When the subject of swivel chairs came up a few years ago in my career, I cringed. I was ignorant then… Images came to mind of my grandmother bringing my grandpa his nightly dessert—a glass of jello— while he swivelled away in their pink velvet chairs in their 1950′s ranch home in Florida watching “Hee-Haw” on TV.
Or better yet, I thought of Edith Bunker (or at least someone like her) sitting in a mustard and avocado colored living room knitting comfortably in their swivel. Or maybe the worst possible image: a Broyhill swivel chair being the prize Bob Barker had to offer some contestant on “The Price is Right”….
The fact is, I needed to get over these misconceptions and embrace the sheer enjoyment (and actual good looks) of today’s swivels. And boy, am I glad I did! On almost every project, I recommend a trusted model from Century to my clients. Their inital reaction is quite comical, but then they sit in it, and it’s all lost…
There are good looking ones out there and they are incredibly practical for tv watching or any multi-tasking. In fact, a pair will be my next family room purchase. (Unfortunately, Doug has told me there will BE no more family room purchases, but… we won’t go there.) The point is: don’t hate the swivel! Open your mind. It will turn your world around!
1. Lee Swivel Chair
2.MG+BW Ben Swivel
3. Lee Slipcovered Swivel
4. Moyen Lounger Skirted Chair
5. MG+BW Cassidy Swivel
6. Cisco Brothers Stanford Chair
Well not exactly… but close by comparison.
By now most of you know that my pop culture obession is the Real Housewives series by Bravo. There is no season I haven’t seen, no matter how bad or ugly– I have seen them all. My husband has begun to complain that the show is interfering with our marriage, and now there are so many cities to follow, well, I may be in real trouble!
None of these ladies captivate me more than the cast of NY. Maybe because I lived in the city for so long, or maybe because they are simply the most entertaining. In the spirit of being kind, I thought I would pick the two NY Housewives whose apartments I thought were my
least favorite. I have toured them all in detail (via Hulu) and dissected each element carefully. I must say that this was not a challenging task…
For me, the winners are most definitely Kelly and Cindy. Ironically both women’s apartments are a study in bright white and pink. An unusual urban color combination, but believe me, when you step off the pavement after a day in the city, maybe you want to feel clean and bright—I know I would!
Cindy’s white pickled floors work well, and her contemporary simple sofas and bright and wild art stands out. This same combination and strategy seems to have been employed in Kelly’s space, although I am unsure about a life sized horse in the middle of the living room. Can you say, shocking? I am not a horse person, but there is something bold and almost amusing about it, and you have to give her props for having the guts to place him front and center.
The thing that really stole my heart is Kelly’s OCD closet and display of candy-colored expensive heels and Hermes Birkins as if they were pieces of art in her bedroom. For those prices, they ARE pieces of art! Or they should be…
Both ladies have a less is more approach, which in a confined space is the ONLY way to go. I love the use of clean bright white and primary pops using art as the center of attention. Not to mention, compared to the rest of the Housewives’ homes: they look like the Taj Mahal. Enjoy!
I think I read that Kate and William will return from their honeymoon to a Welsh retreat—something humble, whilst he finishes his military duties… If he’s gone shooting quail or whatever he’s doing up in a remote area of Wales, I suppose she will cook, read, and perhaps watch a spot of TV? Well, that demands a young, fun hangout lounge to watch The Real Housewives with her girlfriends while sipping some Earl Grey.
No need to hire a fancy decorator–it’s a temporary home! Just have her assistant pop over to 2 places: Julian Chichester (one of my favorites) and Conrans (a much higher-end version of Crate and Barrel, British style) and do the place up! Can’t you see young, hip Kate lounging here?
1. Jacobs Lantern
2. Babi Mirror
3. Oswald 1.5 Chair
4. Jumbo Cord Cushion
5. Voliere Drum Table Lamp
6. Oswald Squint Sofa
7. Felix Coffee Table
8. Twiggy Lamp
9. Albert Desk
10. Anna Chair
If one thing can ruin a well designed bathroom, it’s the wrong finishes, lighting and fittings. Once again, I find myself referring to my real-life experiences to illustrate this post, but what better to draw from than real life?
So, in this case, my client lives in a gracious house with all the traditional trimmings of your well-appointed New England home. In re-doing a minor bathroom that has experienced a flood, she pressed me to “bless” her selection of a very contemporary bath fitting suite paired with a few of the most non-descript, veering-toward-modern-but-not-quite-making-it light fixtures. Her intention was to keep the budget appropriate (given it was an unimportant, seldom used bath) and do something modern in her otherwise traditional home. Understandably, she was in a rush, tired of focusing on the project and just wanted to be done.
I simply could not endorse my client’s selections on 2 principles:
1. My belief is that, for the most part, one should “stick with the grain of the hair” when choosing finishes in the home—they don’t need to be literally the same as the period of the house, but they should look like they belong there—and blend into the rest of the home rather than sticking out like a sore thumb.
2. Inexpensive budget or a seldom used space does not create an excuse to design it in a manner that is “half-baked”. In other words, just because you don’t want to spend alot of money does not mean you should not attend to the details, however limited your choices may be. Here are some great “timeless” suggestions:
Moen ‘Eva’ | Kohler ‘Forte’ | Moen ‘Chateau’
I can’t tell you how many of these quick-fix messes I have had the good fortune of cleaning up in my career… My advice to her (and you) is and always will be: do it once and do it right. Don’t be tired or lazy; attend to the details, pick classic and timeless, non-trendy finishes, and you will get the most mileage out of your spaces and have the most freedom when decorating them now and ten years from now.
Tall Keeley Pivoting Light | Ava Triple Bath Sconce | Serge Double Sconce | Nautical Oval Light | Two Light Double Twist Sconce
Some more tips when re-doing a bath on the fly:
- Choose same or similar finishes for all lights and fittings.
- Paper shades won’t do well in a wet environment.
- Brushed finishes are easier to clean.
- Up-lighting is good, but not at the expense of it looking cheezy.
- Stick with the classics, as in any case!
Of the many acclaimed national designers few “nail it” better than Boston’s own Frank Roop. His interiors have a serene, quiet, uber-tailored, but saturated feeling that makes you want to study each individual element to see how they all came together. It’s as if they were styled by a real pro and it makes good sense; Frank was in men’s fashion before becoming a designer.
He brilliantly mixes classic, almost retro-inspired upholstery with contemporary art, lighting and some vintage elements seamlessly; his rooms never feel “decorated” but more collected. Lots of solids and neutrals mixed with bold blues, greens, purples and any other dreamy color accents– linens, velvets, and an almost organic meets super luxe style—this, to me, would describe Frank Roop’s designs. I asked Frank to answer a few questions to which he kindly responded, much to my shock and awe:
1. When I think of your signature, I think of soft neutral backdrops with splashes of rich solid jewel tones in blues, greens. What influences your color choices?
F.R.– I don’t think about regional color schemes too much. I’m more interested in what my client’s personal style is as a guide to project colors.
2. If you had a limited budget, where would you shop for a living room sofa and chairs? Do you have a favorite upholstery source or style?
F.R.– Since I make everything custom I can’t really answer that. If I had a limited budget I would buy vintage and have it recovered. This way you would get something unique.
3. What would you say are the first and most important furniture purchases a new homeowner should invest in?
F.R.– Sofa, lounge chair, quality mattress, vintage coffee table, and a comfy area rug.
4. Hermes or Cartier? Why?
F.R.– Hermes. We go to Paris quite a bit and love the quality.
5. What is your most versatile go-to neutral color for walls?
F.R.– I use wall covering a lot, because of the depth and warmth. I like woven neutrals in pearl grey, stone, sand, washed greens, etc.
Stay tuned for more interviews with my Design Idols! Who is your “Design Idol?”