West Coast Decorating
CHALLENGE: I am working with clients in California, and they
are demanding emerging styles—not fads—for the designs
of the interior of their new home.
The home is located in Northern California, and along this stretch of coastal
property, it tends to be overcast most of the time. My client is asking for a
warm and cozy style. Their walls are painted a warm sand hue. The client is also
asking for lots of texture, brought into light with textiles for the sofa, chairs,
pillows and window treatments. I need some fresh, new ideas with loads of texture.
Could you please help?
SOLUTION: Let’s tackle the color question first. Creating visual texture
can be a challenge in itself using the warm side of the color wheel, which consists
of yellow, orange and red. Be sure to include the intermediate colors such as
yellow-orange and red-orange as well. Warm shades of neutrals also should be
included for consideration in the warm color palette.
On trends, here’s the scoop: Textiles are taking on a new twist on the
West Coast for 2005. We have long used solids and subtle tone-on-tones to create
a form of visual texture. The tables are turning now to the past, particularly
to floral patterns that previously had been set aside as being “out of
The traditional look of antique wallpaper and tapestry designs are getting an
extreme makeover as we speak. The florals are becoming larger in scale for a
more updated look. Remember crewel embroidery patterns? They are now being recreated
in black and white with a contemporary spin. There is a large demand for the
garden naturals in yellows and browns, unlike the designs of the ’60s and ’70s.
Try to imagine this: Crewels blended with graphic florals and many types of textile,
trims and threads.
Fringe and piped edging is showing up on all the pillows, window treatments and
upholstered furniture. Do not underestimate the painstaking needlepoint that
grandmother spent hours creating. Some of my favorite designs come from the exquisite
patterns of William Morris, whose collection can be viewed at the Huntington
Library in San Marino, CA. Try conducting a search on the Web for books and Web
sites pertaining to the works of William Morris (1800s). His wallpaper and textile
patterns have a Moorish influence and are simply beautiful. Also, French and
Art Nouveau patterns are being recreated using the warm earthiness we once frowned
As you work with your clients on the design and begin choosing some of these
fresh and new ideas, you need to take note of a few design rules. Florals may
start to become a little too much for a client who does not want floral throughout
a room. Use it sparingly. If the scale of a floral you are incorporating into
a design is large, calm it down with solids and smaller patterns.
I like using the rule of threes. Starting with the largest floral you have chosen,
create your second pattern in 30 percent increments, so the next one down will
be a smaller scale and the third pattern chosen is the smallest or perhaps be
of no pattern at all. Do not try to find another floral that is the same scale
as your largest. It will compete and become too busy in the room. And texture,
not pattern, on walls, ceilings and floors can create an exquisite backdrop for
your new and revived floral designs.
Here are a few suggested sources for your newly designed prints:
Boussac Fadini Inc. (866) BOUSSAC
Brunschwig & Fils (310) 659-9800
Donghia Furniture & Textiles (310) 657-6060
Hinson and Co. (310) 659-1400
Lost and Found, Etc. (323) 856-5872
Editor’s note: This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon
L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window
Coverings as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business.
If you have a question you would like Anderson to address, please send it to:
c/o Draperies & Window Coverings
1724 E. Grand Ave.
Lindenhurst, IL 60046
Fax: (847) 356-9013
L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the residential
and commercial areas of interior design. She is currently a faculty
member at two Southern California colleges. Anderson has been featured
in numerous books and publications.