The Cool House: Design Day

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Design Day

So you know how you start with one thing, say re-upholstering a distressed pink sofa, and then because you changed the colour you have to pick a new rug and pillow fabric and the next thing you know you've picked a wallpaper for the powder room and you're having a full-on argument with your other half about who has the better design ethics - in front of the professional with the credentials, taste level and portfolio to render any disagreement moot, the Awesome Designer for instance. You know that sort of a day? Well, that was my Monday.

The Awesome Designer, who does have a real name - Julie Napoleon Brown, and whose work you can see here, here and here - was devoting a few hours of her precious, much sought-after design time to take me rug shopping. Somehow that developed into a full-on entire day, including many hours spent pulling fabrics at Kravet's Long Island showroom.

Surprisingly, it was this square Chinese Chippendale carpet that made me gasp: coup de foudre, coup de coeur. It wasn't the colour we were looking for, nor the shape and certainly didn't read updated sixties chic -but it just leapt out at me and straight into my arms.

The Awesome Designer set to work pulling co-ordinating pillow fabrics like this Barclay Butera Chinese inspired print as well as more retro weaves and blocks of bright blues and greens and terracottas that would marry the cool blue of the sectional with the warm tones of the rug.

I got so carried away I suggested we look for a kick-ass wallpaper for the powder room and foyer - because you cannot expect that a newly-waxed floor in the great room onto which you've placed a sensual gold and terracotta rug surrounded by a freshly upholstered slate-blue sectional accented with one-of-kind cushions, will distract from the primer-over-wallpaper-base walls in the entrance hall, now can you? It would be more warthog with designer pearls than lipstick on a pig.

We hauled one rug home, plus two bags containing samples for a uniquely-coloured custom rug, fabrics for both options and a dozen or so wallpapers. Then we layed it all out in the great room to see what would work and what wouldn't. When we had it paired down to a cohesive design board we cracked open a bottle of white and awaited the arrival of The Guy who enthusiastically approved the rug and most of the pillow fabrics (including weirdly a zebra print we had put aside as a no-go) and out-right vetoed our paper choice (copper, black, gold and silver elms on a dark background that looks stunning in situ) saying he didn't want to feel like he was walking through a forest every time he went upstairs. Really interwebs, wouldn't you want to trip through the trees on your way to bed?

Anyway, another contender Grasses by Mulberry, and one that I really think would be more like weaving through a forest didn't make the cut either. The Guy's choice -walking through a town - is obviously not going to happen. We brought over The Loyal Blog Reader to mediate - but he wisely refused to get involved. Right now were are at an impasse on the foyer but, concentrating on the positive, we have a rug and pillow fabrics and the sectional will be back home next week. And, more importantly, I had a "girl in a sweet-shop" sort of day shopping with the best and most patient designer around.


Nadine @ BDG said...

I love the Fornisetti illustrations-- I'm not sure for your place-- but in general. Have you thought about something more Scandinavian influenced? It is a mod place after all-- and you and the Guy are pretty darn mod, too.

modernemama said...

I actually find Fornasetti faces deeply sad but I love all the Il Sole, Cordel and Malachite patterns. The Scandinavian stuff is too cool-toned for this house - there's more of a western-prairie/California modern influence here with all the dark walnut and redwood going on. I'm also very taken with this Charcoal & Gold Barbara Hulanicki designed wallpaper for Graham and Brown. Maybe I'm just English modern?

Nadine @ BDG said...

Good point about the tones-- I love that wall paper you linked-- kind of insects meet art nouveau (?) And if I hadn't just come in from the elementary school holiday concert (lawd have mercy) I'd do some surfing for wallpaper. A fun design problem to have, bickering notwithstanding.

Jen said...

Wallpaper is difficult.
The comment about designer pearls made me laugh, and I like the rug.

Sounds like a draining yet exciting day.

heidi said...

Love the wallpaper. Gotta keep it interesting, I say. What is the tree silouette thing for? A paper or a rug?

Soma Pradhan said...

What a gorgeous day you had! This profession rarely operates in a linear fashion. I LOVE the rug! Not to mention the wallpaper *drools!*

modernemama said...

Tree is a wallpaper - is/was for foyer and up front stairs...