Friday, February 27, 2009


above photos: by Julian Wass, House Beautiful magazine.
Jeffrey Bilhuber interior.
You can read the great interview and see the rest of his color fearlessness here:

I would be a very rich man and be able to do whatever my heart desired, if I had a buck each time I heard a client or received an e-mail stating that "I'm afraid of color!"

It's a fear that I try to understand, but don't. I understand color hesitation, color confusion, color dilemma and so forth...but fear? Really?

I've heard more color"horror stories" than I could ever remember and even then, the word "fear" seems inappropriate. Great design and great design choices come from making mistakes. As a matter of fact, I think that all success comes from splendid failure. You have to take risks in order to figure out what works. Playing it safe when choosing color, patterns, texture and the like may create an adequate room but nobody wants an adequate life. Your home should be the best of you.

Color boldness doesn't mean picking a palette that is jarring and uncomfortable to you. It's about making that color you have always loved but were too afraid to use, work! Knowing that you love a certain color but have been too timid to use it in the past, is half the battle. You're almost there. You know you like it, so it's time to "date it!" Use that color with accessories. It's a quick fix and so much easier to return a pillow than repaint a wall. Finding simple ways to challenge yourself without a huge commitment at first is a great way to build your design confidence and get your feet wet.

Make bold choices, within your style and palette, and watch how a sofa you were "done with" starts to feel new & fresh. Even a neutral backdrop can express more vibrancy due to the fact that it's been partnered with some vibrant jewel tones or rich, muted earthy colors. Starting small and experimenting with color will help fine tune your decorating sixth sense. It's in there. I know it! I've seen it blossom in people that didn't think they could pick a lamp shade let alone design a whole room. A whole house!

Now if you're ahead of the curve and color doesn't scare one bit and you scoff at the rest of the world that looks up at the color chip wall in the hardware store with sweaty palms and trembling knees....HERE'S your challenge: Fine tune your gift.

Since color is this incredible well you love to dip into, be a bit more discerning. Experiment with different hues and tones. Mix patterns and styles. Layer a room with different hues of the same color palette. Challenge yourself to see how you can transform space and light with just color.

Color is one of the most impressive and monumental ways you can transform your home. It can change everything about the way you feel, live and move in a room. Fear is too strong and too negative a word to be applied to something so transforming and positive. Save it for flying unicorns...who came up with that idea? Scary!

-angelo surmelis

Thursday, February 26, 2009


photos: taschen london style & taschen new york style
In my head I live a minimal lifestyle. Just a few simple furnishings, only what I need. No clutter. Everything is well organized, but it's not difficult since there isn't much.

Now, for reality. I live amongst organized clutter at best. The challenge I face when trying to create the simple, clean, non stuff lifestyle is that I love stuff. I get excited around flea markets. Even if I don't buy anything, looking at all that is available gives me a thrill. There are memories in the stuff I have. Each piece is almost like it's own time capsule of a specific period in my life.

The things we own, the way we display them, the collections we decide to show are a part of who we are and have a very specific story to tell. Beautiful rooms are more than just architectural details, well designed furniture, great color choices and perfect flow. A room's character, personality are in the details of our stuff.

What you feel is the most mundane of an item you've had forever can be a work of art. It's all in the way it's displayed. A basic white bookcase filled with inexpensive garage sale finds (white pottery) becomes a study in placement and style. The ordinary is instantly extraordinary just by changing the way everything is perceived. Even a pile of collected books turn into something special when you take into account how you arrange them, what colors you place with or around them and how you use them. The less than obvious pile can instantly turn into the perfect place to perch your Sunday to your favorite chair.

Honor the stuff you love.
-angelo surmelis

Tuesday, February 24, 2009



Giorgio Armani opened his new 5th Avenue, NYC store.

The staircase is a ridiculously, incredible feat of engineering and design. The whole building looks like functional art.
Pretty much like his clothing.

I have been a huge fan of his in terms of aesthetic for as long as I can remember. His vision is so pure and focused that whatever gets made, created, & designed follows the same theme. Everything works in unison to create the uttermost perfect Armani world. It can be dizzying for mere mortals like me, but definitely something to be inspired by.

Time for a trip to NYC. I never need an excuse, but I will use this one.

Great article in the New York Times regarding the new store and
Mr. Armani's take on it all.
Check it out here:


Giorgio Armani's Blog in the NY Times regarding the project:

Architectural Project:

Architectural Design Team:

Furniture Team:

Model Making Team:

3d Model/Render Team:

Monday, February 23, 2009

let's go out...

photos: livingetc., country living, vogue living;australia,
metropolitan home, dwell & elle decor magazines

I know it's still quite cold in certain parts of the country, but it certainly can't hurt to think about being outdoors. Spring is pretty close at hand and creating outdoor rooms that make you want to spend as much time as possible outside is good stuff.

For me, the key is to treat the outdoors just like an indoor space. Nothing revolutionary here, but definitely something for all of us to try and remember when we're faced with "lawn furniture." The less contrast there is between your style indoors to your outdoor rooms the better flow and design function will be.

Seize the outdoors with the same gusto, color and aesthetic choices you are fearless with inside your home.

Use the most of a balcony, patio or yard.
If you got a bit-o-space in the great green wonder--use it!

-angelo surmelis

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

she's my best actress...

Many, many years ago I met Kate Winslet.

Titanic had not come out yet.  It had been wrapped and there was much speculation in the industry as to how it would do.  Would it be the costliest bomb ever or do well?

We all know how it all turned out.

The year was 1996.  I had started my design company about a year earlier and was working part-time at a Starbucks in Los Angeles to make ends meet and for the insurance benefits.  I grew up in a very blue collar working class family. We didn't have much and I remember my Dad always working two jobs, sometimes three.  I have never felt secure enough in any job that I don't always have my eye on something else.

Kate Winslet walked in with someone that was either her agent/manager or PR guy.  
If you've lived and worked in LA long enough, you can spot them.  
Most are essentially the same person.  No one knew who she was.  
This was before she became the world's best actress.  
I had seen her in Heavenly Creatures when in came out.  It was her first film and I was mesmerized.  Her beauty is obvious at first and more complex the closer you look, but her talent--her talent was undeniable from the start.  I was completely taken.  Talent is very seductive.

She ordered her coffee and against her agent/manager/pr guys scowl, she ordered a scone. When I finished making her coffee I walked over to where she was standing and handed it to her and quitely said, "I thought you were incredible in Heavenly Creatures.  You're unbelievably talented."  She took my hand, the agent/manager/pr guy approached to shoo me away.  She shooed him away.  She held my hand, looked directly into my eyes and not only thanked me, but spent the next 10 minutes talking to me about acting, film and her nervousness over the opening of her new film, Titanic.

She has only become more beautiful and talented as the years have gone by.  This year's Kate Winslet movie offerings are the latest of examples of her immense talent.  

Congratulations Kate and next time, the coffee and scone are on me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the splendid table...

If you haven't heard this radio show, you must. If you love food and want to hear a fresh approach to all things culinary, this is the show. Lynn Rossetto Kasper is an engaging host that has endless knowledge. The difference here, you never feel like you're being talked down to. No meal is too pedestrian and no wine too extravagant. The show gleefully runs the gamut.

Lynn has a new cookbook out with Sally Swift, "How to Eat Supper." It's great.

The show is produced by American Public Radio, they also do A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keiller.

Good stuff people.

-angelo surmelis

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

thank you...

the "garbo" love seat version of the chair.  
it will also come with two wine colored, velvet throw pillows.  
the vine pattern will also be available in other colors.
will retail for $399.

THANK YOU for posting your 7 things and for support about mine.  
Some of you are still a hold out.  You know who you are and I'm waiting.    

ALSO, I can't thank all of you enough for your incredible support about the announcement of my new upholstered furniture line.  WOW!  I am overwhelmed & humbled.  I promise to share as much info with you as possible as the retail deals are signed and product is available.  Some of that has already happened and we have to wait to for all the pieces to be in place before announcements can be made.  Hang tight.  It's cool stuff.  

The roll out will be gradual with appox. 20 upholstered pieces making their debut before the year is over.  I should personally have one of each piece available for the initial roll out in about six weeks and then I will get busy getting each one photographed and ready for market.  

The ultimate goal is for angelo: HOME to be a place to be.  

A place that fits the way we live.  All of us want style and lifestyle without having to make huge sacrifices.  The way we live should be a natural extension of who we are and not a burden.  I have always believed and still do, that style is not about a price tag or a specific name.  It is about individual, creative expression and I hope that this line can help you do that.  I have built it to mix and match, stand alone pieces and pieces that allow for personal style.  Add a vintage throw pillow to one of the chairs, drape a beloved family throw over a love seat and definitely put your feet up on an ottoman.  

I will be always working on evolving the line, premiering new pieces, colors, fabric and styles. It will be exciting and interesting for me to see what you relate to and what you want and need. I am committed to putting shippable, affordable, stylish furniture out there.  

This is the stuff I have wanted to see my whole life.  More than just furniture...a place to be.   

-angelo surmelis

Monday, February 16, 2009

7 things...

In my grandmother's yard in Athens. Greece.

A few blog entries ago, Sheila, one of the great bloggers in this Bloggerville asked for 7 things about me that you may not know or just little known facts.  I have complied, but I do it in good faith since I now turn the tables on you (yes, you too Sheila) and ask. 
"what 7 things do we not know about you?"  

Looking forward to seeing the results.

7 things:

1)  English is not my first language.  We spoke Greek when my parents and I moved to the States.  I was mortified that I couldn't speak the language and on my first day of kindergarten (I was 7 and looked like an alien compared to all the other 5 year olds) I threw up on my teacher's shoes upon meeting her.  I vowed to "fit in" and fervently asked for all the lesson plans of first grade when I was in kindergarten.  I finished them all before going to 1st and while there begged my teacher to get me the ones for 2nd.  I finished them within a month and skipped 2nd grade.  It's been downhill ever since.  I just wanted to "catch up."

2)  I am a sucker for a good cheeseburger & fries, a real ice cream chocolate or vanilla shake followed by a slice of yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

3)  I don't have a middle name.

4)  When I lived with my grandmother in Greece (my parents were working in Germany at the time) I ate a flower from her yard because I thought it was so amazing looking that if I ate it, it's powers of color & beauty would be a part of me.  I was 4 and I had an allergic reaction.  
My tongue, mouth & lips swelled up to at least twice their normal size.  
It also did not taste as good as it looked.  

5)  I still feel like a failed architect.

6)  Talent, modesty & strength tempered with kind heartedness are sexy to me.  Great legs don't hurt the equation.

7)  I can't sing and have always dreamt of being a rock star.  
NEEEEEVER gonna happen.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

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