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Prop & Circumstance

Posted on December 15th, 2013 under Accessories, Design Trends, Detail in Design, Interior Design, Sandra Oster Interiors, Styling, Trends, Vignettes by Sandy

proptitleimage1Are we living in an over-propped world? Is design porn making us crazy?  Is this “stagecraft” due to largely living through social media?  Have we all turned into “amateur” styling robots?  And please, “can we all stop trying to be awesome!”

I came across this article in the New York Times that asked these questions and it struck a nerve.

Are we living in an over-propped world?

Are we insanely self-conscious?  Have we succumbed to all of  the glitzy design hype we see in magazines and blogs? And to think I just wrote a blog all about “Styling” with oodles of glitzy props…cringe.

I don’t believe that one has to be a hunter to enjoy a pair of antlers. And what’s the big deal if we have a vintage typewriter that occupies an ineffectual, lilliputian school desk that couldn’t accommodate our right butt cheek regardless of how we contortion our body?  Different people, enjoy different things, for different reasons — different strokes for different folks, right? Or wrong?

Not all of us are “trying to be awesome”.  We are all unique. We want our home to reflect who we are; not just fill it with mundane, utilitarian basics, or mirror the décor of Ben & Buffy’s home next door.  Back in the 1940’s people bought furnishings similar to their neighbors because they didn’t have the vast genre of products on the market. Today, we have a plethora of beautiful items right at our fingertips, and if we can’t find what we’re looking for we build it from scratch, or customize it…that’s awesome!

Hold that awesome thought and let’s roll right along to what “typifies the self-consciously styled home” — bar carts; aka dust collectors. Cliché? No Way! This is one blast from the past that I welcome wholeheartedly.  A bar cart is not just a bar cart; it’s a multi-functional, aesthetically pleasing, butler on wheels. It entertains, it stores; it delivers big bang for its bucks…and cocktails too. Today more and more people are entertaining at home — reminiscing in the glamour of the 1950’s & 60’s — dressing up, setting a beautiful table with the finest wares, whipping up homemade culinary delights and stirring up vintage elixirs.  Not everyone is posturing. There are many of us who genuinely love surrounding ourselves with good people and good times, in the comfort of our very own home; it’s that pure & simple.

Sure there are those that prop their home like a peacock, flaunting status to solicit a bolstering ego stroke. I’ll never forget a while back when I visited a friend of a friend’s home; the décor was absolutely exquisite and of course, perfectly propped. When I opened a dialog with the friend about the décor of her home, she knew absolutely nothing about one piece that occupied the space. Clearly, this was a case of a “self-conscious” home — this was pedigree, designer DNA. There was not a shred of personality in that house; and that’s exactly what it was — a house.  All that I initially found beautiful lost its luster; there was no warmth and no personality — this was not a home.  I am a true believer that even when a person uses a designer, their home should reflect those who occupy the space. They should be able to pick up an object and tell a story about its journey.

I’ll leave you with a funny story about a journey. I have a wonderfully talented friend, Eddie Ross who is an absolute addict for flea markets, estate sales, etc. Every weekend we would get up at the crack of dawn, stop for coffee and a case of munchkins, and make our way to the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market.  This one weekend in particular, we got to the market as it was about to close. Well Eddie kicked it into high gear and powered down every aisle until he stumbled upon a gigantic box of brightly colored mercury glass Christmas ornaments; all for a whopping $3.00.  That’s right, $3.00 for about 150 glitzy balls. He happily paid his $3.00 and sped away, continuing to hustle down every isle with his gigantic box in tow. It was quite the vision. We loaded our treasures into the car and ventured on our way to a remote Mexican joint to celebrate our day. Upon entering, there stood a life size, plastic horse bearing the sign “do not sit on the horse”.  We enjoyed a wonderful lunch and laughed about our day; and what the heck was he going to do with this huge box of blingy balls. We paid our bill, and made our way out of the restaurant.  Eddie, being the comedic guy that he is, decided to add even more humor to the day and hopped on top of the forbidden horse, wildly yelling giddy up!  Well, I never laughed so hard in my life — and I’ve never seen a more gorgeous Christmas tree; ever.  This is a day we still talk about constantly; a journey that still brings us so much laughter and joy; especially during the holidays, as we admire his beautiful tree.

I would like to think that the majority of us fill our home with good intention and simply like to be surrounded by delightful things that make us smile — even if it is a stuffed peacock or brightly colored, tacky ornaments.


A Week in Translation

Posted on September 14th, 2012 under #NYFW, Accessories, Art Design, Design Trends, Detail in Design, Fashion, Feminine, Inspirational, Interior Design, New York Fashion Week, Patterns, Room Planning, Season Designing, Styling, Trends, Uncategorized by Sandy

43699058855526813_0YykOFpm_fOh the Joys of Fashion Week!

I love beautiful clothes, but by no means am I any type of fashionista. My core wardrobe weighs heavily on the classic side, more along the lines of designer, Haider Ackerman.  His luxurious layering and impeccably tailored silhouettes are set in motion through soft drapes, casual knotting and undulating folds. His palette would have mother nature weak in the knees; beautiful, earthy shades of striking apricot, burnt umber, copper and burgundy perfectly matched more ashy and cold shades of dark blue, off gray and khaki.  He’s classic, yet very sexy. His collection would translate to a luxuriously rich decor, abundant with all of the decadent materials and hues he uses in his collection.

Until I took in the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met, I never really appreciated all of the crazy couture strutting down the runway. I thought; who wears this stuff?  Alexander McQueen truly opened my eyes to the extraordinary imagination and details that made him a legend. So as New York Fashion Week prevailed, he was a constant in my mind as I took in all of the unique design collections, crazy hairdo’s and makeup, with renewed respect and eyes wide open. I viewed each fashion from an interior perspective and got completely lost in translation; the structures, color combinations; juxtaposition of materials…every single detail.  Don’ t get me wrong, there are still those designs that make me wonder; Who Would Wear That?

Those are the designs reminiscent of Pollack vs. Rembrandt. While I adore abstract art, I could never really see the skill in splattering paint all over a canvas; whereas fine art is masterful, thoughtful, pure genius; it requires talent & mindful precision.  For me, the Rembrandt equation is the ideology that should translate into interior design.

This grungy collection is pure Pollack; it’s the interior design equivalent of an unmade bed.  The language of this entire collection speaks of dirty laundry.  The biker vignette is quite symbiotic, but a bit more polished.


I think this strikes the perfect balance; a little rough & tumble and an unmade bed!


Jean Paul Gaultier’s Couture is contemporary Rembrandt. Just as you would architect and design a house, there is imagination, a creative thought process, hours of planning & fabrication that goes into each of his designs. Gaultier’s designs translate into a sophisticated decor; rich layering of fabrics, metallics; formal and urbane. Kelly Wearstler would be my Gaultier interior design translation;her style is outrageous, alluring and sophisticated. Her interiors are occasionally quiet, but quite frequently exuberant with a lot of color,and always elegantly layered with mixed metals, provocative textiles & decadent fabrics & finishes.



This copper & creamy white combination is not seen often in decor.  Take a color queue from this collection by designer, Stephane Rolland. I love the ease & flow of her collection; it’s elegant, and yet her designs appear to be quite comfortable. This same premise should translate over to one’s decor.

copper girls

Translate Stephane’s collection into the home.  Imagine an iridescent copper ceiling, creamy upholstered sofas, burled wood, sleek side chairs & benches. Throw in a modern, cognac leather chair, graceful, flowing draperies, and finally, finish off the room with perfect jewels of artwork, side tables, accent pillows & accessories. Whether it’s fashion or interior; it’s all about quality & details; luxurious trims on draperies, pillows & upholstered pieces. Hand painted finishes, gorgeous lighting, luxurious rugs; this is what elevates the style of a home. If you skimp, you’ll end up paying for it in the end.


It’s no surprise that deep, rich Autumnal colors are trending for fall. Take a look at Kravet’s Fall forecast.


Abstract two ways; very structured and melodious. The translation of  the structured style would play out in an ultra contemporary, sleek, minimalist home with very defined lines.  The softer version, while still modern is a bit more on the traditional side; comfortably tailored, not as sharp.

Abstract girls


Everywhere I look, I’m seeing dots!  Polka dots seem to be all the rage in fashion right now, but not so much for interiors; I’m still trying to connect with the dot. Here’s one that speaks to me; it’s modern, on a grander scale and it meshes into the next making it discreet.


Even though I dabble in the classics, I do like to add a dash of trendy here and there — in my wardrobe as well as my my decor.  Trends are here today, and gone tomorrow. Trendy is disposable once the rage is passe’, so unless you have an endless bank account, it’s best to anchor yourself in the classics and accessorize with the trends.

Pick a designer, any designer; take a look at what’s strutting down the runway this year and find your favorites.

The fashion runway in New York may have come to a close, but fashion never misses a beat; the show continues on in London, Milan & Paris!  Continue to indulge to your hearts content! And feel free to Pin away; all of these fabulous designs and so much more are just waiting for you on our #NYFW Pinterest Page!

Once the shows are over, what does happen to all of those flamboyant collections that truly aren’t wearable? Designing minds want to know!