Sun, surf, mountains, color, new terrain! We cannot pretend that COVID-19 is over, and many countries and individuals are still struggling with very real pandemic-related concerns and limitations, but we are finally seeing a peek of sunshine and hope after over 14 months of confinement, fear, and a complete lack of the ability to travel anywhere much beyond our backyards, local woods, or other nearby venues.
I recently went through some of my own travel photos, as a fun way to travel back in time and relive some great memories of exploring Iceland with my younger daughter. The country had such varied and fascinating typography and geological features, so I was able to come back from my journey full of new ideas and ways of combining colors in my interior palettes. The primarily (at first glance) subdued color palette below lent itself to creating the inspiration for a beautiful living room that I designed for a client.
Drawing on this landscape, I put together a room with a soft, icy grey/blue velvet sectional, and introduced a beautiful fabric for the window treatments and pillows that combined the warm taupe color of the sandy earth, the soft, mossy green of the mountains in the background, with the beautiful blue/greys and creams found in the rest of this Iceberg filled landscape.
With the joy that comes from a new outlook, and the ability to return to some travel, many of us are returning to planning trips near and far. I have always found great inspiration from the journeys I have been able to take, and these adventures always feed my creativity and inspire me. Drawing on the colors, patterns, textural aspects of the art and design of other cultures is always fun, and results in creating interiors that are bold, beautiful and visually rich.
One of my favorite furniture and fabric companies is Kravet, Inc. Kravet has collections from many different designers, and (as a result) you can find everything from Native American inspired navajo patterned fabrics to the classic, gloriously colored french toiles from the 18th century fabric house, Brunschwig & Fils. So, whether you want your room to feel like you have travelled to the American West, the rainforests of Brazil, or to Marie Antoinette’s chambers at Versaille, you can find your perfect fabrics, finishes and source of inspiration!
Besides the obvious appeal of palm trees along the water at dusk, my designer’s eye notices the gorgeous contrast between the rosy pink of the sky and clouds, and the prominent green of the palm trees. Translating this to an interior space might lead me to install a fun pink and green palm patterned wallpaper, such as this fabulous one from Brunschwig & Fils! Isn’t it fun?!
Kravet’s sojourn collection has a wonderful array of fabrics, rugs and furniture that remind us of other places and perspectives. I enjoy using unexpected fabrics to evoke a certain feeling, place or texture. For example, the Malachite fabric, which comes in multiple colors, is a dramatic, modern way to bring in an abstracted, cool texture and reference the look of open geodes.
I would use this one for pillows in a dramatic, contemporary man’s study or home office! The fun tropical bird fabric, and the exotic leaf patterned fabric, both from Kravet’s fabric collections, are playful and vibrant, and would instantly transport me to the tropics or rainforests of central or South America! The last image (the multi-colored rug) is a wonderful rug (aptly titled rainforest) which brings the color vibrancy of these tropical forests to life in its palette of aqua blues, acid greens, yellows, and more muted greens and grays.
The image above shows how deftly a high contrast palette of the red/green complements, combined with some graphic patterns (the white and green checked floor) and floral ones create a playful, sumptuous and “carried away” whole.
Now that we have “journeyed” to the Rainforest, Let’s take a very different visual (and time travelling) journey to 18th century France! The image below shows both the luxurious, and rich textures and patterns we associate with this period, as well as the soft pastel shades we see often in 18th century style toiles and other fabrics.
The wonderful exuberance of the curvy lines, over-the-top embellishment and detailing are all hallmarks of Roccoco style. So, the next time you want to play Marie Antoinette, turn your decorating focus to the wonderful, distinctive style of this period in history. Why not be Queen for a day (or many years?!)
Kravet Furniture has done a wonderful job creating gorgeous fabrics and wallcoverings that are routed in 18th Century design. Below, we see La Pagode, a beautiful Chinoiserie printed grasscloth wallcovering. I would use this on the walls of an elegant powder room or a ladies “boudoir”! Elegant, soft and infinitely pleasing to the eye!
Our next journey is to the American Southwest, and particularly to the Native American inspired fabrics, colors, and patterns that still dominate the design style of the region today. As seen in the fresh, simple bedroom below, we can see the reflection of the desert landscape in the sandy and rusty tones of the wooden doors, flooring and drapery. The graphic patterned Navajo throw on the bed adds a wonderful pop of red, black and cream. As seen in the other Southwestern themed spaces, neutral backdrops and soft cream or white walls allow the gorgeous patterns and colors of the Native American fabrics to really stand out and deliver incredible visual interest to the spaces they adorn.
So, wherever you can journey this summer, remember that you can always take the memories of your journeys with you. Whatever landscape appeals to you can be reflected beautifully in the architectural aspects, palette and chosen patterns you choose for your new room or entire home. Create your own dream place–that you can journey to and from whenever you like! The journey, after all, IS the destination!