French Country is Out?

the height of style
I went to a great presentation last month by Michael Boodro, the Editor-in-Chief of ELLE DECOR magazine.  He presented 25 years of interior design from the pages of Elle Decor, discussed design trends and his new book The Height of Style.  He focused on why some interiors are able to hold their appeal and others….Basically, what is in and what is OUT!

Michael Boodro

Michael Boodro

The presentation was held at the beautiful David Sutherland showroom at the D&D in New York.  Michael was a fabulous speaker and started the presentation with design styles that are out.

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I was ready!  Pen and paper poised… 1) Bare, stark walls.  2) Shabby Chic, wrinkly slipcovers.  3) Ashtrays.  4) Tall, towering plants.  5) Mission furniture was out, but is coming back.  6) French Country/Pierre Deux.  Wait, WHAT?  French Country is out?

Pierre Deux Wallpaper

Pierre Deux Wallpaper

I went full French County in my dining room 10 years ago!  I found a Pierre Deux wallpaper in 1998 that I fell in love with and carried a tiny scrap of it around in my wallet until I could finally use it.

When we moved, I took full advantage and decorated my dining room in French County with a vengeance.  I found French County chairs at a consignment store (5 of one style and 5 of another),  cleaned and reupholstered them.

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I used three fabrics: two Pierre Deux florals, one in blue and one in white, and a blue Pierre Frey for seat cushions.

Pierre Deux fabric

Pierre Deux

Pierre Frey fabric

Pierre Frey

Front and back of chairs

Front and back of chairs

I found old candle wall sconces and had them wired for lights.

Quirky porthole prints from 1826 are on one wall and an eagle from my grandmother is on the other.

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My chandelier is an old French fixture that I found at Metrolina Flea Market in Charlotte.  I had it repaired and rewired.  I painted the ceiling Benjamin Moore Almond Bisque to match the flowers in the wallpaper.

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Even though we don’t use the dining room enough, when the table is set and the candles are lit, I love it.

Painting in the dining room

A painting in the dining room

Michael ended the presentation by telling us about the biggest changes in interior design: kitchen’s and bathrooms taking over the house.  He showed us some amazing slides of kitchens and bathrooms 25 years ago and today.  Some of the new bathrooms are bigger than my little French Country dining room!

French poster in my dining room

French poster in my dining room

The Height of Style is a gorgeous book with photos of over 220 rooms by top decorators.  I am keeping my French Country dining room for now, and maybe if I hang onto it long enough, it will come back in!

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To Market, To Market

The Decorator and Design Building in New York hosted its 2014 Fall Market this week.  Great presentations, product launches, book parties and lots of design tips!

The event kicked off (for me anyway) on Wednesday morning at a keynote presentation by New York Magazine’s Design Editor Wendy Goodman and designers Lydia Marks and Lisa Franz.  If you like Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada, that is Marks and Franz set design!

Wendy Goodman (holding mike) with Marks and Franz

Wendy Goodman (holding mike) with Marks and Franz

Wendy spoke to the designers about how working in film, television, fashion and design helps this duo create extradordinary interiors and sets for all of their projects, including their new furniture launch for Lewis Mittman Atelier.

Pieces from Marks and Franz new furniture line

Pieces from Marks and Franz new furniture line

Their new furniture line is “refined traditional” with a twist.  It was important to the designers to create something with the perfect pitch, that was comfortable and timeless.  Also the right scale.  Not oversized, but not too small either.  Wendy Goodman was a fabulous MC and it was so much fun to hear Marks and Franz tell stories about their FUN projects!  I didn’t want it to end.

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Next, I wandered over to a fireside chat with Bunny Williams and Alexa Hampton.

Alexa Hampton and Bunny Williams

Alexa Hampton and Bunny Williams

Chesney’s has introduced beautiful fireplaces by both of these interior designers.  Modern and chic, with gorgeous accessories.  Bunny Williams told the audience that she sees the trend moving toward gas fireplaces.  She has converted all of her own fireplaces over to gas and left one wood burning fireplace in her barn.  Bunny also thinks the decor on the mantle should always be changing, as it is the focus of the room.  Not static.  Like mine….  Rut row.

Bunny Williams "Veneto"

Bunny Williams “Veneto”

Bunny Williams "Loire"

Bunny Williams “Loire”

 Over to Farrow and Ball to see their new wallpaper launch.

Farrow and Ball Wallpaper

Farrow and Ball Wallpaper

Inspired by the ties between traditional Japanese craftsmanship and British design, Farrow and Ball launched four new wallpaper patterns this fall.

P1050499Love the subtle designs and soft colors.  Beautiful.

Madeline Stuart

Madeline Stuart

Madeline Stuart, an LA based interior and furniture designer, gave a fabulous presentation about who and what inspires her.  She took the audience through a stunning slide presentation of what influences her vision.  Among them, rooms designed by legendary designers Frances Elkins, David Hicks and Billy Baldwin.

Madeline Stuart Furniture Line

Madeline Stuart Furniture Line

Some other inspirations for her beautiful designs are fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, painters El Greco and Edward Hopper, singer David Bowie  and – my favorite – the movie “All About Eve.”  Her furniture line came out of client’s requests for specific designs in their home.  Fabulous.

The Intersection of Fashion and Design was a lively panel discussion with fashion designer Ralph Rucci, interior designer Julia Buckingham and LA Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising VP, Barbara Bundy.

Vogue Home Editor, Mieke ten Have

Vogue Home Editor, Mieke ten Have

Vogue’s Home Editor, Mieke ten Have, moderated the topic about how fashion and home design influence each other in so many aspects of color, texture and design.

Ralph Rucci, Barbara Bundy and Julia Buckingham

Ralph Rucci, Barbara Bundy and Julia Buckingham

Ralph Rucci designed a chair from a couture dress for Holly Hunt.  Julia Buckingham textured a hallway after seeing the picture of Audrey Hepburn (above).  An interesting comment from the audience asked why home design does not seem to influence fashion in the same way fashion influences the home.  Hmmmm……

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My Old Slipper Chair

Many years ago we bought two oversized slipper chairs from the Door Store in New York. I’m not sure if the Door Store is even around anymore, but my slipper chairs sure are. I have tried to discretely remove them from my house many times, but it took our living room ceiling collapsing to make a change. A slow trickle of water from my daughters upstairs 1948 shower stall finally exploded last January. My friend Julie, visiting from California, pointed up to a sea of buckled plaster I had never noticed as we walked through the living room. That afternoon, water started leaking through the plaster and over half of the ceiling landed on the floor in a loud bang.

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Our living room after the ceiling fell.

One of the slipper chairs got the brunt of the ceiling disaster, but the other one was fine. Unfortunately.  A lot of furniture, pillows and lamps got wet, so I leveraged this event to re-decorate our tired living room and started with the “beloved” slipper chairs.  They were still very comfortable to sit on and could be easily updated, so off I went.  There was a fabric skirt around the bottom of both chairs that was always filthy, so I decided to lose the skirt and change the feet on both chairs.


Not that I had anything to do with the shower leak, but I did have an idea of what colors I would use if we EVER redecorated the living room.  Pink and charcoal gray.  I set off to find a new fabric for these two chairs.  Kravet in the D&D building in New York had an amazing selection and I ended up with a reasonably priced raspberry paisley fabric.

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My upholstery guy had a great selection of furniture feet and could stain them any color I wanted.  I chose ebony ball feet to go with the pink/gray theme.


Six yards of fabric and eight new feet later, my two Door Store originals are nicely updated!

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Almost George Smith

With my living room refresh now in full swing, the joy of finally removing the oversized “Classic Sofa” trio of furniture was indescribable.  I flipped each piece on its side and pushed them out, one by one, into the dining room.  Oh no, I was not getting RID of them.  They were now going to live in my office after a quick reupholstery job.  Now to find a new couch…..  Owning the fabulous George Smith sofa has always been at the top of my fantasy list.  Unfortunately, it is not happening for this girl.  My budget won’t allow it.  So I chose the lovely Kravet Allegro Tight Back that has similar lines to the George Smith.  In a nubby charcoal gray fabric, Noire Magnifique, to go with my pink/gray color scheme.


Kravet Allegro Tight Back Sofa

With the two slipper chairs already recovered and the old living room furniture gone, I needed two small-scale chairs to sit in front of the fireplace.  I remembered a photo of a charcoal gray chair piped in pink with chrome nailheads that I loved in an old issue of House Beautiful.

Gray chair in upper right corner

Gray chair in upper right corner

The chairs were the perfect size (24″ W x 24″ D) and reasonably priced ($470 each).  When delivered, they matched the Kravet gray sofa perfectly!

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I needed to introduce some other colors into the room, but didn’t know what.  Something to break up the pink/gray.  Back to the D&D in New York with another set of eyes, my friend Priscilla.  We brought back a handful of fabrics and draped them all over the couch.  Two survived and an old Calico Corners fabric sample I had lying around also made it into the mix for new couch pillows.


Four pillows later, I had a nice selection of accent colors to use if needed!


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