As promised, I wanted to do an entry that went through the 2nd new vignette I added to the Portfolio section last week. This one is also adapted from a stunning showhouse room put together by the very talented design team in my corporate office. Again, they were working in a much larger space (5x what you see here) so I was tasked to pick the right pieces that would both suit the space and appeal to clients.
As open floor plans become even more popular, homeowners are faced with the question of how to paint more than one color on the walls. Very frequently, there is no clear break between, let's say, a living room and a dining room. Your best bet is to work with an existing architectural element like a doorway to provide a more natural break. But even if there is a doorway, that leads either down a hall or to another room, it most likely doesn't extend up to the ceiling. What I do here in the showroom is paint the area directly above the door going all the way to ceiling the same color as the trim. It provides the necessary visual separation without drawing too much attention. Keep in mind this works best when the two paint colors are comparable in intensity and/or hue.
I received a question the other day that I thought would be helpful to share with you all. Most of us have those random spaces in our homes--they're too big to leave empty but too small for a piece of furniture.
I had a question for you about some shelving options for the new apartment. We have a small unused area of wall about 4 feet wide running between the corner of a room and a window. There is a radiator at the base of the wall, and so we can't just put a book shelf there, so we were thinking of doing some silhoutte shelves for some display items.
The stuff I saw from Bed Bath and Beyond looks a bit thick (I used to have Lack shelves from IKEA, and I didn't like how thick the shelves were). They also look a little mod, which is not precisely our style. I like the sort of non-traditional layout we could do with something like that. I don't really want to just blandly center three shelves on the wall. I didn't know if you had any suggestions for places to look for something like this, or interesting way to layout these types of shelves is would be a great help.
I just finished reading an article in the NY Times about a couple who basically gut renovated an apartment in Brooklyn. An apartment they rent, not own. They are knowledgeable about how to renovate and worked out an arrangement with the landlord to take money off the rent for the 4 years they originally agreed to stay. They get a nicer place to live, the landlord's investment increases dramatically. Great for everyone, right?
This room setting was originally in a showhouse on Long Island. There were 2 of each chair instead of one, square end tables and 4 large leather ottomans grouped together as the coffee table. Obviously that would be way too much furniture for this space. Working with the sofa and one of each chair, I added appropriately sized items to finish off the room.
I added two new room settings that I did for the day job to the Retail Projects section of my portfolio. You may notice as you click through that one room looks familiar. I moved a living room setting from a larger to a smaller space. For those of you planning to move (or who have recently moved), this will give you some ideas about repurposing your existing pieces. For instance, the artwork over the sofa used to be above the bed. It's important to rethink your items as your needs and lifestyle changes. I'll go through both new settings more thoroughly in upcoming entries to give you insight into the design rationale I used to complete the projects.
I read an interesting article today in the NY Times Home section about a young couple who moved into a new apartment together and were trying to merge their furniture, along with their lives. They made the same mistakes that most people make when trying to figure out how to work with their space. What I took away from the article, and what I wanted to pass on to you, were these points:
1. You don't need to have everything out all the time. Do you wear your whole closet at once? No. Rotate your accessories the same way you do your wardrobe.
2. Mix your materials. I know, I harp on that a lot but it really makes such a huge difference in the overall feel.
3. Invest in a quality sofa. You can skimp on a lot of things, but a sofa should not be one of them.
4. Sometimes you need to bring in a professional. A truly objective party, with the right expertise, is also a good investment since it can help you avoid some costly mistakes.
5. Antlers as decor are so five minutes ago.
Well, Monday was the big day. I moved into the new apartment. And by moved into, I mean all of my belongings are in the new space--not that too many of them are put away. There are several good sites online that have helpful moving lists--Apartment Therapy is one example. Here are a few things I learned along the way.
I saw these pictures in the November issue of House Beautiful and they really struck a chord with me. I think it was the combination of elements that I like so much. First off, the green/red complimentary color scheme (which I have in my own apartment) is terrific. The bright apple green gives so much life. Second, that Jacobean floral fabric is fantastic. It's the type of thing that can only be used in small doses or it will completely overwhelm a space. Third, those glasses! They have sort of an animal print feel to them and it just adds a lot of warmth. Lastly, the table is such a great blend with Phyfe inspired pedestal legs but a Mid Century modern teak color finish.
There are lots of great ideas to take away from the new room setting I did for the day job. First, using 2 smaller scale sofas facing each other is perfect for creating balance. This is set up works great if you've got 2 focal points across from each other (fireplace/window and TV). The sofas here are in a neutral khaki which is the perfect backdrop for the red pillows and artwork. Think of it like wearing a tan coat with a red scarf.
Christine Schwalm is an Interior Designer and Visual Merchandiser based in Los Angeles. This space will keep you updated on what's going on with CSD along with some ideas to inspire you. Go here for more information about pricing and services and here to make an appointment.