December 2, 2009

Guest Blog: Why We Don’t Like Matchy Matchy

Filed under: Color usage, Fabric Usage, Furniture, Interior Design, Paint, Wall Decoration — michaeldelicio @ 1:48 PM

By Caitlin Pitt

Pick up any of the hipper (or recherché, depending on your viewpoint) design rags and you’ll see at lot of looks. What used to be called “eclectic” is “classic” now; combining periods is the baseline. Elements of glamour (eg ormoulu and brass) that used to be old are new again. Corian is the new marble. Colors that once ‘clashed’ now ‘sizzle’.

You’ve seen everything, and you’ll see everything. But the one thing you won’t see is “matchy matchy”. At least not in this decade.

First, the definition. The Urban Dictionary ( defines “matchy matchy” as, “…used to describe an outfit that is too coordinated and consists of too many of the same types of colours [sic], patterns, fabrics, accessories, designer pieces, thematic elements, etc. Can also be used in reference to interior design…”

The expression itself embodies a mild though mocking rebuke of the old aesthetic. Even if you don’t fully understand the concept you can tell there’s something undesirable going on here. But matching is a hard habit to break! Nevertheless, when you let go of the compulsion, you’ll be surprised to find that a whole new dimension of beauty and richness awaits.

Here’s what I mean. Take, for example, this nice room here. Nothing bad one can say. It’s a comfortably appointed, calming, traditional room. I have seen this room, or a close cousin, in a thousand homes. I’ve seen this room in every city in the US. Even in the homes of very-this-century people.

Traditional Matchy

It’s certainly lovely…but is it interesting? Stimulating? Enlivening?? There is little or no acknowledgment of the intervening 150 years of design history and innovation anywhere here. Edith Wharton likely would be as comfortable in this room as my grandmother would’ve been.

Now let’s look at these rooms.

Are they transitional? postmodern? what? To say they’re “eclectic” sounds quaint, or maybe ironic, kind of like calling large item collection day at the dump “a hodgepodge”.


One common feature of these rooms is that the scale of the elements is similar to classical decorating. You’ll note that the stone sculpture above is nearly the scale of a painting that might hang over the bed in a modern room. The bronze silk upholstered X bench at the foot of the bed is a common enough item, albeit one with more “pop”. But five or ten years ago, would one have seen this bronze paired with the yellow lacquer nightstands? And stones above the bed? No, this is definitely a new way of putting things together.

Mixy 1

Here, there are lots of different colors, periods and styles, but no over-sized pieces or oddly mismatched items, such as a cherry Queen Anne stool or a 70s redwood tree stump coffee table. This room also has pairs of items that do match, lending the room a pleasing symmetricality. Would we have seen this room in the 70s or even the 90s? Likely not.


In this room, there’s very little to match – another great strategy. All-one-hue rooms with different components in various tones or values is another, more subtle, way to avoid matching too much. This room encompasses traditional, classic, modern and contemporary elements with a minimalist aesthetic and looks “mixed” rather than “matched”, but quietly so.

The point is, in this day and age there are so many ways to achieve stylishness living, and only a tiny subset of these requires that all of the elements match. Today, “go together” can mean combining similar elements in unanticipated ways just as easily as it can mean containing disparate elements within a classical framework. Whichever way one wants it, the result is distinct, crisp, provocative – and new.

Happy Decorating!


September 24, 2009

Red and White and Pretty All Over

Filed under: Color usage, Interior Design, Paint, Wall Decoration — Tags: , , , , , , , — michaeldelicio @ 4:25 PM

Red is warm, vibrant, sexy and exciting. White is fresh, pure and bright. Together they make a great base for almost any style of interior design. Just add the color or neutral of your choice. You can’t go wrong!

By Amanda Kyser

Interior design by Amanda Kyser

I love the modern rusticity of this foyer with a brick red accent wall in a white setting.  The use of the same color on a mid-century chair with great bones is just brilliant!


Todd Romano used Farrow and Ball color Blaxer

Interior design by Todd Romano, The walls are Farrow and Ball, color Blazer

Did I mention COZY?  This traditional room makes the most of red’s cozy factor.  the red and white plaid, rich jewel toned oriental and soft plush furnishings make this a great room to curl up in with a good book.


Home of Dedar Fabrizio from Veranda, September 2009

Home of Dedar Fabrizio from Veranda, September 2009


Red walls make everything pop!  Your art and furniture will look better, more important.  I can’t think of any color that looks bad against red.  If you own neutrals, they’ll show up like they never have before. The bold backdrop will make a disparate collection of objects look related and integrated.

From Elle Decor, October 2009, designed by Bibi Monnahan

From Elle Decor, October 2009, designed by Bibi Monahan

This is the quintessential transitional living room.  The feel is very up to date. The furnishings are a gorgeous blend of the traditional and the contemporary.  The red backdrop with white matted art keeps it all beautifully pulled together.


Red and white mod

Red and white mod

Oh, this is so groovey!  Get me my go-go boots!  But seriously, it’s the the simple color scheme, red combined with soft silvery whites that keep this room firmly planted in the 21st century.


Stunning chinese red kitchen cabinets.

Stunning Chinese red kitchen cabinets.

If anyone dares to paint their kitchen cabinets this color, I’d love to see photos.  The results are stunning, and in fact, very livable.  Red is so versatile!

This daring and unusual kitchen is by Susan Massey The article is from Southern Accents


red curtains, grey sofa

The red curtains and other touches of red make the room.

I love lots of red, but here are some examples showing how a little red can go a long way.  It’s like wearing a little black dress, and then finishing off the look with bright red lipstick.

T. Keller Donovan

Kitchen design by T. Keller Donovan


Stephen Shubel

Interior design by Stephen Shubel

If I woke up in a bedroom like this, I might get confused and think I’m a movie star! 

“Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for close-up.”


Miles Redd

Designed by Miles Redd


By Eldon Wong Rosenthal china service.

Design by Eldon Wong, with Rosenthal China Service.

Here’s a  great way to add a little red and white-  paint the interior of a china cabinet red, then display classic white china in it.  Your china will look better than ever!

Here’s  some great stuff out there that can bring some of this warm-sexy-cool-bright-vivid prettiness into your home:

The Mod look:
25245-98 DuraleeLe Corbusier white leather!D_819 kravet

The above items are:
Red Fabric (Duralee 25245-98), White Leather Chair (Le Corbusier), Red Lamp (Graham and Green), Black Fabric (Kravet Goodell-819)


The Warm Traditionalist:

30369_19 kravetgumps white garden stoolgump's openwork chair redGILAD_910 kravet


The above items are:
Red Fabric (Kravet 30369-19), White Garden Stool (Gumps), Open Works Red Chair (Gumps), Stripe Fabric (Kravet Gilad-910)

Eclectic Transitional:


9781588167392_int_116-133Mizoram ThibautGingerSideTableS9145720_WH09_W_hs

The above items are:
Red Paint (Benjamin Moore -Ravishing Red 2008-10), Red Fabric (Thibaut -Mizoram), Ginger Side Table (Crate and Barrel), White Lamp (Williamsburg Market Place)

All fabrics are available through Gaita Interiors.  For pricing and availability, call (914)834-8282

So maybe you’re thinking you’d have to think a lot, ruminate, spend hours at the paint store before making the drastic decision to paint your walls red…, not really.

Just choose a red you love, and a fresh bright white, get the room painted, and move your stuff in!

July 25, 2009

“First Responders of Larchmont and Mamaroneck: A Tribute

The Mamaroneck Artists Guild, at 126 Larchmont Ave, Larchmont, NY are showing (through July 25th) a remarkable, graphic and moving display of full life size, high resolution portraits of  Mamaroneck and Larchmont’s indispensable first responders: police, firefighters and EMTs.  The artist photographer of this striking collection of portraits is Robert P. Fine.

Mr. Fine, shown here with his work, gives you an idea of the scale of the pieces.  The effect is very dramatic.

Mr. Fine, shown here with his work, gives you an idea of the scale of the pieces. The effect is very dramatic.

Each of the First Responders is identified by name, retaining the importance of the individual, as well as the necessity of team work depicted by the collection as a whole.


On viewing the diverse group of men and women represented here, I’m struck by their  cheer and openness, as well as the obvious pride these individuals take in their chosen professions.

The gallery is an open, airy light filled space, painted pure white, creating an excellent stark backdrop for the dark uniforms worn by the subjects.


In addition to Mr. Fine’s compelling approach to photographic portraiture, he is also an accomplished landscape photographer. On his two web sites you can see ample examples of his impressive work in both areas. and

The pieces currently shown will continue to be available for purchase through Mamaroneck Artists Guild (MAG) for $225 each

MAG rotates shows every three weeks, which gives us all plenty to see.  Visit their web site to see what’s coming up next!

July 17, 2009

HOW TO: Design a Glamorous Movie Bedroom for Your Home

One of the great traditions of Hollywood cinema is the creation of dreamy set designs. Why would we pay good money to go to a movie, just to see our favorite stars living lives in settings that are mundane? Even if the plot is in no way dependent on gorgeous interior design, seeing the interiors of beautiful homes is a big part of the escapism of the movies, and always has been.

Well my philosophy is: No home should be mundane. Each one should be as special as the individuals who dwell there. Whatever the available budget there’s always a way. The bedroom in particular is a personal sanctuary. Here are two beautiful,very different examples of glamorous movie bedrooms, and how YOU can get that glamour into your life.


Here’s what Carrie’s got going on in her “newly renovated apartment”, and a  few elements you can use to get the look:

Carrie Bradshaw's glam bedroom

Carrie Bradshaw's glam bedroom

Carrie Bradshaw is my friend! OK, don’t send the paddy wagon, I know she’s not real! But I feel like we’ve been through a lot together! Romantic ups and downs, career stalls and triumphs, keeping friendships alive through it all. I want to congratulate her for finally getting her act together in her apartment. Why wait for prince charming to come along to live in a chic environment? When she graduated from the small screen to the silver screen,thanks to set designer Jeremy Conway, my fictional friend stepped up to an elegant, modern and oh so urbane Manhattan apartment.


West Elm Zebra Rug 9'x12' $749.00

West Elm Zebra Rug 9'x12' $749.00


Benjamin Moore -Clearest Ocean Blue 2064-40. White Dove would be nice on the trim and ceiling.


Wallace Upholstered Headboard from Restoration Hardware $1495.00 for king

Wallace Upholstered Headboard from Restoration Hardware $1495.00 for king


Harriet White Glass Table Lamp from Barnes & Noble $179.00

Harriet White Glass Table Lamp from Barnes & Noble $179.00

Table from Target $229.00

Table from Target $229.00


West Elm Desk, $329.00

West Elm Desk, $329.00

Excaliber Collection from The Door Store, $169.99

Excaliber Collection from The Door Store, $169.99



Carrie and her vanity


Paris Apartment MirroredVanity $7,800.00


As always with Sex and the City, there is a strong blend of true-to-life reality, (the relationships) and pure fantasy (how could a journalist afford all those designer clothes?) That's why we love it! The mirrored vanity pictured above is a case in point. The one in Carrie's bedroom is comparable to this drop-dead-gorgeous seven drawered beauty from Paris Apartment (go to the site and drool) It retails for $7,800.00! That's equal to 19 pairs of Manolos! I doubt Carrie would make the sacrifice.


Horchow $699.00

Horchow $699.00


I wouldn’t call this pretty mirrored vanity from Horchow a sacrifice!  The curves are graceful, and it has the critical drawer for a blow dryer, and plenty of room for make-up and other necessities.

Gaita Interiors can make custom cream silk dupioni drapes for about $500 per pair.

West Elm Upholstered Slipper Chair $429.00

West Elm Upholstered Slipper Chair $429.00

Ikea 30" round mirror $19.99

Ikea 30" round mirror $19.99 for over the vanity.

Behind Carrie’s bed is a melange of framed wall art. West Elm has all you need, for the right prices. You can get that “collector’s look” in one fell swoop. I would install them in a random mix of black and white frames.

west elmAAAADDKlPkAAAAAAAAxdUgwest elm wall art $19 pillows and throws Connor pillow $60

The pillows are from The bedding is from Crate and Barrel.


Oh Carrie!  I wish you and Big SO MUCH LUCK! But just in case, maybe you should keep the lease on your perfectly elegant little  nest… Big’s a tricky guy! You never know.

ART DECO 1930′S ALL- OUT GLAMOUR ” Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

The plot is thin, but the performers are all pros, and the eye candy can’t be beat! Sets, costumes and the art direction are fabulous and flawless.  Here the set designer, Katie Spencer, expertly recreated a high end Art Deco interior complete with a few anachronisms (which add to the authenticity) from earlier periods such as old fashioned ruffled sheers, and a slightly frumpy dated looking slipper chair, and practically Victorian table lamps.  Let’s keep the Art Deco elegance, but update the look a little:



Satin bedding from

Satin bedding from

From Standing mirrored Room Divider $699.00

From Standing mirrored Room Divider $699.00


Seville Headboard at $409.99

Seville Headboard at $409.99


Sheer Curtains


The sheers above are from Country Curtains.  You would need to triple up on them to get that full look.  Gaita Interiors can make very full custom sheer drapes (no ruffles!) for  about $300 per pair.

Schumacher Wallpaper Imperial Trellis-alabaster

Schumacher Wallpaper Imperial Trellis-alabaster, for behind the bed

Thibaut Cantonese, pearl

Thibaut Cantonese, pearl, for an accent wall.


Horchow Crystal Ball Table Lamp $155

Horchow Crystal Ball Table Lamp $155

Horchow Mirrored End Table $269.00

Horchow Mirrored End Table $269.00


Venetian Mirror from $341.00

Venetian Mirror from $341.00


I wouldn’t build a bedroom with a platform.  To me, it’s a tripping hazard. I’m getting on in years, you know! But you can add the curve and some luxury with a round white shag rug.  This one from Crate and Barrel is quite nice.  If you have enough room, Home Decorators makes one up to 10′ round for the same price!

6 foot round rug from Crate and Barrel

6 foot round rug from Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel Petrie Chair $899.00

Crate and Barrel Petrie Chair $899.00

Pale Gold Metallic Paint from Modern Masters

Pale Gold Metallic Paint from Modern Masters


If your ceiling is in very good condition, you can add another layer of glam with a couple of coats of gold metallic paint.  Modern Masters does a great job, with the paint, and advice on technique. Benjamin Moore Bone White would be nice on the walls where there's no wallpaper.  White Dove for the trim.

Vanity Dreassing Table from

Vanity Dreassing Table from

From , vaniy stool $249

From , vaniy stool $249


If your space is small, this  dressing table (delivered unfinished) from ReadyToCover is surprisingly practical, with plenty of hidden storage below.  The kidney shape works well with the Art Deco look.

Miss P

The vanity is just a dressed up shelf in a bay window. Great idea!

At the end of this fluffy romp, our charming leading lady, Delysia, chooses love over riches, with her poor but sincere (sexy) musician boyfriend Michael.  I’m afraid she may have to say goodbye to the deluxe digs she was accustomed to.  Oh well… C’est L’amour!


July 13, 2009

Gothic Revival: IT’S ALIVE! In Westchester County, New York

It’s time for a Gothic Revival-Revival! Do you have a tendency toward romanticism and flights of fancy? Are you fond of pointed arches, deep carvings, curvaceous tracery?  Are you a secret lover of vampire literature, television and cinema? Guess what: YOU’RE  GOTH!  No, I don’t mean you have to go out and get body piercings and buy lots of black clothes!  I mean you should look at this gorgeous, influential movement in American design.

In Tarrytown, New York (in the southern part of Westchester County,a little north of New York City) is Lyndhurst Castle, one of the finest, extravagantly beautiful OPEN TO THE PUBLIC examples of Gothic Revival architecture and interiors in America.


Lyndhurst Castle Tarrytown, NY

In the mid 18th century, with the rise of Romanticism, an increased interest and awareness of the Middle Ages among some influential connoisseurs created a more appreciative approach to selected medieval arts, beginning with church architecture, the tomb monuments of nobility, stained glass, and late Gothic illuminated manuscripts. The movement quickly swept through Europe, finally taking deep root in America, becoming the style of choice for the newly wealthy industrialist class, and infamous robber barons!

Lyndhurst Ent Hall

Lyndhurst Entry Hall

Lynd art gallery

Lyndhurst Art Gallery


Lyndhurst was designed in 1838 by Andrew Jackson Davis, for William Paulding, a former mayor of New York and merchant.  The house, as it stands today, was further formed by the Merrit Family and the famous railroad tycoon, Jay Gould.

In person, Lyndhurst Castle is both more impressive, and less daunting than the photography suggests.  Many children grew up in Lyndhurst, and the little nursery rooms,( quite near to the Master Bedroom) are on display, complete with a pair of old fashioned little girl's button up boots.  Within sight of the main house, is a perfect play house called Rose Cottage.

The rooms are large and filled with beautiful detail of the Gothic Revival period, but not heavy or oppressive.  Though spacious, the brilliant architecture of A.J. Davis  manages to keep it on a human scale.  Faux finishes became quite the fashion out of Europe in the later Gothic period, and Lyndhurst is filled with the finest examples I've ever seen of faux limestone and marble, and other forms of decorative painted surfaces.  Really, the only word is INCREDIBLE!  This is decorative painting elevated to the level of fine art.

dining room Lynd

Dining Room, Lyndhurst

Dutchess Guest Room, Lyndhurst

Dutchess Guest Room, Lyndhurst

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wheel-back-chair-color alexander jackson davis

Restored Wheel Back Chair designed for Lyndhurst by it's celebrated architect Alexander Jackson Davis, one of the many exquisite authentic pieces to be seen at the mansion.

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Hey, did you know that Lyndhurst Mansion was used as the house set for the classic TV series from the late 60’s-early 70’s “Dark Shadows”? I was strangely drawn to watch it, but my Mom wouldn’t let me because it gave me nightmares!  Boo Hoo!!



There's Lyndhurst in the background. I promise, during the day it's not scary at all!


Lyndhurst as seen in "Dark Shadows" Oooooo, spookey!

But really, Lyndhurst is no vampire’s lair, nor maker of nightmares.  It’s much more like something from a fairy tale, an enchanted castle from a little girls’ favorite story book.



Exterior window detail. If I'd known I was taking my own picture, I would have said "cheese".

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Rose Garden

A detail from a large planter near the Rose Garden

I can’t resist including this  heartbreakingly beautiful painting  by my favorite artist of the Gothic Revival era,  Sir Edward Burne-Jones.  This piece is NOT at Lyndhurst.  It’s at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  I’m showing it here, because it embodies so much of the dreamy romantic quality of the Gothic Revival movement…and I LOVE IT!

 Sir Edward Burne-Jones

"The Love Song" by Sir Edward Burne-Jones

American Gothic Revival Rocks On…..!

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Like the iconic painting “American Gothic” (1930) by Grant Wood,(titled for the  pointed arch window depicted in the farm house) Gothic Revival just keeps on going!
Is Gothic Revival still relevant? Yes it is, and guess what. Far from being relegated to Grandma’s attic, it’s influences are all around us and have never really gone out of style or usage. They’ve just evolved. You don’t have to be a wealthy robber baron to take part.  Here are some examples of Gothic Revival today:

Gothic Revival printed fabric form the period.

Gothic Revival printed fabric form the period.


Kravet #28247-613

More beautiful fabrics that display the Gothic influence:

Kravet  #23089-540

Kravet #23089-540

Kravet 25841-319

Kravet 25841-319

Highland Court #180933H-298

Highland Court #180933H-298

Highland Court #180906-533

Highland Court #180906-533


Whimsical, dreamy, fanciful; Mackenzie Childs has built a whole sub-category and career on elaborating on these qualities (already present) in Gothic Revival, to create something new and current, built on design of the past.  Fabulous!!

Mackenzie Childs

Mackenzie Childs at Neiman Marcus

Mackenzie Childs at Nieman Marcus

Mackenzie Childs: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was published in 1865 at the height of the Gothic Revival. Alice is the only thing missing from this fantastical display!

Architectural touches from the period you can add to even the most contemporary setting:

These beauties are available from

These reclaimed beauties are available from

From,brand new Gothic windows ready for installation.

Here are some current furnishings that  bear the unmistakable influence of the Gothic Revival period:

Yep, this is Gothic Revival

Yep, this is Gothic Revival!

;dlf;sldf;sldjf;sdjf;sldjf;sldgsdjg;sldkf;sldjg;dskfhg;sldfk’s;dk;ljg;j;sl;lj;jl So modern, but very Goth!



Antique fixture at Lyndhurst Castle

Gothic Revival reproduction lantern from  Well done!

Gothic Revival reproduction lantern from Well done!


Cabinets from Walz Craft

Cabinets from Walz Craft


Walz Craft is wonderful!  Any door style you can think of, they’ve got it.  And they’re terrific to work with.  Their interpretation of a Gothic cabinet door has the beauty and grace of the past, combined with unsurpassed function.

This would make a great hallway piece.  From

This would make a great hallway piece. From

Here are some decorative touches you can use that will add some of the old world beauty of Gothic Revival to your home:


This piece is available from




Scroll work wall art from Pier 1

Scroll work wall art from Pier1, little $'s, lots of Goth!


This piece will be auctioned at clark Auction on June 13th .  The estimated sale price is $150!

This piece will be auctioned at clark Auction on June 13th . The estimated sale price is $150! Needs a little love.

From Four Point Mirror

From Four Point Mirror

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Susand and Russell's new house 003 The print on my outdoor pillows from Restoration Hardware (2 or 3 years old) is pure Gothic Revival.  Their current prints are too!

Lyndhurst is one of five exquisite historical mansion museums in the Lower Westchester area of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, NY. The Lower Hudson River Valley region is rich with history on display.  It’s the best way I know to time travel, and get a shot of inspiration from the past.

So, if you’re coming around, I wouldn’t worry too much about vampires, but you better watch out for a HEADLESS HORSEMAN! I hear he’s still running around these parts!


The Headless Horseman from Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

For more of the fascinating history of Lyndhurst Castle and the other historical mansion museums, as well as their hours directions etc : and


June 11, 2009

Hanging Art: 3 Approaches Prefered by Interior Designers

There are as many ways to hang and display art as there are artists and art lovers. But if we try, we can boil it down to 3 basic approaches, within which you can make your own rules.

1) NEAT and GEOMETRIC…the grid:

If you like your world visually neat and organized, this is your look.

In this case the vibrant energy of the strong color palette is kept in check by the geometric installation of the art.


Neat, but far from dull! The geometry is further strengthened by the symmetrical portraits on each side.

I couldn't resist adding this similar image of Matisse's Red Studio

I couldn't resist adding this similar image of Matisse's Red Studio

Gilded botanicals

Gilded botanicals are installed with precision, and add just the right touch in this year round sun room. (Gaita Interiors)

A grouping of small framed art can take the place of a single larger piece, as in these examples, above and below.

These pretty framed tiles from Linda Paul could fill a whole wall in a kitchen or casual dining room.

Framed tiles from

Life is messy! It’s nice to come home to a crisp, clean look in your personal sanctuary. The art installations below certainly add to a sense of calm and tranquility.

Neat and calming, but not dull.

A restful and elegant dining room.

White dining room

White dining room from Better Homes and Gardens

 a bedroom.

A pretty bedroom in neutral tones. Very tranquil.


I love the calm, cool slate blue combined with a pop of bright red!

The key to this look is identical (or nearly so) frames. What’s inside the frames may be similar, related or vary wildly. It’s the frames that keep it together, and provide that clean, calm organized appearance. The only down side to this look is the installation. Precision is called for. If you’re going to do it yourself, here are some tips for getting it just right. You may consider hiring a pro for this. Many framers provide art hanging services. Or a good handy man/carpenter can do the job.

2) WILD ABANDON, or….more is more

It may be a lifetime’s collection of art and mementos, or just the result of a flea market spree… Or a little of both. There’s a fun free spirited trend toward wild, sprawling art installations for the home. Why interior designers love it? It gives the home instant and unique personality, the homeowner’s personality. You can finish a room in one big picture hanging marathon!

By Thomas Jayne

By Thomas Jayne via House Beautiful

Framed vintage wallpapers via Apartment Therapy

Framed vintage wallpapers via Apartment Therapy

Domino Magazine

Artistic collection via Domino Magazine

A sprawling collage made of art.

A sprawling collage made of art. Very Bohemian.

Tiffany Blue walls make a great backdrop for black and white photos in a variety of black frames.

Tiffany Blue walls make a great backdrop for black and white photos in a variety of black frames. (via Domino)


I like the way the art picks up the black and white checkerboard floor.

Thomas Jayne

By Thomas Jayne via House Beautiful

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A comfy living room is personalized by

A comfy living room is personalized by a lifetime collection of art and mementos

I wouldn't call this sprawling. It's neatly organized, filling the space like wallpaper.

I wouldn't call this sprawling. It's neatly organized, filling every inch like wallpaper.

They could have just hung the orange painting over the sofa, but that wouldn't have been half as interesting.

They could have just hung the orange painting over the sofa, but that wouldn't have been half as interesting.


If you’re lucky enough to own art that’s big and “important”, you can use the time honored approach of letting that piece stand alone, or even lead the design decisions for a whole space. Interior designers LOVE IT when a home owner has big art! It makes the rest of our job so easy!

The rooms below all appear to have been inspired by the one major art piece present.

Looks like this beautiful painting was the inspiration for the rest of the room, with excellent results.

Looks like this beautiful painting was the inspiration for the rest of the room, with excellent results.

green painting

Every detail falls in line behind the stunning contemporary painting.

Black and white

Here, even the almost-black wood floor follows suit.

Nice horsey

The oversized art photography sets not only the color scheme but the entire theme of the room.

Expertly modulated greys pick up the shades in the art, without overpowering it.

Expertly modulated grays pick up the shades in the art, without overpowering it.

A pinch of white in teh bold painting is picked up in the chair's slipcovers.

A pinch of white in the bold painting is picked up in the chair's slipcovers.


Here are some beautiful examples of art installations that combine some or all of the above methods…or just do their own thing:

A statement piece, surrounded by small satelights, on a neutral backdrop.

A statement piece, surrounded by small satelites, on a neutral backdrop.

Soothing classic color scheme is enlivened

The color scheme in the furnishings and paint is laid back, the art pops, all to great effect.

Wall art isn’t necessarily flat! This traditional living room by Mary Anne Smiley Interiors with stunning multi dimensional glass art, combined with contemporary painting, defies categorization. I love that!!

My favorite room at the Kip's Bay Showhouse by Bunny Williams.

Grid Interrupted: My favorite room at the Kip's Bay Showhouse by Bunny Williams.

Oops I forgot my art...very pretty!

Oops I forgot my art...very pretty!

Martha Stewart

A collection of various sizes is carefully arranged inside an imaginary box to create, in effect, a single piece. From Martha Stewart

This is known as The Paris Hang.

This is known as The Paris Hang; almost sculptural.

Got art, but now walls?  Here's a solution.

Got art, but no walls? Here's a solution.

Another one

Another one

Symetrical, but complex installation complimented by subtle paint and fabric selections.

Symmetrical, but complex installation, complimented by subtle paint and fabric selections.

Remember the most important things when you’re thinking about how to hang your art:


My friend Kelly from DesignTies suggested a style I missed: Art leaning on shelves. As she suggests, this gives you lots of flexibility. If you get bored, you can change things around, and never put a nail in the wall! I found this pretty image from DesignHoleOnLine.

A cozy niche with artistic flair.

A cozy niche with artistic flair.

From ED Custom Designs

From E Designs Custom Interiors

And this combo, hanging and leaning from E Designs Custom Interiors

May 28, 2009

Let’s Copy a Deluxe Room on the Cheap II

Here’s another installation on how to get a rich chic look with out spending a big bundle (only a little bundle).

I was very impressed with the eclectic elegance of this family room in the Georgetown home of George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth. The interior designer, Elizabeth Martin did wonderful work here, incorporating a feeling of rich elegance with sumptuous comfort and ease.


George and Ali's beautifully designed, very inviting family room.

I would guess that this huge double size room cost, conservatively, about $90,000 to furnish (without art) including custom wood work, window treatments and professional paint work. Most of us don’t have double size rooms, so I’m NOT going to figure on 3 sofas or 3 area rugs. I will include plenty of small tables and three club chairs, just because there’s so much great stuff out there! Let’s do this look for under $12,000. Here we go:

From Horchow Faux Zebra rug on cowhide $689.00

From Horchow Faux Zebra rug on cowhide $689.00

Helsingor Rug from Ikea $199

Helsingor Rug from Ikea $199

alksjdlaejlskdjflsiefsdkfjlkscmnlsieuroiweflskdfhlsiefhsldkjfls zebra rugs
I like to start from the floor up. These two rugs make a great foundation for our eclectic interior, and combined the cost is under $1000.

Benjamin Moore Bird of Paradise, Linen White and Char Brown

Benjamin Moore Bird of Paradise, Linen White and Char Brown

alksdlksdlfkshdlfkhsldhflskdhflskjdhfksjdhfksjdfhlsdhlsdkhf paint colors

Here are your paint colors. DON’T BE AFRAID OF DARK COLORS! Remember, the ceiling is WHITE! And there are lots of other light elements. The dark walls will recede, making the room look larger!!

The Carter Chair from Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams runs about $2000.00 depending on the fabric. That makes it the biggest ticket item in the room, but worth it for the dramatic impact.

The Carter Chair from Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams runs about $2000.00 depending on the fabric. That makes it the biggest ticket item in the room, but worth it for the dramatic impact.

Devin Square Leather Ottoman from Crate and Barrel $899.00

Devin Square Leather Ottoman from Crate and Barrel $899.00

Macy's Cappuccino Money Plant Accent Chair $699.00

Macy's Cappuccino Money Plant Accent Chair $699.00


A pair of tall bookcases from $978 for 2.

A pair of tall bookcases $916 for 2.

One tall wing chair, plus two club chairs around a square leather ottoman makes a great conversation area.

Paint the bookcases (from Char Brown, just like the walls to mimic the look of custom built-ins. The Bird of Paradise coral peaking out from the interior of the bookcases, adds a surprising punch. Linen White on the ceiling will avoid a too harsh contrast with the dark walls.

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Tava Coffee Table from Crate and Barrel $599.00


Tyler Sofa from Macy's $699.00

skldjfskl;djfskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjfsl;kdjfslkdjflskd sofa up & coffee tablesldkfjlskdfjslkdjfslkdjfslkdfjslkdfjslkdjfslkdjfslkdjfslkdfjsl

The Tava Coffee Table is slightly rustic and exotic. The Tyler Sofa in chocolate brown velvet keeps the luxury going, for the right price.

Accessories, lots of them:

Crate and Barrel Tempo Pillow $32.95

Crate and Barrel Tempo Pillow $32.95

Gump's Orange Dragon Garden Stool $195.00

Gump's Orange Dragon Garden Stool $195.00

laksdslkehlsdhflsiehfldkjfhlsiehflsdkfjlsiefjsdhflskefhlsdhfllh blue pillow

Durham Pillow

Durham Pillow fr0m CB2 $129.00

Thomas Paul Flock Silk Pillow from $78.00

Thomas Paul Flock Silk Pillow from Modern Desires $74.00

askjdlaksjdlkdjlskdjlskdjfslkdjflskdjflskdjflskdjfsldkjfsl end of pillows

Crate and Barrel Firenze pillow $79.00

Firenze Pillow from Crate and Barrel $79.00

Moroccan Pouf from

Moroccan Pouf from Tazi Designs $199.00

Eggshell Lacquer Nesting Tables from Gump's $499.00

Eggshell Lacquer Nesting Tables from Gump's $499.00

Lamps plus $495

Babette Holland Ostrich Rust Table Lamp from Lamps Plus $495

slkdjflskejflkdjflsiefjlkdjfliefjskldjfoiefuslkdfjlsiefk lamp and nesting tables

Wild Walnut Serving Tray $149.00

Wild Walnut Serving Tray $149.00

Pier 1 Elephant Teapot $19.99

Pier 1 Elephant Teapot $15.95

asjd;lsdj;sdjfslkdjflkdjflskdjfldksjflskdjflskdjfldkjfsldksdkflskdjfjkdjfslkdjjfasdhyyd tea pot
I guess the portrait over the fireplace is one of George and Ali’s ancestors. Hey, I GOT ANCESTORS TOO! My husband comes from a VERY old Italian family. Here’s one of our ancestors. You can borrow her, if you want to! She looks great over our fireplace.

I got my pretty ancestor at for $49.99 framed

I got my pretty ancestor at for $49.99 framed

aklsjlskdjfslkdjflskdjflskdjflsdkjflsdkjflsdkjlskdjfslkdfj up for Mona Lisa

Pottery barn Rustic Bench $250.00

Large Rustic Bench from Pottery Barn $250.00

Peyton Grommet Drapery Panels in color from Pottery Barn $89.00 per panel

Peyton Grommet Drapery Panels in Chestnut from Pottery Barn $89.00 per panel

alkdfjlseijslkdjfoseifjlskdfjlseifjlskdhflsiefhlsdkhflseifhlkdfhlsiehflkd drapes

kdjflsiejfsldkfjlsierfsldkhfsierfhlsdifhosierfhskldhfosiryhilhgoirhgdirhg sofa


Here's the other half of this LARGE, beautiful room.

So, if my math is right,and you do your own paint work, I come up with about $10,000 for the whole room, IF you have a big enough room to hold it all!


May 8, 2009

Orange Flip! A Strong Warming Trend in Interior Design

Orange is everywhere this spring! Warm as a summer sunset, fruity, upbeat, alive and energetic. Here are 3 good ways to use this delicious color in your home.


Nature does orange, full saturation!


Boldly done

Boldly done by Sara Bengur Interiors

Orange Combined with Blue, it’s opposite on the color wheel.

I was thrilled to see this orange and turquoise room by designer Sara Bengur at the Kip’s Bay Show House in New York. These colors are natural companions, each bringing out the best in the other. The blue cools down the intensity of the orange, the orange lends warmth. I love the free use of accent colors, like the hot pink and lime green. The neutral white table keeps the whole thing grounded.

Tiles by Ann Saks

Tiles by Ann Saks


Hable Construction

Orange Mum Pillow from Hable Construction

Macy's Alexandra Sofa

Macy's Alexandra Sofa

Duralee 180940h-652

This Duralee fabric (180940H-652r)would make a great ottoman or throw pillow.



Karlstad swivel chair from Ikea

Bulokku Bedoire Pillow,

Bulokku Bedoire Pillow,


same principle

Same principle, warm orange, cooled down with doses of turquiose blue.

Orange as a Sassy Brightener in a Neutral Setting.


Mmmm, good!

If Orange Flip isn’t your flavor, maybe you should consider Creamsicle. Remember that creamy/juicy combo of orange sherbert and vanilla icecream on a stick? If Creamsicle were a room, this is what it would look like:



A little sherbert orange goes a long way.

Room and Board

Room and Board



Room and Board

Smokebush Pendant Light from Room and Board

Mitchell Gold Avery Sofa

Mitchell Gold Avery Sofa


Indoor/outdoor pillows from


Duralee 180934H-36r

Duralee 180934H-36r


Vivid Oranges,Lemons and Limes.

Cheerful, upbeat, tropical, endless summer! If you like your life intense and juicy, this color palette will suit you to a T !


Pretty birdie, chic birdie!



A collection of vintage vases. Get me to the flea market!!

Never a dull moment!

Never a dull moment!


Duralee 180943H-35r

Duralee 180943H-35r



Ikea's Tylosand Sofa in an intense orange

I saw this on

I saw this on




Green Skittles Lamp from Lum

Green Skittles Lamp from Lum

Pierre Bonnard

One of the masters of color,Pierre Bonnard -Dining Room in the Country 1913

Cheerful, lively, warm, assertive, uplifting…Have an Orangey Day!!

May 1, 2009

Let’s Copy a Deluxe Room, on the Cheap!!


This room knocks my socks off! I saw it at HGTV



Rug from Ikea, Stockholm Rand 8'2" x11'6" for $299.00

OK, we won’t COPY it, let’s just be INSPIRED by it.

I would estimate that the room above cost about $50,000.00 fully furnished (without fine art), which is about average for a deluxe, top shelf, professionally designed room. I propose that we can get this look for under $10,000.00.

First things first, we’ll start from the floor up. Instead of wall to wall wool needlepoint carpeting which will cost buckets of money, lets use this black and white rug from Ikea.

Next we need a brilliant rich green backdrop for the walls, something not too blue and not too yellow, like this Benjamin Moore #566 Bunker Hill Green from the Classics Collections. Benjamin Moore has a color selector that allows you to test a color in a virtual room.


Benjamin Moore Classic #566 Bunker Hill Green

The shimmery gold ceiling can be achieved with metallic paint from Modern Masters. I buy it at my neighborhood paint store, in Larchmont, NY

This is Pale Gold Metallic from Modern Masters for the ceiling.

This is Pale Gold Metallic from Modern Masters for the ceiling.

I will add later

The Miramar in Graphite, from Crate and Barrel

At $1199.00, the Miramar Armless Loveseat from Crate and Barrel is about half the price of a similar custom piece. I would like to see two of these ganged together in a row to form an extra long four seat sofa. If space is an issue, at 63″ one of these used alone could solve your problemlskjfsdf;sdfj;sdjf;sdjfs;dlfjs;dljf;sdjfs;kdjfs;lkdjflskdjflskdhfkhskjdhsk

Margarita Pillow from Crate and Barrel $19.95

Margarita Pillow from Crate and Barrel $19.95

branch-home makes this elegant pillow for $64.00


Pellicia Pillow from Crate and Barrel $79.95 $34.95 $34.95

An assortment of fun throw pillows for the sofas ranging from $20.00 to $80.00 each. A free mix of patterns and textures lends an arty feel, while sticking with the black-white-green theme keeps it grounded.


Horchow does a great job with mirrors. They’ve got one for every occasion! This one is on the cheap side, for them, at $319.90. I just think it’s very pretty and dramatic, and the right size for over a fireplace.

The Clairemont Coffee Table from Crate and Barrel has antiqued mirrored surfaces and a soft gold wrought iron finish to pick up the warmth of the gold ceiling. It looks much more expensive than it’s price of $699.00


The Clairemont form Crate and Barrel $699.00


From Horchow $319.90


Add a touch of something wild with this Zebra chair from Macy’s. It’s a steal at $399.00. Use two of them, if you have the space.

The palm green Allegro Ottoman from Crate and Barrel adds another touch of green over the black and white rug. For $149.00, how can you lose!

Allegro Ottoman fron Crate and Barrel for $149.00!

Allegro Ottoman fron Crate and Barrel for $149.00!

Zebra Accent Chair from Macy's $399.00

Zebra Accent Chair from Macy's $399.00

;sldf;sldkf;sldkfs;ldkfs;ldkfs;ldkfs;ldkf;sldkf;sdkfs;ldkf;sskdfjlsdkjflskdjflskdjflskdjkjhkjhkjhkjhkjhhgfyhtyoeiruoidufsldkf;sldkfs;ldkfs;ldkfs;lsdfs;djfs;ldjf;sldjf;sldldkfs;ldNow Now we come to a sensitive subject: How to get a custom look window treatment, without going for custom bucks. We interior designers are a bit fussy about window treatments, believing that custom is always best! (and of course Gaita Interiors custom treatments are the best of the best!) Although it hurts to admit it, Restoration Hardware does a very good job with their ready made Textured Belgian Linen Drapery Panels. The rod pocket style is well priced at $199.00 per panel. My photo below shows the french pleat style (only photo available) which at $459.oo per panel are no bargain! For our our purposes, the white rod pocket will do very well. But how to add that graphic finishing touch? I recommend adding your own trim, such as this Greek Key from Fabricut ($25.00 per yard). If you’re handy, you can sew it on 1″ away from the leading edge. If you’re NOT handy, you apply iot with no-sew fabric gluegluapplylskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflsslkdjflskdjflkjhslfjsjflskdjflskdjflskddnslkdfjlskdjfsldkjfls

Greek Key

This trim added to the edge of white linen drapes would be very graphic.

Belgian Linen

Textured Belgian Linen from Restoration Hardware in white



Here are some pretty accessories that we can’t do without.


Don't forget the flowers. Hydrangeas in season, so fresh!!

White ceramic garden stool to use as and end table

White ceramic garden stool to use as and end table from West Elm.


I’d love to have my very own Georgia O’keefe to hang over my sofa, but since that would really blow my budget, I’ll go for a couple of the pretty things from Pier 1 and Ikea



Pier 1 Organic Squares $350.00 for the set.

Pier 1

Pier 1 36"x36" wall art for $185.00

Pier 1 Scroll Wall Decor $99.95

Pier 1 Scroll Wall Decor $99.95

From Ikea, Pjatteryd  $79.99

From Ikea, Pjatteryd $79.99



West Elm has this pretty assortment of white ceramic to display on your rattan etagere, for around $100.00


A richly stained rattan etagere adds a bit of the exotic and tropical, retails for around $500.00


If your room needs to serve double duty, this rattan etagere from Rattan Interiors will hold a TV. I like these modern ceramic vases for display against the dark finish of the etagere. They’re from West Elm

So, if you do your own painting, I figure you can do this whole room, including a budget for accessories, wall art, and drapery hardware for about $9,000.

In the original room, the carpet and sofas alone cost more!!

Remember, you can use the black/white/neutral/plus one color formula with ANY color you like! If green isn’t your thing, you can do it with red, turquiose, orange, whatever you like. Just stick with the black/white/neutral base,and add your own favorite hue!


April 20, 2009

It’s Easy to be Green! 9 Low Tech Ideas

I’ve got some low tech, time honored techniques for green interior design. Some of these methods would look very familiar to our grandmother’s, because they’re based on the old maxim “waste not, want not” Frugality is very green!

The french doors in this grand old home are probably poorly insulated.  Falnnel lined silk drapes go a long way to keep the heat in during winter, and the the hot sun out during the summer.  This is probably what drapes were invented for , way back when!

The french doors in this grand old home are poorly insulated. Flannel lined silk drapes go a long way to keep the heat in during winter, and the the hot sun out during the summer. This is probably what drapes were invented for.

1. Stop letting all that heat out through the windows by installing some flannel lined drapes. This is equally useful for keeping your house cool in the summer, because flannel lining is also blackout lining. Insulated drapes will help keep your energy usage down. Any style drape can be flannel lined. It has no effect on the appearance.

This is a sample of the goodies to be found at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market in New York, NY

This is a sample of the goodies to be found at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market in New York, NY

2. Get to a flea market! Buy some cool old stuff to furnish and ornament your home, instead of newly manufactured stuff! Fabulous flea markets are popping up everywhere. Nothing adds interest and charm to your home faster than when you bring in something old. The Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market in New York is the king of flea markets. Make sure to get there early before all the good stuff goes!

An elegant washable napkin for special dinners.

An elegant washable napkin for special dinners.

Colorful "easy who cares" maintenance bandanasfor the kitchen, every day.

Colorful "easy who cares" maintenance bandanas for the kitchen, every day.

3. Stop using tons of paper napkins. Instead make the investment in fabric napkins that you can use over and over again. If you wash them in cold water, with eco-friendly detergent, the environmental impact is MUCH lower than paper napkins. And after all, don’t you love a fabric napkin? So much nicer than a crunchy, crumpled piece of paper! Consider using bandanas as napkins for everyday use in the kitchen. They’re cheap, colorful, soft and very washable. You can order a couple of dozen in assorted colors. They’ll last for years!


This old bureau was about ready for the junkyard. Now it's beautiful, useful, and of course, green!

4. Paint or refinish some old furniture, instead of throwing it away, and buying newly manufactured furniture. You can check my earlier post about the joys of painted furniture, The bottom line is, it’s cheap, it’s gorgeous, and it’s green.


This stunning example of reclaimed wood flooring is from The Mountain Lumber Company.

5. If you’re renovating, consider using reclaimed wood flooring. Made from antique flooring saved out of demolished homes, old doors and barns, the effect is like nothing else. New wood flooring can never have the patina, texture and color variation of reclaimed wood flooring. And by the way, it’s as green as can be. No trees were harmed in the making of this floor!

These tiles made of recucled materials are from Bedrock Industries.

These tiles made of recycled materials are from Bedrock Industries.

6. Check out the array of gorgeous glass tiles made from recycled materials. If your bathroom is ready for an update, or you’re looking for a beautiful treatment for a kitchen backsplash, then you’re probably already looking at glass tiles. I came across these pretty mosaics from Bedrock Industries on

This classic sofa will be better than new!

This classic sofa will be better than new!

7. It’s definitely less wasteful to reupholster or slipcover an old sofa or chair, than to throw it away, and buy new. Most used furniture stores have more upholstered furniture than they can handle, and in fact, turn a good deal of it away. There’s just too much! If you like the lines of an old upholstered piece, but the fabric is tatty, or you’re just tired of it, reupholster! Plus, you’ll be employing a small local business, and keeping old craft alive.

One of the beautiful colorways available in Kravetgreen.

One of the beautiful colorways available in Kravetgreen.

8. Use new fabrics, made from recycled materials. Kravet makes a beautiful line of upholstery weight, 100% recycled fabrics called Kravetgreen. I love it, and have used it in my interior design studio, in Larchmont.


9.These gorgeous frames from Second Line Frames are made of from re-claimed wood from New Orleans. I love the naturally weathered finish, and the soft colors. They look great used singely, or in groups. Since no two are exactly alike, you can use as many as you like wisthout repeating. I would fill them with old postcards, vintage family photos and other keepsakes in keeping with the vintage feel.

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