Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pinning Inspiration Photos "Old School Style"

Do you pin?
Pinterest, if you don't already know is the extremely popular website that lets you organize all the beautiful things you find on the web in categories called "pinboards."

But before Pinterest, before blogs even, we had decorating magazines.
Remember standing in line at the grocery store and seeing a brand new House Beautiful? How exciting it was? I would splurge, take it home and savor every article!
Then, after several months of studying the magazine, I would tear out my favorite photos and put them in binders.

Those days are gone now, but look what I found while cleaning out the garage!
My old design inspiration binders from the 80's and 90's.
Think of them as my pinboards on Pinterest, "old school style!"

I had binders for Formal Country Houses, Cottages, Log Cabins, Vacation Retreats, Kitchens, Bathrooms and Bedrooms.
I'm so glad I kept them, as it has been fun to go through them and see that a lot of what inspired me then, still inspires me today.

When I put this binder together, I was a young mother of a newborn, a two year old and a ten year old.
Yes I was a busy mom, but still found time to think about creating beautiful rooms.
This was the beginning of a lifelong passion!

I was in love with romantic rooms with floral fabrics.

Traditional Home, June 1990
Tablescapes and table settings, especially with majolica.

I was in love with designers who created rooms that look like they have evolved over time.

Designers like Bunny Williams. Just look at her lovely table here and above with that fantastic paisley linen tablecloth! The colored glassware and more majolica!

I can't tell you how much I studied Bunny's kitchen. I love how organic it is with that pine fireplace and pine island with its "still life with produce" vignette.

She has a passion for pattern. So do I, and still do!

"Mixing prints and patterns is like a painting. You keep trying something, and your eye will tell you whether the color is too light or too strong or whether the pattern is too large. There are no rules..." Bunny said.

House Beautiful, November 1985
I loved this dining room, designed by the Prince of Chintz, Mario Buatta.
Just look at that lantern!
"A well designed room should be put together as a composition--a dab at a time," Mario was quoted as saying.

Decorating, Spring 1988
This gorgeous room with floral slipcovered sofas really spoke to me.
Loved the white paneled walls, and still do.

This living room, in Ron Grimaldi's upstate New York house is still timeless.
He said, "A house should dictate its decoration--with a bit of license to be playful."
I took that to heart!

From my "Cottage Style" binder, I found this room.
Zebra rug, white slipcovers and brown toile. Still works today!

Traditional Home, 1995
Another designer I followed then was Betsy Speert.
I actually copied this table for my teenage daughter!
Of course, the seashell mirror was and is still popular. Betsy actually made it herself!
Coincidentally, I just rediscovered Betsy through her blog here!

You could say that these binders represent my "degree" in interior design!
I learned from the best. Mark Hampton, Bunny Williams, Ron Grimaldi, Mario Buatta, Betsy Speert, Mary Emmerling, Richard FitzGerald and more all taught me about color, pattern and scale. I hung on their every word!

I still find "old school" inspiration from design magazines, even with all the blogs I follow.
Thank goodness Veranda, House Beautiful, Country Living and Traditional Home are still around.
Not to mention, Tuscan Style!

I plan to scan some of these photos to share with you all. I think it is so interesting how design has evolved in the last 25 years and what still remains timeless. In the meantime, if you want to see what is inspiring me in 2012, visit my Pinterest page here.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

The Great Wall of China

Last week, I visited "the great wall of china!"
Seriously, I thought I had too many plates, but this takes the cake!
This wall of china is located inside H.D. Buttercup, a fantastic furniture store that I love to frequent.

I saw a similar plate display inside ABC Carpet and Home in NYC last year.
Both displays are by the same British designer, Timothy Oulton.

Hanging plates on the wall is not new.
I've been doing it since I had my first apartment!
I remember collecting bread and butter size plates for 25 cents, all different patterns and hanging them above my kitchen cabinets on the soffit.

Country Living
In fact, I can't remember a house I ever lived in that I didn't hang plates on the wall somewhere!
It is such a great way to fill up a blank wall, especially when on a budget or lacking any kind of art. The above photo is an example of how a few plates, artfully arranged can have visual impact.

You can mix them up, or arrange similar patterns like the red transferware above.

Designer, Jackye Lanham filled a bedroom wall with mulberry transferware plates, creating a soothing and homey feel. Some might say this look is a little too grandma-like.
I think it is quite sophisticated, actually!

She also hung plates on a kitchen wall, surrounding a stainless steel hood using pewter plates.
Genius, I say!

Oh, and Bunny Williams created a gorgeous wall using blue and white platters and plates, surrounding a lovely mirror.

Another one of my favorite designers, Charles Faudree mixed plates and botanicals surrounding a portrait. It's all on a toile background too!
Perhaps that's a little too much visual stimulation....

House Beautiful
A plate display can also be quite simple. The white ironstone looks wonderful on this brown wall, tying in with the white grandfather clock.

House Beautiful
Even just a few plates hung above this bathtub look fabulous.
You wouldn't have to worry about water damage from the steam, that's for sure!

House Beautiful
One of my favorite groupings, using brown transferware and little roe deer trophies.

House Beautiful
Designer John Oetgen created a kind of patchwork quilt effect on his client's family room wall.
I love the Bohemian vibe in this room with the bright pillows and pink cabinet. Perfect for a family with small children.

I'll never forget the first time I saw this arrangement at the Viceroy Hotel in LA.
Designer Kelly Wearstler hung them outside in the patio area. I was blown away!

House Beautiful
Outside or inside, plates are virtually indestructible. That's why hanging them above a stove works. You can always take them down and run them through the dishwasher when they get all yucky from cooking oils.

Don't you just love the way the green majolica looks with the green and white check floor?

I love how fresh this blue and white room looks, especially with the white painted paneling.
I could go on and on...
Let me show you how I've incorporated plates in my decor:

I hung various sizes and colors of majolica plates above the windows in our breakfast room.
These plates aren't particularly valuable and if spread around the house or locked in a cabinet, they wouldn't have been appreciated as much.

Yes, the majolica has replaced the 25 cent thrift store saucers from 40 years ago!
But the idea is still the same.

My two favorite majolica plates flank a European painting above my desk.
I found them at a flea market in Nice and I think they work, filling up this alcove along with the deer trophy.

So if you are intimidated by a big, blank wall and have no idea what to do with it, consider plates.
It doesn't have to be grandma-like. Any kind of plate or platter would work, and chances are you probably already have them in your cupboard!
Consider also, framing a mirror or piece of art with plates, radiating out from the center.
Especially wonderful over a sofa or hall table!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Design Confidence

"People are terrified of their own taste. They think they're going to do something wrong. So they would prefer to replicate something they have already seen instead of creating something of they're own that's fluid and organic." ~ Michael S. Smith

Cote de Texas
When I first saw this backsplash, I thought "how beautiful, how original, how brave!"
Imagine the courage it took to say, "I want a map of Paris behind my stove!"
I don't think I'm that brave. But the quote by Michael S. Smith made me think of all the design choices I've made that weren't exactly popular or trendy, but I just knew it was what I wanted anyway.

Still, it's easy to doubt your design decisions for fear of making a costly mistake.
Five years ago, I just had to add bullion fringe to my sofa. When I couldn't find what I wanted anywhere, the sales person told me that it's because no one uses bullion fringe anymore.
It's funny, that's when I became more confident in my decision to add the fringe!

Although not an original idea, when I had a leopard runner installed on the stairs, I'll admit it took some design courage. No one that I knew had leopard carpeting. Yet.
I have never regretted my decision, even though it might be too cliché now.

Know what you love and embrace it, even if it's not trendy.
I still love majolica, even though you rarely see it featured in magazines and blogs anymore.
It's easy to have self doubt with all the bloggers out there and their influence.
Not to mention Pinterest!

So if you're afraid to paint your walls a color that you love, or not feeling brave enough to create the home that reflects your unique style, just do it anyway! Don't listen to others....
Be brave. Be creative.
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes..." ~Scott Adams
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Purple Inspiration, Pinterest Style

I always relate the color purple to the month of February
After all, purple is the color of amethyst, February's birthstone.
That being said, I'm "opening the door" on purple inspiration, Pinterest style!

A purple tablescape!

Purple wine hock from my hutch.

My favorite mulberry transferware!

Purple sweet peas from my garden.

Lilacs from my garden!

A purple bathtub?
Why not!?

How about a mulberry colored stove and backsplash!
Oh so pretty, but I'm not that brave!

I do love this pretty purple and pink floral chandy though.

An amethyst rock from South Africa. Gorgeous!

I love this vintage amethyst ring.

Purple. Such a gorgeous color.
Such a brave color. I used to be afraid of it, and still don't wear it.
But I do love to create tablescapes with purple dishes and glassware.
And of course, flowers in the garden. Purple hydrangeas, lavender, sweet peas and lilacs are a must.
Oh, and I love amethyst jewelry!

How do you feel about purple?

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