Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy 2014!

Here's to a peaceful, prosperous, and happy 2014!

I've been busy this winter break writing and scheduling lots of interesting posts for you in 2014. Stay tuned to the Fiorito Interior Design blog!

Happy designing and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

FID Press Wrap-Up for 2013

Fiorito Interior Design got some nice press in 2013.

I was interviewed by San Francisco's Nob Hill Gazette for two articles. The first was a piece about kitchen trends.
Click the image above or here to read the article.

In December's issue of Nob Hill Gazette, I talked about how to have fun with holiday trees. By way of example, I spoke of the African Savanna Tree I did for a Holiday Designer Showhouse, featured on this blog here.
Click the image above or here to read the article.

And finally, I was just featured on in a December article about decorating for Kwanzaa and once again, the African Savanna Tree was a focal point!
Click the image above or here to read the article.

Thank you everyone for making 2013 a great year at Fiorito Interior Design!

Happy designing!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Winter White

I have said it before: I love creating tableaux, and winter seems to be a time that truly welcomes embellishment and decoration. One way to make an impact with winter decor is to choose a color palette, and what says winter better than snowy white.

Some silver heirloom ornaments in a glass compote along with white lights and candles...

...or a small white tree in a small white iron urn with white table accessories...

...and even simple cardboard glittered snowflakes and stars in white and silver can look festive.

Capture winter with silver-y plants, and white and silver objects. The white tipped twigs are an excellent idea as it brings in natural texture, contrasting nicely with the smooth mercury glass votive candle holders.

These large-scaled deer in white make quite a statement in this white room.

Winter tableaux can be simple: these bare branches with a few silver balls, vintage deer and Santa, and Mason jars holding more glass balls make quite a charming collection.

White and silver look fantastic with chilly, ice-y blue.

The rustic background make these small white deer stand out even more.

What could be more winter-y white than a white Gustavian-syled room?

And I have seen a rather clever idea in a few places recently where marshmallows are used on filament to create the look of falling snow. I did the same once with cotton balls...

Chances are you have some white objects in your home already that can be paired with white or silver holiday decorations. Look for glass containers or trays to hold ornaments or natural elements. And remember my four tips for a better tableau here!

Happy holidays and happy designing!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Creative Wreaths To Celebrate The Season

No need to be tied to traditional plain pine wreaths this season when there is a wealth of products and ideas for fun, whimsical, stunning alternatives. Take a look!

These simple but effective wreaths are made from everyday household edibles. I love how the jumbo and small marshmallows evoke snow, and the popcorn is reminiscent of childhoods spent by the fire, stringing popcorn to hang from the tree!

Another beautiful food wreath is this stunning piece made from brussels sprouts. Here on the coast in Northern California, the sprouts are everywhere since they are grown in the fields a little below us, and this is their season.

Natural elements are still a welcome ingredient in seasonal wreaths and here are some great ideas for using natural items in a sort of non-traditional way. Dried lotus pods, reindeer moss (on a square frame!), and a mix of pine cones and apples bring interesting texture while still evoking warm associations with the holidays.

Apropos of my last post about theme trees for the holidays, this seaside themed wreath is a gorgeous mix of white dune grasses, and pale blue and white shells and starfish. Imagine a coordinating tree studded with starfish and blue, green, and white lights...

via Pier 1

These next four are for you Modernists out there.. you know who you are...

You can learn how to make this marvelous clear glass ornament wreath at Curbly, here.

via Curbly

This minimal copper construction is based on the classic Finnish Himmeli holiday mobiles (from the German word himmel, or sky), hung from ceilings and made from straw.


It can't get easier: this wreath consists of pretty paper crimped, fan-folded, and gathered together in a wreath shape!

And finally, for the Steampunk in all of us, this creative wreath is composed of gears of all shapes and sizes!

And what post about wreaths would be complete without an idea from Martha Stewart. Click here to learn how to bake these simple gingerbread men and string them together for a fragrant holiday decoration!

Happy designing and happy holidays!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sherwin Williams' Color of the Year for 2014

According to esteemed paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams (founded by Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams in 1866), Exclusive Plum is the Color of the Year for 2014.

Jackie Jordan, Sherwin-Williams director of color marketing says, “This dusky, filtered violet is refined without being stuffy, elegant yet easy, and layered with romantic potential.”

It seems, from what I see in these promotional photos from Sherwin Williams, that the color has enough grey in it to function as a neutral. There has been a quiet revolution in interior design over the last decade or so where "neutrals" are no longer simply black, white, grey, tan, or brown. Neutrals are now appearing in many other hues. And it would be interesting to layer some featured colors on top of Exclusive Plum. If you are thinking of painting a room anytime soon, give some thought to a "new" neutral.

I will be discussing how to pick paint colors in an upcoming post for 2014. Stay tuned and...

...Happy designing!

Pantone's Color of the Year for 2014

Pantone has selected Radiant Orchid as their Color of the Year for 2014. Interesting that Sherwin Williams and Pantone both chose a purple hue. And Benjamin Moore chose a light blue which I wrote about here. Clearly, cool colors are in the zeitgeist...

I will be discussing how to pick paint colors in an upcoming post for 2014. Stay tuned and...

...Happy designing!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Why Not Try A Theme Tree For The Holidays?

I love winter and the tradition of the decorated and lighted tree. When I was a little boy, it always felt so connected to the time of the year, the elements, the snow, and darkness. Even then, I sensed the pagan roots of this tradition and now that I am an adult, I love it even more.

Descended from the Roman festival of Saturnalia, and from Pagans and Druids from all over Europe, the tree is an expression of the season: deciduous trees, plants, flowers and crops die off (or go dormant) while the pine remains magically alive, the only thing that stays green in the natural world ("sempervirent" = evergreen). It only makes sense to honor the earth, the season, and the fir itself by bringing it inside to decorate and celebrate. This is the time of the Winter Solstice, short grey days and long dark nights, where twinkling stars are visible for so much longer. As an homage to the winter sky, lights are put on the tree, again echoing the natural world. It’s also reminiscent of the bonfires many different pagan cultures lit around the countryside to ward off the darkness and chill; lights on the tree bring some light and warmth to this lifeless time of year, and speak to a time when the days will eventually grow longer, the planet will again tilt, and summer will return.

Although a traditional holiday tree is a wonderful, comforting sight (I have spent many holidays replicating the magical, colorful trees from my childhood), you don't have to be limited by snowmen, reindeer, and poinsettias. I created my first themed holiday tree in 1999 when I threw a holiday party with a 1950s-Space-Age-Bachelor-Pad theme. I found a vintage 50s silver foil tree and color wheel in an antique store and set it up with blue and green lights, and blue and green blown glass balls. It was a huge hit with all my guests and I have done a themed tree every year since.

In 2010, I was invited to participate in a Holiday Designer Showhouse here in Northern California, and was asked to create an African holiday tree. I was up for the challenge and had a fantastic time collecting all the decorations and objects that would adorn the tree and tell a clear, identifiable African story.

The following is my concept statement for the tree which I had printed on handouts at the Showhouse:

"The open grasslands known as 'savanna' and the indigenous cultures of Africa were the inspiration for this themed holiday tree. Soft yellow lights give the tree a warm glow reminiscent of the golden grasses of—and the sun over—these vast plains. On the tree you see traditional beaded gourds from Kenya, which can also be used as percussion instruments. Carved wooden African animals mingle together as they do on the veldt. Colorfully beaded leather amulets adorned with cowrie shells from West Africa pepper the tree; cowrie shells are used for divination by the Yoruban people of West Africa and have also been used as currency for centuries. Blown glass balls in bronze and copper speak to the origin of African metalworking over four thousand years ago. A carved wooden figure of the deity Akuaba from Ghana tops the tree. This style of Akuaba originates from the Ashanti people and is used as both a fertility symbol and general good luck. The tree skirt is made from genuine hand-woven and hand-dyed mud cloth, or bogolanfini, from Mali. The name mud cloth comes from the iron-rich earthen pigments used to dye the classic geometric designs. Packages wrapped in African designs and tied with bows of raffia and cowrie shells wait to be opened under the tree."

If you are looking for something fun and different this year for the holidays, why not try a themed holiday tree? I have created trees based on cultures (Japanese, Native American, Bollywood), food (cookies, candy, fruit), nature (the night sky, oceans), and time periods (Art Deco, Renaissance). You can be inspired by anything--let your imagination roam!

Happy designing and Happy Holidays!