Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Well folks, I’m getting awfully excited as the start of this year’s ASID Showcase Home Tour kicks off in just over two weeks from now. What makes this year’s tour even better than usual?
Two key reasons:
1. This year the tour includes two separate homes that you get to visit with one ticket!
2. I designed a room in one of the homes!
Remember that post about the Blue Zones? Well, the owner of the home I worked on is Dan Buettner, adventurer-explorer and author of “The Blue Zones.” It has been a priviledge to be part of the team working on transforming this home on the Lake of the Isles Parkway in Minneapolis into a masterpiece.
The tour begins May 15th and runs through June 13th, with both homes open Wednesdays through Sundays 10am to 4pm. There are also several special events throughout the month, so be sure to check out the calendar on the Mpls StPaul magazine’s website.
Be sure to pick up the latest copy of Mpls StPaul Home magazine for lots more information on both homes, tickets, sponsors, etc. Be sure to flip to page 66 for a sneak peak at Son’s Bedroom, designed by yours truly! (Ok, I can’t resist sharing this with you now.)
There have been some changes to the design since the magazine went to print, so you’ll have to come and see it in person to see how it all came together in the end.
I’ll be at the house as much as I can fit in during the month, but if you would like to meet me at the house and get a personal tour, just let me know! I would be happy to show you through the house and describe all the details that went into transforming this home.
I’d love to know what other rooms catch your eye as you flip through the magazine. Are you more of a “Calhoun Chic” or an “Isles Eclectic”…. or something all together different?
Hope to see you at there!
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
Ok, so I’ve been told that all that floorplan and elevation talk the past couple of weeks was a bit heavy. So this is a sunny breath of fresh popping color to break up the floorplan talk and make you smile (unless you hate orange, like my mom).
It all started with the receipt from my neighborhood dry cleaners (1). I loved that it was bright orange, therefore easy to spot the pick up reminder on the fridge, but also just so darn peppy!
That got me noticing all the other orange items I surround myself with, and quickly realized how much it has become my go-to accent color for personal accessories. So here is a detailing of some key orange items I use on a daily basis.
(2) My favorite pencils ever! These are orange, have a pattern, sharpen easily and the eraser actually works. Amazing. I love the size & dimensions of the coordinating notepad. Great for my to-do lists (which keep each day in order). [Source: Office Max DiVoga line]
(3) Next to my desk is a tall file cabinet. I love these hook magnets in orange for keeping my frequently used tools within easy reach. I literally have a pair of these little orange scissors in every room of my house. They are perfect for everything from cutting off price tags (bedroom) to cutting out furniture templates (office), etc. [Sources: Mini Spot On Magnets - Container Store, Scissors - Target]
(4) I couldn’t resist the opportunity to add color to my CPU. [Source: Dell]
(5) Since I’m always on the go, having my files with me and handy is essential. But the nice compact jumpdrive I have is easy to forget when it’s hanging out in the CPU down by your feet as you are getting ready to leave. So I added this ribbon to make it easy to spot in my computers, my purse, and to ensure I never leave it behind again!
(6) I was frustrated with my previous tape measure which never locked in place (I think I would need to be a big burly construction worker to break that one in!) Since this is a key tool in an interior designer tool kit, that just wouldn’t do. I spotted this in a bin at Home Depot recently and loved the functionality, color and ease of use, and the bonus low price (I think it was under $3!) [Source: Home Depot]
(7) I picked up this cart at IKEA years ago (probably at the Chicago store, before Minnesota even had an IKEA) and it fits a variety of storage needs and has evolved nicely with my needs from back when it primarily held sewing supplies to now storing my less frequently accessed office tools. [Source: IKEA, no longer available]
(8) Even my wallet is orange! [Source: Target]
(9) I still like to sew occasionally, and this is one of the pouches I’ve designed and utilize to keep all my odds and ends organized and easily accessible. This one holds coupons for groceries, another holds all the coupons for clothing stores, and I have two small ones in my purse that have cough drops and Werthers hard candies in them, respectively. They are all in different bright, fun patterns that make me smile.
(10) Finally, this is my water bottle that helps me keep hydrated while running around town picking up tile samples, returning fabric samples, visiting construction sites, etc. I confess I’m a water-aholic … I think I drink between 8 – 12 glasses a day, on average. This was a “free” gift with a donation to WWF (one of my husband’s favorite organization to support) and was thoroughly broken in on our trip through Japan last summer.
So those are my orange accessories, I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into my office and purse! So my question to you is – what’s YOUR go to color? What colors always draw your attention flipping through magazines, catalogs, browsing at shops, watching other people? I know my mom’s partial to purple, and my friend Kate can always be spotted holding at least 3 things that are bright green. Where do you use color in your life to express your personality?
Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Now that we’ve explored the changes to the lower level, let’s move on up to the main floor of this home. As I mentioned previously, we were inspired by the lessons in Sarah Susanka’s “Not So Big House” books. In total there were 21 principles we incorporated into the home, ranging from spacial defining principles such as Entry, Shelter around Activity, and Sequence of Places to the light and sightline related principles Inside Outside, Connecting Views, and Light to Walk Toward. You will see many of these principles put into practice on the first floor.
We strengthened the entry to make it a space in its own right. Since storage for coats, mittens, boots, etc. was not in the original plan for the entry, I designed a tall built-in piece that has both hanging space and shelves where baskets can be placed to hold loose items. Under the window on the opposite wall there will be a mat for wet shoe storage (always a necessity in snowy Minnesota!)
Another significant addition was the storage towers designed to wrap around each of the support columns that run down the middle of the first floor. Storage is always a necessity in any home, and with such an open floor plan it can be a challenge to find places to put both things you want to display and things you want to have out of sight. From books and pretty vases to stereo equipment and party platters, these new storage towers accommodate it all. I’ve even incorporated a laundry chute that connects the 2nd & 1st floors to the laundry room in the lower level, perfect for quickly throwing those dirty kitchen towels into the “laundry basket” without running up and down the stairs.
To further enhance the functionality of the entry, the first column has a bench incorporated into the end that faces the front door. This serves as the perfect spot to sit down and take off or put on shoes. Plus storage for dog food is cleverly concealed under the flip-up lid (the dog’s kennel will be located in the entry next to the powder room.) Art or hooks can be placed above the bench. Art would provide a focal point and spot for the eye to rest before it continues to look down the vista through the house to the backyard through the sliding glass doors on the end of the kitchen (Connecting Views & Light to Walk Towards.)
The other two columns offer a mixture of open and closed storage. The column closed to the kitchen serves as storage space for pantry items and larger plates and platters.
In the kitchen I changed the layout significantly to add more work surfaces as well as help define the boundaries between the kitchen and living room.
This view is looking towards the sliding doors on the front of the house across the raised bar counter. You can see the pantry storage on the column on the right side of the view with both glass doors and large drawers.
Looking at the kitchen from the dining room. Here you can see the main work zone with a built-in refrigerator and range.
Here is the four views of the kitchen island. There is open space on the dining room end where stools can be tucked underneath. False doors on the ends of the cabinets are mixed in with functional narrow drawers on the sides of the island to create a uniform aesthetic.
Even the dining room is improved with the addition of a low built-in. Rather than doing a standard height set of cabinets along this wall, I did a low slung version with a mixture of doors and drawers (if you look back to the inspiration images you can find the idea that inspired this choice.) It’s great to have room for placemats, napkins, the silver chest, and other dining room related items within easy reach. Plus this offers a great ledge for informally displaying artwork – vases and platters mixed with framed art leaning casually against the wall looks just right. Hanging sconces on either side of the windows helps frame the view as well as offer options for different lighting levels – always important in a dining room.
So those are the highlights of the first floor! What’s your favorite part? It’s a lot of information, so I didn’t want to overwhelm you with details. Are there parts you’d like explained more? Stay tuned for the third floor – see how the three bedrooms and two bathrooms offer livable private spaces for this home.
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
This week we continue our look at the process of designing the interiors of a home from start to finish. Since this home started as a prefab home designed by a local architecture firm, we had great bones to start with, and we just needed to tweak the details of the rooms to improve functionality for the clients. Let’s start with the lower level.
In the original concept, which was created for another client that needed a garage built into the footprint of the house due to site conditions, the lower level of the house also included storage, laundry, a multi-purpose room and bathroom.
Since my clients had room for a garage elsewhere on their site, we were able to reallocate the garage space into a larger den.
In order to offer the family a space to watch movies, do homework and craft projects, and just hang out, I added a long desk with built-in cabinetry on the right wall. There is still plenty of room for all the other functions without them falling over each other.
What had been an undesignated room in the previous plan became a guest bedroom by closing it in with a new wall and the addition of built-in closet storage that also incorporates space for a TV on the wall. The adjacent bathroom is conveniently located for both the guest bedroom and the den.
Even the laundry room can be made into an enjoyable space by thoughtful space planning and finish selections. By using washer and dryer units that fit under a standard height cabinet you gain a lot of valuable counter space. I’m a big fan of line drying clothes as much as possible to extend their life, so there is plenty of floor space for a pop-up drying rack. There is also a rod over the sink so items can be hung to dry over the sink, which is great for handwashing items or damp workout clothes that need to dry and air out. (The dad in this family is a marathon runner, so that is a real need!) I even added a fold down ironing board hidden in a cabinet on the opposite wall so that there’s no need to store and set up and break down a full size ironing board (which always seems to make the chore of ironing much less appealing).
Since there are so many floor plans and elevations for all the built-ins we designed in this house, I’m going to break this segment into 3 posts (one post per floor) so I don’t overwhelm you with information all at once.
Do you have any questions about the choices we made? Feel free to ask away! I’m happy to answer questions to help you better understand the process.