Q: Hi Louise…I’ve traveled a lot and have a lot of exotic decor that I’d like to work into my cozy, traditional home. Masks, vases, etc. (what’s the pt. of having them if I don’t show them off?) I’m willing to switch up fabrics etc. in my living spaces to work with these pieces; right now they’re floral and clash horribly But I don’t want my look to be too tribal…I don’t like exotic patterns either. I also have a lot of antiques furniture from a shop my grandmother owned before she died…some Stickly etc. What do you advise on upholstery? -Colleen
A: Hi Colleen. I’m the same as you – I love to pick up souvenirs from my travels, but you have to do two things in order for them to work at home:
- Be brutal. You can’t display everything, or your living room will feel like a tourist store. Choose your absolute favorite pieces, and let them take center stage.
- Instead of switching up your whole color scheme to accommodate these eclectic artifacts (the room could look too busy this way), keep the fabrics and walls a calmer, more neutral color palate.
Great examples of this are the Soho Houses located around the world, that often have warm taupe, exposed brick, or wooden paneling on the walls. I also love the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs for their approach of mixing up global objects. I stayed in a beautiful room with African masks all over the walls, and although there were contrasting pieces of art, vases and pieces of furniture, the walls and sheets were white, creating a simple, clean backdrop.
Image: Soho House Berlin
How to Balance Vintage and Modern
Q: Hi Louise! I have a 1920′s dinning room set which I love! But my husband likes a more modern look. What are some elements I can bring into my room to balance out the more traditional feel of the set? -Michelle
A: Dear Michelle, I love bright colored walls in a dining room, it creates an ambience perfect for a raucous dinner party. Test out a few different shades: everything from burgundy to sea foam looks fantastic behind tables and chairs. One of my favorite accessories at the moment is a retro cocktail cart. It’s very Mad Men, but also very chic and a useful place to neatly display your dining set, so they’re subtly on-show and don’t dominate the room. Find yours at a bargain online at FirstDibs. I love to see vintage mixed with modern, so look at the modern art or photography you could mount on the walls to give the room an avant-garde edge. Also, where you mount the frames is key: look to create a gallery wall by starting from the center and working outwards. Don’t be afraid to put pictures close together, here’s an example of what I mean.
Image: Domaine Home
Vintage Pieces in the Home
Q: How do you determine what the limit of antique pieces in a modern room should be, before you hit a too much of an antiquated Romanesque/gothic feel? -Alexandra
A: Dear Alexandra, there’s no set rule – Dita von Teese’s house is a homage to your theme and it looks fantastic, but it’s not for everyone. Personally, I’d say more than 4-5 ‘retro’ pieces in one room, will start to feel like a film set. It’s the same for me and fashion: I stick to one vintage item per outfit, or I feel like I’m playing a character. Break up the old fashioned, gothic pieces with modern-day objects: fresh flowers, a scented candle, coffee table books, limes in a bowl, and a cozy cashmere blanket draped over a chair.
Image: Mason... Like the Jar
Meet This Week's Expert: Jamie Adler
Jamie Adler is President, CEO, and Brand Director of Phyllis Morris Originals, one of the foremost manufacturers of custom high-end furnishings in the world. A design graduate from UCLA, Jamie has had a lifelong passion for all things with style and flair. She is one of the founders of the West Hollywood Design District and serves as the Vice-Chair.
This Week's Topic: Mixing High and Low Budget Design on Residential projects
Jamie will be answering your questions about where to spend money and where to save it.