Monday, December 30, 2013

Christy Ferer Shares Tips on Space

Vidicom CEO Christy Ferer says "Space has to become your own personal artistic experience." So says fashion designer Donna Karan. To most of us, lots of space is the ultimate luxury. Grand space is liberating. It makes us feel limitless. But to many of us, a small, cozy room is complete comfort. If your rooms are physically just the right size for you, you're very lucky.  Here are some ways we recommend to stretch or shrink space to make it more compatible with your physical and psychological needs.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Form and Function Need No Passport, a selection from Christy Ferer's book

  • Chinese wooden chests, lacquer boxes, and carved wooden bowls bring warmth to a room.
  • Large clay pots, rice baskets, and wooden trucks make great end tables or nightstands.
  • Orchids, bonsai, jade plants, and gnarled willow branches once warm.
  • Oriental rugs work well with any style of furnishings and add color, pattern and a splash of cultural diversity underfoot. They look great overlapping one another underneath English Regency to postmodern pieces. 
  • Hang a kimono as wall art or use Indian saris as curtains table coverings, or bedspreads. 
  • An East Indian hand-carved standing screen or an old carved Mexican door can be placed behind a couch to replace hung artwork on the wall. Wood carvings, ceramic works, masks, metalwork, and handmade crafts can all be isolated as works of art that humanize modern interiors in particular. What may look like street bric-a-brac while you are in foreign lands really can become sculpture the minute it is placed on Lucite blocks. 
  • Christy Ferer recommends pieces of mahogany or teak furniture create texture and give depth to a room. Drape them over the arm or back of a sofa, hang them over a mantel or balustrade, or use one as an area rug. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Everywhere Meets West

Orient is a constant influence on today's interiors. We respond to its sense of calm in our stressful world. A room infused with the quiet order of the East is luxurious, detailed, beautiful, and never busy, understated elegance at its most tranquil.

The current interest in all things Asian is reminiscent of the rage for Oriental design during the eighteenth century. Then, furniture, walls, accessories, and textiles were decorated with Chinese-inspired motifs called chinoiserie. The style was popular in the American colonies, especially in wallpaper designs and painted murals. The French mixd chinoiserie with their own rococo Louis XV style. In England, the influence of China was seen in the furnishings made by Chippendale. Vidicom CEO Christy Ferer loves Eastern influence.

Monday, December 23, 2013

More of Global Style's Rules to Break

The fun is in the mixing. Everything and anything goes. But be selective in your choices. The idea isn't to make your home look like a Morroccan souk or Indian bazaar. Subtlety works. Use imports to spice up, not overpower a room. A group of Chinese figures can share the same mantelpiece as two French period vases. Or use the drama of one exceptional piece as a focal point - an African fertility figure, a large Oriental vase filled with bamboo stalks, a pair of antique Indian candlesticks, or a pair of Chinese black lacquered chairs. Mix new and vintage, reproduction and ancient artifacts. What matters is the shape, line, color, and character of the object. Christy Ferer encourages you to break this rule.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christy Ferer's Global Style Rules to Break

"Ethnic or global pieces should be showcased as a collection and treated as artifacts."

Whether a room is traditional or modern, the recipe for an engaging space is to mix cultures as functionally as possible. Take that great Thai silk or African woven raffle and make it into a pillow to spice up a traditional couch. Mix in pieces of bamboo with modern or traditional furniture. Christy Ferer mentions that Chinese furniture, no matter how ornate, goes with any other style. Don't be afraid to integrate the most rustic of travel mementos. Display Indonesian textile blocks on a fine piece of English pieces of English furniture.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Global Style

Christy Ferer says who needs a passport when you can design a carpet from Nepal over the Internet, order Chinese wedding chests from a catalog, and find imported Indian textiles or Indonesian teak in mass-market stores. It's never been easier to mix in ethnic touches or experiment with a look you've never tried before. Today the world is our market. In addition to buying on the Web, I never go anywhere without an empty duffel bad to fill with irresistible items I might find at a local flea market or in a remote village.

Integrating global finds is like living with a three-dimensional travelogue: instead of just socking away mementos in photo albums that I look at once a year, she is living with her treasures. Ethnic and global artifacts help us to get away from the cookie-cutter. An African mask placed on a sleep glass-and-steel modern table adds new perspective, as does a leather Moroccan saddlebag as an ottoman with a modern sofa. The elements close the gap between cultures and between centuries. Look at the lines of your furniture. They are probably simple, clean, and uncluttered. Play with them by using important pieces carved with an elaborate twists and turns, intricately embroidered textiles, vivid colors, and lush textures.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christy Ferer, "Break the Mold"

"Break the Mold"
  • In the dining room, mix antique chairs with a contemporary table. Or vice versa
  • Use a glass-topped modern metal table in front of an antique sofa. A simple modern pice juxtaposed with an ornate old piece brings out the beauty of two eras. 
  • Christy Ferer says hang a for of abstract art in a traditional room.
  • Let line, color, and shape unify objects. Centuries come together when emphasis is placed on similarities rather than differences.
  • While you might want to mix with abandon certain periods and styles do marry particularly well. Good blends include Victorian, art nouveau, and eighteen-century French pieces: Scandinavian modern, Shaker, and Japanese; English Regency and Chinese; contemporary and Japanese or Chinese, seventeenth-century Italian and art deco. But don't hesitate to make other combinations. A bit of deco with Shaker. Or Scandinavian modern with Chinese. In moderation almost anything can be decorative punctuation. 
  • Christy Ferer also recommends Midcentury modern, the furniture and accessories from roughly the 1940s through the 1950s, is highly collectible now. Its finishes are light, its lines are simple and clean, and practicality is its premier concern. Think Heywood-Wakefield, Russell Wright, Knoll, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eero Saarinen. Much of their work is being reissued today if you can't afford the original. Even one piece of midcentury modern will give you a newness to a traditional room. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

More Eclectic Rules to Break from Christy Ferer

"To be eclectic means anything goes."

There is a define line between eclecticism and chaos. A room can take on an eclectic look by using subtle contrasts as well as bold ones. Vidicom CEO Christy Ferer says A contemporary home filled with classics or a historical one filled with contemporary ones automatically has an eclectic spirit. But it's certainly possible to create an incoherent space by jettisoning all organizing principles. 

She recommends you start small- with galvanized metal chairs pulled up to a rustic country dining table or a sleek halogen lamp on a Chippendale desk. Mix shiny with rough, urban with earthy, provincial with palatial, old with new, the found object with the treasure. That's what eclecticism is all about. But there is safety in some uniformity. Keep one color of wood in a room of different period furniture. Use neutral walls to showcase varied forms of art. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christy Ferer's Eclecticism Rules to Break

"Decoration means coordination"

Christy Ferer, Vidicom CEO, advises to resist the of-the-rack. A modern sculpture on an antique dresser plays with new and old. Whether it is a stone fresco hung above a primitive Chinese wooden side table or a rugged log cabin centered on a crystal chandelier, unexpected juntaposition makes you see things in a whole different way. French antique dealer Nathalie Ballanger says: "Mixing makes a room that's like a mind, filled with many memories."

If you faithfully follow one style, she says, how can you possibly get it wrong? Well, you could end up with a room that looks like it came from a hotel chain. Different styles should play off one another. An eclectic home is a personal timeline, an autobiography. Use objects bought on travels, inherited pieces, and gifts you've been to tell the story of who you are.

Monday, December 9, 2013

More Eclectic Tips from Christy Ferer

Christy Ferer says filling up your living space is like panting on a black canvas or assembling an outfit. You are building a look - your look. The advantage of being eclectic is that it gives you the broadest of palettes, one that allows you to dabble in culture, styles, and periods.

One of Christy's mentors, Bernadine Morris, former fashion editor of The New York Times, told me the key to style is never looking like you spent hours putting yourself together. The same goes for decorating a space. It shouldn't look too matched, too decorated, too precise. Fashion Cynthia Rowley agrees. "The worst thing is to have everything perfectly appointed," she says. And Calvin Klein equates modernity with relaxation: "The role of modern design is to make living in a complex world-where even times has become a luxury-easier, more relaxed; it goes beyond trends. Mix casual with formal and work with modern textures and different weights and forms."

Friday, December 6, 2013

More Tips on Eclecticism

Play. Put a funky lamp on a pedigreed table. Modern, colorful pillows on a Victorian velvet settee. Or a cover a beanbag chair in richly colored Thai silk in a room of a more formal wooden furniture. Alter the spirit of a room with a surprise, a jolt.

Vidicom CEO Christy Ferer says what do you do if you want to use your grandparent's old breakfront, you're deeply attached to an old spindle chair that got you through school, you've bought a lot of upholstered pieces during one uncontrollable spending spree online  . . . and your living room's ended up looking a little grannyesque? Modernize it with a glass coffee table and some sleep wrought-iron accessories and lamps.

On the other hand, maybe you've out-sleeked yourself with too many minimal parsons tables, leather chairs, and slick surfaces? She recommends to try messing things up a little. Add heat and punch with pillows in warm colors, throws,  a pair of ornate lamp fixtures, or a console in gilt woodwork.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Vidicom's CEO Christy Ferer says forget what you've been told about what goes with what, sticking to one period, one decorating style, or one color thread. It is all boring. Karl Lagerfield once told me that great style, whether it be about clothes or homes, cannot be all salt of sugar… mixing both is what satiates the style tastes buds.

Real Chic comes from mixing it all up, expensive with bargains, antiques with new. The Moroccan vase you get as a wedding gift can look great with all your American department furniture. Old French faience can fit comfortably next to flea-market glasses. Loosen up and let your intuition take over. If you don't like the way something looks, you can always charge it. She says express yourself!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Architectural Finds

Until this century, deeply carved architectural trims--ranging from columns and capitals to banisters, crowns, corbels, mantels, arches, and crowns--were mostly the property of the rich and royal. They were associated with huge manor houses of chateaus. Now, these elements can be found in junkyards, flea markets, and salvage yards. If not there, there are reproductions. Brass grilles from the thirties and forties or iron fences make great headboards. Lightweight plaster casts can be painted or antiqued to look as if they are hundreds of years old. Look for discarded gingerbread trim like old wooden corbels from demolished homes, hotels, or restaurants. Christy Ferer says they make great shelf supports. Or treat them as sculpture by placing them on a modern oblong or square column. Architectural elements give a sense of history to new rooms.