Trend Watch Tuesday: Large Scale Florals (or hello Maximalism)

I knew when I saw it.   On a trip to Los Angeles in March 2016, I saw a large scale graphic wallpaper in a tonal palette with touches of pink.  I knew it was going to be big (and not just in the literal sense!).

I didn't know the source of the wallpaper at the time, but soon after, I came across the collection of Ellie Cashman and knew I had struck gold.  Ellie is an American living in the Netherlands.  Inspired by the still life painters of the Dutch Golden Age (among them Rembrandt and Vermeer whose paintings reveal a fascination with light and an attention to detail), she created her now famous Dark Floral wallpapers.

Ellie may have set in motion more than a hot wallpaper design.  The tendency to "go big or go home" in design is being referred to as "maximalism."  It's goodbye to "hygge" -- the 2016-17 buzzword for pared-down simplicity and Scandinavian homeyness.  Think of maximalism as a bygone English manor house with books towering floor-to-ceiling, ancestral portraits covering every square inch of wall space and mismatched antique Persian carpets layered over bare floors.  Now think of the 2018 version of that image.  Going to the extreme -- in color, pattern, scale, style -- is maximalism.  Anything but boring.  Large scale florals are just one way to go maximalist.

The trend is showing up on everything from fashion to home furnishings.  Dolce & Gabbana exhibited large scale florals in their Spring 2018 ready-to-wear collection.

Photo by Yannis Vlamos courtesy of Vogue

Large Scale florals were evident at High Point Market last fall.  Editors of Traditional Home magazine noticed these florals on upholstery as well as walls.


Designer Robin Baron custom designed a large scale floral for a room at the 2017 Holiday House in New York City.

Photo courtesy of Architectural Digest

Using large scale floral patterns in the home doesn't have to be a long-term commitment.  Coloray makes wallpaper in large scale floral patterns that is removable.

Stay tuned to the blog for more 2018 design trends.


Kudos to Laurie Gorelick Interiors

October has been a good month for Laurie Gorelick Interiors and we are expecially proud.

Our room at the 2017 Junior League of Boston Showhouse has gotten a lot of praise.  We appeared online in Wicked Local and in Boston's South Shore newspaper, The Patriot Ledger.

Inmod, a pioneer in e-commerce retailing of modern furnishings, launched its Design Excellence and Achievement Awards and Laurie Gorelick Interiors made the inaugural cut among 50 renowned national interior design firms.  In its announcement, Inmod stated:

The Inmod DEA Award winners are designers of the highest level of professionalism whose commitment to the field of interior design and to modern design in particular is exemplary. You are being recognized by the design community not only for your inspiring creations, but also, and more importantly, for your dedication to your clients. The Inmod DEA Award winner is a passionate visionary who can transform interior space into an iconic expression of modern elegance, class, and livability.

It is with our utmost pleasure that we recognize you with this distinction as one of our 2017 DEA award winners. We are proud to honor you as an exemplary professional who exceed expectations and reflect the best of modern interior design and we are humbled to call you our colleague. You inspire not only your clients, but also us here at Inmod as we seek to offer the best collection of modern designs to meet the confident and creative standards of professionals like yourself.

Houzz.com, the largest online marketplace for residential design ideas and professionals, recognized two rooms we completed in separate articles, "Trending Now: The Top 10 New Mudrooms on Houzz," and "Trending Now: Top 10 Living Room Photos on Houzz."

Last, but certainly not least, Laurie Gorelick Interiors, was recognized by Modenus, a leading digital resource for design professionals and design enthusiasts, as one of the top 100 design influencers.  There were nearly 200 nominations, and we are thrilled, in this day and age of social media marketing, to be voted into the top 100.


The One That Got Away

It's T minus 2 days until the opening of the 2017 Junior League of Boston Designer Show House, and I finished my space one day in advance of the deadline.  That was a minor miracle considering the painting and wallpapering had been completed just two weeks before.  (Note to self for next show house (if I even do another): employ a painter that does interiors work in the summertime no matter what the weather.  A string of good weather and my painter's exterior jobs delayed my job for two critical weeks raising my anxiety level to the nth degree!)

As you may recall, to participate in the show house, designers must submit room proposals complete with palettes of materials and finishes.  To increase the chances of being selected, the Junior League recommends submitting more than one proposal.  I had submitted two proposals: the one that was selected -- for a home office/study/sitting room -- and another for a baby girl's nursery.  I love my nursery design and wanted to execute it badly.  But . . . the Junior League had other plans for me.

My concept for the nursery sprung from a wallpaper I had seen in an L.A. salon a year and a half ago.  It was an exploded floral design in various values and chromas of charcoal, pink and ‘au courant’ blush.  I searched for the source of this breathtaking wallpaper and discovered it's by Ellie Cashman, an American artist living in the Netherlands.  Her wallpaper designs are inspired by the still life paintings of the Dutch masters.  Coincidently, I recently saw that this wallpaper is cladding the storefront windows of Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue in New York City!

Ellie Cashman’s Dark Floral Wallpaper

For the crib, I selected a lucite crib by Nursery Works.  Its transparency would allow the bold wall treatment to remain center stage.  But its novel design still made a statement.

I planned for an elegant tufted ottoman in crushed blush velvet as a focal point in the center of the room.  Centered underneath would be a hide rug in shades of silver, stone and aluminum.  A contemporary Sputnik chandelier in crystal and polished nickel would illuminate the room, amping up the drama.  I completed the design with a raffia-covered dresser for texture and simple window treatments in a two-sided fabric pulled back to reveal the reverse side with braid trim.







Pregnant with a baby girl?  This could be yours!



Diary of a Show House Designer -- Take 2

Five years ago, in the early stages of the blog, I chronicled my experience as a designer in the 2012 Junior League of Boston Show House.  Since then, there's been another Junior League Show House.   At that time, in 2016, participating in a show house was not an option: I neither had the will nor the capital to make it work.  But a year has passed, and when the Junior League announced that they were sponsoring a 2017 show house, I wanted in again. 

There's something about doing a show house that is intoxicating for me.  I get a huge adrenaline rush from it.  Coming up with a design, delivering a proposal, managing the project and making sure it gets done to my highest standards, all in an unbelievable short time frame -- it's exhilarating.  The anxiety is palpable, but so worth it, making the invitation to preview this year's site, when it arrived in my inbox, irresistible.

This year's show house will be at the William Flagg Homer House in Belmont, Massachusetts, a lovely suburb just 7 miles northwest of Boston.  Built in 1853, the house was previously owned by William Flagg Homer and his wife Adeline Wellington, uncle and aunt of American landscape painter, Winslow Homer.  It is currently owned by the Belmont Women's Club.  Architecturally, it's Victorian: a combination of Italianate and Second Empire styles.

The William Flagg Homer House, site of the 2017 Junior League of Boston Designer Show House

Designers were invited to preview the house in June.  The preview is always nerve-wracking for me.  I walk through the site waiting for a space to "speak to me."  In each space, I'm evaluating the existing condition of the space (to figure out if it's going to cost me an arm and a leg to rehab), the amount of light the space gets, possible functions and furniture configurations.  I automatically rule out spaces I've done in previous show houses (bathroom, butler's pantry) and spaces that have too many restrictions (like not being able to paint woodwork).  It's hard to put your design stamp on something you can't change a lot.  I come away from the preview with three spaces in mind: 1) a teeny space, not bigger than a walk-in closet, but with a huge window facing Boston; 2) a bedroom with two windows, two closets and a built-in sink; and 3) another bedroom with two windows, two closets, and about 200 square feet of space.  I'm very aware that other designers are vying for the same spaces.

We're encouraged to submit as many as three room proposals: the more proposals you submit, the better your odds for being awarded a space.  I spend a couple of sleepless nights brainstorming how I'm going to design each of the three spaces.  At this stage of any design project, we do what's called precedent research: looking at similar spaces to get design ideas.  I comb Instagram for inspiration.  I come away with three concepts: 1) design the teeny space as a nursery (it's just the right amount of space for a crib and changing table/dresser); 2) design the bedroom with the built-in sink as an explosive toile-decked bedroom; and 3) design the other bedroom as a sitting room/office.  Yeah, I've done a sitting room/office before (in 2012), but it's more fun for me to design than a bedroom.

The nursery and sitting/room office come together like magic.  But I struggle with the explosive toile-decked bedroom.  After a day at the Boston Design Center, I haven't found the right toile to satisfy my instincts.  And the layout of the space, specifically where the windows and closets are situated, make me realize that it will be challenging to fit a bed in the space as a focal point.  I abandon this plan and focus on my proposals for the nursery and sitting room/office.

I'll feature the design that didn't get picked in my next post.  Stay tuned.


Touchless Kitchen Faucets -- American Standard's Beale Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet

In March, I wrote about putting my current status as an empty-nester in perspective and preparing to downsize.  It's very topical among my baby-boomer peers right now.  (I welcome recommendations of where I should move.  Feel free to leave yours (California, excepted.))

I've undertaken some of the preparations I discussed to get ready to sell my house, among them replacing my old kitchen faucet.  This is what my old faucet looked like:


You can see that it had a brass finish that had actually peeled off.  What do you expect from a builder-grade faucet after 21 years?  Just in time, American Standard offered me their Beale Pull-Down faucet with Selectronic Hands-Free Technology, and I jumped at the chance to try out a new-fangled touch-free faucet.

Because my old faucet had an eight-inch spread with a separate hose attachment (requiring 4 holes in the sink), I needed to get a new sink to accommodate the Beale faucet (which only requires a single opening).  No big deal because my old enamel sink could also stand to be replaced.


Here's the sink after the plumber started dismantling it.

Because I also didn't want to replace my countertops (which, I confess, could stand replacing, but I'll leave that to the next owner), I opted for a similar over-mount enamel sink with the same dimensions.  It was no problem for the plumber to remove the old sink, install the new sink and reconnect my existing garbage disposal.  The faucet was easy to install; however, there was a glitch with installing the solenoid device which enables the hands-free operation of the faucet.


Here's Andre, my favorite plumber, installing the battery pack for the faucet.

If you're thinking of a hands-free faucet, I'd recommend using a plumber experienced with the installation.  At least with the Beale, the solenoid installation can be confounding.  That seems to be a shared experience due to confusion with separate arrows on the device for flow and installation.  It’s easy to install the solenoid backwards since one of the arrows, the one that applies to installation, says “up” and when installed correctly, points down.  Go figure.

Installation aside, I'm very happy with my new faucet.  I opted for the stainless steel finish which looks like brushed nickel (the faucet also comes in polished chrome).  It's easy to use, multi-functional and certainly is a vast improvement over what I had.


Click on the picture below to view my video debut featuring the benefits of my new Beale Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet.