All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

And after all, you're my wonderwall...

This last week I was shopping for wallpapers for a client at my dayjob. Since this was for a powder room with no windows, the client really wanted to have a little fun (since working with her, I realized she was completely unafraid of bold patterns and color.) The only criteria? Silver. And patterned.


I thought, This is gonna be so much fun. Going around the Design Center, I pulled dozens of samples from a few pre-selected showrooms. Always keeping my client's tastes and needs in mind, I couldn't help but think which patterns I would choose for my own home if I had a small space to paper. There were so many crazy, fun metallic geometric prints as well as bold florals and toiles on gray and black backgrounds.

Here were some of my favorites:

Of course, coming from the Design Center, these patterns are kind of pricey. While researching other crazy-bold patterns, I went back to one of my favorite designers Barbara Hulanicki (founder of legendary Biba in Britain.) She's since moved on from fashion to interiors and designed pieces for Habitat in Britain as well as wallpapers for Graham & Brown available here in the US.

Here are a couple of my favorites: 
Y'know what's even better than being to find her wallpapers in the US? You can get some of them at Target.


Looks like Ms. Hulanicki's kept one thing from her Biba days: affordable design. Love it!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Starting from zero, got nothing to lose...

This last weekend I had the chance to finish up with L., one of my Oakland clients who found me through the magic of the internet. When we began back in April, we were faced with an interesting problem: having just moved back to the Bay Area for work, L. decided to start over from scratch. She had just a few pieces of art that she loved, and virtually no furniture. Just a bed and dresser, two kitchen chairs, a bookcase, an ottoman, and a TV and stand.

The great thing was that she was realistic about what she wanted to spend for decent quality furniture, and she wanted a mix of pieces that could grow with her. After a good consultation and some e-mail correspondence we came up with a concept for her recently renovated 60s-era apartment:

L.'s tastes leaned toward midcentury anyway, so we found pieces that complemented the architecture of her apartment as well as her sensibilities. The two "midcentury modest" chairs I scored from a thrift shop were a nice counterpoint to the more streamlined pieces I had her purchase. The living room side table was free--how can you beat that!? The zig zag rug was something we had to talk about for a bit--at first she wasn't sure what to make of it--but it soon became one of her favorite pieces in the room (I think she had one of my "I'm about to lose control and I think I like it" moments!)

As most of us know, all roads lead to Ikea when you're starting out on your own, so bedroom chairs, curtains, nightstands, and several other pieces came from our favorite Swedish retailer. Sure, she's got a few little things left to do, like hang that dining room pendant she bought and maybe get a plant and some more accessories and art, but in the end, we got her set up with a good mix of quality and vintage pieces--the perfect foundation from which to grow.

Here's the living room before:

And after:

The dining room before:

And after:

The bedroom before:

And after:

I look forward to getting updates from L. in the future, and can't wait to see how her apartment evolves!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

You're all the things I've got to remember...

I'm a major proponent of having a varied mix of art in the home. In some cases I think it really comes down to a good balance of bold graphics and original pieces. Maybe it's the graphic designer in me, but I always gravitate towards interesting posters. But then I have to mix them up with paintings and other abstract patterns. Accident and Artifact and the Lost Art Salon are two of my favorite places to find original art, while the Renegade Craft Fair recently brought Seattle Show Posters and the Poster List back to town for a weekend. (I picked up a couple of great typography-based prints!)

The best part about original art--particularly sketches--is how much they seem to convey a snapshot in time. I think they're like photographs, but done by hand. They have an immediacy and looseness that captures a particular moment in time. Even when they're presented as gifts or purchased somewhere, you'll always attach a memory to it. I'll never forget seeing a collection of Don Barchardy's drawings in London years ago. They were all the same size (24 x 36 ish), and there were dozens of them. You could imagine them being presented to their famous sitters/subjects after Don was done.

One of my own prized possessions is a little midcentury sketch that was given to me as a wedding gift. It hangs in my bedroom and I always think about how/when it was created and the people involved.

I've sold my own sketches to clients before (they're a good 15 years old, which kind of makes them vintage ;) and I also recently gave two away as gifts. It felt good to give something that I had made myself:

So go out there and make your own art, or find something similar. I think organic pieces with high contrast can really balance out all the photos, posters, and other art in your space. If nothing else, you'll have a great story to tell your friends and visitors.