2016 has started with a bang over here at JDM Design. First off, I received the humbling news that I have been nominated for six St. Louis Architect and Designer awards. This was the first year I have submitted, and only after encouraged to do so from a few colleagues. (I actually missed the initial submission deadline, when it was extended I figured – What the hell?!) So ending up the second most nominated “firm” I’m all like…
The award ceremony is next Thursday, February 18. All I care about is wearing my new shoes and spending the evening with close friends and family. If I make it through the night without spilling wine down down my dress or falling down a flight of stairs, I will consider the night to have been a success.
Wish me luck, y’all know I’m clumsy AF.
I am absolutely delighted with the editorial. I shot with the very talented Alise O’Brien for the first time and wasn’t even sure if the magazine would even use the images. I think they turned out pretty baller, if I do say so myself. If I do say so myself.
You can read the article HERE, but we all know the best part of design images is comparing the “Before” to the “After.” So to those that are interested, here’s a little breakdown.
Foyer Before A home’s entrance greets guests to the tone of entire home as they arrive. This home is very large in scale, and the owners frequently entertain large groups of friends and family. I wanted to create an immediate “Wow” factor walking through the front door. The previous taupe, damask wallpaper felt dated, dark and dreary. I visualized a crisp, bright, and dramatic visual shock. After some initial resistance from Mr. Client, I stripped off the old paper, painted all of the walls and soffit white, lacquered the banister black, and worked with a graphics firm in Chicago to created a custom, large scale marbleized mural installation. I effing love it for its modern, graphic qualities that still feels organic and adds volumes of movement. An element this intense needs very little distractions. Just a simple, but bold, console table made of brass and black granite that holds it’s own without competing to the star power of the mural.You can’t see it in the spread, but there a beautiful Murano glass chandelier floating above the stairs. I simply switched out the previous traditional, off white pleated shades with simple black silk thread shades. If I had my way, it would probably be replaced with a big, brass Strada pendant, but it looks fabulous as is. Dining Room Before
There was so much right, and so much wrong about this dining room. I love the metallic grasscloth on the ceiling, the oversized dining room table is of perfect scale, and the beautiful doors open out to the stunning property letting light flood in. What I don’t care for is the millwork, walls, ceiling, to be all different colors and finishes. It felt busy and visualy cluttered when it needed to be slick and clean. The clients were immediately on board to let me lacquer the walls black from top to bottom, but I must admit – I was sweating bullets throughout the process. There was no doubt in my mind it was going to be one sexy ass space, but to achieve this look it takes several layers. Which means several days. Which turns into weeks. Which gives plenty of time to be criticized. The clients were out of town throughout the majority of the process, but the housekeepers, nanny, basically anyone who came through the house took advantage of any opportunity they had to tell me how much they hated it and preferred the previous look. I don’t know if I was high on lacquer fumes or if the anxiety finally kicked in but there were
buckets of tears shed every day worrying about this bitch. Thank God Luckily, when the clients returned they loved it as much as I do and I got the thumbs up and kept plugging away.
“Twirl on them haters”
Secondly, I do not understand the scale of the original lights. This is a HUGE room and to me, they look like Christmas tree ornaments dangling from the ceiling. I like my lighting to be oversized anyhow, so I just had to get them switched. I really, Really, REALY tried to convince Mr. Client that one extraordinary 12′ Lindsey Adelman branch floating above the table was all we needed to be right in this world, but I was unsuccessful. So then I worked on getting a reproduction made, which didn’t happen. Then I found a similar look on Etsy for a fraction of the price, but still couldn’t get the trigger pulled. Then one day I came across a similar look, but in a 50″. They were on sale so I immediately bought two and shipped them to my warehouse without even asking my client. I don’t even remember how I got them to agree, but they ended up being installed and everyone loves them.
Next – the art. Oh, dear. Where do I go with this? Art is 100% subjective, so there is no right and no wrong. But the previous art……….. Well, it’s not my taste. The client already has a decent investment in their collection and wasn’t interested in spending more at the time, so I just shopped the house for a replacement. The piece I placed was always my favorite in the house, but lived in the study on the wall behind the door way so it didn’t get much face time. I just moved some things around and I think she looks much prettier in her new home. I have no clue who the artist is, or the story behind it, so if anyone knows – please share!
Lastly, the furniture. Most of it I genuinely like, and it was all either custom or very high end designer (AKA super fucking expensive) so it wasn’t going anywhere. I love the contrast of traditional and modern pieces so I decided to move a few pieces around and switch out the chairs for a classic Planter inspired frame. I think the juxtaposition is quite interesting.Kitchen BeforeMostly, I really liked the kitchen. The stone arch is to die for, the appliances are all high end stainless steel, countertops are creamy, smooth cararra marble, and the cabinets are classic white. I just can’t stand the turquoise backsplash. I’m sorry
I’m not sorry, I know a LOT of people like it. In fact a lot of people love it. To me, the bright color cheapens the entire look and competes with the beautiful stone work. It’s not my personal preference (nor Mrs. Client). After several conversations Mr. Client agreed that a simple, white subway tile backsplash would be much more timeless. And of course I had to de-clutter and style. Living Room BeforeOh dear. Where do we begin? Well, this was the space that I was hired to tackle. They were fully aware that this was a disaster and needed an Emergency 911 flag. That sofa. OMG. That sofa. The upholstery fabric frightens me. The Holly Hunt price tag that my poor client paid for makes me sick to my stomach. And the fact it is terribly uncomfortable makes me want to punch someone in the face. It really just hurts my feelings. That sofa is Rude AF. Combined with the pattern of the rug, and the abstract art in the background and all the aqua and torquoise tile and rice paper wall coverings it makes me feel like I’m on a bad Molly trip. It’s wrong on top of wrong on top of wrong. It was so confusing to my brain that it really took a while, and some trial and error, to make it right.
For starters I stripped off all the rice paper from the walls. The pattern of the paper, combined with the lines in the clapboard ceiling, the lines in the brick walls, and the texture of the stone fireplace and oven arc (and not to mention the crazy town furniture), it just had to go. It was a tough pill for the Clients to swallow because of the small fortune it cost to install, but they wanted it off just as much as I did so down it came. Then the ceiling and trim sprayed a fresh coat of white and all the walls a nice creamy alabaster. Furniture planning went through quite a bit of evolution. The room is pretty big so everything had to be a large scale, but sleek, modern, and most off comfortable and durable enough to stand up to a live wired two year old. For whatever reason, Alise preferred shooting the room in a vignette style, so you can’t see the most of the furnishings and accessories (sads) but I hope to have some more shots taken by the talented Megan Thiele. In the meantime you can channel my vibe.What we can discuss are the yummy nutmeg leather and chrome club chairs, the absolutely perfect vintage Milo Baughman burl wood and chrome credenza and….THE art.
As predicted, this piece has caused quite the reaction. People either love it or hate it, but we already know that I always try to include one controversial piece of art in every space I design. I tell my clients that powerful art will initially make you uncomfortable. It should spark conversation and force you to think of a different point of view. The captivating piece I installed is by the ever provocative Marilyn Minter and is titled “Wangechi Gold 4.” I first fell in love with Minter’s work after seeing her expansive image of Pamela Anderson in a sexy smoking room designed by Amanda Nisbet. It was truly a designer dream come true to discover a few of her pieces at the superb St. Louis neighborhood gallery Barrett Barrera Projects. I am so grateful to my friends at the gallery for making this installation happen. This piece was recently on display at Ms. Minter’s highly publicized Pretty/Dirty exhibit. For all of you fellow art nerds, here is Bill Arning’s commentary on the show.
I would cut off my right arm to have this piece in my collection. Well, maybe not my arm, but at least all of my stiletto fingernails. I supah dupah loves MM and all that she does.
And I love this design. And I love my clients. And I love St. Louis AT HOME Magazine. And I love all of YOU who actually read this rambling. Thank you so much for all of your support. And as always, if you need a design gangster to turn your world upside down, —-> firstname.lastname@example.org