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?
Thursday, June 17th, 2010
For the past year or so I’ve been loving all the new wood finishes that have a more matte, greyed tone. It’s the rustic, well-worn Belgian farmhouse floor in a waxed finish. Let’s call it: rustic sophistication.
It’s the classic Alex Vervoordt room that features his perfect blend of Belgium antiques and soft wall finishes that makes you want to exhale slowly and luxuriate in the calmness.
Or a classic white kitchen with mile long wide floor boards in a bleached finish. Even though it gives it a well-worn, lived in look, it still feels fresh and modern.
But why limit your use of this beautiful material to the floor?! This living room definitely isn’t your typical ’70s panelled rec room! What a great way to add interest and bring in strong horizontal lines in a room that looks like it has higher than average ceilings. The large scale color block art on the wall would be easy to recreate as a quick DIY project in your favorite color palette.
This grey barn board style wall treatment, which also works as a really high headboard in this narrow room, makes my heart skip a beat. The brown, white and grey of the bedding is a warm but low key balance to all that color and texture variation on that wall. It may be a bit much for the typical bedroom, but why not go bold in a guest bedroom where no one will be living with it for long periods of time? It’s like the powder room principal – go bold because this small and infrequently used space can handle the excitement.
Or if the light wood beams is a bit too rustic for you, what about this amazing wood wall that functions as a banquette on the dining room side….
And as the wall and headboard on the bedroom side of the wall. The area under the bench in the dining room was even utilized as storage for the bedroom! Brilliant! Impressive that this was all done by the homeowner (though it did take a long time to complete the whole project… definitely not a quick weekend DIY!) And don’t forget the great end cut wood dining room table he made (in the first photo).
And now that I have a client who is interested in using reclaimed wood for their kitchen, I have an excuse to delve even deeper into the range of gorgeous wood finishes available. Take wood beyond the floor and typical applications.
See this stunning example from Dwell magazine that inspired us:
These were made from a single tree. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! You wouldn’t believe my excitement when they showed me this photo as their dream, since I’d been drooling over it ever since my husband brought home the magazine for me. (It’s a kitchen special issue so he knew I’d love it.)
Now the question is: how do we want to recreate this feel without copying it directly? The ideas are swimming around and around.
Can you see this new (resurrected) style of wood in your home? Maybe as a table top? That’s another obsession of mine that we’ll have to save for another post.
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
We are now only four days away from the opening of the 2010 ASID Showcase Home Tour opening to the public! This has been such a fun, challenging, rewarding process and I’ve really enjoyed working with all the team members. The staff at Vujovich Builders was a pleasure to work with, as were the staff at Mpls.St.Paul magazine. It’s amazing to see how much work everyone has put into making this house and the condo amazing over the course of five months (plus months of additinal preplanning).
This is what the bedroom looked like before I got my hands on it.
It was the older sister’s room, and she has very different interests than her younger brother.
He likes sports, sports, sports.
So the challenge was how to create a space for a 12 year old boy that likes all different types of sports, that can evolve with him as he gets older, and doesn’t become dated or too young looking.
Solution #1: A sophisticated masculine color palette of grays, deep indigo blue, crisp white, and accents of orange to keep it light and playful.
Solution #2: Incorporate art that references all his favorite sports, without utilizing posters of specific athletes. Large wall stickers, custom framed vintage baseball card art, and a spot for a rotating display of his current favorite athletes achieve this goal.
Aren’t you excited to see it?! I know I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of the finished product.
Be sure to get your tickets soon so you can be one of the first to see all this great design 26 interiors designers created in two different homes (available at lots of area retailers as well as on the Mpls.St.Paul magazine’s website).
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Well folks, I’m getting awfully excited as the start of this year’s ASID Showcase Home Tour kicks off in just over two weeks from now. What makes this year’s tour even better than usual?
Two key reasons:
1. This year the tour includes two separate homes that you get to visit with one ticket!
2. I designed a room in one of the homes!
Remember that post about the Blue Zones? Well, the owner of the home I worked on is Dan Buettner, adventurer-explorer and author of “The Blue Zones.” It has been a priviledge to be part of the team working on transforming this home on the Lake of the Isles Parkway in Minneapolis into a masterpiece.
The tour begins May 15th and runs through June 13th, with both homes open Wednesdays through Sundays 10am to 4pm. There are also several special events throughout the month, so be sure to check out the calendar on the Mpls StPaul magazine’s website.
Be sure to pick up the latest copy of Mpls StPaul Home magazine for lots more information on both homes, tickets, sponsors, etc. Be sure to flip to page 66 for a sneak peak at Son’s Bedroom, designed by yours truly! (Ok, I can’t resist sharing this with you now.)
There have been some changes to the design since the magazine went to print, so you’ll have to come and see it in person to see how it all came together in the end.
I’ll be at the house as much as I can fit in during the month, but if you would like to meet me at the house and get a personal tour, just let me know! I would be happy to show you through the house and describe all the details that went into transforming this home.
I’d love to know what other rooms catch your eye as you flip through the magazine. Are you more of a “Calhoun Chic” or an “Isles Eclectic”…. or something all together different?
Hope to see you at there!
Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
So last week I showed you how chocolate brown and white can ground a palette with accents in sunny yellow. This week is about taking that sunny yellow and balancing it with saturated blues, all layered over a backdrop of muted greys and whites. It’s amazing how different it looks in these rooms with the added drama of those bold blues. As you can see, you can go more towards the turquoise end of the spectrum, or stay with a true blue, just don’t pick a washed out shade…. it needs to stand up to the saturation of the yellow as an equal.
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
I was attracted to the shades of grey and warm textures and natural elements accented by the pop of the brightly colored bowl in the photo in the middle, and the grey tones in the photograph of a fern. Inspired by these, I pulled together examples of rooms that have a warm grey palette with accents of antique red in them. Notice that some have dark walls and light floors, while others have the reverse. Either way, these are warm, sophisticated and cozy rooms I would enjoy living in. What do you think of them? Too dark? Not enough color for you?
For similar colors try:
Benjamin Moore AF-560 Flint, Sherwin Williams SW 7065 Argos, Sherwin Williams SW 7072 Online, Sherwin Williams SW 7587 Antique Red
* Photo Sources: Center image: Little Birds, Lower Left: Elle Décor, Upper Left: Metropolitan Home, others: source unknown.