Irwin Weiner - With autumn upon us, are you sharing "what I did on my summer vacation" stories with your friends and neighbors? I had a memorable summer trip to Italy - as readers of Design2Share already know - and came back wiser design-wise.
It's always important to travel. It broadens taste, gets one out of a rut and comfort zone, and exposes the traveler to new ideas. It's vital for homeowners and interior designers to get first-hand exposure to fresh ideas and decorating inspiration. It is far better than reading the pages of a shelter magazine or browsing photos online. You have to walk up to and touch a detail like a finely carved door, a beautiful set of draperies, or astounding molding.
One of the splurges I made on this trip to Italy was to stay at classic 5-star hotels. I particularly liked the Hotel Principe Di Savoia in Milan. It's a grand hotel done in simple, yet ornate "Liberty" style architecture. The interior design reflects the Lombardy warmth of the 19th century.
The rooms had been decorated recently and expensively, and they contained details that made my eyes go wide. I've filmed some videos which we'll be releasing shortly, but for now I'd like to share a few photos. The drapes had the most fabric and interlining I've ever seen. They gave me lots of ideas for my clients.
Add some sound-and-light-absorbing batting between curtain layers to provide true blackout effectiveness in a bedroom, and use this thicker covering in place of the usual sheers or roller shades. (There's nothing worse than waking up to sunlight shining in your eyes.) Make the outer curtains as full as a petticoat and add glamorous tie-backs to swag and display the fabric to maximum puffy advantage. Have the drapes just dance above the floor or slightly puddle. Extend the length up the wall as high as you can for dramatic vertical effect, adding molding above and below the window to heighten the casing, if needed.
I also noted the woodwork and molding, the marquetry in the furniture, and other details in our hotel room. I took photos. I took videos. I made sketches. And someday I just might use some of these great hotel details in my house or in a client's project. So travel broadly, stay in beautiful hotels, and notice what details draw you in; try to replicate them in your home to bring back lovely memories.