Thursday, March 23, 2017

Boho pattern mix amps up traditional condo



Boston interior designer Katie Rosenfeld deserves a high five, IMBB (in my boho book), for bringing this 1980s New York City condo into the 21st century. No, it’s not exactly a boho home interior, but the mix of patterns and Asian influences easily make the case for “chin-WOW!-serie,” boho’s kissing cousin. (Yes, I made up that term.)

It’s also interesting to me that Eddie Ross, a master magician of mix and chic, styled the space. Many people panic about mixing patterns, styles and periods, but shouldn’t. There is an art to it, but it’s an art that can be learned. Let’s start with some excellent advice from Ross’ book, Modern Mix:

Good taste, whatever it looks like, is about living with the things you love and trusting that they go together. Good taste is a journey into personal style that begins with discovery.

When it comes to decorating, color theory is full of dos and don’ts. My advice: start with something you love—a flower, a fabric swatch, a bracelet, a spoon—and create a mix that makes you happy.

Coordinating patterns isn’t as hard as you might think. Start with a statement print that’s big on color. Carry some of the colors over to another pattern. Repeat a color again in a smaller scale pattern. The solid gives the eye a rest…and ties them all together.

In the case of this condo, the owner loves chinoiserie, but not just any old chinoiserie—Chin-WOW!-serie!!—Asian prints and items that are a little different, more modern, kicked up a notch. As we tour this home, notice how that love comes through in the signature fabrics, which are anything but run-of-the-mill.


Let’s take another look at that living room vignette and try to apply Ross’ ideas. 


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Rachel McGinn photo / Domino

What’s the dominant item and what’s distinctive about it?

I would say the bold print used in the upholstery—what Ross would call the statement print, which in this case is Schumacher’s Chiang Mai Dragon. It mixes with the modern elements in the room—the painting, for one, and the lamp—because it’s a modern take on chinoiserie. The pattern is larger and the colors more mixed and vivid. Don’t shy away from a bold choice in a sofa print, color or style; just make sure you love it and know you can live with it a long time. This print ups the longevity factor because it contains so many different colors, which allows the rest of the room the freedom to go in a number of directions and shift over time.

What prints carry over color from the sofa, and why do they work?

The chair you only catch a glimpse of on the right has a seat cushion in a more geometric coral and mocha print, both colors in the sofa print, which also shows up in a pillow you sneak a peek of on the left. The smaller, more regular print works with the wildly undulating floral because of contrast in scale and shared colors. The green and white flame-stitch pattern in the pillow fills the middle ground size-wise. The pattern in the accent rug is even larger than the sofa print, but works because it is also less busy, geometric, and shares the muted end of the color palette.


How do the solids tie it all together?

The dominant solid in this room is also a neutral. The natural color of the sisal rug and grass-cloth wallpaper give the eye a place to rest, as Ross said. They not only tie into the mocha background of the sofa print but suspend the room in a sea of soft texture.

What about that painting?

Here’s a mix of periods and styles that ups the room’s “it” factor. The painting’s modern, relaxed-geometric lines serve as a counterpoint to the sofa print and the classic lines of the furniture. It pulls not only its white background from that print, but also a color used in much less quantity in the sofa—yellow—which it then uses to great effect. I know from my training as a master gardener that yellow is powerful in landscaping as well. It immediately draws the eye, which makes yellow flowers great destination flowers. Line a pathway with other colors but park yellow at the end, and no one will be able to resist walking toward it. It works with paintings over sofas, too!

Other notes:

  • The lamp has a midcentury modern look and works because, again, its colors occur in the sofa print. I also think its circles are an interesting contrast with the larger square shapes in the painting, and that is more noticeable because the background of both lamp and painting is white. 
  • Think of green as a neutral in most spaces. It occurs at least as often in nature as brown and deserves neutral status. Greens enlivens any room it touches, whether in prints, plants or other accents. I love the green and blue jar on the side table that seems to be a mini interpretation of the same dragon motif in the sofa print. And the potted palm looks for all the world like the dragon’s mane in the sofa print. 


Dining room playground


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Rachel McGinn photo / Domino

The dining room is adjacent to the living room, so carries on its color palette, though with a different emphasis. The brighter oranges of the sofa are suggested by the more subdued tones in the area rug. But it’s the irregularly striped, black-and-white fabric that upholsters the chair seats that catches the eye. Watch for black-and-white tones reappearing throughout the home to help tie spaces together.

“I tried to steer the homeowner to classic shapes and traditional forms that wouldn’t date themselves and then to treat them in more playful ways,” Rosenfeld says. The vintage mid-century glass-topped dining table is an example of this. “I wanted people to wonder if it was the homeowner’s grandma’s table, or is it new? You just never know.” (Hint-hint: It is new, and by McGuire.)

Another playful part of this room (and my favorite element) is the colorful dragon figurine presiding over the console table, as if it sprung live from the sofa print!


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Rachel McGinn photo / Domino


The chair cushion print was also used in the living room, and the homeowner’s love of Asian furniture continues throughout. Here an antique coffer chest serves as a bar, and a retro piece of art adds a pop of orange—something you’ll see elsewhere, along with pops of emerald and pink, as well as the black-and-white thread.


Mastering the master bedroom


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Rachel McGinn photo / Domino

The dominant element in the master bedroom is obviously the Brunschwig and Fils animal print on the walls, headboard, bed skirt, and lamp shade, but it’s a quiet dominance that lets that to-die-for Manuel Canovas print in the shams and throw pillows have its say as well. 

The colors in the storage bench upholstery (also Brunschwig and Fils) are pulled from that print, as are the colors in the vintage kilim rug and the green in the bedding. The faux tortoiseshell nightstand adds an additional layer of texture and seems to me to mimic the animal print in reverse tones. 

My favorite element—again—is another dragon figurine, this time on the nightstand. ROAR!!


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Rachel McGinn photo / Domino

Even the books in the window pull their colors from that fantastical Manuel Canova pillow print. And the painting works as its abstract interpretation.


More than meets the eye


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Rachel McGinn photo / Domino

Would you guess this daybed unfolds to reveal a king-size bed? Me neither, but it’s true, which makes this the perfect addition to most any NYC apartment low on space. I love the feminine mix of prints in this guest room, and all those colors that are pulled directly from that Missoni rug. 

No dragons here, but lots of my favorite color—magenta!!


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Rachel McGinn photo / Domino

This series of Japanese watercolors in a hallway showcases the owner’s interest in more modern interpretations of Asian artistic traditions. They tell the story of how tea is made, which, come to think of it, relaxes me just thinking about it. How 'bout I sink down onto one of those stools, ditch MY shoes, and take deep breaths while someone brews me a cuppa?


Oh to be a guest here!


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Rachel McGinn photo / Domino

The third bedroom, like the master, uses repetition to unify and punch things up. A faux-boise print from Brunschwig & Fils is used for the headboard and the bedskirt, in the same tones as the grass-cloth wallpaper we saw in other parts of the home. 

The homeowner has owned the multi-print quilt for years, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better incorporation of a kantha quilt in a bedroom. It looks absolutely stunning against the white-trimmed-in-orange Matouk bedding, as well as the Manuel Canovas print in the pillow and roman shade.

Lots of prints mix and match in this room, so why does it feel restful rather than busy? Review Ross’ guidelines and pull out the reasons on your own this time. You can do it!

My favorite part in this room is that gorgeous Manuel Canovas fabric. So much so that I searched Ebay to see if I could snag a yard or so for some pillows. Alas, a 15-inch square was going for over $40, which is definitely out of my league. 

I also love the textural quality the lamp adds to this room. And did you notice that the tiny pop of yellow in the flowers seems pulled from the blooms in the window shade?

Be still my racing heart!


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Rachel McGinn photo / Domino

This room also features an abstract painting by Debra Smith that gets played up by the other orange in the room. That's quite a trick to decorate with orange without it being overpowering, and Rosenfeld has definitely earned her commission here.

There’s also more black and white in the bone-inlay dresser and more of that sumptuous Canovas fabric in a skirted slipper chair.

Forget visiting; when can I move in?


If you want more (like I do!)...

  • Read the full story on this amazing transformation in Jaci Conry’s article for Domino Magazine, “This Apartment Will Inspire You to Mix Patterns With Abandon.”
  • Check out designer Katie Rosenfeld’s bold and fun portfolio.
  • Get more Manuel Canovas at Cowtan & Tout’s website. Even if you're pocketbook's as strapped as mine, you'll enjoy the eye candy.
  • Follow the link to keep up with designer and stylist Eddie Ross. And follow the affiliate link below to take a peek inside (and order!) his book.
  • Become a subscriber and don't miss a single BoHo Home post. Just sign up for to-your-inbox posts using one of the subscription services at the bottom of the page. Or you can follow my blog with Bloglovin, a social-media site for blog lovers that provides you with a customized feed of all the blogs you choose to read at one simple location.

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