Oct. 26


SO NOW: Carnation Inspiration

by Lynn Byrne

By Lynn Byrne. By now you most surely have got the memo that carnations are no longer a design crime.  Even the Wall Street Journal says so.

I think it was that Oscar de la Renta gown for his Spring 2011 collection that sealed the deal (gorgeous detail above).

It is welcome news to me because now that Larry’s lovely garden is on the wane, I will be buying more supermarket blooms.  Carnations are cheap and last forever.

The flower was not always reviled.  Eleanor Brown of the venerable firm, McMillen, Inc. didn’t hesitate using them in a mixed bouquet  to style this living room she decorated.

Billy Baldwin paired the flower with a Picasso!  (Sorry for the bad scan–my vintage book is not in the best shape–has that new book been released yet?!) 

But let’s face it.  Even if Oscar loves them, carnations can look cheesy if not done well.

How to do them right?  I think a tight grouping not showing any stems above the vase is the way to go (actually, this is a good general rule to follow when making any simple flower arrangement).

Take a look. 

So go ahead, pick up a bunch or two the next time you are doing your marketing.  According to the artist Emile Vernon, carnations are for love.

McMillen, Inc. room from the book, The Finest Rooms edited by Katharine Tweed.  Billy Baldwin room from the book, Billy Baldwin Decorates. All other photos are linked to their sources.

Oct. 25


SO NOW: Family Friendly Style by a Dwell Studio Exec

by Lynn Byrne

By Lynn Byrne. How families live stylishly is a focus this fall in home design.  Click here to read about it.  In my mind, the apartment that Jennifer Chused shares with her husband and young son strikes just the right chord.

First published in Martha Stewart Living, Jennifer says that few pieces in her place were just bought in a store.

Her place has a collected look, but it does not look like a disjointed pile of flea market finds.  How does she make it all work?

Jennifer says she strives to “capture classic and modern in the same breath.”  She does this with a sophisticated color palette, furniture with classic form and clean lines, and understated whimsical touches.  She is also a master with scale and knows when to add a graphic hit.

Everyone is comfy, but the place packs a solid design punch.  In my view, this family home perfectly incorporates high style and is right on trend.

Of course there are lots of Dwell Studio products in evidence in the apartment.  The look is much like the Dwell Studio ad I posted last week of a darling girls’ nursery.  Classic pink with a fresh, graphic fabric pattern and unique artwork sourced at a flea market.  Here it is again in case you missed it.  

Back to the apartment.  In the living room, Jennifer got rid of the fireplace’s “granny feel” by stripping it.  I love the 40′s style sconces and the mid-century coffee table. 

The objects on this living room console are so cool and the ensemble energizes the antique stools stored underneath. 

The palette in the master bedroom is my favorite: a soothing mix of pale pinks, tans, greys and browns.  It all works so well because the shades have the same value (in other words, the colors have same degree of lightness/darkness). 

In the dining room, Jennifer’s skill with scale shines forth.  The large scale rug fits her large dining table and relates perfectly with her table setting.  She snazzed up the dining room chairs by upholstering them in patent leather—also a very family friendly choice because they will wipe clean.

Jennifer didn’t need to do much to the kitchen.  It had the classic white cabinetry and a subway tile.  She made it her own by adding the graphic rug and flea market find bull’s head. 

The collector gene is accommodated on the front hall console.  Here the art work is stacked, not hung, to allow for frequent changes. 

Even her son’s playroom had enough cosmopolitan flair to double as a guest room.  No bold primary colors here.  The walls are painted a soft blue.  Jennifer adds interest with the grid of airplane prints, which originally came from a book.  Don’t miss the round lightbulbs in the chandelier.  They mimic the polka dot pattern of the Dwell shades.  

I think this is a terrific marriage of solid design and family life.  Who wants to move in?

Photographs by Paul Costello.

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