Category Archives: Designer Spotlight

Designer Spotlight: Karen Combs of NAMA ROCOCO

Karen Combs of NAMA ROCOCO

I first came across Karen Combs wallpaper line NAMA ROCOCO in an article about a West Newton house in Boston Home, for which Lindsay Bentis of Thread Art & Design did the interior design. Lindsay framed individual sheets of NAMA ROCOCO French Dot and hung them in the stairwell. I tore out the page and kept it in my files.

West Newton house, design by Lindsay Bentis, Boston Home.

An installation from the NAMA ROCOCO website.

And a detail.

Ok, so I’m obssessed.

I re-discovered the line while researching eco-friendly wall coverings for “Raw Materials” for the recent “green” issue of the Boston Globe Magazine.

Combs uses French acid-free papers and hand-mixed artist’s pigments. The painting is done by hand and printed by hand, using silkscreens and other reproduction techniques inspired by artisan practices of 18th century Europe and Japan. In fact, it was a Chinese scroll painting at the Met that spurred the creation of a wallpaper line.

The NAMA ROCOCO studio in North Adams, Massachussetts.

Karen describes the NAMA ROCOCO aesthetic as “a mix of mod bohemian, rock, and soul, with 18th century European and Asian art influences.”

She goes onto say, “I like to mix bold pattern and high style with simple plain organic shapes and geometrics. I like for spaces and objects (and my wallpaper) to feel luxurious but surprising, relaxed, but engaging enough to draw you in.”

Here’s a sampling of NAMA ROCOCO designs:

Serious Bokay in Black & White  |  Chateau 66 in Kraft  |  Sixty-Eight in Mellow Orange

Serious Bokay in Orange  |  Little Butterfly Loop in Chinese Red

Random Geometry in Graphite  |  Serious Bokay in Emerald

Tokyo & Vine in Cerise in Karen’s own house.

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For more on Karen Combs and NAMA ROCOCO read “Shopping with… Nama Rococo” on The Inside Source.

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Designer Spotlight: Amy Butler and Kelly Hoppen for Graham & Brown Wallpaper

Wallpaper company Graham & Brown, which recently launched at ICFF in New York last month, debuted new patterns for 2010 from designers Kelly Hoppen and Amy Butler.

Amy Butler


Fountain in Midnight

Georgia in Stone

Temple Tulips in Ocean

Lacework in Moss

Memento in Sunset

Kelly Hoppen


Hicks in Burnt Orange & Gold               Hicks in Taupe & Charcoal

Bold Stripe in Charcoal Silver                               Rose in Red & Black

Vintage Flock in Black                     Vintage Flock in Grape

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Designer Spotlight: Seema Krish

Inspiration board.

Seema’s studio.

It’s true, I blogged about Seema Krish last summer after interviewing her for “Designing Women” in Stuff Magazine. But although we had a long phone conversation, we had never met. She invited me to The Buttery for tea last week, and after devouring a carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting (all me, not her), we walked to her studio at 46 Waltham (and ran into Jill Goldberg of Hudson with her beautiful new baby Dylan).

After introducing me around to some stationary designers – it’s like a college dorm in there, very fun – Seema showed me her newest work. In addition to continuing production on her debut collection, “Bombay Bliss”, she is introducing a new line of 46 textiles to Seema Krish Collection. Her work is absolutely stunning. The photos don’t do it justice. The colors are gorgeous, and on top of the block printing – by hand, so not perfect, thus utterly charming – are hand stitched details, like French knots, cross stitched “X”s, dotted lines, subtle mirrored pieces, appliqué, etc.

Bombay Bliss pillows

New designs - drawings with stitching

Browsing through a David Hicks book.

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Sponsor Love: Fabricadabra Ikat Pillows

By now most of you avid blog readers and lovers of home decor are well-acquainted with Fabricadabra’s fantastic (and wonderfully priced – just $40) ikat pillows. But I bet you’re less aware of the company’s other designs. And since Fabricadabra is now a Style Carrot sponsor (yay!) I thought it best to tout those too. Love ‘em all!


D U T C H   W A X   P R I N T S

F E L T E D   W O O L S

W O O L   K I L I M S


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ARTmonday: Isabelle Abramson

Photo: Ben Sheldon

Boston-based ceramicist Isabelle Abramson, creator of Isabelle Abramson Ceramics,  is a self-taught artist who learned to work with clay while she worked as a school nurse for a day job. The kids must have been pretty healthy, because she absolutely perfected her craft. Her pieces are gorgeous.

Isabelle shows her work at her studio at 450 Harrison during SoWa’s First Fridays. Jane Miller offers a small collection for sale at her shop J.E.M.

Speaking of which, Jane is hosting an event this week at which Isabelle will be present and previewing new works:  “A South End Design Moment”, Thursday, April 22nd, 6pm – 9pm at J.E.M., 470 Shawmut Ave., Boston.

White Porcelain Berry Bowl, $175

Set of 4 Dessert Bowls, $185

Porcelain Lace Fruit Bowl, $550

Peacock Feather Vase, $275

White Porcelain String Tie Vase, $275

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TV Alert: Sixx Design on Bravo

The Novogratz Family

The husband and wife design duo behind Sixx Design, Robert and Cortney Novogratz, plus their brood of kids (two sets of twins, a couple of singles, and a new baby), have landed a TV gig. Nine by Design premieres Tuesday at 11pm on Bravo, then moves to its regular time at 10pm.

The series follows the couple over the course of six months, during which they worked on six large-scale design projects including a 24-room hotel on the Jersey Shore, a 10,000 square foot glass house on the West Side Highway and a home conversion of a gun shop located on the edge of Soho.

With any luck, this reality docu-DIY will focus on the team’s talents as taste makers rather than the antics of their ever growing family, though apparently Cortney goes into labor with the newest addition at the end of episode one. I’m definitely tuning in and hoping to get a taste of the magic behind their funky interior transformations. And besides, I need a new show; a girl can’t exist on Gossip Girl alone.

For more on Sixx Design you can read the NYT article from last spring.

And here’s a sampling of their work:

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Fine Print: FLAIR Joe Nye

Los Angeles interior designer and party planner Joe Nye has put together his first book, Flair: Exquisite Invitations, Lush Flowers, and Gorgeous Table Settings (Rizzoli, April 2010). The table settings are beautiful. Almost makes me want to entertain. Definitely makes me want to shop for pretty china.

Handmade chargers in the Palladian pattern from Isis Ceramics Ltd., black bamboo flatware by Juliska, black water goblets and a chinoiserie-style tablecloth. More images from this table below.

Joe Nye

Upper left: Singerie-inspired invitations and little favor boxeds wrpapped in fuchsia ribbon. (Singerie is the French word for “Monkey Trick”. It is a genre depicting monkeys apeing human behavior, often fashionably attired, intended as a diverting sight, always with a gentle cast of mild satire.) Upper right: Black bamboo flatware from Juliska. Lower left: A chinoiserie-styleparty table setting. Lower right: A prfusion of pink carnations in a silver mint julep cup.

Left: Contemporary Chinese Chippendale chargers paired with charming antique chinoiserie-style floral china and pretty aqua finger bowls. The natural wood handles of the bamboo flatware brings out the yellow and green tones in the plate. Right: Purple floral Mottahedeh dessert plates sit atop Charlotte Moss’s treillage pattern dinner plates. Green hydrangeas and amethyst goblets play up the green and purple theme.

Above: Red, printed silk-toile tablecloths, and blue and red glassware from Cost Plus World Market mix nicely with fancy sterling silver and Blue Canton dinner plates. The red lantern is a fun centerpiece. A single flower on the napkin dresses up the plate.

Left: A mélange of blue-and-white ceramics mixed with yellow gladioli and oncidium orchids dress up the sideboard.  Right: The blue and yellow theme is carried over to the table, with blue water glasses, inexpensive bunches of yellow chrysanthemums and single yellow Fuji mums placed in teacups. The dinnerware is Torquay from Mottahedeh. Like the flowers, the cobalt blue-handled flatware provides an informal touch.

All images by Los Angeles-based photographer Edmund Barr. Courtesy of Rizzoli International.


British retailer David Shuttle ( offers a large selection of fine dining and giftware.


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Designer Spotlight: Wellfleet Waters

Maryann Morley and Beth Dean, Wellfleet Waters

Last June I profiled three textile designers in the article “Designing Women” for Stuff Magazine.  I’ve already followed up with posts on Seema Krish Design and Mod Green Pod. Now that summer is approaching, it’s time to visit sisters Maryann Morley and Beth Dean of Wellfleet Waters.

Maryann and Beth said they were sitting on a Cape Cod beach when inspiration hit. “We were talking about porch furniture, saying we wished we could find vibrant designs in bright colors,” says Morley. Instead, they found a lot of earth tone stripes printed on acrylic. So they got to work producing a line that was lots more fun.

They came up with a collection of three whimsical patterns (flowers, paisley, and polka dots) in three bright, highly saturated colorways (grass, water, and sunset). Most importantly, they decided to use 100% cotton canvas fabrics, which they have treated to be water- and mildew-resistant.

The collection launched last year; it’s made entirely in the United States and printed in New England. “It costs a bit more, but we’re committed to the people we work with. And it keeps us close to home for our families too,” says Dean. (Both sisters are moms.)

Their inspiration is the nostalgia for summer vacation, the season of bare feet and canvas sneakers. They remember running into the garden to dirty up new pairs, so they wouldn’t be too white. Morley explains, “We want to bring people back to that place, whether it’s the bayside or the pond, where they relax with their families and are reminded of the good things in life.”

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Fine Print: Suzanne Kasler Inspired Interiors

Cover Photo: Simon Watson

Another beautiful book that has been sitting on my shelf since early winter is Suzanne Kasler: Inspired Interiors (Rizzoli, 2009). Suzanne is an Atlanta-based designer who made the coveted House Beautiful “Top 100 Designers” list back in 2005, and has been going strong ever since, having been published in Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Southern Accents, Veranda, Traditional Home, and Architectural Digest. (The links click through to her stories, so take a peek.)  Here are images from her book, which was published by Rizzloli  in November, along with caption info and commentary.

Photo: Gia Trovan for Southern Accents

White walls set off deliberate touches of blue in this entryway that also doubles as a dining area. Hard to tell here, but the chandelier is adorned with seashells, the rooms only truly beach-y touch. The collection of blue glass is vintage. I love the turquoise bench upholstery; wonder if it’s velvet?

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Photo: Erica George Dines Photography

This is the living room of Suzanne’s own beach house. Everything – the walls, ceiling, and floor – is painted in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. (That’s the color in my house too!)  The French flea market chairs are upholstered in indestructible orange and aqua ultrasuede. The fireplace surround is made of poured stone embedded with seashells. The coral sconces are beach-y but still sophisticated.

•  •  •

Photo: Erica George Dines Photographay

Another room in Suzanne’s beach house. The artworks are vintage batick prints she found at a flea market, framed in bamboo and hung in a tight grid. The pillow colors echo colors found in the prints. The limestone and iron coffee table and the floor lamps provide strong but simple shapes in black and white. The little round table is a kitschy seashell covered piece from a local shop.

•  •  •

Photo: Gia Trovan for Southern Accents

The floors and fireplace wall in this beach house are painted a cool, slean white, while the rest of the deocr is done in various shades of soothing blue. The walls in the sitting room beyond are sky blue; the slipcover on the chair is almost a French blue; the rug is striped in other blues. The blue balls are iridescent blown glass. The painting is by Dusty Griffith. Overall, a very watery space.

•  •  •

Photo: William Waldron

You might not realize it, but there is a lot of white in this living room. The round acrylic tables are by Nancy Corzine (whose new book I wrote about yesterday). The stools are Russian, found in Paris and uphostered in two different fabrics to create a striped effect. These stools inspired the Anastasia bench in Suzanne’s furniture line for Hickory Chair.

•  •  •

Photo: Erica George Dines Photography

I love the mix of greens and turquoise in this room, whose colors are rich without being heavy. The swirly chairs wor well mixed with the simpler Louix XVI-style ones.

•  •  •

Photo: Tria Giovan

The peony pink color of the accent wall in this dining room is Glidden Checkberry. Kasler points out that this color has depth – you can see many different shades it in – red and pink and ochre and white. The Louis XVI -style chairs are upholstered in raffia with nail heads. I love the interlocking swirls on the front face of the console, which echo the curves of the chandelier and sconces . And the peonies, so luscious.

•  •  •

Photo: Erica George Dines Photography

An elegant bedroom in neutral tones with a rosy hue.

All photographs courtesy of  Suzanne Kasler: Inspired Interiors, Rizzoli, 2009

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CARROT CURRENCY:    bedroom furniture chest of drawers

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Fine Print: Nancy Corzine Glamour At Home

With all the rain over the weekend I finally had time to peruse the stack of review copies on my bookshelf.  Nancy Corzine Glamour at Home was published back in October, but I thought I would share some images with you anyway, in case you missed it, or loved it so much you felt like looking again. Her style is much more elegant, and well, grown-up, than I tend towards, but there’s no doubting her talent. When I think mirrored furniture, I think Nancy Corzine.

Photo: Carter Berg

The hand-painted tea-leaf silver screen provides a glamorous backdrop to the blue linen-covered sofa and creamy lacquered side tables.

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Photo: Ken Hayden

A trio of stools at the foot of the bed in this guestroom provide extra storage.

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Photo: Peter Vitale

This Hamptons dining room’s walls are papered in a traditional hand-painted silk chinoiserie design. The English Regency-period sunburst mirror adds sparkle, along with the chandelier, which is carved wood with a silver-leaf finish.

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Photo: Ken Hayden

A vintage black-and-white photograph of Marilyn Monroe hangs above the bar in the media room of a house in Los Angeles.

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Photo: Miguel Flores-Vianna

The large oil painting in this living room is by Antonio Murado.

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Photo: Ken Hayden

The toile de Jouy wallcovering in this Hamptons guest bathroom matches the bedskirt and draperies of the bedroom.

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Photo: Ken Hayden

A galley kitchen in a Manhattan high-rise has clean lines for maximum efficiency. The black-and-white photos are by Jeff Reese.

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Photo: Trio Giovan

A Palm Beach living room with whitewashed paneling and pale blue fabrics has a traditional Gustavian-era look.

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