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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Anatomy of a Home: The Living Room


I'm going to start this post off by stating that I have a serious love/hate relationship with formal living rooms. I love, LOVE that you can basically decorate a room like it's a museum and know that pillows will stay fluffed until I decide to refluff them. I HATE that formal living rooms are rarely ever actually lived in. And that makes me really sad faced because you should enjoy all the beauty queen rooms your home has to offer! Maybe I also hate them because I'm supes jealous that I don't have a formal living room situation in my life. So, all you fools out there that have one...well, please invite me over so we can have tea and crumpets and sit in your formal living room and talk about all those sad people who don't have an amazing formal living room like you do.

That sweet lassie pictured above is one of my super all time favorite formal living room experiences. Large artwork, a sofa that you know has never been sat on, let alone lied on, a coffee table that you clearly can't prop your feet on...I know because I have one exactly like it and it's not looking too hot because I have in fact, slammed my feet on it. Multiple times.

Anatomy Lesson #1: Put every single gorgeous piece of furniture in your formal living room because let's be honest, you're going to break it everywhere else. How clumsy of you!  

Habitually Chic
Oh this sassy girl is the epitome of sterile non-inhabitant perfection. If I walked into this home I would think, "this homeowner is not only the boss, but they mean bidness." I would definitely have to use a coaster in this room. No red wine allowed. Or crackers. Or breathing.

Anatomy Lesson #2: Style a formal living room in such a way that the thought of digesting anything in the room will send chills down your guest's spines. Fear is the ultimate form of flattery after all.

Patterson Maker

To be perfectly honest with you, I pass by one too many formal living rooms and say, "oh, how lovely" and really mean it...kinda. But "lovely" a formal living room shall not make. Not for you, anyhow. Your formal living room must scream, "HEY. I'M HERE. DON'T FORGET ABOUT ME...OR I WILL CUT YOU." How does a formal living room do this? By some big, bad A art. That's how.

Anatomy Lesson #3: Buy big art. Or else your living room will cut you.

Steven Gambrel
Another strong to quite strong formal living room decorating tactic is using a light neutral scheme. I like to think of this is a mommy's defense mechanism. I don't have children, but if I did, I would "accidentally" decorate my formal living room in light colors. I will then fence it off from the tiny aliens and shall sit inside my child-free den and laugh as they peered inside with sticky faces and dirty fingers.

Anatomy Lesson #4: Accidentally create a space in which you are stared at like the fierce snow leopard that you are by doting onlookers. Also, give them a camera to take photos of you posing in your perfectly primped leopard den.
Ashley Goforth Design

When all else fails in your formal living room decorating attempts, throw something in there that's so ridiculously awesome that you really don't need anything else in there. Like this lovely photo. Guests clearly aren't allowed to touch the Hermes. If they are, in fact, allowed to enter the room that houses the Hermes, and be fortunate to sit near the Hermes, well, that's like being invited into "the plastics". Coolest kid in school.

Anatomy Lesson #5: Just buy something Hermes. Because there really isn't a reason other than everyone should have a little Hermes in their lives.

Global Architecture: Greek Style
Hello LDV readers! Brendan here of (BAD) Blog About Design. Greece has some of the most stunning architecture in the world. From the ancient Parthenon to the modern structures of today, Greece is a majestic country. The mountainous terrain, and the clear blue water are reasons why people are so attracted to this country. The architecture of ancient Greece is of a "post and lintel" form. The architecture of modern Greece is both Neoclassical and Western inspired. (ABOVE) Architecture in Greece uses the colors blue and white, I love how these colors work with the natural surroundings. The use of Domes, are common architectural elements found in Greek architecture. (BELOW 1) This photograph is taken in Varlaam, Greece, I find it amazing how the structure is built into the rock. (BELOW 2) The Temple of Athena is a perfect example of "post and lintel" as well as ancient Greek architecture. Which structure is your favorite? 1 2
The Fashion: For the looks above, I was inspired by both classic Greek and modern inspired pieces. The Raoul gown reminds me of a classic Greek piece. It's clean, and the blue color is so relaxing! The Dannijo necklace reminds me of a modern Greek piece.  I love the subtle touch of color and the simple chain. Sandals are a perfect shoe while in Greece. I love these Matt Bernson sandals. Which piece is your favorite? 3
(ABOVE 3) I fell in love with this balcony in Santorini, Greece. How could you not want to soak in that beautiful Greek sun and view while eating some delicious looking fruits? (THE DESIGN PIECES) For the above pieces I was inspired by the classic Greek key design. The 19th Century Terra Cotta jar is from Fireside Antiques. I love this piece in an outdoor garden! The Stiffle Lamps are from Converso. These lamps would look great in an entry foyer. The Mastercraft table is from Galleria d'Epoca. I love the Greek design. Which piece is your favorite?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Blueprint Modern


La Dolce Vita is pleased to welcome Blueprint Modern as our newest sponsor! This ultra-chic online shop is the brainchild of fellow Houstonian, Katie Dalrymple who built Blueprint Modern as “a lifestyle website and boutique store around the idea that people should surround themselves with things they love and be inspired by what they purchase.” Katie has curated a stylish collection of furniture, décor and accessories for both the home and one’s wardrobe. I am already coveting several items, especially the ones I’ve featured below! Blueprint Modern is offering La Dolce Vita 20% off any purchase using code “DOLCEVITA” until June 13th so be sure to get your shop on soon!

{The Medium Python Tray and Emi Necklace are absolutely fabulous.}

{I love this chic Large Fuchsia Clutch.}

{Hammocks and High Tea Chevron Drawer Liners in Gold}

{The Ula Pillow in Cerulean has an organic-meets-tribal vibe.}


To see the full product assortment, please visit Blueprint Modern’s website. For more of the fabulous Blueprint Modern lifestyle, visit their frequently updated and inspiring blog.

Design Under the Influence: Schiaparelli and Prada

"Fashion is art." ~ Elsa Schiaparelli

"Fashion is not art. Fashion designers make clothes and they have to sell them. We have less creative freedom than artists.” ~ Miuccia Prada

Ciao, it's Erika from small shop! Last week I had the pleasure of experiencing the Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations exhibit at The Met. With fictionalized conversations filmed by Baz Luhrmann between actress Judy Davis as Schiaparelli (1890-1973) and Miuccia Prada herself, you are lured into a multimedia world that presents its conclusions by comparing and contrasting the two designing women's works. High concepts are explored and applied, as 120 pieces are grouped into generalized themes: Waist Up/Waist Down, Neck Up/Knees Down, Ugly Chic, Hard Chic, Naïf Chic, The Classical Body, The Exotic Body, and The Surreal Body.

Waist Up/Waist Down (Prada pieces "waist down", Schiaparelli "waist up")

Neck Up/Knees Down (Schiaparelli "neck up", Prada "knees down")

While both women are Italian-born, Elsa Schiaparelli worked in Paris in the 1920's until her fashion house closed its doors in 1954. She is best known for her use of "shocking pink" (shocking at the time), her "shoe hat", and her collaboration with Dadaists and Surrealists like Salvador Dalí.

The Classical Body (Prada pieces at the back, Schiaparelli at the forefront)

The Exotic Body (Prada pieces at the back, Schiaparelli at the forefront)

Hard Chic (Prada pieces on the left, Schiaparelli on the right)

Naïf Chic (Two Schiaparelli pieces on the left, four Prada pieces on the right)

The Surreal Body (Prada pieces at the forefront, Schiaparelli pieces shown on screens)

Initially I intended on reporting back the similarities between the two designers — how their work challenges convention, incorporates surrealist imagery, breaks down clichés of fashion. As I investigated further, it's become clear to me that the exhibit is somewhat controversial in that, all is not what it seems. If you were to simply walk through you might be struck by the apparent influence that Schiaparelli had on Prada. Not only are quotes juxtaposed against each other that are surprisingly similar, but pieces from each designer are encased together and paired up, for comparison.

My favorite gallery was the mirrored "The Surreal Body" (above) where a single focus was highlighted in each case. Although the display was mesmerizing (particularly the eerily moving pictures), I found that the similarities distracted from the beauty and ingenuity of each piece.

It's interesting to note that Miuccia Prada may have agreed, as she voiced that she was not thrilled with The Met's final curation. And one can see why: when you pair a jacket with lips by Schiaparelli next to a skirt with lips by Prada, it would seem that the latter was clearly influenced by the former. (Prada states she was inspired by YSL...who happened to be inspired by Schiaparelli.)

But in many ways, Prada is the anti-designer, and at every turn, attempts to convey her disdain for beauty, her wish to make the ugly appealing, her opposition to the idea that fashion is art. In my humble opinion, Prada starts with the groundwork that Schiaparelli laid down decades ago and takes it to the next level, which is really much more difficult: to be surprising and innovative when it seems it's all been done before.

I highly recommend the exhibit — go and draw your own conclusions!

Photography was not allowed in the exhibit; images found here: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

View the short films by Baz Luhrmann here

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Home Tour: Sara Tuttle Interiors

sara tuttle

Washington, D.C. based interior designer, Sara Tuttle maintains a feminine sensibility throughout all of the spaces she designs. Paired with a crisp aesthetic and a love of color and pattern, Sara creates rooms that feel youthful yet sophisticated. We featured Sara’s apartment in High Gloss last year and everyone loved all of the beautiful details in the space so I was thrilled when Sara reached out recently to share her most recent project. This home is located just outside of Washington, D.C. in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Originally built in 1905, much of the house had not been touched when the current owners decided that they saw enough potential in the property to purchase it. The home required a major renovation and the touch of a talented designer, which is where Sara stepped in.

In its newest incarnation, this gorgeous home is well-designed in the sense that it is both beautiful and functional for an active family with two young children and three dogs. The owners wanted the rooms to be stylish as they love to entertain, but all of the fabrics would need to withstand the wear and tear from the home’s younger and four-legged residents. As a result, all of the fabrics in the family room and living room are either Sunbrella or slipcovers that can be washed easily. The dining room chairs are upholstered in faux leather to keep from staining as well. Genius, isn’t it? sara tuttle2

{This is my favorite room in the house. The fabrics are crisp, the color palette is fun, yet sophisticated, and there are fun touches everywhere like the Lucite cocktail table, ikat ottoman, and pagoda on the mantle.}

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{The floors in the room above and in the living room are sealed with the same varnish used on volleyball courts!}

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{The home has several areas perfect for entertaining, including this sitting room.}

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{The dining room is slightly more formal and traditional than the rest of the home.}

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{The kitchen is bright and lovely. I especially love the bistro chairs around the breakfast table.}


{The family room is bright and inviting. I love the combination of fabrics in this space.}


Which room in this home is your favorite?

{Images via Sara Tuttle Interiors}

Fashion Files: Rosie Huntington Whitley

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English model and actress, Rosie Huntington-Whitley has been turning up in magazines and blogs quite a bit lately, mostly because she is absolutely stunning, but also as a result of her fabulous style. I most recently saw the photo above of Rosie and as usual, loved her polished, ultra-chic style. She often pairs well-cut jeans with a great jacket and loves a good scarf, handbag, and hat. Her style, while very elegant, maintains a relaxed air about it making each ensemble super wearable. She has beautiful taste and it certainly doesn’t hurt that she is absolutely gorgeous!

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Are you a fan of Rosie’s style? Which of these outfits is your favorite? Which outfit most closely resembles your own style?