Monday, April 18, 2011

Thoughts on patterns

I once read about a designer who starts the design process in the closet of her clients, to get a feel for the styles and colors that the client gravitates to and feels comfortable in.  I wonder what a designer would think if he or she were to peer into my closet?  It is clear that I like solids in beautiful colors; in the winter there is a lot of green, gray, purple, blue, and camel (along with standard neutrals), in the spring/summer lighter shades of the same colors can be found. I am not afraid to try unusual hues – but as a redhead, I am very particular about the colors that I wear.  I also like things fairly tailored, although a beautiful style will sway me to be a bit more unstructured in certain clothing choices.  There are very few patterns in my clothing; if I buy something with a pattern, it has to really strike me either in color or design.

There are many similarities between my closet style and the style that I gravitate to in my home. My current home has very little pattern, although some can be found here and there. My favorite decor colors are blues and greens, anchored with neutrals, and the occasional burst of unusual hues.  Perhaps the best reflection of the style that I like can be found in my virtual home posts, such as the one I created at the beginning of 2010 (click here for post).  Looking more closely at the pictures, a few patterns make an appearance, but most of the fabrics are solid and soft colors.  If there are patterns, they tend to be subtle and fairly tone on tone (as seen in the curtains of this room by Gerrie Bremermann – this is one of my all time favorite rooms).

The designer that I am working with is known for her soft palette, beautiful fabrics, and fairly neutral color scheme.  One thing that has surprised me is the amount of pattern that is making its way into the design for the new house.  The foundational fabrics for the major upholstery pieces are solid and neutral, and the backdrop of the walls are neutral, but in just about every room there is an interesting pattern incorporated into the schematic.

Some of the patterned fabrics that we are using are from Galbraith & Paul.  Their designs are like little works of art; on the front page of their website, they describe their wares as “designed with an artist’s eye, made with a craftsman’s hands”. (Source)

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I love the pictures that Galbraith & Paul have on their website – it is an inside peek into their intricate design and production process.  The fabrics are designed by Liz Galbraith, and are described as “combining the bold graphics of Marimekko, the painterly qualities of The Bloomsbury Group, and the hand printed textures of William Morris textiles, Galbraith & Paul fabrics convey a subtle and elegant spirit all their own”.
As seen in these pictures, all of their patterns are hand block printed.  Because artistic and hand created nature of the process, customization of pattern and ground colors is possible. (Source)

This vignette from the Galbraith & Paul gallery shows the fabric from the production pictures (perhaps a different colorway?) in a room scene. (Source)

The Crosby Street Hotel in London uses Galbraith & Paul fabrics in some of their rooms. (Source)

This is my favorite look of pattern in a room – tone on tone, closely matching the colors of the walls. (Source)

A cheerful Galbraith & Paul fabric brings a lot of interest to this room. (Source)

Galbraith & Paul’s Tulip pattern is one of my favorites. It was the leading candidate for the master bedroom, but in the end we decided to use a Kerry Joyce fabric.  I am still hoping to use this fabric somewhere else in the house, though! (Source)

A charming Galbraith & Paul fabric on the pillows and chair.  To me, this is a great way to incorporate pattern into a room.  The feel is largely soothing and serene because of the colors, the rug, and the sofa, but the pattern brings in a more youthful energy.  The photo credit noted Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles – anyone know the designer?

My husband is looking forward to having a little more pattern and color in our house, and I love the patterns that we have chosen so far.  One of the reasons I hired such a seasoned designer is because I hoped that she would push me into a new direction, and I like the direction that she has chosen.  Who knows, maybe a little more pattern will even find its way into my closet!

Do you like to use patterns in your decor, and if so, where do you like to use pattern?  I am also curious if your closet reflects your style in decor.
For more information on Galbraith & Paul, please visit their website: http://www.galbraithandpaul.com

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  1. I, like you Holly, like pattern that is still soft and blends with walls, etc. These fabrics are all beautiful. Your house will be fabulous.

  2. I love the colors and patterns in today's post!

  3. My closet definitely does not reflect my taste in interiors since I don’t wear a lot of color or pattern but I decorate with it. I use subtle patterns like the curtains Gerrie used above, I don’t like pattern jumping out at me. These rooms though show a beautiful use of color and pattern.

  4. Great post! I love G&P! FYI- the designer of the room in the last photo is Alice Cramer.

  5. I have loved Galbraith and Paul designs for a long time! It is great to see the beautully crafted patterns featured here and hopefully in your new home. Great choice for your understated and elegant taste.

  6. Sorry - make that "beautifully" crafted patterns.

  7. "I hoped that she would push me into a new direction..." Yeah. For the pattern wimps at my house it took a pro to move us away from bland. We couldn't do it for ourselves. The very thought to going to the fabric or wallpaper store without a pro makes my head explode. Now we have leopard rug.

  8. Such sophisticated patterns and color ways. Love these fabrics. My clothing reflects my decorating style in my home somewhat, I wear a lot of linen in the summer in light neutrals. I guess I never thought of that before. Interesting!

  9. My home has patterns on all the window treatments and the addition of solids are in the toss pillows, a slipcover, a throw. My closet reflects contemporary solids and my home is more traditional.

  10. Hi Holly,

    Most of the pattern in my home is from the art, pillows and a soft patterned curtain for my office. Bright pillows and art excite me tremedously . My bedroom is very soft and restful though.

    Come and enter my fashionable giveaway from The French Basketeer!

    Art by Karena

  11. I probably like pattern a little too much ! I love seeing all these beautiful fabrics, especially how they are made.

  12. Holly, the more I see of your home the more I am loving it. I love the selection of fabrics being used and the color palette is wonderful. This is the fun part now!!!! The base of your home is impeccable and now all of the decorative touches are the icing on the perfect cake. Thank you for taking us along for the ride. Kathysue

  13. The G and P fabrics are exquisite. A wonderful choice for a beautiful home!!

  14. My closet is filled with solids but I love the patterns you've shown today. Loved those French chairs upholstered in the bold pattern with the fabulous table.

  15. Hey Holly, love the 1st image. Like Mona, my closet is filled with solids, only accessories have patterns. I love monochromatic color schemes which allow the people to fill the rooms to all all sorts of color. xx's

  16. Great thought process on looking into your closet and seeing what we really are drawn too.

    I enjoyed the photos of the design making on fabric.
    Great post.

  17. Fascinating to see wallpaper being made by hand--what if she makes a mistake--loved this conversation about pattern, and I can't wait to see what your new space looks like!

  18. Love the G&P fabric... was just on their site earlier this week.

    I think my closet shows a good bit about me--- lots of solids and neutrals!

  19. Closets or their favorite painting usually give a designer the best ideas of what a client loves for colours and textures.

  20. Galbraith and Paul are a favorite of mine! Love all the pictures!

  21. These are all so pretty...I could be wrong, but I think I have a post on my blog today, an interior by Amanda Nisbet, that features this very tulip pattern!

  22. Such beautiful fabrics...can hardly wait to see what you choose!!

  23. Holly,

    I love reading your posts. So many useful information and always delivering gorgeous images. You've great taste!

    I'm loving these fabrics. How elegant, huh?

    Now, I'm wondering the same thing... what a interior design would thing of me after seeing my closet. My guess? Gee... this girl is boring! LOL LOL

    Have a great day, Holly!


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

  24. What beautiful fabrics! I'm not much of a pattern person either, but when they are subtle and in fairly neutral tones, I tend to gravitate more towards them. Can't wait to see what you choose for you new home!

  25. One needs a flash light to look into my closet, everything is...black. I guess that is the New Yorker in me. However in summer,you will notice a sea of whites, pale greys and beige with a splash of lime green or orange. My interiors are more neutral base, but I am starting to bring in colors and textured exotic fabrics. I am installing a summer house to morrow fo which I have selected a few Galbraith and Paul fabrics. They have such intricate, slightly imperfect graphics in subdued tones and remind me of slightly faded fabrics I purchased years ago in India or morocco. Can't wait to see the finished house.

  26. Really interesting. Love seeing how Liz actually creates the patterns.

    I'm looking around...and there are not a ton of patterns in my house - except animal prints, some circular prints and some lines (both straight and zig zagged) that I see. Lots of neutral colors on upholstered furniture to anchor the rooms and then the fun in the accesorries and pillows.

    You have an amazing designer....I am anxious to see the final unveiling!

  27. Wonderful post - I love Galbraith & Paul but had never been to their website - and you know how much I love knowing the back story - so thank you. I have similar tailored tastes so I love to see how your house is progressing!

  28. I love that the patterns are soft, yet they bring much-needed interest to a space. Can't wait to see what you and Suzanne create!

  29. Hi Holly,

    I think that the no pattern thing is because you are a redhead. I, too, am a redhead and have never worn patterns. Perhaps they fight with my freckles! ;)


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