Monday, April 4, 2011

My Favorite Way to Undecorate

I am happy to report that Alberto and I inspired and entertained hundreds of people who toured our home. And am even happier to report that the black foot prints from those hundreds of pairs of feet coming through on the black and white stripe guest room rug actually vacuumed off. Yes, not only did I clean the house for the tour, I did a light cleaning of it after the tour ha ha.

Go HERE for a great article by Stephanie Bruno in The Times Picayune
Alberto and I were so flattered!
We had a group of wonderful docents in the house,
including Julie our wonderful next door neighbor,
decor blogger Mitchell, Decor gals Kellie and her mom Jill,
client Gigi and her little girl Grace, and interior/set designer Bruce McNally.
Artsy Crafy Babe Beki and her husband dropped by -
she's expecting her fourth child and she looked fabulous!

Taking a break reading the Sunday New York times, I came across two fabulous articles. One is about the book "Undecorate" HERE. I am happy for the press for this book. A point was raised in the article that because of the economy the folks in the book opted not to hire a decorator or designer, and instead decided to do the work themselves. I don't think anyone of these "undecorators" would hire a designer, even if they had all the money in the world! They just happen to be people who are visually astute and confident enough to decorate their own (and I reckon others) home.

I know that if money were no object, I would never hire anyone to decorate my home. And I felt this way long before my current reinvention as a decorator. There used to be a BBC show called Changing Rooms that morphed into a USA version called Trading Spaces, and my thought bubble was: "I would never do that show!" Even amongst my talented group of friends, I doubt that I would even want them to do up my house. I love doing it myself.

What about you? If money were no object would you hire someone, and who?

Anyhoo I am off on a tangent. I wanted to share some photos from the NY Times Style Magazine that is devoted to home decor this week. I loved one story called "Family Style" HERE by Daisy Garnet with photos by Magnus Marding (of which you see below).

The first photo sums up everything I love and aspire to as a decorator. I remember being in apartments in Paris and in other places in Europe, where the building was very old with grand proportions and architectural details, and the furnishings were a mix of modern and vintage and antique.

The perfect mix! The color of the walls, the architectural details, the chevron pattern wood floor, the antique mirror and fireplace, the modern chandelier, the modern table with antique style wood turned legs, the vintage style Eames chairs - this is the way I love to decorate!

The house is in England, called Dinder House. A young family purchased it, and turned what had become a commercial space filled with institutional offices, into a home. They turned the grand ballroom into a kitchen and dining room, and spare bedrooms (there are 39!) into additional bathrooms.

This sarcophagus like hunk of marble is the kitchen island! Maybe a bit too much marble for me, but somehow it works with the proportions of the ballroom now a kitchen. I love the the large modern floor lamp used in a kitchen space, and of course the saturated color of the walls!

There is also a room for the kids dedicated to Legos! Yes there is a Lego Room! Up until a few months ago I would not have understood this, but a recent client has a ten year old little boy whose bedroom I am redoing. He is very excited about what I am doing, but he was very concerned about having me move his completed Lego projects, and then having space for them in his new room! I wish I could give him a Lego Room!

LOVE the master bedroom - the wallpaper is to die for! The floors are different and look new. The ornate bed and a pile of books for a nightstand looks fabulous, but really, I think a proper nightstand is more practical, and I am sure there is just the perfect one out there somewhere

Daisy Garnet writes: "This approach makes the house beautiful and welcoming — and fun, respecting its history without leaving it stuck in its period or turning it into an ersatz version of a stately home. Crawford (VV- the designer is Ilse Crawford) and the Mycocks have given Dinder its own look. Georgian tallboys sit in bedrooms covered in Marthe Armitage wallpaper and lit by Marianna Kennedy resin lamps. New sits happily alongside old. (And very good. There is no trace of shabby chic here, though playfulness is everywhere.) The boys can ride their bikes on the oiled parquet floor, “which looks nicer when it’s a bit used and abused,” Crawford says. And they can leave their half-finished painting and Lego projects in situ, just as their parents have space to hang their growing contemporary art collection among their framed holiday photographs. How do you live in a place like Dinder if you are a young family new to country-house life? Very comfortably."

The kids playroom - LOVE the chandelier!

This bathroom is called the boot room, perhaps what we think of as a mud room, and the fabulous hand-printed botanical wallpaper is by Marthe Armitage

More spectacular hand-blocked wallpaper in the living room is a foil for the kooky and playful contemporary furniture like Geoffrey Harcourt's Cleopatra chaise -
and again I die for those chevron pattern ancient wood floors!

The exterior of Dinder House on 23 acres - yes the owners are wealthy and successful, internet business tycoons, but their decor could jump off the pages of "Undecorate"


Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

I"m with you. I would never hire a decorator because I enjoy doing myself and I can't imagine someone else picking out objects to be in my house. But aren't you glad that people do hire decorator's because they hire you! I don't think I would ever volunteer my house for a design show. I totally would for the backyard though. I have lots of ideas for my yard but it's hard for me to do them all by myself.

That book looks great. And that house was fabulous. I love how it was elegant, historic, fun and yet comfortable. I didn't care for the kitchen though.

Mary Ann said...

Some of the wallpapers and acoutrements are beautiful. One that I could not find at all in my realm of mystique was the dining table with the pastel chairs. In no way could I ever embrace that decor, however, I'm sure there are people who love it. Have a wonderful week.

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

I love all of these images. That have that wonderful, magical quality that is so hard to define and create - but you sure know it when you see it!

Anonymous said...

What a great post. Congrats on the nice article about your home -- you both must be so proud. And loved the photos of Ilse Crawford's work -- love that mix of modern and vintage. Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

wow o wow. the newspaper article and pics today were totally awesome. I sat there reading the information, big smile on my face and verbally saying to no one, " I know them"!. Bear thought I had lost my mind but he knew I was happy and that meant cookie time. Soooo I tangoed to the kitchen closet, got him a cookie and danced my way back to the kitchen table to read and devour the piece once again. You both are amazing and it shows all OVER THE WORLD! Congratulations for another wonderful fete and save some wine for me. XOXO Linda

Trouvais said...

Love the drama, fun...slightly jarring offset to tall ceilings, gorgeous molding, chevron floor. Does look like your style! Think you'd like Parisian Interiors (R. Stoeltie). Nice to see you and Alberto looking so happy and healthy together. Trish

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

You guys do look so happy and healthy!

Kudos to a great turnout...and article!

...Now go relax a little, would'ja?

Kare said...

I would need access to the trade only showrooms. After that I have my own ideas!!!

h. m. settoon said...

had a great time. congrats on the article and turnout. as for it and have it, i'm gonna start and uncleaning that would make me you think we could make dog hair de rigueur?

Irene said...

Congratulations on a wonderful house tour, you are brave. I don't know that I could ever do that, decorate and clean too. I love what you say about decorating your own home, I must agree, if money were no object I think I would just do house tours all over the world and forget the decorator. Congratulations once again.

Appletree said...

I would hire a decorator and he/she would hate me for changing everything they suggested, but I always like another opinion.

Congrats on the tour!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Valorie what a great post. I'm pleased the tour went off so well. What great fun to be part of. I too would not want to give control over to a decorator/designer, even though I should. I'd perhaps ask them in for great tips only to do the work myself. Perhaps Abigail Ahern, David Spain, or David Jimenez? Pick their brain and then set them free!! Boy do I love Dinder house O : Or do I say, I'm in a dither over Dinder?

Happy Monday to you two kids. I LOVE the photo of you both. xo xo

Planet Tango said...

For the record, Valorie is not a for-hire decorator, the kind that looks at your home through his/her ego...

Even in her former reincarnation as an ace event planner and designer in NYC, she would only consider those clients who made a great effort to find her.

Should any of you ever have the fortune of having Valorie look at your home, you'd be thrilled to discover that she will bring the best of you formulated from the point of view of a visual genius.

That is to say, those who are lucky to have her vision put to work for their homes soon discover how their own ideas, concepts and personality come to life through the exceptional mind of a unique designer.

I have been living her ever evolving dynamic decoration for as far as she's been my decorator.

Thank you all for being so kind with your commentaries regarding her artistry and our health.


Sabina said...

So, did everyone think your shotgun was the best? What were some of the comments? What a weekend you had, you are amazing!

Anonymous said...

You & Alberto were adorable in Saturday's Picayune!

Reyna said...

The dining table with the pastel colored chairs is quite bold. I don't think I would want that in my dining room, but I'm sure there are those that would love such a thing. Thought the chandelier in the kids room, is to DIE for! So beautiful!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Anonymous said...

Chances are as I write the doors to Perch are bursting open with customers eager to acquire your services and wisdom. What a nice post by Alberto. Seriously, wouldn't all of us want our husbands to say such lovely things as we ponder how to make our spaces more beautiful. Lucky girl, Valerie. I am so happy you have the media exposure you so richly deserve.

VictoriaArt said...

Good for you! Love your show house spirit!
And I had t grin, because my Sunday post looks practically identical to yours! Well, yours is much more analyzed, which I like of course!
Just love the photos by Magnus Marding. This home is so beautiful!
The bedroom is gorgeous and I had to smile about the
play room. The ottoman is one of a kind!
The boot rooms plunge style toilet is something I remember from my childhood!
I am so happy to see you so happy together and Alberto well!

Ann said...

Oh I'm with you, if I money were no object, I would decorate my house on my own, oh maybe a few consultations here and there from the professionals but definitely minor ones. I believe in my taste and I know I have style ♥

classic • casual • home said...

I love the juxtaposition of old stateliness and modern pop.

Renae Moore said...

You're famous and I KNOW and adore you! hehe
I wouldn't hire a decorator b/c I enjoy putzing and fiddling and moving and adjusting myself. I think it's fun to get together with other creatives I like and play together (like you and I did here!). You are THE best!

Cote de Texas said...

just got that book today from amazon and was happy to see you in it!!! wow!!!! boy has your house changed too. i wish they could put the old and new side by side - it's so totally different now, the kitchen and the dining room - i guess the living room is still basially the same exept for the painted enfilade. anyway - congrats!!!! i loved seeing you and alberto. it was such a thrill.

Anonymous said...

You inspired me to start a garden and pathway at the side of my house lined with beautiful stones...hand picked by me and all free range! I did a cluster fuck of just has already cost almost 200. on just ferns and I need another 200. to have an impact.
I should have never started since I have no water at that house! I wait till dark and use the hose from the Church house next door...Is that a sin? I let them use my hose for a project they had going on months ago, acrross the street from me...well get some rest ...All my love

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful picture of you both!
And a really great article!!

Wish I could have been there... xoxo


Hickory Furniture Mart said...

This is the first time we've heard of the idea of "undecorating" but we can really appreciate its results! These eclectic rooms help to reduce the stuffiness of a purely traditional style aesthetic while bringing some grounding for the more unique pieces. For people looking to combine both modern and traditional design, check out some article's we've written on the elements of each

Anonymous said...

omfg, your chapter in redecorate?!? i'm dying!

Brian Patrick Flynn