I painted ‘Dark Floral’ in 2013, when I was first becoming interested in the still life painting tradition of the Dutch Golden Age. In it, a majestic, ethereal bouquet of peonies, roses and daisies cascades softly down a dark, shadowy background.
‘Dark Floral’ is the original design that launched my label in 2013, when it went viral on Pinterest. Since then, I’ve tried to pin down exactly what it is about this print that people react so strongly to. I think there are several things that make it work especially well.
It has a classic elegance, a bit of drama and romance, and a sort of 3D effect that gives depth to any space. It also has an incredibly versatile color palette. It’s essentially black and white, and is complimented by warm, earthy greens in the foliage behind the flowers, pops of red at the center of a single flower, and pastels (light blue, yellow, pink, coral and off-white appear on other flowers).
This makes it possible to combine ‘Dark Floral’ with black and white to offset a stark, contrasty and minimal interior; with neutral colors for a toned-down and timeless interior; with pastels for a soft, feminine interior that’s right on trend; but also with bright reds and greens for a bolder look. For a classic, elegant look, combine it with gold or brass. Toughen it up in conjunction with cast iron fixtures, painted brick walls or concrete floors. Complete the look with low lighting and a bouquet of fresh flowers.
‘Dark Floral’ was conceived for an accent wall, but, as Amber of Amber Interiors and Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere quickly showed me, it can be used to an even greater, more dramatic effect around the full periphery (and on the ceiling) of a small space like a powder room.
In some ways, this application of ‘Dark Floral’ couldn’t be more different that the way Cody Derrick and Lauren Bald of City Collective used it in the expansive, industrial dining room at Finca in Salt Lake City, which is another one of my favorite ‘Dark Floral’ spaces. I think these two projects taught me, in any case, that there was a much broader range of possible uses for ‘Dark Floral’ than I had initially conceived.
Now, ‘Dark Floral’ is also available on fabrics, cushions and scarves, which of course opens the doors to still more possibilities. Whether it’s an element you choose to incorporate into your interior or your wardrobe, I recommend juxtaposing ‘Dark Floral’ with something gold (a flower pot, light fixture, or jewelry in simple, geometric forms), a leather couch (or jacket), a black wool rug (or blazer), bulky leather boots or a favorite pair of jeans. It really gets fun when you start making these kinds of material choices and combinations, and the strength of ‘Dark Floral’ is that you can take it in so many directions.
If there’s one thing I’m really proud of about this print, it’s that it’s inspired people to do some beautiful and imaginative things with their surroundings.