Friday, March 30, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
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
Saturday, March 17, 2007
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
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
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.
- 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
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
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!
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Thanks in advance,
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, March 4, 2007
- 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....
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.