Can’t Beat Concrete

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Concrete furniture and accessories are more popular than ever, and it’s not hard to see why. The marriage of a tough, industrial material like concrete with clean, elegant lines is a winning combination. I love mixed material furnishings, so the pairing of concrete and wood or metal is right up my alley. Plus concrete is durable and long-lasting– although I’m sure it’s heavy as all get-out! Sources: 1) GIO 120 via Archiproducts 2) Kathy Kuo Home side table 3) Sunpan Devons coffee table 4) Target cement vases 5) Magnus Petterson desk set 6) Crump & Kwash Knightstand 7) CB2 dresser (This piece is actually wood, but it has the look of concrete!)

Trendcasting: Fish Scale Pattern

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I have been seeing fish scale patterns all over design blogs and magazines recently, and I have a feeling they are going to be a big new trend. Of course, this isn’t the first time fish scales were in vogue. They were a standard feature of art deco design– see Coralie Bickford-Smith’s Great Gatsby cover for proof! One of the best aspects of this pattern is how different it feels depending on its orientation. There is no “right side up,” so it can be arranged in any direction. I recommend giving this look a try! 1) I adore these fish scale iron gates 2) Gold stainless steel fish scale tiles would make a stunning backsplash or bathroom. Blue fish scale tile.  Corteo 4 pattern from Tabarka Studio’s Palio Collection. I love the color gradations and texture in these hand-painted tiles. 1) This emerald wallpaper from Mimou reminds me of ginkgo leaves. 2) The Collect cabinet from A2 is overlayed with leather fish scales.    

Style Guide: Klismos Chair

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I have been reading a lot about ancient furniture lately, and it’s fascinating to trace iconic furniture designs to their roots in antiquity. Take for example the klismos chair, an Ancient Greek design circa the mid-fifth century BC. The klismos has a concave upper backrest and tapered legs that curve outwards. The seat was usually woven leather or some other cording, upon which sat a cushion or animal pelt. Our knowledge about klismoi has mostly been gleaned from depictions in carvings and other artwork. Depictions of klismoi in antiquity. Source: House Appeal.   The klismos fell out of style during the Hellenistic period, in part due to a design flaw: without the support of stretchers, the outward curving legs eventually splay too far and break. Nevertheless European Neoclassicism returned the klismos to favor. Painter Jacques Louis-David commissioned klismoi as set props for his historical paintings. British-born Neoclassicist Benjamin Henry Latrobe helped insinuate this chair into American culture. Latrobe built a set of klismos chairs– with reinforcing stretchers– for the White …

Trendcasting: Scottish Style

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Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of Scottish influence in interior design. The iconic Scottish style is of course plaid, but Scottish influence comes in many other forms: pheasant motifs, needlepoint hunting scenes, rich velvet sofas, and (faux!) mounted taxidermy. Here’s how to add a wee bit of Scotland to your home! Sources: 1) Braemore Phaesant Hunt Leather Fabric 2) Dark Green Tapestry Hunt Scene Pillow 3) Off-White Belgian Hunting Pillow 4) Lyre Chesterfield Sofa 5) 5th Avenue Throw in Breslin Plaid 6) Resin Stag Head 7) Cooper Navy Plaid Rug 8) Rustic Saltire Flag Pillow 9) Thomas Kay Weaver’s Plaid Pillow in Cedar Bark  Sources: The Gifts of Life, Betsy Speert  Sources: The Enchanted Home, Apartment Therapy  Source: House Beautiful via Tartanscot 

Cover It with Cork

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Cork is a natural material culled from the bark of Quercus suber (Cork Oak). Cork’s unusual set of characteristics– buoyancy, impermeability, elasticity, low density, and fire retardancy– make it the perfect material for many products. I particularly love cork flooring and wall coverings. It’s environmentally friendly, highly durable, and sound absorbent. Not to mention, cork is available in countless styles and designs. Elegenat cork wallpaper. Source: Pierre Yovanovitch via The D Pages. A traditional, natural cork wall covering lends itself well to mid-century modern decor. Source: Hartmann & Forbes.  Anna French’s white cork wallpaper resembles birch bark. Thibaut’s Palm Springs Cork is stamped with a metallic gold overlay.  Cork flooring comes in an endless array of colors. This pistachio sample via APC Cork. BBS-AG produces this chic white plank flooring.

Gotta Love a Library Ladder

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There are few design elements I covet more than a library ladder. Of course they are functional, but there is something so dreamy and romantic about them. Check out some inspiration images below: Sources: 1) Book Riot 2) Indulgy 3) Rebloggy 4) Architectural Digest 5) Home Adore 6) Design by Milada 7) Las Cositas 8) Elements of Style  

Ikea Malm Before and After

Luca DIY, Furniture Before and After 3 Comments

In my last post, I showed you the results of a master bedroom makeover. My clients had an existing Ikea Malm dresser that they wanted to keep; it was great storage, but not very stylish. So I decided to give it a makeover and I wanted to take you through the steps for achieving this look. First I roughed up the dresser’s slick finish with an 80-grit sanding block, which allows the primer to adhere better. I removed all the drawers, covered the edges with painter’s tape, and gave the piece one coat of Zinsser primer. Next I added two coats of Benjamin Moore’s Glacial Till, a light putty color. I bought 3/4″ panel molding from Lowe’s, and I expected to be able to have it cut down in store. Unfortunately they were only able to do straight 90-degree cuts, and I was looking for a 45-degree miter cut. I was about to rent a (gigantic!) table saw from Home Depot, but luckily the …

A Tranquil Master Bedroom Makeover

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I just wrapped up a master bedroom makeover in Marina Del Rey, a beachside neighborhood in Los Angeles. My clients’ original decor was sparse: a matching dark wood bedroom set and a light Ikea Malm dresser. Their windows were dressed with vertical Venetian blinds, which had been installed by the landlord, and translucent black and cream floral curtains. My clients wanted their new bedroom to be sophisticated and tranquil. They asked for contemporary furnishings, a neutral backdrop, and pops of vivid color. Their existing furniture was functional, but they were missing a few key items: a workspace and a comfortable place to curl up with a book.     My first recommendation was to buy a new bed. I am not a fan of matching bedroom sets because they lack personality and distinctive flavor. My clients kept gravitating towards inspiration images of upholstered headboards, so I suggested we go in that direction. I hired a local craftsman to make a custom winged headboard with deep, diamond button tufting and silver nailhead trim. We were able to hand …

Brimfield Antique Show

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Brimfield Antique Show, a world-renowned outdoor flea market, has been held triannually since 1950. They offer everything from architectural salvage to collectibles, fine antiques to kitschy classics, mid-century modern to industrial chic. For me, Brimfield is usually an exercise in restraint because I want to buy everything, but I was a bit disappointed by the selection this July. Nevertheless, here is a little peak at Brimfield’s wide variety of wares. A smattering of glove mannequins waiting for high-fives. An action figure injection mold– now I kind of wish I had bought this! An industrial lamp fit for an atomic laboratory. Alphabet soup. A fish and tackle booth. An antique octagonal cabinet. A bright azure Bengal stove. I definitely wouldn’t want to fly in a plane that says “EXPERIMENTAL” on the door… A beautiful set of teak rope seat mid-century dining chairs. The last Brimfield show for the year will be held September 2-7. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and pack some sunblock!

Bergère Chairs

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I just bought a beautiful bergère chair for a master bedroom project, and it got me thinking about how much I love this style. Bergère chairs are characterized by upholstered backs, seat frames, and arm rests, loose upholstered cushions, and exposed wooden frames. This style, which originated in France in the mid-eighteenth century, strikes the perfect balance between elegance and comfort. There are three types of bergère chair: bergère à la reine has a flat back, while bergère en cabriolet has a rounded back. Bergère marquise has a low, coved back which curves uninterrupted into the arms.