Gone with the Windows: Yes you need drapes, and no your husband can't hang them

Mood: Vivien Leigh has had it. 

Mood: Vivien Leigh has had it. 

As God as my witness, the first time I saw Gone with the Wind, my future working with interiors was solidified - "and I'd never be hungry again!" It was the summer of 1998, and just like every other red-blooded 10 year old American boy, my cable box was tuned to Turner Classic Movies for their presentation of the 1939 Oscar winner for Best Picture. 

Growing up just south of Atlanta, not a 20 minute drive from where the fictional Tara was to have been, and visiting the Maragret Mitchell house where the novel was penned, was enough to peak my interest something fierce. 

But nothing would compare to the first time I saw Scarlett O’Hara rip those green velvet drapes down from the parlor windows (so Mamie could make a dress suitable enough for Scarlett to abase/ visit Rhett Butler in pursuit of the $300 she needed for Tara’s tax bill). I was both fascinated and appalled. 

Drapery, I’d soon learn, could make or break the flow and continuity of a home’s design. It could tie things together, or make the whole look of a space seem cheap and démodé. Tara, Twelve Oaks, even Rhett Butler’s apartment in Atlanta was a testament to this; each property filled to the gills with thick, soaring drapery lavishly layering each window. 

Without a doubt, drapes are my favorite part of the design or redesign of any space. No other single element, save only a rug, can transform a space like well made, properly hung curtains. The right choice of fabric and trim can be both an aesthetic knockout and practically advantageous, while the wrong choices can actually detract from the beauty of a space or fail to stand the test of time. 

Before drapes. 

Before drapes. 

After drapes. 

After drapes. 

I can only imagine how hot it was to wear one of those hoop skirts over a set of pantaloons in 1860, long before the advent of air conditioning. Back then, the heaviness and weight to the drapery was an effort to keep hot air out and cool air in by insulating the windows from the outside elements. 

Last month, while on a trip through Italy, I toured the Pitti Palace in Florence and was floored by each room of opulent window treatments. The heavy textiles adorning the windows and secondary sheers, an example of drapery that’s been designed and fabricated with both practicality and aesthetics in mind. For centuries, Italian consumers and artisans have demanded the best and haven’t shied from color. They boldly mix pattern, patina and palette - they really go for it - not unlike the rooms of Tara that ache to be dignified, if not royal. 

I’ve gone ahead and made all of the mistakes for you and have put together some fast and loose rules for nailing the look and function of the drapes in your space: 

Functional, neutral panels, done in a P Kaufman slubby linen soften and unify the space in this Mount Pleasant home, while providing privacy when fully closed. 

Functional, neutral panels, done in a P Kaufman slubby linen soften and unify the space in this Mount Pleasant home, while providing privacy when fully closed. 

French pleated, muddy pink Belgian curtains break right at the floor of this Old Windemere home. The drapery hardware coordinates with the sconce and chandelier lighting, both by Kichler. 

French pleated, muddy pink Belgian curtains break right at the floor of this Old Windemere home. The drapery hardware coordinates with the sconce and chandelier lighting, both by Kichler. 

1. Yes - your space probably does need drapes. 

  • The real question is, will they be functional or not? Do you need to close these daily for privacy or light blocking or are they just needed to frame your windows? 

2. You’re only as good as your installer. 

  • You, your husband, step-dad, sister, sister-in-law or friend cannot install your drapes. Even if they can they probably shouldn’t. You should utilize a professional drapery installer to install the hardware and hang your panels at the proper length, breaking just above the floor. 
  • Friends, as I’ve said before, don’t let friends pool their drapery.
  • A good drapery installation can make mediocre drapes look great and high-end drapes look even more high end. On the other hand, even the best drapes and hardware, when hung improperly, will deflate the style and look of the space.
A Henredon chair mixes well with a canvas bordered seagrass rug and Italian Silk panels. The brass feet on the chair is echoed in the hardware. 

A Henredon chair mixes well with a canvas bordered seagrass rug and Italian Silk panels. The brass feet on the chair is echoed in the hardware. 

 

3. Don’t skimp on quality, heavy duty hardware that will work throughout your home.

  • Choosing a hardware finish that can work throughout your home, or in multiple rooms on the same floor, will make your life easier. 
  • Skip the telescoping rods - opt for a custom cut-to-size wrought iron rod and match your drapery rings, brackets and finials in one consistent finish. 
  • Consider a french return rod for a crisp but softened look. Say no to wooden rods and bulbous finials. 
An Alys Beach home uses French return rods, making them appear built in to the home. Velvet Lacefield pillows sit atop a pair of linen slip-covered Moss Studio sofas. 

An Alys Beach home uses French return rods, making them appear built in to the home. Velvet Lacefield pillows sit atop a pair of linen slip-covered Moss Studio sofas. 

4. Drapery should tie together many elements of the room in a harmonious, effortless way. 

  • It’s a heavy load to carry, but the drapes should make the upholstery fabric, rug, pillows, throws and other textiles all sing in concert with one another. 
  • Don’t rush your fabric choice, but rather, allow time to audition fabric and trim choices alongside the other elements of the room.

5. Reach out for an expert.

  • The go-to expert for all things drapery on my "team", Maggie Davern, a textile expert and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, says, "when in doubt, fuller panels are better". She recommends not skimping on panel width and "for the love of all things aesthetically pleasing, no swags, jabots or anything you saw come out of the decor of the 80's and 90s'." 
  • Utilize a designer to help you select the right fabrics and trim for their workroom to create custom drapery for your space. 

So while Scarlett O'hara's style, and the dramatic looks we see in the homes featured in Gone with the Wind, may no longer be in fashion, (just like pantaloons and fascinator bonnets) we can still borrow from the glamor of this time, carefully injecting the sense of opulent luxury into our own spaces. 

The biggest trend changes in drapery occur in their fabrication; how the curtains are cut, pleated and where and how they fall. Not unlike the changes we see in fashion, if you choose high quality, functional fabrics that you love, you can always rework, restyle and make what you already have feel new again. 

After all, tomorrow is another day! 

XO

Taylor 

Eat, Stay, Love: Atlanta

A mid-1980's advertising campaign for Atlanta that really went for it. 

A mid-1980's advertising campaign for Atlanta that really went for it. 

Welcome! You’ve made it to this, the 6th installment of READ. You’re comfortable with my inability to use commas correctly, you’ve accepted the level of snark and hopefully you’re both in it for the long haul and down for more questionably relevant music video links. 

Eat, Stay, Love will be a regular segment focusing on what to eat, where to stay and what we love about a different city with each installment. 

For the last several weeks, we were on site in Atlanta working on two projects ITP.  That’s 'inside the perimeter' for you non 404, 678, 770 folks. Having grown up outside of Atlanta and calling it home at times, I had many preconceived notions about what the time spent in town would be like. We strolled the beltline and we power-walked Piedmont Park. We survived the I-20 and I-85 detours and we ate a shameful amount of frosted oranges from The Varsity. 

 For a moment, we were starting to forget the smell of pluff mud at low-tide. 

If you too find yourself in Atlanta, outside the confines of Hartsfield Latoya Jackson Interagallatic Spaceport and Nail Emporuim and you're hungry, thirsty, or without fabric, furniture or inspiration, have I got the guide for you. 

First, you should feed yourself.  You are a total grump when you are hungry and Atlanta ain’t having none of that! 

EAT


Think about eating at Bacchanalia if you have no budget and want to do something very Atlanta.  A culinary landmark since 1993 (99’ in its last location),  their new digs alone look like reason enough for splurging at this celebrated spot. 

Consider, instead, your looming mortgage payment and think about The Optimist, not far away and also in West Midtown. 

I dig everything about the interior and I like the no frills approach to what is really a pretty down-to-earth menu. The food is fantastic, but this blog is about interiors, and that’s what you’ll fall in love with before you eat your first oyster there. 

I am aware that these are not ground breaking Atlanta food recommendations,  but rather tried and true spots that you never have to think twice about. I could also add Two Urban Licks and Taqueria del Sol to that list. 

STAY

Stay in and around midtown. It could be argued that some of the best hotels are in Buckhead, but if you’re drawn to Buckhead as a destination, I’m guessing I lost you as a reader several weeks ago when I suggested that you change the color of your grout on your own….and cook for your own dinner party. Don’t get it twisted, we’ll stay at The Saint Regis Buckhead any day, but car-centric Buckhead makes it hard to get a feel for Atlanta at her tree-lined, craftsman-home-having, glass & metal-high-rising, Piedmont Park-ing, cultural best. 

Far more interesting are neighborhoods like Edgewood, Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward and Grant Park which are treasures, though their hotel options slim. A stay in midtown puts you close to many of Atlanta’s neighborhoods that need to be explored. Hop on and off the belt line and see for yourself. It has transformed the city, challenging the status quo and driving up real estate values as it presses forward. 

That said, there is this tree house in Buckhead that I've always wanted to stay in. Apparently I am not alone, as it's the most desired Air-bnb property.

LOVE

 

Lots to love about a city that’s given us Coca-Cola, CNN, Civil Rights Heroes, Chic-fil-a and Baton Bob. 

I’m loving the work of R. LandPray for ATL has got to be one of the best pop art campaigns to ever come out of Atlanta. The man behind the prayer hands couldn’t be a more interesting person and celebrates the new-comer melting pot that Atlanta has become in brilliant ways. If I had it my way, every project would have their own set of Pray for ATL prayer hands. 

You’ll also love the High Museum. Andy Warhol: Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, opens June 3rd and you best believe we will be there when we are back in Atlanta this summer. 

You may love West Midtown. 

 I’ve always had a heart for West Midtown, which somehow has both an up-and-coming and she-done-already-done-had-herses feel to it. Walking south near Howell Mill, there is a goat farm from which you can see a three-story Room and Board store. The juxtaposition of old Atlanta and new. Looking across the street, you squint, thinking to yourself, “that is an Anthropologie.”  Crossing the street, you notice sidewalks, nostalgically peppered with random chicken bones, but there in the distance, you see the beauty that is Sid Mashburn

There is not an occasion for which one could not dress themselves at Sid Mashburn. Their sales people are beautiful and brilliant, their interior flawless and they know it.  But, not in that way that is obnoxious. They are cooler than you, but they don’t have to tell you that. And by you, I certainly mean me, too. 

They have tailors on site, the most thoughtful offering of accessories and small goods you can imagine and they have a firm handle on what will look good now and stand the test of time. 

Try convincing yourself you don’t need everything in the store, or that Sid’s salesmen don’t look badass and chic with their above-the-ankle-pant-break. 

Tucked not far off Howell Mill Road are two other must-stop institutions on the Atlanta design map, Forsyth Fabrics and Lewis and Sharon Textiles. As a kid, I spent countless hours here with my mom parsing through aisle after aisle packed with bolts of fabric. If you are seeking inspiration for a project, between the two of these places, you are bound to find the inspiration you’re after. If instead you know exactly what you’re looking for, chances are they’ll be able to snag it for you. Lewis and Sharon tends to be more forward-thinking in their selection and is often where I find fabric that best fits my clients' and my own taste.  

You’ll really love Scott’s Antique - second weekend of every month and worth the trek. 

Need a taxidermy zebra bust? Are you hoping to find a full size 1950's vinyl upholstered lunch counter? Searching for boxes of old Nat Geos?  (I could go on…) Between the North and South buildings, you will find the most eclectic mix of antiques, furniture, upholstery, rugs and art running the gamut from true treasures to just plain junk. 

Scott's is where I find a lot of unique, finishing pieces that give the room a sense of place and a sense of history. I love using vintage school room maps to do just that and Scott's has several vendors that carry them. 

Unlike a lot of antique malls and shops, filled to the gills with walls of chalk-painted dressers stripped of their hardware, Scott’s tends to attract many vendors with a real commitment to and knowledge of their niche. Though there is plenty of hobby-level/DIYer pieces sprinkled throughout, you’ll find that there is a great variety of original antiques, quality reproductions, original art and straight-from-NC upholsterers that come and present their wares each month.  

Here are some of my favorite finds from some recent trips: 

Scott’s is a lot of fun - I have lost track of time and money there more often than I haven’t. If you’re into interiors that are collected and thoughtful with fun, vintage items, then you will be among your people. 

The diversity of what’s available is a great way to open your eyes and shake up preconceived notions you may have about your own space, or a project you’re working on.  Quite often, we institute rules for our spaces, whether conscious or not. We decide what is and what isn’t allowed. We set these same rules for ourselves, too. Sometimes the rules are of our own creation. Other times the rules we have set for ourselves are silently adopted as we grow up and aren't questioned until years, maybe decades later, as has been my experience. 

To spend a day walking through Scott’s is to blow up your ideas about what is and what isn’t allowed in your space and to see all the possibilities - every color available in the biggest box of crayons there is and a hundred examples of coloring way outside of the lines, using every last crayon! 

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This visit, I had the pleasure of crossing paths with Carson Kressley whose whole career, really, is all about telling people to go for it when they need to hear it the most. The only hard rule he embraces is that it's got to be fun, and maybe it's got to push you a little bit out of your comfort zone, too. 

Scott’s Antique market is the second weekend of every month. Plan your trip, eat some great food and get to breaking all those rules you’ve set for yourself. No guarantees that you'll run into these two though.....

Your life is right now: Forever homes, family heirlooms and other myths

Photo of my first house, by Jared Bramblett @jtbramblett 

Photo of my first house, by Jared Bramblett @jtbramblett 

Several years ago, a friend shared a quote with me that I’ve kept close since:

Your Life is right now. It’s not later. It’s not in that time of retirement. Its not when the lover gets here. It’s not when you’ve moved into the new house. It’s not when you get the better job. Your life is right now. It’ll always be right now.
— Esther Hicks

Overtime, it’s become like a mantra for me;  mostly because I am wired to not accept a single word of it and need to be reminded of it regularly. Not happy with your living situation? Move. Hate your sofa? Find a new one. Live in the present. Only you are responsible for your happiness.

In this season of my life, I was single, back living in downtown Charleston (again) after living in Atlanta for some time and working from home at a job I wasn’t thrilled about. Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” was #1 on the music charts, Lindsay Lohan still didn’t have her act together, “Girls” was debuting on HBO, and the term “selfie” first worked its way into our popular lexicon. Still waiting on it to work its way out. 

In the fall of 2012, feeling confident about my choice to move back to Charleston, and ready to stop lighting my money on fire with rent every month,  I bought a Freedman’s Cottage on the south end of Hampton Park in downtown Charleston. Having only seen one other home on the market, the moment I opened the cannonball counterweighted gate, saw the original 1912 hardwoods and learned what a Freedman’s cottage was, I knew instantly that all 792 square feet had my name on it. 

This was going to be home ownership, but it was also an act of taking ownership of my own happiness and investing in a slice of a city I loved so much.

The night I moved in was an all-nighter. I was so proud of every square inch, I wanted to have the furniture laid out and all of my art up on the walls asap. I remember listening to music, sweeping off the front porch and painting the trim until the twighlight hours. Running on nothing but adrenaline, I watched the sun come up while I Googled what I could do with the Japanese Loquat tree in my new front yard.

I don’t think I’ll ever feel that same sense of excitement and possibility about a space, or a time in my life, again, but I’m lucky to get a taste of it each time I have an initial consultation with a client who is ready to invest in and transform their own space. 

By morning, sitting with coffee on my new front porch, I legitimately thought - this is it, this is my home and I’m totally content to live here with just me and my dog forever. I don’t need anyone, I thought, but I do need all new furniture and art. After all, my life is right now and this is my forever home, it’s time to invest in the space I spend so much time in

New sofa, all vintage rugs, paint on the walls, a budget-conscious mixture of handed-down-from-family furniture, flea market finds and chairs that were more than my mortgage. I was all-in when it came to making my house a home.  I got quotes for custom drapery, there were plans to wallpaper the hallway, add quartz counters, recessed lighting (super historically accurate for a 1912 cottage) and path lighting in the courtyard for stumble-y evenings. 

I went down to the Special Collections Room at the College of Charleston to research anything I could find about the house, the neighborhood and all who called it home. I found photos, tax records, news stories and advertisements selling tracts of land in "that excellent property" we now call Hampton Park Terrace. 

Exactly 30 days after closing on my “forever home”, I met my now husband (12/12/12 y’all). After talking for approximately 15 minutes, realizing after 10 that this was someone I was going to marry, I began to survey the closet space in my new home of 4 weeks. As our second drinks arrived at the table, I had determined that forever could be a really relative term to apply to a house. 

Should I really be making all of these changes and buying all of these things? Is this really my forever home? Can two grown-ass men share 792 square feet of a 100 year old home with an extremely needy Bulldog? 

These are pretty consistent things I hear from people in their homes (minus the bulldog part) - "This isn’t our forever home, we don't want to spend the money on ______".  "What if we have to move for a job?" "We CANT get rid of this ( totally not working antique) because our Aunt Such-and-Such bequeathed it to us in her will!" Or, "I don’t want to spend money on that, I just want something to fill the space and look good until (insert life milestone)." 

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Plenty of people have every excuse not to invest in the space they spend so much time in. They’ll willingly hold onto furniture they dislike, even spending money to move and store it, maybe out of a sense of obligation or maybe because they've never furnished their home any other way. "We hate it, but this cherry wood bedroom set from my parents is fine for now I guess." 

But the truth is, if you’re intentional and calculated with your purchases, you should aim to buy pieces that are high quality and transitional enough to exist in a handful of spaces, as your tastes, needs and address will likely change over time. 

Long story short - is any home your forever home? Married, settled, at-the-ideal-job, with kids, without them, if it’s a well-designed, thoughtful interior space you wish to come home to each day - life is short and your life is right now.  If we are really aiming for that carpe diem lifestyle, then it is unreasonable not to invest in making your home a welcoming, functional space for you and those you love the most. 

Not to get too sappy - but we firmly believe that small changes in your space can have a great impact on the lifestyle in your home. Many of the clients we work with have a story to tell when they first call on us for design services - a loss of loved one, the purchase of a new home, a new little addition to a young family, a divorce or a sudden urge for a fresh change. 

In each case, our job designing their space is equal parts determining what look they want, understanding why they are hiring a designer and, in a lot of ways, giving them permission to go for it!

These are some sure-fire places to spend your design dollars that will stand the test of time and translate into your next space: 

  • Invest in good rugs. They will last forever and you can roll them up. 

  • Resist buying a sectional, Opt for a reasonable size sofa that can work in multiple settings. 

  • Buy good art and take it with you. 

  • Bedding. It's 1/3rd of your life, people! 

  • Just say no to family “heirlooms” that aren’t special to you. 

I made plenty of mistakes furnishing my 792 square feet of joy. I took on pieces from family that ultimately weren’t a good fit for the space, and I bought just as many things for that home that I still have as have been donated to Good Will or given to friends. But the quality, core pieces I bought 5 years ago are mostly in active use, repurposed in some new context that makes me love them all over again. 

I approach each new project in this way, too, making sure that, even if my client isn't in their forever home, they make room in their budget to buy some forever pieces that will stay with them as they move on. There's never an advantage in putting off creating the life, and the home, you know you want. If you were waiting for permission, well, now you've got it. 

xoxo

Taylor

Weekend Edition: Party with a Design Purpose

A chic dinner party at the home of @RichardWheelerDesigns with a fabulous tablescape lit only by candles. 

A chic dinner party at the home of @RichardWheelerDesigns with a fabulous tablescape lit only by candles. 

A casual Lowcountry boil on the front porch celebrating my husband's birthday. 

A casual Lowcountry boil on the front porch celebrating my husband's birthday. 

Recently, I scheduled a dinner party several weeks out on the calendar to have at my house. Nothing fancy, just 4 or 5 people coming over, an easy week night favorite like a London broil or Ina’s Chicken. The placemats and the size of the crowd alone make the whole thing feel fancy and a thing.  You ask Alexa to play the Verve Remixed (2) and you use the good wine glasses!  

Yes- I’ve read it all - every New York Times article about the decline of dinner parties, that we aren’t having them and that we aren’t hosting them like we once did. And, in preparation for such rare meals, I’ve listened to the Dinner Party Download so I can make thoughtful, witty banter with my collected group of guests. Yes, I am a buyer of cook books, but not a maker of recipes. I love having people over, but hate to clean up. 

But, no - this isn’t a post about food, or getting together with friends (and that everyone should know at least one person, but everyone at that table shouldn’t know everyone). This isn’t that I think you should use chargers and set the table before guests arrive, having lit candles hours before, pouring yourself a full glass of wine 15 minutes prior to guest arrival. 

It's that oftentimes we need an event as a milestone to step up our game - we need to know that 4 to 5 (hopefully) wildly interesting individuals have committed to coming over and that we too must commit to finishing that totally tackle-able, but put-off project we've been neglecting.

As the weekend is upon us, I got to thinking about some high impact, low cost changes you can make in your space that wouldn’t take more than a weekend to install or complete (with a little advance design work!). 

Change your grout color. 

 Same tile, different grout color. 

 Same tile, different grout color. 

One of the biggest mistakes I made in the design of our personal kitchen was my choice in grout color. Let’s just say that the brighter grout did not play nicely with the deep-fried, cast ironed, smoke alarm blaring lifestyle it would come to know at the DeBartola-Shalosky household. 

Now, whether your grout is discoloring or not, switching up the color can be a total game changer for the look and feel of your kitchen and can easily be done over the course of a weekend as a DIY (for the brave and strong forearmed) or hired out for a couple hours of labor. The product you need is Mapei Grout Refresh. It comes in a variety of colors, making it easy to find one that works with your counters, cabinetry and tile. 

Marie Kondo the shit out of your place. 

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Get the book, read the book and take the weekend to go all Japanese art of organizing on your place. I like that she asks each of us to ask all of our belongings whether they spark joy in us - it’s an essential philosophy to adopt in life, especially with interior design.  It seems the world over has universally adopted Ms. Kondo as the authority on bringing order and peace to the spaces around us. I have promised myself that I am taking 3 days to complete the job at our house. Truth is, no design job should start until the entire house is decluttered and reduced only to the items that truly inspire us. 

Change your hardware, change your life.

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The oldest trick in the book. Try out a few one-off until you find the right fit and then replace them all. If it’s something you’re touching every day - the tactile stuff, the door handles, the cabinet pulls - these are all things that deserve your careful consideration. They can make something feel a little weightier, a bit more substantial and that goes a long way.

Once you decide on an option, you can knock out the switch in an afternoon and a half bottle of wine. 

Take one thing away.

Diana Vreeland, pictured in her New York City apartment, which she wanted to look like "a garden in hell". 

Diana Vreeland, pictured in her New York City apartment, which she wanted to look like "a garden in hell". 

It’s just like the Coco Chanel quote, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off." I don’t think there’s any better advice for those designing or redesigning their space.

I find often, upon initial consultations with families, that there is a ton of extra furniture in rooms that’s inhibiting the use of the room, or making it feel smaller than it actually is. There is furniture that is not serving a purpose or - most often - wasn't intentionally purchased for the space and just doesn't work where they have it. Some of it could work and some of it never will. 

I’m with Coco - you’re probably better off with a touch less going on of whatever it is you have going on…whether your look is minimal or layers on layers for days. 

As a project, take the weekend to work through each room in your home, identifying dead weight. “If this room were an outfit, what piece would not look right with the other elements of the ensemble?” Set a goal to eliminate just one thing from each room that’s not working for it (see #2 "Spark Joy").  Repeat and repeat until you’re ready to intentionally fill your space with items you love that make functional sense in your home. 

As a service, making these decisions with our clients is something we love doing at Taylor DeBartola Interior Design. An on-site or virtual e-consultation walk-through of a home with a client gives us the chance to give feedback on what furniture works and what furniture and decor is not working, as well as suggest what changes the designer would make in the room. 

For some clients, having a roadmap and concrete suggestions (and a trusted opinion about their home) is all they require to get an idea of what they need to implement on their own. It's a great way to find out what low-investment, high-impact projects you could tackle over a weekend that can create big changes in the look and feel of your space. 

And for other clients, the initial consultation is the start of working with the designer to look at each room, determining the needs and constraints of the project, the scope and developing a budget and timeline to complete the work. 

Whatever project it is you’re trying to finally tackle - set a dinner party due date for yourself where the reward is a happy group of friends, clinking wine glasses and complimenting you on a job well done and the punishment, if you don't finish, is that same group of friends, still clinking wine glasses, but just waiting for you to explain why there’s brown tarp and painter's tape all over the dining room. 

Cheers to the weekend! 

Taylor 

 

5 Things Inspiring Me Right Now

1. Betwixt and Between, an art installation at The Gibbes Museum

    The Gibbes has long been a go-to place for inspiration, the coldest AC in Charleston and thoughtfully curated collections and shows. Time spent at The Gibbes always feels like a vacation from the real world. 

    Betwixt and Between, an installation by sculptor Patrick Dougherty, is just that - otherworldly. Comprised entirely of found sticks, branches, twine and vine locally, the work spans from the ground of the 2nd floor atrium up to the ceiling of the 3rd floor. 

It forces you to walk in, around and under it. It smells like the woods - old branches and some freshly cut. It is fantastic and it has to be seen in person. A great, unexpected treat on view through next Spring. 

 

2. The Jasmine is in full bloom. 

    If you know, you know. Yes, it's that magical couple of days in Charleston when the jasmine first blooms and everything smells how you'd imagine actual heaven will smell. 

   This photo is courtesy of The Historic Charleston Foundation's Instagram account. This account is a must-follow, but it’s best enjoyed alongside their Director of Musuems’ account @Laurendownsouth, which could have made this list on its own. @Laurendownsouth is one of my best Insta-finds of the year. Her prolific, funny, down-to-earth and authentic feed will make you want to repaint all of the trim in your home a historically accurate color, it will make you want to hang plates on your wall, it will make you laugh and you just may learn something. 

3. This 1983 Soul Train Performance of Just be Good to Me by the SOS Band. 

   This song was way ahead of its time and has been in near constant rotation for the last several weeks. This video also confirms that I was born a couple decades late because I would have killed it on that Soul Train dance floor. 

4.  Everything at The George Gallery

   It would be easier to say what’s not inspiring at The George Gallery. The George, situated on Bogard in Elliotborough, is the best collection of contemporary American art in Charleston. Owner Anne Siegfried has a wealth of knowledge on the art world and (bonus!) she’s a delightful person. As Anne says, she’s interested in what’s happening right now in the art world which she describes as “having a large vocabulary and little rules.” Run, don’t walk to The George Gallery or enjoy their visual catalog here

   This piece (above), Tom Stanley’s “Untitled” is pure magic and available through the gallery. Tom Stanley: Scratching the Surface, an exhibition of his work, opens May 19th at The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. 

5. Michael Bargo’s Brooklyn Heights Apartment

   Last week’s T: The New York Times Style Magazine featured Michael Bargo’s Brooklyn Heights apartment, where everything is fabulous and everything is for sale. The pieces in his apartment, ever rotating and changing, run the gamut from leopard sofas, Noguchi lamps and gilded mirrors to seemingly every art, fashion and design book ever made. Stop reading this and follow him on instagram, too! (@MichaelBargo)

xoxo

Taylor     

What's love got to do with it?

How to design a home that tells your story

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I hear you, Tina! What is love, but if only a second hand emotion? I can’t answer that, but I do know that the things we love the most in client’s homes are almost always second hand, vintage, found or passed down from a family member. Not necessarily things of grand value, but objects of unexpected beauty that turn a furnished house into a thoughtful, well designed home. 

If you’re working with a designer (and maybe even not), you may ask yourself,  "How can I make sure that my home is telling my story? Is it a unique expression of me - as opposed to someone else’s Pinterest board or one of the 50 catalogs arriving in the mail weekly?" 

In my last post (okay, first ever post), I mentioned that soft spaces/ soft goods should be a priority in your budget - and they should. But, you should budget more time on the accessorizing/finishing-touches part of the process. Working with a designer will certainly help speed things along, but it takes an editor’s eye to make sure your space looks intentional, dynamic, layered and the opposite of rushed! 

Once your home is furnished, the drapes have been hung and you've decided on all the big pieces, the rest of your story will be told via the accessories, objects and books you and your designer choose.

The books you fill your home with are like a résumé for your personality, and like any good résumé it should showcase what you’ve got, where you’ve been and what you’ve learned along the way. Your travels, your interests, the things that are important to you, should all be translated into your space. Big, beautiful books help you do that. More is more when it comes to books. 

For some clients, it’s as easy as us “shopping” the house, pulling pieces from closets, books off shelves, and forgotten boxes packed in the attic. For others, without treasure troves of items hidden throughout their house, it’s a matter of figuring out what their story is and developing a design plan with objects that tell that story effectively. 

Snapshots from your trip to Europe, an owner’s manual from a 1929 Cadillac, and that piece of coral you found at Sullivan’s Island - these are the most interesting elements of a room to us because they tell the story of who you are, who your family is and what you value. A heavy rotary phone your grandfather used to make sales calls in the 60’s, old cigar boxes, a carved wooden bowl you bought in Mexico, plates you inherited from a great aunt - these will do the heavy lifting!

What story are the objects and books that surround you in your home telling? And is that story authentic to who you are and how you see yourself? If not, it’s time to start focusing your design energy on re-writing that story one object at a time. 

  • Start with an inventory of what you have that you love, gather it all in one place
  • Assess the areas you want to tackle accessory-wise
  • Determine where existing items will go - change it up! 
  • Make a list of items you feel you’re lacking by size, color and vibe
  • Take pictures of the areas you’re working on so you can reference them when you’re out hunting 
  • Before buying anything, ask yourself: do I love it? If you love it, it will probably go. If you're not sure - that is what we are here for! 

Surround yourself with only the things you love - the things that matter - and watch how that transforms not just the lifestyle in your space, but your relationship with your own story, your own past. 

Where to begin?

You gotta start somewhere, as they say, so I'm starting with an introduction! A firm virtual handshake and a brand new headshot taken on a bright and sunshine-y day (Am I doing this blog thing right so far?) 

 I'm Taylor, a designer in Charleston, SC who helps people create their best home, in budget and chock-full of unique, vintage pieces. 

Taylor DeBartola Interior Design believes in an eclectic blend of modern, vintage and found objects in every project. We believe that the rug is the soul of the room. We love old things presented in new, fresh ways. We think art should be weird and inspired and that drapes finish a room like nothing else. 

We also love the beginning - the beginning of a construction project, empty shelves waiting for decor, and empty rooms itching to be filled with life! 

The number one question we get from decor clients, staring blankly at an empty room in their home, is where to start? What comes first? 

We start from the outside walls and work inward, beginning with the rug. A rug, alone, can change your perception of a room more than any other piece. The color palette of the rug can often send us organically towards a more fleshed out color concept for the room, even influencing the art we will hang, the shade of the walls or texture of the drapery. The rug is the secret sauce of your room and it's best added to the recipe early. 

Starting out, our advice to all clients is to spend the majority of their budget on the soft spaces - a beautiful, vintage handmade rug, custom drapery, down-filled pillows and functional upholstered seating and sofas that will stand the test of time. No matter the spend, your rug and sofa selection should be a healthy portion of the budget of a living space. Invest in these pieces and never look back! 

We are excited about this new beginning, too. This blog, "READ", will focus on interiors; we will answer common design-dilemma questions, we will tell you what store to find that awesome pillow you've got to have and where to eat, stay and shop in our favorite cities. And just like the spaces we design, we enjoy a funky mix of normal, necessary, new and niche people, places, things and experiences - and we'll bring them to you here!

Please take some time to explore our website, Houzz and Instagram accounts to get familiar with Taylor DeBartola Interior Design - we can't wait to help you with your new beginning, too! 

Cheers to getting started, 

xo

Taylor