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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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!
Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
This weekend is the spring Home & Garden Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I’ll be hanging out at the Mercury Mosaics booth (Booth #2721 – about a third of the way in from the right end of the hall) this Thursday through Sunday talking about gorgeous locally made handmade tile and how I can help you incorporate it into your project.
I hope you’ll stop by and visit me, even if you aren’t planning on doing a project in your home anytime soon. The tile also can be used for mirrors, art panels, fireplaces and lots of other non-traditional applications. Plus after looking at countless window, roofing, siding, and appliance vendors, you’ll be grateful for the splash of color and pattern that Mercury Mosaics tiles provide your eyes.
I’ll be there:
Thursday March 3rd 4-9pm (that’s today!)
Friday March 4th 4-9pm (come meet Mercury Mosaics owner Mercedes in person!)
Saturday March 5th 11-5pm
Sunday March 6th 11-5pm
For more details and discounted tickets be sure to check out the Home & Garden website: http://homeandgardenshow.com/ME2/Sites/Default.asp?SiteID=540629B6F3C246A5A96B1550BC226A6A
See you at the Convention Center!
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
Earlier this year I helped Mercury Mosaics with a client who needed to rebuild their shower due to water damage in the wall behind their tile. Wanting to keep the style consistent with the rest of the bathroom in this old home, but looking to add personality and color at the same time, we came up with a gorgeous final solution. I’m so excited to finally be able to share photos of the final installed project!
If you haven’t discovered Mercury Mosaics yet, you are in for a treat! They are a local Minneapolis company, woman-owned and operated (well, there are a few guys on staff), and every project is custom made by hand to order.
This project is a great example of that custom work. The shower walls and the half wall/bench both have a beautiful band of bubble mosaics in the Klimt Blend and the floor features Honeycombs in several colors pulled from the outside section of the mosaic.
Attention to detail? Oh yeah, we had that covered. Notice that even the bubbles at the front edge of the mosaic of the short wall/bench were given a bullnose treatment so that the seams where the top and front met would be as clean as possible. They even custom made a cove molding piece for the outside base of the shower to tie into the existing baseboard in the bathroom.
There’s a lot of color in their pattern, but all that white subway tile gives the eye plenty of rest and allows them to focus in on the fabulous details throughout the mosaics.
Isn’t this beautiful? If you would like to know more about Mercury Mosaics or using handmade tile for your next project, please feel free to contact me or Mercury Mosaics directly. We can help give your space a stunning update of your own, whether you prefer an expanse of white or the riot of bubbles.
Photo source: Mercury Mosaics, photography by Melissa Mobley Copon.
Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Rather than move to a new home, more and more people are investing in their current homes. The classic conundrum is whether to design with a neutral palette to make sure that when the client is ready to sell it won’t scare off potential buyers, or to design without thought to a future owner and just do what makes you happy.
I’ve always subscribed to the philosophy that it’s YOUR home NOW, so enjoy it while you live in it!
If a future homeowner doesn’t like your style, they can change it. Frankly, often the potential buyers don’t like the overly neutral spaces that are devoid of personality, and they’ll want to change it up when they move in anyway. Certainly it’s possible to go overboard and make a home so custom that it will be a challenge to find a buyer that fits it as well. But there is a lot of ground in between these extremes.
Products that are installed in a home tend to make people especially cautious. But injecting personality doesn’t have to overwhelm a space if there is a good balance established between pattern and solids.
For example, this is a bathroom shower that I worked on with Mercury Mosaics recently that achieves that balance well.
Here is the Before condition. They have since ripped out all the tile and tub (the previous tile installation was bad and the walls are falling apart behind it) and built a new shower in the same location.
We started with elevations in AutoCAD for each wall and surface in the shower to show the client how the tile would work around the existing glass block window.
But let’s be honest. With a shower as complex as this, it’s hard for most people to visualize how all these pieces would look put together.
So we created a special perspective rendering of the shower in SketchUp so we could show the client what the shower would look like from several angles.
Now isn’t that easier to understand?!
We even did a version with the glass walls and shower door so that they could see where the glass would be placed in relation to the tile design on the top of the knee wall.
Now comes the fun part where you see how pattern vs. solids, colors vs. neutrals plays out.
Here are some shots of the tiles laid out and ready for the tile installer to pick up. All the mosaics are mesh mounted for easy installation.
Here is the tile which will run over the top and down the front of the knee wall. The gap in the middle is where the two planes of the wall will meet, so they were about to add edge glazed tiles to the end of the top surface where they would be exposed.
Here are the three sections of Bubbles that will wrap around the main walls of the shower. Don’t you love that bold mix of colors that wind like a river through the riverbed of darker tiles?!
And a detail of the bullnose half Bubbles created for the ends of the walls to correspond to the bullnose edged field tiles that will surround the band.
Here is a shot of two pieces of cove base molding with edge glazing for the bottom front corner of the knee wall. This is the color of the main field tile in the shower. This is the level of detail required on a project like this to make it really work smoothly for everyone involved (especially the installer).
Excited to see the final installation shots? So are we! Once we get photos I’ll be sure to share with you.
Now the final question to mull over is: is this design bold enough in personality to make the homeowner thrilled without being so overdone that it would scare away potential buyers if they ever decide to sell? (But why would they want to sell with a bathroom like this?!)