Saturday, May 30, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Outdoor spaces have always been important but they are climbing the importance ladder with home construction reaching new heights to connect the inside with the out. We have everything from the classic French door to walls of glass that fold or slide back to completely connect the two worlds. We have outdoor rooms that function with the same ease as a typical great room – outdoor kitchen with coordinating family room complete with fireplace. Just look.
What I love about modular furniture is that it can accommodate many, can grow over time, can be configured countless ways, and can be broken up into smaller, intimate seating arrangements for special occasions. They add texture and some add interesting shape and form to one’s outdoor world. Here are a few I love….
Lloyd / Flanders
If teak is your thing, Kingsley Bate has some lovely ones and I found the one below at London Teak.
For those of you following me on Facebook, check out your gem of the week.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
When using whites and off-whites, it visually expands the space. They also make other colors and objects appear clean and crisp. Accents in blacks give an element of richness.
In this Jonathan Alder design, note how spacious, airy, and bright the room appears. The clear Lucite table aids the lightness. His use of texture, pattern, several well-placed objects with curved lines and unusual shape (dogs) and the pop of blue add visual interest. The floor with its dark, rich tone helps to ground the expansive feel. This room makes me feel happy.
In this Scott Slarsky and Katarina Edlund design, note the tribute to the magnificent architecture of the room. The generous molding, fireplace, and curved walls are kept front and center. Even the elegant but simple light fixture does not compete. The boldest black and white pattern is on vintage chairs. The bold pattern remains at one end backed by voluminous windows. The chairs are placed echoing the curved wall and reveal the heirloom clock. Next the contemporary shape and texture of the black hide rug; finishing the room with a white, clean lined, tete a tete. Note the center table is low as to not obstruct the view of the fireplace. The walls accented with tone on tone that marries well with the architecture and pattern selected for the chairs. This entire splendor is grounded by richly toned hardwood floor. The simple mixing of materials and the contemporary with vintage provide the extra creative wow that gives this room such great impact.
In Ron Marvin’s room, again we see simplicity done well. I enjoy the creative use of lines in this design. Lines on the window treatments, rug, the furnishing in the bottom right, and the Grecian design on the throw pillows all make me feel organized and clear. Everything is precise and well proportioned, balanced, crisp, and clean. I feel like I should be in a pencil black skirt, a crisp white blouse, and black stilettos drinking a cosmopolitan. Classic elegance.
Now for the ‘beiges.’ I have chosen two incredible designers to illustrate – Barbara Barry and Vicente Wolf.
First Ms. Barry. Everyone knows she is famous for her pleasing palettes. But what makes ‘beige’ room inviting and interesting. In this room, the immediate warm tones make one feel invited. Second, note the architectural detail on the walls and the varied forms and shapes of the furniture – this adds interest. The seating arrangement in front of the fireplace is symmetrical – this has a formality. Yet, the second seating arrangement is on an angle – a more casual air. It also boasts the unique youthful furniture pieces married with classic wing chairs. The palette, on my monitor, shows fabric with a caramel hue, a tone derived from orange. When orange is neutralized, as it appears to be here, it proclaims wealth, success, and depth. Summary – this room is an unassuming rich, elegant place where people feel comfortable in conversation.
Here’s Mr. Wolf’s design. Comfortable and casual. He is known for his eclectic designs and this one is no different. First look at the architecture. The molding and beams on the ceiling give the room a cozy feel without compromising the airy feeling. The odd chair and sisal rug decreases the formality as does the selection of case goods. Interest abounds with the horizontal use of mirror, aiding the airy feel, the architectural model, mimicking greenery, and unusual accessories. I would love to see what is lying on the table in between the model and greenery. His use of interesting collections always intrigues me. In his designs – spaces are full of interest because of the unusual – but never look cluttered because of careful selection and well one editing.
The beauty about using a neutral palette is the ability to move objects around within the room and into other rooms. This keeps homes fresh. Art is well displayed in these rooms. The art does not need to compete and will look crisp. If a little color is desired the law of chromatic distribution applies – the more neutralized colors of the palette are found in the largest areas with the brighter or more intense chroma in the smaller areas. What that means is that on larger furnishings, walls, and floors – everything remains neutral. The pop color is saved for smaller objects or kept to a particular area or object. Mr.Adler’s design is a good example with the blue. The photo below speaks for itself.
In this Paul Gray design – I immediately say wow. Now the area with the pop is not small but it is confined. Only a smidge of red appears in the painting. All else is neutralized. I enjoy the juxtaposition of the calming color and horizontal line of the furniture grouping with the vertical expanse of red glass and steel on what could have been an eye sore – a support column. Now that is what I call a POP.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
When people would like to have color other than neutral on their walls, it is best to base the selections on something – a piece of art, wallpaper, wrapping paper even – as long as it appeals to you. A furnishing I often start with is fabric. If I have nothing to base a color palette on, I first work my clients to find a fabric that they love that will be used in the room capturing their colors. I have my clients live with the fabric for a while, look at it in different lights (full spectrum of natural daylight and artificial lighting) to see if it truly appeals to them or was it just the idea of a trend that they really do not think they could live with long term. I also have clients live with the paint color or wallpaper selections for a few days for the very same reasons. This may seem a bit tedious but color is very personal and evocative. Having to live with a hue one does not care for can be a strain on the psyche – trust me on that one – I know from personal experience.
Many of you have likely seen a color wheel. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. The secondary hues are made by combining the primary colors into orange, green, and violet. The tertiary hues are the combinations of the primary and secondary hues. They are yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, red-orange, and yellow-orange.
Once a color is found, a full palette can flow from it. The main color will need to be one that you love and believe you can live with over time. It also depends on the room itself. A child’s room will likely be a different color than living room (maybe not if you’re REALLY into color) but you get the idea. I’ll say it again, color is evocative. It one would like to be soothed, then bright pink may not be a good choice. Pure pinks tend to be festive. Let’s take a look at rooms presented by Elle Décor / Metropolitan Home – Point Click Home.
Designs by Kirsten Brant and Rafael de Cardenas skillfully illustrate a monochromatic palette. In Ms. Brant design, she appears to have used medium and dark values of pinks (darker on the walls than on the ceiling). She also used dark gray and white (neutrals) to complement. This room is the epitome of festive and cheerful. Ms. Brant added a textured rug and patterned window treatments and wall accents for interest. In Mr. de Cardenas’ design, light, medium and dark values of violet were used; light on the floor in an area rug, medium on the walls, and dark on the window panels and puff. Texture and pattern on the rug, in architectural wall art, and throw pillows add interest. Neutral upholstered chairs complete the vignette. Neutrals help the room not be overwhelmed with too much of a good thing. Mr. de Cardenas design suggests optimism and depth.
Achieve a monochromatic palette by finding a color that you enjoy – please have it represented in the room – and add black to reveal darker values and white to see lighter values. Black and white are not the only colors that may be added; browns and grays may be added as well for variation. When you look at the color strip in any color index, they always give you different values (using black and white) of the same color so no need to do it yourself unless you would like a unique look all your own.
Let’s look at a couple analogous palettes. These schemes are achieved by colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel. Usually three to six hues are used. One takes the lead role with a second in a supporting role. The remaining are used as cameos. On first glance, one may think Valerie Pasquiou’s design is a complementary color palette but after studying it, it seems an analogous palette using five adjacent colors. The lead role is the wall color; on my monitor it looks red-orange. The supporting role is four hues over -yellow-green which is placed on the sofa. The cameos are in the accessories – yellow on the throw pillows, yellow-orange on the lamps, orange on the stools. Neutrals are also represented in the upholstered chairs, art, lamp shades and rug (brown with red-orange circles). Lovely, just lovely. I feel this room to be quite friendly. I could sip some wine there. In Jonathan Adler’s design, he primarily uses green, yellow-green, and yellow, with green in the lead and yellow, a close second. He uses cameo pops of yellow-orange, orange, and red-orange and light and dark neutrals (casegoods and upholstered chairs respectively) for balance. This room is frank – ‘this is who I am’ – with integrity.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
This room, done by the great Geoffrey Bradfield, picture courtesy of Architectural Digest. You may have seen this room also on HGTV Top Ten Living Rooms. This room is all about glamour with the spectacular rug with the larger than life motif, the lucite wing chairs and cocktail table, the sconced mirrors.... it is breathtaking - just like Adam's voice.
This room's architecture is done by Locati Architects. The interior design by Locati Interiors. Photo again courtesy of Architectural Digest. Here, I can see myself curling up with my magazine or chatting with a good friend with Kris playing in the background. A feeling of contentment, a feeling of being soothed. The natural wood and leather make it warm and cozy. Sitting in chairs that are big and comfortable while being gently warmed by the natural sunlight. Now that's what I'm talking about. Do I want chills running down my spine? Absolutely! But I want to come home to soothing warmth.