Livden’s statement-making tile packs a vivid punch.
Half-sisters Hilary Gibbs and Georgie Smith share a familial love of tile: Gibbs’s mother, Melinda Earl, founded Stone Impressions, where both women still play a role. But the duo’s new side venture, Livden, focuses on their own original decorative tiles made with recycled and post-consumer materials. “When I told my mother I’d been experimenting with my own designs, she immediately handed me her tool kit of art supplies and gave me her best design tips,” recalls Gibbs.
Taking their cues from Southern California’s geographic diversity and rich architectural history, the sisters have produced innovative geometric designs, available in a palette of earthy hues. “We’re inspired by color’s ability to evoke certain feelings,” adds Smith, noting a meditative red and their desert-inspired collection, Painted Sands, that debuted in July. “Our designs mirror the California lifestyle, from laid-back and sunny to bohemian and modern,” adds Gibbs. “They’re playful statement-makers that can give any space a punch of personality.”
An example of Livden’s new desert-inspired collection, Painted Sands.
Another example from Livden’s new desert-inspired collection, Painted Sands.
Resource Furniture is designed to be adaptive and multi-functional.
This fall, renowned European-made furniture company Resource Furniture opens its first Northwest showroom inside the newly renovated Seattle Design Center in the industrial-hip Georgetown neighborhood. The company’s slick collection of transforming and multifunctional furniture—from luxury Italian wall beds to bookshelves with built-in telescoping tabletops and an array of storage systems and seating options—insists that design-forward furniture can have cutting-edge technology and functionality without sacrificing style. The Seattle locale will feature a mix of new and classic Resource Furniture pieces that help tease out multiple uses from compact spaces. A champion for small- space living, Resource Furniture has supported the research and development of ADU and prefab homes throughout North America.
“As one of the leading cities for micro-housing developments, Seattle was a natural fit for Resource Furniture’s expansion,” says co-founder Ron Barth. Challie Stillman, Resource Furniture’s Head of Sales & Design, agrees. “We attract the design-obsessed, innovation- seekers and out-of-the-box thinkers. We’re proud to bring our unique philosophy to Seattle, where we know we’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded design enthusiasts.”
Tables and chairs neatly fit together in multiple, space-saving ways.
Take everything you know about your grandmother’s quilt and elevate it. Bridging the past with the present, Sarasota textile artist Maggie Dillon translates vintage images, family photos and her own photography into quilted pieces of fine art. The award-winning textile portrait artist captures candid moments, evoking a feeling of nostalgic happiness but also loss of something deeply important and soulful.
What prompted you to work with fiber?
My freshman year at Flagler College in historic St. Augustine, I started working at a local quilt shop near campus. I began experimenting with fabric as a medium after being a traditional quilter for about a decade. Encouraged by my drawing professor, I created my first fiber portrait made of collaged commercial fabrics. Since 2008, I have worked exclusively in fabric and textiles. Increasingly, more galleries and venues are accepting mixed media/fiber, but it is still an uncommon medium.
How do you source and select the vintage photos you use?
While pursuing a fine art degree, I focused on photojournalism. I enjoyed that the photos captured what was happening in the moment, rather than an awareness of the camera. A friend found some amazing vintage images in a thrift shop. I pulled inspiration from a few of those and entered some exhibitions, and from there I was hooked. My favorite images are the ones that feel the most authentic and nostalgic. Many are sourced from original family photos, while others are pieced together with different elements of images before creating the pattern.
Why do these textile art pieces make an impact?
Quilting and textile work have a broad view of being “grandma’s quilts” and a strictly utilitarian item. I believe my work, among others, is breaking those boundaries and elevating the medium to fine art. It draws the viewer in, looking closely at the built-up fabric layers, stitching and textures.
As any desert dweller knows, the landscape’s saturated sunsets and botanical austerity create an ideal backdrop for a variety of architectural styles. In Santa Fe, architects have responded with designs that are rooted in tradition yet also forward thinking in execution. The result is an architectural authenticity captured in Santa Fe Modern: Contemporary Design in the High Desert. Authored by Helen Thompson with photographs by Casey Dunn, the book features 20 distinctive residences that highlight Santa Fe’s emerging modernist design. “Santa Fe Modern comes out at a time when it has never been more urgent to think about how we are at home in the world,” Thompson says. “Modern houses in Santa Fe seem as if they belong in the dramatic desert landscape, and that sense of belonging is the real reason modernism works so well there.”
Delray Beach artist Junior Sandler splashes canvases with vibrant color and captures the energy of South Florida’s tropical lifestyle. Along with showcasing her work at galleries in Palm Beach and beyond, Sandler recently collaborated on her first design project with interior designer Lauren Haskell. Luxe catches up with Sandler. shoplohome.com
How did you get your start? I was exposed to art early on and experimented with many mediums, such as charcoal, ceramics and oil. Formal training is wonderful for technique, but the opportunity to explore with an easel, still life or live models allowed me to trust my vision and expression. I started donating works to my favorite charities some years ago. The feedback was so positive that it pushed me to take a professional view of my production.
What do you want your works to evoke? My designs are based in natural patterns, and that feeling of lightness and tranquility is what I hope shines through. I aim for a contemporary take on traditional, so there is a simplicity in the images yet they’re still provocative. Color is a must.
Take us behind the scenes of your latest collaboration with Lauren Haskell. We followed one another on Instagram, and she reached out saying she saw something special in my work. Lauren hand-selected the paintings, which became beautiful fabrics, wallpapers, pillows and pottery, including ginger jars. I thought of myself as a painter, but she has encouraged me to see myself as a designer as well.
WHO: Textile designer, artist, entrepreneur and mother (to both a golden-haired boy and a fluffy Pomeranian), Caroline Cecil.
WHAT: An artful blend of coolly composed interiors, smiling friends and family and, of course, tantalizing close-ups of the fabrics and wallpapers that begin as Cecil’s own artworks.
WHY: Each post pulls back the curtain on a graceful sort of lifestyle where roses bloom outside white houses, Roman shades let in just enough Arizona sunshine, and small-batch textiles and papers make the case that less is more when it comes to patterns. This instinct toward restraint means you can spend a good deal of time clicking through the feed, looking for the story behind each collection of heritage linens and hand-printed papers. (Or just the next shot of Caroline’s little boy scaling the couch!)
IN HER WORDS: “For us, Instagram is all about connecting with our community and sharing a behind-the-scenes look inside our Phoenix studio. From painting to measuring fabric yardages to pulling sample shipments to our studio Pomeranian, Taos, we hope to inspire our community to be more creative.”
Over the next decades, the estate was divvied up into smaller parcels and sold, but the main residence remained, almost just as it was built, until its current owners set foot on the property. “It was on and off the market multiple times, and for about four years, we made offers on it,” the wife recalls. “My biggest concern was that someone would buy it and just tear it down.” But the couple prevailed and undertook the work of restoring the house to its former aesthetic glory while updating it for life in the 21st century.
Interior designer Renée Gaddis led the effort—and she had a lot of beautiful elements to work with: original windows and heart-of-pine floors, detailed molding and millwork, Shaker-style doors with brass hardware, and push-button electrical switches with pearl inlays. From the beginning, Gaddis knew how her plans would play out. “I think a lot of people couldn’t see through the home’s age and wear; it might have looked daunting and overwhelming,” she says. “But the house itself inspired me. It led me to the design very easily, and I saw clearly what we had to do, which was take the house back to its original grandeur.”
Gaddis began by preserving the structure’s layout, with help from general contractor Joe Gatewood. “The home was an absolute time capsule when we first saw it,” he recalls. They removed a living area fireplace that blocked views of the water from the main entrance; its second- story counterpart came out, too, leaving additional space for the main bathroom (and even with these changes, the house still retains six original fireplaces). Gaddis had the floors refinished and integrated the century-old molding into new baseboards. Rusted-out door hardware was replaced with replicas—“The mechanisms were so bad, we kept getting locked in rooms,” the designer says. And the old windows and exterior doors— which, Gatewood points out, endured a century of storms—had to go too in favor of hurricane- code-compliant versions.
In this updated shell, Gaddis layered in luxurious fixtures and finishes, sumptuously upholstered furnishings and beautifully crafted art pieces. In the living area, she staged “a perfect combination of modern interiors in a historic home,” the wife says. There, glam chandeliers pair with a sleek white marble coffee table and clean-lined sofas. The family room, too, sets a rich tone with detailed wall paneling and built- ins painted gray and two plush velvet sectionals. Striking contemporary fixtures make statements throughout the residence, overseeing more classical furnishings in a fabulous presentation of old meets new.
As the design came together, the house had some secrets to reveal. The team found an old potbelly stove Gaddis transformed into a wood-burning pizza oven, a decision that led her to reimagine the kitchen as a 1920s French bistro with open glass shelves and brass fixtures. More demo uncovered a safe hidden in a wall in the owners’ bedroom. Sadly, it didn’t contain any Carnegie cash.
But the home does contain more than a modicum of priceless history, which is now preserved for a long time to come. “We all felt like this was the project of a lifetime,” Gatewood says. The new owners agree. “This isn’t just a home for our family,” the wife says. “It’s a piece of Fort Myers history that will outlast us all.”
The property is nestled in a golf course community, so it didn’t seem right to pursue a typical coastal look, Davis explains. “We didn’t want it to feel like a beach house, but we did want it to feel like a Florida home,” she says. The abode also needed to reflect the Tatums’ new stage of life, a departure from their larger, more traditional permanent residence in New Hampshire. “Courtney and I set out to create a comfortable space that is both classic and beautiful,” Nancy says. They envisioned an Old Florida-style garden house that feels fresh and welcoming, with wow factors throughout.
They began with the structure’s bones. General contractor John Prendergast took the home down to the studs and, while keeping the layout roughly the same, added a bathroom, reworked doorways and openings, leveled floors and removed and lined walls. “We took it all the way down and then had to put it back together again so we could add the layers of design we wanted,” Davis says. “We were giving the house a soul where there really hadn’t been one before.”
Moldings and trim now infuse each space with character, as do ceiling treatments, including cypress over the living area. “We added intention to the architectural design through these somewhat small but very important changes,” Davis says. New built-ins also add personality: Where a wall once stood, double-sided cabinets face the kitchen on one side and, on the other, serve as bookcases backed with a blue grass-cloth wallcovering for the living area. Another set of cabinetry defines the entry and conceals a bar lined with a patterned antique tile. “It’s this little special jewel box of a spot, and it’s one of the first things you see when you walk in the door,” Davis says. “It sets the tone for the house.”
The showpiece is in the back of the residence: the dining room, lined on its walls and ceiling with an unexpected powder blue lattice. This enchanting space is also the home’s greatest surprise transformation, as it was formerly a step- down, screened porch. “It was an important part of the house that we had to reclaim,” Davis notes. Blurring the line between inside and outside, the room features end chairs and a console table with botanical fabrics to enhance the garden feel. Oversize sheer Roman shades decorate the two sets of sliding doors that open completely to the exterior, highlighting the backyard pond, the greenery and the swan that visits often. “You can’t decide: Are you in an inside space or an outside space?” Davis muses. “Either way, it’s beautiful— and you’d like to sit down.”
The designer created multiple seating areas throughout the residence, including a morning room next to the kitchen furnished with a beaded chandelier, a green sofa and a pair of caned chairs. To capture a subtle sense of place, she incorporated nods to Florida in unexpected ways, like the living area’s blue rattan console table, lampshades with hand-painted palm fronds and Talavera pottery that lines the bookcases.
The color scheme was kept within a narrow scope of blues and greens, creating a smooth flow. “Because of the simple color palette, we had to be intentional with making little statements throughout each space so the house didn’t fall flat,” Davis explains, “so we used different patterns and played with scale.” She outfitted bedrooms with airy wallpapers, accented the living area’s traditional blue floral-printed chairs with pillows in modern punches of yellow and bright teal and played with surfaces, including painting the ceiling of the main bathroom a high- gloss opal lacquer.
As the project’s finishing touch, Nancy selected the artwork for the residence. “I have a new passion of art collecting since this experience,” she says. It’s this kind of inspiring mentality Davis hoped to cultivate for the Tatums in their inviting vacation home. “They wanted it to be a place that people could drop by—and, quite honestly, people do,” she says.
But take a boat trip along the edges of Lake Mendota and you’ll spot just that. The pared-back residence, distinguished by its mostly limestone-and-glass façade, evokes the essence of California cool—thanks to its architects, Ron Radziner and Leo Marmol, as well as the rest of their team—Stephanie Hobbs, Matt Jackson and Troy Newell.
The homeowners’ previous dwelling, located just down the road, leaned much more traditional. But for their new lakeside abode, on a unique site that sloped gently down to the water, they wanted something special. “We were interested in very simple forms, sort of hovering above this amazing setting,” says Radziner, who worked with landscape architect Lindsay Buck to ensure the environment was cohesive with the structure. “Something where you would come into the home and move through these sculptural forms and then take in beautiful vistas to the lake. We saw the landscape as an opportunity to really create this sort of native prairie with wildflowers and grasses, then slowly work our way down to the house where it would become more open and architectural.”
The streamlined rectilinear design of the residence—built by general contractor Joe Sagona and project manager Aaron Combs—creates a minimalist vibe, as does the restrained palette of limestone and stained-gray oak. But a two-story white circular staircase set against a glass backdrop provides a dramatic visual counter to the straight lines. It’s an unexpected but welcome architectural touch that sets the tone for the interiors created by designers Aimee Wertepny and Jennifer Kranitz. The task, the pair explains, was to create spaces that merge the home’s minimalism with the wife’s taste for polish and sophistication. “There’s a tension between glamorous and organic,” Wertepny says. “The wife really resonates with things that are a bit shiny, reflective and pretty.”
Working with the natural tones of the dwelling’s contextual shell, the designers opted for furnishings in black and white and higher-contrast decor, including a polished hood and full-height hardware on the refrigerators in the kitchen. “There are a lot of moments of reflective elements that felt a bit more glamorous for the wife,” Kranitz says. “We wanted both of these points of view to be really married and feel super seamless and intentional.” Since the soaring windows brought hues of nature into the home, the designers chose not to introduce more color. “We have a lot of green and blue, so there’s a really colorful backdrop,” Kranitz notes. “It made sense to let it be a little easier on the eyes so that we could let some of those other elements shine.”
Mixing finishes—antique brass, polished nickel, and matte black and bronze—throughout the space helped add textural intrigue, as did using materials in unique ways. In the dining room, the custom 17-foot table features Lucite-and-steel legs and the surrounding sculptural dining chairs are embellished with zippers. Upstairs in the main bedroom, an alpaca rug adorns the wall behind the bed, serving as a headboard of sorts. “We’re known for that element of surprise—and we’re always looking for opportunities to put a rug on a wall!” Wertepny laughs. “Could we have had an upholstered king-sized headboard there? Sure, but this is so much more dramatic and customized and really spoke to what the client was looking for—very soft, feminine and glamorous without having a specific sparkle to it.”
To add further coziness to the home, the designers introduced custom millwork and built-ins throughout. Most notable is the display behind the bar for the owners’ extensive tequila collection that also incorporates a series of protruding beams with crystalline pendant lights. “We inherited beautiful bones and a gorgeous set of floor plans,” says Wertepny. “But that was our moment to interject with detailing—something that was very simple and quiet and adds a little nod to the bling.”
The chance to turn tradition on its head made the project all the more fun for the designers. “When people think of a lake house it’s typically not this really sharp, tasteful modern glass box,” Kranitz says. “I’m just always struck by how cool it was that we were able to do this modern spin on a lake home—it feels so good.”
Although their plan is to eventually live in South Florida full time, the couple wanted to enjoy the property now, with their large extended family. The house, however—mostly beige inside—required some personalized attention. “We really wanted to amp it up a little bit and make it bright, lively and more of what people imagine when they go to Florida,” says interior designer Kristen Rivoli. “You want it to feel relaxing.”
This would be Rivoli’s first project in the region and the third she would complete for these clients, including their main residence. “Their home in Boston is definitely traditional and filled with antiques and oil paintings,” she says. Whereas the couple’s primary house is quiet and neutral, here the interior designer aimed to push them out of their typical style with a little flair for a fresher and more transitional look. Her approach: View their aesthetic through the lens of an Old Florida residence for a design that is classic and timeless.
The owners agreed. They desired a relaxed, informal vibe for the vacation property, with more patterns than they normally favor. This, Rivoli says, “gave us a great opportunity here to really be playful with the colors.” To balance the clients’ traditional leanings with a Florida bent, she introduced classical furnishings in bright tones, such as a thin yellow-and-white stripe on the living area sofa, which rests on a patterned yellow rug. In a similar move, the interior designer paired vintage pieces with more modern ones, like the living area’s Parsons-style coffee table countering rattan armchairs holding blue- and-white cushions. The formerly dark pantry, too, was given a playful runner and lighter cabinets. “We painted them what we call our ‘Palm Beach Pink’ color,” Rivoli says. “Now it’s a very bright and cheery hallway.”
The bedrooms in particular are amped with pattern and color. In a guest space, a red-orange wallcovering is a balanced backdrop for unexpected doses of vibrant green, seen on a pair of beds with patterned upholstered frames and in the abstract botanical scene of an oversize graphic painting occupying a wall. “We pushed the wife out of her comfort zone a little bit with the art,” Rivoli says. “It really makes that a memorable space.” The wife loves coral, which the interior designer infused in the main bedroom on the draperies and wrapping the four-poster bed. She hung an Old Floridian-style lamp from the double-height ceiling for a dash of quirkiness, while ceramic lamps add an old-world aura atop vintage wood bedside tables that have a bamboo detail. “They’re so well made,” Rivoli says of vintage pieces. “Many of them are so solid, and that’s why they’ve lasted so long.”
Many of the home’s furnishings and fabrics, like the family room’s sofa and tasseled ottomans, are indoor-outdoor, giving the residence a casual elegance amid its framed artwork and gold sconces. “We wanted it to feel like if the clients had a dressed-up occasion, the house supported that,” Rivoli says. “But if they had bathing suits on and sandy feet, they’re not going to worry about sitting there.”
That strategy comes in handy for guests coming from the property’s outdoor space, where the owners refinished the pool and installed a hot tub. Landscape designer Nelson Logal conceived a minimalist look for the previously overcrowded grounds, removing more than 20 trees, including Alexandra palms and overgrown magnolias. This made room for plantings such as flowering yellow thryallis, red Jatropha and climbing hibiscus next to the outdoor fireplace to add touches of color amid the greenery. “It’s a retreat for the owners just to relax,” Logal says. “It’s a hideaway.” In the front, fragrant gardenias and a new path of palm trees lead to the door—where, Rivoli expects, her busy clients leave their stress behind before entering. “What I really hope is that when you walk in, you’re going to take this deep breath and feel instant relaxation and melting away,” she says.