We visited one of our trusted Hermès vendors in the South of France recently, on a mission to find the perfect inspiration for our newest top secret project in Paris. We often start with art to set the tone and the feel of the project before we design anything else in the home. You may recall a few of our recent projects in Paris, and their artistic muses:
The inspiration for the Beaune apartment was this beautiful painting, which drove the pale pink and white check chairs (that became a Pinterest favorite, much to our surprise!)
The inspiration for Cairanne was a gorgeous Hermès scarf.
In the living room of that same apartment, we used this painting by Huff Harrington artist Kelley Ogburn to drive the palette for the rest of the apartment and provide a great foil for the antiques.
We pulled out the chartreuse color of the painting and tied it to a few other elements, including the oversized lumbar on the couch.
For one of our favorite projects, Cremant, the soft taupe/brown and rose color scheme was inspired by this painting by our artist, Augusta Wilson.
I've always thought this was one of the most soothing and restful bedrooms in Paris.
And for our most recent project, the Conti apartment, we fell in love with the black and gold hues of this beautiful Hermès scarf.
This artwork drove the theme for the apartment, from the sconces to the curtains, and everything in between.
For our newest project (a beautiful apartment that we can't talk about too much yet except that it's in a Haussmann building with a view of the Eiffel Tower on our favorite avenue in Paris!), we had the itch for navy blue.
I'm not sure where the itch came from but I know that we were inspired by this navy blue accent wall, with a great design by Brian Watford in Atlanta Homes & LIfestyles.
And we've all salivated over Courtney Walker's use of navy blue as an accent color in these kitchen cabinets.
We've also had some fun with blue and white vignettes in our own home store.
Blue and White vignettes at Huff Harrington Home.
So it seemed like a natural that we were leaning towards navy blue accents for the design of the new apartment and all we needed was something to set the tone. Enter Hermès:
When we came across this pretty blue and gold scarf from our (not so favorite) vendor, on this cold and windy February morning, we grabbed it – and began to dream about the accessories that it would inspire. It was until I unpacked it later, in my bare hands that I immediately recognized the issue: This did NOT feel like the soft silken vintage Hermès scarfs that we’ve come to know and love. Suspicious that something was amiss, I looked for a few tell-tale signs of genuine Hermès quality: The hand stitching (check), the rolled hem (check -- sort of), the matching color thread (check), the “100% silk made in France” tag (not there – but that little piece often falls off, so that wasn’t a red flag), and then the tell-tale sign that this was a fake: HERMÈS was spelled without the accent grave!
Some might say this was an accent waiting to happen! But what to do, now that we know it's a fake? A few years ago, when we were buying a grouping of Hermès scarves from one vendor, we realized later that one of them was a fake. We used it at the store to show our clients how to distinguish it from the real deal – and it was a great prop. Someone did come along and want to buy it, despite our disclaimers, and since it was a pretty scarf, we were happy to oblige – with a great discount of course! So will this one end up on the floor as a teachable moment too? Or will it end up in the apartment anyway, in the form of a pillow – with no pretense of being an Hermes (see? No accent!).
We still need a little "real" inspiration for this next project, and luckily we have access to a gallery filled with fine, original, one-of-a-kind art from which to choose:
I'm thinking Trade Winds, 12 x 12, by Theresa Girard:
Or maybe this gorgeous and ethereal Flourish, 50 x 58, by Debora Stewart.
Or we can't go wrong with this multi-colored happy beauty by Gee Gee Collins, Pattern Play, 24 x18:
Stay tuned and we'll let you know about our latest inspo!
And for those of you who are smitten with the look and feel of a real vintage Hermès, how do you avoid making the same mistake that I did? Well we made it easy for you with a blog we wrote a few months ago, when we shared our secrets about our obsession, Hermès with an accent. (I guess I needed a refresher!)