Ideas for Contemporary Living

Tag: Pastel Colors


Posted on May 12th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, The Moment. No Comments

This carpet collection by American designer and florist  Jeff Latham for  Tai Ping Carpets strikes notes that resonate with me: artistic, bold and modern. I want to reach out to touch and feel these textural carpets…they are very tactile. And the colors and designs are so sumptuous that they stand alone as art.

 Inspired by his medium, flowers, the carpets are a contemporary riot of color and pattern, rendered with a water colorists brush. The shading and the patterns are beautiful, with color seeping through and staining a graphic grid. It’s sort of like a slightly faded flower, where decay or “wilding” are allowed to seep in and humanize the grid. To me, this resonates with how I want to live today: guided by modernist principles, but allowing nature, chance and artistry to soften the edges. Even if we are not buying a rug for a living room or bedroom, we can be inspired by this new found freedom in design.


David Bjørngaard, May 2016

{Images from Taiping Edward Fields.}

Ombre’s Seduction

Posted on February 27th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, Inhabit, The Moment. No Comments

I love ombre. The shifting color feels like the fog, concealing one object with another.  Ombre feels perfect for San Francisco, which is often concealed in fog, and I want to decorate a home with this paint technique. Ombre is a great way to quietly animate a space, with a contemporary twist. When done right, it can feel mysterious. I once designed a bar at school, based on the idea of fog: the ombre glass partitions (part clear, part frosted) concealed and revealed the patrons…sexy and chic, animated and minimal, all about seduction.

Ombre is the non-pattern pattern. Ombre curtains, wall covering, and furniture look great. Mix a bunch of ombre pieces together and you might end up with a hot mess, or even mix ombre with other patterns and you might need to adjust your drink. When done right and kept minimal, ombre helps a space transcend the ordinary, and it can be very calming.

I think this Parisian interior is especially effective. The boiserie (wood wall paneling) has been painted white, leaving floor color to creep part-way up the walls, as though a veil is being lifted. This gradation of color is perfect for anywhere that you require concealment, such as a … Read More »

Color Trends

Posted on February 23rd, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, Here/There. No Comments

I love vintage color catalogs for homes, cars, and appliances. I have stacks from the 1920’s to 1970’s. These are snapshots of where we were and where we are going. There were the exuberant Flapper 20’s and the earthy 1970’s. All these colors reflect a general mood of the public as analyzed by designers and industry, and marketed to the public in the form of paint, appliances, cars, furniture and clothes. What is on trend is what is in the stores now. It’s one way future generations will remember us, as they comb through the flea markets!

So what about the colors for 2014. There is something for everyone, whether you’re a mission hipster, a downtown urbanite, a outer-avenues locavore. I say to follow your own sense of color, chosing colors that resonate with you, whatever the color. Knowing the trends allows you to fold your own preferences into the current zeitgeist. Add a little on-trend color and your home will feel modern, projecting a confident, cool, and informed inhabitant.

Here are a couple of the options:

-Radiant Orchid, Pantone’s color if the year. If you love this color, this is the year to go all-in. Add a couple of pillows, or a dark purple entry … Read More »


Posted on February 18th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements. No Comments

This is the time when we learn of the new on-trend colors for the year. These colors are determined in the preceding year, as industry experts study contemporary culture to determine what will be the next big hit. Color forecasting is used by companies, including fashion and interior designers, to create stuff for us to buy. We’ll be pushed shirts in purple, pillows in pastels, and paint in soft, grayed-out hues. Trends effect WHAT is available to buy at the store for those of us who do not have everything custom-made. Emerald Green is so 2013, so you’ll see less of it.

Damien Hirst’s famous Dot paintings celebrate the idea that there are no ugly colors. While the paintings seem simple, we can enjoy the emotional response these child-like-fun paintings evoke, and enjoy the adjacent color combinations, learning to combine elements and color in unexpected ways. Hirst’s career has been about originality, inspiration, and luck, while questioning the relationship between authorship (Damien Hirst’s idea) and craftsmanship (an assistant’s hand in making the paintings). Take some good ideas and incorporate them into your life, whether you do the work yourself or outsource.

“Art comes from everywhere. It’s your response to your surroundings.” Damien Hirst

David Bjørngaard, February … Read More »

Hotel Cafe Royal

Posted on January 9th, by David Bjorngaard in Here/There, Inhabit, The Moment. No Comments

When in London this past summer, I ate at The Café, the tea room designed by British architect David Chipperfield as part of his renovation of the Hotel Cafe Royal. This was one of those happy vacation finds, on our way to the British Museum, as Sean and I were looking for a place to have breakfast. Like a magpie to anything flashy, I spotted this place from down the lane.

As in the new Valentino store in San Francisco, the Hotel Cafe Royal blends David Chipperfield’s unique knowledge of 20th century Italian and Viennese design with a modern sensibility. The Café is impressive in the abundance of gold Italian marble used on the walls, floors and display cases. The architectural strength and purity is counterbalanced by leggy, comfortable furniture and a strong understanding of color. The overall feeling is cosmopolitan and very chic! This is a place to see and be seen. This sophisticated feeling continues throughout the rest of the hotel.

As a designer, I took the opportunity to go wander around the rest of the establishment. The attention to detail is impressive. The original hotel lobby has been transformed into a casual restaurant and meeting area, with the new lobby … Read More »