Julie Andrews had “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.” Oprah had “Oprah’s Favorite Things.” Now, here are a few of my favorite things:
If there is one piece of timeless advice in interior decorating it is to surround yourself with things you love. Don’t worry about a particular style. Fill your home with art, antiques, flowers and a life lived fully surrounded by your favorite things. Gather pictures of the things you love and channel the places you have visited. Use your own hobbies as focal points for decoration and blend them in with your home.
My favorite things are usually full of curves (as opposed to angular and straight). I also strive for authenticity, using real materials when possible, though faux fur is always much loved. In general, it is better to have fewer things in favor things that are real.
For example, an authentic silk or wool, hand-knotted traditional Oriental rug, while expensive, far exceeds a machine made synthetic rug. The beauty, timelessness and versatility are undeniable. It instantly brings color, class and warmth to any setting and will last a lifetime. It helps to define a space, accent or provide a statement. If a new one is beyond your purse, seek out previously owned oriental rugs with subtle colors.
Animal prints are another favorite of mine. Despite what you might think, they can be layered into any style of décor, whether by just a pillow or a chair covering. Animal prints are traditional and modern at the same time and never go out of style. I especially love those that are textured, adding another dimension to any space.
I also love anything with a European feel that makes you feel like you are in a garden in France or Italy. In keeping with my love of curves, antiques with gentle scroll details can bring elegance to any room, even if it is only one table or chair. Equally, a wrought-iron table and chairs can be as at home inside your kitchen as on your patio. Incorporating pieces with a European feel is again, both traditional and modern. It is especially fitting in the Napa Valley, where one could easily mistake our landscape for Tuscany!
Another of my favorite things is a large-scale wall mural for the home. Besides ready-made murals one can apply like wallpaper, or even a hand painted fresco like bucolic scene, there a number of companies out there who can digitally take your photos or a work in the public domain and apply it onto paper to fit any room. Check out https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en for a treasure trove of downloadable museum artworks that would enhance any décor.
People who know my work and me know that I love folding screens. They can be placed anywhere. In additional to being functional as a room divider, they are also decorative and can double as a privacy provider. The variety of materials used to make folding screens, from wood to fabric, to metal, make them the work horse of home décor.
I love wainscoting, moldings, inlaid wood, tin ceilings and little architectural touches that add dimension and charm to a room. I especially like elaborate crown moldings, though they are surely not for everybody or every house.
A dramatic chandelier is always a favorite. I love Murano glass chandeliers, whether in their pure, clear elegant form or in brightly colored versions. As mentioned in other columns, gorgeous lighting adds the “wow” factor to any home.
I could go on and on with a list of my favorite things, but what is most important is that you fill your home with your own favorite things. Surround yourself with things you love, and your décor will not fail to inspire!