Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Designing Kitchen Curtains

Little by little the Visual Vamp kitchen revamp progresses
I spy one upper cabinet door with chicken wire Alberto got done!

Come into my kitchen....AGAIN!

Revamp and renovations take a long time for a couple of reasons: Time and money. We are in the phase one portion, doing all the inexpensive DIY projects like painting and re-purposing things we already have. And since we have many other things to do, time plays a factor in our progress. The money portion will involve getting new counter tops and possibly base cabinets, a new sink and faucet, maybe a new microwave for over the stove to replace the old fan. Those things will come along as we have the money.

New curtains in the kitchen! Alert the media!

In the meantime we are already enjoying the new colors and the fresh coat of paint, and the accessories. The latest additions are the kitchen curtains!

The accent color is black
inspired by the color of the mantle

and the antique chairs with the original finish

I was inspired by a couple of things. First my friend Mitchell from Optimism and White Paint stopped by and gave me one of his brilliant predictions: Cafe curtains are coming back! After I mocked his doily granny ways, I started to think about it. Yes cafe curtains could be good, if reinterpreted in a modern way. Mitchell is a genius!

Whooooo helps you with your design decisions?
My list includes Michael Pelkey, Mitchell, Jack, Caroline,
Kellie & Maggie AND Alberto!
And of course all of the decor/design bloggers!

There are two windows in the kitchen, both oversize in the New Orleans way because of the high ceilings in most old homes. One of these windows would be perfect for a modern cafe curtain.

The first window you see when you come in the kitchen
It is in the breakfast area
I "inherited" the color of the arch way and stairs
I ran with it and chose the cabinet to reference them

The second window is in the breakfast area, and is visible to the dining room where there are silk drapes. Visually I wanted to keep these rooms connected, so I knew I would do drapes on this window. Silk was too formal, so my fabric choice is off white burlap. I like burlap for budget reasons, and for texture. It can be very Belgian when left unlined, and very elegant and practical when lined. I chose to line the burlap.

Burlap drapes in the breakfast area
The same return rod is used as in the dining room
Note the black accent of the clock

The new color choice for the kitchen is what is now being called Vamp Greige since I jumped on the gray band wagon and have been using this color not only for my home, but for customer projects too. The fireplace in the breakfast area is black, and I left it that way, and hence an accent color of black naturally occurs throughout.

You can see a "corridor of drapes" unified by neutral color

So when it came time to design the modern cafe curtain I was inspired by my friend Kellie HERE.

The gorgeous drapes in her front room used as an office are white with a black band along the edge. Her sister Maggie makes all of Kellie's drapes, so I asked Kellie if Maggie could do mine too.

Maggie made Kellie's gorgeous drapes HERE

Never let it fool you folks that it doesn't take a village for any design project. Designers never work alone. Ultimately it is your decision that you live and die by, but it is the foolish designer that doesn't welcome input from trusted colleagues during the process.

Modern cafe curtains made by Maggie Overton
Off white burlap is lined
Black linen banding and dressmaker button detail

Maggie gave me the option of rod pocket or rings. I tried the curtains first with the rod pocket. I use pieces of cut bamboo from a neighbor's yard for curtain rods.

Notice the button "tie back" on the top tier. This was an idea I had to allow light in, and Maggie ran with it. We considered lining the curtain with a fun print, or even all black, and in the end Maggie decided to keep it clean and simple letting the lining act as another texture.

The modern cafe curtain with bamboo rod and pole pockets

I like the pole pockets, but I wanted to try the curtains with the more traditional rings. There's something about cafe curtains and rings that just says France to me.

Old brass rods got a light coat of bronze spray paint

I had the rods and rings in my arsenal of stylist's equipment collected over the years, and just gave the rods a quick light spray paint of bronze.

I love love love my new kitchen curtains!
So French except for the banana trees ha ha

The black band is yet another black accent, playing off the other black accents in the room, and I think really unifies them visually in a very chic dressmaker way.

I opted for rings over pole pockets on the modern cafe curtains

The off white burlap is a great texture, and another neutral color that adds a tonal quality and depth. I could have gone greige in my fabric choice, but I wanted a little contrast.

The modern cafe curtains tailored with dressmaker details

Of course the rings are easier to use too, and they also play back to the rings on the pinch pleated drapes in the breakfast area.

Visual Vamp kitchen with the modern cafe curtain
Note how the black banding references other black accents

So there you have my Monday Mini Metamorphosis! Go on over to Susan's Between Naps On The Porch HERE to see what some other bloggers are doing on Mondays there.

Button detail on top tier of the cafe curtain
I am so honored that Maggie used vintage buttons
that belonged to her grandmother

If you would like Maggie Overby to make curtains, drapes, bedding, pillows - anything custom for your home, contact her HERE.

You can take your own measurements, and ship her the fabric, and magically you will get your beautiful finished project in the mail. Custom is not as cost prohibitive as you think, and it just adds that extra detail that all visual vamps appreciate.

PS I purchase most of my fabric for my projects from Fabric.com
They have excellent choices, the BEST prices, and friendly and very helpful customer service.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I Am New Orleans HERE
And for something personal go HERE

Thank you everyone for remembering New Orleans.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Year Of Emily

Emily makes over Glee co-creator Ian Brennan's home

Emily Henderson has the whole world in her hands. Well at least a couple of globes she is considering to use for her a project for her first HGTV show premiering Sunday (9 PM Central, 10 PM Eastern) August 29, called Secrets From A Stylist.

One her secrets seems to involve globes, so in her honor I did round up of some globe images for you.

Visual Vamp uses a vintage globe on a French chest HERE

Globes have been used as decor objects forever. They are probably one of the prettiest scientific tools to crossover into interior design.

Antique globes were highly prized for posh studies and libraries in the home, but since using vintage objects is so ingrained in the way we decorate, vintage globes have been a staple in mod hipster rooms too. And vamp granny rooms. And fancy designer rooms. And most importantly, your rooms.

House Beautiful

To keep a globe stylish do not use those hideous ones made from semi precious gem stones.
For some reason guys like buy these expensive fugly globes. In fact most new globes are tricky. Vintage (or vintage style) and antique globes work better for our purposes.

Step away from the fugly gemstone globe

How do you all use globes? On your desk? Do you have a globe collection? Do you think globes are lame and over used? They've been around since ancient times, so I think they qualify as a classic that's here to stay. Maybe you have one from your school days in the back of a closet, and it's time to get it out. Kids love globes, and they are great to use in their rooms.

Joni Webb's famous globe collection

A vintage style globe at Hazelnut in New Orleans

Ralph Lauren style vignette using a globe

Globe from a favorite shop of Sketch 42

Blackboard style globe

Vintage globe collection

Book shelf filled with a globe collection

Open shelves with a globe collection

from Velvet and Linen HERE

Back to Emily -

Emily has been giving us a great diary of her whole experience on her blog The Brass Petal, which I fear is going to be taken over by HGTV in some way. Maybe they have to control creative content, and/or Emily will not have the personal time she has spent with us since she started her blog.

She tells us this on her blog: "Two years ago I was struggling to get clients in LA after moving from New York. I was kinda bored and we weren't exactly Scrooge McDucking it in money. But I woke up January 1st, 2010 with less fear than I've ever had. This was my year, I could feel it. I started a style blog (hello), auditioned for a reality competition show, and its turned out to be one of the best years of my life."

What resonates in all of us with Emily is that we have that blog connection to her. She's one of us and she has really made the big time, and we are very proud of her, and hopeful that if she can do it, maybe we can do it too.

As she takes on the world, some things will get left behind, like maybe The Brass Petal.

I know we all wish her the best of everything in this Year of Emily!!!!

Watch her show Sunday night, and send her some Tweets and comments on her blog.

Visual Vamp vintage globe

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Visual Vamp Style File - Secrets From A Stylist

private residence
Visual Vamp Stylist

Recently I had to pull together some images of my work for an architect looking for a stylist.

private residence
Visual Vamp Stylist

I chose a few from images I had on hand. I have boxes of photos from my New York design days, but no time or will to scan them. Digital photography has changed the way we present a portfolio.

perch. shop display
Visual Vamp Stylist

What part do I have as a stylist in the finished product?

perch. shop display
Visual Vamp Stylist

Most times the room has been designed, and I am called in to give it life.

Art In Bloom
Visual Vamp Concept and Styling

Other times the concept is mine.

private residence
Visual Vamp Stylist

Photo styling is one type of work I do. I also style a finished project for interior designers and architects for their final reveal to the client. I also do private residential styling, where a person calls me in to look at their rooms, and pull them together by using what they have and choosing new pieces as well. I am starting to get opportunities to do movie work, which is pretty awesome. And of course, I do store displays regularly.

private residence
Visual Vamp Stylist
This bedding had to go

I choose all the objects, rearrange furniture, and hang art. I also work with the budgets for rentals, purchases, loans, deliveries, etc.

private residence
Visual Vamp Stylist

I meet with editors and designers to see what they have in mind, and then I liason with shop owners to borrow things. I pack it and arrange for delivery to a location.

private residence
Visual Vamp Stylist

At the site I organize the merchandise, and work with the photographer on the number of shots needed and the order they need to be done in, and also the time frame we have do them in.

private residence
Visual Vamp Stylist

Then I pack it all up and get it back to the places I borrowed it all from, and make sure the space we worked in is put back as it was, and left clean.

perch. shop display
Visual Vamp Stylist

In the case of a an architect or designer using me for finishing touches, I do a walk through with them at the beginning at the end of a job. If a client is keeping the things I pull, I invoice them and make sure the shops are promptly paid for both purchases and rentals.

private residence
Visual Vamp Stylist

After everything as been returned or purchased, I follow-up with a thank you note to my vendors, and those who hired me.

private residence
Visual Vamp Stylist

I also make sure the editors and the writers have all the details needed for proper photo caption credit, or editorial mention.

private residence
Visual Vamp Stylist

I love stylist work, because it is the cherry on the sundae of a design project. It is hard work, but it is so fun to do so many diverse projects, and I am good at being able to see a room, a set, a display, or whole house, and know exactly what it needs and where to get it.

private residence
Visual Vamp Stylist

I also have an excellent sense of composing things for the camera. Seeing a room through the lens is a different experience than seeing it in real life.

private residence
Visual Vamp Stylist

I am so happy for Emily Henderson, a stylist and a blogger, getting her own HGTV show "Secrets From A Stylist" starting this Sunday August 29. Let's give her some fierce blogger love and support and get the word out about her show, and help make it a huge success! Read her heartfelt post about winning HERE

In this day and age of cutting budgets more editors are called upon to style photo shoots themselves. I'm hoping the importance of going the extra mile to hire a stylist is enhanced by Emily making a large audience aware of what it takes to be a stylist. That and a better economy.

Magazine cover mock up
Visual Vamp Stylist HERE

As a home owner, hire a stylist to come and look at your space. You will be amazed at how they will be able to freshen it up.

And designers and architects do add a stylist to your team to bring life to your projects.

Stylists are a bridge to interior design, architecture, photography, and merchandising.