Jen Talbot Design

The Sketch Book Files

Meet Jen!

Jen's spot for inspirations, inside her life as designer and artist. I share progress, tips on sources, spaces that inspire and how to push the boundaries of every space.

Be brave, and go for it.

xo, Jen

Posts in Modern Living Room
Truth about Restoration Hardware’s Cloud Sofa

Author: Sydney Piwowar


Endless times have clients requested the cloud sofa. While the 100% down feather filled cushion wrapped in your “custom” choice of upholstery sounds lovely on paper, it does function as lovely in real life. Clients are often drawn towards the modern and relaxed look of the cloud. While there is nothing wrong with modernity and a relaxed setting, this sofa creates a lot of stress due to its construction. 


The first, simpler issue is that the oversized frame makes it difficult to install in homes - you need to double check your door widths to ensure it will fit in your home. 

Taller clients, or those that like to cuddle up and watch movies on their sofa, are often attracted to the oversized depth of the sofa. Deep cushions are actually one of the things RH is famous for. While you may think the cloud is  cuddly and wraps you like a hug, your grandmother or great aunt might think different. Comparable to a bean bag chair, this sofa sits very low to the ground and is very hard to get out of.


Its 100% down feather cushion fill does not help with this either. Each time you sit on it, the feathers relax and compress, similar to your down feather bedding. Only issue is that since there are so many feathers needed to fill it, its own weight compresses it down and doesn’t allow it to fluff back up after you sit up. As a result, each sofa cushion should be regularly fulled after every use to ensure it keeps its fluff. If that wasn’t annoying enough, try lifting one of those cushions yourself. If you don’t believe how much these feathers can weigh, stop by an RH near you and try for yourself. You are NOT going to want to lift that daily. 


This blog post isn’t meant to bash Restoration Hardware. I simply believe you have the right to know these things that sales associates won’t share with people willing to spend $14K on a sofa. 

Since I am being honest with you, I should tell you that 100% linen upholstery on this sofa is also a nightmare. Since the sofa does not bounce back once you sit in it, the fabric stays depressed and wrinkles with every touch. Not to mention, linen is also a stain magnet for children. 


To summarize, remember that bigger is not always better. Remember to check your cushion fill to ensure you have the appropriate balance of synthetic materials and down. It should be noted that the exact percentage will be different based off of personal preferences. And always bring home a sample of fabric before you agree to custom terms of agreement. Rub it on your dog to see how much hair it collects, let your two year old play with it for an afternoon and see how hard it is to clean - you will not regret it. 

Monochromatic Paint Palettes

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Something designers across the board talk a lot about is color depth. Whether that is in space, graphics, photography, fashion, etc. it is all very similar. In interiors, people often confuse color depth with having lots of colors. The more is not always merrier people! These monochromatic palettes have me falling in LOVE. Despite each room essentially being painted shades of the exact same color, it creates a sense of visual and architectural depth to a space in a way that just painting it all one color wont do. Take a look at these Inso images to see for your self!

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I absolutely love the way these different paint colors highlight the architectural significance of this wall. Traditionally, people would choose a floral wallpaper to pop in these panels. I have never been a fan for the obvious choices though - be bold, be different.

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This picture needs no introduction. What a great way to highlight the unique arch of the ceiling without drawing the attention up and away from the bathroom features.

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Top 5 Favorite Zellige Tile Applications

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I am sure you have all seen this trend in the 2018 design magazines and Pinterest. Well news for you, it is not going anywhere in 2019. Truth is, after so much technological innovation, we are all craving a sense of hand crafted work in our spaces. These Zellige Tiles are the epitome of that. The mosaic tilework is made from individually chiseled geometric tiles set into a plaster base. This form of Islamic art is one of the main characteristics of Moroccan architecture. To round up some inspiration for you, I have pulled my Top 5 Favorite Applications and specific tile recommendations for those designs.

Bathroom Shower

Cat Skill’s Hayfield Wedding Venue used Cle Tile’s Wheathered White Tile.

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Kitchen Backsplash

Nicole Hollis used Cle Tile’s Glossy Black Tile in her Design of the kitchen.

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A Nook or Built In

We could not find the source of this design, but pulled a tile we think would we be perfect for this application. The rustic emerald tile in the image looks similar to Riad Tile’s .

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Designed by Georgia Ezra, check out her tile collection, Tile of Ezra. She used her own mosaic for this space.

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For a similar look, check out this 2x6 subway tile from Zia Tile.

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Accent Pillow Trends

We can not say enough how much we love the addition of accent pillows in a space. Accent pillows add warmth, character, personality, humor, drama and an opportunity to refresh the space quickly.  I am not one for seasonally themed pillows but a refresh to my living room, guest bedroom or master can completely change the tone and design direction. We love good pillows and are constantly on the hunt for a fresh selection. Scroll down for a few of our favorite spots to shop. I also often image a perfect pillow, color way or pattern that I can not find, so we source the fabric and have them made. It only take about 1.5 yards of material and a trip to your local dry cleaner to get a custom pillow made!

Our top places to shop for pillows.

1. Etsy
2. Lulu & Georgia
3. Burke Decor
4. Wayfair
5. Furbish Home
6. Kudd Krig Home

Deep Colored Walls — Powder Room, Family Room, Library... Oh My!

California can have it's light, breezy SoCal vibe with all white walls and boho splashed in. Fresh exciting, bold things are happening with deep, dark colored walls. Paint or wallpaper are all in.

Think of London library vibe.

Shake of the norm. No wall is permanent. Be brave and go for it.

xo, Jen

How to Decorate with Plants

Plants are often overlooked as a potential element to design a space. Plants not only bring in needed color and life, but can be integral in finishing a space. Plant life is also a great way to keep the space fresh visually and satisfy the need to mix it up.  One of the most popular "designer" plant trends is the Fiddle Fig tree. It has big waxy leaves on a long stem and is very sculptural. 

Below are a couple examples of plants being used in the designing of the space. Imagine the rooms with out the plants or hold up your finger to block out the pops of green and see how different the space would feel without. 

I love plants and find it relaxing to do my Spring plantings, but I also understand are not for the fait of heart and not everyone has a green thumb or patience to care for a plant. There a several companies that are doing a great job with high end artificial plants. They are not cheap, but the investment is a pay off verse killing a $180 – $250 Fiddle Fig tree several times over. One of my favorite companies is here

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How to Add Color in Your Home, Naturally

In the last several years, I've noticed a trend in the striping of color from wardrobes and adding it to environments. Color can be tricky and much harder as a sweater paired with someones complexion. In art school students are first taught to draw in pencil, only using black and white- in order to understand highlights and low lights.  If color is introduced too soon students are not able to get a full understanding of how light affects a shape and ultimately affects the color when finally applied.

The same rules apply when adding color into your space, be thoughtful and selective about which colors and how much color to add.  Pick two colors and keep with those two mixed with neutrals. Feel free to use a variation on tones of the color you picked- meaning not all blue need to match to feel cohesive. If you mix the tones of blue, it will make the space feel more natural. Often times the use of selective color can make that highlighted color stand out more than if a multiple of colors were combined together. 

Be Brave! xo, Jen

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Dark Painted Cabinets

Dark painted cabinets are having a moment. A moment that I think is going to stick around for a awhile. We have spent 20 years in the beige range that dulled our senses and put us to sleep. It is an exciting time to be in design and see the marketed shift in peoples comfort zone. It's not like this is our first time in history experiencing dark cabinets. They pull from points in history of old drawing rooms and English libraries, which are rich, warm and inviting. For your first dark cabinet plunge, start with a dark neutral tone paint color, such as gray, blacks or navy.  I couple of my go to favorites are Benjamin Moore Hale Navy, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue, Benjamin Moore French Beret or Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray.

xo, Jen

West Shore Dr Library

West Shore Dr Library

Hyde Park Butler Pantry

Hyde Park Butler Pantry

Hyde Park Family Room Built In

Hyde Park Family Room Built In

Favorite Chairish Picks

I surely hope you have discovered Chairish, the fabulous curated vintage marketplace from vendors across the country. Think of 1st Dibbs meets Etsy, which is a happy mix of vintage retailers and every day individuals that have an amazing piece to sell.  It's a great place to find an original pieces to introduce in a unique element in to your to space to make it that much more personalized. 

It also can be a huge time saver, not having to drive around to all the local places that may be a big miss depending on the current inventory. The only draw back is you have to pull the trigger fast on finds from Chairish because they sell out quick. 

Here is my current favorite round up that would be great for a modern living room.