Sunday, November 13, 2011

Designer Notebook - New York, 2011

The Musso Design Group recently made a trip to New York to visit some of our favorite vendors like Kravet and Robert Kuo and enjoy the magnificent Alexander McQueen fashion exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Each of our designers kept a mental notebook of their impressions.  

Todd Falconbury:
The trip to New York was anything but boring.  Our daytime adventures were packed with showroom after showroom of classic and contemporary styled furniture.  I loved the unique chairs we found in our furniture showroom journey, including new chairs from Zulu craftsmen to a vintage “Question Mark” chair, circa 1962, and valued at over $20,000. 

Unique chairs can create interesting focal points, add some whimsical relief to a formal space, or used to evoke a reaction or start a conversation.   A distinctive chair has the power to entirely alter the look and feel of a space, so they need to be used carefully. 

Lauren Sardo:
We are constantly on the hunt for fresh and bold ideas to incorporate into our design projects and our trip to New York was perfectly timed.  Showroom after showroom, I was struck by the use of wonderful and vibrant colors. Taking a nod from current fashion collections, the home goods market seems to be projecting a happier mood.

I loved the vintage Louis stools covered in hot pink velvet, and the pattern and color combinations in the pillow section of Barney’s home store were truly inspiring. Using a modern fabric on a vintage mid-century chair really makes it look fresher and more contemporary.

Lauren Dott:
I captured many inspiring images while sourcing fabric and furniture during our New York trip.  Many of the pictures I took were simply meant for myself as a visual reminder about a certain style, color, potential client idea, specific vendor name, or just because I found it aesthetically pleasing.   But, when later uploading my photos, I found a common thread:  Many of my images were round or circular in form.

I was smitten at the Baker showroom over the hanging pendant with round gold glass discs in various lengths.  (I recently ordered this for a client’s dining room!)  I was intrigued by crystal spheres from Moura Starr, and the dramatic reflections on the glamorous furniture that were cast from the round pendants above. 

Musso Design Group Looks to a Fashion Icon for Inspiration

“You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.”  —Alexander McQueen

That quote really sums up my experience after visiting the exhibition of the late Alexander McQueen’s work title “Savage Beauty,” which drew record breaking crowds to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
In my never ending search for new and innovative ideas, I was truly inspired by the creative genius that McQueen embodied. The show, designed by Sam Gainsbury and Joseph Bennett, was a marvel.  After sellout months and often 5 to 8 hour wait times, people from all over the world, left the exhibit as I did - speechless.

The most striking feature of the show was a ruffled organza dress, made of thousands of organza layers.  Next to it was a hologram of Kate Moss wearing the dress used to close a 2006 runway show.  Reportedly, it took three dress makers three months simply to cut the organza squares.

 In the “Cabinet of Curiosities,” gallery, McQueen-commissioned fashion accessories, among them an extravagant butterfly hat and a jacket that is adorned with alligator skulls (as shoulder “pads”), and shoes curved like giant hooves. 

Most interesting, though, are videos of the designer’s runway shows playing on monitors (some overhead).  In one video a model stands on a slowly revolving platform as two robotic machines aggressively spray her with paint.

All of this visual stimulation only added to the magic.  McQueen’s clothes – while not always practical – are truly works of art borne from a complex artist.  The result evokes reaction and made us think.  It was a very inspiring exhibition.  

The only way to really experience this incredible exhibit is to see it for yourself.   (The show is rumored to move to London in 2012). Until then, here is a video tribute to McQueen's impact on fashion.   

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meet Lauren Dott

Lauren Dott joined our firm in 2010. Originally from Maryland and raised in Florida, Lauren received a B.A. in Interior Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and also studied at the Ecole de Beaux Art in Lacoste, France. Previous design work includes an internship with NBC's Will & Grace, high end residential project management and multi-family high-rise design experience.

Did you always know that you were destined for a career in interior design?
As a kid I used to love rearranging my bedroom, and taking accessories from different areas of my parent’s house to find a new place for them. I remember watching my Mom’s interior designer in our home. I worked for her the summer before I left for college, and thought this is a job I would be excited about waking up for each morning. After my first college level interiors studio class, I was hooked.

What was your first official interior design project?
I was interning in L.A. over a summer for an interior designer and set designer. Our client really needed spatial and proper furniture selection to accommodate his new space. We transformed the space by centering the room on this great open window he had not taken advantage of before, which had a fantastic view of the Hollywood sign in the distance.

Tell us about your most challenging design project.
A residential project on Big Win Island, a golf community in Canada. Tracking and customs for a large home is one thing, but each of the items had to be loaded onto a boat on a lake and taken over to the property across the shore. Oh, and it was a winter install.

What is that one piece of furniture you completely love?
I have a pair of Knoll Wassily chairs in caramel color leather that really do make me smile. The website, is a fantastic resource to view furniture, art and accessories. I could browse that site for hours looking at pieces I love.

What fabric excites you these days? 
A recent client required that all fabrics in their home be of all natural materials. This search opened my eyes to some of the most lovely linens, cottons and wools, and I have grown to love the simple luxury of the de Le Cuona line, founded in Windsor, England. Rich, subtle and glamorous.

What Myth about Interior Designers would you like to debunk?
That we sit around and look at pretty fabrics all day. Sure we have the fantastic privilege of viewing and sourcing amazing pieces of furniture and fabrics for clients, but the majority of my day consists of very detailed paper work, hounding vendors to ensure items are correct and delivered timely, and back to back client meetings and site visits.

Who is your favorite fashion designer?

Diane von Furstenburg. Her iconic prints and style are why she will continue to have such longevity in the fashion world. Her playful use of colors and lines flow right into her new home collection.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meet Todd Falconbury

Photo of Todd FalconburyTodd Falconbury is an Interior Designer with the Musso Design Group.  Todd joined the firm in 2006, shortly before he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2007.  Todd shares some personal insights in this interview. 

Did you always know that you were destined for design?
Yes.  In grade school, a few of the neighborhood kids would get together and make up plays for our parents or other kids.  I was always in charge of set design.  As I grew up, my passion went to landscape design, but I knew the Indiana weather would not allow me to do that.  So many years later and after a career in sales, I finally went back to school, received a degree in Fine Arts, and was hired by Bill Musso in 2006.

What absolutely has to be in place for a successful design project?

One word for me, “patience.”  And that goes for both parties involved.  As in any job that is done in any field, if you rush a job, more than likely there will be Moooi Blown Away Vaseconsequences.  Delays, extra expenses, and time driven short cuts always compromise good design.

Who makes your favorite home accessories on the market now? 
I have to say Moooi.  We found them in New York last year.  Where else can you find a “blow away vase” which is a blue and white china vase that literally looks like the top section has been blown over, or a fiberglass side table that has four very different leg shapes?

What is that one piece of furniture you completely love?  
I have always loved the Barcelona chair for its clean lines and would love to have one someday.  At home, I love my sectional sofa from Southern Design Source at ADAC.  Besides looking great, it is simply comfortable to collapse in after a long day.  

Photo of Barcelona chairHow often do you make interior changes at home?
I say not enough, others say TOO MUCH!  Again, I like changing my surroundings to create different feelings for different times.  I may just change an accent wall color, or pick up new pillows for a chair or bed.

What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
I have a rather unchecked addiction to candles.  Some people call it crazy, I call it fun. I use them to create moods by addressing the sense of smell.  For Halloween I have a special black candle ("Salem" from Modern Alchemy) that smells of burnt wood when lit.

Must see TV:  What television show do you watch religiously?
Yes, I’m a “Gleek!”  I got the “Glee” bug and I dread the day they say the show is canceled.  I also really like “Raising Hope.”  Of course, Project Runway, Top Chef, Survivor, and MY favorite BIG Brother are always filling up the DVR.  

Tell us about your most challenging design project.
Every job has a unique challenge to attack, but we designed a home in the Northeast without seeing it in person.  The entire project was executed through emails, photos, and conference calls.  We never met the client face to face until a year after it was completed. When we finally got to Connecticut, it was great to see the room was set up as we originally planned it.

Atlantan Magazine names Bill to Design "Hotlist"

Bill Musso named to Design "Hotlist"Full spread - The Atlantan Magazine
The Atlantan Magazine profiles A-List Designers
The October 2010 issue of The Atlantan magazine named Bill Musso to Atlanta's Design "Hotlist."  Dubbed its Fashion & Home issue, The Atlantan profiled top Atlanta interior designers and their top decorating finds of 2010.  For this issue, Bill called out his favorites including concrete and terrazzo atelier Dex Studios, Ann Sack's "Irvington" bath accessories, and the blog Contemporist.

More of Bill's favorites:

Zulu baskets from reclaimed telephone wire
Zulu baskets weaved from reclaimed telephone wireSiggi and Egmund Dedekind own a farm in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Concerned by rampant unemployment among their Zulu neighbors, the Dedekinds formed a small crafting cooperative to provide jobs for the unemployed and to revive fading Zulu crafting traditions.  Using a weaving pattern learned from an aging Zulu woman some 100 miles away, more than 200 Zulu men and women are now earning supplemental income by crafting baskets from colorful reclaimed telephone wire.
Vintage FornasettiPiero Fornasetti
Milanese painter, sculptor, and interior designer Piero Fornasetti designed more than 11,000 products. During his career he created a visual vocabulary that is instantly recognizable, filled with whimsy and wit.

Fornasetti's graphic art often re-worked a single idea over and over again, allowing his imagination run free to develop new concepts.  His most famous production line is based on an image of Lina Cavalieri found in a 19th century French magazine. Originally four plates were designed by Piero Fornasetti - the plate series now has 350 variations.  We only use vintage pieces that bear a Fornasetti trademark.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bathroom project hits cover of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles 21st Annual Bath Contest Winner!

You watched the drama of Musso Design Group designer Catherine Cocke's long and tortuous house renovation on HGTV's My Big Amazing Renovation. Through 18 months and two pregnancies, Catherine and Byron masterfully transformed and updated a Mid-century home into a spacious retreat for their growing family.

During the filming Catherine and her family dealt with floods, roof leaks, falling trees, no-show contractors and a gamut of other issues. But in the end they prevailed and the result is fantastic.

Now that hard work is paying off. Catherine and husband Byron are winners of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles 21st Annual Bath Contest! And, their master bathroom graces the cover of the July, 2010, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine.

"It's an amazing honor to be an Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Bath Contest winner," Catherine says. "I love the result, although the journey here was tough. But I can't wait to do the next one!"

Find more photos of this bathroom, and several others, on our website.

Rosemary Beach Renovation Unveiled

Our project at Rosemary Beach, Florida, has wrapped up. We thought you would like to see some photos!

Built in 1999, this home was designed by Bobby McAlpine of McAlpine Tankersley Architecture. It was the first beach front home constructed in Rosemary. Our task was to update a dark and dated home into a bright, interesting and relaxed second home for clients in Atlanta. We started this top-to-bottom renovation in December, 2009, and finished in early June.

A significant challenge was the very low and claustrophobic kitchen ceiling. By removing sheet rock and rerouting plumbing to a third floor bathroom, and wrapping beams in reclaimed timber, we converted a liability into a very interesting asset.

The living area on the main floor is designed to be flexible and take on different arrangements as needed for different entertaining scenarios. Sectional sofas and tufted ottomans are meant to move around to accommodate large parties or intimate gatherings.

Shades of turquoise appear on every floor to provide continuity throughout the home. The turquoise was paired with different colors: neutrals on the main floor, chartreuse in the ground floor guest bedroom, and a bold and fun orange in the third floor teen loft.

The master bedroom is calming and sophisticated. The Waterworks tile in the master bath echoes the rich colors from the Gulf of Mexico, just outside the owner’s screened in porch. This tile became a jumping off point for the master suite’s color scheme of blues and browns. The custom headboard was designed by Bill.