Saturday, August 29, 2009

Restoration Reinvention

I received my new Restoration Hardware catalog yesterday.  Being a fan of Belgian and European inspired designs I love the way they are trying to differentiate their brand from Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma Home and Crate and Barrel.  

However, I have a couple questions about their new positioning.    Is the mass American public going to understand this look?  Restoration can't survive on just attracting interior designers or ex-pats.     My biggest question is who are they targeting with the scale of these pieces?  

Yes, there are still some items that will work in a regular house.  But, there are a lot of pieces that are so jumbo sized it's crazy.  I can't imagine that the original pieces these were based on were this large as most European spaces aren't as large as ours.  Did they base these designs off pieces that were in public spaces like hotels, restaurants or buildings and not re-scale them for the average house? 
Do they understand the size of a room you need for a 118" sofa not to mention the door you need to get it into your house.  It's hard enough trying to get an 88" x 42" deep sofa through most doors.  

Here are a couple of my favorite "bubba" or "gigantic american" sized pieces.  I thought American's we were trying to simplify our lives and downsize?  I guess not.  

This sofa is 118" inches long and 44" deep.  That's one long sofa.  
This sofa is so huge it's crazy.  It's 136" long by 109" inches deep.  Really - is this a bed and not a sofa?  109" inches!!!  Most sofas are 40-44" inches deep.  I want to see the room that this sofa fits in! 

This table is 108" inches long without it being expanded.  Expanded it goes to 144" inches. Again, you need a mega dining room for this piece.

This lamp is 63" in diameter.  That's twice the size of most people's upholstered chairs.  Really.  The look is great, but who has the space?

This would be great in a vaulted entry due to it's size (48" high) but it's too large for anywhere else.  Again, taller than most large wing chairs.  That's one big chandelier. 

Restoration:  I want to see you succeed.  We need more home retailers.  I want people to actually purchase these items and not just think they are pretty in the catalog.   
Please keep the average American house in mind when you are developing new pieces.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Future of Design

I was very excited to read the NY Times article on Friday "Renovating an Industry". The article mentions a couple of my design favorites, Phoebe Howard and Celerie Kemble and how they are adapting their business to the new economic environment.

It also features a pioneer in the e-decorating business, Burnham Design. Betsy Burnham started offering her instant/space service two years ago when she noticed the economic downtrend. As an alternative to the traditional design service she creates a master plan on line, including resources and unlimited phone advice for a flat fee. Then it's up to the consumer to buy all the products and put the space together.

Our very own blogger, Turquoise, is also mentioned in the article for her involvement in the Designer Tag Sale. Vanessa De Vargas has been pushing the envelope for the past couple years by offering e-decorating services and selling restored antiques that have revamped for today's modern client. She is an inspiration to me as I love her multi-faceted approach to today's client by blending the past and the present.

The recession is making designers re-think their approach and re-invent their services to make the design process more realistic and accessible. Gone are the days of interior design only being accessible to the wealthy or clients who are willing to invest years in the process.

I, for one, am excited about the future.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Everyone needs a little drama in their life.  Why not get it in your decor instead of your relationships or job.  

I'm loving the stunning drama of this entry.  

But what I really love is how the owner created drama in the main rooms of the house and then used a serene, relaxing palette for the master bedroom.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Who needs sleep?

This is the first summer I've been home with the kids and it is an experience to say the least. I have new respect for full-time moms. This is the hardest job in the world and it doesn't come with lunch or 15 minute breaks.

On top of being home full-time with two boys who are trying to kill each other at every turn, I haven't slept for years. And I mean four years. Unless you count the quick overnight business trips but those aren't very restful. When I do go out of town and leave my kids for my mom or sister, they sleep. They sleep like no tomorrow. They are WORKING me.

Last night I woke up at 12:30 and couldn't believe that my youngest was still asleep. He typically wakes up every night at 12:00. Every night and he usually gets up more than once. I really need to take him to a sleep specialist but I know they are just going to tell me that hes waking up because he can. I'm the problem - not him.

Anyway, I thought "this is it," he's finally going to sleep through the night. I was so excited that I couldn't sleep! At 12:45 he appeared in my room. We did the quiet walk back to his room and I snuggled with him. Which means, I fell asleep in his bed. I know, I know. But, what would you do if you hadn't slept in four years?

To make matters worse last night, my eight year old came into his little brothers room in the middle of the night and told me he had a bad dream. So, out of one twin bed and into another. Not sure what happened after that, but I woke up this morning back in my four year old's bed.

Stop the merry-go-round, I want off. I miss my big king bed, down pillows and down comforter. I miss feeling like an adult. I don't want to drink a pot of coffee to feel human in the morning.

I'm dreaming of crawling into this bed and sleeping through the night. Without my 4 year old.

Peaceful bedroom courtesy of Phoebe Howard.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hollywood Hills Fixer

So on Wednesday I posted that I was heading to Los Angeles for a little break, a cheap and chic re-do of a rental beach house and the designer tag sale. Well... I made it to L.A and I accomplished most of those things. Sadly, I didn't make it to the designer tag sale. Looked like their was great stuff and I would have loved to meet the local designers. Oh well, next time.

While I was there, however, I did have breakfast at one of my husbands' friends houses in the Hollywood Hills. He made an amazing scramble and we ate on the patio overlooking the L.A. skyline. It was so peaceful that I was envisioning living in Los Angeles for a brief moment. Our friend is a composer for films and t.v. and is a tried and true bachelor. In fairness to him, he had no idea a blogger was coming for breakfast at this house.

This house is a fixer, but has amazing potential. It had me at hello. Once inside and I smelled that 1920's tudor smell I was in heaven. There's something about that old wood smell that gives me chills. I'm dreaming of getting my hands on this house someday. House - you would complete me.

They don't make doors like this anymore. The amazing detail and craftsmanship.

The outside of the house. You can see that it needs a little tlc but the bones are good.

Wish you could see this better. This is the entry. Incredible high vaulted beamed ceiling with original light fixture.
Entry doors into the living room or studio as used by our friend. They don't make doors like this anymore. The craftsmanship in the windows, doors and ceilings of this house were amazing. New spec builders take note. Stop slapping up houses and create something that will stand the test of time.

Rest of the living room/studio. Remember - bachelor men live here. Check out the ceiling. The fireplace is unfinished but could be incredible. This room has two decks that open off of it. The breeze is incredible and you feel like you are above the world. I could get used to living in a house where I can keep the doors open all day.

Sorry this is so dark - it was super sunny when I took the picture. One of the balcony/patios off the living room/studio. You can see the L.A. skyline from this balcony.

The other patio off the living room. Having breakfast out here was such a treat. I felt like I was in France - not Los Angeles. Heaven.

Master bathroom. Great vanity and mosaic tile floor.

Again, notice the doors. Beautiful.

Soaking tub in the master bath. All the windows open so you can soak and catch the breeze while taking in the view of downtown.

Check out the stove. One of the most beautiful ones I've even seen. Some day you will be mine.

Sorry about not having images from the sale. I'm still crying that I didn't make it. It's times like this that remind you no matter how tired you are you just need to power through. Life is about experiences, not sleep. (I keep trying to tell myself this as I'm all about my sleep)

Hope you liked the images our of friends fixer in the Hollywood Hills.

Have a great Monday.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

LA State of Mind

I'm taking off for the weekend for a quick trip to LA.

Among running a few errands and helping a girlfriend decorate her 1-year only rental in cheap and chic, I will be camping out for the designer tag sale that's being thrown by quite a few bloggers and local designers. Should be fun, but don't talk to me before I have my coffee. It's not pretty.

Have a good early weekend -- hopefully I find some good stuff, get a little R&R, and catch that breezy LA style and attitude for the last three weeks of the Seattle summer.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Before & After: Chair Update

I've been working on updating a set of chairs for a client and thought I'd share another before and after to show the difference a little perspective can give a pair of crazy floral chairs.

They don't even look like the same chairs, do they? It's amazing how a little paint can make the details P-O-P.

Next up are pillows in an aqua linen for the chairs and complementing pillows for the rest of the room...
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