Traditional Home’s 2017 Southern Style Now Designer Showhouse opened this past weekend in Savannah to enthusiastic accolades from all who visited. The Greek Revival Home overlooks Monterey Square and was built in 1854. The house is set in the middle of Savannah’s Historic District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A bevy of Southern design talent brought the house back to life from four apartments into one 5,500 square foot single family home. Charming architectural details such as heart of pine floors and plaster moldings provided a stunning backdrop for the designers to work their magic on this historic gem of a house. I could not have been more proud of so many design friends that brought their A game to this house to showcase their incredibly distinctive and unique talents. Congratulations to all of the designers, sponsors, Robert Leleux, Matthew Allan, Wall Von Enck, SCAD, The Historic Savannah Foundation, and Traditional Home for a spectacular showhouse!
It is truly remarkable to witness a showhouse coming together and the village of volunteers, artisans, and designers that donate their time and talent to make it all happen. We have just returned from installing our space at the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League Showhouse which opens this week and I cannot wait to get back to the lowcountry in a few short days. The timeline of a showhouse is intense. From start to finish, we only have a few weeks to conceive, implement and install our visions. My favorite part of working on these are the friendships formed with other designers. We ended our installation by christening our Veranda with afternoon cocktails with our new Charleston design friends.
I had to really flex my creative muscles to figure out how to decorate an outdoor space without any walls as well as design around Mother Nature. We spent last Spring Break in the Bahamas and that provided the spark to begin designing this exterior room. Inspired by the coral pinks and emerald sea greens of Harbour Island, the Veranda is a throw back to grand old school Bahamian houses. A long banquette piled with pillows offers seating to accommodate many guests for Happy Hour or the perfect spot to curl up for an afternoon nap. Whimsical hanging chairs add another spot to perch with a Goombay Smash in hand. Drapery panels can be pulled to block the sun and rattan accent pieces add more dimensions to this outdoor room. A painted floor adds an unexpected touch underfoot while potted palms and hanging flowering baskets provide the finishing touches to this lovely haven.
I am channeling my inner Talitha Getty this weekend packing and preparing for our Marrakech adventure. I have always been enchanted with the patterns and colors of Morocco, but this is the first trip where I knew so little about the customs and culture of a destination. Every place I have traveled before I had studied in various classes from high school to design school learning everything from the history and religion to the art of architecture of the region. I have tried to do a self taught crash course in all things Moroccan and I am beyond fascinated by this part of the world the more that I learn.
The varied culture, customs and design influences can be attributed to the number of groups that have conquered Morocco…Arabs, Berbers, Africans, Turks, Romans, Byzantines, and French. Around 1000BC, the area around Marrakech served as a temporary campsite to nomads who made their living crossing the Sahara and trading with African tribes to the south. A permanent city was not founded until 1062, when Ben Youssef of the Almoravid dynasty claimed the site for his soldiers and erected the Koutobia mosque. Marrakech became an important cultural, economic and military base.
“Understanding Morocco’s history and culture is essential to finding the answer to Morocco’s design equation. So many foreign, indigenous and religious influences have left their mark on Moroccan decor in indeliable ways. And the end is a heady mixture of old and new that has caught the design world by storm.” -Maryam Montague, Marrakesh By Design
Maryam’s book explains how Moroccans believe in magic in both good and bad. Most design elements have great significance. Talismans, numbers, colors, symbols, and substances are thought to have magical powers. Doors are painted blue to ward off evil spirits from entering the home.
The Moroccans have the reputation of being friendly and gracious. Perhaps it is their fear of the “evil eye” that makes them so admirable. “The evil eye can be described as a glance combined with a compliment. Compliments are believed to be dangerous if they are associated with envy and coveting; a person’s good fortune, good health, or good looks may provoke envious people to cast the evil eye…Some Moroccans belive if not twarted, the evil eye can provoke sickness or misfortune, and thus every effort must be made to circumvent it through the use of symbols, substances and talismans.” -Maryam Montague Marrakesh By Design
Modesty is paramount to also discourage the “evil eye.” Morocco is a conservative nation with 99% of its population identifying as Muslims. Therefore, the first rule to dressing in Morocco is to respect Islam’s emphasis on modesty. Clothes and accessories are not meant to attract attention or excessively reveal the body. Women should ensure that their clothes do not expose the décolletage, shoulders, or thighs. Furthermore, because of Islam’s emphasis on modesty, brand names are not often seen on Moroccan streets and the display of ostentatious jewelry, luxury handbags, and high-end electronics is discouraged . Most households tend to live prudently, and value giving to the community over materialism.
Hand shaped door knockers represent the protective hand of Fatima.
Pom Poms are sequins are also thought to ward off the veil eye and mischievous genies.
Even in tile design, there is significance to the designs. Islam prohibits the depiction of human and animal figures because it is imitating God’s creation. Therefore, Tastir (geometric) and Tawriq (floral) are the predominant patterns found in the designs. The repeating patterns symbolize eternity and are said to inspire meditation on the eternal nature of God.
Fountains play a major decorative role in the culture. Water symbolizes paradise and rules mandate cleanliness before prayer.
Symbols instead of actual animal depictions are used as talismans in Moroccan rug. Click here to read a previous post dedicated to the various Moroccan rug designs.
Finally, join us on our Instagram Takeover for Traditional Home September 25-27 as we share the sights, designs, and visual experiences of Marrakech with Cloth & Kind, The English Room and Buckingham Interiors +Design!
Dear Bespoke Banter Friends,
A lovely client has nominated me for the Traditional Home Rising Star competition! Nine designers will be selected based on the following:
I would be FOREVER grateful if you would click HERE to cast your vote if you are so inclined! It literally takes 5 seconds. You need a Facebook or Twitter account to access the voting.
The contest began January 8th and the voting is already well underway. My profile went live yesterday.
I am in the company of some incredibly talented design pals that are already design STARS in my book including Traci Zeller, Shaun Smith, Gray Walker, Holly Phillips, Cloth & Kind, Denise McGaha, Leslie Hunt, and Parker Kennedy.
I would so very much appreciate you forwarding this message along to your circles of friends to help me recruit more votes. Please also share on Facebook, Instagram ,etc to rally the troops.
I cannot make it to the next round without YOUR votes! Click HERE to vote.
The Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) has created their most sensational design series yet with DISCOVER ADAC from September 28- October 1. Be sure to click here to register for all events. They are filling up fast and you do not want to miss this incredible line up of engaging, entertaining and enlightening speakers!
On September 28th, in conjunction with DISCOVER ADAC, Dering Hall will be launching their online virtual showhouse Wired & Inspired. I am excited to be participating along with nine other designers from the southeast to create rooms inspired by our favorite cities. SIx of these rooms will come to life at ADAC and be on view until early spring. See below for the full lineup and more information about ADAC: Behind the Windows and Dering Hall’s Wired & Inspired showhouse.
Participating in the Traditional Home / Junior League of High Point Showhouse in April was one of the most gratifying experiences I have had in my career. I The creativity and camaraderie of the design community blew me away and seeing it in print brings back a flood of fond memories! We have all been anxiously awaiting the October issue to share all of our hard work for a wonderful cause…benefiting the Junior League’s community programming for High Point. Thank you to all of the gracious editors at Traditional Home, the countless volunteers from the Junior League and the amazing sponsors that brought our visions to life! Click here to read the full story and see the complete portfolio of images.
The final stop on the second floor is Cathy Austin’s beautiful daughter’s bedroom. Blessed with great bones—note the 10 1/2-foot ceilings and swoonworthy windows—the space is impeccably tailored from head to toe. Shaped valances mimic the Moroccan scalloping on the patterned headboard.
Circa Lighting’s brass orb chandelier and the pillows’ chopstick monogram reiterate the room’s Eastern influence. Overhead, Pratt & Lambert’s pale-pink paint in high-gloss finish complements the vintage Murano glass lamp on the bedside table. A tufted-velvet bench with Lucite legs and an antique English settee updated in sumptuous animal print round out the dazzling sanctuary.
There’s a lot to love in these beautiful showhouse bedrooms…click on the image below for a video tour of the spaces.
I envisioned my “imaginary” client as the sophisticated daughter of the family. She is well-travelled, artistic, and likes a modern, yet glamourous room that still reflects her Southern roots. A portrait by favorite artist, Kate Long Stevenson, (from Hidell Brooks Gallery) became my muse for the project. I had her in mind whenever I was making decisions for the space. The portrait and the large vintage abstract provided the color palette that inspired the design scheme. The room is a blend of unique pieces from High Point based craftsmen along with a collection from her travels around the world. A Moroccan inspired headboard, Murano glass lamps, original modern art, bespoke linens, dressmaker detailed drapery, and glamorous materials such as shagreen, agate, brass, and velvet add to the feminine mystique of the space. I indulged myself with an “imaginary” trip around the world for inspiration for the space…from the palaces of Morocco and India to the Murano glass factories and sunsets on the Nayarit Riviera.
3 days & 30 events…To give a sense of the incredibly content packed schedule at LCDQ’s LEGENDS event, I thought it would be fun to take you through one of the 16 hour days to see just how much creative energy you can absorb at this spectacular event. The logistics behind this event are mind boggling…not only do the organizers recruit and manage multiple speakers at various venues throughout the week, but they also throw amazing parties, each with their own distinct atmosphere. Designers are by nature a very tough crowd to impress and the LCDQ hosts never disappoint.
The La Cinega Design Quarter was founded in 2007 to promote the burgeoning antiques and design neighborhood on one of LA’s oldest thouroughfares. Since the 1950s, it has been the design destination for legends such as Billy Haines, Elsie de Wolfe, Tony Duquette, and Frances Elkins. These creative spirits seem to permeate the atmosphere…especially during LEGENDS.
Scott Meachum Wood, Me, Denise McGaha, Tami Ramsay, Will Taylor, Jennifer Mehditash
Our first official day began at the beautiful Renaissance Tile showroom for the Blogger Breakfast sponsored by Luxe Magazine. Knowing most of the crowd had very late nights, I was pleasantly surprised to see everyone bright eyed early in the morning to greet us.
With fellow ambassadors Jennifer Boles & Paloma Contreras
The first keynote speech was sponsored by Veranda at the Jonas Showroom. Entitled “Page Turners,” editor-in-chief Clinton Smith led a panel with designers turned authors and the highs of lows of publishing. Discussing the creative and business sides of publishing their monographs, they elaborated on how they translated their individual points of view onto the printed page.
Clinton Smith, Markham Roberts, Winddor Smith, Brian McCarthy
Next keynote, “Not Your Mother’s Traditional sponsored by Traditional Home at George Smith. Senior Design and Lifestyle Editor Jenny Bradley discussed the new meaning of “traditional” with entertaining panelists Elizabeth Dinkel, Madeline Stewart and Thomas Callaway.
The Elle Decor Power Lunch at the stunning Compas Showroom is always one of the most elegant events. The courtyard setting beautifully adorned with abundant flowers is breathtaking every year.
Robert Rufino, Michael Boodroo and Guest
Catherine Connelly, Celerie Kemble, Roxanne Hanna, Joe Lucas and Rebecca Dane
The Egg and Dart Showroom hosted “Branding Beyond the Candle” with interior and product designer Christopher Kennedy, photographer turned fashion designer Jonathan Skow (aka Mr. Turk) and moderated by the delightful Kelly Lee of Kelly Golightly. They shared their secrets of building a brand that appeals to a broad audience while staying true to their creative visions.
Matching ensembles with Mr. Turk
Complete with live mermen, the Tufenkian windows were some of the most visited during LCDQ. They hosted “Makers as Muse” moderated by Pamela Jaccarino, Editor in Chief of Luxe Magazine. She lead a conversation with Molly Luetkemeyer, Joe Lucas and Betsy Burnham on the artisans and craftsmen that serve and inspire them and what fuels them to keep their designs fresh and forward thinking.
The final keynote of the day “The Art of Upcycling” was held at the gorgeous Woven Accents showroom. Led by Domaine’s creative director Mat Sanders, actress and Honest Company founder Jessica Alba, Ginna Christensen of Woven Accents, Chairish.com’s Anna Brockaway discussed innovations in green living and the perks of up-cycling in interior design today.
Next up the parties! House Beautiful and the Stark family hosted a cocktail party welcoming Sophie Donelson, the new Editor in Chief in the stunning stark showroom. The gorgeous rugs provided a beautiful backdrop for another insanely attractive crowd!
Lovely Sophie Donelson taking center stage
Sophie Donelson with Nate Berkus
With Tony Buccola, Holly Phillips and Shaun Smith
The Sherle Wagner showroom hosted the Tributes party complete with live jazz, crafted cocktails and hilarious scenarios for photo ops with their products.
Victoira Larson, Amy Meier, Tami Ramsay and Patrick Dragonette
Danielle Rollins and Bill Ingram
Kerry Joyce, Michael Boodroo and Chuck Comeau hosted the official LEGENDS After Party at the exquisite Therian showroom. Knowing that the crowd had experienced and overload of visual stimulation during the day, they made sure to come up with some imaginative and exciting entertainment to capture everyone’s attention.
Fire eating performers…
Dueling musicians perched above the crowd….
And the grand finale…Cirque du Soleil inspired performance artists to cap off an epic day.
And was just the first day! Be sure to check back to read about the final day of LCDQ which was equally as inspiring and entertaining. For more of my design musings, be sure to follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading and please come back again!
Photography by JL Photography unless otherwise noted.
A creative tsunami is the best way to describe the La Cinega Design Quarter’s LEGENDS event. Imagine having your entire design tribe in one spot…all of your favorite designers, vendors, artists and editors combined with the perfect mix of educational, inspirational and social events in sunny Los Angeles. Often referred to as the “Coachella” or “Fashion Week” of design, LEGENDS broke records this year with over 10,000 RSVPS coming from design aficionados representing 6 countries and 24 states in the US. The 3 day affair brings together VIPS and tastemakers from the worlds of interior design, decor, art, fashion, and architecture for receptions, keynote panels, cocktail parties exhibitions, book signings, personal appearances and special events. This year I was honored to be an ambassador covering the events for social media and mixing and mingling with all of the attendees.
Design fans are constantly seeking beauty and Los Angeles is the perfect backdrop to find inspiration with its stunning scenery, gorgeous showrooms and interiors, and insanely attractive Angelenos. I arrived a day early with my “blonde” (using that term loosely!) brigade/ travelling partners in crime: Tami Ramsay of Cloth & Kind, Julia Buckingham of Buckingham Interiors and Holly Phillips of The English Room who found us our amazing, yet dangerous house in the Hollywood Hills for our west coast adventure. While it may seem that it is “all play / no work,” it is quite the opposite. The ongoing conversation is a design think tank…linked to what inspires us, how to manage our respective practices, and how to troubleshoot different aspects of our businesses. I could not be more grateful to have this trusted group of confidantes. From Paris to High Point to LA, these girls provide constant entertainment and creative energy wherever we go.
Of course, we like to hit all of the LA hot spots to absorb everything LA has to offer. The Ivy is always the first stop with its bold colorful setting, amazing food, and hopes of always seeing a celebrity. Sighting #1: Lisa Vanderpump / Fedora Sightings : 2
Our spectacular view from our house nestled up in the Hollywood Hills.
Last year for LEGENDS we stayed in the iconic Sunset Tower Hotel.What amazed me about the setting was how the hotel transformed from day to night. The terrace and views are spectacular during the day, but the atmosphere at night above the twinkling lights of Los Angeles and the dramatic lighting is something to behold.
“Designed in 1929 by architect Leland A. Bryant, the Sunset Tower was a trendsetter from the moment it opened. Its dramatic setting on the Sunset Strip and elegant Art Deco styling, together with its proximity to famous restaurants and nightclubs of the 1930s & ’40s, contributed to its landmark status. West Hollywood has always catered to celebrities wishing to draw attention to their star power. The Sunset Tower embodied these aspirations, counting among its former residents Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Billie Burke, Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Paulette Goddard, Zasu Pitts, and even gangster Bugsy Siegel. The Sunset Tower is a Hollywood landmark. Up to the 1950s it was as much a tourist attraction as the Hollywood sign itself. It has appeared in a number of films, including The Italian Job, Get Shorty, The Player and Strange Days. Its first literary mention was in Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely (1940). The film version of that novel, Murder, My Sweet, released four years later, was its first screen reference.” – Sunset Tower Historian
Star Sightings: Supermodel Janice Dickinson and General Hospital’s Jack Wagner and of course Hollywood’s most famous Maître D’ Dimitri Dimitrov. Fedora Sightings: 0 (thank goodness)
Presiding over the Tower Bar six, sometimes seven nights a week, Dimitri makes everyone who walks into the bar feel like they are important. With his signature move of palms in front of his chest and a slight bow, he graciously took care of us during cocktails and dinner and even gave us a fabulous table next to his favorite spot, the curved banquette in the corner with the best view of the Hollywood Hills. Hotel owner Jeff Klein hired Dimitri 11 years ago after Tom Ford slipped him Dimitri’s name on a coaster during dinner. A special treat during LEGENDS was to hear an interview with Jeff Klein by Becky Birdwell for the Design Leadership Network hearing the history and legacy of the hotel.
To offset the late nights and nonstop cocktailing, Runyon Canyon is a necessity on our visits.
Star Sightings: 1…We think this little guy may have made a cameo in Caddyshack. Fedoras: 0
Of course we hat to hit the Chateau Marmont which has been described as “touched with scandal, commemorated in literature.” This was my virgin voyage to the Chateau and it did not disappoint. I cannot wait to see it under nightfall on my next trip.
“Hotels are the stuff of stories, of mini dramas, a world unto themselves – we leave our lives behind and become who we want to be. Arriving at Chateau Marmont you surrender yourself to a grandi-loquent environment, an infamous hideaway and the perfect getaway in the center of one of the world’s most exciting cities.Modeled after an infamous royal residence in France’s Loire Valley, Chateau Marmont is a fantastical folly in the land of make believe. While in residence you become part of a highly discriminating, international clientele desiring an experience at once luxurious and unique.
Chateau is the perfect co-conspirator; as Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures said in 1939, “If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.” You can be yourself or, better yet, be whomever you want to be; don’t be surprised if your visit brings out your inner Howard Hughes, your Greta Garbo, your Jim Morrison. As public or private as you wish – there are those in residence who are desperate to be seen and others who choose to remain anonymous.The eccentric and highly personal history of the place, its luscious rich past, its tarnished patina are all part of the charm. This great castle on the hill is the set of a film waiting for someone to call action – this is the place where things happen. Checking in is like turning up in the middle of an ongoing party at a European country estate – there is always someone you know staying here. Mindful of its history – but always in the moment – it is contemporary as tomorrow morning – there is great comfort here. Sit in a wicker chair on the veranda writing post-cards imagining you are in an exotic outpost-far far away.
And when the dusk of evening settles, put on some smoky jazz and get lost – sink into the aphrodisiac of the deep couches, take your paramour on an elevator ride – at night everyone comes to Chateau Marmont – this is the pageant and parade that evening brings, they come for the martini, for the sex appeal, to make the deal–naughty or nice, everyone is your darling. And after hours – there is the Bar Marmont – an outpost for the foreign correspondent you’ve become – all hotel guests are insiders – there is no velvet rope here. You are on liberty, sabbatical, furlough from your familiar life, you feel the heat, the sweat, the late night lust that is LA. This is the place you can most be yourself and it is the only grand hotel you can call home.”- A.M Homes
Star Sightings: 0 Fedora Sightings: 5
Next stop…a visit to Julia’s fabulous Slim Aarons-inspired window for The Rug Company. Aaron’s iconic “Poolside Gossip” at the Kaufmann House was reinterpreted 45 years after with the original models Helen Dzo Dzo and Nelda Linsk as “Poolside Reunion” by Palm Springs based photographer Fred Moser. Wife Kelly Lee of esteemed Kelly Golightly makes a cameo in the shot
Amanda Reynal. Marisa Marcontonio and Joe Lucas
Chad Graci, Fab photographer Sarah D’Orio, Danielle Rollins, and Bill Ingram
Julia Carr Baylor and John Bossard
Lindsay Fleege and Ellen Toler of Urban Electric
Young Huh, Shaun Smith. Mercedes Desio, Alberto Villalobos
Where is Julia? With Holly Phillips and Tami Ramsay
Final stop….Soho House with gal pal Lizzie Wibbelsman of Holland & Sherry. A perfect end to a perfect day with all of my favorite people!
Star/ Fedora Sightings: Boy George wearing a Fedora!
15 minutes of fame…attaching our mug shot to the photo wall!
*Gala Photographs from JL Photography
Bernhardt Furniture is one of the generous vendors that has helped me with my bedroom for the Traditional Home / Junior League High Point Showhouse opening this weekend during High Point Furniture Market. I fell in love with so many pieces introduced this past fall and knew I had to use them in my bedroom designed for my “imaginary” client, who is the sophisticated daughter of this family. She is well-travelled, artistic, and likes a modern, yet glamorous room that still reflects her Southern roots. Bernhardt’s Salon and Jet Set collections were perfect for this storyline and I am thrilled with how the room is coming together. If you are coming to High Point for market, please come by for a visit and see how all of the designers have worked their magic on this grand old High Point manse. Click here for tickets and hours.
Bernhardt recently celebrated its 125th anniversary with a year-long celebration honoring culture, heritage and a legacy of giving. This iconic brand has always been one of the industry’s most dynamic and stable furniture institutions. Devoted to creativity and the artistry of furniture making, the new introductions each market are always highly anticipated. In addition to producing extraordinary collections, the company is still a family owned business with a strong commitment to people, relationships, and the welfare of the local community. Since the theme of the Showhouse is “From High Point to the World,” I could not think of a more appropriate brand to showcase in my room.
For the Showhouse, I styled the brass bookcase with a collection of design books, brass animals art and objects from the daughter’s travels abroad . The various shelf heights makes the piece incredibly versatile in any interior for display or for storage. The luxurious finish also adds a touch of glamour to the room.
The Salon Nightstand is the perfect scale for any bedroom. Here I have used two to flank a kingsize upholstered bed. The tabletop provides ample space for any size lamp along with other bedside necessities and the drawer is an added bonus. The square tapered legs, cross stretcher, and brass escutcheon add elegant detail.
Bernhardt let me take an exclusive “sneak peek” at some of the pieces being introduced at market this week. Over 100 new works of 21st century modern furniture will be exhibited. Each item is designed to be a showpiece with simplified classic forms and luxurious multidimensional surfaces and fabrics.
“Pattern creates energy in a purposeful object that can also be read as something decorative. As these pieces are intriguing, but not overtly trendy, we think people will find them to be powerful, fresh and timeless.”- Heather Eidenmiller, director of brand development
New surfaces include mother of pearl and true silver leaf, and wood finishes in layered, translucent pearly tones that change with the light of day / night and are designed to work with most any color palette choice. A number of accented upholstered seating pieces are covered in bold classic patterned wovens. All are designed for big visual impact in small amounts.