If I had a house in Napa Valley (or the South of France or the New Zealand coast), I'd hire Interior Designer Erin Martin to decorate it. But since my humble cottage — and even humbler budget — won't exactly win me a spot on her client roster, I'll have to settle for mining her designs for inspiration.
What makes Martin's rooms so effortlessly chic? Great architecture helps, but there are a few things we self-stylers can do to achieve a similar sense of calm, romance, and understated luxury.
Choose soothing neutral colors with warm undertones. Martin creates continuity by using different tonalities of the same color, which allows the eye to move throughout the space without getting stuck on any single object.
Mix old and new. Martin routinely juxtaposes raw, natural, or aged materials with "high" art or modern accessories that have a timeless appeal.
Create texture with layers. For Martin, luxury is in the details: Belgian linen, raw silk, aged limestone, Moroccan wool, patterned leather, forged iron, and more add richness and depth without pretension.
Seek balance. Martin mixes large scale furniture with more demure accessories like the thin metal sconces over the raw wood alcove pictured below.
Use ambient light. Martin makes ample use of small skylights or openings, task lamps, and candlelight to create a romantic glow throughout.
Take a peek inside Erin Martin's lovely showroom, Martin.
Images: Erin Martin Designs