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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

Color Trends :: Olive Green

I’ve been thinking adding a contributor for along time, but it wasn’t until I met Megan Bachmann that I decided to do it. Megan is a mother and has a great sense of style and aesthetic. She has a background in fashion, passion for interior design and writes her own blog, Otomi Home. I’m thrilled to welcome Megan to Simplified Bee!

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Thank you Cristin for the sweet introduction. I am so excited about olive green as an upcoming color trend for 2015. Elle Decor recently did a feature on up & coming colors and I’m particularly excited about this one. Olive green is so lovely in interiors because it borders between being a neutral and a color, depending on how you use it. It can be bold or subtle, modern or traditional. It looks amazing paired with a multitude of colors include white, black, navy, orange, and turquoise. And of course it looks incredible paired with brass accents. Olive green just feels new again. Here are some inspiring rooms using olive green…

The olive green walls and velvet sofa feel luxurious and moody in this room in Barnaba Fornasetti’s residence in Milan.
barnaba-fornasetti-elle decor green velvet(source)

The deep olive green tub anchors this bathroom created by Melbourne based Architects, Hearth.desire to inspire green tub(source)

The olive green walls and upholstered ottoman are totally on point in this room from domino.domino olive green ottoman(source)

An old standby room, also from domino, the olive green curtains act as a neutral and help to keep the turquoise painted room sophisticated.domino olive green(source)

Olive and green and deep navy = perfection.green velvet sofa(source)

Loving this olive green kitchen paired with white marble by Sydney based Architect Greg Natale.Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 9.49.08 AM(source)

And last but not least, Jenny Komenda from the Little Green Notebook, recently designed a bathroom in olive green which looks amazing paired with those brass and black accents.jenny komenda olive green bathroom(source)

jenny komenda olive green kitchen domino(source)

As you can see, there is good reason to have olive green on your radar for design trends in the next year. You can read about another color design trend at Otomi Home today, Glossy Blue!

Canon EOS Rebel T5 Digital SLR Camera

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Read full story By on October 21, 2014 in color, design trends, Features, interior design, Interiors

Design Crush :: Velvet Sofas

design crush // velvet sofas #interiors #blue

As the cooler weather roles in I find myself gravitating to certain textiles. One in particular is velvet. Love this soft, textured fabric on sofas in particular. I’ve pulled a few of my favorite interiors featuring velvet sofas and as you will see the textile look great in just about any color and style.

design crush // velvet sofas #interiors #blue

Known for mixing modern and vintage elements, Catherine Kwong selects a sofa in a deep marine blue velvet for urban living room. The tufting is beautifully executed and allows the velvet to shimmer. If you like this look, check out West Elm’s Chester Sofa (disclosure: affiliate link) in performance velvet.

green velvet sofa // lilly bunn #iinteriors #sofas

Interior designer, Lilly Bunn features a stunning emerald green velvet sofa in this chic living room. Love how she mixes period styles and pattern here. Gorgeous!

design crush // velvet sofas // michelle james apartment #interiors

Rich chocolate mohair velvet covers the sectional in lighting designer, Michelle James’ Brooklyn apartment (as seen in Remodelista). Cozy, luxury at its best!

happy decorating,

cristin

* first image source via J. Latter Design

 

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Read full story By on October 16, 2014 in Features, furniture, Get The Look, interior design, Interiors, Living Room, living rooms, textiles

Book Review :: Decorating The Way I See It by Markham Roberts

Book Review // Decorating The Way I See It // Markham Roberts #design #book #interiors

New York-based interior designer, Markham Roberts is bringing a fresh and modern approach to traditional and contemporary styles alike. Known for his ability to work in any design vernacular, Roberts trained with legendary decorator Mark Hampton for six years before launching his own design firm in 1997. Since then his career has skyrocketed. His work has been described as “the very definition of chic” and published in Architectural Digest, Domino, House Beautiful, and House & Garden – just to name a few. Roberts was also named to the elite AD100 earlier this year. For these reasons you can imagine how eager I was to get me hands on his newly released book, Decorating: The Way I See It. Simply put, it’s extraordinary.

First, I love how the book is organized. Rather than dishing out decorating advice, Roberts takes us step-by-step as he would a design project – from the floor plan to the color and pattern scheme to the furnishings and accessories. The 250+ pages showcases his work ranging from New York City apartments to sprawling country homes. The diversity, sophistication and exceptional personable touch he delivers project after project is truly outstanding. With over 300 stunning images, selecting ones to share with you was the hardest part of of this review, however here are a few of my favorites:

velvet turquoise walls // formal living room // markham robertsdecorating advice // Markham Roberts #designblue bedroom // designed by markham roberts #designblue formal living room // designed by markham roberts #blueformal dining room // markham roberts #interiors #dining

Markham, with his unflinching ease, his assured eye, his natural understanding of how a house should function, and his total lack of pretense, creates rooms that age well and are timeless. – Senga Mortimer – Editor at Large at House Beautiful

family room in earth tones // beams and wood plank wallsgreen velvet sofa // library // markham robertsgreen velvet settee // great room // markham roberts #design #greendaybed reading nook // home office // design by markham roberts

 

This last image with cozy daybed in a rich velvet is perhaps my favorite. Roberts designed the colorful office for a mom with four children, three dogs and a husband that works from home. The inviting niche sits is directly across from her desk and provides a quiet place of her own. I long for such a space!

I know you will adore this book and fall in love with Roberts’ work like I have. It’s an absolute must have for any design library. Don’t pass on this one!

happy decorating,

cristin

*photo credit: Nelson Hancock and courtesy of Vendome Press

 

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Read full story By on September 30, 2014 in Bedroom, bedrooms, book, book review, bookshelves, color, dining rooms, interior design, Interiors, Living Room, living rooms, patio furniture, upholstery, wallpaper, window treatments