Friday, November 19th, 2010
Well it’s been a busy couple of weeks with no signs of slowing down, but I feel guilty leaving you hanging too long without a fresh dose of design. So I am hard at work on a post on the latest trends in the interior design world fresh from the color trend forecasting group and the High Point Furniture Market in High Point, North Carolina.
In the meantime, here is a reminder for the weekend to act like a kid and have fun in your space! Even if you don’t have children, a well designed home allows kids of all ages to play (even if they are 64 with grandchildren on their knees… Vera, Chuck and Dave. Sorry, The Beatles just pop into one’s head without notice sometimes. That one was for my parents.)
Seriously, why isn’t every home built with a staircase like this?! Sliding down the stairs on your butt or on a pillowcase for better traction is nice and all, but a true slide? That’s love.
You don’t need a New York City loft in order to build your kids a maze, though it doesn’t hurt. What about the long unfinished basement you’ve been wanting to turn into a playroom? This could be fun for the whole family and with little play areas inside the maze, kids can tuck themselves away from others for some privacy (a room of one’s own, in a sense).
When designing a backyard, some people think in linear terms: benches are for sitting, and steps are for walking. Pish-posh. Think like a kid – every surface is ripe for usage. A bench becomes a table and steps become seating.
This is how landscape architects think when they create public spaces. They know that people like to have options and to make the space their own. For example, in Bryant Park in New York City, the lawn is full of lightweight chairs that people can move to suit their mood. Being able to move the chair where they want it gives them a sense of ownership. Do the same for your family and guests – create flexible spaces and seating options so they can play in their own way. [For more on this topic check out William H. Whyte's studies of people's movements in and through public spaces. Fascinating!]
Ok, so you’re grown up now, no longer living the Joey and Chandler bachelor lifestyle with a foosball table where a dining room table should go. But just think: if you buy one for your kids you have an excuse to play it whenever you want and now it’s called bonding time with your kids instead of goofing off. Pretty cool, huh?
Not to mention, adding a punching bag to help release all that pre-teen angst is a pretty good idea while you’re at it.
And if all else fails, kick off your yellow rain boots and jump on the bed until you feel better. (I think she’s jumping on her brother’s bed, by the way! If you jump on someone else’s bed you don’t have to worry that you’re ruining your own bed, and worrying would take some of the fun out of the jumping.)
I hope this has inspired you to cut loose this weekend and have some good old fashioned fun.
Thursday, November 4th, 2010
Above: the professional sheep shearer is hard at work. Maryfaith takes the giant fleece and puts it in the bag.
So I went to help a local farm with their sheep shearing a couple of weeks ago and had a great time. I’ve always loved lambies since I was a little girl, and sheep aren’t quite the same (bigger and less cuddly) but it was still a great experience to try to wrangle sheep on the farm for an afternoon.
The farmers also have a lot of chickens roaming around that come running when people approach in the hope for more food. I was taking pictures of the chickens because their heritage varieties have really beautiful subtle coloring. Unfortunately, it didn’t come through as well as I’d hoped in the photos. As I was taking the pictures my mom jokingly said “You’ll probably turn this into a blog post.” Challenge? I think so.
So here is my ”Heritage Chicken Inspired Rooms” post. I always say you can find inspiration all around you. Here’s my proof.
Notice that the chickens are not one solid color. They have a tonal range of colors across their body, plus an occasional accent color on their tail feathers. These rooms employ the same philosophy to create visually interesting rooms. Here we have the different tones of browns and reds of one breed of chickens with accents of black from the other breed. Plus you have to have the pop of red from the chickens’ faces!
More tonal brown and red rooms, but I love how the concrete pulls in the gray of the paths on which the chickens run around the farm by their coop. The green and cream of the painting in the living room on the right reference the building behind the chickens and the grass (or what was left of the grass in Minnesota in October). The rough materials and broken in finishes in these rooms give the relaxed vibe that subtly references the chickens’ habitat.
A kitchen can be refined or rustic, and I love them both. On the left, the granite countertops remind me of the pebbly gray ground the chickens hang out on. The copper hood is similar to the color of the cabinets, but the sheen adds variation. I’d love to see this with a patina (did you know that copper turns brown before it turns blue-green?)
In the kitchen on the right we have the dark brown-black cabinets that remind me of the darker breed of chickens. The wood slats on the walls convey a rustic farm feeling. The cream ceiling warms up the room and pulls in the color of the farm building behind the chickens in my photo. I’m sure they don’t gather the chicken eggs in a wicker basket, but isn’t it fun to think they do? Those high back wicker chairs are a great casual accent. Just add a wicker basket filled with fresh picked brown eggs in the middle of the table and you are set!
Finally, these are two rooms that really show off the power of tonal variation and texture. On the left, the graining in the wood floor is highlighted by the medium brown stain. The wood on the walls looks to be a shade lighter than the floors, which helps to keep the room from feeling like a brown box. The textural stone on the fireplace pulls in the organic and rough feel of the pebbly pathways. The lights over the table remind me of the fluffy sheep. And the red cabinet in the foreground? That definitely gives you the pop of the rooster’s red comb.
On the right we have a wide open space with oodles of natural light pouring in. And you can see there are a lots of trees outside, so this must feel like a kitchen tucked in the woods. Because of all that natural light they were able to use dark colors throughout the space without it feeling like a cave. (Notice how different the small rustic kitchen above looks with the same color palette in a much smaller and darker space.) The angled soffit over the cabinetry is a darker brown than the wood paneling over the refrigeraotr (to the left of the stove). They also mixed in black cabinetry, stainless steel and a fun mix of black chairs (love those Panton curved profile chairs!) I think the clock on the soffit is brilliant, except when the battery dies and you need a huge ladder to change it. But it’s the deep orange-persimmon ceiling color that makes this room special. It might be a plaster finish because it has such beautiful color variation as the light hits it.
So, do you see the chicken inspiration in these pictures? What inspires you in nature?