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Don't Try This at Home

L.A. Design Week: The annual expo that brings the design
world to Los Angeles.

March 11, 1999

They make their living creating beautiful, livable surroundings. But even interior designers have limits on what they will tolerate. In recognition of L.A. Design Week, Times staff writer Jeannine Stein surveyed professionals around the country to find out exactly what is getting on their last nerve.

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"Down here in South Florida, in the past four years or so, people have been going Italianate happy. Everything is done with Mediterranean and Moorish influences. The palettes have gone quite dark, with heavy tapestries and dark woods. People take things to extremes--it's too much of a good thing."

--Jan Merle, Jan Merle Design Inc.

Boca Raton, Fla.

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"Bad lighting. It affects everything--the mood, the ambience. Lighting can completely change the art, the landscape, the interior mood of a home. The quality and color that come from the light bulbs and the fixtures dramatically change the coloring and textures of fabrics and surfaces."

Sheri Schlesinger, Schlesinger & Associates

Los Angeles

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"Matched sets of furniture or suites of furniture. You usually find them at what I call instant decorating stores or at department stores. It's usually a sofa, love seat and chair, all in the same fabric, which is usually blah. It shows that people have a lack of time to really think about their interiors, and if they walk into one of these stores, they say, 'That's the latest thing, that's what I should have.' "

Dale Miller, Daring by Design

Boca Raton, Fla.

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"I've always hated it when a client says, 'What's new, what's the trend?' What does that have to do with anything? If you do something that's trendy, you're going to feel unhappy with it years later. Just buy things you like."

BJ Peterson, BJ Peterson Interior Design

West Hollywood

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"Chintz. The form of a piece of furniture is exciting, and once you take it and cover it up with chintz, all you see is the pattern, and you lose the form. I've hated it from Day 1."

Nancy Braithwaite, Nancy Braithwaite Interiors

Atlanta

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"All-beige rooms when it's used as a safe solution. If it's truly appropriate for the space because there is great antique furniture or wonderful artwork, then that's a different story. But just using beige is not creative.

Linda Chase, Linda Chase Associates

East Haddam, Conn.

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"The Santa Fe look and the Santa Fe colors are a little worn in this part of the country, a little overused. There's a generic look with the pale salmon and turquoise colors. But there are a million other ways to interpret it, with Spanish antiques, rather than something kind of thrown together."

--Gay Ratliff, Gay Ratliff Interiors

Austin, Texas

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"People are afraid of having colors around them. They don't know how to be happy with color. I like to use a lot of drama with colors and accessories, because there are certain rooms that you're not in for very long periods of time, like the foyer, but you remember them."

Pedro Rodriguez, Pedro Rodriguez Interiors

Bala-Cynwyd, Pa.

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"Sixties furniture seems to be coming back into fashion right now, and I wish it wasn't. I think that the proportion of '60s furniture is not good, with those tables with spindly legs. I've started to see it in graphics, in magazines and on billboards, this mod look. I think it's going to be a serious trend."

Michael Lee, Michael Lee Collection

West Hollywood

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