Pistachio

Interior Decorating by Elaine Burns

Provençal Design

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I was recently on a dreamy end-of-summer trip in the south of France.

My boyfriend Will and I did quite the tour of the Cote d’Azur and Provence and loved each city we visited for its unique culture, food, wine, landscapes, and architecture. Highlights of the trip were definitely a boat tour of the Calanques in Cassis, shopping in Aix, our wine tour around the villages of Vaison, and lounging on the main beach in Nice.

If you are interested in an itinerary of our trip and must-dos, I can write up a more detailed trip post – be sure to comment below!

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 While I had expected to love the historic architecture and absorb the unique culture of Provence (market trips, leisurely meals), I didn’t expect to collect so many wonderful interior decorating trends and inspiration for current projects.

 My top trends are below. How about you? Are you interested in Provençal design and influence?

STRAW

One of the staples on the streets of Provence are straw totes and baskets. Market days are a big ordeal, so everyone has a large straw tote in hand. Purchasing one was one of my first orders of business and now, back in NYC, I use it as a basket for blankets by the couch.

Straw adds a beautiful, light and airy texture to any space, making for great storage, small bowls for collecting knick knacks, or even statement lighting.

POPS OF COLOR

I loved that the homes and buildings of the Cote D’Azur streets were all neutral bases – whites, beiges, light grays – to reflect the abundant sunlight the area is known for (it didn’t rain once!). However, amongst this basic background there were always small pops of color – usually greens or blues – on window shutters, metalwork, or doorways. These small doses of color add some personality and compliment the surrounding landscape.

FLORALS

Perhaps no surprise in a region where local foods reign, there were flowers EVERYWHERE. Market stalls overflowed with fresh cuts and lavender could be found at nearly every shop we went into. Dried flowers were also quite common which are such a great alternative to adding some natural, colorful elements to your home with minimal care. Delicate floral prints are my favorite way to incorporate this trend – especially through textiles and wallpaper.

TABLEWARE

I mentioned it earlier, but the ritual of a meal, particularly dinner, is a sacred daily routine. All shops and businesses close promptly at 7p and restaurants open to begin serving dinner at 8p. Dinner lasts all night; 3 course meals with no shortage of wine and coffee were standard at nearly every restaurant we went to.

Because of the importance of meals, both for appreciating food and drink but also for the social element, tableware and accessories are staples of markets and shops. It inspired me to hone in my own collection and consider the functionality of all of my tools.

 

Wax Buffalo - A Styling Story

Now that I’m settled in my new apartment and the space is feeling more like home I am able to focus on the fun details - accessories!

  Wax Buffalo  Copper Vessel

Wax Buffalo Copper Vessel

I’ve been a fan of Wax Buffalo’s simple, yet eye-catching packaging for a while on Instagram, and loved the brand more upon learning their mission to create beautiful products that evoke reminders of earthy, familiar scents.

All Wax Buffalo candles are pure soy and hand poured in the USA (Nebraska!). They are evocative of apothecary bottles and the simple logo make them a versatile styling accent in any home.

Small Space Living

Now that I am settled into my new home - that I moved into back in October - I wanted to share my design wins and hurdles from my biggest project to date!

 Photo by E. Fikentscher

Photo by E. Fikentscher

Pistachio offers all of the design and styling services featured below. I’d love to work with you on your next project!

GALLERY WALL

 Photo by E. Fikentscher

Photo by E. Fikentscher

This serves as the central focal point for my main living space. The colors featured in the art act as a reference point for the rest of the decor.

Pro Tip - Consider what you want your central piece to be and build your layout design around it (doesn’t necessarily need to be the largest item!).

DIVIDER WALL

 Photo by E. Fikentscher

Photo by E. Fikentscher

This was my biggest challenge for the apartment and I’m beyond thrilled with how it turned out.

I used plantation shutters to make a faux wall - creating a clear division of the bedroom from the living room. By using floor-to-ceiling shutters the space is clearly separated, but also allows light to come through upon entering the apartment - a similar effect to using a bookshelf or bureau as a divider.

FOYER STYLING

The addition of the plantation shutters created an entirely new space that I didn’t have before: a foyer. I added a vintage marble-topped commode as a perfect place for dropping my keys when I get home. It is styled to reflect my personality, bringing a sense of my aesthetic to all new visitors.

 Photo by E. Fikentscher

Photo by E. Fikentscher

 Photo by E. Fikentscher

Photo by E. Fikentscher

 Photo by E. Fikentscher

Photo by E. Fikentscher

I'm Moving!

I’ve got some big projects coming down the pipe, all because of the big news that I’m days away from closing...yes, I BOUGHT an apartment!

The process has been a whirlwind, to say the least, but thanks to the support of my family, friends, and amazing ladies-of-NYC-real estate team, I’m so proud and happy I went through with everything.

The space is a charming studio in Prospect Lefferts Gardens in Brooklyn. Be sure to follow along on Instagram for updates. I’ll be posting more details on projects in the coming months.

In the meantime, I’ve put together a special Pinterest board to collect my inspirations and potential product purchases for the space.
I’d love to hear your comments and feedback! What are your favorite pieces I have pinned so far?

Pistachio in Peru!

Like most people, I spend the first week of a new year crafting goals for the upcoming months, compiling a list of things I’d like to accomplish.
One (big) goal I had for 2017 was to do a solo adventure vacation.

I spent several weeks researching and considering what sorts of day-trips and tours I’d like to do on my own, ultimately booking a week-long trip to Cusco, Peru! I worked with the tour company Elite Travel to help plan a customized itinerary. It was the perfect solution for a first-time solo female traveler.

The focus of my trip was on exploring and immersing myself in the weaving culture and traditions of the region. Inspired by my ‘textile kick’ from last fall, it felt like the perfect way to utilize this solo trip; I could spend as much time as I wanted (read: a majority of my stay) on a design-oriented exploration.

On the first day of my trip, my guide took me to the Awana Kancha living museum - an alpaca farm and weaving community. It was a great introduction to the different alpaca species in the region and I learned about different yarn dying practices/materials. I made the decision right there on the spot that my favorite type of alpaca was the Suri (they look like friendly mops!!).

We then drove down to the valley of Pisac where I had a serious test of my Spanish in the textile market. First order of business: pick up an alpaca blanket and some yarn for my knitting-extraordinaire of a sister.

The next leg of my trip was focused on visiting Aguas Calientes - the town of Machu Picchu. After the hectic prior days of village-hopping, altitude-acclimating, and touring, some downtime was just what I needed. The town is small, so it only took me a couple of hours to wander the streets and get the lay of the land. I focused mainly on eating stellar local specialties and bargaining in the local textile market...again (added another alpaca blanket to my collection!).

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Machu Picchu and the surrounding landscape were truly as incredible as everyone says. The ruins were impressive, and learning about the ancient Incans that lived there was fascinating. But soaking up the views and surroundings was what I spent most of my time doing once my tour group dispersed. Another bonus of solo travel: ample time for reflection and relaxation.

Next came my absolute favorite part of the trip: a visit to the Patacancha community as part of a tour with the Awamaki organization. Awamaki is a group that works with women in local Andean villages to support their weaving traditions by empowering these women to start their own small businesses selling their pieces. It is a wonderful organization to support if you are looking for sustainable tourism activities; I highly recommend.
The women were so gracious in demonstrating their techniques and I was able to complete a project along with them (!!!). I felt so honored to be welcomed into their community, meet their families, and ultimately their home over a home-cooked meal.

My final days of the trip were spent in the city of Cusco, but not before visiting another weaving cooperative - Paqari Wasi - along the way. This community is unique in that they weave patterns on the edges of their work - often related to stories mapped out in the patterns of their larger pieces.

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I returned feeling refreshed and excited to have been so immersed in the culture and crafts of the Cusco communities. Doing this trip solo turned out to be the perfect way for me to experience the region - I was able to talk and work with my tour guides and hostesses in a more personal way by interacting one-on-one.

I loved the independance, time for reflection, and full control of my schedule. And! Now I have so many Peruvian textiles to share with my family, friends, and integrate into a new project I will be announcing later this week...  



 

Decal Designs

After discovering that my grocery store now carries my favorite sodas for cocktails, I’ve been spending more time playing with the tools of my bar cart and decided it was necessary to add some missing key pieces.

While I have quite a collection of glassware in my cupboards, I didn’t have any rocks glasses to compliment my highball, coupe, collins, or wine glasses.

 Photo by Erin Fikentscher

Photo by Erin Fikentscher

Using my new favorite home decor tool, I purchased a plain set of glasses and found inspiration on the Cricut Design Space to make a whimsical, lacy decal design. The Design Space makes customization easy to suit your individual projects. For my glass decals, I used the tool to adjust the image to the perfect size for my glasses.

I also added an acrylic serving tray to my cart as well - essential for entertaining guests and corralling all of my smaller tools on the cart when I’m not entertaining.

 Photo by Erin Fikentscher

Photo by Erin Fikentscher

Here, I had to customize the design more significantly - I went for a simpler, smaller decoration so as not to distract from the intricate glassware.

Sticking with gold accents tied together my new adds to my existing collection and compliments the packaging of my liquor and mixer staples.

Having never used the Cricut for decal purposes, I was impressed with the ease of transfer and durability of the materials. The projects were quick and added the fresh update I needed. The Cricut proved to be an exceptionally versatile tool - used to make floral garlands a few weeks ago and now elevating the serving ware in my kitchen!

All photos by Erin Fikentscher.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.