Thursday, August 25th, 2011
A common challenge for me is dreaming up the perfect piece (for an interior or my wardrobe), sometimes based on a sketchy memory of having seen something like it somewhere once upon a time, sometimes just completely invented. Then I have to try to find it out in the real world. I can drive myself bonkers with this search because of course now I know EXACTLY what I want and I don’t want to settle for less.
Recent case in point: I want an etagere (basically this is a bookcase with no side or back panels, often they taper towards the top) for an otherwise wasted odd corner of a room. I see the ideal version with sides that curve on each tier, and I want it brightly colored. I can draw a quick sketch to show someone, but finding an example image is much more effective. The open shelves on an etagere are great for decorative displays of stacks of books, small boxes and little decorative items.
So I scrolled through my digital image library (I don’t have time to go through my stacks and stacks of magazines and piles of hard copies of design images) and managed to find one example! Yeah!
See it in the back left corner? The open shelf on the right side is an etagere too, but I don’t want that gold leaf finish and rectangular shape.
I was soo excited to find it along with sources for the items… but wait, it’s for SIMILAR items.
Here is the Tall Curvee Shelf from House Eclectic that they recommend as a similar item. It is only available in black or white, but even more of an issue is the fact that it’s only 38″ high. Grrr.
Another option would be this Lia shelf by Oly Studio . It’s close, but doesn’t come in any bright colors. But I could make the white version work.
Here’s an example in a good height (67.75″) with a tapered shape, but no curves. I could live with this, and the antique red or black options are nice. But I want deep orange or kelly green. I want to be playful. This is a little too traditional in this shade of red for the room I have in mind. It could skew Asian influence or cottage in other settings, which is great.
Available in only black iron, this has a bit more whimsy with the top detail, but the black iron doesn’t feel right for my space.
This limited edition piece by Jonathan Adler has the fun punch of color and the mod styling is great. But the price is high for a piece that’s not supposed to be the star of the room, but the funny supporting character.
So, I’m still on the hunt. I’m sure I’ll find something that will work, but will it be the piece in my vision? Maybe not. But will anyone else really know how it differs from that vision? No. Will it still be fabulous? Absolutely.
Of course, if it was an important piece in the room that I didn’t feel like compromising on, I can simply design the piece in my head and have one of my custom furniture guys make the perfect piece for me with the curves, dimensions and color just right for my project. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get the right piece that makes the whole room come to life.
And that’s the reality of what I do. It’s the vision I have for that great piece that’s going to take the room to the next level that the client would never have come up with on their own, and the ability to track down items that will bring that vision to life.
But I’m still searching for that short sleeve wrap dress I saw in a dream the other night…. =)
Photo source: Inspiration room by Catherine Brophy for Real Simple, October 2010.
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
Posted in Color Pulse, Inspiration Boards | No Comments »
Friday, August 20th, 2010
Time for a new issue of Elle Decor to drool over. Here’s my favorite pictures from the current issue.
This is a cool column that Elle Decor does every issue: it focuses on one area of the house and pulls together examples of these spaces from previous issues.
I love books. I love shelving. I love the different ways you can mix books and decorative objects together on shelves. My parents are both librarians by training, so it’s no surprise that when I was a kid I turned my own book collection into a library (complete with checkout cards in inside pockets – remember those? – and library cards which I passed out to all my family members.) I don’t follow the Dewey Decimal system in my own library, but I definitely group by subject matter. How would you find anything otherwise? Color coding your books is a recent trend, and it can look great, but I like to find my books with minimal effort.
I think this feature shows a nice mix of traditional to contemporary libraries. Notice how artwork is hung directly on the shelves in the bottom two photos.
What a peaceful bedroom. I’m not always interested in leaving a room white, but this is a great example of how to do it well. Love the texture and color of those bedside lamps. Simple clean linens are unfussy. But it’s the photos over the bed that pull me in every time. I like that it’s a collection of images, and they are a nice size for that wall.
What a great kid’s room! The colors are bold but yet they don’t overwhelm since pattern is used to tie the colors together. The big basket with lacrosse sticks, golf clubs and hockey sticks is a great example of how to corral their gear. This basket was probably used for toys when they were younger and easily transitioned to gear as they picked up new hobbies. Plus I love the transportation map on the wall! (I’ll never forget my background in transit planning.)
What a gorgeous kitchen. The palette is restrained and it floats like an island inside this massive Miami house. The textured tile on the outside of the walls adds some interest and frames the kitchen. I really like the use of wood paneling on the back wall to break up the white cabinetry without using two finishes on the cabinets. And the toekick on the island is extra high and looks like it’s stainless steel, which is a neat touch you don’t notice at first.
Finally, I like the arrangement of artwork in this living room, which ties the color palette together (with that purple-pink-black painting). I like the finish on the cabinets in the kitchen and the fun colorful rug they added which really adds fun personality to the space (in a non-permanent way). And how adorable is that dog bed?!
What shelter magazines do you read? Are their ones you’d like me to feature? Just wondering. Have a great weekend.
Monday, August 16th, 2010
My passion for all things domestic was fueled in my teen and college years by the infamous Martha Stewart. Back then no other magazines had multi-page spreads on the amazing creations possible with a variety of cake pipping tips or gorgeous photograph composites of bowls of spices. I even started a Martha Stewart fan club in college (really an activity group to do crafts together) to get my fix of craftiness. I’m pretty sure I had the only dorm room with cafe curtains made from vintage napkins picked up at an estate sale and trimmed with ribbons.
So even though I don’t read every issue of MSL anymore, her annual Home Issue is a favorite of mine. And when I saw it mentioned on one of my favorite blogger’s blog (she was featured in ”100 Great Finds for Every Room of the House”) I popped out to Barnes & Noble to pick it up. It’s not my favorite home issue to date, but it still has plenty of useful tips and good photography.
While I enjoy beautiful gardens, I leave the gardening work to my husband and mother. However, I do have favorites in the garden, and sedum is a key one. I love the diversity of colors, textures and shapes sedum is available in. They are often a key component in the mix of plants used on green roofs (roofs covered in plantings to absorb rainwater and minimize runoff).
I liked this layout with its mix of natural materials and clean lines. The brackets for the shelf would look too fussy if they weren’t paired with that rustic wood shelf.
Now this article filled with Martha’s advice on kitchen design and organization takes me to my happy place. Drawers neatly organized by function. Cute containers to achieve proper containment and separation. AND kitchen tools?! (My love of kitchen tools and gadgets comes from my mother. Do YOU have an angel food cake cutter? I do.) It’s too much goodness in one place. I just wish I had that many drawers to begin with!
This party layout is at the end of an article about the condo of Kevin Sharkey, the executive editorial director of decorating. The decorating of his condo has been chronicled in previous issues, and this is the grand culmination showcasing how it all came together. It looks nice, but I actually loved the party photos best. They have a great energy and lightheartedness that’s not often found in MSL party articles. An oreo cookie “cake”? Ping pong is a condo filled with expensive furniture and large mirrors? A faux frame drawn on a mirror? Love it. The balloons photo reminds me of the end of the movie 13 Going on 30. (There’s a large scale photo shoot for a magazine with balloons and good looking people smiling and having a good time.)
Besides these articles there are also a number of helpful articles that you should be sure to check out. There’s a great feature on how to layout a large wall installation of personal photographs, with step by step instructions, “Walls That Talk.” If finding the right product to clean and repair all the different surfaces in your home is a struggle, be sure to read “Furniture First Aid.”
Thursday, August 12th, 2010
It’s always the foreign Elle Decoration & Vogue Living magazines that get me to cave in (see my previous post if this comment makes no sense).
So here’s the Australia Vogue Living Before + After Special Issue I couldn’t resist. These images literally grabbed my attention at the newsstand, and after reading the magazine they still stand out as my favorites, though I’ve certainly tabbed plenty of other great photos and ideas. Even the cover is a stand out. Love that plank style table with metal base and the orange painting.
I think trend inspiration boards are a great way to show how different pieces can be combined. I would love to have the wood shelving unit in the lower left corner (so classic and clean!) but what actually got my brain spinning was the rug. Now I love a well-done global aesthetic mixed in with clean classic timeless pieces. But that rug is something I would normally not be drawn to for my own home.
But sitting at my bar counter reading the magazine it struck me how powerful that one piece could be in changing the style and vibe of a room. I have a grey couch and pair of chairs in my living room similar to the color of the couch in the layout. Switching out the white shag rug we have for this rug would give the room a whole new personality and really brighten up the space. These are the thoughts that keep me up at night dreaming of all the ways to tweak my home.
This hallway was transformed with these bookshelves lining one wall and a creative solution for hiding ventilation in the ceiling while providing lighting.
I love the detail shot that shows that the shelves are actually made of thick plexiglass. Even the back of the unit is lined in frosted plexiglass, allowing light to flow from the kitchen into an otherwise dark hallway. Plus you wouldn’t have to worry about little hands accidentially breaking all those shelves (since they aren’t glass).
This is about a less obvious part of design and architecture: the experience of moving through a space. Just like in public spaces, as one looks through a space one needs something to focus on in the distance. The visual balance of the sculpture, sofa, artwork and open space is wonderful in this photo. And the shadows from those amazing windows makes me want to lay on the floor in the warmth of the sun and breathe in and out in peace (I may be spending too much time with my cats).
The homeowners and architect were inspired by a book on Japanese gardens. This influence is clearly visible in the window shutters filtering light and creating framed views. Wood is treated with both simplicity and reverence in this room. Notice there is no art on the walls because the details of the architecture and furniture are art and anything more would be a distraction and clutter the view.
Finally, what struck me about this kitchen is the use of a large format rectangular marble tile for the backsplash. They consistently used the same marble on the countertops (in a nice chunky profile), on the table serving as an island (a thin profile), and then on the backsplash. Using a slab for the backsplash works well and looks beautiful. Using a marble subway tile is more affordable and still gets the look. But this large tile is something I haven’t seen before and I really like the modern feel it creates.
Alright, those are my favorites from this special issue. These foreign magazines tend to cost more than the domestic magazines, but like a fine cheese, it’s a different experience that’s worth the $$ to me as a special treat. Which makes me wonder: what is the special treat you’re willing to spend more for? Let me know in the comments section. Upgrading your cable package just for a few weeks or months for “Mad Men” or the Tour de France? Great olives? The $70 make up brush that performs in a way no Target brush ever could?
I’m really curious now!