Animal Print is a Neutral

Animal print is a neutral.  I’ve heard this a lot lately, and I think it’s so funny!  But true!  Jenna Lyons at J. Crew is really the one who has made leopard a mainstay in all of our wardrobes.  That trend has carried into interior design.  Be careful though, it can start looking cheap really quick!  Don’t be afraid to use animal prints with bright colors and other patterns.

January February 2013 Issue - A leopard-print ottoman and wooden occasional chairs surrounding a white mantel

Lonny Magazine Designer Jessika Goranson
leopard chairs and yellow drapes
MMR Interiors
Beautiful beige living room with leopard pillows
Sally Wheat Interiors, entry, leopard stools
Sally Wheat Interiors
leopard print chair with nailhead + coral pillow
Suellen Gregory Interior Design
Leopard chair.
a little leopard.
This look can be so sophisticated or really cheapy!  It’s tough to pull off, but when done right it’s so chic!

To Faux or not to Faux?

T0 Faux or not to Faux?  That is the question.  At least around these parts.  I would say for the last 10 years the Old World style has been very popular in Oklahoma.  Things are changing a bit lately.  Things are becoming a bit brighter and cleaner.

I have a philosophy when it comes to this style.  I really like it if it’s done right.  Some people tend to go way over the top (as in anything in life, right?).  The key to successfully decorating in this style is moderation.  Too much fringe.  Too much gold.  Too much velvet.  Too many faux painted walls.  This has such a heavy feeling to me.  However, I think Old World can be done with out going to the extreme!

My Old World Rules:

Rule #1- Never faux finish or crackle paint an entire kitchen or bathroom.  Instead, do just one piece of furniture.  I think this makes it look more authentic.  People wonder: Is that really old?  But if the entire kitchen is done that way, it’s pretty obvious it’s not really antique.

Here are some examples of this I really like.

Now this Swedish armoire is probably really old, but you get the idea.  The patina of the piece also goes with the rest of the rustic furniture.
This living room is bright and beautiful.  The antiqued mirror adds character to the room.
Design by Lisa Luby Ryan.  Notice the chest, mirror and settee all have a patina.  These few pieces add that Old World charm without being over the top!
Rule #2- Never faux finish the walls of an entire room.  Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.  If you have a professional that knows how to create a beautiful patina to woodwork, it can be extremely beautiful!  I’m really talking about what they used to do here in Oklahoma about 5 to 10 years ago.  They would paint the walls then take a rag and rub a stain or another paint over the top.  I think the goal was to create a cool finish.  Some did look okay, but a lot of the finishes just made the walls look dirty.  I think you can still achieve the old look without this effect.
Another design by Lisa Luby Ryan.  This room still has an old French/Belgian feel because of the furniture, art and lighting.  Nothing needs to be done to the walls to give this effect.
This home is by Loren Interiors in Houston.  It has a distinctly European feel because of the rock, wide plank floors, furniture and lighting.
Decor de Provence.  Notice old-looking floors, old fireplace, art and beams.
I think this room is so homey and beautiful.  The beams add richness and I love the painted bookcases.  They might even have a patina finish on them that would be a great little touch.  The smooth cream walls keep it so soft.
This has a more rich look without being over the top.  It’s still livable.
Rule #3- Keep fabric and trims to a minimum.  I would say the majority of us do not live in a palace like Versailles, so why do we try so hard to make our homes look like a castle?  Everyone has their own taste.  I understand that.  For me, I like to keep the opulent finishes to a minimum.  I love a very formal look, but I’m talking about embellishments.
Reece Witherspoons ranch in California.  It is very Old World Spanish without fringe and red velvet.
The iron staircase and luxurious rug add the richness to this space.
Room by Patricia Healing and Daniel Barsanti.  It’s Old World in architecture, but the furniture is simple with luxurious upholstery.
These homes are really Mediterranean in origin.  And who doesn’t love the Mediterranean? It’s glamorous and rich looking. I think that’s why people around here want to try to copy that European look.  In moderation with a few great pieces, it can be extremely lovely and luxurious.


A Little Rustic

I love where some designers are going with the rustic look these days.  Sometimes I think rustic can be kitschy and dark.  While I don’t mind an animal head mount every now and then (I have a few in my own home, thanks to the hubby), this look can look very manly and rough. But I feel there is a new wave of rustic. Many of the designs have beautiful exposed beams and lighter walls.  The neutral grays and tans are really lovely.  Here are some pictures that I find soften the look.  It looks more livable and bright than ever before.

The cream walls make this space so much brighter.  The light floors help as well.

The light wood makes it so warm despite all of the rock.

Eclectic Island Style Cream kitchen, oak cabinets, $100,000 and over, Linda McDougald Design/ Postcard From Paris, Charleston
Designed By: Linda McDougald Design/ Postcard From Paris
Photographer: Rachael Boling Photography
The grays in this mountain kitchen give it that modern feeling.
Wow!  So much to talk about here!  Color, texture, shine…  The white cabinetry and backsplash keep this room from looking heavy and dark.  Beautiful!
beams in living room and open kitchen by kelli

Same with this open kitchen and living area.  If these cabinets had been stained, it would be way to brown.
I love the color of these beams.  The creamy walls brighten up the space.  It feels light and airy despite the heavy beams.
Mediterranean Living Room Design, Pictures, Remodel, Decor and Ideas
Of course, I love this Mediterranean, rustic look.  The stucco walls make this room so soft.
Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!



Formal Living Room

Yes, I’m still one of those girls who likes a formal living room.  I like my own “adult space”.  I like a pretty, feminine room.  The living room is finally somewhat complete.  If anything can ever really be finished around my house!  I think it still needs a rug, but I just haven’t found the right one yet.  This room is big and square.  It’s not big enough, however, to break it into different sitting areas.  I wanted the whole room to be one big conversational area.

The art is another one of mine.  It took me a long time to decide what I wanted over this sofa, but I love the colors in the piece.  This room is completely neutral except for a view pops of color in art and pillows.  Hope you enjoyed!

Why It Works

Let’s break it down…What makes a room work?

Let’s discuss this room.  I love this room.  Even though it might not be specifically your style, I think everyone can take the different aspects of this room and apply it to your own.

Room by SJ Interior Design

Pinned Image

Like I said, don’t take this room at face value.  Try to imagine your style  with these aspects:

1.  Balance.  The room is centered around the focal point, the fireplace.  Do you have a focal point?  A fireplace, a TV? In this room, they have two chairs on one side and a sofa on the other.  The sofa is “heavy”.  It takes up a lot of visual space.  They chairs not so much; however, there is a large buffet behind the chairs to balance out the visual weight of the room.

2. Texture and prints.  Notice that the chairs do not “match” the sofa.  They are in a different fabric with great natural texture. If the chairs had been in the same fabric as the sofa, it would not look nearly as expensive or put together.  You never want a room to look like you’ve gone to a big box store and picked everything off the floor.  Subconsciously, people think the room looks more expensive if everything compliments each other.  I did not say MATCH.  It’s not about matching, it’s about complimenting.

The throw pillows also add great interest.  They look like they’ve been “collected”, not purchased off the shelve.  This also adds that richness.

The rug also adds excellent pattern.  Your eye is naturally drawn to the rug because of the color and busyness of the print.  The busyness is a good thing.  It keeps the room from being boring.  It’s fun and adds something unexpected and whimsical.

3.  Proportion.  This kind of goes along with balance.  I just want to point out the lamps, art, and floral arrangement.  The lamps on either side of the sofa just so happen to be identical.  They don’t have to be.  But the do have to be the same height.  They are like bookends for the sofa.

I love the visual height the greenery arrangement adds to the room.  It fills the wall and compliments the tall windows and art.

The coffee table is just the right size and shape in front of the sofa.  Not too big and not too small.  I like how the coffee table is within reach of both the chairs and sofa.

The art might not be your style, but it adds the personal touch that reflects the home owners personality.  It makes the room feel homey.  The portrait above the fireplace is a little small, but I think that’s okay.  It brings an unexpected quality to the room.

On a personal note, I love the lightness of these walls.  I think they are a canvas for the furniture and art.  Sometimes, I said SOMETIMES, I feel like color on the walls can take away from the elegantness (not a real word) of a room.

There are many ways to arrange a room.  I did this post as an example of how you can look at pictures, and emulate that magazine quality in your own home.

*I’m having a little bit of trouble making the entire picture fit.  If you click on the SJ Interiors link, there is a great picture.

The Sisal Look

So I wanted to put down a sisal rug in my living room.  Everyone in my family snarled their noses.  “Not soft, too uncomfortable to walk on,” they said.  I gave that idea up and tried to find something else.  Nothing achieved the look I wanted.


So when we made a stop in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, I stopped at the Stark Carpet showroom in Dallas.   They were so helpful and came up with several options of tightly woven wool carpets to give me that sisal look, but it has a soft feel.
Intermode color: white
Dante Stria color: truffle
Dyer color: Muslin
I really think all of these would look wonderful in the living room.  They have great texture and feel soft on your feet!  Also, they are very durable and easy to clean.  They are great for that neutral, natural look.

Antiques de Provence in New Orleans

When we were in New Orleans in April, I stumbled across this amazing store Antiques de Provence.  This is the real deal folks.  Beautiful antique pieces from France.  It is truly amazing, and I could have spent all afternoon day dreaming.  Most pieces are way out of my budget.  A girl can dream…














Antiques de Provence

Cynthia W. Nunez


 623 Royal St French Quarter
New Orleans, LA 70130

(formerly located at 525 St. Louis)
504.529.4342 tel
504.529.4406 fax