Monday, October 31, 2011

Are You A Vampire or A Zombie?

I have always loved vampire movies. I loved Anne Rice novels.  Not so much zombies. Not glam enough. Except for maybe the ones in the Michael Jackson 'Thriller' video and recently in the "Thriller" number in the movie 'This Is It".

The latest obsession with both vampires and zombies is kind of crazy.

Anyway, The New York Times had a funny article about vampires and zombies in the Sunday magazine HERE

Steve Jobs - vampire, Bill Gates - zombie.

I am clearly a vampire, duh The Visual Vamp. I chose the name of this blog because of the vampire connection here in New Orleans, and because I devour, with my eyes, the visual details that bombard me.

Anyway, Happy Halloween! And pray tell, are you a vampire or a zombie?

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Crazy weather in some parts making for a snowy Halloween. Here in New Orleans, a cold front has arrived, making it feel like the perfect Fall day, sunny and brisk. Lots of Halloween parties happening here this weekend, and a rock festival (VooDoo Fest).

Friends sent this cute photo of their kids in the pumpkin patch

Trick or Treaters have dried up on our urban street. Most parents take their kids to parties, or gated communities. My sister told me about one she went to called 'Trunk or Treat", where cars circle up in a parking lot. Each person decorates the trunk of their car and everyone brings a ton of treats, and the kids costume, and go from car to car to trick or treat. About 50 cars showed up. There were games too. Sounds like the prefect kiddie tail gate party!

I'm still working on the bedroom, but will take a break to go to a Halloween tango party with Alberto.

What are you doing this weekend? Hope it's a happy one!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

What Do You Really Think

New words seem to creep into accepted usage faster than ever. Social network jargon crosses over into everyday speech faster than street and pop music slang (like rap slang). The urge to brand everything, and be clever seems universal whether you are a blogger or a high paid media maven.

So it is no surprise that new words and jargon make it way into the our world of interior design. We no longer buy knicknacks to decorate with, we "curate" a collection. At last look curate used a noun means a church clergyman, and used as a verb means to act as curator curate a museum, or curated by the museum's director. I thought the idea is to not make our homes feel like some sort of sterile museum.

Another catchy word bandied about these days is tastemaker. This word came into vogue in 1954, and has been lately revived by online selling sites. A tastemaker is one who sets the standards of what is currently popular or fashionable.

The shopping sites are the stuff of fantasy. There is usually nothing there that you couldn't find on your own, and on sale somewhere. Designers place their old stock or mishaps (everyone makes something that doesn't work out, everyone has fabric swatches and end pieces) on tastemaker sites. They are sometimes asked to create a collection for a specific promotion. 

It was amusing to watch the big name designers on BRAVO"s Million Dollar Decorators shop the marketplace to "curate" their collections for One Kings Lane. Flea market finds were pronounced a bargain at prices in the hundreds of dollars. 

I like fantasy browsing as much as the next person. Part of the creative process is aspirational. I can only wonder who are the shoppers on these sites. When you see "SOLD" brandished across items you know you could find on Craigslist, or at any second hand store (such as Goodwill or any version of such that exists where you live), or at a good estate sale, and then the curated items have huge price tags, you wonder who is participating in this retail feeding frenzy. And let's not forget, this stuff is supposed to be on sale! The main lure on these sites is that we mere mortals get to shop fancy stuff on sale in a private shopping club.

Is there some cachet, some magic I am missing? 

The most interesting sale on OKL was the Bloggers Tastemaker Sale. I love all those bloggers. I am a blogger. But really, the prices were so unblogger like. Does being a tastemaker make you get expensive?

I am not a cheapskate by any means. When I can afford something expensive that warrants the price tag, I save up for it, and perhaps I get it. Some things will always remain out of reach, but this never prevents me from making pretty rooms whether for myself or for someone else.

So do you shop the tastemaker sites? There are so many of them now: One Kings Lane, Fab, Gilt, Rue La La, Ideeli, Joss and Main, etc.

In the spirit of getting real, I did my own Tastemaker Sale over at Houzz.  
It's for mere mortals like you and me. We're not poor, but we're not rich, and we certainly know how to shop for a real bargain, or for something that really goes on sale. So go on over and check it out. Some of the comments there are interesting.

There's also an interesting post on this subject by another blogger HERE

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Geometric Print Couch

We've seen a lot of bold prints on settees and chairs over the years. And more and more we are seeing prints on couches. The geometric print seems to work the best, and a classic smaller scale tight back sofa, like a Camel Back is the perfect shape.

Here's a round up of images to inspire you.  Would you do it? I think it would be a great choice! Prints show dirt and wear and tear less, and they certainly add energy and pizazz. Doing one on a sofa, usually the largest piece of upholstered furniture in the room, makes for a great piece of design real estate.

via House of Turquoise

The before of the sofa in boring brown - I think the ottoman was a good influence -via House of Turquoise

Here's the room again with a great mix of geometric prints - via House of Turquoise

The famous Ruthie Sommers couch from the cover of Domino - this is the geometric that set the standard

Red Greek Key style print sofa - photo by Valorie Hart

Black geometric print on sofa - via Decorpad

Green Ikat style print looks so fresh

Black and cream bold damask print - photo by Valorie Hart, interior design Bruce McNally

My white leather Camel Back is calling me....

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Miles Redd Green

It all started with the bedroom ceiling falling down. Why not refresh the whole room with a new paint job since the ceiling had to be repainted.  Go HERE to read about the beginning of this project.

Fixing the ceiling leads to a new paint job for the whole room

What color? The walls are a pretty blue gray, but a change was needed. The initial inspiration was Sarah Silverman's bedroom done by FORM -  Interior Design Los Angeles. It is green. When I went to the FORM web site, I found the SS bedroom in their portfolio. The green was very different than that shown in the magazine (InStyle October 2011).

Sarah Silverman's bedroom done by FORM from their web portfolio - The color green is much softer and pastel than the editorial in InStyle, but the actual paint swatch is much darker - InStyle pushed the color to a more yellow green - The paint color is actually has more blue in it - it really looks like its namesake "Spring Juniper"

But the Veranda cover that launched a thousand dreams of green rooms, was the November/December 2010 issue with the interior design by Miles Redd. Thankfully my friend Mitchell saved his copy. We both agreed that the best bet would be to take the magazine to the paint store and have the color mixed to match.

Miles Redd Green

In the meantime, I got in touch with Miles Redd, and Rafael Kalichstein and Joshua Rose from FORM. And all of them graciously answered my color questions.

Miles Redd said the color on the cover was not like the actual room, and when everyone at the office saw the cover they were quite surprised. The actual color was custom mixed following the instructions Miles gave the painter to create the green of a magnolia leaf. He sent me an un-retouched photo of the room, and even with computer screen discrepancies you can see a big difference.

The photo Miles Redd sent showing the color of the room more like it really is before the art department at Veranda pushed it - It is far more traditional in its hue - Miles Redd calls the color Magnolia Leaf

Magnolia Leaf has much more blue, than the yellow green on the cover. I asked if there were requests to recreate the popular cover color, and there have been, but so far Miles has not done it. He suggested I take the magazine to the paint store if I wanted the cover color.

With cover in hand I marched off the Helm Paint on Magazine Street, where Tania is the number one mixologist. After a couple of tries, she mixed a color that matched the mid tone on the cover. The formula is now on file at Helm as Miles Redd Green.

All the greens - note the turquoise drapes I would like to still use with the new wall color

A closer look at the three greens, and the magazine clippings that inspired them - Top is SS in InStyle - the smaller swatch on the right is the actual color the designers chose - the color next to it is the color I had mixed to match the Veranda cover - the big swatch of Kelly Green is wild, but in some ways works the best in the room

The burlap covered accent wall will remain - Here's how Miles Redd Green stacks up against it

I also had Tania mix a color the guys at FORM told me they used for Sarah Silverman, a color by Dunne Edwards called Spring Juniper (DEA128). I also got a sample pot of a true Kelly Green (Benjamin Moore Kelly Green 2037-30 from the Color Preview fan deck). I had also clipped Nick Olsen's small apartment featured in House Beautiful where a Kelly Green chevron stripe dresser caught my eye.

Love this green which made me get a sample of a true Kelly Green - Nick Olson in House Beautiful

The whole room by Nick Olsen - I even had Helm Paint match the color of the walls from the magazine, and put a swatch on my walls - It didn't work for me - I didn't want another version of a soft blue

I painted swatches of the three greens on each of the four walls. There is only one window in the room, so each wall shows color very differently. I would of course, paint the ceiling and trim the same color as well, so the room would be wrapped in green. We lived with the swatches for a week. Daytime was fine, and at night all but the Kelly Green turned black.

All three greens on my walls, with Nick Olsen inspiration - the top is Miles Redd Green, the middle Spring Juniper, and the bottom Kelly Green

In the meantime, I acquired a generous promise of fabulous Louis St. Lewis painting soon to come my way. It has a wonderful splash of red in it, and it is a large piece that would look wonderful over the bed. I sent off for a swatch of Schumacher Nanjing fabric in Jade, inspired by what Tobi Fairley did in a show house. I want to do a headboard with this fabric.

Schumacher Nanjing Toile in Jade with Miles Redd Green paint swatch, and a photo of the new rug

Other ideas include repainting the nightstands, getting some new lamps and shades, and hanging the flat screen on the wall eliminating the armoire it now sits in, freeing up floor space for a sitting area. Ideally it would be wonderful to keep the turquoise silk drapes. The room Miles Redd shows has blue chairs that compliment the green walls. I also want to change out the sea grass rug, and got a bright chevron pattern rug (see the mood board).

Visual Vamp mood board for the master bedroom - Louis St. Lewis painting in upper left corner

This is the first time I am taking so much time with color. Usually I see a paint chip, and instantly know it will work. Stay tuned...

Anyway, anyone have a favorite of all the greens?

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lia Molly Bringing Jobs To New Orleans

Everywhere there is a feeling of helplessness regarding the economy and the dire job situation. The problems are so huge, and seem to not have one solution, one magic answer, one instant fix. It is easy to slide into depression and become paralyzed.

So when a friend sent me the story of Lia Molly, a design firm here in New Orleans, I was like wow, this is one great way to mobilize. Take a look at this quick video link HERE

Lia Molly
What a great way to bring industry to New Orleans, teach a trade, create jobs, and provide a made in the USA product.

Suggest using this idea to others!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Modern Victorian

Coming from the heyday of the 1960's and 1970's, the era I call The Modern Victorian, I see a tremendous influence currently steering today's design choices. Back then there was an exuberance and fearlessness, where color and layering and mixing furnishings was done without much angst. Most people decorated on their own, but even the professional decorators of the times embraced a certain joie d'vivre that matched the times that were "a-changing".

The 1970's - Look at this Mommy and son! Love the pattern and the mirror looks like my big girl glasses!

Much like the Victorians one hundred years before, the Modern Victorians mixed patterns and collections of possesions with a certain abandon. Many pieces of hundred year old Victorian furniture appeared alongside of plastic blow-up furniture and art work by a new artists like Andy Warhol. Victorian furniture was cheap then (as it is now having fallen out of fashion to the newer mid century modern "antiques"). Old granny pieces got a face lift with a bright coat of paint on the frame, and a reupholster with some groovy fabric.

Designers and home decorators today have embraced the Modern Victorian look once again. One of the best is Emily Henderson, who deftly shows the inner workings of her free wheeling stylist's mind on her HGTV show "Secrets From A Stylist".

Emily Henderson is a Modern Victorian

Emily loves things from the 1970's and tirelessly shops the flea markets and vintage shops for pieces to mix in and layer with modern furnishings. The effect always reflects the client and their taste and quirks, and the rooms are never boring, and often pretty and inviting.

Modern Victorian Truman Capote at home in the 1970's

Having come of age in the golden era of The Modern Victorians, my touchstones were people like Gloria Vanderbilt, Truman Capote, Lee Radizwill, Bonnie Cashin, and places like the 1970's furniture department at Bloomingdales, The Factory, and swinging London.

Modern Victorian Gloria Vanderbilt at home in the 1970's - Do you think she and Truman discussed quilt patterns?

Another view of the Modern Victorian living room of Gloria Vanderbilt
Bonnie Cashin's studio back in the heyday of the Modern Victorian

Modern Victorian Bonnie Cashin loved making Graffiti walls

Modern Victorian Lee Radziwill - circa 1970's

Lee Radziwill circa 2009 as seen in Elle Decor

A Mod Vic straight from the pages of the new book Undecorate

Hello. My name is Valorie Hart and I am a Modern Victorian - I recently covered a wall with fabric HERE

I have these sweet mannequin heads bookmarked, and they make me think of the the heyday of the Modern Victorian.  You can buy them HERE.

Couldn't you see these in your Mod Vic home now?

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cat House Round Up

Aw kitty cats and puppies! I love when bloggers do their pets-on-furniture round-ups. Today is Kitty Kitty Bang Bang's first birthday! We adopted her from a rescue organization eight months ago HERE. She has provided mucho fun for Cholo, and many laughs for us, and so much cuddling. So in honor of KKBB, I give you a round-up of cats in pretty places found at design blossom.

Kitty Kitty Bang Bang is one year old today! photo by Valorie Hart

And once again here is Kitty Kitty Bang Bang on her first birthday - photo by Valorie Hart

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