Palette Cleanser

Is it just me or are things looking really overdecorated lately? This might come across as a little ironic since I recently swathed a powder room in crazy marble wallpaper, but I can't help it. My eyes are tired. It seems like every room has to have trim and contrasting pattern and 75 colors and fully accessorized vignettes and statement furniture everywhere. I'm not judging, for I am most definitely guilty of all infractions. And don't get me wrong, I will always have a flair for the dramatic and a soft spot for this: design crisis

That is super weird. I love it, and I will always love wallpaper. But like I said, my eyes are bleeding from all the stuff in every picture everywhere and I feel an overwhelming urge to clean up the visual clutter.

design crisis | palette cleanser

AHHHHHH isn't that nice? Does anyone actually live here? Who cares?! It's all about organizing the room around one statement moment and then editing everything else out. Like a fine ocular sorbet.

design crisis | palette cleanser

White paint makes that easy. If you have great light and good architecture, white paint works. Personally I don't think I can ever live with white white whiiiite paint, because we have a lot of sheetrock and not a lot of windows. I might be feeling anti ornamental at the moment, but if you live in a sheetrock shack you're going to have to do some decorating.

design crisis | palette cleanser

Even dirty off white is more forgiving. This is a nice amount of ornamentalism for me. There is a lot going on here, but keeping things neutral and monochromatic lets the eye rest.

design crisis | palette cleanser

For those of us with yucky architecture and light, color may be a necessity. I don't think cleaning house necessarily means painting everything in neutrals and going gently into that good night. Robert Couturier is my homeboy because he knows how to let even a fancy room breathe. Bold color on the walls and wee pattern on the sofas dictates neutral art, no pillows (!!!), very little clutter, and curtains that don't pop. Matching sofas reduces the number of design elements in a large room. This is a space that could be translated to a real person's house for sure.

design crisis | palette cleanser

Or how about a mostly tonal room with zero pattern? So doable. The focus is all on the delicious yet judicious use of color. It might even be nutritious.

design crisis | palette cleanser

Same idea, but as a kitchen. Sexy, moody, interesting, and clean as a whistle.

design crisis | palette cleanser

I have to admit it is hard not to love a good white room, though. The architecture and textural elements here are layered enough to keep things lively, and that lamp is everything.

design crisis | palette cleanser

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a bright white Vistosi chandelier in an otherwise dark room has impact without punching you in the face. The paint color and furnishings are unique, but everything else is kinda blendy and nothing is upstaging the diva.

design crisis | palette cleanser

Blendy blendy, but not blandy. It's all about the floors and that bizarrely awesome chandelier.

design crisis | palette cleanser

This is like the good twin to my evil twin powder room. I really wanted everything to feel like it was chiseled from the same material. It might have helped if I had 10K to spend on marble, but I think I did ok with $300 spent on wallpaper.

design crisis

And then there is this room. There are quite a few design elements going on, but the balance is good. I spy plenty of breathing room. It's clean and fresh and interesting. I want to live here. That rug!

Isn't it nice be simple sometimes?


Saddened by the realization that a super high 100" inch long black leather couch might turn my living room into a funeral home, I have turned to the shopping dark side. Friends, I have gone on a thrifting rampage -- a thrampage if you will. Historically this is what happens when I almost spend a lot of money but am thwarted for some silly reason -- like measurements. Instead of spending all that mentally allotted money in one fell swoop, I fritter it away on $5 Murano candy dishes and brass spiders. Although let's not kid ourselves, a brass spider is something to behold and well worth $5.

brass crystal spider

A sparkly gold crystal spider. What's not to love?

I thought maybe I'd take you on a mini tour of the fruits of my thrampage. Please do not assume this represents even a fraction of the stuff I have thrifted in the last month. I just dumped two giant boxes full of Italian pottery and mid century sculptures on a client that I was too tired to shoot (the thrift wares, not my adorable client people).

persian rug

This here is an awkward space, therefore I made it awesome by surrounding my crazy Mark Sabin print with equally awesome stuff that I nabbed at thrift stores and on craigs. I would never advise my clients to attempt this at home, because honestly sometimes you have to drop some major cash (and even buy new furniture... gasp!) to pull a room together. I think I just have the thrift disease. I probably (definitely) should take my own advice and spring for a new couch instead. Or at least a better cabinet.

mark sabin

But this is how I feel when I thrift... like I'm in a magical forest wearing a floral headdress. You didn't think I was waxing metaphorical, did you?

marble elephants

These didn't photograph well but I am obsessed with my new $4 alabaster elephants. I have no idea who made these, but they are gorgeous and HEAVY.

vintage elephant stand

Apparently I need to stop buying white elephants because I have four of them within view. But who could resist this guy?

kurdish rug green

If you follow me on The Gram (that's what all the kids are calling it these days, right?) then you already know about this vintage Kurdish rug I scooped up on Ebay and put down in our foyer.

cobalt painting

I'm loving it with this amazing gouache painting I bought at a consignment store. And let's not overlook my brass candlebludgeons... the baby is not yet tall enough to reach them, but soon I will have to move them lest we reenact a scene from Clue.

wallpaper socket

Ok, so I didn't thrift this wallpaper but I felt you must see the most mangled ridiculous socket wallpapering job in the history of humankind. It looks like Michael Myers from Halloween (not to be confused with Mike "yeah baby!" Myers). This makes me laugh. I really should have paid my amazing wallpaper dude to do this but I cheaped out. Bad. Idea. Jeans.

vintage brass lamp

To make matters worse I might have found this enormous insane ridiculous brass lamp a home in our living room, even though I swore I would not put another brass lamp in my house.


"Seriously Mom, stop with the brass!"

Have I mentioned that Ike and Luke are a little tired of being dragged to every thrift shop in town? Luke just turned 13 months old but he knows exactly where we are as soon as I pull into the parking lot. You'd think the lure of cheap plastic toys and the promise of air conditioning would be enough to stave off their dissatisfaction. But no.

Did you know that Round Top is coming up... I am getting itchy just thinking about it. Are you making mental wish lists for my house like I am? Does it include a brass chiavari chair? I bought one of those, too. Because it's brass.

brass chiavari

It is vexing me sorely with a bad case of flaking lacquer that I can't remove, and also you should never clean brass with steel wool (apparently I slept through chemistry).

Let's talk about how to fix this situation.

Let's also talk about how there is a set of FOUR immaculate chiavari chairs on craigs right now... Someone please buy them and save me from myself. Please.

The thrampage continues!

And the Wallpaper Winner Is...

Hey guys, thanks so much for entering the Graham and Brown wallpaper giveaway! It was super fun to read about your decorating hopes and dreams... sorry I'm about to crush most of them.

Hopefully not permanently?

Anyhow, comments are now closed and I ran the numbers through the magical doohickey, bee bopp booo bing zam:

Wow, that is just weird. Numbers be crazy, yo.

Congratulations to Lauren, you are the winner!

"Would love to win Bao in cream. I'm buying a small fixer upper apartment and would love to use this in the entry."

Sounds like an awesome plan to me... I would slap some crazy art on top and call that space done.

HUGE thanks to Graham and Brown for hosting this amazing giveaway!

For everyone who didn't win, here is some wallpaper porn to get you through this trying time. Don't say I never did anything for you.



graham and brown star wallpaper



jonas cord

Happy Friday!