Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Living Room Refresh 3 ways, 2 more ways

I'm working on a quick project with a fun client to help pull their home together to love even as they consider selling.  In fact, this is their first house, and they have almost sold it several times in the past few years; as a result they have a hodge podge of first-house hand me downs and inexpensive furniture bought to stage it.  We rearranged some things, determined what to keep and where they could spend minimally for maximum impact--and made sure they loved the new pieces enough to take with them (Eventually), while keeping them inexpensive enough that if something didn't work in the new house, it wouldn't be a major loss.

The main goal was to work with the block print upholstered chair, the couch, leather ottoman, candelstick lamps, and the existing red pieces.  I made suggestions for a pair of slipper chairs, new rug, textiles, and art or mirrors.  Three different looks:




We also contemplated swapping the corner chair (which we borrowed from the basement) for a leather investment piece, which allowed us to go crazy with color, as the client was inclined to do.



Sometimes I really love quick little projects!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The 10-Color Palette

We recently visited the newly refurbished library in our neighborhood, and in addition to my usual M.O. of scouring the children's section for just the right selections for my young readers, I actually cruised the design area as well.  While I love having a home filled with design books (and honestly refer to many of them on a regular basis), there are some that are either not quite my style or are needed for inspiration on a specific project, and I really only need to check them out once.

The biggest general idea I took from my cache of borrowed books is from Sibella Court, stylist extraordinaire, in her second book, Nomad.


The idea?  The 10-color palette.  I remember watching an HGTV show years ago called Find Your Style, which was organized around the principle that you can create your own interiors using a fool-proof palette of four materials--including color.  I always thought this was so limiting--it generally came down to one wood tone, one metal, and two colors--though the designer always pulled off great transformations.

Sibella's 10-color palette feels much more in keeping with my design sensibility, and leaves room to get specific about shade.




Beautiful, right?  These palettes are inspired by different locations (from top: Mexico, Greece, and Japan).  I went a little more local and pulled the palette from my own home.


14.  (And I definitely left out some shades of orange and yellow.)  Looks a little crazy, doesn't it?  But somehow, with the right repetition through my spaces, it works.

This was a really fun little exercise!  How many colors do you think you have in your home?  Go count: You might be surprised by the answer.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Where do you put the pattern?

This living room has been slowly evolving.  We have all the furniture and lighting in place, as well as custom window treatments and shelves, a revamped fireplace, and a wallpaper accent.  While I often start with textiles, this time we have sort of backed into the rug and throw pillows.  I have been envisioning something neutral and sophisticated, with texture or subtle pattern.  The client's husband suggested that we do a "crazy" rug.

Behold, one living room, two ways:

CRAZY RUG!

Neutral rug with bolder pattern and color on the pillows.

The crazy rug is at a great price point, making it possible to use it as a current accessory, rather than a long-term investment.

What would you choose?



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Switching up the elements

One of the things I think about a LOT in my work is sight lines, and the relationship of elements from one room to another.  For example, if we have blue on the walls in one room, I might put it on the upholstery in another room or the floor in a third.  This helps keep a tight palette but allows you to experience color at different levels and in different materials.

When revising the dining plan I showed you the other day, I remixed some favorite elements to get this:



But the pair of armchairs they are currently favoring for their living room are leather in a similar tone.  To achieve the same mood but take the leather off the chairs, I did this:



The blue stripe in the chairs, the leather on the floor (and we can even use an existing hide!)  My client couldn't be happier.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Design Plan: Dining Room

I've been working with a local photographer to plan and decorate her new home.  She has a great eye and she and her husband want a mix of more transitional pieces with some trendy ones.  She's also not afraid of options, and I had lots of fun putting together some possible furniture plans for her dining room.

The color palette comes naturally from existing elements around the house, she wanted something brass, and we know for sure that this piece will go on one wall, opposite the kitchen.


The table and chairs are in front of a sliding glass door to the deck, so I wanted to keep the side chairs short but the head chairs tall to bridge the height of the sideboard.

Here are some of the options I presented:




This last one departs a bit from the red, blue, and tan palette to include mint, another favorite:


What would you choose?

Happy Monday!



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mixing and matching with a red jenny lind bed


Fixed elements: Aqua walls, maskros paper pendant, red jenny lind bed, red felt heart pillow.
Mix up the textiles for a fun 7 year old: go!



Hope you had a lovely long weekend!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Reconciling what you love with the look you want (Styling up a kitchen)

Most of my projects tend to focus on decorating--furniture and fabrics--more than fixtures and finishes.  Lately I've been doing a bit more work on the "shell" of spaces, and it's really fun to think about the foundational pieces!  So often I am thinking about how to hide or make the best of existing features or to create a look that the client loves in spite of those things.

Here's an interesting question:

What do you do when you ARE starting from scratch but can't quite reconcile the things you love with the look you want?

I am advising on a kitchen project right now and my client wanted a modern farmhouse look (the house is in fact on a farm), but fell in love with cherry cabinetry.  She worried that the cabinets would play against type (lots of urban apartments put them in in the 90s), but I believe it is all about what you DO with those cabinets.

Here's some inspiration.  Hard to find, with white kitchens reining supreme for some time now!

House Beautiful. See many more gorgeous pics here.

Farmhouse sink and beadboard backsplash

Okay, yhe cabinets are white but the island is cherry!

My client chose cherry cabinets with a simple shaker profile.  As the name suggests, farmhouse sinks are a great first step in going for that farmhouse look.  Flooring, backsplash, hardware, and lighting all offer opportunities to push it farther.


Look one: Modern twist on the classics.

Subway tile gets a twist with two sizes mixed together, and classic iron bin pulls go modern with an elongated profile.  A painted checkerboard floor (on the existing, beat up wood) is like classic marmoleum, but better.


Look 2: Vintage Charm

Gauged slate floor feels like an old French farmhouse, and the rippled enamel light shades add to the vibe.  Hammered metal hardware and herringbone subway feel artisan, while the Windsor stools and wire chandelier are truly timeless.


Look 3: Schoolhouse Eclectic

This one goes a little schoolhouse or nautical, with milk glass pulls, penny tile back splash, and over scale caged pendants.  Either floor works here, and the red stools pop against the fresh white accents.

What do you think?  Did I pull it off?






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