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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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.

Joggers

October 28, 2014

imageI didn’t create the trend but I’m certainly helping it gain momentum. The mens “jogger” is starting to show up everywhere (and by everywhere I mean every guy with style in NYC) and, I have joined the movement.  I have 3 pair of mens pants with elastic at the ankles. Two are wool – one pair navy, one pair grey tweed and I also have a cotton pair… And I wear them in public. What’s the big deal you might be wondering, well two pair have elastic waists and one pair has a drawstring. To me those details belong on clothing  only if worn at a gym, playing sports or on a sofa.  But i pair them with chambray shirts, chunky sweaters and my favorite corduroy unlined sport coat and make sure my outfit looks “pulled-together”.joggersThis trend is not just for the guys… Girls are rocking pants and jumpsuits with cinched ankles and drawstring waists…  SplendidLA in the SOHO area of NYC sells every type imaginable.  If your going to make the leap, pair it with a tiny leather (or Vegan leather) jacket and ankle booties to be completely “on trend”.

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A Dash of Brass

January 25, 2014

I thought I’d make my point by posting this the day after I suggested brass if you’re thinking about going grey…

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The timelessness of a white kitchen is not lost on me, it’s something that will NEVER feels dated, or a relic of a time-capsule from days (or years ) gone by.  Brass on the other hand has had its heyday and has been out of favor for some time.. but “it’s back”!  The younger set who didn’t live through the last go around have discovered the warmth and beauty of brass and other warm finish metals are showing up everywhere. Show here with White and Grey, the brass is the perfect complement to the cool crisp aesthetic these kitchens possess.  And, yeah… sure, brass could fall out of fashion again too, but remember it’s a lot easier and cheaper to change than countertops, cabinets and other major kitchen items.

acc2e44594088a0d4f185be7004d5271 Fearful of taking the plunge but love the look?  Add some accessories to your countertops or swap out a light fixture to update your kitchens look.  Mixed metals is OK, trust me.  Gone are the days of matching dining room sets, and matching metals… you just have to do it in a way that feels thought out, designed.
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I’ll be honest it took me a while to get on this train.  I have disliked brass for many, many years… but to be honest now that the market is so oversaturated with nickel, pewter, stainless and chrome a dash of brass really feels special.

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Color Today

November 13, 2013

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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.

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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.