Energizing and enigmatic, exotic and elegant--that’s malachite in a nutshell. And a little of it goes a long way. Just as a simple outfit is transformed from ho-hum to spectacular with a singular, stunning malachite necklace, interiors also can be taken up a notch through the addition of malachite-inspired color and pattern on fabrics, accents and furniture.
B. Davis Design
It’s easy to miss B. Davis Design, a tiny shop located on Manchester Road in Kirkwood, but it’s anything but a drive-by. The space is chock-full of unusual tabletop pieces, gifts, custom florals and home décor. In fact, B. Davis recently became one of MacKenzie-Childs’ St. Louis dealers, joining Neiman Marcus with the honor.
“I've had a crush on the MacKenzie-Childs brand for more than 20 years,” says owner and interior designer Barbara Davis. “It's fresh, whimsical, well-made and always changing. It was such a compliment to hear that MacKenzie-Childs thought B. Davis Design was a perfect fit for their line. It looks amazing in my store and mixes well. MacKenzie-Childs makes everything feel a little happier.”
Since kitchen renovations are a large part of Davis’ interior design business, she also recently started carrying La Cornue. “The CornuFé Series is a professional range that also fits into my business nicely. It comes in a variety of colors and trims and is truly a cook’s dream. And if you’re not a cook, you may want to learn!”
All that aside, one of the B. Davis Designs’ biggest delights is the custom floral design service. “It’s been a passion of mine forever. I’m a flower snob and proud of it,” Davis says. “Flowers add so much life to a room. I'm a stickler on quality, so I buy the best and most natural stems on the market and pride myself on the ribbons, containers and baskets we use. Spring will be here before you know it, and the store is packed full of amazing flowers!”
Mix It Up, Make It Real, and Make It Your Own
Do you own some eclectic pieces that you’re just not quite sure what to do with? Perhaps you have some interesting vintage finds floating about that have yet to find the perfect partner with which to settle down. St. Louis stylist and designer Dottie Eaton of Design Style has plenty of ideas about how to make seemingly disparate items work well together.
“Mixing styles and eras is a challenge for many, but well worth the effort,” Eaton says. “It creates an eclecticism that adds interest to your space. The juxtaposition of a well-worn patina against a slick background or a funky chair next to a beautiful antique adds a unique personal touch and unexpected focal points.”
To get started, Eaton suggests that you forget the rules, accept the fact that everything doesn’t have to match, and start experimenting. By way of example, she points to the solarium in a Central West End home, where she recently showed the owner how to marry many unrelated items. A small round modern table with a slick black top and mod chrome legs makes an interesting contrast with the sisal rug and vintage reproduction chairs upholstered in natural linen. Nearby, a chrome serving cart with a vintage modern vibe contrasts nicely with classically styled urns, while an organic accent table adds an important natural touch. Above it all hangs a sparkling crystal vintage chandelier that was custom-made by combining parts from different chandeliers.
Similarly, in the home’s living room, Eaton paired an antique painted chest from Paris with a modern art piece. Nearby, the warm wood tones of a vintage trunk contrast nicely with the Mid-Century Eero Aarnio chrome chair, which Eaton says was being hauled off to the trash when it was rescued. The black- painted mirror frame is made from salvaged wood trim from the Plaza Hotel in New York City, while the cherry tilt-top table is a handmade reproduction from England that Eaton believes will become a future antique.
“Use your imagination, and give yourself permission to break preconceived design rules,” Eaton concludes. “Fill your diggs with your personal version of modern history.”
Celebrating Great American Houses
Don’t be fooled by the unassuming cover. The Great American House by architect Gil Schafer is one of the most elegant and refreshing design tomes to hit bookshelves in many years, and is sure to be a favorite among St. Louisans who appreciate outstanding traditional architecture. The grandson and great-great-grandson of architects, the author grew up with a strong sense of how a well-built, thoughtfully designed home can bring pleasure to daily life. The understanding of how to make tradition livable permeates Schafer’s work and his new book.
The Great American House celebrates the best of American living for a new generation of homeowners who long for the sense of solidity and timelessness that comes from a home built to bridge the gap between past, present and future. Focusing on both new construction and historic home renovations, Schafer takes the best of traditional architecture—from the detailed craftsmanship to the elegant, balanced proportions—and translates it for the kind of connected, welcoming spaces that suit modern family life. Gorgeous, inspiring photos, combined with Schafer’s personable, informative text, beautifully illustrate the entire process of restoring, renovating and building classical homes.
More Baby Boomers Renovating Instead of Moving
It’s common practice to sell the family home after the kids are grown and downsize to a smaller residence with the hope of enjoying a more carefree retirement. Today, however, something different is happening throughout St. Louis and across the nation. More and more baby boomers are bucking that trend, holding on to their homes and aging in place. That decision, driven in part by the soft real estate market in recent years, is leading to all sorts of home renovation projects, large and small, says Kevin Moloney, president of Home Solutions, a remodeling resource with a retail showroom in Des Peres. “Ultimately, it’s all about fixing up that old house economically and finally having it their way---now and for the future,” Moloney says.
Among the things topping the boomers’ renovation punch list are:
- Beautiful but also highly functional master baths. Some of the more popular features are showers with multiple sprays, adjustable hand-held shower heads (also great for kids and dogs) and custom in-shower stone benches, which are helpful for aging adults, as well as those in post-surgery situations with limited mobility and strength. High-quality lighting and magnifying mirrors also are important amenities for aging homeowners.
- Great-looking, sociable kitchens remain a priority. Aging doesn’t mean an end to either cooking or socializing. Moloney says boomers remain as kitchen-conscious as ever and regard this room as a top renovation priority. Islands, beverage bars and wine refrigerators are high on the list of desired amenities.
- User-friendly electronic systems. Wireless audio systems and energy-efficient charging stations hidden behind new cabinetry are important. “It’s the future for all spaces in the home,” Moloney says. “Think about the number of computers, smart phones, televisions, audio and video systems used by homeowners today, not to mention the elaborate media rooms that have become very popular.”
- Outdoor living spaces. The construction of decks and patios that can be used as functional living spaces are growing in popularity. Well-designed landscaping, attractive water features and amenities like outdoor fireplaces can transform backyards into spaces with a resort-like feel.
- Sunrooms and additions that add space, light and easy mobility. Family room additions with open floor plans make good sense for homeowners who plan to age in place. Moreover, adding on by opening existing back walls is often more affordable than many homeowners realize, according to Maloney.