Monday, March 30, 2015

I Love Lamp

Nothing creates a cozy atmosphere like some good lamp light.  It was pretty much blasphemy to use ceiling light in my house growing up.  Aside from the ambience they give off, lamps are also a great, and very practical, accessory.  Let's look at some great lamps that may be just what your home needs...

Let's start with floor lamps, a great solution if you don't have enough room for an end table.  The arced lamps are also great reading lights.  
This first lamp is a great mix of feminine and industrial.  

These next two come from West Elm, a great retailer for some affordable, yet super cool lighting.  West Elm does a great job catering to today's young professionals.

This last floor lamp has a great shape, and I love the wood base.  Modern, yet warm.

Now let's move on to table lamps....oh the possibilities are endless...
These first two are from Arteriors, probably my first stop when hunting for lighting.  I've used this first one, and the stone is beautiful in person.

These next lamps are beautiful mercury glass mixed with a linen/burlap looking shade.  Great combo!

Lastly, let's look at some task lights.  A great company to start your search would be Herman Miller.
This is a great, out of the way light called The Flute.
This next photo of clamp lights from Pottery Barn would be great in a craft room.
We are ending with my favorite desk light, and it's from Target! So pretty!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Trend Alert- Mixed Metals

Lately we've been seeing a lot of mixed metal finishes, and all I can say is, THANK GOODNESS!  If I ever do another satin nickel faucet, it'll be too soon.  Blah blah blah is what I think to matching everything.  This new look adds interest to your design, not to mention, a more eclectic look.  Nothing is more boring (in my opinion) than a bathroom with every last piece of metal having the same finish, and typically the plumbing and hardware are all matchy-matchy too.  

Sorry about the rant, but that is one thing I'm forced to do at work, match every last damn finish.  Even if the client doesn't want it, my boss insists because it's safe.  Ok I'm off the soapbox.  Now, let's see how designers are living out my dream of blinging it out to different finishes.....

Let's get things started off with John Legend's kitchen and those killer gold everything about it.

I have no idea who lives here, but still a lovely living room.....

Loving these gold pendants! Kinda industrial in a pretty feminine kitchen, great combo!

This would be a great look in a hotel! 

This photo comes from the magazine House and Home, which is one of my favorites!  I really enjoy the U.K. Edition and highly recommend.  Anyway how amazing is this faucet? 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Loving these Living Rooms

So i know design is an arbitrary topic, relevant to every client's personal taste, but sometimes I have a hard time watching the train wrecks that occur.  We have a client that really doesn't know what they like, so rather than take the time to figure out what will make them happy, a coworker of mine just keeps throwing more random shit into this hodgepodge house.  I'm not trying to be negative or dramatic, but it's bad.  There was a $5,000 chair that had a "flame" fabric up for, huh?  It's bad when we refer to it as the "fire chair".  Anyway, some damage control has been done, at least that's what my eavesdropping ears overhead.  But the living room is still the problem child, so I thought we could look at some well done living rooms and talk about what makes them work...

This room has a calming neutral palette that would appeal to a lot of people.  It has some different textures going on to give it some depth, but clearly the most interesting aspect of the room is the gallery wall.  I love how the shape is organic and the frames and mattes are different.  The ceiling detail is another example of an understated detail that helps sell the look. A lovely room and monochromatic color scheme, with a couple of rich dark woods to help ground the space.

This living room does a great job of feeling fun and fresh!  Love the cool green mixed with the black and white patterns.  Looks like they have some cozy textures happening too.  Definitely would love to spend my springtime in this living room!

This room is much more formal than the previous photos.  The high contrast of the creamy fabrics with the rich dark woods give a more elegant feel.  The symmetry also furthers this look, notice the wall art, lamps, and the chairs that are mirrored.  

Ooh honey I'm home!  Who wouldn't love to welcome guests into this fabulous sitting room?!  This room has mastered the details.  The moldings and trim work is so beautifully don't, yet simple.  Herringbone floor? Yes please.  The silver frame around the artwork add yet another touch of class.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Creating Custom Furniture

Do you have an empty wall that is screaming for a console but just don't know what to get?  While many retailers have great options, if you can't find what your heart desires, consider getting a piece custom made.  We do this more often than not for clients, whether it be because we can't find the right size, or a certain finish, custom furniture is a great alternative!  When working with a designer, you will get a better price than just walking in off the street, but the prices aren't as scary as you may think, and they quality is usually far more superior than a retail store.  Plus you are supporting local craftsman, win win right?  

Let's talk about some of the elements to your custom furniture piece to really make it your own.  

Wood Species
Walnut: my favorite species! Walnut is characterized by its beautiful cathedralling and warm caramel color.  Not a very hard wood, so make your to consider that!  Character grade has more knots and is lesser priced than select grade walnut.

Alder is often used because it is fairly inexpensive and accepts stain very well.  Knotty alder is more rustic and busy with knots, clear alder gives a more uniform look.

The unique grain pattern of Curly Maple, also known as Tiger Maple, offers beautiful patterns which makes it an ideal choice for distinctive furniture pieces.  This wood is also strong, heavy and hard.

Teak is a great option is you like a more modern, contemporary look because of its straight grain.  It has a warm color and is very durable.

We can talk later about hardware and legs in a part 2 post of Creating Custom Furniture.,

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Bohemian Design Defined

I have come out publicly as a "modern farmhouse" girl.  But if I had to choose a close second, it would definitely be boho interior design!  Maybe that's because I'm slightly on the messy side ("slightly?!" Eye roll from my dear old grandma).  But it's true, bohemian design relishes imperfections and life as it unfolds.  It is all about patterns that you love, not just what works into your perfectly well-planned scheme.  It's about displaying art and artifacts that tells stories of your life journey.  Now with that being said, I can't exactly dole out the rules of achieving the look, as it would be a bit of a contradiction.  I can however, point out some common themes of this lovely look. 

First would be to mix it up with pattern.  I always try to get a good variety in when go a little crazy on pattern.  Mix up oversized prints with small and everything in between.  Also get a good variety of types of pattern, like not all florals, or geometric, etc.  The photos below do a good job of blending in different patterns.

It seems that most of these fabulous spaces have a Moroccan element, sometimes with the architecture, sometimes with some fabulous tile work.

Now let's talk about furniture.  Probably the furthest thing from accomplishing this look would be to have a bunch of big box store furniture.  Finishes should not match, neither should the legs on chairs, etc.  This look requires some pieces with a considerable amount of detail.  Let's look at the following pics to give you a better idea of what I'm trying to say.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Art of Hanging, well, Art

Ok so anybody can stick a nail in the wall to hang a picture on the wall, right? Maybe not always centered, but you get the idea.  As a designer, I've picked up a few tricks to get the most out of my walls.....

In a space that's a little on the small side, consider hanging a bunch of very similar pieces of art to help fill the space and make it feel larger.  

Ok the next photo is a little overkill in my opinion, but still not bad to look at.  I think the antlers and branches on the table are a bit distracting from the simple symmetry that could've been created.

Ok let's talk about gallery walls, which could be related to the topic above.  But the vignettes above are simplified to not overwhelm an already tight space.  A gallery wall really has no rules.  I like to get a good mix of art, like maybe an abstract, some photography, mixed with some words.  I sometimes like to lean all these different art pieces on a ledge for a super casual look.... See below

So maybe you don't want to go quite as casual as the photo above.  You can still create a killer gallery wall!  Aside from mixing up the type of art, throw in a clock or mirror.  Be deliberate about how you're going to handle the frames and mattes.  They don't need to all match, but make sure there isn't just one odd man out.  Ten black frames and one wood frame might look like a mistake.  Just be aware of the details because they really do make all the difference

Now that I've gone on about clusters of wall art, let's take a minute to talk about negative space.  When you have a well accessorized room, it's important that your eye has a break.  I truly believe negative space can impact design as much as a decorated space.

The last thing I'd like to go over is hanging heights.  Nothing screams bachelor pad like a bunch of super high pictures (most likely of Bob Marley).  You want the art to be at eye level, but because that can vary so widely, 63" is thought to be a good midpoint for art.  There are exceptions to every rule though.  When hanging art over a console, or something similar, keep the art low, so it is incorporated with the furniture.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Area Rug Assortment

There are a few things that I'm a sucker for- great lighting, wall coverings, and a beautiful area rug.  I think those three things can make or break a room.  Let's focus today on the last item, the area rug.  Do you know the difference between the different types?  Let's have a review, shall we? 

Dhurrie Rugs
These are a very affordable option and a great look.  They are a flat woven rug that come in many different styles.  So if you are budget conscious, or maybe there's an area of your home where you are height concious (maybe right under a door swing?), these could be this area rug for you.

Tufted Rugs
Tufted rugs are a great compromise because they are typically made of quality products, such as wool, but because the manufacturing process isn't too intense, they are generally reasonably priced.  They are created using a tufting gun, where the wool fibers are looped in and out of a backing into a pattern and then sheered into a cut pile.  

Woven Rugs
These are created on a loom, and because of this, they can be stocked with many different colored yarns. Both loop pile, aka berber, cut pile rugs and a combination style can be made this way. The loom is the oldest known rug making technique, and continues to be a means of creating beautiful area rugs.

Kilim Rugs
Kilims are produced by tightly interweaving the warp (vertical) and weft (horizontal) strands of the weave to produce a flat surface with no pile. These rugs are not the most durable, so make sure you place them in a low traffic area.