Friday, March 30th, 2012
Happy Friday! Here at Fox Interiors I’m always on the hunt for something beautiful to enhance my current and future projects. This week I stopped by Mercury Mosaics, run by my dear friend of 8 or so years, Mercedes Austin. We met at the annual Minnesota Tile Festival at the Swedish Institute in Minneapolis back when she was running her business out of her live/work studio in St. Paul and I was just starting a business designing custom throw pillows. All these years later, she has 5 kilns, a great team of tile craftsmen, and an inspiring design studio not far from me in Northeast Minneapolis.
I love visiting the studio because they are always developing new color blends and tile designs that showcase just how many possibilities there are when designing with their handmade tile. I’ve shared finished projects of theirs before with you (first see the process and then the finished results for this stunning bathroom), but I thought you might enjoy seeing the different styles that caught my eye this week.
The bubbles with organic edge field tiles is one of their most recognizable designs, and one of their most popular. I love the color variation in the Denim blue tiles. Did you know every tile is cut and painted with glaze by hand?!
This board was created for a client trying to decide between two different colors of Stix to anchor their Bubbles. Notice they were going to have the Bubbles floating on the wall without all field tile above. A great way to make an impact (and save a little money). Which would you chose?
Here you can see how a band of Bubbles can be framed out with liner pieces to create a focal point, like over a stove, while the rest of the backsplash could be in a white field tile. Throw in a few clusters of Bubbles around the room to continue the theme. This is good for both the budget and the design. Check out their portfolio online and you’ll see some beautiful examples of this concept in practice.
The Bubble Grid Stagger is not utilized as much as some of their other styles, but I was really struck by how great it looked on this mirror. The Olive Green glaze has a nice range of variation to it, which adds interest without adding in a handful of colors. I love how the grout color becomes a strong element of the design. Imagine it with a khaki or charcoal gray grout… really changes it, doesn’t it?
The Moroccans is another fun mosaic shape, and I love this fresh color palette… so springy! It looks great in the dark reds and browns you may have seen them feature in the past, but this color palette really showcases it’s versatility.
Here are more examples of the newer color blends Mercury Mosaics is showcasing. The new leopard texture on the green Moroccans is fabulous!
You may have noticed the pricing on this panel and the mirror above. You might recognize Mercury Mosaics from their very popular Groupon classes. You get to come in and make your own art panel or framed mirror, and you even learn how to grout it yourself. It’s a super fun class, and the pieces they develop during these classes are for sale in the showroom. I love how this panel utilizes a field of Stixs and a few Bubbles that were cut on the wet saw to add additional movement to the piece. I think this could easily be recreated on a backsplash or fireplace surround.
In a similar vein, this little panel showcases the variation of the Denim glaze and I love the rings of Bubbles integrated with the field tile (I’m guessing that’s a 2×6, but Mercedes could tell you for sure).
Finally, this piece showcases Mercury Mosaics custom mosaic capabilities. I think this overlapping concentric circle design is beautiful and such a work of art. They’ve created some custom designs in the past that incorporate this style, and I’d love to see more examples.
For more examples of their work, be sure to check out their portfolio on Houzz. If you haven’t played around with the over 385,000 images in this database yet, you are going to be ADDICTED! All you need to do is set up an account with an email address, set up a couple of Ideabooks to tag your favorite images into, and then go crazy! Fox Interiors has a portfolio on Houzz as well, (search “Fox Interiors” under the Professionals category to find us) and you can see my Ideabooks if you need ideas for categories. What’s great about this site is that you can add notes to yourself about what you like in each photo so that you remember it was the light fixture or the color palette that caught your eye. Oh, and there’s an iPad & iPhone version too, especially handy when you’re bored waiting in line. =)
I also love that once you’ve created an Ideabook you can Share it with others, including… your Designer! It’s a great resource for helping you figure out your style that you can then pass to your designer to help them understand what you are looking for.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of Mercury Mosaics and Houzz!
Friday, March 16th, 2012
It’s another record setting beautiful weather day in Minnesota, and it’s Friday, so needless to say I’d rather not be sitting in front of a computer. (76 degrees in March? It’s beyond fabulous!) So I’ll keep this short and sweet for everyone’s sake.
I just finished reading “Organizing” from the Best of Martha Stewart Living collection, and I found it really inspirational. So if this warm weather makes you want to fling the windows open, dust off those blinds, and do a little spring cleaning/ organizing, this is a great new resource for you.
This slim reference book covers the key spaces in homes most in need of organization: Entryways, Kitchens, Bedrooms, Closets, Bathrooms, Kids’ Rooms, Home Offices and Utility Rooms.
The kitchen section has great examples from past featured kitchens as well as Martha’s many kitchens. But it also combines some top tips from over the years. I’ve been using the “Spice Jar Reminder” idea for years, and I remember the first time I saw the “Helping Hands” tip. Now that I have large drawers like that in my kitchen and a kiddo on the way, I’ve already started looking at how I can rearrange my kitchen cabinets to accommodate a drawer like this for the kid’s plates, bowls, bottles, etc.
Toy storage is always a challenge (with kids of all ages), so I appreciate all the detailed thought that went into this toy chest. Having “parking spots” for the cars could help interest a kid in actually putting his cars back in the proper place.
There are plenty of other creative and less complicated ideas for kids’ rooms as well.
Finally, I’ll leave you with editor Kevin Sharkey’s utility room/ closet. Compared to the entire building Martha has at one of her properties for cleaning supplies (see this past post), Kevin lives in a NYC apartment where storage is at a premium. He cleverly transformed a coat closet into a very functional and organized laundry room with a place for everything.
Here you can see the right side of that closet (the end of the dryer is in the corner of the top left picture above). I love the grid of cleaning tools hung on the inside of the door. All the different types of hooks and baskets he utilized allow each item to hang properly without having to be wrangled into place. Now don’t we all want that? Who likes to fight a broom back onto a hook after sweeping?
Be sure to pick up a copy now since it is for sale at local bookstores and drugstores (most places you buy magazines) until April 30th, or they run out. At only $9.95 it’s a steal.
Now go out and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. And maybe organize a drawer or shelf while you’re at it.
Friday, March 9th, 2012
If last week was all about brights, then let’s get minimal this week.
Just because this room has a neutrals color palette, does NOT make it boring. Oh no. Look at the gorgeous texture on the stump coffee table! See the subtle shine on the stainless steel accent tables. Feel the cowhide rug under your feet with all that natural color variation. The glass or acrylic staircase and wall opens up the space and brings a futuristic element that a painted drywall wall could never achieve. Add in a dash of pattern with the pillows and striped throw and you have just enough to keep the eye entertained but not overstimulated.
Then there is Moby’s bedroom. This is a story of white, cream and rich wood tones, and great lines. Check out the legs on the armchair and coffee table. Open, light, sculptural. The duvet looks like the softest puddle of parachute fabric that’s always ready for you to jump in for a nap. Art is minimal. Lighting is minimal. It’s the natural light and calming finishes that make this a peaceful room that one could easily chill out in for days on end playing the guitar.
This kitchen has a very similar palette of materials and an equally open and restful vibe. I love the beautiful grain on the cabinet doors and the collection of white ceramics on the lone floating shelf. For a splash of color they could add bright throw pillows on the built in banquette. But for now the bowl of peppers is the only indication this is a kitchen.
You can be minimal and still inject color. Of course I love the Womb Chair in the corner (my favorite!), and the chunky knit poofs repeat the wall color without being matchy-matchy. I love the texture on the arc floor lamp. I can’t tell what the exact materials are, but it looks like a paper shade inside a woven metal polygon. Without artwork the lamp helps add height and break up the large expanse of wall by serving as a large piece of sculpture. I wish the red throw pillow were on the other end of the sectional for balance, but it’s not a big deal. I’d want more pillows overall anyway. One thing to note: think how a rug would change the way this space looks. The warm glow of those floors is beautiful. Not too dark.
For a really extreme looking example of minimal meets funky, see designer Alexander Wang’s living room. Think how different this room would feel if the sofa and fuzzy chair were in other colors. But the stark black and white palette really focuses your eyes on the details of the forms. The sculptural pieces on the end tables (I can’t remember if they are lights) stand out against the dark and light finishes.
Minimal doesn’t have to be contemporary in style. The owners of this living room in South Africa embraced the natural light that pours in by painting their floors and using white upholstery on the furniture. The furniture selections fall into the transitional category with a global flair, thanks to the coffee table with the great carved legs. An eclectic mix of throw pillows keeps it relaxed. And you can have art on the walls in a minimal space. Here the white frames disappear into the wall and allow the art (none of which is very colorful) to stand on its own.
Finally, I will leave you with this marble bathroom that makes me think of roman baths for some reason. Nothing extraneous, just a singular focus on the art of bathing (and really beautiful marble). Calming. A single bench to lay your clothes across. A pane of glass to catch shower spray. A nook in the wall for bath essentials. Thanks to the floor to (almost) ceiling marble utilized throughout, the little details stand out and therefore must be done just right to not jar the eye. The fixtures look like Dornbracht, but I can’t tell for sure.
Do you prefer the quiet simplicity of a minimal room well detailed, or a colorful room with layers and layers of color and pattern?
LR – DDC NY furniture company ad
BR – Moby’s House featured in NY Times 4-28-11
Kitchen – by Conway via Remodelista
LR – by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design via Design Sponge 12-21-09
LR – Designer Alexander Wang via NY Times
LR – South African house in Living Etc via InteriorDivine
Bathroom – by Fernlund Logan
Friday, March 2nd, 2012
I saw a fabric with brilliant turquoise and raspberry colors in it the other day (wish I could remember where!), and it popped up in my brain again last night and I suddenly thought, “Blog Post!”
So here are some fun rooms that incorporate these two bold colors, whether in a large splash or a subtle mix of accessories.
1. A bold wall color choice for a hallway is balanced by the large black and white photo, an occasional chair with a subtle pattern, and a floral carpet with a blue background and raspberry flowers.
2. Fabrics on a throw pillow and seat cushion and a Rothko style painting bring drama without overpowering the small multi-purpose room.
3. See how well those turquoise throw pillows work with the raspberry throw tucked into the sofa? The hanging pendant repeats the blue.
4. This banquette is retro with a modern flair. Throw pillows and curtains tie the color palette together.
1. A kid’s bedroom is a great place to embrace bold color, especially on walls which can be easily repainted if they tire of it. Throw pillows and a bench cushion repeat the color.
2. I showed you this bold office not too long ago, and I couldn’t resist adding it here. Saturation is a beautiful thing, when done well.
3. A dining room with an oriental wallcovering and mirror get a modern twist with the turquoise benches and accessories.
4. This nursery with a great mix of artwork shows how easily this bold color could transition from nursery to an older child’s room (like in image 1)
5. Don’t think living rooms can’t handle these bold colors. A bright sofa, upholstered bench, and colorful curtains make for a vibrant room for lively conversations.
1. Raspberry seems to be embraced for bedrooms for all ages. Here is a young girl’s bedroom with a playful Tord Boonjte paper chandelier.
2. This bedroom for the daughter of a former Domino editor mixes classic design pieces (Eames chair, Knoll Saarinen table) with modern bedding for an eclectic look that can transition into young adulthood. Those pieces could easily work in her home the rest of her life.
3. Why should bathrooms always be in calming spa colors?
4. Check out this bold living room: the drama is provided by the wallpaper and window treatments, while the furniture is done in quieter tones to allow the walls to shine. Notice the trim has all been painted a red-pink to disappear by complementing the walls.
5. A grown up bedroom where the bedding, chairs and fresh flowers provide punch against the soft walls and gorgeous views outside.
1. From Children’s Spaces by Wilson
2. Dining Room by Sarah Tuttle via sweetiepie blog
3. Unknown. Perhaps from decor8 blog years ago
1. Kid’s Bedroom- inspired by The Incredible Book Eating Boy, from Cookie magazine
2. Office from Elle Decor 9-2011
3. Dining Room from Living Etc.
4. Nursery – Ashley Rose photography via Dwell blog 4-18-11
5. Living Room from Living Etc.
1. Bedroom from Cookie magazine
2. Unknown source. Domino editor’s home.
3. Bathroom from Ideal Home
4. Living Room by Katie Ridder via Elle Decor
5. Bedroom by Angie Hranowsky via Charleston Home magazine