Monday, December 29, 2014

Taking the time to say Thank You....

This is the time of year to look back on the year's events and to say a few words of thanks.  It has been a delight to take you on my many excursions, and to share my resources and inspirations with you.

I hope you have found much helpful information as well as inspiring ideas in the "pages" of Decor Dreams & Schemes.  Perhaps I have helped with some of your decorating dilemas or set a spark to encourage design projects of your own. 

Thank you for reading and for your support. It is always a lovely surprise when I get an email or run into someone who says......I love reading your blog!  It usually comes out of the blue at the most unexpected times.

I have just found out that Decor Dreams & Schemes has had over 30,000 visits from all over the world.   Wow!

It astounds me to know that so many people have found what I write about interesting and worthwhile.  I remember getting a comment from a designer in India and it was great fun getting to know her and all about what is going on in design there.  Did you know they love a contemporary style?

As the new year begins I would love to know what things you are most interested in seeing and learning about.  How can I make my blog more inspiring, timely and pertinent to your decorating?  I welcome your ideas and suggestions and encourage you to share your own experiences with me and our followers.  Do you have a burning decorating question?  Write to me, "Dear Decorator" and I will be happy to reply.

Thank you for taking your time to come along with me on my blogging adventures.  I hope I can help make your Decorating Dreams and Schemes come true in 2015.

Wishing you all the very best in the new year,
 Happy Decorating!

If you would like to contact me please write to  I would enjoy hearing from you.

How to decorate with embossed leather

 Are you looking for a way to give your home a touch of the exotic?   Do you want to add a luxurious texture to your decorating style?  Take a look at some of the beautiful embossed leather patterns I discovered at a local leather furniture manufacturer and beyond.

This platinum leather is spectacular!  
Leathers come in a variety of metallics.  Some even have patterns.
Paisley is a favorite design for embossed leather.  Wouldn't this pattern be fabulous on a chair or barstool?
The colors on this faux alligator hide add a new dimension.
This is one of the most unique "skins" I saw.  It would look outrageous on a sofa!
This collection of "skins" is in a shiny finish that really brings the design alive.
While many embossed leathers replicate animal skins such as lizard, elephant, alligator, crocodile, ostrich etc. there are many designs available like geometric, floral, aztec, and even patterns like those found in ceiling tiles.  You can even custom design your own with a company called Barbarossa Leather.

Circle Tile
This motif is similar to those in ceiling tiles but I have never seen them in  these rich exciting colors!
(Images from )

Leather in a lacey pattern though less exotic would still have a lovely impact where ever it is applied...maybe on a wall?
Let's explore some of the ways embossed leather can be introduced in home furnishings.
Old Hickory Tannery Chair in Teal Croc Embossed Leather
An antique chair upholstered in teal embossed leather with an alligator pattern takes on a whole new look.
Each Brook Street chest is built by hand, lacquered in a six-step hand-applied finishing process and then carefully fitted with crocodile embossed black leather
I don't like to use the word stunning very often but that's what I would call this faux alligator chest by Ralph Lauren.  I would also describe it as elegant and dramatic. It is definitely a statement piece.
Uttermost Yareli accent chair. Wrap-around style frame in embossed, black zebra with chrome metal accents at the base of front and back.
Embossed leather can be found on contemporary furniture like this incredible Yarelli accent chair.

Garry Knox Bennett Chair...the man is a genious!
This artful chair designed by Gary Knox Bennett also incorporates embossed leather on the seat and back.

Executive Chair  Paul McCobb. Crocodile embossed leather, brass plated steel. Mid-Century Modern. United States       c1955
You might think this executive chair is new on the market however, it is a Paul McCobb Mid-Century Modern piece dating from the mid 1950's.

Animal Print # Carved Chair # Embossed leather
Incorporating a leopard patterned fabric with an aged alligator leather certainly lends an exotic feel to this chair.

Gorgeous, vintage, french blue embossed leather and cane side chairs at The Pickled Hutch
Embossed leather does not have to be exotic.  The soft French blue medallion embossed on the chair seats of these dining chairs is so pretty.  
What if you don't want to cover your sofa or chair with embossed leather but you still like the look?  How can it be used in other ways to add interest, texture and style?

A SPANISH LEATHER POLYCHROME DECORATED FOUR-FOLD SCREEN 19TH CENTURY  Each panel embossed with flowers and foliate scrolls within diaper-work cartouches, close-nailed borders 72 3/8 in. (184 cm.) high; 62 in. (157.5 cm.) wide, fully extend
The Spanish screen above is hand painted as well as embossed. 

Detail of hand embossed gilded and painted leather from Spain used to upholster Chairs and to make table tops  @Panted furniture
Here is a close up of a similar handpainted embossed leather. How elegant!

Display a vase of fresh blooms in your foyer or stow table linens in the dining room with this silver-hued cabinet, showcasing 2 faux croc-embossed doors ope...
Sometimes an entire piece done in embossed leather might be overdone, but what if you used it as an accent like the cabinet above?  This would be a fun way to refinish  old furniture.

Above is a console/desk by Butler Specialty that combines wood and embossed leather. Great mix!

Made of fine saddle leather, our sumptuous full-grain ottomans show incredible hand-tooled details and whipstitching along their edges. Using Old-World techniques passed down through the generations, artisans in Peru handcraft each piece over a spun cotton center form. Handmade in Peru.    Cube Ottoman, 17" sq., 15" h.  Storage Ottoman, 19" sq., 15" h.  Jumbo Storage Ottoman, 24" sq., 19" h.
Ottomans like these from bring a warmth and texture where ever you place them.  Add them to a contemporary or traditional style, Use them in an office, family room,  or living room.  They actually remind me of an old saddle.  
Embossed Leather Tables #ParkerFurniture
Though these tables have an antique quality, embossed leather can be used on any table top. 
Ottomans are the ideal accessory to tie your Moroccan decor together.  Hand dyed and  hand-stitched in leather with rich embossed patterns  they create a  festive Moroccan accent, particularly when used  for low seating  around a traditional Moroccan table.
Morrocan painted embossed ottomans are a colorful way to brighten up any space.

Pair of Karl Springer Embossed Lizard Leather Tables image 2
These Karl Springer tables from are sold but I found a pair in red faux lizard at a local consignment shop.  I bet these were a lot more expensive.  The pair my client bought are going in her den as bunching tables in front of a sleep sofa.  Perfect!

Maitland Smith 1753-832 Finely Cast Verdigris Patina Brass Crocodile Lamp with Embossed Leather Shade
I wonder if this croc would be so playful if he knew what that lampshade is made of?
It is not uncommon to find trunks covered in embossed leather but this 17th century antique Spanish Colonial treasure would set you back $5,900 on 1stdibs !  Now that makes me want to dig through my local consignment shops to see if I might find a suitable imposter.  If I came across something that was not so aged or intricate perhaps I could add some shoe polish or color it with paint or stain.  Hmmm....
Urban Eclectic eclectic-home-theater
Look closely and you will see the wall is upholstered in embossed leather.  Brilliant!

Fendi Casa - Exclusively at Saks!
A gold Fendi embossed leather pillow?  It makes a statement all on it's own.

So where would you use embossed leather in your home?  Would you add a few accessories like this pillow, a covered box, picture frame or ottoman?  What about using it to recover the back of a wing chair or the doors or drawer fronts on a chest or armoire, or maybe a headboard?  As you can see the possibilities are endless. Whether your style is contemporary, traditional or somewhere in between; exotic, elegant, fun or fabulous introducing embossed leather is bound to add that one extra layer that will make your space special.

Do you have anything in your home that is made with embossed leather? Are you tempted to recover
something with this unusual material?  
However you might choose to incorporate it, I invite you to share your ideas and experiences in the comment box. You can even email me photos at the address below.  I look forward to hearing from you.

                                        Happy Decorating!

If you would like assistance with a interior decorating project of your own, please email me at

(While the first photos are courtesy of Picture Pretty Interiors, the remainder are courtesy of Pinterest and Houzz.)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Decorating with Marsala, Pantone's Color of the Year 2015

Radiant Orchid was a winner in 2014.  Can Pantone's Color of the Year for 2015 be a big hit, too?

How does Pantone select the Color of the Year?  According to their website they comb the world looking for what they call color influences, meaning what is going on in the world that is having an impact on our lives.  They take inspiration from film, art, travel, socio-economic conditions, technology, upcoming world events and beyond.

When I look at some of Marsala's predecessors I see more vibrant and exciting color choices so it is interesting to me what drew Pantone to this rich more earthy hue.


Pantone describes Marsala as "a naturally robust and earthy wine red that enriches our minds, bodies and souls."  It's "impactful fullbodied qualities make for an elegant, grounded statement color when used on it's own or as a strong accent to many colors".

(Photo collage above is courtesy of
 Marsala lends itself to texture such as rugs, upholstery and bedding.  

Here you see it in a new carpet by Oriental Weavers as shown in Home Accents Today.

So as we see Marsala start to emerge in home furnishings, how would you like to see it used?
Would you like it as a main color in your pallet such as on the walls?

(Photo courtesy of KitchAnn Style)
Marsala definitely has a brown under tone.  See how well it works with an accent of turquoise and balanced with a healthy dose of antique white.

(Courtesy of

House of Turquoise: 2015 Pantone Color of the Year: Marsala pantone marsala #pantonemarsala
Marsala seems to play well with any shade of blue. (Courtesy of

#Marsala is versatile shade that pairs well with a range of colors-- here is some inspiration to get you started! #PantoneColoroftheYear

As you can see from the image above from there are many colors that compliment Marsala.  So now I am interested in finding more ways to see how it works in home furnishings.

Burgundy, purple, cream bouquet. Wine country wedding.

This bouquet combines several of the colors  shown above.  Look at how pretty marsala shows up against blush, olive and gray.

Askew-on-Sterling-Silver-Gilded-Silk-4011.jpg (1650×2475)

Here we see shades of Marsala in wallpaper Askew-on-Sterling-Sliver-Guilded found on  But I love it combined with golden ochre, another earthy color.  The rustic finish on the cabinet adds an additional layer.   That one small dab of green is perfect.

A rustic-finished sideboard and trim appear more refined when paired with gold accessories and deep, wine-colored walls. | New London Burgundy (HC-61, Aura, Eggshell), @benjamin_moore

Marsala in Real Life Rooms: Pantone's Color of the Year at Home | Apartment Therapy | I really love the new Pantone color of the year Marsala. I really reminds me of wine. Looks great as a accent color in this picture.
In a neutral setting of black and white this area rug in Marsala becomes a welcome addition and serves to define the seating area and tie in with the colors in the art. (Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy)

Pantone’s Color of the year, Marsala, for your Interior: I’m a Fan. | Chris Loves Julia
(Photo found on

Charcol is a fabulous backdrop Marsala and deep hues of blue pair well with it too.

Pantone’s Color of the year, Marsala, for your Interior: I’m a Fan. (via )

(From the Zoe Report)

Of course Pantone's Color of the Year is to be found in all facets of our surroundings, especially fashion.  When I look at this photo I see a color scheme for interiors similar to the images above.

Cottage kitchen accented with red farmhouse-kitchen
(Photo courtesy of
What fun it is to see Marsala on this kitchen island.  I like the way it is repeated as the back drop for the book case and in the stripe in the draperies.  The red colored mixer is not exactly Marsala but it works in this room!  

Marsala is a favorite among Bohemian and Moorish inspired interiors. Paired with golds and turquoise this color can be soothing and rich says Ann Porter of KitchAnn
It's hard to pin down the true color of Marsala.  It's not burgundy, or brick, or even maroon.  I would call it wood rose which is a brownish rose.  Though not as vibrant as Radiant Orchid, it can see it's appeal.  I have scoured  images in House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and Veranda.  Marsala is not to be found in those photo libraries most likely because fabrics and finishes in Marsala are just now beginning to make their appearances but pretty soon you will see it popping up everywhere.

Here's what HGTV's David Bromstad had to say about Marsala: 

 "I was a little shocked that the Pantone color of the year was 'Marsala'. When I looked up the previous 'Color of the Year' and saw what their trends were, it made perfect sense! Red has not been a part of the 'Color of the Year' since 2007. This is the color that is going to be seen everywhere. It's universal, it's sexy, and who doesn't love sexy?"

So what do you think of this years pick?  Can you warm up to Marsala?  Where would you be tempted to use it?  The reviews I have read are mixed but after doing my research for this post I am feeling more confident about using it in a color scheme.  How about you?

As always I invite you to share your thoughts and inspirations in the comment box.  I look forward to hearing from you. 

Happy Decorating!

If you would like assistance with a decorating project of your own please contact me at 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Turning an ordinary chair into a work of art or vice versa and how it benefitted veterans through Habitat for Humanity

I recently participated in a fundraising event as I wrote about in a prior post.  There were so many incredible chairs I just had to share them with you.  The creativity is amazing.
 A week before the Gala Live Auction event there was a  Kickoff Party at Rosenbaum Fine Art and Decor . It was a fabulous showcase for these artfully created chairs.  They were displayed in their gallery as true works of  art.  Here are some of these outstanding chairs. Take a look.
“Surfer’s Paradise QLD”  was inspired by the designer's love of the ocean. The original chair was purchased from a Habitat for Humanigty Restore. It even lights up!
 The Affirmation Chair” inspired us …”Don’t count the days, make the days count” !
 “Home Sweet Home",  This patriotic swing would be perfect on anyone’s porch or patio.
“Anastasia Chair”

This show stopper, “Lady Payton’s Sunken Treasure”  delighted everyone. The attention to detail and creative placement of shells, crystals and fan coral was incredible and equally as beautiful from the back, a work of art!
 “You Can Sit With Me” drew much attention.
“The Bone Appetit Seat” high chair designed for dogs! There are stairs up the back, an opening for the dog to enter the seat and holes for food and water dishes.

“The Very Vane Vanity” is fashioned out of a vintage mink cape and a vanity chair that the designer found at a garage sale and artfully refinished and restored. 

No, this is not the aritst but we suspect it is the model for the “Elisa Francesca Chair”.

This portrait appears to be the artist’s beautiful wife. The gold leaf detail combined with the exquisite art is breathtaking.

You can see why everyone had to get a closer look. This admirer is a friend of the artist.
“Reef-Side Seat” is a rattan chair encrusted with seashells.

“Heroes Heartz = Freedom @ Home”  is highlighted by this heart painted on the back. 

Another chair whose back was even more fabulous than the front is “Fit for a Queen”.

“P.S. I Love You”  is a tribute to military heroes of a by-gone time. It is covered with postcards, stamps and photos sent from soldiers overseas to their loved ones back home.

Also covered in a different kind of nostalgia is “Tres Cher Chair” 
Honoring our military heroes with a Bronze Star is this hand crafted barstool, “The Archer”.


“Presenting Flora the Fish"

“Joy Chair” underwent an extreme makeover. Taking remants of various fabrics the designer brought it back to life.

The Last Sunset” is inspired by a relaxing day by the beach. Both designers come from military families and were drawn to Take a Seat because it was close to their hearts.


“The Vintage Snake Chair” was donated by Astoria Compass. It was one of the first chairs the company produced when it was founded in 1970. The handcarved detail and antique gold accents make this chair very special. 

I was thrilled to be a part of such an outstanding event.  Without all these designers and artists who contributed their talent  the Take a Seat  fundraiser would not have been such a great success. Each one had something very special to say. They were all amazing.  It is just about impossible to pick a favorite. Which one do you like the best?  Which is the most creative? The most patriotic?  The most elegant?  Which chair speaks to you?
I wish I could have shown all the chairs but you can see them including “before and afters” of the chairs, bios of the Chair Designers and the stories behind their chairs if you go to  and click on the tab Take a Seat  for a drop down menu showing the TAS Designers 2014  tab.
As always I invite you to share your thoughts in the comment box. Send me photos of your "fabcyling" projects!  I look forward from hearing from you.
                                      Happy Decorating!

If you would like assistance with a decorating project please contact me at