Lately I can't get enough of New Victorian and Steampunk-inspired design. My favorite designs are a little dark, and graphically modern, but informed and inspired by history's rich details and materials. The photos of this dreamy hotel lounge are a spot-on perfect example.

Natural materials:
• Particularly wood, leather and metals such as brass and copper. 
• Furniture has weight and scale, with a focus on quality and timelessness.

Ecclectic mix of masculine and feminine:
• Soft rich fabrics such as lace or velvet, paired with richer accessories, sculpture and machinery.

Typically Victorian decorative themes used in new ways: 
• Industrial era technology, anything focusing on science and discovery.
• Butterfly collections, phrenology, biological drawings.
• Antique mechanical items, clockworks and items with mechanisms in view.

What rooms have inspired you lately?

Images: AirSpace UK


Seeing the Potential

I admit I like projects: Graphic design projects, gardening projects and interior design projects. Since my expensive taste always exceeds my resources, I've cultivated an eye for potential in old and used furniture, and there are usually several concurrent refinishing projects stationed around our house.

Last fall, I came across a lovely but busted-up carved antique dining chair in the basement, discarded by a previous tenant. I used the chair project as an excuse to explore a local discount fabric warehouse called U-Fab, the Happiest Place on Earth. I chose a high-quality, upholstery grade black-and white moorish tile fabric for $12, and a week later saw the same pattern in a pricey furniture catalog. Score!

Check out the before and after:

   Freebie chair
+ New padding: $4 on sale
+ Black Paint: $4
+ Fabric: $12
= Gorgeous guest room chair for $20!

What have you re-made lately?