Wednesday, October 26, 2016

At Home with Dubai Designer Nisrine Moghraby

Today we're hopping over to Dubai where interior designer Nisrine El Lababidi Moghraby has welcomed us into her home for a special home tour. Nisrine's style is chic with global flair, grounded by contemporary black accents. Take a look at my recent interview with Harf Noon Design Studio's Nisrine El Lababidi Moghraby.

Jacquin: Tell us about your decorating style? How have you used your own personal style to brand yourself and the Harf Noon Design Studio?

Nisrine: I believe I have an ever-evolving style that is underpinned by a subtle coordinated fusion of middle-eastern meets west; definitely using clean line and neutral tones, blended with charming warmth and sumptuous opulence. All elements I use are simplistic yet with timeless elegance interrupted by hints of colour here and there. I have kept this style consistent in the branding of Harf Noon Design Studio... you'll see a lot of clean lines and neutrals interrupted by strong black & white textures with hints of colour.

Jacquin: I know you're working on a new line of homewares. How exciting! What can you tell us about your upcoming collection? What has been involved in developing your homewares collection so far?

Nisrine: his is still a project in the making. Unfortunately it got delayed due to unforeseen reasons, however I believe the full reveal will be very soon. I am a creative, which means when I find a need for an item I immediately get my hands busy with finding solutions for it. My first product was a series of Limited edition Wall Coverings designed from the actual handwritten famous songs of the writer Chafic El Moghraby. The song writer’s work became a part of the Lebanese and Arabic cultural weave, with work spanning the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and words sung by many famous Arab singers such as Sabah, George Wassouf, Melhem Barakat, Nasry Chamseddine, and Ragheb Alame among others. I was personally interested in reviving these hand written songs by juxtaposing them against their digital pixel equivalent. The result, a mesh of old and new that can coexist in our modern day setting and bring back an era long gone. These were sold at the Art Dubai Fair and were a great success. For my new line, I'm filling a gap for certain items like creative cushions, carpets and more wall hangings. You will know more about these very soon.

Jacquin: Interior designers often have great taste in coffee table books. What coffee table books are you enjoying at home right now?

Nisrine: My husband, who is a television & film director, and I both love anything with visual impact. Sitting on our table right now is a photography book by Steve McCurry "The Iconic Photographs" published by Phaidon. It truly captures unique fleeting moments of human experience and offers a window to other worlds. 

As for bedside interior design, fashion, and travel books, I love 'Style A to Z' by Rachel Zoe,  'How to be a Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style & Bad Habits' & Garance Dore's 'Love, Style & Life'. You'll find books like these around my house.

Jacquin: How does being born and raised in Abu Dhabi influence you as an interior designer?

Nisrine: I love the fact that I'm a global child... I'm Lebanese in origin but having grown up here meant I got to live and experience a variety of cultures. We had 87 nationalities in school! This meant that my middle eastern background mingled with various social and cultural settings, language, religions, even food. It allows one to eventually develop many social connections with these cultures and allows for a much more open acceptance of the other. I would say this hugely benefited me as I can understand my clients backgrounds and needs a lot better having met many of the same nationalities over the years.

Jacquin: Have you undertaken any DIY projects at home? What was involved? How does this DIY creation represent you? 

Nisrine: I've done several, but my favorite is definitely my sons graphic show wall entirely in two hours! its made of black washi tape and connects the  two walls in the in room with the bed... it just sets the whole mood of the room with its bold lines and styled items on the wall. You can see the room below. Anything black and white speaks to my style aesthetic, its bold and elegant yet fun. You will notice I have used these colors in several instances in my home.

Jacquin: I love when individuals showcase global finds in their home's decor. What is your favorite travel souvenir that has become a special design element in your home?

Nisrine: Ooh I have a lot! I don't buy any fridge magnets or shot glasses or T-shirts when I travel...I prefer buying small pieces of art that would remind me of the place I've been to. I have small ashtrays from Barcelona, a tile piece from Prague, little dolls from Istanbul. A ceramic horse from Tiblisi, small house from Tallin and Green 1940's green glass trinket boxes I'm collecting... each reminds me of a city, the people I was travelling with and a feeling! You can see some of my souvenirs displayed below.

Jacquin: What is your favorite space in your home?

Nisrine: My favorite room is my bedroom which we have kept TV free so its ultimately relaxing. (See above.) I love when the sun goes in through the curtains in the morning and the wow factor in the deep blue wall we've painted and the lovely limited edition horses print by Australian photographer Katie Mendi which we sourced from Tribe Dubai. 

The room oozes with everything relaxing that engages the senses - from scented candles to luxurious cotton bedding & cushions.I've also created a little reading nook with a comfy pottery barn chair a throw and well place side table for the reading books and coffee. No wall is left bare! they either have mirrors, to bounce the light, or Art (Like this particular silk screened limited edition piece I named 'streets').  Most importantly a clutter free policy - I am a bit of an OCD! everything is always put in place or collected in a tray.

Jacquin: How has your journey in entrepreneurship been so far? Despite the hard work of entrepreneurship, what has been your most rewarding moment up to this point?

Nisrine: One difficult aspect of entrepreneurship would be trusting your instinct and being brave about it. Another important element on my journey has been finding and creating the right network of trustworthy suppliers in my industry, as all projects are dependent on quality supplies. The most rewarding aspect is the look on my clients' faces when they see the final space. I am blessed in that even after the projects are completed, my clients text me and share how much they are truly in love with their homes. That, along with getting their homes featured in leading interiors magazines, has been amazing. 

Learn more abut Dubai designer Nisrine El Lababidi Moghraby on her website Harf Noon Design Studio

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Chat with Que Duong: NYC Photographer and Creative Director

Que Duong Photography: "Sorbet" series

I have recently come across the creative work of NYC photographer Que Duong who has truly inspired me with his unique style and perspective. Que began in the fashion and beauty industry working in content creation and has since launched himself to the status of creative director, sharing compelling and sometimes edgy stories through his creative photography. Read on to catch my recent chat with this impressive, creative photographer.

Jacquin: Hi Que! You mention that your main source of inspiration is “the anticipation of life’s normally overlooked moments.” How do you manifest this in your work?

Que: We often look for the “big boom” in our day. In contrast, I look for the small moment such as drinking tea and creating “the big boom” around these thoughts and moments.

Que Duong Photography: "Colour Walls" series

Jacquin: Your photography has great energy and an exciting perspective. How do you begin to visualize and conceptualize your compositions in your photography?

Que: Majority of my concepts originate on my current mood at the time. I embrace all the spectrum of emotions whether it is sad or joy - it helps me create a story to tell. From that point, I researched the symbolism and metaphors. I translate those emotions and use it as starting point to create my compositions and content.

Que Duong Photography: "The New Band" series

Jacquin: What was your inspiration for "The New Band"? Is there a message behind these works? "The New Band" actually reminds me of a 1940s photo of historical Chicago by Russell Lee. I love this photo series, Que and really all of your works!

Que: Visually, my inspirations were from the vinyl covers of music groups. In term of the underlining message, I wanted to tell a story of the daily lives of the Brooklyn kids; to showcase the beauty of the simple moments such as sitting on the stoop with your friends, standing on the corner waiting for the bus, or going to church. Overall, the message I wanted to convey and bring to attention is "black is beautiful" – ‘til this today, it is still one of my favorite shoots!

Que Duong Photography: "The New Band" series

Que Duong Photography: "The New Band" series

Jacquin: How do you go about choosing the models for your shoots? (random, search for them, or you know them personally)

Que: Majority of the times I have casting calls. This allows me to use models that fit the concept.

Jacquin: How does your cultural background or surroundings influence your work?

Que: My cultural background and surroundings are extremely influential in my work. I am a Vietnamese kid raised New Orleans, a city that is surrounded by Jazz and magic! This colorful city often serves as a color palette for my work. I enjoy and draw energy from our laid-back attitudes and philosophies. It helps me conceptualize the simplest stories.

Que Duong Photography: "The Jazzman" series

Que Duong Photography: "The Jazzman" series

Jacquin: Are there any events or experiences in your life that have impacted your career as a photographer?

Que: Yes, social media! When I first started out, I was solely focused on fashion. Since then, I came to find my love for lifestyles and still life photography. This started out with my first job with Revlon – creating their social media content.

Que Duong Photography: "Madame of the Cloud" series

Que Duong Photography: "Madame of the Cloud" series

Jacquin: What type of projects are you most looking forward to as you move forward as a photographer and artist?

Que: Right now, I am working on cinematography and getting back into my painting (a passion of mine). I am looking to doing more creative direction.

Que Duong Photography: "Madame of the Cloud" series

Jacquin: You create uniquely artistic self-portraits. Do your self-portraits function as a means of self-representation, or do you regard yourself more as a character telling a story? (Check out one of Que's self-portraits below.)

Que: My self-portraits are mirror reflections of who I am. It is my way of writing my autobiography in a creative way, haha.

Jacquin: What would the perfect day be like for you?

Que: A perfect day for me would be waking up on a sunny Saturday’s morning, watering my plants while drinking Vietnamese coffee and jamming to 80’s pop (my go-to song is When in Rome – The Promise). Start with a trip down to Union Squares to buy more plants and have lunch in Chinatown. I would commute back to my cozy Harlem apartment and binge watch old shows on TV while I edit photos. Wrap up my day with a candle lit night and dancing to old school r&b tunes.

Self-portrait of NYC photographer Que Duong.

Follow Que Duong's photography and creative direction through his website or via his inspirational Instagram page. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Ditch the Bathmat: Luxe Area Rug Ideas for Your Bathroom

Bathroom designed by Amber Interiors. Photography: Tessa Neustadt

When it comes to selecting something soft for under your feet in the bathroom, most people go for a traditional bath mat, most often sold in tiny sizes. However, I want to convince you to ditch the boring bath mat and go for a more stylish area rug selection for your bathroom. Choosing an area rug over a bath mat will have the benefit of more exciting patterns and broader size selections for more spacious bathrooms. Today I've rounded up my top 5 examples of chic area rugs in bathrooms.

Toronto home, Image via The Zhush.

So, when is the last time you've popped into a store to see basic bathmats available in these unique varieties of designs and patterns? (See above and below) The truth is, if you want a more ornate or unique bath mat design for your bathroom, you'll likely have to head to the rug section to find the best variety. So I'm hear to encourage you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Go forth and shop the rug section for your next bathroom refresh! 

Image via BellaMumma

Whether your bathroom is smaller or larger, a luxe oriental rug or another equally ornate rug selection will have high impact visually. I love the unique look of the circular polka dot rug shown above. It really adds a custom feel to the space, especially since you don't typically see circular rugs in bathrooms. For larger bathrooms, when you're shopping the rug section instead of the bath section, you'll find rugs that are more appropriately sized for larger bathrooms. The oriental rug shown below is a perfect example of how an oversized rug or runner can transform a bathroom.

Interior design by Amber Interiors

Denver farmhouse designed by Carlos Alvarez of Alvarez Morris. Image via Luxe Source. Photography: Emily Minton Redfield

Will you be switching from a boring bathmat to a luxurious area rug in your bathroom? You'll love it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ideas for Incorporating Color-block Painting at Home

Image via SF Girl By Bay

Color blocking is the visual style of pairing blocks of solid colors in often-unexpected ways. Color-block painting can be quirky, refreshing, and surprisingly luxe in an interior space. From Piet Mondrian’s primary-colored paintings to the emergence of 1960’s Mod fashion, color blocking has proved to be a lasting trend. Based on the concept of placing bold colors together for an eye-catching effect, this colorful technique is not only for fashion. Applying pops of color to your walls could be just what you need to invigorate your space.

Image via Vtwonen 

Image via Design meets Style

The color-blocking concept often brings to mind bright and contrasting hues, but the color and design possibilities are virtually limitless. Consider the whole spectrum of the color wheel; both saturated and toned-down hues can make a big impact. Pastel colors can breathe new life into a room, while a neutral shade can make an elegant, streamlined addition.

Image via Avenue Lifestyle

There is also a lot of room to play with shape and design. Large swaths of color can take the form of one painted wall, door, ceiling, or perhaps horizontally divide all your walls into two shades. Think about experimenting with diagonal and vertical lines as well for a dramatic emphasis. Playful geometric shapes such as circles and triangles are also an interesting design element, and achievable through the use of stencils and painter's tape. There are so many options to consider when decorating with color block painting, and the effect can be whatever you choose.

Image via Enter My Attic

Image via The Decoist

Make sure to incorporate objects in the room that mimic the color or shape of the color block painting, for a feeling of harmony and unity within the space. If you decide to go bold with a circular shape, other round or circular shaped elements will be pleasing to the eye and create a coherent flow.

Most importantly, think about the particular colors that bring you joy. Incorporating your favorite hues into your life space will put a smile on your face each time you enter your home. Organic Bed, Bath, & Baby!  Free Shipping On All Orders Over $200 At!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Artist Spotlight: Katherine Freeman of Katherine Freeman Original Art

In September of 2015, artist Katherine Freeman began selling her work under the brand Katherine Freeman Original Art and today it is my pleasure to introduce both her and her work to you. Her use of watercolors, oils paints, and charcoal lend to both serene and bold pieces that seem to pour from the canvas.

Hi  Katherine! Thank you so much for taking the time to let Interiors by Jacquin readers learn more about you and your work. When did you did decide to follow your passion for art?

Katherine: After graduating from The University of Alabama (roll tide) I got my Real Estate license and began work full-time as a Buyer’s agent for my mom who has been in the Real Estate business for the last 13 years. I was creating art on the side in my free time, so I decided to share my work via Instagram/social media. One thing led to another and people wanted to buy my work so I was like, why not? Getting paid to do something I am passionate about is more than a dream come true!

Katherine Freeman's artwork shown in a residential interior.

Artist Katherine Freeman uses clippings from magazines, fashion, & other media to inspire her artwork.

What is your inspiration when you create?

Katherine: Everything around me! I have created my studio space to be all white, bright and airy allowing my work to be the color and I believe that has played a major role in influencing my style and various mediums that I use. I love bringing in magazine cut outs, any type of organic shapes, and sometimes even paint swatches to inspire my work.

I am greatly influenced by interior design, textures, patterns, and the contrast between colors. I enjoy following interior designer’s social media accounts and always love seeing the various trends and colors designers are using. I am no pro when it comes to interior design, but I do get such a thrill from looking and putting things together. I see amazing rooms and I instantly envision my work in them – that is how I know if I have created a good piece or not.

How does your art evolve from beginning to the finished product?

Katherine: Abstract art is such an intuitive process and my work is constantly evolving. I do love working on paper, however I absolutely love working on super large canvases. To some people I think big can be overwhelming (I remember feeling that way at first), but to me, the bigger the better! I typically begin every piece with a similar process and that is usually applying very large brush strokes with whatever colors I may choose and then adding oil pastels to help find the movement and composition of the painting.

What people don’t realize with abstract work is that you can’t be afraid to mess up. Some of my most favorite paintings have come from accidents made on the canvas that I quickly embraced, and then they became areas I didn’t want to cover up. Embrace your mistakes, because sometimes those mistakes can also be very hard to replicate!! Once I feel like I am finished with a piece I let it hang in my studio for a few days. I love hanging the piece so I can see it right when I walk in the door. Based on my first look when I walk in the door, my intuition always tells me if it’s complete or not.

How does your passion and creativity for art flow into your everyday life?

Katherine: I think art is more than just paint on canvas. Being creative in every aspect of my life challenges me to always be looking for new ideas whether it be in fashion, design, or art. I have a style and I believe my work encompasses that. I do want my work to exude positive feelings and emotions, so I try and surround myself with those everyday. With creativity though comes ideas galore, and my mind is literally always spinning!

If you could choose any subject for a piece, what or whom would it be and why?

Katherine: I would have to say I would choose my interpretation of people. It is something unexpected from me and I have not had a chance to experiment with yet, but hope to in the near future!

If you’ve loved the photos here, head over to Katherine’s site for more artwork, as well as information on commissioning a piece of your own. If you are interested in staying in the loop of all things Katherine Freeman Original Art, follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.