Today's Ideabooks
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Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Love Small Dining Areas

There is something very special about the family meal. It's such a great opportunity to sit and discuss your day etc. So it's very important that you create a space that really encourages that, and I think that smaller spaces do that better than larger ones.
This is a room that I did that was directly off the Kitchen, and i think its a great example of how a space can really be stylish but work very practically as well.
Here are some tips:
  • Using a banquette gives you a lot of seating flexibility.
  • A large table no more than 60" across will allow lots of people, but still enable lots of conversation, from side to side.
  • Simple color scheme is good, since there will be a lot of visual chaos.
  • Good lighting is essentila, a blend of surface mounted fixtures and downlights is ideal.
  • This might be a good area for the Family notice board too.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Proud to be Featured....

I am proud to say that some more of our work has been featured in the Los Angeles version of Luxe Magazine. I love this publication, it has some stunning projects and publishes regional versions, so they are really supportive of local professionals. Here is the link to Luxe, take a look I think you will be impressed.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I just want it to be Summer again!

I was just going through some old images that I had on my computer and I came across this one that just made my pine for Summer again. It has been raining here in Los Angeles and also a little cold, so I am totally ready for the sun to come out and warm everything up again. One of my biggest goals for this summer is the redesign of my back garden. It has been sitting dormant now for about a year since we bought the place and I am finally ready to start moving ahead. One thing that I know I want is an outdoor fireplace. Southern California has the perfect climate for that, although, maybe not at this time of year.
Here are some thoughts about fireplaces you may want to consider if you are planning one for your yard too:
  • If at all possible, try to find a place out of the wind, they are particularly susceptible to windy conditions.
  • You may want to consider building a wood fire pizza oven instead, it can give off as much heat, but also produce great pizza!
  • Consider using a rough stone on the outside, it will help give it the look of an old relic.
  • Be sure to be generous with the seating area in front. Don't make the mistake of putting the seating too close to the flames, it will be uncomfortable and not the popular place that you imagined.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Creating The Space...

The Guest Bedroom

The holidays are just far enough behind us to consider having guests again....and for me they seem to be knocking down the door. I decided to re-vamp my Guest Bedroom and have been giving some thought as to what I want them to experience in my home. I started off by sleeping in my own guest room to see what the experience was like. I packed my bag and "moved in"....here is what I've learned! Joyous Decorating! ASHLEIGH

Space is Tantamount
Guests come with lots of "things", so keeping yours to a minimum is imperitive! A few very well placed pieces create all the atmosphere they need and the room for them to lay down their own necessities. On the bed side table I like to proved a water carafe and glass, a great reading lamp and a poesy of lightly scented flowers. An easy to operate alarm clock is a bonus. I like traditional clocks rather than digital because they tend to be smaller and do not glare at you when you are trying to fall asleep in a strange place.

Is It A Guest Bedroom or Your Local Storage
Keep the closet free and clear of all of your clutter. If you are desperate for space, try risers for the bed and plastic under bed storage bins for your pack rat habits. The Container Store offers a myriad of options and if a total clean out of your closet is just not possible, make it very organized with their Elfa System!

Home away from Home
Create a relaxing space that your guest can really relax----hey, they are on vacation!

  • Keep an extra blanket and pillow at the top of the closet and an iron at the bottom.

  • Leave local information like TimeOut, Zagat Guide and public transportation info accessible and up to date

  • A lovely place to sit in the sun, snuggle in a chair or lounge leaves a private place for your guest to relax on their vacation---leave some of your favorite books, magazines or the daily newspaper in a place that they would likely take a moment to themselves!
Most likely you know your guest very well, so take 10 minutes to think of the things that they love and try to incorporate them into their new space within your own! Whether that is leaving them some of their favorite snacks, a lovely cream or a little present they can take home with them---make it special!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Before and After

I love before and after posts, when you are in the midst of a project its often easy to forget what a transformation you can make in peoples homes. This is a project that I finished recently, the picture on the right is the before shot, its what the Bedroom looked like when my clients bought the house, nice enough. I decided that the window was the perfect spot for a little sitting area, and to help proportion the windows a bit better I layered drapery with matchstick shades.
The area really needed a big light fixture, but I went with a very inexpensive Chinese paper shade instead of a chandelier, the effect is to just lighten the look and stop it from being too serious.
I hope you enjoy

Monday, January 21, 2008

Art can change the way you see the world

I was lucky enough, this holiday season to rent a house in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Aside from being really cold, it was an absolutely beautiful place to spend a week. One of the things that made it so interesting was the huge selection of art galleries. I had heard of the art scene here, but had always expected to see lots of Indian inspired pieces, and bad "coyote art". Nothing could be further from the truth! There was a terrific selection of work, both traditional and modern, so it really was a great place to check out a lot of things in a short period of time.
I ended up buying the above piece by an artist Aristides Ruiz from the Klaudia Marr Gallery. It is part of a series he did of portraits done in ball point pen. I think it's stunning and its a great addition to the pieces I already have at home. But the piece made me think more broadly about what makes good art, and the art viewing experience. For me, I want pieces that make me look at the world in a different way. The fact that this is done in such a modest medium (ball point pen), but is so finely executed, and the subject so humble, it is really inspiring.
So I hope that when you are looking for art, look for things that leave you thinking of the world in a different sort of way, that is successful art, well at least in my mind.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Inspiration for Tile Designs

I am always a fan of the slightly out of the norm, and unexpected. That's why, when I design bathrooms, I am always looking for something a bit out of the ordinary. One place I look for inspiration is fabric designs. The way fabric is made (with weft and warp) makes it a great resource for creating patterns for tile.
In the children's bathroom above, I used Gingham fabric as my source, when you study the design it is actually pretty easy to recreate in tile. A bit more complicated, but just as interesting would be a plaid design, or if you are a bit less, ambitious, a stripe would be great too.
I think it would be cool to use the real fabric as the shower curtain, and then recreate the same design in tile....now that will impress your friends!

Friday, January 18, 2008

One of my Favorite Photo's

This is one of my favorite photo's of our work. The photographer is not only very talented but also a close friend, his name is John Ellis, and if you click on his name it will take you to his website, and you can check out even more of his work.

The reason I like this particular image, is because it embodies a lot of my design philosophies. Here are some things that are typical of our work, and ideas that anyone can use to create a sophisticated, casual look:
  • VERY simple color palette
  • Mixing up of textures, chenille on the sofa, with woven leather pillows. Reclaimed wood end table with glass table lamp.
  • Abstract modern art, set against primitive African Pieces.

The Philosophy is about great objects work with other great pieces, and try not to have too many things clamoring for attention.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Ashleigh's Favorite Design Books

I grew up in the US Virgin Islands & Lake Forest IL---two very different styles pervade both of these very beautiful and amazing places and much of my taste and sense of style stems from the homes of both iconic places. Here are two design books which I feel relate that same sense of graceful style, Regency and Classicism.

Caribbean Elegance
This book provides a true perspective of how different ruling countries style affected local tastes across islands as well as the influence of African design on furniture and architecture. I love the open feeling of these homes which is so valid here in California where weather permits outdoor living much of the year.

Classic Country Estates of Lake Forest: Architecture and Landscape Design, 1856-1940

On the shore of Lake Michigan, north of Chicago IL, lies the historic town of Lake Forest----a virtual intersection of affluence, architecture, interior and landscape design which has continued since its founding 201 years ago. The Wrigley's (of gum fame), Mr Marshall Fields (synonymous with the department stores) and even Mr T have made their mark on this verdant town known as the Beverly Hills of the Midwest. Although this book only covers the country estates, many of which still exist, up until the 1940s, the design aesthetic within is worth perusing. I look forward to a more modern review of the many homes which have been built in Lake Forest since the 1940s which encompass every style and size imaginable!