Special Nonexistent Furniture

by Kate Smith

A childhood love of color turned into a college-age fascination with the interaction of colors, then into a career of color trend forecasting and product development. Today, Kate Smith, CMG, CfYH, is president and chief color maven at Sensational Color, a company that provides color knowledge and know-how to corporations primarily in the home industry. Kate is an inspirational keynote speaker and seminar leader, blending color theory and psychology into entertaining and informative talks that bring color to life.

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  • Photo Credit: Hacienda Style and Mexico Woods. Layout Credit: Kate Smith
  • As I watched chef and tv personality Gordan Ramsey in a Mexican restaurant (his current challenge on the show Kitchen Nightmares) ranting about cliche decor as the camera panned striped blankets and sombreros on brightly colored walls,  I was immediately sucked in.  The only thing I dislike more than just-plain poor design, is a room that overuses a theme in decorating.

    Ramsey's team went on to work their magic and when the new interior design was revealed, the place looked completely different. The color, style, and design elements all reflected a more authentic Mexican culture -- and there wasn't a cactus in sight. It got me to thinking about how I might give a room a modern South-of-the-border makeover.
  • As you might guess color was the first thing I thought about. Color is a must but it can either fill the space or play off of white or neutrals. The colors one sees in Mexico are traditionally vibrant, but because they were originally produced from natural pigments they have a slightly muted or chalky quality that tones them down just a bit.
  • When designing in the Hacienda style you will want to "focus on the use of natural materials and textures, hacienda architectural details, Spanish colonial furniture and handcrafted traditional arts. Favored decorative details include: high-beamed ceilings and cool tiled floors, massive antique doors, arcaded portales and carved-stone columns, forged ironwork, colorful Talavera tile and Mexican antique tables, rustic benches and painted trunks," say Karen Witynski Carr and Joe P. Carr authors of several books on Hacienda Style.
  • Why not take the best or what you like most from any design style and bring it into your home in a way that speaks to you. Even using just one textile may be all you need. Here are some images to inspire you to bring a bit of Mexico into your home.
  • Classic pinstripe wallpaper and furnishings go a bit bohemian with the Mexican blanket and patterned pillow.
  • A Mexican rug isn't just for the floor. It can be used as upholstery fabric and mixed with other patterns. This bench makes a big statement and is so playful against the dotted settee.
  • The Mexican textile and artwork inspired the color palette for this Brooklyn apartment. I especially like how designer Nick Olsen covered the chair with the blanket. It fits beautifully into the mix of styles that he chose to give this compact space big personality.

    I'm ready to get out the fabulous blanket I bought on my last visit to Puerto Vallarta and turn it into an ottoman. Are you ready to spice up your space?

    - Kate
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