Saturday, September 11, 2010


This image inspires me to start hunting for black lace pieces to sew on old linen.

I don't know whether being born and raised in Kansas has anything to do with it or if it was because I worked for many years in corporate advertising, but I have never been able to loosen up when it comes to my styling abilities. My staff knows I like most displays to be symmetrical, our staple products to be lined up straight on a shelf and rarely do I want our vignettes a little cock-eyed or disheveled. Even if something is a mess, I want it to be a controlled mess. My excuse has always been that customers have enough items to decipher, why make a display crazy too?

Then one day I wander into an Anthropologie or pick up an issue of World of Interiors and see some fabulous hodgepodge of a display somebody has done where they have thrown caution to the wind and all styling rules are out the window, and I think, "Wow, how come I can't think like that?" Such is the case with Sibella Court.

Rug too big? Fold it in half!

I had read of her new book etc. months ago but forgot about it until a friend got a hold of a copy last week and was raving about it. A few clicks later and my copy arrived today. Cover to cover, from kraft paper jacket to vellum inserts to stenciled titles it was filled with images of wonder and abandoned chaos. Sibella is a photo stylist turned shop owner (hmmm, familiar) in Australia. Unlike moi, she has traveled the globe with her work, styling for Bergdorf Goodman, Anthropologie, House & Garden and Travel & Leisure. Maybe this is the cause of her reckless styling ability. (i.e.: she left Kansas.)

Showing the leftover electrical cords doesn't seem to bother Sibella.
She uses them to create less formality.

Shown here are a few of my favorite images she has from her website.

Come on! Taping a star together out of old ribbon? Genius.

One box is good, six are better.

Her book is divided into color stories (Foundation colors, Indigo Blues, Paper Whites) and collections (Travelers, Magicians, Tradewinds). I love how no one theme or period is represented in one photograph as it is a grouping of things that just appeal to her and yet work well together. She makes you see things differently and as she says in the introduction to her book: "This book is about deconstructed decorating." (you've got to love that term) "My hope is that you look at your possessions from a new perspective and be encouraged to reshuffle..."

A favorite palette.

She's right. Her book and website and other designers and stylists like her (J.Morgan Pruett and Rebecca Purcell) make me shake my head with jealousy because I wish I were more bohemian, more reckless with my styling and took more chances. I wish I knew if my customers would get it but more importantly- buy it! Some would of course, but could Curious Sofa exist on this aesthetic... in Kansas?? Maybe for now, I should just start with my own living room.