Inspired by Elements of Great Design - My Favorite LA resources by Tammy Randall Wood

When you’re searching for design inspiration, you might look to magazines, Houzz or HGTV, but do you ever wonder where high-end designers get theirs?  The answer is, of course, everywhere- nature, art, architecture- but in this article I would like to share with you some of the sources for the goods we use to create the wonderful rooms that make the world swoon

Read More

Pulling Off a Really Big Event ... At Home ! by Tammy Randall Wood

Most of us will at some point or another find ourselves inspired to host a big event. Large or extra-large, within our private circle or encompassing the greater community, chances are there will come a time that we pull out all the stops and welcome a much larger group than would typically fit at our dining room tables

Read More

Cabinetry 101 by Tammy Randall Wood

It’s easy to be confused by the word ‘custom’ when you come across it in a ready-made showroom, since they’ll refer to their cabinets as custom if they are being manufactured for a particular order. In reality, even though they’re tailored to a project, they are still being ordered from a prescribed set of cataloged choices. 

Read More

Powder Rooms that Pack a Punch by Tammy Randall Wood

The Powder Room: it might be small, but it can pack a powerful design punch! It welcomes guests to your home and tells them something about you. Here your audience is captive, and you have a unique opportunity to offer them gracious hospitality along with the best and most concentrated design appeal you can muster.

Read More

Rule the Roost: Raising Chickens in Your Backyard by Tammy Randall Wood

The popularity of backyard hen houses is growing, due in large part to a desire shared by many to reduce their reliance on eggs produced inhumanely on large commercial farms.  This was a big factor for me in deciding to have my own hens, but it cannot be denied that there are many other benefits to raising your own chickens

Read More

Mastering the Remodel by Tammy Randall Wood

Tammy Randall Wood Remodel

There is nothing more fun (for many of us) than the pursuit of creating the perfect nest. The longing to come home to a space that reflects our tastes and serves our needs is one of the most fundamental of desires. Most will agree that developing a space which allows us to express ourselves and make life run smoothly is a worthwhile endeavor.  At the same time, our homes are the single largest investment most of us will ever make, so how we approach fixing up and feathering our nests can equate to serious business.

If you are a homeowner, then you know that furnishings are the icing on the cake of all that goes into creating and maintaining our living spaces. I write a lot about the icing, but today let’s talk about the cake! Remodeling an existing home to suit specific needs or simply updating it for investment consideration is something most of us will have to undertake at some point or another. 

The scale of a remodel can run a wide breadth -- from refreshing a few surfaces to the total reimagining of a property. Sometimes it’s apparent what goes and what stays, but often things aren’t so clear. Budget and the condition of a home are key for making these decisions, of course, but what if a home has custom detailing that is solid and well done but no longer current or desirable?  This is where our aesthetic preferences can feel at odds with the property itself, and it can be helpful to draw a clear distinction between what might be your personal style and what might be appropriate in staying true to the architectural direction of the property. A good rule is to save your individual flair for furnishings, and think of the house as its own entity. 

Remodel before

Architectural design choices that are consistent with the style of the house itself serve to create the most authentic backdrop to set our personal style choices against, whatever they might be.  These juxtapositions can be dazzling and frequently more compelling than if all choices are unilaterally tailored to our personal leanings.  Think of how lovely a mid-century chrome and leather chair could look set against formal and beautifully painted raised paneling.  Like a great marriage, both stay true to themselves and yet are brilliant together. 

With that said, the current trend in architecture towards the more simplified and sophisticated cannot be denied.  Highly stylized Spanish Mediterraneans and Tudors are being replaced with streamlined versions of themselves.  What I’ve been seeing (and loving) in SoCal is a quieting of the faux-theatrical trends of the late 90s and early 2000s -- they’re being rebooted to read “Clean California Sophisticated.”

According to USA.com, the median age of a house in Calabasas is 31 years old. Often, detailing in homes from the 80s is quite rich, containing oodles of trimming that can seem almost garish to our newly acquired palate for tailored, clean lines. Admittedly, I almost always recommend that the cabinetry packages in our projects be replaced. New kitchen and bathroom cabinets can be critical to a successful remodel since wear and tear and changing styles can quickly take a toll.  But not everything has to go! 

Some expensive but dated details can be ever so slightly turned in a direction that results in a refreshed and utterly gorgeous reinterpretation.  In many cases, elements like oak wall paneling, balustrades and parquet wood floors can be kept. Having these details professionally stripped, repainted and stained can save thousands in replacement costs, and the end result can sometimes be of higher quality than what you might purchase brand new.

Remodel After

One of the architectural features I routinely recommend replacing in projects built before 1990 are the windows.  Yes, these are big-ticket items, but updating for energy efficiency, safety and aesthetic appeal can have a massive impact on increasing the value and desirability of a home. Windows being installed in California now have strict new guidelines to comply with today’s more stringent codes, such as tempered glass that resists shattering in fires and UV coatings that prevent heat gain. The improved value a home can realize plus the savings in energy costs can often make the decision to upgrade an easier one.

If you’re considering remodeling or just love home design, I have some resources I think you’ll enjoy!  There are two relatively new websites you should know about.  Houzz.com is one of our favorites. It’s a website and online community dedicated to architecture, interior design and home improvement. Houzz has over 3 million high-quality photos to inspire users, and they can be handily assembled into idea books. It is also a great resource for finding professionals in every category, from contractors to closet providers.

Another great website is DeringHall.com, where you can shop for high-end furnishings as well as connect with the world’s most elite architects and designers.  Homeowners know what they want and are more astute than ever with the help of these types of communities.

This guide would not be complete without naming a few of our favorite local providers.  For paint, I love Décor, Paint and Wallcoverings (decorcolor.com) in Thousand Oaks.  They carry Benjamin Moore paint and are great at answering all your questions with wonderful customer service.  Also in Thousand Oaks, my favorite carpeting and new wood-flooring source is Alpine Carpet One Floor & Home (alpinecarpetoneto.com).  They carry an array of the best carpets, from affordable to high end, with great customer service and impeccable installation. Agoura Sash & Door  is terrific. They have everything from Milgard to Marvin, as well as the new specialty bi-fold window systems that I love designing indoor/ outdoor spaces with.  And if you’re looking for truly unique architectural details, make a visit to Charme D’Antan in historic Cornell. They import exceptional antique and reproduction limestone fountains, mantles and building elements from Europe. A visit there feels like time spent in Provence!

Until next time, here’s to creating your own Noble Spaces!  

High Point Furniture Show - Spring 2015 by Tammy Randall Wood

Here are a few of the highlights from our recent visit:

Kelly Wearstler's stunning new collection for EJ Victor.  Stumbled upon during the first day of Spring Market but so far this is my new favorite look.  Elegant, sporty but oh so sophisticated. Yum!

Rarified style personified = AERIN Lauder's collection for EJ Victor at their High Point showroom. The new girl in town is dominating!

Released in 1956, Charles and Ray Eames made famous their iconic moulded plywood and leather Chair and Ottoman for the Herman Miller furniture company. Today haute hipsters and purists alike can resurrect the era with the help of Stanley Furniture. They've made the look accessible with amazing attention to detail within their latest Crestaire line.

With Andy Singer founder and president of Visual Comfort & Co. Lighting. A trip to High Point would never be complete without a tour through our favorite lighting provider's showroom!  This Market new lighting from Kelly Wearstler and AERIN are stealing the show. Stay tuned for pictures of the pieces to watch!

Balancing Past and Present by Tammy Randall Wood

As we begin to contemplate the furnishings on our latest project, I am drawn back to the pieces that Thom Filicia has designed for Vanguard Furniture. Here's a photo I snapped of his latest collection in High Point. I just love the balance between modern and traditional his pieces strike as well as the unexpected color palettes he uses. Plus, who couldn't fall in love with the buckskin suede that pops up in his scenarios. Pretty wonderful Thom! xo

The Open Floor Plan - Calabasas Style Article - March/April 2015 by Tammy Randall Wood

How to Create Finished Décor that is Unified, Serene and Interesting

Design by Celeste Robbins, AIA of Robbins Architecture 

Design by Celeste Robbins, AIA of Robbins Architecture 

Home buyers love the open floor plan for the comfortable and casual lifestyle it affords, and here in Southern California, a large integrated space is a natural fit with our climate and laid-back culture. However, creating a cohesive décor within these multiple connected spaces can pose some unique challenges as you can't help but take in everything simultaneously. If particular attention is not paid to order, things can feel messy and overwhelming.  How many of you have experienced this?  One might try to compensate by adhering to a strict policy of only introducing items of one style, or items with no style at all.  While this is a valid option, you then run the risk of being too conservative with your choices and creating a palate so plain that it leaves you hungry. 

Here are some rules I like to remember to keep a space controlled but compelling when working on a project with an open floor plan:

1.    Stick to rich gradations of neutrals.  Select a complex white or beige for the main paint color and it will easily telescope against other neutral tones in fabrics, tile or carpet to create a beautiful amalgam. Small shifts in tone and depth of shade can be incredibly satisfying to the eye. 

2.    Rely on strong silhouettes to keep things interesting.  Create intriguing rooms utilizing line and shape- this way you don't bombard the eye with the overuse of pattern or color, which can sometimes compete for attention or clash in tone or scale.

Design by Yvonne McFadden, LLC    Photographer:  Angel Richards

Design by Yvonne McFadden, LLC    Photographer:  Angel Richards

3.    A little bit of décor goes a long way in the open floor plan, so let something with a little more pop shine. Hold back, be a good editor, and let your chosen articles do the talking without interruption.  A great carpet or piece of art is always a nice place to start.  In the room to the left, the dense pattern and rich coloration of the vintage Heriz rug combined with the tailored lines of well-loved antiques are the perfect foil to the newly remodeled architecture. They give this space room to breathe with plenty of impact.  The curve of a demi lune cabinet, the sweeping form of a bergère chair, the vertical repetition of pickets on an architecturally compelling staircase, or a bold cubist lamp shade are all terrific places for the eye to land. Combining modern straight edges with old-world curves here or there can add a brilliant touch.  

Design by Joshua Mogal of Eco + Historical Inc.    Photographer:  Open Homes Photography

Design by Joshua Mogal of Eco + Historical Inc.    Photographer:  Open Homes Photography

 

4.   Arrange surfaces, shelves, and bookcases with care.  Yes, these are places for service and storage, but they are also inherently display areas.  Keep them tidy and composed.   Invest in key accessories for your main surfaces that are scaled and curated with intent.  Accessories can hold just as much aesthetic weight in a room as the furniture does.  Buy less, but buy better.  Make those choices matter.  A hand-thrown ceramic bowl for fruit on the kitchen counter or rare antique box on the coffee table can not only make a statement, but an keep items like the remote control, reading glasses or coasters organized with grace.  Display groups of items together as a collection instead of scattering them about.  Grouping related items together helps them to read as one unit and speak with one uncomplicated voice, which reduces the feeling of clutter.

Design by Interior Archaeology, LLC     Photographer:  Karol Steczkowski

Design by Interior Archaeology, LLC     Photographer:  Karol Steczkowski

 

5.    Not every wall needs a painting and not every surface needs a tchotchke.  Try locating your pieces in unexpected ways.  A small painting can look great arranged within a bookcase, and a vintage typewriter can make a charming bookend.  Remember to leave some surfaces empty - think of them as the spaces between your words.

I need order but I crave beauty!  Many of my friends and clients tell me they feel the same.  My favorite spaces are serene, but also must be captivating and complete.  We incorporate the principles outlined here time and again in projects of all types and styles. But they are never more resonant than when applied to the open floor plan.  Here's to creating your own Noble Spaces!

 

- Tammy

 

The Path to Renovation by Tammy Randall Wood

Staircase Rework

A messy job but oh so worth it! 

 
I love wood paneling and we see a lot of it on many of the remodels we do. Often it feels dated though, with a golden oak stain covered in a thick coat of polyurethane finish. A paint job, done well, can totally reinvent spaces with this kind of detailing. Here is our team hard at work stripping and sanding the woodwork on our latest project. 90% of a good paint job is in the prep work and boy our team is up to their elbows in it! I just can't wait to see how this grand foyer will soon be reborn.

1990 Kitchen

During a renovation, you have to make uglier before you can make pretty! 
But honestly, making progress always looks beautiful to me. 
Wait till you see what we have in store for this former circa 1990 kitchen!

  Stripped down to the bare walls and floor to make way for magic !

 

Stripped down to the bare walls and floor to make way for magic !

Best of Houzz 2015 ! by Tammy Randall Wood

We are once again honored for the second consecutive year to receive a Best of Houzz award for 2015.  Truly wonderful to receive this high recognition from such an esteemed organization and authority in the interior design field.  And a great thanks to you, our clients for your great partnership, kind comments and ongoing support.  Here is to a great 2015 !

Calabasas Style Article - January/February 2015 by Tammy Randall Wood

I believe in noble spaces -- not necessarily fancy spaces, but noble spaces. Spaces that help us, well, be noble. A version of our higher selves, if you will. Spaces that assist us in our daily routines to be more organized, inspired, and productive. Spaces that allow us to gather as friends and family and nurture our own spirits as well as the ones we love. And last but not least, I believe in spaces that allow us to grow and learn. It might sound a bit esoteric, as we are only discussing interior design, but sometimes it’s helpful to consider the big picture or purpose and then work backwards, remembering that the goal is ultimately to create spaces that serve and inspire.  Then, the conversation of personal style within those spaces can truly be off to a meaningful start.  

The Santa Monica Arm Chair in Chateau Blue Croc Leather and Copper Frame by Sarreid Ltd.

The Santa Monica Arm Chair in Chateau Blue Croc Leather and Copper Frame by Sarreid Ltd.

In 1994, I founded Interior Archaeology, a comprehensive interior design firm specializing in creating exquisite spaces with the same attention to detail that captivated me on the Hollywood sets I grew up on.  We’ve spent much of the last 20 years discovering those secret sources and special details that help Interior Archaeology create its brand of simple elegance that serves real, everyday living. In these quests, we’ve forged relationships with an impressive array of furnishings manufacturers, tradespeople, artists, custom workrooms, auction houses, architects, and builders that we rely on to help us create the looks we are known for. And we’ve learned so much along the way. 

I was thrilled when the editors of Calabasas Style approached me to share our insights and perspectives on interior design.  But oh my, where to begin?!  So many areas of interest impact the subject of home design and creating this nest that informs everything we do. It involves many elements that I am interested in -- everything when it comes to home, real estate, architecture, what’s trending, styles, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. I like to know the history of things, how they’re made, what they’re made of, how to get them, how to use them, and how to preserve them. 

“Market,” as it’s called in the home furnishings industry, refers to The International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C., that takes place every April and October. Like Brigadoon, every spring and fall, this quaint southern hamlet -- the capitol of the U.S. furniture industry -- bursts into life with vendors and buyers from all over the world descending upon it to do business. Bustling permanent and temporary showrooms are festooned with the latest trends, collections, and achievements displayed by vendors in every category of home furnishings. 

The Henry Deck Mounted Lavatory Faucet with Teak Cylinder and Metal Cross Handles in Antique Brass by Waterworks

The Henry Deck Mounted Lavatory Faucet with Teak Cylinder and Metal Cross Handles in Antique Brass by Waterworks

One development that’s undoubtedly here to stay a while is the arrival of the warmer metal tones -- hand rubbed brass, burnished gold, worn bronze, and even copper. These metals flooding into designs today are the pendulum swinging opposite the cool, polished nickel and blackened bronze we saw emerge and dominate design 15 years or so ago. We’re seeing the use of these warm metals pop up in everything from bathroom hardware, cabinet pulls, and lighting to spot tables and chair legs. Don’t groan; this is not the yellow-tinged, thin, lacquered brass plate on the doorknobs of your first condo. This is a rich, higher-quality interpretation with a handsome restrained aesthetic. These are the metals to try and
incorporate into the choices you’re making today. 

The Blackland Cabinet with Burnished Brass Hardware by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair

The Blackland Cabinet with Burnished Brass Hardware by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair

You will also notice another aesthetic evolving among these examples. It’s a reach back to The Art Moderne, the streamline style that arose out of the late Deco period in the 1930s. Informed by machines whose arrival into everyday life had forever changed the American experience, industrial-age designers stripped Art Deco of its ornamentation in favor of the aerodynamic, pure-line concept of speed, motion, and scientific thinking. This period epitomizes the entire concept of modern; the fact that it happened 80 years ago gives this style the patina and charm of history. So, if you’ve been reticent to embrace the sea change towards modern furnishings that has occurred in recent years, you might find your happy medium beginning to emerge now.

With Suzanne Kasler in her stunning new space featuring her fall collection at the Hickory Chair showroom in High Point. 

With Suzanne Kasler in her stunning new space featuring her fall collection at the Hickory Chair showroom in High Point. 


I love the idea that these warm metals and streamlined silhouettes “mix” or “play nicely with others,” as I jokingly like to say. They lend themselves to almost any style. The trick to livable, interesting design, I think, is assembling pieces that although disparate, find commonality together in one space -- perhaps through tone, texture, or silhouette. How you choose to put these characters together is your voice coming through, telling your story. As a designer, I love finding bridges that help me unite the pieces that make a home a noble space. The tones and lines within these current design trends allow me to build bridges between all of the styles we work with, which is why I think they can be considered more than trend and equate to timeless style. 

High Point Furniture Show - October 2014 by Tammy Randall Wood

Palisades Chair from Thibaut Design

Palisades Chair from Thibaut Design

"Market" as it's called in the industry, refers to The International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, NC which takes place every April & October.  Like Brigadoon, every spring and fall this quaint southern hamlet bursts into life with vendors and buyers descending on it from all over the world to do business. Permanent and temporary showrooms bustle all around the city and are festooned with the latest trends, collections, and achievements displayed by vendors in every category of home furnishings. Every hour of our schedule is penciled in with meetings at one showroom or another for the several days that we are here - and there are plenty of hugs and smiles to go around during these busy days as over the years many of our colleagues here have become dear friends. Pictured here is the Pallisades Chair from Thibaut Design, one of our favorite showrooms in HP, and on the walls "Zane" a small scale trendy geometric from the Seraphina Collection by Anne French.

Here are a few of the highlights from this trip:

Suzanne Kasler and Tammy Randall Wood at Hickory Chair showroom

Suzanne Kasler and Tammy Randall Wood at Hickory Chair showroom

With Suzanne Kasler in her stunning new space featuring her fall collection at the Hickory Chair showroom in High Point. I love Suzanne's aesthetic sensibility. Her pieces adapt so easily to a designer's own spin and always stay clean and timeless. She's hit another Market Collection out of the park!

Stanley Furniture Crestaire line

Stanley Furniture Crestaire line

We're falling in love with Stanley Furniture's handsome reinterpretation of their Crestaire line. Stanley originally launched the line in 1964 which epitomized the Danish Modern trend of the time. We call it Mid Century Modern today, and if you haven't noticed, it's resurged with gusto as Americans have almost across the board, embraced a more streamlined approach to home furnishings. We think these bold silhouettes are great mixed with simple traditional pieces for a collected and smart feel. Think Mad Men only better!

Here is part of The Bungalow Collection at Vanguard Furniture's showroom in High Point this Fall Market. We love the idea of a game table - where family and friends can gather, and this 36" table with upholstered chairs serves perfectly with its smart styling and ease of use. The table can be done in any finish a designer can dream up and the chairs, with builtin handles, can be done in any fabric and roll with ease to anywhere an extra seat is needed. I love the look and the functionality, add in the adaptability and this little scenario is a true gem!

The Bungalow Collection at Vanguard

The Bungalow Collection at Vanguard

Finally, a peek into the new Kelly Wearstler Collection at Visual Comfort & Co.Lighting showroom at High Point's Fall Market. Visual Comfort is thee hot ticket this Market with lines out the door and nobody getting in without an appointment. We began carrying and specifying Visual Comfort 15 years ago, and since then they have gone on to produce spectacular lighting designed by Thomas O'Brien, Barbara Barry, Suzanne Kasler, Aerin Lauder, Alexa Hampton, Ralph Lauren and more. They are a superb example of genius craftsmanship and cutting edge design. And one of the industry partners we rely on to help us create the looks we are known for. Love you Visual Comfort... Congrats on another Market triumph. We can say we "knew you when... " 

The Kelly Wearstler Collection at Visual Comfort & Co. lighting showroom

The Kelly Wearstler Collection at Visual Comfort & Co. lighting showroom

A great trip with more great finds !