Expanding Your Mind: Learning From Spaces That Aren’t Necessarily “You”

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Before I was married, I was an intern at a well known design firm in Boston.  And while many lessons (good and bad) were learned during this year-long experience in my career, one of the most important I took away from it was how to grow as a designer by appreciating and studying styles that aren’t necessarily “you”.  The designer I worked for was very modern, and I had grown up under the tutelage of my designer father who loves and works in a wholly traditional “New England” style.  It’s all I ever knew, and so I adapted it as “my” style as well.  So working under someone whose style was the compete opposite was challenging as selecting goods in this aesthetic did not come naturally to me.  But it was the best way ever to expand what I knew and figure out what I, as an individual, liked.  I found that I could really appreciate aspects of modern design, even if it wasn’t something I would do in my own home.  Now,  as a grown up (sort of) designer, my style is a complete blend of these two looks.   So I like to study the work of those who are perhaps bolder, or more demure, than what I typically like.   It’s a great way to push yourself and explore what  perhaps scares you or gets you a little excited.   I also work with clients all the time who don’t want “my” look, they want “their” look, so I have to keep myself abreast of all kinds of design styles.

Case in point, designer Patrick Mele.  I LOVE his spaces, but they are more bold and colorful than I would do in my own home.  But there is so much to be admired about his work. This room is probably closest to my own style, but even so, I am noting the bold, wide cuff roman shades as a great idea, as well as the blend of emerald green and super pale blue.  Just because as space as a whole doesn;t speak to you– find the elements that DO and consider how you could work them into your own space.

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Design Crush: Furlow Gatewood

I posted this picture on Monday regarding what I think will be “in” for this year.  But I wanted to go beyond this picture into the designer behind it and my new obsession (probably so late to the game on this one) Furlow Gatewood.  I received the new book by the staff of Veranda for Xmas (get it) and I fell madly in love with it- particularly Mr. Gatewood’s home, which I had seen before but never really paused to examine.  But when I did– my mind was blown and I had to know more. So I ordered his book (coming any day now!) and dug into the interwebs to see more.

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Mr. Gatewood is besties with Bunny Williams and has worked with her antiques dealer husband John Rosselli for decades.  You may recognize this shot of the entrance to his home from Bunny’s last book– this image stopped me in my tracks (he also raises peacocks, because he is THAT cool.)

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Inspired (Still) by Beth Webb

** NOTICE: My product launch originally slated for today had to be pushed to Tuesday the 11th due to some logistical delays. SORRY GUYS! But Tuesday will come soon! I’ll post it here as soon as it’s live. XOXOX

I’ve blogged about designer Beth Webb‘s work before, but these two newer projects have me swooning all over again.  I’m so inspired lately by serene, traditional design with slight modern accents like these two homes.  All the limed wood, white, linen and natural light really stirs something up in me.
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Current Crush: Painted Floors

Since seeing the wonderfully talented Lauren Liess’ painted ivory floors I’ve been obsessing over the look of white floorboards. I recall Lauren saying she probably would not do them again (I can imagine with four kids it would be hell to keep up) but I can’t keep myself from typing “white floors” into Pinterest.
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Lauren’s floors are Farrow & Ball Ivory Floor Paint (see more here- also, her incredible house is for sale!)

BEAUTIFUL

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I received a preview copy of Mark Sikes new book Beautiful on Friday and spent a lot of time absolutely going gaga over every page in this stunning book.  There are only a couple of designers I would hire to do my own house if I could (because doing my own house is so hard for me) and it’s Mark Sikes or Steven Gambrel, no question.  I am planning a little refresh of a couple rooms in my house and this book gave me SUCH inspiration to get moving and clarify what I want to do.

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