Thursday, January 6, 2011

Getting Personal with Annette Tatum: A Design Goddess

Just mentioning her name prompts big smiles. Browsing her site and inspiring blog swoons fans. Welcome to the world of Annette Tatum -- passionate designer and feel-good-lifestyle goddess -- she countinues to win the hearts of so many. The astounding designer opens up about the empire she has built, her daily inspirations and so much more. 

CM: You have built an empire with your name. A beautiful one at that. What inspired your business?  

It is so funny to think of my business as being an "empire". To me it is just my own little creative world. I don't really think about what my creations will generate monetarily... otherwise I would never make a move! Most of the time I go by what I feel or what I find inspiring. By luck that happens at times to be right on "trend" with what is going on in the design and fashion world. I am most inspired by color. I love the use of it, my ever changing feeling about it and the endless possibilities and combinations. When you are able to then take color and translate that on to textiles or fabrics... which then you can wrap around anything be it furniture or apparel. It never stops being fun. Inspiration is everywhere and most of the time I find it in sync with my own lifestyle choices. When I was a young mother, my creative world was full of products for babies and mothers like myself. Now as my children get older I am finding that I am inspired again by adult lifestyle ideas and I am finding that my design choices are reflecting that more and more.

CM: How do you select fabrics?  

Fabric to me  is all about the touch . What will the 'ground" be for a particular print? You can always develop a particular pattern or colorway in design but what really brings a pattern to life is the fabric you print on. I am currently working on a collection which will be printed on a heavy linen weight fabric and other rich weaves and textures. It is almost as if the pattern I chose then takes on a "personality" depending upon the ground that it is printed on. Deciding what color way to introduce is always a challenge when developing fabrics. Just because the color combination is fabulous does not mean it will be successful. You ultimately have to remember where this fabric will end up. Home textile color palettes are very different from home decor. Although they are both parallel in inspiration they often take separate paths when it comes to color. I like to select what I would personally like in my own home or in my own closet. I am a consumer as well and that often decides what I put into my collections. I always ask, "Would I buy this and would I keep it in my home for a long time?"

CM: What is one of your favorite home trends we are seeing now? 

I love that some of the fashion colors are ending up in the home. I love the use of teal, ochre, persimmon and other rich colors are finding their way into the home decor arena. Some of the new colors are acting as "classics" and replacing the traditional beiges and khaki's. It is more evidence that home and fashion are closely related and I love that connection. It adds the drama of the runway to the home.

{Annette after decorating Minnie Driver's nursery
CM: Your work is amazing. Your designing is inspiring. Please, give us a few style tips we could use in our own home. 

Tips I use in my own home; I never count my home as done... it is constantly evolving. There are too many new design ideas out there that I am constantly wanting to change my decor. 

1.  Always find inspiration first. Keep old clippings of rooms you see and like from magazines. blogs. etc.  This helps narrow what it is you want and also gives you something to start with.

2. Paint... paint is the most forgiving and easy to change. So if you want to update a room.. start with a new coat of paint.. play with color.. you can always paint over.

3. Wallpaper small spaces such as bathrooms or insides of closets and pantries. A fun way to create a little "jewel" box in your home.

4. Give away, sell or donate old furniture that you dont like or cant seem to make work. There is nothing worse that trying over and over to make something fit in a room. If it hasnt worked in ever.. chances are it isnt going to work any time soon.

5. Have fun. Invite a friend over to re arrange furniture or bounce ideas around. It is better to have a little collaboration sometimes to really understand what you want. Some of my best ideas have come from a friend coming over and rearranging a room. A whole new look evolved from her fresh set of design ideas.

6. Refer to your own design choices that you make for your wardrobe. Every day you "dress" yourself and choose color and combinations that fit your lifestyle. Translate that "personal" style into your home decor. Chances are they are closely related and you will find that what you are attracted to in fashion is very similar to the things you will like for your home.

{One of the walls in the new studio, called The Workroom,
located at 1909 Centinela Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404
CM: When you are working what can we find you doing?  

I just moved offices to a great new space. It is combination of corporate and retail in a very modern space. One part of the business is all about running our internet sales and wholesale division. The other is a showroom and retail/ design space called "the workroom". It is a space that is now open to customers to come in and choose fabrics, design furniture and window coverings. Select paint and other materials for interior projects, all with the help of our design staff, including me. Since the introduction of the book I have been doing a lot more interiors and find it really rewarding. It has given me a greater connection to the end user and I have had the opportunity to really try out some new ideas in the interior world. When I am not doing the above I am developing new patterns for  fabrics as well as working on new product.
{The nursery area in The Workroom}
{Annette signing her book, The Well-Dressed Home, at a book signing in Santa Monica}

CM: What is up next for Annette Tatum?  

A second book and a new line of fabrics for the home decor industry.

  • I run every morning to keep my head on straight.
  • I have 4 lovely children and a french bulldog named Ce Ce.
  • I hate to waste time.
  • I am super organized... dont know how.. just am.
  • I still want to go back to school and become an architect.
  • When I go to a swap meet or flea market.. I dont know what to buy. I want everything! so I often leave with nothing.
  • The interior of my home is not as together as people think. I still need to finish!
  • I love gardens. The more formal the better.
  • I would love to live for a year in India.
  • I have been to "Burning Man"  and loved it.
  • I think it would be fun to work for Anthropologie as a stylist for a month.
  • I wish I were a fashion designer so that I could produce a runway show. It combines all the aspect of drama and fashion. Like a mini opera every 6 months!
  • I would have loved to work with Alexander McQueen.
  • I like alot of different music...even some country western.
  • Good design has to have a historical reference to me. It has to be credible to be good.
  • I have learned to go with the flow... going against the flow is exhausting.
  • Life is short... so slow down is my new motto.
  • I love the movie Marie Antoinette by Sophia Coppola.
  • And...Someday I would like to take all the mis matched china I have collected (and love) and have a huge, amazing tea party complete with cakes and candies  and share it with my friends. 
{All Things Annette}

Make sure you check out Annette Tatum's book, The Well Dressed Home
It is something everyone should have on their coffee table! Annette also contributes to the FAB site, Project Nursery so head over now to get more Annette in your life! 

Stay tuned for our Posh Living photo shoot featuring her designs too! 

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