Today’s Crush : Pale and Delicate

Today’s a PALE day. Not pale as in bland but rather, pale as in fragile and soft. I just dropped off my eldest to college. The leaves are falling. The delicate beauty of fall foliage is not without a certain sadness, reminiscent of loss, letting go, all things that happen when one sends off their eldest to college. Pale colors stir me. They echo a certain fragility and sense of transparency. How fugitive our world can be, how harsh. I find comfort in pale colors and their evanescent nature. Somehow they offer solace and comfort.


This beautiful bird photograph exemplifies the PALE color scheme. Fragile, refined, nurturing.

Shell Hand Printed Wallpaper

Shell Art Deco inspired handprinted Wallpaper : delicate and perfect.

This beautiful set of nesting tables at Serena + Lily in pale aqua strikes my fancy today

Mughal quatrefoil mirror in pale lilac from Wisteria.

Beautiful Fern block printed fabric by Galbraith and Paul.

Pale and inviting grey armchair by Bernhardt.


Light turquoise turned wood candelabra by Dunes and Duchess.

Hand knotted contemporary rug via Dover Rug and Home.

I hope you enjoyed today’s selections!



Crushing On…

Brilliant design concepts need little words so I will let the images do most of the talking here as I introduce two young creators I admire:

Richard Brendon Cup and Saucer

Richard Brendon Cup and Saucer


Richard Brendon

And the creator, above : Richard Brendon, a London based designer, British bone china specialist and entrepreneur who graduated from Kingston University in 2010. Richard’s inquisitive nature has led him to taking an archaeological approach to design.  He believes to design truly innovative work, a firm understanding of what has come before is essential. Richard has a particular skill in identifying and distilling the best elements from the past and transforming them into contemporary designs.  Through his work, Richard aims to bring a new audience to hand crafted luxury goods, and to help regenerate the incredible industries that make his products. Photos: courtesy Richard Brendon website.

ZAK+FOX textile

ZAK+FOX Kaze textile


ZAK+FOX Volubilis Textile

ZAK + FOX company’s founder and creative director, Zak Profera, draws influence from his early studies of conceptual art at the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute. His relentlessly curious nature and adherence to eclecticism have resulted in the creation of an aesthetic that is classic, contemporary, and ever shifting. It is based on the notion that great ideas can come from the most unlikely of places. From the outskirts of Istanbul in search of vintage finds, to the depths of the Black Forest for an open-air expedition, Zak’s travels afar charge his imagination with the same sense of adventure that inspirits his designs. He presently lives and works in New York City with his fox, Shinji. Photos: courtesy ZAK + FOX website.


Crushing For These Fabrics

Sharing the love, friends, these beauties have piqued my interest. What do you think?

Malakos in Ink by Dwell Studio for Robert Allen Fabrics-100% cotton

Window Glitz in Dew- linen -Naturals II – Robert Allen Fabrics

Trouville Ticking in Denim by Ralph Lauren for Kravet- Linen/Lurex

Limitless in Linden by Jonathan Adler for Kravet- Linen Print

Sandy Pond in Roseberry by Thom Filicia for Kravet- Linen and cotton

72066-269 in Lemon -Enchanted-Duralee Cotton slub duck

Aha Moment ?!!!

While at Blogfest, we were encouraged by House Beautiful editors to write about what inspires us, what might have been the moment in our life that prompted us to choose this profession, or what “AHA moments” we encounter in our daily work.

I have to say Aha Moments abound in my life. Like the time I realized very early on I was happiest creating and working with COLOR.

A little French girl growing up in Washington DC, bound to the rigid system of the French School I attended, I quickly found the freedom and joy of color in illustrations I created inside my French “cahiers” (notebooks) :

Illustration in my “cahier” at the French School.

Later as a brooding teenager, I perfected my craft to include realistic illustrations of other brooding creators (here Baudelaire, as a child):

Illustration of Baudelaire, enfant, by Barbara Elza Hirsch

I fancied myself a talented designer in the making: my goal was to be a fashion designer. From age 10 on, I had developed a mad crush on FABRIC and spent my time making little outfits for my barbies, or inventing little bags and decorative boxes out of Marimekko fabrics.

A vestige of my passion for fabric and creating (note the little ruby stone patiently sewn on to the bustier):

After high school, I moved to Paris and went to Art School, and later, to Studio Berçot, one of the top Fashion Design Programs. I madly scribbled and created designs for diverse collections:

Fashion Illustration by Barbara Elza Hirsch
Sweater line created by Barbara Elza Hirsch back in the 80’s.
Little summer bags created by Barbara Elza Hirsch while a student at Studio Bercot.

Alas, my career as fashion designer was never to be. I HATED the fashion world! If you’ve ever seen The devil Wears Prada, you know what I am referring to.

Little did I know that somewhere deep inside, was an interior designer in the making. Years later, as a wife and mother still enamored by COLOR and passionate about DESIGN, I found my true calling : Interior Design!

Interior designers were a friendlier bunch, and the freedom I encountered in creating designs was thrilling. Aha! I thought! It’s all coming together:

My love of fabric:

Windsor Smith fabric for Kravet on wing chair with contrasting piping. Custom creation by Elza B. Design, Inc.

My love of color:

A color scheme on a current Elza B. Design project. Inspired by a beautiful painting my client owns.

And just the joy of seeing it all come together:

Living Room created by Elza B. Design, Inc

But, wait! Look at what I just found in my childhood notebooks:

“Life is a Big Room” by Barbara Hirsch, done as a child.

Aha! I should have known :-) There was a room in me after all.

Blue Day Shopping

Last week my post was about feeling blue and the wonderful atmospheric quality of the  color blue.

This week I explore interesting items to shop for a Blue Day. Whether you like to be totally immersed in blue or just use pops of it here and there in your interiors, I have something for you!

Please have a seat:

Accessories, extra seating and coffee table:

Pillows, rugs and mirror:

Blue Fabrics:

New Spring Fabric Collection at Galbraith & Paul!

New Spring Fabric Collection at Galbraith & Paul!

I’ve been a big fan of Galbraith & Paul fabrics and patterns for a while. Founded in Philadelphia by Liz Galbraith and Ephraim Paul in 1986,  the studio started as a handmade paper company specializing in lighting. They have since grown to include a gorgeous line of hand blocked textiles, handmade wallpapers and rugs available to the trade. We are lucky to have them now represented at the Boston Design Center via Studio 534. These simple, refreshing designs come in multiple colorways and are a great addition to one’s home. Room & Board also sells an exclusive line of pillows and lighting made by Galbraith & Paul.

Celebrating its 25th year,  Galbraith & Paul  introduces 4 new patterns to its collection of hand block printed fabrics:  Lotus, Pomegranate, Monarch, & Ribbon.    Designed by Liz Galbraith, this spring’s collection is printed on three different linens and offered in a rich and unusual palette of colorways and combinations.   Because all of Galbraith & Paul fabrics are printed to order, clients can substitute and customize colors and ground cloths to an extent not possible in most fabric lines. The company offers as many as 100 colors to choose from, 37 patterns and six grounds!

Lotus in Sprout by Galbraith & Paul

When designing, Galbraith says, “I touch on many design traditions, but I’m careful not to land on any.”   The resulting patterns are at once both familiar and original, yielding a look that is transitional and versatile.  Lotus and Pomegranate are drawn from Indian textile traditions, where floral elements are decorative, painterly, and abstract.   Monarch and Ribbon are inspired by English and French ticking and border patterns, using stripes as a playful vehicle for color combination and coordination.   “Color is my passion,” Galbraith says.  “Nature is my inspiration.”

Ephraim Paul, the other half of the Galbraith & Paul duo, runs the office and works with showrooms and vendors. He very kindly agreed to an interview with Chez Elza for this post!

Liz, Paul, what inspired you to move from paper making for the lighting industry to textiles and rugs?                                                                                                             Liz: In the mid 1990’s, I became interested in block printing as a different way to make patterns in the studio. I had always loved fabric, and block printing became a great way to make patterns that had a handmade, artisanal quality to them.

Liz,  where did you learn the art of block printing?
I read about it in a book and started with some small blocks. We printed table runners for Simon Pearce stores as one of our first orders.

Monarch In Denim by Galbraith & Paul
Pomegranate pattern in Currant by Galbraith & Paul

Where do you draw your inspiration for these beautiful patterns from?
Liz: First, from nature: gardens, plans and flowers. Second: From a wide variety of design traditions that inspire me-everything from Amish quilts, Mid-Century Modern, Wiener Werkstatte, Bloomsbury, William Morris, Fortuny, etc.
Block Printing process at Galbraith & Paul
How long does it take your company to produce a yard of fabric?
Liz: We hand block print everything to order. A printer can do between 12 and 18 yards of fabric a day.

What are your favorite patterns in the new line?                                                         Liz: The Lotus and the Monarch

Can you tell us more about your rug and wallpaper lines?                                Ephraim: The rugs have been in our line since 2005. We do both hand tufted and hand knotted. The rugs are made in Thailand and Nepal respectively. Our fabric patterns lend themselves beautifully to rugs, and we’ve tried to capture the artisanal look and fell of our our fabrics in the rugs. Everything is made to order, and lots of customization is possible. Size, construction, scale and color: all can be changed and tweaked to make a truly special rug.

Rug in Fern pattern in Denim colorRug in Fern pattern in Denim color by Galbraith & Paul

The wallpaper is new to our line and produced in our studio digitally, though nobody can really tell this! What you see are the same kind of handmade textures, shadings, color blendings, etc that you see in our fabrics. We do 11 patterns in a variety of colorways, all of which can be customized to meet the client’s needs.

  Wallpaper Rolls by Galbraith & Paul
Tile WallPaper in Kiwi with an upholstered sofa in Diamond Pattern.Tile Wall Paper in Kiwi with an upholstered sofa in Diamond Pattern

What advice would you give a wannabe textile designer?                                         Liz: Lear how to draw and paint. Do things by hand!

A selection of patterns from the New Spring Collection at Galbraith & Paul

This new Spring fabric collection comes in many beautiful colorways. I see you can custom any fabric and offer 100 colors! How does the customization process work? For the fabric and wallpaper, you can choose any color from our palette for any of the patterns. There is a minimum order of 5 yards for custom. There is no up-charge per yard, just a $50 strike off* fee. Clients love working with our palettes since they can customize the patterns and make them just right for any project!

Thank You, Liz & Ephraim!

*A strike off in designer jargon is a custom sample of the custom order for the designer to approve.

Note: All photos are from the Galbraith & Paul website.