Paula of Henry Road's Colorful Home

Paula of Henry Road's Colorful Home

Rebecca Orlov
Sep 29, 2009

We love the fabrics and designs by Paula Smail, designer and owner of the lovely Henry Road. Her online site and shop in Studio City offers serious color inspiration. She shared a few photos of her home and how color, texture and design inspire her in home and life.

I thrive on color, pattern and texture; and believe absolutely that my home is, and should be, a travelogue and album of my life with old and new happily blended together. The end result is an eclectic mix of things I love!

When it comes to color, nothing gives me greater pleasure than light bouncing off a color-filled space. I like challenging myself to use colors I haven't used before, so this go-round of my apartment, I chose darker colors for the walls -- a teal for the living room and a maroon for the bedroom. The maroon was particularly scary to paint because it is a violent purple in the can!

The living room / dining room / kitchen is my favorite room in this apartment. It is full of light, great for entertaining and fantastic for work -- the large counter served as a perfect cutting table, easily holding big bolts of fabric. The large flower collage on the dining room wall is by my friend, Michelle Caplan ( ) and the chandeliers are from Habitat in London. The fabric on the curtains and chairs is Henry Road.

A couple of decoupage projects livened up some dull pieces. The fridge, for example, was a large white monster so I covered it in a map of London. I put my beloved African headdress on the wall next to it; added a couple of Eiffel Towers from my time in Paris, some South African dolls and a Warhol poster I bought in Florence. In the bedroom, the dresser drawers are covered in pink tissue paper and dressed up with ceramic rose pulls. I used a carved room divider that I found at Cost Plus World Market as the headboard and mounted it as high as possible to get some height. The pillows are made with fabric from my collection of textiles that I have gathered over the years. This fabric was bought in a wonderful small shop in Mombasa and is traditionally used as clothing for woman. The white sputnik on the side table is by Tom Dixon and is supposed to be hung as a chandelier but I have always used it on tables as I love its sculptural quality. The pale pink painting is by my very talented mother, Jo Smail (

I had a huge pinboard up in my studio with things that inspire me and make me smile. The closeup features a tassle from Morocco which we sell in the Henry Road store, a picture of macaroons from La Duree in Paris (THE absolute all time best macaroons in the world! I highly recommend the rose and pistachio flavors!), a catwalk show in South Africa illustrating modern use of African fabrics, and an orange peel necklace.

I love things but tend to be pretty good at editing except when it comes to artwork and books. It is an ongoing challenge to pare them down. The large pillow in front of the bookshelf is vintage Ferragamo which some wonderful friends lugged half way round the world for me because they thought I would like it! The doll is from Vietnam, the buffalo from Santa Fe and the white rocks from the seabed of an absolutely beautiful beach in Greece. I nearly drowned myself swimming back to the boat carrying four of them -- only two made it home to LA! (Wish I had worried less about luggage weight at the time and just packed them all!)

Thanks, Paula!

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(Images by Paula Smail)

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