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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Am Modern Feature

Today the hard copy magazine came out!  I'm featured in an article ~ Revealing Inner Beauty Through Elegant Design. Give the interview a read...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Read My Article on the Psychology of Design

Have you ever felt dissatisfied with the way your home looks or feels, without quite knowing why? Read my article, The Psychology of Interior Design, published in the Washington DC Women's Weekly and find out why.  This is a topic near and dear to my heart.  It is how I approach interior design.  A very personal experience for each one of my clients.  Let me know your thoughts.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Birth of a Coffer Ceiling

Have you ever wonder how a coffer ceiling comes to life?  Well it all starts with wonderful design and great wood from a trusted source.  I worked on this coffer with John Watson from Wood Products and Hardwood Interiors, Inc.  After the design comes measuring and measuring and measuring and then drawing it in AutoCAD.  That is key.
Of course you have to have a wonderful woodworker and installer to take the careful measurements and  assemble the puzzle and tweak it here and there to make sure it comes together brilliantly.  That is Harland Dodge's job.  He had this in his shop for quite some time perfecting it.
Next Harland and his team start the installation one piece at a time.  Here is when we realize how important those measurements are.
Fits like a dream!  I cannot wait to see it completed.  There is much more happening in this room than the coffer.
I am really looking forward to showing the finished results to you!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Speaking of fabric ~ I'm in love with Schumacher

On Tuesday I went to the Washington Design Center as I usually do in search of stunning fabric. I found what I was looking for at two showrooms. One of them was Schumacher. Here was the difference between the two showrooms; the first one has lovely, well displayed fabrics. I asked for a bit of help and I was steered in a general direction but that's it. "If we had something it would be here." Then she walked away. "Thank you," I said. Then I went to Schumacher. A friendly young man asked me if I needed help. "Yes please." I showed him some fabric and leather. I asked him if he had something that could tie it all together. Off he went in search of the perfect fabric. He brought back a couple. I found a couple. He brought me some more. I found some more. The point is ~ we were a team. For the 15 minutes he helped me, it was sheer bliss. I left in record time with everything I needed in hand. He smiled and said a cheerful good-bye and off I went happy as a clam. Is this unusual for the folks as Schumacher? Noooooo sssssiiiirrrreeee! It's the norm. And that my friends is worth a million bucks.

Schumacher continues to impress me with their product and their service. I save emails I get from my vendors so this experience made me visit my Schumacher folder to take a look at their new fabric. I saw some in the showroom but didn't have time to fully explore. Now I'm sad I didn't. I'll need to spend more time in there the next visit to the WDC.

Let's look at some of their new Spring Classic 2012 prints. The ones at the top are called Chenonceau. I've shown it in Sky and Coral ~ two colorways I am loving these days. Isn't it stunning?

Here is Kiribati Ikat Print in Coral and Linen. Simply fantastic!

What about this little beauty ~ Malacca Ikat Vine in Linen and Willow? So sweet!

I love the fun sophistication of this print ~ Mataura Linen. It is shown here in Greige and Aegean.

Next we move on to their classic Palazzo Woven Collection. Of course I have to show the Bianca Matelasse (Bianca is my mother's name). I love it is the classic Ivory. The Montisi Linen Damask is beautiful. Perfect for casual elegance.

This floral is very similar to one of the fabrics he selected for me. I love this Berry colorway in the Lampasso Flori. The San Savino Embossed Linen is gorgeous. It is shown here is Aqua.

I love these two ~ the Tali Weave and the Toscana Linen Damask. I am so enjoying the damask they are doing. They are making them fresh and relevant.

Last but certainly not least, the Tokat Weave in Indigo and the Montalcino Applque Damask in Robin's Egg. Here is my favorite in their new damasks. The colorways are fantastic. I cannot wait to use this one. You can check out all of these fabrics at Schumacher. There are many more colorways and some I didn't post about but deserve notice. I can tell you I am certainly looking forward to my next visit. That showroom will be my first stop.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Completely in Love with Fabric

I recently showed you the progress on a project. I just love the fabrics I used. I brought them with me to High Point Market last October and worked to complete the rooms while there. The fabric at the top is a lush tone on tone velvet from Bergamo Fabrics ~ Vendramin. I just love it.

The ones above are gorgeous dupioni silks from Libas. I love silk and linen for drapes. I have used the off white silk ~ Bangalore ~ many times. I even have it in my master bedroom.

 How about this sweetheart of a fabric ~ Adelaide Embroidery from Schumacher. It looks wonderful on the dining chair backs. Since it is silk, I did not place it on the inside chair. There I placed a a Kravet contract velvet in the same background color as the Adelaide. The contract will clean up much better when messy eaters come to town.

 This fabric from Groundworks ~ Nolita ~ I have in both the living and dining rooms as an accent. The
 colors are simply magnificent.

Last but not least, another Schumacher beauty, the Usak Weave. The picture does not do it justice. The motif is large scale and fantastic.  Here's a couple of pictures from the rooms.

Looking forward to the rug I designed for the foyer making it's debut.  Then the professional pictures can be taken really showing what amazing fabrics can do.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Will Clarity Help You Design Your Home?

If you read my blog at all, you know I write a lot about the principles and elements of quality design.  But is that really where a design starts?  Nope.  The principles and elements are lenses.  I will write more about that soon but right now, let's really start at the beginning.

Jump right into buying!  Um.... NO!  Stop, take a breath and read on...

There are some things that need to be defined and understood first.  This is a critical phase of any project and often overlooked.

First we need to understand the space we are going to be doing.  What does that mean? 

1)    It means we need to know if the space is a public portion of your home such as your family room or a private part such the master bedroom.  This is important because if it is a public portion of your home it will be important for all the public spaces to have a rhythm, a flow, so ones senses are pleased when leaving one space and entering another vs. having your senses jarred because the room you just left has no connection to the room you just entered.  This is particularly important in open concept floor plans.  Private space will have internal rhythm but doesn’t necessarily need to connect with the surrounding rooms. 

2)    It also means we need to know what people will be using the room, how many of them and what will they be doing there.  For example, how many people will need to comfortably sit in the room on a daily basis?  What about when you entertain?  Are there any special needs like an elderly person or small children? What are the tasks and activities that will occur in the room (e.g. watching television, playing Wii, reading, napping…)? A critical room for this to be examined is the kitchen.  How do you move though the kitchen, what are your motions while you are cooking?  Define, define, define in order to create a room that is functionally perfect first.  The saying 'form follows function' is absolutely true.  Once you know who will be in the space and what they will be doing there – function – then the form will flow from there.

3)    Measure, measure, measure then measure again.  Do a drawing with detailed measurements on it.  If you don’t have software to help you with this, good old fashion graph paper is just fine.  Draw the room once and make several copies of that drawing so you can try several space and furniture plans – or layouts - to accomplish the functional aspect you already identified.

4)    Define the feeling of the space.  How do you want to feel in this room?  How do you want others to feel in this room?  What do you want the room to portray or reveal about you?  You may want a different feel in different rooms.  A family room may be comfortable, warm, and cozy to spend time with your loved ones.  I living room elegant and sophisticated that portrays your success.  What feel and portrayal of you in the space in a very important aspect and needs to be considered every step of the way.  The feel helps keep you focused.  There is so much product out there, so much stimuli it can be overwhelming.  You may have defined the feel of the room as warm, cozy, kid friendly but go over to your friend’s house and see this sleek, leather sofa and think to your self “I love it, I want that!”  Whoa nelly.  If you put that sleek sofa in your warm and cozy room, is it going to be warm and cozy?  Is it going to seat you and your kids comfortably to snuggle up on? 

In summary – define, define, define. Define who and what, define the measurements, define the feel.  Form follows function.  The style will be born from in particular, the feel and what you want the space to say about you.  And, after function, aren't those two things the most important elements ever?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Does Balancing What's in Your Home Help Your Life?

Balance matters in your home.
Balance is an important design principle. I was thinking about this the other day because of a project I am working on. This project has odd windows placement making window treatments difficult to implement. I will be suggesting the windows be changed as it would bring a much better sense of balance to the room and the homeowner can get the panels framing the windows he so desires.

 Why is balance so important? 
We all crave it in our lives. Work time, family time, play time... we would like to achieve some sense of balance in our lives. It is no different when designing your home. What is balance when it comes to interior design? Balance is equilibrium both visually and psychologically. Balance pleases our senses and soothes our souls. The example above is balance though symmetry ~ mirror images from a center point. This is considered the most formal type of balance. It is lovely and very pleasing.

What if 'perfect' balance doesn't suit your eye and heart?
But what if mirror images simply cannot be done or it feels too formal for the desired outcome. Above is an example of asymmetry ~ optically varying items from a central point to achieve balance. The central point above is the art work. Note the floor vase with a great amount of mass. On the right hand side, the lamp is very similar in height to the vase but clearly doesn't have the mass to balance the vase. The chair adds the needed mass to gain a sense of balance. I used a grouping to balance the vase. The vignette is very pleasing and draws one into the center (the focal point) using asymmetrical balance.

Maybe a little of both will be the secret to happiness.
The picture at the top and the one just above are in a master suite.  These two forms of balance adds to the harmony, another design principle, in the room. The two types of balance, symmetrical and asymmetrical, adds interest to the room. Clearly the palette unifies; the type of balance adds the variety.

Can we talk?
What about this Jay Jeffers' design? This is radial balance ~ equilibrium based on the circle. Stadiums are often based on radial balance as the focal point is at the center.  Everyone can see the football game because they are sitting all around it.  A round dining table offers radial balance as everyone sitting at the table can see everyone else at the table.  This is a type of balance near and dear to my heart.  You may know I was a psychotherapist in my past career with a specialty in group psychotherapy.  I would arrange the circle perfectly so each member could see the other.  This fosters good communication.  The focal point really is each other.  It is easy to see the radial balance of a stadium and a round dining table but what about real life furniture arranging.  Jay did a nice job here.  The sectional forms half the circle; the single chairs the other half.  There is a fireplace and art as a secondary focal point but I see each other being the primary one in this vignette.

So what type of balance is right for you and your room?  
It all depends on what you're trying to accomplish and the space you have to work with.  Symmetrical can feel more formal; asymmetrical more artistic; and radial more communicative.  I have all three represented in my home.  That variety is simply pleasing to me. What about you?  Do you lean more towards one or the other?
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