A couple of months ago interior designer Erin Paige Pitts sent me an email inviting Steve and me out to dinner while she and her husband were visiting Los Angeles.
I was thrilled that Erin reached out to me. I was already a fan of her work, having seen some images in a post by Holly of Things That Inspire. I also knew that Erin was selected as one of Traditional Home Magazines "Top Twenty Young Designers to Watch" this year.
Erin and I hit it off immediately and have continued to stay in touch over the past few months. I was so excited when she offered to do a post in my series about "What we've learned". So, here is what Erin has learned.....
"East Coast "Sensibilities" meet West Coast "Cool""
Saying the East Coast invented the "blue and white" interiors would be like saying "Al Gore invented the Internet"!... But, with that being said, the east coast in particular, the coastal areas of the northeast are known for their crisp blue and white interiors with wide white painted moldings". What defines an "east coast" interior vs. a "west coast" interior one might ask? The northeast is known for having a slightly more formal, classical, even provincial approach to interiors. Wood floors against crisp white moldings with a mix of patterns, plaids, checks and prints. West coast interiors might have more of a mix- different wood finishes, old and new elements, a mix of materials, bolder patterns, greater contrast...
When an "east coast" native finds his or herself living in sunny California, that doesn't mean that they leave behind their east coast "sensibilities" and fully embrace a California style. More often, they bring some of their "roots" with them and want to combine them with elements of California "cool". In fact, there seems to be a real need for "east coast" interiors interpreted for the west coast. I am repeatedly told there is too much beige in California. I am also told the scale of the furniture if often "too big".
I feel a real connection with both coasts. I was born and raised on the east coast of Maryland but, have always felt like I should have been born and raised in Southern California. It is the relaxed "no fuss, no muss" attitude that attracts me. Luckily, I am now in a position to appreciate both with an interiors practice with projects on both coasts.
Over the years, I have been somewhat obsessed with the topic of east coast interiors out west. I have saved magazine and newspaper clippings referencing the topic and I am going to share a few of my favorites with you. Here is a residence from the June/July 2010 issue of Traditional Home. This house, is in Newport Beach. It has a shingle style exterior and lots of windows.
I love the staircase in this home with all the beautiful wood paneling and dark floors. It is so crisp and fresh.
The dining room chairs have slipcovers with a kick-pleat skirt.
I love how in the kitchen, the homeowners did white cabinets but with red accents. A twist on the typical and very fresh. They then carried the red as an accent into the family room
In a totally different way, I love another house in the July/August 2009 Coastal Living, titled "Modern Country". It is a total she said, he said type of interior. She's from D.C. and he's from NYC. She wanted a more "formal, coastal home" and he wanted a "contemporary home with pop art".
Some of my "tricks" for taking some of the formal-ness out of east coast interiors are:
-bring in texture- in wall covering, furniture and fabrics. All texture in neutrals.
-mix blue and white with less precious colors. Mix in black or a bring yellow instead of a traditional soft canary yellow.
-add a graphic punch in your selection of patterns. I love hand prints on linen ground
-add personality in artwork and accessories. Bring your personality into the spaces.
I look forward to showing you the results of some of my "east coast interiors out west" as they are completed. I hope Brooke will allow me to guest blog again about the results.
Many thanks to my friend Brooke for allowing me to guest blog. It has been a pleasure to get to know her and her fabulous sense of style. Thanks Brooke!
If you would like help creating the home of your dreams, email me about our design services.
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