Dancing Bears

In Tahoe we love our bears. Here are a couple of ways to incorporate bears into your interiors...

High End:

Isn't this cabinet from Ty Loyola charming?

Hand-carved and hand-painted Ty Lyola Dancing Bears Cabinet (for more information, click here)

Not everyone can afford this adorable hand-carved hand-painted custom-made cabinet, but if you can...this is the one to splurge on. I call this a room-maker! 48" wide x 36" high. $7950

"Low" End:

I spotted this piece of artwork by Cathy McClelland on a recent artists' tour in Tahoe. It's called Acceptance of Transitions.

The original painting was $3200 but you can order giclee's for as little as $150 (click here).

This charming painting reminds me so much of autumn on my favorite Blackwood Canyon hike when the Aspens are dropping their leaves. It looks just like this and the air and forest floor is filled with dreamy floating yellow polka dots as the leaves float to the ground. It always makes me feel like throwing up my arms and dancing, too.

Did you know there are many actual photos of bears raising their arms to the skies like this. It's true! I wonder if they are actually dancing, too...

What to do About Dark Painted Beams

The Lake Tahoe area, where I am a designer, experienced a building boom in the 1970's.  Unfortunately, many of the styles that were popular in the 70's have not stood the test of time well.  Because so many of the houses in Tahoe are second homes and are not kept up as well as primary residences, I often am called into a 70's interior which has been left perfectly intact--down to the orange shag carpeting, olive appliances and black or deep chocolate painted beams.  

Dark Painted Ugly 70's Beams

The perennial question is, "What can we do about these beams?"  Clients have tried sandblasting or scraping them, but my experience is that these are expensive and not necessarily satisfying solutions.  I've found that paint works best.

If the budget is ample, there are faux artists that can make the beams look like natural wood beams.  My favorite local artist is George Zaffle of Truckee, California (and he does travel around the country).  The photo below is a before pic of one of my projects, a 70's Tahoe house where the black beams had been painted over in an even worse pale mauve paint.

Before--Pale Mauve Beams

And below, the same house with beams that have been painted to look like natural wood.

After faux painting.

Here are some close-up shots of those same beams:

Faux Painted Beam Detail

I am currently working on this master suite, below.  As you can see the dark beams are heavy, oppressive and very dated looking in this room.  

Master Suite Before Beams

Below you see beam painting in progress.  The new lighter color will lift the ceiling and allow the new furnishings to be the show.  Before, the room was all beams.

New Beam Painting in Progress

If the budget is tight, I often simply recommend painting the beams a better color.  In the photo below, the beams have been painted white.  This works really well with walls that have some substantial color depth as do these cocoa colored walls.  

White Painted Beams

I particularly like beams that are painted a mushroom or taupe color.  If the beams were previously stained, you can select a stain and simply stain right over the top.  However, if the beams were painted, you will need to use paint.  The photos below shows a light mushroom paint color.  For mountain homes, I would recommend a somewhat deeper color.  

Mushroom Colored Paint--Go Deeper for Mountain Homes
The deeper mushroom color below works really well for me.  It looks modern and attractive and completely goes with the updated interior.  This would be appropriate in most mountain homes.

There are also some lovely grey colors that will work for beams.  For mountain homes, try to keep the greys warm and slightly woodsey or taupey.  This way they will look a bit more like natural beams.

Taking Inspiration From a Walk in the Woods

Beautiful design inspiration is all around us.  We need only stop a moment and drink in nature's glory.

Inspiring color schemes...

Uplifting elements become themes....

I take these wondrous images home from my afternoon walk and mull them around in my mind.  Ideas surface and retreat.  Finally a single idea comes to rest.  

Fabrics that reflect the colors and patterns of the beauty I see in my Tahoe world.  

Cheveyo in Pinecone from Kirkby Design  $109 per yard

Etamine Neuchatel  $249 per yard

Etamine Cassinoix  $165 per yard.  Click here for other colorways.

All fabrics available to order through Dragonfly Designs.  Call 530 583-6076 or email dragonflytahoe@att.net.

Axel Vervoordt's Family Vacation Home in the Swiss Alps

In last week's posting I made mention of Axel Vervoordt. It got me thinking that I had seen some beautiful images of his personal family cabin in the mountains outside of Verbier. A little digging on the internet and voila! Enjoy these photos of his beautiful chalet...but, first a little background on the man himself.

Since 1968, Vervoordt has been collecting, restoring and dealing quality antiques to high level collectors, designers and showrooms around the world. His top-tiered clientele include Sting, Rose Tarlow, Bill Gates, Paul Wiseman, Bill Blass and many, many more names we all recognize. Over the years his company has grown to include 100 craftsmen, restorers, designers and project leaders. With the growth of his reputation he has become a world class interior designer and his unique style has influenced current popular design tremendously.

"I consider myself a very eclectic collector and dealer, I treasure the timeless and disdain the trendy. My taste spans centuries, continents and economic strata. I love the tension between different objects and different cultures. And I always let the space I am restoring inspire me." --Axel Vervoordt

I think of this room as being classic Vervoordt style, the combining of the simple and the rustic with inviting linen covered seating. With Vervoordt there's always lots of empty space and beautifully detailed architecture.

This amazingly huge coffee table and over-sized upholstery works beautifully in an uncluttered room.

Vervoordt knows antiques and here, in this more traditional room, above, he adds valuable collected pieces and a little color for a cozy but sophisticated look.

A colorful collection of carpets and antique boxes line an enormous built-in banquette.

Old stone floors, simple sisal matting, unique and rare antiques, neutral colors, exciting architecture.

Cabin Curtains

Ready made curtain panels from English Home.  Adorable with European mountain-style chalet pine detailing!

Pair them with:

Area Rug from New River Artisans

Pierre Frey Erevan Wallpaper

Toss Pillows from English Home