March 28, 2011

Do you ever go to the movies and realize that after a while you’re watching the interiors as much as the story? Happens to me more often than I probably should admit.  After seeing “Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky” a few months ago, (my post about it) I was obsessed with the striking beauty of Coco Chanel’s austere black and white country house.  I wanted to design my entire house like that.  Black graphics outlining every corner and doorway, just so unusual and mesmerizing! But thankfully(?) a cooler head prevailed…

Instead I found smaller ways to add my homage to Chanel. I started with a tiny hallway that connected three rooms…

The wall paper we just put up was inspired by this scene in the movie….

I couldn’t even follow the love story because I was in awe of the cool tile pattern on the wall!

I had to have something like this somewhere…and what better space than a small overlooked hallway with hardly any natural light?  Instead of fighting the lack of light, I always think it’s best to just allow it to be what it is.  Paint it a dark dramatic color or go with a strong pattern.

It’s never a good idea to try to lighten a dark space with a pale color.

I had left the light color it was when we moved in. But why did I let it to be just a nondescript tiny hallway, when it was in the powerful position of combining three rooms, and could add a cool distant effect from three spaces?  And what better place to wallpaper when you only need 2 rolls?

I always thought adding some graphics at the end of the living room would be nice.


…this wall paper by Lee Jofa, that I loved so much I had to create a blog background inspired by it.

It really reminded me of that tile.

Here is a quick snap shot as soon as we did it.  It looks great from far away, just a hint of pattern.

I’m still letting my antique Swedish guilt mirror hang there, but will figure out the rest.

I don’t mind modern and old fashioned together.

The antique Swedish writing desk can maybe stay to, but the light fixture will probably be changed. I’ll add some cool colorful accessory for the table.

Here is what the hallway looked like before, as seen from the master bedroom…

It was just there combining the bedroom, living room and powder room.

Often a tiny space is easy to overlook.

Now it has life!

My favorite thing is seeing it from far away and the end of a room, kind of like this….

Just as a crisp graphic element in the distance.

It’s funny how often it’s the smallest design decision that make me the happiest.

I’ve also designed a Chanel inspired curtain for the dining room (temporary office) that should add some additional crispness to this colorful house.

Have you ever wallpapered a small, dark space? Would love to see it.

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  • Comment by Jennifer Sergent — March 28, 2011 @ 3:23 AM

    I'm so excited you found your inspiration through Lee Jofa! If you are ever at the design center, I hope you will come find me. It's been way too long. And speaking of the movies, we are featuring production designers from movies (Wall Sreet: Money Never Sleeps) and television (Brothers & Sisters, The Good Wife), along with a woman who wrote a book about interior design on film, on April 14 during our Capital Design Days — you should come!

  • Comment by quintessence — March 28, 2011 @ 4:15 AM

    WOW – I absolutely ADORE it. What a difference 2 rolls of wallpaper made. It is simply stunning. And I love the mirror there – the contrast is perfect.

  • Comment by sherry — March 28, 2011 @ 4:35 AM

    OMG….OMG….I am so loving that! Will you marry me? Seriously that was the BEST design decision ever….I must go get a sample of that paper today so I can sleep with it!

  • Comment by Jill V. — March 28, 2011 @ 4:50 AM

    Beautiful choice! It's perfect for that space.

  • Comment by @MrGWHunting — March 28, 2011 @ 5:01 AM

    I really like the bold patterned wallpaper.

    Well I like anything that is black and white.

    You mentioned never light a dark space with pale colors.

    Can you elaborate a little more on that?

    Thanks so much!

    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  • Comment by Heather — March 28, 2011 @ 5:46 AM

    Love, love, love. I've been dying to do my powder room in this amazing thibault wallpaper with a gold metallic background and little chinoiserie scenes, mostly for the little peaks I would get walking by all day. Like your hallway, I know those little peaks would make me soooo happy!

  • Comment by Cat — March 28, 2011 @ 5:49 AM

    I recently redid a dark stairway in wallpaper. Not quite as bold as yours, but I can see this stairway from many rooms in the house, it makes me smile every time. Recently featured on the Hygge & West blog… (don't mind the lack of chair rail and window frames – it's still a work in progress!)

  • Comment by Kirsten Marie — March 28, 2011 @ 6:45 AM

    FABULOUS!!!!! I love it! Makes such a statement, and… leaves a big giant smile on your face!
    Your blog is pretty great too!!

  • Comment by gina — March 28, 2011 @ 7:37 AM

    it looks sooooo fab!

  • Comment by {Studio Eriksdotter} — March 28, 2011 @ 7:37 AM

    Fantastic! I would have thought it was going to be too busy but I love it! And I love the antiques with it – so unexpected. Great design idea once again.

  • Comment by Margharete — March 28, 2011 @ 8:19 AM

    Love the results with the graphic paper as seen from all points nearby! And the gold mirror should stay as is. Wonderful.

  • Comment by Style Maniac — March 28, 2011 @ 8:26 AM

    What a fabulous hallway! Just like you, I'm as entranced by the sets and decor in a movie as the dialogue and actors. I'll have to rent that movie–had not heard of it. Thanks for the tip.

  • Comment by Karen Robert — March 28, 2011 @ 8:36 AM

    Very nice Jill, where is the wallpaper from? Did I miss it?

  • Comment by Sarah — March 28, 2011 @ 9:35 AM

    Your hallway looks amazing. I love the bold pattern, the mirror, all of it really. Such a difference from before to after.

  • Comment by livelikeyou — March 28, 2011 @ 10:18 AM

    I will definitely try to come Jennifer. It's been way too long!!

  • Comment by livelikeyou — March 28, 2011 @ 10:20 AM

    Lee Jofa Karen-you can find it at D&D building in NY.xx

  • Comment by bri@meyouandawiener — March 28, 2011 @ 11:23 AM

    That wallpaper is stunning!

  • Comment by JulieShay — March 28, 2011 @ 11:28 AM

    Sherry, step in line! If I were a man- I would have asked Jill to marry me as well! (hee-hee!) But, we're NOT men and Jill has one of the greatest guy's on Earth, Dan! They are perfect together, as it couldn't have happened to two nicer people! Maybe we can find out IF Dan has a brother? HMM? Never asked him? lol!
    Jill, THIS LOOKS GREAT! Seems the only way I'm going to see you, is to come visit- so, I can see this beautiful wallpaper!!! Beautiful, Beautiful! Oh, don't you dare remove that beautiful Swedish mirror, I love OLD with NEW, too- that's what makes, I think, decorationg so wonderful these day's!!! And, YOU have the touch, where you CAN see what looks good together and what doesn't work- so please continue to give us the same, just MORE! I want to keep my beautiful antique's, yet still move into the future! Thanks Jill! Lots of Love to You! Julie

  • Comment by Stacey — March 28, 2011 @ 5:03 PM

    I wished we lived closer! I totally agree with you about going bold in a small space especially when natural light is lacking. Boldness gives the space presence. I love what you did with the hallway and if we're alike as much as i think we are(in my head:-)), you probably walk by adjoining spaces just so you could get a glimpse of the hallway -that peek-a -boo effect. Did you see that post i did? Anyway, i'm sure you can tell that i love it! The black and white wall paper is the "shiznit". I just coined that term:-). XX

  • Comment by Stacey — March 28, 2011 @ 5:05 PM

    Oh and love how your old world gilded mirror pops against the wall paper, the contrast of the styles and the tone-love!

  • Comment by Alena — March 28, 2011 @ 5:26 PM

    That wallpaper is amazing!! It looks so perfect in your space. Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment by Diana Mieczan — March 29, 2011 @ 3:09 AM

    That wallpaper is stunning and it makes such a great statement. Love this post and wish you a great Tuesday

  • Comment by Gretchen O — March 29, 2011 @ 6:56 AM

    Isnt it so great to take a risk that pays off….BIGTIME! Love it. And I really like the mirror too.

  • Comment by elissa @ faucethead — March 29, 2011 @ 9:07 AM

    what a bold statement! i love it and your inspiration as well.

  • Comment by designchic — March 29, 2011 @ 6:09 PM

    It's stunning…

  • Comment by angela | tph — March 29, 2011 @ 6:47 PM

    Jill, all your projects at your home are one delight for me after another! I want to live in that little hallway. Bravo, my pretty Swede!!!

  • Comment by cassie {hi sugarplum — March 29, 2011 @ 7:55 PM

    JILL!!! You are genius…seriously! that looks so amazing! And I have an almost identical hall nook that always raise an eyebrow at…NOW I KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!


    ps — did you see i finally posted the pelmet in sloan's room…and the kirkland's mirror gets to stay since painting my mantel black! Loved seeing it in your magazine spread! I was patting myself on the back for having something you have! ;) And yes — both kids will do your room series! I need to write my son's and I'll get it to you!

  • Comment by Splendid Willow — March 31, 2011 @ 9:18 PM

    Jill, you are so good at tying things together. It looks fantastic! And only simple Swedish (grayish) antiques lend themselves to be mixed so beautifully with contemporary elements. Bravo!



  • Comment by FROM THE RIGHT BANK — April 4, 2011 @ 11:28 AM

    It looks soooooooo good! And I'm totally like you – half of the time, I don't have a clue what is going on in a movie or tv show because I'm too busy looking at the decor. :)

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  • Comment by Mary — November 24, 2013 @ 5:14 AM

    Can you please tell me the name of that Lee Jofa paper? It is fantastic!!

  • Comment by buddy — January 16, 2014 @ 5:15 AM

    love the 'guilt' mirror . . . how does the work? mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the giltiest of them all?

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