Category Archives: Design Styles

THE NEW traditionalists


 I stumbled upon them this week, and I really like their NEW tradition.

“If you believe that “traditional” and “cool” are not mutually exclusive, you are one of The New Traditionalists.

“Designed in New York City.  Manufactured in New England.  Influenced by classic silhouettes, exceptional clothing, objects, history, and you. Connecting traditional and today. Hand rubbed finishes. Hand made furniture. Environmentally smart.

“‘If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.'”

                                                                          -Pearl S. Buck

I LOVE these pieces…

Loveseat no. Seventy Seven

Side Table no. Twelve

Chair no. Twenty Nine

Sofa no. Two Thirty Three

They also have some gorgeous finishes…

See all of them HERE, and all of the fabrics HERE.


Trad Home |

Trad Home |



What new online magazine, LONNY has to say about who they are…

“Launched in October 2009, Lonny is a bimonthly online magazine that focuses on lifestyle and home decor. Founded by designer Michelle Adams and photographer Patrick Cline, Lonny highlights extraordinary interiors, innovative bloggers, and the latest market finds. Lonny has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, and blogs worldwide, and has highlighted design luminaries ranging from Cath Kidston to Kelly Wearstler.

“At Lonny, we believe in making design choices that lead to personal happiness. We value individual style and independent thinking, and are convinced that inspired design can be achieved anywhere—from the smallest studio apartment to the grandest estate.

“Our mission is to open the doors to accessible design and connect our readers to their favorite products and resources at the click of a mouse. Our freedom from page limits means that we can share more content in each issue, delivering an intimate look into the way people really live.”


I think it’s simply beautiful.



Decor Tile

I love a subtle, integrated accents. Decor tile is becoming more and more popular as the European style of tiling entire spaces moves its way to America. These porcelain decors can be installed adjacent to plain field tile, accomplished a sophisticated and contemporary.

Casa Dolce Casa

Pietre 2 – Central Park

Pietre 2 – Tree

Pietre 2 – Hyde Park


Deco Crystal Acid

Deco Crystal Dark


Galaxy Damask

Pelle Blanc Damask

Pelle Noir Damask

Your First Apartment: Office

Whether you are starting college for the first time, transitioning to a Masters or Ph.D program, or starting a new job, office space is important. A separate, organized place to study and work will make you more productive. A lot of apartments are small, and would not accommodate a full-room office. However, get the furniture and organizational items you need, and you’ll be all set.


Pratt Desk (in a walnut & white finish) from West Elm

(This option is sleek and durable. The slender design takes up less visual space than something big and chunky.)

A similar, yet less expensive option would be…

The VIKA AMON/VIKA LERBERG combination from IKEA



You want to invest in a chair that is comfortable for you to sit in for hours on end. While studying in bed may sound cozy, you will fall asleep.

May I suggest…

The Markus swivel Chair from IKEA


Coordinating Storage

“A place for everything and everything in its place” really is good advice. You will lose papers and books less often, and consequently lose your mind less often if this is your rule. There are tons of storage options, so chose what works best for you. Here are some thoughts.


Desktop Storage

Dokument Letter Tray from IKEA

(For next weeks homework assignment and bills due by the end of the month.)

Dokument Pencil Cups from IKEA

Dokument Magazine Files from IKEA


Books and Things

While big shelving units may be enticing, remember that college and many other new living situations may be temporary. Also, cheap, particleboard shelving from Wal-Mart or Target is just that….cheap. (AKA lots of books may break it.) So weigh your needs with your budget. Here are some durable and affordable options.

Lerberg Shelf Unit from IKEA (made of metal)

Coop Tower from CB2

The Expedit Bookcase from IKEA

(Yes this is made of particleboard, but I have found that it is more durable than similar products from the competition. It is great also because it can be placed as shown or on it’s side. It’s a great flexible option and holds a ton of stuff.)



Good lighting is absolutely essential. Period. This is especially an issue in poorly-lit apartments. Even if the overhead fixture is old and dated, add good layers of decorative and workspace lighting, and you won’t even have to worry about it.

Crane Grellow Desk Lamp from CB2

(This lamp uses LED bulbs. This means the lamp won’t get hot causing you to heat up after hours of studying. Also, the bulb is only 1 watt — it will hardly affect your electricity bill.)

VÄTE Table lamp from IKEA

(A fun lamp like this on a side table will add a nice warm glow to your space in addition to workspace lighting.)

LACK Clamp Bookcase Lighting from IKEA

(Lighting shelving units adds all the difference in both appearance and function.)


Living Things

Please don’t forget to put something living in your study space. A room always feels better when the outdoors are brought in, and what a great way to clean the air and liven your spirits.

Plants don’t need to be expensive. Simply read care instructions and determine what plant(s) would be best in your environment.


*REMEMBER: Make your office or study space creative and fun. You don’t want to study in a dark cave, and you want to be able to find things efficiently. I promise the more time and money  you invest (within your budget) the better you will be able to work in your space.

Your First Apartment: Bedroom

Many of you may be heading off to college, or starting a new job in a new place, and you are finally going to be able to furnish your own space. How exciting!

Here are some ideas… that won’t break the bank.

Coordinate furnishings for a more cohesive look.

(AKA it’ll look less college-y.)

For a modern yet sophisticated look, try the Engan Series from IKEA. This series has a beautiful walnut veneer finish which both looks great, but many other furnishings come in this finish, making it easy to coordinate with. Options like these are also lightweight and relatively easy to move when the time comes.

(Side note…storage, storage, storage! Closets are ALWAYS too small.)


Don’t forget about the FLOR.

First (or even second, third & fourth) apartments don’t always have the greatest existing floors. This would noticeably be an issue in a bedroom. So, for a relatively inexpensive, portable, and extremely varied solution, try FLOR carpet tiles.

Faux Bois – Bisque/Raincloud

(Why not try a fun pattern like this woodgrain look?)

Flor is easy to install, easy to take with you when you move, and when you’re done with them, easy to recycle.


Make a statement with your bedding.

Grey Gardens series from CB2

(Even if you keep the duvet color neutral, try a fun pattern.)


Spice things up with fun pillows and throws.

Felicia green-yellow throw from IKEA

KAJSA TRÄD cushion cover from IKEA

(To be used with this cushion insert.)

Rain 20″ pillow from CB2

Stardust green pillow from CB2


(I suggest getting your sheets, sleeping pillows, duvet inserts, & mattresses from IKEA. They have the best prices and the most options. Discount stores like Marshall’s & Home Goods also have great finds in this department.)



Have an extra chair in your room for a guest, for reading, or for piling laundry when you are in a hurry. Make it fun, stylish, and quirky.

Hatfield Grellow Rocker from CB2

Some extra storage.

Remember when I said storage, storage, storage? Here are some ideas.

Slat Rack from CB2

(For towels, magazines, jeans, extra blankets, etc.)

SKÄR hat rack from IKEA

(For extra hanging storage with a shelf)

BLECKA Hooks from IKEA

(Make the wall space of that small closet useful.)

LINGO Boxes from IKEA

(They fit under the bed, and stack well in that top shelf of the closet.)

*REMEMBER: Buy furnishings that are portable and affordable. However, do not sacrifice quality for a good price. Evaluate your budget and spend what you can so you that what you buy isn’t falling apart by Christmas break.

2011 Color Schemes: Bold Invention

B o l d  I n v e n t i o n

Experimental. Artsy. Expressive.

E l e m e n t s

Graffiti art


Latin American influences

Pixilated images on art and textiles

Clashing patterns and motifs

Modular furniture

Sculptural ceramic

From Sherwin Williams. Don’t forget about their Green Solutions.

Marcus Hamblin

2011 Color Schemes: Restless Nomad

R e s t l e s s  N o m a d

Sultry. Exotic. Primal.

E l e m e n t s

Ethnic patterns

Exotic animal skins

Aged leather

Patchwork and tapestries

Moroccan and Turkish influences

From Sherwin Williams. Don’t forget about their Green Solutions.

Marcus Hamblin

Living Color: Bohemian Hues

With an aesthetic that embraces a cross-section of colors, cultures and styles, a Bohemian-inspired space can be as unique as the person it was designed for.

Bohemian interiors are free-spirited affairs that encourage the informal mixing and layering of colors, textures and furnishings. The “boho” motto is “less is never more.” For highly conscious homeowners who are rejecting cookie-cutter sameness by shopping for one-of-a-kind items online at eBay and Etsy, as well as at specialty stores and flea markets, it’s a fitting style.

Lately, I’ve noticed an increased global-ethnic influence that’s bringing even more dramatic hues and patterns into the Bohemian design style. In fact, tribal textiles are especially haute items right now for those designers and homeowners willing to try something truly different and more colorful.

For centuries, cultures around the world have designed textiles for decorative purposes, to give as gifts and for recording their history. And while a few daring designers have been ahead of the curve over the last few years — incorporating African, Asian and Latin American textiles into interiors — those who haven’t can hardly escape noticing the presence and influence of global-ethnic textiles in design, thanks to globalization and increased access to other cultures.

Cristi Ambroson, owner of Tessera — a Houston-based business that sells global-ethnic home furnishings — travels to Central Asia and Peru a few times each year to handpick items for her store. She often finds vintage pieces at open markets and even in the attics of residential homes (with the residents’ permission, of course!). Ambroson says that Suzani items — colorful, hand-embroidered textiles from Uzbekistan — are among her most popular products. Suzani-inspired motifs are a hot design trend right now — appearing on everything from pillows and area rugs to towels and dinnerware — but this art form’s cultural significance shouldn’t be overlooked.

Traditionally, Uzbek women began embroidering a Suzani at the birth of a daughter and would later teach the craft to the girl. Together, they would continue stitching the Suzani with the help of family and friends, until the daughter married. The new couple then received the Suzani as a gift to use as a bed covering. Vivid hues including orange, purple, pink, yellow and red (the color of fertility) are used to create these textiles. The natural dye materials for the colors include madder, cochineal, indigo, walnut, pomegranate and sumak, along with assorted others.

While it’s clear that the Uzbek culture highly values and is very comfortable with color, that’s not always the case with customers at Tessera. “People will ask if I have anything more neutral or less colorful,” Ambroson laments. To ease her customers’ color fears, she recommends they start with pillows or a smaller Suzani that can be draped over a sofa or bed. Very small pieces can even be framed and used as artwork.

This approach is, in my opinion, a great introductory way to design a Bohemian space. It’s less intimidating when you have one inspirational piece to build on and pull colors from. Because boho hues are usually a mix of saturated colors and earth tones, it’s often easiest to use neutral colors for the walls. Then you can layer on colorful textiles — using them as tablecloths, curtains and even upholstery. In addition to Suzanis, fabrics from Africa make stylish and colorful accents in Bohemian decor.

“I am always inspired by the vibrancy and richness of African fabrics,” says Eva Sonaike, who owns a London-based business that bears her name. Sonaike is Nigerian and was raised in Germany. Her collection of luxury pillows, fabric-covered notebooks and bags is a result of her exposure to Western and African culture.

“Many people still associate famine, war and suffering with African countries; but I, and many others, know a different side. Style, color and fabrics are very important to us, and many Africans incorporate these elements into the design of their homes.”

Sonaike’s fabrics combine the vibrancy of African colors and the elegance and understatement of Western design. African textiles incorporate many different hues that vary by country. For example, according to Sonaike, the color blue is very important in Nigeria’s Yoruba culture. “This goes back to the days of indigo dye. Blue also represents the presence of God,” she explains.

Sonaike says that there are no rules or limits when using African-inspired fabrics. “You can combine any colors and they still look chic and sophisticated.” I love her idea of using cushions as ornamental pieces by scattering them on the floor; plus, they’re great for extra seating, which is a very Bohemian thing to do.

From Stir Magazine

By Kelly Porter, June 22, 2010

Kelly Porter, interior designer, has been helping clients transform their homes and businesses in the Washington, D.C.–Baltimore area for more than 10 years. In addition to owning Porter House Designs, Kelly works as a consultant for CertaPro Painters, creating color palettes for their customers. CertaPro specs all Sherwin-Williams coatings. Kelly also publishes Color Sizzle, a widely read design blog.

Mid-Century. Alive and Well.

DWELL takes a look at a fabulous mid-century designer

“Many of my designs from 60 years ago are now categorized as Mid-Twentieth Century, which of course makes me feel rather old! People ask me if I think these designs will still be around in another 50 years. Well, I won’t be around then so I’m not too concerned about that!”

-Jens Risom

“Jens Risom is enjoying his place in the canon of mid-century furniture designers while also distinguishing himself as a great contemporary designer. At 93, he shows no sign of putting down the pencil.”

[Modifications to an earlier design show that he’s not one to believe his work is beyond improvement: this sketch shows a lower axis point for a leg joist in the latest version of his classic 600 line chair.]

“In 2007 Design Within Reach ran an ad campaign that aimed to capitalize on the present design zeitgeist by making use of a 1961 photo spread from Playboy. As the Danish-American furniture designer Jens Risom recalls it: ‘Playboy wanted to become highbrow, you know. It never really worked, but they started out with a big series on architects, and then there was one on furniture designers. The center-fold, which normally pictured a lovely, yummy girl, was instead replaced by a picture of six male furniture designers!’ Though the enlightened editorial direction at Playboy in the early 1960s didn’t stick, DWR can attest that the magazine was onto something. For today’s design enthusiasts, the desire for mid-century-modern artifacts can be commensurately licentious.”

Mr. Risom is the kind of designer who has developed modern style, and has kept it evolving. His designs are iconic, and his will to be constantly creating is legendary. [Full DWELL ARTICLE]