Monday, November 10, 2008

Annette Tatum on House

Annette Tatum, textile designer and owner of House, Inc., has released her first line with Free Spirit fabrics, also titled the House Collection! It's full of soft, whispering florals, ticking stripes, and polka dots. The light pastel hues of blues, pinks, and cottage greens, along with pops of stronger hues, make it simple to mix and match as you please. The sophisticated House Collection is an easy way to introduce light and warmth to your own house.

I am so happy to be a part of your blog. Thank you for including me. I started my company House over 10 years ago with the idea that I would create beautiful textiles for myself and family. I am a working mom with 4 children ages 6 to 17. The three oldest are girls Olivia 17, Ella 10 and Lena is 8, the youngest is Joe who is 6. My family and I live in Santa Monica, California where an easy lifestyle dictates a large part of our homes decor. This is a big reason why over the years House collections have remained easy to live with but full of style and inspiration. I design my fabrics with the same sensibilities that appeal to my own sense of home d├ęcor; beautiful, functional and full of color. There is always something for everyone in the collection.

I find inspiration in every day life, from the tile pattern in my shower to the latest skirt my daughter is wearing; I am always surprised by the different sources from which inspiration can be found. I have always loved different cultures from all over the world so I am curious about what other color combinations exist in different parts of the world. I find that I like it all. Over the years my sense of style and color palette has changed. I design for my customers and clients, but at heart I am more a free spirit in my own home. Over the past few years I have also re-connected with my early fashion days. I have started to look closely at trends, colors, applications and the drama that can only be found in the world of fashion. I am constantly inspired by the execution of certain fashion houses and how amazing their creations are. It has been fun and challenging to try and incorporate those ideas in the world of home textiles. I find fashion to be a huge source of inspiration second only to traveling. Exploring old documents, architectural elements and other one of kind treasures for inspiration makes the process twice as fun. I have several patterns in the collection for Free Spirit that came as a result of digging out old wallpaper samples and modifying them to become stunning prints. Colors that I found in buttons and trims are also used as in this new collection.

I often let an idea formulate for a couple of days or even weeks to see if it is still something I really want to pursue. I am constantly cutting and tearing from magazines, old wallpapers and architectural elements for color and design. I love to carry my digital camera around for quick snapshots when I see something out in the world that is special. It might be just the color on something completely unrelated to what I do. Like a pale pink in a china pattern. Either way I usually file it away... never knowing when or how I will use it. When designing a specific fabric I usually start with a pattern I like. My team and I get the rough outline into a computer program that we can then play and manipulate the color. It can be very exciting to see how a pattern can emerge and transform depending on the color palette you choose. When one strikes our fancy we pin it up on the design boards for days even weeks to see how we really like it. Does it grow on us... is the color working... what do others think. Sometimes you can finish the day with what you think is an amazing color and pattern only to walk in the next morning and say... What were we thinking? And of course start all over again. Somehow through the process of selecting and weeding out, a pattern is born and becomes part of our permanent collection. A true test of a great pattern for me is one that you never grow tired of. The colors still works... it never gets old and hopefully becomes what I call a "classic" house pattern. I love working with color. I think that is why I ended up in textile design. I studied architecture and industrial design and even worked in the lighting and packaging business before starting house. It was when I was able to apply color to products and actually wrap elements in fabric that I found my home. Fabric is a great medium to work with. You can wrap it around anything and change the form look and appeal.

Coming up next is my first book titled A Fashionable Home out in Fall from Clarkson Potter. These past 2 years working on this project have been amazing. I have met so many new people with whom I have been able to collaborate with. Photographers, stylists, homeowners and other designers all have been a part of this project. When I was first approached to do a book two years ago I really thought that what I wanted to do was to create a home decor book that was approachable. A book full of inspiration and easy ways to tap into everyone’s creative spirit. It became apparent to me that we do this every day when we choose what to wear. We create for ourselves an outfit everyday. Over time the project has allowed me to expand my own design ideas and creations as well as teach me how to create and nurture a project of this size. The book is a wonderful collaboration with so many talented people that I am still inspired by the experience today. The book is designed to take you step by step from your own closet and design sense and show you how you really already have all the keys to designing your own unique home. If you look closely at what colors you like to wear, what style sense you are most of the time you will see certain patterns and color pallets that make up the real you. Applying what you all ready know to your home is just the next step. Mixing your styles like you mix your outfits can be fun and creative. To see and to read about all of the exciting things happening at House, check out my website, and my blog, A Fashionable House.

Annette Tatum
House Inc.