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.