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This is for those of you who are passionate about color. Christian Zuzunaga is a graphic artist who uses pixels to create stunning visual designs, usually representations of cityscapes.

Zuzunaga’s designs have been turned in various textiles, including rugs, scarves and cushions, many of which are available for purchase in his online store. My favorite are these cushions. Such a simple concept yet it needs flawless execution and artistry to work – both of which these textiles clearly have. There are several collections: Fire, Soul, Spirit, Luna, Venus and Mercury. I’d opt for the warm and harmonious tones of the Soul collection (above and below):

Zuzunaga has also designed unique textiles for brands such as Ligne Roset and exhibited his work in galleries as prestigious as the Tate Gallery.

If you’d like a little pixel art in your living room, this is an affordable and unique option. Personally, I will be finding a space for the cherry red and pink versions as soon as possible…

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You’ll recognize photographer Laura Resen‘s work from the pages of several interiors magazines. She counts among her clients the likes of Architectural Digest, Harpers Bazaar, Elle Decor, French Vogue, Living Etc, House Beautiful and Domino magazine. But, despite this stylish line-up, the homes she photographs all seem to share a key quality: they’re truly inviting.

Flooded with clear, natural daylight, the spaces in her pictures are both elegant and comfortable. There’s a restrained palette throughout her portfolio but attention to details such as texture ensures each photo is one you want to step into (and sit down and curl up in…)

It helps that Resen has worked with designers such as Thomas O’Brien, whose house in Bellport, Long Island ranks up there with one of my favorite interiors ever. (In fact, she collaborated with O’Brien on a book that just came out this year).

But, whether it’s cool white living rooms, effortlessly styled bedrooms or glorious sun-washed patios, this is one stunning portfolio. In fact, I had a hard time picking just a few images to post here.

There’s also a lesson to be learned from Resen’s still life photos. I was struck by the use of layers, particularly layers of objects in harmonious colors. The effect is not only beautiful, but can also be applied when styling a home to achieve that lived-in, inviting vibe. From layering whites…

To different blues…

To metallics…

To dramatic black…

And contrasting hues…

All in all, I encourage you to check out Laura Resen’s site for inspiration. You won’t be disappointed.

I’ve had this image in my files for a while now, without realizing where it came from. Today, Apartment Therapy has a post about this room and others, all from L’Hotel Recamier in Paris.

While the canopy headboards are a bit much for me, I find these shots inspiring because of the use of geometric patterns (a favorite technique of mine for pulling a room together) and layered textiles in shades of blue and gray. This has to be a lesson in how to combine multiple patterns for a calming and cohesive look.

I also like the use of mirrors as part of the headboard itself. Admittedly, it wouldn’t work here in earthquake country, but if I ever moved anywhere else I’d definitely consider it…

When you’re designing a room for a child, it’s good to keep in mind that the space should grow with them. That mentality has led to a wide selection of products created especially for kids but that would work equally well in grown-up interiors. Having just decorated two kids’ rooms, I’ve been exposed to lots of these products recently and have been impressed by how stylish, sophisticated and practical some of these items would be in an entirely adult scheme. What’s more, they’re often a lot cheaper! Here are some of my favorites.

First up PBteen. You really can’t beat this store for convenience and quality at a decent price. Check out this Coraline bed, which also comes in a Queen size for just $999.

In an otherwise sophisticated scheme (think minimalist white sofa, dark wood floors), these fun bedside tables would make a great end table for a living room. I especially like the duckegg blue.

I’d love this locker desk in a home office. And the industrial-style drawers come in a full range of colors.

PBteen is also an excellent resource for affordable lamps. A bright yellow task light would look both sophisticated and quirky in a gray scheme.

And even if your student days are long over, surely you could see a pair of these peace bookends on your shelves? Personally, I think they’d look great next to my collection of Jonathan Adler white ceramics!

Now, shopping in a teen store is one thing. But how about stores for kids and babies? Well, I’d argue you can be just as successful. This mirror from Land of Nod would make a good, affordable alternative to that antique shabby chic mirror you’ve been looking for.

And this Moda desk from Room and Board‘s kids collection would work in a grown-up office. It also comes in a range of colors from gray to sage green to indigo. I could see this looking great as a computer area in a large eat-in kitchen with white cabinets and wood countertops.

Giggle has this beautiful dresser/changing table that converts to an ordinary dresser by flipping over the top. I love the look of this piece but this is one time when kids’ furniture is definitely not cheaper. At $1695, it’s no bargain.

Romp, which specializes in beautiful hand-crafted toys, has these great ceiling lights. How about three of them suspended over a dining table spelling out the word E-A-T to stimulate the appetite??

Now, Serena & Lily doesn’t just cater for kids. But its range of furniture and accessories for babies and children includes some beautiful items for grown-up spaces. Like these Moroccan poufs.

I want this whole stack of alpaca throws – they might be soft enough for baby, but they’re luxurious enough for me to keep all to my self, thank you very much!

And for a bit of whimsy that even adults can appreciate, how about this bird lamp?

I’d happily have any of these items in my home. How about you? Are you convinced enough to hit the kids’ stores yet?

Bathroom, lavatory, loo, toilet, powder room, cloakroom – whatever you call it, decorating the smallest room in the house is not exactly the most romantic of design projects. Unless you live in the SF decorator showcase that is, and can powder your nose in this delightful space:

(Photograph by Elizabeth Fall)

In our case, our downstairs bathroom is not only the smallest room in the house but probably also the smallest room in the world. It’s billed as a quarter bath, which means it has nothing but a toilet in it. There isn’t even room for a washbasin (before you exclaim in horror, we wash our hands in the kitchen sink). Just to get into it, close the door and sit down, you have to perform a complicated maneuver, which requires practice. To make matters worse, the ceilings are so high that the space seems even narrower – a bit like being in a large vertical coffin. And it has no heating so feels like a Victorian outhouse in the middle of a British winter.

So why bother decorating it at all, you ask? Well, remodeling the layout is not an option at the moment, so I decided to make the best of the situation. If we can’t have a spacious bathroom with wide washbasins, fluffy towels and glamorous mosaic flooring, then we can at least have a space that doesn’t look like it should have strips of newspaper instead of bath tissue. This is how it turned out.

I chose the Bindweed wallpaper from Ferm Living for the walls above the dado rail. The bold black and white design brightens the space immensely and the pattern even makes the room seem larger. My husband spent the best part of a day putting the paper up, only to run out half way through the last wall. It was two days before Christmas so we had some shipped overnight (thanks to the very helpful folks at Branch) and he finished up the job on Christmas Eve. Now that’s true love: spending the day before Christmas in a freezing 5′ x 3′ space, suspended over the toilet bowl, wrestling with soggy wallpaper.

The lower walls show traces of one day being tiled but have been covered in layers of paint in varying shades of avocado and magnolia, so we just painted them white. The light fitting (this one from Lamps Plus) seems a particularly perfect match – it echoes the shape of the flowers in the wallpaper and, when lit, gives off a lovely dappled light (making it tolerable to spend more than five seconds in there).

Finally, the mirror is from the West Elm sale. We joke that it suits the room perfectly because it is probably the smallest mirror in the world. The actual glass is just about big enough for powdering your nose (because your nose is all you can see). But I like it so it has stayed.

So that, in a nutshell, is how we converted our ‘loo’ into a space to be proud of (well, not ashamed of at least). Fortunately, 2010 will bring some more ambitious and exciting decorating projects, details of which I’ll share very shortly…

When it comes to colors, my design aesthetic is lying somewhere, bruised and battered, in the no man’s land between cool neutrals and wild brights. Trying to accommodate both tastes is rather exhausting. But I’ve found some solace in the portfolio of photographer James Merrell, whose work shows brights being introduced into otherwise neutral spaces in some very surprising ways.

Take these mostly white (or black and white) spaces, for instance. A single yellow end-wall, or a bold-patterned chaise make them exciting, but there are still plenty of neutral areas to give your eyes a rest.

James Merrell

Taking your color directly from nature, or in this case a photographic wallpaper, instantly makes the look more restful and organic.

James Merrell

Ah, the power of purple. That lavender chair! That lilac dresser!

James Merrell

What an impact a single piece of art makes. Even more impactful is the use of a patterned wallpaper, in a single color, used on walls and ceiling in an otherwise simple room.

James Merrell

Even color-phobes can handle introducing color with their wardrobe. And, better still, this look requires everything else to be completely white! I like the picture wall too – we’ve all seen jewellery used as decor before, but here I like the way it’s intertwined with the art.

James Merrell

Last but definitely not least, who said moldings and wainscoting had to be all-white? The bright green here makes the neutral furniture pop and it can be changed back to snowy white with the flick of a paintbrush.

James Merrell

So, for others in my situation, I hope this gives you a few ideas and the courage to try more brights. And for the color aficionados among you, please do share your tips and tricks! How do you introduce color into your home?

All photos from Judith Miller Inc. Check out Merrell’s portfolio for more images – don’t worry, there are some lovely all-white rooms in there too!

blog-loving-award

What a nice weekend surprise! I’ve been given a blog award by the hilarious and charming Bromeliad Living. If you haven’t read her blog yet, you absolutely must. She has the best sense of humor (and great taste too). Scroll down for the story about the ottoman…priceless.

Anyway, I’m honored that she thought of Four Walls and a Roof. I’m supposed to pass the award on so here goes. There are so many blogs that it’s tough to choose – I’m going to focus on the ones that I’ve learned the most from. Thank you!

The Deco Detective – for her fabulous links directory, comments and sheer originality

Peacock Feathers – for inspiring me to use color

Simplified Bee – for the thought and creativity that goes into every single post

Style Carrot – for giving me a serious case of blog envy

Ill Seen, Ill Said – because every single post is fabulous

Gorgeous Shiny Things – for wit and color

Dwellings and Decor – for endless supplies of great pictures

I’m sure many of these blogs have more awards than they can count, but, hey, how can one more hurt?!

Every once in a while you find a place that somehow restores your spirits. Of course, if you’re lucky, your home has that effect too. But I’m talking about finding another place, perhaps a B&B you escaped to one weekend or the home of a friend who hosted a weekend wedding party. Somewhere that still evokes happy memories many years later. Well, I have a feeling the house in which we stayed in the Hamptons this month is such a place.

Perhaps it was because we were so exhausted when we arrived. Or maybe it was because this was the first time our whole extended family had been together for over a year (and the first time ever since my nephew was born). But a big factor in our enjoyment was certainly the house itself. Now that I’ve finally downloaded all the photos, I thought I’d share a few. I hope you can see what I mean when I say this was an unforgettable vacation…

Exterior

Well, that’s it there. Beautiful isn’t it? The house was actually built in three separate phases, spanning centuries. The original structure is on the far right. The central and left portions were added later by subsequent owners (and, in some cases, descendants of the original owners). Part of the building was even shipped from Pennsylvania. It also reminded me of the houses you see scattered around the English countryside.

Entry

This is the entry hall. You can see straightaway that this is first and foremost a home. Yes, it’s a big house and the exterior is stunning. But the interior is not at all ‘grand’. It’s sweet, charming and comfortable – although, admittedly, every room does also have enviable proportions and light. The style is slightly Gustavian – the whitewashed floors, striped walls, lots of pale painted furniture. But it’s also uniquely personal. This is a home occupied by artists and you can see evidence of that in every room.

Entry

We were in the house over July 4, so these little figures on the hallway mantelpiece were quite fitting!

Dining room

This is the dining room. It’s the heart of the house physically and metaphorically. It’s supremely practical (you can walk over those white painted floors in your bare feet straight from the garden and the table will stand up to a child’s idea of table manners – and then some). But it’s also really pretty. I love that wallpaper and the chandelier.

Dining room

This little bar area in the dining room is so cute. Brilliant use of colors – and yet it doesn’t look at all contrived.

Dining room

Yet another dining room detail. I love the way this painting is propped up casually on a child’s chair.

Living room

We didn’t spend much time in the living room (couldn’t move off the patio or out of the dining room!). But this is probably the perfect beach house blue.

Sunroom

We did, on the other hand, spend a lot of time in the sunroom. This covered porch is a later addition to the house but it’s perfect for cooling off when the sunbathing gets too much (!).

Sunroom

More Swedish style in evidence. And those lamp bases that look like milk pails are a stroke of genius.

Library

The oldest part of the house includes a library. I can imagine this would be a great snug for winter. I’m partial to walls of books, so here’s a little hint of the room for those who, like me, hanker after floor-to-ceiling reading material.

Master bedroom

The master bedroom is also in the oldest part of the house. The windows are the best vantage point in the house for spotting deer in the garden!

Bathroom

I love this wallpaper in one of the bathrooms. With the dark blue tiles, it looks sharp, not chintzy.

I hope I’ve done the place justice. I’m no photographer. And you can’t capture all the details that make a house so welcoming: the paintings with personal notes from the artist, the collection of old copper kettles in the hallway. But, at least you can see how the owners have eschewed the showiness of much of the Hamptons and instead created a stylish home that makes you want to kick off your shoes and settle down to a great book. Now that’s a restorative vacation…

If you’re interested in renting this house for a vacation, you can do so through CyberRentals. I guarantee you’ll return home a new person.

We’re back from vacation now and trying to settle into the old routine. I know my posts have been rather sparse in the last week – I just had to be offline for a bit in order to relax.

We spent quite a bit of time visiting some of the Hamptons’ famed galleries. We even made a couple of (very small) purchases – more on that later. But it was the Mark Humphrey gallery in Southampton that really drew my eye, with an exhibition of work by Donald Baechler.

Donald Baechler

I love the bold form and simplicity. But what you can’t appreciate from the photo here is the stunning shimmering silver background and the sheer scale. I’m glad I had a chance to see it in person, albeit briefly.

Even if you’re not an art aficionado, you might well recognize Bachler’s work. His graphic, sometimes humorous, but always arresting, depictions of flowers, faces and other objects are in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Centre George Pompidou in Paris.

But, even if it still isn’t ringing any bells, you’ll certainly recognize the painting that graced the front cover of this month’s Elle Decor. Baechler’s bold floral silhouette is a major feature of Aerin Lauder’s East Hampton living room.

Elle Decor

And so we go full circle. How very fitting.

I was thinking about pink recently. Why? Well, I spotted this colorscope over at Simplified Bee and decided to give it a whirl. I was drawn to the fuschia color most (which apparently makes me courageous, passionate, playful and serious (?)) Anyway, then I wondered, why don’t we have more of that color in the house? Of course, it’s because I don’t think my other half would relish the thought of being surrounded by hot pink. That got me thinking, is it possible for us fuschia fans to inject a little of our favorite color into our homes without dooming ourselves to a life of marital discord?!

I found some interiors that use pink in small amounts and in a way that is anything but little girly. With a little encouragement, I think he might be able to live with these.

Gemma Ahern's home

Via the Style Files via DesignSponge.

Pink pillow living room

Via British Homes and Gardens.

Pink and green

Pink accents

Pink wallpaper

The last three are from this Flickr feed.

Pink chaise

Via Casapinka.

Pink and Blue

Via Apartment Therapy.

Mirka McNeill Farmer

Designed by Mirka McNeill Farmer.

Pink accent office

Via Decorology

Pink cushions

Via Dwellings and Decor, via the Inspired Room.

Pink cushions

Pink and black living room

Pink stripes and green

Three above via LivingEtc.

Don’t get me wrong, he tolerates (perhaps even enjoys) most of my interior obsessions. But pink is usually just a step too far. What do you think? Would I get away with any of these?

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