02 December 2009

A Pure Baby Shower

 

 

image Lauren of Pure Style Home and Michele of My Notting Hill

 

One of the design blogosphere’s most beloved blogger, Lauren, of Pure Style Home, is having a baby – her second – and today we are all giving her a virtual shower hosted by Michele of My Notting Hill.  Lauren is a young interior designer who writes both a beautiful and an intelligent blog – a rare combination.  She is full of talent and ideas and this year it has been great fun watching her turn her 70s era split level house into something we are all envious of.    It seems almost every day Lauren is posting about what she has done to her house this time – what she has changed, painted, moved around, bought, created – she is the artist, her house is her canvas and we are her captive audience. We all watch her decorating, amazed at her joie de vie, all the more amazing because she has totally renovated her house while pregnant the entire time.     She is a stager extraordinaire and there’s not a catalogue around that wouldn’t  hire her in a minute to style their photos, she is just that good.   She makes her own house look like it came straight from the pages of a magazine.   She especially loves using a trio of laboratory beakers as vases in her house photography -  she moves the beakers to and fro, from room to room to room – putting all different kinds of leaves in them, or flowers, or she might just leave them bare.

 

 

imageLauren’s living room, a month ago, with the fabulous blown up etching in the dining area

 

 

image The living room – today - with its newly stenciled walls.   The beakers make an appearance here on her mantel.  

 

 

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The dining room with the fabulous art work.   This room has totally changed since her new chairs and curtains have finally arrived! We’re anxiously waiting to see them!

 

 

imageLauren’s kitchen with the great iron chandelier she bought after spotting it on a shopping trip with the famous Eddie Ross.   I love her pantry “door.” 

 

 

imageHer adorable breakfast room – all styled for dinner – her plates match her wallpaper, of course! 

 

 

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Lauren’s collection of laboratory beakers make an appearance on her living room mantel.

 

  imageHere the beakers have been moved into her master bedroom! 

 

 

imageAnd here, on the dining room – the beakers hold herbs.

 

And so, for my shower gift – I am giving Lauren and her new baby a brand new set of laboratory beakers for the nursery – now she can style the room and not have take the baby’s beakers away to use in another room, for another photo shoot!   Enjoy Lauren, and much health, happiness and love in your future!

 

 

365.15 by Vaedri1.

A new set of laboratory beakers for the nursery!  Enjoy Lauren!

To attend the baby shower, be sure to visit My Notting Hill HERE.  To read Lauren’s blog The Pure Home, go HERE.

Branca + The Skirted Roundtable = Love!

 

image Branca’s first book – gorgeous!

 

Nobody works a piece of Fortuny better than Italian born Alessandra Branca.   When I started my Top Ten Designers list, I couldn’t wait to put Branca first.   Her signature style – her reds, her blacks, her deep yellows, her stripes, her trims – it is all so appealing, sophisticated yet welcoming.  She is a premier interior designer with boundless energy and a steely determination to get her interiors just right down to the last detail – and trust me, all those details take an enormous amount of hard disciplined effort.   No surface, not one inch, is left untouched in her rooms – yet they’re not fussy looking nor overdone, rather it’s all just beautiful eye candy.   Her new book is gorgeous too.  Oversized, heavy, and loaded with achingly beautiful photographs by Thibault Jeanson – it is THE book to get this holiday season.   One picture – a scanned image of an early job  done in her 20s is so perfect, so wonderful – that it makes me want to give it all up.  Knowing I’ll never be what she already was way back when, is enough to make me want to retire. 

 

 

image The absolutely adorable Alessandra Branca – a personal favorite!

 

When we booked Branca on The Skirted Roundtable, I thought I had died and gone to heaven and trust me  - she didn’t disappoint.  Despite living in America for her entire adult life, she still retains a charming Italian accent and her infectious voice is filled with emotion, displaying a true joie de vie.   Despite all her success, she gives the impression that nothing is more important than just being a mother and a wife.  To listen to Branca’s interview, go HERE.  If you have the book, you might want to grab it as we discuss a few of the rooms with her.   But mainly, Branca talks about her aesthetic, her mother, her loves, her life, her work ethic, her goals.   Enjoy!

 

 

image The October House Beautiful featured a new Alessandra Branca interior.

This townhouse in Chicago, where Branca also lives, is owned by a young couple.  Branca said she took her time finishing the interior – the mirror above was a hunt that lasted three years.  Notice the chest – it’s French with Japanned drawers that were a later addition.  The art glass was purchased by the owner and placed here, after the initial installation – something that Branca loves to see her clients do. 

 

Photography by Thibault Jeanson

 

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The Living Room

 

The gorgeous drapes are trimmed in a blue velvet – Branca often uses Italian Stringing, a method of holding back curtains without any obvious visual means.  Skirted tables are another signature look of hers.   A faintly patterned wallcovering can be seen between the windows.  Branca says she rarely does a plain wall and prefers upholstered walls in the noisy city for their calming effect on a room.   The floor is covered with a natural textured rug.  

 

 

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The Dining Room.

The dining room is so cozy – a patterned Bennison fabric covers the banquette and grasscloth is used on the walls to further warm the room.  The light fixture is a surprise - a mid-century design.

 

 

image The Family  Room.

Here, Branca quilted the sofa’s fabric – something she does to lengthen the life of a fabric especially when it will get much use.   The bookcase is gorgeous and is filled with objects found at Branca, her shop in Chicago.  Again a textured paper is used in this room.  Branca’s favorite, a stripe is used for the window covering.  French doors are utilized throughout the townhouse to let more light circulate throughout.   The colors in the townhouse are a departure for Branca whose signature is black, red, and warm yellow.  Here she used a muted blue/gray with cognac. 

 

 imageThe Lounge.

This room was arranged for entertaining.  Here Branca’s signature colors make an appearance – the deep yellows with touches of red and black.  The trim is lacquered black for drama.   The walls are upholstered in a Raoul Textiles paisley, another pattern Branca adores.   The floor is covered in a patterned textured rug.   This room looks like it might be found in a Moroccan or Turkish hotel.  Just beautiful.

 

 

branca1 The Master Bedroom.

The quietly elegant master bedroom is a vision in silvers and grays, a true departure for Branca.   She used a muted gray and white Fortuny at the windows and on the walls in the alcove.  The chair is one of a pair by Jansen.  The floors were ebonized for more sheen.  

 

 

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The Guest Room.

 

The guest bedroom walls are a lacquered soft green.  A glorious English Regency sofa was placed in front of windows that are covered with Conrad woven shades.  The three piece coffee table is from Branca.  She brings her signature touch of black into the room with the lacquered doors and windows. 

 

 

branca6 The Guest Bedroom Suite.

Branca designed the fabulous headboard with its large brass nailheads, inspired by a visit to Morocco.   Again, a simple skirted table is used with a striped fabric.   Branca told us she likes to use only natural fabrics – linens, cottons, wools.   

 

To order Branca’s book – go HERE.  All, Branca stated, ALL proceeds are going to charities she has handpicked that benefit children.   After listening to her talk about her family it’s easy to understand her love of children and wanting to improve their life.   To listen to The  Skirted Roundtable conversation with Alessandra, go HERE.

(Due to Thanksgiving, I am running behind here – the new show with Judith Miller is already up – too – but if you haven’t listened to Alessandra’s, do so first, THEN listen to the new show with antiques expert Judith Miller.  I promise to get caught up!!!)