Category Archives: Design Styles

To follow a theme or not to follow a theme.


Filed under Design Principles, Design Styles, Texture

I don't have the credit for this photo, but the paneling is beautiful.

I confessed way back in May to recommending paneling to a young male client who I promptly never heard from again.  Well, guess what?? I did it again.  This time I am more confident my recommendation has fallen onto favorable ears. 

The DC condo will sing with paneling.  Not everywhere, but just on the wall opposite the curved bank of windows.  And not white.  No, this is not a country home, but will be urban contemporary in style.  Deep stain will serve to draw attention to the view, and will form a backdrop for the television. 

So many things from the past are now wholeheartedly dismissed, simply because of too many horrid memories.  Memories of wallpaper that refused to come off.  Memories of harvest gold appliances way still running well  past fashion.  And memories of paneling that was not even real wood. 

I refuse to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Not many would scoff at a wood ceiling.  So why discriminate against a wood wall??

Macy’s and The Jetsons

Filed under Design Styles

Astro available at Macy's.  From

Browsing through the Sunday Circulars, my brain flips over adjectives as I flip the pages.  “Good, Cluttered, Clean, Bright, Boring, Overdone, Jetsons…” Stop.  Jetsons?

That was my first reaction to this grouping for sale this week at Macy’s.

Strange thing, as I went back to it, the name of the grouping is Astro.  Wasn’t that the Jetson’s dog? 

Perhaps my brain read the fine print and and popped an image of the cartoon family instead of a verbal recognition of the word.  I don’t know.  The Futuristic Pop colors do suggest their stilted home in the sky.  I couldn’t find anything online of their home so I am relying on memory here.  This is all I got…

 This is the only image I could find of the Jetson's estate.  From The Age Blogs.

What Style IS This?

Filed under Design Styles, Trend Spotting

There is definitely a new design style lurking out there.

I think I can describe it, but I haven’t seen a name for it yet.  (If you have, please, comment.)  Maybe I should call it Shabby Chic 2.0.  Or Early Twenty-first Century Southern.  Or Minimal Crafty.  I don’t know. 

I see a lot of it showcased in two popular design blogs, Décor8 and Design Sponge.  The style is very light and girlish, because pastels are so dominate.  Most rooms are painted white, and anything adorning the walls is tiny.  I see a lot of needlepoint or illustrations that are very simple line drawings.  I called it Shabby Chic 2.0 because of the predominance of antiques, although many are decidedly mid century, and for the loose upholstery and slipcovers. 

Vast amounts of white space and kitschy little craft items seem to be representative of this style.  Sophisticated versions are around as well.  Domino Magazine showcased Katie Ukrop’s home in Richmond. 

Katie Ukrop's home from Domino Magazine August 2008

And today on Decor8, Emma Cassi’s home is featured.

Emma Cassi's home was featured today on Decor8.

About a zillion artists are selling this style on Etsy.

Even More About Preppy Decor

Filed under Design Styles, Digging Others' Digs

From Domino Mag june/July 2008

The June/July 2008 issue of Domino Magazine has an article entitled “One Love, Two Homes”.  Matt Albiani, a photographer living in New York and summering in Long Island, has the preppy look down pat.

You can check out his Manhattan apartment on a video tour.

Now for the summer place, WOW.  Preppy on steroids.  The article describes it as:

“Each summer, Albiani hauls out a few pieces from the city to intermingle with the landlord’s existing furniture, and at each season’s end a few of those items linger.  The result is a two-part seafaring yarn, one the salt of the earth, the other just a bit refined.”

From Domino Mag June/July 2008

From Domino Mag June/July 2008

From Domino Mag June/July 2008

More about Preppy

Filed under Design Styles

Turkey Hill, when owned by Martha Stewart, set the Preppy trends.  Image from

Preppy Decor is not monograms and pink and green.

Preppy Decor speaks, more than any other decorating style, about a lifestyle.  Waspy, established, successful and members of the country club—what kind of homes would these people have?

I will try to paint a verbal picture.

  • Hearty furniture, grounded in antiques passed down like the pedigree
  • Collections from world travel
  • Wallpaper will always be in vogue in a preppy house.  No  concern about later removal;  that job is hired out.
  • Natural materials like wool and silk and rattan
  • These are busy people, so functionality is as important as design. 
  • A little untidy, but never, ever dirty.
  • Preppies are yachters, so nautical themes are as natural as the air that fills the sails.
  • Colors are never trendy, but could be found as easily in Grammy’s house as their own.

Who is the quintessential maven of Preppy?  Martha Stewart.

Martha Stewart's Famous Turkey Hill Estate, the ultimate in Preppy.  From

You Can’t Get Any Preppier Than This…

Filed under Design Styles

A sight for sore eyes

Our best friends, Tom and Robin, are related to the people who own this boat.  I only got a distant glimpse at this perfectly restored Chris Craft on Saturday.  But it was enough to cause me to seriously swoon.  This boat was stunning, all the way down to the flag at the back.

Chris Craft mahogany boats are the pinnacle of American Style.  It is almost cliche to mention JFK and Chris Craft, but it DOES bring an immediate image.  High society, yet still outdoorsy and tan.  Spend a few minutes on their gallery page, and you will see how they still sell the image.

This is a style still sold to us by Nautica Home, and even by Pottery Barn.  Nautical themes are key to a preppy style

I have to spend a moment of blog time acting like a proud momma.  My youngest daughter was born 11 years ago today.  This is a photo of her from Saturday. 

Sailing in Ohio

Here is my older daughter, turned 15 two weeks ago.  They look so strong and healthy sailing.  It is easy to see why this style is so appealing.

Near perfect condictions followed by two first place finishes.


Style Selection

Filed under Design Styles

Traditional withstands the test of time.

What’s your Design Style? 

Here are a few to choose from, but there are plenty more!

Traditional styles are rich in scale, texture and visual weight.  Furniture has rounded corners, but clean edges.  Patterns are aplenty: toile, damask, floral and stripe.  Dark cherry tones as well as mahogany on cabinetry and floors. Think brocades and tapestries and Persian rugs, oil paintings and porcelain.  Southern Living is in the mailbox because this is the most common Washington DC design. Go to Ethan Allen for a double shot of Traditional. 

Country styles are casual.  Furniture is slip-covered or soft and loose in cotton canvas.  Patterns are light, with stripes and petite florals.  Wood is grained and natural or painted.  Think quilts and jelly jars and braided rugs.  Read about it in Better Homes and Gardens and buy the style at Pottery Barn.

Contemporary is clean and restrained.  Straight lines dominate and not much is left to whimsy.  Fabrics are tight, in bold colors as well as neutrals.  Texture is emphasised over pattern. Think modern art and statuary, graphic boldness and light woods.   Contemporary is selling, so everyone seems to be offering it.  See it on TV, and read about it in Metropolitan Home. Crate and Barrel makes it accessible to middle America.

There are more styles…which are you?