Give Those Windows a Double-Take

 

I Candy

Forget what your mother told you about staring.

Get interiors that you can’t take your eyes off of.  Designs that are drop-dead gorgeous.  From furniture and accessories, wall coverings to window treatments.  Laura Buhrer Interiors can help you create rooms that promise a double-take. (Jill Bagby)

 

                                                     

 

Elevator Pitch for Interior Design?

When home and not hopping a plane to Bora Bora or yachting to Bermuda, I spend a good deal of my time thumbing through style magazines and outrageously expensive interior design books.  For me, there simply is nothing better than a hot bath, a silent cell phone, a few decor mags, and a Xanax to rid myself of whatever anxiety I have self-induced.   Recently I picked up a book at Calico Corners (a warm, friendly shop that I love browsing in what must be the same way junkers feel at flea show).  Named “Decorate Fearlessly; Using Whimsy, Confidence, and a Dash of Surprise to Create Deeply Personal Spaces” (title is a bit lengthy) and compiled by Susanna Salk.  Full of interiors by top designers, the photographs create a jealousy among us mere mortals as we realize that budgets and taste do matter.  Furthermore, Ms. Salk keeps her comments short and to the point.  This lovely coffee table accessory highlights the principles of color and pattern, expressing one’s personality (as controlled by the home interior designer), as well as the limitless possibilities that decor offers.  Featuring some of the greats such as Jonathan Adler and Miles Reed, I want to emphasize a few of my favorites (shall we say focal points).

The Madcap Cottage, a fairy tale of a design firm co-owned by Jason Oliver North lives by the premise that, “a room should be dynamic and never static.”  And the gentleman, using a Vegas analogy believes in a high-low philosophy and boy oh boy does he draw attention to that blackjack table.

Doug Meyer goes for show-stopping color.  He uses all 64 crayons, creating surprising and magical vignettes of space.

“Your home should be your strength in the world” (not sure what that means) states Marian McEvoy.  A believer that design should be pleasing to not only your family but to others as well, she uses detail in a way few other do while making an impact that many others are incapable of….

Steve and Brooke Giannetti find inspiration from a bold statement.  They prefer natural materials that age over time with beauty and care.

 

Anyone that knows me well understands my obsession with the Novogratz.  Robert and Cortney create work that defies convention and blends every well-worn decor trick into a delicious strawberry smoothie.

And lastly, the photo that dominates Pinterest, with it’s incredible mix of bold patterns and vibrant palettes.  I admit that I have copied this room in several very sophisticated teen caves (you know, the kind of teenage girls with their own glam squads).  Hats off to Kriste Michelini.

JUST GO BUY THE BOOK!  AND NO, I DON’T GET A CUT OF THE ACTION THOUGH A REFERRAL FEE WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

Window Dressed to Kill or 8 Easy Tricks to Drapery Heaven

I am a cutter (and I don’t mean emotional).  I obsessively collect swatches of fabric, trim, and cord.  Some might classify me as a hoarder except that my OCD keeps everything attractively labeled and boxed neatly.  No longer able to fit in my office space, car, or guest room closets, storage space has become the viable solution.

In the last five or six years, I have noticed that most clients tend to go for a cleaner, simplified look especially when it comes to window treatments.  Gone are the elaborate chintzes and mix of prints made famous by Hadley Parish or Mario Buatta.

Instead shutters, roman shade, and fabric panels on decorative rods add a quiet enhancement instead of creating a focal point.  I am a firm proponent of curtains in certain rooms (living, master, kitchen, and always the dining).  I prefer the less is more philosophy but I do miss the swags, cascades, and jabots over a puddled floral print that dominated interior design for so many years.

If attempting a DIY project (though I think this is an area where the professionals excel), here are a few tricks of the trade to give your draperies that appropriate POP instead of that STORE BOUGHT CRAP you see at every Joann’s, Home Goods, and Bed, Bath, & Beyond.  (Nothing makes a decorator or home stylist more queasy than cheap curtains, fake plants, or wall prints hung too high).

 

1.     If choosing simple panels for your room, decide on a header such as a French pleat, goblet, grommet, or inverted.  These are usually gathered about 4″ from the top of the window treatments.

2.    Use at least 1 &1/2 widths of fabric for each side of the windows (store bought are often a width and seem incomplete especially when dealing with larger panes of glass.

3.    Make sure to add a 4 to 6″ self line to the drape.  That prevent one from seeing the white/off white of normal lining.

4.    Most fabrics are 54″ in width but don’t forget the pattern repeat.

5.    Hang them high, as close to the ceiling as possible.  This creates a more substantial look as well as the illusion of height.

6.    If putting curtains over blinds, make sure to allow for the additional depth.

7.    Don’t forget your return (whether an inside or outside horizontal blind or drape).  It completes the look by addressing the sides.

8.   Valances and cornices tend to look terrific in kitchen/breakfast areas as well as kid’s rooms.  Add cording, welting, or fringe for a finished shape. 

 

A Crush on Charles Faudree

 

My obsession with all things French began not on a trip to Paris but one to Oklahoma.  I visited a home designed by the great Charles Faudree.  Based in Tulsa, his works appeared in numerous magazines from House Beautiful, Veranda, Traditional Home, and Southern Living.  He wrote six books, all of which I cherish, designed a fabric line, was named one of best 100 designers in America, and a passionate owner of his beloved Cavalier King Charles spaniels.  His illustrious career ended in 2003 but he still serves as the impetus for my passion of French and Southern décor.

As a designer of both quaint cottages and large estates, Mr. Faudree believed that certain little pops of “je ne sais quoI” or “the mix” created the look that we now all envy.

He considered “the mix,” necessary in all good design.  By placing works of art in a grouping, highlighting an entry hall to create a warm and welcoming space, and filling a table full of breathtaking little treasures to create a feeling, expressed not only his style but reflected that of his clients.  Style was the key to his greatness and no where could it be seen better than in his use of lush fabrics that combined buffalo checks, ticking stripes, florals, and, of course, toiles to represent a story, a statement of that room.

The beauty was always in the detail.  Past and present, old and new, rustic and refined, understated yet elegant.  But despite his famous mix, there existed a cohesion in every room he touched.  Consistency also played a part as he often used his favorite objects; French commodes, gilded mirrors, bergeres, shell boxes, plates, platters, and stoneware, Staffordshire dogs, grand clocks.

Charles Faudree elevated French Country to a stunning artform, tried by many, succeeded by few.  Known for his accoutrement (often without the pretense of stuffiness) his discerning eye generated beauty that seemed to simply evolve with ease.

Yes, Charles Faudree was my first design crush and I feel honored to be able to look at his work.

 

(all photos credited to Jenifer Jordan)

Peekabooboo

According to the great Bard, “the eyes are the windows to the soul.”  In Shakespeare’s world (or Paulo Coelho depending on the who receives the credit) that famous phrase meant that the reflection of the pupil shows one’s emotion and truth.  So if we take this analogy a bit further, could we not then claim that false eyelashes, which add mystery and sexiness, has served as one of the gateways to Kardashian success (and of course their brilliant momanger (still don’t get it). 

For design; drapery or curtains or window treatments (whichever name you prefer) frame glass and molding and tell a story.  They serve as the baby blues to your interior psyche.  Not only do they reflect your taste, station in life, childbearing years, pet ownership, and budget, they put a spin on your style (mid-century, modern, cottage, industrial, farmhouse, etc.)  

So why does fabric seem to be such a forgotten art?  Or (God help us), why do women flock in droves to Joann’s and Bed, Bath, & Beyond to buy readymade (which as a sin ranks up there with cheating on a test or a husband).  First and foremost, their colors are abysmal, their lengths are incorrect at 88 inches long which unless your home was built in pre-1972 forget about it (as they say in Jersey), and finally the widths or should I say width are laughable.  When did beautiful, plush, rich window treatments go out of style?  With the advent of blinds and shutters?  With the escalating cost?  With the difficulty of finding  competent workrooms?

Now I admit I’m a panel girl; simple, clean, and to the floor (maybe with a pinch of layered fringe), but then I have yet to learn how to put on fake lashes or contour my face.  Still a two coat mascara babe with a touch of eyeliner…You know that industrial, farmhouse, shabby, cottage, and scandi all mixed together haphazardly.  Or let’s put it in fashion terms; LBD, Chanel purse, diamond in my ears (love the pearls but necklaces, ugh), sandals or small heels, hair pulled back, and a lipstick tucked into my bra.

I tend to go for restraint but I still admire that Mario Buatta dedication to fabric upon fabric upon fabric.  It lends credibility and refinement to a living or dining room. Hell you can picture the mint juleps (or straight Bourbon) served on a silver tray by an appropriately dressed butler named Michael in Charleston (wait that’s Patricia of Southern Charm).  But my point is, every great window needs a little something; a shutter, a piece of iron, a swag with jabots, or a pair of panels that actually fit.  Windows are the portal to your décor conscious and mystery and sexiness awaits if you just play peekabooboo.  (and a little FYI to the young ladies out there; you can shop in dirty sweats, no makeup, and Target flip flops but as long as you carry that Chanel bag, the salespeople will be bouncing all over the store to help you).

 

 

Mix It On Up

A bag of tricks used by designers to create a personal space in any home tends to weave together a set of rules bequeathed by the “STYLE GODS of yesteryear.”  For example, investment pieces (those that cost more than your child’s first year in college) should be placed front and center where visitors can ogle and whisper about the price.  We learned from the great Albert Hadley that the sofa often fulfills this glorified need, so never forget to pile on the pillows for that extra luxe as well.  It also makes it simple to change out those little poufs depending on look, season, or boredom.  The neighbors will be aghast.  Also never skimp on certain items of seating or translating that into “marriage speak” means that immediately after the honeymoon, remove any item hubby attempts to bring into the home.  And by the way, you can forget contacting Goodwill; they have their standards.  For my sake, think neutral, flexibility is important in all areas.

Lush and lavish window treatments seem to be an oddity of the past.  Today, we favor simplistic panels to add a splash of color, texture, and height.  But I must admit, I find yards of pretty fabric as a compliment such as a good set of pearls used as a finish for that little black dress.  The can amplify neutrals through use of materials, provide privacy in case of nosy neighbors, add warmth on colder days, and finish a space beautifully by highlighting specific hues.  HEY DESIGNERS go to the floor with drapery (or at least a pant break) as it makes the look appear complete (no high waters for the clients).   

When painting, remember that you have five walls (in case your expensive stylist forgot).  Look up!  Embellish your ceiling with a medallion, a mural, or a slightly lighter (or darker) color than the wall.  And don’t be shy, enamel the molding, the crown, even the baseboard.  Let the space dictate the use, and your furniture determine the colors.  And always, always, always, place a rug under your dining table.

For more interesting rooms, mix and match eras, periods, fabrics, textures, and art (this precludes neutral or tone-on-tone lovers).  And here is a great big DESIGN secret, you can mix gold and silver.  Embrace the unusual.  Always follow the rules without following the rules.  Your home should celebrate how you live much like a mirror reflects light.  Don’t be nervous about a wall of clocks or mirrors or religious crosses.  Amplify small spaces by treating them as large.  Appropriate open shelves.

Use galvanized steal, shiplap, or wallpaper (yes, I said wallpaper) in unusual ways.  An empty corner makes a great little space for an architectural piece.  Take your dining room table to from a place to eat to unforgettable by utilizing different patterns of china and crystal.  While DESIGN should follow certain dictums, always remember that you are unique, SO BABY, mix it on up.