We love everything about good design. Design lessons and observations come along everyday that inspire us.  We present our favorites in Observations From My Desert Home, Dinner Party Flowers and The Color Journal.  Stay connected with us on these subjects and more through our blog - DESIGN LESSONS.  See if what inspires us might inspire you!

A Greeting to Summer & Homage to South Africa

DINNER PARTY FLOWERS  –  Just a couple of months ago it was early summer in Phoenix when the days were hot but the evenings were still cool (hard to believe now!) Perfect for dining outside. My studio created flowers for an outdoor dinner party  with the focal point being a beautiful,… read more

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Colors Come To Life At Taliesin

I moved to Phoenix, Arizona this past year and, as a result, I have developed a newfound interest in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. From 1938 until his death in 1959, Mr. Wright came to Arizona for the winters where he had his office, school and home known as… read more

TOUCHSTONES: Fantastic Color from NeoCon

I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago attending the annual contract furnishings trade show, NeoCon. I always look forward to seeing the latest in contract furniture and fabrics and the clever ways manufacturers exhibit their products each year. The look of NeoCon, the showrooms, the displays and the events,… read more


CONTRIBUTED BY S.W.M. Art historians use the term “local color” to refer to the color of an object as it appears in nature–the yellow of a banana or the green of a leaf. When color is depicted, it’s something else entirely. Sometimes very surprising combinations of hues are required to… read more

TOUCHSTONES: Travel – Azuelos in Portugal

This is my favorite pousada in Portugal – Pousada de Arraiolos, Nossa Senhora da Assuncao, part of a government run-program created to promote tourism by preserving and adapting buildings of historic and architectural significance into hotels. These properties let you sleep and dine in manor houses, convents, monasteries, and palaces… read more

THE ART OF COLOR: Color and Transparency

CONTRIBUTED BY S.W.M. Depiction with oil paint is a magical process, and color is perhaps the most significant part of that magic. By studying digital photographs of paintings–sites such as Closer to Van Eyck or Google’s Cultural Institute–we can see how an artist creates an illusion, down to the very… read more

HOMETOWN: New Orleans – Porch No. 1

CONTRIBUTED BY Revati Alice Locke A unique porch in New Orleans is almost a cliché. However, an unexpected encounter with one so covered in touch is still charming to me. I find this one particularly intriguing because it feels so private, studied, and showy all at the same time. What… read more

HOMETOWN: New Orleans – The Chromatics of Mardi Gras

New Orleans has its own cuisine, its own music, and its own seasons.  Over the past ten days houses all over town have taken on raiments of purple, green, and gold and are just as generously and imaginatively decked out as they are at Christmas time.  While most U.S. cities… read more

THE ART OF COLOR: Mannerist Color

CONTRIBUTED BY S.W.M. I saw two works of art last week that–although painted 300 years apart–were united by an amazing DNA of color. Thomas Hart Benton’s “People of Chilmark” and Gerrit van Honthorst’s “The Concert” share the attributes of Mannerism: energetic, churning compositions that seem to thumb their nose at… read more

IN THE STUDIO: Patterned Tiles with Up-to-Date Style

The UK tile company, Original Style, has a beautiful line of unglazed, patterned ceramic tiles called Odyssey. We are considering two of these patterns, Romanesque and Quatrefoil, for the floor of a butler pantry and rear entry hall in a client’s historic Victorian house. While our design for the interior is… read more