A Big Leap from my style to Heather and Matt of French and French Interiors!
Patterns from nature are so lovely in interior design. How I get inspiration? Often it’s to look outdoors and to look UP, for starters. That rowdy raven in our office courtyard demands attention. Talking right to me, sitting high in a lacy green-gold canopy of elm leaves. And that’s a pattern I have used.
Or as Maurice Sendak says in a charming children’s book . . .
But I would say, be quiet near a little stream and LOOK
Looking UP CLOSE works well. Patterns from nature really are prevalent in interior design. This blending of these bark patterns, blurred and abstract, now so reminiscent in glass and even wood mosaic tiles.
Then there are delightful patterns in urban ife . . . I really go into a zone on my infrequent city trips. Glass and steel, sidewalks and bridges, lights and pavement. Strong patterns, with plenty of mood.
And how can an artist or designer not be inspired by views from a taxi like this? Living in New York off and on for short periods I was enchanted just by taxi rides at dark.I’ve got reams of photos of both types textures. As for using them, I see many photographically represented in fabrics, wall coverings, tile, and rugs, as well as artistically rendered by fabric designers and fine artists crossing over to interior design products.
So these patterns are really texture
Nature’s and urban patterns are really as much about wildly creative textures than about man-made pattern.
Artist drawn patterns
Creations by textile designers and fine artists, fabric patterns are so often inspired by nature and city life, but augmented by anything else that occurs in the wild mind. With weirdly creative palettes and subjects, myriad artistic hand drawn designs do look as interesting as our land and cityscapes.
Colorful abstract, from the bird nest, or more floating images of seedling flowers.
Occasional pillows? drapery? or a rug? NO PROBLEM But going bravely into artistically rendered pattern in interior design?
This is pretty scary for many of us, including designers, but masterfully done by Heather and Matt of French and French Interiors. Seeing their room at ShowHouse Santa Fe 2017 was a daily joy and inspiration. I loved to watch the work as the room developed. I think Heather chose one beloved fabric pattern, on these pillows and two chairs, and riffed off that like a jazz musician.
This is what I would call a delirious riot of pattern!
The fabric is on two pillows and two chairs and everything else pulls from it, and highlights it. The rug, the bold drapes, the artwork…it all creates a controlled explosion of pattern and color perfect for an upbeat, color-crazy kids and family play and hangout space.
I think what they do is to choose one beloved fabric or rug pattern and carefully finding and reacting to patterns of different scales, so as not to compete heavily with the base pattern. And don’t forget art. It’s even more layers of pattern and quite a wow factor in the choices in this room. More of the room at French and French Interiors.
So, how to start with pattern? And where to go?
Why not start with kids or guest rooms that are perhaps not the biggest rooms in your home or environment. A family hangout or TV room would be another place to try the approach and it surely worked for French and French at the showhouse.
Of course I’ve seen Heather start with a color theme as well, in a bold or even very subtle small patterned fabric, but then quickly depart into an array of other patterns, larger or smaller, with some colors in them that I just would not have envisioned as working, but they do!
Themes can inform the use of pattern
Another way to play with pattern, I’ve often used, is thematically. For example, we don’t have too many horse ranches right in here town, but I have seen a horseback theme used in a manner that is sophisticated, and not as hokey as it might sound.
And Heather and Matt have used animal themes many times. It’s a natural theme for kids rooms. Their abstract butterflies and wondrous flower motifs in a delightful girl’s room comes to mind.
As does the little foxes wallpaper in a baby boy’s room.
Another theme that I’ve worked around, and that is much more prevalent in our region, is an art collection. A favorite client has a large Asian one, for example, here with both a handsome kite artifact and a gong, and other patterns. It contrasts well with heavy textures, in its delicacy, as in this fireplace wall.
Or with intense colors like this fireplace, bedding and drapery combination, accented with the tribal feathered mask. Using lots of pattern is a true departure for many designers and clients alike. My comfort zone includes textures with strong colors and artifacts. But it has been great to start thinking about intentional patterns, and how to appreciate and incorporate them.
To summarize what I’ve been learning, grounding in a color palette, or a texture that you love, and then picking a strong or a subtle pattern using the palette is one jumping off point
Adding the perfect trims, art and lighting adds more of the unique touches designers bring.
I am less shy about using patterns since studying this great design duo’s, Heather and Matt French, use of it.
We get palette predictions this time every year. I love that, some of the colors, and we’ll share some here.
Colors can be applied to rev up your environment, home or business, in many ways.
Paint is the most prevalent, but upholstery, drapes, rugs—even a new wardrobe piece or two, are great ways to test a color’s fit for you. New pillows are easy too, or small area rugs, to test how new colors might rock, or wreck, your world. So, for some of the new palettes, here you are.
From Dering Hall’s predictions by six designers.
Green-Black is the choice of Elena Calabrese, of Elena Calabrese Design & Decor. She likes Pratt & Lambert’s Blackwatch Green, which is dark and intense without being black. It’s hard to even see the green onscreen, but it is there. And she adds it as contrast to very light walls, and in a gloss finish here as trim.
Mustard Yellow Carter Kay, of Carter Kay Interiors says they are using mustard yellow and hits of turquoise this year. This is Benjamin Moore’s Eye of the Tiger. A rich color that still seems natural. I too love shades that bring our outdoors inside.
Yellow-Green Jo Ann Alston, of J. Stephens Interiors, favors this deep yellow-green. I see very little yellow here, just enough to tone down a too strong green. I would use it in any day room or especially in a library. Two paints that achieve this look are Benjamin Moore’s Guacamole and Sherwin Williams’ Saguaro.
Deep Blue From Caroline Kopp, of Caroline Kopp Interior Design likes strong color and this deep blue is essentially a neutral. Sherwin Williams’ Moscow Midnight is in the rear of the bookcase. It’s a perfect background for the brights she used and what a happy family hangout it makes!
Saffron Yellow works for Elizabeth Vallino, of Elizabeth Vallino Interiors, who loves the rich warmth but still exotic feel of these walls. I am looking for a perfect place for this color myself. It’s so great with red art and accent.
There was the perfect place for a color close to it on an exterior wall we colored on a home outside Santa Fe. In the city center, one is limited to an extremely narrow palette ranging from “brown to a different brown” or “brown and round.” Working in the county is a different ballgame . . . when outside a gated community.
Similarly on this long walkway and reflecting pool. Beside it is the natural palette as inspiration for the homes exterior.
Also outside city limits, we were able to do a real red on an entry, using automobile paint that resists fading, at least for several years. (Red being one of those colors that fades most easily, and is why you often see “pink” handrails and trim in New Mexico.) The addition of one deep red burgundy wall and one coppery red wall to the left completed my fantasy of doing a red house! These are in a series of homes outside of Santa Fe in an area called La Mirada, designed by Robert Zachry, AIA, and built by Hurlocker Homes.
In Albuquerque proper, and most of the region, colors appear frequently on residential projects. So I was able to do the red doors on an interior courtyard in a complex in that city.
“We hired Core Value Interiors to prepare and select exterior colors for our Albuquerque apartments Nob Hill Apartments. This was not a simple task as there are 12 buildings and we requested that a Mid-Century palette be used. Edy started with an excellent research piece on actual colors that were in common usage in residential applications during the Mid-century. Utilizing these colors of the past she created a new and fresh modern approach which is tasteful, professional and has resulted in increased demand.“Nob Hill Apartments
While on the streetside we did our best to blend with the neighborhood.
Moving from a Local to a Global Scale
Every year the color company Pantone names their “Color of the Year,” and many more “colors of the year” for the paint companies follow that announcement.
Pantone names Ultra Violet as colour of the year for 2018
The color company Pantone has chosen a vibrant purple shade, named UltraViolet, as its colour of the year for 2018. Revealed earlier today, the Ultra Violet colour is described as “a dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade.” Says Pantone Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman: “We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is the kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to UltraViolet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level.
From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.”
Even I as a designer was surprised by one of the many upcoming products using the shade! And I love it on one of my favorite chairs, the super clean lined “Jean” from B an B Italia.
It is not too dissimilar to the color launched last year to pay tribute to pop icon Prince following his death. “The selection of Ultra Violet speaks to our shared desire for deeper understanding in an increasingly complex landscape, and our eagerness to experiment to reach that level,” said the company.
My New “Old Favorite” Resource
And for a local resource I’m in love with, meet Sara Dean and her plaster colors for traditional hard trowel and beeswaxed or Okon sealed plaster. Her palette is a winner, and includes legions of neutrals not in this photo, but she can match your color just as well. Sara was the techie in this business and then took the reins over, with her husband Jona Dean, when Rob Dean passed away. They refreshed the showroom and studio into a welcoming, usable space for designers and homeowners. Call me for directions, it’s tucked away in a construction yard off Cerrillos Road.
Now I’d love to hear your favorites. The Saffron is one of mine and I’m hoping it will be in someone’s home that I am working on, this year!
Thank you for coming to see Show House, if you made it this year!
We had wonderful attendance, raised a bundle of money for Dollars for Schools, and I am just now following up. We’re always a little sad to “undo” our show house rooms…it’s melancholy, sort of like Cinderella after the ball.
It was a great show
Happily, the response to the whole project, as well as my master bath redesign, was very positive. It’s a large room, and required furnishing, which is not that frequent a need in bathroom design. The original bath is lovely and quite feminine.
But in line with the Black and White, West of Contemporary theme, I wanted to create a little edgier more modern environment for relaxing, dressing and having fun.
For the fun part, everyone loved the clips from my favorite remodeling movie, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, the model for the much newer remake The Money Pit. Personally, “Blandings” is so much classier. Treat yourself to these three minutes.
Why is paint color selection so difficult for so many? That’s for another post. And it certainly is not problematic for Mrs. Blandings. She describes each room in hilarious detail. But do the contactors care? Do they even hear? See how this one turns out!
This clip is equally entertaining, and the repartee between Cary Grant and Myrna Loy is priceless. It’s about “size and scope creep” as we call it in our trades. And it occurs maybe 90% of the time. This particular scene had my architect husband Robert Zachry, www.robertzachryarchitect.com nearly doubled over—pain or laughter?
Master Bath Views
Branding the Show House Bathroom
To brand the bathroom for Show House, my clever assistant Bevin helped make graphic art for the white and black silk bathrobes. “Show House 2017” across the back, and “Club 5200” on the front, the address of the home. Later we presented the robes to David and Jennifer, the co-chairs of the whole event, as thank you’s.
Why the Master Bath?
I wanted to do the master bathroom because remodeling bathrooms is just about my favorite interior design engagement. Powder rooms are especially interesting, giving the opportunity to do something really fun, if small, and dramatic.
Large baths like the one In Show House are great, of course, and I very much look forward to the next one I’m doing. It’s down south, in a home from the 1970’s where the master bathroom suite is ill-arranged, chopped up into too many small areas. I look forward to bringing a large much more open space feel, with lighter, aqueous colors and wonderful fresh fixtures, and big new windows onto the mountain landscape. It will be a special retreat for wonderful hard-working people. I’ll report in 4-6 months!
The kickoff event Gala features scrumptious hearty hors d’oeuvres from Bear Nash and Dave Seller’s Street Food Institute, entertainment by Nacha Mendes and preview of this amazing 10,000 foot residence.
That Design Time of Year Again
We sailed through the Parade of Homes, in August. Simpler this year, being a judge instead of having to produce a staged home, so now it’s ShowHouse Santa Fe 2017! The fifth year and we’re very happy to be part of the fun.
The house is hidden in a 36 acre getaway at 5200 Old Santa Fe Trail. See it here
Now, twenty designers take it from a handsome traditional styling to all manner of looks in line with our 2017 theme. And Core Value Interiors is re-imagining the master bathroom.
In line with our black and white theme, our media person has asked each of us to answer the question: “Black, or White?”
I can’t divorce black from white here. The walls are beautifully executed in stark white, high polished traditional plaster. And in the bathroom the floors are soft profile off-white limestone, polished and sealed. So going Black was my solution to create some drama and sophistication. But it is a version of black I call Off-Black, and is contrasted with Off-White.
The bath is large enough to want furniture. In furnishings and accessories I tend toward fewer large pieces rather than lots of small ones. When this daybed arrived I thought, “Hmmm, this is really large” – so I met that goal! It worked out fine and has a charcoal or Off-Black frame, with an Off-White heavy linens, tufted cushion. Off-Black silk taffeta drapes frame the area and create a haven.
I’ve added a small bathroom TV with a modish rocking chair, and will be screening clips from my favorite remodeling movie, the one I give all my clients, “Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House,” with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy.
Come lounge with us! I’ll also screen additional work by two talented artists, Carol Coates and Kathleen Morris.
From this lovely and feminine traditional look to something newly imagined, a little edgier, maybe like this. We’ll be incorporating fine art and running movie clips on the bath TV about a truly famous total renovation. We hope you will join the fun.
The kickoff event Gala “Puttin’ On the Ritz,” features scrumptious hearty hors d’oeuvres from Bear Nash and Chef Dave Seller’s Street Food Institute, entertainment by the beloved Nacha Mendez, and the pre-open house tour of this amazing 10,000 foot residence, with a boutique of delectable design items contributed by all the designers and our friends.
New this year, just beyond the Master Bath, in the commodious master closet, is a pop-up store filled with a wonderful collection of clothing, by our favorite, Bodhi Bazaar. “The ethos of Bodhi Bazaar for the last 28 years has been to awaken the ‘inner guru’ in each customer so that when they practice the sacred ritual of dressing themselves every day, they appreciate their uniqueness.”
As always, Show House Santa Fe benefits the highly acclaimed DOLLARS4SCHOOLS, which helps classroom teachers get small grants for special projects, instead of digging into their own tapped-out pockets. So far we have raised $100,000 for the organization.
Tickets to both the Gala Friday, October 6 ($125) and the Home Tour ($30) October 7-8 and October 14-15 are now available online. ShowHouseSantaFe.com. Or if you’d prefer, give me a call. I would love to deliver them.
Test your taste. In the new year people often want to start fresh, or at least re-freshed.
If you’re tempted to do it yourself, great! But take this little tongue-in-cheek
New York Times Design magazine quiz to see if this is a good idea.
FOR EACH STATEMENT that rings true, give yourself the indicated number of points.
I know a “pop of color” is not a fruit-flavored soda. (0.5)
I like the symmetry of two Barcaloungers. (0.5)
I favor an eclectic approach to design, which has nothing to do with my mild hoarding problem. (0.5)
My toaster matches my fridge and oven. (1)
I regularly fantasize about home spas. (1)
I’ve spent at least 30 minutes of quality time with the Design Within Reach catalog. (1)
I believe if you buy what you truly love, it will all somehow harmoniously coexist. (1)
Every room has a mood or personality such as “playful,” “soothing” or “Middle-Eastern potentate.” (1)
I can’t help judging other people’s taste in décor, and I usually think my own is better. (1)
I think of my tabletop arrangements as little still-life compositions. (1)
I have Instagrammed at least one of these compositions. (1.5)
I can use the phrase “matchy-matchy” in a censorious remark softened by a touch of compassion. (1.5)
There should be a law against overhead lighting. (2)
An interior should have a collected, well-traveled look even if everything was acquired in the last five years in the same city. (2)
When it comes to choosing paint colors, I can agonize for weeks before narrowing it down to 11 shades of white. (2)
I have considered tossing all my books’ dust jackets and arranging their spines by color. (2)
When I’m a guest, I can’t control my impulse to surreptitiously dim the lamps. (2)
I always like to have at least one unexpected element in my rooms. (2)
I call that element a “moment.” (2.5)
I know the difference between a warm gray, a cool gray, a true gray and a “gray that doesn’t exactly sit up and bark.” (3)
My favorite cardio exercise is poofing all my pillows. (3)
Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams would make great names for a pair of dogs. (3)
Crystal chandeliers look totally appropriate in kitchens, bathrooms and four-car garages. (3)
I have strong opinions when it comes to the question “Is teal blue-green or green-blue?” (3)
When I travel, I bring my own accessories—photos in silver frames, imported textiles—to personalize my hotel room. (3)
I call everything from bud vases to drawer pulls the “jewelry” in a room. (3)
Flat-screen TVs just seem to belong over fireplaces, neck strain be damned. (3)
I’m fascinated by the stimulating dialogue between my sofa, chairs and coffee table. (4)
I worry that by 2018 the width and stain color of my hardwood flooring planks will look hopelessly 2016. (4)
I admit it: I once said chaise “lounge” instead of chaise “longue.” Of course, I was only 7 years old at the time. (4)
If there are too many skinny furniture legs in a room, I get anxious. It’s like being on a subway platform at rush hour. (5)
I mourn the scarcity of witty vanity stools. (5)
Instead of counting sheep at night, I name the 1,867 shades in the Pantone color chart. (5)
Now, add up your score…
0-25 points: You care about the way things look, but don’t quit your day job.
26-50 points: You are qualified to write the world’s 17,865th design blog, but don’t quit your day job.
Over 50 points: Quit your day job and hang out your shingle. Be sure the shingle is crafted of cerused oak.
***I understand only too well that this is the era of DIY. And whether you turned out to be a pro or not, you might be ready to refresh your rooms, I love collaboration, and ask you to consider partnering with me to bring your rooms new life in the best possible way. Check out the questionnaire on my website ABOUT YOU page. If you are interested, click here to tell me a little bit about yourself, or just use it to start your own thought process, especially if you are launching a major remodel.
Here’s to a wonderful year for you and your home!!!
It all depends on the stock situation of the rug you want, and how soon you make a choice. I’ve found that the 6 x 9 size works for just about any smallish conversation grouping. 8 x 10 is fine for larger furniture areas, and 9 x 12 if you like furniture completely on the rug. Another smart idea for a lift at the entry is a smaller rug, 5 x 7 or 4 x 6, or even a runner. A small investment with big impact.
Let me know if you need to jazz up your floor! Email or call and we can schedule a visit. And the rug size guide is small, I will interpret.
P.S. PILLOWS? An even easier design lift for a sofa, chair, or banco.
The real answer on windows. . . possibly! It all depends on the stock situation of fabric selected for drapes or blinds. Cellular or pleated blinds take a full two weeks to arrive after we have measured. If fabric is in stock and ordered soon, we can do some styles of drapes, with our workroom installing, at your home in time for the Holidays, or definitely in January. My two favorites are the “S” curve and the soft inverted “casual” pleats. Of course that quick timeline depends on your favorite fabric being in stock. But we’ve had great good luck with fabric this season. Email or call and we will get to work!
Where do you find inspiration when starting a new project?
“I always find inspiration from the greatest desires of clients, as well as their practical needs. Something happens that lights a spark. It combined with influences within both their experiences, and mine. I want ideas about where they could stretch in their imagined perfect lives, to make the spaces interesting as well as functional.”
Where did you grow up? Has that had an influence on your design aesthetic?
“I grew up in my mother’s house…full of color, light, fun and off-beat relatives. Not exactly “anything goes,” but certainly anything interesting will be considered. She was one of thirteen, and the aunts and uncles lived and raised families in places as exotic then as Peru, with mining companies, or Alaska, with the BIA, in Florida running amusement parks on the beach, or Southern California 1950’s start-ups. They all came back to visit us in Oklahoma City with colorful surprises in their suitcases. Our design aesthetic had to be “eclectic” before the phrase was invented. I loved it.”
What would be your dream project?
“To design cooperatively managed, supportive housing, beautifully individualized to whatever extent possible for a soon to be boomer aging population that doesn’t wish to “age in place” for reasons of personal circumstance, finances, or desire. To be part of a team devising solutions for thorny problems of aging reflected in right living spaces.”
Finish the sentence: Every room needs _________.
“a generous transition from the room or area before it. If the room is very different, an interesting visual segue is the best introduction to the new environment. I do not want to be overly “surprised” at home, in an office, or hotel. Sure, surprise is great, but graceful flow is equally important.”
I have always wanted to live in and experience an Italian castle or villa, with totally modern fittings and furniture inside. Not the villa with intricate, highly ornamental frescoes, but a really old worn down one sporting raw stone walls . . . more grotto like than frescoed. Of course, I would not want to worry about keeping it warm and dry, that would all be taken care of before I took ownership.
And here is one of the kitchens I could imagine having there. A perfect sphere of stainless, translucent, and black when closed, and a workable very small kitchen when open. And I’m not even a bachelor, although it seems to holler “James Bond” or his 21st century equivalent.
Not this, which is charming and a wonderful kitchen renovation in Tuscany,
But this, inside the castle above.
Or in one of these, my best grotto dreams.
It does take a decent sized outlier for storage, of a couple of chairs, tabletop ware, and an oven.
Here is how it works: A top view of the work surfaces reveals sinks, a cooktop, and hotplate. So we are not cooking for a group, we are entertaining a special person. Any serious large scale cookery would be done before, offsite, or in a galley below.
A small outrigger for storage rolls right up to where you want it for a drawer full of utensils.
The concept of high contrast is really at play. Do you prefer this slick and minimal kitchen in an old world setting, a villa in Italy? Or for you, does it scream for the white walls and black floors of a highrise in New York?
Let us know where you envision yours!
(Cost? It compares to a complete, more standard, new kitchen or renovation.)
Next week, speaking of transparency….something I’d never dreamed of in any kitchens.
Proud to say Robert Zachry was architect on the 2016 Parade of Homes residence that took the Grand Hacienda Award
Robert, my husband, worked closely throughout the whole process, beyond design and engineering, with builders Scott and Maika Wong of Solterra. The home won two other awards one for Best Design, making us proud again. The home, on Aspen View in the Monte Sereno area of Santa Fe was on a six day tour in August, hosted by the owners. A very gracious thing to do, as between two and three thousand people walk through, asking a few standard questions, a few thousand times. At the end of six days you find yourself saying things like, “Yes, that is a floor.”
The home is sited to capture panoramic views. There were initial steep site issues to overcome, as well as subdivision covenants to adhere to. Glass and steel answer the first. Color palette speaks to the second. This is something that I work on a lot.
About the glass and steel, Zachry said, “We wanted a slim way of supporting that part of the house because the mountain views are so spectacular, so we used wide flange columns (aka W beams similar to the old I beams) that are load-bearing and exposed on the interior. Then there is solid insulation between that and a C-shaped steel channel so it appears as one solid beam. You don’t see the column sandwich because the window flange covers the joint where the insulation is. It’s a lot like the bark on a tree. The trunk supports everything, and the bark is the trim.”
The original design called for overhangs on the glass and steel cubes, but anything approaching a cantilever is discouraged in the covenants, enforcing that they really want traditional Southwest adobe looking architecture. “You can’t cantilever more than a half an adobe brick, right?” said the architect.
The main corridor runs north-south capturing the views of the Sangre de Cristos all along the glass walls to the east, as well as the sweeping badland’s red and ochre cliffs and gullies to the north.
“We wanted to make sure that as you get up in the morning and go to the kitchen to make coffee, and on to the living room to enjoy it, and then into the adjoining office, you are slammed with that view in every one of those experiences.”
And the kitchen you work in is something else. Simple as it looks, it did also win Best Kitchen at the awards banquet. Clean and uncluttered to the world and serving side, it also has a back kitchen where all the counter top appliances live, and do not have to be put away when company comes. Convenient and beautiful, and a top level early request of the homeowner who uses the kitchen the most.
I’ll be going into fantastical futuristic food preparation features in a forthcoming post. Stay tuned.
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