throws Archive

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The Art of the Throw

Cheryll Gillespie Media Group, Art of the Throw

Brrrrrrr, some one turned down the thermostat and suddenly it is cold and all I want to do is cuddle with the dogs under the warmth of a beautiful throw. Throws are a necessary luxury this time of year and I love to drape and lay them throughout my home. I have throws on all my lounge chairs, at both ends of the living room sofa, office chair, at the end of my beds and even at the end of the dogs beds. Its time to wrap our selves in warmth and the luxuriousness of great throws.

Cheryll Gillespie Media Group, Art of the ThrowLet’s shop! There are many a great throws to purchase so let’s chat throw basics. There are two key elements for me when shopping for a throw, the first is size. I want a throw that will cover me, four dogs and my six foot two husband, so depending on where the throw is destined to lay, remember we always have a plan and a purpose before we purchase, know the desired size and be sure to read the label. Sometimes it is hard to visualize the size when a throw is all folded up and bundled with packaging in a store. A great tip is to measure a few of your blankets at home so that you get a feel for the actual size. You may end up buying two identical throws so that the entire family can be wrapped comfortably.

Next is the touch test, I don’t want a throw that is itchy, scratchy or less than sensual next to me or any of my family or friends who may be curled up in it. Always put the considered throw next to your cheek and give it the “feel test”. Also read the care label, if the throw is going to be laundered frequently ensure that you can do it at home.

How to lay the throw? In a casual space, I generally pick the throw up in a pinch about one-third from the end and in the center and then lay the throw over the arm of the sofa or chair. If the throw is to lay at the end of the bed then I fold it in thirds and lay horizontally at the end of the mattress. In a more formal space, I will again Cheryll Gillespie Media Group, The Art of the Throwfold in thirds (this is so that you don’t see the edges) and lay in a structured fashion over the arm or the back of the sofa. Of course, we want to ensure visual compatibility with our rooms but with all the options available to us today, that’s easy. Some of my personal favorite throws this year are faux fur, chunky cable knit and the classic Hermes cashmere blankets. Im also thinking that we could add some wildly fabulous trims to a throw for a custom one of a kind ultra fabulous throw. Be creative, stay warm, cuddle often, and live fabulously!

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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.

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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!

THIS AND THAT
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.

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Necessity Not Accessory

Imagine a room without accessories. Personally, I can not fathom such a space for it’s the accessories that add the personality and soul to a room. Accessories are provisions for great spaces.

We really should start calling them the ‘necessities’ instead of the ‘accessories’, for without them there is simply no life, just structure. My design team and I love all aspects of design, the space planning, the interior architecture, window dressing and so forth but we get especially excited when we get to begin accessorizing a room. This is when the room comes to life, the soul emerges, the personality of its inhabitants finds their home.

The problem with accessories is that all too often we simply and without much thought fill a room with them, resulting in a room with too much stuff that means nothing to anyone and tells no story. I want your accessories to tell me about you, I want your accessories to tell me of your travels and where you dream to go, I want your accessories to make me laugh, yes accessories, as with art, can and should have a sense of humor. Bottom line is that I want the accessories that fill a space to be meaningful to both the architecture and to those that occupy the space.

For example, all too often we throw in a few toss cushions that add some colour which is terrific as long as we love that colour but did you think of the message that the texture of the cushions convey or that the pattern or motif helps to tell the room’s story. The same can be said of throws. From the area rug you use on the floor and please size it appropriately – lately I have been seeing far too many area rugs that are simply too small for the room- which then makes the room appear cramped and small. Go big or go home, which you already are but you know what I mean! Think, think and rethink every accessory in a room, from the photographs and their picture frames to the art on the wall to the lamps and their shades, to the coffee table books-every accessory needs to be thoughtful and ‘designed’ to tell your story. I was reading through my design blogs this morning and came across a fabulous vintage blue based lamp that the designer had put a new red lampshade on-it was fabulous. The thoughtful addition of the red shade made the base modern and unique and a true pop for a room.

Never just fill a space with things, take your time and be thoughtful and reflective of who you are and what your rooms say about you. People love to come to our house as not only is it constantly revolving as I move pieces in out and around but there are just simply so many stories to be told from the things we have brought home. Our souls are exposed at home, this is the goal, the ultimate desire of any space is to make you look and feel fabulous and of course at home. Look at accessorizing as space as a treasure hunt which will be on display in your rooms-now that’s fabulous

THIS AND THAT
I was out in the herb garden yesterday gathering herbs to bring in a dry so that we have fresh organic herbs through the winter months which seem to be arriving far to quickly I might add!! But anyhow its great to know that drying herbs is as simple as turning on the micro wave. Simply wash the herbs and remove the undesirable stems. Dry on paper towels or in your salad spinner. Then line the bottom of the microwave with paper towels and lay the herbs onto the towels and turn on full power for approximately thirty seconds. Repeat at thirty second intervals until the herbs are dry and crunchy. This may take several minutes. When the herbs are dried, remove from the microwave and store in glass containers.

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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!

DESIGN NOTES
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.