Better Living Through Design

How come our home offices don’t look like this? St. Louis interior designer Jay Eiler’s sleek navy study makes us want to clean up our act. Perfectly suited to the modern man or woman with a penchant for streamlined spaces and minimal fuss, Eiler’s design makes über office organization look easy and feel great. Key to the room's panache is the dark monochrome palette with strategic accents of white and cream. The custom built-ins ensure there's a place for everything and that everything is in its place. What you won't find anywhere in this room: messy stacks of loose papers, Post-It notes, half-empty coffee cups, and other common office detritus. Indeed, all of this perfection begs the question: Does good design really encourage us to live and work more beautifully? We went to Eiler for answers.

This library is très chic. Whose lives here: a bachelor or bachelorette?

Très chic, indeed. The office is actually for two very busy cardiologists and their three children.

Do the homeowners actually use this room, or is it more of an homage to the ideals of order and beauty?

The space was designed specifically as a place for my clients to close the doors and get away, or catch up on work. In the end, the whole family ended up utilizing and enjoying the room. The key to making it work was creating enough open and hidden storage so that it would be easy to keep organized.

Do you think well-designed rooms like this one facilitate organization and encourage people to live a little more beautifully each day?

I know that for me, my surroundings are extremely important, which is why I do what I do. I believe a beautiful, well-designed space does facilitate order, enhances your mood and state of well-being. Who doesn’t like retiring in a beautiful space after a long, stressful day?

What were the client's goals for this room?

The room is located right off the main entry and was pretty much a blank slate. The homeowners’ children were using it as a music room. My clients wanted a home office that was well-designed and sophisticated, but also met their storage and organizational needs. I achieved that by designing a built-in storage unit that spans an entire wall of the room. Painting the piece out a dark navy in a high-gloss finish adds a dramatic flair. The black leather-wrapped pulls with antique brass accents provide a finishing touch.

Space-planning was key in the space. A free-floating desk adds another work surface. I also included a comfortable lounge chair and floor lamp in the corner for reading. It’s hard to see in the image, but the walls are covered in a beautiful, natural wallcovering which cozies up the space. LED strip lights were integrated into the floating shelves. Sconces were incorporated on the built-in to add some decorative lighting and visual interest. The hammered-iron drum pendant suspended over the writing desk adds a masculine element along with much-needed general lighting and contrasts well with the teardrop crystal desk lamp.

Do the built-ins camouflage the usual office debris?

I worked closely with Tim McKinley of Jordan Construction, who constructed and installed the built-in unit. The lower half of the unit houses a printer and scanner, which are both incorporated on a pull-out tray for easy access. Another pull-out tray is used to conceal and house the keyboard. File storage was a must and is incorporated along with the normal, everyday office-storage necessities.

Dormitory-Style Bedrooms Catch On

There’s a new trend afoot in the design of kid’s rooms. Instead of one or even two twin beds, designers are opting for three—and sometimes, four. Apparently these set-ups are great for slumber parties or hosting your college student’s friends when they come to visit. In fact, one St. Louis designer recently completed a third-floor dorm-style arrangement in a new Frontenac home, where she used a quartet of handcrafted full-size iron beds that can sleep up to eight! If that seems like overkill, then consider a trio of twin-size beds like these with upholstered headboards from Century Furniture. Of course, you’re going to need a lot of sheets, so we’ve rounded up a trio of choices perfect for your young fisherman, sailor or cowboy. Now, your child can sleep in a different bed every night to match his mood.

Orange Ya Glad?

All the hullabaloo over Radiant Orchid (Pantone’s color of the year) notwithstanding, we’re still loving orange, which has been steadily working its way into the upper-end interior design scene for a while now. Once regarded as little more than a seasonal novelty color to be trotted out at Halloween and Thanksgiving, designers have shown us how to use it elegantly throughout the year to add a punch of vibrant color, drama and warmth to interiors. It doesn’t take much---as the old ad tag line says, a little dab will do ya.

Salvaging an Architectural Treasure

Emily Rauh Pulitzer, founder and chair of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, and Paul Muller, executive director of the Cincinnati Preservation Association, will speak about saving the 1938 Rauh House, a modernist landmark in Cincinnati, during a special presentation at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30, in the Saint Louis Art Museum’s Farrell Auditorium. The International Style house is considered the residential masterpiece of architect John Becker, who attended Washington University Architecture School with Charles Eames and I.E. Millstone. The speakers will tell the story of how the house, Mrs. Pulitzer’s childhood home, was brought from near destruction to pristine condition.

The lecture is one in a series of annual lectures presented by The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park, the non-profit organization founded in 1995 to purchase, restore and operate The Kraus House as a house museum open to the public. The Kraus House was completed in 1955 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

B Davis Welcomes New MacKenzie-Childs Pattern 

Spring has arrived at B Davis. The petit home décor store in Des Peres is filled with new treasures for the table. Owner and interior designer Barbara Davis reports that she has just received a shipment of MacKenzie-Childs enamelware featuring the new Butterflies pattern. A delicate design perfect for gracing spring tables, it works effortlessly with other MacKenzie-Childs patterns, most notably Courtly Check, the bold black-and-white pattern that is the foundation of many collections. The Butterflies enamelware teapot (shown) is a charming receptacle for a bouquet of fresh flowers and makes a great centerpiece, especially when surrounded by other pieces from the collection. Indeed, setting a festive spring or Easter table is easier in the ever with these whimsical patterns, and nary a rabbit in sight.

Ken Miesner's Big Move 

Floral designer and home décor retailer Ken Miesner is closing his 4,500-square-foot shop at Plaza Frontenac after a remarkable 40-year run there. In fact, Ken Miesner’s was among the shopping center’s original tenants and has been a top retail draw for many years. While Miesner is closing the original store, the good news is that he will open a new shop in May at 9273 Clayton Rd. in the Granaway Plaza. The new store will be in a space previously occupied by Provence Boutique, which closed last summer.

“It’s a smaller shop, and we will focus on flowers, parties and events,” Miesner says, noting that the new location offers more convenient parking and easy access for customers. “We won’t have as much retail space, but we will still have interesting and wonderful things that have always complemented our business. For example, we just got a new supply of hats in for all the hat events that are happening this spring, like the one in Forest Park. We love to decorate them and make them special. We will also have seasonal offerings---we’re big on Easter right now. We’re going to keep the store fresh and interesting with plenty of new things you won’t find everywhere.”

In the meantime, be sure to stop by Miesner’s old shop before it closes for good, as there are some great deals to be had. As for the retailer that will occupy the old Miesner location, General Growth Properties is keeping that information under wraps. Stay tuned.

Interior Designer Joy Tribout Changes with the Times

Joy Tribout recently launched an online shop at, where she is selling home furnishings with her signature style. In addition, Tribout’s brick-and-mortar business at 9719 Clayton Road in the Granaway Plaza is moving at the end of April. As for the new location, “Plans are in the making,” Tribout says. “You never know where we will pop up in September. A few surprises are coming!”

Tribout has been a major player on both the St. Louis retail and design scene since 1991, when she opened Carolina Classics across from the Galleria. In 1995, she moved her business to Maryland Avenue in Clayton, and in 2009 to Granaway Plaza in Ladue. In addition to the new online shop and what appears to be a future pop-up location, Tribout will continue to operate her design business and sell home decor at her office and warehouse location in Belleville, Ill.

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