The next time you’re contemplating a new room design, you might want to consider using a theme for an inspiration place. Not only can it provide a launching point for the types of furnishings to buy, it can also offer an opportunity to showcase your personal interests be it travel to exotic locales, hobbies, or a type of art. Themes can also offer suggestions for color palettes and the style of accents you use to decorate your spaces. Ranch & Coast recently spoke with three local designers who used themes as inspiration for their interior designs. Find out how they interpreted the ideas into their client’s personal spaces — and how to keep themed rooms elegant and not overdone.
Oriental trends never go out of style, and no matter whether your home is traditional, modern, or contemporary, the Asian influence can fit into a variety of diverse environments. Interior designer Toni-Marie, who owns her own design firm and works with clients at Butera Living in Encinitas, recently styled a room that showcased Asian styles to the max. "Asian elements give a room a collected and well-traveled look," she says. She paired a traditional hand-painted chinoiserie secretary with two Asian-style panels. Red silk appliqué art and gold bamboo hurricanes with candles accent the space. In an Oriental dining space she teamed up a hickory table and dining chairs by Acquisition with a chinoiserie bar cabinet and a Henredon sideboard. Once again, hand-painted silk panels complete the look. (760/633-2238)
Tritia Gustine, co-owner of Beach Bungalow Designs, opened the home furnishings shop in 2004 with her mother, Alexis Burns, to offer design for nurseries, children, and teen rooms. "I think it’s the only time that you can do a really whimsical kind of theme," she says. Gustine recently completed a baseball-themed room for 8- and 6-year-old boys Connor and Cole. "We started this room from scratch," she says. "The client wanted a sports theme." The furniture was made to fit the room and features a custom bench with cubbies that holds the boys’ sports equipment and jerseys. A muralist painted a stitching detail on the wall that looks like a baseball, and the homeowner purchased baseball-themed picture frames, lamps, and bulletin boards. "You’ll notice that we didn’t put a lot of the sports theme into the bedding or the furniture," Gustine says. "If for some reason they grow out of sports, the mom can change the theme of the room by repainting the walls and changing the accessories." (858/793-7782, www.beachbungalowdesigns.com)
In this room, created for a 13-year-old girl named Sophie, Gustine’s client already had the sunny orange color on the walls. "My client’s daughter was into mermaids and wanted to update her room into a beach look," she says. A local artist painted a mural on the walls with palm trees and a surfboard. A tiki-themed valance hangs over the windows, and the room’s alcove was transformed into a cozy reading area where she could study. "You’ll be amazed by how you can change the entire look of a room with a couple of pillows, a new desk chair, and a bunch of accessories," Gustine says. "This room should last Sophie until she’s 16." (858/793-7782, www.beachbungalowdesigns.com)
It’s no surprise that the coastal theme is a popular look in Southern California. "Even though we live in San Diego, not everyone can afford to have sand at the doorstep," says Sheryll Jackman, interior designer and owner of Seaside Home. The feeling of a coastal room should be crisp, clean, and refreshing by using a color scheme that calls on sea blues, crisp whites, sandy tans, and an array of natural fibers to bring the outdoors inside. "Remember to not go overboard!" Jackman says. "The key to beach chic is picking a few elegant items to pair with light linens and fabrics that are made for everyday use." The right blend of natural textures and seaside decor creates a casual, California feel to the room. For extra flair, Jackman combines the coastal look with touches of Asian design. Typically the furniture is low and has clean lines, like the sofa shown here from the Thomas Pheasant Collection by Baker. The sharp black and white Zebra fabric on the side chair and accent pillow also gives a contrast to the other neutral colors of the room. "The animal print is exotic and worldly, which is also part of the Asian look," Jackman says. "Break the rules: When incorporating Asian trends, feel free to get creative! There are no rules when it comes to meshing colors, materials, shapes and balance." (858/454-0866, www.seasidehomelajolla.com) — Tanja Kern
Oriental by Butera Living