Color And Design Inspiration in Unexpected Places

Last week my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on the Island of St. John.  It was a 30 year in the making honeymoon “redo” that you can read about here.   I must admit, St. John was not what I had expected. I pictured it as a flat island but it is actually the top of  a mountain sticking out of the sea. Three quarters of the Island is protected national park land so the Island is incredibly beautiful and unspoiled.

St. John USVI   Linda Holt Photo

St. John USVI... Linda Holt Photo

The houses, or villas as they call them, are built going up the side of the mountain. Some of them are perched on such steep ledges that it is amazing they don’t slide right off into the sea. This house below is where we stayed for the week. It is the only house WAY  out on a point…talk about privacy! There was even an electronic gate to get on to and off of the property. I felt like we were drug king pins or some famous couple seeking out privacy from the paparazzi.

Coral Bay house

Coral Bay St.John... Linda Holt Photo

We stayed in the Coral Bay area which is on the other side of the Island from where the Hotels and Resorts are located. Coral Bay is more rural and has a large population of wild donkeys, goats and sheep.

wild goats on St. John

wild goats on St. John

We would always stop the car until everyone was safely across (notice the little Egret on the right tagging along). The locals however have little patience and barely slow down; somehow though animals and cars seem to coexist just fine.

The beaches really do look exactly like I imagined; turquoise waters surrounded by white powdery sand.

Maho Bay St. John..Linda Holt Photo

Maho Bay St. John

St John has quite a few Ruins from Colonial times when the Island was inhabited by the Dane’s who used slaves to run the sugar plantations. Look at this pattern of painted tiles we came across while hiking. Doesn’t this look so current even though it is from the 1700′s? Can’t you just imagine this fabulous pattern painted on a floor or made into fabric?

The biggest surprise and the best part of our trip however was the snorkeling. St. John is surrounded by easily accessible Coral Reefs. You can walk right into the water and swim just a very short distance and see the most incredible colorful tropical fish and coral.  I had no idea I would be so inspired by color and design by spending several hours everyday floating above a coral reef and looking down.

I must be really twisted or maybe the sun and heat had gotten to me but everything I saw I imagined as some type of home decor. I was as excited and inspired as if I was at an art opening for some hot new artist.

Here are some of the things that most inspired me with both color and design. ( I do not have underwater camera so all photos are from Google Images but they look exactly as I saw them).

Look at the yellow pattern on these French Grunts. Wouldn’t these look great as a fabric design? Maybe drapes in a beach house?

French Grunts

French Grunts

This beautiful Queen Angel Fish really rocks the yellow and blue combo…humm..maybe yellow walls blue sofa?

queen angel

queen angel Fish

Just like in this photo below, we came upon a whole school of 50-75 Blue Tang. They are a beautiful shade of deep blue/purple. A color inspiration maybe for pillows on a turquoise sofa?

blue tang

blue tang

These giant sea turtles are plentiful off  St John. We saw about 8 of them. Look at that brown and white pattern…maybe inspiration for a stenciled wall or an embossed leather?

Sea Turtle

Hawksbill Sea Turtle

This little Trunk Fish also has a great pattern of black and white dots that turn into a honeycomb pattern in the middle. Maybe a throw pillow or carpet pattern?

smooth trunkfish

smooth trunkfish

My all time favorite fish though has to be the Stop Light Parrot Fish. These beauties are about 15 inches long and are brilliant Turquoise, Pink and Orange with Yellow polka dots no less!  I looked at these fish for hours.

parrotfish

Parrot Fish

The funny thing is, while at the airport waiting for our connecting flight home I opened up the new issue of  Elle Decor Magazine and this is the first thing I saw… coincidence or not?

turquoise dot tray by Waylande Gregory Studios

turquoise dot tray by Waylande Gregory Studios

Maybe the designer had recently been doing a little reef snorkeling themselves.

How about you?  Have you ever been inspired with Color or Design in an unexpected place?

 

If You would like help with choosing the perfect color or with decorating give me a call at 617-965-3342.

2 Design Trends that are Here To Stay (in my humble opinion)

At the start of every New Year, Design magazines and bloggers love to discuss  Design Trends. The one good thing about Design trends is that they have a longer life span (8-10 years) than fashion trends (1-2 years). However, depending on what part of the country you live in will dictate if a particular trend is still “in” or “out”. New York City will most likely have moved on from a trend before say Cleveland (nothing against Cleveland, just saying).

I have read all the reports and to save you some time, here is a partial summary of what’s “hot”…(or not)… for 2012.

Color trends: Brown is out, Gray is in. Bright clean colors have replaced muddy earth tones, and Pantone’s  Tangerine Tango has replaced the 2011 color Honeysuckle Pink (which replaced 2010 Turquoise).

Furniture and Accessory trends : Chevron patterns, Moroccan influence, Ikat, Gourd lamps, Nail head trim, Sunburst mirrors, Geometric prints, Lanterns, Greek Key Motifs, Painted furniture, Repurposed Yard Sale Finds, Maps, Animal prints (esp. Leopard), Coral, Faux bois, Acrylic/lucite, Eco-Friendly design.

 Art trends: Oversized Photography, Horses, Silhouettes, and Gallery Walls.

 

My friend Kristie the Decorologist wrote a great post about Elle Decor’s 2012 Trend Report that you can read here which generated a TON of comments. The thing about trends is that by the time most of us get on board with them they are almost “over”. So what is someone on a limited budget to do? We want our home to look current but don’t want it to look “trendy” or even worse, dated in a few years. My advice is to either buy what you love and forget about trends all together or  invest in a few trendy accessories such as pillows or decorative items and then swap them out in a few years when the “trend” is over.

There are 2 trends though which I believe are here to stay. Both have been building in momentum and I would say it is now a huge movement with no turning back. I don’t have a single friend or client who isn’t on board with this first trend.

 

 LIVING WITH LESS

 

 

In my opinion the allure of the affordable “made in China” home decor is over. We are all decluttering, organizing and talking of downsizing. We are striving to live simpler, happier and healthier lives and it is nearly impossible to do that surrounded by excess decorative “stuff”. Americans are waking up to the power of living with less, buying quality over quantity and buying “American Made”. Sorry Homegoods, Walmart and Pier One but your days might be limited.

 

and the second one is GREEN DESIGN

 

 

I have seen a huge change in attitude even from a few years ago concerning going “green”.  Almost ALL my clients today insist on low or no VOC paint where just 3 years ago they went for price first and environment and air quality second.  I read that Whole Foods had their best year yet and we all know how pricey Whole Foods is. People are concerned now like never before about their health, their families health and the Planets health. Recycled, and re-purposed furniture and accessories continues to grow in popularity year after year. Main stream stores like Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate and Barrel and Restoration Hardware are all pushing sustainable and recycled items.

 

Dining Table From Restoration Hardware reclaimed wood collection

 

I think the best thing about living with less and Green design is that it seems to have created a renewed interest and energy around decorating and design. Home owners are taking charge of their home, asking the right questions and living in a more authentic and sustainable way. The popularity of D.I.Y. blogs, design TV shows and readily available “designer” items on the internet has opened design to everyone. The old way of  decorating is changing and I believe it is all for the good.

 

What do you think?  Do you agree with my 2 design trend Predictions or do you think in 2020 we will be tired of living with less and dream of the excess of the past.

 

 

If you would like some help putting your decorating vision together or help choosing the perfect paint color to complete your room, give me a call.

 

 

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