Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

#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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bowry reclaimed wood pottery barn paisley pillows

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

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

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

Toile

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

Atlantic

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 | | | 2 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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January Designer Spotlight: Victoria Smith’s Favorite San Francisco Spots

Behind the Scenes, We Love SF | | | 1 Reply

If you follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter, you know that we’re kind of in love with San Francisco — the home of Pottery Barn Headquarters. It’s hard not to love this city — great food, amazing design and wonderful people. Victoria Smith of SFGirlByBay can certainly relate — her passion for the city of San Francisco and her sophisticated style is part of why we chose her for our Designer Spotlight this month.

Victoria’s collected an incredible stockpile of must-do, must-see, must-taste, must-try activities after 20 years in the City by the Bay. Read on to learn about why she loves San Francisco — plus, get a glimpse inside her gorgeous Bay Area home. 
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PB: What do you think makes San Francisco different from any other city?

VS: Mainly the stunning Victorian architecture and geography of the city. I think most people think we’re nuts to live in such a hilly place. And I also think our proximity to nature makes us very fortunate. You can be fine dining in the city one minute, and take a 20 minute drive and be in Golden Gate Park, Crissy Field, or Lands End seeing the best and most stunning that nature has to offer.

PB: What made you fall in love with San Francisco?

VS: I used to come here every summer as a kid with my family on road trips from Los Angeles. I just thought it was the most magical, free and colorful place I’d ever seen. When I grew tired of life in Los Angeles I moved here (twenty years ago) and felt instantly at home.

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PB: What’s one thing people might not like about San Francisco, but you love?

VS: I think some people may find the weather cold and chilly, but I just find it refreshing. There’s beauty in the fog, and as a photographer it covers the atmosphere like a giant diffuser, creating the most perfect light to shoot in.

PB: How would you describe quintessential San Francisco style? Is that changing at all? 

VS: I’m not sure there’s just one definitive style. I think what’s so great about San Francisco is that anything goes, and the most interesting people and spaces are those with a unique look all their own. I think there’s trends, and there’s a “hipster” look, but the most creative people have sort of their own signature style that’s completely unique to them.

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PB: Where are some of your favorite places to get design inspiration in the city?

VS: I like walking around the city, by neighborhood depending on my mood. Each neighborhood has a unique personality and I’m mostly drawn to the older neighborhoods — like the Mission and its colorful corner stores and alleyways taken over by graffiti, like Clarion Alley. But I also love wandering around the pretty pastel row houses and surf shops in the Sunset District on a foggy day. Chinatown can be crazy and colorful when it lights up at dusk, too. The whole city holds a lot of inspiration for me.

Favorites:
Lunch spot:
Bar Tartine
Place for a girl’s night out: Royal Cuckoo
Local date night: Foreign Cinema
Kitschy tourist spot: Bimbo’s
Place to think and wander: Fort Funston
Secret about your city (secret spot, little known fact, etc.):  There’s a great tree swing at Billy Goat Park at the end of 30th Street in Glen Park. If you hike up the hill from 30th and Beacon Street you’ll see the swing up on the only tall tree in the park. Climb up there for the best view of Noe Valley, the Mission and Downtown beyond. It’s fantastic.

See Victoria’s full feature on PotteryBarn.com. 

victoria smith-25Plus, see more of Victoria’s style and San Francisco adventures on her blog, SFGirlByBay and her book, See San Francisco: Through The Lens of SFGirlByBay.

 

The Top 10 #PBPets of 2014

Behind the Scenes | | | 2 Replies

2014 was the year of the #PBPet on Pottery Barn Instagram. We love seeing how your furry friends love Pottery Barn as much as you do! Turns out, #PBPets love a lot more than just our pet pieces — they love getting cozy in their owners’ favorite Pottery Barn items, too.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.10.49 PM1. Two Copper Hounds‘s Mingus loves our holiday pillows (and our Chesterfield couch, too!).

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.10.58 PM2. Waiting on Martha‘s adorable pup looks right at home on our Sheepskin Rug.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.11.58 PM3. @Henri_the_Frenchi spends his Sunday mornings cuddled up in our cozy duvets.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.12.06 PM4. @Kelsey0Marie‘s cute kitten found the perfect hiding spot in our Antique Silver Serving Bowl.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.11.51 PM5. @Coop.Dog looks particularly playful in one of our rugs.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.11.37 PM6. @MrsBeems little rescue puppy loves to nap on big piles of Pottery Barn pillows.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.11.06 PM7. @Caymus2011 had to snap a shot of their sweet cat snuggled in one of our faux fur throws.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.11.17 PM8. @StyledSnapshots pup is almost camouflaged in our Faux Sheepskin Throw.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.11.24 PM9. Charlie‘s ready for bed, and has already claimed his spot on our Asher Duvet.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 10.11.43 PM10. @VincenzoPepito — the cutest Frenchie pup you ever did see — spent many summer afternoons on our Torrey Outdoor Furniture.

PS: Don’t forget to submit your photos of your #PBPet on Instagram using the hashtag!