Style Illuminated

Interior design tips and lighting ideas for today's home! Providing professional interior design advice, home decor ideas and inspiration.

  • Palatial Style Modernized!

    Incorporating palatial elements adds touches of glamour to your home without making it feel overly ornate.  As beautiful as Buckingham Palace is, most people wouldn't want to live there.  Only birthrights and inheritances can force people to move in.

    Enter modern glamour.  It's cleaner, more usable, but still has the essential elements that make it palatial.  Elements like shine, symmetry, large scale, repetition and last but not least, excellent quality.  The room featured above is a great example of how tasteful elements of palatial style make a home both accessible and beautiful.

    With no risk of palatial ostentation, below are my some of my favorite picks of modernized glamour from Lamps Plus.  

    James R. Moder Florale Collection Chandelier.  $2,674.91

    Two or three of these set above a long row of dining tables would be très jolie!

    Auberge Curved Corner Cherry Curio Cabinet.  $899.91

    This curio cabinet would be stunning as a pair, a symmetrical arrangement in each corner of a wall.

    Rectangular White Marble Top Accent Table.  $399.91

    White marble is a timeless classic that will never go out of style.

    Walt Disney Signature Teal Kingswell Rug.  $1,228.91

    The large-scaled blue pattern on this rug looks great with the blue chair below.

    Parker Hydra Upholstered Accent Chair.  $349.91

    This chair looks as nice from the back as it does from the sides.  The circle pattern extends there too.

     (Images:  Glamour: Making it Modern by Michael Lassell, Lamps Plus.)


  • Wallpaper Rehabs its Bad Reputation

    Wallpaper and Office

    Wallpaper was in when I was growing up. Our home had wallpaper in the bedrooms, bathrooms, and office - pretty much every room. Tastes shifted, and many decided to tear down old wallpaper and paint the walls instead.

    If you have ever tried to take down old wallpaper, then you know how hard it is to strip it clean from the walls. Old application glues gave wallpaper a seriously bad rap. Fortunately, new adhesive technology has made applying and removing wallpaper much easier and less messy.

    Wallpaper and Living Room

    It's been a long time since wallpaper's heyday in the 1970's, but it's making a comeback. Young designers are discovering wallpaper and incorporating it into their designs. One design element missing from most of the new wallpapers is the shiny finish of the 70's wallpapers. I can't say that I miss it. The new patterns are bright and colorful and are being used in many different rooms in the home. 

    Wallpaper and Dining Room

    What are your thoughts on using wallpaper in the home?

    Images: birch and lily, Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge


  • Our Favorite Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

    Mothers Day gifts for the home

    Mother's Day is quickly approaching and there is less than two weeks left to purchase a present. Every holiday I find myself scrambling to get a gift at the last minute, which is then followed by a call from my brother also looking for gift ideas.

    Flowers are an easy find, but why not pick up something for the home? This year my mother will be purchasing a new home, so I am really excited to help her decorate with new furnishings. Below are a few of my favorite gift ideas for Mother's Day.

    Antique Bicycle Statue at

    Antique Bicycle Statue $39.91

    White Accordion Resin Small Container at

    White Accordion Resin Small Container $69.91

    Set of 3 Butterfly Bottles at

    Set of 3 Butterfly Bottles $61.91

    Howard Miller Dorchester Wall Clock at

    Howard Miller Dorchester 29 1/2" High Wall Clock $346.91

    Images: tinywhitedaisies, Lamps Plus


  • Buckingham Palace's Home Decor: Prince William & Kate Middleton

    Prince William and Kate Middleton Photo

    The English monarchy is the most famous in the world, and Prince William and Kate Middleton are a new breed of royalty for the 21st century.  It'll be interesting to see what influence they'll have on Buckingham's style.  If Middleton's revamped vows are any indication of what's to come in the palace, then I'm all eyes and ears!  She did away with the famously traditional "obey" thy husband and swapped it out for the modern "keep" thy husband.  Nice.

    The young royal couple will one day face the daunting task of making Buckingham feel homey -- merging its magnanimous tradition and history with their young taste.  If ghosts are real, they have some powerful predecessors to please, as they change the carpets and wall colors.  Will the Green Drawing Room soon be turquoise?  Monarchs of past centuries may roll in their graves.

    Here are some of Buckingham Palace's best rooms.

    Buckingham Palace White Drawing Room Photo

    The White Drawing Room is classically beautiful, even if it is ornate.  Imagine having to dust all the details in this room!

    Buckingham Palace Grand Staircase Photo

    The Grand Staircase is formal and grand with it's perfectly symmetrical layout and decor.  The only thing I would change are the crimson carpets.  The redcoats would absolutely disappear in this room.

    Buckingham Palace Green Drawing Room

    The Green Drawing Room.  The scale on the tall chandeliers is incredible.  (Tip:  Look at the chairs on the ground, then quickly look up at the chandeliers to get a sense of their huge size.)

    Buckingham Palace Blue Drawing Room

    The Blue Drawing Room.  For a room that's called blue, it definitely needs more.  The color blue was simply made to be royal.  (By the way, who needs a treadmill with this room?  There's enough room to run laps.)

    (Images:  Steven Meisel, The Royal Collection.)


  • Mysteries of Old Houses

    The American Foursquare home

    One of my current projects is the restoration of a Midwestern farmhouse built in the early 1900s.  There is a lot that needs to be done, so it certainly classifies as a long term undertaking.  The architectural style of the house is American Foursquare, sometimes also referred to as Prairie Box.  

    Basic features of the Foursquare include a two story simple box shape with a four room floor plan on each level.  These houses often share design features made popular by Frank Lloyd Wright in his Prairie Style. 

    House with Two Entries Photo

    This house is no exception.  The entry way is classic Craftsman -- complete with wide entry door with sidelight windows.   In fact, this house has two almost identical entries.  One is on the front and the other is immediately around the corner on the side - placing the doors no more than four feet apart from each other and opening into a shared entry hall with built in bookcases. 

    The house is all original with very little remodeling done over the years, so I'm certain the current layout is as designed.  As I've seen other houses with similar entry ways, I've research this historic trend a bit and have found several explanations as to why a house might have dual front doors -- none of which seem to fully explain why this particular house has two front doors:

    1) One is the "in" door and the other the "out" door.
    2) The second door was used by servants.
    3) Extra ventilation.
    4) Separate entrances for men and women.
    5) One door leads to public spaces, the other door to private spaces.

    Original floors and built-ins


    As  a designer, one of the principles we learn early on is that "form follows function."  At this point, I'm not entirely certain what the function is of the two sets of entry doors and to be honest, I'm not even certain which is the primary and which is the secondary. 

    I've certainly explored eliminating one set of doors, but alas, no additional living space is gained by doing this.  So ultimately, we've decided to embrace this quirky feature without the complete understanding of its purpose and move on to other areas of the house. 

    If you are working on an old home, I would love to hear you.  Drop me a line in the comments.

    Top image courtesy of Arts and Crafts Homes.

  • Elizabeth Taylor Movie Posters: Classic Cool


    Butterfield 8 Movie Poster Photo

    Movie posters are a cool way of adding personal taste and style to your space.  To keep them from making your home look like a college dorm, just make sure to frame your posters before hanging them or leaning them on ledges.

    Today's post is in memory of Elizabeth Taylor (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011).  Her talent and beauty shines out of these classic movie posters.  Their graphic colors and painterly style makes them an easy fit for home decor.


    Elizabeth Taylor won her first Academy Award for her role in Butterfield 8.

    Cleopatra Movie Poster Photo

    Cleopatra is one of Elizabeth Taylor's most famous films.

    Giant Movie Poster Photo

    Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor are unforgettable power brunettes in Giant.

    Cat On A Hot Tin Roof Movie Poster

    Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman are a smokin' pair in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

    Cat On A Hot Tin Roof Italian Movie Poster

    I think this Italian poster of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is even more sensual than the American version.

    The Sandpiper Movie Poster

    Who can forget Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor?  Husband and wife, and co-actors in 11 films together.  Here, you see them in The Sandpiper.


    (Images:  Warner Bros., MGM, 20th Century Fox)

  • 5 Ways To Lighten Up For Spring

    One of the most enduring rites of spring is the annual clean.  My grandmother was particularly adept at this task.  Never one to take the easy road, she would bribe the grandchildren into helping her empty the entire contents of each room of her house – one by one onto the front lawn.  Once the room was clear, she would haul out the ladder as well as her metal buckets and clean the room from ceiling to floor. 

    Before any piece of furniture was placed back in the room, it had to be given its own once over – wooden pieces were polished, mattresses were rotated and upholstery was vacuumed and fluffed.   This was also a time when my grandmother changed things up a bit.  She must have spent hours during those long winter days meticulously rearranging rooms in her head in anticipation of her spring clean because when it came time to put everything back in place, she knew exactly where its new home would be.  She used to call this her “Spring Refresh.” 

    She came from a time when necessity would dictate design sense.  Out from the attic would come the spring and summer curtains – much lighter than the velvets used during winter to keep the draft from the windows to a minimum.  Lightweight bedding would replace the heavy winter quilts.  Even the area rugs were stored in exchange for stark wooden floors which would be cooler under the bare feet of summer. 

    My grandmother’s neighbors and most of the family were amazed at what a change the “Spring Refresh” would bring to her house.  I say “most" because my grandfather was the sole dissenter.   He had spent a good part of the last year getting used to the previous “Spring Refresh” and now would have to start all over again.  He was always furious for a least a day or two with my grandmother after her annual ritual and then would start the adjustment process all over again. 

    So lighten up! Spring is here and following are Five Modern Ways to Refresh Your Space – just don’t blame me if you cohabitate with someone who has deep seated issues with change (like my grandfather).

    1. Paint

    Paint is the biggest bang for your buck.  Be adventurous this year and pick a color that you have always wanted to try. For spring, think refreshing and light.  Here are four colors that I like this spring:

    I am always drawn to light greens -- reminiscent of the new grass that is popping up through the dormant turf.  Blue is serene and the color of the sky on a clear day.  You can’t get much more spring than blue.  Orange is refreshing, unexpected and just plain happy.  Beige is always in style and goes with just about anything.

    I’ve put together some design boards based on these four color choices and the suggested items.  I hope this gets you inspired. 

    1.Bamboo Lamp Shade, 2. Interlace Lamp Shade, 3. Lime Green Pillows,

    4. Green Floral Pillow,  

    5. Fern Throw,  6. Tall Vase, 7. Windowpane Vase


    2.  Throw blankets

    Just in time to cozy up for a spring nap, add a new throw to your space.  Whether draped over a sofa, chair or at the foot of your bed, it will add a great pop of color and some texture too.

    1. Cornflower Lamp Shade, 2. Aqua Rings Lamp Shade, 3. Coral Lamp Shade. 4. Linking Circles Pillows, 5. Wildflower Pillows,

    6. Spa Blue Throw, 7. Turquoise Glass Vase, 8. Light Blue Resin Container,

    9. Seafoam Glass Vase


    3.  Lamp Shades

    Change out a lamp shade for a lighter brighter one.  This is really one of the least expensive ways to give your room a great new look.

    1. Camilla Lamp Shade, 2. Tangerine Coral Lamp Shade, 3. Sydney Pillows,

    4. Small Amber Vase,

    5. Tall Art Glass Vase, 6. Throw, 7. Orange Flower Pillow


    4.  Pillows

    Add some new pillows or simply rotate them from room to room.  There really isn’t much difference in pillows designed for your bed vs. those on your couch. 


    1. Woven Seagrass Lamp Shade, 2. Natural Driftwod Tray,

    3. Linen Stitched Lamp Shade, 4. Ivory Throw,

    5. Brigitas Containers, 6. Bird Pillow, 7. Imagine Pillow, 8. Tan Throw


    5.  Accessorize! 

    Rearrange what you already have or just add one or two new pieces in a bold spring color.

    If you have a spring tradition, I would love to hear from you.  Just leave me a comment.  Thanks!

    Vintage photos were found on Flickr and colors provided by Pantone

  • Roundup of Our Favorite Online Decor Magazines

    In the last few years, print magazines have faced fierce competition from online magazines and blogs. We even saw a few shelter magazines, such as Domino, go under. Now, the editorial industry is balancing delivering content quickly and retaining a strong editorial voice with quality stories.

    Online magazines can provide high resolution photography as well as longer copy (which you would normally find in a print magazine), but allow for full viewing online. Plus, most online magazines let readers view the entire magazine free of charge. The popularity of online magazines has grown quickly, with many print magazine editors, and bloggers too, finding their place working with an online magazine.

    Here's a roundup of online design magazines that I believe are acheiving the balance of timeliness and rich content.

    Anthology magazine was started by two friends/writers in San Francisco. Each issue covers a variety of lifestyle and home stories centered around a common theme. The magazine can be read online or purchased in print form. TRADhome is the new partnership between Lonny and Traditional Home. They just released the very first issue featuring 20 New Traditional Designers, including Los Angeles' Jeff Andrews (who designed Ryan Seacrest's and Khloe Kardashian's home). 

    Est magazine is an Australian publication providing inspiration from the best of design. Designs originating from Australia have recently been gaining popularity in the United States. Every time I visit the magazine section of the book store I find another Australian decor magazine. Rue magazine is probably one of the most popular online magazines and my personal favorite.

    Ivy & Piper is another online magazine based out of Australia. Their most recent issue features the homes of successful fashion designers. By Fryd magazine is a lifestyle publication with more than just beautiful homes. I found a few great DIY projects and recipes while flipping through the pages.

    Links for Online Magazines:

    Images: Rue, TRADhome, Anthology, Standard, Lonny, Ivy & Piper, By Fryd

  • Ideas for Making the Most Out of Your Attic Space

    Attics are sometimes neglected spaces, most often used for additional storage. Personally, I love the architectural character of an attic - the slanted roof line and the small windows or skylights. Attics can make a great guest bedroom, kids room, or bathroom, as exemplified by the pictures featured. Why not make the most out of every inch of your home?

    The bedroom featured above feels like a getaway retreat. I love the wood paneling on the wall and the chandelier light fixture. I wouldn't mind moving into this space!

    A contrast from the modern attic bedroom featured prior, the space shown above is inspired by rustic design and raw materials. The patio door and abundant windows allow for natural sunlight and the continuation of the space outside. I am admiring the simple sheer drapery and the classic chandelier. 

    I have seen bathrooms under the stairs that have a similar slanted ceiling line. If bathrooms work under the stairs, then they can also work in attic spaces. Especially if you have kids in your home, having another bathroom is never a bad idea. 

    If your home has a smaller attic, then the additional space could be considered for a kids room. Children need less space and you wouldn't have to worry as much about the "bumping your head" factor. 

    Do you have additional ideas for turning the attic into living space?

    Images: House to Home, Design Sponge, We Heart It, Green Building Advisor, LykkeBo

  • Yellow Room: From Accents to Wall Color

    Yellow is all kinds of beautiful and comes in a range to suit every personality, from butter to crème brûlée to dark dandelion.  It's one of the few colors that can act like a neutral.  Especially in regions that are commonly overcast, a neutral version of yellow on walls is a good choice, being a happier and livelier color than traditional neutrals like beige or pale gray.


    For those who don't want to commit to paint, yellow accessories are a great way to include this happy hue.  

    Yellow works great in both traditional and contemporary contexts.  In this contemporary style room, yellow is bold and graphic.

    Yellow also works wonderfully in soft, traditional styles.

    Here are some of my favorite yellow products from Lamps Plus.  I love the wood grain pattern on the rug.  And the cat eyes'  pendulum movement makes me smile.  It's a fun -- and less creepy -- take on the retro black Kit-Cat clock with the moving eyes and pendulum tail.

    Top Row:

    Bottom Row:


    (Images:  Metropolitan Home, House Beautiful, Better Homes and Gardens)

April, 2011