A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Dering Hall, with a simple design challenge: design a living room by picking images from the vast array of items available on their website, create a favorites board and email that to them along with a description of the room. Normally, I don’t bother to enter these things but for some reason, I figured…”Why not? It could be fun to design for an imaginary client.” And so the hunt began.

I curated a selection of interesting pieces, chose my paint color and the story began to take shape. Even I was shocked at what I ended up putting together. Antiques mixed with modern upholstery and a variety of textures set against a moody dark palette. While a variety of furniture from different time periods isn’t necessarily new, using crimson and black as part of the color story was definitely a new palette for me.

Slide1

“This was a fun and interesting exercise in that I used it to create a space for a fictional character that would probably be more fitting for a movie set than something that translates to real life. And it is something completely opposite from what I typically create for my clients. So thanks for the opportunity to think outside the box!

Now that summer is over, my almost four-year-old son has turned his attention to all things Halloween, particularly bats, spiders and ghosts. Our countless conversations have obviously entered my subconscious because as I was perusing the items on the website, I stumbled across the “Vampire” cocktail table and that’s where my living room design began.

I envision a modern clean-lined living room painted entirely in Farrow & Ball’s Wevet allowing the furnishings and accessories to tell the story. Furniture is a collection of antiques spanning various time periods and chic modern pieces. A French boulle commode and Louis XVI armchairs upholstered in a cut red velvet take you back through history while the A. Rudin sectional upholstered in the Donghia mohair feel luxurious. The David Adler abstract rug was the foundation for the color palette, moody black and dark browns mixed with crimson accents and cream pillows. The black Beidermeier candlesticks echo the more modern Jean de Merry mirror. A curated mix of pillows and accessories feel collected over time and add more pattern and texture. This living room is the perfect lair for a dark but discerning and sophisticated character.”

It was very freeing to design for a fictional “character” rather than a living, breathing client and I’m happy to say that the creative freedom paid off. I’ve been selected as one of 5 finalists!!! But now I need your help….please click HERE!!!! to vote for me. Pretty please! Pretty please with a cherry on top….because the winner gets more press through Dering Hall and we all know that good press is a great thing. Thanks so much everyone!!

CLICK BELOW TO VOTE!!!!

THE LAIR

Now don’t kill me, summer lovers, but it’s time to face some facts…..in a little over a week, the official first day of fall will arrive. However, for many of us, the autumnal season begins with Labor Day, or the first day the Pumpkin-Spice “insert any food item here” lands on the shelves. And as quickly as the leaves change colors and float to the ground, it seems as though the holiday season is upon us. With that in mind, it’s never too early to start planning for your holiday entertaining. Vendors show seasonal merchandise early and I even placed orders for some of my clients earlier this year.

 

Now I know it’s tough to be proactive when the season is just getting underway, but that’s where having a designer on hand is useful and time-saving. Using your china and flatware in addition to fresh florals, festive napkins and maybe a new beautifully draped tablecloth, we can create the perfect table top settings for your holiday party.

Or maybe you are a mom with four children underfoot so the thought of decorating your home for the holidays seems daunting. With a little pre-planning, we can turn your everyday living space into a festive atmosphere quickly and easily.

In the next couple of weeks, we will be unveiling some quick tips and tricks to make your home feel warm and inviting for the holidays so stay tuned but in the meantime, if you need some help, please feel free to reach out to us by clicking here…and the sooner the better!!

Cheers!

Tori

All photos by McBrien Interiors except Birch Trees (from Pinterest).

For today’s blog post, my intention was to showcase some of my favorite floral wallpapers in honor of the start of spring but I just can’t get into that mindset as I sit here with yet another Nor’Easter swirling outside my windows. So…I’ll save those for another week. Instead, I’m returning to my trip to Parma but this time, in much more detail.

The doors of Parma captivated me. I didn’t realize it at first but as I started my self tour of the city, I realized I had taken multiple pictures of these ancient architectural forms. Arched doorways, iron strap hinges, rivets (like those in the door pictured above) and more grabbed my eye. Any local probably thought I was a little cuckoo for walking up to almost every door and running my fingers over the aged wood. But when you are surrounded by this kind of beauty everyday, I’m sure it is easy to pass by. For me, that was not the case.

Another amazing door and a close-up of it’s door knocker.

From the ancient doors of the Baptistery surrounded by pink verona marble to burgundy velvet draped doors leading into the Cathedral, each one has so much character and history that they were hard to pass by. I could’ve spent a full day looking at just these monuments of history. Yes…doors are made to serve a very practical purpose but they can also be handcrafted pieces of art made by the hands of skilled artisans.

Since it’s the week of leprechauns and gold coins, I thought I’d share some of my favorite green and gold interior image from Pinterest.

  1. A chinoiserie-inspired kid’s room.
  2. Schumacher’s Nanjing wallpaper in Jade.
  3. A Palmer Weiss designed key lime master bedroom.
  4. Spotted walls in a bath.
  5. Chartreuse chic in a Alessandra Branca designed master bedroom.
  6. Sicis mosaic tile.
  7. A pineapple printed wallpaper in a McBrien Interiors designed powder room. Photo by Scot Zimmerman Photography
  8. Evergreen ceiling fan.
  9. A greek key and geometric wallpaper.
  10. Tory Burch’s office in Manhattan.
  11. The most amazing terrace.

All images courtesy of Pinterest unless otherwise stated.

Before boarding a plane, I’m frantically trying to choose the right book to bring to read. Do I want a page-turning, can’t put it down murder mystery? A beach read to just lay in the sun and get lost in? Or a historical fiction novel that enlightens as well as entertains. I keep a running list of books that I want to order or a stack on my nightstand to choose from; however, I have a feeling that on this trip I won’t have much downtime to relax and read. So, instead of sharing my wish list of paperbacks, I’m sharing the catalogue of design books in my Amazon Prime queue. There are plenty more so this is just a taste. Any recommendations from my fellow bibliophiles?

From Top Left: Classic Principles for Modern Design: Lessons from Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman’s The Decoration of Houses by Thomas Jayne, Regency Redux by Emily Evans Eerdmans, Charlotte Moss: A Visual Life by Charlotte Moss, Louis Vuitton: 100 Legendary Trunks, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Air by Vincent Laforet, Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style by Mark D. Sikes, Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration, History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000

I am very fortunate that I have been able to spend a few days over the last couple of weeks visiting various industry shows that capture what’s new and happening in the world of interiors. I started with KBIS in Orlando a few weeks ago, followed by the Winter Antiques show in NYC. And just yesterday, I spent several hours perusing the booths at the NY Now show, also in NYC. While the wares shown at each of these are from opposite ends of multiple spectrums, I noticed several commonalities throughout. One of the most prominent to me was the use of BLACK everywhere. Some vendors used it as the wall color to allow their art to be the focal point, others used little splashes in decorative accessories. Either way, black is sophisticated, beautiful, chic and definitely back.

Left to Right: Clarke Tub, Rohl Sink, Kohler Shower Display

KBIS 2018

Surface Materials

Left: Artistic Tile’s Tuxedo Park Mosaic      Right: Florim’s Le Veneziane Floor Tiles

Fabrics ranging from classic to geometric make it easy to add a splash of sophistication.

From Left to Right: Schumacher’s Queen of Spain, Osborne & Little’s Versilia, & Osborne & Little’s Paseo Canetille

Quadrille’s Macoco Reverse wallpaper and fabric used together in the same color way make a stunning statement and add graphic visual interest. Neutral fabrics and accessories allow the pattern to tell the story.

And if choosing black fixtures, wallcoverings or fabrics seems too daunting or permanent, there are numerous ways to incorporate this trendy color. Feast your eyes on the inspiration below…

From Left to Right:

Row 1: Black Calla Lilies, Black Marble Lamp from Get Lit, Antique Desk from Blackman Cruz

Row 2: Art from Vintage Print Gallery, Decorative Jars from Tozai Home, Black and White Print “Sidekick” from Peter Fetterman Gallery,

Row 3: Mirror from R & Y Augousti, Black Lamp from Ro Sham Beaux, Black Lacquered Wreath from The Magnolia Company

Row 4: Side Table from Hickory Chair, Black and White Print “Gallery Ford Model V” from Peter Fetterman Gallery, Pillow from Ryan Studio