Friday, October 7, 2011

Pile it on ...

Wednesday I received a call from the Home and Style editor of the Buffalo News. You might remember that our home was featured in the Buffalo News as Home of the Month way back in July of 2009. The editor, Susan Martin, was writing an article for today's paper that promoted the layered look, and when it came to layering in the home - she thought no further than me. How sweet!? Here's a link to the full article:

The article, which starts out with layering in fashion - a fall trend that you're probably seeing everywhere, and finishes up with how to implement that same layering idea in the home:

The layering look in home decor

Layering isn't just a fashion technique. It's also effective in the home. "Layering is when you use a collection of coordinating fabrics or materials to create an overall gathered and layered look," said Artie Vanderpool, decorator and blogger, whose home in Niagara Falls was featured in The Buffalo News in 2009.
It is a great -- and often inexpensive -- way to bring in color, texture and pattern, he added.
A few suggestions:

  • Put a rug on a rug. Layer a Turkish rug over a woven, natural-fiber carpet. Or, if you have a beautiful rug that is too small for the room, layer it over a larger, possibly less-inexpensive, one. Layering rugs "is like decorating a fifth wall," Vanderpool said.
  • Pile up pillows. Build a collection by bringing in different fabrics. Play with color, textures, shapes and sizes. Combine stripes with solids and even toss in an animal print. Switch pillows with the season -- velvet in winter, linen in summer. If a pillow gets in the way when someone sits down, "just move it," Vanderpool said.
  • Add lighting choices. Create a mix of ambient, task and accent lighting.
  • Partner artworks (a good trick on mantels): "I die for small oil paintings layered over mirrors. I love that. It's a great way to pull in smaller pieces that would otherwise be dwarfed on a wall," he said. If you have an 8-by-10 painting, lean it against a large wall mirror or hang it from a chain.
  • Layer your tabletop. Use chargers under dinner plates even for casual dinner settings. Combine colors and patterns with dinnerware. Take a white dinner plate and top it with a Blue Willow or floral-patterned salad plate. Sometimes, on top of that, I'll go one step further and layer a different patterned fruit bowl on top of the patterned salad plate. You can coordinate those colors with your napkins, candles or flowers," he said.  Of course table linens can be layered. Place table runners or place mats over tablecloths. Said Vanderpool: "Nothing looks more glamorous and ethereal than a full-length tablecloth. It's like a ball gown in your dining room."
I haven't had the opportunity to get a paper to see if there are any other pictures to help one envision these tips, so - here's a few examples from the vaults of CDLV:

 Here, in our living room, an antique zebra hide is layered over seagrass. The zebra alone would be far too small for the room, and none of the furniture would feel grounded, instead as if it were trying to tip toe around the rug. By layering if over the seagrass - it becomes a statement. I think wool, tabriz, kilim, hides, and aubusson rugs are all perfect for layering over naturals like sisal, seagrass, even less expensive broadloom.
Here in a room I decorated for last year's Tour of Homes in Lewiston, I layered an albino cowhide over this beautiful blue turkish kilim rug. The blue rug was perfect for the room. It brought in all the tonal values of the blue and white pottery, the red in the plaid ribbons I used in the greens on the fireplace, even the honey hues of the woodwork in this kitchen/greatroom combo. But it was too small to use alone in this massive space - so in came the cowhide, which really saved the day, and made that turkish kilim look far bigger than it actually was.

The picture above is also a good example of the layering of art, which I also mentioned in the article. Mirrors on top of mirrors is a great look, too and often times will give you a lot of bang for your buck. Smaller, more ornate mirrors are often less expensive, and once piled onto a larger less expensive mirror, it steals the show and gives you the freedom of decorating a large space on a small-piece budget.

Remember this old picture? Gosh, going through the archives is proving to be kinda fun. I layered these shadow boxes of old tribal jewelry simply by hanging one, and leaning the other. It unites the two, and keeps them from looking disparate.

Another great place to layer is on bookshelves - they're namesake pretty much scares anyone from putting more than books atop the often dustfilled planks, but they're the perfect place for photos, paintings, candles ... the list goes on. Here, in the same home I decorated for the tour, these bookshelves were one of the first thing you saw when you entered the room from the living room beyond. I stacked books on the bias, and used lots of the homeowners collections to create this layered beauty. I still wish I had shelves like this in my own house!

Outside of CDLV, the pergola has layers too! These wicker trays lean against a mirror for quick service. They also add a great bit of texture.

A little over the top, right? This is a tablescape I did for Tour of Kitchens, and though it's a bit much for my taste, the house did win best of show. Here I layered a patterned plate (peacocks - which brought on the whole theme) on simple gold banded white china. I picked up that gold band in the charger and on the glass rims and napkin rings. The cloth napkins also brought a much needed touch of blue to the table, and I picked up the coral and pink of the bird on the plate in the flower arrangement up top.

I could go on all day long, but I won't. It's pretty obvious that I prefer a layered and collected look over one that's sparse or minimalist. My friend Allison always says: "Never save your party pants!" which can mean a variety of things - but has always stuck with me as don't save it for a rainy day. You never know if that "party" will come, so wear the pants anyway! So come on friends - bring out your very favorite things, and pile it on!!


  1. Hello friend! Congrats on your piece in the News! Glad to see a blogger in there. We still have to meet up. I'm working on the dining room. Ordered some grasscloth, it's slowly coming together but there is a ways to go.

    Hope all is well with you!

  2. This is GREAT press, Artie! Congrats.

  3. Great work Artie - good for you!! Lots of good ideas for me - I am a little anti-clutter, so learning to layer is taking some effort for me. :D

    xo terri

  4. Beautiful post, Artie! I LOVE layering rugs, love that look! Love the animal print in your house. I really like that table, it isn't over the top to me;):) Have a GREAT weekend. XO, pinky

  5. Artie- You got it going on there! I love it- Not over the top at all -it is gorgeous. You have a wonderful eye for things and it shows in everything you do....even if you have to arm wrestle Scott to do it sometimes!

    Love your friend's saying...never save your party pants.... I am gonna steal that and use it!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo Diana

  6. I just love that last photo! It's probably too elaborate to actually serve a meal on that table, but I think for a show piece it is perfect! Gorgeous color scheme!