A few months ago I started working on my client Stacey’s home office.  From the get-go, she really wanted to incorporate navy in her scheme and sent me this photo below of Carrie’s apartment in SATC 2 for inspiration.  She loved how the warm yellow and golds were mixed with cooler colors such as grays and silvers (with a splash of navy as an accent).  Of course, we both were completely infatuated with Carrie’s slipper sofa too so wanted to try to incorporate that into our planning.

Stacey’s wall color was currently light gray and I went over and over in my mind about how we were going to tie in golds, navy, white, and gray.  I needed a fabric that pulled EVERYTHING together- one that would help it all make sense in there.

Enter: Lee Jofa

One sunny afternoon in Dallas, I was perusing the fabrics at Lee Jofa and stumbled upon the most incredible fabric I had ever seen!  I sent Stacey an email as soon as I saw it with the message- “this would be perfect for your office”.  It was one of the 25 fabrics from their new Oscar de la Renta line.  The fabric I chose in particular was a gorgeous linen-silk made of grosgrain ribbon, designed in a chevron pattern (appropriately dubbed Chevron Ribbon).  To make the fabric sighting even more rewarding, Lee Jofa had all of Oscar’s fabrics displayed in long pieces so you could really see the patterns and colors in them. I was really wowed by it all!

For Stacey’s office, I started with the Gray/Cream/Black colorway (trying to convince myself the black was just a really really dark navy 🙂 but the cream in it didn’t fly with her bright white trim so I went out on a limb and proposed something else to Stacey.

Chevron Ribbon- Gray/Black/White colorway

I proposed that we paint the entire room navy and go with the Navy/Slate colorway instead.  The bright white background of it would look amazing with her white trim and wall paint from connecting rooms, and she would get the navy color that she’s been wanting, with a very graphic look. Luckily her and her husband were all for it, so we’ve started working on the scheme-

{Sources- Lee Industries, Lee Jofa, Global Views, Amanda Talley, 1st Dibs, Benjamin Moore}

Stacey’s color scheme reminds me of a post on Kravet’s Inspired Talk, that featured de la Renta’s clothing in navy, white and orange-

His fabrics are so stunning, you could honestly get out your sewing kit and make a skirt out of them, but of course Oscar has already thought of that!

Online Auction for Charity- Custom skirts designed by Oscar de la Renta

I took photos of some of the other Oscar fabric swatches that I got at Lee Jofa to give you an up close and personal look at all of his colorways (apologies in advance for the awful photography and background, but I do have to say that sisal looks great with his fabrics!)

Would have to be Barry Dixon’s Ishtar in Turquoise sold through Vervain.

I saw a woman carrying it around in Robert Allen the other day (trying to match it with some of their fabrics) and I just about followed the woman to her car, trying to get a glimpse of its tag stating where this stylish fabric was from.  I learned this much- that it’s from the S.Harris/Fabricut/Vervain showroom which was only a few doors down from Robert Allen! Yippee!  I proceeded to run into their showroom only to discover that all of the samples were checked out and I was going home empty handed.

I’m still waiting on my sample in the mail and hopefully it will get here soon so I can continue to drool over this gorgeous fabric.

It would look amazing on big pillows in any of their colourways (Brown, Cinnabar, Grey & Lemon, or Yellows)

But I have to say that after seeing it as upholstery on the Vervain website, I’m all for putting it on a chair too!

Ahhh pure bliss! Love it!

Starts with Jackie von Tobel!  Our blogging buddy over at Jackie Blue Home is going to be debuting her new line of fabrics and pillows at Postcards Home, next week during the Las Vegas market.  Congrats Jackie!

Get all the deets here…

Candice and I keep running into each other EVERYWHERE.  It’s so strange, it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other, and then BOOM!  She keeps appearing out of nowhere.  I find myself in a showroom asking the salesperson “who is the designer of this sofa?”  Candice. “Who is this fabric by?” Candice again.  “You don’t happen to know whose rug this is, do you?”  You guessed it…Mrs. Olson.

We’ve just had too many good run-ins lately, that I’m beginning to wonder if there is a place out there that doesn’t carry something with the Candice Olson name attached to it.

“Candice” is like the decorating BFF that you never knew (in person at least).  She seems so down to earth and friendly…qualities that could make a homeowner feel at instant ease.  She seems easy to relate to and perhaps that is why the Canadian interior designer has done so well in her career.

Most people (especially my clients) are familiar with her through HGTV’s Divine Design but I must admit, I’ve never seen a full episode.  This is the one place we haven’t run into each other (just yet anyways).  I know, a designer never having seen Divine Design?  Unheard of, right?  But 1) I rarely get to watch TV and 2) when I do get the rare chance to watch TV, I try to fill my mind with anything but design.

One thing I know of for sure is that Candice has made herself into a household name.  Through her extensive lines in various showrooms, she has created an empire that I can’t help but be jealous of.

In the recent past, Candice has teamed up with Kravet, Paragon, Silestone, AF Lighting, Surya, Revco, Norwalk, Thermador and York Wallcovering to make the Candice look available to designers and the general public.  I’m curious to know as to when this woman sleeps?  I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day for little ole’ EJ Interiors, so I can’t even imagine Candice’s workload, all of the places that she has to be, and all of the decisions that have to be made day in and day out for her business.

Some of her pieces that I drool over…

I actually just recently purchased this sofa for my own living room.  It’s the Tina sofa (in off white) from Norwalk and I’m loving it!

I just purchased this Milton sofa for one of my clients…and she’s loving it!  (well, from the tear sheet at least..it hasn’t arrived just yet)

We also purchased six of these Margot chairs for the same client’s dining room (and we selected these without even knowing that we were picking out even more Candice furniture for her house)

Candice’s fabric line for Kravet is just as chic!

I had another client who requested that we use a textured Candice wallpaper in her master bathroom.  We used the Sisal Twill paper and it turned out beautifully!  Now if only the backordered mirror and rest of the bathroom furniture would magically appear to top off this scenario!

{Sisal Twill wallpaper}

{Lattice Wallpaper}

Ok don’t make fun of me for Candice overload, but I want to use this dining table in another client’s home.  I haven’t been able to find a table (at this pricepoint) that has lines and a finish as graceful as this one’s.

{Fitzgerald Dining Table}

I saw this chandelier at The Patricia Group the other day and thought it was the coolest thing.  This would have looked great in my other client’s “man cave”.  Ok, ok I’ll stop!

{Metro Chandelier}

One more…this is my favorite lamp of hers…

{Opulent Table Lamp}

Now I’m curious to know…what’s next for Candice?  I have a good suggestion- how about a paint line?

Dear retailers and “to the trade” showrooms,

I have one, and only one, request of you this year.  Please make available more icy blue fabrics, wallpapers, paints, and trims.  You have done a great job of providing us designers with lots of blue-greens and gray-greens, but there seems to be a shortage in the gray-blue department.

Now I know this is a very specific colourway and it hasn’t spread like wildfire yet (like the turquoise has).  I also realize it is my fault for selecting something more forthcoming, but I beg of you, please save me from a shortage of fabric options to present my clients, and also save those clients from having to purchase these ridiculously expensive fabrics that I present,  just to be able to use this rare shade of blue.

And Target, if you are listening, please start carrying this icy blue hue too- because we all know, that once it trickles down to you, it’s just about everywhere else.

Sincerely (and desperately)

Emily Johnston

If you, like me, are looking for this rare hue, here is a list of fabrics that have helped me push through the icy blue famine-

Celerie Kimble- Hot House Flowers- Mineral (Schumacher)

Kravet Couture- Grace Horizon (Kravet)

Barbara Barry- Unity Glacier- Velvet (Kravet)

Kravet Smart Fabric

Highland Court trim- Jacquard Tape- (Duralee)

Aptos- Slate (Pindler and Pindler)

Crowning Glory- Ice (Robert Allen)

I’ve always known that I’ve had a complete and utter fascination with chairs.  It began in college when 1000 Chairs was on our required reading list.  While others were complaining that we had to memorize the names, designers, and years of 1000 Chairs, I just fell in love with the course.  I also become more aware of my chair obsession whenever I visit consignment stores.  My design radar immediately zooms in on a vintage chair and my mind starts racing.  What fabrics would look good on this chair? What finish do the legs and arms need to be?  Does it need nailheads? Tufting?  Self cording or a contrast welt?

I would much rather prefer to start from scratch, as opposed to settling for a fabric that a chair comes in at a retail store (and you know these generic solid colors are never what you want anyways!)

Not to mention, how I just love giving an old chair new life with a bold printed fabric.  A lot of times, after I’m done re-upholstering a piece of furniture, the new piece is almost unrecognizable from the original.  Who would have thought that a lounge chair with a nice big outdated floral print could look so chic in a white linen?  You may want to think twice before putting that hand-me down piece of furniture on Craig’s List!

Here are some before and afters of chairs I re-upholstered for clients.  As you can see, new fabric can make a HUGE difference!




(Vanity Chair- Kravet fabric; Stool- Pindler and Pindler fabric)



(Vintage lounge chairs- Pindler and Pindler fabric)



(Vintage Chair- Robert Allen fabric)



(Vintage Chairs- Duralee fabric- with and without added cushion for height)

BEFORE (summer slipcover)

AFTER (winter slipcover)

(Chair- Duralee fabric)



(Antique Chair- Kravet fabric)



(Vintage chair- Robert Allen fabric)



(Dining chair- Kravet fabric)

I have this wing chair out on approval from Again and Again.  It has great lines and lots of potential as a desk chair..so hopefully once I find the perfect fabric, you will see a “Before and After” of it very soon! (by the way, does anyone else use a wing chair as a desk chair?  How is the comfort factor?)

Their journey started back in 2002, when Kathy met Rally Dupps.  A backpacking trip through Southeast Asia proved them compatible and an engagement soon followed. Instead of the typical engagement ring, they opted for a six week trip to India.  That trip was only the beginning of many more to come for the couple.  Travels to Mexico, North Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Turkey soon followed.

When the economy declined, the Dupps packed up and moved to Bali, Indonesia.  Their endless travels have inspired their business, Katherine Rally Textiles– a compilation of Batik textiles from Rally, an architect, and Kathy, an interior designer.

Their textile collection is so fresh and inspiring and is available through pillows, fabric by the yard, tableware and wall art.  Tangerine, kelly green, midnight blue, and empire red are just some of the rich colourways that they come in.

My absolute favorite pillow has got to be the one below. This print is so unique and interesting and it would look great on my new white sofa!

Actually, scratch that…I love all of them equally!

How can you resist these?  If you’d like to view their gorgeous textiles in person, click here to find out where Katherine Rally is sold.

Zippity Zig Zag

Posted By Emily-Dallas | May 10, 2010 | 9 Comments | Category: Decorating, Fabric, Floors, Walls

{House Beautiful}

Oh how I love a good zigzag!  As of late, I’ve been completely smitten with this distinctive and confident pattern.  There is nothing subtle about it!    Watch how this pattern takes center stage and transforms rooms through pillows, rugs, wallpaper, and furniture, giving each its own distinct personality.

{Jonathan Adler}

{Jamie Drake}

{Rietveld Zig Zag chair}

{Sally Wheat}

(Design tip: a lot goes a long way with this print, so use in moderation!)

{Quadrille fabric}

{Mary McDonald}


{Zigzag Console}

{Jonathan Adler}



{Miles Redd}

{Bargello Zig Zag pillow}



Who knew a pattern this straightforward could be so much fun?  Of course, I’d design a room with it, but my question to you is- do you love it enough to wear it too?

Last weekend I saw She’s Out of My League– which was a pretty hilarious rom-com, I must say!

How could you forget the infamous scene where Kirk meets Molly’s dog and family for the first time? (oy, oy oy- poor Kirk)

While the whole crowd was roaring in laughter at this encounter, I was busy gazing at the paint color and wallpaper in Molly’s apartment.  (oh, the visual distractions that come with being an interior designer!)

I couldn’t get enough of her large scale floral wallpaper that was used as an accent wall and I also fell in love with the taupey-gray paint color on the surrounding walls.

Her paint color got me thinking about some of my current projects, in which I’ve been specifying this color a lot lately (as a paint color and in upholstery/pillow fabrics)

This color is quite amazing in that it doesn’t go completely warm/brown, but it also doesn’t go completely gray, which can come across as cold and uninviting.  It really is the perfect happy medium and can be used in any type of space- more contemporary or more traditional.  It all depends on what you pair it with!

Right now I’m working on a residential office/guest room project that will primarily be used by a male.  We wanted to stay pretty masculine and modern with the fabrics in this room and decided to incorporate charcoal, white, icy blue, and that good ole taupey gray in his color scheme.

As luck would have it, Duralee had the perfect fabric to tie my whole color scheme together.  I’m using this Cobalt Sapphire fabric on large pillows on a charcoal sofa.

{Duralee- Cobalt- Sapphire}

Today my mission was to pick out the perfect taupey-gray upholstery fabric for the coordinating side chair.  I returned with about twenty fabrics (but immediately eliminated half of them).  Just like most neutrals, taupey-gray fabrics can be difficult to select since they can have all sorts of undertones  (and can look either more pink, gray, brown, or green) so it’s really important that you select the best match for the space.

{My taupey-gray fabric options- this is only the half of them!}

After much deliberation, the winner of my taupey gray challenge was Pindler and Pindler’s Marlow-Greystone!  (one of their new fabrics)  It really was the best match to the taupey-gray in the Duralee fabric.

Moral of the story- don’t get distressed.  The right fabric with the right undertone is out there somewhere!  As they always say, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince…I guess the same philosophy can apply to neutral fabrics! (just don’t experiment with too many frogs, or you’ll end up like me with a million fabrics to return to the design district!)