I’ve always loved decorating and interior design. As far back as I can remember I would tear out pictures of rooms and stash them away for a future reference. I would love to go to the magazine racks and look for anything that would catch my eye.
Growing up in my mother’s house in New Mexico I realized that not everyone had this desire. Now don’t get me wrong she had her own decorating sense. Though it mainly consisted of what you could buy out of chain furniture stores. For example, simple art that matched pillows and was safe to hang on the walls. I don’t remember anything that was bold or made a statement at our house. Not that this is bad! I just remember it wasn’t for me.
Once I moved out and started to decorate my own apartments I realized how hard it was to put things together. I went through so many phases, some of them being quite embarrassing like *the doily phase*. I mean what was I thinking? Granny chic? It was the 90’s people!
My first real understanding of the power of good interior design was when I lived in Seattle. I went to interview for a sales position at a little interiors shop named Veritables in Madison Valley. I walked in and I was in heaven. I told the owner Marie how much I loved it and I still remember what she said to me. “Good because not everyone can get it.” What she meant by that was, no not that the store was crazy, quite the contrary. It’s that some people understand it and some people get overwhelmed by it.
I learned so much from her and her style. I looked forward to all the beautiful things that would come into the store. When we would get a new shipment of items I remember the joy of unpacking them. To see what goodies Marie had acquired on her travels was always fun.
Sometimes I would love these items a little too much and use my whole paycheck to buy things I really couldn’t afford. Thank goodness for Marie because she would put the kibosh on that and make me return some of them. Thank you Marie!
She also had a gorgeous house and every year she would have a Christmas party for her employees. That was my favorite time of year. I remember her home as being warm and inviting. The great pieces of art that were hung on the walls over beautiful furniture and fabrics. The flowers in lovely little vases. The lamps and the great tables they were on.
Everything was so tasteful, I never wanted to leave. Not to mention the beautiful food arrangement she would have on the table. Nothing was overlooked. Every detail seemed effortless. There would be no heating up of hors d’oeuvres out of plastic trays and no cheap champagne. Comme il faut! Man I loved her style. I credit Marie for making me a bit of a design snob.
I found over time I would be drawn more and more to people that had a design sense. That pillow doesn’t seem like it would fit that chair but it absolutely does and not only that, now you can see things in that chair you never saw before. Put the right piece of art up or drape a throw on the couch and it changes everything. You create a feel and when you do it right it affects your mood.
Interior design is a skill that requires an openness to culture and experimentation. With age comes the understanding and knowledge of it. It’s like cooking. You put the ingredients in and see what comes out. Sometimes its really good and sometimes, well, you need to add more pepper.
Here is a porcelain horse that I searched high and low for. It’s probably my favorite piece on this credenza next to the Arabian pitcher that I brought back from Dubai.
When I finally moved to Los Angeles I started working in entertainment and got to see a lot of amazing houses.
Though I found that some of these houses were decorated to a fault. They would hire the same designers and the homes would all resemble each other in some way. Beverly Hills and Bel Air are small communities people. Everyone wants to be in the loop on what is popular and what is the now thing. It can get really dull pretty fast. Some of the homes you could tell that they had a love for only one design aesthetic and it becomes over designed.
Personally, I love a more eclectic approach where you find great pieces and mix and match them. Here are my brass pineapples that are all vintage. You can by new ones now I think. Also, I love the little pineapple lighter which I think was made in the 1950’s. The tray they are sitting on is from Italy and was gift from a dear friend. The Ostrich egg and the crown are from a great store named The Gold Bug in Pasadena. http://goldbugpasadena.com/
I am also very specific on what I want. Some pieces in my house I searched to find for months. The love for me is finding those pieces no matter how long it takes. That is the joy and excitement. The hunt at flea markets, auctions and little boutique stores. Pour l’amour de celui-ci! Here is a George Hurrell that was gifted to me by an ex who was an art dealer. The porcelain greyhound is personally one of my favorites.
I know it would be really easy go purchase things from Jonathan Adler but it wouldn’t be the same and it would be cheating for me. I don’t want prefab design. I want old and new.
I do love Kelly Wearstler. I love her use of dark paint and subtle elegance. She uses unique accents with out overloading a space. It is glamour with a little touch of drama. These little silver plated pheasants were made by The Weidlich Brothers of Connecticut. I found them at the Melrose flea and got them for $15! The amazing piece on the wall was a wedding gift from my husband’s aunt whom is an artist. The dresser was actually hers when she was a child.
In the end I think my style is just a mix of who I was since I was a kid. I loved glamour but I also loved Sisters of Mercy! Ha! It’s just trying to balance these things out to have a happy aesthetic.
As you can see I really love taxidermy. Don’t worry all these little creatures were found in my yard ethically sourced. My husband rues the day he let me start keeping them. C‘est la vie. C’est la mort.
The only other woman that I met that I absolutely loved her style was a really special woman named Ellie O’Connel. I met Ellie while I was working on a television show in LA and I went to her home in Montecito. When I met her she was suffering with ALS but her wicked sense of humor was still going strong. As I walked into her home I knew I had stepped into that same little slice of heaven that I had stepped into so many years ago. Her style reflected a simple Parisian elegance. Things were put together in a very easy undone way. If you have seen this style you know what I am taking about.
There were Diptyque candles arranged together on a tray with a small marble bust with a rosary draped around it. The pillows were in an animal print from Scalamandré and were placed on the couch and chairs. A large gilded mirror hung on the wall with a lush flower arrangement in front and photos of family through out the years were scattered about. Her style was very much a mix of old and new and it was insanely gorgeous. SO gorgeous in fact I took pictures of it on my phone. No not because I was a creeper but because I wanted to capture them and keep them much like the ripping out of pages from magazines when I was a kid.
Nothing could come close to Ellie’s style and I say that in all honesty.
What I do find painful is that I was late on the boat and didn’t even know she had a blog that I could have been following all these years. It was http://havesomedecorum.blogspot.fr.
I could have been enjoying her wicked sense of humor, her style, her food porn obsession and her travels. I say this because unfortunately dear Ellie lost her battle with ALS last week. I was even telling my husband how much discovering her blog meant to me and that she had such a huge effect on my style obsession and that I was going to reach out and tell her that. Though I waited 3 days too late. I read about Ellie’s passing on a friend’s page.
It is people like Ellie and Marie who have inspired my journey to appreciating interior design and I am always on the look out for new inspiration! It’s a journey and one I look forward to.
In the end I honestly wish I could have another space to decorate and I would do it completely different from my house! I want to ability to transform spaces and hunt for those hard to find pieces. I think I should start to bribe my friends to let me do theirs I think!