I find strengths in most styles. For me, all facets of design have a place in our lives to a greater or lesser extent, and I’ve been fortunate in devising plans for my own homes that span an eclectic assortment of dwellings: an urban modern condo, Victorian townhouse, tiny English city cottage and now an Italian country house.
In experimenting with so many wonderful styles of furnishings and shades of color, there is one quality that I tend to seek out. I take special delight in what I think of as “Forever Style.” You find it in rooms that have a story to tell, a story that has been lived and told over and over again.
In her latest book, “Kathryn M. Ireland: Timeless Interiors,” published by Gibbs Smith, Ireland illustrates her talent for decorating a home that connects significantly to the past, while living comfortably in the present.
A well-established fabric designer and devoted world traveler, Ireland’s deep-rooted passion for European style is evident in her choice of fabrics and furnishings. But a California upbringing insinuates fresh shades and a feeling of place in the homes she designs.
The bedrooms in “Timeless Interiors” are remarkably personal rooms that capture the essence of the homeowners’ dreams for a retreat.
Ireland has layered her fabrics and textile choices with skill, combining an old-style four-poster draped in her gauzy “Moroccan” sandy-toned panels with sundrenched hues of blue and red bed linens and pillow covers.
The Malibu Beach House bedroom connects with a sitting room that dazzles with sun by day and is crafted to be cozy and inviting at night. Inlaid Syrian side tables by the loveseat and upholstered stools face two vintage midcentury lawn chairs, a daring choice that underscores the beachy locale.
This airy, timeless look is juxtaposed with an alternate style that also has been favored throughout the ages: the passionate mystery and luxury of doge-era Venice.
The master suite of film director Robert Zemeckis in Montecito is staged for love. In the sitting area, using the red damask wall fabric for curtains sustains the opulent mood and evokes a bygone era.
The plump, red velvet reading chair and footstool are invitingly comfy. There are many homes featured in Ireland’s beautiful book, each with interiors that show off gorgeous fabrics, most designed by her, and furnishings the author has discovered from destinations near and far.
She chooses pieces that have a story, and these are what bring a room alive. The headboard in the Venetian-style bedroom is a large, gold 18th-century Italian Baroque fretwork panel found in London. Fabric patterns are drawn from beloved historical designs and given a fresh twist if called for.
Nina Campbell’s red damask fabric upholsters the walls, imparting a depth of color not attainable with paint or wallpaper.
These homes are indeed not fussy, and Ireland has a playful side. A vintage cast-iron claw-foot tub is painted in hot pink, a decidedly L.A. color that matches the abundant bougainvillea.
A kitchen beams with bright yellow lower cabinetry aside a weathered wood island. Window dressings are side panels or roman blinds, simple styles that allow the magic of the fabrics to be seen clearly.
These are pages filled with ideas for the Forever Style that make a home so dear.
Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Travis on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis, and visit her website, www.debbietravis.com.
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