Sunday, October 28, 2012

Decorating Your Home With Black

Anyone who know me can attest to the fact that I like black. I love black clothing, cars, AND black interiors. To me black is like white is to most people, it goes with everything. Decorating with black makes colors come alive, brings drama to a room, has that timeless appeal, and is oh so elegant. I use a touch of black in about every room I design. Last year I went shopping with a client to buy an oriental rug for her living room. She went immediately to the lighter colored backgrounds and when I asked why, her response was " I don't know, don't they go better with everything"? Her room DEMANDED the dramatic effect a rug with a black background would offer, so I dragged her kicking and screaming out of the light rug section and proceeded to say those two words a client sometimes hates to hear...."trust me". The rug we purchased is black with all those beautiful muted shades of red, cream, green, and blue that you see in the rugs with cream backgrounds. Her room came alive!! There have been numerous times that this woman has thanked me because she (and all her guests)love the effect that the black rug created in the room. Be opened minded, consider decorating with black in your interiors!


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The quintessential icon of elegance. When you think Audrey Hepburn, you think of  classic black. Interiors decorated with black can be so elegant when done well.

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This is a perfect example of how touches of black can add sophistication to a room. The trick to decorating with black is to not go too heavy with the color in any one spot. When decorating with black you must balance out the color by scattering it around the room a bit. 

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Decorating with black walls can be intimidating and end up looking dark and dead. An alternative I like is to create beautiful black lacquered walls that reflect light and look alive and energized.

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Decorating with black can be done through the use of accessories. You don't have to saturate your space in the color.

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Black woodwork is a good idea if you are interested in decorating with black. It is stunning against the right kind of wall treatment. A small room might be the place to start and this tortoise shell papered room is the perfect example.

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When decorating with black, gold  can be your best friend.

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I love decorating with black because of the drama it creates, especially when used with lovely accent colors.


This great space is decorated with cool black accents. Pillows, especially animal prints, are a good way to add touches of black without going overboard.


The kitchen is a great room to experiment with when decorating with black.


Classically designed rooms look very elegant when decorated with black. The black and white combination  is a perennial favorite.


The sofa's black Greek Key border and the fabulous patterned rug bring this room to life. Add touches of hot pink and green and you can see how much fun decorating with black can be.

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A harlequin floor is always a good choice if you plan to decorate with black. Black is now also a trendy color for painting furniture and trim work.

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Well said Jan Showers!!

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When decorating with black try using vivid colors. They are so pretty when used with black...it makes them pop!

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This kitchen, totally decorated in black, is certainly kept from being drab by the addition of pops of blue and white.

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If you are considering decorating with black, don't forget black and white stripes......so crisp and chic.

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I adore painted furniture and this black bed is exquisite.

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A Valentine table setting by Lisa Farmer Designs, decorated in black, gold and red. The homeowner's needlepoint pillows, sculpture, and shield chair add in just the right amount of black.



As you can see red and aqua are good compliments to black accents.


If you are decorating in black, aqua, turquoise, and grey all are good colors to accent the black.

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There is something about decorating with black that has the power to add refined sophistication to a space.

If you want a classical tone to your interiors, decorating with touches of black is almost a mandate.


This is a fun bistro style kitchen I did in black and white with red accents for a client that wanted to decorate with black in small doses. Of course I had to include Miss Hepburn!!.

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There are lovely combinations to choose from as coordinating colors when decorating with black. Olive and gold are one such combo.

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Another trick to decorating with black is to think of it as the neutral it is.  Try painting only one wall and creating a beautiful vignette in front of it.

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Nothing works better than decorating with sleek, modern, black accents if you want to update a traditional interior.

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Decorating with black is a good idea for the French Country look. The black accents and distressed cream cabinets in this kitchen are so pretty against the weathered floor.


Many people are afraid to decorate with black because they consider black a dull color and think their room will look drab. I think this image proves them wrong.



Friday, October 26, 2012

Decorating With Bees........ It's Very French!



This past summer while sitting in the backyard, I started remembering how when I was young, the clover flowers were always covered with bees. I can't tell you how many times I was stung on the feet or toes because I loved to go barefoot. As I sat there I started looking for bees. I only counted five as far as I could see surrounding me. I knew there was a problem because I have see the numbers decrease over the past few years, but it really disturbed and saddened me that I may be watching the extinction of a species.

This is my tribute to the bee, and being a design blog, it will of course focus on how to decorate your interiors with them. Enjoy, and I hope you get some ideas!!




L'abeille - The bee. This black lacquered sign was once posted on the door of a French store. Long a symbol of French royalty, the bee was the model for the fleur de lys.  


Napoleon chose the bee as his personal symbol.There are several theories of how this came about. One interesting theory is when he overthrew the French government and took up residence in the Royal Palace at Tuileries, he refused to spend money on new decor. However, he could not allow the curtains - with their embroidered fleur-de-lis, (the French Royal emblem), to continue to hang in the windows of the palace. His solution was to have the rich and elegant velvet drapes turned upside down. The inverted symbol of the overthrown monarchy looked like a bee. 






Interesting honeycomb patterned door.




There are beautiful bee inspired accessories in home decor stores that will add a touch of "french" to your home.




A gorgeous antique embroidered  piece with the bee symbol next to a crown.  (perhaps from the court of Napoleon)


Bee skeps are a popular design element. They are wonderful when used in outside garden areas.


Honey was originally collected from the bees’ nest in hollow trees. To make collecting the honey much easier artificial nests for the honey bees to live in were made. Before wooden hives came into use, European and British beekeepers used inverted straw or wicker baskets called a “skep”. Skeps are baskets placed open end down with a small hole at the bottom for the bees to enter.




Skeps are pretty to use as table decorations.


Vintage honey jars shaped like skeps.


Bee skeps can even be used in interiors as chandeliers.








Take a moment to watch this young man play Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee. It is INCREDIBLE!






There is a variety of bee themed fabrics on the market today that are gorgeous when used to upholster furniture.........


or use as window treatments.


Lovely antique dish!


I collect miniature French Limoges porcelain boxes so this hand painted bee one caught my eye.




Beeswax... a wonderful product we can thank bees for!

The color of beeswax comprising a comb is at first white and then darkens with age and use. This is especially true if it is used to raise brood. Pigmentation in the wax can result in colors ranging from white, through shades of yellow, orange, and red all the way to brown.


Bees even show up in jewelry!




Incredible bee embellished antique dress!




A BIG thank you to the bees for this yummy treat!!






Don't forget bee inspired craft projects!


Vintage art.


Old honey tins are great for a county style interior.

Increasingly each spring, beekeepers open their hives to find entire colonies wiped out. But beekeepers aren't the only ones who are worried - bees pollinate at least a third of the world's crops. If the dramatic decline in worldwide bee populations continues, essential food crops could disappear, along with entire ecosystems. The Strange Disappearance of the Bees is a frightening expose (and one we should all see) on the massive deaths of bees recently sweeping the world. Bringing together the latest scientific research, this documentary explores the constellation of factors causing dramatic colony collapses in beehives around the world.  If they go in sufficient numbers.......


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