Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Velvetty Smooth

I'm loving the velvet trend that's happening right now. I've always been a big fan of this gorgeous fabric and have used it often in my designs. As a matter of fact, I'm just about to place an order for a client for two gorgeous sofas to be decked out in a beautiful shade of teal velvet.

My own home has several velvet pieces including these slipcovers for my dining chairs in a very durable sand colored velvet:

And the headboard and arm chair in my bedroom bedecked in Laurin for Lee Jofa's "Watersedge"

One of my favorite client projects was filled with beautiful velvets in varying shades of beige and gold. Velvet is amazingly durable and the fabric used on the arm chairs below is a washable velvet which I chose specifically because the clients had (at the time) an 18th month old baby. They still look fantastic.

I've been oogling other designer's work with velvets and wanted to share some of my favorites. The thing about velvet is that it works in so many environments and styles - from BoHo to country to modern to traditional.

Have you noticed the rise of velvet in design again?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Silver Screen Surroundings: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Congratulations to the Cast and Crew of The Grand Budapest Hotel for receiving nine academy award nominations! Have you seen this movie? I missed it when in the theaters, but have watched it On Demand a few times and love the movie and the sets in particular.

The synopsis:
GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune -- all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent. 

Directed by 

Wes Anderson

Production Design by 

Adam Stockhausen

Art Direction by 

Stephan O. Gessler...lead art director (as Stephan Gessler) 
Gerald Sullivan...supervising art director 
Steve Summersgill

Set Decoration by 

Anna Pinnock

Academy Award® nominations are for:

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Wes Anderson
Scott Rudin
Steven M. Rales
Jeremy Dawson 
Best Achievement in Directing
Wes Anderson 
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Wes Anderson
Hugo Guinness 
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Robert D. Yeoman 
Best Achievement in Editing
Barney Pilling 
Best Achievement in Production Design
Adam Stockhausen
Anna Pinnock 
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Milena Canonero 
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Frances Hannon
Mark Coulier 
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Alexandre Desplat 

Of note, set decorator Anna Pinnock has also been nominated for "Into The Woods" this year as well. Past work includes "Skyfall", "Life of Pi", "Gosford Park", "Four Weddings and a Funeral" among many others. She's been previously nominated three times for an Oscar, but has not yet won. Hard to imagine that this isn't her year with two noms for amazingly visual movies.

Hand rendering of the fictional "Grand Budapest Hotel".

The hotel harkens back to the pinnacle of European grand hotels from the 20s and 30s, before WW2 laid waste to the continent. Art Deco and Art Nouveau touches throughout.

In this movie, the main character is M. Gustave, the hotel's chief concierge played with impeccable precision by Ralph Fiennes.  In the foreground is Zero Moustafa, played by Tony Revolori, the Lobby Boy. 

The lobby. 

Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave waiting for a "special" guest to arrive (the older and wealthier they are, the more special). Look at the amazing luggage. 

A very special guest is "Madame D" played by Tilda Swinton. Let's just say that M. Gustave provides many personal services...

The war years come and a quasi "Nazi" regime takes over, creating many changes. The elegant, impeccable life was over.  The movie set and architecture of the hotel changes accordingly over the decades. This movie spans from 1932 to 1968. 

The days of service are over, the concierge has posted hours and one must ring for service. In the old days, the concierge desk was never left unattended and guest's needs were not only attended to, they were anticipated.

F. Murray Abraham is former Lobby Boy Zero Moustafa whose retelling of his life at The Grand Budapest Hotel is the set up and conclusion of the movie.

Other set pieces and locations in the movie are also spectacular. Just look at the amazing console table seen in Madame D's home below. Jeff Goldblum plays an attorney settling her estate (spoiler alert) and setting off quite a chain of events.

The gorgeous confectioners Mendel's.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Design New England Magazine Student Challenge!

Design Showdown is a competition in which design students are challenged to imagine a live/work space that combines innovative design, functionality, and elements of social responsibility. ​It is free and open to students currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in interior design or interior architecture at an educational institution in New England. Each submission must be original work created by an individual student.​ ​A panel of design professionals will judge the competition, which will be conducted in two rounds.​

Well, this sounds fun for any and all local design students! Click here for more info.

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lighting: Sparkle and Bling in the Kitchen

Generally I believe when we think of fancy crystal chandeliers they are in formal spaces like dining rooms and living rooms - like this vintage beauty I had installed in a client's house a few months ago. It just made the dining room.  But I will say that I love a little glitz and glam in unexpected places like a kitchen. And I'm not talking some huge gleaming six figure Christopher Peakcock kitchen either.

Of course, good quality lighting is of utmost importance in any kitchen so it's important not to let the aesthetics get in the way of function. What do you think? Too much or just the right sparkle?

And, speaking of kitchens, Leslie Carothers has written a fantastic post on the Hadley Court Blog about the true cost of a kitchen remodel. There's a lot that HGTV and even This Old House don't share and this post is worth a read.