In our April issue we featured this empty-nester’s colorfully updated cottage (read the full story here) designed by Arkansas’ own Laura Bartell. Today, we’re honored to have her here to share a few of her favorite collections to add instant charm and cosmopolitan style to your home.
The world is full of so much beauty. I enjoy traveling and seeing the world and I always want to bring a piece of the culture home with me. The bright colors and bold patterns of these collections liven up any room. It is amazing how such old and traditional items look so fresh and modern!
VINTAGE TEXTILE COLLECTION
My textile collection includes Turkish Suzanis, Uzbekistan Ikats, Mexican Otomi fabric, and India’s elaborate embroidery, brocade, and silks.
Textiles can be used throughout your home in so many ways. The patterned fabric on this bench is used as an upholstery detail to add a little color and pattern in a small dose. It’s also smart to limit pricey fabrics to the most visible areas, like the front of sofa cushions and pillows, or the outside backs of chairs. Adding collections such as Ikat pillows and a basket display can change the feeling of an otherwise neutral room.
This Ikat pattern is used as tablecloths, pillows, china patterns, and a wall hanging. Chose how much color and pattern is for you!
Otomi fabric is handmade by the Otomi Indians of Hidalgo, Mexico. The Otomi pattern is said to come from ancient cliff drawings in the region. I use it for upholstery, bedspreads, pillows, and even lampshades!
A MOROCCAN TILE COLLECTION is a great way to add color! And pattern too! Tile is practical since it is durable and is perfect for wet areas such as kitchens, baths, and beach or lake houses. Similar to the textiles, although these designs are old, they look so fresh! I recently put colorful tile in a Southern lake house and the client said their home now makes them feel like they are always on vacation.
Tile adds a pop of color on the floor at an entryway or on the stairway risers. It’s always fun to see materials and finishes where you least expect them such as exteriors or the entire interior. Ceiling too!
BOX COLLECTION Boxes are used to hold my treasures. And a treasure box has to be gorgeous. I always look for boxes with different colors, materials, and exquisite decoration. This blue box is made of Shagreen (dyed skin from sharks and rays).
Red leather boxes with gold-tooled leather inlay details. Found these after custom designing my Interior Design portfolio. How lucky!
Glossy lacquer boxes with contrasting colored edges are crisp and always look smart.
BOOK COLLECTION I love books and have always embraced knowledge. I am so inspired by literature, art, music, fashion, architecture, and design. Books really personalize a room. You can use books in stacks to style tables, bookshelves, or neat stacks on the floor.
STYLING TIPS for your book collection. Create vertical and horizontal groups and mix it up a bit. You can group by size and color. Use decorative objects sculptural pieces, plates, bowls, or vases. You can use a stack of books as bookends too. Add something organic like coral or bunch of flowers. Make it pop by adding a paint color or wallpaper to the back of a bookcase. Art looks great sitting on an easel in a bookcase or even hung on the front of shelves.
Don’t forget to display something personal in your bookshelves like COLLECTIONS! And this applies to your entire home-display, your collections and things that make you happy. Maybe you collect something like corks or matchboxes. You might have a framed photo of you and your family or even a souvenir purchased in a far away place! Essentially, display something that is going to make you smile inside when you see it and tell others a bit about who you are!