Thursday, November 4th, 2010
Above: the professional sheep shearer is hard at work. Maryfaith takes the giant fleece and puts it in the bag.
So I went to help a local farm with their sheep shearing a couple of weeks ago and had a great time. I’ve always loved lambies since I was a little girl, and sheep aren’t quite the same (bigger and less cuddly) but it was still a great experience to try to wrangle sheep on the farm for an afternoon.
The farmers also have a lot of chickens roaming around that come running when people approach in the hope for more food. I was taking pictures of the chickens because their heritage varieties have really beautiful subtle coloring. Unfortunately, it didn’t come through as well as I’d hoped in the photos. As I was taking the pictures my mom jokingly said “You’ll probably turn this into a blog post.” Challenge? I think so.
So here is my ”Heritage Chicken Inspired Rooms” post. I always say you can find inspiration all around you. Here’s my proof.
Notice that the chickens are not one solid color. They have a tonal range of colors across their body, plus an occasional accent color on their tail feathers. These rooms employ the same philosophy to create visually interesting rooms. Here we have the different tones of browns and reds of one breed of chickens with accents of black from the other breed. Plus you have to have the pop of red from the chickens’ faces!
More tonal brown and red rooms, but I love how the concrete pulls in the gray of the paths on which the chickens run around the farm by their coop. The green and cream of the painting in the living room on the right reference the building behind the chickens and the grass (or what was left of the grass in Minnesota in October). The rough materials and broken in finishes in these rooms give the relaxed vibe that subtly references the chickens’ habitat.
A kitchen can be refined or rustic, and I love them both. On the left, the granite countertops remind me of the pebbly gray ground the chickens hang out on. The copper hood is similar to the color of the cabinets, but the sheen adds variation. I’d love to see this with a patina (did you know that copper turns brown before it turns blue-green?)
In the kitchen on the right we have the dark brown-black cabinets that remind me of the darker breed of chickens. The wood slats on the walls convey a rustic farm feeling. The cream ceiling warms up the room and pulls in the color of the farm building behind the chickens in my photo. I’m sure they don’t gather the chicken eggs in a wicker basket, but isn’t it fun to think they do? Those high back wicker chairs are a great casual accent. Just add a wicker basket filled with fresh picked brown eggs in the middle of the table and you are set!
Finally, these are two rooms that really show off the power of tonal variation and texture. On the left, the graining in the wood floor is highlighted by the medium brown stain. The wood on the walls looks to be a shade lighter than the floors, which helps to keep the room from feeling like a brown box. The textural stone on the fireplace pulls in the organic and rough feel of the pebbly pathways. The lights over the table remind me of the fluffy sheep. And the red cabinet in the foreground? That definitely gives you the pop of the rooster’s red comb.
On the right we have a wide open space with oodles of natural light pouring in. And you can see there are a lots of trees outside, so this must feel like a kitchen tucked in the woods. Because of all that natural light they were able to use dark colors throughout the space without it feeling like a cave. (Notice how different the small rustic kitchen above looks with the same color palette in a much smaller and darker space.) The angled soffit over the cabinetry is a darker brown than the wood paneling over the refrigeraotr (to the left of the stove). They also mixed in black cabinetry, stainless steel and a fun mix of black chairs (love those Panton curved profile chairs!) I think the clock on the soffit is brilliant, except when the battery dies and you need a huge ladder to change it. But it’s the deep orange-persimmon ceiling color that makes this room special. It might be a plaster finish because it has such beautiful color variation as the light hits it.
So, do you see the chicken inspiration in these pictures? What inspires you in nature?
Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
Despite the 70 degree weather we’re experiencing in Minnesota, the trees still know it is fall. Everywhere I look I see the most beautiful mixes of golden yellow, orange, sumac red, green and brown. I couldn’t help but be inspired to create some room palettes to help inspire you as well.
How fun is the orange on the back wall of the white bookshelf?! What’s great, is that could be changed up easily over the years to a new accent color or fabulous wallpaper since the rest of the room is in easy to coordinate with neutrals. Love everything about this room.
And the bold kitchen with the gorgeous wood lining the walls as well as the floor? A raw stone fireplace surround and sleek red cabinets and stainless steel provide a great balance of color and texture while making their own strong statements. And the fluffy chandeliers add great whimsy (and texture).
Again, pops of orange on a neutral but texture filled living room. Do you see how this works? The eclectic mix of furnishings work together because nothing is too fussy. This entry in a more traditional home features beautiful woodwork, which allows that elegant red table skirt with framed detailing really pop. The chocolate brown zebra print stair runner hints at the homeowners playful personality. Using a solid runner for the entry floor prevents that print from overwhelming the space.
Vintage riflery targets as bathroom wallpaper? Brilliant! The shotgun casings encased in a resin toilet seat cover certainly carries out the theme, but seems a bit much for most situations. I like the pops of color in the accessories on this bookshelf as bar cart.
The bold mix of red-orange and lime green in this library conveys the homeowner’s fearless personality. With such high ceilings and plenty of white to balance the bold colors, the room still feels balanced. Have I used this photo of a vintage red leather chair in front of a glass case before? Probably, since I love the tone of that leather and the simple form of the chair. It seemed a good match for this palette, so forgive me.
I think this really represents those golden yellow and orange tones that so many trees take on at this time of year. A harvest palette, if you will. I can picture that yellow pom-pom fringe on the bottom of a lampshade, along the side of curtains, or the bottom of a roman shade. Pom-poms are not just for the back of your socks (remember being 10 years old and wearing ankle socks with pom-poms on the back? I do!) I just flashed back to some pillows I made for a client years ago in a golden yellow cut velvet with braided trim and a ribbon detail that was similar to the materials in the top left photo.
I had to find you a picture after that description! It wouldn’t be fair to leave you hanging.
I love this media room with those inviting chocolate brown velvet couches, golden yellow pillows, and plenty of throw blankets. Did you notice the bookshelves in the back are orange? Difficult to tell from a photo, but it could even be Hermes orange. What a great punch of color that doesn’t overwhelm because the frame of the shelves has a narrow profile.
Finally, the deep reds of the Sumac bushes make a bold backdrop for two very different kitchens. You can see how it mixes well with orange tones and either dark chocolate brown wood and marble or crisp white cabinetry and stainless steel. I couldn’t resist throwing in the great Weimaraner photo – the chair and the dog both have such great personality!
So that’s your fall inspiration, courtesy of the trees and bushes I see on my drives around town visiting clients and vendors. What is inspiring you right now? Are you drawn to the fall colors or does another season capture your style best?
Tags: bar cart, Bathroom, bookshelf, chocolate brown, fall, foyer, golden yellow, green, Kitchen, living room, orange, pillow, Red, white, Wood, zebra
Posted in Color Pulse, Inspiration Boards | No Comments »
Friday, September 17th, 2010
Inspiration, round 2. I find it fascinating that someone I know thought this was the best issue of Elle Decor they’d seen in a while. But when I scanned through it to find my top pictures, I was underwhelmed. Maybe it’s more of a slow burn issue: I’ll get into reading all the articles in depth and suddenly get new appreciation for the designs. Or not.
Case in point: this is one of my favorite images – and it’s an ad. Granted, I’ve had favorites that I wanted to share in previous magazines that were ads, but there was always too much good editorial content to waste a spot on an ad. But this kitchen is beautiful in it’s own right, plus it’s well staged, well lit, and the copy tells a story. Doesn’t that stroller throw it off from expectation just right? It’s showing the viewer that this kitchen is not only beautiful but it’s functional for real life. There’s food in the cupboards that requires real cooking. Those copper pots aren’t just a collection for display, they get used. And you thought it was just a cabinetry ad.
How lovely is this Alpine retreat? I’m not a hunter, so as much as I appreciate the beauty of animal hides, I’m not always completely comfortable around them. But this room pushes the limit. The pillows and stools covered in springbok pelts are still beautiful in all their natural coloration. But I’d feel odd leaning against those pillows, I can’t lie. Nonetheless, there is something so chic and clean about this room. The Serge Mouille floor lamp and navy sectional against the rough hewn wood walls, antlers and stacks of firewood framed in white is a beautiful balance. The bleached floors keep the room from feeling too dark.
I’m not normally a purple girl. But this room has a sofa warm quality thanks to those gray couches and amazing window treatments. The flounces on the valances remind me of a wedding dress, in the best way possible.
This is a punchy living room with a great mix of styles. Bold contemporary art influences the color palette, but the furniture pulls from diverse periods. A 1940s sofa, a contemporary faceted coffee table in three laquered finishes, a traditional table lamp from the 1950s, and an 18th century chair. A difficult mix to achieve without it feeling choppy and disjointed, but when it’s done right, it works. What’s interesting is that this is just one side of a double sided living room. There are two sofas back to back across from this sofa, and there are chairs upholstered in orange velvet on the other side of the room, to tie in with the oriental rug.
Friday, August 20th, 2010
Time for a new issue of Elle Decor to drool over. Here’s my favorite pictures from the current issue.
This is a cool column that Elle Decor does every issue: it focuses on one area of the house and pulls together examples of these spaces from previous issues.
I love books. I love shelving. I love the different ways you can mix books and decorative objects together on shelves. My parents are both librarians by training, so it’s no surprise that when I was a kid I turned my own book collection into a library (complete with checkout cards in inside pockets – remember those? – and library cards which I passed out to all my family members.) I don’t follow the Dewey Decimal system in my own library, but I definitely group by subject matter. How would you find anything otherwise? Color coding your books is a recent trend, and it can look great, but I like to find my books with minimal effort.
I think this feature shows a nice mix of traditional to contemporary libraries. Notice how artwork is hung directly on the shelves in the bottom two photos.
What a peaceful bedroom. I’m not always interested in leaving a room white, but this is a great example of how to do it well. Love the texture and color of those bedside lamps. Simple clean linens are unfussy. But it’s the photos over the bed that pull me in every time. I like that it’s a collection of images, and they are a nice size for that wall.
What a great kid’s room! The colors are bold but yet they don’t overwhelm since pattern is used to tie the colors together. The big basket with lacrosse sticks, golf clubs and hockey sticks is a great example of how to corral their gear. This basket was probably used for toys when they were younger and easily transitioned to gear as they picked up new hobbies. Plus I love the transportation map on the wall! (I’ll never forget my background in transit planning.)
What a gorgeous kitchen. The palette is restrained and it floats like an island inside this massive Miami house. The textured tile on the outside of the walls adds some interest and frames the kitchen. I really like the use of wood paneling on the back wall to break up the white cabinetry without using two finishes on the cabinets. And the toekick on the island is extra high and looks like it’s stainless steel, which is a neat touch you don’t notice at first.
Finally, I like the arrangement of artwork in this living room, which ties the color palette together (with that purple-pink-black painting). I like the finish on the cabinets in the kitchen and the fun colorful rug they added which really adds fun personality to the space (in a non-permanent way). And how adorable is that dog bed?!
What shelter magazines do you read? Are their ones you’d like me to feature? Just wondering. Have a great weekend.
Monday, August 16th, 2010
My passion for all things domestic was fueled in my teen and college years by the infamous Martha Stewart. Back then no other magazines had multi-page spreads on the amazing creations possible with a variety of cake pipping tips or gorgeous photograph composites of bowls of spices. I even started a Martha Stewart fan club in college (really an activity group to do crafts together) to get my fix of craftiness. I’m pretty sure I had the only dorm room with cafe curtains made from vintage napkins picked up at an estate sale and trimmed with ribbons.
So even though I don’t read every issue of MSL anymore, her annual Home Issue is a favorite of mine. And when I saw it mentioned on one of my favorite blogger’s blog (she was featured in ”100 Great Finds for Every Room of the House”) I popped out to Barnes & Noble to pick it up. It’s not my favorite home issue to date, but it still has plenty of useful tips and good photography.
While I enjoy beautiful gardens, I leave the gardening work to my husband and mother. However, I do have favorites in the garden, and sedum is a key one. I love the diversity of colors, textures and shapes sedum is available in. They are often a key component in the mix of plants used on green roofs (roofs covered in plantings to absorb rainwater and minimize runoff).
I liked this layout with its mix of natural materials and clean lines. The brackets for the shelf would look too fussy if they weren’t paired with that rustic wood shelf.
Now this article filled with Martha’s advice on kitchen design and organization takes me to my happy place. Drawers neatly organized by function. Cute containers to achieve proper containment and separation. AND kitchen tools?! (My love of kitchen tools and gadgets comes from my mother. Do YOU have an angel food cake cutter? I do.) It’s too much goodness in one place. I just wish I had that many drawers to begin with!
This party layout is at the end of an article about the condo of Kevin Sharkey, the executive editorial director of decorating. The decorating of his condo has been chronicled in previous issues, and this is the grand culmination showcasing how it all came together. It looks nice, but I actually loved the party photos best. They have a great energy and lightheartedness that’s not often found in MSL party articles. An oreo cookie “cake”? Ping pong is a condo filled with expensive furniture and large mirrors? A faux frame drawn on a mirror? Love it. The balloons photo reminds me of the end of the movie 13 Going on 30. (There’s a large scale photo shoot for a magazine with balloons and good looking people smiling and having a good time.)
Besides these articles there are also a number of helpful articles that you should be sure to check out. There’s a great feature on how to layout a large wall installation of personal photographs, with step by step instructions, “Walls That Talk.” If finding the right product to clean and repair all the different surfaces in your home is a struggle, be sure to read “Furniture First Aid.”
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!