Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Even though the weather in Minnesota can’t seem to make up it’s mind if it should be a cool Spring or an early Summer, the itch to get outside is hard to resist this time of year.
Since the lilac trees are beginning to bloom (meaning the morel mushrooms will be popping up soon!), I’m going to start planning my summer outdoor decor now and remain optimistic that the warm weather will soon be here to stay.
So what items have caught my eye lately?
First I received this email from Crate and Barrel that heavily features this year’s accent color, Tangerine Tango.
Of course I’m digging the orange watering can and wishing for some orange cushions to liven up my standard stacking outdoor chairs we got at Target years ago. I also love the rustic style of the Driftwood Birdhouse as a foil for the modern boldness of the orange accents.
We already have 2 Emmet Lounge Chairs in green from Room and Board we got from a friend when he moved to San Francisco last summer. They’ve held up beautifully without any covers this winter, and they’ve been a great punch of color out the windows in the middle of the bleak winter. So how do I tie the orange and green together? Here are my inspiration boards showing the current state of the deck (it really doesn’t look like anything special in this photo) and my goal end results.
First off, what does this deck look like now? Well, the top left picture shows it in action the FIRST WEEKEND after we moved in. Our friend, Tom, was visiting for business so we had no time to wait before playing hosts. So what do you do? Send the guys off to golf, set up the patio furniture, grill a giant platter of veggies (foreground) and some steaks, open that giant bottle of Heineken beer you got as a gift, and enjoy the company of friends.
Now it’s a year later (almost) and our plans for the deck are pretty settled in our minds.
Step 1: Strip the red stain off the deck and flip/repair any damaged boards.
Step 2: Remove the existing railing.
Step 3: Remove the slanting and shallow depth steps to the yard. (They are tricky for kids and in the winter)
Step 4: Install longer, deeper steps in one location.
Step 5: Install new square posts along the perimeter.
Step 6: Stain the deck, posts and steps a warm gray color.
Step 7: Install a cable rail system around the deck for a more open and modern aesthetic.
Ok, you have that visual in mind now? Now here is how I’ll furnish the deck, utilizing the existing wood slat table and chairs (seen above).
First, I’ll use our existing umbrella that looks similar to the example above, though it’s in more of a narrow two tone gray stripe pattern.
Then pull the punch of orange I’m craving together with our green Emmet Lounge Chairs by mixing in throw pillows with large botanical prints in orange and green.
Though I’d love to buy the Layered Side Table in orange, it makes more sense in white when placed between the green chairs. I like that the width of this piece easily allows for both loungers to have a spot for their drink AND snacks.
The gray dining chairs will get a punch of orange with the striped throw pillows that pull together the gray colors of the house, deck and umbrella.
The deck, front entry, and garden will all get accessories of their own in the form of large gray planters, a new doormat (it’s a Fox!), stone lanterns along the paths for mood lighting, and sculptural pieces to tuck in amongst the plantings.
Finally, a deep orange watering can will inspire me to help with the gardening duties, which is key since my husband is planting a huge vegetable garden for the first time this year. I can’t wait for all that kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh herbs to take over my kitchen!
Since the Fox doormat is sold out, I’ll be recreating this with the plain coir doormat I already have, a stencil and some paint. Easy peasy!
I can’t wait to get started on all these great projects (after I finish the nursery I’m working on now, of course.)
Ad from Crate & Barrel
Photo of my deck taken by me
13. Fox Doormat (no longer available)
Tags: cable railing, color palette, Crate & Barrel, deck, gray, orange, patio, pillows, planters, Room and Board, table, VivaTerra, West Elm
Posted in Design & Home Living Tips, Inspiration Boards | 2 Comments »
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, February 24th, 2012
This bright bedroom caught my eye when I was flipping through my files, and it made me wonder what other bold, colorful bedrooms I had to inspire this winter afternoon with the snow swirling outside my window.
I love the crisp, classic color palette in this room with plenty of white to break up the large expanses of color, such as the bench at the foot of the bed. The inlay design on the nightstands works well with the pattern on the bedskirt. The red detail on the roman shades echos the red border on the sheets. And did you notice they framed the red bench with blue twill tape under the nailheads? Nice detail.
This is an old example from Domino magazine, but I love that they embraced the raspberry and lime palette in a way that could easily be updated down the line. The headboard is faux – a nice detailing using a lighter shade of the wall color. And the bed linens could easily be swapped out for a neutral linen duvet (like this one by Room and Board) to allow the walls to shine. Or a bold green and blue pattern like this duvet from Serena & Lily would emphasize the wall color while introducing a new accent color.
This purple and pale pink room is an odd mix with the bold large scale pattern on the rug and a medium scale more traditional floral print on the upholstered screen acting as a headboard. The pink trim is unexpected, but help to tie in the lighter tones in the floral print. I couldn’t rest in this room, but to each their own.
I love the mood of this bedroom. The Chaing Mai dragon wallpaper from Schumacher is one of my favorite crazy prints, and the almost chartreuse headboard is bold on it’s own, but also serves to break up this bold print. The vintage looking bedside lamp has great personality, and really adds to the room’s style. I wish the nightstand was a bit larger so the lamp didn’t take up the majority of the surface so there was room for a glass of water, a clock and book.
Finally, we have this palm beach vibe bedroom by Celerie Kemble. To me it looks crisp and fresh, just like the first bedroom above. You can see there is pattern introduced both in the headboard (what a task to get those leaves to line up across the creases!) and the wallpaper by the vanity (upper left). Again, simple bed linens with an accent border color were utilized to balance all the green on the window treatments and side chair. I’m guessing this room is typically flooded with light and can handle all this brightness.
So the question is: do you prefer a bright, bold bedroom or a calm softer color palette to ease you into sleep? Or does a balance of the two suit you best?
1. House Beautiful 2-12 by Lindsey Coral Harper.
3. Living Etc. 3-09
4. Schumacher, Design by Christopher Kennedy.
5. Celerie Kemble, “To Your Taste”
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
This afternoon I was reading an article in Sherwin-Williams magazine, Stir, by Jackie Jordan, their director of Color Marketing, when I was struck by a couple of comments she made. Having discovered a photography book of homes of designers from the mid-century era, she was struck by:
“a distinct commonality among the various homes: They were lived-in, unpretentious and unassuming, yet still beautifully crafted, detailed and personally curated. A visitor would feel very much at ease in any of them. … As designers and architects, I’m sure you occasionally get the comment from your clients, “Your house must be amazing!” And I’m sure it is — but perhaps in a very unexpected way, just like the homes of these famous design icons.”
I do indeed hear that reaction from people I meet when they hear what is my profession/ passion. The challenge of course for so many designers is that we are constantly discovering new products and therefore it can be difficult to select a piece for your own home when you know there are so many other options out there and you may have not found “THE RIGHT” piece yet. Not quite the same as a plumber’s wife with a leaky sink, but you get the idea.
Somehow it’s so much easier to see a client’s taste and determine the best products for their home in part because there is a limited time window we are working in. Our own homes are constantly evolving and the layering process is never ending. So where does that leave me? With a dining room table surrounded by folding chairs.
Why? Because having moved recently we finally have enough space to comfortably fit a dining room table that can fit a crowd. In our old home we had to set up the table and chairs, and then pack them up at the end of a dinner party to fit at the back of a closet.
We’ve selected a beautiful dining room table we can both agree upon, but now I can’t find the perfect chair! Mind you I’ve been thinking about this for YEARS. Of course, the new house impacted the selection somewhat because of the space and style of the home. The biggest challenge is that I don’t want anything expected or overdone. It shouldn’t look like any typical dining room in Dwell magazine just because it’s a mid-century home. It shouldn’t be obviously mid-century or too classic Danish design because that room already has three Danish teak pieces and it would be overkill. I want comfortable chairs (I mean really, why WOULDN’T you want comfortable dining room chairs?!). And they need to be easy to clean since kids spill and cats scratch.
If the IKEA chairs above were still available in orange we would have gladly used those for our dining room. Alas, no longer available.
But I think we might have a winner, or at least a top two.
Here is the table, for your reference. Reclaimed wood plank top with cast metal base. Slightly industrial but with clean lines and a little ornamentation. The chairs above were all considered at one point or another. Some were too expensive, some too plain, some didn’t feel right with the table base. For all I know I might go back to one of these or mix them in with another selection.
It’s funny how something catches your attention but you didn’t realize it until the third or fourth time. I snapped a picture of these chairs at the Hickory Chair showroom last month when I was there for a book signing. I’ve always liked them, but hadn’t given them a lot of thought before.
The next week I spotted these chairs on designer Linda Engler’s website and thought “Oh, those could work for our dining room!” Didn’t realize it was the same chair yet.
Then reading the latest issue of House Beautiful last week (about a week after the second sighting) I flipped to this picture:
I quickly pulled out my phone, snapped a picture, noting the manufacturer and made a note to research it when I got home. Oddly enough, I spotted this right before Jackie Jordan, from Sherwin-Williams (see above), gave her annual presentation on color trends for next year. Wacky!
Looking at the website it all suddenly came together. It has a unique shape that doesn’t look like any retail products. It is comfortable, easy to clean (with the right material choice), and not a full upholstered back (another wish list item). The price is high, but it might just be worth it.
Unless this chair wins me over. It might be too classic Danish, and reupholstering is a must (the cushion is shot), but the curved back is so comfortable and allows you to crook your arm over the top in a delightful way (perfect for long intellectual or silly conversations after dinner). I found this when I went in to buy a different dining room chair set and it halted the decision process.
Now neither of these are cheap options, but for pieces like this I’d rather save up for investment pieces I love and will use for the rest of my life. These can be reupholstered in 20 years when there are no more kids to spill on them (but I’ll have to plan for grandchildren’s spills). Remember my mantra:
Buy the best and you’ll only cry once. - Miles Redd
So what will I choose? Goodness knows, but that’s the fun of it. I love the pursuit, the visualization exercise of figuring out what looks best together. I love doing it for clients and I love doing it for myself. Think of all the chairs I’ve looked at to narrow it down to those options. Now you can see why it’s faster for me to find great chair options for clients – I have so many already in my brain, on my computer and in my reference library. Let me spare you the same fate. Let me pick your dining room chairs and table for you and you can spend your time doing what YOU love.
1. Sideboard by Knoll, design by Christofi?
4. Chairs by IKEA, design by Pam Hill
5. Composition by Fox Interiors
6. Fox Interiors
7. Engler Studio Interior Design
8. Photo by Victoria Pearson, design by Parrish Chilcoat & Joe Lucas, House Beautiful, November 2011.
9. it’s a secret (I don’t want you stealing my chairs!)
Friday, September 23rd, 2011
So in the time I’ve been meaning to scan the best images from the latest issue of Elle Decor many things happened, pushing it onto tomorrow’s to do list. Over and over again. Guess what happened? Before I could get through the Septmeber issue, I got October’s issue in the mail. Oops! So I guess this isn’t quite “Hot Off the Press,” but I still wanted to share the great spaces and details I enjoyed from this issue. If the weekend isn’t too bad maybe I’ll actually get the October issues of Elle Decor and House Beautiful up for you too. Maybe.
Once I’d saved all my favorite images I realized what stood out to me in this issue was really the juxtaposition of very different approaches to similar spaces. For instance, here is a conservatory that is so bright and filled with light that I can’t imagine having a gloomy day in here. It’s an expansive space and fairly formal feeling.
Here is a porch that I’m sure is normally flooded with light thanks to those large windows and high ceilings. But the dark shades are a bit of a color surprise and allow the space to become a cozy den like space. The furniture is more casual and curl up ready. The dogs clearly have the run of the space, and the concrete floor is fuss-free.
Here is the dining room from the same house as the conservatory. I love the mix of furniture and those peacocks at the back are spectacular! It took me multiple looks at this photo before I saw the white peacock on the right. The color palette is crisp and vivid. The furniture is not overpowered by the homeowner’s impressive art collection.
In contrast, this dining room in an urban loft has a dark warmth thanks to the giant original beams, large wood table and vintage chairs, and the big bookcase. It has a library meets dining room casualness that feels inviting in a totally different way.
Now I have two offices that look nothing like typical offices to me, but perhaps that’s because they really work at the kitchen table with their laptop most of the time (no idea if that’s really true).
I love the vivid peacock blues of the wall, lamps and chairs that so brilliantly pull the colors from the painting by Kim Douglas Wiggins on the back wall. I love that painting! The crisp white trim, desk and rug help balance all that saturated blue.
Or you could chose to work in a “chamber of curiosities” filled with botanical drawings, 19th century taxidermy songbirds and Pedro Friedeberg’s Hand chair. It’s the complete commitment to a style that I love about each of these rooms. If something is your passion, then embrace it!
The twine faux taxidermy head reminds me of Ballard Designs’ recent collection of rattan bull heads to hang on the wall in a similar fashion.
Finally, I love the ironwork holding up the draped fabric over the bed and windows in this Master Bedroom. Adding the lantern hanging from one of the branches is a brilliant touch of whimsy that reminds me of dark stories set in times of old like the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, where walking through dark forests with only a lantern would be a common occurrence. The faux bois wall treatment subtly references back to the branches.
Or you could have a masculine bedroom filled with lots of rich woods and leather. It’s all about solid sturdy pieces in this room with enough visual weight to balance the visual weight of those beams and pillars. I love the arms on the Frits Henningsen armchairs.
Are you drawn to one room more than the other? I love how many options there are out there for decorating a home to truly reflect your personal style. That’s why I can’t ever design in just one style. I can select what would work in my house and my life, but every client has a different answer to the questions “what do you like?” and “how do you want your home to feel?” Translating that into a home they will love is an honor and privilege.
All photos via Elle Decor
Thursday, September 1st, 2011
I know you are supposed to live in your home for a while to get a sense of how you will actually live and move in it before you start making big changes. But how many of us can resist plotting changes to a new space the minute you find out it’s yours? I think I have it worst than most as an interior designer since I am constantly finding new fabulous products that I’d love to live with myself, not just put into clients’ homes. Of course with the wide diversity of styles I like, if I did some of everything my house would look like a hot mess (I love that expression!)
So I’m working hard at being patient, letting the house speak to me, and keeping my eyes open for products that fit THIS house and OUR life. (I have a hard time writing the word “lifestyle” in print thanks to a high school english teacher who hated that word and was adamant we never use it in front of him.)
Our kitchen was completely remodeled by the previous owners only a year ago, and while they made some real improvements, some of their finish selections drive me bonkers. The rough slate floor varies in height by up to a quarter of an inch tile by tile, creating the effect under your feet my husband equates to walking on rocks in the Boundary Waters. I’m just waiting for that first toddler still finding their balance to try and walk across it…I foresee lots of tears and bruising. Yikes.
Here is a picture of the kitchen the day we moved in.
IKEA cabinets, black granite countertops, stainless appliances – a good foundation. I was pleasantly surprised how much I can store in these cabinets (the 36″ wide drawer units are fabulous!)
Since the kitchen is the heart of the home (geographically and figuratively), I’ve been trying to select new floor and wall tiles since pretty much the day we first visited the house to make it ours.
Now here’s where the waiting pays off. I recently was flipping through a design magazine and spotted an ad for Ann Sacks tiles that caught my eye and totally changed my vision for the backsplash.
Now before this I was looking in a couple of different directions to pull together the colors in the adjacent rooms.
I still love this tile I had in mind for our previous house, and it could work here.
It has some beautiful blues in it as well as browns, grays, whites, etc. The shape is updated from the typical glass squares you see in every big box store.
Then I thought about going with a ceramic with texture like these examples from Pratt & Larson Ceramics.
The shimmer effect of these glazes really sets them apart.
But with the darker cabinets and black granite countertops, these options were feeling too dark. The Ann Sacks ad made me think what I need to embrace it a lighter color palette, maybe even a gold tone to get that sophisticated drama I like in the copper tiles on the left above. Totally not my usual direction, but that’s the fun of it afterall.
So I did a little research and discovered a gorgeous kitchen example on the Ann Sacks website using this tile.
Talk about a picture selling a product! I’m loving it even more now. The light fixtures are a brilliant pairing and the lines of those stools would totally work in my house too. I just wish my cabinets were white too. Oh well.
Another idea is this beautiful arabesque tile, but I don’t think you would get to really appreciate its form in a space only 18″ high. Maybe that’ll be in the master bathroom (later on).
So now I’ll marinate in the idea of that tile and see what I think in a month, two months from now. If I’m still in love I’ll have to start looking for the right floor tile to coordinate with it. Stay tuned.
What would you pick?