Saturday, April 27, 2013

Blue and gold ...

Blue and gold are such an elegant combination. I'm wowed by the luxe aesthetic when the two regal colors together on opulent fabrics, walls and accessories.

Image via Harmonies du Soir.

Hand-painted wall mural. Image via Design Sponge.


Images above via M-Louis (left) and Bella Notte Linens (right).

Image via Dimore Studio, Emanuele Zamponi Yatzer.

Image via Barclay Buttera Interiors.

Image via Centsational Girl.

Image via Elle Decor.

Major impact in a small space with rich blues and golds. Image via Jill Rosenwald.

So dignified and graceful. Love the pairing.

Glorious Gatsby ...

With each advertisement for the cinematic remake of 'The Great Gatsby,' I find myself drooling over the luxe evening wear of the early 20th century.

Image via Harpers Bazaar.

Victorian era dress circa 1914. Image via Indulgy

It seems I'm not the only one inspired by the elaborate beadwork and sheer glamour.

Image of Ralph Lauren gown via Design Hunter.

Image via Zsa Zsa Bellagio.

Today's designers are offering a modern spin on these vintage looks. Don't you appreciate ladies looking like ladies again? Yes, me too! Wonder how much influence Downton Abbey may have on these designers.

Images above: Racerback beaded gown via Dress Safari (left) and dainty sleeved sweetheart via Breakfast at Yurman's (right).

Gowns design by Reem Acra (left) and Tadashi Shoji (right).

Beauty, sex appeal, romance. What's not to love? Okay, I'd have to lose half my body weight to wear most of these, but such incentive to do so.

Image via Ovulous.


Small space living ...

European apartment living is all about making functional use of small spaces. By American standards, most flats are minuscule, so their owners become wizards at finding the best and highest use for every nook and cranny.

Image via Be Design Obsessed.

I personally long to live small, stripping excess down to functional necessity. I would love the challenge of designing and furnishing intimate spaces.

Image via Elle Decor.

Most apartments we've rented in Paris are my kind of efficient minis. I've studied each and every one to grasp the clever use of space, and it's made me recognize the outlandish material acquisitions I could easily live without.

Image via Shelter Interior Design.

I'm amazed at the voluminous master bedrooms in the US compared to our European counterparts. Really, we only sleep there. Do we actually need suites with sitting areas, elaborate dressing rooms and roller skating rinks? (Okay, maybe not the rinks, but you get the picture.)

Image via Vogue Living.

Downsizing is really beginning to appeal to me, particularly in the kitchen. I'd never have thought I would say that, but that was before I saw what television chef and cookbook author Rachel Khoo can do in her 'Little Paris Kitchen.'

French kitchen by London interior designers Mlinaric, Henry & Zervudachi.

I've been designing a townhome (for fun and future possibilities) and have modeled the kitchen after these itsy bitsy jewels.

Image via Brabourne Farm.

Say what you will about IKEA, but I'm a believer.

Image via Cape Cod Collegiate.

Now, surely you must agree that good things come in small packages!

Sublime slumber ...

Who could possible resist a daybed? I think my time devoted to reading would increase by leaps and bounds if I owned a daybed with a sweet down mattress.  The urge to curl up with a good book or take a mid-afternoon siesta might be overwhelming.

Image via A Thoughtful Eye.

I've previously posted (here and here) about the soft spot I have for vintage wrought iron daybed frames with delicate curls and curves. 

Image via Desde my Ventana.

I found a great one at a vintage shop in Llano, Texas that is just waiting for me to commit. 


Relaxed country charm with daybeds above via Ninbra (left) and The Paper Mulberry (right).

I know it would make inviting seating on the patio, but since there is no protection from the elements, it would be a shame to let it sit out to rust.

Image via My French Country Home.

So, I just look at these and appreciate their invitation to relax.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Riad rhapsody ...

You would not believe all the homes I have fallen 'head over heels' for across the globe. Among my favorites are historic riads, the traditional Moroccan houses with glorious interior courtyards and gardens. Yes, I've watched far too many episodes of House Hunters International on HGTV!

Image via Wander Lusted.

It's hard not to fall in love with these gems hidden within the walls of the historic Medina. Colorful tile, lush plantings and splash pools to beat the heat - all things that bring out my oohs and ahhs.

Image via Complete Morocco.

Oh, how I would love to entertain in a courtyard this magnificent! The riad garden above is about as lust-worthy as anything I've seen.

Image via Complete Morocco.

Hey, I would settle for a dip in the pool and an afternoon nap at any of these beauties.

Image of Riad Monika in Marrakech.

Although I would prefer a courtyard with a water feature, many riad courtyards are meant to offer a place with cooling breezes and ample seating to extend the public living area. 

Image via If the Lampshade Fits.

Given a protected, walled exterior space, many elements of the riad can be interpreted just about anywhere. I've seen my share in places like New Orleans, San Antonio and even San Francisco. 

Images via The View from Fez (left) and Coco Cozy (right).

(Above) The striking elements of the riad on the left have been thoughtfully recreated at right. From the blue and white tile flooring and luxuriant plant life to the casual seating and water features, the design relationship is evident.

I'm experiencing a bit of courtyard envy right now. I wonder how long it would take to construct as a DIY project. I can be back with the tile in no time!

Splash pool ...

Is there any way to convince my husband that we really need a soaking pool? He's a 'no pool' kind of fellow, although he did offer to buy me a child's inflatable wading pool. Funny guy!

Image via Houzz.

I think something around 2-3 feet deep with a built-in ledge for seating would be perfect.

Image via Honeysuckle Life.

A little waterfall would be nice, but I'm willing to let that little extra go. And, since I don't plan to do laps, we can keep the size down, too.

Images above via Houzz (left) and Isla Mujeres Casa El Pio (right)

Okay, the possibility does exist that our dog may spend more time in the pool than adults, but I'm willing to share (and take care of the cleaning, too.)

Image via Pool Spa Outdoor.

We just NEED a cool respite from the brutal Texas summers, and it's cheaper that one vacation in the Bahamas.
Image via Red Tricycle.

Just look at how inviting these splash pools look, particularly with colorful walls and decorative tile.

Image via Krusto.

You are reading this, aren't you honey? What do you say?


I don't believe I've ever been properly introduced to Asian design. Well, it's about time for a bit of Orient-ation.

Image via Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

I totally get the allure of red lacquer cabinetry, and like how well it works to add character and interest in eclectic interiors.

It's all in the details. The Sun Cabinet (image above left) sometimes called a Wedding or Marriage Cabinet, is a great piece for storage. And the antique, Mongolian storage cabinet (image above right) is my absolute favorite. From aged brass trim to decorative handcarvings, vintage pieces wear their pedigree well. 

Image via 1st Dibs.

I like the French term Chinoiserie that describes a mixture of Chinese and Western artistic elements in decoration and shape. It's 'Oriental-lite' for those who want to add the beauty of Asian pieces to other interior decor schemes.

Image via Family Holiday.

Just my cup of tea, French sensibility and handsome Asian influence.

Image via Layla Grace.

Love, love, love the look above! There is a Southern genteel charm here that still comes across amid the Oriental screen, glossy white Shishi (Foo Dogs) and Chinese blue and white porcelain. The dark wood chest is a keeper, too.

Image via Mel Medrano.

For everyone who drools over modern design, you have to love the Asian, minimalist influence that comes through loud and clear in the photos above and below.

Images via Gabberts Design Studio (left) and Hello Ideas (right).

Image via Decor 4 All.

This bathroom is delightful. Lots of natural elements and clean lines are a perfect pairing, don't you agree?

This concludes Orient-ation. Let class begin.

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