The holidays are nearly upon us. As we pull old decorations from storage, it’s a good time to
explore the latest trends to create your perfect space.
Here are 3 creative ideas that make this holiday unlike any before!
Tweak Your Christmas Colors – We all know red and green as the colors of the season. This
year explore the whole palette available to you. Silver, aqua and white are hot this season and
always a sharp and sophisticated element to transition into New Years Eve. Introduce chocolate
into your holiday décor – not only does it add warmth and modernism to the room, it brings that
organic feeling inside. Keep to tones that suggest a culinary experience, like latte, cocoa or
cinnamon. Use ornaments with stripes, polka dots or abstract designs.
Twist Your Tree – We all like to unwrap the ornaments and discovering the one that has been in
the family for generations, brought home from vacation or made in grade school. This year, do
something completely unexpected. Decorate your tree in only one color or just with pink lights.
I’ve seen trees hung upside down, ones covered in high heels or with dog toys. Metallics are a
huge trend this season. Revive that pink aluminum tree from the 60’s or consider purchasing a
live tree in a pot and plant it after the holidays. It’s renewable and enjoyable year around.
Party The 2020 Way – The key word this year Is innovation. Mix things up and keep the energy
high. Throw a virtual party with friends and family. Have the “guests” dress in black tie or as
their favorite holiday character. Have them show their wackiest ornament and have a prize for
the most outlandish. If you are isolating due to Covid restrictions, don’t let that stop the fun. Mix
and match your dishes and glasses or add tropical prints to the holiday décor. Place palm fronds in a vase with pinecones and ban poinsettias from the place (they are so traditional!!)
Now, more than ever we need a little Christmas spirit. Find yours, spread the joy and ring in
2021 with your own style.
As we all look forward to 2021, I want to share a few of my favorite design elements and inspirations. Enjoy!
Favorite color – No doubt about it, there is nothing that can beat basic black. This one color goes with every design style and brings out the best in any fabric or finish. Use it in high gloss for the dining room with a funky crystal chandelier, in a soft gray tinted black for that sexy, sophisticated bedroom or an upholstered slick mid-century chair in plush black velvet. This is the hottest in color for an all around perfect accent in your home.
Favorite new look – Although the avocado green appliances of my childhood still haunt me to this day, I’m crazy about the new color options being shown on washers and dryers. Bright reds, navy blues and soft grays allow us to bring the utilitarian laundry room into the new century. Just like flat screens have taken the television out of armories and cabinets and put them on display, now you can be proud to show even this room to your friends and not have to hide it behind bi-fold doors. Now when friends tour your home, you won’t have to stand in front of the door and say “oh that’s just the laundry room”.
Favorite comeback look – Michael Taylor single handedly turned the design community on its ear in the late 1970’s and 80’s with his organic, beachy southern California look. Michael died of AIDS in 1987 but his signature style is back with a bang, starting with his famous basketball shaped sofa pillows. No other style from that era is more au courant than the Taylor aesthetic: interiors of textural fabrics, sexy curves and casual comfort. Other designers, such as Donghia that were big in the late 70’s and 80’s are also experiencing a resurgence of interest.
Favorite place for inspiration –PARIS! What more can you say? Not only does the city of lights spark romance, it’s also the catalyst for design inspiration. The history, the architecture, the furniture shops and the famous flea markets all add up to the best place in the world to feel creative. Only the French can make design look so effortless. Whether you purchase a trinket or bring home a container of French antiques, anyone can feel special with a bit of Paris in their homes. There are numerous, beautiful coffee table books on French style. Check them out.
Embrace the things that are your personal favorites. Make your home fun, the place you love to come home to and most of all your inspiration. Take the time to explore and learn the new concepts, ideas and trends. You’ll be glad you did.
Californians love their single level ranch style home. In fact, we are embracing this more than ever as Mid Century Modern continues its resurgence. Maybe you already own one or want to bring that MCM vibe to your own space. Mid Century Modern homes embraced many eras and decades. You can mix the comforts and trends of today with the cool factor of the ’50s and ’60s without losing character. When you think of the history of your home, keep in mind a space evolves and contains the furnishings and accessories of a lifetime, not just a decade frozen in time.
Use colors and tones that evoke a rich and warm palette with accents of colors like lime green, orange and pink. Replace carpet with hardwood, rough stone, or large porcelain tile, even breaking up the standard living/dining room area with a curved hard surface walkway.
When it comes to furnishings, use a few large pieces that make the rooms look bigger and more
important. Think texture in upholstered pieces; throw in an accent chair covered in rich velvet and you will end up with a room that looks sophisticated, modern and very architectural. Discard heavy draperies for roller shades and wood blinds. Keep it all you and don’t follow the pack. The look should be authentic yet not look cliché.
Kitchens and bathrooms need to be minimal and functional. Less is really more when renovating your classic MCM house. It’s all about the materials – think glass tiles and slick, low counters. Polished surfaces shine and reflect light.
Embrace the mid-century aura of your home and be proud of what it represents – a time and place that can never be replaced but can be your take on a classic architectural residence.
To learn more check out the vast inventory of coffee table books, videos and blogs dedicated to the style. Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area are filled with houses built between 1945 and 1975. There are still some great bargains out there and even a few untouched by time; time capsules where there is so much to be learned.
It’s easy to say that inspiration is all around us, and of course it is. But often we may find it hard to translate that into our living environment. We look at our home and don’t know where to start. It’s important to find that something special that speaks to us and our vision and complete the interior we desire.
Everything in your home can be a source of inspiration. The idea for a room often begins with a single object: a family heirloom, a framed photo, a piece of fabric, that Merlot in your glass. Start from that single element that you love and watch the space take shape.
Even beyond that, inspiration can often be more obvious than you realize. That vacation you took last year to the beach or a visit to your local museum. The color of the sky or the leaves on a tree. Smell and sound can bring an idea to your mind. Music can inspire you visually. A song can bring the power to energize your space or be soothing and peaceful, and your home will reflect this.
I have helped clients create children’s rooms inspired by fairy tales or sports teams. We have painted stars and moons on ceilings of nurseries. A master suite enveloped in fabric can be a Moroccan fantasy and a South Seas paradise can be achieved by finding that right shade of blue you saw in Tahiti. Anything is possible and the possibilities are endless.
Once you have landed on your inspiration, don’t feel pressured to move quickly. Let a room take shape naturally. It may take time for the elements to fuse together. Don’t be disillusioned or frustrated just because you have the perfect blue pillow but aren’t finding the sofa fabric to go with it. Keep an open mind, let the inspiration flow and allow the space to speak to you.
Finally, don’t be afraid to do the unexpected. It’s OK to take risks. Keep an open mind about your room and what it may be saying to you. Discover the hidden texture or spot of brilliance in your personal inspiration. Don’t be boxed in by convention!
I always try to help clients move just a bit further from their comfort zone. A home should be a personal statement. Your finished space, if you let it, will spring from your inspiration and may just be the impetus for someone else’s imagination.
As we reach the midway point of summer, I am reminded of the photos of Slim Aarons, whose iconic photographs captured the glamour and style of the wealthy “old guard” of the last century.
By becoming one of them, he was able to use his lens to document the rich and famous in the their own settings – from Palm Beach to Palm Springs, from The Bahamas to the Mediterranean, Slim brought home to the rest of us images of high society frolicking at beaches, boating, playing polo and just relaxing in Mid Century Modern settings. Without a make up person, a stylist or any kind of product placement, the photos, to this day, jump off the page with saturated color – using his subjects’ own clothes, homes and families.
As Slim once said "I made a career out of photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places” and the photos we see today still look like a page from Instagram – by being authentic and capturing just the perfect moment. His work is timeless and still copied by fashion designers, interior designers and young “influencers” on social media today.
With multiple books now published and most of his most famous photos available online through Getty Images, we can all bring a piece of the incomparable Slim Aarons home. In the world we live in today, I think we can all appreciate the work of this Original Influencer. – Steven Edward Wallace
With the shelter in place coming to an end #fingerscrossed we have probably all spent more time in our backyards because it’s been a sanctuary + gives us more space outside our homes without having to go far. And - even better - you don’t have to wear a mask 😷. Here in the Bay Area we have the good fortune to have cooperative weather so that our private outdoor spaces truly become an extension of our homes.
Do you want to do more to enhance your private yard? Maybe better for entertaining or possibly an outdoor office? If your backyard area is more on the cozy side adding a few chairs with decorative pillows might be all you need. Try alternating with textures to create interest and vary the style without mixing too many colors up. Add ambient lighting for romance and evening entertainment + big square cushions so you can sit anywhere. This works especially good if you have wide stairs - making a perfect spot to lounge. Group potted succulents on a table...these are low maintenance and and create interesting compositions. For larger yards add a built in fire pit surrounded by outdoor sofas and outdoor rugs for color. We work with local vendors who specialize in textiles for both indoor and outdoor. How about a tile patio? Or a tile wall designed by TileBar to create an intimate space?
Let us work with you to create the right set-up for your individual needs and taste. Our team of designers, vendors and resources will help you find the perfect outdoor furniture, textiles, accessories and lighting.
From the very beginning, before we began to put thought into our living spaces, we had art. Early humans drew on cave walls the story of their lives. At that time, we were probably still sleeping on the ground and eating hunched over a fire.
Art and the human reaction to it is at the core of who we are and has always helped us to express ourselves and possibly leave a part of ourselves for others to enjoy and contemplate. Early on and in every culture on Earth – it has been our fascination and love of art that has told our story and allowed us to express our creativity.
I think the “art” of design came much later and from a much different place. Man needed a place to eat, a place to sit, a place to sleep. As we moved from caves to shelter of our own making, the need arose to express oneself, and family and community grew. Along with outside elements like weather conditions, mobility of a nomadic life and increased learning and mixing of different races of people, our homes became an extension of who we were, a way of showing others what was ours and what was important to us.
As culture developed, art and design interlocked fingers. Innovation of materials grew and changed what we could do. Maybe an early bed was straw on the ground, then straw sewn into a bag for easy moving about. Hand tools led to creating household objects and weaving fabrics, which in turn became interior design.
Modern-day humans are still ruled by the instinct to be creative, expressive and the need to adorn their spaces, to enjoy art and feel comfortable in their environment.
Personal expression in art and our environment is essential. We still feel the same way about art as the first cave artist did and we now connect that to having a comfortable home. Art and design live not only side by side but connected as one.