30 October, 2013

"Living on the Edge . . . "


You know, we talk a lot about 'the big picture' around these parts . . . highlighting the use of colour. . . or dealing with space planning . . . but, as they say, "The devil is in the details."  Interestingly, they also say that, "God is in the details."  So clearly, for better or worse - dealing with the details either gets you into heaven - or keeps you out of hell.

Today I thought I'd share some thoughts on one of my favourite details - pillow trim.  Maybe these can inspire you for some of your upcoming holiday decorating - or maybe even better - for the betterment of your life in general.  

Now, I love the exuberance of a classic tassel-fringe.  
But, I always use it sparingly.  There might be two, maybe three, pillows
in an entire room with this lush, extravagant detail.  

You can see in the room - the other pillows have a simple twist 
cording - or the lovely silk mattress-ticking with a brush fringe. 

This is a hand-frayed trim on a pair of monogrammed tartan pillows 
at my office.  And by hand-frayed - yes - I mean I spent several nights
in front of the TV pulling the weft threads out of the textile, leaving only the warping. 
Then I made sure that the pattern matched up from the face of the pillow
to the custom fringe.  Details.  Always details.

But, sometimes everything doesn't need to happen 'on the edge.'
We added this charming little trim on the face of the pillow,
creating a framing detail.  

Again - in use in the room - we made sure that the other pillows were a bit more
reserved in style - with a simple 1/4 inch self welt.

Another great use of placing a flat taping on the face of the pillow.
And this warm bark-coloured velvet trim added some whimsy
to a classic navy silk damask.  

I also love the lushness of a brush fringe.  Here in multiple shades
of blues, navys, and brown - on a vintage crewelwork botanical. 

But yes, Virginia, there is a 'knife-edge.'  And sometimes 
this simplest solution is the best.

For me - as I start laying out decorative pillows for any of my projects (and even 
in my own home) - I think it's best to mix together several trims and details.
Giving the flashier ones a stage to perform - and giving the
simple ones a more secondary role.

It's like casting a play.  
A few strong, sexy characters.
And a good supporting cast to surround them.


27 October, 2013

"Sunday . . . um . . . Sunrise . . . "

Greetings . . .

Hey y'all.   I'm actually away visiting my family in Mississippi this weekend . . . so for today's "runway post" . . . you're gonna get a "sunrise over the lake" post in its stead.

I think this'll do quite nicely.  Snapped just this morning during my walk around Lake Tiak-O'Khata.


25 October, 2013

"SMWD on Dering Hall . . . "


I'm delighted to announce that SMW Design is now a partner with Dering Hall.  DH is another great place to keep up with our new projects and our new products that will be debuting over the next several months.

Feel free to stop by for a visit - and 'follow' us to keep up with all of our exciting news.


22 October, 2013

"Because We Need a Little . . . "

SMW Design, Lake Tahoe Residence


Yes, boys and girls - of both the naughty and nice varieties - we are indeed starting to put together this year's annual "Tartanscot Holiday Decorating Contest!"  We have a new cast of judges.  We have a new and exciting collection of prizes.  And we even have a new category for this year's fun.

SMW Design, Mountain View Residence

If by chance you're new around these parts . . . every holiday season I invite you to share your holiday decorating successes.  Your beautiful Christmas tree.  Your glorious holiday dining table.  Even your perfectly decorated front door.

And we have a special new category this year that I'll share with you soon.  I think it's going to make this one of the most exciting contests we've had!

There's no reason to begin to stress about this season's celebration just yet.  I just wanted to give you a heads-up about this year's contest.

SMW Design, San Francisco Residence.
Watch this space in the coming weeks for all the details on how to enter . . . on our esteemed panel of judges . . . our exciting prizes - and for the announcement of our special new contest category for this year.

Merry, Merry,

20 October, 2013

"Sunday Runway - Hackett Fall 2013 . . . "


As fall continues to bring its cooler weather and changing hues, I'm still slowly adjusting the contents of my closet a little bit more each week.  As I've said before - our climate here in the bay area has always been kinda season-neutral.  And since we've had another couple days of disturbingly balmy weather this week - my hankering for a proper fall climate has increased considerably.

So . . . to help me get in the mood . . . I went back to one of my favourite fall shows from earlier in the year - Hackett of London.

I write about Hackett with a certain amount of regularity.  When I'm in the UK, it's a specific (and much needed) stop on any shopping tour.

If you're having any trouble getting into the fall mood - this should clearly help you along . . .


17 October, 2013

"Booking . . . "

SMW Design, Piedmont Ca. 


Christmas is coming.  And no . . . this is not a rant about the endless holiday merchandise that is already appearing at a few retailers.  Or even about holiday plans here at the house.  No.  The best news about the upcoming holiday season is the inevitable bounty of amazing art and designs books all about to (or just recently) hit the marketplace.

Here are just a few of my new favourites . . . 

Let's get shopping!


15 October, 2013

"Oh. Canada . . . "

Image from Rowell Photography


Let's just keep moving on this kinda fun 'I'm-loving-everything-fallish-right-now' series. We always have a notoriously chilly summer here in SF - it's not like I ever pack away the cashmere sweaters or light-weight jackets.  Except in the early fall.  We tend to get a sharp slap in the face of Summer weather in early-mid September that, regardless of the fact that it happens every year, still catches me off-guard.  Blessedly, the indian summer has passed - and it's back to sleeping in sweaters and listening to the sound of fog horns in the morning before I get up for work.  It's Fall.  Properly.

Though my Scottish heritage is better known - I also have a bit of Canada in me as well.  In fact, I was born there - while my father was stationed in Ottawa for the US Air Force.  Though my deepest love will always be for the tartans and tweeds of my ancestral Scotland . . . I also get a bit giddy when I see the iconic Hudson Bay blanket.   (I'm not sure we can rack it *all* up to genetics - but, let's start with that - lol.)  I first came to know it from the classic men's jacket, I also love its decorative use within the home even better.  The perfect way to signal the beginning of the season.

So from the layered warmth of the Hudson Bay coat . . .

. . . to these stylish and romantic uses of the classic Hudson Bay stripe in decorating . . .

from Vogue.  photography by Jason Busch.

from Country Living (photography by Jonny Valiant.

Even Flatly, of Dallas.  from Apartment Therapy. 

Nancy Boszhardt for House Beautiful 
(photography by John Kemick)

Calvert Wright for Elle Decor (photography by Roger Davies)


13 October, 2013

"Sunday Runway - Olive, the Other Reindeer . . . "


Ooooo y'all - it's coming up on being proper Fall around these parts.  And thusly, as the leaves begin to alter their hues . . . so does my closet.  Gone is my beloved fuschia madras.  And the lavender gingham.  And the walk-in takes on a more autumnal palette.  So to help get me, and possibly you, in the mood . . . let's take a little tour through the gentle land of "Olive" . . .

London menswear designer, Patrick Grant

Celebrity stylist, Brad Goreski 

Ralph Lauren advert

Gieves and Hawkes of London. 

I can feel the chill in the air already . . .


10 October, 2013

"Charlotte Moss and House Beautiful . . . "


Two great tastemakers . . . that go great together - House Beautiful and Charlotte Moss.  The first - one of our nation's preeminent shelter magazines.  The second - one of our nation's preeminent interior designers.  And coming soon to your mailbox and newsstand, the November issue of House Beautiful with "Pop-Up Editor" Charlotte Moss.

I was delighted to be included at a small breakfast event - hosted at Charlotte's home in Manhattan - to preview the issue and hear a bit of the 'behind the scenes' excitement when Charlotte came into the magazine for a month.   Newell Turner, Hearst Design Group's Editorial Director, spoke about why he though Charlotte would be the perfect for the issue . . .

Newell Turner, Hearst Publishing Design Groups Editorial Director. 

“Charlotte is more than just one of the leading interior designers of our time, she's a tastemaker among all the greats of the present and past. I've seen her captivate audiences with her insight and wisdom. She connects with people in a way that I knew would bring special meaning to this issue of House Beautiful. The issue is quintessential House Beautiful, spiced and and infused with Charlotte’s passions and interests.”

Guest Editor Charlotte Moss

 "As a designer, I feel pretty strongly that as we are creating a room, we should be thinking about how we will live in it, how it will work, be inviting, have pizzazz, be sexy, have atmosphere. I am thinking about that at home all the time. So, the ‘Art of Living’ became my natural theme: inviting spaces that look good, smell good, feel fabulous, say 'come on in stay awhile,' have a drink, read a book, let's cook up a meal.....whatever it is, it is about a home that is pleasing on every sensory level, and one where everyone wants to be.”  - Charlotte Moss

Charlotte, a well-know collage enthusiast, also created a secondary cover specifically for this special issue.  I'm excited to get my own copy just so I can explore the lovely artwork for the trail of clues to Charlotte's inspiration for the issue.  

here's a closer look . . . 

And here's Newell, Charlotte, and Shax Riegler (House Beautiful's executive editor) with the cover of November's issue.
So . . . watch your mailbox for the upcoming issue . . . and submerge yourself.  Charlotte and HB.  The Reese's Peanutbutter Cup of design perfection.

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