Three Questions with Paula Grace

pgPaula Grace is the principal and founder of Paula Grace Designs, a Virginia-based interior design firm. Paula has an exceptional design style drawing inspiration from her clients, nature, fabric, the human form, and music. Her thoughts on people’s relationship to their interiors focuses on the feeling created by design: ”Here’s my belief: your home should be a place where you feel at peace, where you function effortlessly. It should portray who you are today, remind you of happy times from the past, and provide lush ground for you to create new memories.”

Prior to studying Interior Design, Paula Grace earned Masters Degrees in Clinical Social Work and Business Administration. She held a Directorship of a large behavioral health program and was a Senior Instructor, graduate level, in a prestigious university medical center. With this level of experience, Paula Grace runs a seamless ship when implementing designs. The process flows until each furnishing is placed and the design realized.

Paula Grace’s interior designs have been featured in many publications. Additionally, she has been hand-selected to participate in designer show houses and is regularly asked to speak at interior design industry events.

We recently caught up with Paula Grace at High Point Market this April to talk to her about her design style and what currently inspires her.

Design by Paula Grace

1. You have said that you draw inspiration from your clients, nature, fabric, the human form and music. Can you elaborate on that?

The last two are unique so I’ll focus on them – the human form and music. So many things are designed to adorn or comfort our bodies. Clothes, seats in a car, furniture. The body is very important; each one different and beautiful. I see the human form as a living sculpture that I simply pay homage too.

Music is feelings and moods that you hear. How my clients want their rooms to feel, the mood it creates is very important in my designs. When they tell me the feel and mood they’d like, a song inevitably pops in my head that evokes the same feeling and mood. Music and design share key principles – rhythm, balance, harmony, proportion, and emphasis. These principles inform the elements chosen for the space. I interpret the song into the design. Music is especially significant when I design furniture. The lines, form, and shape I draw are directly from the principles of a song communicated with instruments and voices.

2. You use both lighting and wall decor in very bold and beautiful ways. What role do they play for you in the overall design?

The art and lighting are the soul of a design. They need to be layered in. Art on the wall and dimensional pieces placed around the room, on tables for example. A great lighting plan includes ceiling, table top, and accent for overall illumination, task, and sparkle. I select classic styled furniture so it stands the test of time. Much interest comes from the jewelry – art and lighting. Think little black dress with statement jewelry. It’s the statement jewelry that communicates the feeling – aka art – and the lighting is integral to the mood. Chandeliers and sconces are both – sculptural art and lighting. They can create a statement all by themselves, which is often how I use them. John Richard chandeliers and sconces are fantastic for this.

Design by Paula Grace


3. How would you describe your design style?

Classic elegance with a hip vibe. Given the inspirations I just discussed – imagine furniture with clean, traditional lines creating comfort paired with evocative art, lighting, and accessories.


To learn more about this talented designer, visit her website

Be sure to follow Paula Grace on her
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Twitter: @PGraceDesigns



Design by Philippe Starck (photo courtesy of Architectural Digest)

“And you spend your evening in your color. The idea is to take things which open your mind, that speak to you – the colors speak to you.”

– Philippe Starck

About the Designer:

Philippe Starck, born January 18, 1949 in Paris, France, is a visionary in all realms of design including interiors, architectural and furniture as well as utilitarian objects such as staplers and juice squeezers. He was constantly referencing where and how people live and questioning the materiality of our environments. Starck is renowned for his hotel design with projects such as the Royalton in New York, the Delano in Miami and the Mondrian in Los Angeles which are all considered contemporary landmarks. The Faena suite in Buenos Aires featured above is considered one of the most expensive in the world and was redesigned by Starck.

To learn more about this exceptional designer, click on the link below:

The Beauty of Brass


These new introductions debuted at High Point Market the spring. Sculptural accessories in brass are the perfect accents for interiors whether they be contemporary, transitional or traditional.

These designs from our new factory in India show exceptional craftsmanship and quality of material. Whimsical Ginkgo leaves, textural bowls and bud vases reveal the breadth of artistic possibilities.

“Brass has a luster and depth that you do not see in plated objects,” enthuses Senior Accessory Designer Margaret Fisher, “the tones of brass enhance and add warmth to the overall room design.”


The New Neutrals

Delpozo Spring 2017 Runway ShowGRAY is the color of intellect, knowledge and wisdom.  It is perceived as classic, refined, dignified, and conservative. Gray is a perfect neutral that lives between the extremes of black and white.

Like diamonds set in platinum or white lace over gray satin, these tones are both fresh and classic in fashion, jewelry and home décor.  Gray, silver and white are elegant neutrals that enhance exceptional design. In Vogue Magazine, New Jersey-based interior designer Beth Diana Smith states that ‘Gray’ will continue to reign in 2017. “We will see different tones of gray, a lot of gray and white, and gray in deeper colors, it’s the sort of color that complements a full spectrum of shades…”

These latest designs from John-Richard, in furniture, lighting, mirrors and accessories, show that these sophisticated new neutrals are right on trend.


Living with Art: Evocative Art by Carol Benson-Cobb enhances Furniture Designs

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place:  from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web. 

– Pablo Picasso

Carol Benson-Cobb150Carol Benson-Cobb has a singular ability to trigger memories of place and time that stir emotions in all who view her paintings. Now, her work is being featured on several contemporary furniture designs. The artist’s abstract perspectives of sea, sand and sky are beautifully displayed under glass.


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Slated and the Slated Four Door Credenza

The contemporary style of the credenzas, cocktail and nesting tables are perfect statement pieces for the modern home. The soothing, neutral tones of the collection will compliment many design styles seen on the coast, in the mountains or within a city apartment. The work of Carol Benson-Cobb can be seen in the homes of many film, sports and entertainment stars and is a favorite of many celebrated interior designers.

Seascape Nesting Cocktail Tables and Seascape A – C
Dune Textile No.2 and Dune Cocktail Table
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Dune Nesting Cocktail Tables and the Original Dune Painting

Artist Spotlight: Austin Allen James

austin bay shirt hrAustin A. James was born in Putnam, CT but has lived most of his life since 1973 in Houston, TX. Austin began his art career in 1994 as a poet. His love for playing with words and phrases and his love for color naturally led him to experimenting with paint and motion. He started painting in 1996 and exhibiting as a professional artist in 1997. Austin believes that art is energy. Each human being has his or her own unique form of energy. An artist is the one who is capable of translating this energy into art.

gbg-1497.jpgAustin’s pieces focus on organic shapes, color and the natural flow of matter and motion. His MFA from Naropa University in Poetry has infused a lyrical sensibility into Austin’s work. Austin’s formal education also includes a BA from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, and an MBA from the University of Dallas. Austin lives in Houston, Texas with his children Granger and Baylies.

We asked Mary Neff Stewart, Senior Wall Art Designer for John-Richard, her thoughts about the artist. “Austin’s work has this amazing fluidity to it. The end result is incredibly peaceful – though when he talks about the creative process, it sounds so energetic!,” she adds, “His aesthetic suits so many spaces and styles. I am thrilled we are working with him, and I look forward to building our collection.”

You are a poet as well as an artist, are there commonalities between both forms of creative expression? Yes, it is not uncommon to find a poet and a visual artist in the same person. A poet loves to play with words. Words are pigments that define space. A visual artist enjoys the use of color and shapes to create a sense of feeling.

Art is most successful when it strikes two feeling chords at once. The piece that makes one feel happy and sad, angry and joyful. That is art.

Are there any places or settings that are inspiring you right now?

I love the Gulf Coast.

How has your time in Texas molded you into the artist you are today? I discovered I was a rascal in Texas. I am a child of the 1970’s. Children did as they pleased, and so did our parents; these parents were raised in the 1950’s and became young adults during the Vietnam war. No one was minding the store or the rules.

Do you have a personal favorite color palette?GBG-1501

Neutral: whites, soft grays, robin’s egg blues, celadons. I believe it is easier to feel through the subtleties of a soft, tranquil palete.

What are you currently working on?

A new series called “Carpe Grace”. It is a gentle piece with this faint touch of gold blending through the center of the piece. The gold appears as a fog. Carpe Grace involves a solid 10-15 layers in order to accomplish the feeling of “floating in grace”.

Can you speak about your new relationship with John-Richard?

I wanted to work with John-Richard because their aesthetic and scope compliment and represent the south. The company has a keen eye for strength mixed with subtleties. I see myself in a similar fashion. I look forward to a steady relationship with John-Richard that develops step-by-step through the years.


For more details on the Austin Allen James art carried by John-Richard, click on the link below:

The Legend Collection: Timeless Designs by Mark McDowell in Black and Gold


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What Becomes a Legend Most?

This famous tag line from the Blackglama ad campaign resonates with home design trends as well. The Legend Collection by Mark McDowell, debuting at High Point Market this April, will be remembered for how it melds modern opulence and exceptional design. The high-contrast pieces in black and gold have clean lines, luxurious hardware and lustrous finishes.

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The combination of black and gold has been woven into beautiful images in fashion, film and history. Even in ancient times, the Pharoahs of Egypt made powerful style statements with strong uses of black and gold. Inspirational whispers of art deco style, Hollywood set design and haute couture are also infused into the Legend Collection.



The Magical World of Teng Fei

JRO-2721 JRO-2850Long Jingchuang, who is known by the name Teng Fei in the art world, received a degree in Fine Arts from the Jiuyi College in 1995. In 1998, Teng Fei began his career as a professional artist in Shanghai. During his stay in Shanghai, he studied both traditional Chinese and Western-style art and techniques. The artist continues to meld history and cultural elements into his contemporary concepts, thus forming his own unique style of painting.

Teng Fei transports us to a dreamlike space where we see polo ponies in a myriad of colors, feel charmed among golden butterflies, walk among the citizens of a European city, or simply enjoy the clouds or silver tones of tree branches reflected. What joy there is to be found in his paintings!

The work of Teng Fei has been included in prestigious collections both in Hong Kong and Singapore and his spectacular art has been purchased by collectors worldwide. John-Richard offers an extensive selection of the artist’s paintings in many genres.

“Teng Fei creates some of the most diverse and beautiful pieces for John-Richard. The use of color, texture and media, including varieties of metal leaves, results in stunning works of art for our customer,” enthuses MaryNeff Stewart, Senior Wall Art Designer for John-Richard.

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Three Questions with id 810

id 810 high resThe id 810 Design Group, a boutique firm specializing in residential design, was founded by two dynamic designers; Virginia Toledo and Jessica Geller. Their projects, including pre-war Park Avenue residences, Westchester homes and Hoboken row houses, showcase these designer’s mastery of the construction process. This unique talent is evident in the firm’s major renovations and allows them to design, manage and fully execute homes that withstand trends and time. Whether designing for families, NYC singles, or couples preparing to retire, the spaces that id 810 design group transforms are rich with personal meaning and are unique spatial solutions that reflect the lifestyles of each individual owner.

We met up with Virginia and Jessica at the recently held Lightovation Show in the Dallas Market Center. We asked them to share with us some design insights and to describe their signature style.

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Designs by id 810

1. You have some beautifully designed interiors that have a neutral palette. What elements do you incorporate to make these rooms stand out?
When designing rooms that are neutral in palette, we pay close attention to varying textures and the incorporation of tonal pattern and rich metals to keep the room from falling flat. This means setting off a leather sofa with a sumptuous velvet pillow and using a wool wallcovering as the backdrop. It would also mean adding an interesting piping or fringe on a pillow, all within the same color palette. In addition to that, we find it important to incorporate pieces with interesting shapes and silhouettes. These pieces tend to create beautiful shadows that add depth and visual interest without using color. Lastly, the use of metals both on furniture frames, hardware and fixtures allow us to add another layer of interest ‘sans’ color. Depending on the scheme, we might go with burnished brass to add some warmth.

2. How would you describe your design style?
Our design style is often described as fresh. We take a lot of care in making sure we get the bones right in whatever space we are working on. That means shifting walls, addressing trim work and designing built-in cabinetry when necessary. Lighting, both natural and artificial, is also thoroughly evaluated. Like many of our contemporaries, we infuse a mix of new and antique pieces because it’s the only way to achieve a look that transcends periods and the genres of modern, traditional and transitional. Nothing in design is quite new but it’s important for us to at least make it feel as if it is. It might mean using the fabric on the bias on an oddly shaped ottoman or trimming the drapery in an unexpected accent color to achieve a space that is stylish, comfortable and fresh.

3. What are your different considerations when designing a Park Avenue apartment or a country home?
As with all of the homes we design, we have our clients answer a slew of questions about their lifestyle, how they want to live, what’s on their wish list etc… Our selections of fabrics and finishes and our furniture plans are strongly connected to the answers we uncover during the interview process. However, if one had to make an assumption on how a Park Avenue apartment will be lived in as compared to a country home, there are certainly different considerations. It’s likely that the Park Avenue apartment will be the venue for cocktail parties so a certain level of luxuriousness and accommodations for formal entertaining must be considered. That may mean a high level of finishes that require a bit of maintenance and care like horn tables and lacquered walls.

In contrast, one could assume that the inhabitants of a country home might be dragging fishing poles or ski equipment through the house and the entertaining is done in a much more casual way. Finishes should be able to withstand the abuse or at least age well during the process. Reclaimed wood floors and washable fabrics would be in order so that coasters are dispensable.

To learn more about these talented designers, please visit their website at:


To see id 810 Designer’s Favorites, please click on the link below:

John-Richard Launches ‘Designer Shorts’ Video Series

Lights, Camera, Designers

John-Richard was thrilled with the response to our new video series, ‘Designer Shorts’, which debuted at High Point Market. Our stellar cast included interior designers Catherine and Justine MacFee, Scot Meacham Wood, Erika Ward, Lisa Mende, Robin Baron along with esteemed abstract artist Carol Benson Cobb and award-winning product designers Malene Barnett and Mark McDowell. These segments, hosted by Arianne Bellizaire, offer a treasure trove of design inspiration. The format, much like a designer-style Actor’s Studio, allows magical conversations to organically develop among creative people.

Here are some snapshots of the series highlights. Please note that the last screenshot has a video snippet below that can be viewed. To enjoy the full version and to see the other ”Designers Shorts’ segments, please click here.

Shay Geyer and Arianne Bellizaire discuss the importance of layering in design and how to incorporate trends.
Lisa Mende, Mark McDowell and Arianne Bellizaire explore how nature influences design.
Erika Ward, Malene Barnett and Arianne Bellizaire talk about trends and the process of both interior and product design.
Carol Benson-Cobb, Robin Baron, and Arianne Bellizaire with thoughts on the relationship between art and interior design.
Catherine and Justine Macfee, Scot Meacham Wood and Arianne Bellizaire on what influences and what’s next in interior design.