The Textile Selection Process {Malvern Reno}

One of the biggest elements when pulling a room together is the textiles.  Sometimes developing the textile scheme is quick and easy.  The vision is clear, favorites are chosen and we move on.  Other times it needs to develop organically and evolve over time.   The latter has been the situation one of our current projects, Malvern Reno.

For those who follow DM on instagram, you may recognize the hashtag #malvern reno.  This has been a big construction and decorating project the boys and I have worked on for several months.   We first tackled a big master bathroom and dressing room reconfiguration and renovation and then I began the process of redecorating the bedroom.

We started completely from scratch in the master bedroom with my client wanting to take a departure from her typical style.  (Typical style being elegant, traditional and mostly neutral with green.)  I always welcome the chance to take clients out of their comfort zone, but when decorating a single room its important to not go too crazy.  Afterall, the bedroom has to tie into the rest of the house.  You don’t want to walk into this space and feel like it belongs to someone else.

Processed with VSCOcam{A peek of the wallpaper in the master water closet}

Blue was chosen as a driving color for the room.  We chose a wallpaper with blue in the water closet and decided to paint the dressing room walls a rich blue, so it was a logical choice to continue it into the bedroom.  Green pairs so well with blue and is used throughout the house, so we agreed that would be our secondary color.  The room wanted to feel soothing and elegant, but also hip, collected and fresh.  Other than that, I was free to suggest what I liked.  Color was fair game, as was pattern, but overall it needed to tie into the neutral feel of the house.  And with that, I began playing with textiles and developing the scheme.

The first thing I did was choose a wallpaper behind the bed.  My dream paper:  Nakai by Pierre Frey.  We would go bold on the back wall and keep the rest pretty quiet.  The tobacco colorway of Nakai has so many great colors- blue, green, coral.  We could easily pull from those to select fabrics for the chairs, bench, pillow, bedding.

nakai repeat in bedroom(our inspiration: Nakai on the walls of a bedroom designed by Chloe Redmond Warner) 

We were ready to place the order for the paper and then I ordered a memo sample from the mill to see the current stock.  And let me tell you …. it was ALL wrong.  The colors were totally different.  There was purple where it should be white and neither myself nor my client loved it anymore.  And we made the command decision to scrap the paper and start all over again.

Yikes, right?

I told my client this was a sign from the decorating gods that we were meant to go in a different direction.  I asked her to trust me and promised her she would love the result.  We would find a way to incorporate the colors she loved with the paper only in a whole new translation.

I started with fabric samples I had in my studio, pulling blues, greens and a few pinks…

scheme 1

And then I went to the design center and pulled more fabrics and wallpapers.

scheme 2


As we began to finalize the details of the bed- an commanding steel canopy bed with a curved upholstered headboard- it became clear to me that the bed should be the star of the wall and that we didn’t need a patterned paper behind it.  What we needed instead was to spread out the interest to other corners of the room.  We needed statement curtains to flank the bed and highlight the front wall.  Once I got my client on board  (it took a little coaxing as patterned curtains made her nervous,) we went in hot pursuit to find the perfect curtain fabric.  A trip to Chairloom led be down the rabbit hole of gorgeous, gorgeous fabrics…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Hello, dream fabrics.  But what happened to the green?  And was this my client, or was this more Naomi?  Every room I design is going to have some Naomi by nature (isn’t that why you hire me?) but it also needs to reflect YOU and the rest of your home.

We decided we needed to make a few key decisions and let the room come together from there.  My client trusted me with the statement curtains and we ordered a gorgeous blue magnolia pattern from Lauren Liess Textiles.  We also selected a subtle shimmery natural linen for the headboard and a green woven textured fabric for the chairs.  The curtains were installed a few weeks ago and they are so fabulous!

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And the canopy bed went in.  Here is a peek of the curved headboard in shimmery linen.

malvern reno headboard

We these elements installed we were able to finalize our scheme and order the rest of our furnishings, pillows and bedding.  Here is where we are now.  Note… all the pink is gone.  We may work it back in with chair pillows, or in art.  Or perhaps we don’t need it after all!  This is definitely feeling like my client now.   It’s pushing her limits and having some fun, but still “her.”

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So that is the long story of how one room’s textile scheme came together.  We are waiting on our final pieces to come in, but I cannot wait to see this room completed!!  I hope you guys enjoy these process posts.  My job is a lot of pretty afters, but mostly it’s figuring out how to get there first.

Chinese Chippendale Chair Upholstery Options

With my multiple dining room schemes still up in the air, one thing is clear to me: my black Chinese Chippendale chairs will no longer be used around a table.  This frees the pair up to be used as accent chairs in the living room.  Ever since I found these chairs, I’ve wanted to recover the chair cushions, and now I’m finally motivated.  My instinct was to reupholster the chairs in a black and white pattern because I’m so fickle when it comes to color and I love the flexibility and layering ability with neutrals.  I prefer a small scale black and white pattern as I’ve already used a larger scale zebra on my wood chairs  in the same room.

Here are three fabrics I’m considering as well as a colorful wild card.  (Just can’t help myself!)

chinese chippendale upholstery orangerie black white

#1 Highland Court “Leopold” in charcoal:  My initial favorite.  It’s a thick weave with a really nice hand to it.  I like the loose spots… it reminds me a bit of Les Touches.  I also think it would hold up well.  (Look at me being all practical in my own home.)

#2 John Robshaw for Duralee “Bindi” in indigo:  An easy pattern to pair with ANYTHING.  It’s simple. clean and also a weave (read more depth and texture.)  It’s also technically deep blue, but I treat that as a neutral.

#3 Stone Textile “Signature Print”:  I’m in love with this design by Elizabeth Mollen!  It’s whimsical, modern and traditional at the same time.  While its a printed cotton, it has a nice hand-drawn quality to it.  I’m using it for a project elsewhere in my house and MAY have enough leftover to do the chairs.  If not, the fabric is really well priced!

#4 Designers Guild “Orangerie” in rose:  I love this fabric.  Yes, its neither small scale, nor black and white.  But its gorgeous, with nearly a hand painted quality and has so many colors in it that it could be paired with many different schemes.  I probably wouldn’t have thought of it, but I have two scraps that MAY be enough cover the chairs.

Here are all of the fabrics on the chairs to give you a sense of scale and depth.

upholstery fabric options orangerie bindi signature print highland court leopold

Right now I am testing out the chairs in front of the fireplace.  I like the little change up.

white brick fireplace chinese chippedale chairs and  ornate gold mirror in design manifest living room

The color slut in me is just dying to use the Orangerie as it goes surprisingly well with my current coral, red and black scheme…

Design Manifest neutral living room with coral black and red accents

But what happens in 6 months when I decide I hate red and banish it from my home?  It’s inevitable.  The good news is Orangerie also has blue, green, yellow and lilac in the pattern.  Or do I keep it clean and classic?  I can always do black and white upholstery and two floral lumbar pillows.

Decisions, decisions.

Stay tuned Wednesday, there is a biggie post coming.  I have a new project and its going to be a lot of fun.

Bedtime Story… Or how I hacked my Ikea Bed

naomi and hand blocked paisley

A girl,  a Dream and a few yards of DIY Hand-Blocked Fabric

Ok, the time has come for me to tell my bed story.  Note:  I’m not calling this a DIY.  Frankly it was very difficult and involved collaborations with a professional carpenter (dad) and fashion designer/ expert sewer (sister) and I don’t recommend doing the whole thing yourself.   I didn’t read a single how-to post before starting this project, I didn’t prepare at all, I just dove in and realized half way through I was way over my head.  I’m dumb, silly, lucky and a little bit wiser now.

Nevertheless, a lot of you have asked about it.  So let’s get down to it.

wood stamp paisley

It started with a hand-carved paisley wood stamp.  The first thing I did when I put an offer on the cottage was buy this stamp.  I didn’t know where I would use it or what application (curtains, bedding, upholstery, on the walls?), but I knew I needed it in my life.  I bought the paisley block print from HERE on Etsy.  I loved that the scale was large (8″ high) because most of the wood blocks I found were only half the size.


Happenins’ 10/5/12

Yo Yo!  Thanks for all the feedback on my floors.  Only now I’m more confused then ever!  I’m going to consult with my flooring guy next week and get more educated on the process and pricing of bleaching wood floors.  Then I will make a decision between bleached/stained and painted.

Let’s see what else has been going on this week?

I picked up this new Schumacher Fabric this week.  What do we think, is it the new Chiang Mai Dragon?  PS I’ve been really into chartreuse lately.

This is a material scheme for a bathroom we will be building later this year.  Wood-look porcelain floors, pebble floor in the shower and large 12×18 neutral porcelain tiles on the shower walls.  The cabinetry will be that gray sample you see in the middle.  It should be a really cool space.

I passed up on this settee this past weekend while antiquing.  They were asking $150!!  I forget the measurements but now I’m wishing I had them so I could see if it would fit in my dressing room.  I’m trying REALLY hard not to buy anything until I move into the house.  It’s tough to have patience in decorating!

These are the colors I’m considering for my bedroom.  Planning to get some samples and swatch-it-out this weekend.  Fun fun!

Some of you were probably hoping for an update on ProjectCrafstman.  Well here the deal with that.  Floors were installed and stained and coated with three coats of polyurethane.  (That’s our preferred method in a kitchen- much nicer than prefinished floors.)  They looked really beautiful and then we covered them up to prepare for cabinetry install.  And guess who forgot to take a picture before they were covered?  That would be me.  We’ll catch up again when our cabinets are delivered.

(Floors Pre-Stain when we made our custom stain selections.  We went with the top right.  
Our base cabinets are darker and we wanted a nice contrast.)

And with that I bid you adieu.  I have a design presentation in a couple of hours and I need to stare at my fabrics some more to make sure they are perfect.  Have a great weekend!  

Pattern Play- Jewel Tones and Off-white backgrounds

This Martin Lawrence Bullard embroidery is so fabulous.  For whatever reason, I don’t use green very often, but I love how it mixes with blues and pink and creams in this fabric.  One slightly challenging aspect to pairing it is the off-white background.  Nothing irks me more than pattern pairings where the backgrounds mix bright white and off-white.  All of the fabrics featured here are more off-white and really blend splendidly. 

I’m really having a jewel-tone love affair these days!  Oh, and I think I may need to incorporate more green into my work…

ps- do you guys like it when I list sources?  I’m feeling lazy.  If you like one, just ask me in the comments and I”ll give the deets.