Interior Design: Vogue Living's 9 rules by Ginevra Held has a Living Section, in addition to fashion, beauty, culture and runway.  I enjoy perusing this area and I also like the idea that “living” which encompasses a lot of interior design is considered a part of the vogue story so to speak.  As in, interior design fits in with fashion, beauty etc.  This is how I feel and its clear it's how the magazine feels and indeed has felt for a long time, as they have always included beautiful interiors as part of their oeuvre.

The other day I came across an article called “9 home decor choices you’ll probably regret.” Generally speaking, I don't really like these kind of articles.  I feel that with interiors like fashion, like art, there are not really mistakes.  And I don't really like “rules” either.  Wherever there are rules, there are ways to successfully break them.  I just don't like the word “never”.  Interior Rules are like Fashion Rules, for example don't wear black with brown.  Well have you ever seen someone in head to toe black wearing chestnut brown givenchy boots?  They look amazing.  The rule is there are no rules, thank you Iris Apfel!  There are guidelines, and that is what they are, ways to guide, but not rules to inhibit. 

So I read the article and have copied it here, and I thought we could point by point discuss these “rules.”  My thoughts are in bold:

9 Home Decor Choices you'll probably regret.

While we all want our living spaces to be things of beauty, home decorating, more than any other aspect of personal style, is an area where practicality is a considerable factor. After all, your choices need to work for, not against, you, as you live with them every day. The siren song of cutting costs and going long on new trends can be strong, yet it can also lead to some serious regret. But knowing what mistakes to look out for can make the purchasing process much easier. Here, nine tempting choices for the home that have a proven track record of buyer’s remorse.

1. Pure White Seating

We certainly understand the appeal of white upholstery—it’s clean, crisp, and provides a fresh blank canvas to decorate around. But even if one vows to keep the living room shoe-, food-, and drink-free (read: not really live in it), sofas are perhaps the most well-trafficked item in a home, and even minimal daily wear will imbue it with a dingy tint. If you insist upon going this route, a slipcover will be your best friend.

-So yes and no on this one.  I definitely have come across all white interiors which were described as family friendly, which inevitably made me laugh.  It's not very family friendly if your child can’t play in the living room, and you cant put your feet up!  I definitely agree in that regard.  However, durable fabrics in linen and cotton in white can be great.  And they are correct, a slipcover is wonderful.  Also, for that cottage-y vibe, putting a lovely quilt on a sofa is another great way to protect it.  The thing about white, is that it is indeed like a canvas.  You can change up the decor by changing the pillows.  

If you buy a green sofa, which by the way is fantastic, then your sofa is green and there is no way around that.  So a white slipcovered sofa is a nice way to go if you want to change things up with the season and don’t want to commit to a specific color scheme right off the bat.

This is a white sofa!!!! (in a living room design I did) But it's great.  It is slipcovered and it provides a blank canvas.  It is also super comfortable.  

2. Sharp-Edged Tables

If you have little ones running around (or might one day soon), that beautiful glass or brass-edged coffee table can prove quite the safety hazard. And those sharp corners can nab even the most graceful adult passersby. This doesn’t mean upholstered ottomans and round tables are the only way to go, but before you buy, test the table—if you graze the corner and immediately wonder if you might have a light flesh wound, move on.

-Totally agree with this!!!! And it is not just about children, who are either currently there or may be in the future.  I can not tell you how many times I have hit my shins on a sharp edged wooden bed frame I used to have.  Once I couldn't take it any more, I got a base with legs, and the mattress went on top for completely edge free living.  Yes yes and more yes! Hard edges suck!!!

3. Ambitious DIYs

Major DIYs (think refinishing cabinetry or reupholstering that wingback chair) may seem fun and feasible when you see them on HGTV or Pinterest, but unless you are a serious weekend warrior, it’s often best to leave these projects to the pros. Even small errors will often get more pronounced with wear and tear (and will most likely bug you each time you look at it). Save yourself the hassle, and get it done properly.

-Agree and disagree.  Choose the project wisely, go about it slowly, you might surprise yourself.  Just be smart and know that you may totally mess it up.  If that's okay, then have fun!

4. Marble Countertops

While absolutely gorgeous when it’s in mint condition, marble (especially Pinterest-beloved Carrara) is softer, more porous, and more prone to nicks and discoloration than other materials like granite or quartz. If you cook a lot, or if you don’t want to worry about putting a coaster down every time someone has a glass of red wine, opt for a more durable material. If you need a hit of marble, consider only using it on your kitchen island or as the backsplash.

-Again agreed. Having to be precious all of the time, especially if you like to cook is exhausting!

5. Busy Wallpaper

Think of the loudest print in your wardrobe. Would you want to wear it every day? The same rule applies to wallpaper. A bold swath of wallpaper in a prominent space like a living room is not terribly versatile, and odds are you’ll tire of the pattern more quickly than a simple coat of paint (not to mention, wallpaper is much trickier to swap out). If you’re really keen on the idea, use that flamboyant paper to pepper small, inconspicuous spaces like a powder room or walk-in closet.

-This goes yes and no.  I mean toile de jouy is technically “busy” but wall to wall toile wallpaper is one of my favorite things in decorating!  I think it depends on the room, the house, the person. You may never tire of the wallpaper you chose.  However, I do agree a little can go a long way, I have used busy wallpaper in small ways to great effect.  

I completely agree on the paint statement.  It is absolutely true that it is much easier to change your paint color.  I am a huge proponent of paint.  It is the most powerful tool we have as decorators and whats more, the most economical.

Here I employed "busy" wallpaper in a small way by using it as the backdrop for the bed.

6. Shag and Long Pile Rugs

Cozy flokati rugs are both retro-chic and a bare foot’s best friend. However, they are also prone to shedding, difficult to clean, don’t age terribly well (hello, matted fibers), and the material is conducive to trapping dust, dirt, and everything in between.

-Again yes.  I have seen long pile rugs in photos of posh interiors, and yes they look incredible.  But to have one under the dining table, which I have seen, is the height of decadence, but also nutsiness.  I mean it's not just three year olds who drop things at dinner!  If you have the means to buy a new one every year, fine, go ahead.  Otherwise, forget it.

7. Anything Trendy and Expensive

Simply put, outfitting your home entirely in trends is a surefire way to make it look dated. Play with trends, but keep them to small, more affordable accents that can easily be swapped in and out. Let the memory of chevron overload be a lesson to us all.

-Certainly timeless is the way to go.  And I agree, if playing with a trend, do so in an affordable way (which by the way, can include paint!) 

8. Uncomfortable Dining Chairs

This may seem obvious, but give your dining chairs the sit test before you decide to buy. And don’t just sit straight-backed, feet on the floor (because who really sits like that?); recline, slouch, cross your legs, and really make sure your guests will be comfortable enough to linger after a long meal.

-Totally, and that goes for all modes of seating.

9. Bare Windows

While we can appreciate the appeal from both a monetary and luminary perspective, the thing about UV rays is that they are powerful—powerful enough to turn your favorite upholstery 50 shades of sepia. Plus, bare windows will most likely leave you with the sneaking suspicion that your decorating work is unfinished.

-Yes.  Although the minimal look is cool, you need some sort of window treatment.  In college I learned about a study of people living in those wall to wall glass homes, and no surprise, they were all super paranoid.  You don't have to smoke a bowl to become paranoid that you are being watched when all of your windows are open.  I mean hello!!!!  As with everything, balance.  If you are a minimalist, then thin linen drapes that let in a maximum of light and also afford a veiled view are a great way to go.  

I used minimal window treatment here, which is unimposing, but still affords privacy.

So all in all, I’d say that this was a great article.  I still contend that rules are meant to be broken, and never say never.  However, guiding principles are always a nice thing. As always, experiment, play, have fun and don't be afraid. 

What do you think?  Do you follow any rules in dressing or decorating?

xo, Ginevra

Interior Design: Styling a Vignette, creating a Sleigh Bed by Ginevra Held

French Country Styling

Perusing the internet as you do, or as one does, I came across this photo of a sleigh bed:

Into my head popped the fact that at Mom's place in France, many of the wooden headboards have not been attached to the mattresses, and therefore and hence, one could put a headboard as a footboard, and voila! You have a sleighbed.  Now, if and when you think about unattached headboards, if you think about them at all, and you are not immediately inspired to create a sleighbed, well my friends, that is the difference between you and me.  It may also be accounted for by the fact that you are thinking of other things, and, dear reader, I will give you the benefit of the doubt in this case.

I am now going to take you on a step by step of how I got from two twin beds to one adorable sleigh bed avec canopy.

French Country Beds

Bedroom "before" with 2 twin beds as you recall.

Secondary 'before" view showing curtain and curtain rod that will serve for the canopy.

The Canopy begins to form... Here you see I have attached by overlapping the curtain that was formerly for the doorway.  

The bed gets moved into place...

The second headboard is moved into place.

Now we have a sleigh bed/ day bed. The coverlet is tucked in to show off the striped bedskirt.

Curtain draping: the bottom curtain is swagged and draped over the right of the bed, the top curtain is draped to the left.

A secondary view to show you the top of the curtain rod.

Finally!!! The fun part! Pillows!!!! This is when it really becomes a day bed!

"Objets" are added for styling and to create a lovely vignette!

A more free form pillow arrangement....

A detail shot of the canopy experience...

French Country Bedroom

And my favorite vignette, using the jet de lit as side table....

So that is how I created a sleigh bed/ day bed with a canopy.  Now I strongly believe that this process is applicable in your own home.  I have shown you how a curtain rod attached to the wall with overlapping curtains can be turned into a canopy.  I have also shown you how two headboards can be made into a headboard and footboard to create a canopy bed.  So I believe this look is completely diy-able for your own home.  

A day bed is a wonderful spot for reading and relaxing and with a canopy and pillows makes for a gorgeous addition to any room.

In case you were wondering what exactly to do with your day bed, I recommend this:

What do you think? Do you fancy a daybed in your home?



Interior Design: Tiny Decorating Tip by Ginevra Held

Feel like sugar on the floor, bud dum dum da dum dum dummmm….. sugar on the floor….. (just sing it in your head…)

What do Etta James and interior design have to do with one another you might ask?  Nothing and EVERYTHING.

Basically Etta said she felt like sugar on the floor, and well, as a designer, I like putting things on the floor.  So there you go!

Alright alright, that's totally pushing it.  And please know that I deeply respect and adore Ms. Etta James, so all you bluesy types out there just calm down.  

The fact is when I was at college taking a ton of English classes at UC Berkeley (this was before I decided to major in Architecture) we were told to start our essays with a hook or a quote.  So there you go, thank you Etta for my hook.

Now to what we came for.  The tiny decorating tip: like sugar on the floor, put things on the floor. What things? Paintings! Prints! Posters! Empty Frames! Lean those suckers, layer them, stand back and enjoy.  I employed this little trick for this vignette I did and I rather like the outcome.

Now Etta feeling like sugar on the floor was not a good thing, at first things can be sweet like sugar, then you are tossed aside, wasted on the floor, sugar on the floor.  But when you put your paintings on the floor, it is a good thing and don’t worry they will not be wasted.  (again sorry to the blues fans, and please excuse me Etta, but you know…)

Also, just because things are on the floor does not mean they shouldn't be on the wall too!


Do you lean anything against the wall and on the floor in your house?  Are you ready to try it? Turn on some Etta James and get going!




Interior Design: Will Ferrell's Living Room by Ginevra Held

Hi all.  I hope you had a good weekend. Yesterday, I got an email from Architecture Digest about Celebrity Homes on sale.  And I admit I opened it.  I only looked at Fred Armisen’s though.  It’s a cute house in Silverlake.  And its under a million!

I was thinking, geez, Arch Digest is kinda gross in a way with their fascination with celebrity. But I felt like internet browsing, so I was like whatever. I clicked on the celebrity style category and was like what can I stomach? I chose Celebrity Living Rooms mostly because it promised Will Ferrell's living room, and I like him.

I clicked through until I landed on Will Ferrell's Living Room:

Photo via Architectural Digest, Will Ferrell's Living Room

Photo via Architectural Digest, Will Ferrell's Living Room

And I was looking at his living room and going this is really nicely put together, very modern eclectic, tasteful, great art choices.  But I was like, come on.  Where does the guy sit?  I mean I know he plays a nut and a goofball, but most nutty people are very smart so I was not at all surprised that he has good taste.  But the fact is Will Ferrell is a big guy, and this does not look like a place where he can just sit down.  I often think about that when looking at rooms I absolutely adore because they are filled with Louis XVI furniture and I think how much I wish I could afford those antiques and then I remember that on Sunday nights I like to completely lie down on the sofa with my feet on the sofa arms and watch The Good Wife.  I don’t think you can do that on a Louis XVI settee.  

As if Arch Digest could read my mind, the next slide said, “in another of Will Ferrells living rooms….” and sure enough I was like, ah, this is where the man sits, or perhaps lies all the way down with his feet up and watches The Good Wife on Sunday nights.

Photo via Architectural Digest, Will Ferrell's Living Room

Photo via Architectural Digest, Will Ferrell's Living Room

So it got me thinking.  What if, unlike Will Ferrell, you only have one living room?  How do you get the best of both the totally refined and the totally loungable?  This is my goal in decorating.  To find that perfect spot.  Where you have the refined pieces, but also the pieces you can feel comfortable lounging on.

What do you think?  Should a living room (if you have just one) be for total lounging or should it be totally refined?  Or both?

I learned a couple other things from this slideshow.

1. Diane Keaton’s house is exactly how you would imagine it. Think Annie Hall Interior Decor.

2. My homegirl Julianna Margulies has exceptional taste in that she hired Vicente Wolf, an incredible designer to do her place

3. And finally, kudos to Gerard Butler.  He got an architect and a film set designer.  Um Hello Genius!!! Who better to design your home than a film set designer! What fun!  They know how to populate a space.  And make it look lived in.  I love film sets.  That is too cool. And the man has “conversation areas”.  Hello!!!!


What do you think of Will Ferrell’s Living room?


xo, Ginevra

Interior Design: Lanvin Inspired Mood Board by Ginevra Held

Lanvin Mood Board

I was just playing around the other day, I really liked the Lanvin Spring collection so I decided to do a little mood board centered around one of the looks.  The room would be a dressing room.  I put together a vintage Milo Baughman chair found on Chairish, Marcel Wanders red and silver wallpaper, my favorite Philippe Starck stool Attila in black, a pendant light by Tom Dixon, a side lamp by Tom Dixon, and a rug by Alexander McQueen for the Rug Company.  

Basically my thoughts were why not put together a room with designs by all of my favorite designers?  I started with Lanvin as the inspiration as I have greatly admired Alber Elbaz's work as head designer of Lanvin for a very long time.  This was one of his last collections for the house.  

With that look as my springboard I went to my other favorites: Tom Dixon for awesome modern/tough/mod lighting, Phillippe Starck for humorous functionality, Marcel Wanders for intricate detailing, Alexander McQueen for dark glamour, and finally Milo Baughman for mod/pop furniture.  These are my folks, so I put them all together in a dream scenario for an Interior.

I thought it all mixed together for a playfully modern but mod, glamorous dressing room.

Sources starting with Lanvin and going clockwise:

Lanvin Spring Collection Look 65 source:

Marcel Wanders Wallpaper Hexagon :

Tom Dixon Pendant Lamp Etch Web Brass:

Alexander McQueen Rug for Rug Company in Pony:

Philippe Starck Attila Stool in Black manufactured by Kartell:

Tom Dixon Bell Copper Table Light:

Vintage Purple Milo Baughman Chaise found on Chairish: