Emma Gardner at her store Emma At Home in Petaluma with some of the pillows she has designed.
Come by the CSOWP Showroom today and view her beautiful collection!
There’s something about Emma Gardner’s designs that provoke a smile. They’re contemporary, but at the same time slightly retro. The fearless colors, the geometric florals, the Asian-inspired prints. The pillows imprinted with mischievous themes — a bento box of sushi, a series of Russian nesting dolls.
The Manhattan by way of Brooklyn by way of Connecticut designer, newly transplanted to Petaluma, is not afraid that having fun with design will somehow compromise the sophistication of her line. From a splashy new showroom in Petaluma’s new theater district, Gardner brings a fresh perspective to Wine Country.
She made her mark first as a designer and wholesaler of vibrant, hand-knotted rugs made to order of Tibetan wool and Chinese silk in Nepal. But within the past year she and her business-partner husband, Patrick McDarrah, have added a retail line — Emma at Home — available online, through retailers across the country and in the showroom.
It’s given a whole set of new surfaces and textures for Gardner’s distinctive and modern creations. The light, airy and uncluttered showroom makes a perfect setting to punctuate her lively embroidered-on-linen pillows, pure baby-alpaca-wool throws from Peru and giclee prints (ink-jet prints) of her own paintings stretched on canvas. The couple also feature a collection of tables as well as custom-upholstered sofas, sectionals, ottomans and chairs, made in L.A. in neutral tones that best play up the splashy accents.
“I just gravitate toward color. And I just love making color combinations. I’m very passionate about that,” said Gardner, a former dancer.
She was born in Kyoto, Japan to an English father and a Russian mother. And while she left as a toddler and spent her formative years in Manhattan, that early Asian imprint inspires her look, from flowers to koi fish. But she also draws from urban fashion, pop art and organic forms in nature.
“I just make what’s beautiful,” she explains. “It’s less that I consciously think, ‘Oh I’m going to make something Asian-y right now’ or ‘I’m going to make something pop or retro.’ If anything, if I discern a trend like that I try not to go too far into it. I try to stay true to a moment of inspiration wherever it comes from, whether it’s nature or textiles or some art show I’ve seen.”
The design world has taken notice. Emma’s creations have been featured in Mademoiselle, Elle Decor, Dwell, House Beautiful, Glamour and InStyle magazines. She has been honored with Best of Year and Merit Awards from Interior Design Magazine and with Innovation Awards from Interior Designers of Canada.
Gardner actually came to design through the back door. She studied philosophy, literature and history in college and took a turn in dance. For a number of years she edited an online health and fitness website for Conde Nast, while experimenting with art on the side. Her tiny paper cutouts would later inform the distinctive, raised designs meticulously hand-cut into some of her rugs.
But it was when she became pregnant with her first child — a daughter, now 11 — that she had what she calls an epiphany.
“I had one of those moments where I realized, I’m not going to have much time and I want my work to be creative,” she said.
She settled on rugs as an artistic canvas because they were a practical and marketable item. The couple went through GoodWeave, which monitors illegal child labor in rug-making countries, to find a factory that would produce quality hand-knotting work in the centuries-old tradition, without labor exploitation. They use Tibetan or New Zealand wool or silk, hand-carded, hand-spun and pot-dyed. They have since added hand-tufted carpets from India to the line.
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It’s not quite what you’d expect from a cowhide, splashed up in a range of cool colors, in hot patterns and motifs, from geometric designs to organic spots and stripes, to the natural look of the hide itself. But the really nice thing about these custom cowhide rugs is they totally suit your style – whatever that may be. They are produced in any design, every color, and sized to your specifications. As floor or wall coverings, or an object d’art, these luxury cowhide rugs finish any space in style.
Fine Italian design comes to fruition underfoot, with this unconventional, unexpected dark brown rug by Fiorentino. The Quadro rug isn’t your typical shag rug. Finished in a rich, chocolate brown tone, this carpet features a checker pattern of leather in a variety of treatments that gives the rug its unique texture and aesthetic. The natural materials used work beautifully with natural wood and contemporary materials alike, such as glass and chrome. Lay this luxe rug down in front of the fireplace, define the seating area in your living room, or create a cozy den. Pamper your feet and feed your need for style.
If you love wood floors but want to steer clear of typical hardwood, this new decorative wooden carpet from Boewer is something to see. These contemporary carpets feature the natural look of wood, presented in an unconventional, unexpected way. Designed by Elisa Strozyk, these wood carpets are available in four different wood varieties – wentwood, mortimer, sherwood, ashdown. The wood panels are cut into various shaped and arranged in patterns, resulting in a three-dimensional design that offers a totally different flooring option. These modern wood carpets will make a great addition to your living room, den, bedroom or home library. The sophisticated yet home-style aesthetic makes these carpets usable, yet beautiful.
These artistic rugs from Swiss carpet company Ruckstuhl are masterpieces you can walk on! The Night Sky rug by designer Deborah Moss measures just 152cm in diameter – by far the smallest run in the collection – but this beauty manages to pack lots of punch in that small space. Adorned with hand-sewn colored crystals add excitement to the wool felt rug, soft both in color and texture.
We love these ultra modern rugs by French company Toulemonde Bochart. The distinctive Paris 1919 rug design, created by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac (a fashion designer known for his bold graphics and even bolder colors), presents a playful pattern that adds an element of fun to any room in your home. The elementary, almost-childlike motif features vibrant colors in a design that’s printed on canvas and stretched over a frame, and made of 100 per cent New Zealand wool, hand-tufted. These floor coverings are art you can walk on, or hang it up on the wall for a whole new way to enjoy.
Get back to your “roots” with this nature-inspired rug from Nodus. The Roots rug by designer Matali Crasset features a wonderful, down-to-earth color palette of leafy green, with raised brown “roots” radiating their way from the center out. We love how the ends of the roots extend beyond the edge of the rug in a neat little fringe, adding interest to this unique, most-unusual modern rug design. This limited collection of just 20 rugs (plus one prototype) was hand-knotted in Nepal, with asymmetrical knots measuring 100 per square inch.
These gorgeous abstract tiles by Italian company Fogazza really splash up every room in the home – that’s right folks, tiles aren’t just for bathrooms anymore! The new Atlantis Abstract collection boasts wonderful patterns that excite and inspire. Inlaid into your living room floor, these gravel tiles easily become the centerpiece of the space. Or add them as an accent to your kitchen floor for both beauty and practicality in one must-have tile. What makes these tiles so stunning is the use of marble in their designs, delivering a natural, weathered and totally luxurious look. Named for an era of the early 20th century, the Abstract collection showcases gentle lines, geometric shapes and a color range that runs the gamut from cool organic tones to the hottest hues. Bring a personalized touch to your home with these fabulous gravel and marble tiles.
What’s not to love about the ‘Square’ and ‘Square Compressions’ modern contemporary rug designs from Ariana? These gorgeous rugs, with their colorful geometric pattern, will match any interior with their stunning range of confident color combinations. The modern rugs can fit anywhere in the home – you can choose from runners and a range of different sizes of rectangular/square rugs. Each is a work of art made in hand tufted wool or hand hooked cotton. A father and daughter team from Los Angeles, these award winning contemporary rugs will lead you into the future in true style. They’re inspired by the 1920’s Russian Suprematism movement, 1930’s German Bauhaus movement and 1960’s American Art! Get your signed and dated rug from Ariana rugs: modern art for your floor.
If you like Ariana’s rugs, you’re sure to like The Rug Company’s Paul Smith contemporary designer rugs too…
When remodeling an outdoor space, the best tile choices are durable, weather resistant and attractive. Whether you’re creating a patio, hiding an old cement slab or re-inventing a backyard space, tile provides a sturdy surface for patio furniture away from bugs and other outdoor nuisances. From natural stone to wood tiles, many colors, textures and designs are available for outdoor use.
Available in many colors, textures, patterns and sizes, it’s not surprising that ceramic tiles are a popular choice for outdoor use. Although the man-made tiles are created from kiln-dried, refined clay, all ceramic tiles are not equally durable. In addition to the chemical mix of the clay, the kiln firing temperature and duration determine the rigidity of ceramic tiles. Look for tile with a high Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) durability rating and a slip-resistant coating that offers a gritty texture. Ceramic tile can be installed over existing outdated concrete patios or placed over other strong and inflexible substrate.