Wish list item #3: a FlatPak House. There aren’t too many places in New York City to plop one of these revolutionary pre-fab homes down, but I want one none the less.
Lazor Office, the team behind FlatPak, created a system that allows you to “design” your own home at a low cost per square foot and provides for super-speedy construction.
Hmmm. As long as we’re talking Santa-sized wishes, I’ll make this my escape-from-the-city home.
Where would you tell Santa you want your FlatPak House to be located?
Shopping on Larchmont Boulevard the other day, one of my favorite streets in L.A. for one-of-a-kind items and great cafes, I stopped by my friend’s salon, Marcie Bronkar’s Home Couture, to check out her great holiday window display.
Marcie is a very talented textile designer, and a seasoned veteran of both the fashion and home-furnishings industries, and happily, somewhat of a mentor to me. Her new salon is not only exquisitely put together, but offers her Home Couture line of fabrics for the first time outside of Quadrille (a to-the-trade showroom), as well as her new ultra-luxe, Cloth & Paper fabric and wallpaper collection.
You know it’s good when I was coveting the drapery in this fabulous room from Elle Decor (Nov. 2010), only to find out the curtains are made from Marcie’s Home Couture “Gypsy Dance” fabric! What are the odds? Her luxurious-yet-modern take on paisley, so perfectly designed for draperies, places the pattern at the top and bottom of the windows. And notice how the same print gracefully winds up on the bottom of the over-sized arm chair. It’s brilliant. And of course, it’s hers.
And if dressing your room in luxurious fabrics, like her Shelter Cloth available in 13 colors, isn’t enough, she makes totes and jackets as well. Just in time for the holidays.
Check out Marcie’s blog at http://marciebronkar.blogspot.com.
This Christmas, go beyond the traditional green and red, and spice up your holiday decor with a brand new color scheme.
Think bright and bold with colors like neon pink and green.
What about choosing a palette that complements your existing interior? The pink and orange holiday decor in this living room fits perfectly with the orange Womb Chair.
Or, update red and green with bold prints and a bit of holiday sparkle. The silver pillow in this living room does the trick.
If you’re ready to embrace a room filled with color, this technicolor Christmas theme (Rue Magazine, issue 2, page 79) will provide some inspiration. From holiday wreaths, to ornaments and wrapping paper, this holiday decor is all about fun and color!
For the 12 days leading up to Christmas, I’m sharing with you my design wish list for Santa. (I sure hope he’s reading!) Some will be sky’s-the-limit presents that I can only fantasize about. Some are gifts I wish for others. You’ll have to check back every day to see what’s on my list.
I dream of cozy, curled-up afternoons on a vintage Chesterfield sofa like this one from Rose and Grey. I love the timelessness of the design of this classic piece. Please, Santa?
And please share what’s on your list. The more, the merrier!
The holiday spirit has arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The official White House Christmas Tree, a Douglas-fir, dazzles special visitors in the Blue Room. And the National Christmas Tree, a 40-foot Colorado blue spruce, is swathed in LED lights on the Ellipse.
If you’re like me and can’t make it to D.C. this season, then be sure to catch HGTV’s White House Christmas 2010 special. It airs tonight at 8p/7c. Host Genevieve Gorder provides an insider’s look at how dozens of volunteers joined forces with White House staff to carry out this year’s decor theme, “Simple Gifts.”
The lighting of a National Christmas Tree dates back to 1923. (The Easter Egg Roll to 1878.) Annual traditions and Oval Office renovations remind us that while it may look the same on the outside, the “people’s house” is constantly evolving on the inside.
Recently I talked with Ulysses Grant Dietz and Sam Watters about their book, Dream House: The White House as an American Home. They were wildly fun to interview, and their book is a true page turner, for interior design and gardening fans alike. (This is from someone who found high school U.S. history studies to be a complete snore.)
So enjoy this excerpt from my conversation with Ulysses and Sam, pick up a copy of Dream House and don’t miss tonight’s HGTV White House Christmas 2010 special.
AM: I imagine most people assume the White House has always been gloriously decorated, with each administration doing complete renovations. But in your book you describe attempts to decorate the White House as “wrestling a leviathan into submission.” Tell me about some of the design challenges in the first 100 years of the White House.
UGD: It was the biggest house in North America and no one wanted to pay for it. This enormous house was unlike what anyone in America lived in. Everyone wanted the President to live in a grand house befitting the leader of America, but no one wanted to pay for the inside to be kept up to match this ideal. So we had this huge English Country house furnished like a home in Middle America for at least the first 15 years.
AM: I can’t imagine it was comfortable to live in back then.
SW: The ideas of comfort didn’t come into play in the 1860′s, when the interiors shifted from an aristocrat’s home to that of the true American home. It’s fascinating how Presidential wives took enormous rooms full of ornaments and grand-scale pieces and made them livable.
Julia Dent Grant & General Ulysses S. Grant
AM: Mr. Dietz, what would you like to share about your great-great-grandmother, Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, who grew up in a log cabin yet the White House into a mansion of the Gilded Age?
UGD: Julia Grant was always embarrassed about growing up in a log cabin. She represented all housewives who grew up in a humble, rural background and found themselves with money in an urban environment. The millionaires who built the mansions at the end of the 19th century came from nothing. The Vanderbilts, etc. Julia Grant wasn’t intimidated, but it was a shopping challenge. She had just enough money from Congress to pull the White House into the next stage, away from middle class goods.
Grant Red Room
Kennedy Red Room
SW: From Grant to pre-Kennedy, the rooms in the White House reflected the design ideals of the time. They kept with the times. The president lived there, and it was his home. The minute it became a museum, it lost this.
AM: Jackie Kennedy is revered as an icon of style and arbiter of good taste. What is the most important decision she made in terms of interior design in the White House?
UGD: She transformed the White House from a private estate into a museum. The house has always had a public aspect, but people lived in the whole house. When Jackie came in and put the dining room and kitchen upstairs, she stopped this. She declared the first floor a museum. She did the same thing in the gardens, by creating her concept of a beautiful garden and, in a sense, saying, “This is how the White House gardens are supposed to be.”
Jacqueline Kennedy on Valentine's Day, 1962
AM: So first ladies after Jackie Kennedy haven’t been able to radically alter the interior design, because she cemented the look for White House?
SW: That’s what we’re getting at in the book. The White House was a shifting reflection of American tastes, but Mrs. Kennedy stopped the shift. From her time on, the house lost a sense of modernity. You don’t see Charles Eames chairs or other great contemporary examples of American furniture and design. This is completely missing from the house. Before Jackie Kennedy, the White House was filled with contemporary pieces for the times.
Dwight Eisenhower with rattan furniture and grill
AM: Some of the photographs in your book of the “suburban” White House make me chuckle. The Eisenhower family around the table on Christmas Day. Eisenhower grilling on the roof. Wicker furniture in a room.
SW: When you see the White House of Eisenhower, it’s very Leave It to Beaver. The furniture is bigger, but it’s very accessible. Yes, they had the antiques, but they wanted the newest carpet and make it wall-to-wall.
Eisenhower family, Christmas Day, 1960
UGD: Mrs. Kennedy was not doing anything radical. She was feeding into a cultural belief at the time. A mission to buy fine, old things that represented American history. It’s a reflection of her historical moment. There were a only few antiques left in the White House before her. They were getting rid of truckloads of old furnishings at the turn of the century. Edith Roosevelt was able to save some of the antiques before they were tossed in the dump. When the Kennedys arrived, it was all about embracing technical modernity, but rejecting modernity in decor in favor of antiquity.
AM: Is the negative reaction to the Obama interiors a continuation of that?
SW: It will take longer to figure out exactly what the Obama’s design is saying. People don’t like it in the White House, but they like in their own home. Michael S. Smith is an acclaimed American designer. Why is the White House’s design separate from that of the rest of America? It makes me suspicious that people are still stuck in this idea that Jackie O’s White House is the way it has to be. What do we expect it to look like? We expect it to look like a Colonial Revival room.
The Blue Room circa mid-1880s
UGD: Which leads people to think that the White House has always looked like George Washington’s White House. But it hasn’t. After it burned in the 19th century and was rebuilt, the idea arose that it’s a public trust — owned by the public. It’s our house. This evolution is part of the democratic ideal that if it is our house, it needs to evolve to reflect who we are as a country.
SW: For all of its changes inside, it’s stayed very consistent on the outside to the way George Washington envisioned it. It’s very symbolic, so whatever changes go on have deep resonance to the culture.
Everyone knows a remodel can get expensive…fast.
To save money on her kitchen redesign, Alison Spear “faked” metal kitchen cabinets by spray painting them with car paint at a shop. So clever.
What are your great money-saving makeover ideas? We’d love to hear about them.
Design may not be the one true love of your friends and family. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve their lives and look of their homes via a subtle infusion of style. So, what would be the snazziest Christmas present ever?
A coffee table made by you complete with coffee table design book. Here are instructions for the DIY coffee table pictured above. Below are our Top 20 design book picks sure to be a hit with someone on your holiday gift list.
Oh, and perhaps most importantly, you. You want the limited edition of HUE by the queen of interior design, iconoclast Kelly Wearstler. Unique is one of those overused-to-the-point-of-meaningless words, but it is absolutely on point when describing Ms. Wearstler’s work. (You deserve the hand signed, fabric wrapped and slipcased volume, especially after cranking out that coffee table.)
Happy holidays and merry reading.
Your Christmas tree is decorated with fabulous trimmings, right? So, it’s time to add holiday cheer to the rest of your home. Have you made that annual trek to the attic or basement, yet? All of my year-round decorations are on a month-long vacation in the storage closet, while glittery (and messy) decor has taken their place in preparation for Santa’s big arrival. Whether you enjoy subtle hints of the holidays or create a replica of the North Pole in your living room, here’s just the inspiration you need to add that festive feeling to your home both inside and out.
If you’re looking to revamp your holiday style this year, check out our ideas for front door decor, festive fireplaces and inspiring entryways at HGTV.com.
And finish your Christmas shopping early with HGTV.com’s Holiday Gift Guide, filled with presents for the health-minded and nature-loving people on your list.