When beginning a design project for a client’s home, I ask myself, “Who lives here?” It’s important for the design to tell the client’s story, not my own. With that in mind, I keep myself open to what my clients bring to the table. There is beauty in collaboration, and although I am surrounded by my own favorite and trusted sources, I appreciate being introduced to great resources by my clients. It broadens my horizons and adds to what I have to offer my future clients. Here are some examples of products, artists, and other resources I’ve learned about from clients.
Stocking a library or extensive bookshelves with antique books can be expensive. You also want to collect books you would actually read. However, putting together a set of books that also looks great with the room around them can be more of a challenge. A client introduced me to Books by the Foot, where you can order books by color, in matched sets, vintage books, wrapped books, and even faux books. This makes it possible to achieve just the pulled-together look you want in any style. This is an amazing site, even offering coffee table books and sets for commercial interiors!
Art changes the dynamic of a house and makes my work speak better. It creates a visceral reaction that varies from person to person, which is why art choices sometimes have to come from the client and not from the designer. When a client introduces me to an artist I am not familiar with, it’s such a gift! The photography of Ben Ham (who I’ve written about in the past), Eric Zener’s paintings, and Vik Muniz’s eclectic modern art, were all brought to my attention by clients. Expanding my knowledge of artists and having a relationship with a local gallery such as Samuel Owen Gallery, helps me collaborate with clients to find just the right art for each project.
A client from London who bought a house here in the US sent me a link to Trainspotters website and I fell in love with their amazing lighting. They have great scale and colors — I’d use these products in my own studio! This lighting, salvaged from a huge variety of places around Europe, are authentic and interesting. We used lighting from Trainspotters in my client’s kitchen and the results were fantastic!
This book is a great resource I first learned of from a client. As a guide to color and creating a palette for a room, it’s an invaluable resource to share with clients. With actual paint swatches from a variety of manufacturers and beautiful examples of rooms, Colors for your Home makes it easier for clients to visualize an unlimited number of color schemes.
I was first introduced to Ben Ham‘s photography when three large pieces of his work were installed in a client’s double story entry. Ben himself traveled from South Carolina to supervise the installation and I am so glad I had the chance to meet him. Not only is his work stunning, but he is such a likeable and down to earth guy. It’s amazing to meet an artist who is clearly not only gifted, but really loves his craft.
My clients found Ben’s work while visiting South Carolina and fell in love with a series of photos of Live Oaks in sepia tones. They hung three enormous pieces in their entry. The frames on these large scale photos are so thick, each one weighs over 100 pounds.
Ben now lives in Hilton Head, South Carolina, but often travels out West to explore and search for compositions. His highly collected work includes subjects like South Carolina’s Low Country, the Rockies, the Southwest, and the Pacific Coast. His art has been featured in numerous magazines, events, and shows and been added to private collections around the world. I feel so honored to now have a signed copy of his book Vanishing Light.
I love the dramatic landscapes Ben chooses as his subjects and the amount of patience it must take to create such artwork. Ben’s photographs aren’t digital; they’re taken with a wooden field camera and printed on black and white sheet film. The patience and passion that go into these breathtaking, large scale images is incredible. He seems to capture the light at just the right time.
It really is a gift to me when clients find an artist like Ben Ham. I can add this work to my repertoire and introduce it to other clients!
One of my favorite things to do is find just the right artwork for a client’s home. I’m always on the lookout for a sculpture, painter, or photographer whose work would be a perfect fit for a particular client or space. There are certain types of works I seem to naturally gravitate toward, such as black and white photography. The dramatic contrast of this medium is something I have always loved.
My favorite black and white photographs, however, have to be those of iconic celebrities. These instantly recognizable faces are legendary in their own right, but when captured in a black and white photo, whether it’s a posed shot or a spontaneous moment, the result is a fascinating piece of art.
I’ve seen quite a few lists of design trends to watch for in 2013, and several of them really resonate with me. Some appeal to the traditionalist in me, while others are a bit riskier. It will be interesting to see which of these trends get the most attention over the upcoming year or beyond, and which turn out to be more short-lived. Here are the predicted trends I am most excited about!
1. Brass: This is a metal I’ve seen come up on more than one list. This warm, ’70s inspired finish is something I’m already in love with.
2. High Gloss: Nothing compares to the shine and polish of a high gloss lacquer! Lacquered walls really stand out and, when thoughtfully combined with more traditional elements in a room, create an unforgettable look.
3. Art: Selecting just the right piece of art for a client’s space is one of my favorite things about designing. I am always on the look out for an artist whose work appeals to me and fits perfectly with one of my projects. I love that this is a trend for 2013.
4. Antique Furniture: The trend here lies in mixing antique furniture with more modern elements, something I always enjoy doing. In fact, hunting for just the right piece until I find exactly what I’m looking for is so exciting.
5. Embellished Walls: I have long been a fan of custom wall coverings. There are so many amazing options available to suit the needs of nearly any client in nearly any space. From grass cloth and linen to hand painted and beaded, wall coverings are as varied and unique as the spaces they decorate.
6. Lace: If the word lace makes you think of your grandmother’s doilies, think again. Like other old-is-new trends, using lace in unexpected ways can bring a lot of beauty and character to a room. Think of combining it with more contemporary designs or using it in small, non-traditional ways.
Which trends for 2013 are you most excited about?
Photographer Bob Tabor is best known today for his incredible equine portraits. His horse photos are currently on display in Polo Ralph Lauren Home Showrooms and retail stores around the world. His work is also available at Mecox Gardens design stores throughout the United States and at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor, New York.
I first saw some of Bob Tabor’s photographs at Samuel Owen Gallery, which led me to look into his work. His seascape photography in particular really struck a chord with me.
Tabor’s seascapes are so gorgeous. I love the way he catches the light and the dynamic movement of the rambling waves. I can easily imagine being on the beach with these waves breaking along the sand. Bob Tabor’s graphic seascapes are simply phenomenal.
I fell in love with Peter Beard’s photography when I saw his work in a client’s home. The images themselves are beautiful and striking, but each piece is surrounded by a fascinating collage of handwritten memories, found objects such as feathers, and colorful, dramatic swatches of ink. His work elicits excitement at the thought of being so close to these incredible animals.
Born in New York in 1938, Peter Beard traveled to Africa as a young man first in 1955 and again in 1960. He later returned to Kenya and worked in Tsavo National Park, photographing the demise of thousands of elephants and rhinos. Dismayed at the mass hunting of these animals for sport and the lack of conservation and regulation at the time, Beard published two The End of the Game books. He was ahead of his time in drawing attention to hunting for sport without limit or consequence. The End of the Game is a great collection of images and a book I love to put on coffee tables.
Peter Beard’s work appeals to me not only because it is real, but because the layered, collage effect of mixed mediums brings a textural experience to his art. His use of these mediums is clever and fascinating to me, making each image seem like a personal memory from his own journals. Although the photos are mainly from the 1960′s and 1970′s, his work is still prominent and quite impressive. You could curate a room room around this stunning photography.
Not all of Peter Beard’s photos focus on animals and people he encountered during his time in Africa. A rather privileged young man with a trust fund and host of interesting celebrities as friends (including Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa), he once turned his lens on the iconic Jacqueline Kennedy in Greece where, he says, he taught her how to properly use a camera. To see more examples of Peter Beard’s work and publications, or to learn more about his fascinating life, visit his website or find him on Facebook.
Cueman grew up on the island of Bermuda, learning to ride and care for horses from a very early age. She grew through the ranks of the British Pony Club and devoted much of her life to riding and showing horses. As an adult, Cueman relocated to Ontario, Canada, to focus completely on training and riding. After several years, Cueman retired from riding and began instead to pursue an interest in photography. Quite naturaly, her photographic work focuses on the horses she’s loved throughout her life.
I love Lisa Cueman’s equine portraits for the beautiful stories they tell. Her photos, printed on acrylic, have an almost abstract quality from their slightly askew viewpoint. They have such a peaceful nature, captured in black and white or sepia, made more appealing through Cueman’s own take on this subject she clearly adores. I would love to have her photographs in my own office when I renovate!
One of the most iconic artists of all time, Andy Warhol’s work is easily recognizable to almost anyone. His dynamic images made statements that influence artists still today and demonstrate the genius of his art. On the surface, Warhol’s work conveys simple thoughts, one idea at a time, and yet still manages to speak volumes about American culture during the 60′s and 70′s.
From September 18 to December 31, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will explore Andy Warhol’s far-reaching influence on contemporary artists. According to the Met’s website, “Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years juxtaposes prime examples of Warhol’s paintings, sculpture, and films with those by other artists who in key ways reinterpret, respond, or react to his groundbreaking work. What emerges is a fascinating dialogue between works of art and artists across generations.” Presented in five thematic sections, the exhibition highlights themes from celebrity to human identity, from daily life to business.
The Jackie Kennedy portrait is one of my all-time favorites.
Earlier this year, I blogged about must-have books on interior design. Today I’d like to present a second list of must-have books! These are great books for fall, mainly featuring iconic designers offering up new inspiration. Others, like GAIA, are beautiful coffee table books to dress up a room or give as gifts. Some of these are new and some are available for pre-order.
I’m sure as the new year arrives and trends come and go, I’ll have more fabulous titles to add to my must-have list! What’s on your reading list or coffee table right now?
Patricia Urquiola is an architect and designer who was born in Spain but now lives and works in Milan, Italy. Her talented design work has earned her quite a bit of recognition over the years. Her products were selected for the Italian Design 2001 exhibition and for International Design Yearbook 1999 and 2001. In 2001 she was chair of the jury for the 19th CDIM Design Award and was lecturer in the Domus Academy. In recent years, she has received numerous awards including A&W Designer of the Year and Design Prize Cologne. In 2011 her set of glass vases All Ambiq has been exhibited at Glasstress, a collateral event of the Venice Biennale.
I first discovered the work of Patricia Urquiola during a Southampton project where I used one of her pieces — the Nub Chair. It’s comfortable and sweet and introduced me to her other items. I quickly became a big fan of her very cool sculptural furniture. Her clever designs are intricate and composed of the layers I look for when designing. Her pieces are truly works of art, showing how Urquiola is thoughtful of lines and details that never feel harsh.
I loved the Fat Ottoman/Coffee Table – the Fat Sofa is another great piece from the same line. It looks so comfortable!
We installed this Nub Chair in Southampton and it is absolutely gorgeous! The detail on the back has an organic feel.
The leather tufting of the Bohemian Seating Collection makes you want to cuddle up in this chair.
She even has the bath covered! The steel tub is so chic.
The Crinoline Collection is a wonderful blend of bronze, natural fiber and polyethylene weave. Fabulous height – truly a sculpture.
You can follow Patricia Urquiola on Facebook . Her posts are in Spanish, but she also features photos of her work.