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9 posts from September 2010

September 15, 2010

Anastasia Faiella: Visions of Patterns With Paint

A wall can be dressed up just by adding color.  Adding layers above and beyond color is like accessorizing your outfit with the right jewelry.  Consider Anastasia Faiella the couture stylista for a room.  Benjamin Moore's San Francisco Designer Showroom is one of her favorite hangouts when it comes to her quest for color and my friend Rachel, who runs the showroom, shared Anastasia's work with me recently. 

Her design sensibilities and training as a fine artist (she has her MFA from University of California Berkeley) lead her to use bold colors, pronounced patterns, and the right paint choices to achieve the look.  I asked Anastasia about her designer's inside scoop on these outrageously memorable ideas.

Anastasia Faiella Image

Find a link at the bottom to read about what inspired this foyer.

Before Anastasia:

This tiny powder room in the 2009 San Francisco Decorator Showcase House was basically seen as a lost cause by the homeowners.  Her perspective:  "They offered me the space as an emerging designer here in San Francisco, and I took the challenge!"  Anastasia saw potential.  She took the 35sf of neglected space with "very, very, very high ceiling" and turned into an experiential masterpiece. 

Powder Room Before

After Anastasia:

Gone are the fluorescent tube lighting and the dingy feeling of a lost space.  Anastasia introduced deep color, elongated graphic tulips, and touches of luxury through reflective surfaces, crystal, and silk.  You know I always say powder rooms should be jewel boxes-- this one goes a step further.  To complete the feeling of being enveloped in drama, she incorporated video onto the ceiling and music that begins when you shut the door.  WOW.

"I fell in love with the Benjamin Moore color Toucan Black 2118-20 because it was dark and mysterious but also a very warm color and decided, why not?  Maybe [it will be] a little unexpected?   Benjamin Moore's Mascarpone AF-20 was the perfect choice for all trim and molding,  playing up a black and white scheme."  Teaming up with her decorative painter of choice, Ted Somogyi of Probert Art, they "imagined tulips that would be very oversized so as to draw the eye up towards the high ceilings."

The mirror is  from  Baker Furniture, Fabrics a gray silk taffeta form Silk Trading Company custom made by Doreen Leong interiors, the sink is a vintage piece from Urban Ore (15.00) here in Berkeley and the vanity is a custom design (Faiella Design) with a zinc  top and Pottery Barn plumbing fixtures.

Powder Room After 1Powder Room After
Powder Room video

Before Anastasia:
This bedroom belongs to a young woman who Anastasia believed to be "very feminine in nature, style, and fashion.  Yet, this aspect was missing from her home decor aesthetic!"  The designer had a plan to distract from the low ceilings and boxy architecture of the loft space.

Bedroom Before

After Anastasia:

I think Anastasia more than met her design goals of creating something "whimsical, playful, yet sophisticated and elegant", don't you?

We blew the image up  and traced on the wall. I was thinking that this in fact was her headboard! That this beautiful backdrop could inspire the rest of the room and set the tone for her lovely new bedroom."  The paint is all Benjamin Moore (lavender and black), bedding by Barbara Barry, custom lighting by Jim Misner Designs, the floor is sanded and sealed particle board, and Ted Somogyi of Probert Art executed the mural that was inspired by a fabric by Osborne & Little.

Large scale flower Anastasia Faiella

All Photos via Anastasia Faiella Designs. 

See her inspired work featured on Apartment Therapy here, too.


Barbara Barry, Probert Art, Jim Misner Designs,Urban Ore, Baker Furniture, Pottery Barn, Doreen Leong Interiors

September 13, 2010

Flower Power In Carpets

Flower Carpets have existed for centuries.  They've tied in culture, tradition, and beauty through horticulture.  It's an art form that's as fun to watch as it is to partake in.  Here are a two cultures that have elevated the idea of a flower carpet into something spectacular.

Brussels, Belgium:

The Annual Brussels Flower Carpet was rolled out, so to speak, in the middle of August with a theme that honors Brussels' Presidency over the European Union.  Every year, they pack in about 800,000 begonias and dahlias amidst rolled turf to create gorgeous patterns bursting with color! 

How do they do it? 

Flower Carpet nigh
2010 Flower Carpet in Brussels by night

Flower Carpet Detail 1

Flower Carpet Detail 3
Flowers are individually placed by meticulous hands over a space of almost 20,000 square feet

Flower Carpet Before

Flower Carpet Detail 2
In Progress...

Flower Carpet Day
Completed 2010 Flower Carpet  

 This event started in 1971 when landscape architect E. Stautemans decided the world (or at least Brussels) should see the beauty of his favorite botanical, the Begonia, for all it's splendor.  Since then, the plans have become more symbolic, international, and beautiful every year.  It's interesting to see the changing themes and colors they've used over the years.  I bet you'll guess the decades just by the pictures below...Here are some of my favorites.

Flower Carpet 1970s
1970s (obviously)  The rust, gold and brown are are accented by pops of white and black.

Flower Carpet 80s
The complementary colors of red and green create a bold and symmetrical design in the 1980s

Flower Carpet 90s
Experimenting with more organic patterns and the use of technology by incorporating fountains gives this yellow and red flower carpet a new look in the 1990s.

Flower Carpet Fave
This one is also from the 1990s-- my favorite for it's Art Nouveau leanings and the way it contrasts the classic and ancient architecture in the area. All images are via here.

Kerala, India:

Onam (pronounced "O-Numb") is the biggest celebration in the state of Kerala, India and evolved around the legend of mythical king Mahabali who is said to have been a ruler of peace, life, and joy.  Onam is symbolic of his rule and includes festivities like the "Snake Boat" races, cultural dances like Katha Kalli, a special nine course meal served on banana leaves, and "Pookalam", the art of creating floral patterns on the ground.  The event lasts for ten days in August/September and the design of the pookalam traditionally takes just as much time.  Each day, a specific flower would be used.  You would stumble upon pookalams in public and private spaces everywhere that use local flowers like "Thumba", "Mukkutti", "Chethi", and the Red Pagoda plant, creating gorgeous works of art.  Each Pookalam is uniquely designed and created by hand.

Onam 1
Onam 2
Onam 4
Onam 3

This year, the city of Kozhikode created, Snehapookalam, the world's largest flower carpet (as determined by the Guinness World Book of Records) with the help of over 1000 locals in exactly 2 hours and 8 minutes.  A pookalam of 151 feet in diameter and over 17,500 square feet boasted over 33,000 lbs of Chrysanthemum, Chethi, Vadamalli, and Dahlias.  The concept behind the exercise was to celebrate unity, brotherhood, and harmony through creating beauty together. 

Women arranging flowers for pookalam onam
Women dressed in traditional Onam garb of off-white and gold bordered saris arrange flowers quickly!  Photo by K. Ragesh

 Snehapookalam sunishc 
Can you imagine the wonderful scent of flowers that filled the air?  Photo by C. Sunish

This art form is a site to be seen and if you're as inspired as I am, start planning your 2011 trip to Kerala and Brussels now for next year's display.

September 06, 2010

INSPIRATION: The Colors of the 1960s

The Vitra showroom in the Meatpacking District between Greenwich Village and Chelsea in New York is more than simply a furniture store, it's like a library of incredible design objects.  (They even sell miniature versions of classic chairs).  At the moment, on display are many examples of the famous 'S' chair by Verner Panton, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.  To me, it looks fresh as ever and it got me thinking about how vibrant and unabashed colors were in the 1960s, so I got out some books, went online, and hunted for some color inspiration.

Vitra Panton Chair

Panton Chair by Verner Panton, 1960

The chair that started it all.  I love how simple and sleek the shape is, and how bold the colors look in the one-piece plastic.  It looks exciting even in white: imagine a row of them in a dining room with deep-red walls and black trim.  (For more information about Vitra, visit vitra.com.)

Pastil chair by Eero Aarnio and Tulip chair by Pierre Paulin

Left, Pastil chair by Eero Aarnio, 1968; Right, the Tulip chair by Pierre Paulin

Don't these two make some of our contemporary furniture look a little tame by comparison?  The chair on the left could be the start of an amazing child's room with a checkerboard floor and striped walls.  The armchair would look perfect in a den with blond wood floors, an off-white flokati on the floor, and pale blue walls.

Mondrian dress by YSL and Verushka in Emilio Pucci

Left: Mondrian Dress by YSL, 1965; Right, Verushka in Emilio Pucci, c. 1964

The era is probably best remembered for miniskirts and go-go boots, but I'll take a beautiful print by Emilio Pucci, like the one on the right, any day.  Look at that sophisticated mix of oranges, golds, reds, browns, and more!  Imagine a living room where each element was one of those colors--but somehow keeping it from going crazy (or maybe not?).  And on the left is a famous dress by Yves Saint Laurent, based on a Mondrian painting.  Just cream and white with red and yellow accents.

Marimekko Unikko and Kaivo by Maija Isola

Two prints by Maija Isola for Marimekko.  Left: Unikko; Right: Kaivo, both 1964

One of my favorite design companies is Marimekko, which is based in Finland.  Since 1951, Marimekko has been a pioneer of prints, bringing together folk traditions and contemporary graphics.  The print on the left is probably their most famous ever, and you can still buy fabric and housewares in the pattern.  (To have a look at their history and get some inspiration, visit their website at marimekko.fi/eng.)  I had a chance to visit Marimekko in Finland a few years back and seeing those iconic designs, colors, and patterns in the context of modern life was beautiful.  Looking back can give us such insight into the future!

1960s interior

OK, so not everything in the 1960s was so groovy and beautiful.  Sometimes there really can be too much color, or color used carelessly.  This room makes my head hurt!


Of course, you don't have to go overboard to capture the energy and flavor of the 1960s.  Simply add one or two of these iconic colors from the period.

September 01, 2010

Callie Jenschke Scouts Style For Lonny

Callie and I met when we worked on a project together a while back.  I was excited to learn that we not only share our passion for design and color, but we're also both Texas Ex's!  So when I saw Callie on the cover of Lonny, looking fabulous and full of life, I was especially thrilled to see the title: Lone Star Style in Central Park West.  Nice!

Callie Cover Lonny Mag

Callie is an accomplished stylist and is partner in Scout Design, based in New York City.  Her style sensibilities have been coveted and leveraged by Clodagh, Metropolitan Home, and Blueprint.  Here's her take on J. Crew and Lauren Moffatt style as translated in a home.  I've added some Benjamin Moore colors that work with the looks, too.  Basically, it becomes a style recipe for fall looks and colors you can't do without!

Lonny J Crew 1 
Lonny J Crew 2 



Lonny Lauren Moffatt 1 
 Lonny Lauren Moffatt 2

I caught up with Callie last week to find out which other designers she's into right now and what one design accessory would bring that flair into a home.


Dries Van Notten 

DVN Wisteria
Wisteria  World Map Plates add a little adventure to any meal



Isabel Marant has glittery style to offset her moody hues

Marant Jayson Home
These "wall flowers" add bursts of texture and glitz instantly 




Burberry Prorsum creates a feminine military style in perfect proportions

Burberry Prosrum Python Alvey
This Python sconce has lines as sleek as a stiletto


Does Fashion inspire you to dress your rooms?

 Resources: Lonny Magazine, Scout Design