I started paging through this month's House Beautiful over lunch today and stopped 4 pages in when I saw this ad from Lee Jofa. It features their "Nolita" collection from the Groundworks division. Groundworks is the more contemporary fabric offering from Lee Jofa. A few things drew me in to this ad. First off, a delicious medley of fantastic colors--I love orange and purple together. Second, can we talk about the velvet? I won't lie, I'm a big fan. Not as bad as George Costanza, wanting "to drape myself in velvet," but a fan all the same. Nothing says autumn quite like it.
Third is the great mix of pattern. There's a large scale floral, a geometric, a mini print and some solids. The largest print has the entire color palatte and all of the supporting fabrics relate to it. Notice, too, the way the curve of the headboard repeats the curve of the floral motif. I would love to have seen more of the geometric pattern, perhaps on a larger pillow, to balance out the floral pattern a bit more. Geometrics and stripes have more staying power because they're easier for the eye to read. Still, this ad is absolutely getting posted on my inspiration board. Right next to my picture of Tim Gunn reminding me to "make it work."
I've added a new project to the Redesign section of my portfolio page. I worked with a designer at Ethan Allen to pull together some finishing touches for a beautiful home she worked on. The rooms already looked great, but adjusting the accessories and adding a few key pieces take it to the next level. You can see the before and after pictures by clicking here.
Most living rooms have the same set up. A TV across from a sofa with a couple of chairs. I know it's what I have. The furniture is all arranged around the television as if it's some alter to pray to. But it doesn't have to be this way.
I'm not saying ditch your television. I mean, I know some people in New York who live without them, but not me, thanks. What about instead of the traditional seating, four chairs around a round table or ottoman? Any room I've been in that has this arrangement is always the spot everyone gravitates to.
There is something rather nice about having a seat all to yourself. Ever notice there's always one person who insists on taking more than their share of space on a sofa? Besides, with four chairs, it's not as though you're losing anything in the way of seating--two adults are usually the limit on a sofa. But, more than that, four chairs around a table encourages conversation. If you go for chairs that swivel, then it's easy enough to turn and watch TV all together, too.
This idea may not fit into your current living situation, but definitely file it away. It's a smart way to gather together for conversation. And now you must excuse me for mass; Top Chef is on.
One thing that really makes me crazy as a designer is when artwork is hung way too high. You know, those pieces that are sort of floating in mid air, with nothing around them. Does a professional basketball player live there? Because that is not "eye level" for us regular height people.
I snapped this picture walking down a residential street in the Federal Hill section of Baltimore. Actually, I took the picture the second time I passed this townhouse. My friends watched me as I took a picture of what to them was some random house in a neighborhood I don't live in. I tend to do this.
Something about the scene was so appealing, or maybe it was a combination of everything: the brick, the ivy, the blue trim. I love how the little garden is thoughtfully tended with all of the elements working so nicely together. The red flowers pick up the brick tones, the blue pots repeat the trim and door color and the additional greenery adds interesting texture. There is no one thing that stands out. Instead, everything works together to create a lovely front entry.
Most everyone has that dark corner in their home that would seriously benefit from a bit of light. Chandeliers, much like area rugs, are fantastic for creating dedicated settings in your home. They provide intimacy over a dining table that general overhead lighting just can't.
I wanted to fill you all in on some of the details of the latest project I'm working on. One part of the project is a full design consultation for the living room--floor plans, furniture recommendations, accessories, etc. The other part was more accessory and organization consultation for the home office. For this project, the clients wanted a design plan that addressed their needs. I've included a few pictures from the design portfolio I delivered to them this week. I'll focus on the living room in this entry and save the home office for next time.
The main goal for the living room was to create a welcoming and comfortable space. The room is used primarily for watching TV (and enjoying the occasional snack). The clients also wanted something that showed some of their personality--so their family and friends would stop teasing them. After talking with them, I found that "non-boring" neutrals and blues were favored--though they were open to a few shots of bright color.
As always, I start with the floor plans. I've included two of the proposed plans here. The first one offers a nice amount of seating while still taking into account the primary usage of this room--TV watching. The largest seating is on the longest wall and across from the television. Behind the chairs, on the left wall, I recommend some open bookcases or etageres for display. This room needs height and since that's the first wall you see upon entering the room, it needs to have impact. The two chairs in front can share an ottoman that can be moved around as necessary.
The second plan features a chaise sectional instead of a sofa. This allows both clients to stretch on comfortably together. There's still room for a chair in the corner that is perfect for reading with the addition of an adjustable floor lamp. You'll notice the piano on the right side of the of the room. Right now, the piano is currently in the office but it's much more at home in this space. That area is not ideal for seating since it is a bit too far from the main conversation area and the TV can not be viewed clearly.
As far as the actual pieces in the room, I kept the big (expensive) things more neutral and added color with window treaetments, art and accessories. For an area rug, I suggest FLOR carpet tiles. They're easy to maintain and if one gets ruined, just pop it out and replace with a new one. Ideal for my clients who have a (naughty) cat. If you're not familiar with FLOR tiles, check them out. They come in a variety of colors and textures and can be used to make a custom size rug.
The clients will work on their own to complete this project but I'll check in again once it's complete and post the "after" pictures here.
This is one of those things that are just too funny, kooky, and cool not to share. At a store called Paradiso in Hampden, Maryland, there was not one, but two pinball coffee tables. Be honest, every guy you know would want one of these in their house somewhere. it's sort of like the foosball table in Joey and Chandler's apartment on Friends,but far more useful since it has a glass top.
One of my favorite colors tends to get a bad rap. Yes, not everyone can appreciate the beauty of orange. I get it. Sometimes a "punch of color" can feel like a smack in the face; but there's no need to avoid orange. Especially when it has the ability to add so much life to a room. And, for you trendsetters, it's going to be a very popular color come fall.
Let's start with some things to avoid. Orange really does not play nicely with black--except on Halloween. A better alternative is brown or grey. With brown, don't go adding too much gold to the palatte or you run the risk of having a very "Harvest-y" look. You don't want Halloween every day, but you don't want Thanksgiving either. The grey is bit more unexpected but a charcoal grey sofa with a few orange pillows (like the ones here from Room and Board) would look fantastic.
Another thing to watch out for: orange with other bright colors. It's fun and playful, but it can also read a little harsh. Know that if you pair bright colors like this with white, it's better to do it mostly in solids or cleaner patterns (like a stripe). A combination of bright color + busy pattern grows old very quickly.
Orange also pairs really well with navy, cream, and tan. A bathroom with simple tan or cream tiles "wakes up" with just a couple of additions on orange--hand towels, tray to corral soaps, etc. I've included a few other other fun orange accents to inspire you below.
Now that I'm doing more work from home, I've decided that I no longer want to work on 1/2 of my dining room table. It's time for a proper home office--a small, but proper home office.
I'm in the market for something a little cleaner, less fussy, to accomodate my laptop. Something that I can add some shelving and/or a bulleting board above to keep supplies handy. The first picture is from Ligne Roset. Very chic, very elegant, very expensive. This one here is the ubiquitous desk from West Elm.
I have seen that desk in so many designer rooms, it's crazy. I checked it out in person once and while it has a pretty lacquer finish, I didn't fall in love. Now, in fairness, I've recently begun a bit of a flirt with Mid Century Modern furnishings so I'm pushing myself to move away from wood. This desk here, a close relative of the West Elm desk, is from........wait for it.......Walmart. I know!
One last desk that caught my eye is this one here from Ikea. I like the attached storage, especially since it's got a graphic feel. Plus,they make doors for the cubbies to hide some of the less fabulous parts that come with having a home office. My guests do not need to see the accroutrements that go into making rooms pretty.
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.