Photo Gallery: Blogger Jen Selk’s Favourite Rooms
Browse eclectic yet stylish spaces.
This dramatic kitchen by New York designer Miles Redd dares to be different. “I’m sick of all-white kitchens,” says Jen. “You know the ones I mean — vast expanse of white marble, tiled backsplash, bowl of citrus on the counter. It’s boring. I hope kitchens like this signal a shift back to cooking spaces with a little more interest and personality.”
“A lot of celebrity homes leave something to be desired design-wise — so many pool tables, big screen televisions and hideous leather sofas — but Private Practice’s Kate Walsh is one of those celebrities who seems to care about style as much as cost,” notes Jen. “I love those coral-like sconces — they’re such a great detail. And the details matter.”
“This is another great space by designer Miles Redd,” says Jen. “This New York apartment from House Beautiful really inspired me to be brave with colour. That purple sofa is wonderfully unique. Many people would balk at a big coloured sofa like this one, but I think it’s important to live with furniture that has personality. While I’m sure nearly every piece in this room was expensive, I love that you could achieve a similar look with thrift store finds.”
“I first saw this project a couple of years ago when I was considering making my own sofa,” says Jen. “Unlike Desire to Inspire’s Kim Johnson, I didn’t have it in me to DIY such a big piece. But I think this is one of the most inspiring projects I’ve ever seen. I mean, she made that sofa herself! It’s quite incredible. That huge forest photograph wallpaper is so bright and realistic, and the mishmash of pillows make the space feel comfortable.”
This loaded living room appeared in an issue of Southern Living, and proves that eclectic and formal can combine to great effect. “There’s nothing about this Charleston living room that I don’t like,” insists Jen. “It’s a mash-up of all of my traditional tastes in modern colours with lots of pop. The bright green chinoiserie wallpaper is amazing and bold, but what I think really makes the room is accessories. The pendant light fixture, red flowers, antlers, pink glass bowl, graphic pillows and of-the-moment rug add a casual spin to the formal parts of the room like the silk drapes, fireplace and mirrored tables. These are inspiring — and easy to find — details that really bring the space to life,” she says.
Photographer Melanie Acevedo captured the casual feel of this space perfectly. “I love this room because of how undone it is,” says Jen. “There’s something crowded and shabby about it, but there’s beauty in that. It’s real life. I believe in keeping things that you love — books, knickknacks, worn-out furniture. If you love something, you can make it look good simply through sheer will and a refusal to let it go.”
Designer Moises Esquenazi’s own living room is an example of how stylish rooms can also be livable. “This is a room I can imagine relaxing in,” notes Jen. “There’s nothing precious about it. It makes the most of the light streaming in, which is a great feature we don’t all get to enjoy. Let the sun shine in. Bright light makes almost any room look happy,” she says. A boho throw on the sofa, casual roller blind and oversized plant all add to the casual feel of the space.
The elegant home of Anderson Cooper’s mother, featured in New York Magazine’s Fall 2010 issue, has the most beautiful details. “It’s intensely opulent and over-the-top,” observes Jen. “It’s beyond what I could ever imagine doing in my own home, but I like how bold it is. The name Vanderbilt screams money, and so does this apartment. I like how she layers pattern over pattern over pattern and somehow, it works.”
“This is my own bedroom, as seen on Apartment Therapy, that illustrates how I take elements from inspiring rooms and apply them in my rental space,” says Jen. “Painting the walls blue was a major step, and I felt a lot of anxiety about it, but I couldn’t be happier with the decision. Every piece clustered on top of the wardrobe is from Goodwill, but I think the effect is pretty posh. When in doubt, go overboard. Crowd things together. That’s my motto.”