Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

In Conversation

In Conversation: Annabelle Moehlmann of Land of Belle

Annabelle Moehlmann was inspired to start Land of Belle after going through the wedding registry process. She realized there was not a destination where she could register for—or even shop—her favorite home accessories, many of which were discovered on travels.

With Land of Belle, she intends to showcase the world’s leading boutique home accessories brands and artisans with others who share her passion for beautiful craftsmanship, love of unique pieces, and endless wanderlust.

Prior to starting the company, Moehlmann worked in the design world in different capacities before leading brand partnerships and business development at Indagare, a luxury travel company. Discover Annabelle’s long life passion for beautiful and unique pieces, the tabletop pieces you should splurge on and why pop ups are key for her business in today’s conversation.

Dear Annabelle, first of all I would like to know what prompted you to launch ‘Land of Belle’?

I was inspired to start Land of Belle because it merged my love of travel and passion for design. I realized that so much that I love about travel is discovering the design heritage of the places I visit and  after going through the wedding registry process. I realized there was not a destination where I could register for—or even shop—my favorite home accessories, many of which were discovered on travels. I decided to start with pop-ups to test the concept and see if people were interested in our aesthetic, and the items on offer. When our first pop-up was well-received, we decided the build the site which consists of an online store, a wedding registry platform, and a blog,  and we continue to put on seasonal pop-up stores so that our customers have a chance to meet us, understand the brand and shop the collection in person.

In terms of decorating, how would you define your style? 

I’m a firm believer in the idea that if you collect you love, they will always work together. I don’t go in for the matchy-matchy, select every fabric and piece of furniture for a specific room look. I love contrast—a light, airy room filled deep hued, sumptuous velvets and romantic prints, or a jewel-toned room filled with gorgeous antiques upholstered in drop cloth white linen. I think spaces should always remind you of the places and things you love most, and so my favorite rooms tend to have something that evokes memories of the islands, summer and the sea, and always include a beautiful palm. I love a mix of beautiful antiques—Biedermeier, campaign and revival-style furniture paired with sleek, simple contemporary and midcentury pieces. Always an antique rug or a sisal, or both! I love the relaxed look of bamboo and wicker furniture, and almost anything with caning. It’s all about the combination of textures: the cool feel of a marble topped table, beautifully carved wood, the softness of a plush velvet, the subtle dimension of seagrass etc.  I am drawn toward cool colors—pale aquas, warm olives, powder blues, crisp mint green—and adore a bold wallpaper or a room upholstered in a beautiful fabric. A romantic floral or botanical print, a Madeleine Castaing stripe, Fortuny, and fresh Indian block prints are definitely favorites. And I never say no to a classic, natural grasscloth. If I had to sum it up, I might say my style is old-world classic but a bit undone, well-lived in and never fully finished.

‘Spring of Blecker’ Land of Belle’s latest Pop Up in New York

What are the 3 things you would recommend to splurge on when it comes to table top?

1.Beautiful glassware

2.Plates with personality

3.Refined flatware

Your ‘Spring on Bleecker’ Pop Up alongside RAC and Marlo Laz just opened in Blecker Street filled with beautiful home décor, fashion and jewels. Do you think Pop Ups are key for online businesses? What are your favourite pieces from this new collection that you have just launched?

I do. Especially when you’re selling items that are of a certain price point, it’s really important for customers to be able to interact with them in person and understand the way they really look and feel. Photographs are helpful but they only show so much. It’s hard to understand the quality of a handblown glass or a beautiful linen without holding it in your hand. We love introducing our audience to our collections in person, so that they can trust in our quality when shopping with us online and also so they can understand the feeling and identity of our brand.

Some favorite new pieces include our White Daydream glasses made in collaboration with Laguna B, our new tablecloths by d’Ascoli (especially our exclusive olive colorway), new hand-painted Mexican trays and our parrot plates by Laboratorio Paravicini. We are also really excited about the beautiful abstract paintings that Renée Bouchon made for our shop, and the bamboo and rattan furniture we have on offer here at the pop-up.

What was the process like designing the pop up space? Where did you find inspiration? 

The process was really about designing a space that celebrates the height of the spring season. For the front room where Land of Belle lives, I brought in some favorite design elements in that evoke my favorite places and loved seeing how they interplayed and came together to create a narrative. I wanted the store to feel feminine, charming and old-world but fresh and updated at the same time, and most importantly, to spark happiness for anyone who comes through our doors. We painted the walls in Farrow & Ball’s Pavilion Blue, a forever favorite. It’s an ethereal greenish blue that feels airy, fresh but still neutral depending on the light. The color is a small nod to island life while still feeling perfectly at home in the city. We painted the floors white to imbue the space with a light quality fitting for Spring. For the front room, I selected a romantic, floral wallpaper from Schumacher. It’s on a pale, bluish white ground with vivid fuchsia and cranberry blooms, with leafy greens and hints of celadon. I adore it so much I think I’ll find a spot for it in our apartment. For furniture, all of which is for sale, we sourced some wonderful bamboo and rattan furniture—both vintage and new–down in Palm Beach and also selected a couple of beautiful pieces from Demiurge New York: A textural and spare round dining table constructed from gorgeous 18th century chestnut, along with a pair of fun, sculptural white ceramic lamps. In addition to paintings by Renée Bouchon on offer, I pulled some small pieces from my person collection including a couple of Indian miniatures I picked up in Udaipur, a small Candida Höfer photograph, and some old prints of the souk in Marrakech.  In the end, I hope the front room of the shop feels like a stateside summer cottage of an Italian in the 60s: Dreamy, charming and inviting.

For the center nook of the store, Marlo Laz’s founder Jesse Laskowski selected Schumacher’s Chinois Palais in tangerine. She paired it with an Ultrafragola mirror by Ettore Sottsass and a few contemporary pieces including a bone inlay chair, and a lucite side table, for a look that is decidedly bold, fun, and whimsical with a dash of rock n’ roll. The perfect spot to try on her stunning collection of fine jewelry (and to take a selfie, of course).

The third room of the shop, where RAC Lifestyle has taken up residence, is all about showcasing their eclectic assortment of fashion and accessories from unique brands. A large scale Renée Bouchon canvas in bold blues, black and white hangs over a seagrass console by Schumacher, and customers can make themselves at home on a pair Alky Chairs by Giancarlo Piretti newly upholstered in a sky blue silk velvet.

Spring on Blecker runs through May 30 – 373 Bleeker Street – Open daily 10 am- 7pm

For more information visit http://www.landofbelle.com                                                                         Images: Portrait: Nora Griffel for Tory Burch  |   Pop Up: Allaire Bartel

In Conversation: Jessica Buckley

Established in 2011, Jessica Buckley Interiors is now a flourishing interior design practice offering a full range of residential design services to clients throughout the UK as well as international projects in Sydney, USA or Kuwait.

In 2018, Jessica launched her eponymous shop in Edinburgh selling fine homewares and accessories.

Jessica designs inviting, stylish and elegant interiors that reflect her clients’ unique tastes, personalities and lifestyle. Her fresh aesthetic is a result of a life long passion for beautifully decorated homes and her appreciation for living in a home that you truly love.

Get to know this talented interior designer on today’s conversation.

Dear Jessica, first of all, I would like to know when did your passion for interiors start.

It feels as though I have been interested in interiors all my life: I was constantly rearranging the furniture in my bedroom when I was a child. I wasn’t aiming to achieve any result in particular but I liked the way the different layouts changed the feel of the room. I am also very curious about other people’s homes and loved exploring my friend’s homes when I was invited to visit. It wasn’t until much later in life that this latent passion was re-ignited and I pursued it as a career choice.

Edinburgh Georgian flat 

St Andrews country house

When it comes to decorating, how would you define your style?

Our designs are often a hybrid of the clean, polished American style and the cosy, comfortable, traditional English approach to decorating.  I love to layer colour and pattern and I like to slightly mismatch in order to create rooms which feel like they have evolved gradually over time.

Edinburgh family home

Edinburgh Townhouse

Who are the past or present interior designers that you admire the most?

Oh, so many! Anna Spiro and Nina Campbell were designers I admired right at the very start of my career: I loved Anna’s bold approach to colour and Nina’s beautifully refined rooms which are always so quietly luxurious. I still admire their work today. Rita Konig and Sarah Vanrenen’s work is so fresh and relevant: they have a great way of designing rooms to look like they have been effortlessly put together. Ashley Whittaker, Meg Braff, and a host of other US designers are also huge influences on me: I love the crisp clean style of American design. The Americans do bathrooms and kitchens with great élan.

A project by Sarah Vanrenen

What part of the design process for a home/ room do you enjoy the most

Without a doubt, it’s selecting the fabrics. Floor plans and lighting and selecting furniture is all great too but the choice of fabrics is what makes it really come alive for me.

West Lothian Country House

Thank you so much Jessica!

For more information visit http://www.jessicabuckley.co.uk

In Conversation : Sylvia Melián Randolph

Sylvia Melián had previously worked as a stylist and collaborator of renown interior design magazines before joining forces with her sister Victoria (who had been working as an interior designer since 1988) Melián-Randolph was founded in 2000 and since then, this successful interior design duo have been synonymous of colourful, comfortable and sophisticated interiors. Based in Madrid and with an international clientele, Sylvia and Victoria have been leaving their unique mark in every project they do.

Discover Sylvia Melián inspiration, childhood memories, thoughts on what’s like to work with her sister and more in today’s conversation.

Sylvia Melian is co-founder of Melian-Randolph a sucessful interior design studio based in Madrid

Sylvia Melián Randolph. Photography Clara Urquijo 

Dear Sylvia, how would you define your style?

It is: intuitive, reflective, flexible, eclectic, spontaneous, humorous, unpredictable.

It is not: trendy, gimmicky, unattainable, over-thought, complicated, rigid, over-referenced, flashy.

A home in Sotogrande designed by Melian Randolph | Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez A home in Sotogrande designed by Melian Randolph | Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

A project in Sotogrande. Photograpy Martín García Perez

What’s the most inspiring interior that you have ever visited?

I am inspired by all interiors that are personal and that reflect the personality and needs of the owner. I am drawn to interiors that enhance the culture and traditions of the place where it sits, be it a humble family home in a village in Andalusia, a modern loft in an American city or an artist’s studio on a Mexican beach. I am inspired when I am transported into an environment that has soul and therefore is daring, whimsical or even austere…interiors can be simple too! Everything inspires me and makes me curious, even the simplest things. Finding beauty in that is what becomes interesting; like a great catch, like an “aha” moment. With the abundance of visuals on the internet everyone tends to have the same easy references. “Good taste” is everywhere; I find that predictable, boring. I like character, it’s like owning a big nose and not wanting surgery to fix it.

Hotel Roommate Valeria  in Málaga designed by Melián Randolph.  Hotel Roommate Valeria  in Málaga designed by Melián Randolph. 

Hotel Roommate Valeria  in Málaga designed by Melián Randolph. Photography Martín García Perez

What’s the most challenging part of working with your sister Victoria? And the most rewarding?

What is important in every partnership is to understand where your partner’s strength lies. My sister Victoria has the capacity of anticipating the possibilities as soon as she walks into a space that needs renovation. She can look at floor plans, immediately seeing the potential and she can imagine the layouts according the client’s requirements. She is very good with volumes and wise with spaces so that that the client will always have what he needs to live comfortably. This job requires the knowledge to be able to adapt the sensible with the wow factor; in other words: to live comfortably but in a unique space. My sister Victoria is very good also at solving complex technical requirements, it’s a challenge that she thrives on. Contractors love her!  Our work as a team is crucial and must be coherent so that the container my sister builds can live with the content that I want to propose for the client. The resulting interior that is harmonious and flows visually is the challenge and the reward.

Sylvia and Victoria Melian Randolph, the sucessful interior design duo Melian Randolph | Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

Sylvia with her sister, Victoria Melián. Photograpy Martín García Perez

In terms of decorating, what was the most valuable lesson that you have learnt from your mother, Mary Melián?

The elegant mix of textures, cultures, origins, colors, proportions. She also brought nature into the house: palm leaves flat on the tables, branches in simple vases, dramatic shells, corals. She could make the most rustic objects appear chic. She had that flair and the panache to carry it off. I always remember her love of wrought irons and elaborate adorned tiles set against stark white walls, empty unadorned spaces, heavy earthenware, white canvas sofas, exotic fabrics….That mix between masculine and feminine elements was very poetic.

A project in Marrakech by Melian Randolph | Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez A project in Marrakech. Photography Asier Rua

A kitchen in Sotogrande designed by Melian Randolph | Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

A kitchen in Sotogrande. Photography Martín García Perez

I adore the photo of you and your sister Eugenia in your home in Sotogrande by Slim Aarons. How was the experience of being in front of Slim’s camera? How do you remember Sotogrande in the 70s?

Slim was a good friend of my mother, Mary Melián. They met in Andalusia, Spain, in the late 60’s when he was on assignment for Holiday magazine in Marbella and Alfonso Hohenlohe, the founder of the Marbella Club, introduced him to my mother and Sotogrande. Sotogrande was a new resort that was being built in the province of Cadiz and already attracting interesting people escaping the bling crowds because of its rural feel and the fantastic golf and polo facilities, a first in Spain.

Sylvia and Eugenia Randolph at her home in Sotogrande photgraphed by Slim Aarons | Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

Sylvia with her sister Eugenia photographed by Slim Aarons at their Sotogrande home. Eugenia Melián, who works in the fashion industry, is the author of  must-read blog Fashion Sphinx (she has a very interesting article about Slim Aarons) and she has recently published her first novel ‘Wildchilds’

Both my mother and Slim had strong personalities, very firm visual codes and bold narratives. The only small difference was that my mother only wanted to be surrounded by hues of blues, whites and greens. And Slim was the opposite.

My mother and Slim instantly became good friends and she also helped Slim for many years, introducing him to the Sotogrande families: she would take him to the golf club, have a cocktail party for him, take him in the afternoons to the polo matches, introduce and introduce. If he was missing a shot, he would shoot it at our sunny and spacious home.

I remember him very cheerful, charming, tall and slim but after a bit of chitchat he was down to business…‘who is in Sotogrande, who is playing polo, who is having a party, any Americans, any Maharanees?’

Slim LOVED color, and my mother always said, “Slim, this is not Palm Beach! He just reiterated: “I want more color!”

Our Mother enjoyed Slim’s company, as fellow Americans, but it was also hard work, and Slim was very much a demanding photojournalist. Finally, after many years of friendship, he asked Mother if she would like a family picture as a gift and she said she would love a picture to use as the family Christmas card. I remember she set up the shot, and he asked her to remove her white shirt and wear pink AND worst of all, to put colorful flowers in the shot…when she prepared a vase with white oleanders or something even more discreet, he made her change them for bright pink ones and rust-colored bougainvillaea! She almost had a heart attack, never, ever, did she wear pink nor put out bright bougainvillaea anywhere. Slim won that battle.

I personally remember that shoot as excruciating. In it are my 2 sisters Victoria and Eugenia, my brother Arturo and my parents. Even our dog Jackie looks grumpy and uncomfortable. We probably had to sit there FOR HOURS while Slim moved things around and reorganized the props as he always did. And we were surely told to change clothes ten times because Slim did the styling and had to control everything.

Sylvia with her parents, brother and sisters and their dog Jackie in Sotogrande photographed by Slim Aarons

Sylvia with her parents, brother and sisters and their dog Jackie in Sotogrande photographed by Aarons

As you probably know, I have worked styling shoots for interior design magazines for eleven years. I posed for Slim four times. He was a hyperactive and extremely hardworking man. He had a clear idea in his head of what the shot would or should look like and he made it happen at any cost, working on it for hours and hours until the shot was perfect, and this is something that you can see in his photos. Nothing was left to chance, every vase, every plant, dog or person was placed and replaced and replaced until it found its place and the photo was well balanced out. I can understand his obsession with having color…one thing is what you, the person posing, likes, and another is what looks best in the magazine. He wanted color because the resulting photographs would be more appealing, festive and attractive. I have lived this myself as an interiors stylist for so many years. Photos that have color in them are more desirable and have more impact.

Sylvia Melian in Sotogrande photographed by Slim Aarons

Sylvia at her family home in Sotogrande photographed by Slim Aarons

I remember once he shot us in front of the house for Holiday magazine when we were small kids, in 1970. He wanted us on horseback and at the time there were no horse vans in the area so the horses had to be ridden all the way to the house which took two hours and was a huge hassle, and then he wanted the grooms that were riding those horses to pose in full  “traje corto” garb with “Cordobés” hats and all. I have no idea where they got those outfits then because at that time in the Spain of the 60’s and early 70’s no village sold those because there was no money for such frivolity, but what Slim wanted Slim obtained, like the iron bench in another shot he took of me in the guest room patio at home, where he had me pose lying on a solid wrought iron bed which weighed hundreds of pounds and had to be carried over the rooftop of my house from one patio to another because it could not fit through the doors….that operation took all day, with long ropes and lots of strong men pulling and hauling…just for one shot, but that was how it was with Slim.

Shot by Slim Aarons for Holiday Family at Sylvia Melian Sotogrande Home  Slim Aarons for Holiday Magazine

Last week you presented your first fabric collection for Güell-Lamadrid at Paris Deco Off,  how did this collaboration come to be?

Güell-LaMadrid has supplied us with wonderful fabrics and wallpapers for nearly two decades. They are part of most of our projects and we can rely on them year after year to provide us with a wide array of their well-known basics as well as their seasonal releases. They asked us for this collaboration because they appreciated our “eclectic and sophisticated outlook.” The collection we designed for them is called Bloomsbury and includes linens, linen sheers, velvets, jacquards, cotton in four colorways that range from blues and greens to terracotta and ochres. The idea comes from the Bloomsbury Group, the unconventional close-knit circle of artists, writers and intellectuals in Britain during the first half of the XX Century and who were influenced by a great variety of styles and arts from abroad…Italian Renaissance frescoes, Portuguese tiles, Cezanne’s very modern paintings, the Fauvists wild colors, geometric forms of Islamic design, and of course, the motifs of English Arts and Crafts organic and botanical patterns.

The patterns of this collection range between the delicate and the bold. There is something in this collection for every interior. The collection also includes wallpapers in five colorways. We had a lot of fun working together.

                                                                                                                     Melian-Raldolph's collection for Güell-LaMadrid is called Bloomsbury and includes linens, linen sheers, velvets, jacquards, cottons in four colorways that range from blues and greens to terracotta and ochres. Melian-Raldolph's collection for Güell-LaMadrid is called Bloomsbury and includes linens, linen sheers, velvets, jacquards, cottons in four colorways that range from blues and greens to terracotta and ochres.

Photography Martín García Perez

Thank you so much, Sylvia!

For more information visit  http://www.melianrandolph.com