Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuscan Design and Decor

Hello Barbies!

As each of you know, my love for European, particularly Tuscan, décor and design is no secret. I fell in love with (and frankly, first became aware of) this decorating and architectural style when hubby and I moved to Texas for me to go to law school in 2009.

Growing up in North Carolina, virtually every home I'd ever seen or been in was colonial, traditional or occasionally craftsman style, and always with décor to follow each of those themes. My mother always had a very traditional decorating style, as did most of my friends and their parents, but in Houston, Old World Tuscany had found its way into almost every home. From the architecture to the wall colors and finishes down to the use of wrought iron anywhere and everywhere, Europe was everywhere you looked... and I fell in love. How could you not fall in love with this look?

Tuscan décor is characterized by drama, romance and feelings of Old World Europe. Some people take Tuscany down a rustic route (like we tried to do with our dining room table that Hubby just built) with intentionally crumbling stone walls and distressed wood while others do the refined Tuscan look, with heavy crystal chandeliers, ornate wood working and tufted upholstered furniture.

What has been cool for me to watch is this style of decorating seeping into homes outside of the Southwest and California. For example, in NC I'm now seeing more dark bronze (or "oil rubbed bronze" as many companies refer to it) door knobs, fixtures and faucets. I've also begun to notice more East Coasters beginning to decorate with iron and tufted furniture, especially tufted headboards. First the iron appeared in gardens and on exterior walls of the house but now I see iron scrolls over doorways and iron balusters on staircases, just like they always were in Texas. Tuscan design is making a move! I love it!

If you're as captivated by Tuscan design and architecture as I am and you're looking for books and style guides on the topic, I highly recommend The Ultimate Tuscan Home Decorating Guide by renowned European decorator, Patrice Walker. To order it, click here . This e-book really is a fabulous source  for Tuscan decorating and design tips. Even if you don't end up incorporating any Tuscan touches into your current house, the pictures are just mesmerizing to go through! My favorite parts of the book were the tips on using existing and new lighting sources to create the Tuscan ambiance and the section that teaches how to faux paint your walls (on the cheap!) with Tuscan painting techniques. Ross and I are toying with the idea of doing an accent wall in our lower hall in one of the faux techniques from the book. It also has tips on picking out curtains and furniture with Tuscan undertones.

Some of my other favorite things about Tuscan décor? THE DOORWAYS! With all of their iron and beveled glass, aren't they just breathtaking?

I also love all of the courtyards. Italians are famous for their love for outdoor living - and they sure do it in style.

How about the Tuscan kitchens? We tried to model ours after this style in many respects, including iron scroll on the oven hood, using the distressed white cabinets, using distressed cream colored stone tiles for our backsplash and incorporating our giant iron chandelier, but we certainly fell short of these amazing Tuscan kitchens. I'm sure my horrible cooking would just bring them down anyway.

And the pools! Ahhhhh! Such great pool inspiration!

And if you dream of Tuscany but want to start slow, you can always buy art or tapestries that exude the Old World Italian vibe until you're ready to go all-in. This one is a cute example (sorry barbs, don't know where this can be purchased).

Thanks for indulging my love for Tuscany barbies! If you have your own favorite Tuscan design books or architectural elements that define Tuscan design for you, be sure to comment below and share your ideas. Thanks for reading barbs! xox


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