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Interview :: Claud Gurney of de Gournay

I’ve always admired the work of de Gournay. Renowned for exquisite hand-painted wallpapers, furnishings and porcelain, each de Gournay creation is simply a work of art. So I was thrilled to meet Rachel Cecil-Gurney, daughter of founder Claude Cecil Gurney recently in San Francisco. Rachel showed me first hand samples from their gorgeous collections. Not only are the designs inspiring, but the attention to detail and quality is outstanding.

Taken from my iphone, this St. Laurent wallpaper (below) was inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment and is one of my personal favorites.

St. Laurent wallpaper detail // de Gournay // simplified bee #wallpaper

I asked Rachel about de Gournay’s history and was surprised at the answer. Claud Gurney founded the London-based high-end luxury brand nearly 30 years ago, but didn’t start in design, but had an amazing mentor. I had to find out more and am thrilled to be interviewing him today.

chinoiserie wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

Simplified Bee: Tell us a little about your career and what led you to designing hand-painted wallcoverings and founding de Gournay?

Claud Gurney:  My career spans farming, accounting, consulting, economics, banking, property development and design ..  as you can imagine the joy of doing something creative won out over the drudge of finance and banking and I have never looked back.  I am a great believer that if you do what you love you have a good chance of being successful at it eventually and if you do what you don’t love you may as well be 6 feet under ..  There are lots of other narratives as to why I specifically ended up founding de Gournay around needing some wallpaper for my home and being quoted an outrageously high sum for the supply of that paper and quickly working out that it would be cheaper to set up my own firm than to buy from a company in New York ..  the rest is history ..

weeping willow wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB:  Who has been a mentor to you?

CG: My mother – taking me round to auction sales when I was very young – from 8 years onwards .. understanding how to buy and sell and how to appreciate value and to create value where others saw none.

 dining room // chinoiserie wallpaper de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB: How would you describe your personal style and how has it evolved over the years?

CG: I hope that I don’t have a style – at least I don’t try to project a style ..  so I shall leave that for others to judge.  I have a belief that one should only buy the best and thereby one is rarely disappointed – whether it is food or clothes or houses or racehorses.

green chinoiserie wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB: What type of architecture are you drawn to?

CG: It is hard not to be drawn to the maximum amount of light and simple lines with a combination of mainly rectangles and some curves.  I think that combining straight lines and curves well and creating light and space is key to goo architecture.  That means classical, some 18th century and some contemporary architecture.  Of course it all has to be adapted to the climate one is inhabiting ..

 hand-painted wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB: Which other designers, artists or creative people are you loving at the moment?

CG: I have always loved Manuel Canovas and Alezandra Gioia (who coloured Colony’s fabrics for many years) and John Stefanides for their ability with colour. There are not that many designers capable of mixing different colours and patterns well – but many who can work in black & white!

 workspace // silver fish wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB: Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?

CG: Alain Garcia seems to be the man of the moment and although I hate trends and fashions I love the way he can make so much from so little – he has a real decorator’s touch and it all seems so effortless for him.  I ma hoping he will design some wallpaper for us one day.

 nursery with elephant wallpaper // de Gournay // Simplified Bee(source)

SB: What is the process behind a de Gournay work?

CG: Art, art & art.

boy's room with deco monkeys wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB: I’ve loved seeing de Gournay in social media circles. What is your advice to other décor companies or interior designers or who are timid about trying social media marketing outlets?

CG: Like mathematics it is a dark art until one knows how to do it ..  once one has started to do it one finds it easy and it starts to become addictive ..  but like all addictions it should be tightly controlled.

bathroom with koi fish wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB: What are you looking forward to?

CG: Complete freedom for a little while followed soon thereafter by more projects and plans and new houses to build and decorate for myself ..  stopping, savoring,enjoying and moving on .. and starting all over again …

 

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Read full story By on October 28, 2014 in baby and children, baby nursery room, bathrooms, bedrooms, boy's bedroom, chinoiserie, dining rooms, Features, interior design, Interiors, Interviews, wallpaper

Halloween Decoration Ideas

Holy cow, Halloween is almost here and I’m behind the eight ball! My kids have been pointing out some of the homes in the neighborhood that have already decorated for the spooky holiday and asking when we will decorate our own home. This weekend I tell them knowing that I’ll have to keep my promise.

So to get me and many of you inspired and motivated for Halloween decorating, I’ve pulled several of my most popular images from my Halloween Pinterest board to share.

spooky fireplace mantel // halloween decorating ideas #halloween

Love this spooky fireplace mantel created by The Design Daredevil. She keeps to a black and white color palette which is also a fave for Halloween decorating.

no carve pumpkin decorating idea // halloween decor

No carve pumpkin decorating ideas are always up my alley. Love this spotted in Midwest Living with fluttering butterflies and harlequinlike masks.

DIY hanging spiders // halloween decorating ideas

 

Love this simple idea of hanging black paper spiders from helium balloons via DIY Studio. Super fun and easy Halloween project!

black cat pumpkins // halloween decorating ideas #cats

How clever at these black cat jack-o-lanterns? Such a fun way to greet trick-or-treaters!

We've Been Boo'd // Halloween Fun Ideas

Getting Boo’d is always fun for the kids. Love this door-tag idea – printable found here.

DIY mini carmel apples // halloween ideas #apples

Not decor, but really love these mini caramel apple idea via the Inspired Dreamer! Love that they are bit size! Totally going to try this.

Frozen Bananas & Yogurt Ghosts // Healthy Halloween Treats

These frozen bananas and yogurt ghosts are also a great Halloween treat idea for the kiddos. Healthy too! Here’s the recipe.

Don’t all of these creative Halloween decorating ideas and yummy treats get you in the mood to start decorating for Halloween?

happy decorating,

cristin

OTHER HALLOWEEN ARTICLES:

Halloween Decorating Ideas :: Witch Theme

Halloween Decorating Ideas :: Spiders

You’ve Been Boo’d

 

 

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Read full story By on October 9, 2014 in baby and children, DIY, Entertaining, Halloween, Holiday, Tips/Tricks

Color Crush :: Black and White Decor

disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links, which means Simplified Bee receives commission if you make a purchase using these links.

I’m typically a drawn to bold color, but found myself pinning lots of classic black and white recently. From bathrooms to kitchens, stairwells to nursery rooms, I’m sharing a few inspiring images of black and white decor that struck a cord in me.

black and white marble bathroom #designblack and white painted staircase #trianglesnursery with brass crib #baby #nurseryshine. C.S. Lewis #quoteblack kitchen cabinets #kitchensblack and white painted floor // Kelly Wearstlerimage sources: 1 bathroom // 2 painted staircase // 3 nursery // 4 C.S. Lewis print // 5 kitchen // 6 painted floor

Is black and white decor for you? If so, check out some of the fabulous items I’ve collected perfect for interiors in this timeless palette.

happy decorating,

cristin

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Read full story By on September 23, 2014 in baby and children, baby nursery room, Bathroom, brass, color, Interiors, Kitchen, pinterest

Darling Pink Peonies Picnic Birthday Party

 

Pink peonies are favorite, so I had to share this adorable picnic birthday party of little Mila I spotted on Pinterest.

pink peony picnic birthday party

How cute are the little gold crowns on each chair, fringe streamers and diy pinata letters spelling out the birthday girl’s name?!

Letter Pinatas - Birthday Party Ideaspink peony, citrus and gold metallic table runner #party

Love the little biodegradable  birch wood plates from eco-gecko topped with kumquats. And check out those gorgeous pink peonies in full bloom.

pink doughnut birthday cake

Donuts instead of cake or cupcakes? Why not.

drink table #picnic #birthday #party

At the end of the table a pair of drink dispensers from Pottery Barn are placed for guests to serve themselves. So simple.

pink and gold birthday partypink peony picnic birthday party table

 

Adorable right? For more images and links associated with this party, visit 100 Layer Cakelet!

happy entertaining,

cristin

*images by Jenna Elliot via 100 Layer Cakelet

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Read full story By on August 28, 2014 in baby and children, birthday party, Birthdays, color, craft, Entertaining, flowers, Parties, pinterest, tabletop