Inspiration

One Thousand Saves!

When a perfect stranger comes across an image of a room, and sees fit to add it to an Idea Book they keep online with a title like “Dream House” or even simply “Our New Home”, it gives a girl a thrill to be the designer involved. So it was a happy day last week when Houzz.com let me know that images from my portfolio on their site have been saved over 1,000 times by their users.

NJDhouzz1klogoI’ve been on Houzz for 3 years, and it has proven to be a great way to connect with people who are interested in working with me – around the corner in person, and across the country online. It also illuminates what a more general audience responds to in my portfolio by showing me which images are inspiring them when they think about their own homes.

Last month, Houzz interviewed me about a recent project that they featured as their  “Room of the Day”. Thanks, Houzz!

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Photo credits: All images by Tessa Neustadt, except for the bottom right image in collage by Judson Morgan.

Take Me Away // Napa Valley Working Vacation Weekend

A design project in the Napa Valley had been a long-held little dream of mine, and in 2015 it has come true twice! Earlier this year, it was the tasting room for a small winery in St. Helena. And then this Fall, I started collaborating with a dear friend on her lovely new cottage in Napa. This is a picture of the bungalow where Emily used to live. So charming, and the scene of many good times over the years. We want more of that feel with the new place – an unpretentious warmth.

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Emily’s new house doesn’t come with quite this much vintage character, but it is on its way to revealing its own charms. After a few weeks of Pinterest back-and-forth based on floor-plans and pictures, last weekend I made an overnight trip of it and finally met the house in person. Amid the beautiful distractions of the Napa Valley and time with my friend, the mission was to review design progress, develop some ideas further, and of course get some good shopping done.

IMG_4876I was very pleased about some key pieces of new furniture that had arrived. It’s no secret that I am obsessed with these dhurrie chairs, and this is my favorite colorway.  I adore these hues and that texture paired with the copper Martini table. Emily was initially a bit skeptical when I pinned this chair, but now it’s true love.

IMG_4877This gem of a bentwood rocker was picked up at an estate sale, and Emily is in the midst of re-finishing it. We decided on a rich black stain to contrast with some of the other furniture in more naturally finished woods. It is such a gorgeously sculptural chair, and is going to look great next to a big plant.

IMG_4933This is part of a gallery wall for which I did a preliminary lay-out. Emily has a fair amount of art that she has collected in 20 years of travel, and I love that it’s a mix of media including textiles and photography. We sorted through it all and made decisions about how to frame and hang the best pieces.

To wrap up Day One of our work, it had to be a dinner at one of my favorites in Downtown Napa, Angele Emily and I sat at the bar, where the people-watching and eavesdropping was almost as good as the food and wine!IMG_4892

And then we saw Janeane Garafolo, who I hadn’t really thought about in years, do standup at City Winery. Since Emily and I became friends in college in the 90’s (probably J.G.’s heyday, as far as high-profile work goes), nostalgia made us curious to check out her current act. Happy to say we laughed a lot – her comedy held up!

Day Two was all about shopping. The Napa-Vallejo Flea Market turned out to be NOT what we had imagined (at all!), so we quickly moved on to sourcing vintage furniture online. I introduced Emily to the world of bidding on Ebay. (We missed out on a sweet midcentury credenza, and then found an even better one and won it for a steal!)

Then Emily showed me the brick and mortar stores in Napa that she has been prowling for inspiration.  Poor House is my new favorite, with so many pieces that looked made for my aesthetic – a perfect mix of simplicity and distinctive details.IMG_4923So inspired by everything in the vignette above, from the quilted leather of the chair, to the streak of red on the desk!
IMG_4921The swooping lines and rich walnut finish of the lounge-y chair (above) caught my eye, as did these bar-stools, which hit just the right “warm industrial” note for me with the leather and the leg details.IMG_4915

Antiques on Second is a store I will return to with a truck one day.
IMG_4909I have such a weakness for campaign furniture. My current projects have no room for this folding bench, but I want somebody to give it a home in an entry hall or covered loggia. IMG_4910These chairs also deserve a good home. That green! So much character. I’m going to run with this idea sometime for sure.

Before I knew it, it was Sunday evening and time to head home to L.A.. My farewell to Napa and Emily was made less sad by the spectacular sunset we got to accompany us on the drive to the airport.

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I’m not allowed to show up at home after a trip without a special little surprise for my kids, so I made sure to stop at The Roost Napa on my way out to look for gifts. Here’s one I found for myself!

IMG_5042I was going to have so much remorse if I didn’t buy this tote bag. My passion for its playful print is unbridled!! And it will always remind me of this special little trip.IMG_5027

And I didn’t forget my girls, who got these awesome finger puppets. They were only a buck each, and the details are wonderful. As expected, they were a hit with this little monster.
IMG_5022Weekend Mission Accomplished! A bit of work, a bit of play, and lots of fresh inspiration for this project and my work next year. Thanks, Emily!!

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Show Me 3 // X-Base White Desks

An desk with an x-base is classic, yet unusual enough to feel special. The glossy white finish on these ones makes them feel a bit luxe – this is a table that can be more than a mere desk! I can imagine one looking great as a sleek dressing table. Or in a spacious Living Room, one of these could go against the back of a sofa in a floating arrangement.

HIGH // Jonathan Adler – Channing Desk // Wayfair // $1950

Desk Mid

MID // Jett Desk // Z Gallerie // $600

 

LOW // Safavieh Paley Desk // Overstock // $280

 

Future Design Dreaming // Sexy Hollywood Hills Bachelor Pad

I’ve found myself designing for a series of single male clients lately. This is a favorite bachelor pad mood board from my design studio. It’s sexy! And masculine. And art-driven. And full of moody blues. And if you could reach out and touch the sensuous upholstery fabrics on the board, you could better imagine how comfortable this place would be.

board1 The blue velvet with the pajama-stripe textile is one of my obsessions here – Millbreck in Azure by Designers Guild. It is luxuriously soft. And I snuck in a piece of art (the Lone Ranger with the laser eye), by my favorite musician, Bob Schneider -because that’s sexy to me! If I were a single lady, and I walked into the home of a date to find all this, I would be relieved to know it was done by a designer – and not his ex! Then I could just admire his fantastic taste in art…

Here are some pieces you could buy to get the look.

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1. Art // Natasha Law, Blue On 2. Pendant // Honeycomb Pendant 3. Floor Lamp // Praying Mantis Floor Lamp 4. Bulb Lamp // Crystal Desk Lamp 5. Chair // Calvin Chair 6. Rug // Brazilian Cowhide 7. Cocktail Table // Pi Coffee Table

 

Future Design Dreaming // Malibu Beach House Interior

This is one of my favorite mood-boards of all time. It started with the Morar textile from Osborne & Little. I am obsessed, despite the fact that I am terribly allergic to wool and probably wouldn’t use it in my own home. (Vicarious pleasure is one of the best parts of my job!). The mood-board that developed here turned into what I call “Malibu Colony Beach House On A Rainy November Afternoon”. It’s casual, feminine in a vibrant way, nostalgic, organic and quietly full of color and pattern and texture.
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Here are some pieces you can buy right now to get the dreamy look.

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1. Mirror // Mira Hanging Mirror  2. Art // Sammy Slabbinck, Love is All 3. Lighting // Alice Pendant 4. Pillow // Dancers Coral Pillow 5. Chair // Handwoven Boline Chair 6. Ottoman // Rattan Ottoman

Design Inspirer // Alex Prager

I’m always mesmerized by Alex Prager‘s photographs. This is the one that first caught my attention a few years ago.
1Fashion editorials and advertising campaigns by the photographer have kept her on my mind.2Obviously, each image is intriguing. There is a specific story about an interesting woman in just about every one. 3aThe vintage aesthetic and cinematic feel of Prager’s work makes it all the more appealing to me. The influence of Hitchcock and Cindy Sherman can not go unnoticed, but everything I see her do feels fresh and captivating.3bPrager lives and works in Los Angeles, and her work reflects it. Yet another reason to love.
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678Even with such a stylized feel to much of her work, Prager is never just one note. Her images could be anything from unsettling to bizarre to sweet and nostalgic.910
11Each one is singularly compelling. (What is going on with these chicks??)
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Design Inspirer // Patrick Dougherty

Patrick Dougherty is an American sculptor whose medium is saplings! My obsession with his work began back in 2007, when he did an installation on the facade of the former Max Azria store on Melrose, titled “Just for Looks”.

 Daugherty’s installation made me imagine a landscape of neatly rolled-up hay bales, let loose by a crazy windstorm! And like a lot of people, I looked at the swirling movement he gave the saplings and thought of the clouds in Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

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Although this gorgeous sheathing of willow branches is no longer there, in my memory this remains the most fantastic storefront of all time. Thankfully, Daugherty is always hard at work, installing huge, elaborate sculptures made out of sticks all over the world.

 

Call of the Wild at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, 2002-2003

Each work takes about three weeks to install, and involves a whole team of local volunteers, who all seem to have an incredible experience working quietly alongside the artist.

Running In Circles at the TICKON Sculpture Park in Denmark, 1996-1998

One of the things I love about Patrick Dougherty’s story is that although he had a life-long love of nature and building things, it wasn’t until he was a grad student in his late thirties that he started sculpting out of saplings. In the thirty or so years since, he has completed over 200 installations. How is that for inspiration?

Paradise Gate at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, 2001

  The installations are sturdy, but being organic, they might change with the seasons and are ultimately ephemeral.

Holy Rope  at the Rinjyo-in Temple in Chiba,  Japan, 1992-1994

Fascinating, right? If you would like to know more about Patrick Dougherty and his work, visit his web-sitebuy his monograph, Stickwork, and read this wonderful 2010 profile of him from the New York Times.  Bending Sticks is a recent feature-length documentary about the artist that I can’t wait to see for more inspiration.

Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Take Me Away // Norton Simon Museum

 The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is an overlooked L.A. treasure.  It is large enough to have some really varied and impressive collections, and small enough to be a low-key outing. Admittedly, the architecture is a bit on the Brutal side for my taste.

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But there is magic within these walls!

2011-07-26-basel_muralAbove: Basel Mural I, 1956-58 by Sam Francis

I always feel inspired by a wander through the Modern and Contemporary Art gallery, ending in a stroll through the peaceful sculpture garden, designed by Nancy Goslee Powers .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis Maillol lady, La Montagne, is an old friend.

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I love to get a little lost in a piece of art, so my favorite spot is a bench in front of this huge painting called Autumn: The Chestnut Gatherers by Georges Lacombe. The scale of the piece and its depth of color make me feel like I’m watching a play. It is mesmerizing.

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Photos: NortonSimon.org and Fififlowers.com

Catch Natasha Jansz on HGTV's "HOUSE HUNTER'S RENOVATION" October 28th 10pm/9c