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!
Friday, February 24th, 2012
This bright bedroom caught my eye when I was flipping through my files, and it made me wonder what other bold, colorful bedrooms I had to inspire this winter afternoon with the snow swirling outside my window.
I love the crisp, classic color palette in this room with plenty of white to break up the large expanses of color, such as the bench at the foot of the bed. The inlay design on the nightstands works well with the pattern on the bedskirt. The red detail on the roman shades echos the red border on the sheets. And did you notice they framed the red bench with blue twill tape under the nailheads? Nice detail.
This is an old example from Domino magazine, but I love that they embraced the raspberry and lime palette in a way that could easily be updated down the line. The headboard is faux – a nice detailing using a lighter shade of the wall color. And the bed linens could easily be swapped out for a neutral linen duvet (like this one by Room and Board) to allow the walls to shine. Or a bold green and blue pattern like this duvet from Serena & Lily would emphasize the wall color while introducing a new accent color.
This purple and pale pink room is an odd mix with the bold large scale pattern on the rug and a medium scale more traditional floral print on the upholstered screen acting as a headboard. The pink trim is unexpected, but help to tie in the lighter tones in the floral print. I couldn’t rest in this room, but to each their own.
I love the mood of this bedroom. The Chaing Mai dragon wallpaper from Schumacher is one of my favorite crazy prints, and the almost chartreuse headboard is bold on it’s own, but also serves to break up this bold print. The vintage looking bedside lamp has great personality, and really adds to the room’s style. I wish the nightstand was a bit larger so the lamp didn’t take up the majority of the surface so there was room for a glass of water, a clock and book.
Finally, we have this palm beach vibe bedroom by Celerie Kemble. To me it looks crisp and fresh, just like the first bedroom above. You can see there is pattern introduced both in the headboard (what a task to get those leaves to line up across the creases!) and the wallpaper by the vanity (upper left). Again, simple bed linens with an accent border color were utilized to balance all the green on the window treatments and side chair. I’m guessing this room is typically flooded with light and can handle all this brightness.
So the question is: do you prefer a bright, bold bedroom or a calm softer color palette to ease you into sleep? Or does a balance of the two suit you best?
1. House Beautiful 2-12 by Lindsey Coral Harper.
3. Living Etc. 3-09
4. Schumacher, Design by Christopher Kennedy.
5. Celerie Kemble, “To Your Taste”
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.
Thursday, May 26th, 2011
I stumbled across a link to this new wallcovering from Maharam the other day and just had to share it with you.
Titled “Inthebeginningtimeliesasapresentinfrontofourfeet” by the artist Markus Linnenbrink, it is part of a collection of unique wallcoverings designed by artists for Maharam.
I recognized this artist’s work when I saw the detail shot (the first image is an installation shot).
When I had the pleasure of visiting the Sub-Zero/Wolf training program in Madison, Wisconsin (my childhood home town) a few years ago I was most struck by their use of large scale canvases by this artist throughout the facility. The texture and colors of these pieces are amazing in person.
So I’m loving the idea that I could have a piece of that in my own home! I think this would be a brilliant accent wall treatment in a kid’s room that could easily transition through every favorite color phase and still work. I would hope it would inspire creativity and experimenting with different artistic techniques. It would be just as cool in a toddler’s room as in a teenager’s.
What do you think? Could you live with a print like this? Where would you put it?
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 »
Tuesday, April 5th, 2011
Flipping through the latest Pottery Barn catalog I spotted this table designed to serve as a large bar cart console.
The Markham Bar Console has a great vintage styling meant to look like you found it at an antiques shop and added a towel bar and bottle opener to convert it into your own bar station.
I knew I’d seen a similar style bar table before and a quick scroll through the visual archives in my brain reminded me that Thom Filicia (of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Dress My Nest fame) has a similar table in his lake home.
I did a quick search on the internet (faster than flipping through my hard copies of design magazines to find the original photo, which was featured in the now extinct but fabulous Domino magazine, August 2008) and quickly found the following image.
What do you think of the similarities? Obviously the scale of Thom’s table is longer, but the feet, thicker ends to the top, and lower shelf with high sides are all very similar. I’m sure there are many old work tables like this to be found in old shops, and the details aren’t particularly unique to this one table. Nonetheless, I can’t help but think that the Pottery Barn design team was inspired by Thom’s vintage find when they designed their own piece.
I think both are nice tables, and I’d love to have a table like that in my house when we entertain since everyone ends up in the kitchen and this would pull them out into adjacent rooms. But I always prefer an authentic old piece whenever possible because the patina of true wear and tear can never be matched in a factory. Of course finding an old piece like this would take a lot of work, but that’s the fun part for me – the victory of finding just the right piece and the story that comes with it (both it’s history and the story of your quest.)
By the way, does this remind anyone else of the Friends episode where Ross and Rachel both buy the Pottery Barn Apothecary Coffee Table and Rachel tries to convince Phoebe that it’s vintage and she found it at a flea market since Phoebe doesn’t like mass produced furniture? Yeah, I know you remember it too!
So what do you think? Would you buy the Pottery Barn version or try to find a vintage table of your own? Or would you prefer a totally different style bar cart?
Photo sources: Pottery Barn and Houzz