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How to Find the Perfect Dresser

 

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I’m alive!  Yes, I did fall off the face of the earth for awhile.  Lot’s of changes on my end including a new job, TWO new apartments, change of city and endless other excuses I could give for slacking on my blog posts. All this new apartment living is keeping me busy with lot’s of shopping  at decor stores and craigslist.com for a steal.  Currently I’m on a mission to find the perfect dresser.  I’ve strewn photo finds of fave looks around this post but I want to give a little detail on how I go about finding and buying the right furniture.

 

Sutton Grace

I tend to create the furniture in my head first. This can be a curse as much as a useful function.  It is no fun and quite frustrating when I have the absolutely-most-perfect-dresser in my head but alas, it does not exist in reality! This is why starting with an overall intention is also part of my initial plan for success.  I recommend starting with what function/s need to be served, what size is required, and start perusing online catalogue’s for inspiration.

Apartment Therapy

Once I know what I’m looking for I hit the stores!  Both online and in-store.  To not get overwhelmed I limit my searches to a particular budget, color scheme (in the dresser case I’m only looking for an all-white dresser or one that has at least some amount of white in it), size, and general style.  For my dresser I know I need at least two drawers, small, white, cheap, and preferably vintage.  If I don’t find vintage I need it to at least have the base off ground (furniture that is flush to the ground, without petite legs giving breathing room, gives a more grounding and heavy feeling) with simple and sleek lines.

The last and most important point when you search for that “perfect” piece of furniture is to stay open-minded.  You could pass something wonderful up if you don’t stay open to pleasant surprises.  You will also become more stressed the more particular you are about having to get only a very particular piece.  As an example, I’ve been looking for dressers but just today I came across a really cute bookshelf that I’m thinking could suit the same functions and purpose as the dresser.  The bookshelf’s look, price, and everything else is so perfect I may not need a dresser after all. :)

Janey Mac
Apartment Therapy

pinterest


StyleBeat

Hudson Goods

LonnyMag via Chasing Davies

PetitNest

Bungalow 5

 

Ugly Door Solution: Wallpaper!

House Beautiful

I saw this photo at House Beautiful and thought the idea was fabulous!  I always cringe whenever I see one of those mirrored closet sliding doors in a rental apartment and this is the perfect solution.  It inspired me.  Hope these pics inspire you.  Especially if you have also been stuck with some of the depressing design aesthetics of a rental home.

Randoms - Atmosphere Interior Design

 

Room Envy

Decor Pad

Finding Flair

Where it’s Hot: Art Deco and South Beach

In Jamaica

South Beach. Hot, sandy, clubs, beaches, concrete, celebrities, glam, and trash all come to mind with hearing the words of this location.  But this place would not have the feel it emanates without the design that made it, and Art Deco reigns Queen of Design here. There are more than 800 buildings on this stretch of approximately 25 blocks all dubbed “Art Deco” and built mostly in the 1930′s and ’40′s.

Life123

Ironically, with as little grass that you’ll find in this niche Miami location, it began as farmland in the 1800′s. It wasn’t until 1920 that the place started sprouting land developments to first become known as a destination. Then 1930 brought the design revolution where modern, industrial, and sleek somehow met with elegant, fantasy, and pizazz. Art Deco was born and South Beach inhaled the design spirit and is now considered home to the largest collection of this style in the world. Go Florida, go Florida, have a party…go…go…

CalFinder

Art Deco not only encompasses a type of architecture but also furniture and interiors.  Today Art Deco is a characterized style that is brought into many modern and chic interiors. If you want to add some of this style into your home think geometric and angular patterns, pastels mixed with vivid accent hues, glass and metal elements – especially in fixtures and tables, vinyl upholstery, curved lines and surfaces (think curved walls rather than box corners), and plenty of gold or silver gilded edges and accents.

There are so many ways to describe this eclectic architectural and period style, yet it remains a unique type all to it’s own that reigned in that particular time of the mid 1900′s.  Hope you get some inspiration from this post and the photos that display both the old and the new and from the outside to the inside of Art Deco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genuine Style

 

 

Hoosta

Luxury Furniture Design

Daily Mail

HubPages

catchesthelight

 

Daily Mail

wandalust 

New York Social Diary

Veranda

Art Deco Style

 

 

 

 

Sig Bergamin is My Hero

I know it’s common for me to write blog rants full of excitement, squeals, and loves regarding great design.  But for reals, this time is different.  This time I transcended another plane.  I just floated out of my body when I saw Designer Sig Bergamin’s portfolio.  His designs serenaded and put a spell on me like Casanova.  Or Don Juan.  Something like that.  His work is consistent with being exhuberantly full of color and pattern.  I read the article in Elle Decor about his New York City apartment where he talks about this apartment being “calm” compared to his Brazilian home where “…there is one room in the house with 500 pieces of fabric.”  To do that with such skill is serious mastery.

VT Interiors

It is impossible for me to look at photos in his portfolio and not smile. I know for some people having this much going on in your home would make you dizzy or even provoke a heart attack.  Yet, there is still much to appreciate and learn from Bergamin’s work.   One major lesson you should gain from being exposed to his design is to not be afraid of color and pattern.  Layer and smather it on!  The differing design patterns add visual texture and interest.  He also proves that you can have a comfortable and inviting space while still using a vivid and saturated palette of colors.  I find his wall art placement keeps the spaces from being too stuffy and adds to the feel of being lived in.  I wish I could live with him.

Also, you have to check out his portfolio because I can’t put my fave photos in this post.   As a warning - do it alone and have a napkin handy because you might drool like I did.

chic sem compromisso

Gold Cage

Shake, Shake, Shake: Salt ‘n Peppa Shakers

The Swift Hungry Swallow

I remember as a young girl the extensive, and quite unique, salt and pepper shaker collection my Grandma kept in her hutch.  I’m pretty sure my Grandma still has a good portion of her collection but sadly they are not photographed in this post.   Her collection was a hodgepodge that looked something close to the collection at left (minus the green and orange goblins center-top).  I’ve thrown together here some of my fave salt and pepper finds.  Maybe you’ll get inspired to start your own collection….or maybe you’ll remember why you don’t collect salt and pepper shakers in the first place. :)

I have a weakness for the quirky and cute and these first shakers fall right into that category.

LeetLady

dailydesigndiscoveries.com

Here are some of the minimalist looks that I crave.  This is art in your kitchen.  Isn’t it great when function meets form in perfect harmony?


domestic aesthetic

John Lewis

Not sure where I found these???

Jonathan Adler

Mikes Woodwork

And then there’s these I found that saturate my cravings for all things sweet and girly

re-nest

madamepOmmcustomorder

Jonathan Adler

And of course, being a huge Etsy promoter, I have to give my list of the best of Etsy Salt ‘n Peppa shakers:

Robot Love

littlegreenseed

junkytownvintage

turquoiserollerset

sarabeat

CarlysCurations

modernfx

Pop! Color with White

Apartment Therapy

I saw this photo by Calle Stoltz and went “woah. woah. woah.”  I liked it.  I knew immediately that my attraction was attributed to the brightness, high saturation and contrast.  These all together really make things POP.

Having high contrast usually makes me shake my hips like Shakira but if it’s not done right, it will make me weep like Jerry Maguire.  One of my favorite looks (though, not always best to live in) is lot’s of white with a bright pop of color.  I like white because it’s clean, reflective, and showcases everything else of color near it.  Having a bright pop of color adds drama, eye movement; and for me happiness.  :)  This little trick can be used even if you don’t have an all-white room.  Just bring in some contrast by adding a dark color if everything is pale, add a pattern next to solids, stripes with circles, neutrals with all color, etc…

CocoCozy

Apartment Therapy

spark!

CocoCozy

coco + kelley

Bella Vita

Thank You Turkeys…and Other Animals!

Happy Turkey Day!  Since I’m a pescatarian it’s actually Happy Tofurkey Day!   Or, maybe it should be Happy French Fry Day for me since I ate the same amount of poundage in fries as a couple small children.  Either way, today is a day to give thanks and gratitude and the home that provides you shelter, comfort, and fun should not be overlooked.  Since this holiday has an animal theme I figured I would stretch this topic a bit to be about animals in general.  More specifically about animal-prints-in-your-home. :)  I am thankful to the real animals that have given their hides to provide comfort, warmth and style and I also give thanks to the people who make the fake stuff look so good.

from Real Simple

I have to confess.  I had a small thing for animal prints as a child.  Leather pants with zebra striped sweaters is just one example of the many stylish animal-inspired clothes I wore as a 6-year old.  I must have felt the animalistic nature in me crawling out when I wore these clothes and somehow they became a staple.   I think the same phenomenon occurs when you put animal prints in your home. It adds a touch of the wild.  If you’re a conservative person and you want to spice and craze up your life a bit then definitely go buy one of those little sheepskin rugs from IKEA.  If you’re feeling real ballsy then go out and invest in a zebra print rug and leather pants.  You’ll never be the same again.

JEIDesign Blog

The luscious cheetah print rug on the top of page, from Elle Decor, makes me purr.  Zebra rugs are still popular and personally I’m hoping to see more giraffe prints coming out in the near future.

An easy way to add some animal prints in your home is to cover a lampshade, add some pillows, or even get some new drapes in a skin pattern and you’ll freshen and sexy up your place pronto.  Another thing:  don’t go overboard with the prints or you’ll scare people right out of your home and might as well put a live tiger in your living room for the same effect.

Note of Disclosure: Please don’t confuse my animal-print-in-your-home technique with me recommending you to put real animals that are dead in your home.  I know it’s been a hot thing previously to put antlers up but I’d prefer if they were plastic.  Just sayin.

Even if you don’t have animal prints in your home, and you don’t want them, still give thanks for your home and for all it provides.  For at least this day, if not every day, see the beauty and security it provides rather than the list of wishes and things that you want to change.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Knotting Hill Interiors

D Magazine

Pink Wallpaper Blog

Dec0r.com

The Bella Life

Vastu Design Click

Chalk Up in Style

A popular paint of choice these days is chalkboard paint.  Chalkboards can be awesome things to add into your home for organization of to-do lists and notes for family, fun for kids, a fun and witty decorative touch, as well as an easy change and color to bring into your home space.  Even though chalkboard easels are nice to hide away, why not keep them out for ease of use yet still make it stylish?

Here’s a handful of ways to bring chalkboards into your home with style:

1.  Buy a chalkboard, glue magnets on back and put on your fridge

2.  Paint your hallway or one wall of an office with chalkboard paint

3.  Frame a smaller sized chalkboard with a gold ornate frame for an eclectic look, or a white and simple frame for a modern and minimalistic style or go rustic by making a wood-frame by hand around a chalkboard.

4.  Buy small chalkboards and place in a basket on your counter for quick notes to be written on for others to see….GREAT way to save paper by not using note paper!

5.  I LOVE the idea of painting your terra cotta pots with blackboard paint, as I found in Small Space Style blog.  In fact, you can paint anything with chalkboard paint for an instant change and some fun.

Find some other fun things to do with chalkboard paint at Paper Tastebuds, LoftLife, and The City Sage

From the blog 2 or 3 Things I know

Mellow Yellow

I have always loved yellow and have gone through many phases of yellow mania.  Currently, I am crazy for yellow cars, which happens to be the inspiration for this blog post.  Yellow is known for it’s cheerfulness, illumination and optimism.  Hmmm, as a forever optimist, I think I now understand my attraction to the color!  For most people, the color yellow brings to mind an immediately bright hue.  For many, this bright sunshine yellow is too intense for an interior color.  Whether you are one who loves to soak yourself in bright yellow, or run from it, read on to find out how to bring the joyful effects yellow elicits, into your life.

Yellow is more often associated to the warm color family, but as it’s in the middle of the colors on the temperature wheel, it can also swing to the cool color side.  It swings more cool when it has a higher concentration of green, a strong white tint in it, or it also can look cool in certain lighting and pairings with other cool colors. 

If you live more conservatively and are not too sure about bringing yellow in, you can start by just a few small accents.  Bring in some yellow patterned pillows, a throw, vases or even a yellow lampshade for some new spice and to feel it out.  You can also play on the safer side by using more golden and paler yellows.  Buttercream is a popular paint choice for a home’s interior, due to it’s almost neutral feel, ability to match most other colors and styles as well as still adds a touch of warmth and excitement.  Pale yellow and blue is a very traditional, yet timeless, color pairing that can go very well for the more conservative household.

To live more wildly with yellow, I say pair it with magenta and purple, or even bright green.  Just be careful with the green and yellow mix as Wisconsinites upon seeing it will immediately start yelling their opinions about Favre.

From Homes and Gardens

Spanish Style

I stayed in a beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival stucco style home this weekend.  I just love the look and wanted to give it my due respect.  This particular Spanish style came to be in the early 20th century, primarily popular in the Florida and California regions.  It became fashionable in these areas as a throw-back to the history of the early Spanish settlers, who dominated these areas at their inceptions.

I love the exterior architecture of these homes, but it’s the insides that really gets me inspired.  Many designers believe in keeping with the period and style of a home.  I don’t.  Not to say that the architecture of a home is not important.  I believe very strongly in working with, and complementing, the original structural architecture of a home.  I do believe, however, that you can be limited with creativity and individuality if you stick to the hard rule of staying within the period’s style.

The purpose of this post is to focus on this period and how to bring some Spanish style into your home, no matter what style and period you live within.  The typical features that are present in the Spanish revival style are:

1.  Exposed wooden beams and trim, primarily walnut or a darker finish. This lends a rustic feel to the Spanish style.

2.  Painted tiles, usually in patterns of primary colors such as blue, red and yellow.

3.  Floors are generally wood, but otherwise terracotta tile is popular.

 

4.  Stucco walls, which is an imperfectly textured wall finish.

5.  Pottery or wrought iron lamps and accessories.

6.  Patterned rugs with bright colors.

By using any of these elements, you can bring some Spanish revival in your home whether you have modern, traditional, eclectic taste, or anything in between.

Going Green and Saving Green (in the pocket)

More at http://www.etsy.com/shop/halfpintsalvage

Going “green” has been a much needed fad making it’s rounds around the states for some years now.  Even though you see the words “green”, “organic”, “natural”, and “sustainable” all over the place, you may still wonder how you can decorate your home while keeping these words in mind, keeping some money left in your pocket, and time saved by convenience.

See More at http://www.etsy.com/shop/RiverzEdge

Whole Foods is known to be a haven of scrumptious edible and organic goods but it’s also been dubbed Whole “Paycheck” for well known reason.  I hear people wanting to be design savvy and conscious at the same time but don’t feel they can do it on their budget or they don’t have the time to search.  Target, Walmart and Costco just happen to offer some of the best deals in town.  It’s hard to say no, right?  Well, below are a couple tips you can use immediately that will save you time, money and carbon footprints.  It’s also important to keep in mind that companies sell what is buyer’s demand.  So start making demands for greener consumer products and the prices will inevitably drop with more accessible possibilities.

More at http://www.etsy.com/shop/box64studios

1.  Buy used!  Not only does the value of furniture decrease greatly the minute it’s bought off the store shelves, but you’re saving furniture from going to landfill heaven as well as holding off on the consumer demand for more furniture to be made in factories filled with chemicals and non-renewable sources.  Craigslist.org is a great place to start.  Check out local garage sales in your area, go to newspapers and if there’s a particular piece of furniture you need, then put an ad in the paper and in coffee shops.  A more convenient way is to go to thrift stores, antique shops and other used furniture stores.

2.  Etsy.com is a great place to find unique custom made furniture and decor pieces that many times are created from recycled, reused and reclaimed materials.  Pics surround this post of ones I like.

3.  Inquire about the organic-ness and sustainability that the products have with every decor store you step into.  In fact, I encourage you to write to your favorite decor shops and ask for more earth friendly products and manufacturing processes.  It is also helpful to ask for manufacturing process transparency.  The more transparent a company is with it’s products and internal choices, the more accountable we can keep them.

4.  Check out design Dawn’s blogspot here for more healthy design ideas.

More here http://www.etsy.com/shop/buttongrass

Find more at http://www.etsy.com/shop/uncorked

More at http://www.etsy.com/shop/realwoodworks1See more here http://www.etsy.com/shop/Greencycledesigns

See http://www.etsy.com/shop/pilotdesign for more

See http://www.etsy.com/shop/carnevaleclay for more

Power Purple

I have increased the amount of purple in my wardrobe over the last two years quite substantially.  Yes, it had been a hot color but I consciously chose it to be a more frequent hue in my life for more reasons than just being a fad.  I rarely say the word purple without preceding it with “power”, as many friends know.  Purple has a history of being linked to royalty.  The many shades and tints of the purple dye was created from extraction of different sea snails (check out the history of Tyrian Purple here), through an elaborate and expensive process that made it mostly accessible to the elite, which is where the color finds it’s royal heritage.   Before I move on, I also want to clarify that the color violet is the more true hue on the color spectrum whereas purple comes from a blend of reds and blues.  I use purple intermittently with violet as most people relate to them as being within the same hue.

Purple can be a strong color, whether within the pastel family or bright and bold.  It screams for attention and authority, yet surprisingly does not intimidate.  Being a blend of a warm and cool hue (red and blue) it does not weigh heavy in either temperature zone.  Purple is another strong color choice worn by those in speaking or political positions.  In all honesty, I believe it can be, and should be, a more suitable choice than red in many instances as it does not have the intimidation and heat that can exist with red as well as purple has associations and heritage to wisdom and clarity.

As for your home, I think purple can be an amazing choice.  I love purple with turquoise, a mix of reds, and of course it’s complements are green and yellow.  It’s direct compliment is green-yellow (think chartreuse or lime green) so varying shades of the these two hues work great with a range of purples.  I also love the look of using purple as an accent with an all white or neutral backdrop.  Using a deep eggplant or vibrant amethyst as an accent color in a rustic and warm home can bring with it some exciting energy and movement.

Hotels: Hot Hues

A friend just sent me a link to the Panton Hotel, located in Brussels, Belgium.  Panton is known around the world for inventing the color numbering system which allows color matching and exact colors to be defined by a number.  The interior design of their hotel is modern art reminding me of a minimalist art gallery by having the stark white backdrop to show off the plethora of vibrant hues throughout the hotel.

Hotel Vertigo

I love bright and vibrant colors as well as the color white so this hotel definitely struck a fine chord with me.  To be honest, the design of the place would not suit my personal residence taste, as it’s missing the wood and earth elements that I crave, but I would be thrilled to spend a long weekend in this color inspiring oasis.

Fox Hotel

Frank Hotel

Hotel design that is modern, catchy and maybe a bit eccentric gets huge bonus points from me.  Why stay in a place that is blah or looks just like your home?  It’s fun to experience a new environment and when you do, pay attention to how your mood and reactions and actions are affected by the space…you may be surprised at how much a bright orange room can change your outlook for the day!

Fox Hotel

EPIC Miami Hotel and Residences

From the Metropol Hotel

The Gladstone Hotel

Chandeliers

One of the most commonly overlooked, and major mistakes, that I see in homes is having the overhead lighting ignored.  In fact, I believe the lights on the ceiling can make a profound effect in a room, not only by the lights and shadows cast (which can be a future blog post and something to be considered and studied before running out to buy a new dining room hanging light) but from the dramatic change in mood and feel that a light fixture can create.

My favorite fixture to see in a room when looking up are chandeliers.  This does not mean I am recommending a chandelier in every room…but that idea could be a fun one too.  Chandeliers come in so many sizes, styles and purposes now days that if you need an updated change in a room, putting in a chandelier might be your ticket to success.

Most chandeliers, even minimalist styles, bring focus to a room.  Contrary to what many people think, they can also help create a grounding effect and make a large space, or high ceilings, more intimate.  If your ceilings are low and the room is long, a chandelier can also increase height if you have the right sized fixture hanging from a much shorter length from the ceiling; and the longer the length, usually the shorter the height of room will feel.

If you don’t already, start paying attention to the ceiling fixtures in photos and in homes you visit; if you are not now a believer in their power, you soon will be.

Turquoise: 2010 Color of the Year

Turquoise has been a happening color making some big pops for the last year or two but 2010 has brought Pantone to declare turquoise the color of the year.  This cool and calming hue is a mix of green and blue and is found in nature in a wide range of beautiful aqua colors that we see in gem stones and the sea.

The color is not only calming, but also healing.  The gemstones have been used for healing purposes since ancient times and this association has brought the color into many places such as hospitals and other caring facilities as caregiver and nurse outfits as well as on the walls.  Turquoise is also an uplifting color that can produce feelings of cheerfulness and influences focus and clear-mindedness.  An office is a great place for turquoise for it’s ability to focus yet encourage creativity and clarity.  Write your notes on turquoise colored paper.

The lighter tints of turquoise lend to a feminine touch and is currently popular with the pink and brown or pink and silver color combination.  The darker shades of turquoise, being more teal, can give a more intimate touch and feel less feminine.  Turquoise’s complement is a reddish-orange and when paired with this and other browns and corals can give a room a more southwestern appeal.  I personally think turquoise and yellow can make a beautiful kids room or a new baby’s room when the gender is a surprise (does anyone ever leave it a surprise these days?).  Mixing with red can make it much more grown up from the pink and turquoise combo and adding the heat to the cool hue can really make a room sizzle.

This color has been hot (errr, or actually cool) and will only get hotter this coming year.   Flaunt it and have fun with it!  For more pics, check out House of Turquoise, where many of these photos are from and the blog name says it all!

Modern Rustic Appeal

My inspiration comes from the recent blog post at Decorati on architect S. Russell Groves.  The post shows off Groves adept capability at combining the earthy and wooden elements with modern class and refinement.  The woodsy and rustic elements are making a strong presence in current design trends (just check out Urban Outfitters Apartment section!).  I believe a large reason for this is due to the organic and sustainable craze that is making it’s way to being a steady and much needed shift of culture consciousness.

My favorite, and the easiest and strongest, way to bring in this down-to-earth mood is by adding in the wood element.  Wood is a very grounding and balancing aspect to bring into the home due to it’s association with new life, growth and stable roots.  In Feng Shui, live plants are the best way to bring in the wood element but you can still get many benefits, and most importantly, the emotional impression of the wood element even by using wooden furniture and décor pieces.

Bringing wood into your home is the most definitive way of warming your place to the earthy and rustic touch but here are a few other things to do to bring in the feel:

  • Elect natural fabrics such as cotton, tweed, leather and linen
  • Choose earthy colors found in nature such as reds, browns, greens and blues
  • Keep it natural with keeping furnishings unfinished and décor handmade
  • Use other elements found in nature such as stone, metal and clay (pottery)
  • Bring in nature such as seashells, twigs, flowers from the garden and rocks

Doorways…Can Lead to Heaven

 

I get really excited when I look at furniture and other décor pieces but there’s two genres that float my boat more than others: lamps and doors.  I will save lamps for another day.  As for doors, they have a very powerful ability and purpose.  Doors set the scene and mood for what’s to come when walking into a home or another room.  They can confine as much as unbar and the approachability of them can be strong and foreboding to meek and amenable or anything in and out of between.  Painting, or completely reinstalling a new door, for your front entrance can make an incredible difference with the look of the home as well as the receptiveness and first judgement of people coming up to, and through, the doorway.

 

Doors do not have to be restricted to a one-sided hinge wooden object with a handle on the side.  There are so many ways to be creative with a doorway or entrance.  Before choosing a door type and design think about not only the functionality of the space and what purpose the doorway serves, but who will be in contact with the portal and how you want those people to feel when coming up to and/or through the space.  Is it the entrance to your home, the bathroom, an open loft that you’re trying to segregate, etc.?  Then do you want the reception to be welcoming, warm and bold; unapparent and purely functional; or ethereal, inspiring and captivating?  Ask all these questions and more so you have a feeling in mind when choosing a design as well as the function.

Fun with Fuchsia

We all know pink has a feminine association for pretty much….everyone.  Though, there is much more to this color than just a picture of a little girl.  Today’s current associations are primarily due to gender stereotypes more than real color psychology facts.   Even still,  I think when you brighten and embolden this hue you have a very strong and empowering color that can add some needed female energy to balance out many spaces – even a man’s pad.  I am referring to fuchsia, also known as magenta.  The color name fuchsia comes from the fuchsia flower.  It’s a bright shade of pink that is a blend between red and purple.  It’s not near as energetic as red and certain shades of fuchsia can even be calming.  Like red, it is a romantic and passionate color but without the intensity that red carries; a bit softer and more playful.  I really enjoy using this color in design primarily for it’s light playfulness.

This couch was my inspiration from a Design Sponge post. It's so bold, lively and makes me want to sink into the couch with a smile.

Fuchsia’s complement on the color wheel is lime green.  I don’t know about you but it makes me scream “hello 1991″!  Good thing 1991 was a great year for me.  Another good thing is that these neon colors are back in a big way.  If you want to have some fun with these complements I recommend putting in a dark and stabilizing neutral to the mix such as chocolate brown.  Fuchsia is also fun with yellows and a variety of green hues.  If you mix with blues you’ll have a very calming and cool space and if you include a lot of beige and white to this mix you might drift off to a mediterranean sea village.  When played with oranges you have a perfect child’s room for their imagination to run wild…but be careful it doesn’t have too much heat in it or they will never sleep.

Fuchsia can also relate to spirituality and has been considered a sophisticated and refined color of late and was more commonly associated to fine culture in historical times.  It’s a great color, in my opinion as it has a beautiful balance of elegance and sweetness.  Start looking at pinks, and especially fuchsia colors, and thinking about your emotional reactions past the gender ideas and you may be surprised at what you’ll experience.

Inspiration Under the Feet: Rugs and Carpet

This blog inspiration comes from Malene B’s astonishing skill at creating rugs, carpets and textiles that have depth, warmth, ingenuity, class and a story to boot.   The Papunya rug, shown below, is just mesmerizing me in to come and walk and snuggle and daydream up in it’s lush texture.

Malene’s cultural influence is very strong in her designs yet she works with a wide range of clientele and interiors which I believe showcase her talent for bringing her unique style to accommodate any function and purpose.

Rugs and carpet have a very functional purpose that can vary widely in requirements depending on the person and room.   Not only should the functional aspect not be overlooked but the form should be considered just as important.  You do not need to forego fashion if you need a cushion-y rug in your kitchen to make standing log hours bearable and clean up manageable.  A foyer rug does not need to be ugly or lifeless just because it’s purpose is to drudge up water and snow before entering a home.

A rug can add a huge impact to a room as well as even be a focal point (foyer space being a great example!) and the feeling and mood it can set should never be overlooked.  If you want your living room to be inviting and comfy then making the floor feel grounded, warm and inviting is essential.

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, rugs over carpet does not have to be illegal either.  True, you need to be careful when pairing the two and sometimes it does not work.  Having thick, shag and colorful carpet is a great example where heaving a rug on top of the fluffiness can just seem a bit excessive, or brings an eccentricity that people will want to run away from!

My rules of advice are that if you need a rug for a functional purpose then always keep the function in mind first and foremost but then ask yourself what look you are going for in the room, if you want to spice things up, cool it down or keep it neutral.  If you have a space that does not necessitate a specific function for a rug then have FUN!  Get a rug or install carpet that speaks to your personality and the vibe you want to inspire.

Paper on the Walls

My Mom swears that wallpapering is easier than painting.  I can’t say I agree with her but it’s definitely an argument (errr, discusion), that is dependent on the individual.  Either way you swing, wallpapering does not have to be a trifling task and the prints, colors, and textures that are available these days to put on your walls are just too tantalizing and inspiring to pass up!

Small spaces are my fav to cover in bold wallpaper prints.  This includes bathrooms, hallways, walk-in closets and foyers.  Small spaces can be more forgivable and allows you the ability to go a bit wild while not having to worry about being overwhelmed with the situation.  A bathroom, for instance, is only inhabited for (usually) short periods of time making boldness, brightness and/or busyness more appreciated with a welcome distraction than a place like the living room where your guests and selves sit for many more hours at a time.

This is not to say large spaces are too risky to incorporate adventurous wall prints.  It’s fantastic when a bright and geometric wall pattern is witty in the background with the furniture inside being minimal and serene.   It’s all about knowing your own taste and thresholds.

If pattern is not your thing, then texture could still do wonders for your space.  Monochromatic or all neutral spaces will thrive with more texture.  Satin, silk, and linen walls can really add prestige as well as warmth to a room.

Angela Adams has some amazing wallpaper designs that are sustainable non-PVC made and the geometric focus beautifully stays calm even with the bright colors infused.   See more of Angela Adam’s papers at MDC Wallcoverings, where you can shop a slew of other paper looks as well.

Studio Nommo is a Turkish wallpaper design company that gives a varying range of inspiration with different looks that all lean to the graphic and trendy.

Burke Decor is a site that has wallpaper prints that really inspire me as well with a gargantuan selection that will be sure to meet everyone’s needs.

Even though I am big on painting (so cheap, easy and quick) rooms, wallpapering really adds a touch, both tactilely and by look, that paint has a hard time comparing to.  If you have never wallpapered before, I recommend starting in a small space and remember, you can paint over the wallpaper if you don’t like it!

Bookshelves: Functional and FUN

Dearest Bookshelf: you stole my heart

OMG, I just had love at first sight.  Honestly, my heart just fluttered, breath escaped me and then I almost squealed when I saw….a bookshelf.  Apartment Therapy’s posting titled Bookshelf Porn is definitely my kind of porn.  I know that with internet, iPads and Kindles these days who needs bound papers with ink called “books” anymore?  Well, there’s something about having them in hand, being able to scribble notes in them, smell them after years of use and for me, seeing a plethora of beautiful bindings stacked together to make what I call artwork, takes my breath away and nothing comes close to it’s beauty.  Show me a beautiful library filled with bindings and I’m yours.

But really, reading the right book can bring inspiration, bliss, hope, clarity and insight to so many people in so many ways.  If you are like me and you like books then show them off!  Make an alter for them to rest at and indulge them with your cherishment.

Even though large bookshelves that climb to the ceiling are squealers for me, there are so many ways to show off your paper goods.  Pictures surrounding offer ideas but here’s some tips of my own:

  1. Stack books and/or magazines together to make a side table or stand for plants or even a lamp.
  2. I used a stack of magazines at my previous cubicle job to heighten my computer monitor; it added not only more color but also inspiration on where my next vacation was going to be (Budget Travel made up the stack)!
  3. Be creative with your book arrangement.  Breaking outside of the stacking lengthwise law will not lead to a ticket.  Stack horizontally and some at diagonals and maybe even by color!
  4. Concealed wall mounted bookshelves have been popular: buy a bunch and arrange them in an artsy fashion on a wall.
  5. Books can add a lot of privacy as a dividing wall…find an open bookshelf that allows you to show bindings on both sides.
  6. I love the idea of staggering books on a set of winding stairs (pic from Bookshelf Porn once again) or you can even do this along a straight wall for a low and long table look.

The point is to be creative and don’t hide loved books behind closed doors.  They can add so much character, warmth and color to a room while at the same time inspire someone who picks one up in your home and even speak to the values and interests that are part of your life.

Light Me Up!

Wowser.  Check out Cattelan Italia’s red lamp, titled Flag above.  I find it meaningfully stunning.  The awesome and eccentric pairing of it with the white traditional candlestick holders and red painted simple farm chair (looks a bit Scandinavian in feel but hard to tell from the angle) really adds to the dramatic, but uncomplicated, look.  I’ve mentioned previously that I have a special thing for lamps.  This post is going to focus on floor lamps and how AWESOME they are. OK, I lie a tad as I also include a list below of great online sources where you will find a slew of light design styles and types that extend from just floor lamps.

Floor lamps have a one-up from the table lamp because they don’t need a table to survive.  I know, so insightful and observant of me, right?  What this means is that floor lamps are an entity of their own that can be functional, beautiful and bold all by themselves.  If you have a dreary corner in a room that is dark and uninviting just add a beautiful floor lamp to the corner and voila! – instant makeover!  If you have a couch that takes up a lot of room with no space for a side table and you need to add more light and color to the space then a floor lamp is the solution to your problem.

Floor lamps come in so many different shapes, colors sizes and styles.  If you need a light that blends in so much that you forget it exists but still adds much needed love-filled-light, then you can find the perfect luminary that blends into your room’s surrounding with just a click of a switch.  Or, if you’re looking for a piece of artwork that will complete a focal point of a room you may just find what you are looking for in a vibrant and bold floor lamp.

Here’s a short list of some inspiring sites offering a galore of floor lamps to suit every fancy:

Graham and Green carries everything lovely and their floor lamp selection is small but terrific!  I especially love their Tripod Floor Lamp, shown below. (I know, the cost is in pounds but still great inspiration if you don’t want to deal with foreign purchases!)

The Urban Electric Company is known for their superb craftsmanship and unique lighting design that mixes contemporary with traditional while keeping it so simple and still refined.  They work with a number of amazing design artists so you’re sure to find one in their repertoire that suits your fancy.

I can’t speak too highly for Unica Home’s website interface nor the photographs, but their lamp selection is all encompassing and offers hundreds of options!

Ylighting is just terrific for a fun lighting e-shopping experience.  Check out the Steel Arc Floor Lamp.  It’s brilliant.

Shop a wide range of prices and styles at Neena‘s for all your lighting needs.

Below are two of my favorite floor lamp designs I have stumbled across.

1.  Strawberry Kingdom designed a truly brilliant lamp called the Good King Henry (see pic to the left) and I think it’s as masterfully witty as it is masterfully designed and built.

2.  OK, I know this one isn’t technically a floor lamp, but I just have to give a shout out for it as I think it is SO much fun! I give big kudos and applause to Alice Rosignoli for this witty champion.

 

 

 

Tactful TV Displays

Some people just love having their television be the center of all focus and attention in a room.  Not me.  In fact, not only do I not own a TV but I have never even bought one.  I’m sure I’ll cave in one of these days…I have a feeling it’s going to be sooner than later.  Until that point, I’ll still give you some tips for making your room and tube the best of friends.

It’s usually a struggle for most people on how they make the TV fit in their space.  One reason I don’t like TV’s is because they’re a big black hole that suck energy in and then never let it out.  Feng Shui faux pas you could say.  Hmmm, sounds similar to how you feel when you sit down and start watching Rock of Love, right?  No worries, there’s plenty of ways to hide, distract or beautify your TV space.  Check out the great design pics I found and here’s the list:

  1. Rather than using a made-for-TV stand, use a beautiful dresser or chest so people are more mesmerized by the furniture displaying the TV than they are with the black hole.  It can be even more fun if you lacquer the furniture bright yellow, red or turquoise.  Ooh, I’m going to dream land.
  2. Set your TV off to the far side of a long table or dresser and create a beautiful decoupage of objects on the other end to bring the eye to a bigger picture than just the monitor.
  3. A hutch with doors that close is always an option….just please don’t buy one of those gaudy armoires that are too big for your space and is in that traditional style that doesn’t match any other period of furniture in your pad.  OK?  Thanks.
  4. If you have the money and lack of space, having a flat screen that descends from the ceiling is uber awesome and ingeniously functional.  You can create a similar coolness by having it embedded in the wall.
  5. Buy a beautiful flat screen that blends with your surrounding.  I know, too easy, and you think I’m cheating by adding this tip.  But really, a lot of people don’t think about how their TV will go with the rest of their décor when shopping.  Check out the gorgeous and sleek look of the white pic to the right.  Nice, hey?
  6. Minimize the “stuff” around your TV and put more focus on another part of your room, such as a fireplace, the couch or sitting area, some artwork, etc…your TV will be barely glanced at and forgotten by all who walk in.
  7. Put your TV in the midst of a bookshelf or entertainment center that has more than just stereos and speakers sitting on the shelves.  It will give a similar effect as tips above where the TV will blend and be part of a bigger focal point than just it’s own black screen.

 

 

Lovin’ the Lamp Shade

My last post was all about lamps so I felt it would be fitting to follow up with a post on lamp shades and all the fun and craziness you can do with them.  Lamp shades can make or break a beautiful lamp base so they should not be overlooked.  They are usually of an ordinary conical shape and most often in the white or cream color.  If you want to have some fun and branch out from the norm, read and look on for exciting ideas on how to play with the shade of your lamp.

 

As I usually say, function first.  You have to first ask “what is the light for?”.  Is it for reading, dining, overhead lighting, or just for ambiance?  If you need a good reading light then using a dark and tight-fitting shade will just not be the most appropriate.  Whereas, if luxe and low-light sexy is the nighttime mood you’re going for then a dark filtered shade might be perfect!  After you figure out the lighting needs, have some of the following ideas help you with style:

  • Super glue custom fabric onto the shade to personalize a lamp and to match with the room in exactly the way you want.  Use a complementary pattern on the chair that sits next to the lamp.
  • Exchange your boring cream colored shade for a bright patterned one.  You can also DIY by painting on a pattern with stencils.
  • Trade in your smooth, boring shade for a textured one.  You can keep the shade simple without attracting much attention and still give the room lot’s of layering and complexity with just this bit of texture.  Try satin, suede, twill or even leather.  p.s. if you don’t find a shade with the texture you want, use the fabric idea I mention above to get the texture you crave.
  • Similar to super gluing fabric, you can also wallpaper your lampshades.
  • Staple gun or super glue feathers, ribbon, lace, or any other fabric around the edge of the lamp shade
  • If you don’t want the shade to attract too much attention but still want some fun with it, just add a pattern or fabric to the inside of the shade as you can see in the hanging pendants photo below.
  • My favorite part of my last home was taking a Chinese paper umbrella and cutting off the handle to place the open umbrella over an ugly ceiling light to not only give a better lighting effect but some fun from the bottom to the very top of my living room!

 

Balance Basics

*I do have to give credit and say that the curtain serves purpose for the photo shot. It balances out the expansive white and empty space on the left and adding a neutral brown to that corner is key to making the focal point of the bed and chandelier really speak out.

What is going on with the oddly hung curtain thing that looks haphazardly thrown over the window in the photo to the right?  Yeah, I don’t agree at all with the curtain decision*.  Bad curtain decision aside, I am captivated by this room.  Not only do I love the eclectic appeal of bringing the neo-classical bed in with rustic white floor boards, but the balance of the space along with the camera shot is like a lullaby to my eyes.

I don’t care how beautiful, expensive, colorful, or creative a space is; if it is not balanced I cringe and give an ugly face that is not becoming on me.  It is important for a person to walk into a room and feel calm and at peace.  If it’s out of balance, whether the person knows what is wrong or not, they will unconsciously be able to connect to the disconnect and feel it’s imbalance.

That being said, a few basic balance requisites to be considered are color, furniture size, furniture placement, heaviness and lightness of furniture and other placed objects, and period styles.

Love how the yellow lamp focuses the room and brings out the accent within the bedspread. Beautiful!

Color: If you throw every single color that’s in the rainbow, plus it’s mother, into your room you could have a pretty intense experience if you don’t balance it correctly.  Actually, this would be an intense experience whether it’s balanced or not.  Anyways, back to topic – you really need to distinguish the multitude of colors into categories of being primary, secondary and accent colors to give the room a feeling of cohesiveness.  This is important even if you have only two colors in your home.  Bring the colors throughout your space and really consider how you will use the colors to create focal points, distractions and blending.

Furniture Size: This is all about working with the space and scale of the furniture.  The larger the space, the larger the furniture can be and vice versa.  If you have extremely high ceilings in a gigantic room, then tiny and dainty love seats are going to look like children sized furniture.  Also consider furniture sizes in comparison to eachother.  Please don’t invest in a humongous sized bedroom set of dressers, nightstands and chests when it’s paired with a tiny twin bed that lies flat on the floor.

Furniture Placement: This balancing act works with furniture in relation to eachother and how it’s placed on the floor in the room.

It's quite difficult to put two very different chairs directly next to eachother, but this one works by matching up the fabrics in the pillow and seat cushion along with giving the smaller and lighter chair more weight by matching with the above artwork. (OK, I have to admit the tile floor drives me crazy)

Imagine a TV room with six chairs surrounding the screen.  No bueno.  A better placement would be a larger couch and two chairs on either side.  You can go too far the opposite if you take a large room and put three couches side by side.  These extreme examples are not seen often, and for very good reason.   Pay attention to how a piece of furniture fits next to other elements in relation to the floor space.

The furniture pieces are all so different in color, style and shape, yet it's balanced beautifully together by weighting it out and having the largest furniture piece be the lightest in hue.

Heaviness/Lightness: I refer here to the weight of an object alone as well as in relationship to another.  This is a very important balancing act that takes into account color, size, and material.  Weight is defined not only by the literal weight of the object but by the visual sense of an object.  A dark, square, and solid ottoman will be heavy in the space, even if it weighs one pound!  Whereas a clear glass coffee table top on thin metal legs will appear light even if it takes five body builders to lift.  If you have a heavy piece of furniture on one side of the room, you will want to consider what other heavy objects you can put on the other side of the room to off-set it’s visual weight.

Period Style: I’m an eclectic at heart so I have no qualms with mixing and matching styles and periods.  I do have a problem when they aren’t mixed with balance.  Having one piece of furniture from every century since Leonardo da Vinci

Lot's of eclectic fun going on here and it works!! The color palette along with the simplicity that goes throughout makes it a beaut.

may give your home a museum effect but it won’t fit together well enough to feel like a home.  Overlap as many styles as you like so as long as you do a number of pieces or innuendos to each period.

Please keep in mind that you can have some of the above points out of balance if the rest of the points are well in balance.  It balances out somehow.  My inspiration photo above has the pillows strategically placed asymetrically.  If there was no artwork above the bed, this arrangement might be a bit too eccentric for the balance doctor.  With the art arranged as it is, you see the busyness of the far right painting off-set the small pillow on the left side of the bed that attracts more attention with it’s bolder colors and pattern.  The yellow painting on the left works well with the yellow and gold color in the pillow at the right.  It’s so subtle but it’s balance genius in my opinion.

The small coffee table works with the large lamp because the table is heavier as well as the light rug underneath brings even more focus to the ground, rather than to the large hanging light.

I LOVE how the whole furniture placement is off center from the fireplace. Very atypical and very successful.

 

 

Wary Meyers is Way Cool

I stumbled upon Wary Meyers Decorative Arts and I am floored.  They are a creative design duo based out of Maine with a fun homepage on their website that showcases all their eccentric and beautiful endeavors.  My favorite part was checking out their Interiors, of course.

The reason I am so enthralled, as well as entertained, by their interior projects is because they know how to create functional, personal, beautiful, and creative spaces that do not reflect the typical designer look by any means.  Conventional, traditional, and uptight would be antonyms for their work.  You can see Linda and John adhere to their clients wishes yet still put their exuberant and  idiosyncratic touch in everything.  I suppose it doesn’t hurt that I’m a stickler for mid-century modern furniture and chandeliers, and they use both with a vengeance to prove the furniture’s beautiful compatibility.  Big brownie point from me.  Ooh, and they use lot’s of color with loads of mix and match patterns.  Another brownie point.

My favorite project is the Brooklyn, New York pink home.  It does not look like a designer came into the space and created magic in any way.  Now, I know that sounds like a dis, but it’s not.  Hear me out.  They so ingeniously created a space that portrays the clients wishes (quote: client…wanted a kind of pretty/geometric/Asian/pink/hipster vibe.) to a T, but they kept it looking real.  By that I mean it looks like the client placed every object in the room to their personal liking.  Every object and piece of artwork looks like it has a story that goes way back with the owner.  If there’s any IKEA, CB2, or Design Center merchandise in these rooms, I haven’t found it.  It is quite refreshing and impressive to see a professionally designed space that does not look like every other trendy home in every single friggen design magazine on the racks.  It’s fun, fun, fun and even a bit crazy.  And it’s done with style, talent, and balance.  Bravo Linda and John.  Bravo.

Green Goodness

I just bought some cute new shades that are extra cool because they’re green.  I had the choice between yellow and green and decided the yellow was reminding me a bit too much of Ronald McDonald so I went instead for the green goodness.  Hence, my color blog today is all about green!

Green is not only a popular color choice but the word has been dubbed as the popular nomenclature for the sustainable and eco-conscious trend which relates all facets of our human lives to our Mother Earth.  Green is everywhere in nature, even in much of the food we eat, and therefore reflects growth, life, nourishment and balance.  It’s a calming hue but more grounding and less cool than blue, and therefore I believe a number of green mixes to be the most comfortable colors to surround yourself with.  True green brings grass, trees or some part of nature to most people’s mind so consider that this is the first emotional association (whether conscious or not) that a person will have when stepping into a space with true green.  If you go more green-yellow you are moving to the chartreuse or pea green side which brings more attention and movement with it from the yellow.  By adding some blue into green you get an aqua or algae color that is more tranquil in feel.  The darker you go with green, such as olive green, fewer fans will follow whereas whitening green up will make it more breezy, light and fresh….like spring!

Green is so comfortable that it can work in any room in your home.  Green’s complement color is red…Ho Ho Ho!  Please make sure you use variations of red and green, rather than their true hues, unless you’re purposely decorating for the Holiday season or want to make someone puke in summer.  Lime green and pink is a popular color scheme for preteen children, or do a deep burgundy red with sage and burnt orange for a Tuscan like vibe.  I personally think mint green and rose is just the right amount of delicateness for perfection!  Using blues and greens in a scheme together make for a soothing and nature induced environment.  If you include brown as either an accent or base shade with blue and green you are practically bringing the outdoors indoors.  I now have to give a shout out to the best color combo ever: green and yellow.  GO PACKERS!  I’m from Wisconsin, so I have to throw that in.  But really, you can make green and yellow work without bringing Favre in the picture by melding them with other vibrant colors such as bright red and pink and using them all as accent colors on a white and cream canvas.  Ooh, makes me think of India or southeast Asia.  In fact, add some blue and you have just stepped into Morocco.

 

 

I Heart Montauk Sofas

There is only one major downfall to Montauk Sofas, the eco-conscious sofa and furniture manufacturer, and that is the fact that they’re based in Canada with no US locations.  I suppose this isn’t a downer for the person who lives in Canada, but it was a sad day for me when I learned this truism.  Now that I got this sad point out of the way we can go on to all of Montauk’s goodness!

The first thing I noticed about Montauk’s sofas is that their designs are lusciously brilliant.  For real.  They are gorgeous and I wish I could have ten living rooms to host a large plethora of their designs.  The reason I like them is because they look (and I hear are) uber comfortable and laid back and yet still have a polished and subtle extravagance to them.

The next part about their solid rock star status is their philosophy and manufacturing processes.  This company makes the statement that their “goal has always been to provide the most stylish, comfortable, fashionable sofas with no impact on the environment”. Montauk is a carbon negative company, basically meaning that they not only have a low carbon footprint due to their manufacturing processes and material consumption but they off-set enough carbon emissions to actually give back more than they take.  Pretty sweet.

The part that really makes me bliss is that their sofas are 100% non-pollutant if they were ever to go into a landfill.  It is made from all natural and organic products that when broken down do not leave any harmful residues, chemicals or non-biodegradable products behind.  This is what everything we create, use, buy and throw away should do.  Plastic, styrofoam, and oil not only do not break down through natural deterioration and decay, but they pollute our soil and water while keeping alive.

If you are willing to pay a hefty shipping fee. and maybe plant some trees to off-set the carbon emissions from shipping, I believe you will be saying it was well worth it once you sit down on it’s loveliness an go to heaven.

 

 

Bedroom Haven with Headboards

Headboards not only bring more focus to the bed as a centerpiece in a bedroom but they can also feel much better to bump your head against in the middle of the night than on a hard, cold wall (I hope I’m not alone on knowing the truth of this statement?).  I found a few bedroom pics that had, what I thought at the moment, the most awesome headboards EVER!  Then I kept perusing online for more headboard pics and realized that I get quite excited about every other headboard I see.  It’s a good thing I’m not a multi-billionaire or I would be buying houses all the time just for the purpose to furnish them with headboards.

When selecting a headboard, and/or frame for your bed, really think about how you want to feel when you’re lying in your bed.  Do you want to feel like a queen/king or do you want to drift off to a seaside cabana?  The difference would be between a grand, luxurious and bold headboard to a low, simple and inconspicuous frame.  Of course, don’t forget the functionality of what you do in bed (I am not referencing the naughtiness…unless that is something you really need to consider).  Do you read a lot or eat breakfast in bed?  You then will want a headboard that offers comfortable and strong support to lean against.  If you are a person who moves your furniture around all the time then you will want a headboard that is easy to move and is versatile in look with all the different decorating moods you go into.

If you’re on a budget there are tons of ways to make DIY headboards.  Check out Apartment Therapy’s post on DIY Headboard Inspiration.  Do any search online for DIY headboards and you’ll find ideas galore.

A headboard can add a very strong statement to a bedroom or just the slightest perfect touch.  Either way that you want to swing with your board, I recommend something behind your pillows unless you want to wake up with bumps on your head like I tend to do occasionally.

 

 

 

The Caldwell Flake Design Duo

In my previous post on headboards I posted a couple pictures that come from Caldwell Flake Interiors and I was so impressed with their website gallery that I have to give them a respectable shout-out here.  Lisa Caldwell Flake and Mary Ruth Caldwell make up this Mother-Daughter duo based in Birmingham, Alabama (a new city that I recently added to my “to visit” list) where they design interiors with elegant and classic appeal while still adding a dash of modern fun and a touch of minimalist order.

The thing that really captivates me in their beautifully shot photos is the boldness and vibrancy that is in their work that never seems to be too much or overdone.  By balancing out the spaces perfectly and not having anything more than what is needed in the space makes the bold patterns, bright colors and strong character in the furniture absolutely gorgeous, inviting and nothing that would be too eccentric for a classic and timeless look.  I do have a pretty eccentric taste so if you’re uber conservative you may disagree (but then you most likely would not enjoy most of my blog posts)!

I also want to highlight their bedrooms.  I think they have some really creative designs going on in this sleepy space and they’re quite good at making the bed a centerpiece of comfort and focus for the entire room.  I think if I walked into any of these bedrooms I would want to do nothing but jump on the bed and fall asleep with a smile on my face.  :)


Black Boldness

Black is the absence of light and therefore color (since light is white and white is created by a combination of all colors) and hence in many schools of thought black is really not considered a color.  I think this Color Matters site explains it in a simplistic and poignant manner if you’re interested in reading more about the topic.  Even though black is not a color from a scientific standpoint, I think most humans have a relationship to it as they would with any other color.  It still has emotional effects on us, it’s tied to symbolic and mystical traditions as well as sits as a standard choice in most crayola color boxes.  I call it a color for ease of intent and purpose.

Black is a dramatic hue and when used in design it can definitely bring a high amount of drama with it.  It can lend itself to sophistication, mysterious elegance, boldness and power.  It is associated often to evil, the occult, death, mourning (in western tradition) and seriousness.   With black being complete darkness in sight, it can also assimilate darkness of mood and energy.  In ancient and eastern traditions black was often one of the primary colors used to define one of the creation elements or directions, most often that of earth or dirt.

Black is a very common shade and is all around us but usually only comes in smaller ways as an accent color or a neutral to tie other colors and styles together.  If used as the main color for a room, you can get an intensely powerful and underworld-type experience.  I recommend most people to never do a room in all black as it will be too overwhelming and most likely depressing after any period of time in it.  If you do go for an all black room I recommend either getting a professional designer to help create it with success or possibly some psychiatric help.  Kidding!!  Of course, I still love black and think it can be used very effectively and beautifully in large quantities in a space but to then be tempered with other colors and by bringing softness to the room through other means.  Softness, or more yin energy, can come in through textiles, form of furniture (think elegantly curved legs on a dresser vs. hard edged straight lines), and even through more circular, organic and flowing patterns rather than geometric lines and shapes.

If you notice in many of the pictures, rooms that have large quantities or a very strong presence of black, are balanced with a lot of pure white.  White is it’s obvious opposite and to use black the most effectively, it is usually with pure color, or white, that it can be shown off most beautifully.  I adore the pics I’ve found to showcase on this post but personally I am going to stick with all black pieces in my wardrobe and less in my home. :)

 


Kitchens: Multi Designs for Multi Purpose

These days kitchens are usually the heart of the home.  Open kitchens where families can spend the majority of time together, dinner gatherings, and gourmet home cooking are all reasons for making this room bigger, more functional, and open in today’s age.  Kitchens haven’t always been like this.

Kitchens used to be a room in the home where only servants frequented to prepare the meals, at least for the wealthy.  It was designed purely for function and due to the lack of modern stoves, tended to be full of soot and smoke.  Then it morphed into many other styles depending on the class and location but most predominantly it found it’s new look starting in the 40′s when stay-at-home Moms needed their kitchens to be efficient and enclosed from the rest of the home’s living area.  At this time modern day technology brought in appliances, dishware and architectural elements in a multitude of colors and new materials.  Now days the kitchen has been opened up to accommodate not just the chefs and Mothers but the entire family, guests and even the pets.

There’s your brief history lesson on kitchens but the reason I write about them is really only because I have seen so many inspiring pictures lately on kitchen design.  Because kitchens have such a valuable place in the home these days, it’s important that the design of them is taken as seriously, if not more seriously, than other rooms. These days kitchens can be accommodating to any aesthetic and style preference.  If you are a minimalist you can hide pretty much everything and anything.  In fact, you can even hide the cabinets and oven!  Color is another thing that does not have to be left out of the kitchen.  Get as bright, bold, light or neutral as you want.  Also have fun with bringing in treasured objects as the space does not have to be utilized only for kitchenware.

Give your kitchen some individuality and let it speak about you.  It wants a voice and style as much as you want it to be functional.  Make sure to be grateful for this space and modern technology for being a place for inspiration and creativity rather than just soot, heat, and tedious food prep. :)

 

 

 

Acapulco Chair: Sitting in Paradise

I’ve been seeing a huge revival of the mid-century iconic Acapulco Chair in the last year (at least State side) and I think it’s for very good reason.  This chair kicks ass.  I will not go so far to say it rivals the Barcelona Chair, as we’re getting a bit too close to my heart if we go that direction.  These two chairs are also just a bit too different in style even though they were born of the same era.  Well, about 20 years apart.  Close enough.

The Acapulco does not have a known Father or Mother but we do know it was designed during the rise of the Mexican resort town bearing it’s name in the 1950′s.  It has been reproduced by many manufacturers and artists but the most typical materials used in its construction are steel legs and vinyl cord.

This chair is popular for its simple taste that fits inside, outside, with high-end and low-end.  I have to be honest and say I’ve never sat in this chair but it looks quite comfy and I hear from a number of sources that it really does encourage siesta time upon sitting in it’s graciousness.  It comes in a multitude of colors and many vendors source it in a fun rocking chair style that should not be overlooked.

Some of the vendors I’ve found to purchase from include GreenPointWorks (I prefer their chair in rocking style), Innit Designs, The Acapulco Chair Company, and Remodelista (a bit pricey).  Of course, the best way to purchase it is find it in a flea market or go down to Mexico on your next vacay.  I like the idea of having a productive vacation in a tropical paradise.  If you go to Mexico and find it at a steal price please bring one back for me too.  Thanks.

 

 

 

Viceroy Hotel – Miami Style

The  luxury Viceroy Hotels and Resorts have locations in more than a handful of highly sought vacation destination spots.  I’ve never been to any of them until this past weekend while exploring the beach crazed and hot bodied city of Miami.  The Viceroy is pretty hot itself.   When I found that Kelly Wearstler is responsible for the design with Philippe Starck handling the spa and wellness center, I was not surprised by my intense infatuation with it’s beauty.

The hotel speaks quite true to Wearstler’s typical style.  It’s bold, bright, shiny and full of unique character that is uber glam.  Upon walking into the entrance you have a variety of unique seating pieces that look like they should possibly belong in the Museum of Modern Art.   Anyone other than Wearstler would fail miserably to successfully include so much texture, pattern and material in the sky-scrape ceiling entrance of this hotel.  Even with all the busyness I only felt it to be stunning, gorgeous and deservedly pretentious.

My favorite part of the place (or at least from what I saw) was the design of the Eos Restaurant.  It was a jubilating arrangement of colors including orange, yellow, shades of lavender, tiny touches of soft pink and a neutral of gray flowing through it all.  I am really wishing I was a better photographer as I have yet to find any photos that do it justice.

I highly recommend checking this hotel out whether you check in a room or not.  The pool deck on the 15th floor is fantastic and you can enjoy the downtown skyline and bay while sipping cocktails in the gargantuan pool (one of 4).  Tip:  if you decide on a cocktail I recommend the berry mojto on the rocks.  Yum.

 

 

 

Tick Tock…Awesome Clocks

Time runs us as much as we run time.   Einstein’s theories of relativity promoted the idea of time being something other than what we currently comprehend it being.  If you’re a layman like me and want to know more from a theoretical abstract perspective, I highly recommend reading Einstein’s Dreams.  Most of that is over my head, so back in my reality I live by the clock, as most of us do.  If we’re going to live by the 24 hour day, we might as well be enjoying the clock that we look at, right?

These days you can have digital, analog, witty, simple, and everything you could imagine in a clock design.  Go big or small and there’s the perfect one to suit your needed space.  I dig these clocks for being works of art on a wall more than anything and the fact that they offer a valid function is just icing on the cake.

All around this post are some clock designs that called out to me.  Here’s some ideas to get your creativity rolling:

  • Check out this article in DesignSponge to learn how to make this rustic yet modern DIY clock, to the right.
  • Try out a wall decal clock from Dezign with aZ.  There’s a number of fun designs to choose from!

 

  • Look for clocks in vintage stores, hardware stores and I favor finding design savvy clocks at independent decor boutiques.  The Little Clock Shop hosts a number of modern and edgy clock designs online.
  • Another sweet idea for a DIY clock I found here at Introspection where they used meaningful picture frames to create the points on the clock. 
  • If you have a large expanse of wall that needs a little of something but not too much, then Dutch by Design’s Little Big Time Clock might be perfectly suitable.
  • Bring some classic into a modern twist with this sweet Orangita Cuckoo Clock found at Anthropologie.  (Lovely grandfather clock below too!)
  • Table lamps can spark a fancy just as much as a wall clock.  It’s also fun to wake up to an alarm that makes you smile. The ALBA clock got all thumbs up from me.
  • Last but not least check out Circle Box’s blog post on 65+ Awesome Clock Designs for some wicked coolness.

 

Ravenous Red in Your Room

Red.  The color of seduction, heat, wine, energy, the muleta (in bullfighting), vitality, confidence, action, lips, courage, love, and the forbidden fruit – the apple.  From these associations the color red is an intense hue that can be craved by many people and overwhelm others.  If used with awareness red can be a positively powerful color to filtrate into your life or it can be the opposite.

Red carries more heat than any other color (and longest wavelength of light) and is therefore a stimulant.  Even though it brings energy and can induce motivation and excitement, it’s temperature still makes it comforting and when balanced appropriately in a space can really ground an individual (hence, it’s also the color connected with the Root, or lowest, Chakra).

Red is a very popular interior color choice, especially in the dining room, for good reason.  Red connotes energy and discussion which can be a desired effect upon entertaining guests after a meal.  Though, be careful as too much intense red can also make people want to run away right after eating. Red’s energy is usually not recommended for the bedroom as it can cause issues sleeping.

To use red in your space effectively, you first need to be consciously clear on how you personally react to the color.  From there find what function and purpose the spaces in your home serve.  Then you can decide if the color should be an accent piece or if it would suit you best having a strong presence.

Red’s counterpart is green.  I personally love using red and green in my home but please be careful as you don’t want your home feeling like Christmas in the middle of summer.  I also enjoy putting together a scheme of various red hues from pink to true red to burgundy.  More traditional looks use red, butter yellow and blue together.  For a sexy, mysterious, and modern take pair red with shiny black and touches of gold.

 

The tiny bit of red in this space really makes it pop!

 

Cool Counters that are Earth Friendly

Please STOP with the pre-cut granite counter tops in every single kitchen!  Yes, I know granite is a hard stone that doesn’t lose value, it’s heat resistant, scratch resistant, and lasts a lifetime but the look is killing me with boredom and unoriginality (at least the pre-cut options that lack the beautiful and unique characteristics that high-end granites bear).  I may have just lost some readers and friends from this opinion.  Either way, read on to hear more of my opinion and check out alternative and sustainable options for counter tops.

At least American’s craziness for granite has come a long way from the laminate kick (thank God).  If you are thinking laminate – stop. right. now.  Onto worthier green options:

Concrete: Personally, this is my current fav look.  It screams to an urban industrial look yet being so close to a raw material I still find it to be warm and exotic.  This one is great with heat and scratches but needs to be sealed correctly so cracks don’t occur. Downside is that periodic sealing is a must.

Recycled Glass: This is fast becoming a more popular counter top choice due to it’s green features and trendy, many-choice colors.  Vetrazza is one of the more well-known recycled glass counter companies.   These counters rival granite in durability and performance.  Cost is competitive with granite and other stones.  Enviroglas is another company to check out.  Also check out recycled glass tiles (similar to ceramic tiles, below).

Ceramic Tile: When buying the recycled and sustainable tiles, this is a very eco-conscious choice.  The tiles are very hard, scratch and heat resistant.  Best part is they are inexpensive and can be a DIY install. Yay to economy recession!  The biggest downside is the potential for unevenness.  I say get some good cutting boards and who cares!!??

Recycled Plastic:  I’m on the fence about this one.  If done right, it’s a very green choice.  Problem is that plastic does not withhold to heat and stains too well.  Do your research on this one.

Wood: We all know of reharvested, salvageable woods, and bamboo.  I love the rawness and warmth of wood counter tops.  I believe the scratches and wear that unfinished wood counter tops show just add character.  Check out the Grothouse Lumber Company for great ideas.

Stainless Steel:  Definitely an industrial and contemporary look that is becoming more and more popular in the homes, rather than just the doctor’s office or restaurant kitchens.  It’s great with heat and easy to clean with no need for sealants.  Problem is that it can dent, can’t cut on it, and can be noisy.

Paper CompositeRichlite is a popular composite counter top manufacturer.  It’s a combination of recycled paper and resin.  It is very durable, easy to clean and heat and scratch resistant.  It’s a pretty awesome choice except it’s not as green-friendly as some of the other options on this post due to the resin and creation process for making.  Still, it’s a better choice than many hardstones and I love the sleek modern look it gives.  Paperstone is another pretty awesome counter manufacturer to research.

With anything “green”, do your due diligence by asking questions and finding out about the manufacturing, shipping and by-products of the counter top material.  Sealants should be low-VOC.  Buy local, if possible.  And even check out the company’s green practices in general.

 


Yellow and Aqua: Inspirational Duo

I’ve been a bit crazy about yellow and aqua lately.  I have been craving it like I crave homemade mac ‘n cheese.  I have been staring at yellow and aqua color swatches so much you would think I’m trying to download a secret message that gives the answer to the purpose of life.

I have not had any desire to wear these colors together (unless pink and black were added into the mix) but I have been dying to decorate a room – preferably a bathroom – with these two hues.  I have also played around with putting a bright and vivid red into the mix.  Talk about “hello brightness”!  Brightness is my friend.

I started to analyze my attraction to these colors and realized the combo lends itself to being exactly what I’m craving to be in life right now.  The yellow is very cheerful, fun, not serious, and inviting. The aqua speaks to me as being calm, focused, and gentle.  The two together makes me feel at ease.  Wistful.  Inspired.  Creative.  Gosh, it’s such a summer-y combination, isn’t it?  I love it.

 

Coffee Tables That Rock

My inspiration for this post came from Jennifer Delong‘s Charles Storage table, shown above.  I think the modern shape, with a mid-century look, and witty appeal is so sweet!  I think it would be a perfect table for a creative youngster and then grow with the family as an awesome coffee or side table.  It becomes double the fun when you use it for storage and flip the top to a wood side which changes the room to more of an adult space (But really, what adult doesn’t enjoy playing with chalk once in awhile?).

Coffee tables are a huge part of a room.  Not only do they serve a very functional purpose (kick the feet up, set a glass of wine, hold books, etc.) but they anchor a space and can make a focal point of a room the bomb diggity or just bomb it all together.

Choose a coffee table that meets your functional needs but then also make sure it speaks to your character and mood of the room.

Some coffee tables I recently lusted for are Restoration Hardware’s Furniture Factory Cart, Spectrum West’s Tuilleries Coffee table, Michael Arra’s Large Circles Coffee Table, Bernard Brucha’s LAX Coffee Table for Mash Studio, and I found the killer cool Stash Table at Apartment Therapy’s blog.

My lust list changes bi-weekly so look out for future posts with coffee table updates. :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Space Design Tips

Studios and tiny living spaces do not have to scream “broke ass college student living here”.  My happiest home was a 300 sq. ft. studio which included the bathroom and kitchen and I was not a broke ass college student!  Even if you don’t, haven’t, or never will live in a studio, these tips can be useful for any design project – especially small spaced rooms.

1.  Segregate space by function and purpose.  This means figure out what you all need to do functionally and physically in the room and then designate particular areas of the room for always doing only those things.  Have an area that is just for sleeping and have another space that is used for reading, TV watching and eating while another space is just for work.  Use Rugs, bookshelves, dividers, chairs/couches, etc. to divide the designated areas.  When you walk in, you should clearly see what each space is for.

2.  Play to scale.  If you live in a tiny space then please don’t get huge sized furniture!  Seems obvious, but I still see it all the time.  If you just have to get the amazing couch that is 3 ft. too long, then fine.  Splurge.  But you have to make up for it by balancing out the beast with the rest of the space.  You may need to make the opposite side of the room have more attention with strong color and lot’s of busyness.

3.  Character, uniqueness, and creativity trumps.  If you put some creativity and primo into your space trust me that first impressions will be more enthralled with the cool and unique factor than whether it’s to scale and balanced.  So put on your design cap and please DON’T put up unframed posters with masking tape!  So how can you decorate?  Buy canvas and paint.   If you can’t paint pretty pictures or cool geometric shapes then do a swap with an artist friend.  Paint your small pad with a bright, vivid color or maybe just a color you love that is uncommon.  Check out more photos to find cool and individual ideas that speak to you.

4.  Cover and hide whenever possible.  Closet space is your friend and once you organize it well please SHUT the door!  Or get a curtain, shade, or divider to cover a DIY closet.  If you have lot’s of bookshelves with junk, then get boxes with lids to hide the junk.  Put bins under the bed for storage.  If you like the cluttered look – it can work; but only if the clutter pieces has their own “home” too.

5.  Consolidate and get rid of it.  Do you have a gazillion CD’s?  Welcome to the 21st century and put an iPod on your Holiday list and sell the CD’s.  If you can’t part with the CD’s then at least get rid of the plastic cases and store them in CD books.  The other thing to consider is that if you’re living in a downsized space then maybe you should downsize the other parts of your life too.  Take a trip to Goodwill with all the shoes, clothes, books, magazines, mason jars (is this just me?), pillows, papers, etc.. and get a tax write off.

6.  Utilize wall space.  Put bookshelves high near the ceiling, place artsy wall hooks on doors and walls, hang pots/pans from nails over the stove, mount your TV, utilize high cabinets, buy pendant/hanging lamps rather than floor lamps, use a magnet/tack board to hold mail and papers rather than throwing on a counter in a landfill pile and the list can go on.  If you don’t have room for something think about how it could fit on the wall.

There’s a ton of other tips I could offer but I’ll have to save those for another day.  For more photo inspiration I recommend checking out Apartment Therapy’s Small, Cool Contest; it’s chalk full of awesome tiny spaces!

 

DIY Dresser Do Up

I’m so thankful for creative people in this world.  Especially creative people who like to paint dressers.  I myself have painted furniture, including dressers, in the past, but my skills don’t come close to touching these sweet, talented, and often witty designs.

There’s so much more to do with a dresser and other drawered (yes, I just made this word up) furniture.  These photos say it all.  I think the easiest and cheapest way to update some ugly furniture is to buy new knobs and offer a paint job.  Using a bold, accent, or complimentary color in your home on a piece of furniture can be sweet and creative just with one color.  On the opposite side, I was enthralled with how much I liked the idea, photo below found in Apartment Therapy, where the dresser was painted to match the wall color – making for a seamless and calming look.

Painting creative designs is not the only way to make a statement.  Another idea that I love, and have tried before, is wallpapering the dresser.  If you don’t have an artists’ hand then wallpaper can give the swirly designs you may be looking for.  Try putting the paper on the sides, rather than the front.

If you don’t want to do anything too permanent, you can always get a piece of glass cut to fit perfectly over the top (make sure the edges are rounded) and host photos, paper, fabric, etc. underneath for a unique and every-changing look.

And of course if you want the DIY one-of-a-kinds but don’t like doing the work then there’s always EtsyLena Corwin actually teaches you how to make the cute dresser to the right, on Etsy.  If you want to do a DIY dresser but don’t have a dresser then I recommend Craigslist and your local Goodwill store.  Have fun.

Beloved Blue

I wish I could say my all-time favorite color is something exotic, mysterious, and uncommon.  Alas, my heart beats most fondly for America’s (and most of the world’s) most beloved color of the rainbow – blue.  I do go through periodical spurts where I’ll be crazy in lust with an uncommon color such as my current digs of bold purple and hot pink.  Though, blue is always there in the background calming, loving, and never changing; and I always go back to it – kind of how an owner keeps forgiving the puppy that never learns how to hold her bladder until outside.  Or maybe not.

What is it about blue that makes people love it?  Something to think about is that the top two favorite colors of the world – red and blue – happen to be both the warmest and coolest of temperatures on the color scale.  Hmmm, I wonder if you’re into the warm shades you’re most likely to love red best and if into the cool hues blue becomes number one?

If there’s nothing to that idea then there’s plenty of other reasons why blue is such a hit.  I’ve already mentioned blue’s calm and cool demeanor.  Think of the sky and sea – infinite visual-scapes that brings one’s attention to blissful, hopeful and wondering dreams.  It’s a color found everywhere in nature yet rarely on any living substance that is deadly, poisonous and/or harmful.  If looking only at our biological disposal to blue we have little reason to be put off, weary, or edgy towards the hue.

Even though light blues can play a role as a sedative, if you get a darker shade of it, you’ll find it carries a lot of weight as being important, valuable, trusted and confident.  Hence the reason it’s the most popular shade for corporate company colors, and the suits and ties of Presidential candidates.

Blue is about as popular to bring into your home scheme as it is popular to be a Scandinavian with blue eyes.  There are so many values blue can be from baby blue to turquoise to cyan to midnight.  Be careful with blues in the kitchen as it’s a natural appetizer suppressant.  It’s great in the bedroom to help you sleep unless you are prone to the “blues” (depression in case my quotes weren’t obvious) and it’s a wonderful accent color anywhere.  Even though orange and blue are compliments and should go great together I just can never do it because I’m a Chicago Bear’s hater and it brings up too many unstable emotions for me.  Other combination’s that I do favor are blue and purple, blue and yellow, and I think blue and green is the most nourishing color duo.

I could probably write a thesis on the color blue, but I won’t.  I just hope it brings even a dash of the contentment and happiness to you as it does to me.

 

The Office Space

I wish I was going to give a blog post on the TV show “The Office” because I find that much more entertaining than actual office desks and chairs.  None the less, this is a design blog, so I’ll stick to the topic.  I will be the first one to admit that I don’t currently have a typical office space that I work in.  I have a “to go” desk that allows me to work anywhere.  Yeah, it’s pretty cool.  Most of the time.  Then when I see photos of office spaces like in these pics I can’t WAIT until I live in a place where I can make a real desk space happen.

What I love about many of these photos is that you can make an “office” even if you don’t have a room dedicated to being an office.  Get creative and have fun with making a space in your home dedicated to being work productive.  If you want an office space but don’t have a spare room then here are some things to consider if you want to get busy:

  • Think about what type of atmosphere you work best in.  You could choose the living room if you want to be near the family and TV while doing work.  If you need peace and quiet then a hallway or bedroom could be where you create your little nook.
  • How much table space do you need?  If you need a lot you may want to consider creating a dual purpose table space – such as a coffee table turn desk.
  • Do you do best with a minimalist approach or loads of eye candy for inspiration?  Find a spot that works well for the type of look you want to create so it stays balanced with the rest of the room.

Once you make some important decisions, such as a few that are mentioned above, then it’s about finding the perfect furniture.  I love this school desk by Larisa Leipins from the Ontario School of Art and Design.  A little chair like this is perfect for a tiny space where you need not much except a laptop and pencil.  Shelving is another great way to save space and be useful or even a tiered desk or a hide-away desk is a fun option to try for small spots.

What’s most important is dedicating an area to do work.  It doesn’t need to be fancy shmancy nor does it have to be big.  Just needs to be big enough for your purpose and a place you enjoy sitting and being in. ;)

Do you see the little desk in the back right corner? Cute, hey?

 

Fabulous Foyers

Whether you call them entrance ways, foyers or vestibules – they all do the same thing.  They can be huge or barely there, extravagant or empty, wide and fat or long and narrow.  Whatever their look and use every home I know has at least one so make it nothing less than awesome.

The functional purpose of a foyer is to be a space for incoming visitors to brush off  from the outside elements with room to place shoes, umbrellas, possibly coats, etc. Foyers have another purpose that doesn’t pertain to function but is important none the less.  That purpose is being the first impression that incomers to the house experience.  Think about those grand mansions and castles where upon walking inside you have a room larger than the dining hall with a grand staircase.  They can be quite fabulous and these first impressions last a long time.

The good news is that you don’t need to live in a mansion with a gigantic entrance way to have a magnificent first impression with your visitors, or yourselves for that matter.  I don’t stick to rules too closely but I do have three points that I like to incorporate with consideration when creating your perfect foyer: lighting, rug, and a seat.  Lighting is important as you will want to have adequate light when coming in from the dark at night or leaving and trying to find your shoes and tie the laces.  A rug is crucial for adding comfort as well as being easy to clean up the mess and dirt that comes in from outside – you should have a place to wipe your shoes on!  Having a seat is sometimes difficult to incorporate into tiny hallways – but if there’s any way you can get a tiny bench in then I say do it!  It can be an uncomfortable task to take off and put on shoes while standing and leaning against a wall.  A seat makes the area immediately inviting and very functional.

I liked Donkee House blog’s post on Entryway TipsDesire to Inspire had a really great article on what to do with a long narrow hallway as well.  Here’s my short list of tips for adding character to an otherwise drab entryway:

  • Panel the walls or add high embellished baseboard to create elegance.
  • Wallpaper (previous post on wallpaper ideas) or paint a design on the walls.
  • Paint the whole room or even one wall a vivid and bright color.
  • Hang a chandelier or a bold hanging lamp.
  • Put up a large mirror to extend a small space.
  • Add a small table that has lot’s of character from Goodwill, an antique shop, or even pull one out of the garbage (seriously – what’s one person’s junk is another’s treasure doesn’t apply just to college students)!  Having a table of some sort is the perfect place for many people’s keys and loose change.
  • Put up cute or creative wall hooks in tiny entrance spaces for a coat and umbrella hanging solution.

What most people do is ignore the entryway all together when designing.  Please don’t.  You don’t have to go crazy with it either.  Some of these photos show how just a small thing can make a huge impression.

Curry and Plum: Fall Colors

The days are getting shorter (meh).  Wisconsinites are getting out their jeans and jackets again while us Floridians are finally turning off the air and opening up windows after six months of intense heat.  Yup, Fall happened.  Happens every year.  The two colors that speak to me at this first break of cool weather this year are curry and plum.  Gold and amethyst would be good names as well.  I prefer the sound of warm and fragrant curry to distinguish this warmed up yellow from my summer hue choice (summer hues blog post here) and the festive taste of plum is a good definition of the color to welcome us into the cooler seasons.  Also, curry happens to be one of my favorite foods. Ever.  Panang curry wins the crown of all curries.

I love these two colors together even when it’s not the ending of summer days.  Purple being majestic and bold added with curry that is warm, creative, and inviting make for a royal and handsome pair.  For your home, the hues together are strong and beautiful.  I would only be careful of putting these together in a warm and tropical climate.  They could conflict with the bright sun unless enough whiteness, coolness or vividness is brought in with them.  For instance, by adding pink and red you balance out the seriousness and bring feelings of far away lands such as India.  If you add in a teal or baby blue to the mix you create a much more calming and relaxed environment and the intensity of the energy is cooled down substantially.   Imagine these combos in different environments – such as an urban NY city home or a beach property in the Bahamas.  Way different, right?

Another reason I like these colors right now is because they are hot colors that would add an awesome punch to the typical Halloween and Thanksgiving hues.  Mix these two colors in with your typical orange, yellow, brown, red and black shades and you will outshine your neighbors and impress your visitors with your stylish coolness.

Mixing a lot of gold or brass fixtures and objects in with plum will give a similar result – even more luxurious.  Another quick and easy way to add these colors is to go and buy a bunch of flowers and viola! Instant perk.

Stay warm all you Northerners  while I can now start to enjoy being outside without sweating a lake the size of Texas.

Staircases that Sweep My Heart

First I have to give my apology in regards to leaving you all hanging the last two weeks with no posts and not a mention of my whereabouts.  I took a trip back to the spectacular San Francisco and it threw my whole mojo off and I was unable to get any posts together.  Second thing to mention is that I’m thrilled about this post because it’s written with two inspirations in mind: the Ikea rug staircase to the left found at Brown Button and Architzer‘s showcased staircase by Paul McAneary Architects, below.  Staircases can be meaningless or meaningful to you but it’s so much fun if you liven them up with some character.

I love the DIY staircase, mentioned above, with the idea of sewing a bunch of Ikea rugs together and laying them on your wooden staircase for a chic and trendy look that’s as easy and cheap as boxed wine.  OK.  It’s better than boxed wine.

Architizer’s staircase, to the right, is beautifully designed.  I would compare this one more to a finely aged Merlot.  I love it’s gracefulness, simplicity and the beautiful materials that are used.

The staircases I show in this post all inspired me or awed me in some way or other.  I know that it’s not an easy task to change the architecture of your staircase but you can have a say on what decorating you do around the staircase.  In most cases I recommend framing meaningful personal photographs in the stairwell as you will be able to adoringly look at the photos on your daily ups and downs.  If you have a wooden staircase an awesome idea for changing it up is to paint them.  Beware, as it can be painful to change back to natural wood if you ever were to get sick of the painted look.  Otherwise, have fun. :)

Some other fun ideas for spicing up your staircase and stairwell include painting or wallpapering the inside step, tiling the sides, wainscoting the walls up the staircase, changing out a boring railing for a personally carved wooden sweet-as-shit railing, and I’m sure you can get some other ideas from the pictures surrounding this post.  Ooh – and check out the photo below that shows a terrific staircase with a slide on the side designed by Alex Michaelis for his kids.  That is a child’s dream come true.  Actually – that would be a dream come true for me too.  I need to find an architect father….

Colorful Couches

It’s known that I love color (Hue Amour = Color Love) and I happen to be smitten with couches too so I’m throwing them together in this post.  I am salivating like a rabid dog over the Bokja Talia sofa, shown above.  It’s a modern shape with crafty design patterns.  Check out Bokja’s website because their products kick ass.  I only wish they had a retailer in my backyard.  I want to throw it together with a rustic wooden coffee table and two acrylic side tables making an eclectic-ly shweet combo (two more words that I just made up).

This couch, on the right, is from mixr and is feminine, dainty, and classy.  I wish I could give you more info on it but I don’t speak or read Swedish.  Another winner for me is the Squint Oswald Sofa (where do these names come from?), shown below, from The Conran Shop.  It is robust, with an elegant design and hyper patterns.  The pillows look so plush and fat that I just want to go and jump on it.  Sleep on it.  Have sex on it.  I could probably even set a table in the middle and serve a 4-person meal on it.

Another girl-y couch that I fell hard for is the flowery patten on this federal era couch found at Pure Green.  I like how it compliments the danish modern couch with black and white stripes to the left of it.

The square couch, below, from Designers Guild is jubilant with the added turquoise fabric!  They  offer some pretty spicy and bright fabric choices (and wallpaper!) that I highly recommend checking out.

If you have a boring and plain couch and want some color cover it with a blanket, add some patterned pillows, buy a slipcover, or reupholster.  Cheers!

 

 

Chihuly, Color and Architecture

Last week I went to the Chihuly Collection exhibit in St. Petersburg, FL, part of the Morean Arts Center.  It kicks ass.  It is the only permanent Chihuly collection in the WORLD!  If you live in Florida, or ever visit Florida, and you appreciate blown glass then this exhibit is a must-see.  Dave Chihuly is a world renowned glass blower hailing from Tacoma, Washington.  He has revolutionized glass blowing designs and was a pioneer in making glass blowing a more prominent art form in the United States.

Chihuly creates beautiful, colorful and extravagant works but he adds another layer of insight and depth into all of his exhibits through the interaction between his art and the environment.  Hence, green houses are a favorite hosting ground for his glass work.  Even though the St. Petersburg exhibit is indoors with no plant life, the environment was still created to be interactive and live harmoniously with the glass’ daily existence.  The exhibit starts with entering through a huge 900 lb steel pivot door that awakes not only the visual senses but your sense of smell with the cedar plank lined walls that emit a wonderfully earthy fragrance that welcomes and grounds you with it’s outdoor influence.

I was as mesmerized with the architecture of the space as much as the glass pieces themselves.  His Venetian collection is placed in front of a primary blue venetian plaster wall (so fitting).  The chandelier section is in a white venetian plastered room with curved walls that reflect the lights and colors of the glass beautifully.   These casts of colored light look like watercolor paintings splashed upon the wall.  The Travertine flooring adds even more reflection to the space as well as elegance and a nice balance with the rustic wood walls and industrial steel door.  I also liked the sharp staccato sounds of my heels walking on it…can’t say the other museum goers reciprocated my feelings.

I was awestruck with this exhibit not only for the art itself and the architecture created to display these masterpieces, but it was the idea incorporated of having the walls and edges of your environment speak with and interact with the things inhabiting the space.  It’s a thought to have in mind whether designing a museum or your own home.

P.s. Click on the images and you will be taken to the site I found them where you can read more details on the photo.

M. Design Interiors Inc. Plays Bold

I came across M. Design Interiors Inc. via DesignSponge.  I was giddy from seeing the photos of Kate Schintzius’ apartment (above two photos), the Associate Interior Designer of M. Design Interiors, that lead me to their website.  I can definitely see her own style come into the interiors displayed in this design firm’s portfolio.

What impressed me most was the use of bold patterns and strong, yet often unusual, color schemes. Molly Luetkemeyer (founder) and Kate Schintzius take risks with color, pattern, and layering and they always do it with success.  I find their work to be chic, trendy, and very comfy with a down-to-earth feeling no matter how glitzy or artistic the room may be.

The Bel Air Residence (below pic)  showcases their adventurous, unpretentious and mod interior attitude.  The bold and colorful stripes painted on the wall reminisce to me my parent’s younger era and it keeps with the homes architectural period.  Seriously, how many people would think to do something so in-your-face and pull it off with awesomeness?  M. Interiors.  That’s who.

I did have some confusion about the bathroom from Benedict Canyon’s Residence where a large photograph of a beautiful couple is displayed above the jet tub.  I’m not sure what I would think while taking a soak and gazing upon a portrait of my lover and I in casual form.  If it’s not a picture of my lover and I then I would be even more disturbed.  Anyways, that’s no diss to M.Interiors – just an interesting observation.

These portfolio pics definitely inspire me to do something a bit crazy – preferably to use a bold patterned wallpaper in a room or even paint a fun design on the ceiling, like they did with the Laurel Canyon Residence (above left).  I hope they inspire you too.

Gray and Lavender

Yes, I am still on a purple kick.  As for putting gray and lavender together I’m not quite sure what caused the inspiration, but I’m feeling it.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been feeling a bit gloomy and the colder weather is reminding me of gray.   Combining  it with my current digs of purple, but a shade softer, seemed fitting.  Don’t worry, this does not mean having a gray and lavender room, or any amount of gray for that matter, leads to gloominess and depression.  In fact, when you’re around these two hues you’ll only want to chillax!

Gray is cool and comes from a mix of black and white – colorless colors.  It is also the representative color for many metals – hence giving another “cool” element to it in terms of actual physical temperature rather than just visual temperature.  It’s a very popular background color as it can tone down or liven up a space, depending on the colors and textiles that are added to it’s scheme.

Lavender is calming but more energetic than blue.  It’s feminine and at times even delicate – like the many flowers representing this hue.  It’s romantic like pink but not in the makes-me-want-to-throw-up kind of way.  This soft color is also related to spirituality and healing.

The coolness of gray with the soft feminine touch of lavender can create a stunning space a touch of sharpness.  If you want a more masculine look then go with darker grays, think charcoal, and put smaller pops of lavender color here and there.  If you want to warm up this duo bring in warm browns – it will ground the coolness.  If you want some warmth and more pop then I’d opt for a deep red, going on the burgundy side.

Even if this isn’t a combo you would ever use, you have to admit that it’s at least nice to look at, right?

Ringling Bros Marveliscious Mansion

Aqua Sunday Blog

Archinology

I did another museum tour this week at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.  This circus tycoon’s estate was brilliant.  Sarasota became the winter grounds for the Ringling circus in 1927 and it was John and Mable’s successful intention to bring a new flourishing of life and culture to this beautiful seaside city.  On the grounds was not only John and Mable’s private residence coined “Ca’ D’Zan” translating to “The House of John”, but one of the Country’s most magnificent private art collection hosted at the Ringling Museum of Art.  The home was completed in 1926 and the museum opened in 1931.  I heard great things about this place but the building design and decor blew me away.

The home was designed by New York Architect Dwight James Baum in Venetian Gothic style with the interior styled in similar Gothic appeal.  There were two details about the home that I loved most.  One was the stained glass windows.  These gorgeous windows adorned every room in the home.  Even though they were colorful with greens, blues, reds and purples, it was subtle enough that it was not overdone and only reminisced in the slightest and best way the vibrancy of the circus  (I have no idea if they were going for this effect or not).  My second favorite part was the mint green painted walls in the kitchen and pantry.  I fell in love with this subtle tinted green and how it showed off next to the white porcelain wash basins, creamy cupboards, stainless steel washing surfaces, and black and white checkered marble flooring.   It was the perfect touch of early-century modern but smoothly worked into the Gothic design throughout the rest of the home.  OK – I have to throw in one more sweet point that I loved: The Tap Room.  This is where they must have gotten wasted, if they did that sort of thing.  I’ve never wanted my own private bar room in my home until seeing this one.

Onto the Museum.  The works of art in this place is something superb and rare in itself.  Too bad I got distracted with the beauty of the interior detail and especially the Renaissance room that was painted in a rich teal color that I wanted to melt and die in.  The space reminded me of old European museums where the rooms themselves are full of color, character, and wood…something I find more and more rare in modernly built museums that seem to like a stale white canvas from floor to ceiling.  I did not see one single room that was all white.  Albeit, I ran out of time to walk the entire 160K+ sq. ft museum.  Crap, I got a good work out.  I loved that walking from one space to the next you would feel as if you’re walking into another world not only due to the change of art displayed but the walls themselves bid you in and farewell with rich textured wallpapers in variety of colors, gold leaf stencil, and unique marble and carved wood columns at many entrances.

Add the Ringling Museum of Art to your Must-See-Places-Before-You-Die.