Friday, June 8th, 2012
Happy Friday! I’m headed over to the ASID Showcase Home for the last weekend of tours. I can’t believe how the past month has flown by! I really appreciate everyone who has taken the time to tour the house and support our organization as well as the charities that benefit from this event.
I wanted to start your Friday off right with some beautiful things that have caught my eye recently.
First, I watched a marathon of Kitchen Cousins on HGTV recently(one of the few shows on that network I can stand because they do real construction with real budgets and show their problem solving in action. Though I don’t understand clients letting them pick the backsplash with no input.) I’m impressed with their building knowledge, creative reuse of historic building materials, and well designed kitchens.
I like this kitchen they did for one of the designer’s parents. They completely flipped the layout of the kitchen, opened up the traffic flow, and utilized a lovely mix of materials. The tobacco stained upper cabinets are lovely. Mixed with the white lacquer lower cabinets and a handmade Moroccan backsplash, it’s a modern yet eclectic mix. My husband dug the wall graphic on the far wall.
The fact that they do the majority of their work in Hoboken, NJ (just across the river from Manhattan) makes the show extra special to me since my aunt lived there for decades and I’d spend my breaks during college hanging out with her there. (I went to Vassar College, which is 1.5 hrs north of the city, up the Hudson River.)
These orange accessories would fit in lovely with the concept I developed for my deck (see the post here). And the nautical hook, blanket and basket seem so perfect for a Cape Cod retreat I can dream of having (though the commute there is rough on summer weekends – round-about anyone?)
This kitchen has a lovely mix of classic white cabinetry and well worn vintage details and an abundance of natural light. The designer really played with scale (the etageres on the back counter, the chandelier) in a unique way that really takes this room beyond the typical.
The color palette, fabric selections, paneling, wall color and high ceilings in this room are so different than anything I’ve seen in a while, and that’s so refreshing! Look how the designers mixed mid-century armchairs with a Jansen style daybed, French iron side tables and Murano glass lamps with a bone inlay table. What an inviting solarium (though I think any solarium would be lovely with all that light spilling in)! The rest of this D.C. town house is equally well designed, so check it out if you have access to a copy of the May issue of House Beautiful. Or just click through to the article on HB’s website. The kitchen backsplash is amazingly transformative.
That’s all for this week, or this post would be a mile long. Next week I’ll share a soon-to-be completed bathroom project that’s ALMOST done and looking fabulous.
1. Bruncon.com – Brunelleschi Construction
2, 3, 4. House Beautiful May 2012
5. Mercury Mosaics 2012 catalog
Tags: Brunelleschi Construction, Cape Cod, House Beautiful, interior design, Kitchen, Kitchen Cousins, living room, Mercury Mosaics, nautical, orange, solarium, vintage, white
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Thursday, January 12th, 2012
I find that once I start noticing a new finish or color around me, it suddenly starts appearing everywhere I look. The latest instance of this? Gold. Not 1980s brass gold that feels cheesy. No, now it has a shimmery sophistication that I’m open to for projects. To show you what I mean I’ve gathered a few pieces to highlight how this trend is popping up throughout the interior design world.
First up: Lighting
Here are three examples of chandeliers that embrace the gold trend in a modern interpretation. The one on the left would fit in well in a mid-century modern home or a transitional home with a youthful attitude. The middle one could be a nice addition of texture and playful shapes to an entry way. The pendant on the right references the traditional shades of Morocco but would be totally appropriate in a sophisticated downtown condo.
Here are a few tile samples and accessories I pulled together that highlight how metallics are popping up across multiple categories in fresh new ways.
I’m loving the large format tiles with raised honeycomb and ovals patterns on top of solids with a bit of color variation to them (hard to see in these photos). Imagine a whole bathroom wall in the honeycomb pattern with a floating white rectangular sink in front of it, stunning! The long narrow tile would be a great accent between solid large format tiles to add punch and glamour to a minimal modern space.
The small square dish is from West Elm and is currently being used as a key tray on my sideboard. I love the abstract pattern and how the gold lines aren’t solid everywhere.
The stag ring is in a bronze finish, but I still consider that part of the new metallic trend. A fun find from Target, I love the surprise looks I get whenever I wear it.
The cream crackle finish tile and small crushed glass accent tile could be combined to create a sophisticated transitional back splash without reading as gold, but coordinating well with gold accessories nearby. In fact, here is an example of the tile used in just that way on a recent project to update a standard builder kitchen in a condo and inject the home owner’s personal taste without going too flashy to turn away future buyers.
While gathering fabrics for that same project I found all of these great examples of modern textures and patterns in metallic tones that would fit right into this sophisticated urban condo. Against the deep espresso stained bamboo floors we installed, these gold accents are really going to pop. The bronze fabric on the lower left has a great tone on tone pattern that doesn’t really show up in this photo unless you study the lower left corner of the sample. Another example of a traditional pattern made modern by stripping it down to it’s basic form and doing it in one color instead of lots of colors.
Now I started gathering images for this post back in October, and in the months since others have noticed the trend too.
I spotted this gold wallcovering in the December/January issue of House Beautiful.
And in December, Elle Decor featured Gold in the Trend Alert column.
Gold’s resurgence is going to continue in upcoming seasons according to the trends spotted at High Point Furniture Market this fall and the forecasts I’ve received from trend spotting experts. So keep your eyes open and watch it start popping up more and more.
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!)
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Back in September last year I shared my favorite images from the September 2010 issue of House Beautiful. http://www.colleenfoxinteriors.com/2010/08/hot-off-the-press-house-beautiful-september-2010/
Kathy, one of my readers, fell for the marbleized wallpaper in the powder room in that post and contacted me to find out what I knew about it.
I happily grabbed my copy off the shelf and flipped to the handy-dandy resource section at the back (which unfortunately some magazines are moving away from and shifting all that information to their websites.) The resource listed was a dealer that no longer listed the product in their line when I checked online, but I was able to use the manufacturer’s name to find a basic home page for them with only a phone number listed. Very surprising in this digital day and age! So I passed all those details on to Kathy hoping it would have a happy ending.
I never heard how it worked out for Kathy, but 10 months later I received an email from Cheryl, another reader who saw the exchange in my comments section on the wallcovering and she was interesting in tracking down the product too. She used the contact information I had provided to reach the manufacturer and she placed an order without any problems.
Twigs @ the 800 number below are the real thing – the Pheasant in Maine wallpaper arrived quickly, in less than a week, and the clerk was most helpful on the phone. LOVE this wallpaper; I lined the back of my kitchen cabs which have glass fronts. Used a staple gun, easy peasy. And I have some leftover for lining a tray and/or kitchen drawers. Wanted you to know what my experience turned out to be. Best, Cheryl
I love when a little detail in a magazine like that sparks excitement and leads to a project for a homeowner. I’m so glad I was able to help out and make that project a reality. Cheryl has been very kind to share her finished project photos as I’m sure I’m not the only one who will enjoy seeing them.
Here you can see the Pheasant wallcovering by Twigs lining the back of her cabinet.
And the cabinets with the glass doors closed, the beautiful wallpaper adding drama and such a great punch of color to that corner of her kitchen.
Thanks Cheryl, great job!
Do you have a similar story?
Friday, April 22nd, 2011
Picking paint colors has got to be one of the most challenging design decisions most people face. Even though a gallon of paint ranges from $20 to $75 for the premium collections, it seems harder for people to take a chance with paint than with a piece of furniture that costs many times more.
So how can you get more confident in your paint selections? Listening to advice from professionals who deal with this on a daily basis is always a great place to start. So how do you access advice from these professionals? Start with a great resource like “House Beautiful 500+ Favorite Paint Colors” or “House Beautiful Colors for Your Home: 300 Designer Favorites.”
Culled from the pages of House Beautiful magazine, these reference books complie the best paint color recommendations from interior designers. Rather than just show you the best browns or blues, each designer explains the color and what undertones there are in it or how it makes a room feel. There are also selections based on type of room (bedroom vs. entrance) and sun exposure (north facing vs. south facing). These are the kinds of details that help you understand how color influences the feeling of a space and therefore why certain colors work best.
As you can see from the table of contents above, they have pulled together a lot of color information to get the wheels turning in your head. Not sure what your color personality is? Then take the quiz! Prefer neutrals? They have it covered.
I love how they even feature an example of one of the colors as used in a real space by a designer. Since the color chips they show are not always true to the paint chips you will find on the paint deck when you look at them in person, it is helpful to see the colors in use.
I think of these colors as a great starting place and then I work with the paint decks from the different manufacturers to find similar colors (if the color rendering in the magazine is too different from the paint chip). I believe in ordering larger sheets of paint chips (Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore provide samples to designers of all their colors, up to 8″x10″ in size) and taping them up on the wall for days at a time so I can see how the colors I’m debating between will look at different times of day in different lighting conditions. Trust me, this makes a big difference! That hint of pink undertone in that creamy ivory at night might turn ballerina pink in the daylight.
Small sample pots of paint are a wonderful evolution in the paint industry that I believe help take some of the panic out of paint color selections. Paint swatches (2′ by 3′ is a good size) of each color on the wall and see what they look like throughout the day and night.
And when you finally commit to a paint color, don’t skimp out on the painters tape, roller, or paint base. Use quality materials and it will result in a quality finished product. After you’ve invested all this time and energy in picking a paint color and then painting (or hiring someone else to paint) it would be a shame to have a less than fabulous finished product!
I just bought a new house so you know I’m going crazy picking paint colors and plotting new color schemes and floor plans. Embrace the fun of it, the ability to transform the feeling of a room in a weekend, and to have a fresh new space for very little cash. I hope this has taken some of the fear out of painting for you. Need additional tips? Just ask!
Tags: 500 Favorite Paint Colors, Benjamin Moore, House Beautiful, interior design, painting, Sherwin Williams, tips, twin cities
Posted in Color Pulse, Design & Home Living Tips, Reading List | No Comments »
Thursday, February 10th, 2011
It’s time for another edition of my favorite photos from House Beautiful. You can tell we’re deep in the depths of dreary winter when magazine covers look like this. A light-filled room in bright cheerful colors helps remind us sunny days will return, even if Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and we’re stuck with plenty more winter ahead of us.
I really like these rooms by Alexandra Angle because they all have intesting but subtle details that add to the rooms rather than detracting. The top left image is a reading nook. It’s difficult to tell with the cropped photo, but it seems like the cushion is much larger than a typical window seat cushion, so you could really relax and spread out like on a full size mattress. I could see a pile of kids on here reading books when they are little, and a group of teen girls gathered here gabbing, reading magazines, and talking about boys. Or maybe it’s where mom escapes to read a little Jane Austen (or Jonathan Franzen) in peace and quiet.
The double office would be a great little space to take care of personal documents, and with a desk for each person you don’t have to worry about someone moving that bill on you. Clearly these aren’t home offices, but most people don’t need that much space and storage for managing their home life. A low bookshelf or cabinet fitted with file storage and boxes for basic supplies would be sufficient to provide a functional work space with these desks. I really like the legs on those desks, the small lamp and the artwork leaning on the desks.
There is a nice symmetry to the bedroom with the matching dressers and rugs, but the different lamps and artwork mix it up. I’m loving the green lamp on the left by John Derian. Where can I fit that in my house? (That’s one of the biggest dangers in being an interior designer – we see soo many beautiful objects, fabrics, etc and it’s difficult to not want to enjoy it all in our own homes.)
The detail on these kitchen cabinets by Garrow Kedigian were inspired by the details on the windows in this NYC pre-war apartment. Paired with slab Calcacatta Gold marble countertops and backsplash the look is fresh but timeless. Pairing this look with an Artemide glass fixture (top left corner of the photo), 18th century bamboo chairs and a modern wood and steel table is truly a contemporary spin.
This is a fun feature they have added to the magazine that really shows how a room can be transformed by design professionals in one (long) day into a more functional and beautiful space, even utilizing mostly off the shelf items. What’s really nice is they break the process down into all the steps that took place over the course of that one day, from analyzing the space, to shopping, to setting up the space and trying out different pieces in different locations, to final staging details. These are the steps we take with our clients but the process is not as condensed, which allows us the time to develop custom solutions and evolve the design over a series of meetings with our clients in which we get to know their lifestyle and personal style in more detail.
Would you allow a designer to make over a room in your home (other than a kitchen) in one day? Would you feel it was a benefit utilizing retail products or would you prefer to mix them with custom or to-the-trade pieces?