Perhaps it is the light that makes this room my favorite. It filters through the grass woven shades to soften the cocoa and cream textures and brings healing to my soul like a warm frothy latte. My Francophile persuation is played to with the antique over mantle as a headboard, framed on either side by striped ombred silk. Here is where I grab my current read and snug under covers or on top of the forgiving matlesse bedcover.
I can indulge myself in the sentimentality of photos of the ones I love surrounded with fresh flowers sharing their happy colors and faces to my “altar of endearment.”
The pale blue ceiling gives my space a magical sky effect, to enhance the quiet solitude and beauty of my very own cocoon-like retreat. Here I can thank God for all He has provided in home and love while enjoying the rhythm of my restful breathing.
The luxury of a crystal chandelier sparkles with reflection and candlelight to add the element of romance. It’s beauty greets me in the morning light as I awaken in my bed below.
Small cherished artifacts add to the happiness my bedroom brings me. Like the small tatted bookmark cross handmade by a favorite great aunt.
This is where I like to be no matter the altitude of my moods. It is where I can let the rest of the world go by!
Julia Morgan has been an inspirational talent in my design career since I was given the amazing opportunity to work on a project at the one and only Julia Morgan design house in Sacramento in 2000. The gorgeous historic home designed in 1918 breathes nostalgia back into Sacramento, has been owned by Sacramento State University since the 1960’s. Through research I knew the pioneering spirit of Julia Morgan. She was the first female licensed architect in California and she achieved this by receiving a degree from Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where she was the first female admitted as well. I thought it only fitting to pay homage to this remarkable woman by making a pilgrimage through the streets of Paris to see the school she attended and the places she lived.
During Julia’s five years in Paris she inhabited three apartments throughout the 6th androssiment. The first apartment was located at 4 Rue de la Chevereuse. The crisp white of the facade is contrasted by the large black paneled doors of the entry. Today the building is used as a satellite of Columbia University and works to establish partnerships between America and European scholars. During Julia Morgan’s time the building housed American students pursuing their degrees in Paris.
Julia’s second apartment was located at 7 Rue Honore Chevalier. This building which was constructed in 1891 would have been less than a decade old when Julia Morgan lived in it. The rustic brick mixed with iron work exemplifies classic French architecture.
The third apartment Julia lived in was 15 Rue Guenegaud. The high gloss rich emerald green doors are flanked by tiny boutiques on the street level with apartments on the three floors above. This apartment is the closest to the school of the three and is within close proximity to La Siene river. I imagine this was Julia’s most treasured apartment during her stay in Paris.
After leaving Julia’s third apartment I journeyed to Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts where Julia received her degree in Architecture. Just beyond the gates to the school you are greeted by ancient architectural ruins displayed in the courtyard.
The grand courtyard transitions students and guests from the street and into the glass ceiling space of an interior courtyard.
The colors and motifs of this space are inspired by Pompeian architecture.
As I was walking up to the front gate of the school I was delighted to see three architecture students, two of which female, with projects in tow. I talked briefly with these students and was truly inspired to see young and eager designers pursuing their passions.
My adventurous spirit was stimulated as I followed in the footsteps of the inspirational talent, Julia Morgan. With Julia Morgan’s legacy of over 700 designed buildings in California and her treasured design located on our T St. here in Sacramento, her designs will be forever remembered as harmoniously classic architecture.
“My buildings will speak for themselves” Julia Morgan
On my first trip to Paris I traveled with a group gathered from our many friends from Sacramento and Los Angeles who were interior designers and architects. One of our private audiences was at the studio of Andree Putman. The year was 1995.
How impressed I was by her individual style and presence as we reveled in a designer of her stature and global influence taking time to meet with our group! She was an emissary of Parisian chic culture and rediscovered forgotten 1930’s French Modernist furniture found in the flea market chic which she then marketed through her own Ecart International. Ms. Putman’s designs favored simple lines and a few good pieces that enhanced an otherwise hushed, monochromatic environment. “Good design is pure and simple, and I am interested in the kinds of things that will never date.”
Guest room at Morgans Hotel (Wmagazine.com)
Her career changing commission came in the early 1980’s when the NYC hotelier Ian Schrager hired her to design the interiors for his new Morgans Hotel. This became the prototype of the new boutique hotel, a small artistically designed answer to standardized mass-market hotels.
Andree Putman and daughter Olivia (nestle-nespresso.com)
Now, as I celebrated my own milestone birthday in Paris this past January, I was saddened to read that this legend in interior design had passed away. I immediately went online to read more about her firm and how her daughter Olivia had become the artistic director at her expressed wishes in 2009.
The notice of her death gave the time and location of her service at St. Germain des Pres. Arriving as the church bells rang, I watched as her simple wooden casket was received by the classic black hearse. Andree’s stunningly attractive daughter, Olivia, with her three sons received condolences from a cluster of black cloaked friends and colleagues. Multiple flower memorials were coordinated in white flowers only. The mourners walked a few steps across the street to Café Flores upstairs for the reception. It was as simple and elegant as the designer herself. I was gratified to have witnessed and whispered my own goodbye. Her influence on my profession was profound.
To learn more about the amazing Andree Putman visit her website: www.StudioPutman.com
While at a The Design Bloggers Conference in L.A. this past week, I had an opportunity to stop by the Pacific Design Center(the Blue Whale) and the new emerging design showroom hot spot on La Cienega boulevard. I get inspired every time I visit a new city and get to see their interpretation of design. The windows of Scalamandre caught my eye with dancing zebras.
Zebra print is something that we’ve seen for decades, but Scalamandre is bringing back a classic idea inspired by one of their wallpapers they designed in 1945. This zebra print features zebras prancing on a red background while arrows float through the air around them. The graphic contrast and movement of the fabric make it very striking.
Inside the showroom the print was found not only on fabric but wallpaper and Lenox china as well. The motif has also been redefined with a multitude of modern color ways.
The most refined print inspired by the original 1945 print in my opinion was the yellow and black version that plays with the idea of positive and negative, and actually puts yellow stripes on a zebra.
On my return flight home, my suspicions of a zebra print trend were confirmed. I opened the Currents section of the New York Times to find a brief article about the Zebra print I had just seen in the window at Scalamandre’s showroom. The article revealed to me that they are using this print for human and dog bedding alike.
Photo from New York Times article “Bedding Basic Zebra Commands: Sit, Stay, Roll Over, Sleep”
Photo from New York Times article “Bedding Basic Zebra Commands:Sit, Stay, Roll Over, Sleep”
On my most recent trip to Paris I came upon the essential guide for any designer or lover of art to have during their time in Paris. International Design Magazine’s 2013 Paris Design Guide beautifully describes the newest and best designed showrooms, hotels, cafes, shops, galleries, and bookshops that Paris has to offer. With over 300 places you can visit, it’s hard to even scratch the surface. The book is separated into chapters by Paris’ 20 districts making it very user friendly. Each district has its own chapter that begins with a map showing the exact location of the showroom, hotel, etc. The information given about each designed space tells you just enough about the space to make you want to go visit for yourself.
I visited two locations in the 1st arrondissement with the help of this guide. The first was Le Café Marly which is nestled into the north end of the Louvre museum, with outdoor seating under the arcade of the Louvre. The space boasts not only beautiful design, but a splendid view of the Ming Pei’s Pyramid. The design of this space was inspired by Napoleonic interiors, featuring Empire colours on the walls, ceiling, and furniture detailing.
The second place I had the opportunity to visit in the 1st arrondissement was Hotel Lumen. Designed by Claudio Colucci, this space has a unique mixture of elegance and quirk. The designer incorporated the baroque look with a modern twist by choosing whimsical furniture and unexpected finishes. As its name suggests, Hotel Lumen incorporates light in a soft while contrasting way that warmly draws guests into the space.
Another amazing place that I was able to see with direction from this book was located in the 5th arrondissement. La quinacaillerie is a handle and knob boutique located just down the street from Notre-Dame. Featuring the best international suppliers of door and window handles and furniture knobs, it’s hard not to fall in love with them all. The store displays the best and most functional handle designs of the world. The white walls and simple wood floors makes the space feel more like an art gallery than a showroom.
The last place I was able to visit thanks to the help of this book was in Paris’ 7th arrondissement. Café Campana located in the Museum D’Orsay has a beautifully modern design. The Campana Brezilian brothers have incorporated whimsical modern design into a Parisian architecture shell. Gold pendants made of gold shards, textured turquoise methacrylate panels, and twisted orange metal partitions give many layers to a fun design. The design of Café Campana seems to give a nod to the impressionist artists who greatly influenced Paris and the world.
The design continues even into the menu graphics
I highly recommend the 2013 Paris Design Guide to any designer or lover of the arts. It allows you to feel the pulse of creativity in Paris in a user friendly way. I will never go to Paris without it again! Happy travels.
On my trip to Paris’ Maison et Objet show this January, I was overcome by the creativity of the French people. Art, design and architecture surround you as you walk the streets of Paris. The Maison et Objet is an international trade show where all the newest design products and ideas are presented to designers around the world. I was lucky enough to have a few days to wander around the trade rooms and displays. One of the most intriguing and memorable displays was this year’s inspirational trends show. The artists took inspiration directly from “ancestral foods” and turning them into unexpected artistic displays. Designers Scholten and Baijings created food such as lettuce, cabbage, and artichokes from only fabric and stitching. The displays looked so real you had to look twice to see that they weren’t the real thing. The time it took to create the delicate stitching on the leaves of the lettuce leaf alone is unimaginable.
Another refreshingly creative display was a wheatgrass wall display. The horizontal bands of bamboo wood inset with wheatgrass are a unique way of incorporating a “green” wall into a space not yet seen in Sacramento.
The root vegetable chandelier display was whimsical. The artist took the black color of the ceiling and continued it partially down the vegetables giving the display an unexpected depth.
The final installation at the show that really inspired me was a honeycomb vase. The vase was formed entirely from honeycomb. Behind the display was a video playing on a loop of honey bees inside a hive. With Sacramento and most of the United States facing a sudden loss in bee population, the display brought to light the importance of bees to our lives.
The Maison et Objet show was just one aspect of my most recent trip to Paris. I have many more stories to tell. Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to see more.
BEFORE – Bathing in the 80’s
AFTER – Stunning new free standing tub is a design feature!
A simple desire to replace an existing bathtub grew into a master bathroom remodel that has delighted one of my clients and given her a whole new room! Although not yet complete, these remodel photos show the dramatic differences already apparent in this work-in-progress. The beginning…
BEFORE – Old shower is outdated and feels claustrophobic
AFTER – New shower feels spacious and luxurious!
By selecting a freestanding tub and freeing the space originally filled in around a sunken tub, we opened up this corner of the bathroom. Removing the plantation shutters to let the view of the outdoor garden and natural light flood in has also lightened and enlarged the space. The middle… In the separate shower area, we also opened things up by cutting out a large section of the exterior wall and replacing a small octagonal window with a larger, oval one. Voila! Stay tuned for upcoming photos of the finished project!