Thursday, October 24, 2013

Inspiration from Unlikely Sources: Dura Europos

This is probably one of the last places you would expect to read about Dura Europos, the site of a synagogue dating from before 256AD. But it seems the Romans knew a thing about design, something I believe is lacking in today's decorating milieu. What I love about this building is that they really took the "more is more" attitude to heart. One wall painting was not enough, the entire wall needed to be covered (And I realize that their intentions were of course not aimed at interior design). But so many people today are afraid of going too far, instead prefering a sparse minimalist look that borders on bare.

I've rounded up examples of rooms that dare to go far enough.

dura europos synagogue 256 AD

Charles Faudree dining room
Charles Faudree Dining Room, via Nancy's Daily Dish.

patterned floral wallpaper
Patterned Floral Wallpaper, via Fancy House Road

maximalist room
Photo: Robert Wright for the New York Times
Miles redd lacquered blue walls
Miles Redd

Sig Bergamin maximalist
Sig Bergamin
While not all of these rooms would fit everyone's lifestyle, they are no doubt expressive, which is exactly what a home should be. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Green with Envy: 5 Inspiring Rooms

I would be remiss not to begin this post with the most classic and enduring of all green rooms, the one found at the White House. I love this room not only because of its historic shade of green walls, but also because of the amount of the color found in the room. It features two large green vases flanking the fireplace, as well as lighter shades in the upholstery. (Not to mention the hunter colored rug!)

white house green room

Architectural Digest brings us this beautiful green room, again in that historic tone. I especially love the attention paid to the moldings, which are a slight variation of the wall color. It makes them stand out without being too obtrusive.
historic green room

I originally featured this room in my recent post on Les Indiennes textiles, but it deserves a second mention. I think this room demonstrates that green need not be overwhelming, but when used sparsely, can be a relaxing organic color.

les indiennes green textiles

When paired with gold walls, the green ferns emanate a lively springtime aura suitable for a meal at any hour. From Elle Decor.

green dining room

A beautiful mint green room designed by Chris Dyson, from the wonderful blog Remodelista.

chris dyson mint green room

After compiling these images, I noticed that so many green rooms have that appealing historic quality to them. I did a little research and found out that in the 18th and 19th centuries, synthetic green pigments were just emerging, which is perhaps why they would have been so in vogue at the time. Today I rarely see entire rooms painted in green, but it's a trend that I think needs to be revived.

5 Quick Tips to Prepare Your Home for Fall

Having experienced my first snowfall of the season, I finally realized that summer is, in fact, over. While road trips, visits to the lake, and late summer nights are now mere memories, I'm excited to welcome in the new season! Out with the nautical themed decor, and in with autumn!

Here are 5 quick tips to prepare your home for Fall:

1. Layer up! Nothings says Fall like a good blanket. I love this fur throw from west elm and this chunky knit throw available on Etsy.

chunky knit throwwest elm fur throw

2. Light a fire! If you're like me and aren't blessed with a fireplace, you'll have to make do with candles. The more the merrier! I have these from Bath and BodyWorks and can testify that they do smell like "Marshmallow Fireside." And there is usually a sale going on where you can get them inexpensively.

marshmallow fireside candles

3. Change up your artwork! While this may seem like an expensive project, there are ways to switch it up without spending too much. At Completely Coastal, they pressed and framed their own leaves, creating a magnificent display without spending a fortune.

framed fall leaves

 4. More is more! While I think this trick holds true for just about any season, add some more books to your collection. Stack them on the floor, on chairs, or under desks if you are pressed for space. Nothing says cozy like a room that has an abundance of books. Take inspiration from famed designer Bunny Williams, whose workspace is filled with them.

bunny williams work space books

5. Switch out your lightbulbs! Perhaps this seems like a strange tip for Fall decorating, but now that you'll be spending more time indoors, it's finally time to get some better lighting. Nothing does the trick like pink lightbulbs. I personally prefer these from Sylvania, but I'm sure others work too. You really can't even notice that the lighting is pink, but it emits a much warmer hue than standard bulbs. Plus, everyone looks better in soft light. Seriously, try it out, thank me later.

pink lightbul

Aren't you in the mood for Fall already?

Designer Spotlight: Jeffrey Alan Marks

If you're a fan of Million Dollar Decorators, the amazing Bravo television show, you are familiar with the designs of Jeffrey Alan Marks and his fiancé Ross Cassidy. Marks' designs are of the laid-back, California casual style of decorating, at points bordering on that un-decorated look that so many want to achieve. What I love about his designs, however, is the ways in which he takes ordinary objects and repurposes them in an innovative manner. Who would have thought to hang a boat on the ceiling of a bedroom, as Marks did in his house in Santa Monica? Or the matching Hermès throws in the wine cellar? (If one Hermès throw says luxury, six of them scream it!)

If you read my recent post on Tony Duquette, you know that I am a fan of décor that pushes the limits of what is necessary in a house. And while I think Jeffrey Alan Marks' designs are much more livable than Tony Duquette's (and again, don't take this pejoratively!), he nevertheless approaches design in a way that departs from the purely functional aspect that is expected by many. That is, his innovative approach to decorating helps move the field of interior design away from a sociological study of how people live and closer to a high art form. I only wish that we saw more of the whimsical in other designers' work.

All images courtesy of Jeffrey Alan Marks.

Jeffrey Alan Marks

Jeffrey Alan Marks den

Jeffrey Alan Marks million dollar decorators cape cod

Jeffrey Alan Marks cape cod dining

Jeffrey Alan Marks office

Jeffrey Alan Marks kitchen

Jeffrey Alan Marks bedroom boat ceiling

Jeffrey Alan Marks sun room

Jeffrey Alan Marks informal living room

Jeffrey Alan Marks informal dining room

Jeffrey Alan Marks  living room

Jeffrey Alan Marks  wine cellar

Trending: Over Dyed Persian Rugs

Persian rugs used to be the norm in just about every luxurious home, but have since fallen to the wayside. But not to worry, these rugs are back in vogue, but with a little twist! Old Persian rugs are now being dyed in bright colors, providing a new, modern appeal for a new generation. What I especially love about them is that they would work in just about every kind of interior. They would be just as suitable for an oak paneled den as they would be for a New York style loft.

This first example is probably my favorite. There is so much of the same color in this room, but I think it works because of the many different textures in which it takes its form.
green over dyed patchwork persian rug

This dining room just seems like so much fun! The perfect place for a small gathering of friends.

green over dyed patchwork persian rug
An example from Pretty Inspirational's client's house.

pink over dyed persian rug
From West of Hudson

pink over dyed persian rug
Available at Matt Camron.

pink over dyed persian rug

What do you think of the over dyed trend? Too much color, or just enough?