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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

Friday Find :: Schumacher 125th Anniversary

Schumacher turns 125! In celebration, the legendary American textile company is pulling from its archives some of its most iconic patterns and reinterpreting them for today. Schumacher’s 125th Anniversary collection consists of a wide variety of patterns that span different influences, periods, and styles. It’s fabulous and I can’t pick a favorite, but have narrowed a few to share for this week’s Friday Find:

citrus garden // schumacher fabric #citrus #fabric

Citrus Garden – Based on an archival botanical pattern that acclaimed midcentury architect Josef Frank designed for the house in 1947

Flame Stitch // Schumacher Fabrics #blue

Valkyrie Flame Stitch – First introduced in 1972, this classic motif traces its roots to 15th century central Europe

Shengyou Toile in indigo // Schumacher 125 Anniversary Fabrics #chinoiserie

Shengyou Toile – Hand drawn toile based on an 18th-century Oberkampf document by Jean-Baptiste Pillement, a court painter to Marie Antoinette

Indian Arbre Fabric // Schumacher 125th Anniversary Collection #textiles #blue

Indian Arbre – Featuring the timeless tree of life pattern, this hand-painted fabric is inspired by traditional Indian palampore that was first introduced to Europe in the 17th century

Congratulations Schumacher and here’s to 125 more fabulous years!

happy decorating,

cristin

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Read full story By on October 10, 2014 in antiques, chinoiserie, Features, Friday Finds, mid-century modern, textiles, upholstery

Design Reveal :: Marble Bathroom

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

After months of planning, designing and building, our home addition is complete. :) Although I’m enjoying all of the new space, my favorite is the new master bathroom. At 6′ x 7′ its certainly isn’t big, but it has what we need. Come take a peek.

white bathroom vanity with gray countertop // cristin priest // www.simplifiedbee.com #bathrooms

The white and gray carrera tile was my starting point for the crisp, clean color scheme. The honeycomb pattern floor tiles are paired with 6″ x 18″ honed white carrera field tiles in a subway pattern for the shower and walls. Both were ordered through my friends at the Tile Bar. For maximum storage I designed the custom white vanity with a tower and a single sink (we needed the storage more than a second sink).  For contrast and durability it was topped with a charcoal quartz. The hardware gives it a little mix of chinoiserie and mid-century modern style. I love the result.

designer marble bathroom // custom vanity // cristin priest of simplified bee #bathroomsdesigner marble bathroom with chrome faucet // cristin priest of simplified bee #bathrooms #chrome

It was hard to resist the brass trend and instead selected polished chrome finishes for all of the fixtures and hardware. I wanted the new addition to feel like it was always part of the home, so didn’t change up the finishes. I selected a beautiful traditional faucet by California Faucets that is perfect for my 1940s ranch style home. This particular style of widespread faucet (shown above) is available through Belmont Hardware. Ask for Ron in the Belmont store and he can hook you up! I also love that California Faucets allows you to design your own faucet in over 30 decorative finishes!

designer marble bathroom with steam shower // cristin priest of simplified bee #bathrooms

The shower also features California Faucets’ hand-shower, thermostatic system and drain. Not only do I love the look and feel, but all of these products comply with strict water conservation building codes. According to the California law, all shower heads must flow no more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute, interior faucets must emit no more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute and all toilets must use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush.

shower thermostatic system by California Faucets // www.simplifiedbee.com #showers

Here’s a closer look at California Faucets’ StyleTherm Thermostatic System. We selected a round chrome plate with a single volume control. Even though we have two shower heads, the control will only allow us to run one at a time to comply with the new water conservation rules. Anything to help the drought and save water is okay by me!

marble hexagon tiled floor // bathroom design // cristin priest of simplified bee #tile #marbledesigner marble bathroom with square shower drain // cristin priest of simplified bee #bathrooms

The Neo Style drain is so chic too! Love it. You have to check out all of the other luxe drains at California Faucets!

designer marble bathroom // steam shower // cristin priest of simplified bee #bathrooms

Do you remember my Mr. Steam article? Well, I fell in love with the product so much I had to get one for the new shower. In addition to the Mr. Steam unit we selected a fold-down teak bench and a sleek iTempo control system. The control system is housed inside the shower which is the best. We are loving our new steam bath!

marble bathroom // mirror with scones // simplified bee design #bathrooms

There are also some smaller design details in the bathroom that make the space functional and beautiful including the light sconestowel rack, acrylic tray, tassel hand towels, cement succulentenamel bath accessories and simple banded Roman shade. The scone shades have a silver trim which I was drawn to.

designer marble bathroom // cristin priest of simplified bee #bathroomsdesigner marble bathroom // acrylic tray // cristin priest of simplified bee #bathroomsdesigner marble bathroom // chrome towel rack // cristin priest of simplified bee #bathrooms

A big thank you to California Faucets, Mr. Steam and TileBar for helping me create the perfect bathroom. Loved working with you on the design and thrilled with the result.

happy decorating,

cristin

 *all photography by Cristin Priest and property of Simplified Bee

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Read full story By on September 17, 2014 in Bathroom, bathrooms, chinoiserie, decorative hardware, interior design, Interiors, lighting, mirrors, pattern, simplified bee portfolio, storage, tile, window treatments

Five Favorites :: Fabulous Entryways

Entryways offer us first glimpses into a home. It’s where we welcome guests and in some cases store such things as coats, purses, keys  and mail.  Entryway design takes planning if you want to it to be both beautiful and functional, so I’ve rounded up a few fabulous entryways that do both.  

fabulous entryways // Erin Gates Design

Loving this elegant entryway by Erin Gates Design of Elements of Style. The linen wrapped dresser with nailhead detailing is a head turner!

fabulous entryway ideas // smitten studio

Sarah Sherman Samuel of Smitten Studio (say that 5 times!) nails it here with modern and contemporary elements – console table, geometric mirror, stool and basket storage. Love!

fabulous entryways // Anisa DarnellSimple, yet sophisticated entry. Love the use of white. Design by Anisa Darnell via HGTV.

fabulous entryways // round table with chinoiserie touches

Perhaps one of my favorite entryways of the bunch. This one I spotted on Pinterest – I was drawn it’s elegance and chinoiserie touches.

fabulous entryways // Chloe Warner #chinoiserie #entryways

Speaking of chinoiserie touches, here’s another fabulous entryway by Chloe Warner via Lonny. It’s on the small side, but so chic and functional! Love the mix of masculine and feminine, pattern and color too.

Need more entryway design ideas?

happy decorating,

cristin

 

 

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Read full story By on September 10, 2014 in chinoiserie, contemporary decor, foyers, interior design, Interiors, mirrors, pinterest, wallpaper