Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Textbook Tuesday | Inspired Design by Jennifer Boles



Inspired Design: The 100 Most Important Interior Designers of the Past 100 Years, by Jennifer Boles and published by Vendome Press, is arguably the most important book of the season! Jennifer, long time blogger behind The Peak of Chic, is one of my heroes because much like me, she celebrates the work of others and studies the designers of the past and present to learn from them. Jennifer's blog, and now this book, are a rich resource of every decor style and every need-to-know designer - she quite literally gives us an extensive history lesson of the landscape of this field.


So how did Jennifer come up with the list of 100? She explains in a recent interview for Architectural Digest:

 “We put it out there on social media, on Instagram, Facebook, the blog, and asked people who they thought were the most important designers of the century ...[s]ome of my favorite designers today, the ones I would hire for myself, didn’t make the list. Which I hope people understand, because it doesn’t mean those designers aren’t any less talented. It’s about the contribution to the history of design that mattered most.” 

She goes on to explain, “[i]f someone is not familiar with Albert Hadley—which is hard to believe—but if that’s the case, then I have to show his library for Brooke Astor, as one of the best examples of his work. It’s been seen it so many times, but it just has to be featured” (quotes via AD).

In this over-sized tome (400 pages!) each designer is profiled with a summary of what we can learn from them and how they changed decorating forever, and 3-4 images of their best work are shown. The book is divided into chapters based on categories starting with The Big Six (you know Albert Hadley and Sister Parish had to be on there), and including lists like 'A Century of Women,' or those currently 'Making Their Mark' (think Miles Redd and Alexa Hampton). You can see an example bio with one of The Big Six, Billy Baldwin, just enough information to spark the readers interest and help them learn more:






A Tom Scheerer–designed room at Lyford Cay in the Bahamas featured in Inspired Design
What I love most about this stunning tome is the ability to continuously learn from it; it's a rich educational resource, and I love to keep learning. In fact I'd go as far as to argue that Inspired Design should be required reading for every interior design student. Put this one on your must-have list for your own design library, and as the perfect gift for any design-lover on your list! You can purchase your copy here.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Textbook Tuesday | Island Hopping



Another week brings another gorgeous fall book review! There are SO many amazing new design titles being released, particularly from publisher Vendome Press; I've got a few that I'm going to progressively add to my library and I will share them with you as I do. Island Hopping by designer Amanda Lindroth collides the relaxed Carribean lifestyle with the polished colonial vibe of the Southern states (photography by Tria Giovan and illustrations by Aldous Bertram). This large-scale hardcover book is stunningly wrapped in a faux raffia cover on front and back, the perfect dose of texture for your coffee table styling! And we all know the cover is as important as what is on the inside when it comes to design books:


One of the main reasons I wanted to add this specific book to my collection was the fact that Amanda's design firm has been based in Nassau since 2010, and my husband and I visited the island as well as the neighboring island of Exuma in 2014 and fell in love with it! The Caribbean is truly a beautiful place, a place I hope to return to sooner than later.

Amanda's extensive portfolio proves she's making the islands even MORE beautiful with her stunning work. I remember first laying eyes on the room below as published in House Beautiful, what a stunner with it's hand painted trompe l'oeil wall murals (done by the same artist, Aldous Bertram, who was commissioned for the book illustrations. He has a PhD from Cambridge in the influence of China on English garden design and architecture - that's impressive to say the least!).

Stunning illustration by Aldous Bertram

There are 25 projects featured, and all of the spaces presented in this tome show off Amanda's airy, relaxed, indoor-outdoor aesthetic:




I love that these projects lend to a colorful relaxed island vibe, but somehow at the same time Amanda accomplishes a tailored and 'put-together' look that could be just as at home in a city apartment.

Not only is Amanda the go-to designer of island dwellers, she has a second studio and shop in Palm Beach and has recently launched the Amanda Lindroth Collection, a line of raffia and rattan housewares, totes, and furniture. It really is a visual equivalent of a Caribbean getaway! You can see more of Amanda's porfolio here, and purchase your copy of Island Hopping here.



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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wallpaper Wednesday | Jasper Peony


 Jasper Peony in the Barley colorway at Tory Burch

It's mid-week and I'm setting a personal record of blogging more than once this week! :) Truth is that I am off of work and on maternity leave now, but baby has yet to arrive so I've got a tiny bit of time to myself. It's been a restful few days and when baby makes his debut I will be sure to fill you in. For today - an indulgent look into another favorite wallpaper, Jasper Peony. Designed by decorative artist Adam Calkin, this large scale modern Chinoiserie print is perfectly pretty (Carleton V Ltd. in the USA and Lewis & Wood in the UK).

I fell madly in love with this wallcovering after seeing it in person last year at our Vancouver Tory Burch boutique (you may have seen me post a hidden jib door covered in it on my instagram!). Since then I take notice every time I see it installed, and in every colorway it's beautiful:

Mocha colorway at Tory Burch



I am a tad bit obsessed, do you love it too? I keep dreaming up places I could use it! What colorway would you choose if you could only choose one?? See more product details for Jasper Peony here.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Textbook Tuesday | Brian Gluckstein | The Art of Home

Internationally renowned designer Brian Gluckstein has given us a printed collection of his work, and I couldn't be more excited to dive into this one as my first book review for fall. Growing up in Canada, there was little media attention on interior design - but Brian was a constant influence and being exposed to his work through television and other means helped me realize my own love for design at a young age. The Art of Home showcases so many of those mind-shaping projects of which I poured over every tiny detail, and so you can imagine how happy I am to have them all in one place now!

The book features luxe yet liveable spaces that I think you will agree are exceptionally timeless. Each chapter focuses in on a project, from a 'tailored beach house' to a 'historic manse' to the designers own home (truly my favorite part of the book!). In the introduction, we even get a peek at the exterior and interiors of the Toronto-based office of Gluckstein Design located in a 19th century Georgian former printing house.


In each project we see how Brian melds contemporary design with traditional. My favorite mix. And it's truly showcased the best in his own stunning home. This would really be a perfect gift for any design-lover on your list. I was so happy to read through and find that it's also a practical, informative guide on how to transform and style your own home. 



The beautifully photographed projects are complimented throughout with anecdotes from the designer, inspiring quotes and design tips to take away from. Truly an inspirational body of work from Canada's best, I highly recommend this one as a must-add to your design library! If you've already grabbed a copy I'd love to hear what you think, and if you haven't you can order here

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

8 Fall Design Books to Preorder Now



Fall comes with a long list of fantastic design and art book releases, and it feels like this coming season has an even more extensive line-up than usual. Truly I could have easily included some 20 or so new releases, but I've kept my list to a short 'Top-8 Must Haves' to help you narrow down (in each case you can click the book title to pre-order now). Starting with 2 books that make me oh so happy because I've followed these ladies and their blogs for years and have watched them grow into forces in the design industry:

1. Dream Design Live | Paloma Contreras | Sept 4, 2018


Paloma Contreras of La Dolce Vita, one of my most beloved blogs which I have had the honor to contribute to regularly, sets out to show readers how to live beautifully in Dream Design Live. This manual of design is divided into three sections, as the title suggests, and takes readers through stunning photography mixed with accessible tips and lifestyle advice. Design-authority Architectural Digest hails the book as "a great read for design professionals and enthusiasts alike." Be sure to check in on Paloma's social media to see sneak peeks like the powder room above before the actual release date.

2. Inspired Design: The 100 Most Important Interior Designers of the Past 100 Years | Jennifer Boles | Oct 2, 2018


One of the first design bloggers on the scene, Jennifer Boles was one to follow with her design history knowledge and know-how on The Peak of Chic. As the title suggests, this book will give readers all the names you should know in the last 100 years of interior design. For each designer featured we learn what we can take from their work, and how they changed the industry forever.

3. Sophisticated Simplicity | Suzanne Kasler | Sept 11, 2018

Suzanne Kasler's books have always been a wealth of original ideas and a wonderful reference, so I had to include her latest installment as another must-have for any design-enthusiasts library. We know we will get an incredible display of timeless sophistication and traditional pretty palettes with stunning photography of her work in this newest volume.

4. The Gardens of Bunny Mellon | Linda Jane Holden | Oct, 2018 


Bunny Mellon maintained homes celebrated for their style and refinement, however her greatest love was truly landscape and garden design. Linda Jane Holden, the author of this latest book dedicated to Bunny, had the chance to interview Mellon extensively before her death in 2014 and has been given access to her journals, photographs and sketches. This one will be a history lesson indeed!

5. The Power of Pattern | Susanna Salk | Sept 11, 2018


Best-selling author and our favorite video host of Quintessence's At Home With series, Susanna Salk does it again with this pattern collection and resource guide. This will be a practical manual with tips on how to use patterns to your advantage in a space, and chapters are divided based on categories such as 'Toile', 'Chinoiserie', 'Stripes', and 'Ikat.' (Entry vignette above by Mallory Mathison).

6. Perspective | Steven Gambrel | Oct 9, 2018

For his second book, Steven Gambrel gives the reader insight into his latest projects including his own 19th century townhouse in NY City's West Village, a Bridgehampton beach house, a luxurious Astor Suite in Manhattan's famed Plaza Hotel, and a sea captain's house in Sag Harbour. If that isn't an impressive line-up, I'm not sure what is! These dream residences will be sure to inspire design aficionados.


7. Design & Style: A Constant Thread | Carolyn Roehm | Sept 25, 2018


Carolyn for the first time opens up about her own life story, her influences and her experiences working under mentor Oscar de la Renta. She tells the story of her own fashion line, and the growth of her creativity through her gardening, entertaining, and décor - all having a 'common thread.'

8. The Art of Home | Brian Gluckstein | Sept 10, 2018


Renowned Canadian designer Brian Gluckstein, whom I have loved to follow for years, is releasing his first book with, The Art of Home. You may know his name because of his extensive product lines, however one quick glance at his extensive portfolio will have you hooked. This will be a stunning compilation of his work for any one who loves his refined and tailored style, and it includes projects from New York to Aspen and everywhere in between.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Living Room Reveal With Pacific Rug Gallery



A fun reveal for you today for #transformationtuesday! I'm excited to finally show you the finished living room with the fabulous updated rug from Pacific Rug Gallery. This has done so much to transform our space; we desperately needed more pattern, more color, more depth, and this was the perfect solution to that. I really wanted to keep with a traditional feel in this room, and the previous off-white Moroccan-style shag rug was much too modern for my liking (all new photos of the room were taken by the amazingly talented Tracey Ayton, I am so grateful every time I get to work with her!).


Just for fun, a little reminder of what this room looked like a mere 2 years ago ... the real estate photos when we toured the house before purchase. My oh my, you've come a long way from your 1989 decor, little house!



So as you can see below, my previous rug in this space was a bit wrong, at least in my eyes, and I think that the foundation of the room makes all the difference to how the entire room flows and feels. Take a look and tell me what you think; for me it was too much white/off white combined with the walls, it was a tad too large at 9x12 in a smaller space leaving very little border of the wood floor showing, a bit modern in pattern, and the most crummy part ... it never stopped shedding. I thought over the few years we had it that we could vacuum it enough to eventually stop the shedding, but it was relentless! Just a follow-up note to last week's post - this shag rug is hand tufted which I only learned after the fact would likely mean it would shed forever.


Compared to now:


Here's what I've learned after doing a little homework on sizing a rug for your space:

1) Make sure that ALL of the furniture in your conversation area can have the legs on the rug. There's nothing less inviting than a rug floating in the middle of a space with no furniture on it, and it's ideal to have all furniture at least with the front legs on. For me, I still wanted to see a bit of wood bordering the room so an 8x10 was the way to go. Most rooms best suite an 8x10 or 9x12, and though these will mean more investment, it's totally worth it.

2) If you LOVE a rug that is on the smaller side (say 6x9), buy a large sisal rug and layer the unique rug on top of it. I've seen this done so beautifully often.

3) Make sure that your rug has at least 6-10" on either side of the sofa. If the width of the sofa is a similar width of the rug, everything will look off. Your room will look narrow and the rug will look too small!






This particular rug is a hand-made, hand knotted rug with a hand-spun wool pile and cotton foundation. It has over 200 knots per square inch (and this means ZERO shedding) and the design goes back over 300 years with a long history in classic Persian rugs. I personally love something with history because it let's me know it's not going to go out of style. However, the rug is a brand new weave made with vegetable dyes and natural colors and the current weavers have created a modern version of the original traditional design.

You'll likely find similar patterns referred to popularly as “Transitional Design” in today’s market. What was really important to me before committing to a rug I know I will have for years and years to come was the durability. The pile of the rug is relatively thin making it versatile and easy to clean, so it is certainly very functional for everyday use. I've never had a rug that could literally be passed down to my kids, and I could not be more thrilled about getting rid of cheaper alternatives from my home!

(Above: pattern play with Mary McDonald's Vanderbilt pillows and Schumacher's Pyne Hollyhock from Arianna Belle)

(Above and below: gorgeous floral arrangement from Floralista, coffee table is Bernhardt | photos by me)


It feels so good have another patterned surface layered into the space, and one that is going to be durable, clean, and more natural fibers for my family. I encourage you to get as much info about the products you choose to put in your home before you purchase! I made a few costly mistakes and I'm so thankful to be headed in the right direction now. To see more of the extensive and impressive collection from Pacific Rug Gallery, a family-owned and run company with a long history in high-quality Persian rugs, hop to their website here and my previous post here.


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Monday, June 4, 2018

Pacific Rug Gallery Q&A | How To Choose The Right Rug


(A sneak peek of my new rug which has totally transformed my living room)

When we bought our first home nearly 10 years ago, we had to fill it with ‘stuff’ of low quality on a tight budget, without taking much time or putting much thought into what we were filling our house with. Now, moving into the next stage of life I have wanted to be extra mindful of selecting quality and timeless designs. The rugs I’ve lived with for years have had every problem in the book - including constant shedding, falling apart at the seams, and not standing up to proper cleaning processes. That’s why today I’m excited to share a bit of insight with you on how to select a high quality rug that will withstand wear and tear, and truthfully be special enough to maintain & repair and pass down to your children as a family heirloom. 
I turned to Pacific Rug Gallery, a local family-owned business (my favorite type of business to support!) to help educated me. Before meeting them, I didn’t fully grasp the important difference between hand-tufted versus hand-knotted rug, now I finally understand why the quality of my past rugs was so poor! Hossein Daliri, owner of PRG, is personally trained in Persian rug creation and reconstruction and comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Given the popularity of classic Persian rugs in design right now, I thought it would be helpful to do a little interview with the owner Hossein, about these rugs and what the different styles are, how to care for them and what to look for. If you are a designer, they have a enormous selection & a trade program which you can sign up for to receive information and discounts, contact them HERE and request info on the trade program!
Nancy Marcus: Where do you source your rugs from?

Hossein Daliri: Our rugs are sourced from all over the world including Persian rugs, Indian rugs, Nepalese rugs, Turkish rugs, Moroccan rugs and ….. What is important is that we hand select every single rug before bringing it into our Gallery.
(An example of a Classic Design pattern with the ever-popular blue coloration and center medallion)

NM: What are the important characteristics of a high-quality rug that educated customers should be looking for?

HD: There are many characteristics that need to be taken into account when deciding on a rug. Quality is often dependent on the knot count and quality, generally speaking, the smaller and more compact and dense the knots are, the finer the rug and the higher the quality. Also, the materials used such as wool, silk, cotton, or a combination of them are important in determining the strength of the pile to withstand wear and tear. 

NM: Can you educate us on the superiority of the hand-knotted technique over lower-quality hand-tufted rugs?

HD: Hand tufted rugs are woven using a special tool that looks like a gun. The knots are manufactured in the gun and thus, the time it takes to complete a hand tufted rug is by far less than the time required to weave a similar sized hand woven rug. Hand tufted rugs are completed by adding a fabric backing using special glue, which may wear off over time and causes the release of fluff and dried glue into the air, it is not very nice to breathe those materials which are generally synthetic viscose.
The hand-knotted rugs are of much higher quality and require much longer time to complete as every single knot is executed by the talented hands of the weavers. They last many many years and grow in value over time like a priceless investment. The materials used are wool, silk, and cotton in combinations or on their own.

NM: What seems to be the hottest trend in rugs right now?

HD: The hottest trends include the Transitional Design which is a perfect modern recreation of classic and traditional patterns usually with a combination of wool and silk or wool and cotton. The patterns tend to use more subtle colors that are easy to fit with most decor making them versatile and beautiful in various settings.
Another trendy style is the Vintage Design made exclusively by Pacific Rug Gallery where some rugs are distressed and overdyed to create a worn look with various colors. They are also versatile and work well with both contemporary and classic home decors.

(Beautiful Vintage Design with the current popular distressed and washed-out appearance)

NM: What is one rug design that a homeowner can select to keep a classic timeless look that will never go out of style?

HD: The Heris Design is one of the most timeless and classic designs that has been quite trendy and fashionable over many years. It is also still used in the transitional rug patterns as well. 

(Stunning classic Heris Design which is guaranteed to never go out of style!)

NM: How do you care for and clean new and vintage rugs?

HD: For home care, the best thing to do is vacuum regularly and expose the rug to air and light as much as possible to keep away moths and ensure the rug stays in good shape. We also recommend that the rugs be professionally cleaned once every 2-3 years (which is a service we provide).

(If the traditional-look is not your personal style, these high-quality rugs also come in hundreds of contemporary designs as seen above)
I paid several visits to the bright gallery on the North Shore of Vancouver where rugs are displayed like pieces of art along the white walls. Truthfully there were so many beautiful design options for my own living room, it was a tough decision to come to! I started by selecting my desired color palette, then the size appropriate for my room (8x10 in my case - I'll talk more about gauging size of a rug for your space in a future post), and then choosing a pile and material that would stand up to every day wear and tear. Hand-knotted wool & cotton was the way to go, and the rug I chose has over 200 knots per square inch (the higher the density, the higher the quality!) on a relatively thin pile which is easy to clean and very functional for everyday use.

(A huge shout out to Hossein, Mina (pictured here), Shahab, Majid, and all the staff at PRG for their outstanding knowledge & service!)
If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed I shared my selections with you and even had the chance to have you vote using a poll. On top of that, the staff at PRG helped make it easier on me by allowing me to see my top 2 choices in the actual space before finalizing such a big decision. In home trials is part of the service they offer, now that is a true customer service experience I have rarely experienced!

A huge thank you to PacificRug Gallery for helping me in selecting such an investment piece that is truly like art in my living space. I was so impressed with the exceptional selection of rugs as well as rug repair and cleaning process services they provide. And I hope it gives all of you a chance to feel like you've learned something helpful about what makes a high-quality rug high-quality! I always assume, the more we know, the better decisions we can make. I cannot wait to share the finished room with you all, I had the opportunity to have the fabulous Tracey Ayton professionally photograph the finished living room with my rug installed and I’ll have the final reveal for you next week, stay tuned! 
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