Art meets design for a walk on the wild side

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• January 24, 2015

It's whimsical and exotic with a touch of eclectic.  

The collection contains vibrant and varied species of birds, butterflies, rabbits, tropical leaves and orchids all utilized in creating dynamic patterns in this art-meets-design collection.  In Lee Jofa's  first artist collaboration with Groundworks, they have introduced vibrantly colored and stunning fabrics, wallpapers, and carpets designed by Hunt Slonem, a world-renowned artist best known for his Neo-Expressionist paintings of exotic animals and tropical plant life.

And it's exciting because it puts some fun into interior design. It almost says, "yes I am gorgeous, but I don't take myself too seriously."

The result: Spectacular

Slonem's paintings are layered with thick brushstrokes of vivid color, and are often cut into in a cross-hatched pattern, adding texture to the overall surface of the painting. This technique has been replicated in the fabric collection through intricate jacquard weaving and digital printing techniques, resulting in a look that is graphically stunning.  For the Groundworks' collection, several of his most popular themes and iconic works have been translated into decor for the home.

Fritillery, the butterfly motif based upon specimens Slonem studied as a boy. Photo: Kravet/Lee Jofa.

As a celebrated painter, sculptor and printmaker with more than 350 exhibitions at prestigious galleries and museums internationally,  Slonem has traveled all over the world but it was his childhood spent in Hawaii, and a year studying in Nicaragua, that have had the most profound impact on his life’s work. The vivid color combinations and exotic wildlife he encountered there inspire him to this day.

The motifs he explored in his early works, tropical birds, butterflies, bunnies and portraits, have been reduced to their essence and have become recurring themes in his extraordinary art. His spiritual connection to the concept of metamorphosis led him to include the butterfly as one of the recurring themes in his work.

And there are those iconic bunnies.

Fascination with the rabbit occurred when he realized was born in the year of the rabbit, according to the Chinese calendar. In his New York City studio,  the bunny wall consists of   salon-style groupings of his small bunny paintings, some hung while wet. These signature paintings are now collector's items.  And Bunny Wall is a wallpaper that mimics the effect of the framed paintings against different colored backgrounds.

Slonem's spiritual connection to his recurring themes elevates the simple paintings to something more significant. To Slonem, repetition is divinity. Just like the act of repeating a phrase creates a mantra, the object is elevated and the act of repeating these forms becomes an act of worship. The process of painting is sacred to Slonem, and as a result, his body of work represents so much more than what's painted on the canvas.

And just how do we incorporate some of this exotic whimsy into our southwest homes? My suggestions:

A seamless series of bunnies, unframed and multiplied, on solid and metallic backgrounds. The repetition represents luck, abundance and the gentle traits represented by the rabbit. Photo: Kravet/Lee Jofa.

A seamless series of bunnies, unframed and multiplied, on solid and metallic backgrounds. The repetition represents luck, abundance and the gentle traits represented by the rabbit. Photo: Kravet/Lee Jofa.

•    The beautiful fabric is an elegant touch for upholstery and draperies.  My favorite is to take a chair or sofa piece that has become dated or an antique and reupholster  to give it a totally new look.  And the fabric makes beautiful window panels.

•    Who can resist the Bunny Wall as an accent wall covering in an office or dining room and for the entire powder room?

•    Pillows for accents add a bright, eclectic  touch to a solid color, traditional sofa.

•    The bunny wall coverings, Hutch, are available in pink or yellow and would be a great touch for a nursery.

•    Want just a touch of these fabulous creations in your home?  Stretch a piece of the fabric on canvas for a wall or frame a section of one of the wallpapers.

To see the entire collection, visit the Kravet/Lee Jofa showroom at the Miromar Design Center in Estero or visit

Hunt Slonem will sign his new book, When Art Meets Design from 4-6:30 p.m., January 26 at Harmon-Meek in Naples. Details: 239-262-2699.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit

Home Inspirations: Window treatments define a room's style

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• October 5, 2013

From Ballard Designs: Drapes hung just below molding give this beautiful room a balanced look.

Every designer knows that from the fabric to the hardware, window treatments define the style of a room.

Drapes provide impact through the use of color, pattern, texture and decorative details. And when hung right, they give the illusion of height in a room. They can visually widen a window, letting in lots of light.

And yet, window treatments are the most confusing component of interior decor to homeowners. We dress up a window for various reasons: privacy, to block sunlight, to disguise a not so pretty window and to add fabric and color to a room to make it interesting.  And if you don’t need window treatments for any of these reasons, you may wish to think about leaving the windows bare, especially if your window is architecturally beautiful or if you have a view that should be unblocked. 

It is a good idea to live in the room for a while to decide what works best for your lifestyle. Because there is a financial commitment, you don’t want to make a mistake. And there are lots of choices. From shutters to shades to panels to full drapes. Not an expert? No problem. Here are a few tips that I use for my southwest Florida clients who want to incorporate fabric into their space with draperies.

Still need a puddle? Try this mini puddle from Pottery Barn.

Puddling or not?

For the most part, I say, not. Oh, sure, the yards and yards of fabric gathered on the floor in a prefect arrangement are gorgeous. And if they are being done for a photo, they are great. But that is the problem. Like the big wedding dress that gathers at the bottom, it only works in photos. If you vacuum or open and close your puddled drapes, they are not for you.  One the other hand, if you have a large room (like a ballroom with lots of space) and someone to constantly rearrange and dust them, they may work. But on a day to day basis for most of us, they are just too formal and need lots of floor space to do the look justice. The theatrical look works for some (large) spaces and certainly adds drama to a room. But remember that big wedding dress.

Still not convinced? Okay. If you must have a puddle or a mini puddle, hang your silk or faux silk drapes all the way to the floor with a break to get the effect. But not a full puddle. Two or threeinches.

Hang them high!

Don't do that (left)! Do this (right)!

This rule works every time. To give a room height and an elegant look, hang them high. From just below the crown molding or ceiling. And this applies to any window in your main living space. Indoor/outdoor fabric is a great way to go for cleaning and dusting.

Drapery panels

If you have a shade, panels or shutter over the window and really don’t need a full drape to block light or to provide privacy, this is the way to go. It’s a very elegant look and will save some money. Pick out a beautiful fabric or readymade panel with some fullness to it. Select decorative hardware and ties, if needed, and make sure to give the panels some width to make the window look larger and as always, hang from the ceiling or just below molding.

Toppings, cornices, valances

Depending upon your window, this may be the perfect accent. These work with shades, shutters and panels. Just the decorative element to add some style to the room. Whether they work as an accent or to cover up unsightly tracks and rods, they work in combination with other treatments. Southwest Florida clients like them with shutters and blinds because they soften the hard look of wooden window coverings. They also visually raise the height of a window.

And whether it is a beautiful view or exotic fabric, we all want beautiful windows.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips, visit

Blogfest in NYC: Design and the City Part 2

Still dreaming about the amazing and inspiring designs that I saw at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House during Blogfest 2012. This hot ticket event is celebrating its 40th year for Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club and it takes place through June 14 at the Aldyn, a luxury building on Manhattan’s West Side at Riverside Blvd. and 63rd St. So, if you are going to be in NYC, do yourself a favor and hurry to see not one, but two adjacent 6,000 square-foot residences (with views of the Hudson, beautiful terraces and rooms done by some of the top designers in the country.

And if you cannot make it to Manhattan, let me share some of the rooms that inspired me. As a southwest Florida interior decorator and writer, I am always looking for new ideas and practical solutions for my clients and right now, my head is spinning!

Of course, these are fantasy rooms. But they inspire us to think and to not be afraid to dream, use our imagination and have some fun with our own living spaces. That's what it is all about, right?

Photo from Blogfest 2012

"Sleeping Beauty" by Zoya Bograd of Rooms by Zoya B is fit for a princess.

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Inspiration: Heading to NYC and Blogfest 2012!

It doesn’t get any better than a trip to New York in the Spring.  My favorite thing to do: Long walks in Central Park. Beautiful. And shopping. Museums. Just being in NYC.

But this coming week (May 21-23) will be an exciting, extra-special NYC adventure and I am counting the days! I am so fortunate to have been included in Blogfest 2012, a three-day tour planned exclusively for interior design bloggers that features the industry's top shelter magazines, A-list design celebrities and breathtaking venues. Sponsored by Kravet, Lee Jofa, and Brunschwig Fils, it is jam-packed from morning until night with design events that have my head spinning!Blogfest 2012 logo

Jennifer Powell, Kravet’s social media wiz and overall amazing person, assures us that there are surprises around every turn and guarantees that we will experience the very best of interior design in NYC. I have my running shoes ready to go!!

An added bonus:  I will finally have the opportunity to meet some of my favorite designer/bloggers that I have communicated with via social media.  And my friend and Houston designer Pamela O’Brien of Room Redo and I will be going a day early because after all, a girl must have some fun time in NYC. 

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Decorating focus: Spring

Photo of colorful rugs

Realizing that it is only January 15, I woke up this morning to 35 degrees in southwest Florida and started to think about spring. It must have been a flashback to my Virginia Peninsula roots. This is the time of year that I always started to dream about summer days and wish they were not so far off.

Photo of bathroomPhotos courtesy of Garnet Hill.Today is a glorious, sunny, blue sky day in Florida. But it is cold. We have about three days a year that are like this. So, while I was rummaging through the back of my closet for my Ugg boots, I was thinking cold. But when I saw this gorgeous photo from the Garnet Hill catalogue, aside from wanting this room with its great light, beautiful distressed, whitewashed flooring and the jewel-toned hooked rug, I started to think about spring. 

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Spectacular Spaces offers tips in area magazines for outdoor living in southwest Florida

Photo of outdoor patioThe great spring weather has everyone in southwest Florida heading outdoors!  Spectacular Spaces was happy to be included in Beth Luberecki's article in the March/April issues of Times of the Islands and Bonita Living magazines.  Check out the tips below for making the most of your outdoor space.



Follow this advice, and you’ll be looking for any excuse to head to your porch or patio

by Beth Luberecki

Chances are, you might be flipping through this very magazine while sitting on your lanai or balcony. Take a look around. Is your outdoor space the alfresco oasis it should be, or could it use some work?

Living in Southwest Florida, we’re lucky enough to be able to spend a lot of our time outdoors. But who wants to spend that time in a ho-hum, unfinished space?

“For most people, an outdoor area gives you a break from your home, a place you can go to at the end of the day to get some fresh air,” says interior decorator Wrenda Goodwyn, owner of Estero-based Spectacular Spaces. “I think everybody is looking for that place to go, for that restful retreat.”

So what are the secrets to creating a space that’s both fun and functional, whether it’s a tiny condo balcony, spacious screened-in porch, or expansive pool deck and lanai? Start out by determining how you’d like to spend time there.

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