Geometry Studies. Looking to add a little color and pattern to your abode? Consider geometrics. Few fabric patterns pack as much punch per square inch. Used on a bed, decorative pillow, sofa, ottoman or shower curtain, geometrics add instant graphic interest and style. While they look fabulous in virtually any hue and any combination, we’re especially smitten by navy and emerald—perfect for color-blocking. A tip from stylists: Loosen up and don’t worry! Decorating should be fun!

Emerald: Color of the Year

Drum roll, please. Pantone, the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, has unveiled the 2013 color of the year: emerald. “As it has throughout history, multifaceted emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Symbolically, emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today’s complex world. This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors.” We couldn’t agree more.

Monograms: Be Your Own Brand

A St. Louis designer tells the story of assembling a new and highly personalized wardrobe before heading off to college some years ago. “My mom took me shopping and bought me all sorts of clothes and had everything monogrammed,” he recalls. “When my dad got the charge for the monogramming, which was listed separately on the department store bill, he had a fit. He said, Boy, are you afraid you’re gonna get somewhere and forget who you are?

A bit of hyperbole perhaps, but his father could be forgiven for not understanding the penchant that some people have for monograms—on clothing, personal effects and even home furnishings. This designer, like so many other stylish men and women in St. Louis, believes there are few, if any, decorative motifs more lovely or personal than a beautifully executed monogram. Embroidered on a decorative pillow, coverlet, bath towel, shower curtain or table linens, a monogram is one of the most distinctive and memorable ways to define your personal space.

Margaret Spooner, owner of the Ladue monogram specialty store MACS Designs on Clayton Road, has monogrammed many different things through the years and finds personalized items for the home to be some of the most interesting. Among the most beautiful things she’s created are monogrammed upholstered kitchen chairs, with a different monogram on each family member’s seat. She says the most classic use is a subtle white monogram on white cloth napkins. Spooner notes that the newest trend in monograms is to have one painted or otherwise applied to wood floors with a coat of polyurethane over it for protection. St. Louisans also are becoming big fans of digitally created monograms in wood, which can be hung on a wall or a door for instant personalization. Other fresh looks in monogram design: bold colors, metallic threads and mixing fonts to create a truly unique look.

Cultural Nomads

“It’s like a floating group. People who all belong to one place, but are not of any place---people who want to do it their way.”---Julia Chaplin

Wanderlust meets the height of sophistication as New York Times journalist Julia Chaplin explores the chic but unconventional enclaves of young cultural nomads in her new book, Gypset Travel (Assouline), which can be found on booksellers’ shelves. From the Aeolian Islands in Italy to Lamu, Kenya; Morjim, India; and Jose Ignacio, Uruguay, Gypset Travel delves into the glamorous bohemian lifestyle of artists, designers and bon vivants, who fuse the carefree ethos of a nomad with the sophistication of the jet set. Chaplin tells the story through a combination of intimate photography and first-person anecdotes. Gypset Travel is a follow-up to her bestselling Gypset Style, which provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of style-makers like Jade Jagger, Damien Hirst and Alice Temperly, as well as the gypsetters' counterculture forebears.

Rothschild's Antiques

St. Louis lost yet another highly regarded antique store when Pete Rothschild closed the doors to Rothschild’s Antiques on Euclid Avenue in late 2012 after 43 years at that location. (Arlene Brilliant, owner of Brilliant Antiques, closed her 35-year-old business in 2012). The good news is that Rothschild’s will reopen at a newly renovated location this spring on Olive Boulevard, just east of Bowood Farms in the Central West End.

“It’s going to be fabulous when it opens in March,” says Rothschild’s right-hand man, David Richardson, who is also an accomplished interior designer. “We have a couple of furniture manufacturers lined up to come in; and we will have a restoration service, a frame shop, and a custom pillow factory that uses ethnic and vintage textiles. We’re also going to do monogramming.” Richardson adds that the 16,000-square-foot property also will hold a few antique shops equipped with larger spaces.

Jules Pass: A Ladue Must-See

Jules Pass has been buying and selling top-quality antiquities for more than three decades. He’s regarded as one of the top dealers in the St. Louis area and is even known on the other side of the pond. We caught up with him recently to learn more about his antiques business and discovered a few interesting sidelights.

Why did you get into the antiques business?

I’ve always had an interest in history, and I think this is what influenced my interest in objects and furniture. Long before I opened my gallery, I would search out pieces for friends and got a great deal of pleasure from the hunt. About 35 years ago, I made my first buying trip to England and France. I think this year marked my 150th trip abroad. Along the way, I’ve been fortunate enough to have met several collectors who have allowed me to help them build important collections of furniture and porcelain.

Which is your favorite era?

I’ve specialized in the early-18th and 19th century with a small sampling of 17th century, and stocked furniture, brass, porcelain and engravings from each of these periods. My favorite would be the walnut furniture introduced during the Queen Anne period in England, circa 1720. We’ve sold several important bookcases of this period, the most important ones having a double-dome top.

What’s the most interesting object you’ve sold?

An arm chair from the House of Parliament in London. Sir Spencer Percival, the prime minister, was shot at the entrance of Parliament in 1812 and then died in his highly carved mahogany chair. This was in a St. Louis collection for many years but was sold and now resides in a Connecticut collection.

Is there something that passed through your hands that you wish you had kept?

One of the most interesting pieces of porcelain I’ve bought was an early 18th-century Chinese Monteith bowl used to chill wine glasses. It was amazing piece for its age and size. I would like to have kept it, but since it was in the six-figure price range, thought it best to pass it up.

What’s the best thing about the business?

The interesting people you meet when buying and selling. I’ve made many wonderful friends in both categories, in the U.S. and Europe.

And the worst thing?

Once in a while, you don’t buy something that turns out to be very special. You can misjudge an item, which is more important than you originally judged it to be.

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