Author Archives: PB Editors

Studio Tour: New Orleans Artist Elise Allen

Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes | | | 5 Replies

Elise Allen’s path to fine art didn’t exactly follow a straight line. Once a professional faux finisher in New York, she took a break from her career after getting married, having children and moving to New Orleans. It wasn’t until she met an inspiring fellow artist in the Big Easy that everything changed, and her painting career came to life. “The floodgates opened and I just kept painting and painting,” says Allen.

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Eventually, she tried her hand at faux finishing again — focusing on Venetian plaster — but this time working on custom wood panels. “You can’t do Venetian plaster on canvas — there’s too much pressure when applying the plaster.”

This unique technique is now Allen’s artistic mainstay. Making each piece requires hours and hours of careful work. “There’s up to 200 layers of plaster per piece,” says Allen. “Venetian plaster is very thin, so there’s a lot of layering, and layering and layering.”

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“I like the abstract element of Venetian plaster,” she says. “I like what comes up when I’m working on it. Every pass brings up something new and interesting,” she says.

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She has two studios that she works out of: A small work studio off her bedroom at her house. “I work on smaller pieces there. I like that because I can work early in the morning or late at night.”

“I usually work on 4 to 5 paintings at once. I work on something, let it dry, and then work on something else,” Allen says. “Sometimes I get stuck, and then leave it for a few weeks until I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and get inspired again.”

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Allen also works in a studio in downtown New Orleans, on Julia Street (pictured in this post). “It’s a huge, open space. There’s great light and it’s very peaceful and relaxing,” she says. “I keep a very calm place, and I think you can see that through my paintings.”

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Despite the dramatic transition from the Manhattan art scene to New Orleans’ vibrant artistic community, Allen loves the beauty and color of New Orleans — it constantly inspires her. “Every time I walk around the neighborhood, I see a new house and a new color. I’m constantly surprised and inspired by the beauty around me.”

See more of Elise Allen’s art at Pottery Barn.

 

 

 

Our Best Pet Picks, Chosen by PB Pets

Decorating, Inspiration | | | 1 Reply

Did you forget Fido this Valentine’s Day? Your PB Pet might forgive you with a little extra pampering, even if it’s belated. Our furry friends deserve lots of love too — especially considering how much they love us. Take a look at our top pet picks for your dog or cat, along with some of our favorite PB Pets.

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Danielle Moss’s little Chihuahua mix, Buddy, loves his bed  — almost as much as his friend Minnie does.

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Of course, some pups (like Henri the Frenchie) prefer human bedding to their own. Can’t say we blame them!

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This little dachshund has great taste — the Corbett Ikat Stripe Pillow is one of our favorites. If your little pup likes pillows, get a personalized one that he can call his own.

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Tip: Think carefully when choosing a dog bed’s size. You don’t want your pet to feel squished or overwhelmed by space — it may impact if it uses its new sleeping spot.

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Pet food and toy storage is always tricky. How do you make sure it stays fresh, safe, out of the way and look slightly attractive? Ceramic cannisters help solve that problem. Treats and puppy chow stay fresh and dry in these containers. Plus, they’re beautiful enough to keep out on a counter or open shelving.

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Tired of your dog spilling food all over the floor? A heavy, cast-iron bowl stand will stand up against the most enthusiastically eating pup.

Check out even more PB Pet tips. Plus, don’t forget to post your best Pottery Barn Pet pictures on Instagram and tag it #PBPet — we may repost it!

We Love SF: State of Grace at the Grace Cathedral

Behind the Scenes, We Love SF | | | 4 Replies

On its own, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco is a stunning work of architecture and design. Built in 1849 during California’s Gold Rush, the church has survived two major earthquakes and the city’s Great Fire. Walk in the massive front doors, and a cavernous space — complete with incredibly high ceilings and stained glass windows — will greet you.

All the markings of a carefully maintained church are there, but if you manage to visit before February 28th, you’ll spot something slightly surprising — over 20-miles of beautifully colored ribbon hanging from the tip top of the cathedral.

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The breathtaking display, titled “State of Grace,” was designed and built by artist Anne Patterson. Patterson’s work is based on her relationship with music and color. “I have what’s called synesthesia,” Patterson says. “When I hear music, I see colors and shapes. It’s like a crossing over of different senses.”

Although Patterson initially conceptualized the installation for the 100-year anniversary of the Cathedral’s men and boy’s choir, the installation’s display dates have been extended to accommodate enthusiastic visitors.

“The whole concept came about because I spent so much time in the Cathedral watching people interact with the space,” says Patterson. “The first thing people do is look up. One, because its such a grand space. But also because it’s a spiritual place. People want to connect with a higher power.”

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The ribbons address both of those aspects. Using a series of catwalks around the Cathedral ceiling, Patterson hung 20 miles of ribbon from the top of the space. Long ropes were laid out on the ground, and carefully labeled to determine where each color of ribbon should go. “It wasn’t just willy-nilly,” says Patterson. “We spent a lot of time laying out the composition of colors.”

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Each piece of red ribbon plays a special part in the installation — visitors to the church wrote their dreams, prayers and wishes on the ends of the ribbons before they were hung (see photo below).

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If you’d like to visit the installation yourself, make your way to Grace Cathedral in San Francisco before February 28, 2014.  Patterson suggests experiencing the display at one of the Cathedral’s free yoga classes on Tuesdays. “As people start doing yoga, the heat from everyone rises and the ribbons dance with the heat,” says Patterson. “It’s amazing to see.”

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The Power of the Perfect Accessory

Decorating, How-To | | | Leave a comment

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While the perfect piece of furniture can certainly make a space shine, often it’s the right accessory that can make or break a room’s ambiance. The perfect accessory is powerful — it speaks volumes about the room, and the person who chose it. We spoke to interior designer Suzanne Tucker to learn the ins and outs of accessorizing properly.

Take a look at her 5 top tips for accessorizing, below.

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Include accessories that engage the senses. “We should all live in spaces that entice and delight our senses,” says Tucker. “Every room in the house can incorporate seductive elements that not only please the eye, but also the touch, the nose and the ear: a soft cashmere throw, a beautifully embroidered pillow, a fragrant candle or bouquet of flowers.”

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Function doesn’t always have to come into play. Sometimes the best accessories don’t make a lot of sense. That dog sculpture doesn’t have to serve a purpose — you just have to love it.

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However, function is key for decorative lighting. “When choosing lighting, the accessory and functionality are inextricably linked,” says Tucker. “Lighting greatly affects mood, so it should be flattering as well as functional.” Mix and match lighting — don’t be afraid to play with style! But most importantly, make sure each piece works and serves its purpose.

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Avoid matchy-matchy accessories. It’s always great when things coordinate, but you don’t have to match everything perfectly in each and every room of your house. “An accessory should tie into a room’s overall mood and feel, but decorating isn’t a game of matching every color perfectly,” says Tucker. “Often times a bold or playful contrast … is just what brings out the personality and interest in a room.”

Old is new again. “I always encourage my clients to have at least one piece of age in a room,” says Tucker. “The patina and imperfections of such items speak to me of character and life lived, they bring soul to a room.”

You might also like: Guest Post: How to Style Your Sofa

Set the Mood: 5 Sweet Valentine’s Day Cocktails

Entertaining, Recipes | | | 2 Replies

Whether you’re hosting a quiet dinner for two, or hoping to woo your crush at a group event, the right cocktail can make or break your Valentine’s Day.

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Impress your valentine with more than just a bottle of wine — these 5 cocktail recipes were made for flirting!

Berry Bliss

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4 oz. Once Upon a Vine™ Chardonnay
10 muddled blueberries
1 oz. maraschino liquor
Half muddled rhubarb stalk
1 oz. lemon juice
Dark berries

Directions: Build in a cocktail shaker.  Strain over ice into a wine glass and garnish.

We suggest serving it in our Eclectic Pressed Glass Goblets.

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Parisian Affair

Parisian Affair

2.5 oz Stellina di Notte® Prosecco
¾  oz. Smirnoff® Raspberry Flavored Vodka
Pomegranate seeds

Directions: Combine in glass.  Top with pomegranates.

We suggest serving it in our Schott Zwiesel Stemware Flutes.

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Afternoon Delight

4 oz. Baileys® Vanilla Cinnamon
4 oz. brandy
3 oz. chai tea
Serve with sugar cookies

*recipe yields four drinks

Directions: Combine ingredients in a teapot until warm. Stir into teacups. Serve with sugar cookies on the side.

We suggest serving it in our Great White Teapot and Latte Mugs.

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Cinnamon Crush

1 oz. Baileys® Vanilla Cinnamon
½ oz. Goldschlager® Cinnamon Schapps
Edible gold flakes (optional)

Directions: Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Strain into a shot glass.  Sprinkle with gold flakes.

We suggest serving it in our Library Glass Barware Shot Glass.

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GODIVA Minty Kiss

1 oz. GODIVA® Dark Chocolate Liqueur
½ oz. Crème de Menthe
½ oz. Bulleit® Bourbon
¼ oz. cream
Fresh mint sprig for garnish

Directions: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain contents into a cocktail glass and garnish with fresh mint sprig.

We suggest serving it in our Schott Zwiesel Martini Glass.

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You might also like: 5 Champagne Cocktails for New Year’s Eve

In the Spotlight Now: Nicole Gibbons

Decorating | | | 2 Replies

There’s a reason so many people turn to Nicole Gibbons for style advice. This tastemaker, interior designer and blogger blends classic elements with modern colors and a fresh perspective to create beautiful interiors that shine. This reason, among many others, is why we’re thrilled to announce that Gibbons is our In the Spotlight designer for February.

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Keep reading to learn about some of Nicole’s best decorating and organizing tips and see her favorite Pottery Barn pieces, too.

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(Image by Nicole Gibbons)

Nicole’s Favorites:

This month I can’t wait to…
Get back to LA!

Currently coveting…
A Vitamix blender

My go-to color for painting a dining room is…
I love using pale shades of blue or green in a dining room.

Most prized possession…
A collection of vintage watches I inherited from my grandfather.

My best entertaining tip…
Always keep ingredients for at least one signature cocktail along with a killer playlist on deck so you’re always ready for impromptu guests.

My go-to cocktail to serve at a party is…
A sparkling elderflower cocktail made with champagne or prosecco, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and pomegranate seeds.

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One of Nicole’s top picks from Pottery Barn: The Owen Side Table

Q: What do you enjoy most about interior decorating?
A: I believe that having a beautiful, well-designed home can enhance your life in ways beyond measure and to know that I have the ability to impact people’s lives in a positive way by simply improving their surroundings is why I enjoy what I do so much.

Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I would describe my style as neo-traditional, which reflects a fresh, modern take on tradition. I like to create spaces that have timeless quality but are eclectic in terms of how I mix periods and styles of furniture together and are vibrant and fashion-forward in terms of how I use color and pattern.

Q: Which trends are you most excited about in 2014?
A: I’m starting to see more people investing in their homes, and wanting to create beautiful comfortable spaces as well as seeing more people entertaining at home — that is definitely a trend I can get behind.

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One of Nicole’s top picks from Pottery Barn: Pebble Leather Desk Accessories

Q: What are your top DIY organization ideas?
A: I love using pretty glassware and tabletop dishes on a desk to hold pencils, pens, paper clips, etc. It totally beats a boring pencil cup from the office supply store!

Baskets and trays make for such stylish storage. Try using them to store stacks of magazines and other paper clutter.

Embrace wireless technology. With all of the gadgets and electronics we now have, keeping tracks of cords can be a challenge, so if you can, invest in wireless equipment. It will minimize the amount of cords to manage and free up space.

You’d be surprised by how clearing out clutter can also help clear your mind. When my home is organized, I feel more calm, think more clearly and focus better.

 See the rest of Nicole Gibbons’ In the Spotlight feature.