Throw Pillows: Are They Really Necessary?!

I call this the Throw Pillow Debate.

At one point or another in the design collaboration, we will enter the accessories planning phase. We enter the “pillow conversation”. I explain they will add color, texture, warmth, personality to the space. They will cushion the room and tamper down echo, as do the window treatments. Pillows also serve a function, improving back support and comfort, especially for shorter people who need to have their feet touch the floor and for anyone who suffers from a sensitive back.

Rare are my female clients who do not understand the value of the decorative pillow. Most men, and pardon the generalization, tend to find them fluffy and unecessary. I hear strong words about clients’ distaste for pillows: “my husband hates them!”, “they are non functional!”, “why do we need them?”, “I’ll just throw them on the floor!”

Allow me to illustrate my line of thought.

This beautifully upholstered bed by Bernhardt  feels blah. It’s a bed with white linens. Period. 

Now look at what happens when color and texture is infused on the bed with the use of interesting pillows. Image courtesy Bernhardt.

Let’s look at one of my designs:

Detailed View

The bed before. 

Barbara Elza Hirsch | Elza B. Design IncThe dressed up bed after: linens and 2 decorative pillows leaning against white shams. Note how the custom fabric tells a story: the colors and texture add depth and warmth, coordinating with the wall and accessories. Designed by Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design, Inc. Photo Rosemary Fletcher.

Decorative pillows on a bed need not be overdone, I usually recommend 2 or 3 on top of sleep pillows, which I cover with shams or pillow covers. The sleep pillows usually go in pairs to hold everything up but also add adequate back support when reading.

What to do with the decorative pillows at night? They can plopped on the floor against the wall, or simply laid on an armchair. Not as complicated as one would think!

What about the sofa pillows?

Gunner Sofa

I love this velvet sofa found via Jayson Home. But it feels so naked. 

cozy and sophisticated:

Rooms cannot be fully inviting without color, texture and  layering of mutiple fabric accessories, such as the sofa pillows above. The art piece adds a lot to the space as well. Photo : Interiors Magazine.

Beautiful yet bare sofa from Cisco Brothers with no pops of color or layering that make it inviting.

Traditional Media/Game Room by CarolEgan Interiors and Andre Tchelistcheff Architects in Water Mill, New York: Carol Eagan Interiors room offers inviting seating options with colorful pops of pillows.

Many people, including myself, welcome back pillows on seating. I frankly cannot enjoy my evening if there is not something soft and cushy to lean on and allow my feet to reach the floor, especially with a deeper sofa.

Guests or family members who do not find pillows comfortable can simply move then to the side or put on the floor. There is no need for guests to feel uncomfortable : I always make everyone at ease in my living spaces and let all know pillows can be moved around or put on the floor.

Scale and texture of pillows is very important as well. It’s nice to have a blend of squares and a rectangle or two. Make sure you let your designer know if you prefer down or poly inserts. Down allergy considerations are important as well. Down feathers will feel soft and pliable. Polyester feels firmer but can be very useful for the pillows in the far back position to creative supportive layering.

So the next time the designer talks pillows, please keep an open mind and remember this blog post.

Custom pillows are an investment, but they really truly make a space and bring it to the next level!

Outdoor Accessory and Fabric CRUSH

Link is a fantastic outdoor fabric and furniture brand I’ve used for diverse projects. Recently as I checked out their website, I crushed for these outdoor bolster pillows. They’re fun, zippy and originally finished.

Playing with trim and interesting patterns, Link created something different from the bland square nautical striped pillow. Imagine these poolside or on your outdoor sofa!

Link recommends the following steps when creating these:

1) Use different fabrics on ends

2) Change direction of fabric layout

3) Flange, contrast welt and different trim options

So let’s imagine I was to create my own using similar methods.

1- I chose this three striped outdoor friendly trim :

Three striped fringe in Melon by Link

2-The main fabric I would do in :

Palme in Melon by Link

3-The ends would be in this small pattern:

Sketch in Ocean by Link

Et voilà!!!

Fabric and colors always make my day, enjoy!

Barbara

Paola Navone Designs for Crate and Barrel: A Hit!!!

Crate and Barrel describes Paola Navone perfectly in the following bio:

She is a world-renowned architect, designer, art director, interior decorator, industrial planner, creator of events and, in her words, “a little bit of an anthropologist.”

Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

She is a dreamer, she is curious, she appreciates the eclectic. She is Italian by birth but calls the world home. She is a natural entertainer who finds joy in impromptu gatherings around the table to celebrate a beautifully simple menu.

Therefore it only seemed appropriate that Crate and Barrel would invite her to design a dining collection, composed of furniture, linens, tableware and lighting.

I had to stop in my tracks the other day at Crate and Barrel when I saw the beautiful arrangements at the Burlington, MA store. Whimsical and peppy, inviting and elegant are words that come to mind. I am not necessarily sold on all the colors, but they certainly deliver a big bang for lovers of red, white and blue. The greys and whites were my favorites.

Paola Navone- Photo Credit: Barbara Elza HirschPaola Navone designs for Crate and Barrel | Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Como Round Marble Top Dining Table by Paola Navone, a truly stunning combination | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

Riviera Tall Windsor Chair by Paola Navone offers fantastic scale | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

RivieraPendantGreySmPNF13

Riviera Small Grey Pendant by Paola Navone for Crate and Barrel | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

Paola Navone designs for Crate and Barrel | Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

The Como Bench by Paola Navone for Crate and Barrel | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

Como Loopy Candleholders by Paola Navone for Crate and Barrel | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

Paola Navone designs for Crate and Barrel | Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

ComoWovenChairWhtLLPNF13

Como White Woven Chair by Paola Navone for Crate and Barrel, a beauty | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

What do you think, friends? Curious to hear! Happy Weekend!

 

 

My Latest Houzz Top 20 Guest Picks: Dress Up Your Bathroom

My latest trip to New York with Brizo clearly influenced this recent selection of items I curated for Houzz! Feel free to  click on any image below to be brought to the Houzz article. Let me know your favorite!
Browse Furniture on Houzz- For Example:

John Derian’s Shop in New York-A Keeper!

I had a reunion with my sisters in New York this week and had a fabulous time! We shopped, swapped clothes, ate and enjoyed wine and barbecue on the Brooklyn roof tops. I could not resist a few excursions to some design shops I have been dying to check out IRL (in real life).

My first stop was the John Derian Company. I have been a fan for years. I was not disappointed!

John Derian is renowned for his exquisite découpage plates, platters, coasters, bowls and paperweights. Decoupage or Découpage is an art form that involves pasting images on objects or surfaces and then layering them with lacquer or varnish. The word is derived from the French verb découper, which means to cut out. John Derian découpage items are hand made in New York by the artist and his staff. Here are a few photographs I took of his work:

The store is jam packed with gorgeous découpage items.
Découpage platters and plates by John Derian.
Decoupage alphabet small plates and lamp bases by John Derian
An amazing selection of dome shaped découpage paperweights.
Decoupage plates, cake stand, platter and lamp base by John Derian.

Of course one cannot go to John Derian’s store without looking at the beautiful imported French Astier de Villatte Ceramics :

Vaisselle blanche by Astier de Villatte

The store is actually comprised of two shops. Both are filled with an array of refined and unusual objects, furniture and accessories. One can find contemporary toys made in New York using renowned German plush toy fabrication techniques:

One would be hard-pressed to believe these gorgeous toys are actually made today by a New York artisan!
A beautiful horse greets visitors in the other adjacent John Derian shop.

I had a crush on the embroidered Coral and Tusk items that were scattered throughout:

Coral and Tusk pillows on a John Derian Dromedary sofa.
Small embroidered dolls by Coral and Tusk at John Derian’s shop.

I cannot resist the Tête à tête upholstered seat by John Derian and was thrilled to be able to see it in real life and sit in it. Very very comfortable piece!

Tête à tête by John Derian.

Fabrics and bedding abounded and I was thrilled to see some of Les Indiennes printed fabrics up close:

Les Indiennes fabric.

Finally, I shall leave you with this image of Hugo Guinness Art:

Art by Hugo Guinness at the John Derian shop.

A bientôt! School is about to start for my children and I am looking forward to blogging more often :-)

WEST ELM Mania

Okay, I love WEST ELM. I promise I was not paid to say this! But it’s a fact. This most interesting company is growing at a very fast pace, introducing (still) affordable lines and great accessories, showcasing artists and designers, florists and other talented creators. I drove to Boston the other day to pick up some furniture at the West Elm Store on Brookline Avenue. A lovely sunny day, and a wonderfully styled store with such friendly customer service!

I met the very talented Becca Olcott, owner and florist at PETAL FLORAL DESIGN, presenting her wonderful bohemian floral creations at the WEST ELM Pop-Up Flower Shop. Now, what is that, you ask?! Fresh flowers and arrangement advice from a West Elm favorite local florist are offered on a few Saturdays in a few cities in the nation. A flower shop is literally set up temporarily for the day, as shoppers browse and stop to purchase flower arrangements or simply take in the beautiful selections.

WEST ELM Pop Up Flower Shop in Boston, MA with Petal Floral Design
Becca Olcott, owner of Petal Flower Design, at the West Elm store in Boston, MA
Becca Olcott from Petal Floral Design, and one of her amazing floral creations at West Elm Pop Up Floral Shop

 

Bouquet by Becca Olcott, Owner of Petal Floral Design, prepared for West Elm Pop-Up Flower Event

I am sure you will agree Becca’s creations are simply superb. I love that they don’t appear rigid and uptight but, rather, offer a relaxed yet subtle and refined assemblage. Becca Olcott specializes in weddings and social events in the new England Area.

On another note, here are a few photos of the superb styling I encountered at this West Elm location:

West Elm Pillow arrangement in soft grays and yellows.
Ash, Salesperson at Boston West Elm, demonstrating how comfortable the sofa is! Ash was very helpful with my purchases that day.

 

I particularly enjoyed the selection of white vases, containers, candlestick holders:

Collection of glass and ceramic containers at West Elm.
Colorful Napkins at West Elm.
Napkin holders. West Elm.

And finally, I thought this little CURIO table lamp was a smashing idea: The glass “cloche” allows you to display whatever strikes your fancy!

Curio Lamp by West Elm

 

Next post, I will share an article on lovely fabric prints I found at the Boston Design Center recently. Have a grand weekend!