12 March 2013

Decorating A Certain Identifiable Way

 

Lately I’ve been a little defensive about my decorating style.   When showing some of my jobs on the blog, I get comments saying – “it looks just like your house.”  Or, “it all looks alike.”  And yes, I have to agree.  When allowed to decorate the way I want to, it does look somewhat similar.  I mean, if I personally don’t care for chenille, why I would want a client to have it? 

 

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My family room with white slips, brown accents and seagrass.

 

 

A recent client with white slips, brown accents, and seagrass.

 

 

It’s not just me whose style is recognizable.  There are may well respected designers who have a very distinct style – Kathryn Ireland immediately comes to mind, and so does Charles Faudree, Mario Buatta, and Darryl Carter; Thomas Pheasant, Barbara Berry and John Saladino are some others whose work is immediately identified.

Even growing up all those years ago, there was one diminutive designer who decorated many houses in my neighborhood.  Walking in the front door of any home, you could immediately tell if she had been hired to do the house or not. 

It’s not like I always decorated with white slipcovers and seagrass either.    My standard go-to-look used to be linen, toile, and Bennison with kilims and lots of red and black accents.  I mean I can and do do other designs, but left to my own devices, I’m going to design the way I want to.    Is there anything wrong with having a signature look?

I started thinking about this when I was reading the new Veranda, with its gorgeous cover. 

 

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It wasn’t so much this vignette that gave away the designer.  I might have even thought this was the work of Phoebe Howard or Bunny Williams at first glance. 

 

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The first clue was the townhouse in Washington D.C.   The location and the style of the house always gives you a hint of whom the designer might be.

 

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But it was this picture that really gave away the answer.  The quiet palette, the subtle touches of color, the center table, the lime washed floors, the classic leggy chairs, the airy, sunny atomosphere.   It all spoke immediately to me as the work of Frank Babb Randolph.  Randolph has quickly become a favorite of mine – I just love his aesthetic.   He makes choices I actually wouldn’t make – he doesn’t do a lot of curtains and more often than not, he leaves his floors exposed – but who only admires people who are a reflection of ourselves?  Why follow someone who doesn’t challenge your norm?

This townhouse is Randolph’s own home, once owned by Henry Kissinger.  Newly redecorated and remodeled, I looked up older photographs of this same space to compare what he had changed, and why.

The house, built in 1959, lacked formal moldings, so he first added a pediment over the center French door – in a homage to Thomas Jefferson.    Next he added a flat patterned rug, so subtle it almost looks like a painted floor.  In between the two fabulous 18th century Zuber covered screens – I thought, hmm. why no painting?  But, previously he did have one, and seeing it without, he made the correct choice.   Cabana striped slipcovered chairs were changed out for more sophisticated French beauties and  his Swedish chairs are now long gone, but why?

 

Take a look at this same room before remodeling:

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BEFORE:  the layout remains basically the same, but key pieces have changed.  As always, Randolph uses a center table.  He likes the furniture to be light enough to  move around – in the French style.   Here, the limed wood floors are bare, the sofa has been changed, the cabana slipped chairs are gone, as are the Swedish chairs against the wall.   Here, there are two French chairs with a pale peach fabric sitting next to the striped chairs – now moved to another room.   Remaining are the two fabulous 18th century Zuber screens, though that center painting has now been, wisely, removed.  Large sconces and console with mirror remain.  Notice the French door without the Jeffersonian pediment – what a difference it makes!   Which room do you prefer, then or now?

 

 

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BEFORE:  With the contemporary painting between the two Zuber screens – and no rug.  Today, there is more blue in the room – with the addition of the rug and the sofa.   Here is main color is beige and cream with punches of apricot.   Such a beautiful photograph! 

Randolph is the son a Washington lawmaker who served in Congress for many, many years.  He grew up in Virginia and Georgetown and Thomas Jefferson, whom he calls the first interior designer in America, influences his work.   Like Jefferson, he doesn’t care much for curtains, and like Jefferson, he rolls up his rugs in the summer!

 

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NOW:  Against this wall, Randolph added his trademark soft pops of color with the apricot French chairs that were once placed across the room.  The walls are painted a gorgeous gray – Farrow and Ball Elephant’s Breath.  While the chairs are antiques, the console and sconces are Niermann Weeks. 

 

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NOW:   Across the room,  the two club chairs, newly slipped, flank the fireplace.  The beautiful painting is by Elizabeth Dax.    While I’m not a fan of contemporary paintings, I have to say I love this!  It’s so subtle it’s almost as if it was a mirror reflecting the room’s décor.

Beautiful crusty urns sit in niches that were once bookcases.  This is the second time this week I’ve shown the dreaded niche with an urn, and suddenly, I’m a fan of niches!   Note:  if you have a niche, try copying this – use just one crusty urn. 

 

 

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NOW:  Closeup of the niche with the urn and chair from Tone On Tone, whose own aesthetic is quite similar to Randolph’s.

 

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BEFORE:  A closeup of the urn in the niche which was once a bookcase.  I also love the medallions he uses throughout the house.

 

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BEFORE:  the apricot colored French chairs were once in front of the niches – Randolph is a fan of “leggy” furniture, which he likes to move around as needed.  The club chairs weren’t slipped here.    And,  you can see the beautiful very light peach chairs next to the coffee table – these are now on the landing and are from the Cole Porter estate.  I love the two shades of peach, one light, one darker.    Isn’t it amazing how different a room looks with the lights turned on!

 

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BEFORE:  A close up of the art work by Elizabeth Dax.

 

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NOW:   Ahhh, here are the light peach chairs!   Randolph moved them from the drawing room to the landing!  These chairs once belonged to Cole Porter and they still wear their original silk fabric.  Love the painting with the touch of orange.   Beautiful vases with leaves. 

 

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NOW:  In the dining room, Randolph used draperies in this room only – here in a light silk chartreuse.    Randolph uses a lot of Niermann Weeks and David Iatesta who once designed for NW before going out on his own.   The new chairs are from Iatesta while the console in the corner is NW.  This quiet room is so Randolph with the bare floors and muted tones.   When entertaining he sets up several tables – and this is why he doesn’t use a central chandelier.  This way he can move the tables around as needed without the worry of the placement of a light fixture.

 

 

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BEFORE:  the Swedish chairs used here were mixed with the cane back chairs now in the living room.    I think I like the Swedish chairs better than the Iatesta ones, but that’s a personal choice.   Here, the curtains look yellow – not sure which is the correct color?   I do prefer the medallion on the wall above the chest rather than this painting.  I love this photograph – the way the furniture is arranged, it’s so symmetrical, just like I love it.  Still, if this was mine, I would use a light rug and a chandelier – but again, that’s a personal choice.   

 

 

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NOW:  Isn’t this pretty?  Here you can see how much Randolph likes to use a center round table in his designs.   An over-tall headboard and canopy were designed to accentuate the height of the room.   This is really a feminine bedroom designed by a man for a man.    Men don’t  always have to have dark colors and leather to be happy.   This décor is a good compromise when designing a bedroom for both a man and woman.

 

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The handsome and very debonair Frank Babb Randolph stands in the living room of a house he designed for a friend, artist Robert Rea.

 

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Two years ago, Veranda showed this Washington DC house that Randolph designed for a client.  He used the same basic floorplan with a round center table, flanking chairs on the fireplace and placing the sofa on the opposite wall – just as it is in his own DC townhouse.  This is a quiet, subtle, sunny and and airy room – which quickly identifies it as a Randolph designed room.  Soft pops of color come from the drapery fabric.  Other tell-tale signs that Randolph was here – bare, white washed wood floor, and an assortment of leggy, easily moved antique French chairs.

 

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Across the room.  Just beautiful!  I love the pops of orange that come from the painting – the owner is the artist.  Instead of a coffee table, Randolph uses the center table – on wheels for easy movement. 

 

 

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Same view, different day – different styling.  I like this end table better than the one above.  But I miss the garden stool and the flowering branch.  Notice how the first photographer brought up the arm of a French chair – just a trick that good photographers know how to do – which sets them apart from novices like myself.  He also set up a wider shot that shows more of the sofa and table.  Interesting to see the subtle differences between photographers.  Here, Morgan Howarth photographer.  Above, Max Kim Bee.

 

 

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Another view by a different photographer.  Love the backs of the French chairs with the subtle patterns and colors.  Love the silk striped curtain fabrics.  Just gorgeous.  But, I do miss a rug!!!  I would do a seagrass, but a pretty patterned one like Randolph used in his own home would be great too.  Love the pillows.  LOVE!!!

 

Read what Randolph says about rugs and why he eschews them:  “A puzzle pattern of rugs would break up the flow from room to room.   I like the cleanness of furniture legs dancing on the pale wood.”

And color:   “Colors pop on a neutral canvas.  I like bringing in select colors as accessories and then changing them out again as the mood suits.”

 

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Against one wall, a console with a chinoiserie chest underneath.

 

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The dining room here has a skirted table in a lighter shade of the curtain fabric – which is a great idea!   Again, subtle, and quiet, and spare, three hallmarks of a Randolph interior.   And, like his own dining room – no chandelier.  Love the tall urn. 

 

 

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The studio – with lots of the artist’s work. 

 

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The bedroom is pretty and quiet – with a painted chest and chair.

 

 

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This beautiful room was designed  by Randolph for a local showhouse.  Love the fluted pedestals with urns.  So pretty!!!

 

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This house was shown in two magazines (the photoshoot in Traditional Homes was for the Christmas edition.)  This older stone house was remodeled for an empty nest couple who had raised their family here.  Randolph turned it from dark, closed off interiors into light, bright and airy rooms.   The floors are now his standard limed wood.  Antiques from Tone on Tone found throughout.   Beautiful black stair treads and bannister.   

 

 

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In this second view, you can see how airy and bright the interiors are now.  Love the black against the limed floors.

 

 

 

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Decorated for Christmas, club chairs flank the fireplace with an antique Swedish ottoman acting as the coffee table.  The bench by the window is Niermann Weeks. 

 

 

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Love the Swedish bench.  A small tree sits on the an urn table in an alcove.

 

 

 

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The alcove  - love that table!.

 

 

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Love the bench with the Manuel Canovas fabric. 

 

 

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In the dining room, Randolph mixed a wood tabled with painted Tone on Tone Swedish chairs.  Love the chairs!!!

 

 

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The dining room, looks so different from this angle!  Love the light gray walls and white floors.  It’s all so ethereal. 

 

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A vignette of Tone on Tone Swedish antiques in the dining room.

 

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In the sunroom, beautifully tailored sofa in cream linen, with two Swedish pieces. 

 

 

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Niermann Weeks:  Randolph designed a collection for NW and uses many of their products in his interiors.   Here, he helped create this showroom using all NW items.  Love the chairs and table!  Beautiful!  And those sconces are a personal favorite.

 

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A terrace room from an early Randolph design shows the center table used even way back then!  Bare floors and an assortment of leggy chairs, still a trademark of Randolph’s.    While his décor today is more monochromatic, his basic style has remained the same throughout the years. 

 

I hope you have enjoyed this view of the work of Frank Babb Randolph!    I know it has made me feel better about decorating using a certain aesthetic and not having to make excuses for it.

Unfortunately, Frank Babb Randolph doesn’t have a web site.  Sad smile

 

 

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NOTE:  In Tone on Tone’s own house, Loi Thai has an Elizabeth Dax oil painting too.    Her works go so good with painted Swedish antiques.

 

Tone on Tone HERE.

 

124 comments:

  1. I adore your style. Thanks for all of your work on this beautiful blog.

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  2. Now I understand why I can never find what I'm looking for at Tone on Tone. Frank Randolph just purchased it.

    This is a gorgeous post. I totally disagree with one observation, however. Seagrass would have ruined the total look of Randolph's rooms.
    Seagrass is top casual looking to go with the wonderful NW and David Iatesta furniture. I love the softness of his subtle rugs. Randolph does indeed have a signature look, but not all elements are predictable. He does change his accent colors.

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    Replies
    1. I NEVER used the word predictable! that's so degrading!!!! I said recognizable. huge difference in meaning, imo.

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    2. I was not degrading Randolph nor did I suggest that you indicated that his style was "predictable".

      "Predictable" was a reference to your decorating style. Your elements are always predictable. Randolph has a signature style, but not always predictable. I think it reads clearly unless one is looking for insult.

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  3. Joni....you shouldn't have to explain your design style. I think anyone who is anyone always has a signature style. That's why I drool over your blog. It wouldn't be any fun to see pics of rooms that do nothing for me. Your style makes me swoon!!!! I would hate to see cold sterile lifeless designs from you when you do what you do so well, not that you couldn't do the sterile look but it's not who you are. It's the same reason people love certain fashion designers. It's all about "the look". I love being able to see a room and know exactly who did it. I think it is the highest form of flattery!!!! Keep doing what your doing Joni, you do it soooooo well!

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  4. I love your style and the photos I have seen of your house are gorgeous. You have a great talent.

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  5. Joni, you do have an identifiable style and it is GORGEOUS!!! I can't tell you how often I see something and say to myself, " that's something Joni would do." All the big designers have a "look." I think you should be flattered! You are inspiring and have hugely impacted my own design choices and aesthetic. I am thankful for you-keep doing your thing! You are classic! And you should be proud!

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  6. You go girl, love your style. I was thinking you would be doing a post about another designer in V. this month. Pam's new look?????

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  7. We all know you could design in any style if your client desired it! You do have a signature style and I love it...I agree that most designers do have a signature look. I love your blog and you do beautiful work! :)

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  8. Funny about those typically difficult niches, Joni. I love them with the urns, too! One of the things I love about design is when seeing something from a new perspective suddenly makes complete and perfect sense!

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  9. Love your blog even if my personal style is completely different: contemporary design in a very small house! I do appreciate the good design elements that you show here though and I think the spirit of good design can transcend styles. Your signature style however replicates across the board the elements and materials you are currently in love with. There is too little variation. I suppose that clients would want your style but not a carbon copy, otherwise there is no exclusiveness. The designer you highlighted in this post has repetitive elements in his oeuvre that constitutes his signature style but he is varied enough to make each project a surprise and a delight. I agree with you though, sometimes rugs and curtains seem to be lacking.

    That being said, you did a great job on your recent client's house. It actually looks better then your own home! You took your style and pared it down, there are less fussy elements and objects and the palette is even more refined for being so restricted.

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    1. Who a-r-e you?

      Cloaking your personal criticisms with your faux-complementary voice is neither clever or appreciated. What outsized ego do you possess which entitles you to decry Joni's aesthetic style as being better when pared down. Joni has clients who LOVE her style and ask for the honour of having it expressed in their own home where they crave the same details they so much admire in hers. News flash...they WANT it that way. Why don't you show us what you do for your clients before you pretend to speak with such authority?

      I suggest you take your condescending and arrogant contemporary bottom and relocate it to another blog.

      B

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    2. Well said, Lavender. I'm not sure why someone would take the time to comment if they don't like it. Why bother? It's mean spirited no matter what tone the poster tries to take.

      People come to this site because we love Joni's style, her ability to communicate clearly style and design and,most important, we can feel Joni's graciousness, warm soul and lack of pretension shine right through her words. Having just pulled my self-through a horrific discovery of my now ex-husband's second life and subsequent divorce (think Lifetime Movie of the Week and that's me), it's a particular comfort to scroll through Joni's carefully collected photos and interesting narration. You never know exactly how what you put out in the world touches people you'll never meet. Put out something good into the world, Anonymous.

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    3. "Who a-r-e you?

      Actually Lavender, the Anon. at 8:20am has the guts to speak her mind. She also acknowledged elements of Joni's designs that she
      likes. Did Joni suggest in her opening paragraph that this was Woodstock II? This is opinion sharing - not massage therapy.

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    4. G Quinn! My heart breaks for you!!! I can't imagine what you are going through. that exact think just happened to a friend of mine. Thanks for your very kind words!!!

      it's ok lavender - anon has some valid points! i will say though I picked the one room that most resembles my own. There are many other jobs that don't look the same nearly as much. this client wanted white slipcovers and contrast brown - there are only so many ways to do that.

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    5. G Quinn, while I can personally sympathize with you and your domestic situation, your trying to tie together a personal opinion with your personal situation is a bit of a stretch. We are not mind readers here nor psycho therapists. Yes, your situation is terrible and I have nothing but the most heartfelt sympathy for you, but it does not negate my right to speak my mind. Your hypothesis does not hang together.

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    6. Lavendar, crawl down from your high horse before you break your neck. Take a deep breath, try to show some maturity in the
      meantime and realize there are more opinions in the world of design than yours. Isn't it time for your nap???

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  10. No apologies needed for remaining true to good, consistent design solutions. The same could be said of many great designers...Billy Baldwin, Dorothy Draper, Henri Samuel, Thomas Britt, Vicente Wolfe and Atlanta's own Dan Carithers. Their particular esthetic is what their clients are looking for.

    And the same could be said about fashion designers. People who want the Ralph Lauren or Donna Karan look don't shop at Dolce and Gabbana or Versace!

    Another informative post with beautiful examples, Joni!

    Cheers,

    April, Just Verte Style

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  11. Well, I for one adore your style.I get palpatations whenever you post a room that you have done for a client!


    Debbie

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  12. Dear Joni,
    Thank you for this fabulous and spot-on post on my dear friend, Frank! Where did you find all those old photos? Amazing, amazing research, once again!! What I love most about Frank is his joie de vivre. Not only is he crazy talented, he is super cool and always charming. If you ever visit DC, I'll have you and Frank over. Maybe we can tour his place ;-)
    Thank you for this wonderful post. And, thank you for sourcing us!!
    Cheers,
    Loi
    PS - Frank's upholstered chairs with the beige and white stripes are in our living room :)

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    Replies
    1. Can I come too, pretty please! I will be on my best behavior!

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    2. omg!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i was wondering about that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahaha. wish i had known!! love you loi, you are always the sweetest (and the most handsome too!)

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  13. Hi Joni,

    People hire you because of your decorating style and anyone who sees that as a negative knows nothing about the business of interior decorating. They are also probably a bit jealous of your successful blog, because it is the best interior designer blog on the internet!

    Also, I hope you do a post on Pamela Pierce's new look that was featured in the same Veranda issue. I would love to read your opinion about the changes she made.

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  14. Thank you for the decorating lesson! It's always such a pleasure to peruse your posts. I am a do-it yourself kind of broad with a science degree and, therefore, very little decorating experience. Visiting your site always opens my eyes to designer names and styles that are very new to me. I think I have decided on white walls with a few peach upholstered, leggy chairs for my sitting room thanks to your post. By the way, should I call it a sitting room or a drawing room? Is there a difference?

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    1. not sure I would do white white with peach. maybe a white with a little cream or yellow in it. peach is a warm tone and white white always seems cool to me. the peach would look better with a warmer white background. imo! drawing room is more pretentious ala downton abbey!

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    2. Thanks so much for the advice! BM's White Dove is my white shade used all over the house. Seems a cool white to me. Guess I should rethink the peach for my SITTING room. :) But, why did Matthew have to die?! That show will never be the same to me.

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  15. Don't be defensive. You have a great style. And like you say, many designers have a signature look. So do artists: Picasso, Renoir, Monet, Degas... they all come to mind. Walking through a museum I often find myself thinking it must be "him" before I get up to the plaque. Pam Pierce was in that issue too I think. I have you to thank for being able to recognize her name and style. Keep it coming!

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  16. I wonder if any of the photos were color balanced by the magazine editors prior to publication. Also, I would think no rug would allow a floor to reflect the light thus making a room feel lighter brighter and more open. I know dark wood makes me feel depressed, I know i can't paint every dark piece of furniture I own, I can edit and use fewer pieces, sell them put them in the attic Now this butcher block desk at which I sit screams Paint me--- the 25 dollar kitchen table abandoned refinishing project from a yard sale screamed paint me and i listened. Thank you for our blog How is it you find the best images?

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  17. Just leaving a note to say, Your slipcovers are fabulous! Keep doing what you are doing!

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  18. Wonderful post, and wonderful designers (you and Mr. Randolph). I have a couple of comments and a question. 1) I noticed the painting that used to be between the screens is now in Mr. Randolph's bedroom. 2) I'm not crazy about the black painted stair treads in the Christmas house photo. Since the treads are the only black thing in the photo, contrasted with all light furniture/floors, I find my eyes drawn to the stairs instead of the beautiful furniture/entry/room beyond. With nothing balancing the black, no black accents elsewhere, the stairway gets undue attention. I don't think it should be the focal point.

    Now, my question: You mentioned the skill of a photographer in bringing up the arm of a French chair in one photo (i.e. just the edge of the arm is peeking in). I don't really understand why this is good (it looks like a distraction on the side, and I would have moved the chair out of the way). Given that I'd like to learn to take better interior photos, can you explain the reasoning for why you think this is good?

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    1. hmmm,, i liked the black! i like the contrast. didnt notice the painting in the bedroom because i didn't even look at it - i didn't like it! so, i guess i didn't even notice it.

      i just liked the arm of the accent, it added depth and insterest to the photograph, as a painting would. can't explain, it moved me.

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  19. Yes, you have a certain aesthetic. Not a thing wrong with that. You like what you like. And you do it well. Bravo! No need for defensiveness. And you have an amazing blog...always one of the most beautiful I peruse. Julie

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  20. If it ain't broke don't fix it. You're my favorite designer out there! Your decorating is actually soothing to look at. I don't want to see a lot of modern or loud decorating. Most of the homes you show actually take my breath away so please don't change!!

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  21. Joni you have an incredible eye and I look forward to reading your blog! I have learned much from you and am always inspired by your posts. But, and hears the but! While its ok, even great to have a signature style, its not great to be uninspired. To repeat over and again what works for you is not inspiring...its boring. You without a doubt are a good designer, but you lack vision. I, on the other hand, have vision, but lack carrying it out and gobs of follow through. When there is a marriage of natural talent, creativity, vision, nuttiness (yes, a little bit of crazy!) daring and even living on the edge.......mixed with learned skills, good eye, follow through, stability, solid, safe haven, and balance....therein lies a genius of a designer that has it all. We don't have it all, only a few do and thats why they are one of the 1st-name-only-greats! Please do not be offended by my observations...I just told you that I am the Yin to your Yang. But still love and admire you greatly!! All the Best, Mela

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    1. Mela, I had to read your comments a few times to be sure I was understanding them. Among them, you referred to Joni and her style as uninspiring, boring and lacking vision. Then you asked her not to be offended and wished her the best.

      OK, well, here's some yang to that yin: Joni, I appreciate your interior design style because it's a balance of traditional and classic, while updated and refreshing. When a room's foundation is neutral and made of classic, durable materials, we can customize the accessories to reflect our current tastes and trends. I didn't really "get" this until I began studying your blog (as well as a few others that I follow for inspiration). I'm in my mid-40s, and re-decorating now that my kids are older and my first furniture purchases as a newlywed are well past their prime. My whole house needs refreshing, and I'm very fortunate to have the funds to do it. While you're outside of my geographic area, I visit your blog regularly. So, thank you for your ideas and your time spent sharing your expertise. I hope you find joy in my observations. I wish you the best. Angela

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    2. When Joni confides to her bevy of pesudo psychologists about her decorating insecurities, she knows she will draw out her most ardent fans to rescue her from life's bitter turmoil of self doubt. That said, let me add a bit of yin to the "yang yang" that's been going on here. Joni indeed has a signature style and should not be compared to that of the subject of this post. Frank Randolph does not, let me repeat, does not replicate the same look for every client. Unfortunately, without a website I cannot prove this, but a successful designer in a conclave like Washington, DC would be committing suicide if he did so. Joni on the other hand uses a predictable palate of white, brown, seagrass. We can always assume that brown pillows without trim will show up on a white sofa in every design she creates. We can also assume that seagrass will cover the floors and that puddled curtains in a muted non conspicuous pattern will adorn the windows. Do the research and see if this is not correct. Joni may take comfort in the fact that some designers have certain signature elements as she does, but they are not so readily seen in their designs. While her rooms are comfortable and livable, they are not Frank Randolph.

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    3. Fair enough. But I cannot afford an interior designer like Randolph. I do, though, have an internet connection and browsing abilities, and can bookmark and take notes from what I find. I also find the process of developing my own style enjoyable. Joni (and many others) knows this, and so do her list of advertisers stacked down the left of her page. This is the niche here.

      I don't have much concern for her personal insecurities any more than I do for those of Randolph. But I'm happy and supportive of anyone's success, appreciate their time (paid or unpaid), and respect their visions and perspectives of what "design" is. As a sidenote, I have the self-respect and common decency to treat others like I want to be treated, even in this online environment. If I don't like someone's design, I don't stick around and criticize, belittle and make passive-aggressive comments. I move on and find a Web site of someone's design I do like and can *enjoy*.

      I'm a layperson at interior design. From my perspective, consumers seeking interior design fall into either or both of the following 2 categories:
      1. Those with abundant funds.
      2. Those with abundant time.

      If you're #1 but not #2, you probably contact the likes of Randolph. If you're #2 but not #1, you tend to peruse the design magazines and follow design blogs such as this one, and figure out which styles appeal to you and fit your lifestyle and budget. If you're neither #1 or #2, you look at those of us here with disgust because we can even indulge in this trivial conversation. If you're both #1 and #2, well, you're just damn lucky.

      If you're a designer and/or blogger, or an advertiser, you're paying attention and devising your next strategy to stay on top of your game and keep us all hooked, because we realize that none of this is rocket science... regardless of bitter turmoil or love of center tables.

      By the way, I'm damn lucky.

      Angela

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    4. Well said Angela! I am of the #2 camp for the most part. Which is why Joni's blog is so very instructional and invaluable to me. Best, Beth.

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    5. BTW, Angela. I'm damn lucky also and would add a #3 to your cute assumptions. I am also a designer.

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    6. Well stated comments Mela. You will definitely get your share of flack here for them, but they were made in the right
      spirit. None of the greats as you describe them who were known by "first names" became such by staying in the same rut
      throughout their careers.

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    7. just not true. i do admit i have done two living rooms with white slips and brown pillows, but only two i think. some clients want other colors. some ask for that. for example, the last client i showed, specifically asked for the white and brown, really its a deep taupey gray, and i told her i had done that before and didn't want to do it again but she insisted on it. just like when mary douglas drysdale did a room with bright yellow and white and plaid and for a while all her clients wanted that. i'm not mary - but even the greats repeat a look when asked.

      Delete
  22. We all love your style or we probably wouldn't be reading your blog. There are many decorators whose style is not mine and I think when choosing a decorator, it's helpful (perhaps not necessary, but helpful) that the decorator's style be similar to your own taste. As an example, I love traditional, comfortable furniture mixed with unpretentious antiques, so a decorator whose work is all modern would not be a good fit for me. Keep doing what you do.
    Sam

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  23. Oh, Joni, I can visualize it now...your newly written book (haven't come up with a clever title yet,...) "Tone on Tone" hosts the signing..it will be SUCH A FUN PARTY!! franki

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  24. This was a great post explaining personal style and preferences. It helps me define what I think is my personal style (including some of the elements that you enjoy) ...this is what makes design so fun, personal, unique and creative.

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  25. Everyone who follows you loves your style. Please don't change. I just wished you lived in Virginia and could decorate my home. I would love to see your home in Veranda.:)

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  26. You're a great designer! I love your style, it's classic and elegant and I'm inspired each time I see your gorgeous work. You do have it all!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. ....you said, " I mean, if I personally don’t care for chenille, why I would want a client to have it?" I really enjoy your blog and your design aesthetic, but I am confused....... should a designers like or dislike of chenille as the example you mentioned, be the criteria that drives ones design decisions? When I design, I may not personally care for silk pillows, or cherry wood, or painted furniture everywhere, but if my client does, then I can choose to work with that and help the client find or develop or refine their style by suggesting alternatives they may not have thought about, or decline the job. I am sure many folks come to you because your elegant and wonderful style appeals to them, which is a definable and timeless style, and one I personally love. I feel, however, it is a designers obligation to go into a job with an open mind. To use your example.....the simple reason to allow a client to have chenille is because perhaps they might really like it and it fits how they live more appropriately than an alternative, such as white linen. I believe a designer should want their client to have what gives the clients home a soul that matches their own, while respecting the architecture of the home and the landscape it sits on. This was an interesting post and such a delight to see the recent work of these designers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charisse, I believe the clarification is in Joni's prior sentence that reads, in part, "When allowed to decorate the way I want to..." If I recall correctly from her post about the living room in the second photo above that she designed, the homeowner didn't have much in terms of specifications other than not wanting to buy a bunch of new furniture. I'm sure if the homeowner would have added, "And I loooooooove chenille!!!" we'd see some of that in there, too.

      Delete
    2. I have had cases where I have been given total freedom, but I have found in those cases it is because the client doesn't know what their style is, thus I feel obligated to draw that out. If they come to me and say, I like this...duplicate it, I still invariably find that when shopping they do have items, elements, or art maybe, that attracts them, and I try and draw it out, explore, so their space becomes personalized. Designing is part psychology! LOL

      Delete
    3. trust me, i have lots of clients who hate linen and i didn't use it. right now for example - i used an ottoman file fabric for a client. i will say this though, lately i seem to not be interested in doing jobs where i have to go outside my personal style. when i was younger and hungrier i would take each and every job i would get.

      Delete
  28. What a talented designer, Joni. I agree with you, there is no shame in having an identifiable look. You can definitely see why he and Loi have so much in common stylistically, also. They both have pared down, ethereal looks with a love of all things Swedish. I was so excited to see Randolph used F&B's Elephant's Breath on his walls. That is the color I used in my kitchen/breakfast room/family room and I love it for its warmth and versatility. I think the chartreuse curtains and the yellow ones in his dining room are different curtains. The green ones have pinch pleats and the yellow ones look to me like inverted pleats. I love all the choices Randolph has made in accessories. Those Zuber screens are so fabulous. My sister had a dining room papered in a Zuber classical garden scene. It was such a lovely room in which to dine. She should have made screens of them before she sold the house, since the new owner (a famous artist) ripped them out. It still hurts. Thank you for introducing me to this talented designer. Your blog is such a pleasure to read and always instructive.
    XO, Victoria

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ripped them out????????????
      the zuber papers in the white house are taken down and stored, then brought back, and taken down again. what a shame you didn't get them!!!

      Delete
  29. Most of us like your signature style-that is why we're here.

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  30. Loved the new Veranda and beautiful homes featured. Thanks for the info on Randolph - super talent. Joni, take it as the highest form of flattery to have your style recognized. Your clients home is stunning and your style is why she chose you. Even though Pam Pierce's home redo is more contemporary, it still looks like Pam Pierce. Exquisite home, though I loved her prior dining and living room more. She creates such an alluring milieu!! The guest bedroom has her signature all over it. Thanks Joni - Great post as usual.

    Janice

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  31. I loved this post. You should not worry about the fact that you have a certain look- any good designer does and you are certainly that.
    Frank Babb Randolph is a favorite designer of mine and I loved his house in Veranda. I was surprised that you did not do a post on Pam
    Pierce's update to her home and I would be very interested to hear what you think about it. It looks like some other readers would as well.
    Thanks, as always, for your amazing blog! Barbara

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Joni!

    Yet another fabulous, well-researched post.

    It's fascinating that some of your past readers have criticized you for having an easily identifiable style. Anyone who can afford to hire a particular decorator generally does so BECAUSE the decorator has an identifiable style, usually a style that appeals to the homeowner. For example, I suspect that someone who loves Kathryn Ireland's style would probably not hire Frank Babb Randolph, Miles Redd or Suzanne Kasler to decorate her home.

    While I'm not an interior designer, if I were, I can't imagine taking on clients whose style differed too greatly from my own. Why? Because my heart simply wouldn't be in it. Obviously, the clients who hire you do so because they love slipcovers, seagrass, linen, French furniture and silk curtains. If they didn't, they'd hire someone else.

    Please ignore the readers who think you should change, that you're not daring enough or interesting enough. They always have the option of skipping your blog and heading directly to the blogs of those they deem daring and interesting.

    Just as an aside, I love Frank Babb Randolph's interiors. If I were ever in a position to hire a "name" decorator, he'd be the one!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love everything in these photos, especially that bed room. Love seeing modern art in traditional rooms. And the pops of orange! Randolph has a great sense of style. You do too!

    Thanks for another great post.

    ReplyDelete
  34. This is a real toughie, because I really enjoy Joni's blog so I hope this doesn't sound snarky (a new word I learned from Joni). I have learned many other things over the last year from her blog and from the designers she has featured on "The Skirted Round Table". In my experience, the most sucessful people are those who do what they love. So, if Joni currently loves neutrals, white linen and butterpat pleats, then that is what she should do. Certainly with the palette and sources already in mind, she can focus on overcoming other design obstacles such as window and furniture placement.

    However, most people have to live in the homes designers design (unless it is a spec house or a designers' showcase). Not everyone needs to have a neutral palette even if the "Belgium look" is quite fashionable right now. In fact, light, grayish colors become washed out in sunny dry climates such as southern California and Arizona. No one does a red room with oodles of details like Charles Faudree. Yet, recently, he has strayed into the "Belgium look". It's not working for him because it's not him!

    We each need to find the look and feel that touches our soul whether we are working with a designer or not. So, I say, Joni, keep on keepin' on! Do what you do best. People recognize the "Golden Arches" and go there because the food is always the same and they like it.

    And, that is a good thing, n'est ce pas?


    ReplyDelete
  35. I think it's great that your designs represent who you are! Same things goes with clothing, paintings, furniture, etc.!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Silly question, but aren't designers supposed to have a signature style? Otherwise, how would you know if you wanted to hire them for your own home?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Joni, please continue to be true to yourself. There are lots of us who love your style and there are others who simply will not. You have your followers and your fan base and you'll keep us happy if you continue doing what you do very well.

    It's funny that Pam Pierce has been mentioned in the comments above. There are many bloggers writing about her new style trying to figure out whether it's working or not. To me, she's an example of someone who got out of her area of expertise probably trying to please (or appease) a certain audience. Personally, her new design disappointed me. I would have rather have her decorated a new house with her old furnishings and style. With this new house she's disqualified herself from my list of potential interior designers for my dream home. How can I trust her if I don't know what the result will be? You see? An interior designer has to be reliable. A client will go to the person who makes her say "I want my house to look just like hers!" Actually, I think that's how Charles Faudree got started, but I could be wrong.

    Please don't change your style, just let it naturally evolve.

    Wonderful blog, I love it
    Anne

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love your signature style, it makes you...you! Please don't be discouraged, you are wonderful and don't ever doubt it! Smile and have a happy day!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I am a designer and have been for over 25 years. While I do have a certain "look" I have never tried to impose my look on a client. I try to design a space for them that is beautiful, FUNCTIONAL and will last them more than a few years. I just can't believe that white slipcovers with ruffles works for most families. I do agree that many famous designers have a unique look but they never are cookie cutter and they have the personality of the client. When even the accessories, lamps, plants are the same it is a bit much.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Joni, of course you have a signature style! That's why we love your work and read your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Joni,
    I love your classic style and would love to use a similar look in my own home but white linen slips just don't work with my 3 big dogs and ship's captain husband here in California! I have been longing for seagrass rugs too and just purchased a couple of long runners to try in the hallways and my hubby hated them! He said they were too uncomfortable on his bare feet so back they had to go!
    I love your long, very well researched posts. How about doing a post on your whole house? Listing your design inspirations for your own place.
    Thanks,
    Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  42. Dear Ms. Joni: Whenever you put yourself out into the public square and share your ideas, there is always someone out there to take a swipe at you. Like Ms. Parham above, who is ever so gently criticizing you in such a sweet-mannered slam. I have 3 animals and love white slipcovers because I can take them off and bleach them!
    I look forward to your blog like a dying person waits for the day light of yet another day to live. Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but I always light up when I see "cote de texas" in my email. If I didn't appreciate your style, I wouldn't read your blog.I was in the public light many years ago; I know that no good deed goes unpunished. Your blog is a wonderful visual feast whenever it arrives. Your style is very translatable into other kinds of decors, and your contribution to the common good is substantial. In a world of many ugly things, beauty is to be celebrated and cherished. Ignore your critics; I suspect there is a wee bit of jealousy in ever criticism.
    Pamela Bozanich

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG I don't believe what I just read: "I look forward to your blog like a dying person waits for the day light of yet another day to live"

      Seriously, one sick puppy!

      Delete
    2. see what i mean!

      Delete
    3. I understand what she means, she just means she has a passion. i'm the same exact way. throughout my life, there have been various things that i've had a passion for - borderline obsession. i get what she means, just dont' get why i'm the source of that! so not worthy!!!

      i didn't mean this post to be about me at all, i was just using it as an example.

      thank you all for your so kind words!!!!!!

      Delete
  43. I must admit that all of your work looks just the same - it is pleasing to look at. I think the interiors should work with the architecture and not just "plug" your interiors into their house. Have you ever had a client come back and say "Why does my house have the same furniture, fabrics and materials just like my friends house, why doesn't my house look more like it's mine that someone else's?". Does anyone want to be an individual instead of me too, me too? Not everything project needs slipcovers, seagrass and linen. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I think many people are confused with the meaning of "signature style". It doesn't mean using exactly the same elements, objects and colour palettes over and over again. It is much more subtle then that. A great designer has to have the ability to make his/her client happy with the expected and yet surprise them at the same time with the unexpected. Signature style is a spirit, a philosophy, a mood. Anchored by concrete elements to be sure, but much more ephemeral then mere objects. This is not a criticism but an observation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was just going to say the same thing. Robert Kime, Bunny Williams, Micheal Smith etc. They do have a very distinct "look" or "style" but it's not taking the same twenty items and sticking them in any old space. That's not style IMHO.
      Joni, I must say I don't share your style BUT I do read your blog and have for years. You are earning a good living as a decorator and have a following of many thousands all over the world while I only dream of doing design work. So it really does not matter what I or anyone else thinks of your work.
      I do enjoy your blog and you are a very good writer. Enjoy knowing you are doing what you love when many are not for whatever reason.

      Delete
    2. I agree with the above post. Forget about Joni's design talent, or lack thereof (depending on which opinion you choose to take). Joni's real talent is her ability to pull together and write interesting pieces which both educate and inspire. Most people would give anything to have the following her blog has. I, for one, could really care less how talented a decorator she is ... she writes stuff I like to read and inspiring enough that readers actively engage in discussions. Keep it up!!

      Delete
  45. Joni,
    I personally love your style and have saved many images of your home for that reason. It makes sense to me that a designers signature pieces will often give away the fact that it's their work. I don't see anything in that to criticize. I can spot a Charles Faudree room no matter where it's published, a style that I love and wish I could do a better job of copying! :D
    Great post, you do the best research.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  46. What a horrible thing to say to you! Yes, in Houston we have a certain "look" in our decorating- I will agree to that, but your style is one that reflects things you love and admire. I read this blog to copy as best I can the things you like because I admire your style and way of decorating. Also, no one researches and gives sources on a blog like you do!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I for one LOVE your "signature" style!! Great post as always.

    Michelle

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  48. It's not "all the same"; it's a point of view! Everyone is a critic,especially today, with the distance (read safety) that the internet confers. I would bet the comment was not made to you face-to-face, unless the person is socially inept. A decent comeback would have been, "Oh, and what interiors have you designed lately?" As you noted, many designers have very definitive looks, and that is what attracts their clients. I love the pictures of the Randolph designed rooms, btw. I think the trick is to include, if the budget permits, a few boffo antiques, pieces of compelling artwork or a handmade item or evn an "objet trouve" as the French say, it lifts all the other things up, even if the rest of the items were made the day before yesterday. When a room holds a few items that cannot easily be seen or found elsewhere, the room becomes special, even if done by a designer with a specific point of view. Daryl Carter is a great example, he can add an old wooden bowl and a crusty-finished chair to his pale rooms and though these items may have been inexpensive, they have character and are unique. This trick works when the room has basic good bones...

    ReplyDelete
  49. Hello Joni,
    As a designer, I know how it feels when someone tries to feel better about themselves by degrading or putting someone down...and to what end? Social media seems to make it easier for some people to be rude and unkind. If you look at my website you will see several Kitchens with the same detailing behind the stoves. I've used antique French firebacks as backslashes. It started in my home, and when potential clients saw it, they asked for the same thing...what can you say, "No"?? So, does that mean that my interior design style is the same for everyone? Of course not!

    Your style is delightful and in high demand...continue to give your clients what they want, with that the special twist to make it their own! Thanks for your great blogs,

    Linda Floyd
    Linda L. Floyd, Inc. Interior Design
    www.lindafloyd.com

    ReplyDelete
  50. Fabulous post, Joni! I feel like I've taken a Design course by the time I finish reading your incredible blog posts and am so glad for it! You always amaze and inspire me. I'm glad you are true to your personal style! I have to remember that as well when purchasing antiques or accessories for my shop…my criteria needs to always be, "If I don't sell it, I will have to love it in my own home!" So of course, I'm going to buy and sell what I love and you are going to decorate in a style that reflects your best personality! I know for certain that you are able to think outside of the box but so glad that you stay true to your great design convictions! Your taste is impeccable! So glad you referenced Loi! He is my dream blogger and designer and shop owner! What a sweet guy! I think I'd like to be invited to that dinner if you ever go to DC! Loved this post and everything about it! I learned a lot as well!

    ReplyDelete
  51. You are so informative and do such a great job of explaining why things work together!

    I always tell young people NOT to go to "school" for interior decorating! However; blogs have seriously impacted the decorating and design world! Yours is a major influence! I have always said that "good decorators are too busy decorating to teach"; and I still believe that. However; you and some other really great bloggers (Brooke Giannetti springs to mind; and there are others); really do "teach"! It is a wonderful thing!!

    And there is no tuition! Joni, keep up the great work! and "the skirted roundtable" is just sensational!

    (I do think if I read "pop" of color again I am going to throw my computer into my pond!!!! Can we just have a rest ?) SORRY!!! (It is making me retch!!!)

    Your comment about my photographs on my blog made me laugh so hard; I almost woke my husband up!! (on the other side of our not so big house!!)

    You can come stay in my guest house! My assistant said; "maybe I should start taking the pictures!" I am just not good at that! Pathetic is right!!

    I will try to improve!!! So glad you like following our daughter's house! Restoring a classic old house (for California, 1934 is old!!) is entirely different from building a house!
    It is why I love my job!

    Penelope

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Pop" of color!

      Delete
    2. penny! come up with another way to say pop of color, please! and yes, you are absolutely the WORST photographer of all time. I was cracking up reading your post with those terrible pictures, you barely could see in some of them!!!!! tooo funny, that's why I love you so much - you could laugh at what i said!!!!

      and brooke didn't go to school either. i think that i.d. school is necessary for commercial and hospitality, but not houses. oh, i could write a book on how horrible i think the design is that comes out of the schools.

      Delete
    3. I completely agree with you! I heard one lecturer say "never put more than one mirror in a room"!

      I am going to improve my photography!! Or have someone else take my pictures!!!

      Delete
  52. Wow! Randolph's subtle use of color is absolutely brilliant. This post was like a design lesson. Well done! Bookmarked it so I can continue to stare and learn from each image. Thank you for highlighting this designer!

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  53. Hi Joni,

    I think you must have very grouchy readers because sometimes they say the meanest things. Who cares if you have a definable look? That is what I love most about certain designers- when they have their own point of view or look. I find that I gravitate to certain designers and their "look", or at least 80% of their look, and if I could afford to hire someone I probably would, as long as they gave me a little of my own personality here and there. I know a lot of designers talk about giving clients what they want, like Albert Hadley is said to have done (having no definable look), but there is nothing more charming than a look which is original. i love Darryl Carter. I love Phoebe Howard and find she has an even stronger "look" than her husband. All the big designers have a "look" - Vicente, Windsor, Suzanne Kasler - some of my favorites!

    I just love Frank Babb Randolph's look and loved the house he did for Robert Rea. When I was in DC last time, I was in Susan Calloway's art shop (which I always visit) and she had a bunch of Robert Rea's paintings and they all had that dreamy coral colour in them (persimmon..?), like FBR used in his house and in his own house. I love that persimmon and blue combination against the neutrals.

    You know, in the Verenda article, didn't they say those two coral chairs were pink (french pink?) - they look so orangey but maybe they are a very old pink-orange. I would love to see them in person.

    I love so much DC design - Loi Thai, Frank Babb Randolph, Daryll Carter. I would love to have a house and a budget that could accommodate any of their work!!! :)

    P.S. Thanks for your comment on my "health" post. I am so sorry to hear about poor Ben. i wish there was something I could do for him. Has he tried botox? I get it in my neck and back of head and it helps dull the pain a bit. I also had nerve blocks in my jaw that helped. They say botox is working for migraine people even better than people like me. I have myofascial pain syndrome (chronically sore muscles) that trigger much of my headache (on top of this i have migraine, etc.) and thought botox would be the best thing, but apparently pure migraine people are having the best result.

    xo Terri

    ReplyDelete
  54. Wow, Joni! You never disappoint us, showering us with an abundance of beautiful photographs. That blue art studio grabbed me! Love it!

    Yes, you have a personal that most of us love. I see more anonymous comments on your blog and more snarky comments that found elsewhere in my travels. I just don't know why anyone would hang out at a blog that they had to be critical of. No, I don't always love everything I see in the blog world. But, heck, get a life of your own woman and/or move on!

    Cheers!,
    Barbara

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  55. Your style is amazing. I find your blog so illuminating and enlightening! Your aesthetic is recognizable, yet fabulous. Who could want more in a designer?

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  56. I love your Blog Joni,and in past have thanked you for teaching me a lot of things design school did not. So far, I love anon AKA Angela's comment the most! Question.... what are those larger type of intaglios that Randolph used several times, the George Washington one above the chest in the dining room? I never noticed or have seen such things prior to this post. Could you quick answer below on Reply????? Keep up the good work both on the blog and in your design style!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. they are medallions or busts. some are antique, but there are new ones around. the smaller ones are intaglios that people frame - see things that inspire's blog.

      i would check 1st dibs to see if they have any!

      i love them too.

      Delete
  57. The living room sofa and the wall behind it. It just isn't right. Pull those two screen together and leave the space on the outside.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Hallelujah! You moved some furniture to the right side of your living room!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes! because of you!!!!!!!!!! i did that a few months ago= did you notice the two new chairs?

      Delete
    2. I did, actually. They are very pretty!

      Delete
  59. Nothing wrong with having a signature look every designer has a certain look that's easily recognizable. Two of my favorites, Pam Pierce and Darryl Carter have very recognizable looks I know the minute I see one of their rooms who has decorated it. People are drawn to certain designers for those very looks. So ignore those who mock you there's a reason people come to you for your look.

    XXX
    Debra~

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  60. I am truly sorry that you feel defensive about your style. So many people have said it already, but just know that there is one more person who thinks your style is terrific. It hurts me when I read snarky comments, so I can't imagine what you must feel, unless you have grown thicker skin. You are so brave to publish pictures of your home and of your work, in the process of educating us all on design. Why would anyone feel like they have to criticize, even when they say they don't mean to be critical.
    Thank you for introducing me to Frank Babb Randolph's work - it is gorgeous. I have been a huge fan of Tone on Tone ever since they opened the store in Bethesda and have sometimes wandered in just because it has such a calming effect. I love their accessories (the vellum covered books and chests especially), as well as the furniture, although many of the accessories are not for sale. It is a beautiful store and I'm glad to see that they are receiving much recognition in magazines and on blogs.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Silver Spoon of Locust HillMarch 14, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Another THANK YOU for introducing Randolph's work!! My up and down button is hanging on by a tender thread after seeing this post! THIS is the kind of neutral I could live with: that fabulous infusion of just enough color in just the right tone = perfection. I've always loved that leggy look & now I know I'm OK.

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  62. When I saw the Veranda cover, I immediately recognized that the house had been published before with its previous design - I am so glad you did a post on it. Randolph's work is beautiful, and I wish he had a website - since my sister lives in DC, she has seen many private projects of his that have never been published, and she always comments on their beauty.

    It's funny, the townhouse he did for his client is SO similar in style and architecture to his own place - which proves your point, doesn't it? When I first saw the Veranda article, I actually thought that the artist's house was the 'before' version, before getting the full scoop from this post.

    - Holly

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  63. Hmmmmm. I think your question may fall into the genre of , "Do these jeans make my butt look fat?" Yes, you do have a recognizable style. If that's what your clients want, it's a match made in heaven. Where I am confused is the line that if you don't like chenille why should you want that for your clients? I think that's a big mashup of issues I can't quite untangle but it sets off alarms for me. And it reminds me why I would never make a good "client." I'm too pig-headed and so out of touch regarding trends. Yup, in the latest AD, I went right to Anouska Hemple's way, way over the top and love every square inch of it style. Recognizable? You bet. Repetitive? Not so much. Affordable? Not in a $$$$$$$ years!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "Be yourself. Everybody else is taken."

    ReplyDelete
  64. DESIGN ALERT FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA READERS - if you can't make it all the way out to Bethesda, MD to shop at TONE ON TONE, but love the look of the legs on the Gustavian chairs in Loi Thai's home, you are in luck! Just this morning, this gorgeous desk showed up on Craigslist http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/atq/3662793322.html

    It's only $1,095 and appears to be in excellent shape. I don't know the seller, but do know the antique store from which it was purchased - Lyman Drake in Santa Ana. They have great stuff!

    Smiles from My Slice of Provence, Charlotte

    ReplyDelete
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  66. Joni, You are amazing!!!! You have SO many adoring fans. Love your work!!! Love your educational blog!!!! It must take a tremendous amount of time and effort and we are all the beneficiaries. Sometimes I can't believe I am reading your blog for free. Better than all of the design books out there. Love your generous spirit!!!! I'm so glad you have a point of view that is recognizable. Just like all the great designers. Keep up the great work!!!
    Leah

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  67. One needs thick skin if one is going to be blogging + showing pictures. I had to learn that the hard way. Your style is wonderful + keep up the good work. Consider this-the fact that they took the time to write is a plus, then delete the comment! xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

    ReplyDelete
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  69. What a beautifully written post. I totally enjoyed my cup of coffee while reading all you had to say about this new to me, designer! I love his aesthetics and I too. love an open window without dressing it, the more light the better. His soft palletes are so gorgeous and every single room is elegantly appointed, and yet still looks comfortable and approachable. My favorite look. Loved this beautiful post,
    xo Kathysue

    ReplyDelete
  70. I appreciate so much the effort ! Big thanks for the information you have shared.I find this information very useful and it has considerably saved my time. Thanks

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  71. Trends. Timeless. I do believe we all evolve in our taste as we mature. Most of us were surrounded by color and pattern our whole lives. Now when certainly a few of us are in uncertain times the very thing that we have found comforting and uplifting has been stripped away. Airiness or cold? White on white with exposed windows. As I have matured I ask myself how would this room feel at night and by onself? I preferred to feel my home is a cocoon rich with color and pattern.

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  72. OMG the snarkiness....love you and your Style, Joni~

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  73. Joni
    I loved this post. There is nothing wrong with having a signature look. I am sure I would be accused of the same. Often we are hired for our look. I also enjoy designing outside of my comfort zone as well. However, as you said...if left to our own devices we will do what we do best.

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  74. Well if Joni spent time reading all the comments on her designs she would never have time for more beautiful posts to her blog...opinions are like personalities, everyone has one..thanks for staying the course Joni, I believe the majority of us love your work!

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  75. After viewing Mr. Randolph's rooms over and over again (especially the rooms in his own residence), I realized that aside from the relative lack of sun in D.C. most of the year, there is probably another reason he uses such a light palette. He has many politcal and social connections. I bet he does a lot entertaining. Imagine these rooms at night! Filled with men in dark jackets and women in various colors with lovely jewlery, the people provide the "pops of color.

    What a wize host to make his guests "the stars".

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    1. Oh dear lord, did you really say "pops of color".

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  76. There is nothing wrong with a signature look. I think that all the best designers have them. That's the whole point!

    My personal favourite is Pamela Pierce and thanks to Joni I can spot Pamela's work at a glance. I also have been highly influenced by Joni's style. I'm now a white slipcover and seagress kind of girl whereas I never was before.

    I like Frank Randolph Babb's style although I think sometimes a plain seagress rug would warm up the spaces but who am I to tell him that, it's pretty obvious that he knows what he's doing without my input. I love the tables and consoles which he uses. Those Washington houses are so beautiful, the windows are perfection.

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  77. Good heavens, beautiful is beautiful. If I could move you to my hometown, I'd do your ironing for a year to have you do my house!

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  78. " it's pretty obvious that he knows what he's doing without my input"-

    jlonit, do you really think so????

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  79. Hi Joni,

    Thanks for this beautifully done post and all of the other ones you continually provide us. They are encyclopedic and are VERY pinnable! In regards to your design aesthetic, I really appreciate the fact that you do have one. I prefer when designers have an identifiable aesthetic; it shows who you are, where you are coming from, and from the client (or admirer's) point of view, we know where you will take us. I constantly reference your blog and aesthetic as a benchmark for how traditional, classic, timeless, tasteful and fresh is done today. So, thank you for all that you put out into the universe!

    Best regards,
    Amanda

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  80. Very good post! I think good designers definitely, over time, cultivate their own style. This is their signature. And of course, your not going to suggest (or go along with) something you just don't like or you just know wouldn't work or be right. I'm helping my sister with a big kitchen remodel this coming summer, and I've already told her again (I told her when she bought it - sisters can do that!) that I am not on board with that "bar height " table and chair/stools. I personally abhor that thing. Both my sisters have completely ignored me - they both have this same set up and profess to "love it". Of course this is always in good mean fun - even though they know I do really hate it and they do really love it (I still don't see how though). Anyway, don't apologize for having your own "look". Really, I think its a red flag if a designer says they can do all styles - that is never good.

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  81. Very interesting topic. I think when you hire a designer, you are paying for their vision and their perspective. If you were confident enough to do it yourself you wouldn't be paying them in the first place. While I understand that some designers say that they don't want a signature look, that they want it to be individualized for the client, ultimately the result is still going through their filter and that is the whole point. Personally, I love your aesthetic and I appreciate how you, over the years, have really broken it down into simplified, doable pieces for people like me, who cannot afford to pay an expert. Am I going to end up with something as beautiful as if you or one of your mentioned designers created it-- not really, but it has helped me to feel more confident about and comfortable in my own home.

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  82. I really liked your blog, appreciate the great information about decorating your house in a certain identifiable way...many thanks...
    Commercial Hardwood Flooring

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  83. Oh looks so pretty. Love the colors!
    And yes I have used wrapping paper to line my secretary desk back but now I replaced it with shelf liner.

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  84. Seagrass carpets and rugs are very beautiful, but as far as I am aware they are hard to be cleaned. These types of materials are not suitable for wet cleaning and any stains that appear are permanent damage.

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  85. You're a great designer! I love your style, it's classic and elegant and I'm inspired each time I see your gorgeous work. You do have it all.Luxury Beds and Mattresses

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  86. I LOVE your "signature" style, and I really appreciate your effort ! Great post as always.Internet based beds company

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