Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
Well, this month Elle Decor has redeemed itself. There is a lot of good content to inspire this month, so let’s get right to it!
White kitchens continue to be universally appealing, judging by the countless versions I see each month in various publications. And this house is no different. But the designer Miles Redd convinced the client to trust him with a bold color choice in the adjacent butler’s pantry: marine-blue! It reads almost teal in photos, but I love it regardless. Obviously this would be too much for most people’s main kitchen, but in this secondary space it glows in the most brilliant way. The natural light from the window (which some butler’s pantries don’t have) allowed him to use this darker color.
In contrast, this Valcucine kitchen features minimal dark cabinetry balanced by the open structure of steel shelves against light walls. The color of the glass in the Niche Modern pendant over the island references the glassware on the open shelves beautifully.
The restrained modernism of the kitchen continues into the bedroom of the same home. Natural elements (branch, basket under bed, shearling throw on floor) add texture to the crisp narrow lines of the bed and nightstands. The crystals on the small bedside lamp is a fun pop of feminity in what I would consider a rather gender neutral room.
This dining room has a similarly neutral palette with a splash of sparkle thanks to the C. Jere sculpture over the fireplace. The floating box shelves on either side of the fireplace are a fresh update of the usual built-ins you see surrounding fireplaces in most homes.
Finally we have this living room in Ossining, New York (not far from where I went to college… I always remember the conductor calling this station on the train ride from NYC.) This room features a lot of mid-century modern classics, but the textured walls and corner sofa keep the space from feeling like a DWR catalog come to life (which was the case for many homes featured in Dwell magazine in the past.) The swing arm lamp to the right of the fireplace makes me want to curl up in that corner with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows, and a cozy blanket.
Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
Guess what arrived this week for our viewing pleasure? The new House Beautiful, and it’s their “The Ultimate Entertaining Issue.” I love to entertain and I think it’s fascinating how different people are comfortable throwing different types of parties. For instance, I enjoy a casual cocktail party with an open bar, a long counter covered with unfussy eats that will hold up at room temperature for hours. I’ve tried making fancy hors d’oeuvres or cooking up fresh pot stickers, but when people are milling around for hours time-sensitive food just doesn’t make sense. But if you have a cocktail party with a two hour window, go all out! In contrast, a dinner party for 10 requires a different plan, set up and thoughtful details like the seating arrangement (so the most talkative are across the middle of the table from each other so that everyone will feel involved in the conversation. Or put a quiet and talkative together, as long as they have plenty in common to carry them through the evening.)
Even if your are serving take-out on your best china, you will be spending time in the kitchen before the party begins. A beautiful kitchen makes the party prep more enjoyable. This kitchen has a great mix of rustic and refined elements. The old wood on the walls is all reclaimed as this house is actually brand new. The designer did a great job creating a space that feels like a really nice farm kitchen. The industrial scale faucet is an unexpected touch in this style kitchen, which is all the more reason to do it. And the butcher block counter under the window would make chopping up piles of vegetables so inviting. (But I find chopping up vegetables relaxing anyway, so maybe that’s just me.)
Creating a good impression when entertaining starts with the entry. This is a lovely, warm and inviting example. A nice place to sit down to take off your shoes. (I make my guests take off their shoes in the Japanese tradition. No high heel marks in the wood floors and no dirt tracked in.) The plant softens the space. I like that the rug doesn’t match the pattern on the sofa. It shows they aren’t afraid to be playful.
When entertaining, the front hall closet suddenly takes on importance because you need to fit your guests coats in it in addition to all the usual random items that are stuffed in there. These are a few good examples that highlight both good organization and use of color. I think wallpapering the bi-fold doors to blend in with the walls (bottom right photo) is a great idea for those less than fabulous doors.
Once your guests start arriving you might show them into your living room for some hors d’oeuvres. We don’t want them to get too comfortable and settled, so this living room strikes a nice balance. The beautiful vintage PK Sofa and Finn Juhl armchairs are approachable, so your guests won’t be afraid to take a seat and get conversations started, but they won’t be sinking in and getting lost in giant cushions either.
You might consider returning here after dinner to enjoy a nice fire in the real fireplace. The fireplace surround has such a clean minimal design that complements the furnishings.
An inviting dining area is important if you are hosting a sit-down dinner. This room emphasizes the fact that you don’t need a fancy space. The mix of chairs, worn wood, an old rug and lots of natural light makes me want to sit here for hours catching up with old friends. A couple of bottles of wine, a hearty bowl of soup, a rustic loaf of bread and some good cheeses are all you need for a dinner party.
After dinner you can retire to the library for a relaxing chat with your dearest. I love the mix of mid-century classics (the Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen and the ubiquitous cowhide rug) and a sleek fireplace facade. The wraparound floating wood shelves update the library concept in a fresh way.
You’ve survived hosting a lovely party for your friends, so now it’s time to take care of yourself. Sink into a tub of lusciously scented warm water (bubbles optional). Enjoy a few more sips of wine (you don’t want the end of the last bottle to go to waste) with a truffle you kept hidden for your reward.
Now go curl up in that big bed and look forward to waking up tomorrow morning to a fresh new day in this soft and peaceful bedroom. (How fun is that sparkly stool next to the chair?! A great bench at the foot of the bed offers storage along with a place to throw your robe, extra blankets and throw pillows. I love that the bedside table has room for all the bedside necessities, with both open and closed storage options.)
Now you better start planning your next party so you can go through it all again.
Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
Despite the 70 degree weather we’re experiencing in Minnesota, the trees still know it is fall. Everywhere I look I see the most beautiful mixes of golden yellow, orange, sumac red, green and brown. I couldn’t help but be inspired to create some room palettes to help inspire you as well.
How fun is the orange on the back wall of the white bookshelf?! What’s great, is that could be changed up easily over the years to a new accent color or fabulous wallpaper since the rest of the room is in easy to coordinate with neutrals. Love everything about this room.
And the bold kitchen with the gorgeous wood lining the walls as well as the floor? A raw stone fireplace surround and sleek red cabinets and stainless steel provide a great balance of color and texture while making their own strong statements. And the fluffy chandeliers add great whimsy (and texture).
Again, pops of orange on a neutral but texture filled living room. Do you see how this works? The eclectic mix of furnishings work together because nothing is too fussy. This entry in a more traditional home features beautiful woodwork, which allows that elegant red table skirt with framed detailing really pop. The chocolate brown zebra print stair runner hints at the homeowners playful personality. Using a solid runner for the entry floor prevents that print from overwhelming the space.
Vintage riflery targets as bathroom wallpaper? Brilliant! The shotgun casings encased in a resin toilet seat cover certainly carries out the theme, but seems a bit much for most situations. I like the pops of color in the accessories on this bookshelf as bar cart.
The bold mix of red-orange and lime green in this library conveys the homeowner’s fearless personality. With such high ceilings and plenty of white to balance the bold colors, the room still feels balanced. Have I used this photo of a vintage red leather chair in front of a glass case before? Probably, since I love the tone of that leather and the simple form of the chair. It seemed a good match for this palette, so forgive me.
I think this really represents those golden yellow and orange tones that so many trees take on at this time of year. A harvest palette, if you will. I can picture that yellow pom-pom fringe on the bottom of a lampshade, along the side of curtains, or the bottom of a roman shade. Pom-poms are not just for the back of your socks (remember being 10 years old and wearing ankle socks with pom-poms on the back? I do!) I just flashed back to some pillows I made for a client years ago in a golden yellow cut velvet with braided trim and a ribbon detail that was similar to the materials in the top left photo.
I had to find you a picture after that description! It wouldn’t be fair to leave you hanging.
I love this media room with those inviting chocolate brown velvet couches, golden yellow pillows, and plenty of throw blankets. Did you notice the bookshelves in the back are orange? Difficult to tell from a photo, but it could even be Hermes orange. What a great punch of color that doesn’t overwhelm because the frame of the shelves has a narrow profile.
Finally, the deep reds of the Sumac bushes make a bold backdrop for two very different kitchens. You can see how it mixes well with orange tones and either dark chocolate brown wood and marble or crisp white cabinetry and stainless steel. I couldn’t resist throwing in the great Weimaraner photo – the chair and the dog both have such great personality!
So that’s your fall inspiration, courtesy of the trees and bushes I see on my drives around town visiting clients and vendors. What is inspiring you right now? Are you drawn to the fall colors or does another season capture your style best?
Tags: bar cart, Bathroom, bookshelf, chocolate brown, fall, foyer, golden yellow, green, Kitchen, living room, orange, pillow, Red, white, Wood, zebra
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