February 7, 2015
We have a LOT of snow Back East with more coming soon so I can only dream of khaki shorts and fill-flops, serving my friends gin and tonics and decorating with the heat of summer and refreshing ocean breezes in mind. But it’s that dream that keeps me from becoming too terribly depressed when I’m so cold I dread getting out of the shower. I think what’s really going on is this is the first year in many my Husband and I have not taken a warm weather vacation mid-winter to escape the grey doldrums, if only for a week or ten days. So I propose we take a break from shoveling, take of our hats and scarves and if only for a few minutes pretend were somewhere warm, with tanned skin, the scent of salt in the air…
I guess it’s all that is conjured up in the mind when one thinks of summertime that makes decorating toward a nautical theme so attractive. It reminds us of vacations, and summer houses, lazy days reading under a shade tree, BBQ’s and friends staying late around the dinner table you set up in the yard… perhaps that is what is it that makes a nautical theme so pleasant. It’s like your on vacation when ever you are in your nautical room. Or, maybe it’s really a beach house.
January 19, 2015
I’m staring down two bathroom remodels and in many ways they couldn’t be more different and in other ways they will end up with many of the same details. One bathroom is tiny and has an egress out to the yard and beach and a step down which prevents certain floor plans, the other is a good sized room with a paladin window on the largest of the four walls and three doors. What to do?!? Well…
BATHROOM 1. Is hopefully going to get a full slab shower stall. It’s simple, rich, and spare but still has a quality and a quiet elegance I think this little room needs. The plan will be to have a removable teak “mat” inside the shower and a rain style shower head. Frameless glass door is a must to maintain the simple, uncluttered vibe. It’s shaping up to look a lot like this image (above) but I want to bring back some more traditional elements so I won’t do a poured concrete counter top or the contemporary open shelving instead I’m thinking horizontal V-grove boards on the walls with built-in medicine cabinets and a sink that feels like an updated throwback like the bathroom below. I think I really like the oversized dark floor of this bathroom too. Should hide dogs hair, dust and debris better than a white floor (the other option I’m thinking about).
BATHROOM 2. Is a big room to fill, but I need to get a tub, shower, toilet and 2 sinks into a room with three doors and a BIG window. I really want to put the sink into an armoire, the idea of “furniture” in this space appeals to me because I think the room – it’s also 9.5 foot ceilings – needs to be filled up a bit. This idea might make two sinks impossible but the extra sink is more negotiable than the tub, shower or toilet. Those are must haves! There are existing hardwood floors in the room currently, and I’d like to make them work either as is or perhaps painted, I love a painted floor. I am planning on subway tiles floor to ceiling in this room with V-grove board ceiling and an over sized lantern centered in the room. This bathroom will be mostly if not all traditional.
What do you care? Well, here are the lessons in todays blog:
1. Before you call the contractor, and before you head out to go shopping for finishes. PICK A STYLE or the “look” you think you want to achieve. This will help you from getting distracted once you are standing in front of all those bright and shiny choices and you either glaze over or pick something that has nothing to do with your desired look.
2. MAP IT OUT. Spend as much time as you have planning and playing with how the room can be set up, use tape on the floor to do this, or make templates from newspaper or draw mini versions (to scale, kits available on-line if you don’t have this talent) and plan, plan, plan.
3. Like most of us, you probably have a budget. It’s pretty helpful to MAKE A LIST of everything you think you need and put a price next to it to help you understand how much you have to spend on each item. Splurging on a sexy faucet might mean going cheap on the toilet. Mosaic tile floor might mean run of the mill tile in the shower. Once you have your list, be sure to subtract the contractors (and sub-contractors) labor estimates, reduce your over all budget number and then have fun shopping.
4. Unless you intentionally want some shock value keep the overall vision of your project in keeping with the architecture of the home/condo/apartment. There is nothing worse than walking in a Colonial home and getting hit with a Tuscan bathroom. WRONG. Want Tuscany? Move there.
January 12, 2015
I’m certain that I have blogged before about the (still trending) color of the moment grey. I have most likely already stated that the cool tone benefits from the warmth of a camel or beige, or gold and if you must… yellow. All are good complimentary colors, but do me a favor and stay away from yellow with grey, it can look very cheap and flat very quickly. If you really want to use yellow use the color sparingly and aim for a curry yellow not school bus or neon. I prefer the subtle and warm balance from beige and camel because its softer and more tonal, the goal is to balance not create contrast. Almost any warm neutral will be a good foil to a cool grey or a warm grey, even little hits of brass will do the trick. I’m going to leave it at that, enjoy the eye candy…
A grey and camel palette can even work in a kitchen… that is if you don’t go all white : )
February 7, 2014
Lots of things inspire me. Inspiration can come from anywhere, a stone wall, a piece of clothing, an old scrap of wood; and it can be applied in a textural, structural, spacial, or even in a literal way. What I find most inspirational is art and nature. The wharf image above is inspiring to me because not only do I dearly love the place, I love the image, and I love the colors. I love the warmth of the pattern on the sand, the strength of the pier silhouetted in black. And, because I have stayed many nights in those fishing shacks on that pier spending countless hours with some of my dearest friends, it means something to me. It doesn’t get more powerful than that.
To execute design based on an inspirational object or image I think it best to identify a color palette first and foremost. This doesn’t have to be completely literal, you can take only the colors you find most pleasing; you can change the amount of each color within the palette to suit your taste or the space in question and obviously you can add to a palette.
I think the photo above with its rich browns, blacks and creamy warm walls captures the colors of the pier quite well. Overall the value of light colors and dark colors is pretty spot on. Not only the palette of the wharf is captured but a bit of the mood too. Strength, a bit of chaos, masculine, with a worn and weathered vibe glazed over the whole thing. This room is wharf like to me, I think it’s a good comparison.
Here’s the same palette, stripped back to something much more sleek a more livable version of the messy working space above. This room gives a vintage undercurrent, it’s strong and masculine and has the boldness and the simplicity of the wharf image. it is the photograph refined down the essential oils of the colors, materials and strong masculine mood. Vintage, warm, woodsy, everything is just sharpened, clearer. To me the collection on the sideboard gives me a bit of the chaos of the wharf supports, the polished concrete is a great stand-in for the sand.
What inspires you? Have a favorite scarf? Use it. In love with the rolling hills of the Pennsylvania landscape in spring? Use it. Pick your colors based on what your comfortable with, go with your gut, but what you love. Oh, and don’t be afraid of not making a statement, sometimes a whisper is more of statement and more powerful.
November 24, 2013
Squint (or pull off your readers) and anything, any view can become inspiration for a color palette, texture, arrangement or order. I look at a painting and see a living room, I look at a living (without my readers) and see a painting. I’m fascinated by color, texture, form, arrangement and balance (or imbalance) or light and dark. And as much as I love a white room, white floors and furniture, I react positivity to color too. But, I know my comfort zone.
Finding the right palette to decorate with can be a challenge for some people. Unsure of their comfort zone, or looking to branch out from a safe place, often people don’t know where to go. My first and best advice is always:
BUY WHAT YOU LOVE.
DON’T MATCH YOUR FURNITURE TO YOUR ART.
BUY THE BEST, CRY ONCE.
If you already follow those principals and need color inspiration… go look at your closet, color and pattern? Then you know how to decorate to make yourself happy… All grey? Go with what you know. My closet? See above… Khaki, Navy, Camel and dashes of other neutrals. Or, go to your favorite museum, yes get on a plane or train if you must, and seek out your favorite painting… BAM, theres your new living room. It’s that easy… really it is. Don’t stand there thinking up a thousand reasons why it won’t work, because it will. How you translate the colors, textures, weight and forms will make it adaptable to any space in and climate, anywhere. Stuck, call a decorator. But do them a favor and show them a picture of your favorite painting once you’ve had them over.
November 18, 2013
Ok, Ok… I spend more time on Instagram and Pinterest these days than I do writing blog posts. I’m sorry. In an attempt to satisfy my hunger for interior eye-candy and to share here with you I am combining in today’s post.
Here are just some of the images I pinned, or re-pinned today on Pinterest. I’m searching to a commonality, a theme and what stands out to me is a conscious “undesigned” vibe, as if these rooms just happened (they didn’t, btw). And, I think they all have a masculine vintage-modern vein to them… something old something new?
I want to label these images, most have some mid-century element but the look ranges from mid-century, 70’s loft-style, minimal, and a whole lot more. There is a spare yet eclectic aesthetic that I think I’m responding to. No pattern per-say, earth tones, it’s decorating made (to look) easy. I for one have a hard time stopping, I like to just keep adding but I have to say I aspire to less is more. Let me tell you that all these undecorated spaces were thoughtfully stylized, edited and controlled. Theres a big payoff if you can just say no to prints, and all the other bells and whistles available to us all via the design market place.
Let the furniture say what you want the room to say. Invest in quality sofas, chairs and case pieces… and by that I don’t mean expensive ( although expensive is often built well, and I wouldn’t say no to it). Buy it because it’s right, buy it because you love it.
November 13, 2013
Color today is not about the red room or the multicolored wallpaper of yesterday. Todays color is bold, bright and fresh, but it is given room to breathe. It’s surrounded by neutrality, it’s an accent not a wash of pigment. Again, rules can and should be broken but this general rule of thumb is about whats current, how color is being used today. Wanna get the look. Strive for and all neutral room and buy the big pieces (or most of them in whites, tans, greys, and/or soft earth tones.
Embellish with 5 to 10% color in the form of a pillow, a lamp shade or ottoman, hell go crazy and get all three. Add a lamp or two with color and you’re about done… Once life creeps in – books, guests, stuff, there will be more than enough color. Thats it. it sounds easy but restraint is more difficult than exuberance.