Panelling is a tricky design concept. It can look really great, limed, cerused, painted, or if, like one of my clients– it happens to be an unusual wood like burled walnut. But the run-of-the-mill suburban mahogany “Partner’s Office,” well let’s just say I am not a fan. In my opinion, in order to make a cherry or mahogany paneled study look updated and great it 1) must be very very old and have great patina and/or 2) it must be decorated in a manner that plays down the formality and adds some sleek, cool, eclectic pieces and treatments.
That means, no paintings of Labradors or Horses, no brown leather Wing Chairs or, as I lovingly call them: Execu-chairs, no navy and red machine made oriental rugs, no shiny brass federal style chandeliers. Most people would say worse yet, is a room of board and batten style from the mid century stained some horrid shade of mouse brown. Ironically, not so…
This was my family room growing up, but mom had it filled with Knoll (at the time it was brand new stuff hot off the presses) and shag rugs. That is ironically what I would suggest if this is what youve got and you need to leave the room it in its existing state. Just pretend you are living in the 70′s and decorate it as you would have with Mrs. Roper and The Jefferson’s around the corner…
What to do if you are stuck with panelling you don’t love and can’t treat in the aforementioned manner? Several things.
1. Paint/Lacquer it. White is always a safe bet and can create a be achy feel. Color is also a great choice; almost play with it. Make it ridiculously bold.
2. Refinish it in a more updated stain like limed (if it’s oak)
3. One of the two suggestions above
Here is my take on panelling done well:
1. Pam Voth and Tim Barrall via Lonny 2. Pinterest 3. Apartment Therapy 4. BHG 5. Pinterest 6. William Hefner via Houzz 7. deadgood. 8.Barry Dixon 9. BHG 10.Apartment Therapy 11. Pinterest 12. Belgian Pearls
Lately I am mildy obsessed with these crazy light fixtures from Canopy Designs, available through the trade or in retail stores. Looking for something feminine or something organic-inspired or just plain zany? They’ve got you covered.
It would take some chutzpah to select one of these, but it is like jewelery for your home. In a boudoir, lady space, girls’ room (an awfully nice one, that is…) or even the right common space. These say happy, color and statement. I have used the small crystal ones, which can be customized with multiple colored beads to create a whimsical effect (in fact one is in my portfolio in olive and turquoise), but I find the branchy ones more profound.
1. Botanical Bell Jar 2. Branches B 3. Sara 4. Pagoda
I envision the Tord Boontje-esque pale pink branchy one in an ethereal bedroom done in taupes, cremes and grays, perhaps some mirrored pieces, some wood and some creamy lacquered, a dramatic velvet headboard, slightly metallic grasscloth walls and this on the ceiling.
And even more interesting to me, is the black botanical bell jar pendant, which I imagine in an all white, almost Scandinavian-looking modern kitchen with brightly colored stools or chairs and these as the only color pops. You may have seen the turquoise one, it is so unusual, you wonder what the hell it is… but I do like it. It almost has an industrial feeling, but in fact is is Egyptian inspired.
And that baby pagoda in chartreuse beads (which can be colored in about 20 different colored beads) that would jazz up a small bath in a nano-second. Are you in the mood for something floral and romantic?
The past year has been quite a transition for me as the mother of a teenage girl. Never the sporting type, she was always happy to play with friends, stay home and draw or tinker, and watch an unhealthy amount of horrible Disney based television. And I was fine with that. Well, most of it…
Then she discovered the sport of rowing. Accidentally, really. When we got home from Israel last summer, we told her that she needed to find something to do each day that was active and outside. I was not about to allow her to wake at 11 every morning, wanting me to take her for a hot bagel and proceed to chaperone field trips to the mall with her gaggle of friends.
Anyway, they were all on swim teams, lacrosse junkets and the like. Or they were summering elsewhere… So, somehow she came up with this notion of learning to row at a place called CRI. And we were thrilled. Even though, in order to get her to and from involved a 30 minute shuttle to the Charles River from home– on the Mass Pike in rush hour traffic both ways. I remember the first lesson I took her to, I stuck around to tour the facility.
What a gorgeous piece of architecture. Who wouldn’t want to be there each day? Louvered teak panelling, walls of glass that house the scull boats. Gravel paths with huge grasses planted in modernist style. I understand why this place is totally addictive. So, a year later, here I am doing that drive to the water each day. She is loving it still, and I never grow tired of that building, for all it has to offer, which is so much. Have a look:
1. CRI 2. Anmahian Winton Architects 3. & 4. Anmahian Winton Architects via Arch Daily
For most, the outside spaces are the last to be attended to, in terms of design. Especially in places like where I live, where you are lucky to get 5 months use out of them since the weather is so cold. But, if you buy quality pieces made of quality materials and care for them properly (THAT is the kicker!), they should last a loooong time.
When I first got married, Mom encouraged me to plunk down a nice chunk of change on a rusted old vintage Salterini patio set –a wrought iron table and 6 chairs. I had it re-furbished and it still sits out my back door 18 years later. Not to mention it’s value has literally tripled, since it is now considered rare and collectible. I did not even know what it was, I just let her goad me into it; but now I am happy I did.
I also bought, soon after that, a set of Kingsley Bate Teak loungers and 2 chaises that should still be beautiful. Why, you ask, are they not still beautiful? That’s simple: because for the past 12 years they have sat –uncovered –on my patio to let the rain, sleet and snow rot them into hell. I am a fool, and I am kicking myself now for not oiling and cleaning them (some say no to oil, they prefer the grey effect of teak’s weathering) but most importantly, covering them; be it, taking them in or putting durable covers over them, much like a grill.
Now, I have splintered, grey, literally decomposing teak chairs that are from a very well respected manufacturer, and I have myself to blame. SO, what are some of the best (or my favorite) outdoor lines that are priced in a range that is not over the top? Kingsley Bate, Brown Jordan, Barlow Tyrie, Woodard, and O’Brien Ironworks to name a few. Even Restoration Hardware has fabulous offerings this season.
Until very recently I have been, well, somewhat uninspired. By fashion, by design; it has been tough for me to get really excited about anything. I think part of the reason is the Internet— making everything seem overexposed and causing me to quickly tire of things I loved at first site.
But lately, with the arrival of patterned denim (I know, perhaps not-so-age appropriate), I am almost feeling like I can wear drapery on my body and I love the idea of mixing pattern on the bottom (no pun intended) with pattern on the top. Now, that inspires me. I searched for similar inspiration in design– something new, something not common, something bold and strong and here is what I found. These things are far from classic; that’s the point. They are daring, out there and wild. But, if you are tired of the same old same old, they are a nice wake up call.
1. Kauai Floral 2.Floral Thompson 3.Toffee Ikat 4.Elliot Polkadot
1. Christian Leone via Lonny Mag 2.Marjorie Skouras via Apt Therapy 3. Veronica Beard 4. BHG 5.Pinterest 6. Traditional Home