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?
Thursday, August 12th, 2010
It’s always the foreign Elle Decoration & Vogue Living magazines that get me to cave in (see my previous post if this comment makes no sense).
So here’s the Australia Vogue Living Before + After Special Issue I couldn’t resist. These images literally grabbed my attention at the newsstand, and after reading the magazine they still stand out as my favorites, though I’ve certainly tabbed plenty of other great photos and ideas. Even the cover is a stand out. Love that plank style table with metal base and the orange painting.
I think trend inspiration boards are a great way to show how different pieces can be combined. I would love to have the wood shelving unit in the lower left corner (so classic and clean!) but what actually got my brain spinning was the rug. Now I love a well-done global aesthetic mixed in with clean classic timeless pieces. But that rug is something I would normally not be drawn to for my own home.
But sitting at my bar counter reading the magazine it struck me how powerful that one piece could be in changing the style and vibe of a room. I have a grey couch and pair of chairs in my living room similar to the color of the couch in the layout. Switching out the white shag rug we have for this rug would give the room a whole new personality and really brighten up the space. These are the thoughts that keep me up at night dreaming of all the ways to tweak my home.
This hallway was transformed with these bookshelves lining one wall and a creative solution for hiding ventilation in the ceiling while providing lighting.
I love the detail shot that shows that the shelves are actually made of thick plexiglass. Even the back of the unit is lined in frosted plexiglass, allowing light to flow from the kitchen into an otherwise dark hallway. Plus you wouldn’t have to worry about little hands accidentially breaking all those shelves (since they aren’t glass).
This is about a less obvious part of design and architecture: the experience of moving through a space. Just like in public spaces, as one looks through a space one needs something to focus on in the distance. The visual balance of the sculpture, sofa, artwork and open space is wonderful in this photo. And the shadows from those amazing windows makes me want to lay on the floor in the warmth of the sun and breathe in and out in peace (I may be spending too much time with my cats).
The homeowners and architect were inspired by a book on Japanese gardens. This influence is clearly visible in the window shutters filtering light and creating framed views. Wood is treated with both simplicity and reverence in this room. Notice there is no art on the walls because the details of the architecture and furniture are art and anything more would be a distraction and clutter the view.
Finally, what struck me about this kitchen is the use of a large format rectangular marble tile for the backsplash. They consistently used the same marble on the countertops (in a nice chunky profile), on the table serving as an island (a thin profile), and then on the backsplash. Using a slab for the backsplash works well and looks beautiful. Using a marble subway tile is more affordable and still gets the look. But this large tile is something I haven’t seen before and I really like the modern feel it creates.
Alright, those are my favorites from this special issue. These foreign magazines tend to cost more than the domestic magazines, but like a fine cheese, it’s a different experience that’s worth the $$ to me as a special treat. Which makes me wonder: what is the special treat you’re willing to spend more for? Let me know in the comments section. Upgrading your cable package just for a few weeks or months for “Mad Men” or the Tour de France? Great olives? The $70 make up brush that performs in a way no Target brush ever could?
I’m really curious now!