- Start with the backgrounds, paint the kitchen a warm, inviting color. Try to stay away from colors that are too cool, like blues and use earth tones, it will give the room an inviting feeling that will encourage people to linger.
- It doesn't matter if its a modern or traditional Kitchen, the idea about colors apply to both.
- Make a spot to sit for your visitors, it doesn't matter if its a chair or a stool, just make sure that they can sit comfortably and not feel that they are constantly in your way. So maybe put them on the other side of the island , but just be sure you can go from refrigerator, to sink to stove without asking them to move.
- I am not a big fan of TV's in the Kitchen. They generate a huge amount of noise in an already hectic spot, at most some background music would be nice.
- Try keeping either fresh flowers or living herbs in the Kitchen, its amazing what a difference this small gesture will do. Its a way of showing people that you care about the details.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
It is my feeling when working on a place, to try and bring out the personality of the people who live there. If your concern is light and cleanliness then maybe an all white scheme will work for you. The thing to remember though, is that an all white scheme does not necessarily mean that EVERYTHING has to be all white. I suggest that you take a look at one of the major walls in each room and give it a shot of color. Often one concentrated injection of color will make the white brighter and give a lot more depth to the scheme that you have going on.
As far as what kind of colors to use, as a rule of thumb, I think that stronger colors would work in the main living space, maybe a deep bronze color, that way the scheme can still stay pretty neutral, or if you want something a bit more daring try paprika or a pepper red. I would suggest staying away from sage and other muted tones, you run the risk of it getting to look like a bad office scheme.
In the bedroom, try something that is soothing, what about a very soft pale blue, or even a very very light camel could be pretty too. I think that a warm dusty pink, could also be great, but some guys may be a bit shy about using that. The point is, in the bedroom, use a quiet, soothing color that will encourage quietness and romance.
I hope that this was helpful, let me know how it works out. Remember, each Monday is answer day, so if you have any questions about your decor, write and let me know.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
For them, the house became a way to honor the memories of their previous spouses, as well as a symbol of their new life together. This idea of a home being a symbol like this really brought home to me a whole new way of looking at what I do.
Gilena, went on to write a book about the experience, she posts it on her blog bit by bit, and is really an inspiring story, if you get a chance you should check it out www.alifeimagined.com .
So anyway, happy birthday to my friend, and thank you for opening my eyes to the possibilities of my vocation.
Monday, July 23, 2007
So here are some of my thoughts about using plants:
- When choosing plants, pay very close attention to where in the room you are going to be using it. If the place you choose is not right for your particular choice, it will always look miserable, and that's not what you want. Luckily though, there are lots of choices, so become friends with the guy at your local plant store, they will steer you right.
- When in doubt about the light you have, take some Polaroids with you to the plant store, that way you can show them where your plant is going and they can help with suggestions.
- There is almost no reason, ever to have a fake plant. Sometimes I will use them in rooms with no windows or something like that, but if you do.....keep them small, the larger they get, the more fake they will look.
- You can make your plants more interesting by being creative with your choice of pot. I did a house recently where I used pots that were very tall, so that I could get the interesting part of the plant up to eye height. Another idea is to use a tall pot with ornamental grasses, this can be really pretty too.
- They may seem overused, but don't overlook the palm. It can be a very hard wearing plant that is both large, but still airy. I find that they create an immediate elegance too that I think is really charming.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
- Create areas inside of each bunk for your children's own, personal stuff. You can see in the picture above I added pin up boards so that each child had a place to display their own favorite art pieces.
- I love the idea of draping the bed, the opportunities that this creates for play is tremendous, whether it's a fairy castle or an enemy fort.
- Using Bunk Beds will free up a ton of floor space too!
- Use swing arm lamps on the walls adjacent to the bed, it can get a bit dark on the lower bunk, especially for reading etc.
- Make sure you have a soft landing spot....it can be a long way down from the top bunk :)
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I always look forward to Thursdays, as I get another chance to highlight some of the great resources that i have come to rely on, and today is no different. Today's resource is Rocky Mountain Hardware (http://www.rockymountainhardware.com/). I have been using this company for years now, ever since a friend suggested them, after seeing their stand at a trade show. Back then, this was more than 10 years ago, their designs lent heavily on what i would call Mountain primitive, they were sandcast bronze, but with a definite leaning toward the unrefined. At the time is was mostly door hardware, since then, their popularity has skyrocketed and they now offer, cabinet hardware, sinks, tiles and now even lighting.
The reason I chose them today was that, yesterday I was at a jobsite and the contractor showed me a brochure of a new line they have just released that incorporates inset panels with leather, mixed with the bronze (see the top picture). This has to be one of the coolest things I have seen in a while and is such a warm, sophisticated look, I cannot wait to use it.
The company is based in Idaho, and produces all of their product there, and what's more is very environmentally friendly as well. Take a look at their website I am confident you will be impressed by the collection that they have built, if nothing else you will be inspired by the old world craftsmanship used in a way that makes it relevant today, I know I was.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
- When starting on a big room, it is crucial that you create zones, the goal is to make it feel almost like a series of rooms put together.
- Try to find creative ways to break up the space. For instance, in the room shown above, I created wrought iron screens to help break the room up. This is a particularly good method because you can use the screen as a place to put furniture in the middle of the space.
- Try to space the focal points around the room. For instance the TV may be on one side, the fireplace on another. Other things that you can use for focal points, could be a view, a fish tank, a billiard table or even a fabulous standing lamp.
- Using area rugs is another great way to break up a space, when doing this use color to tie them all together. In the room above, I mixed modern and traditional rugs, but in the same palette so that it doesn't feel too disjointed.
- Don't be afraid of space either, it's important that you resist the temptation to over furnish, it will just become oppressive.
I hope that this helps.....
Monday, July 16, 2007
- A coffee table doesn't have to be one, single table. In the example above I used a collection of tables to create the scale I needed.This technique can be handy as it can provide an opportunity to use some smaller pieces to great effect.
- Try finding an old object to use as a table, whether an old door or an antique garden stool, using an old object can create a great focal point.
- Using a coffee table with a shelf underneath can provide terrific opportunities for storage, especially look for baskets so that your storage needs can be addressed in an organised way.
- A good height for a coffee table is about 18" above the ground, this is about the same height as a standard seat.
- If you opt to use an upholstered item as your table, be sure to have a collection of trays at hand, to provide a stable place to put a drink or some snacks.
This is a very interesting question, because lighting is a great passion of mine. It becomes pretty clear as well if you really think about each of the different types of fixtures. Recessed lights basically will shine light onto the floor, or any horizontal surface, but will put almost no light onto walls or other vertical surfaces. It is that light, (on the walls) that helps you perceive depth in a space. To help balance out the light I like to mix in some surface fixtures, whether they be hanging on the ceiling, or mounted on the wall (sconces). The combination of these two types of light will provide a nice visual texture to the space and helps to bring it alive.
In the image above, you can see where I have combined recessed light (used to light the floor) and surface light (used to light peoples faces as they come to the door), to create a vibrant space.
I also have introduced a table lamp a well to create a brighter area at the table, which helps to draw attention to it, and to help enhance the sense of entry.
One final word, be sure to use dimmers as much as possible and also put everything on different circuits whenever possible. You want to be able to raise and lower the levels of each light in relation to each other, depending on the situation.
Lesley, good luck with your project, I hope this helps.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
MC: When you are brought into a project, how do you start?
MC: What color is your home? How did you get to that decision?
MC: Do you see any big trends in color? Do you pay those any mind?
MC: Are there any colors that you keep coming back to? I guess what I am asking is, do you have a favorite color?
MC: I know that you are a fan of Farrow and Ball, as well as Benjamin Moore’s Aura paints, what is it that draws you to these particular manufacturers?
MC: What do you think has been your greatest success story?
MC: How do you deal with clients who might be color blind, or at least see colors different from you?
MC: Where do you see yourself and your career heading five years from now?
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
A lot of the homes that I do, especially in Southern California are Mediterranean Inspired, whether they be Italian, Spanish or Southern French. One of the iconic things about a lot of these styles is wall paintings, or frescoes. As many of you might guess, I am not a huge fan of over decoration, my whole philosophy is based on simplicity and authenticity in design, so where do frescoes fit into this? Well, here is an example of a home I did recently with a light painting on the wall, that had the feeling more of a sketch than an elaborate painting. Here are some thoughts you may want to consider if you are doing your own work at home:
- Keep the colors simple, I prefer a more faded, worn look.
- The design should be simple, unless you or your artist is exemplary stay clear of faces, they are the hardest to pull off and can ruin an otherwise great piece.
- Try to limit yourself to a room you only use occasionally like the Dining Room, that will keep it feeling fresh even to you.
- Don't take it too seriously, this is not the Sistine Chapel, introduce some whimsy and humor.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Having just returned, I am now preaching the word about taking some time to yourself and getting away. I realise that for a lot of people a big trip is out of the question for a variety of reasons, but wouldn't it be nice if you could create a place in your own house where it felt like a vacation every day? This is not out of the realm of possibility, it might just take a little imagination, here are some thoughts about how to make your own vacation at home.
- Try creating an area under a shady tree, maybe its a hammock, find a small table that can go along side, and maybe add a small light in the tree so that you can take advantage of summer evenings.
- On a porch you can use some inexpensive sheer drapes to create and "island" kind of feel, add some natural fiber rugs and a few pillows and you are ready to start making mai tais.
- If you want to be a bit more adventurous, you can drag some of your furniture out to the yard, it takes more work but for a weekend get together it can make for a great scenario. Try getting some colorful fabrics, maybe some Indian prints to lay over your pieces and it will give your gathering an exotic feel.
- Above all, make the most of the summer, it is one of my favorite times of year, whether its a hammock in the corner of the yard or an elaborate party set up, take some time and enjoy your great outdoors, it will be winter again soon enough.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Most people face this dilemma whether its in the backyard or the Living Room, and I have a point of view on this that may surprise a lot people. When it comesto things like this I think that the kids should take a top priority, good design and children are not mutually exclusive.
So my advice to Rachel was, "put in the swingset", but find one that works with the style you have going. accomodating children means finding a middle ground, whether that is aswingset that fits with your landscaping style, or baskets for toys in the Living Room that matches the rest of your decor. The thing to keep in mind here is that good design comes from an honest expression of who you are and how your family lives, so if that means swingsets toy baskets so be it.