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Thursday, November 15, 2012

He Said, She Said: The November Issues

image Join friends and design addicts, Paloma Contreras, the Houston-based author of La Dolce Vita, and Jon Call, principal of Mr Call Designs in downtown Manhattan and new LDV contributor, as they share their unique perspectives in a lively tête-à-tête discussing what they loved and found most striking in the November 2012 issues of their favorite shelter publications.

november issues

Jon Call: Let’s start with Architectural Digest. With Nate on the Issue! He’s getting cuter and cuter.

Paloma Contreras: He’s the cutest thing ever.

JC: Let’s see. What was your favorite pull?

PC: Nate's New York apartment!

PC: You and I have had this conversation about what makes interior design special along with how to decorate for individuals. I think he really gets it. He gets it on such a large scale because obviously he appeals to higher-end clients but he also appeals to mass market. He really works for all sectors. You look at his home-- it has this great mix of vintage and antique and modern pieces and it feels so relatable, yet individual to his style and experiences.

AD Nate Berkus 3 {Image via}

PC:  It’s unique to be able to look at something and think that you could achieve a similar look on your own. I love the way that he mixes elements and I love this color palette. It’s warm and masculine. And of course, he’s added that touch of glamour which is always so essential in my world. I’m a lamp tramp and I’m obsessed with chairs, so I love the mix of chairs he’s got going on. My favorite space is his library that doubles as his dining room. It’s just spectacular. The built-in cabinetry is just gorgeous. And I love his kitchen too. I love that high gloss lacquer.

JC: The kitchen is just breathtaking, I mean I can’t even control myself, it’s ridiculous. And I think that those interior windows, I mean-- shut it down. Ridiculous. Nate always surprises me. He has such a public profile and is so accessible and is so much about value. Then behind your back he’ll publish something in Architectural Digest that is so sophisticated and so beautiful and working at a completely more developed level. It’s shocking how easily he can jump back and forth with such grace. You know what I mean? I don’t know a lot of television personalities that do that. His work is absolutely substantial and beautiful. Like you said, there’s so many lessons here that each of us can learn. I think the key lesson for me is to loosen up, you know? Like, don’t take it so seriously. It’s about the mix. It’s about curating objects that means something to you first and foremost and then we can color-coordinate later.

JC: So it’s also nice to see a collection grow. For example, I recognize the striped rug as well as the brass mushroom lamp from Nate’s Chicago apartment. I haven’t seen that in editorial ever, actually. At least that I’m aware of. I’ve seen a house four or five years previously and then I see another interpretation of it, just as beautiful if not more with similar objects, just developed longer. You know? For example, I recognize the striped rug as well as the brass mushroom lamp from Nate’s Chicago apartment.

PC: That’s the really valuable takeaway. He has had some of these items for a really long time now, things he absolutely loves like some of his chairs and artwork that I’ve coveted for years—things that mean something to him. He’s been able to repurpose him and layer them in with new pieces. Now, in a different setting, they still look fabulous and completely fresh. It’s something really important to take away--invest in things that you love. I tell people this all the time--people like to talk about if something is “in or out”, but at the end of the day what really matters is whether or not you really love it. You’re the one that has to live with it. If it makes you happy when you see it in the morning, then it’s worth it. Buy the pieces you love and work with them for as long as you can.

JC: Those are the pieces that really communicate personality. That’s where you develop from a beautifully composed interior to something that really reflects yourself through those small decisions. Every single thing in here looks like it has a story, and you want to engage Nate and ask, “Where did you get it? What’s going on?” I see things from his new Target line, things from Asia, India, Southwest American things. It’s all in here. There’s a story behind it and I think homes should tell those stories. People should feel more encouraged to communicate them through their home furnishings.

PC: Ok, on to House Beautiful.I actually really liked the Hitz house, on page 98. I don’t love every room. It does feel very formal and a little over the top. But I do love his living room on page 100.

JC: Oh, Paloma!

PC: I love it! I know it’s not your taste at all.

JC: My little leopard queen.

PC: Yeah! I thought it was cool that he paired the leopard Louis chairs pair with the Marcel Breuer leather and steel chairs. I have a pair of Marcel Breuer chairs just like these that my parents gave me. They were in our house when I was growing up and I have them in my house now and I just love them. Seeing them juxtaposed with these really formal, over the top Louis leopard chairs is fantastic. Then you have these gilt sconces with the pharmacy lamps turned every which way. I just thought it was a little bit over the top and glamorous and unapologetic.

JC: It’s very unapologetic.

PC: I liked that. Ok, I have a question for you. If we look to page 107--this harkens back to the Golden Age of Decorating, when the drapes match the wall covering and it would match the upholstery in the room. Do you like this look?

JC: I love it. Love it, love it, love it. Which is unexpected. Most people think I’m much more of a modernist and generally my interiors don’t have pattern in them. But my background was with Diamond Barratta--all about Americana, pattern, and mixing. What I love about this is that it is absolutely using pattern, but what I like is that they used it everywhere so it’s almost like a modernist using pattern. Because there’s so much of it, it becomes a neutral.

PC: Also, this specific pattern helps. If it were a chintz pattern with cabbage roses-- I wouldn’t be able to handle it at all. I can’t do chintz. I just can’t. I can’t…

JC: I think you’re right. This pattern really struck me too. I was looking at it and I was intrigued by it because it’s loose enough and fresh enough. It feels modern to me. I think it seems contemporary. I think it would be beautiful even if it were just a grasscloth, and using it similarly on the walls and the window treatments and the headboard, would be absolutely chic. When I look at something like this I may not identify with the aesthetic. But I can absolutely see a tool that I can use in my own home.

HB Thom Filicia SL2708PC: Did you like Thom Filicia's lake house? The way that he composes patterns and textures and different pieces from various eras is so beautiful to me. He’s a master at layering! I really love his aesthetic. He has a little bit of what Nate does in terms of making things very personal. What I love about each of them is that their points of view are so distinctive. If you open up a magazine, you wouldn’t have to see their names, to know their work. This spread screams Thom Filicia to me. I love the living room that has just enough color, a little bit of pattern. Nothing is overwhelming, it all works so beautifully together. You look at that rug and those colors, that beautiful Persian rug layered on top of the seagrass, and that big substantial coffee table with the super inviting sofa. You want to curl up on it and read a book. It’s such a beautiful setting. Then he gets a little bit more modern in his dining room, with the poppy peacock blue and those Klismos-inspired chairs.

JC: You know, he used that same rule that the wallpaper room in House Beautiful did. He chose one color. It’s so easy to do and it’s so strong. Doesn’t it just look beautiful and contemporary and fresh and delicious? Not complicated. Actually, he’s so crazy. Do you see that nailhead trim on the wall that he matched on the chair?

PC: Oh you’re right! I hadn’t noticed that.

JC: That’s hysterical. That’s how crazy he went.

PC: You have to wonder what came first, the chicken or the egg. The wall treatment or the chairs?

JC: Ok, moving on to ELLE DECOR...

PC: You know what I thought was interesting? Page 208--Royal Treatment. This was not my aesthetic at all. But what I loved about this feature is that no matter what-- it inspires a visceral reaction from the reader. You either hate it and think 'oh my god this is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen', or you think, 'how cool that after forty years the decor of this home has remained intact'. In a way it still kind of works! I look at this and immediately, Kelly Wearstler, who is heavily influence by this over the top, luxury of the 70s and 80s and these free form things comes to mind. I totally see Kelly Wearstler here. I thought it was really interesting that this guy has the means… wait, who is this guy?

JC: He’s a prince, right?

PC: Yes, Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia. It’s his Lake Geneva vacation home, so he obviously has the means to freshen up the interiors as often as he likes, but he hasn’t chosen to. The one thing I can’t get over is in the breakfast room and again in the dining room, it seems like the wall to wall carpeting goes up onto the bases of the tables. It’s a lot of look.

JC: It’s a total trip. I was scared to tell you that I liked this one because I wasn’t sure what your reaction would be. I agree with you--it’s pretty confrontational. It’s funny that for such a piece of work that was done so long ago, and probably wasn’t that shocking at the time, has gotten more and more risqué over time. You know?

PC: It’s funny how that works.

JC: I haven’t acknowledged that with an interior before. This is the first interior that I’ve seen that has shocked me as it has gotten older because it’s gotten so expressive. It’s an interesting thing to think about. I mean, the floor covering that is everywhere is mind boggling and if you start rationally thinking about it, it kind of freaks you out. However, if you sit back and just look at the aesthetic of the room, what it does to those floors, and how it integrates it into the cobble of the wall and how it just kind of cascades everywhere. It’s totally so decadent and so delicious and so amazing and I think it’s incredibly bold and incredibly chic. It was done how many--50 years ago? I mean...

PC: 40 years ago. I have to say I really do appreciate that Michael Boodro was brave enough to put this in a publication.

JC: I agree.

PC: It’s a definite risk. I do think that some people will look at this and be turned off, and again this goes back to having that visceral reaction when you see something like this because it is something that is going to be very divisive. You either love it or you hate it—you get it or you don’t. If you appreciate good design, you know that something doesn’t have to be your aesthetic to appreciate it. This is just like “go big or go home”, we are going to upholster everything. As brave as it was to decorate so boldly forty years ago, I think the bolder move was to leave it all intact this many years later. I can’t wrap my head around it completely.

JC: Neither can I. They totally went for it. Out of all of the interiors, this has the most cojones, on all parts--the designers, the editors, this is something really unique that we haven’t seen before. I’ve never seen anything like it.

PC: It’s a risk, and it’s fresh, because, when you look at what else is being published, some of the things start to look alike and it’s refreshing to have something like this that is so off the wall.

JC: It’s SO off the wall. I’m kind of tickled that you like that.

We hope that you enjoyed our conversation about some of the things we found most interesting in the November 2012 issues of some of our favorite magazines. This is a new format for Jon and I, so we’d love your feedback on this post, and of course, we’re dying to hear what you loved or found to be controversial in the November issues. Do you agree with what we had to say about the spaces we included in our conversation? Let’s hear it!


{Image Sources: Architectural Digest | House Beautiful | ELLE DECOR}


charmaine said...

I enjoyed this post! Keep it coming!

Lauren said...

You guys are funny! I'm glad you mentioned the crazy 70's house from Elle Decor. I like some elements of it, but overall I'm still undecided. Fun post!

Karena said...

This was so much fun and such an assortment of decor! I agree ; more please!

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Doug Davis said...

Fun post, enjoyed it. Reminds me I need to catch up on my reading for the month...

katiedid said...

Great conversation! I liked much of what you liked too. BUT I have to say that even though I do appreciate the unique quality of the last home, all I can think about is how gross the carpet would get under the dining room table...if ,in fact, they actually eat there. Carpet on vertical surfaces...not groovy at all IMO. Otherwise, some very cool stuff here!

Unknown said...

Katie, I'm pretty creeped out by the carpet, too. I can't help but wonder what a lake house with 40 year old carpet must smell like. It can't be good!

Naomi@DesignManifest said...

I liked this series a lot! You guys pointed out a lot of things that I hadn't noticed.

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed this kind of post: photos and thoughtful commentary. I learn from your descriptions of what you're seeing, informed by your experience in the business. Keep it coming.

Lindsay@domicile{blog} said...

This is a great idea. It was fun to feel a part of your conversation and I really liked what you had to say about the rooms.
The Elle Decor room, it's not my favorite aesthetic, but I can appreciate it for being something different. It does have a Kelly Wearstler feel, but also not. It doesn't feel luxe enough. I'm still processing what was said about something so overly dated that now, 40 years later, it feels fresh and new. That's very true and wise.

Maren said...

Love this post as well - how fun to just chat about some of the recent published work in the design world. Reminds me that I don't ever talk to anyone about these (other than the occasional "you have to check this out" to my husband), and it would be fun to get other people's take on specific spaces each month.