Last 7 days Popular Posts

Sunday, June 28, 2009


A client the was desiring their basement/media room to be cleaned up and rearranged. Splashing a deeper paint color on the back wall and moving a few nick knacks did the trick.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Make Decisions that Work with Your Lifestyle

Sometimes you have to translate the beautiful images that you see if magazines into real solutions that work for you! This gorgeous dining room that was featured in Traditional Home magazine demonstrates the warm, beautiful, textural quality of seagrass wallcoverings.

BUT, putting seagrass into your home can be expensive, more expensive than paint, and some of my clients with kids, worry that with pint-sized handprints, marker accidents, and worse, what is the point!! Luckily there is a solution, and great design need not be sacrificed!!

This image is from a clients home where we used vinyl seagrass in her entry. It look fantastic and the best part is that those grubby handprints, etc. can be washed off with a cleaning agent as strong as bleach without damaging the wallcovering in the slightest! Look at the difference from the "before" image below.

Another great trick is to add very select "faux" arrangements. We particularly love using faux succulents in places like the entry or anywhere that you could permantly use a little something pretty. Can you even believe this arrangment is not real!

Another practical design decision that might work for you is incorporating outdoor fabric into your indoors! These durable fabrics used by hotels and restaurants can make a lot of sense for you too. And the options just keep getting cuter as more and more designers get in the outdoor game like these outdoor fabrics designed by Trina Turk:

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Color Theory Basics

Color, or the lack there-of, is a critical design tool. The predominant color of a room is often responsible for setting the tone. This can be done by itself, say as a wall color, and/or in combination with pattern, furniture styles and textures of material.

Think about how you feel as you enter spaces or look at images and take note of the color palette at work. You may love the color red but being surrounded by so much energy, stimulation and intensity might leave you feeling drained or in the case of red in a bedroom - unable to sleep well. Colors alter moods and your personal "best" color palette may be different depending on what's going on in your life. Below we've included some monochromatic images of great interiors that really put color to use as a design dynamic.

RED: Red is a sensational, invigorating color. It is the color associated with passion, vitality, joy and strength. Red is often used in dining rooms as it is said to enhance the appetite for both food, conversation and fun. Unleash the power of red if you are looking to energize your life and your spirit.

PINK: Pink is technically just a tint of red (adding white) but it is such a an interesting color, psychologically, that we've decided to include it. Pink is a disarming color. It has been said that if you need to ask for a favor, you should do it wearing pink... as pink elicits the compassion in the heart. Pink encourages people to let down their guard and be themselves. Now that you know, think of all of the fabulous applications of pink in your house!!

ORANGE: Orange is interpreted by the human eye as a warm, exuberant color. Similar to red, orange promotes strength, stimulates and inspires but does so a little less boldly. On the darker side, orange can make you feel a sense of mystery and excitement. As more golden, the color can promote a sense of richness and quality. Light orange hues are often associated with youth and vitality. No wonder we love coral so much!

YELLOW: Yellow is a fabulous color that should be used carefully. Yellow can be a show-stopper. Light yellow is associated with sunshine, lightness, spontaneity and happiness. It is often reflective of intellectual curiosity. Bright yellow, however, is the color most often associated with anxiety. It is this color that we use culturally to grab attention or heed warning (think police caution tape/taxi-cab). As such, it tends to not be the most relaxing color. (not recommended for a baby nursery).

GREEN: Green is always a favorite interior color as it is easy on the eyes, and thus, restful. Green symbolizes growth, wellness, fertility and good health. Lighter greens suggests that it is time to relax, unwind, regenerate, renew. Dark shades of green promote a sense of stability and success. Green helps create a sense of safety and shelter in your home.

BLUE: Blue is wonderfully calming and tranquil. Blue is associated with wisdom, truth, loyalty and confidence. A light, ethereal blue produces a calming effect that is said to slow metabolism and lower anxiety. A cool blue heightens creativity and awareness. Dark Blue tends to create a more masculine atmosphere that exudes integrity and expertise.

PURPLE: Purple is interesting in that it is the most divisive of all the colors in that it usually elicits a strong reaction of either love or hate from people. It is an extremely dynamic color with more depth but just as much excitement as red. Purple is the color associated with royalty and it is lends to a perception of luxury, wealth and extravagance. It is also a good backdrop for creativity. Light purple creates romance and intrigue. Dark purple creates mystery and drama.

Determining what colors that you want to live in and live with should be a very personal decision. Ideally the colors that surround you in your home will be as enjoyable for you to look at as they are to live in. Clients are always amazed at how differently they feel in a room that has the right color combination for their (and their family's) energy.

Make an informed decision (assess what sort of color relationship is going on in the magazine images that are you immediately attracted) about whether you prefer analogous color schemes (bedroom - above left) or complementary color schemes (above- right). Colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel (remember ROY.G.BIV!?) tend to create a harmonious effect while colors that are opposite each other, or complementary, create a push-pull dynamic effect. In this case, you can see how differently yellow reacts next to red and orange (left) and next to a complementary lavender shade of blue (right).

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Simple Changes Big Impact

I just wanted to show a few photos of a clients kitchen. She has been wanting window treatments for years and finally had the opportunity to make it happen. All we did was choose a paint color, fabrics and what style of window treatment she wanted. Voila, the wonderful kitchen my client has desired.



Stage Coach Valence.

Paint Color: Sherwin Williams SW6130 Mannered Gold
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See What We're Working On

In future blogs we will talk about the step by step process of being your own designer but for now, we want to share some samples of our work with you.

Here is a rendering of the living room that we have proposed for one of our Manhattan Beach, CA clients. Our clients wanted to keep their existing sectional (see below) and the existing wall color but add a little something more exotic. They are both extremely active, tennis, hiking, mountain biking, etc. and have 3 great kids who are in high school and up. The clients knew that they wanted to tie the 2-part living room together and loved the banquette idea. Banquette, chairs and table, rugs and accessories are all on order so stay tuned for the finished installation shortly!!

To the left is the rendering for a now finished residential project, also in Manhattan Beach, CA. The clients in this case wanted to turn their kid's playroom into a more grown up space where they could relax and also use it as a guest bedroom. The sectional pulls out into a bed! We also proposed new accessories for the built in unit surrounding the new TV. We have featured some of our favorite images including the "before" and "after" below.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Meet the Team!

We would like to introduce you to our team and tell you a little about ourselves!

First meet Emily, head designer and principle of GEORGE Interior Design. This is a photograph of Emily in Tokyo earlier this Spring, standing in front of Shibuya Crossing. The busiest intersection in the WORLD! Emily has been in the design field for 6 years, prior to starting her own firm, GEORGE Interior Design. Emily worked as an interior design for Waterleaf Interiors in Manhattan Beach and KAA Design Group in Los Angeles. She spent 3 years fine-tuning her design education at UCLA Extension, amongst a very select group of individuals who graduated from the program. She also has a BA from Vanderbilt University.

Meet Chris, CFO and Strategic Operations for GEORGE ID:

This is a photo of Chris on his way to a charity gala. In addition to offering web design, strategy and accountability for GEORGE, Chris spends his time fishing, surfing and growing amazing vegetables that we all get to enjoy! Oh yeah, he's also Emily's husband.

Meet Felipe, Felipe helps us ensure that every detail of your custom furniture from the cushiness of the seat cushions to the appropriate seat height for your body is achieved in your custom furniture. And his beautiful work is priced the best in town.

Meet Richard. When our clients need gorgeous custom window treatments; drapery, natural woven shades, or even solar blinds, Richard is our man.

Meet Guido. When our clients need quality and affordable rugs, we turn to Guido for expertise and a huge variety of antique, reproduction, wool, cotton, sisal and seagrass rugs.

And last but not least, meet GEORGE!!! George gives us lots of inspiration and motivation. He is 5 lb. long-hair chihuahua filled to the brim with joy.
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What You Can Expect

Our aim at GEORGE Interior Design is to unveil the mysterious world of interior design for you. We hope to arm you with knowledge and an understanding of design essentials.
What you can expect to see in the upcoming months:


"Your home is an extension of yourself, so what are you all about?"

Color: How it makes you feel and what it says about you in your home.
Defining Your Style: See examples of great style and figure out what you identify with.
Planning: The importance of having a plan first which will meet your needs.


"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful," William Morris.
Rugs: Quality of materials to prices - REVEALED
Sofas: Where to buy 'em, what to look for.
Window Treatments: Custom vs. pre-made
Pillows: Importance of having them
Fabric: What type of fabric to use where and where to buy


Learn how to be your own interior designer.
Tools: What every designer needs to have handy.
Step By Step: The process of design from planning to execution.
Shop Like A Designer: Where to buy great stuff.
Creating Interest: The art of layering
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mixed Media Painting Techniques, Frottage and Grattage

                                                                 Frottage 1 - 24" x 36" Mixed Media Painting: Pastel, Acrylic, Gesso on Glassine

For this summer's program of continuing education (last summer I studied Architecture in Italy), I have embarked on a course in 'Mixed Media Painting Techniques' at Emily Carr University of Art. The course teaches the process of image-making on built surfaces and works with a range of materials such as gesso, plaster, paint, ink, charcoal, and various papers. I am learning to explore 'expression and emotion' through layering, drawing, brushwork, Frottage and Grattage following in the footsteps of the greats in mixed media painting like: Max Ernst, Mark Rothko, and Paul Klee. I particularly like my teacher, Diana Kubicek's style of teaching. She teaches us to explore the various techniques fearlessly and says repeatedly there are "no mistakes"in painting. As a matter of fact "mistakes can be the building block of a great masterpiece". I like that! I have always been interested in drawing and sketching since my days in Design School, but find that I never have the time to take a brush to paper and do larger abstract paintings and works of art. So this course is a perfect opportunity to allow myself the freedom to explore different mixed media painting techniques. The last class we spent exploring the technique of Frottage (from French frotter, "to rub") a surrealist and "automatic" method of creative production. Frottage was developed by Max Ernst.

Frottage 2  - 8
Frottage 2 - 18" x 24" Mixed Media Painting: Ink, Acrylic & Pastel on Paper

In frottage painting the artist takes a pencil or other drawing tool and makes a "rubbing" over a textured surface. The frottage drawing can be left as is or used as the basis for further refinement (which we are supposed to do for homework with the pieces we created in this class). While this technique is superficially similar to brass rubbing and other forms of rubbing intended to reproduce an existing subject, frottage painting differs in being aleatoric and occurring by chance. Frottage was developed by Max Ernst in 1925. Ernst was inspired by an ancient wooden floor where the grain of the planks had been accentuated by many years of scrubbing. The patterns of the graining suggested strange images to him. He captured these by laying sheets of paper on the floor and then rubbing over them with a soft pencil. In my Frottage Paintings 1, 2 and 4 the textured surface that I used to make the Frottage rubbing was a bamboo mat, string, and screen. In Frottage Painting 3, I did the rubbing over a Gessoed canvas that was prepared with the free form focus on the bark of a tree. As I was doing Frottage Painting 3, rubbing on the Gessoed canvas, it slowly evolved to resemble a Japanese mountain landscape with a waterfall collecting into a pool at the base of the mountain. Our teacher guided us in exploring this technique in creating our Frottage paintings which is based on Surrealist automatism*. *Automatism is a surrealist technique in painting, practiced without conscious aesthetic or moral self-censorship. Automatism has taken on many forms: the automatic painting and drawing initially (and still to this day) practiced by surrealists can be compared to similar, or perhaps parallel phenomena, such as the non-idiomatic improvisation of free jazz.

Frottage 3 - 18 

Frottage Painting 3 - 18" x 24" Pastel on tracing paper

Frottage 4 - 12

Frottage Painting 4 - 12" x 18" Mixed Media Painting: Acrylic & Gesso on paper

In the first class we explored the technique of mixed media painting starting with a base of Gesso


Study 1 - 11" x 14" Mixed Media Painting Technique: Gesso, Acrylic and Watercolor on Card Stock

Gesso is an art supply used as surface preparation or primer for painting and sculpting. Gesso is believed to have been developed in Italy, since the word gesso is Italian for 'chalk'. Preparation varies according to intended use, but usually consists of mixing glue with plaster, chalk, or gypsum. (Gesso is the perfect base for starting a mixed media painting.)

Gesso resembles paint, but is thinner and dries hard. Gesso is applied with a brush and must dry before the surface can be painted. This technique of applying Gesso was first created for use in painting, in order to give the surface the right properties to receive paint. In Gothic and Renaissance panel painting, the technique of applying gesso over a panel of wood was used in order to give the paint something to adhere to. It created a slightly rough surface and prevented the paint from seeping into the wood. We were taught to apply the Gesso to our surface of our mixed media painting with a palette knife using broad strokes to building up the surface. Then various tools are used to create the textures. In Study 1 I used a metal clay sculpting tool with a comb like ridge to scrape across the wet Gesso. I then used the edge of my pallet knife to scrape in the diagonal ridges, then finished off with blotting areas with a sponge. I let the piece dry and then applied watercolor and acrylic in layers to the painting, while at the same time using a roller to take off the excess wet color on the surface so that the paint pigment settled into the crevices of the Gesso. I used the side of my palette knife to scrape off the raised portions of the diagonal lines to reveal the white Gesso below - a technique called Grattage*. Also the Gesso doesn't extend to the edge of the paper and gives it an interesting border. *Grattage is a surrealist technique in mixed media painting in which (usually dry) paint is scraped off the canvas. It was employed by Max Ernst and Joan Miró

Detail of  11

Detail of Mixed Media Painting Technique: Study 1 above.


Study 2 - 10" x 10" Mixed Media Painting Technique: Masking Tape, Gesso and Watercolor on Glass


Study 3 - 7" x 10" Mixed Media Painting Technique: Gesso and Watercolor on Paper

Emily Carr University of Art  - Patricia Gray

Have you had any experience with Mixed Media Painting, Frottage or Grattage or other Mixed Media techniques?
Please let me know by leaving a Comment.

Abstract Art Slide Show 

Another post you might be interested in: Abstract Art - Go Big or Go Home

Patricia Gray writes about 'WHAT'S HOT 'in the world of Interior Design, new and emerging trends, modern design,
architecture, and travel, as well as how your surroundings can influence the world around you.
© Patricia Gray Interior Design Blog, 2009

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See Jane Work

I came across this great website during my blog surfing late last night. I just had to share this find. I have a few photos of some items I really like. To see the website click here.

Monogram paperweights

Jack and Lulu notes
My daughter has this case for her laptop.

Barcelona Document Bag
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