Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
Don’t you love when you go to a restaurant and the chef has created a dish where he (or she) has thoughtfully prepared the same ingredient in two different ways so that you can appreciate the range of flavors possible? Well, as a change of pace today I thought I’d offer up some fun feminine spaces. Sparkly chandeliers and ruffles aren’t usually the first style I reach for, but they can really add great personality to a space. As I pulled together the inspiration images I noticed a trend: bright, bold pinks and reds dominated many feminine rooms, while the rest had a lighter soft palette with a hint of sparkle. So, like a great piece of chicken prepared two ways on Iron Chef, here are some rooms for the ladies, prepared two ways.
Don’t you just want to jump on your bed everyday in joy?!
That darn ruffled shower curtain from Anthropologie inspired this feminine kick. I love it with the classic claw foot tub and white subway tile. Perfect for girls of all ages. The butterflies on the kitchen backsplash add a punch of whimsy and color while staying modern. What a great way to use wallpaper in a kitchen. You can put sheets of glass over the wallpaper to preserve it. And if the wallpaper is simply held in place by the glass, you could change out the wallpaper easily for a new look.
I could see a cool collage of favorite images here too. For the fashionista who stores clothes in her cabinets, it could be all fashion images. For the amateur cook it could be made up of glamour shots of dishes from magazines. Using the illustrations from back issues of Cooks Illustrated would give a very different feel than the glossy photos in Donna Hay.
Ok, random tangent, but I started with food, so I should end with food, right? Must be time for lunch.
Would you prefer a hot pink and funky room of your own, or would a soft palette and sparkle be your style of choice?
While we’re taking a poll, Cooks Illustrated or Donna Hay collage? Or does wallpaper intrigue you? Or do you prefer tile?
I love knowing how you think!
Clockwise from top left: Cookie magazine, DesignSponge, Ideal Home, unknown, Cookie magazine, unknown.
Scandinavian Wallpaper and Decor, Anthropologie, Domino magazine, Linda Barker, Kristen Hutchins Design via DesignSponge 12-22-09, House Beautiful April 2010.
Friday, September 17th, 2010
Inspiration, round 2. I find it fascinating that someone I know thought this was the best issue of Elle Decor they’d seen in a while. But when I scanned through it to find my top pictures, I was underwhelmed. Maybe it’s more of a slow burn issue: I’ll get into reading all the articles in depth and suddenly get new appreciation for the designs. Or not.
Case in point: this is one of my favorite images – and it’s an ad. Granted, I’ve had favorites that I wanted to share in previous magazines that were ads, but there was always too much good editorial content to waste a spot on an ad. But this kitchen is beautiful in it’s own right, plus it’s well staged, well lit, and the copy tells a story. Doesn’t that stroller throw it off from expectation just right? It’s showing the viewer that this kitchen is not only beautiful but it’s functional for real life. There’s food in the cupboards that requires real cooking. Those copper pots aren’t just a collection for display, they get used. And you thought it was just a cabinetry ad.
How lovely is this Alpine retreat? I’m not a hunter, so as much as I appreciate the beauty of animal hides, I’m not always completely comfortable around them. But this room pushes the limit. The pillows and stools covered in springbok pelts are still beautiful in all their natural coloration. But I’d feel odd leaning against those pillows, I can’t lie. Nonetheless, there is something so chic and clean about this room. The Serge Mouille floor lamp and navy sectional against the rough hewn wood walls, antlers and stacks of firewood framed in white is a beautiful balance. The bleached floors keep the room from feeling too dark.
I’m not normally a purple girl. But this room has a sofa warm quality thanks to those gray couches and amazing window treatments. The flounces on the valances remind me of a wedding dress, in the best way possible.
This is a punchy living room with a great mix of styles. Bold contemporary art influences the color palette, but the furniture pulls from diverse periods. A 1940s sofa, a contemporary faceted coffee table in three laquered finishes, a traditional table lamp from the 1950s, and an 18th century chair. A difficult mix to achieve without it feeling choppy and disjointed, but when it’s done right, it works. What’s interesting is that this is just one side of a double sided living room. There are two sofas back to back across from this sofa, and there are chairs upholstered in orange velvet on the other side of the room, to tie in with the oriental rug.
Thursday, September 16th, 2010
I can’t believe how quickly a month passes when you’re busy! I just got hit with a fresh wave of inspiration in my mailbox: House Beautiful AND Elle Decor! What’s a girl to do? Why share with you, of course!
You know fall is just around the corner when you start seeing pumpkin recipes. This pumpkin cupcake with maple frosting and toffee topping was too luscious to resist sharing. Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) always offers up such tempting recipes.
I love this feature: same desk, four different designers’ take on furniture and accessories. Just goes to show how diverse my style is: I like all 4, depending on context. Which would you pick?
This room grabbed my attention immediately. The drape of the linen at the end of the sofa that puddles on the floor so nonchalantly. That blue grasscloth wallcovering. The vintage screen hung on the wall to bring in pattern. The way the PK22 chair in wicker with steel legs references the texture of the sisal floor covering and the tripod floor lamp. And then the animal hide layered over the sisal under a dark coffee table. Such a well layered space. Love it.
I love the way they showed this airy bedroom in a triptych layout (though it’s a bit difficult to capture with a seam in the middle of the magazine). The finishes are all ethereal feeling, especially with those curtains on the desk wall framing a piece of art like a view out a window. Plus it’s fun to learn more about the designer, rather than just the clients (at least from my perspective). I think the client and their needs and personal style are so vital to the final product, but the designer always influences the outcome, no matter what.
And if we’re going to talk about designers with personality, it’s so appropriate to transition to this kitchen, by none other than Jeff Lewis, the star of Bravo TV’s “Flipping Out.” They time these things perfectly across multiple media platforms because I was able to watch the episode of “Flipping Out” where Jeff met with the House Beautiful team and all the sponsors to lay out his concept for the kitchen while I held this article in my hands. They approved it on the spot, which I could tell just by looking. I think he did a really nice job, and it’s interesting how he incorporated rooms around the perimeter of the kitchen. Be sure to check out this article if you can’t make it to Rockefeller Center to see it in person (anyone want to sponsor a trip to NYC for yours truly to see it? Worth a try.)
There were lots of interesting photos in this magazine I scanned right away, but I’m trying to keep myself to a limit on these, so you’ll have to pick up the magazine to discover them for yourself!
Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
Labor Day has passed us by, everyone has made their last pilgrimage to the cabin before school starts, and now all that’s left before us is crisp fall breezes and the exciting prospect of shutting down the cabin for the winter. Okay, not so exciting for most.
But now is the perfect time to brainstorm how you are going to refresh that cabin next spring to make it an even more inviting space to spend every weekend (and maybe a few fridays too, if you can sneak out without the boss noticing). Now I don’t have a family cabin (how un-Minnesotan, right?) but we periodically rent out a place for a week to escape the city and soak in views of pine trees, water and lots of sky. And the sad truth is that most cabins I’ve seen are a place where ugly furniture goes to die. I think it’s time to change all that.
I propose the following cabin as an excellent case study (the name of the resort will be withheld to protect the design challenged.)
Yes, I realize that southwestern plaid sleeper sofa adds room for extra guests, but you do realize the cushions lost their filling about 5 years ago and I’m sitting on the springs?
And can someone please explain why the recliner that always leans back (with no one sitting in it) has a log under it? It seemed to weighs 300 lbs, so it is no small feat to rotate it to look at the lake instead of the fireplace. Very functional, wouldn’t you say?
The big farm table is great for craft projects during the day (note the glue gun above if you doubt me), and big or small family meals in the evening. But while those chairs might be sturdy, I honestly think they’re ugly. (There, I was blunt and just said it.)
I won’t even mentioned that “carpeting.”
So, with this beautifully furnished cabin as a retreat, whether for a week or every weekend in the summer, you are definitely going to want to spend all your time outside. But imagine if you took these good bones and gave them an update with a budget. I know most people can’t afford to buy nice furniture for a second home or rental property. But uncomfortable and ugly is good for no one’s soul (especially when you are trying to relax!) So with that in mind, I gave this place an imaginary IKEA makeover.
So here’s the basics:
1. New sofa – available with or without sleeper sofa. Pick a darker neutral color that won’t show wear and tear. When the fabric starts getting worn, you can order a new slipcover in a wide variety of fabrics from Bemz. Check them out if you haven’t already!
2. New armchair – if you have to stick with a big recliner, at least get one that swivels! You still get the pop-up leg rest with this model, and in leather it wipes clean after sticky marshmallow hands.
3. Additional armchair(s) – if you’re fine with skipping the big recliner, these two smaller scale chairs still offer lots of comfort and flexibility. Especially since they are light enough to move around the room if necessary. People like their own seat, so I think having more small chairs is preferrable to one large chair, especially if they are all comfortable.
4. Dining room chairs – the big farm table works for me, and with new chairs in a simple, classic silhouette in looks fresh again. I like the contrast of the dark black-brown finish, but the grey-brown finish is nice too. You could even mix and match the two finishes!
5. Accessories – don’t forget plenty of soft throw pillows for the couch and floor. Add other accessories that pull from all the beautiful natural materials outside the cabin door. Turquoise duck head bookends do NOT count. Instead, use a couple of large beautiful rocks from the shoreline as bookends. If they aren’t flat on the bottom, glue them to blocks of wood to make them stable. Or pile up lots of small rocks into a fun formation on a wooden block (see glue gun) to use as art or bookends. The possibilities are endless!
6. Outside seating – at the lake it’s all about the view. And flimsy plastic chairs just don’t cut it. You want to be able to relax and take in the view for more than 15 minutes without a backache. A rocking chair, a cup of coffee, or a stick to widdle sounds pretty ideal to me. The Adirondack chair is a classic all over the country. I like this version with an adjustable back and a fold out leg rest. Don’t you dare buy just one! But be sure the seat is high enough to see over any railings, otherwise you’ll be frustrated every time you sit down.
Okay, that’s my take on the quick and economical update to the family cabin. Almost everything was sourced from IKEA, except the accessories, porch furniture, and existing table. The rocking chair is from Fleet Farm (what a bargain!) and a plain Adirondack chair is available from them for $40 as well. The fancy version is from www.adirondackchairs.com.
What do you think of this makeover? What else would you change or what would you do differently? A rental has different needs than a family cabin, but the idea of updating on a budget works for both.
Do you need tips on updating your cabin or other space? I’m curious what challenges other cabins present.