Color & Accessories

"SCENT"SORY Appeal

Often times when thinking about interior decorating, many people focus on the visual aspect of a room. They see a picture and implement the idea in their space, but feel that something may still be missing. One of the important things to remember is that a room should appeal to ALL the senses. So the one I would like to speak about in this post is SCENT! 

Veranda House Hotel

Photo by Rachel Reider Interiors

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Search contemporary bedroom pictures

Smells can evoke many emotions, memories, and lift a mood. Think about your significant other's perfume or cologne. Or a favorite candle or hand lotion you used during a special occasion. A waft of any of these will send you down memory lane! So that's why it's important that you consider using scent in your home. It will create a feeling of season, evoke memory, and add light and warmth to any room making it feel cozy especially during these colder winter months. 

M/I Homes of Chicago: Sheffield Square Grant Park - Dearborn Model

Photo by M/I Homes

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Look for transitional living room pictures

So here are a few tips when incorporating scent into your home: 

1- Make it Seasonal

Consider using the current season for inspiration. During the winter months use candles that smell like vanilla, cinnamon, or other related baking spices. If you're looking for something more earthy you can try some of the balsam, pine, sandlewood, or the classic patchouli and neroli.  In the spring & summer - don't forget fresh flowers!

2- Flow between Rooms

Just like paint colors should flow from room to room, it's also important scents do the same. You don't want a situation of a fresh bright summer scent jarring with one of those warm earthy winter smells. Keep the blends subtle and discreet - they don't have to be the same scent but just compliment each other! 

3- Color & decor

Many candles available today come in a variety of colors and styles. Try to find something that blends with your existing home or holiday decor. This way it will work double duty as an accessory, not just an item that looks like it's being used to mask smell. If you're working with flowers add colors and vases to compliment the decor as well.  

4- Safety 

Of course if you are using candles to enhance the scent in your home, it's important to follow common sense safety rules. I always recommend to keep candles in a very visible place so you don't forget to blow them out when you leave the room. Also keep them in a safe place where they won't get accidently knocked over when lit. 

5- Candle alternatives

One of my absolute favorite alternatives to candles are the reed diffusers. They come in so many scents now and can safely be tucked into any small space.  I love these because they work hard and you don't have to worry about the safety concerns with candles. You can buy a few diffusers at the same time, following tip #2 above, making sure they relate to each other. Then once they run out in a few months you can purchase a set of new ones in a seasonal scent set! 

Master Bath Vanity
Dining Room
Elegant Morris County Home
80-Hour Vertical Beeswax Candle With Hurricaine Glass
Aviary Owl Candle, Sky

transitional candles

I hope you enjoyed these tips and they inspire you. Do you currently use scent in your home, and if so how do you like to implement? 

Cheers, 

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GREENERY

It's that time of year again! Pantone has just announced their color of 2017 which is called Greenery. It is nice to see some spring colored leafy green this time of year as everything up here in the north turns a cold gray. Brrr...

(image source)

Wondering how to incorporate this green into your existing home decor for a fresh look? Check out this room photo below for some inspiration, it looks great mixed with rich blues and wood tones. 

(image source)

Artwork and some green ferns are always an easy update! 

What do you think of the new color of 2017? 

Cheers, 

 

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This Room Two Ways

Hello! Earlier this morning I presented the room below in two ways. The first way was "decorating" it, meaning that we added personalized color through accessories & artwork. The second was "staging" it, which is essentially undecorating and neutralizing the space also through accessories. In either case the furniture and placement stayed the same. I think this quick example demonstrates how easy it is to update a space with accessories! 

 

FURNITURE IN PLACE

1- Personalized Colors & Accessories including a family photo gallery wall

2- Neutralized color & accessories for staging - depersonalize by removing family photos

 

Imagine you are buying a home and flipping through tons of photos, which one would you be inclinced to like?

Would love to know! 

 

Cheers, 

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Another Decorating Tip That's Cheaper (and less stressful) then repainting

 

Buckinghamshire Residence by LLI Design.

 

Updating accessories! Of course the "cheaper" part of the subject line only holds true if you aren't spending a lot on accessories. But what is important to know here is that sometimes paint colors just don't look right in a room. People may even repaint a different shade and still not be happy with the results. The problem here is with the accessories, or lack there of.

 

J. Hirsch Interior Design Portfolio

 

One key element of design is to make each decision look intentional. For example, if you are going to mix a warm color with cool color it needs to look intentional. How to do that? Find a piece of artwork that has both tones in it so it looks intentional. 

 

Cozy Living Room

 

Then repeat it. Pick up both colors in pillows, throw blankets, vases, etc. 

 

Parkwood Road Residence Living Room 2

 

I believe that you can make almost any color scheme work with carefully placed design elements and accessories. 

 

tineke triggs

 

I think that a decorator's job is an important one for finishing a room. You can have the best architectural layout, best tradespeople install, and highest quality furniture purchased. But accessories and carefully chosen colors really make a room sing. It adds personality and liveliness and that 'wow' factor everyone is looking for. 

 

Honore-Transitional Dining Room
 

 

If you need ideas on how to make this happen in a room of yours, I'd be honored to help!

Cheers, 

Green with Envy

Happy St. Patrick's Day all! Sorry it's been awhile since my last post - every week zooms by and I realize I haven't yet written a blog post! It's amazing how time flies now with a little one... 

As I was drafting my monthly email newsletter I searched for a green room to share for some St. Patrick's Day love. It was hard to decide which one though - some were soft and subtle, others were vibrant and geometric, and others still were neutral with just a few pops of green. Since it was so hard to pick just one here I will share all the "green rooms" that grabbed my interest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you had to pick just one, which would be your favorite? 

Slainte!

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Pantone Color(s) of the Year

Well, this morning Pantone announced their color(s) of the year for 2016 and all I can keep thinking is that they seem to have suffered from decision paralysis and couldn't pick just one! It is an unprecedented move by the industry's color authority so we'll see how it plays out. I understand what they are saying about the colors working together to provide balance, harmony etc. but it's a tough line to walk as a single recommendation.

It's also fun to see what everyone else thinks of the announcement. I am seeing lots of references to Steven's Universe & Sailor Moon (never watched either of them), birth announcements (baby blue and pink anyone? lol), and my other general observance that I thought ombre was on the way out... 

 

So for this post I am going to totally ignore the "serenity" blue aspect of the color and instead focus on the "Rose Quartz" which is a pretty blush pink. THAT color I have been seeing more of and I would like to take a look at it in different aspects of interior decorating as a subtle trend. 

First a look at "Rose Quartz", the stone

So as the name references this is what natural Rose Quartz looks like. It's a beautiful soft pink that reminds me a bit of Himalayan rock salt. The history and meaning of the stone itself is related to the heart and "unconditional love." 

(source)

Rose Quartz is a pink coloured crystal believed to have heart-healing properties. It encourages healthy self-love, and can bestow compassion, forgiveness and acceptance. Rose Quartz is also soothing, calming and reduces stress and tension.

"Rose quartz" as paint

I attended a Sherwin Williams color forecast earlier this fall and also saw lots of blush colors as part of their forecast. I'm going to say that the closest of these is the "charming pink" on right since it has a similar clarity of color that the stone shares. But the muted blush pinks work really beautifully with subtle grays to warm up the color palette. 

(Sherwin Williams)

"Rose Gold" metal

Yes... even METAL is going pink! Now I'm not suggesting that everyone replace their faucets and light fixtures with rose gold but in the right application it's a nice option and welcome change to the standard "silver" or "chrome" options. First brass was making a comeback in the warm metal options, and now rose gold is here! 

 

 

Rose Gold Technology

Oh and incase you weren't sure about the metals above, check out the rose gold iPhone option available here ;) 

(apple iphone)

 

Ok so now are some other simple ways of adding this hue into your home decor...

Furniture

A nice pink accent piece would be a fun addition to a room! Either paired with high contrast dark colors or keeping light and airy with other light neutrals. 

 

 

 

 

Window treatments

 

 

Accessories & Decor

 

 

Artwork

 

 

 

So after seeing a few examples of the Rose Quartz / blush pink in context what do you think? What do you think of Pantone's announcement in general? Would love to know, leave a comment below! 

Cheers!

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Transform a Room with Color & Simple Styling

Well hello there! I have returned from maternity leave and it's so good to be back! I started back gradually over the summer and now that it's September I am back up to speed again. This is the first post on my blog since returning and I am excited to keep up with my social media again. 

So what is my first post going to be about? Well, I have been working on a few projects involving window treatments and have become really excited with Smith & Noble's before & afters. I first discovered them on my ipad over the summer and was totally mesmerized with sliding the bar back and forth to see the transformation. I should say that I had a few "extra minutes" to look through all of them because I was holding my little babe for long stretches of time ;) 

What I really like about these is that they not only show window treatments but also pillows and throws. The furniture remains exactly the same but it shows how powerful color & accessories are in transforming a room. i would love to show you a few of my favorites and what I like about each one. So let's get on with it shall we?

Bedroom Transformation

You can see how the blue livens up this simple bedroom and the mix of solids and pattern also adds interest. They added a table lamp next to the bed. All of this is very simple but adds so much sensory experience to the room.

 

Family Room Transformation

This large window and sliding door combination looks great with a dual layer window treatment. In addition they've replaced some of the green accessories with a simple white orchid and throw pillow. Same furniture but wow - look at the difference! 

 

Living Room Transformation

Another dual layer window treatment - blinds with patterned panels on each side. The addition of sunflowers in a vase and throw pillows really pull the room together.  Please also note that the curtain rod is hung as high as possible and the curtains are brushing the floor. Full length curtains really keep the windows looking tall! 

Living Room 2

Talk about framing a view! The curtains really draw attention to the windows, and the throw pillows and blanket repeat the colors and introduce new pattern.  This is also a great example of how a neutral couch and wall color isn't a recipe for boring! Accessories are an easy way to upgrade and change a space.

Kitchen

Again here is a simple upgrade with a valance, and the color is repeated in the flowers and bowl of fruit. Also note how this curtain makes the window seem taller? If you look at the original window and notice how low it is, then notice that the top of the valance is lined up with the top of the cabinets. Viola! Tall window magic.

Dining Room

Bay windows can be tricky, and while I'd say about 90% of the time in general it's best to let as much light in as possible. But sometimes it's good to break that rule and go for cozy drama and have fun! Curtains carve out space in an otherwise large room, especially if there is a lot of other natural light available. This looks fabulous, plus all the accessories on the table really pull it all together. 

Contemporary Loft Space

Even in really contemporary loft spaces (maybe especially in these spaces) curtains can really add a soft touch without taking away from the space. The sheer curtains shown below emphasize the height of the room, let light filter in, and soften the hard edges in this space.

 

So what do you think of these transformations? Do you see the potential for a color & accessory makeover in your home?? This is the fun part that really adds a lot of personality to a home, is easy to update, and makes a room feel complete. 

Thanks for reading! As I mentioned earlier all Before & Afters are compliments of Smith & Noble! You can take a look at all of the transformations and play with the slider from the link below. 

www.smithandnoble.com/beforeandafter

 

Cheers!

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A Timeless Pattern for 2015

Herringbone is definitely making a statement in the design scene lately. This classic & timeless pattern has slowly been gathering speed over the years and is showing up in places everywhere from the bathroom to bedroom! While this pattern is making it's statement, another familiar is fading into the background: Chevron.

Chevron has been the hyper trend of the past few years and has been applied to everything from curtains to mugs. It has been used so much that many designers are steering away from Chevron patterns going forward. If you're about to make a purchase you might want to keep that in mind!

When you compare Herringbone to Chevron they book look zig-zaggy so you may be wondering what's the big difference? Chevron is typically being used as a high contrast simple zig zag pattern where the individual pieces meet at an angle. Herringbone has a more intentional pattern repeat and creates a broken zig zag. The pattern looks well defined and geometric, and when translated from a weave to a dimensional object each piece intersects at 90 degree angles, as shown below. (image source)

The herringbone pattern originates from a type of fabric weave used in traditional men's blazers and suits. (image source)

Below you can see a close up of the pattern, which is nicely described as the following:

Herringbone describes a distinctive V-shaped weaving pattern . It is distinguished from a plain chevron by the break at reversal, which makes it resemble a broken zigzag. The pattern is called herringbone because it resembles the skeleton of a herring fish

(image & quote source)

 

Here are a few ways that herringbone is making a classic and beautiful comeback in interiors.

 

 

 
 

 

Navy Blue Rooms

I've always loved the color blue, and have found navy blue in particular to be a versatile chameleon. I don't think there is a color that doesn't go with navy! There are times when I've even thought "navy is the new black" but have refrained from making such statements. Navy has been hot for a few years now and it looks classic mixed with white, like all those ginger jars we see in decor magazines today.

Then I read an article from the Wall Street Journal (Top 5 Interior Design Trends for 2015) discussing how moody blues are on trend, and so I thought it would be fun to show a few combinations of navy with other colors for some inspiration. I focused mostly on painted navy rooms, although adding navy accents through furniture and accessories is another great way to infuse a smaller dose of this blue. So without further adieu let's see some pictures!

Navy with Neutrals (moody blues)

 

Navy & White (classic & crisp)

 

 

Navy & Hot Pink (hot hot!)

 

Navy & Green/Yellow (crisp & clean)

 

Creepy Artwork!

Just in time for Halloween this week I thought I'd share some really cool, yet strangely bizarre, and possibly even creepy artwork! I stumbled upon these at the Habitat Restore and couldn't believe how intricate they were. They are 3 exotic beetles with gears and tiny mechanism inside, and each is preserved carefully inside a glass bell jar. It was pretty amazing to see the high level of detail that went into each piece!

My photo definitely doesn't do this creature any justice! The creator of these Frankenstein pieces is Mike Libby of Insect Lab Studio, and he smartly put his signature on the bottom of these pieces. So curiosity takes me on an adventure through his website to see what other creations he has made - and I find them all amazing and beautiful. I could see these in an office or science classroom!

So now here are some better images of these really unique pieces of art.

Dynastidae: Eupatorus Gracilicornis
(aka Rhino Beetle)

Lucanidae: Cyclomattus Elephas
(aka: Stag Beetle)

Cetonidae: Torynorhinna Flammae
(aka Flower beetle)

And in case you're wondering, YES THEY ARE REAL BUGS!!! I have no idea how he is able to handle them without them crumbling to a million dried dust particles. But somehow he manages to install the gears into each and every one of them. And he doesn't stop at beetles... oh no! Check out these other beautifully mechanical insects.

Papilionidae: Papilio Ulysses
(aka Swallowtail butterfly)

Odonata: Anax Junius
(aka Dragonfly)

Wasp (no latin name!)

The Perfect Spa Blue

First let me give a little context to this post by saying that when you buy a home one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to update the rooms and instantly personalize it is by adding a fresh coat of paint. It's just so much easier to do it when you don't have all your furniture in the way! So when we bought our first home that's the very first thing we did. Not only did we want to freshen the place, but we really didn't like the existing colors at all, they were just so muddy and brown. Anyway, there was ONE color that we absolutely LOVED and it was in our bathroom. It's the perfect spa blue, and we get lots of compliments.  

(Not such a bad picture, except those less than perky tissues, lol)

The problem? A couple months ago we needed to make a small patch repair near the tub which meant spackling and painting. We needed to know what paint was on the wall! So being a decorator that offers color consulting I grabbed both my Sherwin & Benjamin Moore paint swatches and went to work. 

The solution? I found the PERFECT color match, and I'll show you pictures to prove it! The perfect color is Benjamin Moore's Wedgewood Gray HC-146. I wouldn't normally recommend painting only part of your wall but lucky for us it was on a small corner so we were able to just touch up that part. Not that it mattered because it really was a perfect match! 

Benjamin Moore Wedgewood Gray HC-146

I'm so excited now that I know what color it is! It's the perfect spa blue because it has a soft gray base and it reads mostly blue. Every now and then you can see a hint of green undertone that comes through in certain lighting. You can see where if falls between blue and green compared to the other swatches next to it.  

It's just such a soothing color and looks really sharp with crisp whites. We also have gray towels that work perfectly in there. And I've seen some examples where it works really well with warm sandy beige too, which have have as flooring. 

(our gray towels and white curtain & molding) 

Here are a few other examples I found online of bathrooms that use Wedgewood Gray.

Mantle Styling

During this unrelenting winter I've gotten a bit of fireplace envy. It's been fun looking at some fireplaces online (like this post) and thinking about how to style them. There are so many ways to accentuate this focal point that there really is no wrong way to do it. In a previous post I explained some key elements of a vignette, or decorative way to arrange accessories together. When styling a fireplace mantle many of the same tips hold true. So now if you're looking for some ideas of what to use, here are some fun options! 

1. Mirrors

This is one of my favorite design tricks, not only do mirrors reflect the light in the room and make it feel bigger, but if you angle the mirror back you can catch your chandelier / light fixture in the view which adds a dynamic element.

2. Family Portraits

This is a classic item for above a fireplace. You could hang one large portrait flanked with sconces for symmetry, or could lean a few different sized portraits for a more relaxed feel. 

Inspired by the things we Love

Valentines' day is almost upon us and love (and lots more snow) are in the air. Love drives us in many ways in both our personal and professional lives. For me design has always been something I've enjoyed, and it seems the more I learn about it the more I find to love. Materials and products are always changing with trends and technology so it keeps the industry fresh with lots to learn - it seems almost infinite! (just search the term "ICFF" in my blog sidebar!)

As a member of the Interior Redecorators Network I strive to learn and grow each year so I can provide my clients with the best service I can. Within the IRN there are different levels of membership based on credits you can earn from things like participation, education, and community involvement. And I am proud to say that I recently earned a Gold Member status! You can see my new shiny pin above :)

 

I am also getting a head start on maintaining my Gold Membership by attending more classes. I was at a CEU yesterday called "Area Rug Construction & Terminology" held at J&S Designer Flooring. First of all their showroom is amazing, has a wide selection of products, and the associates are so lovely and helpful. Then the presentation by Delos was so extremely informative and helpful, they explained how rugs are made and passed around beautiful samples to demonstrate. Rugs are something we all live with and might even take for granted, but once you start learning about them it's easy to see how it's a world in its own right! I am so excited to share some of what I learned so I hope to do a post about it next week.

Inspired by the things (or pets) we love....

Then there is the "occupational hazard" aspect of going to a fantastic showroom.... of course I always look for client projects but this was the first sample I brought home as a stair runner contender for our house! I am noticing a certain "colorway" that I'm drawn too... it has to do with one certain fuzzy animal that I love. Isn't it funny how I'm drawn to the subtle color variations of tans, cremes, with golden bronze hightlights? Let's take a look closer here... 

Just look at that edging along his ear... 

And that fuzzy butt, the tip of tail has that same coloring. 

He's a happy pup - isn't he so fuzzy?! And so white with bronze accents? We love him to pieces, and apparently I am taking color cues for my home from him ;) 

Now take a look around your home - what has been inspiring you lately? Any particular product, pet, or person? Anything that you pass in your daily journey you've been thinking about? I would love to know - we are all victims of love whether we realize it or not ;) 

Happy Valentines Day
with love, 

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That's a Wrap!

Well, the holidays have come and gone and today is the eve of a New Year! I am excited to ring in the new year with friends later tonight and am looking forward to see what 2014 brings!

In an effort to wrap up some of my design finds from last year I wanted to share my last round up from the ICFF, and this one is all about paper! Maybe you've seen some beautifully wrapped gifts this past holiday, but this post will focus on your walls! 

Some of you may still be removing wallpaper that you inherited from decades ago but the truth is that wallpaper is back in a big way! And why not when there are so many beautiful options that can add pattern, metallics, depth, or texture to your walls. It creates instant ambiance and impact. This isn't your grandmother's wallpaper.... :)

Calico Wallpaper

Beautiful marbled technique applied in a metallic paint, beautiful and organic. They have a process section on their website that shows a few photos of how they marble their papers.

Lunaris

Vahallan Papers

These are made in panels that are replaceable and repairable. Very interesting concept for wallpapers. It comes in many textures and patterns, and also offers a 'torn edge' style that creates a seam-free look.

Industry

Lobo Loup

Cute illustrations that would work great in any children's room. Playful designs are printed on sustainable paper with water based inks.

Wiener Dogs

Petta Thompson

How fun are these 3D wallpapers with pom poms and flowers

Scatta with pom pom accessories

 

Carl Robinson

And here is a line of classy wallpaper. I received a folder with

Last week in Review

It's that time of year when each week gets busier than the last and the list of to-do's keep growing! Last week was especially busy preparing for the decorating presentation I gave at the Habitat ReStore. I enjoyed putting my thoughts together and sharing some of my top decorating tips! 

Presentation set up with handouts

Raffled a Starbucks gift card and a cute little holiday tree from Trader Joes!

As I was preparing the slides of text and gathering the photos I realized it was a lot like assembling the largest blog post ever and presenting it live! And once I started creating it was so hard to stop! I could go on and on about the details of each photo since there are so many aspects that relate to each other. If you made it out to the presentation - thank you! It was great to see you, and if you couldn't make it I'll be giving more next year, stay in the loop here.

Below are a few of my favorite photos that correlate to holiday entertaining, maximizing the function, and creating good conversation areas.  

  

It's Movember!!

Have you all heard of Movember? Perhaps you are reading this and thinking that not only have you heard of it, but you are participating too? If so, please send a picture because who doesn't love a good moustache? If you haven't heard of it, Movember was created to bring awareness to men's health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health. Men are encouraged to join the movement by growing their own stashe for the full 30 days of November! There are other ways to bring awareness and opportunities fundraise for charity by registering on Movember.com. You can read more about it here!

Thank you Ron Swanson, er I mean Nick Offerman for setting such a good example!
(source)

And here is a MUST WATCH video about the effort (more where that came from!)

 

Ok, now that you are aware of Movember you are beginning to wonder if this is still a decorating website where where you can find exciting home decor and related ideas? Well, yes it is! So let me begin the round up then shall I? Some of the most furry, hairy, "movember-ish" pieces of furniture I could find! Beginning with this one I saw at the ICFF this past May! It was quite eye-catching and I've been saving this one until now :)

Designed by Sentient, Brooklyn NY 

Look at the back of that! It even looks like a stash :)

Not only is this piece of furniture appropriate for Movember, it is also right on trend. There have been lots of write ups of using animal prints, hides, and especially hair on hide like this. The furrier the better. If you are in the market I recommend you start looking for vintage sources, which is obviously better for the animal. There are also plenty of faux options coming out that you can start with there.  For other great products on the market here are some examples. 

Top 5 Tips for Styling Vignettes

Last week was a really fun week for design and business! I attended a design conference and met other members of theInterior Redecorators Network that I am part of. I learned so many good business tips and even more decorating ideas. One day of the conference we went to the New York Design Centerand after an information session we toured the beautiful showrooms. There was so much to see I'm already making plans to go back again! There were too many favorites to name but one of the showrooms that really stood out to me was Global Views. They carry a lot of home accessories and had beautiful vignettes set up by color. It was a really impactful way to organize the showroom and each vignette was beautiful on its own.

(Photo I took at Global Views - stunning vignette of black, white, and gold)

I think vignettes like this one above are a really nice way to add some interest to your home decor too. If you have collections you'd like to display or personal mementos that you'd like to share this is a great way to showcase those. Not to mention how well these work with holiday decor! So I thought I'd share a few tips for creating vignettes in your home.

1- Define a Collection


A collection begins with a grouping of 3 or more items. Edit the collection to showcase the best and most meaningful so they don't become clutter. Each vignette should tell a story about the items, afterall the word vignette means "a short scene in a movie or play."

(From Scandinavia with Love)

 

 

 

2- Think Scale

This is something that kept coming up in conversation at the conference too, it's easy to get consumed by lots of "little" things. Don't forget to vary the scale and think BIG to add some height and interest to bring your eye around the room!

 

Pantone Products

I've been reading a lot about color lately and was excited to see the most recent catalog from The Home Decorators Collection featuring four new lines of rugs that are part of Pantone Universe! There is Pantone focus, Pantone expressions, Pantone prismatic, and Pantone matrix.

This first picture from their catalog that shows a simple shag in the Pantone 2013 color of the year, of course: Emerald.  One of the other colors available is Tangerine Tango which was 2012's color of the year. These are basic color block options for a dose of saturated color in any room.

This catalog page shows their more subtle color combinations which all have a soft feathered edge to the patterns. I really like the one they picked to photograph above, called New Antique. You'll also see they've selected a few Pantone chips on each page so you can "perfectly match your wall color, laminates, furniture, accessories and more with our rugs."

 

I also liked these tone on tone geometeric wool flatweaves shown above. 
Horizon Blue: Pantone 19-4057 TPX and Pink Flambe 19-3138 TPX

ICFF Recap: Materials

Well, while I couldn't attend the Milan Furniture Fair that happened earlier this year, I could go to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Javits Center, NYC!! I look forward to that show every year and so I went on May 20th and have been trying ever since to organize the massive amount of information and inspiration I collected during my trip in! 

Travel

Since Javits is on the west side of Manhattan I took the ferry instead of the normal bridge & tunnel ;) This was one of the first nice days in May that was warm enough to sit on top without a jacket and enjoy the sun, just like this guy...  

This was also soon after the antenna with beacon was added to the Freedom Tower.  Progress on the build is coming along nicely and is scheduled to be open the end of 2013. 

The Booths...

Once I get into the show I have to pick a strategy for walking the isles so I don't miss anything! There is just so much to take in all at once so I usually go straight to one side and work my way across the entire floor. Phew! This year I started on the left and found one of my favorite booths right away. And good thing too because my camera battery died soon after. Many companies and designers put a lot of thought and money into their booths to help show their products in the best light. I really loved this booth from Grain Design for how simple it was! The blue paper shingles were a great idea and created a strong backdrop for their products. I loved the tables, textiles and lighting. It has a sort of nautical / water based feel to me and then I learned they are from Washington State. I could definitely see myself hanging out in a place like that! 

 

Materials

After leaving the fair this year there were so many things to think about but the few that kept circling through my mind had to do with the innovative use of materials. Many designers were taking sustainability to the next level of design and it's so exciting to new beautiful products that are good for the environment! Below are a few of my favorite material explorations, and then I could easily write another 6 posts talking about the actual product designs! 

Porcelain

(High Style Stone & Tile)

Why am I showing a wood floor as the first picture under porcelain? Well because it looks like wood but is not! Crazy, right?!? I saw many "porcelain wood floors" at ICFF and I think porcelain is finding it's way onto floors in big ways! I still can't believe it, I need to research this more but the look of wood grain is very impressive and natural looking. The pictures shown here are from High Style Stone & Tile. I'm sure it doesn't have the physical warmth of real wood, but the other benefits could be a very interesting application. 

(close up detail of the grain, I'm not lying when I say it is in fact porcelain!)

 

There were also very beautiful patterns in porcelain tiles. One was a collaboration with product designer Patricia Urquiola, which is a collection of patterns you can mix and match for an eclectic look.

 

A Neutral Palette Is Like...

After reading this month's issue of House Beautiful there was one set of photos that really stayed with me and I knew I had to share! They were from an interview with designer Tobi Tobin about her 100 year farmhouse. What I really appreciated about this space was the creation of elegance through layered textures, shapes, neutral colors and materials such as wood and seagrass. There is just this sense of restrained elegance - the smart use of black striping on stair runners, railing, and mirror frames. The glamorous effect of mirrors and lighting options she chose. And that black and white wallpaper in the guest room just makes it feel like a cocoon you could stay cozy in all day long!

I can also appreciate that she bought some of her lighting from Z Gallerie, which I think is totally accessible. AND she also decided not to gut her kitchen but rather repaint the cabinets black instead which looks so charming and simple. Below are some of my favorite photos (which is almost all of them). To read the full interview click here, and to see all the pictures click here.

 

In her interview she mentioned that she designs for a lot of artists and creates a neutral palette for their homes so they can be free of visual clutter while creating art. I can also relate a neutral palette to a blank canvas or a little black dress - so much potential to customize and reuse over time! If you go neutral with the big ticket items like furniture, walls and flooring you can accessorize with the seasons and stay current with style since it's easy and affordable to swap them out. Here are some ideas using a neutral palette with colorful accessories!