Do you love ELLE DECOR as much as we do?


Are you ready for a challenge? Starting next Wednesday, I'll be representing ELLE DECOR in a two-week competition with designers from Apartment Therapy and Bloomingdale's as part of the 2010 Bloomingdale's Big Window Challenge! Click to enlarge.


I have to say—after Top Design, I never thought I'd do another competition, but when editor-in-chief Margaret Russell and the folks over at ELLE DECOR asked me to do it, I didn't think twice. It was an instant yes!


Like last year's challenge, each designer will create a room on view at Bloomingdale's, layering it with a sense of narrative about who inhabits the space and how they might live. Voting will happen both online and at the store via cameras registering hand signals from passersby. How cool is that?


Now in thinking about my design, I've always been inspired by a spatter-paint print Harry Hinson designed back in 1974. Like most things, it goes in and out of fashion, but for me, it's a classically beautiful print that's more texture than pattern. I love its energy, its whimsy, its far-flung fantasy, like stars in an endless sky. Of course, covering all three walls would take a bit of courage, but if there's a unifying thread in every Elle Decor space, it's passion, personality—and flair! Here you can see my design palette with the Hinson print in rich, tonal blues, layered with vibrant pops of hot pink, turquoise, Hermes orange and gilded bronze. 


Now here was the glimmer of a space for the modern woman—hard-edged with a heart of gold. She's passionate, powerful, stylish and savvy with great joie de vivre! She works hard—damn hard—ascending the ladder of the media world with Herculean force. But as razor sharp as she is on the job, she's equally soft, some say even shy, at home. To her husband, she's a patient and loving partner. They've traveled the globe together, collecting art and antiques in faraway places. To her friends, whom she entertains often, she's a gracious and thoughtful host. And to her boys, the real joys in her life, she's the World—kind but firm, instilling in them an all-important principle by which she herself lives her life: Hard work pays off.


Here's the rendering (click to enlarge) that Jaithan did—his RISD education is paying off!—painstakingly cutting and pasting, coloring and retouching until we came up with a vision of our window and a view into the owner's life. From the beginning, I wanted the room to feel pre-war with traditional moldings updated with modern-day touches. The old brick fireplace I redid in limestone. Faded floors I washed with a faux bois finish in the same pretty blue as the moldings. The furniture, lighting and accessories, like the owner's personality itself, shimmer with a mix of classic and modern, new and old, together with a blend of bold patterns and vibrant colors. Of course, things are bound to vary slightly on installation, especially with all the propping I'm planning, but the essence will remain. It's been a fantasy project both for Jaithan and me to represent ELLE DECOR, and we're super excited for the road ahead! Voting starts Wednesday, everyone, so wish us luck!