Friday’s Photo: Design trends from a 1900 showhouse

One of the great treasures of the city of Boston is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. You may have heard of the museum because it was the site of the most infamous US art heist of all time. The 1990 crime is still unsolved when thieves cut 81 world important works of art right out from the frames while leaving the frames still hanging on the wall. There have been all sorts of theories about the heist from it being mob related (Whitey Bulger) to it being an inside job.

As embarrassing as it is to admit, the last time I was at the museum was on a school field trip back in middle school. There really is no excuse but yesterday I finally made a return visit. Ironically, it was another field trip but this time it was lead by an artist from a local art school.

Isabella Stewart Gardner is a fascinating character in Boston’s history. She was a wealthy, attention seeking socialite and her unconventional behavior made her the Kim Kardashian of her times. After loosing both her children, one to pneumonia and the other in a miscarriage, she was told she could have no more children. Gardner decided her legacy would be to build an art filled museum for the city that would also function as her splendid home. She spent years traveling the world collecting and installing her collection according to her personal aesthetic. The eclectic gallery installations, paintings, sculpture, textiles, and furniture from different periods and cultures create a truly amazing visual delight.

Since her home and it’s spectacular collections was open to the public, it was like Boston’s first show house. One room really struck me because although it was done in 1900 it has design features that are just as on trend today.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

  1. Wallpaper: Large scale Damask wallpaper is very popular today. The “wallpaper” in Gardner’s room from 1900 is actually individual hand tooled leather panels embellished with 24 carat gold. Since the room was lit at night by candle light (no electric lights yet) the gold would sparkle on the walls from the flames of the candles.
  2. Unique wall embellishment: I love the way Gardner used the gold “rope” chair rail running across the wall to separate the upper and lower leather wall treatments. The round centers look like large nail heads and we all know how popular those are today.
  3. Gallery wall: Gardner broke all the rules when it came to hanging her treasures and she hung her art as she thought it looked best. That’s more or less today’s trend as well. There are rules but they are often broken.
  4. Multiple fabrics: Using two different fabrics on one settee must have been quite unusual back in the day but today it is right on trend. Also notice how the over scale checked fabric mimics the square leather panels as well as relates to the small framed paintings.
  5. Mixed metals:Using different colored metals in the same room is a huge trend today. Look how Gardner paired a silver vessel on the side table along with all that gold. The wood on the settee is also painted silver.

So even though this room was designed so many years ago, it’s still relevant today. It all goes back to the simple premise that good design never goes out of style.





High Point Market Design Blogger Tour



In just a little over two weeks I will be headed to High Point Market along with nine other top bloggers to discover and report back on all the trends, colors and styles of Spring Market. I am so honored to be chosen and I honestly feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. Besides being like a design Disney World on steroids, High Point Market combines two of my absolute favorite things; design and photography. As soon as I walk into a show room I get so excited and I want to photograph and share everything. This year (for the first time) I think I am 100% prepared. I have two memory cards, two batteries and a brand new lens. Unlike the past two years, nothing is going to get in my way of shooting to my heart’s content.

I know several of the other blogger’s already and Amanda Gates and I were roomies at the Design Blogger’s Conference. It was such an unexpected coincidence when we found out we had both been chosen as High Point bloggers. (Although Amanda would probably say there is no such thing as coincidence). 


Yes,I know I look NOTHING like my head shot but when I found out I was chosen I didn’t have time to get a new “baldish” head shot to the press office so the one posted here is pre-chemo.

The Design Blogger’s Tour is now in it’s second year and was developed in partnership with Esteem Media and these generous sponsors. Many of these brands I already use for my client projects so I am thrilled to be getting a first hand look at what’s new for 2016.


So if you love design be sure to mark your calendar for April 16-20 and follow along live with all our posts and tweets by following the hashtag #designbloggerstour. 


Friday’s Photo: Tile trends

What’s trending in tiles? Texture! Here are two new introductions from tile company Walker Zanger. These tiles are from the Kaza Collection and are intended to create architectural features in both residential and commercial spaces.

Walker Zanger Tiles Linda Holt Photo

Walker Zanger Tiles Linda Holt Photo

Made of concrete they can be used either indoors or out. I think they would make a fabulous accent wall don’t you?

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday’s Photo: Bespoke Global at ICFF

Even though BlogTourNYC was last May, I feel like it was just last month. Somehow, the time has just flown by.  Modenus and their sponsors have already taken another lucky group of bloggers to California (BlogTourCali) and as I write this post I’m sure another fabulous trip is already in the planning.

This photo, taken while touring the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) was from the Bespoke Global booth.  I love everything about this little vignette. The textures, the shapes and the different hues of neutrals. Also, what’s not to love about a Koi fish table?


Koi table by Zelouf and Bell

Kawa Pendants by Souda

Feather wall by Abyu Lighting

Getting back to BlogTourNYC, I still have hundreds of images to go through and edit. Over the next few weeks I plan to dedicate my weekly Friday’s Photo to more fabulous products and design discovered while on the trip.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. I will be in Providence Rhode Island taking an architectural color class with Teresa Tullio. As always, I’ll be sure to pass on any info that I think would be helpful to you my readers.


Friday’s Photo:Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West

One of the trips we made while in Scottsdale last week was a visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright House called Taliesin West. Here are two interesting factoids about the house I thought were worth sharing.

#1. There is not a single straight wall anywhere on the house. Wright wanted the house to appear as if it was part of the landscape so he took great pains to copy the exact angle of the surrounding mountains.

#2. While Wright was alive there was no glass in any of the windows. Again, he wanted the house to be organic and one with nature. After his passing his wife (who was probably sick and tired of daily sweeping out the desert sand and lizards) put in glass.

Frank Lloyd Wright House Taliesin West

Frank Lloyd Wright House Taliesin West

If you get a chance to visit I highly recommend it. Wright was quite an interesting fellow and the guided tour was quite enlightening.

have a great weekend!


Friday’s Photo:Christopher Guy

If you  ever get a chance to visit a Christopher Guy show room be sure to bring your camera. The products are beyond beautiful and the way they set up their show rooms is like visiting an art gallery.

Christopher Guy/Linda Holt Photo

Christopher Guy/Linda Holt Photo

When I spotted this silver mirror and two coral wall scones against the purpley-black wall I just about died! I would LOVE this in a powder room or dining room for a bit of glamour or even in the entryway.  A work of art don’t you think?

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday’s Photo

There is an expression attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson that goes, “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door”. Well this past May while touring the ICFF on BlogTourNYC,  I saw what I thought was a better mouse trap….except it was a bird feeder.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

So simple and beautiful…a work of art, but oh so clever. Striped down to the bare essentials, these feeders are so perfectly balanced that if a pesky squirrel even tries to hop on he/she will slide right off. Genius don’t you think?

Spotted at the Norway pavilion at The International Contemporary Furniture fair.

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