Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
In my last blog I wrote about how fashion designers can be equally talented at interior design, a la Coco Chanel, but fashion itself can be an inspiration for decorating. Take the recent winner of HGTV's Design Star, Emily Henderson. Her whole design theory is that you can create an interior based on your wardrobe. On one of the final episodes of Design Star she created an interior based on a man's wardrobe. One of the ways she accomplished this was by doing a navy pin stripe on an accent wall. She incorporated the feel of the clothes with texture, color, pattern and accents. It was great! See more on Emily at http://www.hgtv.com/
On a recent visit to Rodeo Drive I saw an incredible store front display at Prada. Here are maniquins dressed in blues and blacks....navys, turquoise and soft blues, with ribbons, lace and plaids and prints. Now this could be a great inspiration for any decor. I can imagine it as a coastal cottage or urban loft, sophisticated or just fun.
You could use bits of lace as trim on pillows, a bold plaid rug on the floor or how about a band of color all around the room like the waist bands on the dresses. I can see lots of white with splashes of brilliant blues in lamps, art, glass, or tile. Yes, in a kitchen with white cabinetry and countertops a dramatic cobalt blue glass backspash, table settings with plaid napkins and blue goblets, or the backsplash could be a fun mosaic of multiple shades of blue. The feeling I get from these chic frocks is casual sophistication so that might be what I would strive to express.
How would you interpret these dresses in decorating a room? The possibilities are endless.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Has fashion ever been an inspiration for an interior decorating project for you? I would love to hear about your experience.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
If you need more material then you will need to select full slabs. What? When you go to a showroom they will have small samples to show you but many times they are old and from slabs that are not available. Also many marbles and granites have a lot of variation and you need to see the whole slab. Some are very dramatic and have a lot of "movement" or large strong pattern. Some will have areas you do not like and many times the fabricator can work around that. Others may have flaws. It is really important to inspect every slab you are going to use.
Looking at slabs for me is great fun. It never ceases to amaze me that these slabs are cut out of the side of a mountain somewhere in the world. It is Mother Nature in her glory. When you go, bring anything that will help you make a good decision....they might even be an interior designer, a friend who has experience with choosing a counter top ....but also a drawer or door or sample of your cabinet finish, sample of your wallpaper or floor tile or even a photo from a magazine of your inspiration room. Can't bring samples? Take a photo.
Where to go? Ask your contractor or get a referral to a fabricator. Don't have one? Stop in several marble and granite showrooms and they will refer you to one. Go prepared not just with your samples but many times these granite yards are outside.....if you are wearing sunglasses....take them off when you look at the slabs so you can see the true colors. I like to bring water to drink...or sometimes they have bottled water for you to drink. Not only can it be hot but dusty.......and don't wear black, like I sometimes do, because the dust gets all over you!
Have fun! I would love to know your slab selecting stories and send photos of the end results.
I just finished vacuuming cat hair....floors, furniture, window blinds....it can be anywhere. Cats, more than dogs, hang out in the tiniest of spaces where I would never think to look for fur, like window sills and sliding glass door track. We had dogs for 30 years and have recently acquired a cat, a long haired cat at that. Living in Florida we have our air conditioning on all the time. My how her fur loves to fly. Even when I just pet her it floats through the air like it had little feather wings. And what does that mean? I must have cat fur on every surface of my home. Do I dare put on my glasses and see the truth?
So this brings me to bring up the subject of decorating with pets....that does not mean using fabrics and wall paper with little puppies and kittens. Of course I am referring to how having a pet or pets can influence your decorating. There are lots of things to consider, not the least of which is fur. What kind of fur? What color of fur? Have a white cat or dog? ...don't get a navy or black sofa, rug or floor. No polished black marble or black lacquer for you! The same could be said for black fur shedding creatures and white surfaces.
I have often had clients who caution.....don't forget my furniture needs to be pet friendly. That could mean practical and easy to clean or no loose weaves that might get caught in little claws. It could mean using window treatments that can be raised up so a curious pet can look out the window or door. Or using a vertical treatment so the sliding door can be drawn open slightly so the door can open slightly to let a furry friend go outside. And, watch out for the cord operating systems that could get tangled in a frisky pet.
Got delicate porcelain figurines or personal treasures that are fragile? Best to keep them off the surfaces where kitties are prone to tip-toeing. I think the situations are as diverse as the personalities of our pets. One thing is certain, if we have pets they are part of our family and will definitely have an impact on how we design our home.
Creating a fun environment for a beloved pet is a great "pet project".
Don't forget that dogs, in particular, may also spend time in their crates. These less than attractive items can also be large space invaders. I have been thinking of creative ways to incorporate them into a home's decor. My partner Ellie and I have come up with some great ideas. We were also selected by Pierre Deux to be in a design contest for a new pet product. We designed the most amazing convertible sofa bed....a recamier.... which is a fancy word to describe a type of French lounging sofa. There are many pet beds on the market. Some elegant canopied creations fit for a princess, a furry princess. Many are very basic cushions that come in the basic colors and fabrics. As a designer I think if a pet has a bed or a crate in a beautifully decorated home, then they should be part of the design too. I am wondering if there is a market for that? We could incorporate the fabrics and color schemes and make these items accent the decor instead of detracting from it. They would be customized to not only compliment the colors of the interior but also the style, formal, informal, contemporary or classic, coastal or country, urban or shabby chic. The possibilities are endless. This fun to think about.I found some unique pet crates and cat beds on line...see above pics. Look how fun and attractive these pet accessories can be.
Friday, April 16, 2010
For this project we wanted something beautiful, a natural stone product and something that would not only compliment our scheme but also cost efficient. We need a remnant. So how do we find that? First call our fabricator. This is the person who actually cuts the countertop, finishes the edges and installs it. Frequently they have usable pieces of larger slabs left over from other installations. He said there were several options that sounded like they might work for us so off I went.
He was right. He gave me samples of 4 slabs. I was looking for basically a pure white but that does not exist in granite....so what did I find? There was white quartz, white quartz with dots of green and beige, green granite, and, if you can believe it, fuchsia quartz! The fuchsia quartz was very close to the color of the orchids in our sink and flowers in our wallpaper. That color on the countertop would make a powerful statement for sure. The white quartz had a yellow cast and that would not work, the green granite was a bit muted while the other colors in our palette are more vibrant so that did not work. Hmmmm
As luck would have it I got an email from another supplier about a new product and a follow up phone call. During this call I asked about remnants. Yes, they did have a few and they would email me photos. There were good possibilities. Hopeful, I drove to their showroom and there I spotted a display with a fabulous granite that I had seen in the photo. It looks like stones cut in half. It is mostly whites but also has a bit of gray and a bit of golden brown. How pretty it looks with the wallpaper and faucet! After showing all the samples to our client this last one was it!
When the vanity base is installed the fabricator will measure or make a template for the top. He will fabricate the top and backsplash and finish the exposed edges in the style we select. Some styles are standard and others are an upgrade....which is code for ...more expensive. So when planning for countertops there is alot to take into consideration. Future posts will have more tips and info on granite/marble selecting.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Inspired by a bowl of goldfish? This delightful cabana bath was a collaboration between myself and my client. In this project we found the wallpaper first. Since the bathroom leads out to the pool we wanted a it to have a touch of whimsy but also sophistication. This is also a guest bathroom so it must be totally functional as well as beautiful.
The first thing that draws your attention is the fabulous coral paper. If you look carefully you will see glass jars with goldfish. We were debating between this paper and another but when we walked into a showroom and spied the glass goldfish vessel sink....we were charmed.
The custom vanity has a simple Asian design. We removed a corner linen closet and had a linen cabinet made to compliment the vanity. A white corian top is lovely and practical too.
When you use vessel sinks there are a few things to keep in mind. Your vanity top needs to be a bit lower and the faucet a bit taller or as we have done....wall mounted. When we found the river rock tile we new it would be a terrific back splash. By wall mounting the faucet it seems like the water is flowing out of the rocks. The floor tile was another great find. The 24 x24 tiles look like grass cloth and we installed them like in an alternating basket weave pattern....like a grass mat. Fun! Speaking of grass cloth, look at the ceiling. Yes, it is grass cloth but a printed grass cloth rather than real woven grass in a vibrant green. Don't forget the ceilings, even in bathrooms.
The tile in the shower is another Asian inspired touch. We found narrow rectangular white tiles, stacked them to look like a shojii screen and accented the walls with green glass tile bordered by a wonderful tile that resembled bamboo. To complete the feel we used the river rock on the shower floor, which we found out when the guests were showering, feels like a foot massage!
One of our goals was to make the shower bigger, so we took down the wall next to the vanity and built a new "knee" wall a few inches further out. This made the shower door larger and with the wall down it opened up the shower tremendously. Our plumber moved the plumbing to the adjacent wall. It was also cost efficient to use an all inclusive shower panel that opens to reveal body sprays! More fun.
Since the back splash was high, we needed mirrors that tilted down. We discovered these, after scouring the Internet, at a local store and took them home with us. The pendant lights resembling coolie hats, the simple hardware and bamboo towel ring and accessories added more detail to enhance our Asian garden theme. My client found a wonderful table/bench to place in front of the white wainscoting that we designed to balance the large vanity. It is so pretty when guests walk in to the room and look right out to the pool through the French door.
Yes it was alot of work and quite a messy job. Don't let anyone tell you that renovation is all laughs. However it does help to keep a sense of humor, too. It was fun to work so closely with my client. We were always on the same creative page resulting in a delightful, beautiful and, if I do say so myself, stunning cabana bath, or as my client would say, "ab fab" (absolutely fabulous)!
What kind of fun have you had renovating or redesigning a guest bath?
The original "bamboo" faucet set will work perfectly except for the chrome finish we saw when we first discovered it. So back to the showroom we go to see what other finishes it comes it.
I suggested we design a vanity in a Chippendale or Chinese Chippendale style. Our client loved the idea. So now I have to figure out how to accomplish this. There is also a closet in this room with large bifold doors and we will tie in the Chippendale look on the doors as well.
There is so much to do and decisions to make. Let's see, lighting, mirror, hardware, countertop, towel bar, accessories. When working with a client all this has to be approved and priced. We bettter get back to work.
I would love to hear from anyone who is doing or has done a project like this. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Alas, this is the way it goes sometimes. Rest assured the powder room is still going to be sensational!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Ellie and I split up to cover more territory. We confer by cell phone and meet up here and there to see what each other has found. The showroom I assume is going to have the best selection proves almost fruitless. I am disappointed. What happens to me sometimes is that I have an idea of what I think will be the perfect thing ( in this case wallpaper) but find it is elusive. Does it exist somewhere? I will search till I find it or change my mind. But I do not give up easily.
However, what I have learned is to keep an open mind because sometimes I discover something that is even better than my original idea.
What we did discover is that fuscia is a hard color to find in wallpaper. Of course we can custom but usually that requires a larger minimum than what we will need. However one showroom carried a line that did have some papers with fuscia. What I was looking for was neither too repitious of the orchid pattern or too busy which would take away from the sink. I had in mind a "silk" or grasscloth background with perhaps a design printed on top....or a scenic pattern or a different type of trellis pattern or butterflies, lotus leaves, bamboo, ....I think you get the picture. Since the sink style we like only comes in white we also need the paper to have white....not off white. We liked the idea of polished chrome with the sink as well, so that will influence the paper too. Did we find it? We found quite a few but we are not finished with our research yet.
When the paper is decided upon I will design the vanity accordingly. I have an idea already about what the hardware might be too. We will need to select a toilet, towel bars, a mirror, lighting and accessories. The floor will be a continuation of the marble floors we are installing in the main areas of the home so that will keep it simple. Keep it simple? Is that possible? There is so much to think about, even in a powder room!
I interested to know what any of my readers have done in their own or their client's powder rooms. What did you use as inspiration? Did you go for the drama or keep it understated? Did you dress it up? Did you make it fun or whimsical? Did it have a theme? It would be great if you would post a comment . I would love to hear from you!
Inspirations are everywhere. Have you ever seen something and thought, I would love to design a room around this?
Here is what I call a waterfall faucet. It looks like an interpretation of a piece of bamboo sliced to allow water to cascade into a bowl.
In this case a bowl of orchids.
I have embarked on a new project....0r should I say we, because I am partnering on this job with another design firm. Ellie and I have done many projects together. Design jobs frequently require more brainpower and manhours than one person can offer. She is extremely experienced in managing projects both large and small. Hooray for Ellie!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Dazed and Confused in PBG asks,
I am in the process of updating the masterbath in my 12 year old house. I plan to have the cabinets refinished and to frame in the mirrors. There is one large window in the bathroom, which currently has 2" wood slat blinds. They are white and do nothing for the room. My husband and I are always at odds because I like light and he likes privacy. I was considering a plantation shutter since I could open up the top part of the shutter and leave the bottom closed. Do you have any other suggestions? The room really needs something to bring it all together and I am not sure the plantation shutter would do a thing to help that.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Photo: Hunter Douglas Photo Gallery
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Wow, I just bought a new decorating magazine. It was a skinny thing but seemed full of ideas. I popped it in my grocery basket. Boy was I shocked to find out it was $10! The magazine is about Flea Market finds which is always a fun way to decorate. It could give me some inspiration or even motivation to make over something a client may already have in her/his home.....repurpose, if you will.
So this brings me to a confession......I hoard my decorating magazines. I don't think I am the only one. I have piles of them. I am so reluctant to part with a single one. There could be the perfect resource, idea, photo or article that I might need at some time in the future. So, you say, why don't I just cut out the things that I think I will need? Well, yes I do that from time to time when I am urged to purge. But then I end up with a pile of clippings....so now comes the organizational part. Just make files according to subject and file away. Doesn't that make sense? I will do that some day when I am home with a cold or when I am waiting for the cable guy or something.
But for now I do have a comforting pile or two or three of design magazines. So maybe I can justify my recent $10 purchase if I cut myself some slack. It is not my obsession but my security blanket, right? What can be wrong with that?
Monday, March 8, 2010
Being an independent designer can be isolating, so keeping in touch with other designers is like a life line......for resources, solutions and just sharing common experiences. In fact my friend Lucille founded a group of designers here in South Florida called Designing Women (men are welcome too but none have joined....yet.) We are open to sharing ideas and sources with each other. Many designers covet their sources etc but we are different. We can't wait to let our fellow members know what we know or cry on each others shoulders. Thanks Lucille!
For me one reason for entering the blogging world is to expand the way The Designing Women work.....for networking and support. I am hoping other designers will find this blog a way to be connected. I know I am looking forward to hearing from everyone.
I am finding starting a blog to be as energizing as beginning a new design project. It's hard to stop my mind from being consumed by ideas and inspirations and questions.
So I guess I should focus on first things first. I owe a big THANK YOU to my talented friend, Victoria ( who happens to be my son's girlfriend) whose patience and skills helped me launch my blog. We had talked about websites but my son, Tim, said, Mom you need a blog. It is less complicated, cheaper and you can do it yourself......well, maybe. I can't thank Victoria enough for her guidance and expertise. (You can visit one of her successful blogs, myveryworstdate.com).
Saturday, March 6, 2010
How can I choose a color scheme? I like some of the colors schemes I see in other peoples homes, models and magazines but how do I know I would want to live with them in my own home?
There are many ways to begin: art, fabric, rug or photo in a magazine, bouquet of flowers etc. but sometimes inspiration is just a closet away. Go to your closet. What colors do you see? Mostly neutrals? Start there. Choose one neutral, beige, black, white, gray, cream or maybe taupe. Pair it with another color you like to wear, one that makes you feel good. Then add a splash of another color, perhaps a brighter or stronger color as an accent. You can add color in patterned fabrics, art, paint or accessories. The choices are endless.
Photo: House Beautiful