Back on the Streets of Paris

March 25, 2013 | Doors

When I was in Paris a few months ago, I found myself very attracted to the large, colorful doors that mark the entrances to so many Parisian buildings.  Shades of teal, red and cobalt blue can be seen all over the city, contrasting beautifully with the neutral stone of the buildings.  I was in Paris again last week, this time traveling with my children, and I was thrilled that they too fell in love with the doors of Paris.

Paris doors colorful

This trip I still found my greatest inspiration while walking on the streets and taking in the architecture.  But this time around the pull for me was less in the colorful.  Instead I found myself looking at strong geometric details that spoke to me because their forms were so distinct relative to the traditional architecture of the buildings.  Most of the elements I was drawn to were made in metal.  Their beauty lies in the simplicity of the shapes.

Paris doors

The scale of these doors are monumental, some easily reaching 15′ in height, and these photographs do not do justice to the strength and weight of their presence.

As is usual for me, when I look at these architectural elements, I see more than just doors.  I see ways in which these design ideas can be re-interpreted, maybe as the design for a carpet, a pattern for a fabric, a door style for a cabinet, or a small emblem for the detail on a chair or other piece of furniture.  As I continue to design special pieces for my clients, I know that I will return many times to the images from my trip for inspiration.

Paris doors 2


I’m Scheming…Again!

I think I saw snowflakes over the weekend, and I am so done with winter!  But I am not letting a few flakes cloud my summery mood!  I am fully engaged in a few beach house projects right now and am loving the escape that this design process is giving me from what has been a very long winter!

blue and white beach scheme

While considering color schemes for my new projects, I am confronted by the challenge of trying to make a restful environment while at the same time avoiding doing an entire house that is “blue like the ocean”.  Blue and white is such a tried and true color combo for beach properties, and I am often asked to incorporate blue into my clients’ summer homes. For bedrooms I often use softer, lighter blues. For family and living rooms, stronger, deeper blues like turquoise and navy.   Everyone wants to see the ocean in their home in one shade or another, and when combined with off-whites and pale grays, the rooms end up feeling like a visit to the beach without having to get sandy!

But while I get the concept of wanting your weekend or summer home to be a respite, isn’t a retreat also a place you want to have fun and let loose?  I see the beach house as an opportunity to have some fun with color.  While you may want your master bedroom to be a real haven, what about the guest rooms, kids’ rooms and possibly family room?

Here are a few schemes I have been working that go against the current (ocean pun FULLY intended!):


This is a scheme I designed for a man’s study.  I started the room with the boldest of these fabrics, a linen ikat called Crystal Cove from Robert Allen.  Then I blended in some lighter teals and ivories to keep the overall palette of the room soft.  I plan to pull out the chartreuse from the main fabric as an additional accent color just for fun.

Blog Color Schemes 056

This is a scheme I pulled together a girl’s bedroom.  The combo of bright orange, yellow and red is so happy.  The main printed fabric is an indoor/outdoor fabric from Duralee — a great idea for a kid’s room since it will hold up under a ton of wear and tear.


Here’s another girl’s bedroom scheme in one of my favorite girly-yet-punchy (think I just described myself!) color combinations — orange and pink.  I started with the bold printed fabric from the king of colorful himself, Jonathan Adler.  This fabric also comes in other fantastic colors, all equally striking and fun.


This yellow, ivory, hemp and celadon scheme is something I put together for a living room.  While the starter for this room was the multi-colored linen print from Robert Allen, this fabric is likely only going to be used as a pair of chairs and maybe some throw pillows.  This fabric is more the inspiration for the color palette than anything else.  Overall the palette is subtle but not boring because I have used so many different textures and weaves.

I know I will always love the feel of a blue and white room when I walk into a beach house, but I think it’s worthwhile to explore some other options before committing to something you have seen done so many times — or at the very least adding in an accent color or two to your blue and white rooms, just to shake things up a little.

bluewhiteand orange beach scheme