A reader recently emailed me to ask if I could identify the wallpaper in this Miles Redd designed room which I posted here on the blog several times in the past…it’s one of my favorites! You may already be familiar with its maker but if not, this isn’t just any wallpaper… it’s de Gournay, an exquisite hand painted wallcovering which at a cost of around $650 and up per panel, is truly a luxury. The brand specializes in reproductions of historic prints particularly 18th century Chinoiserie and 19th century French designs. Here are a few other example of genuine de Gournay goodness:
Since a fine hand painted wall covering like de Gournay may be out of reach for many, here are some similar papers that can help you achieve the look for less:
1. Vanuatu Twilight. $198/roll available at Anthropologie.com.
2. The India Paper by Cole & Son. Approx $196/roll available to the trade through Lee Jofa.
3. “Newman” from Thibaut’s Gatehouse collection. Approx $104/roll available to the trade through Thibaut showrooms.
4. Large Rose & Vine by The Wallpaper Company. $44.98/bolt at Home Depot.
5. Pattern #SW2AH189 from York Wallcovering. $29.99/roll. Available through Sherwin-Williams.
Top photo by Paul Costello
A fabulous bedroom vignette by Alan Tanskly. (I LOVED the John Robshaw bedding!)
A couple of weeks ago I attended the opening night party for Housing Works’ annual Design on a Dime fundraiser. Housing Works is a wonderful charity and chain of thrift shops in New York City that benefits homeless and low-income people living with HIV & AIDS. Each year the organization hosts a shopping fundraiser and enlists some of the top names in design to create fabulous room vignettes with donated, brand new luxury home furnishings as well as vintage and antique pieces which are sold at 50-80% off retail with all proceeds going to Housing Works. This year’s roster of participating designers included James Huniford (who chaired the event), Charlotte Moss, Ernest de la Torre, Steven Sclaroff, Steven Gambrel, Laura Kirar, Miles Redd, Nathan Thomas, Jarrett Yoshida, Laura Bohn, Todd Romano and more! I was so excited that I was able to meet many of the designers at the event and had the opportunity talk with them about their room vignettes and exciting projects they had coming up. I had a special post planned featuring interviews and insider information from the designers (especially some fun stuff from Miles Redd) but I recorded all of the interviews on my blackberry which was recently stolen so unfortunately I lost everything:( Instead I’ll simply leave you with pictures of some of my favorite room vignettes of the night along with a few of my own anecdotes.
One of my favorite vignettes was this one from Miles Redd who is the ultimate maximalist.
His room definitely illustrates the idea that sometimes “more is more”!
I loved his chic bar table!
This is a vignette by Steven Gambrel whose style has such a modern yet classic American sensibility. This room looked as if it belonged in a chic Hamptons beach house.
Todd Romano designed this vignette. I loved that ticking stripe settee and the juxtaposition of the comic book pop art over the antique bureau.
I fell in love with the wallpaper in this room by designer Brett Beldock. I have to admit that before this event I wasn’t familiar with Beldock or her company Brett Design but now I’m a fan! She has a line of fabulous wall coverings which includes this butterfly scenic pattern which is one of her latest designs.
It sort of reminds me of de Gournay or Gracie and is a modern take on a very traditional Chinoiserie motif. The wallpaper is vinyl and self-adhesive which makes both installation and maintenance super easy. You can see this and more of Beldock’s wall coverings here.
The bold blue walls in this room by Daniel Pafford really jumped out at me. If you recall, Pafford was named one of Domino magazine’s 10 young designers to watch back before the magazine folded. I’d say Pafford has definitely come into his own since then!
Another designer I was unfamiliar with before the event was Oskar Torres who designed the bedroom vignette above. I fell in love with that chandelier above the bed and contemplated buying it but when I went back to get it someone had already snapped it up! Although I didn’t end up buying anything at this year’s Design on a Dime, I didn’t exactly leave empty handed. I met lots of great people and left the event feeling incredibly inspired by all of the ideas and creativity on display! Can’t wait to go back again next year! For more info on Housing Works and how you can support its programs, visit their website here.
I’ve been eying a number of gourd lamps like the ones above for my living room. I love this style of lamp not just for the beauty of its shape but for the symbolism that the gourd represents. The gourd is most commonly recognized as a symbol of longevity and good fortune, stemming from ancient eastern traditions where the gourd was once used as a drinking vessel. These bottle gourds were carved from a gourd fruit which is thick-skinned, oddly shaped and similar in nature to a squash or a pumpkin.
The fruits were often dried and then hallowed out into a vessel used to store and drink water or rice wine. In Taoist and Budhist traditions, it was believed that the gourd was filled with the nectar of longevity and health which was consumed by the Gods. In Feng Shui, it is believed that the gourd, when placed in one’s home, will bring longevity and good luck into the lives of its inhabitants. It’s no wonder why we’ve seen gourd shaped lamps used in interiors for so long! Here are some of the gourd lamps that I’m obsessed with right now:
Lindsay Single Gourd Lamp
Left: Alexander Lamp / Right:Stout Double Gourd Lamp
Ridged Single Gourd Lamp
If money were no object I’d buy a pair of Chritopher Spitzmiller’s beautifully handcrafted lamps which range in price from $650-$2250 per lamp. I’d take any of the above!
These Porcelain Urn lamps from Williams-Sonoma Home
could work nicely but are still a bit pricey at $495.
Left: Small Gourd Form Lamp / Right: Large Baluster Form Vase Lamp
Left: Medium Mokko Form Lamp / Right: Mini Fang Gourd Lamp
These options above from Circa Lighting
are all beautiful and much more reasonably priced. The ones that you see here range from $210-$420. Notice a trend in the colors I’m gravitating toward?
Robert Abbey Double Gourd Lamp
Robert Abbey Triple Gourd Lam
These gourd lamps from Robert Abbey are least expensive and most widely accessible selling at mass lighting retailers such as Lamps Plus
and even Macy’s. Here in New York, they’re currently on sale at Gracious Home
…I’m a sucker for a sale…so the Robert Abbey Double Gourd lamp shown here might be the winner. Stay tuned! And now that you’ve had a little history lesson on gourds and have seen my favorite picks, here’s a look at more beautiful gourd lamps in context.
My all-time favorite room by Miles Redd
Joel Woodard for Lichten Craig Architects at this year’s Kip’s Bay Decorator Show House. Photo via House Beautiful
Lately I’ve been loving the look of simple four poster canopied beds. Perhaps it was this photo from an old issue of Domino that first ignited my canopy love…
This steel campaign style canopy bed was featured in one of my favorite rooms designed by Miles Redd. Before settling on a custom upholstered headboard for my own bedroom, I considered getting a bed just like this one but at the time I felt my room was too small to pull it off.
Here’s a similar bed in a room designed by Carrier and Company. Even with the simplicity of the thin wrought iron frame the bed still has a feeling of grandeur.
I also like this one in a stylish bedroom by Kim Alexandriuk.
This canopy bed in a room by Peter Dunham feels very strong and architectural. I used to think that a canopy bed in a small space was too grand of a gesture but since seeing this photo I’ve changed my point of view.
In this room, also by Peter Dunham, the addition of light airy draperies to the canopy lends a romantic feeling to the room.
Dunham often incorporates this look into his bedroom designs and the above photo is yet another example. I LOVE this bedroom….so pretty!
This is Domino style editor Dara Caponigro’s room as featured in the recently released Domino Book of Decorating. Without actually having a traditional four poster canopy bed, Dara created the look by mounting drapery rods to the ceiling and attaching drapes at each corner of the bed…an ingenious idea that produced a very modern, yet romantic looking result.
If you love this look as much as I do and are looking to update your bedroom, here are a few accessible options for you to consider:
Anthropologie sells this Italian Campaign Canopy bed that’s very similar to the beds pictured in the Miles Redd and Carrier and Company designed rooms above. A queen size is $1698. Available here.
Interior designer Annie Selke
just released a new collection for Vanguard Furniture which includes this Chinoiserie inspired gold leaf canopy bed that I absolutely love. It’s $2997 for a queen. Click here
for more info.
Another source I love for beds in general is Charles P. Rogers
. The company has been around since 1855 and although they’re best known for their iron and brass beds, they offer a vast assortment of beds that includes a wide range of styles and materials. All of their beds are hand crafted with exceptional attention to detail and best of all they’re very reasonably priced. The company also carries an impressive selection of beautiful antique beds sourced from around the world that date as far back as the mid 1800s. Their only showroom is here in New York but you can purchase direct via their website or catalog and they ship worldwide. Charles P. Rogers has the best selection of canopied beds that I’ve seen in one place. Above is their Campaign Canopy Bed
that has lovely brass finial details. A queen is just $1199. There are other finial options and it’s also available without finials. Here are a few more canopy beds that I love from Charles P. Rogers:
Cairo Canopy Bed. $999 for a queen. More options here.
This is another version of the Cairo Canopy Bed but with a bell top. A queen with finials is $1299. More info here.
If you want to add the romance to your canopy bed a great DIY option is to purchase inexpensive drapery panels and simply attach them to your canopy. Your drapes should be long enough to just touch the floor. The Vivan drapes above are from Ikea and cost just $14.99 for a pair! You can fasten these to your canopy with simple drapery rings that have clips attached.
Tab top draperies are another great option as they don’t require any hardware to attach them to the canopy. The ones above from Pottery Barn are just $6.99 per panel!
I recently became acquainted with the gorgeous work of Santa Monica based interior designer Kim Alexandriuk and as soon as I saw her portfolio I thought to myself that her style reminded me of Michael S. Smith who also happens to be one of my favorite decorators. I knew there was a reason that I became an instant fan…After reading her bio I learned that she spent six years of her career working for Smith! The similarities between Alexandriuk’s work and Smith’s are uncanny. Both have a very polished look, grounded in traditionalism with lots of ethnic influences woven throughout and a few modern elements thrown in for good measure. Designers often borrow ideas and source inspiration from one another and its inevitable that after working for a well established designer for a number of years, the younger protégé’s work will be heavily influenced by that of her former mentor. I wouldn’t doubt it if Alexandriuk utilizes the same resources and craftsmen that she discovered while working for Smith. In the photo above from Alexandriuk’s portfolio, a chinoiserie screen is used as a backdrop for a chic seating arrangement. Below is photo of another beautiful room designed by Alexandriuk in which she incorporates this same design element.
This is an idea that Smith uses quite often in his designs. Below is a room in Smith’s Bel Air home as featured in the March 2007 issue of Elle Decor.
The room is also featured on the cover of Smith’s newest book, Houses, which I just purchased. (The book, by the way is amazing!)
Here’s another room designed by Smith where he incorporates a chinoiserie screen as a backdrop for a well dressed bed. Smith is such a master at mixing various ethnic elements and this room is no exception. The artful mix of the suzani bedspread, threadbare oriental rug and the chinoiserie screen is perfection.
Here is the living room in Smith’s home. Notice the many layers of patten here in the rug, the sofa upholstery, the throw pillows, etc. There are also many ethnic influences here, especially in the textiles.
The photo below is of an Alexandriuk designed living room which has a very similar look and feel to Smith’s room above. The most striking commonality is the masterful layering of pattern.
After spending time comparing the work of Michael S. Smith and Kim Alexandriuk I thought it might be fun to compare the work of a few more of my favorite designers and their protégés to see how the styles of the younger designers were influenced by their well established counterparts…
Miles Redd & Nick Olsen
Designer Miles Redd is known for making bold statements in design. He has a passion for color, loves to combine disparate textural elements, embraces maximalism and isn’t afraid of the hi-low mix. The photo below is a perfect example of an artfully cluttered yet polished looking Redd designed room.
You may have heard of Redd’s assistant Nick Olsen
who’s fabulous apartment was featured in the November 2006 issue of Domino. Olsen shares Redd’s maximalist design sensibility and polished aesthetic but while Redd’s work is ultra high-end, Olsen is able to achieve his designs on a dime by making over inexpensive flea market finds and tackling his projects the DIY way. Below is a shot of his studio apartment as featured in Domino.
I love when designers aren’t afraid to make dramatic statement and Olsen’s bright green high-golss walls, the stripes on the chairs and window treatments as well as the zebra rug are definitely bold gestures. Note how Olsen incorporates stacks of books into his design and uses them as pedestals exactly as Redd does in the top photo. It’s clear that Olsen embraces a more is more design philosophy. He also exhibits a craftiness that makes me slightly envious. Take the window shades for example. He painted the black stripes onto a simple white roller shade and the result is fabulous.
Here, in his sleeping area, Olsen took a plain beige woven rug from Pier1 and painted on the chic black and white chevron pattern. Another example of how Olsen’s clever ideas and bold statements enable him to transform a space in a dramatic fashion…just like his mentor Miles Redd.
In this shot of Olsen’s living room, his vintage French tufted sofa upholstered in an eye popping blue velvet takes center stage.
Perhaps Redd’s own tufted velvet corer sofa in a deep red hue seen here served as inspiration?
Another idea Olsen seems to have borrowed from Redd is the use of a hand-painted screen to cover the fireplace.
Here’s a similar screen in a gorgeous Redd designed room. On to our next comparison…
Celerie Kemble & Sara Gilbane
I’ve long admired Celerie Kemble and her youthful, modern approach to traditional design. Rather than adopting a “signature style,” Kemble feels its more important to let her clients taste and personality guide her design approach. Creating spaces that are a true reflection of its owner is the premise behind Kemble’s new book, To Your Taste, which is due to hit shelves on November 4. I can’t wait!
This room above is classic Celerie Kemble…grounded in traditionalism with a youthful flair and a touch of whimsy. Kemble’s former assistant, Sara Gilbane
, shares a very similar design style. If you’re not familiar with Gilbane, you should take note because she’s definitely a talent to watch. After working for Kemble Interiors for 5 years, Gilbane recently branched out to launch her own design firm, Sara Gilbane Interiors.
Here’s a living room designed by Gilbane. Similar to her mentor Celerie Kemble, her approach to tradition is free-spirited and her work embodies a youthful energy and eclecticism that sets her apart from the rest of the traditionalists. I find her style personally appealing because like Kemble, her interiors are extremely polished and tailored but still young and fresh at the same time. If you flip through Gilbane’s portfolio, you’ll see quite a few similarities between her work and Kemble’s.
One such similarity is their love of beds framed with curtains and valances. This room, which was published in House Beautiful, was designed by Kemble for a client in Philadelphia. The canopied bed is framed with a full valance and cascading curtains which give the bedroom a regal and more formal look.
Here’s a Kemble designed bedroom done for a showhouse at the 10 West End Avenue condomminiums in Manhattan. This bed also features features a full canopy with valance and curtains.
This photo is one of my favorites from Sara Gilbane. She too loves to frame her beds with curtains but rather than using a full canopy like Kemble, she seems to prefer a smaller valance with curtains cascading just at the head of the bed.
Here’s another Gilbane designed bedroom which also features a curtained valance framing the top of the bed. I love Gilbane’s choice of ethnic inspired fabrics here and in the photo above. Her generous use of ethnic prints and patterns could be one detail that sets Gilbane apart from Kemble, who’s seems to use such prints a bit more sparingly.
Markham Roberts and Ashley Whittaker
Just like Michael Bargo, up-and-coming interior designer Ashley Whittaker was also included on the Domino 10 list in 2007. Whittaker got her training working under renowned designer Markham Roberts and its obvious that he influenced her design style significantly. Robert is a traditionalist at heart. His rooms are classic, well tailored and filled with doses of fresh color. Whittaker shares a similar design sensibility.
This living room was designed by Roberts for the home of a young family in Connecticut.
And here is a living room designed by Whittaker for clients on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
In this charming sunroom, Roberts chose furnished the space with wicker seating.
Similarly, Whittaker also chose wicker furniture to dress up a sunroom in this Southampton home.
Whittaker and Roberts both seem to have an affinity for blue and white in the bedroom. Here is a bedroom that Roberts designed for his Washington summer home. The curtain framed bed looks so romantic and inviting. I’m really starting to love this look.
Here’s another blue and white bedroom by Roberts.
This bedroom was designed by Roberts. It has a very similar look and feel to the Roberts designed bedroom above. Again, I’m really loving the canopied bed with curtains.
Here’s another view of the same bedroom. The blue and white combo looks so clean and fresh.
A design element that I’ve seen repeated in various Markham Roberts’ projects is the use of large blue and white porcelain jars placed on the floor under console tables or in an empty corner.
Whittaker often uses the same design trick. Here, she placed two large ginger jars underneath a stylish Asian console table.
Thomas O’Brien and Michael Bargo
You may remember Michael Bargo from being on the “Domino 10″ list of decorators to watch in 2007. This former assistant to Thomas O’Brien started his own decorating firm at the age of 24 and his work is definitely reflective of his former mentor’s style in many ways. Take his apartment below which was featured in the April ’07 issue of Domino.
Like O’Brien, Bargo is a modernist. Here is Bargo’s sleeping area in his former, 475 square foot studio. Crisp white walls and lots of natural light give it an airy feeling and save for a few accessories, the color palette is fairly neutral. The room also features a simple, angular walnut frame bed. As soon as I first saw Bargo’s apartment, it immediately reminded me of Thomas O’Brien’s which was featured in Elle Décor in July 2006.
This is O’Brien’s bedroom as featured in Elle Décor. Although O’Brien’s apartment has a separate bedroom, he chose to put his bed in the living room, while the bedroom became a dressing room and study. O’Brien’s living/sleeping room has a light, airy quality with its bright white walls and notice the, simple bed frame. Perhaps Bargo looked to O’Brien for inspiration before beginning the design of his own place?
This is Bargo’s office area. Controlled clutter is the theme here.
In O’Brien’s study, clutter is organized in a stylish vintage secretary. A plush chocolate brown sofa provides seating.
Bargo’s living area also contains a plush velvet sofa and here he arranges clutter and stacks of magazines on bookshelves and on the floor. I’d say Bargo took more than a few design cues from Thomas O’Brien!