Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes: The Ken Fulk Collection Photo Shoot

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Have you heard? We just launched our first collaborative collection ever with San Francisco-based designer Ken Fulk. This exclusive partnership brings to life product that you’ve never seen at Pottery Barn before. Every piece embodies Fulk’s zest for wit, whimsy, elegance and comfort while still staying true to our love of classic, clean lines and timeless style.

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(Above: Photographer Douglas Friedman — the creative great behind our Ken Fulk and Pottery Barn catalog shoot — works on one of Ken’s portraits on set.)

Fulk’s love for San Francisco (our home base), entertaining and fearless design made this the perfect inaugural partnership for us. This celebrated style maker is renowned for his diverse portfolio’s unique style — and some seriously amazing parties. “I often say that fear is the enemy of good design,” says Fulk. To him, design isn’t just about style, it’s about living. Everything should be comfortable and reflect the way that his clients will truly use the space on a day to day basis.

Once Fulk and our design team put the finishing touches on the collection, we shot it at one of our favorite Bay Area locations. Keep reading to get a glimpse of what went on behind the scenes, PLUS learn and see more of this amazing new collection.

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Ken Fulk’s amazingly talented floral designer, Danielle Bernhisel, plays peekaboo behind a stunning bouquet of Tree Peonies for the shoot.

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A mix of art from Pottery Barn, Ken Fulk and select vintage shops gets prepped to become a gorgeous gallery wall. (Side note: We can’t get enough of our Carlisle Chair upholstered in this new zebra print!)

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Vintage and antique props sit at the ready for last minute styling needs.
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The team tests out Fulk’s custom color palette with Sherwin Williams and Pottery Barn before making final color choices. (Click here to see and shop the full palette, and save a few $ while you’re at it.)
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Double duty — the team fills photo and video needs behind the scenes at the Bay Area shoot.

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Styling magic at work! It’s incredible how much time and effort to make every nook and cranny in these photos look as stunning as possible.

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The dream team — Ken Fulk and Pottery Barn teams pose for one last group shot after a few non-stop days on set.

Check out the full collection in our most recent catalog, online and with #KenFulkxPB on Instagram.

Stay tuned for more later this week where we’ll share some of Fulk’s favorite entertaining tips, color tricks and more!

Wanderlust: Top Travel Tips from Photographer Jesse Leake

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Summer’s almost over — it’s time to start daydreaming about next year’s trips, don’t you think? We’ve got a serious case of end-of-summer wanderlust thanks to the beautiful travel photography of Jesse Leake — one of the newest additions to our photography shop.

Jesse travels the world year-round to a variety of locations — some of which might border on remote, and others that rival the most bustling cities we’ve ever seen. We sat down with this world traveler to get the scoop on his favorite places to travel, his tips for finding the perfect hotel and restaurant, plus lots more. Quench your wanderlust (for now, at least) by reading his Q&A, below!
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(Above: Munnar, India by Jesse Leake)

Pottery Barn: What’s your favorite foodie travel destination?
Jesse Leake: It’s hard to beat the food available in San Francisco. Meals in Italy are fun, too — amazing pastas, the best tomatoes and great wine!

PB: What’s the secret to choosing a great restaurant in a new city?
JL: It depends where you’re traveling. I’ll ask friends who have been there before. I always travel with a Lonely Planet guidebook in hand, which is a great reference that’s usually budget minded for accommodations, restaurants, sights, etc. I’ll also ask locals what they recommend — look for the restaurants busy with locals.

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(Above: Hoi An, Vietnam by Jesse Leake)

PB: How do you find just the right hotel in a new city?
JL: Location is always important for me. I want to stay somewhere that is conveniently located, near an area where I will be photographing a lot, and within walking distance of restaurants and sights. Most of my trips are 3 weeks to 2 months, so I’m usually looking for budget accommodations. Again, I resort to the Lonely Planet guidebook. Travel + Leisure magazine and Condé Nast Traveler are also great resources.

PB: How do you narrow down souvenirs to take home?
JL: I look for art or merchandise that is unique to the region or that they are known for. For example in Cuba – cigars, Ireland – crystal, Morocco – rugs, etc. Paintings are great, as they can be rolled up, tubed and carried on the plane. If you can afford it and have a use for it, it’s good to support the local economy by buying souvenirs.

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PB: What’s your #1 shopping secret while traveling?
JL: In a lot of countries I visit, bargaining is expected. For example when buying rugs in Morocco or Turkey, cut the quoted price in half and that is generally a good place to start negotiating. Don’t show too much interest when you are bargaining for — be ready to walk away. In fact, if you do walk away, the price will drop as the seller follows you out the door.

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(Above: Varanasi, India and Woman in Ranakpur, India by Jesse Leake) 

PB: How do you like to choose your next destination?
JL: I look for a place I haven’t been to that is rich in culture and off the beaten path.

PB: What’s the 1 dream trip you haven’t taken yet?
JL: RV camper trip across the US.

PB: What’s your favorite city that you’ve visited this year?
JL: My favorite city this year was Havana, Cuba.

PB: What’s your secret to looking like a local?
JL: Pack light on clothes, so you can buy locally once you arrive. Bring loose breathable clothing. Many locals in various countries won’t wear shorts. I recommend dressing down, leaving the designer clothes and flashy accessories behind. Most tourists will stand out regardless of their local attire. To blend in is more an attitude that anything else. Being humble, respectful and open minded with an adventurous spirit will open doors to a more intimate local experience. You may never look like a local, but you can befriend a local and gain access to local life. Learn how to say hello and thank you in the local language.

PB: If you could only visit one city for the rest of your life, where would it be?
JL: Country: I love Morocco for its beauty, adventure, food and people. City: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the active beach life and the Brazilian people.

bio.portrait-3(Above: Photographer Jesse Leake

See more of Jesse Leake’s photography in Pottery Barn’s photography shop.

 

#MyPotteryBarn: Celebrating the Little Moments in Life

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Life’s little moments are often the most meaningful. Whether it’s holding your daughter in your favorite leather chair, cuddling with the kids on the couch during a thunderstorm, or hosting an impromptu get-together with friends in the backyard, it’s the the everyday memories that make a house a home.

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We celebrate the idea that each item in our homes is more than the item itself — it’s a collection of the memories and moments we experience with it.

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This summer, we want to hear your stories and memories. What makes your house a home? What home memories do you cherish most? Take a photo of your favorite Pottery Barn item and share your memory with #mypotterybarn and #mypbstory — we’ll feature our favorites here and on Instagram all month long!

Here’s a few faves so far:

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We love Nicole’s beautiful #mypotterybarn moment: “Remember as a kid waiting for dad at the window to come home from work? Our Pottery Barn Carlisle Sofa provides the perfect waiting spot. There’s nothing like hearing the squeals and seeing the smiles when the car pulls up to the driveway and dad comes home. These are the moments that will be etched in daddy’s heart forever.”

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@twinks74 knew exactly what she needed to create memories in her soon-to-be new home — “the table”: “When the hubs and I started our house hunting journey, we really didn’t have that many must haves. The only thing we both wanted was a home with a dining room big enough for ‘the table’ — a table that would accommodate plenty of family and friends. As we went through the house hunting process, I told our realtor: We are not seeing homes with the ideal dining room for ‘the table.’ Our realtor asked, ‘How big is this table?’ Turns out, we didn’t have the table just yet — but I had a perfect picture of it in my head! When I walked into Pottery Barn and saw the Benchwright table, I knew the search was over. So here it is: ‘the table,’ which has witnessed plenty of good food and wine, silly late night conversations, my brothers annoying our mother, laughter, lots of joy and unforgettable memories.”

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Janine‘s new pillow is just one of many finishing touches that transformed her new house into her dream home: “I’ll let you in on a secret, my husband chose our home without me! I was so busy trying to sell our house in Seattle while taking care of two little ones and watching over my senior age parents. So, he bought our current house in Northern California without me! I guess we have similar taste in most everything, so it worked out fine. We have made a lot of changes and after painting walls, bumping out walls and adding some great touches (like this Home pillow from Pottery Barn), I’m feeling like our home is now a cozy one.”

Share and see more of our favorite stories on Instagram and our #mypotterybarn gallery.

Behind the Design: Our New Reclaimed Wood Bowry Furniture

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We’re passionate about our handpainted patterns and original designs here at Pottery Barn, but we know that even our most exquisite designs can’t quite replicate the beauty of nature. So, we decided to simply let our stunning natural materials shine on their own in our new reclaimed wood furniture collection — Bowry.

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This new eco-friendly collection is handcrafted of reclaimed hard woods that have been rescued from old structures throughout India. Each piece of wood has a unique character that we’ve revealed through careful hand-finishing and distressing.

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Made mostly of Acacia, Teak, and Mango, the wood’s rich history is apparent right away. Our expert artisans select each piece for strength and beauty, and then carefully determine how to construct and finish the collection so the wood’s natural beauty is highlighted.

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Every piece from our Bowry collection — each console, side table, and coffee table — will look completely different. We hope you cherish the beauty in the wood’s character — the knots, groves and chisels — as much as we do.

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Behind the Design: Heritage Paisley, Designed by Us

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We believe that the beauty of any object is enhanced by the story behind it. At our artist’s studio, the story of every product we create begins with the artist’s hand and the courage to share an idea. Our designers spend countless hours researching antique patterns, colors and silhouettes. Yet it’s pure creativity that turns that inspiration into something entirely new.

Our new heritage paisley collection encompasses this mantra perfectly. Our San Francisco design team reimagined this classic, centuries-old pattern in new scales, shapes and colors for modern living.

Read more about the story behind these designs here.

Behind the Design: A New Take on Paisley

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Born in 12th century Iran, shipped out West in the 18th century and named after a 19th century Scottish town, the paisley pattern has seen its fair share of history and culture.

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The classic pattern’s Middle Eastern origins revolve around a botanical-based design called the buta — the droplet-shaped motif that we associate with classic paisley today. Over time, the design evolved into something quite different as it made its way west towards Italy, Spain and France (primarily in the form of high-end shawls, which Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine were particularly fond of). Eventually, the pattern took on a new western name, after the town of Paisley, Scotland, where many of the designs were produced.

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Today, paisley still retains its title as one of the world’s most classic patterns. At Pottery Barn, we have innumberable interpretations of paisley, and many of them are our top-sellers in bedding, pillows and rugs.

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This year, we took our love of paisley to an entirely new level. We dug deep into our incredible textile library, and went back to the roots of this traditional design for inspiration.

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Each of our new paisley patterns are drawn carefully by hand, then digitally blown up and adjusted for scale, and then fine-tuned by hand once more before printing.

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Our incredible San Francisco design team gave each paisley pattern a distinctly Pottery Barn twist, blowing up the scale and playing with contemporary color palettes to create patterns that are better suited for modern living.

The result? A stunning collection that melds classic and contemporary style in fabrics that were made for casual, easy living.

Shop the full collection here. 

#PBLovesMoms: Design Mom at Pottery Barn!

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When you become a mom, sometimes it feels like you can never have anything pretty again — clothes, furniture, you name it.

Not so, says Gabrielle Blair, author of Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide. She believes that a well-designed home is a (practical) gift we can give our families.

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“Design isn’t some froufrou gloss or shiny veneer on life,” she writes. “It’s insisting on a solution (preferably an elegant one) and working carefully to make sure that solution works within whatever constraints you have — architectural, financial, or the fact that children live in your home.”

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We couldn’t agree more — and that’s why we were so excited to host Gabrielle at five of our stores for her book tour and a special Mother’s Day DIY!

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Using some of our favorite dinnerware, guests were able to try their hand at Gabrielle’s DIY “You are Special” plate — the perfect gift for Mother’s Day, don’t you think?

Don’t forget to check out Gabrielle’s book and her blog, Design Mom, for more tips, tricks, DIYs and other ways to make your home a better and more beautiful place.

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A Coconut Cake Recipe Inspired by Our Latest Catalog

Behind the Scenes, Entertaining, Recipes | | | 11 Replies

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When the weather starts to get warmer (I know — for some of us it feels like it might never move past freezing), the heavy desserts we once craved during the holidays don’t seem quite right anymore. That’s why we love this light, airy and fluffy coconut cake recipe from Melina of Sugary & Buttery — inspired by this cake on our Vintage Carved Wood Cake Stand from our latest Spring collection:

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Orange Coconut Cream Cake

For the cake:
2¼ cups cake flour
¾ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of teaspoon salt
1½ sticks butter, at room temperature
6 egg whites
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Zest of 1 orange
1 vanilla bean

For the Frosting:
3 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 pack (8oz) cream cheese
1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups shredded coconut

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Make the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350° F and grease two 8-inch round cake pans; set aside.

Sift the cake flour into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the sugar, baking powder and salt and beat on low speed for 15 seconds to combine.

Cut the butter into pieces, add to the batter and beat on low speed for 1 minute, or until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, condensed milk, orange zest and shredded coconut until combined.

Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise; scrape the seeds into the mixture and whisk.

Add half of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat on medium-high for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the remainder of the wet ingredients and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, or until the batter is well-mixed, light and fluffy.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the tops are firm and golden brown and spring back when pressed lightly in the center. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.

Make the Frosting:
Beat the cream cheese with the electric mixer on high speed for about 5 minutes, scrape down sides.

Add sifted powdered sugar and keep beating on medium speed, then add the milk.

Cut the butter into pieces.

Turn the mixer back up to high speed and add the butter pieces. Keep beating for at least 5 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.

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Assemble the Cake:
Cut off the tops of the cooled cakes if necessary and layer them with the cream cheese frosting.

Frost around the cake, about ½ thick, and cover the cake with shredded coconut.

See more of our favorite recipes here. 

Behind the Design: Our Exclusive Paper Invitation Collection with Wedding Paper Divas

ADVICE & INSPIRATION, Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes | | | 1 Reply

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Our latest designs aren’t what you’d expect to see when walking into one of our stores — but they’re still meant to celebrate life and inspire beautiful living, just like all of our furniture, pillows, bedding and decor.

We’re so excited to introduce our new signature invitation collection, exclusively designed by Pottery Barn designers for Wedding Paper Divas!

These designs don’t just look good on paper (although that’s true too, of course) — all of our invitation suites are based on textiles and patterns that our talented in-house team designs themselves. Many of these patterns are inspired by historical illustrations that our team puts their own special Pottery Barn twist on to create new, innovative patterns — like the vintage-style Flora suite, above.

Photography: Delbarr Moradi
Styling: Megan Shuler, Enjoy Events Co.

Wedding Paper Divas & Pottery Barn Traditional Lace

Paisley Lace

This lace pattern is actually based off of one of our paisley quilt patterns. The pattern is a long strip that repeats continuously on the quilt, so our design team reformatted and restricted to make it look like a single piece of delicate lace.

Wedding Paper Divas & Pottery Barn Classic Toile

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Inspired by our Matine Toile Bedding, our designers gave this a fresh update with new color palettes that feel much more dramatic on paper. The Matine Toile is an old late 19th century French Toile. It’s unusual in that there are no people and no story. Toiles usually told stories and have lots of characters — both human and animal.

Wedding Paper Divas & Pottery Barn Atlantic

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One of our most popular summer duvets has a delicate coral pattern that’s based off of hand-painted illustrations done in-house. Our team took the digital versions of those illustrations and restructured them to fit on a new card. Since the illustrations are so soft, our designers choose a strong and modern font for contrast.

Wedding Paper Divas & Pottery Barn Barbados Palm

Barbados Palm

Both this collection and our Flora collection took inspiration from 17th and 18th century botanical and scientific books/illustrations. Our designers use these as a base for our custom patterns, and hand illustrate new patterns which are scanned in and adjusted for new details and colors.

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Fauna

The rustic, yet elegant Fauna design features beautiful hand-drawn birds based off of one of our best selling duvets this spring. (Read the full story behind this pattern, here.) This suite is especially unique, as each piece of stationery features a different nature-inspired drawing.
Wedding Paper Divas & Pottery Barn Global Chic

Global Chic

This pattern actually stems from a plate in our holiday collection this year — the design team loved the pattern that the plates made when layered and stacked, so they replicated it and created a vector out of it to reproduce a brand new pattern.

See the full collection for yourself here.

Behind the Design: Botanical Prints Inspire our Favorite Birds, Butterflies and Flowers for Spring

Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes | | | 4 Replies

Piles of 17th, 18th and 19th century botanical books litter the desks in our textile team’s studio at PBHQ. Each book is a confetti explosion of Post-Its, bookmarking inspirational images for our talented team.

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This Spring, these scientific and botanical illustrations served as inspiration for our new Fauna Duvet. Our designers used select illustrations from these books (just like the ones below) as a base for our custom patterns. After hand illustrating new birds, butterflies and flowers, our designers scanned in each illustration and blew up the size and adjusted the image for new details and colors.

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Once the right size is determined, the team creates a pattern including each icon (birds, butterflies, flowers and plants in this case). The pattern has to repeat correctly without looking like it’s actually repeating, which is incredibly difficult.

After a lot of hand-done work and computer magic, our San Francisco team designed what’s now our signature pattern for Spring. The mix of colors and the slightly whimsical note has made it one of our most popular patterns this season, and a welcome break from the snow, rain and sleet outside.

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