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 www.bygones.net

These reclaimed beauties are available from www.bygones.net


From www.jmjoinery.com,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!



www.gothic-furniture.co.uk So modern, but very Goth!



Antique fixture at Lyndhurst Castle

Gothic Revival reproduction lantern from www.thegreenhead.com  Well done!

Gothic Revival reproduction lantern from www.thegreenhead.com 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 www.pine-on-line.com

This would make a great hallway piece. From www.pine-on-line.com

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 www.oneofakindantiques.com


From www.taleriaenterprises.com

From www.taleriaenterprises.com

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 Horchow.com Four Point Mirror

From Horchow.com 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 : www.hudsonvalley.org and www.lyndhurst.org


July 3, 2009

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

Deluxe living room from the 2009 Kip's Bay Show House by Drake

Deluxe Library from the 2009 Kip's Bay Show House by Jamie Drake

The Kip’s Bay Decorator’s Show House was fabulous this year! This library-sitting room by Jamie Drake in particular really turned my head. I love the relaxed yet glamorous blend of textures and the free use of lush sexy colors.  Every piece in this room is top shelf.  Typically a professionally designed room of this caliber will cost in the range of $50,000.00 to $80,000.00.  Let’s see if we can get this look for under $15,000.00.

Here we go!

We’ll need some basic but classy furniture.  The pieces shown below fit the bill.  They’re not as high-end as the furniture in the show house (nor anywhere near as costly!), but you’ll be able to put your feet up on the coffee table without a worry!



eclipse nesting tables

cole chair $749 R&Bimfors coffee table Ikea $129Hahn Sofa $1899  R&BTLG6675.fpxmercer square ottoman mg&bw

MixSdTblW2Shelves3QS9 $250


Gray Sofa-Room and Board Hutton Sofa $1799.00; Nesting Tables-Design Within Reach Eclipse Nesting Tables $398.00; Club Chair-Room and Board Cole Chair $749.00; White table- Ikea Imfors @129.00;  Chaise-Room and Board Hahn Sofa $1899.00; Lamp- shoptablelamps.com #TLG667 $189.91; Ottoman-Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams Mercer Square Ottoman in leather about $1400.00; End table- Crate and Barrel, Mix Side Table $249.00
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We'll need floor, wall and window treatments:


l71882740loft_linenTA5151_10JA11-561 riptide joseph aboud
Purple Jute Rug-HomeDecorators.com Premium Tile Jute Rug eggplant 12' x15' $699.00;  Linen Drapes-Gaita Interiors $199.00 per panel;  Trim for Drapes- Kravet TA5151-10 $35.00 per yard;  Wall covering - DL Couch Riptide color metal JA11-561

Here are some affordable ideas that pack a punch for wall art.  Marimekko sells kits for stretching their gorgeous large scale prints to be used as wall art.  The one below, Pythagoras, hangs in the United Nations in the orange version.  It's sold by the panel $750 per panel.

Marimekko, Pythagoras-blue

Marimekko, Pythagoras-blue

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I’d use this pretty square print on stretched canvas from Ikea in multiples (Pljatteryd $79.99 each), tightly spaced, and create a Do-It-Yourself Andy Warhole.  They’re 36″ x36″ each, so that would give you a lot of impact for the money!  I LOVE purple flowers!



Now we need some brilliant accessories:

The glass pieces are all from Pier 1 Imports.  They range in price from $16.00 to $35.00 each.   Fresh flowers, supplied by you!


decorative glass bowland vase $30 and $35Italian glass vase $35thumb_0_1231173170_30tulipsMykonosVasesSmS9 $12.95 C&B

yhst-81115173642111_2061_118007181roco pillow $65yhst-81115173642111_2061_165004316yhst-81115173642111_2061_157908166
The pillows are all from www.pillowsandthrows.com. They range in price from $36.00 to $65.00 each.

So, including a generous budget for wallovering and installation, rug, window treatments and hardware, TWO full size sofas, chair, large ottoman, multiple coffee tables, a pair of end tables,lamps, pillows, decorative glass pieces, and BIG art, I come up with a grand total of….


So, you see, it can be done! We need super-high-end interior design for INSPIRATION!  For our everyday real lives, we can keep it real, and still have our own very personalized and luxurious sanctuary.


June 26, 2009

Chinoiserie Screen: A Timeless Interior Design Classic


The folding Chinoiserie Screen has been a classic piece in interior design for centuries for several good reasons. First and foremost, they’re beautiful. They add an exotic Eastern flavor to any room. Lately I’ve noticed a trend among designers toward the use of this decorative staple, as part of an elegant yet unpretentious approach to the design of comfortable living spaces.

chinese screen

This beautiful room is by Alessandra Branca, via www.pointclickhome.com

The look is dramatic, and can serve as a focal point, setting the tone of the room. Serving as both furniture and art, a Chinoiserie screen works beautifully in a traditional or contemporary setting. The practical side of the folding screen is not to be overlooked. Interior designers and home owners have used them to define and divide spaces, and to hide an array of necessary evils, from an unfortunately placed powder room door, to a messy pile of toys, to an undesirable view. All while adding miles of style, pattern and color!

Michael S. Smith

By Michael S. Smith

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From the June House Beautiful, by Meg Braff

From the June House Beautiful, by Meg Braff. This small set can serve as wall art, or be used on a table top.

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English leather screens, via Decorati

English leather screens, via Decorati

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By Michael S. Smith

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An open kitchen is given privacy with a pair of decorative screens

The home chef is given the option of privacy in an open kitchen, using a pair of decorative screens.

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Decorative screens separated and installed as wall art.

Decorative screens separated and installed as wall art.

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Alexandria driuk

A great use of a Chinoiserie screen set in a beautiful room by Kim Alexandriuk

A matching pair of Chinoiserie sreens in a sitting room at the Kip's Bay Show House, design by Charlotte Moss.

A matching pair of Chinoiserie sreens in a sitting room at the Kip's Bay Show House, design by Charlotte Moss.


If you don’t have it in your budget to spend between $1,500.oo (for a new folding screen set from China) and… well the sky’s the limit for antique screens (depending on the age, condition and rarity) then you can do this project and get the Chinoise look, and practical function of a Chinoiserie folding screen set:

I would start by buying this unfinished screen set from ReadyToCover. They’ll make any size , shape and number of panels you desire. There are several top styles. I’m choosing the plain square top, to better mimic the look of an authentic Chinese screen.

Ready for paint and wallpaper, standing screens from ReadytoCover.com

Ready for paint and wallpaper, standing screens from ReadytoCover.com


Then choose a gorgeous Chinoiserie wallpaper. I recommend painting the back and frame in a color that closely matches the background color of the wallpaper. Your paint store should be able to match the color very closely. Once you’ve wallpapered the main panels, add a coat of satin polyurethane for finish and protection.

Here are some of my favorite Chinoiserie wallpapers that would work very well for this, along with a few fabrics I picked to go with them:


grainnes-charm-blue-terrakazvin-scarlettra-baby-cheetah-mustardtrilogy stripe capri;lfjdlfjldfjlkfjlkfrodilkksdfksld red wallpaper above
Wallpaper: (right )Thibaut, Meridian-red
Red satin: Robert Allen, Kazvin-scarlett
Stripe: Beacon Hill, Trilogy Stripe- capri
Skin print: Robert Allen, Baby Cheetah- mustard
Multi jacguard: Beacon Hill, Grainnes Charm- blue terra

fishing-village-black129437_616detail-of-ven-plaster123157_3232jinan noir
ldklskdjlskdjflsdkjfldkfjgldkfjgdlfgjujp Black wallpaper with co-ordinates oufoiuoiudfjgdlfgjdpfugdpofugdoifugdoifugoilkdlskdjflskdjlskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjflskdjlkjlkk
Wallpaper (right): Thibaut, Fishing Village-black
Rust textured wallpaper: Thibaut, Venetian Plaster, pumpkin
Green velvet: Kravet 23157-323
Black Leopard: Kravet 29437-616
Black damask: Beacon Hill, Jinan-noir

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Wallpaper (right): Thibaut, Cantonese-brown
Gold chennille: Kravet, 22404-16
Stripe: Beacon Hill, Coulthard-oro
Orange geometric: Highland Court, 180936H-35
Skin pattern:Beacon Hill, Cheetah Skin-praline

For pricing and availability on the various wallpapers and fabrics, call Gaita Interiors at (914)834-8282

AIN'T NOTHING LIKE THE REAL THING! Here are some authentic hand painted Chinese screens that are out there, new and antique.

Antique Fujin Screen Set from antiquesbyzaar.com

Antique Fujin Screen Set from antiquesbyzaar.com , $2500.00

These two exquisite screen sets (above and below) are from Antiques by Zaar, an excellent dealer in Chinese antique decorative arts and furnishings. Their huge warehouse is in Highpoint, N.C., but the web site is wonderful too.

Antique Chinese Screens circa 1890 for antiquesbyzaar, $4675.00

Antique Chinese Screens circa 1890 for antiquesbyzaar, $4675.00

chinesefurnitureonline $2300

Newly made hand painted from chinesefurnitureonline $1800.00


Rare anitque pair of Chinoiserie Screen sets valued at about $60,000.00

Rare antique pair of Chinoiserie Screen sets from Evanandgerst.com valued at about $60,000.00


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 www.lindapaul.com

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

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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 highlanddesigns.com $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 highlansddesigns.com)the 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.

sdfsoidjf;sdkjfsoidfsdlhfsoidfsldkfh;slidhfosidfsho;ihsdf pillows belows dfh


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 Moderndesires.com $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 tazidesigns.com

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 lampsplus.com $149.00

Wild Walnut Serving Tray lampsplus.com $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 allposters.com for $49.99 framed

I got my pretty ancestor at allposters.com 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, www.tinydecor.com

Bulokku Bedoire Pillow, www.tinydecor.com


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


From www.coffeetablesgalore.com

Room and Board

Smokebush Pendant Light from Room and Board

Mitchell Gold Avery Sofa

Mitchell Gold Avery Sofa


Indoor/outdoor pillows from www.charlestongardens.com


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 www.tchochkes.com

I saw this on www.tchochkes.com


From www.pillowsuperstore.com

From www.pillowsuperstore.com

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


BranchHome.com makes this elegant pillow for $64.00


Pellicia Pillow from Crate and Barrel $79.95

www.tonicliving.com $34.95

www.tonicliving.com $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 23, 2009

Recession Sensitive Mother’s Day Gifts for the Home

Filed under: Fabric Usage, Flowers, Gifts, Holidays — Leona Gaita @ 4:01 PM

A woman’s home is her castle, and her sanctuary. Here are a few gift ideas for the home, that are also very personal, to make any woman feel like a beloved and honored queen on Mother’s Day.



Is this Posy beautiful? I'd like one for every room in the house.

Flowers, flowers every where! Whether hand picked from a meadow, or a hothouse arrangement delivered to her door, every woman loves to receive flowers. Large dramatic bouquets are lovely, or buy (or pick) a big bunch, and separate them into small posies one for every room for her to find as she moves through the house. Bring one to her, first thing in the morning with her coffee. What a nice way to start Mother’s Day!



Beautiful wild flowers, picked just for her.

A pair of pretty outdoor pillows, for afternoon napping in the shade. Presumably someone is cooking and cleaning, while Mom is napping! Check out Restoration Hardware.

Restoration Hardware has these is several pretty colorways.

Restoration Hardware has these is several pretty colorways.

These flower ramekins from the New York Botanical Garden Gift Shop are exquisite. One alone makes a pretty ring holder for her vanity table. Several together are great for tabletop use, condiments, desserts. Each one is a work of art. How to choose?

These are from www.nybg.org

These are from The New York Botanical Garden.

A framed art print (something a little sentimental would be nice) Not too big, so it can be put up any where. Allposters.com has a huge selection, they custom frame, and they’re fast!


Plant her a baby tree. A tree represents a long term commitment and is symbolic of your everlasting love. It’s wonderful to watch your baby tree grow, along with your children. A Purple Leafed Plum is a great choice because they don’t get too big, but they mature rather quickly. You’ll see big changes from year to year, just as you do with your children. My husband planted one for me five years ago, and it gives me joy everyday!

Such cute babies!  Don't you want to take one home?

Such cute babies! Don't you want to take one home?

Planted flowers in one or several ceramic pots. To be enjoyed all summer,a cluster of three pots in various shapes and sizes is enough to start a “patio garden” Or if you live in an apartment, a little indoor herb garden can bring the outdoors inside. And the aroma of herbs, growing indoors is wonderful!


Terracotta pots come in all shapes and sizes, go with any style, and are not expensive

A dozen fresh fabric napkins in a spring color. Remember, fabric napkins are much greener than disposable paper napkins!


A beautifully framed , current photograph of the kids.


Blue Cupcake Frame

A small decorative framed mirror, so she can gaze at her loveliness. From www.madisonavegifts.com


This pretty thing, is from Madison Ave Gifts.

A cozy luxurious cashmere throw in her favorite color. From www.opulenceofsouthernpines.com

These are from www.opulenceofsouthernpines.com  They have awide range of pretty throws

These are from Opulence of Southern Pines. They have a wide range of pretty throws.

A single serve espresso coffee maker. This is not about serving coffee. It’s about ONE cup of coffee, just for her, just the way she likes it, anytime!    Nespresso makes a great machine.  If you’re used to going out to buy coffee by the cup, the initial cost is quickly defrayed by the savings. And the pleasure is priceless!

I love these special edition Nespresso coffee makers.  Mine looks so plain Jane by comparison.

I love these special edition Nespresso coffee makers. Mine looks so plain Jane by comparison. But it makes great coffee!

So, what does a woman really want? A Mother’s Day gift doesn’t need to be expensive to make Mom happy. But it should demonstrate that:



YOU UNDERSTAND HER          Happy Mother’s Day!

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. www.mountainlumber.com

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.  www.bedrockindustries.com

These tiles made of recycled materials are from Bedrock Industries. www.bedrockindustries.com

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 www.alternativeconsumer.com.

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.

March 24, 2009

Chic, Not Shabby! A Proper Slipcover

Filed under: Fabric Usage, Furniture, Paint — Tags: , , — Leona Gaita @ 3:53 PM


This beautifully made slipcover uses a pretty mix of textures and soft colors.


A truly chic use of slipcovers.

Custom slipcovers have been getting short shrift for years now due to several trends in interior design. One is the “Shabby Chic” movement. The trend gets full credit for giving permission to American home dwellers to de-formalize their environments, combining the old with the new to create very personalized result. This shouldn’t mean getting rid of elegance. In it’s best incarnation, Shabby Chic succeeds beautifully in creating a stylish informality, which I love, and can’t live without. Unfortunately, like any trend that gets too popular, it has its abusers. Well loved (used) does NOT equal sloppiness.


Custom slipcovers everywhere. Not too shabby! This is from the movie "Something's Gotta Give", the beach house, one of my all time favorite movie interiors.

A ready made slipcover, no matter how clever, can never fit like a custom one, or stay properly in place when sat on, or be considered in any way “chic” Even a loosely fitted slip cover, should be made for that specific piece of furniture.

This red sofa has a well made slipcover, which is hard to distinguish from upholstery.

Gaita Interiors made this red slipcover, which is hard to distinguish from upholstery.


This slipcover was made by a skilled, experienced craftsman. Tight as a glove!

The other, opposite trend which has hurt custom slipcovers is the idea that anything new, is always better. In a booming economy, why slipcover, when you can throw it away, and buy a new one…on credit? I guess that bubble has burst! Here are some good reasons to give custom slipcovers a new look:

  • It’s very chic, and can be as shabby and casual as you wish,or if you’re like me very tailored.
  • It’s MUCH less expensive than either reupholstering or buying new.
  • A slipcover can be taken off and laundered.

This neutral slipcover makes a wonderful backdrop for an array of pretty mini-prints. Very charming!

  • You can support a small local business-craftsman, the backbone of the American economy!
  • You can get almost any look you want, granny floral, clean modern, ruffles or plain cording, whatever rocks your boat.
  • It’s a green alternative to throwing away old furniture, that’s still serviceable.

We saved these two nice old chairs and made custom slipcovers, with a contrast scallop fringe near the hem. The ottoman is from Beachley.

  • Your sofa or chair deserves a new outfit! How would you feel if you had to wear the same outfit everyday for years!
  • A well tailored slipcover, on the right type of piece can look just like upholstery.
  • Used upholstered furniture is cheap and plentiful. You can buy an old piece, and slipcover it for less than the cost of most new furniture.
  • You can make a summer slipcover for wintery looking furniture, giving your whole room a new vibrant look for the change of seasons. Your upholstery will last twice as long too!

So pretty! Washable linen custom slipcover.


Nice button detail.

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