When Did “Pretty” Become a Bad Word?

This Wednesday, House Beautiful sponsored it’s first annual Design Institute at the Decorative Center Houston. The event celebrates design, color, & emerging trends. On the opening Keynote Panel were Newell Turner, Editor in Chief, House Beautiful, and speakers Charlotte Moss & Suzanne Kasler. The question was posed: “When did “pretty” become a bad word?” Newell explained how beauty transitioned from the Industrial Revolution to the Aesthetic Movement (a turn from the Industrial Revolution turning to nature) to the Great Depression, etc. and how we define beauty is a result of our surroundings as well what’s going on in the economy. He went on to explain that pretty is not a look, but a description, a lifestyle, or a way of living.


Suzanne Kasler explained that “When you bring something down, it brings other things up.”  For example, having  a hand-painted silk wallpaper with linen drapes, or luxurious fabrics on a sofa paired with a sisal rug. I agree that “What makes a room beautiful is how you edit!”

Charlotte Moss was influenced by her mom who always surrounded her with beautiful things and quoted Frank Lloyd Wright: “When you invest in beauty in your life, it will be with you all your life.” She believes that beauty starts at your front door, from how you greet your guests to how you want to be greeted when you walk in after a long day, to how you decorate a powder room. “Decorating is about generosity.”

As far as color trends, Kate Smith, the writer of Sensational Color Blog and regular House Beautiful contributor, said that we would be seeing a lot of color influence from the younger generation. This urban-edgy trend is from the exposure to graphic novels, digital color & graffiti.

I am seeing bursts of intense color everywhere, especially pink! Kravet’s showroom highlights these benches in a beautiful silk fabric (Now that’s pretty!)

Houston’s High Fashion Home

More fuchsia in the Fall/Winter publication of Better Homes & Gardens Color Made Easy Magazine

How do you feel about intense color?

Thought for the day: What do you do to bring Pretty into your life & home?


Colorful Homes In New Orleans

There is just something about being in New Orleans. The culture has deep roots and I love exploring the city. On one street, you can find a home, a church, and a coffee shop! (what more do you need in life than that!?) There is nothing worse (to me) than an entire neighborhood with 3 floorplans, a reversed version, and 4 brown stucco colors on the whole street. I love character. Art. Imagination. This city has plenty of it!

Once just an old Southern tradition, the blue porch ceiling has made its way north and is being introduced to new generations. There are numerous theories as to why — from fooling spiders and wasps into thinking the ceiling is the sky, to blue being a harbinger of good luck, to the color extending daylight, to scaring away evil spirits. Notice the subtle color below. (Info courtesy of Sherwin Williams website.)

And another blue porch ceiling…

Post Katrina search & rescue teams identified homes by marking them with a spraypainted “X” and coded information. Some residents made a conscious decision to retain the codes as part of the provenance of that structure or a memorial to the event. This photograph was taken last week.

Aren’t these colorful homes wonderful!?


Design Trend: Fluorescents

From runways to product design, you’ll see a new trend this year: vibrant colors! Oh gosh, I just had a flashback to jams!

Have you seen Color Splash on HGTV? David Bromstad jazzed up this NY Loft with fluorescent painted walls and a killer headboard! You have to look really close to see it. (hint: the clear diamond pattern in front of the window) I love, love, love the clear version!

He is a talented designer and artist. This painting he did for the space was inspired by the New York skyline.

He decided to add neon diamonds to pick up the vibrant wall color.

…adding black and white to tone down color a bit…

An LED light strip was added to the bottom of the headboard to create an amazing effect at night. Brilliant David!

What color jams did you have? Have you embraced the neon trend?


Designing With Color – Kelly Green

Kelly Wearstler – Viceroy Hotel in Sanata Monica

Nick Olsen – House Beautiful Chevron Cabinet (source)

Rios Clementi Hale Studios & Domique Vorillion Photography Outdoor Room (source)

Fawn Galli’s apartment

Tobi Fairley’s Living Room

Sarah Jessica Parker (source) Ok, had to add a little fashion too…Remember, inspiration can come from anywhere! My blogger friend I met at Blogfest, Erika Johnson of Radiant Republic blog, had a swanky dress almost exactly like this at the Joss & Main after party. If I was the judge, she would have the best dressed award!

Cole Haan Handbag (source)

Do you like kelly green as much as I do?