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, 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?
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
The long Minnesota winter has hidden the grass, trees and flowers for too long. I’m itching for bright green as far as the eye can see. But since Mother Nature isn’t ready to start spring, I guess these rooms filled with bold greens will have to inspire me for now.
It’s easy to see the power of tile in these kitchens – talk about a wow factor! But are you bold enough to not only tile the walls to the ceiling in shades of green and blue but also paint your cabinets a bold green? It may be too much for some, but that kitchen certainly packs a lot of personality.
These living rooms have just the right balance of green and neutrals. The armoire and coffee table add punch to this casual living room on the left. The pillows on the couch serve to pull the palette together.
The living room in the middle might be one of my favorites, if only for that kelly green armchair. I would consider breaking and entering to make that mine (if I knew where the house was in the first place). But I guess the look could be achieved with no criminal activity by finding the right vintage chair and reupholstering it in the perfect shade of silk velvet. Notice how the large plant adds height, drawing your eyes up to the high ceilings, accentuated by those silky spring green curtains. Wonderful!
Finally, why not treat green as the focal point – upholster a sofa and ottoman in rich shades of green, add coordinating pillows and window treatments, and then top it all off with plants that provide the variations of green that nature does best.
Now these bedrooms clearly demonstrate the power of paint. Without that vivid saturated green on the left, the bedroom would be nice, but not eye catching. By using two shades of green paint, a “headboard” was created on the right to give height and interest to an otherwise simple bed (though the bold pink bedding is hardly tame). But it is the kelly green bed in the middle that I can most see recreating in my own home. The bold color is perfect for a guest room, where it won’t overwhelm, especially when tempered with lots of white. I appreciate how the woven shades on the windows and the cowhide pillows add texture and whimsy, respectively.
Green can add a punch to other rooms as well. A bright cushion, throw and accessories liven up this corner of a home office. Kids tend to be more comfortable with bold colors, so their rooms are a perfect place to experiment with mixing together bright shades. But since they tend to tire of a look quickly, be sure to implement this palette in easy to update accessories, like the bedding and stool, as seen above.
Finally, green can be incorporated into a home in truly breathtakingly surprising ways. For pure wow factor, the winner would have to be this ivy wall in a Manhattan apartment! The (all-white) kitchen is just up the stairs, where the homeowner can look down on their reflecting pond and enjoy their own private calm oasis in the city.
So how can you going to bring green into your home? Or how have you already incorporated green in your home? For example, I’m sitting in my office with walls in two shades of bright green with accents in white, brown, pink and orange. It’s bold, cheerful, and stimulating (just what an office should be, especially in a dreary Minnesota winter).