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Martha Stewart Living's decorating editor Rebecca Robertson's inspiration comes to her in many ways, but she often turns to art first. So when she spotted a tapestry based on a painting by Picasso at an antiques show a couple of years ago, she knew it would be the creative influence for an interior one day.
"When I first saw the room, I knew I wanted to wash it in color and give it some architectural heft," Rebecca says. Her vision included a color scheme inspired by that tapestry -- including lemon yellow and melon -- and some bold graphic elements. Envisioning the space as the living room of an art lover like herself, she also intended to fill the walls with modern paintings and photographs. "Art is so important because it gives life to space," she says.
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Rebecca's Finished Room
"I used color to hold the room together," Rebecca says. By sticking to a palette of apricot, yellow, and white, she was able to incorporate bold patterns -- including on the Madeline Weinrib rug, the pillows, and even the walls --without the space feeling chaotic. The white contemporary sofa and wing chair add a crisp counterpoint. Rebecca used an abundance of yellow to create a feeling of sunlight streaming in at any time of day (or night).
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One of Rebecca's boldest moves was to use sawn balusters and radiator grill material to make a graphic statement. She had the balusters painted white and then adhered them to the wall beneath the Picasso-inspired tapestry. For window shutters on either side, she chose radiator grill patterns that complemented the balusters' shape.
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The Power of Pairs
"Symmetry always brings a sense of calm to a room," Rebecca says. Rather than push the sofa against the wall, Rebecca floated it in the middle of the room, using the wall behind it to accommodate a pair of identical glass-front cabinets from Ikea, embellished with radiator grill material on their fronts. Each cabinet is topped with a different, but visually balanced, cluster of ceramics.
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Rebecca tapped into her DIY side to fashion a coffee table from an army cot that she found on eBay and then painted. To make the trays, she covered baking sheets with a zigzag fabric she designed herself and topped them with a thin sheet of Plexiglas.
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Coffee Table Tableau
She arranged sculptures, ceramics, and books into vignettes, paying attention to every detail, down to the Greek-key bookmark.
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Drawn to an aquamarine stripe in the abstract painting hanging over the sofa, Rebecca used the color overhead. Tying the room together, she cut radiator grill material into wide strips, edged them with 1/4-inch trim, and mounted them several inches away from the molding.
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Patterns at Play
Doors embellished with the same radiator grill material used for the cabinets ease the transition from the living room to the hallway. The photographs, which she purchased from an affordable online art source, also echo the themes in the main room. "A home should have a narrative thread throughout it," Rebecca says.
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