Wednesday, September 29, 2010


With the buzz that comes from London's Decorex Show held every September, I asked Nina Campbell to take us along for the ride, showing us her favorite new things along the way. No stranger to the best of British design, I figured she could be my eyes and ears, and she delivered! Since 1974, Nina has been seeing things through her signature rose colored heart shaped glasses, wowing the world with her color - infused antique - filled interiors and fantastic sense of humor. In addition to shopping for clients, she was shopping for her 30 year old eponymous store on London's fashionable Walton Street. She added, "Something I have noticed which is very apparent this Decorex is the refreshing blaze of so much colour, it seems miles away from the boring modern minimal look of everything in beige. People seemed to be having so much more fun with colour. I am thrilled about this having always been a fan of colour." Me too!

Nina strikes a pose by her new oval Grace Table and charming high-backed Coco Chairs

Alice in Wonderland's Madhatter’s Bar with chandeliers from Ochre

Alice's fanciful bedroom with Nina Campbell floral wallpaper and fabrics from her Osborne and Little collection and a Julian Chichester mirrored four poster bed

"I was asked to design the entrance at Decorex this year the brief for which was Alice in Wonderland...I decided to split the room into Alice’s Bedroom and The Madhatter’s Bar. I have had such fun doing it and have really tapped into my truly eccentric side! I used fabrics and wallpapers from my new collection Paradiso for the walls and curtains and then had a wonderful time commissioning special pieces and selecting pieces from other designers. I discovered some fantastic new talent in the process such as Diffuse, who made the beautiful butterfly lamp above Alice’s bath. I love what they do as it is feels contemporary but with a traditional influence which I like. I also love the softness of light that the lamp gives off. I discovered Helen Amy Murray who’s leather ‘painting’ was one of the most innovative new pieces I have seen. This new take on wall hangings are adding a new dimension to the art world which I find so interesting. I also got lots of my old friends in the business involved such as Julian Chichester who made the mirrored bed and William Yeoward who filled the bar with all of his glassware. I love these rather crazy red and black chairs in the Madhatter’s bar which are all four suits of a deck of cards. The wonderful glass chandeliers above the tables and bar are by Ochre and are so chic and striking. I also used quite a few pieces of my own furniture as well here such as my Grace oval table by Alice’s bath which is such a diverse little table and perfect for a bathroom. Two of my favourite new chairs are shown in this photograph, called Coco which are adorable little occasional chairs which are perfect in a bathroom as here or to pull up to add extra seating. I love them upholstered in rather wacky colours such as my lime green Sylvana satin here."

A framed "leather painting" by Helen Amy Murray of hand - cut and layered leather

Nina perching on a glamorous bench

I absolutely loved this stand. This circular Mattias chandelier is so ravishing and really reminds me of the London Eye. Mattias is a totally genius chandelier maker who I have worked with for years. Collection Pierre had some wonderful pieces of furniture. I as particularly drawn to this fabulous red half moon seat. I was then told it was eel...having been working a lot in China recently and having been offered it at many dinners there I can safely say I would far rather sit on it than eat it!

"I was stopped in my tracks by this colourful Ikat rug by Luke Irwin, I think it is one of the most beautiful things I have seen here. I have known Luke from the start and have watched him go from strength to strength. He has won a prize here from Conde Nast for the Most Stylish Exhibit and from this rug you can certainly understand why. What I love about Luke is his diversity from the rose carpet he designed for Alice’s bedroom in my foyer to this spectacular Ikat rug on his stand. He is always so open to everything and such fun to work with."


"I came across this stand and instantly fell in love with this wonderful hanging light. It immediately conjured up images of a magic mushroom forest gone mad! I think it is so beautiful and really interesting and so in keeping with this year’s Alice in Wonderland theme. Serip also had this rather marvellous light on their stand which would solve all problems of finding a ceiling light for a room with low ceiling height."


"I really love the way Christopher Guy has updated classic mirror ideas in his own rather mad way. He is really having some fun with it which is what I like and is absolutely not modern, boring or minimal. As they said to me it is about having less but more beautiful things. They had some fabulous stools on their stand too which I love. I have noticed stools are really making a comeback. They are so diverse and useful where people these days have less space."

A chair of tooled leather from Helen Amy Murray

Ndidi Ekubia silver vases
"Crafted is a fantastic platform which helps new craftsmen show their work. Funded by the American Express Foundation in England, Crafted was developed by The Walpole British Luxury Group and Arts & Business to allow emerging craft businesses to develop their business skills while teaming up with luxury brands, thus creating a new generation of skilled craftsmen. I love some of the pieces on their stand and really look forward to going to see their studios. I found the work of this silverware designer, Ndidi Ekubia particularly interesting. Her silver pots and vases are all made from a single sheet of silver that she hammers and manipulates into these beautiful shapes. On this stand is also the work of Helen Amy Murray who designed the leather wall covering for me at the entrance. I love the diversity of her work, here she showed a black arm chair done in the same style. I really love these stands where you see such fresh and innovative work. It’s what keeps us all excited and interested. I feel there is so much talent in Britain at the moment so many people doing really interesting things."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The island of Stakholmen off the coast of Sweden.

So what is your favorite red thing?
Artist Harrison Howard wins the goods for his stunning submission of his favorite red thing, a charming red Gothic cottage in Sweden shown here:

Harrison included this explanation with his submission. "The credit for these pictures goes entirely to Mr. H in Sweden, who shut down his blog quite some time ago, but he keeps the website Giornale Nuovo open to traffic. The images were originally published in 2005. When I think of red, this house often comes to mind. The entire cottage, inside and out is painted in this fiery shade. The house is actually on a desolate island off the coast of Sweden, and a multimedia installation entitled , "Shall We Dance", by a Malm-based artist named Peter Johansson." Harrison included that if he won my contest, I should offer this mysterious Mr. H the prize instead, for making the discovery known. He also shared, "Alessandra Branca is a favorite as far as designers go."If you have read the Stieg Larsson trilogy starting with Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, this territory may sound familiar to you. Thank you for this discovery!

Thank you dear readers for your incredible submissions, it was so hard to choose a winner!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Mad. Electric. Fabulous. A brilliant riot of wild color and neo - preppy pattern. Just a few words to describe Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke's design style. They push the envelope, since hey, you never know where it will take you. They call their style by the F word: "Frisky, fabulous and fun to be around". Not only does Jason act as the Global Lifestyle Editor for Delta Sky Magazine, he is a design partner with John in the design firm, John Loecke Inc., and runs all over town seeking out finds, new and those needing a revival. Whether they are redoing their Brooklyn apartment or creating a showhouse room the element of surprise in their work will always make you happy, and feel better after having seen their creations. Their show, Small Space, Big Style on HGTV brings it all to life, and you will adore them as much as I do after getting a glimpse at how talented they are. I recently sat down with them to find out what makes them tick.

For the Showtime Showhouse recently, they were asked to take on the show Weeds, and they created a "Paradise Lost" den like you have never seen before. Prints hung salon style make the wall a fascinating gallery of color and texture.

More art! Floor to ceiling artwork in frames from J. Pocker mean you always have something to look at. With the help of the picture hanging geniuses at ILevel, creating this look in your home is totally doable.

A riot of floral make for a mad preppy mix-- Diana Vreeland's Billy Baldwin-designed red lair meets Sister Parish with Cowtan and Tout prints.

Charming white brackets by Carleton Varney for HSN hold colorful decorative objects in bold colors picked up from the wallpaper, a killer new product from sponsor HP called Wallskins. John painted the design, uploaded it, and printed it out. Not bad, huh? If you are crafty, this program could be your new obsession.

Chintz and florals of every scale mix and mingle in the garden of Eden setting, bringing this verdant combination into this day and age. It works because it takes whimsy just far enough.

In their Brooklyn home, the same aesthetic applies. More is more, and fear of color is banished.

A fab mix of stripes, florals and quirky repainted antiques just works.

The fun house fantasy exists in all corners of their home. Plates are arranged against a mod paper, a tole aloe lamp sits next to a bar set up, and a palm frond print is upholstered on a classic chair.

Shades of green play through the space and a pale blue wall acts as a grounding neutral.

Mix masters who know how display is everything, these guys have more books than they know what to do with. The thing is, they probably use them all the time for reference, so they need to be easy to get at.

Who would have thought pairing colored tile and chinoiserie paper would work? With their deft touch it does.

A sunny bedroom of green and yellow combines thrifty finds and Schumacher fabrics.

Photos courtesy of Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke
A dark piece of furniture grounds a room with this much color, pattern and mirror. the wallpaper obsessed duo clearly cannot get enough pattern play. Putting art in unexpected places adds an artistic element where you never you needed it.

What is the best way to live with color?
We are passionate about color and love to be surrounded by multiple patterns and textures. It works because we keep everything in the same tonal range, and that brings consistency throughout a space. We love pushing boundaries and think of floors and ceilings as blank canvases, just as we do the walls. Often, we will paint a floor in a jaunty striped pattern and wallpaper a ceiling. We say, embrace color and have fun. Beige is so boring. Your home should make you break out in a smile every time you open the front door.

How do you ease clients into working with bright colors?
We like to challenge our clients to expand their horizons through color. We map out each space before we begin and walk them through the paces of mixing colors. We are currently working on a SoHo loft that has all-white walls, but we have added splashes of color through Gracie wallpaper in bright orange on the wall wrapping the fireplace and through amazing, color-packed artwork that runs from floor to ceiling. And then the dining chairs are done up in pink and yellow patent leather and the ottoman is a crazy Osborne & Little floral. In this case, white is the unifying color.

What is your favorite color combination now?
Anything in a jewel tone sends us over the moon. And we love blood red and blue. It's all about India and the Far East.

Stylistically, what moment are you loving now?
We are having a "Garden in Hell" moment, a very Diana Vreeland red lacquer fantasy. We are all about Cherries in the Snow and Chanel adverts from the 1970s. Red or dead, we say.

You love decorative accessories as much as I do. What can accessories do for a room?
Doing up a room is like pulling together a great outfit. We take a room and give it terrific bones then add some Auntie Mame-styled charm bracelets dripping with buddhas and jangles and then throw on some Chanel chains and some YSL over - sized cuffs and some great, inexpensive pieces from Forever 21 and H&M and, voila!, the room's a stunner. Details make all the difference!

What is your favorite material?
Wallpaper. We've never met a room done up in Gracie or De Gournay that we didn't love.

Have any great tips on making bookshelves look well styled?
Mix, mix, mix, and throw in plenty of organic and antique elements. We love pieces of wood, urns, vintage magazines, and curated collections. We are currently obsessed with vintage toy garden panoramas from England and have the various scenes arranged in Lucite boxes.

Where do you go for inspiration?
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Kykuit, Olana, the Leighton House Museum and Victoria & Albert in London, the markets of Cairo, Istanbul and Jaipur, the canals of Venice, and The Greenbrier in West Virginia. Basically, we can find inspiration anywhere.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Photo Elle Decor
Madeline Weinrib

Soledad Twombly
Argentinean-born tastemaker and designer Soledad Twombly has Ateliers in Rome and New York with her fashion label, Sole. Madeline Weinrib's traditional East meets West vibrant ikats and prints have been turned into glamorous blouses and jackets with Soledad's hand.

The new fifteen piece clothing collection recently debuted during Fashion Week, with a two day trunk show. Twombly explains that her “intention is to create luxuriously-detailed, one of a kind pieces that are made out of original central Asian fabrics inside and 100% Italian velvet on the outside so the eccentric fabric serves as a surprise to the eye.” Yes, it is that Twombly, as in Cy, Soledad is married to Alessandro, the son of the celebrated American painter.

The next stop is Rome, where a trunk show is slated for early November, hosted by acclaimed ceramics and glassware designer Brook Sigal. When in Rome...

Beautiful detailing includes piping edges and double sided fabrics

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Margaret Russell has been busy these past few weeks, poaching key people to run the new Architectural Digest. If you have been waiting with baited breath to see the new lineup at AD, here it is!

Executive Editor: Sarah Medford, formerly Director of Arts, Culture & Design at Town & Country

Managing Editor: Lawrence Karol, formerly Executive Managing Editor at W Magazine

Special Projects Editor: Mitchell Owens, formerly Editor at Large at Elle Decor

Interiors Editor: Robert Rufino, formerly Vice President of Creative Services at Tiffany & Co., and most recently, a Senior Editor at Large at House Beautiful

Design Editor: Howard Christian, formerly manager of the Treillage design/home-furnishings/garden shops

Style Editor: Elana Frankel, formerly Decorating Editor at Martha Stewart Living

Senior Writer: Sam Cochran, formerly a freelance writer specializing in design, arts and culture, and travel

Copy Chief: Kate Hambrecht, formerly Copy Chief at Elle Decor

Assistant Editor, Digital: Katherine Jerde, formerly Editorial Assistant at Architectural Digest in Los Angeles

(Courtesy of Unbeige)


What is the best in design that will stand the test of time? With so few magazines doing designer lists it is nice when creatives get honored through other platforms. One such way to award industry luminaries as Veranda Magazine is doing. Honoring design industry trailblazers whose work is both "innovative and timeless", Veranda and their new editor in chief Dara Caponigro selected and recently announced the winners of their second annual Art of Design Awards. Categories considered were fabric design, architecture, accessories/furniture, garden design, and jewelry design.

A vast group of more than 100 candidates were nominated by leaders in the worlds of decoration and design. The judging panel included fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, designers Rose Tarlow and Holly Hunt, architect Peter Pennoyer, author Carolyne Roehm, and David McFadden, chief curator of the Museum of Arts and Design.

And the winners are:

Photo courtesy of The Wiseman Group
Interior Design: Paul Wiseman – An ingenious sense of balance and a yen for luxurious custom work runs throughout Paul Wiseman’s projects, but what also sets him apart is how attuned he is to his clients.

Photo couresy of de Le Cuona
Fabric Design: Bernie de Le Cuona – Bernie de Le Cuona is obsessive about quality. Her quest to create the perfect cloth has taken her to India and Europe in search of traditional weavers.

Photo courtesy of Gil Schafer
Architecture: Gil Schafer – Gil Schafer designs the kinds of houses that appear to have been handed down for generations, though they are often new and adapted to modern life.

Photo courtesy of The Rug Company
Accessories/Furniture: Suzanne & Christopher Sharp – Christopher and Suzanne Sharp started The Rug Company in London to create innovative rugs that break boundaries. They continue to produce iconic pieces and bring a diverse approach to the field.

Photo by Timothy Greenfield Sanders
Garden Design: Nancy Goslee Power – Nancy Goslee Power’s gardens were sustainable long before the term became popular, yet her work has a lushness often not associated with drought-resistant plants.

Photo courtesy of CIJ International Jewelry Trends
Jewelry Design: Alessio Boschi for Autore – Together with Rosario Autore, founder of the Sydney-based company, Alessio Boschi has redefined pearls by pairing them with gemstones in dynamic forms.

This terrific group will be honored at an awards gala on Wednesday, September 29 at Hearst Tower. A portion of ticket sales and silent auction donations will benefit The Alpha Workshops, started by Ken Wampler in 1995 to train and employ creative people living with HIV.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


What is red, white and black all over? The colors in Stylebeat's Alessandra Branca giveaway!
Enter by tomorrow to win these three luxe items by sending me a picture of your favorite red thing!
Email to enter the giveaway.
Follow stylebeat on Twitter @stylebeat to get updates
The lucky winner will be announced here on September 24th!


The Book:
New Classic Interiors features Alessandra's elegant Roman influenced style. See more here from my post awhile back.

The Throw:
Who wouldn't want to snuggle in a cozy 100% Organic Cotton Branca Signature Striped Blanket with velvet trim?

The Candle:
A Tomato Leaf, Basil, & Black Currant Candle in ticking stripes will make everything look better in it's glow

Seriously, what are you waiting for?!


Having just returned from Atlanta, my mind is still on the great design coming out of that civilized city. This fall, Ballard Designs asked the Parisian - inspired designer Suzanne Kasler to do a collection for them. The line includes all of her favorite soft and serene design elements, including starburst mirrors, quatrefoils, cerused finishes, and all white upholstery. Ballard welcomed Suzanne into the fold by creating vignettes in their Atlanta showroom, as seen here. The light airy quality she captures in her rooms is alive and well. Following the success of her book, Inspired Interiors by Rizzoli, Ballard was smart to capture this homegrown talent. The pieces she has designed are functional, beautiful, and one's you will want to have around for a long time.

A mass of roses welcomed guests to the opening soiree this past summer

Clusters of books and architectural molds make a nice tablescape

The vignettes are so well done, separated by these curved dividers. Suzanne's talent at displaying collections is seen here, with a bookcase full of white china
Seafoam green and white is a signature color combo often seen in her work

Suzanne also styled some rooms using all Ballard Designs:

All white is oh-so-right

Creating a seamless indoor outdoor living space, comfort is key in this covered outdoor living room

A cerused oak piece is complemented by saffron yellow vases and a quatrefoil mirror