Category Archives: Art

Design Inspiration: A Tour of Villa Kérylos


Dear Travel Diary,

My trip to Europe in August was one of the most gorgeous journeys I’ve taken in all my life, where every place we went was more incredible than the last. Of all the places we visited, Villa Kérylos was the most fruitful for interior design inspiration. The home, built in 1902 by French gajillionaire Theodore Reinach. Not sure how he got all that cash, but maybe it had something to do with how many jobs he had. He was an Archaeologist-mathematician-lawyer-papyrologist-philologist-epigrapher-historian-numismatist-musicologist-professor-politician. GOT THAT? His masterpiece home, designed by architect Emmanuel Pontremoli, is located in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, which is about fifteen minutes away from Nice, along the Cote d’Azur in France.


The home has been beautifully preserved and there are details around every corner that will make any interiors enthusiast want to rip her head off for joy. The whole property is Greek-style, with enough pattern to keep you entertained for hours and hours. Since I’m from California, it reminded me a bit of Hearst Castle. Not because it has any stylistic similarities, but because it feels like the same kind of house-fantasy-come-to-life. This is a dream home for sure, and you can tell from the attention to detail that the people who built it must have been deeply in love with it.


I love everything about this room, except those lucite chairs, which feel like they were totally not invited to the party and are there solely for tourists who get exhausted and overwhelmed by way too much beauty.


This is the living room, which is completely insane. Somehow everything still feels warm and inviting, despite the fact that every surface is hard stone or tile. The intricate mosaic work on the floor is a reminder that this isn’t just a house, it’s an incredible work of art.


I’m a sucker for a painted ceiling and this home has many. The incredibly precise detail is mind-boggling. Just imagine the poor painter who laid on his back for days and weeks and years painting all that, screaming down from time to time “CAN SOMEONE LET ME DOWN I HAVE TO USE THE RESTROOM?!?”


It’s heartening to see a historic home so lovingly preserved. The murals and hand-painted details throughout still feel fresh.


It’s kind of incredible how universal pattern and design can be. These lovely painted ceilings are all Greek-inspired, but patterns also remind me of Native American designs, African mud cloths, and Swedish/Scandinavian patterns. LET THIS BE A REMINDER THAT WE ARE ALL ONE PEOPLE.


In addition to the absolutely stunning interiors, this place also features the most incredible ocean views on earth.

img_2484 img_2540

Like Hearst Castle, this home featured some of the most state-of-the-art bathrooms (for the time). Just imagine getting ready for your first date at this crazy marble sink.


If you think your bathtub is glamorous, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. This claw-footed beauty, made from pure marble, is the most glamorous bath on the planet. Downside: it’s probably haunted.


This columned courtyard gives the home an inside-outside vibe that feels very contemporary. I love visiting places like this for design inspiration. Do I plan on making my house into a crazy, ornate palace where everything has a different pattern on it and is made from marble? Probably not, that would be gross. The takeaway here is more that incorporating some pattern can really make a home feel unique and welcoming. And not to be scared to go full-force in creating the home of your dreams.

Now get to work and go create your own dream house!


PS: Two Qs – 1) What details from this house would you incorporate into your dream house? 2) If you could have a house any style what would it be? RESPOND IN THE COMMENTS!

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In The Studio: Goula Figuera


Dear Design Diary,

I’m not exactly sure how I came across the sublime work of Goula/Figuera. Maybe it was Instagram. Maybe it was somewhere online. But I remember immediately losing my mind over it. The Barcelona-based team of Álvaro Goula and Pablo Figuera are doing something that I think is unprecendented and unparalleled in today’s world of lighting. They’re making works of art that have a functional illuminating purpose. Their pieces are playful and sophisticated at once and it’s impossible for me to look at them without thinking of one of my favorite artists, Joan Miró. Their work isn’t derivative, it has a sensibility and physicality that has very much to do with contemporary life, but it’s undeniable that modern art had a huge influence on the distinctive geometry and color of these gorgeous lamps.n

I took my first trip to Barcelona in August (I’ll be doing a little write up about it in the coming weeks). The second I booked my flight, I knew I wanted to meet the creative geniuses behind Goula/Figuera. So, like the creepy weirdo I am, I reached out via Instagram direct messaging and got a response. Then I basically invited myself to their studio to check out their work in person and ask them about their process. Unfortunately Pablo Figuera was out of town, but Álvaro Goula showed me around and chatted with me about their process. It was the most exciting day in all of our lives.


Each Goula/Figuera sculpture is handmade by craftsmen in Barcelona. The intersecting lines are hand-welded onto the pre-made hoops and then the whole thing is sanded and powder coated. The result is something that looks like an exquisite doodle come to life.


I love nothing more than looking into artists’ sketchbooks to see what ideas lead to their final product. Álvaro was kind enough to let me peep around their studio like a nosy mom who smelled marijuana in her teenage son’s bedroom. COME ON MOM ALL THE KIDS ARE DOING IT!


I’d buy each and every one of these concept sketches as a lamp. And then I’d take one of the lamps to the Academy Awards as my date when I win best actor and everyone on the red carpet will be all “Lamp! Lamp! Who are you wearing!”


Goula/Figuera’s studio was under construction while we were there. They’ve just moved from a more warehousey part of Barcelona to a fancy district that is quiet where they were able to find a beautiful studio space for cheaper than in the more artist-dense area (I guess it’s getting too trendy or something).



In addition to beautiful/magical/enthralling lighting, Goula/Figuera also design furniture. I loved leafing through their sketchbook, admiring their concepts for chairs, benches, and other furnishings.


I had never been to Barcelona before and was in love with the adventurous spirit of design there. Unlike other older European cities like Paris, the architecture isn’t uniform and conformist. The buildings are all different and distinct, covered in architectural flourishes, pattern, and bizarre geometry. The innovation behind Goula/Figuera’s work seems directly linked to the city’s history of non-conformist creativity. This is, after all, the city where Gaudí got famous.


These light sculptures can be hung individually or grouped together. I’m sourcing some for a client right now and we’re using a couple because we want to cover more horizontal space but they also look great by themselves in more contained spaces.


You might be wondering where the bulbs are, but these are actually LED and the bulb is hidden within the black canopy at the bottom.


Álvaro Goula, one half of Goula/Figuera.


More sketches and inspiration. Every little scratch in this sketchbook reflected the strong perspective that comes through in the lighting. If I lived in a cartoon world, I’d definitely have Goula/Figuera draw all my furniture, accessories, and lighting.


More of Goula/Figuera’s incredible work can be seen on their website and is available for purchase in their shop. To follow them obsessively on Instagram, click here. Bye now!


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Studio Tour: The Ethereal Paintings of Beth Winterburn


Dear People With Naked Walls,

I was wandering around a big box store yesterday, eyeing all the new stuff they have, really enjoying myself, when I came across something that irked me a little bit. Giant, gross photographic prints stretched onto canvases and sold as filler art. You see this type of filler art everywhere, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. There are definitely great online resources for beautiful reproductions by real artists (Minted Art is one of my favorites). But there’s also a lot of junk out there. So when I saw these nasty fake art reproductions yesterday all I could think to myself was “JUST GO OUT AND MEET AN ARTIST AND ASK THEM TO MAKE YOU SOMETHING INSTEAD OF BUYING THIS GARBAGEART.”

But it’s not always easy to meet artists. They’re aloof, they’re all off sitting somewhere wearing berets, smoking cigarettes, pondering their destinies. So I’m going to make a point to introduce you to as many artists as I can. Today, we’re waddling around in the Memphis, Tennessee studio of Beth Winterburn, who creates beautiful atmospheric paintings that’ll send you into a dream state. So put down that full-sized whole chicken you’re eating and follow me as we ogle some artwork.

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Dream Come True: New Hommemaker Editor is an Insanely Talented Ceramist!

Photography by Jess Diab


Dear Working Momz,

Between shuttling the kids I don’t have to nonexistent soccer practice, preparing an imagined dinner for the husband I don’t have, and balancing all that all with the actual job I actually have, I’ve been spread a little too thin to work as much on this site as I’d like. One of my favorite things about Homepolish is how engaging and exciting my job is. But the problem with something being engaging and exciting is that it doesn’t leave you much time to do other stuff. This is why I came to the conclusion recently that I needed some help keeping this blog running. So I interviewed about a million people to be my new blog assistant and Hommemaker editor. And this is how I met Jess Diab.

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Whut Glamour: Anna Ullman’s Beautiful Art Studio

Photographs by Orlando Soria


Dear Art Peepers,

You know how sometimes you wanna go to a party but no one invites you so you just invite yourself and go anyway? I basically did that over the weekend when I invited myself to Anna Ullman’s studio, where I spent over an hour ogling all her crazy beautiful work and chatting with her about her life. She was incredibly welcoming and told me all about her life and work. Sometimes people who meet me are taken aback by my 200-questions approach to talking. I ask a lot of questions because I’m interested and also because someday I want to be an amazing interviewer like Terry Gross.

I discovered Anna’s work through Instagram, when I fell in love with a beautiful, geometric painting she posted that I knew immediately I had to own or I would die. In addition to being an insanely talented artist, Anna is a busy businesslady with a ridiculously impressive resume (studied at RISD, worked for Kelly Werstler, serves as an Art Director for a fashion brand) and still makes time to paint. She basically makes the rest of us look like disgusting sea cucumbers, bobbling all over the beach while she paints masterpieces and makes high-powered fashion decisions, holding a latte and a giant 80z cell phone, her shoulder pads sharp enough to cut glass, her hair crimped and teased until it reaches the ceiling. Wait, I just got off on a total 80z tangent that had nothing to do with reality. I’m sorry.


Anna’s studio is gorgeous and bright, in a top-secret neighborhood on the west side of Los Angeles. I kind of just want to go over there and sit every day. Surrounded by art. Wallowing in glamour.


Many of Anna’s works are monoprints, which means she paints ink onto a glass or metal panel and presses them onto paper, creating one-of-kind prints that a gorgeous, gestural, and flat.


Anna had a plate of beautiful handmade madeleines in her studio, which pleased my Frech boyfriend, who eats like 35 madeleines every day. Important True/Racist fact about French people: You can feed them 7000 madeleines every day and they will still always be skinnier than you and it will always be annoying. I wasn’t allowed to eat any madeleines because I explode like Ursula the Sea Witch if I eat a carb. Also I’m doing the paleo diet right now, which I’ll be writing about soon and is not as douchey and awful and obnoxious as you might think.



I loved this painting so much I put it under my trench coat and ran out of the studio, cackling all the way like the Hamburglar. No, but seriously I bought it. And I’m gonna put it in a modern frame (either white or birch, what do you think?).


Anna is an avid flea marketer. She found this great magazine rack at Rose Bowl. Gimme!


This was my favorite chair in the room, as evidenced by the 700 pictures of I took of it. It belonged to Anna’s grandfather and she had it restored and recaned to return it its former glory.



I want to smash all those paintings against my face. Forever. Until I die.




More of Anna’s prints. Dappled in afternoon light in her glamorous studio.





And finally me, posing like an actual psychopath, next to an artist who is as talented and kind as she is adorable.

Many of the pieces seen in Anna’s studio are available to purchase. So you should buy them. Today. Check out her website for more info…

Love, Orlando


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Pottery by P. Lyn Middleton

Photographs by P Lyn Middleton & Orlando Soria


Dear Travel Diary,

It’s been a whirlwind year so far, which has left little time for writing (sorry!) but I had a magical discovery over the weekend that I just can’t keep to myself. I went to Ojai with my boyfriend and some of his homies and one of the first shops we wandered into was the wonderful studio of P Lyn Middleton, a ceramicist who makes the most amazing avant pottery and runs P Space Pottery on Ojai Avenue.

Growing up, my best friend’s mother was a potter who made (and makes) the most amazing, innovative pieces. She was German, educated at fancy German design school, and influenced by Japanese minimalism and modern sculpture. I loved going to her house because everything in it was considered; she has an excitement for objects and filled her home with beautiful art, pottery, and natural artifacts that other people might look past but she found beautiful. There was always something exciting about her house because I always knew there would be a discovery. “I never noticed how beautiful pinecones are!” or “How sculptural and amazing are persimmons?”

Susanne French, the ceramic artist I’m talking about, has a soul sister in Ojai. Walking into P Lyn Middleton’s shop felt a little bit like walking into Susanne’s house, where I spent a lot of time every summer. There were beautiful things eveywhere, pottery adorned with natural objects and textiles.

Stylists love pottery because it’s original art and immediately gives a space a sense of uniqueness that cannot be replicated. Each piece P Lyn makes has a presence because its form cannot be replicated exactly. Additionally, the rough organic finish and the earthy hand-fired glazes give these pieces a warmth that can bring life into a room. Okay, I’ll stop losing my mind over pottery. To make a long story short, I’m hugely into it, and I think it’s often maligned as “craft” (what’s wrong with that anyway?) or someone’s charming hobby. It’s not. It’s beautiful and I think a great investment in something that is both practical and a piece of one-of-a-kind art that no one else has.


P Lyn’s store is somehow both maximal and minimal at the same time. I loved the plywood display and how the pieces were stacked and merchandised all over.


I snagged three of these lovely white slab plates ($30 each). I can’t wait to use them to serve appetizers at a dinner party and impress my guests so much that their eyeballs explode violently from their heads.

handmade-pottery-21I also snagged this bowl for $60. Some of the people I was shopping with thought this was expensive, but if you’ve shopped for handmade pieces before you know this is about $300 below average for a piece like this.

handmade-pottery-20I am obsessed with that organic white bowl with the rectangle in the middle but I couldn’t afford it ($200). It’s one of those things I’m going to have nightmares about because I wanted it so badly but perhaps someday I can find the person who ends up with it and murder them and steal it back from them. It reminds me of the incredible Calvin Klein Spring/Summer 2014 men’s collection which featured these amazing organic vs. graphic cloud shirts/sweatershirts. I also couldn’t afford those so I pretty much hate my whole life.

handmade-pottery-18I bought this live-edge bowl for $100, I couldn’t resist. The graphic glaze thrills and delights me.


Everyone should use dried weeds to decorate their houses. Forever. All the time.

handmade-potttery-22You can see P Lyn’s influences all over her shop. River rocks, twigs, tumbleweeds. All these natural elements provide the basis of her visual vocabulary. I hate myself that I just said “visual vocabulary,” but you know what I mean. Right? Guys? Is anyone still reading? WHY AM I WRITING SO MUCH IT’S JUST POTTERY???

handmade-pottery-4Girl, a pomegranate never looked so good!

handmade-pottery-3I wanted this, but I didn’t buy it because I would be bankrupt if I did. Another reason why my life is stupid and meaningless.


handmade-pottery-19Literally even the crappy crumpled up used tissue paper in P Lyn’s store looked awesome.


handmade-pottery-15Love this rough edge white bowl, accessorized with airplants (which I’m really good at killing, btw).


If you’d like to visit P Lyn Middleton’s wonderland, it’s located at 928 East Ojai Avenue, Ojai, California 93023. The address is one the door’s window, which reflects onto the floor depending what time of day you’re there. So you should probably plan on staying there all day long, just so you don’t miss anything. Also, when you’re there please buy me that white rectangle Calvin Klein bowl.



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New Simply Framed Graphic Art by Erika Gragg

Photographs by Sean Gin Courtesy Homepolish


Dear Art Oglers,

One time, when Erika Gragg and I were freshman at Cornell, I called her a Barbie in painting class. She never forgave me. She brings it up a lot. We’ll be just eating lunch somewhere random and she’ll be like “REMEMBER WHEN YOU CALLED ME A BARBIE?” And then everyone in the restaurant will drop their forks and glare at me, knowing what a horrible person I am for calling people Barbies just because they have blond hair and laugh a lot. Since being traumatized by me in college, Erika has gone on to create beautiful drawings, paintings, and prints. I’ve been coveting them for years, so I finally commissioned her to make me some drawings, which I love and make out with every day.


Erika chose to do a lovely hang-painted triptych on beautiful, thick watercolor paper with rough edges. I wanted to bring more green in to my living room, and the vibrant color she chose rocks my world. Erika is heavily influenced by her tropical childhood. She grew up in Miami and since I’ve known her has always been enthralled with palm trees, bright colors, and anything wild and graphic. My love for all things pastel can be traced to the first time she took me to visit her family in Miami and I fell in love with all that deco goodness, all those faded happy colors.


Because custom framing is expensive and schlepping art all over town is annoying, I opted to try out a service I’ve been curious about for a while. Simply Framed allows you to choose the style of your frame and mat, then they send you a tube or mailer, you stick your art in there and mail it to them and it comes back completely framed and ready to go. You literally don’t have to go outside. You can sit inside, alone, sweating and eating frosting like Goldie Hawn in “Death Becomes Her” after her husband leaves. Simply Framed even sends hanging hardware, yet another way they help you to remain a lazy disgusting slob who is scared to go outside.


The side tables come from Crate & Barrel and I find the fact that they’re nesting tables incredibly reassuring. It’s like they’re sitting there, holding my awesome lamp from Target, snuggling each other saying “I love you.”


Simply Framed did an exquisite job framing Erika’s work. My favorite part is how perfectly they floated each piece, accentuating the beautiful deckled edge of the paper.


I love staring at these pieces because they have the tropical, bright, bold aesthetic that I’ve long wanted to bring into my apartment. The added bonus is that they remind me of my friend Erika and spending time with her and her family in Miami. ALSO I’M SORRY I CALLED YOU A BARBIE ERIKA I WAS TOTALLY JOKING ARE YOU OVER IT YET?


Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post but I did receive gifted items from Simply Framed. I sought out their services on my own volition and the opinions I’ve expressed about their products and services are genuine and my own. If you like this blog and want to support my ability to pay for the cost of running it, please support me by clicking on the Simply Framed link to show them I have engaged, intelligent readers who are superior to everyone else on earth. 


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Further Proof That Paint is Magic

Photographs Courtesy Kyung Woo Han


Dear Pool Party People,

I came across the work of Kyung Woo Han recently while I was wandering aimlessly around the internet and I just had to share it even though he made this piece in 2009 which is like 500 years ago in internet years. Basically, he used wall paint to transform an indoor space into an optical illusion swimming pool (i.e. my dream home). As you probably know, I am a huge fan of transform a space using just paint and aqua is my favorite color, so this is basically the most important thing I’ve ever seen in my life.




When I first saw this work my brain exploded and I was like “WAIT I DON’T GET IT.” Luckily, then I found this video that kind of explains what’s going on:



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Get In My Eyeballz: Gray Malin’s ‘Dream’ Series

Photographs Courtesy Gray Malin

Cyan Sheep II

Dear Gray Malin,

You may remember yourself from the glamorous One Kings Lane home makeover we did together months ago, where we first met and became friends. I remember you from all the wonderful photos you take that are like candy for my eyeballz. Your newest body of work is an extremely fun project called The Dream Series. It’s a surreal, beautiful series featuring hypercolor sheep in the gorgeous Australian countryside, waddling around, being themselves, not caring what anyone else thinks. Don’t be scared, the dyes Gray used are totally harmless, vegetable-based pigments that wash off with water. The sheep were all “I didn’t even feel that.”

The series was inspired by a story Gray read several years ago about a Scottish sheep farmer who colored the fleece of his flock in an effort to deter thieves who had been regularly thieving his sheep at night. This practical use of color to maintain the safety of the sheep sparked the idea to use it to turn the flock into a colorful collective of multicolored fuzzballz, representing individuality and freedom. Check out the images:

Double Rainbow_

In the Field II

In the Field III

In the Field

Pink Sheep

Purple Sheep

Rainbow Sheep II

Rainbow Sheep III

Red and Green Sheep

Standing Out from the Crowd

You can check out more of the images from the series and see the adorable video about how it was made on Gray Malin’s Website.

Oh, and 20% of the proceeds of this series is going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation (remember Bat Kid?) so buy up!



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Whut Glamour: Robert Bingaman’s Night Pool Series

Photographs Courtesy Robert Bingaman’s Website


Dear Art Nerd,

Every once in a while I see paintings and wish I’d made them and it infuriates me and makes me want to punch the computer whilst screaming “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY!” These amazing pool paintings by Robert Bingaman are the perfect example. I love how simple yet totally intoxicating they are. I just want to jump inside these paintings and live in them forever, saying goodbye to the worries of the real world where you have to do boring things like eat breakfast and dress yourself every day. Enjoy Robert’s Night Pool series here and check out the rest of his work on his website.








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