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Trends 2007: The Nurturing Naturalist

{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!

Furniture 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.

I 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.

Thomaspaul 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.

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

You 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.

Porcelain 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.

These 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.

The 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!

Anything from Papa Stour seems to fit the Nurturing Naturalist.

A 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.

Hardware: 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.

Suggested 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…

Image from Found Style

Image via BBDW in New York (they have amazing furniture).

Image from Elle Decor. This is Thomas O’Brien’s personal workspace.

This is more eclectic, but it still works because of the soft lines of the Pantone chair. Image via Domino mag.

Image via Domino magazine. This is a stunning bedroom and another example of mixing trends.

Image 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!

Posted in Trends on January 25, 2007

Trends 2007: Mad About Morocco!

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.

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.

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!

Camel toss pillows in four vibrant colors create the mood. Pillows from Virginia Johnson. Also favorites of mine.

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.

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!

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.

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!

Found! One sweet Moroccan foulard bedspread from Urban Outfitters and a blue and white leather hassock may be the perfect addition to add a little ‘Moor’ for your money.
You simply must visit Mosaic House in NYC for these stunning tiles. Or online. Perfect selection.

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.

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!

Alberto Pinto

Mosaic Home

Alberto Pinto

Alberto Pinto

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!]

Posted in Trends on January 23, 2007

Are Shadow Boxes Trending?

Shadow boxes are making a bit of a comeback, at least at Anthropologie, where I spotted them gracing the walls yesterday in all their 3-D splendor. With roots in Victorian times (just like silhouette art), they can be a nice way to display cherished memories in your beautiful boudoir – giving guests a bit of a peek into who you are. I’m not big on the ornate, so I wouldn’t want to style my own box after these above because they look a little too dated for my taste (the exception being my favorite shown above, top right corner, with the 3 birds inside – that’s quite cute.)

What drew me to these boxes yesterday is my own crazy hoarding issues, which is totally OCD, I know. I have a few shadow boxes that I’ve never touched, but have felt somewhat guilty over saving. They’ve been tucked away in tissue paper for a few years now. Maybe it would be a fun December project to stop saving them and put them to good use, huh? They are in modern uncomplicated wood frames, just like the birdy box shown above, with a white interior and a creamy burlap background. A little magnet keeps them closed. I have two. I just have to come up with a clever showpiece. That’s where I’m stuck.

What would you put inside a shadow box?

I’m leaning away from the traditional (ticket stubs, photos, lace, velvet ribbon) and considering a simple tree branch with a handmade paper bird resting on it. A branch created with pretty wrapping paper or a brightly colored blue road map, something like the Real Simple sections that Happy Mundane wrote about a few months back. (I loved that post, Jon!) Or maybe steer away totally from the map idea and go with something more personal, like a 3-D diary of sorts but that may clutter the box too much and I’d like to keep it simple. Maybe I could take 12 of my favorite little badges or pocket mirrors in bright colors and in a perfectly neat grid, pin or super glue them inside.

TIP: Go learn about the history of the shadow box. A fun read indeed!

Have any clever shadow box ideas? Have you ever used one in your decor?

(images from anthropologie)

Posted in Trends on November 29, 2006

Pretty as a Peacock – Accessories

I found a cute quote that makes me think of how we sometimes don’t notice how spectacular we are. Even the peacock has his doubts… “People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.” – Sa’Di

Enjoy these pheasant finds – could be a nice touch to freshen your space. Perfect for those who love vintage modern design!

peacock place card holders, set of 4, $37.50, reed + barton
peacock plate, $48, john derian
peacock black + white plate, $56, john derian
beauchamp noveau metallic wallpaper, gallica, alexander beauchamp
striking for a small space in your home or for one wall in a larger room.
contact the boston design center stark showroom to view or order.
peacock trinket box, $28.95, zgallerie
peacock feather placemats for your tabletop, set of 6, $119.70, zgallerie
these would look pretty on a sofa table with a large vase or candle in the middle
peacock rubber stamp for creating pretty stationary, $10.10, addicted to rubber stamps

Posted in Trends on February 13, 2006

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