ceiling of a nursery gives warmth to the black and white color theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This bedroom ceiling, with its pressed metal style wallpaper, has a stunning, classic look that works perfectly with the room’s interesting architectural elements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This starry paper makes a lovely bedroom ceiling for a child or teen to fall asleep under.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Applying wallpaper to a ceiling isn’t only beautiful, but can be functional as well.  It’s an easy solution to cracked paint or other flaws that paint alone can’t cover.  If the idea of papering the ceiling of a large bedroom or living room is too intimidating, consider a smaller space like a stairway, closet, or bathroom.

Garden Stools

Who says garden stools have to stay in the garden? This is a perfect example of a functional object transformed into something beautiful and given a new purpose.

Who says garden stools have to stay in the garden?  This is a perfect example of a functional object transformed into something beautiful and given a new purpose.  As a place to sit, a place to rest a book or drink, or to add a spunk of color, garden stools come in a surprising array of colors and styles.  Take a look at these fantastic garden stools and the many ways they can be used in the home.

Cover photo source

Ikat

Ikat (pronounced ‘ee-KAHT’) is a very old dyeing technique used to create beautiful patterns in fabrics.

Ikat (pronounced ‘ee-KAHT’) is a very old dyeing technique used to create beautiful patterns in fabrics.  The ikat weaving style is common to many cultures from South America to India.  The process is rather like a reverse tie-dye.  In tie-dye, the fabric is first woven, then bound, and then dyed.  When the bindings are removed, the tie-dye pattern is clear.  The process of ikat varies in that the material (silk, cotton, etc.) is first treated with wax or tied in some way to prevent all of the dye from being absorbed.  After dying, the material is woven into fabric.  The pattern and complexity of ikat varies widely, which makes it an ideal choice for home design.

 

 

 

This colorful ikat rug from Madeline Weinrib demonstrates why the classic look of ikat has endured for centuries.

 

 

Ikat also makes a stunning fabric for furnishings.  This ikat chair adds exactly the right blend of color and pattern to accent a client’s India-inspired decor.

 

One of the wonderful things about ikat is that it has more than just the usual fabric applications.  Window treatments, pillows,wall art, and even lamp shades can showcase this timeless method of producing gorgeous textiles.