Category Archives: Inspiration

Traveling With A Decorator – Day 2 The Louvre

M and I woke up with only mild Jet- Lag and took ourselves off for the best fix – Tea and Baked Goods.

We somehow managed to get down the 6 flights of stairs…

Sated, we headed off to the Musee De Louvre  (an obvious first stop for a set, and museum designer). It was early and the lines weren’t as bad as we expected but the shortest by far was the Richelieu Wing, so off we went (Hint: It’s the one to the Left). I should mention that we purchased a 4 day museum pass which was well worth it given all the museums we went to.

This particular wing of the Museum houses the rooms of Napoleon III, the Emperor of the Second French Empire and the nephew to Napoleon I. The Louvre describes the Salon thus: “The large drawing-room of the Napoleon III Apartments typifies the taste of the period for opulent interiors. The ceiling features Charles-Raphaël Maréchal’s painting of The Reuniting of the Louvre and the Tuileries by Napoleon III. The lavish stucco decorations are by Tranchant.” (Hint: Click on the images to enlarge).

The rest of the rooms were equally opulent.

We continued on to the Marie Antoinette Rooms. The almost Tiffany Blue had been a popular color during her time in France and the rooms reflected this.

Having worked up an appetite we headed back to the center of the museum to grab a bite at their restaurant. But not before passing a few more grand rooms along the way!

“Winged Victory” in all her glory.
This room was full of jewels and details about the artists who had worked for the Kings of France.

After lunch we checked out the Vermeer exhibit which looked at his art in relation to other artists of his time. The exhibit was interesting but packed, and we had to wait an hour just to get in. We left the museum and strolled down the Jardin Des Tuileries grabbing some ice cream along the way. At the Octagonal lake we took a right and headed up Rue Cambon, past the Église Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption and turned right along the Rue Saint Honoré which is one of the main, high-end shopping streets in Paris. Taking a Right on Place Vendôme we passed by the Vendôme Column, of which Balzac once said “The city of Paris has a great mast, made entirely of bronze, with sculpted Victories and Napoleon as its lookout”.

At this point we were starving so we turned to Google to direct us to some food. A few moments later we were sitting at Razowski’s in a lovely square, chowing down on some of the best burgers I’ve ever had (they were also accommodating to my food allergy  – making a few adjustments to the meal so I could have what I wanted – I was very happy with the service).  We sat outside and watched the rain fall and people walk home while we decided what to do next. fullsizeoutput_607IMG_9950

As it turned out the Musée D’Orsay was open late on Thursdays so we headed over. Passing back through the gardens we crossed the bridge and headed in.

Paris at Dusk is lovely
Musee D’Orsay Clock

The museum had a special exhibit “Beyond the Stars: The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky” about the nature of the humanity in relation to the cosmos. Some of the work was quite brilliant and unexpected. (click on images for more information).

Red Hills, Lake George by Georgia O’Keeffe 1927
Decorative Landscape by Lawren Steward Harris 1917
Sky by Emily Car 1935-1936

We did a fast tour through their first floor and then were promptly kicked out of the museum at 9:15 (not before seeing some Sassy AF women portrayed in the paintings including Sarah Burnhardt!).

Femme à L’orchidée by Edgard Maxence 1900
Portrait de Sarah Bernhardt by Georges Clairin between 1884 and 1902
Madame Pasca by Léon Bonnat 1874

At this point we were beat, so we headed back to the 16th to unwind with our host over a glass of wine!


Traveling with a Decorator – Europe Day 1

Kings Cross St. Pancras Station, London

M. and I (hereby renamed M&M) are on a tour of Europe. We once designed theater projects together in College and now work in two different design fields. This is our account of the trip.

Day 1: We arrived in London late on Tuesday night and headed to our hotel, a nondescript little hole in the wall on a row of similarly tiny hotels next to Kings Cross St. Pancras Station. Upon waking the next morning to a rather dreary, rainy day I promptly blew up my hair-dryer (but managed not to light the room on fire or blow out the electricity so I count it as a win). Appealing to the better natures of the hotel staff I managed to wrangle a new hair-dryer and proceeded with M. in tow to meet my old flatmates, C&C, in Kensington.

We headed to The Muffin Man for a delightful tea with scones & jam. It was a great traditional place with cozy seating and a great tea selection.

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Tea and Scones from The Muffin Man – Photo by Olivier De Man

Then we hailed a black cab and headed over to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The V&A is by far one of my favorite museums, and houses everything from clothes and costumes, to marble statues, old tiles, pottery, stained glass etc. It’s huge and we hardly had enough time to begin but we gave it a go anyway. C&C led us through the Cast Room which I discovered back in 2004 during my study abroad years. One sections was being remodeled but the other was just as I remembered it. Then, we headed to the theater exhibit rooms (filled with costumes and set models) and the stained glass rooms (which were beautifully laid out).

Before we had even begun to take it all in it was time to head off. We bid a cheerful goodbye to C&C and went back to the hotel to grab our bags and catch the train to Paris! The train was exceptionally fast and not too crowded (4:30 on a Wednesday isn’t the most popular time for travel) so we were able to spread out a bit. By 11pm we were happily tucked into bed at our Friend’s apartment in the 16th and passed out. It was quite the start to our Europe Adventure.

Paper Props

One of the many jobs that prop designers have in creating realistic looking paper goods for the actors in a play. This can be anything from letters, to newspapers, to large scrolls. It can be quite fun to do the research, but often takes a ton of time to find exactly the right thing. Recently I decided to move these paper files off my computer and onto a public folder on Flicker.

An actress reading a newspaper I created for her in the musical “Evita"
An actress reading a newspaper I created for her in the musical “Evita”

Before making this decision I did a bit of research and asked around about which file-sharing websites were the best. Flicker now provides a full terabyte of storage for free (which is just a ridiculous amount of space). And while the website does not support .psd files it does allow for folders and categories – and I do like to organize.

You can check out some of my files below but also head over to my flicker account to see more. So far I’ve only uploaded WWII files but there will be many more to come.

Post Card fro Egypt 1893
Post Card from  Egypt 1893
Edward Wright - Map for Sailing to Azores-1599
Edward Wright – Map for Sailing to Azores-1599
War Department Envelope Stamped 1950
War Department Envelope Stamped 1950

Spotlight on Kyle Fisher

I’m going into tech for “Evita” tomorrow so I’m a bit crazed at the moment but as it is fashion week I wanted to take a second to highlight the photography of my dear friend Kyle Fisher.

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Designed by Mimi Tran

Kyle has been on the front line of Fashion Week here in NYC and has a great eye for detail. He hails from a film background but has been uploading stills all week and I’m so excited to see more. Check out his work below or on his website.

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Garments hanging backstage
Kyle Fisher Photography
Design by Sofia Arana NYFW 2015
Details of a dress from the Czar by Cesar Galindo show
Details of a dress from the Czar by Cesar Galindo show NYFW 2015
A dress from the Czar by Cesar Galindo show
A dress and jumper from the Czar by Cesar Galindo show NYFW 2015
A spectator Sketches at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in NYC
A spectator Sketches at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC  2015
Detail Shot of a dress from the Czar by Cesar Galindo Show
Detail Shot of a dress from the Czar by Cesar Galindo Show NYFW 2015
Fashion week 2015 hat
A Monstruosite design NYFW 2015
Fashion week 2015 butterfly hat
A model looks to the audience on the Monstruosite runway NYFW 2015


Hollywood Regency Part 2 – Today’s Style

Last week I wrote about the history of Hollywood Regency which originated in the 1930’s. Today the style has undergone a few changes but retains the feeling of luxury that made it so popular more than 80 years ago.

Gold TableAs in the 1930’s, Hollywood Regency today uses luxurious materials, clean lines and geometric patterns to draw the eye into the space. The style today uses bold, bright colors on statement pieces such as curtains, lamps or chairs and intersperses these with black and white patterns on rugs, walls and larger furniture items.


While classic furniture is still heavily used in modern-day Hollywood Regency style, certain items from the mid-century modern period are now incorporated as well. The Parson Table being one of the favorites.

gold wall paperhollywood5

Above all, Hollywood Regency is playful elegance. There is always a sense of wonder, glam and whimsy to rooms decorated in this style. From faux fur rugs to bright colors, and from giant statement wall decor to animal statues, this style takes traditional elements and infuses them with a bit of frivolity.



For those of you looking to create your own Hollywood Regency space there are a wealth of resources out there. Pinterest and Domino are my go-tos for inspiration, Jonathan Adler, One Kings Lane, and Joss & Main are all great websites for finding furnishing. For vintage styled wallpapers Secondhand Rose is THE go to for New Yorkers but for removable wallpaper or a more modern look I like Murals Your Way. I have also had a lot of luck on Etsy but it does require a bit more searching. If you do decide to try this style have fun and if you can’t afford buy the gilded furnishing you desire don’t be afraid to try a little ikea hack, the end results will be worth it.



Hollywood Regency Part 1 – The Past

I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl. I grew up watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, learned to swing dance when I was a teen and often wear vintage attire if I can get away with it. So when I started designing my new room I was looking to create a space that would reference the Hollywood Regency style of interior design. As I was searching for furnishings that might help highlight the look, I realized that more and more flash sale sites were carrying gold and white furnishings. Clearly I was not the only one loving the vintage style.

William Haines

Hollywood Regency became popular in the 1930’s with the explosion of the movie industry. The style utilized Georgian and Edwardian furniture and modern Art Deco architectural lines; geometric shapes, chinoiserie, metallic and reflective surfaces, as well as luxe materials were highly favored. The style was frequently featured in the homes of the Hollywood stars as well as in film set and popularized by designers William Haines and Dorothy Draper.

Ginger Rogers in Top Hat
Ginger Rogers in Top Hat

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films often featured the style in their sets. In the above photo Ginger perches on a newer style of bed that features clean lines and cut decals (the star) while behind the bed the tufted satin headboard adds a feeling of an older, aristocratic time.

Old Hollywood Mirrors Old Hollywood Mirrors

Mirrors and highly reflective surfaces pepper the sets and homes of this time. Often they were elaborately framed such as the image on the above right. In the later 30’s and early 40’s cleaner lines for mirrors started to be favored as in the image above left and below but they were often then flanked by more ornate furnishings such as the chinoiserie wall paper in Rita Hayworth’s Dressing Room.

Rita Hayworth’s Dressing Table
Rita Hayworth’s Dressing Table

While we may think of Hollywood Regency as being a more feminine style today it was considered appropriate for both men and women’s rooms during the 1930’s. In this scene below, Fred Astaire’s apartment features the large mirrors and tufted furniture (you can just make out the dressing-room screen in the mirror. However the roman bust, Egyptian style phoenixes in the fireplace, and the darker colored table and lamp lend a more masculine air to the room. Fred Astair singing "Needle in A Haystack"Fred Astaire singing “Needle in A Haystack”

Above all Hollywood Regency was about high drama. Tall ceilings, large drapes or furnishings and rich materials were key to making this style a success. Next week I’ll go into more detail about how this style is once again sweeping the design scene. But for now I leave you with this exquisite set of a “Hotel Suit” to feast your eyes on. Hollywood Style

I’m Back!

Hey Folks, after a long hiatus I am back to blogging. It’s been a hectic spring; I moved, started doing more work for the film union on shows like “Broad City” and “Blacklist”, helped a cousin with the design for his wedding, traveled to CA to see my college friends and this month I have 3 more weddings! It’s been a lot to tackle, so I’m glad thing are finally getting unpacked and back to normal.

My face before and after the move.

I’m now living in a 3 bedroom with two lovely ladies in Brooklyn and the exciting thing is …I get to do whatever I want with the decor of the house! My roommates are totally chill with repainting, hanging new art and putting up storage. There is always so much potential when you move to a new space and I love getting creative with paint, curtains etc.

The new place is a 6 story, multi-unit apartment building built in the 1920’s. The bedrooms are big and mine looks out onto a leafy tree, but it’s very dark compared to my old place and the walls were all an awful gray putty color when I first saw the space. So my first course of action was figuring out how to brighten the space. I did some research and started gravitating to gold and white decor but I also wanted to keep the feeling of the room soft (it is a bedroom after all). I pulled some images (see below) and decided to go bold and do white walls with gold trim and a blue and gold accent wall behind the bed.

The painting took an entire weekend and cost me about $150 (gold paint is not cheap people) but the transformation was pretty dramatic. I’m still working on hanging pictures and unpacking boxes but here is a little teaser of the before and after of the room.




As I said, I’m still putting the finishing touches on the space but painting everything made a HUGE difference! The room feels much more romantic and it was totally worth the 2 days and 3 nights it took to get the job done.