pillows Archive


Watch Your Back

Cheryll Gillespie Media Group, Watch Your Back

Good friends always have your back and when it comes to design you know that I always have yours. We have chatted relentlessly about how important it is that you pay close attention to the details. Details, details, details, it is in our attention to details that great rooms are created. Today, I’d like to chat about the backside of some of the key elements in our rooms: the backside of arm chairs, sofas, dining chairs, and even pillows and throws and bedding.

One lesson from art school that has stuck with me throughout my career was from a sculpture class where the instructor ensured that all sides of a sculptural piece where equally as visually stimulating- is a chair any different from a piece of sculptural art? Dining chairs are an obvious point, infact we probably see more of the back side of the chair than the front. Therefore the backs need to be as fabulous as the front and the side of the chair. How do your dining chairs fair? If you are less than stimulated by your chair backs you can reupholster with a more exciting fabric perhaps a scarf with a fabulous pattern (think out side the standard ditzy upholstery print here), hand painted fabric, photographic print, or simply paint right on the chair back. You can also use tribal carpets, coiled rope with fabulous tassel detail in the center of the chair back or a deer hide, crocodile hide. The trick is to use your imagination be creative and think over the top fabulous.

Now, back into the living room, if you have any furniture that doesn’t rest itself against a wall and you see the back of the piece then you need to look at what you can do to ensure that it is as visually exciting as the front side of the sofa. This is one of the main reasons along with scale and proportion that we need to shop armed with a furniture layout. If a piece of furniture is scheduled to ‘float’ in a room then the back side needs to be considered as well as the front. The detailing, the workmanship, the finishing materials and the design needs to be appealing from all angles of any piece that does not rest against a wall.

Train your eye to always look at all sides of items that you are considering for your home. Look at a vase as if it was a piece of sculpture to be viewed from 360 degrees, the back of a throw blanket that will undoubtedly have its flip side exposed to some degree, the back side of a toss cushion that may be revealed and even the back side of your beds duvet cover that will make the bed look more enticing when the cover is folded back to expose the bottom side of the cover.

Watching your back as a designer is how you will create fabulous rooms for you and your family.


Room Swoon

Room Swoon

Do you swoon over your room when you walk in door? February is the month of love, so this week, let’s get right to the heart of the matter and address how much or how little we love our rooms. I’m away from home a lot as I have to travel for work, shooting TV, designing around the globe and as exciting as that sounds, the best part of travel for me, is always coming home. When I arrive home from a trip I just can’t help but look around and note how much I love my house. Treasures I have collected from around the world, colours I adore envelop me, textures that seduce the hand and the eye, art work that always captures your eye and great spots to curl up with a puppy and read a book or enjoy a cup of tea with a friend or glass of wine with my husband.

If you don’t have a similar reaction to your rooms then our goal this month will be to change that. It’s a gift of love that you can give to yourself. There’s no excuse for not having rooms you love, it’s not about budget and it’s not about time (if we are honest with ourselves, we can always make the time) it’s about designing for ourselves and caring enough about ourselves to take the time and make the effort to design for us. It’s imperative that we love our home; we spend so much of our valuable time there and with our most valuable people.

Before we divulge a recipe to love your home, let’s be perfectly clear about how great rooms are achieved. A room will never be finished-always be open to change, you find a new treasure, you add a new photo, a new piece of art, buy a new duvet; bring home a vintage piece of furniture. Embrace change and never settle in a space, rooms like ourselves should keep evolving and improving upon themselves. Rooms we love and that others love as well appear timeless. You also need to live your rooms (need to work and function as well as they look) as much as you love your rooms

Start with a palette that you adore and that is appropriate for the room’s main purpose. Colours you love to wear, colours that make you feel sexy or creative. A colour palette moves beyond the paint on the walls and includes fabulous textures brought into the room in the way of drapery, pillows, upholstery, flooring, throws, and wallpaper. Texture is has important as colour when it comes to creating fabulous rooms.

Arrange your furniture creatively and not simply lined up along the walls, have furniture with purpose and include unique and interesting pieces. Include art in every room. Art does not have to ‘match’ your space, hang and display pieces that catch your eye and that you want to see every day. Every room should include mementoes from your life, heirlooms from your family, collectables from your travels, treasured finds from a estate sale you attended with a girlfriend, and framed black and white photos of you and the family. Lighting is the most often missed design element. Hunt for great fixtures, spray a brass chandelier peacock blue and rehang it, be creative mix and match your table lamps, run rope lighting under a platform bed or even the sofa, add spotlights to your potted plants and art lights to wall art. Be sure to add life to every space, a potted plant and pair of gold fish housed in a fabulous vintage vase (be creative), rescue a pet. Now that fabulous living!

I love coconut oil and keep a bottle of oil in my bathroom for conditioning my hair and my skin but I also use it to polish the wood furniture. Mix equal parts coconut oil and lemon juice into a spritzer bottle and use as you would a commercial furniture polish-spray on and wipe off with a lint free cloth.


Hued Perfection

Hued Perfection Image 1

We are tired of our beige, grey and taupe filled rooms and should be exuberant over the 2012 trend that forecasts bold colour coming home. Exotic jewel tones such as peacock, empress red, daffodil yellows, mandarin orange, lavender and sea bearing blues are all finding there way into chic and stylish spaces and if I do say so myself, it’s about time.
I love colour and personally have missed its presence over the last few years and am thrilled to see it back in style. For a colour girl it’s hard to contain my excitement over the opportunity to bring colour back into our rooms and when I say colour I’m not just talking about any old hue… I’m talking sexy, exotic and well researched hues that are original and off the beaten palette.

Lets start with where to put colour and then we’ll move onto how to choose the perfect hue. As you flip through the pages of your design porn magazines or read blogs on the internet, you’ll undoubtedly be seduced by the hues used in these brilliant spaces and you’ll notice two trends, the first is more cautious and conservative. A small dose of colour brought into the room with pillows, art, throws and area rugs; the second a more committed approach that sees entire spaces painted with bright hues. Where are the best spaces to use colour? My gut reaction answer is honestly anywhere-just choose a space where you want to make a statement and fertilize wow power. Imagine coming home through a foyer that has been painted a peacock blue, grounded with dark hardwood floors, a marble top table and a gorgeous gilded mirror or entertaining in your dining room enveloped by yellow walls, anchored by a black and white geometric area rug, all white dining set and an amazing crystal chandelier -delicious!! If you want to keep your palettes private consider painting your bedroom walls a sexy smoky blue, lay down white sheep skin carpets on top of your taupe wall to wall carpets, add white quartz tops to your case goods and dress the bed with taupe, chocolate and highlight with a few pure white throw cushions-dreamy!!

This is not the time to develop any colour phobias so put on your confidence hat and start your research. No hue is out of the questions – given time, your local paint dealer can create just about any shade for you, just bring along your piece of inspiration. Looking to be inspired? Grab the September Vogue and be inspired from the runway, or grab a feather from a vase filled of peacock feathers, tear a page from a book on orchids or exotic butterflies of the world – think outside the paint palette and fill your colour boots with possibilities. This fall bring colour home, now that’s fabulous living!

Protect your table tops and precious linens from drippy glasses stylishly by keeping coasters close at hand. Order monogrammed faux croc coasters from Saks or buy a dozen 4×4 tiles and add small rubber buttons (to prevent scratching) to the bottom of the tiles or shop for coasters when you travel abroad, of course you can simply travel to your local design shop and make a coaster purchase. Coasters are a stylish and functional addition to your living spaces.


Gone Tribal

Gpne Tribal

This summer fashion went tribal. The exotic bold and earthy motifs were the most wearable trend-we saw tribal patterned caftans adorning sexy sirens at the beach and the night clubs, hand beaded and braided leather sandals and oversized exotic metal and stone jewelry draped from model bodies. This Fall, tribal inspired textiles, rugs and accessories bring the worldly adventure home as we embrace these exotic patterns and colour in our home decor.

Even the most neutral of spaces appear unique and well traveled when we add a few thoughtfully collected and designed toss cushions made from fabrics that feel as if they have traveled straight into our rooms from an African bazaar or we trim our draperies with feather and bead tie backs that appear as if they where hand made from a Bedouin tribes man. Tribal defines a space when we lay down a hand knotted carpet.

If your rooms are feeling less than inspired, adding a little tribal into the mix will definitely ramp up your room’s chic status. It doesn’t take much – a few cushions or perhaps some trims or even hammered metal accessories such as vases or picture frames. One or two touches is all it takes for a room to embrace this well-traveled trend. So pack your bags for a trip to your favorite décor haunts and stock up on a few on trend tribal pieces and ship them straight home. If you love the look and are ready to embrace this trend then consider upholstering a fab chair in the living room, bedroom or a bench in the front hallway in a cheetah or tribal inspired fabric or a vintage Berber area rug. I love the look of sewing bands of exotic trimmings onto drapery panels. When I travel to souks and markets around the world, I always stock up on yards of trimmings that make there way onto upholstered pieces, pillows, lamp shades and draperies, even pinned onto candles!

Don’t worry if you can’t take the time away from home and work to travel the world looking for fabulous pieces to pack home. Shop the world on line , it is truly amazing what you can find out there, designers are eBay addicts and aren’t afraid to place an order sight unseen. Enlist your friends and ask them to pick you up something exotic for your home when they travel, hunt vintage and estate sales for the treasures that someone else no longer wants and you’ll find some truly unique pieces for a fraction of the cost of travel and the price of an airline ticket. Stop by your local fabric store and look in the dress fabric aisles for tribal inspired materials. Dress fabrics can be used for drapery, pillows, bed skirts and light wear upholstery.

As always we want you to think creatively when it comes to designing your rooms. Consider framing a vintage or exotic tribal vest, jacket, robe, head piece or necklace. Putting a piece in a frame elevates it status within the room and can turn the otherwise ordinary into expensive looking art! Small embroidery pieces perhaps from head scarves or small mats can be repurposed for pillows or art pieces also.

Designers love wall hooks which not only act as wall art but will help to keep you and your home organized. Hooks are the perfect solution for back packs left on the floor, leashes by the back door, towels on the floor and clothes on the chair. Give everyone their own hooks right where they need them most and just watch how much cleaner and more organized you feel at home.