Banquettes

February 4, 2018

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A banquette by definition is an upholstered bench along a wall, especially in a restaurant or bar.  What I’d like to add is a banquette isn’t really a window seat or vice-versa unless of course your window seat was built at the correct height to dine at and you have a table and auxiliary chairs on hand to support dining at said window seat (technically now a banquette).  In a nut shell if dining or drinking isn’t intended, it’s a window seat or a built-in bench.

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I’m not sure this counts but if one were to have a late night supper at this tiny table you cold argue this pretty alcove bench is a banquette.  It has a chair to pull in and a stool (easy perch) for the host(ess) but I’m afraid this just doesn’t cut it for me. It’s pretty though, best part for me is the drapery framing the opening.  If you hadn’t guessed yet banquettes are on my mind these days.  We moving a few things around at our place so I’ve been zeroing in on certain details… today: BANQUETTES. and guess what, Size matters!

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Once you have identified where you want a banquette, triple check you have the space to accommodate the scale of your built-in and that it will hold the number of people you expect it to.  Expect your banquette to be a minimum of 20″ deep (this accommodates for a small amount of pitch on the back rest, or a straight back and room for a pillow or two) and an 18″ seat height.  See diagrams at the bottom of this post for more details.

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I personally prefer the look of a straight back with lots of pillows, because I like pillows. But! don’t be fooled into thinking deeper is better. You have to provide a back rest of some sort, pillow or upholstered or pitched back.  Trust me, no one wants to sit through a meal with their core engaged the entire time.  The paneled detail on the banquette in the image above is very pretty.

img_1529.pngUltimately I think this style with upholstered “arms” that hold you just a bit is really the best of all worlds, sofa like but proportioned to allow you to work, draw or blog at a table (30″ high) and dine of course.  The world is going crazy for banquettes right now so I’m filing this blog post under Trend Alerts, yeah… they have been around a long time but they are very HOT right now.

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THE END.

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let there be light…

January 31, 2018

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…and let it make a statement.  Your light fixtures are the right place to take a risk, make a point, and inject some personality.  Yes, they can be expensive but they truly are the jewelry of a room (and who wants cheap jewelry?) Now thats not to say something inexpensive but fun and whimsical or creative, or unique isn’t a great idea… I’d celebrate that.  Typically though, you get what you pay for with light fixtures.

Two points I’d like to make are 1. your light fixtures don’t have to match, in fact they shouldn’t (unless were talking about scones in a space, a long hall, or pendants over an island or other instances like that) Mix it up from room to room, and have some fun with not doing everything in a certain genre, you can have an old crusty lantern in one room and a modern saucer in another. BUT the finishes must speak to each other.  Lighting is no different than any other detail on your home.  Windows, masonry, woodwork to create cohesiveness those details have to tell a story through color, texture, shape or style.  And if you’re mixing up style, focus on the finishes telling the same story.

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The other point is you can change a light when it falls out of fashion, but you have to rip out that backsplash accent you couldn’t live without, and trust me… you will get sick of the over designed backsplash.  Or the niche detail you think is a good idea now.  There is no harder job what it comes to good design than restraint.  Thats why i started by suggesting you put the “risk” into light fixtures, they really are easy to change out.

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Parting thoughts… use light fixtures to enhance a space, not just light it.. places like the top of bookcases or over your favorite painting (but not if it has glass please). Add sconces down a boring hallway or up a staircase.  Don’t think about them just providing light, make them a point of interest, design them into your space and for pets sake PLEASE put them ALL on dimmers.  Unless your pulling out a splinter or reading the dictionary, I’m pretty certain you need to dim your lights down.

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The End.

 

 

Blue & White

November 7, 2016

img_1049It’s a classic that never seems to fall out of favor.  Blue and White feels appropriate in any season, in any place, and in any room. The above image is a family room I designed for a summer house on the South Coast of MA.  The clients were young and I wanted the room to feel sophisticated and classic but relaxed.  The wide striped rug from Barrier Island Rugs sets a sporty tone and the ticking stripe on the swivel chair and the Kelly Wearstler pillow fabric all play nicely together. (Upholstery by LEE Industries)

 img_6376 img_4025Stark Carpet is a leader when it comes to broadloom and rugs.  They have an endless supply of patterns and styles and there is not shortage of blue and white.  I’m particularly fond of the ones in my photograph that I’m using for current client.   As you can see these patterns go from bedroom to living room to staircase, blue and white can be used to suit any space.  (headboard by LEE Industries)

img_4023 img_3815The color story doesn’t have to stop at fabrics and rugs, Front doors, art and accessories are all fair game.  Here’s a shot of my front door, a clients house and one of my most favorite pieces of art by Marine Edith Crosta. Her unique miniatures are hand painted and framed in her East London studio.  The frames and glass that she uses are antiques so the sizes and characteristics can vary, which I love.

img_2776 img_2362A blue and white palette benefits from an added neutral or a pop of color like red, but that doesn’t mean you have to add another color.  That said you can also play with the amount of each color you use to find the loo you want.  I love a dark blue room with a crisp white chair rail, like the Private club house I designed for a local Golf Club.

img_2150 img_1936Things that go well with blue and white rooms:  Tortoise Bamboo Blinds, White Shutters, Brass Accents, a Pop of Color and more Blue and White. Thanks for stopping by…

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Dreams Do Come True

September 18, 2016

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“Create your own reality” is a phrase friends and I saw once inscribed on a school or civic building when we were in our early twenties.  I think it was in the Sunset district of San Francisco.  It became a catch phrase for us, used more in jest at first, but it has become a mantra for me that has guided me in my adult life.  Many years ago I decided that I’d like to have a home in Provincetown,  it was in fact September 15, 2011 click to see entire post  (FIVE YEARS AGO) I set my eyes on this house…

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And now it’s mine (ours).  It has been for 3 years now. I stalked it, I watched it I asked about it, I found a realtor that knew the owner, we inquired, we offered and we were accepted ( with a little negotiating ).  I pinch myself every time I pull in the driveway – not only am I so very happy to have parking in this bustling little town – but I can’t believe my good fortune to have the opportunity to be the caretaker of such a beautiful cottage, in such a great location, in a town I love, only an hour and a half away from home.  So here is where we are now… moved in, interiors cute, beachy, relaxed and for the most “done”.  But the bathroom is crying for an update.  So the last few posts have been about making sensitive choices that will update the bathroom, without it feeling like it doesn’t belong in this tiny, charming little cape house from the 30’s.  

Mostly, I wanted to recognize that 5 years ago to the day almost, I had a dream.  Today I’m sitting on the sofa, writing this blog and throughly aware of the gift it is in my life.  I love this house.  I want to do right by it.  I’m going to keep processing materials and ideas in my mind and maybe on the ol blog til I have a bathroom worthy of showing off.  Until then… Check out my posts Summer (house) May 19, 2014 and SeaSide Chic – I think so anyway August 3, 2014 for previous posts featuring other shots of the house.  Cheers!  

L.B.F (little black faucet)

September 11, 2016

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I want to do something unusual in my bathroom remodel and I love the look that brass fixtures give a room but I worry that in my marine environment that the brass won’t stay pretty for long.  I don’t need it to stay perfect forever but that’s not the only reason I’m afraid to use it on this project.  You see, it might come off as a bit to glammy for the house. In fact I’m pretty sure I’ll have to save that look for a different project.  I need something a bit more subdued, rustic but modern.  The obvious choice is black.

To me black fixtures in a bathroom give a Scandinavian vibe.  It’s european for sure but there is a modernity that says Danish modern and mid-century to me.  I also like the 20’s 30’s aesthetic black and white give, again it’s modern… but modern with a twist.  I’ve never in my 25 plus year career spec’d black fixtures for a bathroom, if you can believe that.  So, I have no idea how it will hold up. or if it will look bad in a year.  or if upkeep is hard… but i think I’m ready to experiment with my own bathroom, before I tell a client they ought to go for it.

e77c2a06ea19cc88495dd454cdf79a18I’m going to go with Dorn Bracht for my faucet and shower sets.  There are many brands that offer black as a finish, but I love the X handles of the Tara series and the clean smile neck of the faucet.  Pop back in a few days… I’ll share some inspiration images with you so you can see the look I’m going for.

Stairway to Heaven

January 5, 2016

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An architect makes a house, a staircase makes a home… if it’s a show stopper like these!  I love a dramatic staircase because foyers and stairwells are typically difficult to festoon or bedazzle with furniture and fabric, although one or two of these images may prove me wrong.  It’s really all in how they are designed, built and decorated.  If you’re not lucky enough to have the budget or space to create something magical, work with what you’ve got a god for some DRAMA.  imageAlways a classic, the white painted riser and the black tread makes a statement.  It’s an elegant choice and can be achieved on almost any typical staircase.  All one color works too, but go for something bold if you choose a monochromatic  look.  The sisal on these stairs is a nice counter  to the slick, shiny formality of the black and white.  It ‘s the perfect Yang for the stairs Ying.  …if you know what I mean.  imageYou might not have an all brass circular staircase  in your home or apartment – get one if you can – but you could think about panting  existing metal  balusters antique gold in lieu of the expected black.    You can also replace  balusters without replacing your entire hand rail system, check into it if you hate yours.  imageMMMMMM…. I do like a spanish influence, and these stairs are pretty classic.  In the  States, I think you’d see more terra-cotta tile with these pretty decorative painted tiles but simple cement stairs like this  that are made on site are everywhere in Mexico, Spain, Portugal and other  countries… I find this style charming and they last forever.  imageLet’s just pretend you are stuck with a plain old, run of the mill staircase.  First paint it, stain it or do what ever it needs to freshen it up.  Then add pattern, animal works for me.  But if you a bit more conservative you can go geometric or stripe… but I suggest animal.  Grrrrr.  imageYour last resort, the absolute final final option is add art, LOTS of art, like Philip Mitchell did at the Kips Bay Show House (and follow him on Facebook too, he’s fab).  He actually did a lot more than just toss some art around, the rug, wall coverings, paint, light fixtures and everything else you see were all carefully hand chosen – you should be as diligent.  But if all else fails, add art.

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If you’re going to leave it bare, and I mean completely naked… you had better have one sexy staircase already!

imageHere is how I updated my back stairs.  I painted the risers and left the treads a stained pumpkin color and added an antelope pattered broadloom, expertly installed I might add.  The texture of the V-groove vertical boards is enough to add interest without hanging art.

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LOVE Naturally

December 31, 2015

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This is my Jam! I love the creamy natural vibe of these spaces, these finishes and the relaxed, natural aesthetic (drink) they present.  I don’t miss the patterns, the colors… I don’t miss anything that isn’t in this range, everything I need in a room is right here… The white,the leather, the polish and the rough… perfection.
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Same goes for this kitchen… the Walnut/Teak tone of the wood and the marble and the white and the polish… thats all, thats everything.

316934_247682428627012_158446624217260_700394_1630259487_nOf course there is a style to the furnishings that is also VERY compelling.  I’d say these are all pretty contemporary spaces, but the warm natural elements keep these rooms feeling warm and inviting. There is a mid-century vein running through these images that feels authentic and not kitschy.  I like it.

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 I’m crushing on these built-ins BIG TIME!  What a dreamy place to sit and drink coffee!  Marble table (Saarinen) for the win…l7c4493

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!