Friday, December 27, 2013

Getting to know the incredible Lillian August

One of our local trade showrooms, Designer's Resource Center,  hosted an evening with Lillian August.  If you don't know this amazing woman I invite you to go to her website and become familiar not just Lillian but her design firm, her furniture lines and more.

Lilian August in her design studio.

I discovered that like Kathryn Ireland, Lillian came from a background in textiles and sewing.  She was originally a quiltmaker.  At one market the people from Imperial Wallcoverings approached her to design a wallpaper in a quilt pattern. It turned out to be their best seller!  She has come a long long way since then.

In this image from her website you see her classic style furniture
but with an updated edge.
The room setting above is very neutral, but neutral does not mean boring, especially when you  see how Lillian August works with it. She takes a simple pallet and brings in a variation of textures, subtle pattern, a touch of history, a bit of nature and pretty accessories. This space is elegant without being formal.  Hers is a layered look. She calls this telling a story.

Here's an image from her company's portfolio of the Clapboard Hill Home.
How is this for telling a story?  What an interesting collection of furniture and accessories. It makes me feel like I would like to get to know more about the people who live here. It seems to truly express their personalities. What starts out as neutral becomes exciting with the splash of paprika on the sofa and the accessories in the bookcases.  Look how the time worn texture of the cocktail table takes the edge off the white upholstery.

 Lillian is challenged with coming up with something new in her furniture, fabric and accessory lines each season. She told us we must learn to differentiate ourselves.  She cautions designers, we are only as good as our research.  Lillian often likes to start with color trends and stories. Color in design is influenced by fashion so Lillian keeps an eye on fashion trends as she begins to cultivate her color story. Travel is also an inspiration.  Even finishes and metals can change from season to season. Now gold is edging out silver, chrome and polished steel.

It is important to keep things fresh. Perhaps it is a new finish or new detail added to something that was part of her line before.  Maybe she takes something and tweaks it like putting a chest on a stand or using a natural Belgian linen on her upholstery. She even combines the linen with leather.  Here is  her Ally dining chair in two different looks.  It is her top selling dining chair.

This is the Nicole chair. I believe it is the one she calls her "pet"
because you can use it anywhere and in so many fabrics.

Lillian says chairs give the room personality!

You can see from just these two sofas her line varies tremendously.  Here a traditional black and white sofa gets a makeover with careful attention to the use of fabrics and detail.  The orange sofa takes traditional tufting to a new level.  What a dramatic statement it makes!

Interestingly Lillian manufactures her furniture both overseas and in the United States.  Products made overseas are only available as you see them while manufacturing in the US allows customization and flexiblity.

For many years I identified the Lillian August style with traditional and even Country French design but over the last few years her style has evolved and keeps pace with our ever changing world.  I do think she "keeps it fresh" as she says.  Even her more traditional collection is updated and even edgy depending on the use of fabrics and finishes.

The cerused oak finish on this cocktail table is accented with an additional metal detail.

A wing chair gets a streamlined makeover.

Lillian August gives us so many looks to choose from.  She describes them as follows, 1920's Glamour,
London Townhouse, International Lux Style, True Blue Hallmark, American Glamous, The Power of Plum, The Well-Traveled Man, Urban Neutrals and Black and White with a Twist.  You can see all her latest introductions on her website, 

Lillian joined in our group photo seated in her favorite "pet" chair.
My designer friends Lucille of Gianna Designs and Vicki of Infinity Designs and myself were so delighted to get to know this design icon as she presented her current line to us at Designer's Resource Center.  It is always an advantage to be able to see and sit in the furniture lines we recommend to our clients.  Her furniture is even more impressive in person.

Are you familiar with Lillian August?  Have you ever purchased her furniture?  What do you think of a layered style of decorating?  One layer often over looked  is fragrance.  How adding that finishing touch should be the subject for another post don't you think? How does your interior tell your story?

As always I invite you to share your ideas and experiences in the comment box below.  I would enjoy hearing from you .

                                Happy Decorating!

If you would like assistance with an interior design project, please contact me directly at

1 comment:

  1. I always liked Lillian August and enjoyed your post so much. Thanks!