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Sparks | Schuyler Samperton Interior Design http://www.samperton.com/blog Interior Design and Beyond with Schuyler Samperton Thu, 31 Jan 2013 22:28:57 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 LOCAL BEAUTY http://www.samperton.com/blog/local-beauty/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=local-beauty http://www.samperton.com/blog/local-beauty/#comments Thu, 31 Jan 2013 22:28:57 +0000 schuyler http://www.samperton.com/blog/?p=533 read more »]]> I was out walking Tricky in my neighborhood the other day, when I noticed this handwritten note scribbled on a construction site document.

Clearly a desperate plea, the author was begging the developer to create something beautiful.  Full of gorgeous small-scale apartment buildings from the 1920s and 30s, my neighborhood has a lovely charm that is slowly being overtaken by unattractive, architecturally-soulless, multi-unit monsters.

In his book, Creating a New Old House, Russell Venturi outlines the specific path to architectural authenticity for a number architectural styles, from California Spanish Colonial Revival to Cape Cod Cottage.  He explains (and insists!) that the details matter – the thickness of a column, the proportions of a window, the slope of a roof.  All of it has a significant impact, so with that purity of intent in mind, I wanted to capture some of the special buildings and details, that make my neighborhood so great.  With a little luck, perhaps the new architects and contractors will take a walk around the block, pause for a moment to appreciate the past, and actually create something “nice.”

A few of my favorite places, old and new…

Citrus trees scattered in front yards

Tudor was big on my block in the 1920s

These numbers tie in perfectly with the Hamilton Arms vibe

New Spanish Colonial done right

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Feathered Friends http://www.samperton.com/blog/feathered-friends/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=feathered-friends http://www.samperton.com/blog/feathered-friends/#comments Wed, 23 Jan 2013 00:03:02 +0000 schuyler http://www.samperton.com/blog/?p=518 read more »]]> Feathers have always been a favorite of mine.  I love everything about them – the colors, the textures, the iridescence and their abundant natural magic.

A classic scarf pattern from Hermes – framed?

A coque feather necklace – art in my hallway…

Earrings from Ralph Lauren, in one of my favorite color combinations.

Decadent wallpaper by Karen Beauchamp that uses Swarovski crystal elements!

My lovely cream and white dream catcher by Electric Love from Spartan in Austin.

Trippy fabric from Pallavik.

One single, louche raspberry plume on the chest in my bedroom.

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Rag Rugs! http://www.samperton.com/blog/rag-rugs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rag-rugs http://www.samperton.com/blog/rag-rugs/#comments Tue, 15 Jan 2013 17:13:05 +0000 schuyler http://www.samperton.com/blog/?p=503 read more »]]>

Suddenly, rag rugs are looking very modern to me…

These hand-made pieces came to America through European immigrants, and were extremely popular in Colonial New England, as well as on the frontier.  Featuring an old school approach to recycling, the rugs were made of strips of worn clothing, bedding or other random textiles.

Every area has a different name for rag rugs – in England alone they’re called stobbie, tabbie, shaggy or proggie – WOW

These color combinations make me (and Tricky) swoon!

Go to East Meets West Antiques in Los Angeles, for the best selection!

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The Little Flower School of Brooklyn Comes to LA! http://www.samperton.com/blog/the-little-flower-school-of-brooklyn-comes-to-la/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-little-flower-school-of-brooklyn-comes-to-la http://www.samperton.com/blog/the-little-flower-school-of-brooklyn-comes-to-la/#comments Tue, 08 Jan 2013 18:34:28 +0000 schuyler http://www.samperton.com/blog/?p=478 read more »]]>

So far, I’m a big fan of 2013. I realize that it’s pretty early in the game, but I’ve already knocked out one of my resolutions.  A few months ago, I read that the Little Flower School of Brooklyn would be teaching a class in LA, and I watched and waited for the registration notice like a thirteen–year-old girl trying to get Justin Beiber tickets.

Last Saturday, I was lucky enough to be one of twenty students, and it was AMAZING!  I first learned of our teachers Nicolette Owen and Sarah Ryhanen through the glorious book, Bringing Nature Home.  I had never seen such gasp-inspiring beauty before, and was completely mesmerized by the stunning arrangements. We gathered in a loft downtown, and the fun began…

Over a decadent assortment of goodies including tangerine juice, organic chocolates, cheese and marcona almonds, we all introduced ourselves, and named our favorite flower.  PS – Ranunculus were by far the runaway favorite!

“Place cards” were personalized snips!

Another party favor which would prove to be my nemesis…

Our charming and informed teachers revealed a slew of helpful tips like how to maximize a flower’s intrinsic beauty, which flowers look together (and which don’t), as well as how to prep your flowers and container. We were then treated to a demonstration by Sarah, who created a magnificent arrangement in what seemed like five minutes.

Armed with a head-spinning amount of knowledge, we were then instructed to select our blooms (whatever spoke to us!), and we were off! Each one of my fellow flower enthusiasts (many were professional florists – even one from Texas) made the most gorgeous creations. I however, new to this whole thing, made a few mistakes -

Nicolette and Sarah had warned us about the perils of the slipping frog, and sure enough, I had issues because I chose too many heavy blooms, and my whole thing was just TOO BIG.  Yikes…

I managed to get my leviathan home, (one extremely wet car seat later), and then I spent the next several hours trying to make it fit in my apartment. I went to bed a touch discouraged, but awoke with Nicolette’s  words ringing in my ears…”you can always just start over,” so start over I did!

I took the entire thing apart, and approached the new incarnation with a fresh attitude.

Gone were the dark and moody branch-like blooms that Sarah so kindly called “wild and magical.” Instead, I created a lighter, more dainty piece that in the spirit of Downton Abbey’s third season premiere would look smashing on Lady Mary’s dressing table!

I concentrated on a softer palette of carnations, agapanthus (Nicolette called these “little firecrackers,” anemones, jasmine vine and some delightful little wild flower-looking thing whose name I unfortunately can’t remember.

My new version fits perfectly on my coffee table, and I still have room for a remote AND a candle!!!

The Little Flower School will be teaching in Petaluma in May, and I strongly encourage everyone to check it out. Class was a total thrill, and an amazing way to start off the new year.

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Russian to the movies: the beauty of Anna Karenina http://www.samperton.com/blog/russian-to-the-movies-the-beauty-of-anna-karenina/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=russian-to-the-movies-the-beauty-of-anna-karenina http://www.samperton.com/blog/russian-to-the-movies-the-beauty-of-anna-karenina/#comments Tue, 14 Aug 2012 22:22:03 +0000 schuyler http://www.samperton.com/blog/?p=441 read more »]]>

Fall Can’t Get Here Soon Enough…

Last weekend while waiting for an unfortunately mediocre movie to start, I was COMPLETELY and TOTALLY KNOCKED OUT by the trailer for Joe Wright’s amazing new version of Anna Karenina.  Starring the stunning Keira Knightley, the gorgeous Aaron Johnson and Jude Law (he’s not bad either), the film is an overwhelmingly beautiful combination of colors and textures.

From Anna’s breathtaking costumes of silk, feathers, lace and fur, to the magnificent interiors complete with intricate inlaid marble floors, damask covered walls and glistening crystal chandeliers, the entire production is almost too glorious for my “more is more” personal aesthetic.

While most of us can’t completely replicate the splendor of 19th Century Russia, here are a few things that can help get us halfway there.  You’re on your own with the diamonds and pearls…

{Anna Karenina inspiration: 1. Antique Bronze & Crystal Chandelier; 2. Russian bracelet, circa 1880; 3. Nicholas I of Russia: The Railway Tsar portrait; 4. Russian Metal; 5.Black Lace; 6. Claremont Damas Chinois fabric; 7. Michael S Smith Cosmati Alhambra Tile; 8. Gold, enamel and diamond portrait miniature pin; 9. 19th Century Russian Swan Couch; 10. Russian Ivory filigree mounted octagonal box.}

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Westside Provençal http://www.samperton.com/blog/westside-provencal-carolyn-murphy-home/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=westside-provencal-carolyn-murphy-home http://www.samperton.com/blog/westside-provencal-carolyn-murphy-home/#comments Mon, 02 Jul 2012 06:59:41 +0000 schuyler http://www.samperton.com/blog/?p=411 read more »]]> Thank you so much to Remodelista for featuring photos of Carolyn Murphy’s garage-into-art-studio transformation!

We’re excited to debut the rest of Carolyn’s house on our website. Click here to see the beautiful photos shot by Grey Crawford.

Dining room

This room was basically a clean slate with only the existing Restoration Hardware burlap chandelier and some simple beige linen curtains. The exquisite pair of French needlepoint chairs from JF Chen were what really took us in a specific direction. The rest of room just fell together with a beautiful dining table from Suzanne Hollis and a set of chairs from Lee Stanton that we covered in a floral embroidery.


This space needed to be cozy – it doesn’t get much light, so we decided to make it like a little gem — full of patterned textiles, pillows and rugs. Carolyn has a great collection of books, so it was her idea to add the rustic shelves over the sofa.

Upper Hall

The hall on the second floor has this magical alcove, so we found this fantastic Indonesian bench from Dos Gallos and loaded it with a mix of pillows from antique toiles to kilim fragments. The space was also perfect for highlighting this group of landscapes, still lifes and portraits. I love the mini globe under the glass bell jar!


We kept the master simple and serene. Carolyn already owned the soft blue velvet curtains and the caned bed, so we just added the primitive side table, an incredibly beautiful still life, and one of my favorite things EVER – a pillow made from antique vintage chintz with a dog and floral motif!!!


The stone sink and tile backsplash were part of the previous owners’ renovation, so we just added an extra layer with vine-filled vintage pottery and antique watercolors, and voila – instant Provencal charm!

Breakfast Room

This is my favorite room in the house, and not just because my dog, Tricky, is in the picture! I had such a great time finding these vintage floral fabrics – we sourced things from dealers all over the country and turned them into pillows, then mixed in some beautiful antique cushions from one of my local favorites – Pat McGann. From antique Liberty prints, to Indian embroidery – Pat McGann has it ALL!  The sweet valance was shipped to us from a lovely textile dealer back East, and when it fit perfectly, we knew it was meant to be.

Living Room

Again, we continued the theme of femininity with the combination of Carolyn’s existing curtains and a smattering of soft-toned floral pillows. The portrait is so lovely, and came from the fabulous Nathan Turner several years ago when Carolyn and I started working on our first project together.

{Photography by Grey Crawford.} {View the entire gallery here.}

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Inspired By Mom http://www.samperton.com/blog/inspired-by-mom/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=inspired-by-mom http://www.samperton.com/blog/inspired-by-mom/#comments Wed, 09 May 2012 03:01:24 +0000 schuyler http://www.samperton.com/blog/?p=377 read more »]]>

I give full credit to my mother Nonie (above) for any sense of taste I may have.

When I was moving my parents into a new place a few months ago, I found this amazing photograph of her taken in the backyard of the house I grew up in.  That awesome hat was by acclaimed designer Mr. John, whose avant garde creations informed much more than her sartorial style.

Mom/Momma (said in southern accent)/Mama (said in French accent)/Mothra (just weird nickname for no reason) has taught me some invaluable style-related lessons, and here are a few of her favorite things…

- Black and white stripes for anything from lampshades to rugs

- Purple anemones for a splash of color

- Palladian windows for their gorgeous lines, and abundance of light

- Menswear fabrics for upholstery

- And of course, always wear a hat.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!

{Images: Marianne Faithfull via The Vogue Vibes; Palladian windows via Giovanni Giaconi Illustrator; black & white stripes via the quilt bug; Eames chair upholstered with menswear fabric via Small But Mighty.}

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Sweet Breath of Spring http://www.samperton.com/blog/sweet-breath-of-spring/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sweet-breath-of-spring http://www.samperton.com/blog/sweet-breath-of-spring/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 07:18:41 +0000 schuyler http://www.samperton.com/blog/?p=318 read more »]]>

Every page of Bringing Nature Home, the new floral design book by Ngoc Minh Ngo, is a work of art. I just got it a few days ago and have already devoured it five times over. It’s not just that the photographs are stunning; they’re also jaw-droppingly inspiring: Ngoc offers info-packed sections on vases, arranging and cut flower care, plus a clever seasonal guide to available blooms. With breathtaking arrangements by Nicolette Owen, prop styling by Amy Wilson, and a thoughtful introduction by design-world icon Deborah Needleman (of Domino and WSJ Magazine fame) this amazing art book/practical “how to” is a must-have in any collection. (Better yet, it makes the MOST PERFECT Mother’s Day present ever!)

So… all of these blossoms got me thinking about my other obsession: floral fabrics – especially ones that share the same louche beauty of the flowers in Ngoc’s book. Here are a few of my favorites – both vintage and current.

Above: I picked up this vintage printed linen remnant at a flea market in Washington, DC, and can’t wait to make a pillow out of it. It would be amazing on a claret-colored linen velvet sofa.

Above: Claremont’s cheerful combination of stripes and florals will look unreal as a window seat cushion, with an assortment of vintage floral pillows mixed in.

Above: This gorgeous, large-patterned fabric by Jasper would be fantastic as wall upholstery, or for a more economical option – a three-paneled screen. It adds instant old-school charm to any room, and I love the idea of a collection of mismatched art hung against it, salon style.

Above: This Robert Kime fabric would make a beautiful a coverlet at the foot of a bed in a bedroom with apricot grasscloth walls and white trim– so summery and fresh.

Above: I can see a traditional arm chair upholstered in this bold raspberry and lilac Robert Kime print sitting on top of a well-worn Sultanabad in a library.  The colors are so cool, and unexpected.

Above: Delicate and  soothing is how I see this print by Penny Morrison, so I’m using it for a headboard and curtains in a bedroom against a background of subtly striped green and cream wallpaper.

{All photography used with the permission of Ngoc Minh Ngo from her book Bringing Home Nature: Floral Arrangements Inspired By Nature.}

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come shopping with me! http://www.samperton.com/blog/derring-hall-shopping-guide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=derring-hall-shopping-guide http://www.samperton.com/blog/derring-hall-shopping-guide/#comments Wed, 28 Mar 2012 07:08:03 +0000 schuyler http://www.samperton.com/blog/?p=298 read more »]]>

Dering Hall, the splashy new interior decoration resource and shopping site developed by Peter Sallick of Waterworks, gives readers amazing access to the most incredible things. Recently, they asked me to shop their designer-curated “boutiques,” and I picked my most favorite things – not surprisingly, from some of my most favorite LA haunts. Curated by the world’s top designers, the vast inventory has everything from gorgeous painted four-poster beds to casually elegant dog beds. There’s something for everyone here – check out some of my selections above. Click here for the full list.

{Whitley Bed, 2. Framed Photo of the Taj Mahal, 3. Moorish Mirror, 4.  Lexington Ottoman, 5. Swing Arm Wall Light, 6. Bayhead Serving Bar, 7. Stanford Basket, 8. Crystal Ball, 9. Dog Bed, 10. Spirit Bottles.}

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BEADY EYE http://www.samperton.com/blog/beady-eye/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=beady-eye http://www.samperton.com/blog/beady-eye/#comments Tue, 06 Mar 2012 08:19:47 +0000 schuyler http://www.samperton.com/blog/?p=238 read more »]]>

Sometimes, it’s all about the little things for me. And when it comes to my own place, I can’t seem to leave well enough alone – especially when it comes to beads. For me, they add that certain layer of edge, and bohemian insouciance that I crave. Oh, to have been Anita Pallenberg!

In the window display (above) I designed for last year’s LCDQ (La Cienega Design Quarter) event, I threw a few strands of silver beads over the edge of a copy of Bloomsbury icon Duncan Grant’s painting. I love the weird colors of the wool fringe, and their unexpected textural contrast to the shininess of the metal.

Above: A vintage English blue and white plate in my bathroom holds a collection of bottles and products. Naturally, I couldn’t resist tossing a few coral and turquoise beaded bracelets on the long neck of the Lime Sec bottle. Come on…it was just begging for embellishment!

Above: The inspiration board over my desk – leaves, ribbons, a photo of a rabbit nibbling the back of my sweater, and more BEADS. The traditional evil eyes were picked up on a decorating job in Greece, and the multi-colored strand was given to me by my brother, and worn by my friend Cricket in her play about Janis Joplin.

Above: I’m dying to design a room around this dress from Roberta Freymann! It has everything I love – odd color combinations, fringe, beads AND a susani-inspired embroidered applique design in hot pink!

Above: Another flea market find draped around the neck of my lamp.

Above: Flea Markets often have gorgeous selections of exotic beads. I just got a fantastic strand at the Santa Monica Airport for $20, that looks frightfully like a necklace that I got from a store on Rodeo for twenty times as much. Ooops…live and learn.

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