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Category: Designers & Decorators

22 May

Portrait of an Artist: Causer + Lai

 A few years ago, I read an incredible four-part series on the artistry of Benjamin Lai and it was easily one of the best interviews I’d ever read with a decorative painter. Fast forward a few years and I meet the hugely creative designer Alison Causer by chance on Twitter and find out that she and Mr. Lai are partners in Causer + Lai! Kismet. They are based out of Brooklyn, NY and working as a team of Designer and Master Painter, they create unique and exclusive, decorative finishes for a variety of surfaces within private residences and commercial interiors. I hope you enjoy this feature on their beautiful collaboration and artistic work.

Benjamin Lai finished the highly acclaimed Van Der Kelen in 1995 and was immediately immersed into the high end residential sector after returning to his hometown NYC. He spent the better part of his career continuing to fine tune his skills, learning about the other aspects of decorative painting, job management and also adjusting and creating new techniques. Alison had gone from wanting to be a fine art painter to majoring in Interior Design at The Columbus College of Art and Design. Alison continues, “Soon after graduating I had a successful career in Ohio and even garnered several awards for my interiors work, but working for a large firm was wearing thin and moving to NYC was enticing.” She then worked with a few designers in NYC as well as doing independent work.

Alison shares their fated meeting, “Ben and I crossed paths via NYC Craigslist! He placed an ad to meet creative people, chat and hopefully collaborate on an experimental level.” Of all the intriguing personalities that he met, one person stood out: Alison. After many cups of coffee, Alison and Benjamin knew that there was a unique connection between them. Meaningful design and philanthropic resolutions were the initial subjects that inspired the two, but also the realization that the unique skills and ideas of both could translate into a great combination.

Alison and Benjamin spent more than a year developing samples, concepts and ideas. During this time they were able to collaborate on several jobs together by bringing each other onto their own jobs. This helped them to really establish the logistics for their working relationship and fortify their beliefs in each other. Now Alison is the Creative Director for Causer + Lai and Benjamin, the Technical Manager.

 

Where do you see decorative painting headed?

Decorative Painting is a very misunderstood field in America. In Europe, decorative painting is a skilled trade and there are very serious schools that teach it. I think the widespread understanding of it is basically whatever sells in Home Depot. It’s amazing how even a lot of interior designers and architects don’t really understand what it is. Most people think that it’s this weekend craftsy thing that can be done by most do-it-yourselfers because of all the ready-made stuff. I think that there will better exposure and understanding in years to come. The trend will incorporate much more complex modern color themes and active layering techniques.

Some of the intricate work that goes into the decorative painting process.

 

What is your personal artisan philosophy?

Surface Design Collectivism! We love collaboration. Every job is an extension of not just us but the client as well. Art is a form of expression and our roles are pretty well defined when clients hire us, but it is this need to express that a client feels when desiring to redo their home. Our projects and spaces are shaped by this type of social environment. Working together, respecting and understanding each others ideas is our philosophy.

What are your favorite go-to materials?

All of our techniques vary a lot but you would be amazed at what we could create with metallics, some beer and shellac!

A few of the gorgeous finishes created by Causer + Lai.

What is the best professional advice you have received?

We believe strongly in Clean. Clean. Clean.  I first got this advice while studying with Monsieur Van Der Kelen in 1994. Monsieur’s smock was always pristine and white. All the student’s smocks, on the other hand, were filthy from paint. One day he told me that my smock was a reflection of who I am as a professional.

The majority of our work is in private homes. We like to treat their homes with respect like our own homes. We arrive in clean clothes, work neatly, clean up and organize at the end of every work day. Our tidiness is a reflection of who we are as professionals.

What is your ideal job for a month?

We would love to do a boutique restaurant or hotel in a Biedermeier style. Or really any style… We would also really enjoy working on a job that is giving back to the community such as a whole shelter, with murals and texture work.

Professionally, who are some of your inspirations?

Klimt, Picasso, Clyfford Still, Graffiti as a movement, Katsushika Hokusai or anything during Edo Period, Sol LeWitt, Mark Rothko, Imi Knoebel, Pollock, Chuck Close.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at an innovative, forward-thinking studio that still respects the disciplines of artistry.  You can see more of the work of Causer + Lai on their website as well as their Tumblr, Facebook fan page, Twitter account and Pinterest boards.  I thank both Alison and Benjamin immensely for their time and for sharing their projects as well.  Hope you have an inspired day!

20 Dec

Holiday Sponsor Love: Robyn Story Designs!

Meeting Robyn Story of Robyn Story Designs is meeting a dynamo — plus, you feel like you can do anything after you’ve spent a few hours with her!  Her eponymous shop is 5,000 square feet packed with great design and beautiful finds. She is one of our beloved sponsors and we always love to catch up and see what is new and fabulous!  Shall we dig in?

NEW PRODUCTS

Robyn has quite a few delicious new offerings in her shop. Not only is she one of the top stockists of Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan, she is also carrying Annie’s new Workbook and fabric line!  The wire-bound Workbook is an interactive notebook for home design enthusiasts featuring hand-drawn illustrations, ruled and plain pages, expandable inner pockets and an elasticated tie-closure — it’s a personal book to keep your decor ideas, colors and inspirations right at hand.

The Annie Sloan fabric line (some featured below left) has eight different patterns in toiles and tickings that come direct from factories in Belgium and France and have been selected to complement the colors of Chalk Paint. Brilliant!

Bella Notte Linens (above right) is also a new collection series! They are the world’s first easy care, garment-dyed luxury linens. Irresistibly soft and gloriously colored, every order is custom dyed using low-impact, non-toxic dyes. Don’t they sound sumptuous?

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint is a new paint product that is also available at Robyn’s boutique!  Milk Paint is an ancient all-natural paint containing basic ingredients including milk protein (casein), limestone, clay and natural pigments. It is interior and exterior rated for many surfaces and is naturally mold resistant. Very pretty!

SUPER SALE

Robyn Story Designs is having a store-wide Pre-Christmas sale — so they are the perfect stop to visit while doing your last minute shopping!  Here’s more information to have on hand while heading to the shop.

HOLIDAY DESIGN SERVICES

Robyn’s team is so well-known for their fabulous interior design services, that even Tampa’s International Airport had them do all their holiday decorations!  At this time of year, the design team is super-busy helping everyone prepare for the holidays and their decor is always fresh, inspired and oh-so-gorgeous.  It’s truly a joy to see the warm and festive results!

Holiday Works in Progress at Tampa International Airport

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Robyn Story Designs — a visit to Tampa, FL means a must visit to her beautiful shop to see every charming nook and cranny. You’re sure to take home something perfect for your space, trust.  Do check in with their lively Facebook page and blog as they always have something new and wonderful to share!  Thank you so much, Robyn, for all your support of Fauxology!

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04 Jun

Robyn Story Designs

At last year’s IDAL conference, I had the pleasure of meeting blog sponsor Robyn Story of Robyn Story Designs.  She is full of energy and fun — plus, she has about a million creative ideas per minute.  Everytime I meet with her, I leave feeling that so much is possible in this world.  Someone fantastic to know, right?

A very cool Alice in Wonderland feel as you arrive at Robyn Story Designs...

I had the opportunity to travel to Tampa, FL recently (it’s only about an hour-ish away from Orlando) and took the chance to visit her shop.  The minute you walk in, you are engulfed in design, fragrance, color, textures and eye candy galore (even knobs!) — every inch of all 5,000 square feet is this way.  Plus, they have a complimentary coffee bar which just happens to have a few sweets for you, too.

 Here’s a close-up of the table at the foot of the bed.

Pretty colors and pattern on the wallcovering.

Quite the unique light fixture, no?

There is a lot of eclectic art, design vignettes, books and products that you don’t know how you lived without peeking out from beautiful nooks and crannies.  Also, the best part: their beautiful prices make for affordable luxury.

Venetian Plaster, great colors and unique pieces abound.

Over nine years ago, Robyn Story Designs started out as a luxury silk floral studio.  This area of the shop is like an explosion of color.

Robyn also happens to be an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint distributor in Florida for Annie Sloan Unfolded.  Peggy and I recently took a class at her studio as well.

Amazing the difference a little chalk paint and wax can do!

Furniture and fabrics done with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

If you are ever in the Tampa area, please do make sure you stop by Robyn Story Designs.  Robyn also writes a fab blog and has a hopping Facebook page.  They also have a fabulous design studio to help clients decorate their home.  If you are more of a DIYer, do make sure you check their workshop schedule as well — lots of great classes coming up!  (If you do, make sure you use the special Fauxology code – rsdFun for an extra 10% off!) I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of Robyn’s shop — everytime I see the pics or visit in person, it inspires me to make my home the most comforting, beautiful place I could imagine.  Thank you, Robyn!

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23 May

Carolyn Quartermaine, Artist & Designer

I’m always drawn to chairs…to flowers…to colour…to the sea… For me the script…but very much the splash, the mistake, the marks of paint… the history of a pieceCarolyn Quartermaine

Ethereal, Artistic, Diaphanous, Sublime. If you ask most designers and decorative painters about Carolyn Quartermaine, you might hear a happy sigh followed by rapturous words.  I’m sure she has a spot in “The Favorites” list for most of us.

Carolyn Quartermaine was born in England and lived in both Holland and France before settling back in England at the age of 17, when she began her art studies.  She is now based in London and among many talents, has an eponymous fabric line — her creations are airy, vivid and painterly.  She’s not afraid to mix patterns and styles and although they are strong designs, they have an almost gingerly touch. On top of her achievements, she has also designed for Baccarat, Escada, Hermés and Louis Vuitton.

Marie Claire Maison

She began using scripts in her collages and textiles in 1994 after discovering 17th century texts and loving their graphic feel.  The line is still in continuous production.

Some of the images are from Hotel Delos (a personal fave) and a few of her other projects.  If you’d like to see even more of her work (in oh, about 200 photos) and learn more about her designs, she has a book entitled Carolyn Quatermaine Revealed.

Please Click to Enlarge

Seriously. SO incredible. Love the "faux" canopy, too!

Another project, Glade: An Enchanted Forest, was recently covered by one of my fave bloggers, Ann Onusko of Plum Siena.  I hope you’ve enjoyed my indulgence in Carolyn’s work — isn’t it incredible?  Until next time, gorgeous ones!

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21 May

Anna Spiro Wallcoverings

From the keyboard of Peggy Pardo…

Happy Monday everyone!

This past weekend I discovered amazing interior designer Anna Spiro. No. I haven’t been living under a rock. I’m just new to blogging and wasn’t familiar with her extremely popular and internationally acclaimed blog Absolutely Beautiful Things. Once I found it though, I logged quite a few hours going through her posts. I was surpised to see some familiar photos – can you say Pinterest?

What initially brought me to her site was her new collection of wallcoverings at Porter Paints. According to the website, she “has applied her flair for layering fabrics with diverse and inspiring pattern and colour” to these beautiful wallcoverings. What I like most about them is that they are so feminine, colorful and classic. They also look like fabulous stencil work! Here is a sample of her line…

Round and Round the Garden by Anna Spiro for Porter Paints

Round and Round the Garden

Rosey Posey Trellis by Anna Spiro for Porter Paints

Rosey Posey Trellis

Higgledy Piggledy Stripe by Anna Spiro for Porter Paints

Higgledy Piggledy Stripe

Anna is based in Brisbane, Australia where she runs her design business and boutique, Black & Spiro. I look forward to learning more about this talented designer and showcasing her work in future posts.

Cheers to all,
Peggy
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02 May

Book Giveaway: Decorate by Holly Becker

From the keyboard of Peggy Pardo…

I have an addiction – to decorating books. When one calls out to me from a bookstore shelf or an Amazon.com page, I have to respond by looking through it. Should I spy even one picture that inspires me, into my basket it goes. That’s how I’ve amassed a gazillion decorating books. Okay. That may be a slight exaggeration, but I do have 3 Ikea Billy bookcases filled to the brim. ‘Nuff said.

Naturally when someone I admire comes out with a decorating book, I get very excited about it. That’s how I felt when I first heard about Decorate: 1,000 Professional Ideas for Every Room in Your Home. It was written by Holly Becker, creator of one of the most popular (and one of the first) decorating blogs Decor8, and Joanna Copestick with photography by Debi Treloar. This one I didn’t even peruse before buying; just added to my cart and awaited its arrival.

Holly Becker Decorate

Thanks to Amazon Prime, Decorate was here in 2 days. Did it pass the “at least one picture I like, so I’ll buy it” test? Did it ever! The first time I go through a design book or magazine, I stick strips of post-its with brief notes on the pages that have something to which I want to refer back. By the time I finished going through Decorate, it had so many pieces of paper sticking out of the top it looked like a craft project. That’s a good thing -  a really good thing.

My post today originally started out as a book review. Why not? I think the book is wonderful. However, there are so many fantastic reviews of Decorate that are already out there – like this one from Apartment Therapy, this one at Mango Juiced and here is another at Living In. Rather than do a review, Regina and I thought we’d take it one step further and do a GIVEAWAY! So instead of just telling you how great the book is, one lucky reader will receive a complimentary copy of Decorate and be able to see for themselves!!

Here are a couple of pictures to whet your appetite…

Decorate Holly Becker 2

Decorate Holly Becker 3

G I V E A W A Y

For your chance to win

Leave a comment on this post letting us know how we could improve Fauxology, tell us about your favorite post or share your suggestions for post ideas.

But that’s not all! You have six more chances to win…

  1. Subscribe to our blog
  2. Follow us on Facebook
  3. Follow Regina on Twitter
  4. Follow Peggy on Twitter
  5. Follow Regina on Pinterest
  6. Follow Peggy on Pinterest

Each time you do one of these, leave us a comment on this blog post letting us know you did.  [If you're already a fan, just let us know! :)  ] So, you can leave up to seven comments on this blog post to enhance your chances of winning — please note that comments left on Facebook, Twitter or other sites will not count.

The Giveaway is open to everyone and one winner will be chosen at random from the comments.  Deadline: Midnight on Wednesday, May 9, 2012.

Good luck to all,

Peggy

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24 Apr

Target Your Room’s Design

From the keyboard of Peggy Pardo…

Beautiful design doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I truly believe this. Having had Champagne tastes all my life and at times with a public water fountain pocket book, I know how to make every design dollar (and cent) count.

One of my go-to sources for quality pieces at affordable prices is Target. I could literally spend hours in their online store! They collaborate with top designers in various industries to bring us the latest trends. Their style expert for home is Sabrina Soto, who I had a chance to see last month at the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival.

Since summer is just around the corner, I thought a gorgeous vacation spot would be the perfect inspiration. And did I find one for you!

Design Inspiration

Design pieces from Target

Inspiration Photo: St. Regis Princeville Resort on the island of Kauai, Hawaii – Designed by Trina Turk
Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore
Design Finds: Target

Now you’ll have to excuse me, I’m going to try to find a place for that chair. I love it!

Cheers to all,
Peggy
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