Genevieve's Design Tips: Celebrity Homes
The Design Stars create spaces for celebrities: a home office for Kathy Griffin, a bedroom for Tiffani Thiessen and a nursery for Jason Priestley. See what Genevieve says they did right, did wrong and how she could have done it better.
Window Treatments Can Transform a Room
What a lovely room by Lonni! The first thing to really bring you into this room has to be the most powerful element on the back wall: the grass cloth with brocaded print is outstanding and over the top in a really good way. By winding a continuous line of grass cloth around the room, Lonni's managed to soften the presence of the space in both look and acoustics. My eye is drawn so quickly to that back focal wall (which Lonni has repeated for the three challenges), but it leaves me wanting a little more from the bed. With all that drama coming from the wallpaper, I think a bed with a bit more presence would really marry a lot more powerfully with her pattern choice. Keeping in mind the eco-friendly desires of the homeowners, I would suggest a darker treated mango wood with a commanding vertical presence, or a beautiful, meaty, salvaged antique door to boost up the ante here.
This room has such great bones there weren't a lot of major design changes to be made, simply decorative. What Lonni did with the window treatments was a big success. Not only has she brought the windows to life again through the timelessness of Romans, but the way they drape in a half-eye-closed manner gives the bedroom some "sexy" that it desperately needed. The wall with the built-in, while improved, seems to be a bit of a missed opportunity. Because this is becoming a guest room, it's time to change up the display: away with the multiple wedding photos of the homeowner and in with the beautifully functional offerings for a guest. A few books, a couple of pictures, rolled towels, pitcher and water glass, fresh flowers and framed maps ? just a start. The display as it is feels a bit contrived and unaddressed.
The seating area on the opposing side of the room was a lovely choice of armchairs and one of my favorite cocktail tables out there. It's so delicate and has a commanding masculine presence at the same time, a nice contrast for the overtly femme rest of space. The area rug is the perfect size; I just wish she had broken away a bit from woven-grass medium, as it 's everywhere in this room. An area rug with that brought a secondary accent color and a new texture would have been wonderful.
Nurseries Can Be Sophisticated
Hi, design arrived today, and his name is Dan! This nursery is wonderfully executed. Thank you for not doing a blue-on-blue or pink-on-pink, Dan; this is really a clear example of what's happening in the nurseries we dream of today. Gone are the gender codings of yesterday and the dumbed-down furniture for children, and in comes sophistication, balanced palettes of texture and color and a spatial composition that works for everyone.
Let's start with color: By using a slate blue and a pale yellow as a combination, Dan ensures a sweetness right off the bat. These colors are both light in hue but balance each other out nicely with creaminess and tang. By bringing in the darker hues of these colors on the furniture and the area rugs and letting the white molding pop from the wall color, the entire room has balance through lowlights, mid-tones and accent shades. This is what is usually missing in children's rooms; we tend to just paint it really bright and think that we're done. By creating a palette as you would for any other room in your home, you're giving a sense of sophistication to the most playful place in the house, and children respect that, too.
As a new mother myself, I know where things need to be in a nursery to really function, and Dan nailed it. By having the glider right next to the crib, it's perfect for the nursing mama, as you don't want to have to walk too far with a sleeping baby for that all-important transfer. The daybed is another wonderful addition — oftentimes when the baby isn't sleeping, you don't want to keep going back and forth to your own bedroom; it makes more sense to just camp out. The daybed serves this function as well as a guest function, and it can serve as a bed for the child as he or she grows. The beautifully crafted mobile is just one more aha! moment for a baby. Well done!
Texturally, I'm also pleased. Dan really explored the room through a child's eyes, with the soft shag great for little crawlers, plush animals in arm's reach, soft cloudy skyscapes and soothing linens on the window.
The only place — and this is minor — where I feel Dan could've improved the design would be putting blackout shades on the windows (we all know why), removing the succulent from the floor and making sure the mirror was secured very firmly to the wall. Bravo, Dan!
Finish Out the Entire Design
While this office is a success on a functional level, Antonio leaves this space a bit unfinished. He began with a really hard shell of a room, consisting of what looks to be terra-cotta floor tile, sharp yellow walls and a laminate entertainment center. His introducing the warmth of hardwood floors into this space scored him the most points. The floors give the space the right to be indoors, and the vibe becomes more homey immediately. While I think the organizational functions of the new space really work, it does look a bit like an office store just came over and plopped down an office 'set' and left.
What Antonio started with the floors, he forgot to finish with the rest of the space. Office furniture can be so sterile and so cold; it's our job to dress these skeletons with beautiful finishes, and in the office that means linen-covered binders, typographically interesting wall calendars and push boards with photographs, succulents, vintage staplers and other office gadgetry that speaks of a more homemade time. Where are her tapes? Her reference guides? Her laptops? In a final office reveal, we need to see all of these elements of life, or we'd deliver a bedroom without any sheets and a kitchen without tableware. What these little things do is give a visual guidance of what should take place in this space; it's an inspirational nudge where people need it most. Window treatments and a couple of larger textural area rugs would be nice, too.