18 Nov

The Colors of the Year

As the announcement of Pantone’s Color of the Year draws closer, design insiders recognizing the marketing power of color and the iconization of the color of the year are jumping on the bandwagon to announce their own color choices for 2016.

First up was Ben Moore’s Simply White ( and we all know how that went!) Ben Moore asks us to surrender to the complexity of white . Suggesting that  the interplaay of layered whites and diffused light creates nuances and subtle beauty.

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Today, following suit, Sherwin Williams’ also announced Alabaster (SW 7008), a hue symbolic of new beginnings, as the 2016 Color of the Year.

“Alabaster represents a straightforward and necessary shift to mindfulness, well-being and an atmosphere that is pure,” said Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing, Sherwin-Williams. “It provides an oasis of calmness, spirituality and ‘less is more’ visual relief. Alabaster is neither stark nor overly warm, but rather an understated and alluring hue of white.”

Hotly debated as to whether it is a color at all, white has a strong connection with pureness and light across many cultures. At a time when homeowners are faced with excess and clutter, and may be overwhelmed by the commotion of technology, Alabaster encourages a time to relax and re-examine, according to Sherwin Williams.

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Valspar recently announced their coloring trends complete with a coloring book.

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Now Robert Allen introduces the Interior Designer Color of the Year – Batik Blue. Robert Allen’s process is a bit different. Batik Blue, Beet, and Mussel Shell, were selected by the Color Experts at Robert Allen as three colors that will have strong relevance in interior design throughout 2016. To determine the initial three options, Robert Allen examined colors in style throughout history, as well as current color patterns on runways, in interiors, and even trending online.  From there, over 2,000 interior designers and design lovers voted online, selecting Batik Blue as the winner with over 40% of the vote. Once again validating that blue is universally the favorite color of consumers.

 “Batik Blue is a particularly versatile shade. Think of your favorite pair of jeans and how you pair them with everything in your closet, regardless of color, pattern, or texture. We see Batik Blue the same way, as a backdrop to all colors, whether calm and neutral or bright and funky.”

 

Here’s the scoop on the three colors:

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Batik Blue: Like a tried-and-true pair of jeans, Batik Blue’s inky dark indigo is infinitely versatile whether layered with similar unbuttoned blues for a classic, tone-on-tone look, or offset with arresting colors such as fuchsia and lime.

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Beet: Flaunting one of the most brilliant colors found in the natural world, beet’s saturated red-cast purple connotes high fashion and pairs well with everything from creamy white to bright green—like that found in its leafy tops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mussel Shell: Inspired by a bivalve’s opalescent, purple-tinged blue, Mussel Shell is an intriguing, grownup version of periwinkle that balances masculine and feminine undertones.

 

 

 

 

Which color of the year is your favorite?

11 Dec

T is for Tartan

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Just in time for winter’s first chill, tartans are back and hotter than ever. As San Francisco Designer and lover of all things Tartan, Scot Meacham Wood says, “Tartans have a romantic quality.” For me, Tartans bring back childhood memories and just say COZY. I am mad for the plaid.

Scot Meacham Wood Design, House Beautiful

Scot Meacham Wood Design, House Beautiful

If you love symmetry, then Tartans are for you.  It is a perfect grid pattern- what happens in the warp; happens in the weft. Tartan is uniquely associated with Scotland and Scottish kilts. Tartan is often called plaid in North America, but in Scotland, a plaid is a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder as a kilt accessory, or a plain ordinary blanket.  Tartans originated as woven wools, but now they are appearing on all kinds of other materials.

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What is it?

Tartan is made with alternating bands of colored (pre-dyed) threads woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simple twill weave, two over — two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass. This forms visible diagonal lines where the different colors cross, which give the appearance of new colors being blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of color repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines known as a sett.

Historically, Tartan designs were produced by local weavers for local tastes and would usually only use the natural dyes available in that area. It wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that many patterns were created and artificially associated with Scottish clans, or institutions who were associated in some way with a Scottish heritage. The Victorians’ penchant for ordered taxonomy and the new chemical dyes meant that the idea of specific patterns of bright colors, or “dress” tartans could be created and applied to a faux-nostalgic view of Scottish history.

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Ronda Rice Carman’s Sheil – Purple

The colors used in tartans can be altered to produce variations of the same tartan. The resulting variations are termed: modern, ancient, and muted. ( These terms refer to color only.) Modern represents a tartan that is colored using chemical dye, as opposed to natural dye. Ancient refers to a lighter  color shade of tartan. These shades are meant to represent the colors that would result from fabric aging over time. Muted refers to tartan colors which is shade between modern and ancient. This type of tartan is very modern, dating only from the early 1970s. This shade is said to be the closest match to the shades attained by natural dyes used before the mid-19th century.

Did You Know?

Tartan has a storied and tumultuous past. Seen as a symbol of Scottish rebellion, Tartans were banned with The Dress Act of 1747 until 1782. They became trendy again when Queen Victoria made her royal residence Balmoral and used her favorite setts in the décor. She loved the Scottish tartan kilts so much she ordered plaid carpets for the castle.

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Victoria tartan designed by Queen Victoria

Prince Albert personally took care of the interior design, where he made great use of tartan. He utilized the red Royal Stewart and the green Hunting Stewart tartans for carpets, while using the Dress Stewart for curtains and upholstery. The Queen designed the Victoria tartan, and Prince Albert the Balmoral sett that are still used as a royal tartan today.

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Balmoral Tartan designed by Prince Albert. Designed in 1857 it’s the private property of the Royal Family and can only be worn by permission.

Like Queen Victoria, today’s design icons love tartans too, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger’s lines regularly feature plaids and tartans. Vivenne Westwood takes setts to a whole new level. I have been spotting tartans on all kinds of home furnishings Think about adding a little plaid to make your wintry nights homey.

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Is it Polished, Preppy or Punk?

 

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Alexander Julian visionary behind Jonathan Charles whips up a case goods collection inspired by his Scottish Heritage. What better way to showcase his love of tartan textiles than to translate it into this Haberdashery chest inspired by the classic MacLeod tartan.

 Tartan Redfined

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Holland and Sherry’s tartans in the window of their Paris showroom.

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Even Euro  contemporary powerhouse Roche Bobois gets in the act.

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Tartan done in modular carpet tiles by Flor.

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Spotted: Antique tartanware from at Craig Ringstad, Fairway, KS in the Antique and Design Center at High Point Market.

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Not your typical tartan- Ronda Rice Carman recently introduced  Ronda Rice Carman Fine Fabrics available to the trade and consisting of 350 wools and cashmeres. She’s given the classic cloth a modern twist with unusual colorways and playing with the pattern’s scale.

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Ronda’s Highand Collection as seen in Robert Pascal’s office. Combining the finest natural fiber, with time honored techniques; The Highland Collection takes its historical inspiration from the natural splendor and breath-taking colors of the surrounding Scottish Highlands.

 

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More inspiration from Plinth and Chintz

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Want to learn more about tartans? Check out Tartan, Romancing the Plaid by  Jeffery Banks.

16 Aug

Faux Bois Goes Soft

Faux Bois (fō bwah) ~ French  for false wood, refers to the artistic interpretation of wood or wood grains in various media. The craft has its roots in the Renaissance with trompe-l’œil, but became popular when in 1875, Joseph Monier designed the first bridge of reinforced concrete, sculpted to resemble timbers and logs.

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Faux bois was first crafted with concrete and mortar applied to a frame built of iron materials like chicken wire and barrel bands and sculpted by “rocailleurs” or French garden craftsmen to resemble lifelike representations of wood especially logs, roots, branches and bark.  Most popular in the late 19th century through the 1940s, true faux bois has largely disappeared with the passing of those most experts.  fauxbois technique

I often see some of these remaining pieces- prized by collectors and usually planters, benches or birdbaths- at the Clignacourt flea market. Still haven’t figured how to get them home with me!tree_bed shauwn lovell

Today, faux bois effects can be achieved by painting, printing, or imprinting a design on textiles, home accessories, walls, and furniture.

Want to learn more about the technique and one of the artisans reviving the craft? See Logging Out- in Traditional Home. 

What Goes Around; Comes Around

The classic motif is “hot” again especially when it comes to soft goods. We spotted rugs, bedding, pillows and fabrics at recent markets in High Point, Atlanta and Vegas.  Think of it as Faux Bois Rebooted; the latest riffs are playful, imaginative  and a great way to add texture and pattern in a room.

Moire, Faux Bois’s first cousin, is coming along for the ride back up the trend curve. Several  A list editeurs (re)introduced moire earlier this year. Look for it to start popping up in your sample books soon.

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These upholstered walls are stunning in Dedar’s Losange Moire.

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Oh My Pillow

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Spin City’s cotton print is available on Etsy.

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Sew Faux ‘s chair cushion

 

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I love these log bolsters; they are equally at home in a kid’s room or a luxe lodge.

 

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Fresh interpretations for wallpaper- Piet Hein Eek’s photo realistic wood slices from his Scrapwood collection.  Top: Farrow and Ball’s Parquet hand blocked design. Bottom: Graham and Brown’s planking says hand drawn.

 

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Thibaut’s Eastwood wrapped drapery poles.

 

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 Schumacher’s take on the classic design in embossed velvet.

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Faux Bois looks can range from quirky to sophisticated. Here Kelly Wearstler interprets the classic motif in a contemporary embroidery for Groundworks.

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We spotted Surya’s Hurricane rug , Callisto Home’s beaded faux bois pillows and Kevin O’Brien’s  ombre faux bois embossed velvets at  summer markets.

 

 

16 Jun

2015 Colormix Color Forecast: Optimistic Odyssey

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Now that 2014 is halfway through, watch for trend forecasters to spill what they are seeing in their crystal balls for 2015 and beyond. One of the first is Sherwin Williams; as they  unveiled their 2015 Colormix forecast last week at Neocon.  Jackie Jordan, SW’s Creative Color Director recently wrote a bit about the process leading up to the final selections:

Every February, the Sherwin-Williams trend team convenes in a large conference room in our Cleveland, Ohio, headquarters to start work on the yearly color forecast. We share our most significant research, deliberate over tremendous amounts of information, synthesize it into a set of well-defined concepts, then use them to validate the color and design directions for the coming months and year.

Despite the fact that it’s so dreary, overcast and frigid outside — or maybe because of it — the conference room really heats up, fueled by passionate conversation and spirited debate. Materials, imagery and color samples fairly fly around the room, as we assemble seemingly infinite arrangements. Success comes when we finally, finally — and collectively — agree which drivers affecting future design trends are meaningful, relevant and validated; that the design philosophies and sensibilities of the industries’ influencers support the drivers; and, most important, that our chosen hues are reflective of the consolidated findings behind each color story.

This year’s conversations wandered in so many different directions — from outer space to under the oceans, from Africa to Brazil, from Japan to Hawaii. Research covered just about everything: architecture, community, urban development, economics, consumer behaviors, sporting events, fashion, craft, culture, change, astronomy, growth, balance, unexpected humor and serendipity. And of course photography, print, pattern, texture, materials and product design played important roles in helping to reveal the upcoming color stories.

Here is the 2015 Colormix forecast starting with Unrestrained:

Unrestrained

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Life is a Carnival, and we’re celebrating: from bold, ethnic-inspired colors, designs and crafts to the Bohemian lifestyle. But today’s wandering nomads aren’t starving artists — they’re fusing the carefree spirit of the gypsy with the sophistication of the jet set.

Artisans and purveyors of luxury goods are getting in the spirit, putting an irreverant spin on their work. South Africa and its colorful art scene exert a strong pull, while the 2016 Summer Olympics will rivet the world’s attention on Rio de Janeiro.

 Voyage

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“To boldly go where no man has gone before.” That phrase was fantasy when it was born during the Sputnik era. Today we’re living it. The sci-fi dreams of the past have become everyday reality — from space tourism to undersea resorts. No longer confined to our earthly plane, we look to the beyond and find colors that are supernatural and magical.

Unusual atmospheric events, including a decade-best aurora borealis and a rare sequence of “blood moons,” will keep our focus on the heavens in the months ahead.

 Bouyant

sw-img-buoyant-hdrHappy days are here again! We’ve weathered the recession. Our revived good spirits echo the optimism that followed World War II, when GIs returned home from exotic locales. Like that era, we’re expressing ourselves with bright florals, but today, our fascination with the tropics runs deeper. We’re exploring the secrets of the rainforest, applying the medicinal and cosmetic benefits of its botanical bounty. We’re looking to the natural world in other ways, too, incorporating green spaces into even dense urban environments — trusting in nature to keep our spirits bright.

Chrysalis 

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Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, we’re poised for change. As modern life and technology rush at us, we seek an oasis where we can find balance, mindful living and tempo giusto (the “right time,” or the steady, regular beat of the heart).

We look to earth and sky for inspiration, finding raw beauty in striations and gently blurred hues and patterns. Artisans break the mold, creating objects that aren’t what they seem. Shapes are layered and deconstructed. In this moment, silence is the greatest luxury, and metamorphosis is the mother of invention.

08 Jun

Window Fashion Inspiration from Kips Bay

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I love showhouses.  As a participant they are a grind, but as a visitor I always walk away with some bit of inspiration or a new idea or way to do something. Isn’t that why we go?   My thing is window treatments, so I am the one peeking behind the panel to see how it was hung or lifting up a hem to check out construction.  This year Kips Bay did not disappoint when it came to window fashion inspiration. I was really happy to see more going on at the windows than a pair of stationery panels hung from a rod and rings. Been there done that– way too many times.

So is the layering I saw  a signal that windows will play a bigger role when  designing a room in the coming months? Let’s hope so!

This year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House made an unprecedented venue shift as it took over Manhattan’s quintessential mansion at 457 Madison Avenue, The Mansion on Madison. Situated in the heart of Manhattan, the famed building which was originally the north wing of the famous Villard House, is connected by a grand courtyard to adjacent luxury hotel, The New York Palace and steps from St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Designed and built by architecture firm McKim, Mead & White in 1884, the Renaissance-inspired Villard Houses were constructed by Henry Villard, President of the Northern Pacific Railway, to serve as six private yet connected brownstones. Renovated in 2011, the six-story and 26,190 square-foot Mansion on Madison boasts a grand staircase, landmarked hallways with marble floors, 16-foot high ceilings with elegant moldings, multiple Italian marble fireplaces, and a carved paneled room with barrel-vaulted ceilings. Here are my favorite inspirational installations at Kips Bay:

Alexa Hampton’s Sitting Room Folly

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Moroccan  inspired cornices over panels frame the arch windows of the room. Contrast woven metallic jacquard banding is found on both the drapery leading edges and hems and the cornice. The scale of the cornice is masterful; making the window become a focal point in this room.

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What you might have missed is the smocking tape pelmet at the top of each cornice.

Darryl Carter’s Sitting Room

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Darryl Carter was inspired by the collected home concept and used it as a starting point to build a wonderfully layered room. I love the canvas between the windows and his take on “combination treatments” mixing paneled shutters and linen Roman shades with banding on the sides.

Young Huh’s Moody, Glamorous Powder Rooms

 

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Young Huh transformed a freight area into a ladies and gentleman’s powder rooms. The wall covering is hand blocked fabric . ( See two of the blocks used to print the fabric on the window sill.) The wainscoting in patent leather. With a lot going on, Huh kept the window treatment simple; it feels like a kimono to me with draped pelmets banded at the hem for definition.

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Inagro’s Study in Contrasts

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First off – gorgeous Palladian windows. Second- I love the twist on traditional sheers and panels by using flat scrim panels with weighted hem bars. I love the contemporary mood it sets and how the light filters through shadowing the window architecture.

Juan Montoya’s Untitled Living Area

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Same windows and similar look , but this time Montoya turns the scrim into a flat Romans and adds inset banding on each side in black.

Kristen Kelli Living Area

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Kristen Kelli are know for their love of gold mixed with pops of bold color. These geometric stepped cornices are edged on all four sides in gold nailheads accenting the metallic grasscloth wallcovering .

Cullman and Kravis’ Bedroom

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Love the appliqued band on these panels in Cullman and Kravis’ bedroom.

William Gregoris’ Library

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With Saint Patrick’s Cathedral across the street and the windows overlooking it; Gregoris took inspiration from late Cardinal Spellman. As his rep, Sara Farevaag, noted, Spellman was “a supporter of Richard Nixon, Joseph McCarthy, and Broadway choir boys,” so the ultra dark and sumptuous reds (claret, burgundy, cerise, Chinese and blood reds are all here) ring with an almost disturbing opulence.”

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Almost an after thought , because there is a lot going on in this room- the draperies are red silk with large bands on the hems and leading edges in Royal Stewart tartan. The taped headings are also faced with the tartan and the treatment is held back with antlers.

Matthew Quinn’s Kitchen

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Last but not least,  I LOVE these valances by Matthew Quinn inspired by St. Pat’s and made from pipe organs.  They are mounted into sheet metal frames and inside mounted. Genius!

What’s your favorite?

 

 

 

 

02 Jun

What’s Trending in Decorative Pillows

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For several years, it seems that the only variation to decorative pillow design is the fabric choice or what we call pattern driven design- standard pillow forms in poly or down mixtures; covered in solid or graphic patterns with knife edges or maybe cording . B Decorative pillows at the higher end have surface embellishment of trims and fabrics applied to add dimension or pattern. Where we’re moving is toward engineered design- the look of the pillow is dictated by the structural pattern of the design.  Fabric is combined, cut and sewn in a specific way to achieve  the desired look. With in this overriding trends are several themes we’ve spotted when it comes to what’s trending in decorative pillows. Here’s our cliff notes version.

  • Creating pattern by manipulation- particularly stripes and trims
  • Dressmaker details focusing on frayed and exposed edges
  • Notions taking the spotlight like buttons, zippers, buckles and toggles
  • The outdoors comes in- extending product durability and longevity
  • Personalization
  • Artisanal Collections- both figuratively and literally

To get the full monty , watch out Take Ten video below: