Looking Glass

“I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed a few times since then.” 
― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Whether it is by reflecting light, tricking the eye to create a sense of depth, or simply to compliment the surrounding décor, looking glass has long been used to enhance a space and magnify an individual's evolving style:

"The first mirrors used by people were most likely water collected in a some kind of primitive vessel. The examples of the earliest manufactured mirrors made from pieces of polished stone such as naturally occurring volcanic glass obsidian found in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) have been dated to around 6000 BC. Polished stone mirrors made in Central and South America date from 2000 BC onwards. Mesopotamians crafted mirrors of polished cooper from 4000 BC, and ancient Egyptians made this kind of mirrors from around 3000 BC. Chinese manufactured bronze mirrors from around 2000 BC. Mirrors produced of copper and tin speculum metal may also have been produced in China and India. Speculum metal or any precious metal mirrors were hard to produce; they were very expensive and were only owned by the wealthy." - J. Needham

If you're anything like me, your design aesthetic can change on a whim. Some days you have a great affinity for contemporary, the next traditional, then bohemian, followed by classic before landing on earthy. If the most certain quality you know about yourself is your inability to make up your mind, welcome to the world of design - a wonderland filled with countless possibilities...a true adventure.

Not many pieces have the ability to reflect your individual style better than a great mirror. The following were a few of my favorites as of this morning (but don't be surprised if I have changed my mind a few times since then):

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Interior images: Elle Décor Product: available through Savvy

Interior images: Elle Décor

Product: available through Savvy

Be inspired...reflect your style of the moment, but embrace the changes.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

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Delicate Beauty

 “And the cup he brings...has been fashioned of the clay which the potter has moistened with his own sacred tears.” ― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet


I've always been fascinated by the intimacy a potter has with clay, and his or her ability to literally shape thoughts and emotions, giving form and purpose to otherwise undefined mass. 

In 2009, at Chicago's Art and Antique Fair, I first encountered Valeria Nascimento's work. After enjoying a conversation with the owner of the gallery that represents her, I gained a true appreciation for this gifted artist:

"Nascimento was born in Brazil (1962) and spent her childhood on a farm, giving rise to an affection and fascination with natural forms that inspires her delicate, whisper-thin, white ceramics. Each piece is made from dozens or hundreds of hand-formed ceramic shapes which are combined into small or large, wall-spanning works that take months to assemble.

So thin as to resemble paper, their jagged edges and cool whiteness give the impression of hardness at first, but the creamy off-white and shadows cast inside the ceramic hollows instead give off a soft, comforting warmth." - Woolff Gallery, London

An artist gives away pieces of themselves as an offering to those who choose to appreciate their effort...it is the cup they bring. Nascimento's contribution consists of delicate beauty, a rare and remarkable gift. 

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Images via: Woolff Gallery, London

Images via: Woolff Gallery, London

Be inspired...shape your life.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

Always had Heart

“Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man the he didn’t, didn’t already have” – America

We often forget the “fifth wall” in an interior, but it is equally as important as the other four. In fact, a design is not complete until the ceiling has been addressed as a contributing element. There are countless treatments, but one that I seem to come back to over and over is the ever-charming tin ceiling.

"Tin ceilings initially became popular in the United States in the late 1800s, as many recent immigrants sought an affordable alternative to the exquisite but expensive ornate plasterwork used in Europe. The abundance of tin in America—along with the advent of mass production—created a ready market for thin, rolled tin plates that were individually stamped with embossed patterns. Tin ceilings remained popular throughout the Art Deco period before gradually falling out of favor in the 1930s."*

Fortunately, the popularity of tin ceilings has reemerged for those architects and designers looking to bring a sense of nostalgia, character, warmth and humility to a space - these endearing tiles still have the ability to do just that - because much like the Tin Man, they have always had heart. 

Be inspired...look up.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

It's so Simple

"There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness and truth.” 
― Leo Tolstoy

Characterized by simplicity and craftsmanship, this stunning interior leaves no room for error. The white-oiled oak floors, pale grey walls and minimal use of furniture contribute to its undemanding style. As every ounce of decoration has been stripped away, the only element that remains is integrity. There's no excess or complication, and luxury comes from the quality of the materials. A study in truth, this effortless space would never hide behind unnecessary ornamentation...pure greatness. 

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Be inspired...and uncomplicated.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

"I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls"

"I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls 
With vassals and serfs at my side, 
And of all who assembled within those walls 
That I was the hope and pride. 
I had riches all too great to count 
And a high ancestral name. 
But I also dreamt which pleased me most 
That you loved me still the same..."  - aria from The Bohemian Girl 


Written by Irish composer, Michael William Balfe in 1843, The Bohemian Girl, is beautiful opera, in three acts, that tells the story of Arline who was kidnapped by gypsies as a child. She cannot recall the fact that she was born into wealth, hence the dream she has of dwelling in "marble halls." 

Found only in a remote area of west Ireland, Connemara marble is truly one of the rarest and most exquisite stones in existence. It has long inspired architects, artists and poets as its billowing mix of green hues brings to mind Ireland's rolling landscape.  

I cannot tell you how many times I have ripped "green marble" out of client's homes and replaced it with something more "neutral." I have to admit, I am rethinking my choices. After pouring over hundreds of images and reading dozens of articles, I am reminded of this stone's incredible history and inherent beauty. 

During my research, one of the most stunning applications of Connemara marble I came across was in the design of Monsieur Bleu at The Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France. The brasserie is anything but blue. In fact, it is handsomely decked in varying shades of green. Truly alluring, one of the most gorgeous elements in the design was the use of this Irish marble and the way it was wrapped around the banquettes and washed over the floors. Gorgeous.

Though I should be dreaming of Ireland on St. Patrick's Day, tonight I will dream of Paris, and that I dined surrounded by green marble...and loved it still the same. 

Connemara marble in slab

Connemara marble in slab

The varying shades of Connemara marble  

The varying shades of Connemara marble  

Monsieur Bleu, Paris 

Monsieur Bleu, Paris 

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Be inspired...dream in green. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

Authentically Chic

"If it was never new and it never gets old, then it’s a folk song." - Inside Llewyn Davis 

If a folk song could be interpreted into design, here it is. I can practically hear the guitar strumming and earthy voice crooning as I pour over the architecture and interior of this wonderful Malibu home. Originally designed by the great Frank Gehry, now occupied by (the not terribly hideous) Patrick Dempsey, it is the perfect example of something I never grow tired of: authenticity. Simple in character, genuine in spirit and laid-back in form (like a great folk song) this style is certainly not new, but I promise it will never get old...it's casual-chic.

 

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Images: Architectural Digest

Images: Architectural Digest

Be inspired...treasure simple, casual moments...they are the most authentic.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly 

Catching Fireflies

“Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”  ― Leonardo da Vinci

Every so often, you come across someone who "gets it." My recent discovery of the brilliant glass artist, Alison Berger, made me realize there are still those who don't need to be shown, but who see. From her childhood fascination of catching fireflies in simple jars, to her poetic approach of modern glass sculpting, Berger understands the importance of sharing her craft in a way that is both methodical and imaginative, timeless and contemporary.

Glass is made from sand, sand is made from time...and time is memory. Berger beautifully captures this truth in her work, and I in my study of it feel like I am catching fireflies...an enlightening exploration.
 

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The Process

The Process

Chamber Pendant

Chamber Pendant

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Vessels

Vessels

Lachrymatory (Tear Bottle)

Lachrymatory (Tear Bottle)

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Pistil Pendant

Pistil Pendant

Word Pendant

Word Pendant

Scripted Pendant

Scripted Pendant

Chamber Chandelier

Chamber Chandelier

Chamber Chandelier from below

Chamber Chandelier from below

Firefly Pendant

Firefly Pendant

Be inspired...capture brilliance, study it, learn how to see.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

Jane is in the Air

"Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!"

- Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre


Has a more timeless character ever existed than Jane Eyre? She speaks to us today because she takes inspiration from an internal reality that has remained constant - tension between reason and passion; a struggle separating what we consciously know to be right and what our hearts desire.

Jane is aware of her limitations, her impulses, her less than perfect looks. But, she is also keenly aware of her faith, her intelligence and her heart. Jane Eyre's character endures because she is filled with real emotion. She is honest, passionate and heartfelt. Yet, she is constantly making efforts to remain modest and grounded.

Like Jane, I frequently observe myself within my own transitions. The longer I practice this profession, the more fascinated I become with unassuming interiors - the ones that have been worn with time. I'm less interested in the brand new, and more captivated by the tattered. I keep going back to simple, humble spaces. To me, that's where the soul is.

Not surprisingly, Ralph Lauren hit the mark with his Spring décor collection, Ile Saint-Louis. It is described as "unassuming, bohemian elegance." The collection is impressive, yet yielding. Unpretentious in spirit (as it takes its cues from French Country as well as Industrial Chic) Ile Saint-Louis strikes the perfect tension between good design (reason) and sheer beauty (passion). Spring (and a little Jane) is in the air.
 

Jane Eyre (2011), Mia Wasikowska; Scarf: (Jane Eyre excerpt) Etsy; Bedding: Ralph Lauren

Jane Eyre (2011), Mia Wasikowska; Scarf: (Jane Eyre excerpt) Etsy; Bedding: Ralph Lauren

Ile Saint-Louis, Ralph Lauren, Spring 2014 Collection

Ile Saint-Louis, Ralph Lauren, Spring 2014 Collection

Be inspired...search for the balance between reason and passion, you'll find soulful.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

Divine Proportion?

Why do we appreciate beauty? What is it about a particular piece of artwork, certain architecture,  a specific photograph or even that one individual's face we can't forget? What draws us in, keeps us staring for hours and continues to bring us back for more? According to many masters, this type of captivation is the result of perfect proportion. More specifically, a mathematical principle known as The Golden Ratio.

Based on the Fibonacci Sequence, The Golden Ratio describes the relationship between two proportions. Fibonacci numbers, like many elements found in nature, follow a 1:1.618 ratio - this is what we refer to as The Golden Ratio, also known as The Golden Mean, The Golden Section or Divine Proportion.

Artists and architects have long constructed their works to approximate The Golden Ratio, believing this proportion to be most aesthetically pleasing. The Golden Ratio has also been used to analyze the proportions of natural objects, human faces as well as man-made systems such as financial markets.

The Swiss architect, Le Corbusier, famous for his contributions to the modern International Style, centered his design philosophy on systems of harmony and proportion. Le Corbusier's faith in the mathematical order of the universe was closely bound to The Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Series, which he described as "rhythms apparent to the eye and clear in their relations with one another; and these rhythms are at the very root of human activities, they resound in man by an organic inevitability..."

As I ponder the minds of these great masters (and my own work as a designer), I have come to the conclusion that this principle is indeed significant, fascinating, even divine. But, there is a part of me that knows deep down, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, and that Edgar Allen Poe was onto something when he said , "There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion."

I will hold onto the fact that perfection can never be achieved, we are human after all. There is no such thing as the perfect design, piece of art, architecture, photograph or person. So, what draws us in, keeps us staring for hours and brings as back for more? In the end, we appreciate beauty simply because it is beautiful to us - and no principle can (or needs to) rationalize that.

 

Fibonacci and Golden Ratio

Fibonacci and Golden Ratio

Seen on nature

Seen on nature

in art - Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper

in art - Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper

 in architecture -  The Parthenon

 in architecture -  The Parthenon

Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye

Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye

in interiors - Villa Savoye

in interiors - Villa Savoye

and even the market

and even the market

- Poe

- Poe

Now, an ode to the less proportionate...

in architecture

in architecture

in interiors

in interiors

in art - Picasso, Self-Portrait

in art - Picasso, Self-Portrait

and in life...

well said, Bob Marley.

well said, Bob Marley.

Be inspired....appreciate that which is beautiful and perfect to you.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly
 

Be Still...and Listen

“A painter paints pictures on canvas, but musicians paint their pictures on silence.”

- Leopold Stokowski

I listen to music A LOT! It has always been a great source of inspiration for me and one of my deepest loves. For most of us, songs hold memories and images. None of us have ever just listened to music, we’ve lived it. 

If musicians “paint their pictures on silence,” designers paint theirs on stillness. Nothing piques the interest of a designer more than a space longing to be composed. But, it’s not always about getting the entire composition right; sometimes it’s simply about hitting the right tone. A space should only reflect the lives of the ones that dwell there, and a designer should only play a hand in fine-tuning the instruments.  

I am constantly asked where I begin when designing a project. Often times, I think of a lyric that reminds me of a particular emotion; I replay it in my mind until an image appears; I choose a theme based upon that image and once I think I have struck the right chord, I play.

My best advice: if you want to compose surroundings that truly reflect you at your deepest core, be still…and listen.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

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The music room of the great Lenny Kravitz

The music room of the great Lenny Kravitz

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Be inspired...compose your life, uniquely.

Make Someone a Sandwich

Why is it when someone else makes you a sandwich it tastes so much better than if you had made it yourself? The ingredients can be exactly the same…same bread, same meat, same cheese, but it tastes completely different.

I recently had a discussion with someone who reminded of this simple truth: food tastes better when it’s prepared by someone else - a phenomenon that cannot be explained, only enjoyed and appreciated. Though this topic kind of cracked me up, it also made me think; as a designer, I enter into this same idea quite often. All of the elements of a successful design may be present, but it has yet to be put together in a way that can be completely appreciated and enjoyed. The ingredients are there…same walls, same windows, same furniture, but it has yet to meet its potential.

A designer is there to put it together for you. Of course, it’s not quite a phenomenon, but rather a discipline of using particular principles: unity, harmony, rhythm, balance, scale, proportion, similarity and contrast. As in life, so in design, when these elements come together properly another rarity takes place, there is an innate peace that comes over you. You’re not quite sure why you appreciate and enjoy a space as much, but instinctively you do. Perhaps it’s because someone else put it together for you. Perhaps.

Be inspired…make someone a sandwich (in a well-designed kitchen).

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

 

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Your Verse

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race; And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer: that you are here; that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?" - Robin Williams as John Keating from Dead Poet's Society

I was fourteen when the movie, Dead Poet's Society, was released. I can recall being heavily influenced by its underlying themes. It was about passion, discovering who you are, what you love and the things that drive you. It was about creating something and appreciating the beauty in the process. It was about finding inspiration in the world that surrounds you. It was about words.

Last week, I caught this film again, and though I still found it very entertaining, it didn't quite have the same impact as I remembered it having when I was young. I realized it wasn't the movie that had changed, but the viewer.  A few days later, I saw a commercial, and there it was again, the voice-over was from Dead Poet's Society. I decided in that moment that I needed to take another look at the film. Once again, I found myself inspired, but this time  it wasn't as much the dialog, but the set and costume designs that got me. The aesthetic was austere, restrained, grounded and, of course, preppy. I fell in love with the look of the film. I fell in love with those wonderful wool duffle coats the boys wore.

Indeed, the viewer has changed in the last 25 years. There was a time when I wanted to be a writer (this film was partly to blame for that), but now I am a designer, still seeking inspiration in the world that surrounds me. Though I might struggle, or tend to find it in the details of the strangest things, the beauty is in the process of discovering it. My ultimate goal is to learn what inspires my clients, and to direct them as they set the "stage" of their lives, because "the powerful play goes on..."  I still love Whitman, that hasn't changed.

Be inspired...contribute a verse.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

Dead Poet's Society

Dead Poet's Society

Schoolhouse Pendant Lamp

Schoolhouse Pendant Lamp

Men's Duffle Coat - Burberry

Men's Duffle Coat - Burberry

Vintage Desk Set - Hermes

Vintage Desk Set - Hermes

Manuscript Copy - Walt Whitman

Manuscript Copy - Walt Whitman

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"What will your verse be?"

"What will your verse be?"

The First Draft - Rediscovering the Beauty in Historical Architectural Detail

"All the revision in the world will not save a bad first draft: for the architecture of the thing comes, or fails to come, in the first conception, and revision only affects the detail and ornament, alas!" - T.E. Lawrence

As in writing, so in design, do we often rely on that first moment of inspiration (the first draft). Therefore, it is most important to look back at the history of an element before trying to recreate it. We can only build upon what was already laid before us, knowing that change is unnecessary when something great already exists. In other words, look back before looking forward, design from past to present and know that the most beautiful details are perhaps waiting to be rediscovered...they were there in the first conception.

Be inspired.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly
 

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Images via: Chateau Domingue
Founded in 2002, the flourishing Chateau Domingue has become one of the premier importers of reclaimed and aged architectural elements and monumental antiques in the United States. Proprietor Ruth Gay traverses "roads less traveled" throughout Europe several times a year, unearthing beautiful finds from ages past. Her love of European history and architecture has made her a visionary in the industry.
 

Danish Delight

From the latest issue of Elle Decoration UK - a study in simplicity, and a reminder of how impeccably chic Scandinavian design has always been...and will always be. 

 

 

 

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Be inspired. 

Uniquely yours, 

Kimberly 

Radiant Orchid - 2014 Pantone Color of the Year

Pantone recently revealed that its 2014 Color of the Year is Radiant Orchid. 
From their press release:

“While the 2013 color of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”
“An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

Radiant Orchid for Interiors
"Spruce up interior spaces by incorporating this eye-catching hue in paint, accent pieces and accessories. As adaptable as it is beautiful, Radiant Orchid complements olive and deeper hunter greens, and offers a gorgeous combination when paired with turquoise, teal and even light yellows.
Likewise, the vibrant color is sure to liven up neutrals including gray, beige and taupe. Uplifting and bold without being overpowering, Radiant Orchid reenergizes almost any color palette and provides a unifying element for diverse spaces."

Be inspired...

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

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Feeling the Blues

I came home this evening to find my new Pottery Barn catalog in the mail. As a designer, I'm always interested to see what they put out each season because most of my clients love their look. I must admit that I do as well. It has always had an approachable quality with a great feeling of warmth. Of course, I would never design an entire space with PB -- Remember that episode of Friends (The One with the Apothecary Table) where Phoebe and Rachel share an apartment, and Rachel keeps purchasing items from PB, but telling Phoebe they all came from a particular flea market, knowing Phoebe would hate the mass-produced PB stuff. In the end, Phoebe finds out the truth about where the objects actually came from, but doesn't want to let them go and, in fact, buys more.

Can't we all identity with that? We want to have really cool, romantic stories about the history of our decor but end up saying, "Oh, that's from Pottery Barn." Well, like I said, it's a great place and we love it, but we want real stories to tell our friends. We want some of our decor to have a rich history and artistry.

Back to my catalog I received today: the cover was simply titled Indigo, and it was full of images featuring this wonderfully saturated hue. Immediately, my thoughts turned to my childhood friend, Rowland (who I knew way back when as Boomer) always creative, now an artist. He’s one of the few people in this country who goes through the arduous process of growing indigo and weaving and dyeing his own textiles. His work is nothing less than stunning, and I am so excited to have an opportunity to share it with you.

Yes, indigo is trending at the moment, but more importantly it has a brilliant history. Follow this link to learn more about Rowland, his wife Chinami and the exquisite work they are creating with their home-grown indigo. I promise you'll see past the mass-produced for a moment and experience true art.

Be inspired...feel the blues.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

http://www.rickettsindigo.com/

From the Pottery Barn Catalog Cover, 2014

From the Pottery Barn Catalog Cover, 2014

Rowland Ricketts Indigo - grown in Indiana

Rowland Ricketts Indigo - grown in Indiana

Ricketts Indigo - Table Runners (you can't buy these at PB)

Ricketts Indigo - Table Runners (you can't buy these at PB)

Ricketts Indigo - Textile

Ricketts Indigo - Textile

Aboubakar Fofana - Amaridian

Aboubakar Fofana - Amaridian

Aboubakar Fofana - Amaridian

Aboubakar Fofana - Amaridian

Aboubakar Fofana - Amaridian

Aboubakar Fofana - Amaridian


"On the Eleventh Day of Christmas...

my true love sent to me

Eleven pipers piping..."

Industrial Chic interiors have been trending for a while, and we believe this stripped-down look is here to stay. So, expose those pipes...it's only upping your cool factor.

Be inspired...turn your pipe dreams into reality.

Uniquely Yours,

Kimberly

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"On the Ninth Day of Christmas...

my true love sent to me

Nine ladies dancing..."


There are few things more feminine and elegant than the ballet. The soft colors and textures are inspiring us at the moment. In fact, we're predicting a surge in this graceful trend. Today, we are embracing our delicate side (without apologies) and creating the most ladylike vanity area we can imagine. Don't be surprised if you find yourself twirling.

Be inspired...dance around the room, nobody's watching.

Uniquely yours,

Kimberly

Available through Savvy: Feather chandelier; flat weave rug; mirror; desk; chair; contemporary artwork; lucite tray; mercury glass bottles

Available through Savvy: Feather chandelier; flat weave rug; mirror; desk; chair; contemporary artwork; lucite tray; mercury glass bottles