Berber Chic: The Moroccan Wedding Blanket

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Moroccan wedding blankets have long been one of my most coveted accessories– and they’ve certainly gained a lot of popularity in the design world over the last few years. Moroccan wedding blankets are a Berber invention, traditionally woven for brides to wear on their wedding days. After the ceremony, the blanket served as a token of good luck in the new couple’s home. It’s not difficult to see why these blankets, also known as handira, have become so highly cherished around the world. They are the perfect bohemian chic accessory: handwoven with graphic, tribal patterns, but still glamorous with a hint of sparkle. They are also incredibly versatile; they can be used as wall hangings, throw blankets, rugs, or reconstituted as pillow cases. The texture is complex, but the color is neutral– just the right balance of ornamentation and simplicity. 1) Vintage handira via Muima 2) El Ramla Hamra pillows via Decorator in a Box. A stunning bedroom with dusty rose chinoiserie wallpaper and a wedding blanket at the foot …

Shopping Guide: Nantucket

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I just returned home from a long weekend on Nantucket for Thanksgiving. Even though I grew up in Boston, I had somehow never been to Nantucket before this trip! The island is full of traditional Cape Cod-style houses: low, symmetrical cottages with weathered shingles or wood clapboard siding. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Nantucket prospered inordinately as the hub of the whaling industry; but by the mid-19th century, whaling was in decline and a large fire destroyed most of the island’s earliest buildings. Jethro Coffin’s house, known in typical straightforward New England style as the “Oldest House,” is Nantucket’s oldest house still standing in its original spot and one of the few structures to have survived the devastating fire. Built in 1686, this saltbox house features a distinctive horseshoe design on its central chimney. I spent several days poking around the little shops in Nantucket Center. As it turns out, Nantucket has a notable retail history; R.H. Macy, founder of Macy’s department store, was born on …

Mineral Lust: Malachite

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I am a big fan of emerald green interiors, so it’s no surprise that malachite is one of my favorite patterns. Malachite exudes opulence and luxury. Products made with real malachite can be very expensive, but luckily the pattern is easy to replicate. Design blogs are full of DIY faux malachite painting techniques– something I would love to try one day– but in the meantime, I’m enjoying these inspiration images! Malachite wallpaper via Lonny. Malachite throw pillow via Etsy.   1) Malachite chair via Dwell Studio and 2) L’Objet dinner plates via Architectural Digest.   1940’s faux malachite dresser, which has been covered in Fornasetti wallpaper and then lacquered via 1st Dibs. Tony Duquette’s home via Architectural Digest.

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 …