Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Visit to The Morikami Japanese Gardens offers design inspirations.

Visiting The Morikami Japanese Museum and Gardens is always a treat. Our Florida Chapter of IFDA was fortunate to have a private tour through the gardens that was simply enthralling.

The designer of these gardens, Hoichi Kurisu said “My hope is that visitors will let the gardens speak to them of timeless truths and rhythms which can provide therapeutic insights for today.”

This tree is not being trained as a Bonsai, but to mimic the clouds
We had heard that the very best guide was Freya. She was fabulous.  She gave such an informative and entertaining description of not only the gardens, but a history lesson and insights into the Japanese culture and philosophies.

Here Freya tells us about lanterns like these that were used to guide ships.

This bridge is one of many that we crossed on our tour. It is called the zigzag bridge because as you reach the end you turn a new direction.  Your view, or perspective, changes as you proceed,  much as in life.

What a pretty addition this would make to any backyard garden.

There were lanterns tucked everywhere.  Each one was different. Some were simple and rustic. Others were tall and elegant.  Adding a lantern to any garden or patio is a wonderful touch.  But why can't we use them inside as well?


In this garden the homeowner added lighting and bamboo water feature, 

Wouldn't a Japanese lantern look lovely on the deck of this tub?


As you walk from one garden to another you cross from gravel, to stone to wood, letting you know a new experience is approaching.  How could we incorporate that idea into interior design?  Frequently there is a change of flooring from one room to another but this goes beyond that.

mediterranean hall by Carson Poetzl, Inc.
This mediterranean hall by Carson Poetzl, Inc. (Courtesy of Houzz.com) shows a similar transition from one type of material to another.  It breaks up what would be a very long passageway.

Freya described the design of a meditation garden. One was as you might see in a monastery and the other like the one below would be at a private residence. She told us about how the Japanese like to “hide and reveal”.



We were told that the designer planned the pathway so as to direct they way we saw each garden (hide and reveal).  We were guided to waterfalls, across bridges, by streams and ponds, through bamboo forests, pine groves,  arbors and gates.  It was quite a journey.

When they hold weddings here, this is where the bride makes her entrance.  See how bamboo is put to work. They are retraining the trees that were damaged in a hurricane. 
The bamboo forest serenaded us.

What color is bamboo?  Look at all the pretty shades of green.
Bamboo grows prolifically and has to be thinned out regularly.  It is never wasted as you can see from all the ways the Japanese repurpose it!

Everything had a meaning.  These rocks symbolized a river.

In this Asian Garden bathroom I designed for a client we used similar rock as a back splash and also on the shower floor.
Lucky for us we found a ceramic tile that looks like bamboo to trim it with .

This gate creates that feeling of "hide and reveal".  We did not know what lay beyond until we passed through.

These roof tiles were fabulous, both in their design and black gun metal finish. It took three years to get replacements after the hurricane blew them off.
I could not leave without a visit to the gift shop.
For just a touch of an Asian feel add a Budda statue, sculpture of a kimono or even pillows in a gorgeous silk embroidered fabric.

Cool Bathroom Design Ideas Trend 2012 Modern and Luxury
(Courtesy of PInterest)

 A Bonsai plant, wall of bamboo or a lantern are all simple ways to inject the mystery of the Orient into your home or garden design.

Zen Bamboo Wallpaper -- Found on DeviantArt. Love how simple the image is and the use of the colors.
A wall of bamboo can be wallpaper or natural.
(Courtesy of Pinterest)

Wood on floor n on the wall then some stones make this balcony more natural
Don't you love this creative way to design a balcony?
(Courtesy of Pinterest)
What other ways can you think of bringing in an Asian accent to your style?  I was so inspired by my stroll through the Morikami Japanese Gardens.  The philosophies behind each element were fascinating.  The simple beauty of this design style transcends contemporary and traditional interiors.  How do you feel about adding dashes of Asian style to your home?

As always I invite you to share your ideas and experiences in the comment box below.  I look forward to hearing from you.
                                     Happy Decorating!

If you would like assistance with a decorating project please contact me at pictureprettyint@aol.com.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Celebrity Designers, Alexa Hampton, Mario Buatta (The Prince of Chintz) and Clodagh headline the DCOTA Winter Market

Mario Buatta,  Alexa Hampton and Clodagh Davis all together for one incredible event?   How lucky can I be? I guess you might say I am a little star struck when it comes to meeting celebrity designers.  Fortunately for me our local design center, DCOTA, offers several market events each year that spotlights some of many the icons of the interior design industry.

Clodagh Davis

I have to admit I was not familiar with Clodagh Davis or as she is known, Clodagh.  But the title of her presentation, "You Are Who You Are No Matter Where You Are", intrigued me.  Clodagh is a leading innovative designer of hotels, spas,commercial spaces and residences.  She spoke about her integrative approach to life-enhancing design. I was awed by the photos of her projects.

Whiskey Blue
Whiskey Blue 

She told us to use our senses to direct our designing.  She uses materials that will create a feeling of well being.  Our spaces effect us and our emotions are being fed by what we see, feel, and sense.  Clodagh encouraged us to create spaces where our clients feel supported. 

 Design the  passages and entrances as carefully as the places behind the doors was another one of her design aesthetics.

She says her experiences inform her.  I just love her approach to design.  Clodagh began her presentation with a 90 second video of a dog bounding through a field of wheat....popping up and disappearing again and again.  She said she wanted to share what 90 seconds of pure joy might be.  What a wonderful way to begin our day.

Interior Designer and author, Alexa Hampton
Alexa Hampton, is the head of Mark Hampton LLC, the renown interior design firm founded by her father.
While I had heard of her before I was not all that acquainted with her design style and projects.  Now she could be one my favorites.  Her presentation centered around before and after images of several of the homes she had designed.  Before and afters are always fun and  her narrative about how they all came about was wonderful. Alexa's sense of humor and grounded honesty was so refreshing.   

She  likes to focus on the detail of good design.  What can we as designers and you who are your own decorator do that will set your home apart?  It is all in the details.  Add a tassel to the arm of a chair or sofa, set a band of trim atop another band of fabric,  make your wainscot lower than expected or hide a distracting door by removing the hardware and running the baseboard along the bottom. She calls this a jib door.  Lacquer walls for drama.  Upholster walls for intimacy.  And use bamboo shades everywhere.  They have become a favorite of hers.

These lacquered walls may be dark but they also reflect the light.
Bamboo shades bring in nature and texture.  Don't you just love the zebra rug?

A jib door 
Timeless design with classic pieces and modern styling.
So elegant!

The legendary Mario Buatta is celebrates his fifty years of his career in interior design with a new book, Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration.  He has decorated homes for celebrities including Presidential guest quarters.  He has became known for his English Country style and made his use of chintz so popular he is called "The Prince of Chintz".  Once he made pants out of fabric samples of chintz!

He was charming and witty as he entertained us with stories of his personal and professional life.  His interiors are elaborate and filled with colorful palettes, fabulous furniture and antiques.  No detail is left unattended.



                                  (Sorry for the fuzzy images)
It was a day of fun and inspiration.  My design colleagues and I always come away with our heads spinning
with ideas and inspiration.

My friends Lucille Giannakopolus from Gianna Designs, Ginger Westmoreland  fromWest Dezine and myself with the incredible Clodagh.
Alexa Hampton and me enjoying a funny story.

Another wonderful addition to my every growing design library.
Mario was as debonair as ever.

Mario Buatta opens with a practical joke.....he said he made a few notes for his presentation!

Mario and my friend Lucille enjoyed some lively conversations.
What celebrity designer do you admire?  How have they influenced the way you decorate your home?  Do you collect their beautiful books like I do?  How do they inspire you?

As always I invite you to share your experiences and ideas in the comment box below.  You must also type in the encoded numbers/letters and click on submit.  Your comment will appear after it has been sent to me.

                              HAPPY DECORATING!

If you would like assistance with an interior design project please email me at pictureprettyint@aol.com   

   (Some images courtesy of the designer's websites and google images)