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Blast from the Past

Last week when I posted this new top-ten pad I started thinking about the various spaces we’ve written about in the TWO PLUS years since design crisis hit the interwebs.  The very first place that always pops into my head is the one featured below.  I’ve reposted the post today. (look it was from November of 2008 and only 3 of you have been reading this blog that long)

Originally I was obsessed with the mural in the opening picture, but whenever I think about this space now I always fantasize about the wood paneled walls.  Anyhow, let’s take a look back at the days when I only had 2 cats, thought Missoni chevron was the bees knees, and I hadn’t been pregnant for 41 weeks straight.  Enjoy!


Good morning, good morning! What a wonderful Monday it is thanks to Raina who sent me this insane article from W magazine. After months of loyal readership she has managed to pinpoint, with laser-like accuracy, exactly what mama likes: obscene use of color? Check. Artwork run wild? Check. Garish accessories, interesting use of materials and a view to boot? Check, check, and check. Behold:

You may be wondering if I could actually wake up every morning to such a full-blown-hyper-color attack on my retinas. The answer is: yep, you bet your sweet ass I can. Did you get a load of those dogs? If I thought my pets would still come snuggle up to me at night, Laser and Magnus would be in neon lampshades faster than you could say holy good lord that’s hot.

Let’s talk about what’s going on here: Blessed owners Tobias Meyer (ahem, head of Sotheby’s worldwide contemporary art) and Mark Fletcher pose in front of mural by Brazilian artist Assume Vivid Astro Focus. A John Currin oil is perched above a French 1740s kingwood commode. Commode! Who owns one of those? Jeeze.

These dudes had me at hello, but I’m sure, like me, you’re dying (dying!) for more:

The only dream-shatterer here is the mural on the ceiling, I’m not 100% on that. But really, don’t you all just want to curl up in a little ball next to that pillar while hugging the Missoni pillow, thanking whatever god you believe in that you’re alive? Holy Crap my mind is going to explode!

Time for us all to hyperventilate in tandem:

Andy Warhol gun + LIGHT UP DOLLAR SIGN + a naked man that Nagal would have painted if he’d painted men? It’s just TOO GOOD! Here’s what the owner’s had to say:

Everything is about the reality of it all, about the human condition and facing death. Art right now is about desire, human nature, sexuality, power and violence.

These men are spending life inside a living, breathing piece of art. And I want to strangle them for it.

Kleenex time!

Plywood befriends the trippy Stark carpet while a diptych from Matthew Barney’s Cremaster series hangs above a German 1760 gilt-wood console. The whole kitten-kaboodle is topped by German rococo ormolu candelabra (MATTHEW BARNEY!!! what is this? The freakin Guggenheim?)

The owner’s note that they enjoy using low-grade materials in the design as there is “a hopefullness to it’s unfinished quality.” Um, right. Keep talkin, buddy. Now, don’t get me wrong, j’adore la plywood, but if I even consider putting that moldy old board next to my plethora of craigslist finds, it will be all over. I think it’s important to note the power of context here, with a side note that I, despite my delusions of grandure, am not the head of the world’s premier art auction house.

To wrap it all up, let’s take a look at the window I may or may not have to jump out of:

Do you see the dollar sign reflection? Doesn’t it just make your heart sing? You can all send your thank you notes for providing such a majestic kick off to your week to me at godsend@design-crisis.com*.

*not a real email address, but it should be, huh?

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Ask Sanders: Rossana’s Pear Green Nursery

It’s time for another installment in our Ask Sanders series, wherein some lucky reader has their decorating dilemma solved by our resident paint guru, Sanders Gibbs. It’s a dream come true, because in case you don’t already know, Sanders is a badass. But don’t take our word for it — if you live in Austin, go visit Benjamin Moore Hill Country Paints, where Sanders puts his talents to the test as store manager. Not in Austin? Catch up by reading this interview with Sanders here.

Without further ado, here’s reader Rossana’s question:

“My husband and I are in the process of painting the nursery. We have differing ideas about what this should look like, but we have at least found a nice compromise with the Ben Moore pear green. The gender is a surprise! The room is about a 10 x 12 room with lots and lots of windows and the one wall that is solid will be the one that we put the crib on, and this is the wall that we will paint Pear Green. Question is: what other color would be nice with PG?”

First of all, great choice! Pear Green is a bright and versatile shade that pairs (ahem) well with many colors. Sanders gave us a broad selection of gender neutral choices to pick from, and many can be mixed and matched to different effect.

pear green

Amp up the drama by mixing pear green with bold brights.

Or tone it down with neutrals. It works well either way.

For a baby’s room, you could play it sophisticated by painting the crib wall pear green, the other walls off white (Sanders gave us Mountain Peak White), and then adding in other colors through accessories and bedding. Or you could funk it up by painting the other three walls a jazzier color, and then using accessories in more neutral shades. Let’s take a look at some rooms with pear green and see how Sanders’ choices work in them.

This playroom in the home of Avocado and Papaya’s Jackie Kersh features a cute, classic palette of green, red and blue.

benjamin moore color palette

Here’s Sanders’ palette, which would work well in a gender neutral nursery: Pear Green with Chili Pepper Red and Peacock Blue.

Another playroom, via Cupcake Wishes and Unicorn Dreams.

And Sanders’ corresponding choices are Pear Green with Stardust and Violet Stone.

I know it’s not a kid’s room, but the color palette in this kitchen would be fab in a nursery.

Pear Green with Banana Yellow and Florida Keys Blue.

And then there’s this hotness — who cares if the Pear Green is on a couch and not a wall? Use your imagination goggles to see that this color combo is off the chain… Loves it.

Pear Green, Mountain Peak White and Silver Dollar. DRAMA. Add a dash of black here and there and you’ve got a winner for all ages.

And here are a couple more pretty palettes, just because I made them up all nice in photoshop:

The bold and the beautiful: Tequila Lime, Juneau Spring, Banana Yellow, Tangy Orange, and Pear Green.

Oh so quiet and sophisticated: Mountain Peak White (loving this white!), Silver Dollar, Taos Taupe and Light Khaki. Brilliant.

That’s it for this edition of Ask Sanders. Rossana, I hope there’s some helpful information here, and hey — maybe we inspired some of y’all out there to repaint. Or perhaps even have a baby… After all, what better excuse could there be to redecorate?

I’m leaving you with this picture of Ike and Sanders. Ike LOVES loves him some Uncle Sanders, mostly because Ike is obsessed with Sanders’ nametag, but also because Ike has good taste in people.

If any of you out there would like some professional advice regarding your painting dilemmas, send in a request and we’ll forward it to Sanders.

Thanks for sharing your expertise with us, Sanders!

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The Great Indoors

Ever since the backyard demo, which, sorry, apparently I can’t stop talking about, I’ve been mildly obsessed with plants and gardens.  The lust I normally reserve for interior design porn has temporarily been redirected and I now find myself looking longingly at well manicured lawns and big fat texas gardens.  Because I swear on all things holy that this will not become a landscaping blog and I want to give you what you’re here for I’ve got a roundup of plants indoors.  Yes, I want them inside now too.  Basically, I want to do all my interior decor shopping at the Natural Gardener.

These are my favorite plants in today’s roundup.  If anyone knows what the hell they are, pretty pleeze speak up.

Plant party on the right there is coming in at a close second. It sorta kinda looks like the world’s largest rubber plant, but I’m pretty sure it’s something else.  Any ideas?  This is the part where I admit that I don’t really know anything about plants except that I really really like them.  Oh wait, I do know a lot about succulents, which are strangely absent from today’s roundup.

I went back and forth on whether or not to post this one, after all, that wee plant is a bit sad.  However, he really stands out in this room and I thought that was what was most important.  Non?

This tree is awesome but what’s with the potted plants in checkerboard formation outside?

Ok, so these last 2 shots are of retail locations, but I thought they were pretty snazzy (love that plant above!) so they’re onboard.


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BNO Design

It’s come to my attention, by way of my own observation, that our interior design blog has brought you very little in the way of interior design lately.  I know we’ve shown you some stellar stairs, and lots and lots of updates on my own house but so far as simple, well appointed interiors go, well, I’ve been slacking.  What can I say, I love random crap and I usually force you to look at it.  Today I’m going to set the horse lamps and melting chairs aside and take a lazy stroll through some houses I can’t afford.  I’m pretty sure that everything in these BNOdesign homes is out of my price range, so it fits the bill just fine.  Let’s have a look-see

A west village home:

A home in the Hamptons.  You all have one of these to decorate, right?

Ok, good.  Now I am guilt-free and can return to showing you lightning bolts and sweaters made from dog fur.

Come on back by tomorrow to take an aviary tour of the design world with DC fave, le petit oiseau

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Shangri La Di Dah

These days, even a cave dweller could throw a rock and hit a tribbleload of Moroccan pouffles:


But global chic wasn’t always so in vogue. It’s refreshing to see a return to interesting — even decorative — objects after suffering through the ironic minimalism of the cash rich 90’s and early, uh, aughts? 00’s? What do you call this decade? At any rate, it’s funny how poverty inspires one to hoard stuff. Your grandma wasn’t collecting all those foiled gum wrappers for nothing, you know. During the great depression, Doris Duke, the richest girl in the world, began hoarding objects (and houses) with a vengeance. And there was nary a gum wrapper among them.

doris duke

The only child of a tobacco heiress, Duke inherited $100 million dollars when her father died (of lung cancer, perhaps?) when she was only 12. That’s over a billion clams in today’s currency, which she promptly put to good use by suing her mother and taking over her father’s estates. I like this girl already. After marrying in the early 1930’s, she honeymooned around the world and was inspired by Islamic art and architecture, which led to her construction of the Shangri La estate in Honolulu, now a public museum.

shangri la

If you were a good little schoolgirl or boy, you read your Lost Horizon and know that Shangri La is a hidden paradise. Located on 5 acres in the posh Black Point neighborhood, Duke’s version fronts the ocean and has insane views of Diamond Head Crater. Hideous, I tell you. But even more impressive than the outside is the inside, which is literally stuffed to the gills with a treasure trove of Islamic artifacts and decor.

shangri la

(Sorry for the rather wee images — the estate doesn’t allow you to take pictures inside, and the ones they provide online are mega TINY.) Hopefully you can see that every square inch of this place is decorated with murals, artwork, sculptures, and amazing textiles.

shangri la

Are those pouffles centered around a hookah? Doris Duke wouldn’t be above taking a toke with the local boyz, for sure. In an age of limited roles for women, she used her money to do things us contemporary ladies take for granted, like become the first female surfing champion.

doris duke duke kahanamoku

That would be her with handsome local boy and Olympic medalist cum surfing tutor extraordinaire, Duke Kahanamoku.

duke kahanamoku

Meow! Supposedly then married D. Duke and unmarried playboy Duke K. (there’s a joke in there somewhere) were getting it on, and he may have even fathered her child, Arden, who died after a premature childbirth.

shangri la

If only these pillows could talk…

shangri la

At least the walls talk, telling tales of Moroccan design and history. Addtionally, the home holds collections of Turkish and Spanish ceramics and Iranian tiles.

shangri la

As soon as I can figure out how to either A) paint ceramic tiles or B) hire the neighborhood kids at slave rates to paint my ceramic tiles, I plan to coat the exterior of my home in a fabulous mosaic extravaganza. It will probably look like my cat threw up on the walls, but what the hell.

shangri la

While I’m at it, I may as well add a pergola to shelter my hookahfied evenings from prying eyes.

shangri la

Or maybe I should erect a tent fit for a desert king, complete with amazing textiles that screen my floor to ceiling windows from ocean views? I may need to figure out how to fit an ocean into my backyard first. Trivial.

shangri la

For a lady born with a silver spoon, Doris Duke did ok. In current times, us plebes may have the overwhelming desire to douse the rich in haterade, but she managed to live an interesting life and leave a lasting impact on society. Besides surfing, cleaning her own homes, serving overseas in WWII, and founding several charitable organizations, Duke left several properties like Shangri La open to the public.

shangri la

Plus the lady knew a think or two about how to fix up and look sharp.

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