Tuesday, August 30, 2016

AD Top 100 designer Mona Hajj leans boho with global style

I wouldn’t exactly call these rooms from the portfolio of interior designer Mona Hajj boho. But they certainly contain global elements and an eclecticism nearly always present in boho home décor.

Translation: Boho enthusiasts can learn a lot from how her rooms come together.


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com
Pieter Estersohn photo

This living room from a Hajj-designed Maryland home featured in the September 2016 House Beautiful is initially what turned me on to the designer. I love her use of textiles—particularly the tapestry that echoes in the area rug and throw pillows—and the folk pottery bowls that accentate the wall-hanging, top and bottom.

The room is also a lesson in mixing high and low. The armchair and drop-leaf table are high period style, whereas the chest as coffee table, the side table at right, and the lamps lend a more relaxed, rustic feel. And yet it all works together! (I think the textiles are the secret here!!)

Whether this room and those that follow are wholly your style or not, there’s a lot to file away from this Beirut-born designer’s bold mix of global elements.


Welcome in any language


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

The long, long, LONG repurposed industrial work table softens the formality of this foyer, while the rug brings it all together. What I wouldn’t give to sink into that deep blue velvet settee! Yumm!!


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

More beautiful ceramics overhead accent the tile work in this craftsman fireplace surround. The mantel arrangement lends a primitive feel to the space, I think. And don’t miss that sweet cradle with its intricate carvings, topped with an embroidered makeshift canopy.


Sitting pretty


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

Again, it’s all about the textiles. Who would have thought a toile sofa could read boho? That’s thanks to the coverlet hung behind it and the dhurrie area rug. Notice how the trim around the side edge of the coffee table repeats the striped area rug, but at a diagonal, which energizes the space.


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

Wowza! This family room is a change of pace!! The pint-size egg chair and rattan ottomans are a kick, and I’m digging that Moroccan ottoman in red leather PLUS a print. Thanks to an all-white sofa (not my choice for a room that suggests the presence of young children, or adults, for that matter), the art work takes center stage.


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

Who wouldn’t love this room? Again, it’s the textiles that speak to me—a kilim-upholstered ottoman, a Persian area rug, wonderful pink throw pillows and sumptuous draperies.


Sleeping Tight


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

Oh my stars!! I am SOOOOO in love with this bedroom! Who couldn’t sleep soundly here? The hammered metal Indian mirrors, lantern, and nailhead chest are to-die-for, but it’s that headboard that puts me in a swoon. And notice the thin swath of linen that unrolls  from the purple bolster pillow, on down past the bedskirt to the floor. What a subtle finishing touch!


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

Okay, THIS bedroom is nothing to sneeze at either. I like how the tapestry curtain hanging behind the bed emphasizes the old world elegance of the carved chest at the bed’s foot. I also love the simplicity of the accessories—stacks of books and oriental pottery. Dreamy!!


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

This daybed demands to be used around-the-clock, don’t you think? I love how the coral walls blend into the pink/violet textiles that dress the bed. It’s the color of a sunset and so relaxing to sink into.


Form marries function


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

Kitchens, no matter how state-of-the-art seldom impress me, but this one stands out because of the simplicity. The straightforward finishes work as a stunning backdrop for the custom tile behind the cooktop and the sumptuous patterned area rug in the same palette. At least I THINK that's tile behind the cooktop. It certainly emulates the patterns of a handwoven Persian carpet.


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

Certainly not boho, but I had to include this photo only to show how one modern element changes the entire room. Everything is period except the shade on the lighting fixture over the dining table. But instead of clashing it adds energy to the room. The secret to making it work rather than clash? I think it’s that Hajj used fabric similar to the window treatments in color and texture.


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

I’m on a real bender these days for oriental rugs in bathrooms, and I really like how the yellow leaded glass picks up the gold in this rug and vice versa. What an elegant yet relaxing bathroom!! Calgon, take me away!!


Inside out


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

Talk about outdoor rooms, this one would be just as comfy inside as well. All the care given an inside living room is in play here, down to that cute horse on wheels. I’m hoping all of this is, at the least, under roof. I couldn't bear to see it rained on.


You found this photo on BoHo Home @bohosusan. I found it at monahajj.com

And who wouldn’t adore a sunroom with sunny yellow accents? I love the wavy glass in the light fixture, as well as how the pillow patterns repeat those in the Arabic wall panel displayed as art.


If you want more (and who wouldn't!)…



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Go boho AND Hollywood on your next vacation

This is the oh-so-boho Hollywood Beach, Calif., interior that won Dot & Bo’s #StyleMavenMe contest on Instagram, and lucky YOU can rent it for your next kick-back-and-relax vacay stay.

In addition to its laid-back boho décor, the renovated A-frame lodge sleeps eight and has a stunning view of Hollywood Beach. It certainly has ME swooning; how 'bout you? You might even get discovered while you're working on your tan! Leastways, it beats hanging out at the drugstore on the boulevard, right? All those sodas wreak havoc on the waistline, ya know.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan ... I found it on Dot&Bo ... Tiffany Caliva photos
Tiffany Caliva photo

You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan ... I found it on Dot&Bo ... Tiffany Caliva photos
Tiffany Caliva photo

You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan ... I found it on Dot&Bo ... Tiffany Caliva photos
Tiffany Caliva photo

You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan ... I found it on Dot&Bo ... Tiffany Caliva photos
Tiffany Caliva photo

You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan ... I found it on Dot&Bo ... Tiffany Caliva photos
Tiffany Caliva photos

You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan ... I found it on Dot&Bo ... Tiffany Caliva photos
Tiffany Caliva photo

You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan ... I found it on Dot&Bo ... Tiffany Caliva photos
Tiffany Caliva photo

You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan ... I found it on Dot&Bo ... Tiffany Caliva photos
Tiffany Caliva photo

You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan ... I found it on Dot&Bo ... Tiffany Caliva photos
Tiffany Caliva photo

You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan ... I found it on Dot&Bo ... Tiffany Caliva photos
Tiffany Caliva photo

You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan ... I found it on Dot&Bo ... Tiffany Caliva photos
Tiffany Caliva photo


If you want more…

  • Continue your tour of the “Best Bohemian Beach Lodge” over at Dot & Bo and read about its transformation by owner Tiffany Caliva. 
  • Follow thebeachlodge on Instagram and see how Caliva is always changing up the boho look. 
  • Get details and book this lodge on AirBnB
  • Get this look in your home by shopping the Bohemian California Beach Lodge look (affiliate link). 
  • Check out all the stunning interiors submitted by people like you to #StyleMavenMe on Instagram. And remember that even though the contest is over, you can still post your photos.
  • Follow my blog with Bloglovin, or get to-your-inbox updates by signing up with one of the subscription services listed below this post.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A chic boho oasis in a LA hacienda home

You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. I found it on One Kings Lane.
One Kings Lane photo

When this L.A. home's current owners were house-hunting and first saw the glass-ceilinged solarium in this hacienda-style home, they were more than a little stumped. Of course the light was great, but how to decorate it? So they enlisted the help of a designer friend, Pam Shamshiri of Commune Design, and together transformed it into a cozy, multifunctional space that’s very boho, family friendly, and oh-so chic.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. I found it on One Kings Lane.
One Kings Lane photo

It was Shamshiri's idea to warm it up with rugs. But rather than just lay one here and another there, she had them sewn together to create a boho patchwork-style “carpet.”


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. I found it on One Kings Lane.
One Kings Lane

Notice the cross-stitches of metallic thread used to connect the rugs.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. I found it on One Kings Lane.
One Kings Lane

Some rugs were also made up into pillows for a rich, encompassing global look.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. I found it on One Kings Lane.
One Kings Lane

If you can take your eyes off the Spanish tile staircase, thought to be original to the house, check out the hobbit-styled doors beneath it. After the family moved in, they cleared out left-behind firewood from the nook and created playhouse space for the family’s youngest child.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. I found it on One Kings Lane.
One Kings Lane

The slightly more formal living room functions as a music room and can be closed off when privacy is needed. I love those colorful ottomans near the fireplace. They look like modern art, but the flower-like patterns were made by the feet of children. 


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. I found it on One Kings Lane.
One Kings Lane

Here, kids can eat breakfast at the counter, mom can tack up their art up on the bathroom door, and the family dog, can snooze nearby.




The eight-year-old son’s room is visible from the solarium, so the palette was kept tight and the furniture timeless to ensure flow. I like how the owner uses colorful woven bags, like the one at left, throughout the children’s spaces to corral toys and projects.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. I found it on One Kings Lane.
One Kings Lane

Pink makes everything pop in the four-year-old daughter’s room. What a great background for white bookshelves!


Want more?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Riot of boho color & pattern rock Park Avenue home

If this boho mama graduated to tony Park Avenue, she’d have a home with décor like the Mark D. Sikes-designed feature in September’s House Beautiful. I can’t get enough of the mix of bright colors, ethnic patterns, and textures, all in one connected space.

Call it what you will—upscale boho or “glambo” (my personal favorite)—it’s full of old world elegance without being stuffy or formal.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. Photographed by Bjorn Wallander for House Beautful.
Bjorn Wallander photo

I love the lavender walls as a backdrop to so much blue and red in the living room. Midway between those colors, it makes each one read crisp and true. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning...


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. Photographed by Bjorn Wallander for House Beautful.
Bjorn Wallander photo

The long foyer does double-time as a seating area. Note how the trim on the walls matches that on the sofa.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. Photographed by Bjorn Wallander for House Beautful.
Bjorn Wallander photo

You get a better view of it in this shot. It not only matches, it lines up, like a bespoke garment! Don’t miss the extra dash of pattern in the wallpapered ceiling and the jaguar-print carpet.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. Photographed by Bjorn Wallander for House Beautful.
Bjorn Wallander photo

Here’s that wowza living room again. There’s something about woven blinds that ALWAYS tugs at my heart. They filter light so beautifully and add so much texture.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. Photographed by Bjorn Wallander for House Beautful.
Bjorn Wallander photo

This looks like the perfect reading nook to me!


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. Photographed by Bjorn Wallander for House Beautful.
Bjorn Wallander photo

Those rattan armchairs are dynamite with the blue leather winged banquette in the dining room.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. Photographed by Bjorn Wallander for House Beautful.
Bjorn Wallander photo

I love how blue-and-white Chinese garden stools are used throughout the space as side tables. It helps the different spaces relate.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com @bohosusan. Photographed by Bjorn Wallander for House Beautful.
Bjorn Wallander photo

Lavender reappears in the master bedroom, but this time as the focus, to make for a soothing, relaxing space.


If you want more…

Sikes also has coauthored a book, just out...

Beautiful: All-American Design and Timeless Style



Click on the affiliate link for details/purchase.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

My boho heart can’t DENY it: This credenza is home decor JUNK!

Every once in a while I come across a product that captures my wild-and-crazy boho imagination, but my home decor budget doesn’t allow for its purchase.

That’s when I write a YAAAS!! post, and it makes me feel a little better. I almost wrote such a post about DENY Design’s funky patterned credenzas. Now I’m glad I held off until I actually SAW one, and I’m here to tell you…

Don’t waste your money or your wishes, 
because the DENY Designs credenza is a piece of junk. 


I guess you could call this a NOOO WAY!! post.


Here’s my story…


My 30-year-old daughter, Erin, recently bought her first house and was in the market for some furniture. She saw the DENY Design credenzas somewhere and liked this one:


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com or @bohosusan
Three of the Possessed Abston credenza by Braden Furniture for DENY Designs


It’s the Abston, and retails for just under $1,000. She was actually thinking of buying it at that price because she loved it so much, but I suggested she let me shop around because I’ve seen these credenzas for much less. A quick search led me to a sale at Wayfair.com and a purchase price just over $500. We were both elated! What a buy! We ordered.

We had some fun mom-daughter time talking about how she was getting something I dreamed of. Someday, I said, this is the DENY Designs credenza I would buy:

You found this photo on BoHoHome.com or @bohosusan
Iveta Abolina Boardwalk credenza for DENY Designs




It’s called the Boardwalk. Meanwhile, the Abston sold out on Wayfair at the sale price, and Erin and I congratulated ourselves on our shopping prowess and luck.

Wayfair said our Abston would ship in 5-6 weeks, and it came in one. So far, so good. We loaned Erin the money to purchase it until she closed on the house, and we had it delivered to our address because until closing she was in a third-floor apartment. The package would weigh 85 pounds, and the deliveryman was sure to leave it at the clubhouse. Then what?

My husband, Chris, and I didn’t open the carton when it arrived but stored it in the garage for transport to Erin’s home after closing—still three weeks off. We thought it would be less likely to get damaged unassembled than assembled and transported in our pickup truck. 

A month elapsed. Erin closed and moved. The credenza was one of the first things unpacked because she was so excited to see put it together. 


BoHoHome.com @bohosusan
BoHo Home

Chris laid out all the pieces for inspection on her living room floor, and our spirits immediately fell. One door and one side panel were chipped, and the back panel was delaminating on one corner. 


BoHoHome.com @bohosusan
BoHo Home

We could tell the pieces were shipped damaged because the box was not damaged and the chips were nowhere in the packing. Subtract points for DENY quality control—or lack of it.

Damage aside, I was stunned at how cheapo the finish looked. 

Of course I knew it would be photographed art and woodgrain, but it was definitely on the low-quality end of even that. 


BoHoHome.com @bohosusan
BoHo Home

The “wood” pattern surface was unnaturally shiny and didn’t look a bit realistic. You could see the many layers of lamination, and the back panel that was already delaminated looked especially cheap—not much better than a cardboard cereal box. Erin still seemed enthralled by the credenza, so I said nothing to her about it, though Chris and I voiced our concerns to each other on the way home. 

I no longer dreamed of owning Boardwalk. I'm cured of one obsession. But since Abston was bought with Erin's money, it was her call.

The package insert said to contact DENY Designs directly if any pieces were damaged. I then spent most of a Friday trying to make contact by phone and email with no success, even though the home office’s work day would have extended two hours later than ours due to time differences. It honestly seemed like the entire company was a receptionist and one guy in quality control who liked to take long lunch breaks.

When I got back to my own home late that evening and had access to a computer rather than a phone, I sent a more detailed email, complete with photos of the damage. But by then it was the weekend for everyone, and no one at DENY responded immediately.

Monday passed with only an automatic acknowledgement that my email had been received.


Out of frustration, I wrote a damning review on the Wayfair website.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com or @bohosusan
BoHo Home

It was mid-day TUESDAY before anyone from DENY Designs got back with me, in spite of three phone calls with messages left AND an email with photos. And when DENY did finally respond, it was to tell me I had to go through Wayfair (even though it was drop-shipped directly from DENY, not to mention the package instructions). 

So I immediately called Wayfair and ordered the replacement pieces. Wayfair was extremely accommodating, though it was clear the DENY form the customer service rep needed to complete to get the replacement pieces sent was complex and confusing. I seriously doubted the right replacement pieces would come.


Confirmation correspondence indicated the pieces would ship in a few days.


A few days passed, and we received notice of a shipment delay. Meanwhile, Chris and I helped Erin shop for a sofa and living room tables at one of the few brick-and-mortar furniture stores left in our area, Godby Home Furnishings.


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com or @bohosusan
Ashley Furniture "Gavelston" console table

I couldn’t help but think how much better the quality of the case goods she bought there was than the DENY piece, even though the prices were much less. But again, I kept it to myself. 


You found this photo on BoHoHome.com or @bohosusan
Liberty Furniture "Franklin" collection

The DENY replacement pieces arrived two weeks later.


We transported the package to the new house, and Chris once again prepared to assemble the long-awaited credenza. We were relieved to find no visible damage. And instead of sending us just one imprinted door, they sent us a pair. We thought this was a good omen because a new PAIR might be more likely to match up. 

WRONG!

As Chris moved toward completing assembly, he could not adjust the doors to close evenly. One was higher than the other no matter what he did, which skewed the pattern on the front. Additionally, the inside shelf was warped and would not install properly.

This is a good time to mention that Chris is an accomplished woodworker and has crafted several pieces of furniture for our home. If it COULD be put together satisfactorily, he'd be the one the do it. But there was no fixing this credenza.

We three sat and stared at the put-together piece, which looked clunky compared to the photos. All the edges showed the many laminated layers of the key parts. It simply wasn’t well-designed OR well-made. It was inelegant, if that’s a word. Think awkward, clumsy-looking, cobbled together.

“I want my money back,” Erin said.

“I don’t want to have to ship it back,” I said.

“I don’t want to have to take it apart,” Chris said. “Maybe Wayfair will give us a refund and tell us to junk it.” Because it is/was, indeed, JUNK.

In the end, Chris said he’d handle the negotiations. Wayfair was extremely apologetic AND conscientious. They refunded the full amount without hesitation and told us to trash or donate the product rather than return it. Yay!!!!

I will certainly buy from Wayfair again and again and again. 

But there’s no denying it, I will NEVER buy DENY Designs furniture again. 


It’s complete crap—cheaply made and waaaaaay over-priced. Although I have three pieces of DENY framed artwork that are beautiful, I bought a DENY pillow once and it was chintzy as well.


The lesson from all of this: 


Be careful what you wish for. That’s first and foremost. 

And maybe this, too: Be very, very careful buying furniture over the Internet. We lucked out by not needing to pay humongous shipping fees to return a heavy and cumbersome package THIS time, but our stash of get-out-of-jail-free cards may be exhausted.

I don’t usually use the blog to gripe about a product, but my dissatisfaction with this one is so deep I felt it was my duty to share so others wouldn’t make the same mistake. This credenza is worth no more than $200, and even at that, knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t buy it. One glass with condensation on the outside, set on the top for five minutes, would destroy the finish. It would bubble and peel like the paper that it is.

You couldn’t even GIVE this product to me. Because actually, someone did, and I still pitched it.

And there’s just NO denying that!


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