Saturday, May 28, 2011


Have I told you lately how much I love Emily Henderson? Thanks to a little tip off from my sister who watched last season's Design Star on HGTV (this is also significant news because Jennifer hasn't watched television regularly since Eight is Enough), I have been following Secrets from a Stylist, Emily's design show, religiously.

While her design aesthetic is great, what I have enjoyed most about the show is her ability to label design styles in creative and straightforward ways. (As in, 70's Palm Springs meets Easy Rider Chic.) I like labels. They allow me to classify and control things in my scattered brain. I want to be her labeling intern.

In my lifelong search to figure out my design style, I have often felt confused. I've always loved Spanish revival (I've been obsessed with the California missions since my 4th grade trip/lasagna pasta model recreation).

And Mid-Century modern feels so nice and clean.

Oh, and obviously something Middle Eastern, as I need elements that reflect my lifetime spent between California and Arabia.

And what about all that inspiration from the American Southwest and Mexico from the 1970s that also sometimes looks like cool African and Central Asian stuff?

(Photo credit: Amy Neunsinger)

I can't leave out the work that contemporary Los Angeles artists and designers are creating today, can I? But if you put all of that in one place, wouldn't it look disgusting?

But wait. What's that you just said, Em? Something about layering?

In my 12 week TV course I have learned that if you decide to be true to a single era or style, it looks like your house is themed and not a reflection of a real human being. Instead, focus on a number of styles and layer them on top of each other. Architecture could be one style, furniture a mix of others, and accessories, textiles and art another mix. I know what I'm saying is probably Interior Design 101, but it's been a revelation to me. Seriously, it feels liberating.

When looking at hotel design, I think that even more than with homes, there is a gross tendency to lean toward themed rather than layered. Why is the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs more stylish than the Figueroa Hotel in downtown LA? Because the Colony is layered with Moroccan elements and the Hotel Fig is a Moroccan Disneyland. (Sorry Fig! I love your patio but that burlap bed really brought things into focus.)



My dream Silverlake hotel would certainly focus on layering my favorite Los Angeles design elements to arrive at something distinctly local.

Emily can you please tell me what I should call 1920s Los Angeles mixed with 1950s California Modernism mixed with 1970s World Desert?



  1. My newest guilty pleasure is Bravo's Million Dollar Decorator!

    Not sure if I owe my love of Tavern Restaurant to (a) Suzanne Goin or (b) Jeffery Alan Mark - (good last name;)

  2. Ooh, must DVR.

    Marks - but close enough.