Go for the Gold!

metallic double banded barware $24-$29
As mentioned in a previous post, gold is a hot, hot trend. You can't go wrong with gold, so pull out those gold pieces that you haven't been using and add some new sparkle to Fall, Winter and the holidays.

Crate & Barrel, Piazza Nesting Tables, $399. A stunning trio of mirror-topped triangles, poised on elegantly tapered legs and handpainted in shimmering tones of copper, gold and silver. I especially like the combination of metal tones that allow you to easily incorporate into any decor regardless of your primary metal tone.

I know most of us love Target, but I also find Target a great resource for affordable and often designer inspired lamps and shades. In particular I found a ceramic gold lamp which has a nice designer quality in the shape and texture, and even a decent linen lamp shade - only $59.99 and when I checked online shipping was free.

Lamp tips:
1) I'm often shocked at how often homes are missing basic lighting such lamps. Each room needs at least one lamp and 3 depending on the size of the room. They offer the obvious...LIGHT!
2) They balance tables with height and sculptural detail.
3) Update an old lamp with an updated shade for a new look
4) If you find a lamp but hate the shade buy a new one. Lamp shades are inexpensive
5) Think of lamps as a pair of shoes for a room.

How can you go for the gold???


Curtain Panels

Today I'm discussing options for soft window treatments - curtain panels. What you can get out there in the world of retail and how does that compare to semi-custom or custom window treatments?

Prepackaged window treatments can be found for great prices at Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Target, JC Penny's, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Z Gallery and a host of other places. Curtain panels typically come in lengths of 84" or 96" and sometime up to 108-120"; however they tend to be quite narrow and range from 23-50" wide.

Linen's n Things: silk, lined with cotton, 42x96", $89.99/ea. or $179.98/pair

Pottery Barn: silk, lined with cotton, 50x96", $169ea. or $338/pair

For semi-custom treatments you can try options such as Smith & Noble, JC Penny's, Shades of Light, Silk Trading Co., etc.

Smith & Noble 24x96" (very narrow), silk, privacy lining, casual pleat, $498/pair.

Shades of Light: silk, cotton lining with inner fleece lining for insulation and added body, 23x96" (very narrow), $428/pair.
Silk Trading Co: "Out of the box" drapery, 47x96", silk taffeta, lined (not interlined), $782/pair. This fabric is high quality silk taffeta and better then anything you would get in a department store. Fabric may be comparable to Shades of Light above, but the above Shades of Light example is only 23 inches wide.

Custom curtain panels will depend largely on the cost of your fabric which could be any where from $10-150 per yard. Here is a sample break down of pricing I recently quoted a client for standard panels, 54" width fabric by 92" long. Other embellishments such as banding, buttons, or trim is extra labor & material costs.

Two panels (one width of standard 54" fabric) = $310 (or $620 for double width panels)
  • Fabric 6 yds @ $25 = $150
  • Labor & lining = $160 (or ~ $80 per panel)
  • Plus sales tax
Good luck finding window treatments!


Trend Watch 2008-2009

Here's what the experts at Las Vegas Furniture Market had to say about upcoming trends.

There will be no one or two hot colors to watch for in the 2008-2009 color forecast. Look for a more varied approach featuring color families. As we embrace more color in everyday lives, we are becoming more adventurous about color combinations and unusual color effects.

A cool, clean, Asian-influenced aesthetic is inherent in the forecast. Watch for blackened hues with a new alternative to black and whites in indigos, deep plums and purples on more fashionable, high-end products mixed with whites, off whites and browns. Yellow has been a rising color in many variations, including mango and wheat hues.

· Far East. Watch for “eastern cool” and aged neutrals from the landscape — stone gray, moss green, deep indigo — accented with lacquer red and sky blue. A continued interest in metallics, particularly with special finishes such as blackened patina or hammering. Also look for natural forms and materials. Consumers love the traditional black and red lacquer, but new, unexpected colors such as white, aqua, coral and lemon are giving the trend a fresh look.

· Indian Market. An earthy, saturated palette is reflected in the emerging Indian market, with vibrant colors related to fresh fruits and vegetables, showing the growing strength of the natural food movement. Look for ethnic prints, modernized either through bright colors or oversized scales.

· African. Rocks, fossils, horns can be high-end with a metallic coat. Leopard and tiger skin patterns are paired with unnatural colors to make them feel new. Moroccan motifs, such as grillwork, stars and paisley, work well in sheer and lustrous tapestries. Tapestries are coming back in a very different way. We’ll see other architectural elements being used on products. Add in exotic grasses and metal and lacquered wood to round out the look, and you have an African trend to reenergize the global mood for the balance of the decade.

· New England Shores. A sophisticated take on preppy, with moody mid-tones suchas classic camel in the luxury market. Look for beachy, dreamy hues out of an Edward Hopper painting. Sandy taupes punctuated by barn red, salmon pink and grass green. This color palette reflects a rustic, worn feel.

· Blues are taking off in new directions - through 2010 we expect many more blues in an upcycle than we have had in years, all of them exciting. Water-based and saturated midvalues of blue have the potential to be best-sellers in everything from bed and bath to upholstery and even Christmas and holiday. Navy blues are being pushed to the red side along with denim-inspired blues.

· Purple. Purple with red casts, pale and midtone purples, and fuscia-inspired purple. Pinks will stay cool, with the exception of a hot coral.

· Browns & Oranges. Will stay the same course for 2008,

· Greens & Yellows. Get ready for a very different green-cast yellow to pop. We will also see neon-flavored yellows in 2009. This is going to be a parallel trend with ready-to-wear. It also looks great with gray and silver.

· Metallics. Biggest trends are metallics. Gold is the freshest way to tell that metallic story. Gold is showing up in all sorts of thicknesses. Think of those little threads of gold in the fabric and then contrast that with something that is nearly viscous. There is no wrong way to do metallics right now.

· Warm grays. Look for a mixture of warm-temperature grays in 2009.

· Skin-tone neutrals. The transition will be made from shades of pinks and peaches to desert neutrals, such as khakhi browns and gold grays, perhaps accented with white and black.

· Paisley is back. Bohemian or Morrocan themes update this traditional pattern.

· Crowns. This icon can be a little edgy, from the counter-culture point of view.

· Stripes. They’ve been off the trend-radar for several seasons. New combinations of colors and thicknesses energize stripes in a new way.

· Art nouveau. In the coming years, art nouveau will have the potential to be a replacement for glamour looks.

· Fabric & Pattern. intricate weaves, fine and elaborate textures, and lustrous overtones in fabrics. Visual and textural variety are important. Look for patterns in d├ęcor and tableware. New interpretations of fine point illustrations are decidedly decorative. Patterns such as Greek keys, camphor leaves, medallions, iron work patterns, scallops and architectural elements are making their way onto tableware and accessories.

· Wood. Remains the leader in materials, which is great for the eco-chic trend. Expect all newness of the green movement to become the new normal. There is also going to be shift to lighter finishes that is really going to keep this category going. Look for gray wood. Dark is not done, but we’re evolving.

· Glass. Glass also fits into the eco-chic trend. Be on the lookout for bumpy textures, or textures that are reminiscent of water or ice. There is a shift away from plain, smooth glass toward glass with facets, scoring, and hand carvings.


Eclectic Living Room

An eclectic mix living room in a Walnut Creek project. The key here was mixing both the old with new. Sometimes you have to work with things you don't love such as the off-white side chair in the corner, but we made it work by accessorizing around it and creating an attractive niche. A future buy will be two clean-lined contemporary side chairs.

Some things we did: custom curtains, new carpeting, new area rug, accessorizing, new gold sofa, balanced the sofa by touches of gold in the vase and the throw pillow & inexpensive art.

We needed to fill some expansive walls, one of which was done with collection of Ikea frames which we filled with pictures from magazines. I found a whole stack of Asian Art News magazines in a thrift store and they had fantastic pictures of great works of art.


Tired of Vertical Blinds???

Window treatments for sliding glass doors and extra wide windows can be difficult to dress. Fortunately the sliding panel track system is now hitting the market and you can create panels in natural fibers, synthetics and fabrics that create a clean, simple, up-to-date window treatment solution. Finally something fresh and new!
Below is an interesting option from JC Penny's. Fun, hip and inexpensive for those on a TIGHT budget. My only warning is you get what you pay for, so know this treatment won't last forever. When choosing your window treatment and brand, keep in mind the level of day-to-day wear and tear on the window treatment. For heavy traffic flow consider investing a little more in a quality brand and quality hardware for everyday use. Having said that this is still a very affordable option.

Another consideration is size. If you buy from a department store you will be limited in height and width. I've just ordered a set for a client's house and we chose to select a version that will got to the ceiling in a typical 8ft ceiling room. This will carry the eye up and create the illusion of more height. Also we are carrying the treatment to the edge of the wall which is about 18" from the window jam. Therefore when the panel system is open the panels will stack to the side without interrupting the backyard view. The panels should be installed in about 3 weeks at which time I'll post a picture.


Public Sample Sales & Trade Only Events

I added two new sections today. Public samples sales and trade only events. Two of the best sample sales for the public are at the SF Design Center and SF Furniture Mart. These two "Trade Only" resources have 1-2 sample sales per year that are open to the public (consumer). Where the consumer can buy at or below wholesale prices (often below wholesale prices). If you go, make a day event out of it. This isn't something you can zip in and out. For example the SF Mart has 5 floors with showrooms. The SF Design Center has quite of few buildings with multiple floors.

Both the SF Design Center and SF Furn Mart have sample sales throughout the year. Usually when a showroom is moving product off their floor to bring in new products. There are amazing deals to be had when product needs to be moved off the floor but you'll have to work with a designer to purchase product (outside of the sample sales).


West Elm Bargain

West Elm has a great candle holder the branch tripod floor pillar standing at about 52" high. It was $69 and can now be found on sale on the website for $49 but the Corte Madera store had it on sale for $19.99! If this one is too big there are a couple smaller branch candle holders that are just as nice. I used it in a bathroom.

Coming this fall you'll be able to find the same form in a table and standing lamp. I'd love to see it as a table leg too. If you are handy you might consider making a plant stand or high table with the candle holder. Let me know if you have any other creative ideas.


Best Bay Area Resources

I added a new section today called Best Bay Area Resouces, which are resources I use regularly or refer clients to for best selections or best deals. I wanted to highlight a couple recommendations.

Tradeway Stores: packed full of furniture some high-end and some ho-hum. This "outlet" gets furniture from lots of manufactures like Thomasville, Broyhill, Lexington, Bassett, Drexel-Heritage and so on. When furniture isn’t delivered to a retailer for whatever reason, the manufacture avoids shipping it back across country by redirecting to Tradeway. Sometimes pieces have minor damage that they will fix (ie. a scratch or ding). 10860 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, 510.529.2360.

Z Gallery: always has the best trendy items and very affordable prices. This is the type of store that allows you to easily bring in trendy colors or items without breaking the bank. I'll see a $40 item here that would sell for $500 at the SF Design Center. Granted not the same quality and not a designer name associated but honestly does it really matter?

San Francisco Design Center: You may not know this but the SF Design Center is open to the public. You are welcome to check out furniture and fabric there but you need a designer to buy on your behalf. The Design Center ranges from mid-range to very high-end, so even if it is out of your price range you might consider window shopping for inspiration.


Original Art - Blend the New & Old

I wanted to share a couple shots from a client's house where we very successfully incorporated some contemporary, original art pieces with her charming California ranch house.

We wanted to give this entry way the "wow" factor with a pop of color by pairing a vibrant painting by a local artist with some more traditional pieces from an inherited entry console to a thrift store chair. What initially lacked any "umph" now greeted guests with a powerful welcome.

The Bay Area has a great art community and loads of wonderful artists. It's impossible for me to stay on top of all of this which is why I'm fortunate to have my very own art consultant Shelley Barry of Artful Solutions. She was able to recommend talented and affordable local artists including everything from paintings, mixed media to photography.

From the entry way to the living room we go to the main focal point the fireplace; however, the fireplace it somewhat non-descriptive. We weren't ready to invest in a new mantel or overhaul the fireplace, so the next best thing was to enhance the space around the fireplace. We did this by installing custom window treatments and again by adding unique original art work. These three pieces are very sculptural and clearly not something you would find at a local departments store. Of course the picture doesn't do any of these pieces justice, but clearly you can see how they pull your eye from the fireplace and command their own presences.


This isn't grandma's quilt....

Don't get me wrong, I love grandma's quilts. Quilts in general are great works of art. However, I stumbled on some fabulous quilts with a modern flair. They aren't cheap but if you are looking for something special and unique check out Denyse Schmidt Quilts. "Work" quilts are around $300 for a queen which is very reasonable but if you want something from the Couture line expect to pay upwards of $5000.


How to achieve decorating success?

Sometimes we look around at the rooms in our homes and we want to change them…NOW! We just want to start somewhere! So we buy paint to repaint the entire living room. Or we buy a new bedroom set without a thought of the final product: a space we can love. Taking a slapdash approach to decorating lends to mistakes, added costs, and the frustration of not knowing where to go next.

That is why the first step you SHOULD take is to create a P-L-A-N. It's a nasty, four letter word, but yes you need a PLAN if you want your decorating adventures to be a success.

Start with an idea file. I assure you, if you write down your ideas and clip magazine pictures you love, you will see trends in your taste and your decorating style will come to life. Use these pictures to understand furniture arrangements, lighting, color combinations, and accessorizing.

Create a home decorating notebook, album or folder for each room in your home. It will serve as your decorating road map. Include at least the following information:

Note the function(s) of a room.
  • Include room dimensions.
  • Note the location of doors, windows, electrical outlets and switches, as well as other architectural elements.
  • Add sample paint chips
  • Insert fabric swatches
  • Note furniture items and their dimensions
  • Take photographs of each room
If you are struggling with a particular room, find an inspiration piece such as a picture, rug, pillow, vase or theme.

Simple tips to keep you on track:

  • Don’t be caught without your decorating road map. Keep it with you or in your car. You never know when you will need it!
  • Create cozy seating arrangements.
  • Avoid the temptation of placing furniture on the perimeter of a room or leaving lots of space in the middle of your room.
  • You do not need to use every piece of furniture or accessory you own. If it doesn't work, don't use it. Rotate accessories throughout the year.
  • Clutter and piles? Eliminate them. Period.
  • Periodically take a look around and ask yourself what do my guests see when they come over.
  • It's OK to get help from a professional decorator. Our lives are too busy be an expert at everything
Happy Decorating!!!


The New Brocade Home

I just discovered Brocade Home!

Very affordable and very hip & fun. I can picture pieces from Brocade with a lavender lamp and black & white toile to create a beautiful & sophisticated girls room.


Instyle Interiors New Blog

I'm consistently coming across ideas, trends, inspiration, products, pictures and so forth which help generate ideas for my interior decorating projects, so I thought I might as well start blogging some of them. I hope my friends, family and clients will find these post as an opportunity to keep up on trends and some fun ideas.

I'm in the process of looking for products (both decor and purse/totes) that are fun, stylish and bring that designer element to our everyday living. I'm hosting an event for friends, family and clients in the beginning of June and plan to represent a number of accessories, art and bags for purchase.

Anyhow on to my favorite find today - www.alenahennessy.com. Alena Hennessy is an artist that captures a simple, whimsical, fun, nature inspired style that can be found in her art, prints, totes and apparel.