A blog from Visual Jill, East Bay Interior Design

A blog from Visual Jill, East Bay Interior Design

Monday, October 31, 2011

London Shops: Decorated for Fall

by Lauran

I just returned from a week in London, taking in the markets, favorite retailers (and maybe a few pub visits too!).  The weather was crisp and it was fun to bundle up in scarves, sweaters and boots -- a nice change from our own local October heat wave.

The autumn chill set the stage for a trend I noticed in shop windows: dining tables fully decorated for inside, colder-weather entertaining. For example, The Conran Shop (one of Visual Jill's very favorites) carried out a "Dinner Is Served" theme with two very different displays: one more rustic and utilitarian (note the simple wood table, aluminum chairs and crusty bread), the other much more sleek and glamorous in black and white (complete with Saarinen Tulip Chairs and Round Table and white ceramic accents).
Another store in the Marylebone district, Skandium, showed a clean, casual table setting with a great mix of textures, colors and materials. I love the pillows displayed in the big baskets -- as if inviting us to grab one, fill our plates, and enjoy our meal on the cozy carpet.
 And inside Marylebone's La Fromagerie, I spotted this clever presentation of the season's pumpkins and gourds:

With such wonderful displays, it's a shame those Brits don't get to host Thanksgiving dinners!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Using Autumn Colors in a Modern Way

Even though it's close to 80 degrees right now in Berkeley, there's no doubt that Autumn is here. The leaves are changing colors and there are pumpkins everywhere. If you want to incorporate the gorgeous Fall golds, oranges, greens and browns into your home decor -- but dried corn husks and squash centerpieces just aren't your thing -- try these more modern ideas.
On your wall: the classic George Nelson Spindle Clock adds just a pop of orange; artwork such as Homage to the Square 1964 by Josef Albers radiates warmth.
On your floor: the on-trend chevron pattern in rich autumn colors. (From Home Decorators Collection)

Above are our own fall-colored treasures . . . throws, pillows and little accessories that we have collected over the past few years. Notice the modern mix of patterns and textures.
Finally, the October 2011 issue of Elle Decor shows the power of persimmon -- on textiles, tableware and even lamps. You can see these items online at Elle Decor.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Using What You Have (and Love)

Nothing makes your space more personal than showcasing the things you love. Artfully arranged collections of items you already own can make a big impact. For example, we recently styled a client's mantle to spotlight his fabulous collection of bells:
And in this shot from Elle Decoration, various wood and rustic objects are grouped together to form a sculpture-like display:
photography by Debi Treloar

You can also group your treasures by color, as this shot from Apartment Therapy shows:

There are no hard and fast rules for building your displays, but one helpful tip: don't try to cram every single item in a collection onto your ledge, mantle or wall. Select just enough items to be balanced within the room, and then rotate in other items every month or so to keep your collection fresh.

The next time you feel an urge to change up your space, don't buy something new; instead, take a new look at what you already have. Challenge yourself to put together a display that shows your guests who you are and where you have been.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Inspiration: Charles and Ray Eames

Here at Visual Jill, we are fans of many designers, past and present. But the duo of Charles and Ray Eames holds a special place in our hearts. The Eames' core philosophies -- that design should be for the masses, not for the elite; and that good design is important for the commonplace as well as the complex -- are truths that we try to adopt in our own work. We also use the Eames beautiful, functional pieces in our own homes and design plans.

The Eames are famous for their innovative molded-plywood techniques that led to the design and manufacturing of a line of chairs, tables and screens. While these are valuable vintage items today, they were affordable and accessible when originally created in 1945. Below, top is the Molded Plywood Lounge Chair, and bottom is the Leather and Molded-Wood Lounge Chair and Ottoman.
Here we've used the same two chairs in our design work.

Below right, you can see the Eames molded-plywood screen. On the left is another design revolution: the fiberglass-reinforced plastic armchair. It was the first one-piece plastic chair with an exposed, rather than upholstered, surface.
These plastic chairs were eventually offered in vinyl and upholstered versions as well. Below is one of our coveted blue vinyl Eames armchairs, in front of our beloved screen.
When it comes to good design, Charles Eames said, "The real questions are: Does it solve a problem? Is it serviceable? How is it going to look in ten years?" By creating furniture that could be easily mass-produced, was comfortable and still looks good over 50 years later, he met -- and surpassed -- his own requirements.

Note: If you're in LA, be sure to catch the "Living In a Modern Way" exhibition at the LA County Museum of Art, which studies California mid-century modern design -- including pieces from the Eames collection.

Eames furniture images from The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: A Legacy of Invention, published by Harry N. Abrams Inc.