Thursday, April 24, 2014

Save the Date: Jane Scott Hodges Book Signing + Leontine Linens Trunk Show

There are so many wonderful upcoming design-related events in Houston. Next, week I am very excited to attend a book signing and trunk show for the incomparable Jane Scott Hodges, founder of Leontine Linens and author of the beautiful new book, Linens at my dear friend, Betty Newton's chic boutique, A Bientot. If you are in Houston next Wednesday afternoon, I hope you will join us. 

Jet Set: Piazza di Spagna in Rome
Hello LDV readers! Brendan here of B.A.D | Blog About Design. For today's Jet Set post I've decided to take us to the wonderful country of Italy. Italy is a country rich in history, culture, art, everything! It has to be one of my favorite countries to visit. The Piazza di Spagna 9 located in Rome is hands down the place to visit. The hotel prides itself on being not only a hotel, but also an art gallery. That's right folks, if you find something you like while staying here you can actually buy it. The hotel is located right in one of Rome's most famous squares. The exterior of the hotel is far more classic while the interior is more modern. 
The front check in desk is very minimal. The hotel is pretty minimal in design and that's because you can purchase any piece you like. The hotel is defiantly small with only six suites. 
This lobby area if full of gorgeous pieces. I'm a huge fan of the deep suede armchairs, and retro console table. 
The hotel features a small cafe area where guests and art watchers can enjoy some treats. The view from the cafe most be beautiful! 
This window is located in one of the six suites. Can you image opening your window to this view? What a convenient location! 
The suites are minimal in design. Being that you're in Rome, I doubt you'll be spending much time here. I do like the small lamps on the bedside tables. I wonder if you can buy things in your suite as well? 
This large window faces out onto the city. I'd love to roll over to this view while I'm staying in Rome. What do you think of this boutique hotel? Would you stay here or have you already?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Currently Obsessed: Emerson Fry's Chic Warm Spring 2014 Collection

I remember back when Emerson Fry was EmersonMade, a line of tabletop accessories and handmade flower pins reminiscent of Carrie Bradshaw which eventually went on to launch a clothing line in 2010. Fast forward about four years and Emerson Fry has evolved into an ultra-chic contemporary line. The collection is tight, cohesive, and well-edited with a classic color palette and distinct point of view. There are so many pieces in her current collection that I absolutely adore. While I am usually more of a maximalist and love my accessories, the 2014 Warm Spring Emerson Fry Collection has inspired me to pare things back and try out a sleeker approach. This season, I especially love the shoes which have a 70s inspired vibe, especially the Italian Slappers. My friend wore them in Caramello in High Point and they were super chic. She said they were quite comfortable as well, which is always a plus. The pieces in this collection are versatile and timeless—the kind of clothes you’ll wear forever. Each piece, like the Emerson Fry girl is chic, effortless, and cool. Do you gravitate towards this sleek, chic, pared-down aesthetic?

Effortless Entertaining: Cocktails Al Fresco

Hello!  Erin from Fig + Cotton here with another installment of Effortless Entertaining.  With the weather finally taking a turn for the better, entertaining out on the patio is a must.  I love nothing more than a casual cocktail party with a signature cocktail, no-fuss florals (succulents are perfect here.), a great appetizer menu, and comfy party dress.  Here are my suggestions for your next al fresco cocktail party:

1 /  the cocktail.  For this fete, I chose a paloma.  Yes, I couldn't resist -- a paloma for Paloma -- but, honestly, this is one of my spring and summer go-to cocktails.

The Paloma (recipe found here)
1 1/2 shots of good quality blanco tequila
juice of half a ruby grape fruit
1/2 shot of agave syrup or sugar syrup
about 75ml club soda
a squirt of fresh lime juice

Mix the grapefruit juice, tequila and sugar syrup until well mixed.  Pour over a tall glass filled with ice and top up with soda water and a squeeze of lime.

2  /  a perfect menu.  For this cocktail party menu, there is just enough variety here so 1) no one goes hungry,  and 2) you don't need to keep everything warm.  You will certainly get the most out of your get together if you can cook and plate most of your apps before guests arrive.

3  /  the dress.  I think the very best outfit for an outdoor cocktail soiree is a flowy, comfy, maxi caftan...with flats.  This orange and white number is just sublime in my book.

4  /  diy centerpieces.  Succulents are definitely overlooked as a go-to centerpiece for most hostesses.  However, many times the muted tones and interesting shapes can make a truly elegant and modern statement.  I love this succulent  DIY from Spray Paint & Chardonnay.

5  /  fun paper goods.  Minted is definitely my first stop when searching for the perfect paper goods for all of my gatherings.  I love their relatively new party decor; the options are truly endless.

6  / mood lighting.  Lighting can change the entire mood of a party.  Soft candle light or strings of cafe lights provide the perfect backdrop for fun conversations.

Pair all of this with an eclectic guest list and your favorite Pandora station, and you have an effortless cocktail party...right on your back patio!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Artist Profile: Lindsay Cowles

Lindsay Cowles has been a sponsor on LDV for quite a while now and it has bee so fun to see how she has grown as an artist over that time. A self-taught artist, Lindsay works mainly with oil paints, creating vibrant, abstract paintings evoking a variety of emotions. Her work has quickly garnered the attention of bloggers, editors, and interior designers alike, so I was thrilled when she shared some photos of recent installations of her work with us. Lindsay’s background in the fashion industry—she honed her skills in both New York and Los Angeles, has certainly contributed to the unique way in which she applies color and texture to her works. Lindsay is currently based in Richmond, Virginia, but her works have ended up in spaces around the country, as you’ll see here.

I am especially drawn to Lindsay’s paintings for her mastery of bold, saturated color. Her paintings also feature a great deal of movement in texture, making each piece completely unique. Lindsay’s collection is comprised of stunning original oil paintings, a new line of beautiful prints on canvas (mounted on 1.5” frames either museum or gallery wrapped), and a fabulous line of vibrant wallpapers and fabrics, allowing you you to use Lindsay’s inspiring work in multiple applications. I recently had an in-depth conversation with Lindsay about her oeuvre, her sources of inspiration, and her advice for living with abstract art.

      Paloma Contreras: Did you always know that you would be a professional artist?

Lindsay Cowles: I have always been an artist at heart.  From my earliest memories, I was always creating—whether it was drawing, painting, making pottery, building things.  If it was art related and creative, I was into it.  My parents enrolled me in art classes at a local college on the weekend when I was very young and I took every art class I could up until I graduated from high school.  But, never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would grow up to be a professional artist.  Despite my creative inclinations, I was brought up thinking that I should be a lawyer, doctor, teacher, etc.--something safe and stable. 

After going to school at the University of Virginia, I moved to New York and immediately broke the mold.  I began working in the fashion industry. I was on the sales side of the business—working with and selling to major department stores and specialty stores in North America.  It was there that I learned the fundamentals of business & marketing.  Fashion also fueled my creative soul.  The fabrics, colors, textures and endless possibilities of creating “looks” were inspiring.  It wasn’t until I started working for Alberta Ferretti, an Italian designer who is very involved in the art world, that I learned that art could be made into beautiful fabric and that fashion is art itself.

When I moved from New York to Los Angeles, I tapped into creating art again.  During a trip home to Richmond from LA, my sister, an art major at Furman University at the time, was working on her senior art project.  She was experimenting with different paints and mediums on canvas.  I went to her studio to spend time with her and I immediately felt a gravitational pull towards the canvas.  It was from that moment on that I realized what was missing in my life.  Art.  And more specifically—painting.  From that day on, I haven’t stopped painting.  It is my passion, my heart and my soul.

During my days in LA, I painted smaller paintings.  I didn’t have a ton of space to spread out, so I painted in my kitchen.  I worked on my painting at night after work and on the weekends.  Business slowly grew to the point that I decided to quit my job and devote myself full time to my art.  So, I moved back to my hometown of Richmond, VA and continue to paint here full time.

      PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

LC: Inspiration comes from everything around me—from places that I have been, to things that I see on a daily basis.  I am inspired by art, interior design and architecture—specifically color, texture, shape and form. I try to immerse myself in everything that I possibly can to stimulate my creativity.  I constantly read magazines, go to museums, attend lectures, research art & design online and travel to different places.  Learning is constant and inspiring.

            PC: What do you love most about abstract art? How can people feel more comfortable living with vibrant, abstract art? Do you feel it works in most environments? 

           LC: The beauty of abstract art is that it can hang anywhere.  It works in any environment—from traditional, to transitional, to contemporary.  You name it, it works!  My clients have a range of styles and tastes—bold, abstract paintings work perfectly in all of their spaces. 

           One piece of advice when choosing art is—don’t be afraid of size.  Large paintings create a statement and impact in a room.  I went to hear Amanda Nisbet speak a few weeks ago and this is one thing that she preaches.  Her large-scale installations—from light fixtures to art installations—are breathtaking.  She creates impact with scale.  Now, of course, you don’t want everything to be large scale, but to choose a couple of key elements in a room.

There are two ways that you can choose to install abstract art in your space:

1.    Subtle & Soft- where the colors of the painting are similar to the colors in the room.  This is serene and peaceful.  The texture, dimension and size of the painting are what makes the piece stand out.

2.    Bright & Bold- where you choose colors that are complimentary to the colors of the room.  This creates a bright, bold pop!  The art is complimentary to the colors of the room and can make a statement both in color and size.
     Figure out what style you are most comfortable and make sure that you love the piece of art that you are purchasing.  Whenever I meet with clients in their homes, I always bring more than what they request to see, because you never know what might end up working best.  It could be something that is completely off of your radar when looking at art online, but when you see it in the space, it could be the perfect piece.

PC: Who are your favorite artists? Have they influenced your work in any way?

LC: I have quite a few—de Kooning, Frankenthaler, Motherwell, Richter, Klein—among many others. 

I had the pleasure of going to Art Basel to walk the fairs this past December.  It was amazing that from across the room, without knowing whom the artist was, that I was drawn to works by all of the above artists.  They stimulate a gut reaction within me.  The colors, movement, shapes, and brilliance of their works evoke a strong emotional response.  To me, their paintings work in any environment.  They create a feeling and emotion in a room.  They draw me in without hesitation. 

That is my goal with my art--to evoke emotion, stimulate thinking and creativity, promote happiness and inspire.  The brilliance of these artists constantly pushes me further in my work, to evolve and teach myself something new every day.

PC: What can we look forward to next from Lindsay Cowles Fine Art?

LC: Over the past year and a half, I have launched a collection of prints on stretched canvas, wallpaper and fabric- all created from sections of my paintings.  Many of them can be viewed on  What I love about creating these other forms of art is that it makes my art accessible to everyone.  I am always coming up with new prints, new patterns and new colors.  And I am happy to work on custom originals, prints, wallpapers and fabrics to fit my client’s needs.

I love thinking outside of the box.  Painting doesn’t have to be just a painting. Many different things can be created from it.  So, the sky is the limit. 

Follow me on Facebook,  Twitter, Instagram (@lindsaycowlesfineart) and/or my blog to see what I’m working on next.  For more information on my work, please email me at