There’s nothing like a bunch of colorful flowers or artful greenery to brighten any area, inside or out.
So far this winter, Mother Nature has spared us from a typical New England winter. Even still, by the end of January it’s hard to avoid wishful thoughts of warmer breezes, green buds on trees, and those first flowers to signal the start of spring. It’s the flowers in particular that I look forward to, not only for the season they symbolize but for the memories and sentiments they evoke. There’s nothing like a bunch of colorful flowers or artful greenery to brighten any area, inside or out.
We can’t hurry spring along, but here are some examples of arrangements and flowers I love.
Odds are you live near a florist or flower shop, which means there’s no reason to wait until spring to enjoy a beautiful bunch of flowers. Why not treat yourself to some cheerful blooms the next time you go out?
Any bookstore or website you visit is sure to have an overwhelming number of design books to choose from, but which ones are worth your time and money?
Books about interior design are definitely not hard to find. Any bookstore or website you visit is sure to have an overwhelming number of design books to choose from, but which ones are worth your time and money?
I’d suggest you start with the designers you love. Whose work speaks to you and reflects your own style best? If he or she has a book, it will probably be a good investment. You can also check out your favorite design magazines for book suggestions and reviews to get an idea where to start. Finally, following interior design blogs or websites will introduce you to books others have found inspiring and useful.
On that note, I’d like to share some of my favorite books by incredible designers. These invaluable resources contain so much creativity and inspiration, from the overall themes down to the smallest details.
Conveying a sense of luxury and a gentleman’s lifestyle of elegance and leisure, this “old is new again” trend has plenty of appeal.
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.
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.
As a secondary, unused entrance for guests, this small space had no defined meaning. My goal was to give this entry nook a purpose of its own.
As a secondary, unused entrance for guests, this small space had no defined meaning. In addition, this area ended up as a landing space for the mudroom below. My goal was to give this entry nook a purpose of its own.
This family loves to cook but had no bookshelf option for their cookbooks. Incorporating a bookshelf into the niche provided not only storage for the cook books but an additional area to add visual interest with accessories. Framed by sconces by Objet Insolite and with a beautiful Swedish style settee, the unappreciated nook becomes a very comfortable place!
The bead board around the lower half of the nook, repeated behind the book shelves for continuity, is a great option for a secondary place. It is also easy to wipe down for a busy family! An antique Chinese rug ties the space together with with an additional warm, comfortable influence. The finished nook now serves an inviting purpose. It’s the perfect visual vignette and quiet place to read.
Many English gardens have areas specifically landscaped to take advantage of the bare branches, snow, and ice of winter.
Have you ever watched a period piece set in England, like Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre and wished you could take a stroll through one of those elaborate gardens? Believe it or not, those incredible gardens exist all over the UK and are typically open to the public for most of the year. Many gardens have areas specifically landscaped to take advantage of the bare branches, snow, and ice of winter. Even gardens not designed with winter in mind have their own chilly charm. When you look at the photos below, it’s not hard to see why gardens have such a monumental place in the hearts of Britain’s citizens.
There’s no need to go with plain, basic hardware when the right piece could be the ideal finishing touch for furniture or a room.
Whether on a wall, door, or dresser, hardware can be very boring and generic. There’s no need to go with plain, basic hardware when the right piece could be the ideal finishing touch for furniture or a room. Think big, think creative, and you’ll find ways to personalize and accent a space through unique hardware choices. For example, the hardware in the above mud room photo playfully resembles sticks and tree stumps and yet doesn’t detract at all from the simple beauty of this small space.
Take a look at these examples of different styles of hardware:
How can your home benefit from updated, unique hardware?
The culturally exotic lands of East Asia offer a staggering wealth of design inspiration.
The culturally exotic lands of East Asia offer a staggering wealth of design inspiration. Design inspired by China, Japan, Mongolia, and other East Asian countries is easily recognizable for its minimalist approach, clean lines, attention to space, and use of natural elements.
I like to use accent pieces and patterns with an East Asia influence. A bold piece, like the dragon below, gives the room a focal point and a bright splash of color. For something more subtle, look for a pattern or texture inspired by Japanese or Chinese art or design.
Other designers I really admire have also been influenced by East Asian beauty Isn’t it amazing how one design inspiration is realized in different forms by different designers?
This sunny breakfast room became such an ideal spot for a relaxing start to the day.
When designing this breakfast room for a client, I fell in love with their round dining table. It has such a simple form but with an unexpected shape to the base. The client asked more than once if we should find an alternative table, but I truly felt it was not necessary. The table was already an ideal reflection of their style and personality.
With the table as a starting point, we matched it with lovely chairs from Oly, upholstered in three different fabrics: Edelman Leather for the seat, Chelsea Editions for the back rest, and Carleton V Ltd on the back of the chair for contrast. When arranged around the table, the chairs add so much visual interest to the room simply from the combination of fabrics. To soften the room and tie it all together, we added a rug from Patterson, Flynn, and Martin. The chevron wall covering by Ralph Lauren provides background texture and the flower prints bring an unexpected pop of bright color. At first glance, the breakfast room looks sophisticated but charming and welcoming with a simple palette. However, the variety of complementary patterns and textures actually creates a more complex environment that draws the eye around the room to take in every carefully-placed detail.
The photo above includes many of the details I particularly like in this breakfast room. The subtle pattern of the wall covering, the way the nail heads in the chair are mimicked on the nearby frames, and the shape of the flower on the chair back corresponding to the shape of the flowers in the prints. This sunny breakfast room became such an ideal spot for a relaxing start to the day.
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!
The vibrant colors and sumptuous textures of this living room work together to create such a treat for the eye!
This client lives in a very grand, 1920s brick Georgian home. Her tastes run to the traditional, with a love for French antiques and feminine elements. With all of this in mind, I set out to create a formal living room exactly tailored to my client’s wishes.
With formality as our ultimate goal, I chose important and significant antique and art pieces. The stunning antique blue lamps are from Carlos de la Puenta and set the overall tone for the room. They also anchor the lovely vignette of the sofa with the antique Dufar screen. This living room is saturated with Neoclassical elements, from the hand-painted commodes to the antique ribbon and metal elements at the base of the sofa.
I really enjoy the contrast of luscious velvets against the creme grasscloth wall covering from Philip Jeffries. The vibrant colors and sumptuous textures of the living room work together to create a complex, multi-layered experience.