March 27, 2012

Beauty Meets Decor: Tangerine Tango

We've all seen articles on how fashion translates to interiors, but I personally have yet to come across a feature on how interiors connect with beauty products. I'm super excited about this because not only am I a design junkie, but I love, love, love beauty products (high or low) as well. There's no better way to cover these two passions of mine than with a new weekly feature here on Decor Musings called "Beauty Meets Decor."

This brings me to my favorite color -- tangerine. Pantone named Tangerine Tango the color of the year, and for very good reasons. The hue is a pretty marriage of red and orange that I especially love to see in nail polish. Essie's Fifth Avenue is my favorite, but Sephora also released a fab collection of polish and other products dedicated to Pantone's color choice. Not only does the color take it to the next level in beauty, but it also works well in the home. Like the home featured here, I like to see tangerine with chocolate brown and beige, but it also works well when combined with navy, gray, turquoise, fuschia or even deep purple. It can be reserved just for accessories like a rug, a throw placed over a sofa or pillows. But if you're more adventurous, it could look great as an accent wall or a sofa. To me, it is a fashion-forward kind of color. Would you tango with tangerine?

P.S. for NYC residents, there's a Sephora and Pantone Universe Pop-Up Color Shop in the Meatpacking District, Chelsea Plaza, at 14th Street and 9th Ave. It's open through March 30. The hours are Tuesday & Wednesday from 10am - 10pm and Thursday and Friday from 10am - 9pm. 

Photos via Pantone, Sephora, Bibit Interior Architectural Studio

March 25, 2012

Decorating Talk with Interior Designer, Style Writer Rita Konig

If you follow this blog, you know how much I miss Domino magazine. I recently had the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with the magazine's former editor-at-large, Rita Konig. She's an interior designer (one of my favorites) and also serves as the European Editor for The Wall Street Journal's WSJ. Magazine, and a columnist for the paper's "Off Duty" section. It was such a joy speaking with her, so I hope you love the interview. 
Rita Konig. Photo: Michael Lustig

Decor Musings: How do you suggest one should approach decorating?

Rita Konig: First start thinking about how you are going to live in the space. Be honest. In a sitting room, for example, do you entertain a lot? Are you mostly going to be watching TV? Will you be having suppers there? That’s where I start.

DM: Sometimes people think decorating means having to buy all new things, rather than using some of what you already own. What’s your take on this idea of decorating?

RK: A home is a collection of things that you gather as you go through life. So your home should reflect those things, rather than every time you move, you feel the need to throw everything out and start again. I think that’s a rather hollow way of decorating.

I think about the things in my home that I’ve bought in junk shops or picked up on trips, or the photographs or notes that friends have given to me. For me, that’s what makes up one’s home. It’s hard to decorate for people when they don’t have these things because it looks forced.

DM: On that note, how do you make sure to avoid the clutter in your home since we do tend accumulate a lot over the years?

RK: One has to be quite brutal about getting rid of things they don’t need anymore. Sometimes with furniture, you need to let some pieces go to make room for new and better things. It can be good to let things go.

DM: What’s your take on incorporating flea market finds into your decor?

RK: Flea markets are one of the cornerstones of my life. I am always in markets. I have purchased many of my things at antique shops. I have a couple of West Elm items, but I do not want my house decorated with a bunch of things from West Elm or Williams-Sonoma. In junk shops or little antique shops, you can find things that have so much charm because they are not repeatable and are well made.

Remember this photo of Rita's apartment from Domino? Photo: James Merrell

DM: What are some of your other favorite places to shop for home pieces in New York?

RK: I’ve gotten a few things from the 26th street flea market. I love John Derian’s shop and Ruby Beets in Sag Harbor, Long Island. I also like Liza Sherman on Bedford Street, and Mecox Gardens.

DM: Can you share a few decorating tips for people on a budget?

RK: I would say upholstery. I purchased a couch in Atlanta for $1,900 and reupholstered it two years later. Also visit auction houses because they have interior sales. Pictures also make such a difference in your home. I have never had a big budget for art, so in my old apartment I stuck old polaroids on the wall. It was fun.

When you have a budget, it’s easy to buy things for the price, rather than buy good things. But if you buy good things, they will always be with you. If you buy the bad couch, for instance, you will always want to replace it as soon as you can.

DM: What’s one of your favorite magazines to read?

RK: I love The World of Interiors magazine because it’s not just about immaculately decorated houses by an interior designer. They feature houses that are interesting and quirky. They are visual treats. That’s what I want to see when I look at houses. An immaculately upholstered couch in a house on the Upper East Side (of Manhattan), doesn’t make me feel very excited. Unless you are looking at an interior decorator’s own house, it doesn’t have the same spirit.

DM: What was your experience like working at Domino?

RK: I loved working there. The whole team was so fantastic. People always ask me if they will bring it back and the answer is simple. The team is gone. It’s very hard to reproduce a group of people like that who had so much taste, so much joy, youth and spirit. It was a really good team. In four years, for a magazine to make such an impact on people was amazing.
[***Note, it was recently announced that a newsstand-only special edition of Domino will be released on April 17.]

DM: Did Domino enhance your decorating skills?

RK: I definitely learned from Domino. The homes that were featured all had this lightness and youthfulness. Even when I look at the way my pictures are hung in my home now, it’s not a collection with a theme. It’s a combination of things, and so I picked things up from Domino and all the stylists who worked there.


And be sure to check out Rita's blog, too.

March 21, 2012

How to Create Floral Arrangements

I invited Patricia Hall from London-based Serenata Flowers to share her pointers on creating stunning floral arrangements. Enjoy.

While flowers will always reflect an eternal sense of beauty, there is a component of current style and fashion to keep in mind. Here are some tips to consider to help make flowers really work for you.

Flowers are so beautiful, it can be tempting to cover everything in them! But it's worth standing back from time to time to make sure the pieces that have been chosen are there for a reason. When too many flowers are in one place, sometimes the centerpiece becomes too busy and the viewer's eye is unable to find a place to rest. Without some focal point, a creation like this can be missed or even dismissed by those who see it.

At the same time, it is better not to be too minimalist in your decorations. While that look can be graceful and classy, it is also somewhat familiar and uninteresting at this point. Adding a touch of excitement to your arrangements with a striking color or an area of abundance can really liven things up. For instance, you might have a group of small violets or roses in different colors at the bottom of the arrangement, with a large white orchid or lily above them.

When you choose the flowers for your arrangement, consider the way they fit with one another instead of just choosing the ones you like best. Having some kind of theme is important to design.

In the end, the arrangement should be made with intention. When you order flowers, it is because they will fulfill a purpose, and fit into the world that is being designed. The color and size of the blossom may be already assumed as important, but the shape of the petals, the extension of the leaves and stem, and the potential for singular versus grouped use have to be taken into account as well. The texture and "mood" of a flower will have as much impact on the environment created as the color, and limiting the variety of different forms can really streamline your creation.

Paying attention to color, texture and size, in blossom and body of the flower, and deciding on a few key attributes to accentuate, can bring together an elegant presentation.

March 19, 2012

Slipper Chair: Target vs. Urban Outfitters

It always blows my mind when two different retailers carry similar items at totally different price points. Take this slipper chair, for example, which can be purchased at both Target and Urban Outfitters. The Target version on the left is just $129 and the one on the right from Urban Outfitters is $329. I don't know about you, but the quality looks pretty much the same to me. The Urban version does have more of a deeper cream color, which I do like, but other than that, give me the Target chair at that price any day.

March 15, 2012

Home Styling Lesson from Target

After attending a preview of Target's spring/summer home line a few months ago, I left the event feeling like I had completed a lesson in home styling. The line is full of great colors and all the right patterns, and the way the pieces were arranged helped me visualize how they might be used in my own space. I loved it. Check out the pics I snapped at the event. I'm especially crazy about the chevron lamp shade (only $20!).

March 13, 2012

I Contributed to sisterMAG!

A new lifestyle magazine out of Germany called sisterMAG invited me to do a fun roundup of my favorite products in white. It turned out cute, right? Be sure to check out the digital magazine, too. Thanks for the opportunity, sisterMAG!

March 5, 2012

Guy-Friendly Decorating

Check out my blog post on Shecky's for decorating tips that won't send your guy running for the door. Think unisex colors, light fragrances, accent tables and more.