WASH September 2011 : Page 114
Home Hot List – fall 2011– The “Un”traditionalists After years of sparse and spare, DC design minds are injecting a bit of mad into a new form of trad—with pattern, color and shape turning classics inside out. | By Cara Hedgepeth, Kristen Hinman and Lindsay Potter | floored! up against the wall “I love the Moroccan-inspired wall tattoos from Benjamin Moore. Th ey add great details without the permanence of wallpaper.” —TRACY MORRIS, INTERIOR DESIGNER mix master Magic Carpet Ride Former Ford model-turned-decorator Jill Sorensen seems to be forming a pattern. “Love something, launch something,” ought to be her battle cry, as come fall, her McLean-based design fi rm, Marmalade, is introducing another line from Jill Sorensen Home—this time, it’s eye-popping wool rugs. Th e ’70s-inspired collection is a retro-modern mash-up of old-school style—think honeycomb patterns—with modernist subtleties and pops of bold color. Th e result? Cool carpets with names like “Th e Maze” and “Th e Electric.” While Sorensen says the accents can certainly set the vibe for any room, she believes you can also use them to balance spunk with sophistication. “Th ese are bold colors,” she says, “that can still feel peaceful in your house.” A third-generation Italian textiles house, Missoni is the defi nition of traditional modern design. Chevron Station Deborah Kalkstein has trafficked in modernity since opening her Cady’s Alley furnishings store Contemporaria. But when all that minimalism started to feel a little stale, Kalkstein went full throttle, launching Missoni . “I really wanted to bring something with more patterns, more colors, more fun,” says Kalkstein. “Now I can do a Minotti sofa with cushions in Missoni fabrics, or a Missoni pouf that blends beautifully with the things we already have.” And now that Missoni is launching at Target this September? “I think it is great,” she says. “Everything that shows good design is great no matter what the level.” 114 | | Sept/Oct 2011 JiLL SOreNSeN HOMe rugS pHOOtgrapHy by taNya MaLOtt/taNyaMaLOtt.cOM. pOrtrait Of ZOe feLDMaN by greg pOWerS.
Cara Hedgepeth, Kristen Hinman And Lindsay Potter
After years of sparse and spare, DC design minds are injecting a bit of mad into a new form of trad-with pattern, color and shape turning classics inside out.
Up against the wall
"I love the Moroccan-inspired wall tattoos from Benjamin Moore. They add great details without the permanence of wallpaper."
- TRACY MORRIS, INTERIOR DESIGNER
Magic Carpet Ride
Former Ford model-turned-decorator Jill Sorensen seems to be forming a pattern. "Love something, launch something," ought to be her battle cry, as come fall, her McLean-based design firm, Marmalade, is introducing another line from Jill Sorensen Home-this time, it's eye-popping wool rugs. The '70s-inspired collection is a retromodern mash-up of old-school style-think honeycomb patterns-with modernist subtleties and pops of bold color. The result? Cool carpets with names like "The Maze" and "The Electric." While Sorensen says the accents can certainly set the vibe for any room, she believes you can also use them to balance spunk with sophistication. "These are bold colors," she says, "that can still feel peaceful in your house."
Deborah Kalkstein has trafficked in modernity since opening her Cady's Alley furnishings store Contemporaria. But when all that minimalism started to feel a little stale, Kalkstein went full throttle, launching Missoni. "I really wanted to bring something with more patterns, more colors, more fun," says Kalkstein. "Now I can do a Minotti sofa with cushions in Missoni fabrics, or a Missoni pouf that blends beautifully with the things we already have." And now that Missoni is launching at Target this September? "I think it is great," she says. "Everything that shows good design is great no matter what the level."
Birds of a Feather
A graduate of Parsons and the Manhattan-based Mark Hampton design firm, DC-based Zoe Feldman has decorated homes along the East Coast for a decade-plus, all the while popping up in places like The Today Show and Martha Stewart Living Radio to share her tips for sophisticated, yet fun spaces. After setting up her eponymous firm almost four years ago, the designer is launching a website, Zoefrenia.com, this month. The cyber-venue blends videos, pretty pictures, retailers' guides and all-important howtos. "I always think that in spaces where you just spend moments, you can have more fun. ... So powder rooms and guest baths give a really good opportunity to do that." Her favorite? An all-white bathroom took on a whimsical feel with Schumacher's handpainted wallpaper. Feldman loves handmade patterns because they're "a little more free-form... not so perfect."
Seasoned decorator Zoe Feldman enveloped a boring bathroom in Schumacher wallpaper. "When things are handpainted," she says, "they have a little more authenticity to them."
The Ultimate Coloring Book
As heir to the storied Dorothy Draper & Company design house, decorator Carleton Varney has spent decades transforming the world's most buzz-worthy properties, from Washington's vice presidential residence to South Pacific sun-soaked spreads. Fans score a new window into his work with the September release of his 27th tome, Mr. Color. Among the featured projects: an overhaul of the Greenbrier, whose über-traditional grounds and bones Varney has modernized with a palette of boldness and breadth. The book couldn't have surfaced at a better moment. "People have lived in what I call gravy settings for so long," Varney says. "But the world has just turned the corner to color." His favorite tool of the moment: yellow. Varney says it's a big but neutral, fun, happy match for furniture of all styles. "I think the world is looking for sunshine.
And yellow will work with any color, any period, anything."
Carleton Varney, photographed here in his Manhattan office, recently sped to DC to announce design details for a train that will run direct from Union Station to the Greenbrier.
Expect signature Dorothy Draper accents mixed with Varney's own plush palette.
Pour it on
All Bottled Up
P Street porcelain producer Middle Kingdom (middlekingdomporcelain.com), known nationally for its creamy, glossy take on traditional Asian shapes, teamed up with designer Foekje Fleur van Duin to create its latest collection, Bottles. "Th is new line is a lot more in-your-face," says co-founder Alison Jia."If you look at utilitarian objects with fresh eyes, they have intrinsic design and beauty to them."
The streamlined designs, which make their retail début in September, infuse colors like denim and cucumber into wet clay to create an earthy feel. But don't be fooled by the simple shapes. Like Jonathan Adler's quirky ceramics, these pieces can enhance even the most sophisticated spaces. "I'd be willing to bet," says Jia, "that someone who has a house full of Victorian tchotchkes would appreciate the irony."
Getting an Inkling
After West Elm's (westelm.com) largest store ever shuttered downtown, fans thought they might never see the collection cross District lines again. So imagine the glee when the Brooklyn-based shop opened its new M Street pop-up this past July. Although it's West Elm's smallest outpost, the brand has not ruled out scouting another Georgetown locale when its lease runs up in March 2012.But even this boutique hot spot already reflects the neighborhood, with a full line of bedding-a nod to nearby students- and inspired items for shoppers looking to spice up that once-staid interior. "People can be afraid of aggressive color, because it's like opening a crayon box in your home," says West Elm Creative Director Vanessa Holden. Instead, she suggests introducing it incrementally. The trend Holden sees now is indigo. "Inky blue is a great alternative to black and a rich foil to pops of bright color," she says. "It's a great gateway shade."
Change We Can Believe In
"The days of Victorian-style Georgetown homes with purely antique furniture are over," says GLP Designs co-owner and President Gayle Hudson. The brand, available at the Washington Design Center's American Eye showroom, had received a resounding request from DC designers to make its styles more modern. So, for fall, the company updated eight of its pieces from traditional collections-adding eyepopping, high-gloss colors and funky-patterned textiles. "DC will actually be one of the first showrooms to get our modernized pieces," says Hudson of the city that caused the updates. "Now even traditional homes can add spice."
"We are seeing raspberry this year-noted as Pantone's color du jour-as a bright and happy accent for a myriad of colorations." Organic blues are a first step for adding color to any room.
- SUZAN HASSELL, BAKER FURNITURE, GEORGETOWN
Finally, Richmond, Va.-based Charles Luck Stone Center (charlesluck.com) is bringing its high-design stone showroom to the District come late October. Opening in Cady's Alley, the always fashion-savvy firm will showcase traditional materials, such as natural stone, blended with bolder lines, textures and colors. Expect interior surfaces, including marble slabs, tile and veneers, as well as countertops, architectural elements and stone furnishings, all informed by deep trend research in fashion and home design. Despite their big step forward, the designers at Charles Luck are seeing a trend that has them looking back. "Washingtonians love to blend traditional and modern elements," says DC manager Amanda King. "And people are wanting materials that have a feeling of heritage or are reminiscent of the past."
Charles Luck countertop incorporates organic shapes, including mollusks, while a curvilinear marble bench shows the firm believes anything is possible.
Room with a view
Since opening her boutique firm in 2004, Lori Graham (lorigrahamdesign.com) has amassed Washington's most valuable currency-loyalty. But lucky for the design-hungry masses, Graham broadens her reach this fall with the opening of a 14th Street showroom. The nearly 3,000-square-foot space will feature designers new to the U.S., along with her customizable line of furnishings, LG Place. While Graham has always been known for melding fresh, modern accents with timeless elements, she sees yesterday's monochromatic schemes yielding now to a sense of traditionalism, punctuated with pops of color or architectural surprise. "Decorative lighting and hardware are great places to put that touch of whimsy," she says. Spray paint a chandelier orange, look to brushed bronze instead of chrome for hardware and play around with things like beaded wallpaper in unexpected places, Graham advises.
"Stalk grandma's attic, find the funky pieces you think you don't love, then refinish and re-plate," says the designer who angles to preserve iconic shapes. "You'll see how much you love them."
"DC clients have a real fl air for mixing modern, classic furniture with family-style sofas. Combining both traditional and modern shapes together in a room helps it look contemporary, but also warm and intimate."
Even ironsmiths are having a little fun this season. Washingtonarea blacksmith Chris Shea (chrisshea.com) has taken his traditional concepts of craftsmanship and designs rooted in art nouveau and gone a little buggy. The collection from the art instructor, who has logged time behind the lectern in both Maryland and Virginia, has met with broad acclaim. In fact, come Oct. 1, the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery will put Shea's arthropod-inspired café chairs and table on display while concurrently adding them to its permanent collection. "The inspiration from insects is about the sense of wonder I get from looking at all the amazing forms," says the artist, who has been working in forged iron and cast glass for 15 years. "I understand that there is something odd and a little grotesque about insects to most people. To me, they're beautiful and wonderful-and fun."
Local blacksmith Chris Shea works with the Washington Glass School to create the seats and tabletop for his Arthropod collection, now on display at the Renwick.