Sunday, February 8, 2009

Designer Inspiration

Melinda Ritz is the Emmy Award winning interior designer responsible for the set of Will & Grace, (among others) and one of my favorite designers. Her rooms are fresh, livable, filled with vibrant energy, and the proof of passion that Ritz has for interior design. Always cluttered, and never contrived, the interiors of Melinda Ritz speak in warm melodies, and prove that a home - is one of your greatest self expressions.

Note the cowhide rug and beautiful basket under the piano. Touches of character, charm and whimsy fill Ritz's interiors. The collection of time pieces and books on the piano; the brass lamp and plant: Ritz is definitely not a less is more kinda gal.

One of my favorite Ritz spaces, this reading room with floor to ceiling stone clad fireplace surround and antler chandelier reads masculine, comfortable, down-to-earth.

Here in another part of the room, you can better see Ritz's move to make this a gender-neutral space, with the wide weave hyacinth reed chairs (feminine) and their leather cushions (masculine), linear lines of stone and wood (masculine) paired with the round tables and accessories (feminine), she makes this a reading room that anyone would appreciate.

Here, in the magnificent yard and patio of this Beverly Hills estate, you can take a peek at the exterior spaces Ritz creates from afar. Exterior fixtures that could serve as interior pieces, patio furniture with the size and presence of interior furniture help create a separate space that is truly a part of the grand scheme, while still being a patio. (I love indoor-outdoor rooms!)

Inside of this magnificent home, Ritz pairs the uncommon with the traditional, a touch seen throughout all of her fantastic portfolio. Here, the lines of the armoire/cabinet stained and waxes in a beautiful sage green play nicely with the back of the twig chairs. The cream traditional sofa doesn't feel out of place at all - in fact, it's highlighted in this setting due to the darker touches in furniture and accessories. A lesson in mixing and coordinating - never matching, we all can learn from!

Here, on the opposite side of this grand and massive room, Ritz once again plays with the traditional and the unique. The side table, and industrial-look coffee table seem like they've been paired with the traditional sofa (a match to the sofa on the opposite side of the room) and those fantastic wingbacks since the dawn of time. Perhaps the greatest symbol of Ritz's unique vision is the wealth of accessories used in her decor. Where in the portfolios of most interior designers, we see a sparce pairing of objects, or at most, an assembly of accessories that are beautiful - yet impractical, Ritz gives us layers upon layers of accessories and found objects that make a room feel finished, complete with personality and character, and best of all - real!

A note on the architecture of this beautiful estate. Note the flooring, the varied shades of walnut, and the direction of the planks. It's hard to think of this beautiful room decorated any other way. The beams and dual fireplaces, built in benches, and bookshelves are most likely not the design work of Ritz, and rather the architect - but Ritz's decor really makes these features sing. Note the firewood under the bench to the right of the fireplace in the background - beautiful, and functional, the very essence of this room.

In case you haven't noticed before, all of the walls in this room are white. I'd be interested in how many of you realized that before now. With all of the beautiful things to look at in this room - you don't notice that Ritz has decided to keep the walls in this space completely white, and almost bare.

So - how can you achieve the look of a Melinda Ritz interior? Start with your groupings. Pull the furniture out away from the wall, and make cozy conversation spaces. Play with angles - nothing has to be square. Bring in those cherished bits and accessories you've kept locked in curios and closets, and let them have their glory - atop tables, pianos, mantles, and floors. Remember that vignettes are nice, but it's the personality of the room that makes for good design, not one space. Keep height and scale in mind when you layer in your accessories - and most of all, make sure your room speaks your name - with a personality and charm that only you can possess.


  1. Artie, my world brightens considerably when I come to my computer and discover you have a new post .... thank you for just being YOU!

  2. Yes....I did notice that all the walls were white, but if you saw my last post, you know that it seems to be what is catching my eye lately. But what caught my eye today, is that magnificent horse painting in the first photo. :)


  3. I'd like to be "puttin' on the Ritz" in my home! The space in those first two photos is my favorite - I could move it right now - I tried blowing the photo up to get a better peek at that lucious yard out those windows!

    It's all lovely, and non-museum-like, really accessible and inviting and 'doable'. It's fantastic. Now I'm going to go fawn over all those photos again!

    Great post, Artemous. Another treasure!
    xo Isa

  4. I love the waxed green armoire! Did you notice the interesting lamp behind the piano?

    Artie, I feel like you are educating me when you post. Keep it up!

  5. Artie, this was a beautiful post. I felt transported. Thank you. laurie

  6. Beautiful rooms, talented interior designer!...Christine

  7. I think I prefer the second space(s) perhaps because I feel it is more timeless. To me, the first few pics are too reminiscent of the fifties.

    Glad to see that you are back on-line Artie. Hugs

  8. Okay, I have to say that these are not my favorite rooms that you've ever posted. Guess Ritz isn't my favorite designer :o ( I thought the basket under the piano looked like one of those tubs you put under the car to collect the oil. LOL!

    I did love the outdoor space though! And of course, Will and Grace's apartment rocked!

    Justine :o )

  9. Hi there Artie, yes, these rooms are just amazing, but SO ARE YOURS!!! I'm not a less is more person either.

  10. I was excited to see that you had a new post and it was great. I really liked the floors.

  11. Artie,

    Thank you for showing us one of the most beautiful rooms. Love the armoire. You have such a good eye.


  12. i always loved the set of will and grace.... man i miss that show. now i only get to see my karen on re-runs.

    anyway... white walls are so nice. they just set a backdrop for everything, don't they?

  13. i always loved the set of will and grace.... man i miss that show. now i only get to see my karen on re-runs.

    anyway... white walls are so nice. they just set a backdrop for everything, don't they?

  14. Hi Artieness. I love most of these rooms, but all the stuff on the piano bugs me. Since my piano is so precious to me, I would never clutter it up like this! That's just me! I guess the person to whom this piano belongs to must not play it much - the stuff would be rattling all over the place! lol
    Be a sweetie,
    SHelia ;)

  15. Hi Artie!! Ya know I can really see why you would love the Ritz style because it reminds me so much of yours! I too think the spaces look "real" not just staged for a pretty picture kwim? Very cool! Thanks for sharing such a talented designer! Vanna

  16. Wow, you have a great eye. I love your photos. -noel

  17. I loved this post. I noticed right away the white walls since they are my favorite and are in my home.
    I, too, love lots of "stuff" around in my rooms...and i would dearly love to pull pieces away from the wall like she rooms aren't quite large enuf except for my living room.
    Thanks so much for the lesson in design...I loved it.
    xo bj

  18. I am sure that, they would make great Wooden Patio Furniture for resort, hotels and residences.

  19. Hi, thanks for all the beautiful comments. I am the woman behind the look. for the second home with the floors and the beams, that was not walnut but teak from old beams and timbers that were hand planed on site. the beams are also reclaimed teak. there was no architect on record. I did all the work through my company. thanks again, Melinda Ritz


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