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Giraffes As a Design Motif

April 11, 2007

Zebra patterns were discussed here recently, so I thought we’d explore the Giraffe a bit today. When I thought of them as a motif years ago, I pictured the straight-off-the-Serengeti living rooms of the 80’s, decorated with Africian masks, hide throws galore, and lifesize giraffes carved from wood, in deep reddish tones (like this). Some people still dig safari style and they have every right to enjoy it, but I was never a fan of the look. I’m just not big on themed rooms as a rule, and cringe at the thought of all those themed kitchens of the past complete with wallpaper borders, usually sporting a rooster or a hen. So when I think of bringing animals into a space, whether it’s a cute owl or a graceful giraffe, less is really more. True, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we all have our collections, but a word of caution here: avoid the dreaded theme park decor because it can go from sleek to cheap the more you pile it on.

Giraffes As a Design MotifOutside of the Serengeti, giraffes are a constant trend for the nursery, mostly in yellow or orange… And I dare to break my own rules here and say that for baby, you can go with a little theme if you wish, but again, proceed with caution. You want to make sure to keep that baby of yours happy, and this may sound snobby, but you also want the room to fit your home. I’ve been in places that had these ultra swank interiors, and immediately upon stepping into the nursery, you question what they were smoking when they designed the nursery.

As motifs go, you have the owls, turtles, trees, you name it — they’re all center stage at the moment. Even the little koi has his day. But what about the giraffe? Should this leggy beast be limited only to the safari look or a nursery? Or can we bring him out into the living room, dining area, even the kitchen? When I think of adding a little giraffe action to my home, I picture lighter, brighter colors, vintage wallpaper silhouettes, a playful pillow, and Jonathan Adler and his amazing lamp. Oh that lamp, what a charmer he is. Let’s now look at it inside the home of a stylish twentysomething designer. Oh, Lena? Where are you?

Giraffes As a Design MotifAh, here she is. Textile designer and illustrator Lena Corwin, successfully incorporates the giraffe lamp from Jonathan Adler into her largely mid-century modern flat in Brooklyn. Very grown up, this doesn’t read ‘safari’ or ‘nursery’ at all. It reads hip and fun.

I love Lena’s space, but that lamp adds an extra spark that completes the room for me. It’s a bit of a quirky, unexpected touch that tells us that Lena has personality, she’s a bit playful, doesn’t take design too seriously, but also has exquisite taste to be able to mingle a giraffe lamp into a room with tree wallpaper, contemporary art, and mid century furnishings. But enough gushing about Lena. We don’t want to make her uncomfortable. :)

Giraffes As a Design MotifOkay, maybe one more gush. Lena designed a travel plate with a giraffe on it that shows how well one can use this animal in an adult space. Unfortunately though, we don’t see enough of the giraffe in adult rooms, and I think it’s a shame because we’re limiting this beautiful animal with the silhouette of a super model. And when we see the giraffe pattern used in decor or fashion, it’s always in either deep brown and white or black and white.

Please designers of the world, let’s allow the giraffe to mature a bit, while keeping him modern and playful. Let’s show his pattern in chartreuse against a pale blue background for textiles, I’m thinking of this pattern from Judy Ross, only with a close-up view of the giraffe hide. Let’s bring that Adler lamp into an adult space a little more, and for fashion, let’s see the giraffe pattern in hot pink against white, turquoise, lime, for handbags, dresses, and the interior lining of luggage. C’mon — let’s turn up the dial and see what fun can result.

Giraffes As a Design MotifGiraffes As a Design MotifGiraffes As a Design Motif
Joy by Mel Lim wrote to me last week about her newly expanded line of paper products that have actually grown into a collection of gift wrap, children’s clothing, t-shirts, and pillows that I’m 100% in love with. Joy turned things up by using her imagination, seeing this leggy beast in a different way. She enjoys incorporating fish, ducks, and our tall friend in her designs, and I enjoy seeing it. Immensely.

Giraffes As a Design MotifOf course, seeing the giraffe on paper is never a bad thing. Especially when done right, like these Sweet cards from Elsewares, the personalized stationery, journal, and enclosure cards from Rock Scissor Paper, and cards from Five Fold Ink and Mini and Emma.

Giraffes As a Design MotifNext, you have these stretch canvas prints by Avalisa, again, more for the kids than the grown ups, but it’s still pretty cute and I love all the colors that it’s available in.

Giraffes As a Design Motif
How cute is this mini print from Repro Depot shown in two colorways, giraffe mania! I can’t see this working as pillows or curtains (eek!), well except again, in a child’s room, but it is a terrific little print.

Giraffes As a Design MotifTory Burch has giraffe bags in her latest collection (not shown), but these box totes from Neimans’ are adorable. I’d put magazines in them and tote them around my house. This $4 giraffe business card holder, handmade by Etsy seller Mirkah is super cute for your handbag, I like the lemon yellow with the tiny white grapics.

Giraffes As a Design MotifCute dress (imagine this print somewhere in the home, wow!), pillow, little juma, and glasses from Anthropologie. I really can’t take my eyes off of that dress. The print is exactly what I’m picturing when I think of a more modern take on the giraffe.

Giraffes As a Design MotifAnd from Etsy: A very funky patchwork toy from While She Naps, a Veronica Press wood book, Maxine Dear tote, and an Okins mid century plush.

Giraffes As a Design Motif
Of course, it’s back to the kiddies again with a slew of softies, but they are a bit hard to resist… Even for a grown up space. Dwell Baby pillows from Giggle are super cute (and huge) and another plush from Zid Zid Kids with a Moroccan edge.

Giraffes As a Design Motif
Wallpaper giraffe silhouettes, available in a gadzillion patterns from Inke, really appeal to me. But I don’t know if I’d use animal silhouettes like this in my childless abode, on a wall. Although strangly enough, I can see it in a kitchen somehow. Don’t ask me, I just can. But of course, I have a very modern, white and light blue interior in mind, a space that reads very contemporary and cool. In the right pattern, this giraffe may rock it behind a bistro table with this capri genie pendant.

Giraffes As a Design Motif
I think these Inke patterns would work in an adult space, they feel a bit more grown and polished to me.

More giraffe love (not shown): Here’s a giraffe lamp from Illums Bolighus, retro badges from Fluffington, and coasters from Kate Black.

Are you a fan of the giraffa camelopardalis? Do you have any in the home? What are your thoughts, hot or not?






Trends

Zebra Patterns – Do You Approve?

March 26, 2007

Nothing inspires us like nature, which is why we so often gravitate towards patterns that resemble those found outdoors. If you’re thinking of adding maximum impact to a space, look no further than the stylish Zebra (please, go faux). And along with the Chinese ceramic stool craze we’re seeing, Zebra rugs are a big hit too, making a continued appearance in some of today’s hottest interiors. Need a bit of inspiration before you decide to add a bit of safari chic to your space?

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?If this image from Domino doesn’t make you see Zebra prints in a new and exciting way… I’m afraid there’s no hope. :)

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?Nothing inspires me like a deal and of course, going faux. You can find a Zebra pattern stenciled onto a hairhide rug for $515 from Horchow. Of course, it’s still from an animal and some of us aren’t into animal hides at all (like me). If that’s you, opt for something in wool, like this one from Home Decorators ($129-299). If you need something smaller for an entry or beneath a sofa table, this 5×7 rug from Urban Outfitters is perfect, and a budget find at $69. It’s cotton, so we know animals weren’t hurt for this little guy, and your wallet won’t feel a thing.

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?When I think of Zebra rugs, Jonathan Adler ($875) always springs to mind. With his dare devil bolder-than-thou designs, I admire how perfectly he works such a bold pattern into his interiors. Having all that color courage, coupled with extreme self-confidence from his ‘been there done that’ experience in the design world, Adler is super contagious. He has a happy virus that more of us need to catch. Explore! Dare! Yes, go there!

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?Designer Jan Showers gives us more eye candy, helping us see the pattern in a variety of settings… A more ‘medicated’ approach to Adler I must add, but beautiful and certainly more friendly to the neutral fans out there.

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?And did you catch the lovely Zebrine wallpaper in Domino magazine from Rose Cumming? It’s making another appearance in interiors with it’s bold, whimsical charm. It makes a definite statement in crisp blue and white, doesn’t it? This image is of Ashley Whittaker’s home, courtesy of Domino, 4/07 and The Peak of Chic.

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?The Peak of Chic loves Zebrine wallpaper and tells us, “Glamorous pedigree aside, this print is certainly a stylish but bold statement. I love animal prints, but one has to use them with restraint. All other design elements of a room- furniture, artwork, and accessories- have to be toned down when paired with such a gutsy pattern.” Photo from Robin Bell’s living room, courtesy of House Beautiful, 1/05 via The Peak of Chic.

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?Inspiration from Domino and Living Etc. There’s even a Zebra ottoman in the mix, and a chair, below. For me, if I’m going Zebra, there’s nothing I like better than combining the color turquoise with a crisp black and white faux Zebra print rug.

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?So tell me… What’s your take on it as either a rug, wallpaper, textiles, etc.? Do you approve? Have a little love/hate? Run screaming?






Trends

Chinese Ceramic Garden Stools – Yes or No?

March 26, 2007

Domino (April) arrived over the weekend and I couldn’t help but feel left out of the hip ‘n trendy Chinese Garden Stool Club. Michael Bargo had one in a lovely green, the amazing Chinese Ceramic Garden Stools - Yes or No?Here’s a floral ceramic stool used by Burnham Design in one of their rooms, it looks inspired by the Chinese garden seats, just a bit more dainty and detailed. I wasn’t able to find an exact copy of it, but if you spend some time on Google, I’m sure you’ll find something like it. Check with your local antiques dealer, too.

Why so appealing? They can do it all – the true multitaskers. They fuction as a foot rest, small table, plant stand, place for kitty to sit, or just for a little eye candy – a bright burst of color. They are also small enough to not give commitment phobes a showroom freak out, it’s just one itty bitty stool. Slightly larger than throw pillows. About the same price. We love a good ole barely-break-a-sweat purchase.

Also know as ‘tea stools’, ‘chinese stools’, and ‘porcelain garden seats’, the big sellers seem to be those in solid colors, circular, with intricate, but spare, cutouts (vs. the ornate hand-painted or square varieties). Although, I have to say that I love the hand-painted stools in blue and white, like the one shown a few images down from Wisteria for $179.

Chinese Ceramic Garden Stools - Yes or No?My #1 stop, Oriental DestinAsian on eBay. Prices range from $69-119 for solid colors in blues, greens, yellows, and of course, white. With a flat rate shipping anywhere in the U.S. for only $35, you can’t go wrong for a repro. Keep in mind that just like anything else, you can pay more and find something really unique and one-of-a-kind straight from artisians in China, or you can opt for reproduction pieces inspired by traditional Chinese garden seats if you’re on a limited budget.

Chinese Ceramic Garden Stools - Yes or No?Chinese Ceramic Garden Stools - Yes or No?Although the stools I’m seeing in magazines and designer’s portfolios aren’t nearly as ornate, if you love to mix things up, opt for handpainted or these cutout floral patterns from The Company Store ($108), or Mecox Gardens. For a one-of-a-kind seat, Red River Trading Co. in Boston’s South End has imported stools straight from Hunan, China. The two shown above in teal were handmade and fired in a kiln which means that are totally worth $350- each.

Chinese Ceramic Garden Stools - Yes or No?Chinese Ceramic Garden Stools - Yes or No?Try these gorgeous stools from Wisteria in your space. I can’t help but think they’d add that perfect touch. Or for ones with a bit more detail, go with these from Gumps of San Francisco.

Additional Ceramic Garden Stool resources: Tonic Home, Clipper Trading, even Pottery Barn is in on the trend with a Jade green stool for only $99. You can google for “Ceramic Garden Stools”, “tea stools”, “chinese stools”, and “porcelain garden seats”, and find hundreds of other sources. Use those as search words on eBay, too.

Can you spot them in these rooms? Some are much less obvious than others…

Chinese Ceramic Garden Stools - Yes or No?Chinese Ceramic Garden Stools - Yes or No?From: Domino, KWID, Kelly Proxmire, Todd Romano, Timothy Whealon, Kemble Interiors, Burham Design, and Kenneth Brown Design.

So what do you think – Are you into these, or do you run screaming in the opposite direction?






Trends

Trends 2007: Beachy Keen

February 22, 2007

Surf’s Up! We kicked off our trend report with Mad About Morocco and The Nurturing Naturalist, but with so many other hot looks out there, let’s explore a few more. For this trend, think beach parties, palm trees, and lots of California cool, and relaxed interiors. You can even support the environment by incorporating pieces that are eco-friendly, especially with Beachy Keen because so much of the look is based on what’s au natural. We’re talking more Denmark or coastal Maine faded vs. Lily Pulizter preppy.

Living Etc.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenTrends 2007: Beachy KeenThe Look: Serene and subtle, natural shapes and finishes, sun-kissed. Images of sea, sand, pebbles, driftwood, and raw raffia come to mind. The look incorporates light and medium wood tones, and plenty of organic materials and fibers. Try to find sustainable, durable products when you can. Beachy Keen can be relaxed and soft (slipcover sofas, for instance), or streamlined and contemporary (a chair in wicker and chrome). Look for pieces with clean lines and uncomplicated, organic patterns. Bring the outdoors in to immerse yourself in a total resort-like atmosphere with lots of found objects neatly arranged. It’s all about personal preference.

As with any look, don’t lay it on thick… You want your home to function and breathe and it can’t if smothered to death. Think of the coast when it is quiet – a few people, some gulls in flight, you, the sand and surf. Nice vision, isn’t it? Now think of the beach during peak season with wall-to-wall bodies, so packed you can barely see the sand. Not as relaxing a thought. Same with your home. Packing a room with too much visual clutter isn’t the goal here, Beachy Keen is about good organization and well thought out displays and a smart floor plan. Lean on having too little over an abundance. If you have collections you’d like to use in the room, pottery or jars of shells that you collect, group them together in one place so they can be appreciated. Scattering them doesn’t show them off nearly as well. It’s hard for the eye to appreciate any one object in a room that is too busy. Examine the images below for further confirmation. Aren’t they soothing?

To create your very own peaceful escape, here are some beautiful pieces to get you started, from lighting to linens. Have fun!

Living Etc

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenTrends 2007: Beachy KeenTrends 2007: Beachy Keen
Furniture – Wood, wood, wood! In blonde or acorn, monkeypod, walnut, bamboo, driftwood, teak, elm, wicker, rattan, or painted in white or pastel. Lacquered works if it’s pastel, acrylic if it’s clear, and glass top tables with a wood base work fine as well. You can mix periods – think fusion bohemian. Lines can be raw and natural, traditional (mid century European pieces, such as Finnish or Scandinavian pieces) or clean and contemporary. Here are some examples. In addition to options below, try Maine Cottage for some painted wood furnishings that may suit your tastes. I’m more of a clean, contemporary girl myself, so most of what is featured in this post are items I would own or suggest to my clients.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenBeautiful teak from Lekker Home in Boston’s South End.
Trends 2007: Beachy KeenFurnishings from West Elm
Trends 2007: Beachy KeenFurnishings from Pottery Barn

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenFurnishings from Pottery Barn

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenChairs: Top row: Hawaii dining chair from Anthropologie, Neptune chair from Anthropologie, Driftwood chair from Bleu Nature, Scalandia chair from Pier 1. Bottom Row: Easy rattan armless chair from Pier 1, Sophisticate chair from Inmod (a real deal for $114, free shipping, and 10% until 2/23) and the Nandor chair from IKEA.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenClockwise from top left: Trends 2007: Beachy KeenBenches and tables, clockwise from top left: Barn Beam tables from Viva Terra, Truck Tarp ottoman from Anthropologie, and the Z Bench from Branch Home.

Plenty of sun-washed hues – Blues, greens, sand, grey, pale pink, pale yellow, lavendar, cream, white. Visit the coast for inspiration, snap photos, open your eyes to the sights and sounds. Pay attention to the colors so you can bring similiar hues into your space. (If you’d like to spice things up a bit, incorporate deeper tones of these hues, add a burst of teal, for instance.)

Prints range from organic shapes to wood grain, palm branches, stripes, sea fans, and bamboo. Keep metals to a minimum, although a little silver or gold goes a long way, especially hammered or in a matte finish.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenTextiles from Trends 2007: Beachy KeenLinen and faux suede pillows from West Elm add color and texture.

Trends 2007: Beachy Keen

Top row: Trends 2007: Beachy KeenPillows from Hable Construction

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenMerino Wool Bobble pillows from Mirror Mirror and assorted Simplemente Blanco pillows.

Bedding: Let’s look at a few bedding options. I’m sure most of you can figure this out on your own by now, especially with all this visual inspiration, but here are a few of my favorites.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenSwim bedding from Judy Ross and the Tamarind bedding from Anthropologie.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenParaati/Nora and the Marina, both from Crate and Barrel.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenCozy throws add warmth in more ways than one. Chunky Knit throws from Nate Berkus at Linens ‘n Things, and the Lucy crochet throw from Anthropologie.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenHandmade quilts from Sweet Felt Goods in Rhode Island.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenContemporary and clean Waves bedding from West Elm. A great gender neutral option.

For flooring I suggest hardwood or bamboo, berber carpeting, creamy white shag rugs, stone, anything made of natural fibers, really. If you want modern, opt for most of Angela Adams’ rugs. She’s from Maine so her designs are inspired by times spent on the shore, and they are made of 100% New Zealand wool. If your budget won’t allow an Adams splurge, look for similiar patterns at a big box store, like Pier 1 or Target. Chiasso is another one to visit.
Trends 2007: Beachy KeenWest Elm Frames shag rug and wood block rug.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenRoost pebble felted wool rugs and Roost bamboo flooring via Velocity Art + Design.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenRugs from Angela Adams via Design Public.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenThe Comma
or the Seed Pod rug from Anthropologie.

Paint suggestions? Try soft, barely-there hues for paint (Bright and Early #834 is heavenly) to lend a sense of spaciousness. If you fancy texture, add grasscloth wallpaper (I love the papers from Twenthy2 shown below) or papers made from another natural fiber. If it’s drama you crave, paint your walls in a dark blue-gray (like Sea Reflections #1664) and trim everything out in pure white, like Decorators White, or trim things out a few shades darker than your wall color. This works well in a formal dining room. Another gorgeous blue is Palladian Blue, it’s one of the most beautiful Robin’s Egg ever. (Colors are from Benjamin Moore.) You can also try Farrow + Ball’s “Elephants Breath” #229, it’s somewhat of a grey and beige combined, aka greige. It’s subtle and gorgeous.

Walls: Never forget the power of wallpaper! Grasscloth is ideal. Think of non-tacky ways to bring the sea home without it becoming a theme park. You can do it!

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenTrends 2007: Beachy KeenCoral with Eyeflowers wallpaper from Rollout, and white algae from Vitra via Velocity Art + Design (I love this in white, makes a terrific, airy room divider).

Windows: Keep it simple, fresh, and no frills. If you can find something with texture, or made from natural materials, all the better. Linens, cottons, bamboos… You get the vibe. This isn’t rocket science, so don’t stress. Trrain you eye and develop your taste. We all make progress as we complete projects, so keep at it when you decorate!

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenNatural woven waterfall shades from Smith + Noble and 3-D Gap laine felt blinds from Anne Kyyro Quinn (love!), and the Lapis and Wave Motif curtains are from Anthropologie.

Now let’s move on to lighting. There’s a lot out there that works with this look. Good lighting is one of the most important features of a well-designed space, but so often neglected. Here are some good options…

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenSurprise! These light fixtures are from Pottery Barn.
I’m so impressed with their selection this season.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenSurprise! More Pottery Barn beauties. I love these.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenThink tactile. The felt loop lighting by Anne Kyyro Quinn is gorgeous, as is the Giacamo driftwood lamp via Zia Priven.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenPendant love! Top row: Coral chandelier from Moth, and Igniq from Bleu Nature.
bottom row: Shell Chandelier (hey, why not?) and Galbraith and Paul Stripe Pendant from Room + Board.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenClockwise from left: Zia Priven Groove lamp, Capiz chandelier from Pier 1, Gold leaf sea fan table lamp from Horchow, Glass Boulder lamp from Anthropologie, Phantom table lamp from CB2.

Accessorize! Now let’s move on to some accessories that fit this look. Colored glass may be on trend right now, but it’s also timeless, so you can feel confident in your purchase. Patterned glasses (especially etched), serving plates in pastels, dinnerware in interesting shapes, ceramics (textured, cut out or pierced designs are in), and plant orbs. Who doesn’t love plant orbs?

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenDusk Chellie glasses from Angela Adams, Kahla Cumulus Aerius dinnerware from Lekker, Staxx dinnerware from Crate and Barrel.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenMedium Teal Seahorse pillow, Wood Plant Orb, Glass Orbs (great for succulents), Turquoise Gloss Chi planters, all from Sprout Home.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenClockwise: Water Hyacinth placemat, Riverstone napkin ring, Smoked Bamboo placemat, and the Cerchi dinnerware from Pier 1.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenMore great tabletop options from Pier 1. Mother-of-Pearl Salad Servers, Capiz Charger, and the Pansey napkins.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenDriftwood Trivet from Viva Terra and Porcelin Driftwood pieces from Greener Grass Design.

Trends 2007: Beachy Keen Bubble Bud vase from Rare Device, Surf Stripe grommetted gift tags from Hable Construction (sweet to hang around the neck of a pretty glass bottle), knit ceramics from Loop in London, and vessels from West Elm.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenCeramics from Papa Stour in Scotland.

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenGlassware from West Elm

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenSoap, soap leaves, and candles from Simplemente Blanco

Trends 2007: Beachy KeenPretty blown glass from Rock Paper Scissors, Hable Construction canvas desktop storage box from Rock Paper Scissors, and ocean paper weights from See Jane Work.

One point to stress… We’re not talking theme-y looks here with starfish and sea urchin everything. Try to not ‘go there’ when you decorate your space. You’re simply bringing your favorite place indoors by creating a spot that brings you peace and joy, using what happens to be a trend, so it’s easy to pull together. Please avoid shopping yourself into a coma (or debt!). There’s more to life, like stretching your imagination and getting creative with what you already have. Mix in smart, new finds with your current space to freshen the mood. You’re smart and confident, you’ll pull off something gorgeous!

Trends 2007: Beachy Keen

Trends 2007: Beachy Keen

Hope you’ve enjoyed this trend report. I’ll be adding a few more trends in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Psst: I highly suggest picking up the current Domino magazine, it’s all about going green. You can even find their green list that Graham from Treehugger pulled togther for them. It’s packed with resources from furniture to rugs, many of which would fit nicely with your new ocean-inspired decor.






Trends

Trends 2007: The Nurturing Naturalist

January 25, 2007

{This is a huge post, so I’ll give you time to read through it and return tomorrow with more goodies before I head out for the weekend. See you Friday!}

Another trend that rolled over into ’07 is botany obsession and a love of insects, birds, and beach finds – like shells and bird feathers or a vintage birdcage (with a plant inside if you are a pet-free home). This trend seems to appeal to those who have the eye of a natural history museum curator and a real attachment to the natural world around them. Think antiqued prints of flora and fauna, once living things lovingly preserved (starfish, cotton complete with stem), items precious and kept beneath glass domes, or framed, or resting peacefully on a table – a large clamshell to catch your keys, for instance.

To ensure the look is fresh and doesn’t appear too dusty (or dated), you’ll need to set the background with light, modern, hues and be mindful that less is more. Dark green or jewel tones will depress, as will too much black. Opt for lots of faded colors – soft blues, creamy butter yellow, soft gray, and lots of white (in its many shades). Dot some red (maybe a coral paperweight or pillow) around a faded blue room to add a modern touch and a bit of punch if you like, but don’t OD on saturated hues. Even a splash of teal will work, but use with caution… Go easy! Remember, this trend isn’t about sparkle or saturated colors, it’s faded, somewhat neutral, very focused on collections well placed, and lots of natural textures and patterns. You can go casual with it, or more traditional. Just have fun and remember, don’t take design too seriously. Decorating your home shouldn’t be stressful. If it is, you need to take some time out and refocus. Pull in a few friends with homes you love and have a “Help Me” party. Friends love to give decorating advice!

Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistFurniture tips: For furniture, look for slipcovered sofas and chairs for a relaxed feel, or go for rolled arms, a high angled back, or tufted sofas for a more traditional look. For a look that is more casual, try using wooden trunks, worn walnut end tables, glass top tables with rusty legs (flea market finds), vintage suitcases stacked and topped with a lamp, tufted velvet headboards in faded prints or solids (complete with burnished-brass nail head trim). Wood with white-washed or chalk finishes, metal or rusty metals, glass, distressed leathers, anything worn or fades… Key is to mix new purchases with flea market finds. There’s nothing to it! The Grant chair and the Jasper from Room and Board work well too. The Jasper (try ordering it in Danish Linen for a more natural look) is modern and casual and the Grant is more vintage style. I tend to look for furniture with soft edges, but the Jasper still works somehow.

Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistI love these pieces from Oly Studio. Yum. Isn’t that coral chair a great find? I first spotted it in Canadian House + Home and immediately added it to my look book.

Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistThomaspaul linen pillows are fabulous, don’t you think? The Emmet Trunk from Pottery Barn is nice (not shown), and I like their Spencer Sofa too (especially in linen, velvet, or ticking stripe – above).

Accessories to consider (also shown in first image above): The ceramic Sea urchin votive from Good, vintage photography by Karl Blossfeldt (shown aspidium filix mas and cirsium canum cirse). Tip: DIY your own photos by spending a day outdoors snapping photos of pinecones and ferns on a flat smooth surface. Photoshop them into Sephia or Black and White and frame. I also love this white coral lamp or this shell-filled cameo box from Anthropologie. I’m also thinking a meditation hourglass on a stack of books would blend nicely. The eve glass tea light holder looks like a sea urchin, so I just love it, from Lille in Chicago. And just try to say no to this twig easel from Anthropologie.

Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistSome beautiful d?coupage finds from the amazing John Derian fit this look perfectly. Visit his NYC store for the ultimate experience – it’s gorgeous!

Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistYou can mix in a little toile as long as it doesn’t depict the typical country scene (Victorian ladies lounging by a pond). The Bird Toile Quilt and Sham from Pottery Barn is perfect from color to it’s floral and fauna pattern. Their framed bird prints are pretty and fit this look very well, too. Don’t forget glass domes! Jars with screw tops (think old mason jars) are great filled with vintage photos, buttons, thread, even fabric scraps that are rolled like mini scrolls and tied with vintage satin or velvet ribbon. You can also incorporate this vintage-style photo carousel as both a functional, and artistic, centerpiece in your room. Other trend-worthy accessories (not shown) include the Marine candle holder and the coral coasters, all from ZGallerie.
Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistPorcelain vases from Sprout Home in Chicago are perfect for your blooms. This Hammerpress print from Rose + Radish lends vintage charm. You can even mix in a softie or two if you so desire. These owls from Tara Morgendorff have a very loved, slightly worn look to them that I picture on a bed or displayed on a window seat.

Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistThese Agnes + Hoss Jellyfish pillows work if you’re leaning towards a modern natural vibe. I tend to shy away from using shiny satins or silks for this trend, but these pillows are too lovely to pass up. Hint: If you go with silk elsewhere in the home, try a nubby raw silk. But again, easy on the silk.

Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistThe love birds (not shown) from Blue Bell Bazaar are so sweet. I like the Inleaf Geranium Cocktail Napkins, this great Birds of a Feather Mobile from Ige, and did you see this K Studio Branch pillow – Oh so pretty!

Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistAnything from Papa Stour seems to fit the Nurturing Naturalist.

Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistA beautiful set of bird plates for hanging or dining.

Window Tips: For window treatments, think linens, cottons, natural fibers… Solids or patterns work. Think gorgeous prints like these allspice curtains (above) from Anthropologie. If you can find cut natural bamboo reeds that are long enough (I found some at Pier 1), you can use these as curtain rods. Blinds are nice too… Try bamboo or Cypress shades from Target or these natural woven shades from Smith + Noble.

Flooring: Hardwood is great if you have it. If not, try rugs with nature-inspired patterns or made from natural materials – Sisal, for instance. Chenille is another beautiful option. Felt is my favorite, but of course, a much more expensive option. Check Peace Industry for the best selection. The Tulips in gray is somewhat contemporary, but could be used because of it’s faded color scheme.

Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistHardware: Hardware from Anthropologie. Add to kitchen cabinets or your dresser for a fresh new look.
Paint suggestions/Faux Molding Tip: Keep the walls light and faded if you decide to paint. You can trim out the room in pure white if you want the look to lean more on the modern, fresh side. If you want to keep the look more natural, trim the room a few shades darker than the color on the walls. Add height to your ceilings by painted a ‘faux’ crown molding around the entire room near the ceiling – use a shade that is 2-3x darker than your wall color. My picks: If you love green, go with Green Wave 681, if you like the blue tones, try either Seacliff Heights 688 or Bali 702 (for a grayish blue). Silvery Blue 1647 is amazing. For grays, I love First Snowfall 1618 (a barely there gray) and pale smoke 1584. Both of these grays are the ones that seem to reflect light and give the space a fresh feeling (vs. drab and depressing). All colors mentioned above are from the Benjamin Moore Classics collection.

Paint tip: If you are afraid to commit to a color try this. Purchase the Ben Moore minis and 3-4 poster boards. Paint each poster board 2-3 times in one color. Tape a painted poster board to your room, rotating it around the space for one week. (It’s important to rotate walls due to lighting.) Sample only one color at a time (vs. placing all 4 on the wall). Try another color a week later. Continue swapping these around for a month. In the end, you’ll have narrowed it down to 2 or even your favorite. If not, put your 2 remaining choices on the wall and ponder over them. Bring in the fabrics you’d like to use in the room and hold them against the giant swatch. Invite over a few friends with a good eye for color and ask for their opinion.

Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistSuggested Books: Found Style by Amy Butler, $23. Great tour of her home. Love this book. Junk Style $17, Flea Market Decorating: Creating Style with Vintage Finds $4!!! (amazing price, awesome book), Creating Vintage Style (I reviewed this title here), Shabby Chic: Sumptuous Settings and Other Lovely Things (I appreciate this book for her fabulous faded hues and how she displays her collections, and though I’m not big on her floral patterns, I really like how casual and simple her style is. Just make sure to mix in more natural elements (feathers, botancial prints, etc.) to capture the look of the Nuturing Naturalist. And finally Flea Market Style $18. It’s like walking into one giant issue of Living Etc.

Spaces inspired by this trend…

Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistImage from Found Style
Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistImage via BBDW in New York (they have amazing furniture).
Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistImage from Elle Decor. This is Thomas O’Brien’s personal workspace.
Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistThis is more eclectic, but it still works because of the soft lines of the Pantone chair. Image via Domino mag.
Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistImage via Domino magazine. This is a stunning bedroom and another example of mixing trends.
Trends 2007: The Nurturing NaturalistImage via via: Aero Studios.
Locals: If you live in Boston, Good on Charles Street in Beacon Hill encapsulates the look and feel of this trend. In New Hampshire, Red Chair Antiques is amazing and well worth the drive to Peterborough. In Providence, definitely hit Figments or Butterfield on Westminster.

Psst: Looking for another great source for items that fit this trend? Visit Ballard Designs

Next trend coming soon… Beachy Keen!






Trends

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!

January 23, 2007

I’m hearing lots of buzz about the Moroccan look, derived from Hispanic-Moorish style influences, bursting with warmth and energy. Before Canadian House + Home spotted the Modern Moor as a hot trend for ’07, I was already seeing it popping up here in the states and last year, over in Germany, too. H+H says that the Modern Moor look avoids “busy” ethnic interiors by “modernizing the classic motifs and stripping them down to their pure and graphic essence.”

Seems culturally inspired decor is popular everywhere you look, Moroccan being one of my favorites because it’s not only welcoming, warm, and somewhat inexpensive, but it’s easy to pull together and adds lots of personality to a space. You don’t have to go over the top with it either. A throw rug, some toss pillows, a bright yellow lamp, an accent wall, and that’s all you need to pull together a rockin’ little casbah of your very own.

Modern Moor is all about dotting your space with a few key accessories and keeping it simple. This post will celebrate both the modern take, and the classic Moroccan style which incorporates a more layered and ethnic flair, allowing you to pick and choose a look that is right for you.

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Clockwise from top left: Morocco headboard from West Elm, the gorgeous Trocadero lamp from Cottage + Bungalow, the camel shawl/throw from Virginia Johnson, Moroccan tile sheet set from Urban Outfitters, Handan stool from Pier 1, Zid Zid Kids poofs, and blue tea glasses from the Moroccan Bazaar.

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!A Morocco window rug from West Elm and the gorgeous Moroccan carpets from Bev Hisey add desert chic to your floors. I’m nuts about this yellow rug!

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Camel toss pillows in four vibrant colors create the mood. Pillows from Virginia Johnson. Also favorites of mine.

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Ah. The Marrakesh collection [bed, desk, chest, bookcase] from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. That bed would look perfect with all white linens and shams with a black border. A bright grass green throw at the bottom and a few green camel pillows from Virginia Johnson completes the look.

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Clockwise from top left: Marrakesh chair from Conran in blue, Salvor Fauna Camel wall hanging from Design Public, an authentic blue lantern, Moroccan side tables from Garnet Hill, and a Moorish wine rack from Cost Plus World Market. The Camel wall hanging is my pick!

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Yum. Leather poofs in ice cream colors and delicious white cutout tea light holders from Graham + Green. I’ll take my poof in white, please.

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Don’t you love the patterns on these Moroccan plates? They would look beautiful arranged over a credenza or chest of drawers. Most are only around $19 each! I love all of ’em!

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Found! One sweet Moroccan Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!You simply must visit Mosaic House in NYC for these stunning tiles. Or online. Perfect selection.

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Food: Add some flavor to your table with this great Olive Oil from Williams Sonoma, Moroccan lamb dish from Martha Stewart or Moroccan Braised Chicken or the Lamb Chops with Moroccan Spices from Williams Sonoma. Pick up Made in Morocco by Julie Le Clerc and John Bougen and whip up some other amazing eats.

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Books: Moroccan Interiors: 25th Anniversary edition, New Moroccan Style, Moroccan Silk Designs in Full Color, Living in Morocco: Design from Casablanca to Marrakesh, and Alberto Pinto Orientalism. Music tip: Bring a little Arabic Groove into your home for the ultimate Moroccan atmosphere. Light some candles, serve that delish chicken dish shown above, and press play.

Blogs: My Marrakesh and Moroccan Decor are great. The View from Morocco is another gem to check out.

Online Stores: Les Hommes Blue, Nine Seas Decor, The Moroccan Bazaar, and Casbah Decor are dedicated to Moroccan decor like you wouldn’t believe. Jam packed!

Paint suggestions (from Benjamin Moore): Think earthy desert colors, a rich red (Moroccan Red 1309) a perky coral, gold tones, or bold blue. Teals are pretty too. (I like Teal Tone 663.) If you want to keep to the Moorish Modern look, use a perfect white like Decorators’ White (my pick) as your ‘canvas’ color. Then, mix in a few bright bursts via accent pieces. If you want to make your look more ethnic, go for a rich color.

Visiting Morocco? Here are some great shopping tips from resident expert, Maryam.

And finally, here are a few photos to inspire you from Alberto Pinto, Mosaic House, and Domino. Remember, you can go as far as you want with this look, or as minimal. It’s really up to you. You don’t have to Moroc-ify everything, grab a white leather poof and mix it in with your ghost chair and hardwood floors. You don’t have to play by any rules, just have fun!

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Alberto Pinto
Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco! Mosaic Home
Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Alberto Pinto
Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Alberto Pinto
Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!Domino

I’d like to thank my friend Maryam from My Marrakesh, an amazing blogger who has shown me a new world through her eyes and because of her blog, I was able to find some of these great items. Thanks, Maryam!

Next Trend for ’07 to check out… Beautiful Botany. Stay tuned!

[By the way, most of these finds and tips are my own, including the book, blog, and paint suggestions. I took the Modern Moorish page from House and Home and ran with it, creating what I think would fit every budget, and even a broader style, not just modern but also a very ethnic, authentic look. I hope you enjoy it!]






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