Every Heirloom Tells a Story

bone lamp

I was so inspired today on my first design meeting of the new year! I had the honor of meeting a lovely, well-travelled, art collector and aficionado of worldly textiles. I immediately felt an amazing connection to this beautiful soul as she opened the larger-than-life wooden, double front door to her charming home in Newport Beach, built in 1968. My assistant and I were invited to her home to look at the possibility of renovating the kitchen. The kitchen has breathtaking views overlooking the Back Bay and also has the original Thermador oven from - again 1968. I loved soaking in every detail of her beautiful art and curated baskets that looked as if each one had its own story to tell. I was immediately inspired because this gal had great, well-travelled style! It was apparent that her art work was not acquired overnight. Each piece was thoughtfully collected from around the globe and kindly displayed with love and affection.

My new art friend asked me if it was possible to work with the art she had in the renovation, as many of the pieces in her home were very special to her. I smiled and I was jubilated inside because using our client’s heirlooms, art, and treasures is so important in creating a space that reflects their personality and style and is what inspires me to design. Taking what some people might consider old and re-purposing it or introducing a modern twist to what the client has carefully curated warms my heart. I whole whole-heartedly believe that everything we possess should represent something positive, happy, inspiring and meaningful.

She also shared her love and appreciation of native garments from Mexico and South America. She had them displayed in several different ways; framed in a collection hanging on the wall and pillows on her sofa. In my opinion, the most remarkable way she displayed these stunning garments was as upholstery. She had a local friend quilt these native shirts, dresses and skirts into beautiful upholstery which covered two small sitting chairs in her living room. They consisted of every color in the rainbow and were the focal point of the room.

The project above was completed three years ago for my dear client (and friend) who has a beautifully acquired eclectic and well-traveled style. She has an eye and appreciation for the unique. Notice the peach colored lumbar pillows on the swivel chairs are made from vintage Chinese wedding blankets found at the flea market. 

Boy, was she specking my language! One of my favorite things to do is to go flea marketing, purchase an old, ugly chair (with great bone structure) and totally refurbish it with luxurious, fabulous fabrics. I have seven (yes, I have a chair fetish) chairs in my home that were once hideous and are now gorgeous. 

This also brought back a fond memory of when one of my dearest clients, now my friend Melissa, and I took a trip to the flea market in Pasadena. We both fell in love with these unique textiles we ran across called Bouyei blankets (wedding blankets) from the Bouyei region of China. We purchased these fabulous heirloom textiles and made them into delicious pillows. That was a fun trip and yes, I did purchase a vintage chair that day as well. 

Embrace the treasures in your home and make art of them, it tells a story about you!

Happy Designing & Happy New Year!