Today's Ideabooks
Browse Bedroom Products on Houzz- For Example:

Friday, March 30, 2007

New Favorite Book

Vicente Wolf is one of my favorite designers of all time, and, as anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I am a nut for for books. So when a new Vicente Wolf book comes out, I am always excited. His new book "Crossing Boundaries" is as useful as it is beautiful. Vicente, an accomplished photographer, has spent years travelling the globe, taking photographs, which he has referred back to constantly as source material for his inspiring work. In this book he walks through his design process and gives insight into how travel images, have inspired rooms.
In the images above, you can see how Caribbean imagery is effortlessly transformed into a modern interior. There are many examples like this in the book, it is just fascinating. I hope you all grab a copy.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Resource Day: Studio Printworks

I have seen lots of postings on other design blogs recently about wallpaper, so I thought it was appropriate today to feature one of the new, bright shining stars of the wallpaper world as part of Resource Day. That company, is Studio Printworks out of New York. The president Dennis Shah, comes from a family tradition of fine wallpaper manufacturers, they produce a lot of the classic papers for Clarence House and Brunschwig and Fils, to name a few. So he knew what he was doing when he set out and founded this comapny with two other partners. What I think is so chic about their line is, how on the surface they look like classic designs, but actually are quite tongue in cheek, subversive. Take the three designs that I picked, they all have that wonderful, old world feel to them, however the first is an homage to the B and D lifestyle, featuring locks and chains, the second, South Beach Toile, features muscle men with little dogs and female impersonators, while the third, on the surface looks classic chinois, but actually shows spy planes over china.
There are terrific color ways, samples available off the Internet, and they can be purchased all across the U.S. , Asia and Australia. Distributors are listed on their website. I hope you will check them out, if nothing else, its inspiring to see edgy work like this getting the attention it deserves.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Fireplaces have an incredible ability to anchor any room that they are in. I have even been known to add a mantle to a room without a fireplace, to create a visual anchor that would otherwise be missing. In the same way the perfect pair of shoes begs the question, what purse? The perfect fireplace calls out for something on the mantle. Too many times I see over done, over scaled and all together just too much on top.

Here are some guidelines to make the perfect mantle:

  • In some circles, too much is just enough, this is not one of them. Remember that a lot will go a long way, don't be afraid to put too little, you may just find that it's just right!

  • A Fireplace will always appear to be important, so you can add a little whimsy in this spot without looking foolish, like the seahorse in this beach house I recently did.

  • I am all about creating a home that speaks about you, this is the chance to make that statement, find one of your favorite things there, like this sunburst I found at a yard sale.

  • You don't always need a mantle shelf, sometimes just the texture of a beautiful wall is all you need.

Keep the home fires burning!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Outdoor Rooms

With Summer right around the corner it is time to start preparing for outdoor entertaining and living. I am not sure if it is a Southern California thing, or an Australian heritage thing, but come summer, I barely see the inside of my house. I read outside, cook outside, eat outside, and generally live in the outdoors. A lot of that is because of great outdoor rooms, that cater to that kind of lifestyle. That is what I wanted to talk about today; how to go about transforming an ordinary outdoor space into a real room that you will use and cherish, here are some ideas:

  • First of all identify how you live, do you spend time at a table, playing cards or games, or are you more of a lounger, it is crucial that you honestly look at what your needs are before you tackle any seating plan.

  • Now that you know what your needs are, zone out the space that you have, create areas so that each member of the family has there particular needs met, for me this means a shady spot and a big floor cushion for my two dogs.

  • Now, how to furnish this? If this was a regular room would you ever buy a whole suite where the chairs, sofa, and tables were all from the same series? Probably not. So don't do the same thing with outdoor furniture, mix it up a little, you will be amazed how much warmer and cozier it feels when you use different styles and patterns, just like a regular room

  • Now don't forget the floor, there are a lot of exterior rugs on the market from vinyl to teak, that can really warm up a space, all of the major furniture companies sell them from Crate and Barrel to Ikea.

  • Another idea is outdoor drapery, it will transform your porch into a full fledged room, in a matter of minutes. There are a lot of company's now that sell well priced exterior fabrics that you can easily have made into drapes.

  • Also you may want to try some color. In the South often times you will see blue used on the ceilings of porches, apparently to keep away wasps, but it also adds a nice warmth to the space, colored ceilings are a personal favorite, and it will help this outdoor room feel more special and inviting.

Anyway, Good Luck with your adventures

Monday, March 26, 2007

Painted Floors

One of the things that you do not see in Southern California a lot is painted wooden floors. Wooden floors of all types are common here, oak, walnut and mahogany are all popular, but they seem to be treated in a very special way. I know that they can be expensive, but like all other materials, I like to play around with them and see if you can get more decoration out of them, rather than just simply put them down, stain them and move on.

In a lot of older traditional homes they are painted, and I think this is such a great way to bring in color and pattern. In the image above you can see a kitchen that I did, where the floors were painted in a checker board. I think it gives such a great old world look.

Here are some tips and ideas on painting floors:

  • Don't limit yourself to a solid color, try painting in a border of another color

  • If free style painting is not your strong suit, then try stencilling, there are some great resources for these on the Internet and they can provide some great inspiration.

  • Be sure to layout the WHOLE design first, before you start to paint, it will save you from literally painting yourself into a corner!

  • In some rooms you may want to have a rug, but it might be challenging, fore instance, like in a Dining Room, where chairs can get caught on a rug. Find an image of a rug that you like and paint it on the floor.

  • One of my favorite libraries, was one where I created a Decoupage floor using, pages of books, it was a very cool installation.

Try and have fun with your floor, make it work for you, I would love to see some of your solutions.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Canopy Beds

There are very few things in life that bring me as much pleasure as sleeping. Lazy Sunday mornings in bed with the paper and my dogs is one of the highlights of my week, so it should come as no surprise that I have a lot of strong opinions about beds. One of my all time favorite things is the Canopy Bed, the way it creates the sense of a room within a room, is, in my opinion, a sense of intimacy and security that is hard to create in any other way. Pictured above is a bed that I did for an English style house and i think it captures the essence of what i am talking about.
Here are some tips about Canopy Beds:
  • I like to use a stronger color on the inside of the bed, it helps to create a "womb-like" feel when you are inside. In the bed shown above, the outside fabric is a silk taffeta, then I lined the inside with a lighter shade of the same thing, and then added a third lining of a shimmering gold silk sheer, on which I had sewn, small imitation pearls, you can't help but feel like royalty when you are inside.
  • Another approach is to make the whole thing from a wonderful sheer, that way the whole bed is translucent, this can help create an almost "safari" like feel, or at least a tropical environment.
  • When building these beds, it is my preference to take them all the way to the ceiling, and this is for a number of reasons. I think it helps the scale of the bed, I like the verticality of this approach. It also helps when the bed is attached to the ceiling, because the hangings are attached also at the ceiling and therefore you don't need corner posts, which I think is good, especially if you have children who like to take a flying leap at the bed!

I hope that this post inspires you to create your own bed fantasy....sweet dreams!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Featured In Western Interiors

I am thrilled to announce that Western Interiors Magazine has decided to feature my Tableaux Clothes in their April/May issue, just coming out on the new stands. The tongue-in-cheek table cloths offer a modern interpretation of classic designs. The made to order silk screen designs are offered in a variety of styles and are shown here as the Tuscan Table and the French Console. They are available through my office in Los Angeles (310) 360 6212 or email info@markcutlerdesign.com.

Thursday is Resource Day

The resource today that I want to feature is probably one that most of you have heard of before. I know that on some of my favorite Blogs, such as Peak of Chic and Desire to Inspire this company has been mentioned with some regularity. However, I decided to feature them today, because, in a very short time 1stdibs.com has almost single handedly transformed the antique market across the globe by using the Internet to match up buyers and sellers.
Basically the idea is that Antique dealers place ads on the website, which is incredibly easy to search, using a variety of criteria, such as location or type of object or even style or period. The simplicity of the model is astounding, but the true genius is the quality of dealer they have managed to attract. I have been fortunate to travel the world on various antique shopping adventures for different clients, and have amassed quite a black book of all my favorite stores in NYC, London and Paris, this website has made that obsolete, I can now shop Europe over coffee in my Living Room.
Another great way to use the site, especially if you are not in the antique market, is to use it almost as a study tool. In the upcoming weeks, I plan to do a posting on the value of Auction Catalogs as a learning tool, this operates in the same way. Every Friday the new stock comes out, I pore over the new stuff and download great images, with detail shots, of things that catch my eye, that I can use as inspiration. My Ideas file is overflowing with some cool things that I never would have seen without this amazing resource.
Anyway, check it out, and see what you think, I hope you get as much out of it as I do.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Kid's Playhouse

I am hoping to be a parent by the end of the year, so I have been looking around more and more at Children's Rooms and Playhouses, trying to work out what I would want in my own home. Designing for a client, always seems easier, than deciding for myself. I came across these images of a Playhouse that I had done several years ago, that I thought was still fun and that people might want to see. It was modeled after an old school house on the east coast, and was meant to have a New England kind of feel to it. On the inside we made scaled down furniture pieces so that it felt at the right scale for a child. A lot of the accessories came from Ikea or Pottery Barn, one of my favorite elements is the side tables that look like big alphabet blocks, it was a big hit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dramatic Dining Rooms

I did this house a few years ago and it remains one of my favorite Dining Rooms ever. The architect is Robert Sinclair (will post his link later today) a Los Angeles based architect who I think does beautiful work. On this house the gauntlet was really thrown down, I was given this huge, double height space and told to make it dramatic but at the same time warm and inviting. This is what I came up with.
The first thing I did was finish the walls in a polished terracotta colored plaster, then I tented and draped the whole room in a fairly rough linen sheer, that acted as a nice counterpoint. I then lit the linen from behind so that the terracotta glowed through the sheer, creating the effect of a warm, glowing tent. To compete with the height I made three huge drum shades, that really fill the space without getting as serious as a crystal chandelier would have. The floor is polished concrete and the buffet is a custom designed piece that completes the whole package.
What I love about this room is that it really captures that idea that a Dining Room is the one room in the house where you can get a bit more dramatic and fanciful, because it is usually an occasional use room. So be a bit more bold about color or texture etc, this is the room to let your imagination go wild. Good Luck!

Monday, March 19, 2007


Just thought I would add a note here about the Survey on the right hand side of this page. I am genuinely interested in seeing what magazines etc that you all read. There seems to be a resistance to answering, it's not a sales gimmick or anything like that, just my curiosity, so if you would take just a minute to answer the question it would be great. Thanks in advance.

Monday is Answer Day

I have received a few questions this week, asking suggestions for window treatments in bedrooms. The questions have varied from, how do I create blackout conditions and still have a beautiful window, to, what can I do as an interim solution, till I can afford what i really want.

Well the first question is a little easier to address: I am a huge fan of layering window treatments, by combining drapery with shades of some sort. This technique creates a detailed, finished feel and gives you the benefit of flexibility. You can use the drapes to create blackout conditions, and the shade to filter light at times when you want some privacy, but not darkness. In the first image above you can see that i did drapery that provided blackout, then layered that with a bamboo shade that provides filtering of light when needed. There is the added benefit of using the shade to help improve the scale of the door too. Also you can see in this image that i used wooden shutters on either side of the bed, as another way to control the light. I like to use different techniques, depending on the situation. The second picture shows a similar idea but using a fabric shade.
The second question is a bit more challenging, what to do if what you want is not within reach now. Well there are several companies that provide "drapes in a box" Silk trading is one of them, as well as a few other large catalog companies, these are usually good resources that can be affordable. One thing to keep in mind, since these are temporary, maybe you try out some ideas that stretch your design concept more. For Instance if you go for an inexpensive venetian blind, try it in bright orange or another strong color, that you wouldn't be willing to try on your permanent stuff. Sometimes the best design happens in those unexpected places.
Good Luck! let me know how it works out. Remember Monday is always answer day, so if you have any questions or design dilemma, post it here and I will try and help with suggestions.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

New Way to Look at Bookcases

There are some things in life that we all take for granted; "what goes up must come down", "water always runs downhill", these are pretty much universal constants. One of the other things that we normally take for granted is that bookshelves are horizontal. This doesn't have to be the case. I have included some images of a project where I used diagonal shelves for displaying books, and it creates a terrific visual drama. Another element that helps, is using color on the inside of the shelves. This is an old technique that can do wonders to jazz up a display of books or collectibles, by creating a vibrant backdrop.
The general message of today's posting is, don't take anything for granted. Just because shelves are usually horizontal, doesn't mean they have to be. I think one of the things that makes great design, is the ability to look at the ordinary, in an extra ordinary way. I would love to here your ideas about things that you have used in a new and fresh way.

Friday, March 16, 2007


As the weekend is coming up, my mind naturally goes to all those great get together's that will be happening, especially with summer right around the corner. I love casual entertaining, sitting with friends as we cook etc etc, and nothing is more conducive to that than the banquette. Made popular in the 30's and 40's as a space saver in the "modern kitchen", this handy device is making a great comeback. I have included two examples;
  • The first is an old home that we renovated, originally built in the late 1920's, this space was the old Breakfast Room. I wanted to create an area for the whole family and their friends, so I thought that a simple banquette that wrapped around three of the walls would do the trick. The family can sit almost 12 people at this table when the need arises, far more than a freestanding table and chairs would ever allow, and it feels neater and tidier on top of that. Just as an aside, a cool thing to notice, the walls are upholstered, which cuts down the noise and provides a convenient location for bus and soccer schedules! Don't miss the center light fixture either, it was designed to hold the family gold fish, the best seat in the house.
  • The second example is a bit more typical, using a spare corner, I created a curved seating nook, flanked by two chairs. This Kitchen had a bit more of a mid-century kind of feeling, so laminate was used on the table, with a stainless steel edge trim, that gives it a "diner" kind of feel. Upholstery is in vinyl, so it is stain resistant, and the color brightens up every morning.

Banquettes don't just need to be used in Kitchens; look around the house and see if there are any unused areas that could benefit from this handy item of furniture. Maybe a bay window, the foot of the bed (especially in a small studio type apartment) or even in your office for meeting space, where you occasionally need to be able to squeeze in more people. It offers flexibility, comfort and economy of size, all good things in my book.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thursday is Resource Day

So, as I said last week, on Thursdays I plan to try and highlight another resource that i think people will really like. This week that resource is Oly Studio, out of Berkely California. It was founded by two designers, Brad Huntzinger and Kate McIntyre, and I am constantly impressed with the way they create designs that are firmly based on tradition, but have a fresh modern feel to them. I don't believe that you can buy directly from their website (www.olystudio.com) but they do list all the stores across the country that sell their stuff, so with a bit of work you can get anything you see here.I have used pieces from their collections in both modern and traditional settings, always with great success. Some of my favorites are shown above.
  • The Coral Chair is to my mind such a cool twist on the ever popular coral motif, but it is also a great scale, and very comfortable.
  • The Chandelier is made of new wood, but has the beautiful patina of driftwood, a soft silver grey, that gives it a hip twist.
  • This little tripod table I have used outside to great success; in a meadow garden, it adds whimsy and will always make your guests smile.
  • The coffee table is another that does equally well inside or on a covered porch. I regard it as a modern, primitive piece, with nicely handworked metal.
  • This mirror is totally glamorous and has a wonderful Kelly Wearstler feel. It would dress up a modern interior, or cool down a very traditional backdrop, much more versatile than you might think.

So please check out Oly Studio, the stuff is great, the people are nice, and the prices are great value!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Unusual Fabrics for Window Treatments

I have posted two images of a room that I did recently where I used an unusual fabric to create interest in a small TV room. The fabric that I used was a series of antique sari's from India. Each window used a different sari (you can see in the detail shot that the pattern is slightly different in each one). I had them all dyed so that the color would unify them, so that they look like a set. The point that I am trying to make is when doing treatments like this, you are not limited to using fabric off a bolt, available by the yard.

Here are some ideas you might want to consider:

  • In a kitchen, find a cool old table cloth that you could make a shade from.
  • Often you can find large Ethnic style fabrics especially from Turkey or Batik from Asia, they are usually printed on large pieces of fabric and would make a stunning drape.
  • For a beach house, what about terry cloth?
  • Ultra suede, available at most fabric stores, is a terrific fabric for a modern style window treatment that is very clean and tailored.... and it doesn't have to be seamed so its a nice no-sew option.
  • I have even seen drapes in a kids room made from old jeans sewn together...now that's an idea.

Window treatments are a great way to inject personality into a room, have fun with them. I would love to see some ideas that you come up with,,, if you send them in I will happily post them.

Luxury of Simplicity

I recently did a shoot with a well known photographer, Tim Street Porter at a house that I did down in Newport Beach, California. I was going through the images, which will be seen in an upcoming issue of The Robb Report, and thinking how calm and tranquil they looked, and it gave me the idea for today's posting....The Luxury of Simplicity.
In many of the homes that I design there seems to be a rush to fill the space, and this is not always a good thing, sometimes the magic happens in what is left out, not in what is put in. In the image above, a small Sitting Room is turned into a charming nook, by a single, simple gesture, of a curving sofa that follows the shape of the room.
I have heard my women friends say that the key to successfully accessorising an out fit, is to dress and then take one item of jewellery off, I think that interior design would be well served by the same approach, here are some ideas:
  • Take one of those decorative pillows off the bed, keep it open light and simple
  • Find a fabulous fabric that is simple and timeless and use it on the upholstery, and the window treatments, simple color palettes create lightness and air
  • Don't overdo the drapes with valances and tiebacks, let them hang and move with the breeze, it will bring your senses alive.
  • Treat yourself to one great indulgence in a room, it will look more special, and raise the feeling of quality of all that is around it.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Answer Day

As promised, Monday is Answer Day, where I try to offer creative solutions to design dilemmas. If you are facing a design problem, please feel free to post and i will try next Monday to offer you a solution.

Today's query comes from Holly, who has a small landing at the top of her stairway, leading to a second floor, where there is a window seat and a fairly large bookcase. She is looking for ways to keep it tidy and organised and attractive, without going crazy with knick knacks. She has already tried taking off all the dust jackets (btw,,,, great start) but is looking for a way to tame this beast.

Well, Holly, the first thing is get some really cool baskets or boxes to house your magazines, they will never look tidy if left exposed and its also a great way to keep them organised and together. They can be kept perhaps on the bottom two shelves, and their solidity will give some nice balance to the book cases.

The next thing to do is take all the books out of the shelves, and decide which ones you really want to keep, and if there are any you can do without. Once you have your pile of keepers, try to categorise them. As much a fan of the aesthetic as I am, it is crucial that your books are organised in a way that make sense to you, so you can find what you need when you need it. I have almost 1200 books and have so much trouble keeping them in order that I have three copies of John Saladino's book so that I will always be able to find one copy (not a solution I recommend).

Once everything is categorised start putting the books back in the shelves. Start with the category that you use most often and put that at eye height (the most convenient spot) and work to the extreme top and bottom. Always leave lots of space for accessories ans expansion. I like to stack books vertically as well as horizontally to create a nice rhythm.

Now comes time to accessorize! You mention you have some art glass, try creating groupings, instead of one vase here and another over here. Another thing to try is a small lamp in amongst the shelves. I once did a home for a well known film director and she had a great collection of early Californian lamps, we had a huge floor to ceiling bookcase built in her Living Room and scattered the lamps throughout, it takes a bit of work to get the wiring but the effect can be dramatic. Another thing to keep in mind is depth, keep some of the groups of books toward the front of the shelves and others towards the back, its a small thing, but once again creates a pretty visual texture. Lastly think of hanging a painting on the face of the bookcase, it creates a whole new layer that can really bring the look alive.

I am attaching a few images, not all of them are my work, but I hope it gives you some inspiration.

Thrilled to Announce

I have been out of town this weekend, in Santa Barbara, north of Los Angeles, which I will talk about as the topic of another post, later this week. But being out of town stopped me from posting the great news that I was featured in a story on one of my favorite Blogs,http://desiretoinspire.blogspot.com/. It's a great story and I am really grateful for the coverage, it really lead to a jump in new visitors, so if you are one of those, welcome I hope you keep checking back to see whats new and interesting!

I am posting a story that was published in DREAM BATHS, that is a project that I did in an old Hollywood Mansion (the house was originally owned by Paolo Negri (Rudolph Valentino's lover). I am particularly fond of this project as I got to do a few interesting things, such as hardwood floors, re-use some great old stain glass windows and put the freestanding tub in the middle of the room.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Thursday is Resource Day

In an effort to give the Blog some structure, I thought it was a good idea to dedicate certain days to certain topics, Mondays to answer questions on design etc (if you have any questions, please do post them, there is only one the at the moment and i don't want to have to make them up LOL!). So, I thought on Thursdays I could share some valuable resources with you, and today that resource is Aesthetic Decor out of Los Angeles. http://www.aestheticdecor.com/

The Designer responsible for these pieces is Richard Johnson, he takes his inspiration from classical architecture, and he transforms them into decorative items for the home that transcend periods and styles, I think that they work equally as well in modern settings as they do in traditional. His work can be seen at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, as well as showrooms throughout the U.S.. I think he is definitely someone to check out because of his unique point of view. Enjoy!
By the way the pieces are not meant to be Blue! I am new at this and these images just came up that way, when I work out how to get them back to their real color, I will change it.

Check this Out

I found this great Blog, and I am now their biggest fan, you may want to check them out, its called Desire to Inspire, and Inspire it certainly does, let me know what you think:

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


From time to time, I will be adding Surveys to the site, it gives me an ability to gauge the tastes of people who visit the site and also so that I can write according to the people who read the Blog. So if you could take the time to answer the Survey here, it would be really appreciated and will help make this a better place to visit.
Thanks in advance,

The Perfect Guest Room

Travelling is one of my favorite pastimes, there is always an adventure to be had somewhere, and because of all the travelling I have been lucky enough to do, I have developed friends from all over the world. I love to play host and show them around the city I have come to love, but one thing I have learned is that it is important to create a quiet place for your guests to retire to. Whether it's a Guest Room or a nook off of the Laundry, they need some where to get away from you (probably as much as you want to get away from them)!
Today's entry is about how you can create a great Guest Room, quickly and easily, and perfect enough to ensure that you will be invited to be an honored guest at their home in the future.
  • Create a welcome tray that is on the bed when they arrive, on it you should have some fresh fruit, a bottle or two of water, today's local paper, and a map of the area. I think its a good idea to include a local guide book too, you could even highlight attractions that you think they might enjoy.Don't forget sample sizes of common toiletries too.
  • Create your own minibar somewhere in the room. This doesn't mean you should have liquor out, but maybe some snacks and drinks that they might enjoy. There is nothing worse than waking up in a strange house in the middle of the night, wanting to snack and not being sure where they keep the potato chips.
  • Leave out Fresh towels either on their bed, but definitely in their room in plain sight, it takes away any confusion they might have about what to use. Also, use the best towels you have, make them feel welcome!
  • Create a Guest Book in the room. In the image above the Chandelier becomes its own Guest Book, as people stay in this home they write a note and pin it to the light, makes for great reading when you are in bed! But a more conventional book is great too, it's a great record for you and helps to make your guest feel like this is effortless for you.
  • Try to design your Guest Room, so that you can block out the light, your guests are probably on vacation and will appreciate the ability to sleep in.
  • On the same idea..... a privacy lock on the door please!

The general idea here is make them feel at home, try and anticipate their needs so that they are rummaging around looking for things. Create a room that is simple, laid out well, and you will be a success. There is a great book on hospitality called "Simple Hospitality" by Jane Jarrell, here is the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Simple-Hospitality-Jane-Jarrell/dp/0849904846/ref=pd_bbs_2/104-6703765-5740715?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173324342&sr=1-2

Enjoy Your Guests!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Spring is Here!

Well for those of you who don't know, I write this blog from Los Angeles, and today was so warm it almost felt like summer, in the mid 80's and not a cloud in the sky. It started me thinking about Spring, my favorite time of year and ways that you can make your home reflect the seasons, so today's post is about Spring and how you can bring it to your home in small ways and large.

Nothing says Spring like clean! It's time to wash the walls, dust the house, clean the windows, sounds daunting well it doesn't have to be. Get the whole family involved, put on some great music and get to work, if you break it up into small manageable projects you will be amazed how quickly it will go by.

But this is not a housekeeping Blog it's about design and decorating, so how do you do that for Spring? Well what if you were to slip cover your furniture for the warm months, that way it can be very light in color, but you won't be afraid to use it, just pull it off and throw it in the wash. In the image above you can see a project where I used slip covered furniture in a Loggia, and its perfect because it can get taken off and cleaned as necessary.

Another tip is to keep fresh flowers in the house. Cut flowers can get expensive and don't last long, but try annuals, they will last much longer. Once again you can see that i used Geraniums here, they have a huge range of colors, and shapes and last forever (although they are perennials not annuals).

If you are looking for slip covered furniture Crate and Barrel has a good selection http://www2.blogger.com/www.crateandbarrel.com and also try Room and Board http://www.roomandboard.com/. For your Floral needs, try your local garden center, and don't miss out on bulbs that can bring the Spring home early, I like to get Tulip bulbs from a company called Color Blends, they have a great selection of all types of Bulbs http://www2.blogger.com/www.colorblends.com.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Monday is Answer Day

As you can tell, I am still pretty new at this, and I am still trying out ideas that people will find interesting enough to keep them coming back for. So far, traffic has been brisk, so thank you to everyone who has dropped by and a special thank you to those who have written comments, those are especially welcome!!

I was scratching my head wondering what to write about today, and I thought that I could make Mondays, answer days, where I can respond to questions or problems that people send me during the week. Please resist the temptation to send me relationship or personal problems, I am never short of an opinion, but would really prefer to stay on topic here, and concentrate on design. So if you have DESIGN issues lets hear them!

You can contact me at info@markcutlerdesign.com

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Renters Care Too!

People often ask me what they can do to their place if they are renters, obviously major changes are out of the question, but i have put together a few ideas that you may want to try, that can make that rental house, feel like a home.

  1. First thing is check with your landlord, many don't mind a little paint job, and if you select something neutral you just might find that you will not have to paint over it before you leave. A funny thing happened to me a few years ago, I rented a small place for a while, I painted it my favorite color at the time (Nigerian Peony by Ralph Lauren), by pure chance I heard of someone I knew distantly had rented the same place more than a year later, he was told when he moved in that a designer had lived here at one point and picked this color and he liked it so much, he now paints all his places that color....

  2. If the landlord won't let you paint the whole place, then maybe a feature wall is in order! It's amazing what a strong shot of color will do if used on one wall,,,,, it can really create a simple drama, without much work.

  3. The kitchen is always a challenge. One of the first things I always did was change the knobs in the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. They are the things that can make a huge change to the way the room feels and it takes only a morning. Look at www.anthropologie.com for some unusual selections. Other sites you may want to check out are listed on the side under, my favorite sites.
  4. One of the biggest issues in a rental place is that the windows are either bare or have coverings that are so bland, you wish they were bare. Luckily now there are a lot of companies that offer premade drapes and window treatments that can quicly give you a lift. One of my favorites is www.silktrading.com they have a ton of options and you can create custom looks with going crazy. The other thing that you may want to try is layering with a split bamboo shade as well or even just the shade by themselves is a great.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Designing With Books

Collecting books is one of my great passions, so much can be learnt about someone, by a casual glance through their bookcase. Here are some ideas about making your collection a bit more decorative. Enjoy!

1. I love to use books to create warmth and personality in a room. The different topics speak about your interests and values.

2. I like to use books stacked on tables to lift and provide height for lamps or framed pictures, they provide a wonderful opportunity to give height and scale to your collections.

3. A lovely corner in a Living Room is an ideal spot to create your own personal library, if you don’t have a whole room you can dedicate to it. A comfortable chair, a small table and a lamp and you are good to go.

4. When organizing your books, be a little freer, don’t be ties to anything as rigid as the Dewey Decimal System, what about organizing by author, topic or even by color. Just be sure to have some order, there is nothing worse than spending hours trying to find your favorite tome.

5. One of my favorite rooms of all time is a small Library that I turned into a Dining Room for eight. It created the perfect backdrop for intimate dinners surrounded by works of wonder.

6. Paperbacks? We all have them; I like to cover them all in heavyweight paper. Usually I use an off white, but I have been known to use splashes of color, or what about alternating black and white for a stark, rhythmic look, or even choose a different color for each or your favorite authors or subjects (my Dianna Vreeland books are all in red of course).

7. My favorite places to buy books? Nothing completes a trip to New York without a trip to Potterton Books or Rizzolli, San Francisco of course has Stouts, and who can go to Santa Monica without a quick stop by at Hennessy and Ingalls for a few “essentials”? Paris I always stop in at the Librairie Des Antiquaires for an amazing selection of antique books on the decorative arts, and in London Thomas Heneage Art Books, can take me a whole day.

8. The internet is also a great resource for all sorts of books too, some of my favorite sites: Amazon.com (I am addicted to the 1-click option), Alibris.com is a search engine that combs the collection of a huge group of independent booksellers across the nation, and of course Ebay.com (who knew I need a book on how to create my own parade float)?

9. My favorite book is Old World Inspiration for American Architecture published by the Portland Cement Company in 1929. It is a constant reference for historical precedents, a constant inspiration.

10. I love to give and receive books that I or my friends have already read. There is something romantic about poring over pages that others have already gleaned, it like sharing the experience together.