We were instantly drawn to Susan Brown’s romantic and feminine paintings – they are a natural fit with so much of our furniture, and we are thrilled to be able to expose her work to our Layla Grayce customers. Susan fuses her passion for painting, making music and writing to create floral paintings crafted with a sense of poetry and joyful exuberance. Inspired by her vision and the fabulous vintage collages we enjoy on her blog, we asked Susan to share her artistic point of view.
Romantic, inspiring and full of infinite mix and match possibilities, Bella Notte effortlessly blends colors, fabrics and textures into bedding that makes any room’s decor a showpiece while still lulling us into a good night’s sleep. It’s a thrill for us to present today’s poster, Kathleen McCoy, President and Designer of Bella Notte. This gorgeous line of luxury linens for the home and baby has swept us off our feet from day one. Take it away Kathleen!
Bella Notte is well known as a collection of luxury linens that also happens to be easy care. What was the inspiration for starting your business?
In the early nineties I had been doing a line of Polar fleece jackets. I attempted to introduce Linen into that line, and when this was unsuccessful, I was left with a surplus of Linen. On a whim, I made up a few duvet covers and shams, and accessorized the grouping with Velvet and Silk throw pillows and throw blankets. Having small children at the time, I knew I wanted to be able to easily wash whatever I put on my own bed – I had never used dry cleaners, so I loved the idea of beautiful yet fuss-free bedding. I brought the grouping down to the local furniture store and asked if I could display on their beds. They agreed, and requested I dress their beds for the International Furniture Show. From there, it seems the idea of easy care luxury bedding caught on. A lot of us appreciate lovely things, but just don’t want to be dictated by anything too high maintenance or restricting. Bella Notte Linens is neither, and thus can work for many lifestyles and aesthetics.
How would you define the look of Bella Notte?
Bella Notte is effortlessly elegant; sophisticated yet not serious with a modern romantic feel.
Bella Notte has a unique color palette that changes often. What influences your design and color selection?
Oh boy, so many things. But in the simplest form it is a visceral reaction. I know right away how a color feels to me. I am very attracted to soothing tones and that is why, with few exceptions, our palette remains subtle. That being said, the lusciousness of our new red, Crimson, is almost mouth watering. An unexpected color punch on a clean bed is always fun.
Is there a design related blog or publication that inspires you?
I read a lot and find inspiration in a variety of publications. I really enjoy Elle Decor, House Beautiful, and especially love a magazine from Australia called Inside Out.
Your baby bedding line is unlike any other… a beautiful blend of comfort and luxurious style. What can we look forward to seeing next from Bella Notte for little ones?
I think I am always after the perfect baby blanket. Gwen, Sophia and our Linen Whisper baby throws are all wonderful and whimsical. Alta and Cottonwood offer a clean, gender-neutral option. But I am still on the lookout for that next texture that will act as the ideal addition to any crib.
From the start your company has embraced the use of low-impact dyes and fabrics. Tell us about your company’s “Green” efforts.
We have always understood that manufacturing, by its very nature, takes a toll on our world and its resources. As the pioneer of garment dyed bedding, we felt that we could minimize our own footprint by employing only low impact non-toxic dyes. In addition, we have made the commitment to carefully consider the origins and impact of each new fabric we bring into the line. All of our products are manufactured and/or finished in the US, primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area, thereby utilizing local resources and craftspeople whenever possible.
It’s giveaway time! One lucky winner will receive a Bella Notte Whisper Linen duvet cover with 2 matching standard shams AND we’ll ship it for free! Thanks to Kathleen McCoy for her generosity and for taking the time to chat with us. Contest rules are as follows:
- Bella Notte translates to “good night” in Italian. Tell us the funniest or most extreme thing you’ve ever done to ensure a good night’s sleep! Leave a comment below or in our Facebook posting.
Congrats to Katie W! She is the winner of our Bella Notte giveaway.
Jamie Young (the company) is well known for artful lamps and shades that blend seamlessly into both transitional and modern interiors. What a joy for us to get to know Jamie Young the designer as our poster today! Her insightful dialog has us as captivated as her unique lighting creations. Welcome Jamie!
The Jamie Young Company has been called a line of “couture lighting.” What was the inspiration for starting your business?
Our business started when I was in Mexico and saw these beautiful old cement pots on the street and thought they would be perfect Orchid pots. I drove them up to Los Angeles and sold dozens to one florist. Later when we were then looking for lamps and couldn’t find anything we loved, we created our first lamp – a cement urn inspired from that trip to Mexico. David (my husband and partner in the business) was a sculptor, and I went to Parsons School of Design for commercial design and have a love of textiles. So when it comes to our lamps, he designs the bottom and I design the top.
What is the most challenging part of running your company?
The most challenging part is wanting to be creative 100% of our day but knowing that running the company is just as important. Being an entrepreneur has been an amazing experience. Every day you are faced with an extreme rollercoaster ride. This allows for many opportunities to grow and learn as an individual and business person. It can also make you dizzy!
Your collections feature beautiful combinations of modern and antique-inspired materials. What influences your design and color selection?
Most of our inspiration comes from our travels around the world. We started going to India 13 years ago and have been everywhere from Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Bhutan, Europe, Peru, and driving across the good old USA. We love the mix of old with new and modern shapes and textures.
What’s new ahead in the way of trends or product features?
We just came back from an incredible trip to India where we traveled in the deserts of Rajasthan and worked in three to four new materials to launch for the Summer 2010, Fall and January 2011. We are working in stone, a beautiful new marbled glass, jute and steel.
With such eco-chic materials as hemp and linen, how does Jamie Young stay “Green”?
As a company policy we try to use recycled materials when ever possible. All of our packaging is recycled including our boxes. We are always searching for new and interesting materials to incorporate into our designs that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Our Bamboo, Mango Wood, Seeded Glass, Birch, Twisted Vine and Jute are all examples of sustainable materials. We also use many 100% linen, silk, and cotton fabrics on our shades with natural dyes. Two years ago Jamie Young Company gave away florescent bulbs for one year with every lamp we sold to inspire our customers to understand how important this is and how easy it is to make a difference in their own stores and homes.
If you could share one key to success for others who look up to you as a mentor what would it be?
Keep learning your trade and do not be afraid of change. Enjoy that rollercoaster and know what goes up must come down and visa versa. We live in crazy world where things are more unpredictable then ever before. You must enjoy what you do most of the time (ok, so that was more then one key to success). An accountant and a lawyer are also always helpful.
Let’s get to know Jamie better with a quick-fire round!
- Blogs I frequent are: material girls. Other fun blogs are setenvy, kaboodle and cococozy. I love the fashion mixed with home approach as well as a fun girlfriend approach.
- My favorite color is: Celadon green
- My first job was: Selling candy in a pharmacy.
- I cannot live without: Cheese – all kinds of cheese and beautiful textiles from around the world.
- My favorite guilty pleasure is: Cheese and nice shoes.
- The best advice I ever received is: Enjoy what you do every day.
- A cause I care deeply about is: Anything related to the well being of children.
It’s giveaway time! One lucky winner will receive a Jamie Young table lamp and shade of their choice AND we’ll ship it for free! Thanks to Jamie Young for her generosity and for taking the time to chat with us. Contest rules are as follows:
- Leave a comment below or in our Facebook posting, post a link to your favorite Jamie Young product and tell us why you like it. For a quick reference, view the entire Jamie Collection of lighting, lamp shades and accessories for the home.
- Become a Layla Grayce Facebook fan.
Special congrats to Amy Carpenter! She is the winner of our lamp giveaway.