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Fun Fact:  My Mom is British!  As a result, I have a lot of family across The Pond in England and in other parts of Europe; this definitely makes for a great excuse for me to travel!  So today, I wanted to share with you how amazing my Mom’s youngest sister is, Aunt Lizzie.  She lives and works in Provence, France and runs a furniture restorative business out of a charming studio that she renovated herself.  How amazing would it be to paint and restore furniture and teach Annie Sloan chalk painting classesall day long?  Sounds so dreamy.

Well, I received an article in my inbox yesterday that was written by European blog team Hannah and Denise from Layer about Aunt Lizzie (Liz) and I couldn’t resist bragging and sharing the interview with you.

Source: Layerhome.com

Source: Layerhome.com

MEET THE TRADER: LIZ WYATT AT ATELIER DE COULEURS

Walking through the beautiful hilltop village of Menerbes in Provence on a scorching hot Saturday, we fell in love with the quiet streets, beautiful rustic houses and a view that seemed to stretch forever. Just when it seemed as though the day couldn’t get much better, we stumbled upon Atelier de Couleurs – a veritable treasure trove of authentic French furniture, restored and painted by British artist Liz Wyatt. Not only was the shopfront cool and perfectly styled, but the shop extended back into an airy cave-like artist’s studio where Liz does all of the restoration onsite. Liz’s natural artistic abilities mean that the painting of the pieces is done to a calibre that we have rarely ever seen before. This is French antique country furniture at its very pinnacle.

Sometimes life intervenes like this, we stumbled in and ended up talking and talking with Liz about the beautiful pieces in the shop and how she lovingly sources and restores them and it seemed that before we had even realised it, we were interviewing her!

And you want to know the very best thing about Atelier de Couleurs? She has a man with a van who frequently delivers to the UK! So if you can’t justify hopping on a plane to visit, you can still get your hands on some of her beautiful French antique furniture.

Source: Layerhome.com

Source: Layerhome.com

How did you end up working and owning a business in France?

Fate and destiny. I fell in love with Provence, renovated an old cherry barn near Bonnieux and afterwards hunted for a painting studio –  by chance the Atelier in Menerbes came on the market and after renovation became my show room and  painting studio. Apart from being stunningly beautiful Menerbes has a long artistic history – Picasso, Nicolas de Stael and Dora Marr, amongst others, have lived and worked here and today there are a number of artists and musicians who are based in the village

How did you get started trading antiques and furniture?

This area is rich in wonderful old Provencal furniture – but it’s often rather over-charged, brown and shiny! It has taken over a year to build up a network of contacts – dealers, traders and private individuals and it’s work in progress – here, as everywhere it’s contacts! Sourcing the right piece of furniture become intuitive although there are many watch points – the main thing is always buy the best you can and then take it to another level.

Are you a trained artist or are you self taught?

I was born with a paint brush in my hand – my Mother was an enthusiastic painter, my brother is an architect and family outings always included easels, palettes, oil paints and a picnic.

I took art at A level but side-tracked into fashion journalism. My inner artist developed when I discovered furniture painting 10 years ago – now it is a complete passion. Colour, shape, form, the possibility of a metamorphosis – taking a tired old armoire and transforming it into a wonderful painted piece really excites me.

Who is a typical client?

Clients range from celebrities to private individuals who want an old family piece painted. I have a great deal of clients who have second homes here or live here year-round and I am lucky to have plenty of commissions too.

How has your buying style evolved?

My buying style is something which has unconsciously evolved – you learn along the way and now I look for unusual, different pieces for my showroom. I also buy for clients and then paint to their color specification but whatever the piece I try to make it as original as possible.

Source: Layerhome.com

Source: Layerhome.com

Do you ever keep your favourite pieces for yourself?

I try very very hard not to keep special things for myself and at times have failed miserably – the guilt is terrible! I have the most beautiful Trudeau mirror which I repainted for the showroom but for some reason it has not moved from my house – yet!

What is your favourite piece for sale at the moment?

I have just sold my favorite armoire of all time! I painted it from scratch, it was a very tired 18th Century Norman marriage armoire – battered and bruised and in a bit of a mess. I hope I have restored it to its former glory!

What do you do when you’re not working?

When I am not working I am painting and furniture hunting – the pleasure is endless and I don’t think of what I do as a job! But it is easy to enjoy the wonderful things to do here in Provence – ice cold rosé, fab food, breathtaking views and good long walks – music, film and of course friends.

What is your own home style like?

My home style is eclectic – a mix of of classic pieces with contemporary moments but if I am honest I am strangely classic!

What’s the most rewarding thing about running your own business?

The best and most joyful thing about running my own business is there are no constraints – I feel free to do my own thing.

Liz works with natural ocre pigment and Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. She runs furniture painting courses with her business associate,  Monique Le Coq, at the studio.
Contact: Atelier de Couleurs, Rue Maupas, Menerbes, Provence. 84560.
Telephone:  0033 (0) 490 72 45 59 Mobile: 0033(0) 647 57 08 59

Please visit Layer’s website and check out the original post at layerhome.com, there many more interesting interviews and articles on design to read!

Source: Atelier de Couleurs.  English pine console table with fine brass handles

Source: Atelier de Couleurs. English pine console table with fine brass handles

Source: Atelier de Couleurs.      Base detail of repro 1980's table, gilded and painted for a neo classical look.

Source: Atelier de Couleurs. Base detail of repro 1980’s table, gilded and painted for a neo classical look.

I also borrowed some pictures of Liz’s work from Atelier de Couleurs’s website.

Source: Atelier de Couleurs.     Studio

Source: Atelier de Couleurs. Studio

Source: Atelier de Couleurs.   1890's carved oak mirror

Source: Atelier de Couleurs. 1890’s carved oak mirror

Source: Atelier de Couleurs.     Aged terracotta garden pot with three painted side tables.

Source: Atelier de Couleurs. Aged terracotta garden pot with three painted side tables.

I think after reading this, I might just pack up my bags and move to Menerbes to work with Lizzie!  But realistically, I have not been to France yet to visit but I would love to within the next year or so.

If you could paint and redesign your favorite piece of furniture, what would it be and what would it look it?  Share your thoughts with us!

My Two Weeks in India!

Dan, Mom and I in front f the main temple in Chennai

Dan, Mom and I in front f the main temple in Chennai

Hi!!  I was totally MIA for so long because I took an amazing two week trip to India!  India is a place I never thought I would have the opportunity to travel to and I feel so lucky to be able to share my experience with you!

What a different world than the one I live here in DC!  The colors, sounds, smells, everything was so brilliant.  I won’t sugarcoat the fact that poverty was very apparent, but the people were so friendly and happy, and willing to make our experience as rich as possible.

Some pretty flowers at the temple

Some pretty flowers at the temple

I travelled with my mom and one of my brothers, Dan.  We flew into Chennai after (a 17 hour flight!) which is a huge city on the Southeast coast.  We spent two nights there, then travelled down to Pondicherry (with a short 3 hour stop in Mahabalipuram on the way down to see the ruins) and spent a few days there.  “Pondy” is a much smaller coastal town about 3 hours south of Chennai that was once a French colony.  Not quite as chaotic as Chennai but still has a small city feel.  Next stop was Goa which was a 2 and a half hour flight out to the West coast!  Goa is such a beautiful and tropical place, and a complete contrast to the bustling dense city of Chennai.

Here are a few snapshots from my photo album, with some stories along the way.  Enjoy!

The paintings and details are stunning!

The paintings and details are stunning!

Some of my favorite places we visited were the temples in Chennai and in Pondicherry, as well as the ruins in Mahablipuram.  So much history and culture.  And the colors are unlike anything that can be found here in DC!

A peek inside the temple in Pondicherry.

A peek inside the temple in Pondicherry.

I loved the 10 heads!

I loved the 10 heads!

Color and pattern is everywhere!  Even on the ground.

Color and pattern is everywhere! Even on the ground.

Mandalas

Mandalas

color, color, color!

color, color, color!

I am obsessed with elephants, and love this one in Mahablipuram

I am obsessed with elephants, and love this one in Mahablipuram

IMG_5847

More ruins and more elephants!

More ruins and more elephants!

Dan and I inside

Dan and I inside

The carvings and details were amazing

The carvings and details were amazing

The beach-life in Chennai and “Pondy” is so different than the beach-life we know here in The States.  I think of Miami or SoCal and all the beautiful almost-naked bodies laying on beach towels soaking up the sun.  In India, all women (and men) play games in the water fully clothed in their brightly patterned Sarees.  Games of Cricket are always in play, and people having picnics and family gathers were everywhere.  The beach for Indians is completely a social meeting area and full of life!  So much fun!

Watching their game of Cricket!

Watching their game of Cricket!

So I mentioned Sarees; I am totally obsessed with these stunning textiles that the women wear!  They are some of the most beautiful colors, prints, and patterns I have seen!  And no two Sarees are the same! The photo below was taken at a temple in Pondicherry.

I am in love with the teal!  Along with all of the other vibrant colors!

I am in love with the teal! Along with all of the other vibrant colors!

One of my favorite things that we saw in each city we visited was the use of color on the buildings!  The bright neon and pastel painted buildings was so cheery and such an interesting contrast to the dull and dirty streets, just like the Sarees what women wear.

I tried to capture the city of Goa from the car, the bright flecks of color are eye catching!

I tried to capture the city of Goa from the car, the bright flecks of color are eye catching!

IMG_6039 IMG_6036
IMG_6033

Most of the buildings we saw were from the car so I attempted to take as many decent pictures as I could of some of my favorites.

Here are some more fun things!

The details of these massive doors in the ITC Grand Hotel are stunning.  I love the peacock pulls!

The details of these massive doors in the ITC Grand Hotel are stunning. I love the peacock pulls!

We made friends with the owner of a small gift shop in Chennai!

We made friends with the owner of a small gift shop in Chennai!

These are handmade paper mache painted ornaments, I wanted them all!

These are handmade paper mache painted ornaments, I wanted them all!

Large stained glass ceiling in Spencer Plaza

Large stained glass ceiling in Spencer Plaza

Burning candles at St. Thomas Church

Burning candles at St. Thomas Church

And of course I have to show you some of the delicious food we ate!  I love India food, but the Indian food I eat here in DC cannot be compared to the flavors of true Indian food made in India!  It was absolutely amazing!!  (Try not to be too jealous.)

Yum Somasas!

Yum Somasas!

One of my favorite meals at the ITC Grand Hotel in Chennai

One of my favorite meals at the ITC Grand Hotel in Chennai

Have you been to India? I would love to hear about your experience!  Or if not, where have you travelled to that has been inspiring?

5 Uses for Wallpaper Scraps

Ok, so you have spent tons of time, energy, and money selecting that PERFECT wallpaper that you absolutely cannot live without to transform your drab walls into a something glamorous… and now that it is finally installed and your room is transformed, you are left with all this extra wallpaper that you can’t seem to part with.  (Whew, that was a mouth-full.)  So what now?!  Don’t throw it away!  Here are some great ways to repurpose those wallpaper scraps.

 

1. Create Art

Source: Buzzfeed

Source: Buzzfeed

Source: This Old House

Source: This Old House

Here is some art that I created myself!

Design by Lauren Racowsky

Design by Lauren Racowsky

Some inexpensive frames from Ikea, this cost me less than $20!

 

2. Gift Wrap

Source: This Old House

Source: This Old House

Source: Elle- Kelly Wearstler

Source: Elle- Kelly Wearstler

Source: Elle

Source: Elle

I have definitely given gifts wrapped in extra wallpaper I had too, I wish I took pictures!  Regrets.

 

3. Wrap Books

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

*DESIGN TIP: Using a cohesive grouping of books when styling your bookcases, coffee tables, etageres, etc. looks so “designer”!  And its so easy.

 

4. Line your Bookcase

Source: HGTV

Source: HGTV

Design by Marika Meyer

Design by Marika Meyer

I love the pop that a little print and color can bring to an otherwise boring backdrop.

 

5. Other Ideas

Source This Old House

Source This Old House

Source: fleuravenue.com

Source: fleuravenue.com

Source: Popsugar

Source: Popsugar

What are some of your creative ways to reuse wallpaper scraps?  Share them with us!

Happy February everyone!

So, one of my friends is currently in the middle of a complete kitchen overhaul and has been asking me for advice and opinions on his remodel.  Over the past week, he has been sending me tons of inspiration pictures of kitchens, pictures of products, and backsplash ideas which have inspired me to look up different types, styles, and designs of backsplashes!

Source: Traditional Home

Source: Traditional Home

In a previous post I wrote about my “Do’s and Don’ts When Selecting a Kitchen Backsplash” (that you can read here), so now I thought I would get a little more specific on the overwhelming amounts of styling options that are out there!  …and I wanted to focus on subway tile to start!

I absolutely love the look of a simple white subway tile, it is classic, timeless, and traditional.  You can find this is kitchens and bathrooms from all different time periods and and size homes.

I love how classic and clean the subway tile looks in this Kitchen shown below.  I actually used this same photo in a previous post I wrote about selecting kitchen countertops (here) but think it is such a charming space.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens

Source: Better Homes & Gardens

This classic transitional kitchen is also lovely:

Source: Houzz

Source: Houzz

If the classic white subway tile is just too traditional for you, well you are in luck!  Subway tile comes in tons of different sizes, materials, and colors too!  Glass subway tile typically feels more modern to me but here are some great examples of how to use it in different styled kitchens!

The industrial pendants over the bar and raw wood traditional stools define a more rustic vibe in this kitchen with the gray glass subway tile and white grout.

Source: Decor Pad

Source: Decor Pad

I love how super modern this kitchen below is.  The crisp and minimal cabinets and hardware, with the white paint and minimal light fixture truly makes the tile backsplash the star.  The under cabinet down-lighting is also a beautiful way to highlight the accent tile and make it sparkle!

Source: Decor Pad

Source: Decor Pad

I am totally obsessed with this kitchen below.  The open and low profile cabinetry in the rustic warm gray with the warm gray glass subway tile is just gorgeous!  Contemporary but still livable.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

If you decide to install the tile stacked vertically, this will also achieve a much more contemporary look than staggering the tile which is more typical (shown in the pictures above).  I love the thin rectangular shaped tile used here.

Source: Unknown

Source: Unknown

And the use of the subway tile all the way up the wall is so dramatic and definitely makes a statement!

Source: Decor Pad

Source: Decor Pad

If you need help remodeling your kitchen or bath, or selecting the perfect tile for your space, contact me!

2015 Color Trends of the Year

And the Color of Year, 2015 is…

Source: Rachel Reider Interiors

Source: Rachel Reider Interiors

Guilford Green (HC-116) according to Benjamin Moore

Source: Benjamin Moore

Source: Benjamin Moore

Ben Moore actually defined 4 “color families” for 2015 and selected Guilford Green as the key color that fits into each “family”.

{“Through our research and travel across the globe, four color families emerged suggesting bolder color and confident choices. Color layering is so easy, see how you won’t be able to live without it. Discover the berry, green, blush and blue paint color collections.”}

Loving this color and want it to work in your home?  Try it out with colors such as Old Claret (2083-30) or Universal Black (2118-10) by Benjamin Moore.

Source: Benjamin Moore, Universal Black

Source: Benjamin Moore, Universal Black

Source: Benjamin Moore, Old Claret

Source: Benjamin Moore, Old Claret

Check out the entire article at the Bejamin Moore website!

Coral Reef (SW6606) is it in the eyes of Sherwin Williams

Source: Sherwin Williams, Coral Reef

Source: Sherwin Williams, Coral Reef

{“Coral Reef embodies a cheerful approach to design that we’re seeing for the coming year. Its unexpected versatility brings life to a range of design aesthetics, whether traditional, vintage, cottage or contemporary,””
said Jackie Jordan, Sherwin-Williams director of color marketing.}

Wondering how to infuse Coral Reef into you home?  It pairs well with colors like Sherwin William’s Watery (SW6478) and Sedated Gray (SW6169).

Source: Sherwin Williams

Source: Sherwin Williams

For more ideas, visit the Sherwin Williams website!

Just like Benjamin Moore, Behr also defined 4 color palettes on trend for 2015.  Their 4 palettes are:

1. “Deep Dreams” consists of richly saturated saturated jewel tones.

Source: Behr, Deep Dreams

Source: Behr, Deep Dreams

2. “Frosted Pastels” uses airy and feminine colors with cool and “zesty” accents

3. “Social Brights” blends contemporary bold colors with bright or darker neutrals

4. “Nuanced Neutrals” takes the trendy 2014 “weathered look” and updates it using cozy and dusty colors, outside of the “sandy” tones from last year.

Source: Behr, Nuanced Neutrals

Source: Behr, Nuanced Neutrals

Read more about Behr’s color forecast here!

And of course, Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year is Marsala (18-1438)

Source: usatoday

Source: usatoday

{“Add elegance to any room by incorporating this rich and welcoming hue in accent pieces, accessories and paint. Marsala’s plush characteristics are enhanced when the color is applied to textured surfaces, making it an ideal choice for rugs and upholstered living room furniture”}

Wondering how to add Marsala into your home?  Bring it in through accents such as pillows, florals, or paint!

Source: PopSugar

Source: PopSugar

Source: Pantone

Source: Pantone

Get the full scoop from Pantone’s website.

 

What is your favorite “Color of the Year”?  I think mine is Coral Reef!  It is such a bright fun color but can still be used as a soft neutral or accent color.

Need help defining your own color palette?  Contact me!

Lacquer This, Lacquer That

Source: Christian Louboutin

Source: Christian Louboutin

We have seen lacquered objects for a while now; furniture, accessories, nail polish, even shoes and jewelry, but what about taking the high gloss finish to new places?  Adding this liquid looking finish to the walls and ceilings of interiors will definitely elevate the elegance in any space!

Source: DecorPad

Source: DecorPad

Source: House Beautiful

Source: House Beautiful

Source: House Beautiful

Source: House Beautiful

 

Lacquered walls are a great solution for high-traffic areas as the finish is super durable and hard as nails.  It also is great for darker spaces as the luster will catch and reflect light, brightening up any space.  This way, you can take a risk and go dark in color.

Source: Traditional Home

Source: Traditional Home

Source: Home Depot

Source: Home Depot

Source: Elle Decor

Source: Elle Decor

 

It is also a unique and unexpected wall treatment, a great alternative to wallpaper or a decorative faux finish.  Lacquered walls will surely create a dramatic backdrop to any type of room.

Source: Philip Jeffries

Source: Philip Jeffries

Source: House Beautiful

Source: House Beautiful

 

This design element is truly the epitome of luxury!  Would you lacquer your walls?

 

How would you use lacquer in your home?

Happy Thanksgiving!

A day late, but I was too busy eating turkey to post!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Source: liluinteriors.com

Source: liluinteriors.com

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