About Interiors FurnishingsWorking with You Attache Design Press PGD Blog Contact Us

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Monday's Method ~ The Art of Display

I recently did a post on cabinets. Stefanie, aka the lovely Mrs. Limestone, asked for some tips on chic display. Alrighty then. See these beautiful open display cabinets in the kitchen (photo compliment of Julia's Hooked on Houses)? These may have people gasping with anxiety, running in the other direction. Why? They're thinking 'How would I ever keep them neat and presentable'. This picture is a very good example of organized, themed display. Before I go into the principles and elements that I think really apply here, let's me first say that your personal style will help inform your display. For example. if you enjoy Victorian style, your displays will appear different than those who prefer contemporary.

Gray Foy's apartment published in Architectural Digest

Interior architecture and design by Shelton, Mindel & Associates published in Architectural Digest

Surely you can already see what I mean. This is where I'll start my teachy self. An important thing to think about when creating a display is the design element of space:

Space – as humans, we need both large and small areas to please our psyche. Incorporate both, or the appearance of both, in your home. There also needs to be a comfortable balance and proportion of positive, filled area, and negative, unfilled area. Traffic paths are negative space in a room yet functionally important. An example of too much positive space is filling a small room with oversized furniture. You can use large pieces in a small room balanced by massing, placing together, smaller scale items that allow for more negative space in between.

I give the example of furniture in the definition but it very much applies to display, specifically the positive and negative space.

Even in a Victorian design, you still don't want your items to appear as if they are riding the subway in rush hour ~

Because the point of being on display is so you can actually see each item. I am not going to show you an example of a rush hour subway display because that would be mean to represent one's home or work as a mistake. Hey, if they like it, more power to them!

Even in contemporary design, you also don't want to have the display be a lone wolf unless it is a stand alone, sculptural piece of art ~

I will show you an example of that because I am using a piece from a catalog.This is one of my favorite display cabinets from Hickory Chair. Clearly they are trying to show the furniture piece and to heck with what's on it. There is too much negative space, not enough items. To me, this 'display' appears under-developed and is not pleasing to my eye.

Designer Sandra Nunnerley published in Architectural Digest

Here is a good example of a nice balance of positive and negative space. I also like the fact that that negative space it accentuated by a pop of red. Painting or wallpapering the back of bookshelves is a nice touch. Just make sure the color of the paint complements the display and the room (as it does in this example ~ she simply continues the red from the wall) versus over powers it or that the wallpaper's design or motif isn't too busy so it distracts from the display. This room has one of my favorite color palettes ~ red, black, and neutral (yum!).

The design principle I think applies here the most is harmony:

Harmony – is creating a feeling of suitability through unifying elements and objects and adding variety for interest and diversity. The objective is to create an agreeable, appealing whole that won’t tire in the long-run. For example, if one uses the color red, a warm hue, as a flow element in their home, use neutral and cool hues also throughout to add interest and diversity; too much of a good thing can actually become monotonous over time.

Think of a theme for the display, a grouping, to unify ~ it could be functional such as containers, a color, the memorabilia from a fantastic trip, a material such as metal, a collection like tea cups or model airplanes or kitchen items or rock 'n roll posters..... the possibilities are endless.

Then think of adding some diversity for interest. Let's look at pictures to illustrate.

Skye Kirby ~ Elle Decor

In this picture, the cabinet is full of containers and platters. That is the theme so the display makes sense. The individual pieces also have substance to them. There are varying sizes but none of them are tiny or they would get lost. These characteristics are unifying. It also has a nice mixture of materials and shapes for interest ~ the diversity. The cabinet is full as I said (positive space) yet you can clearly see space around the pieces (negative space).

Gray Foy

Here is a lovely display in the Victorian style. The theme here is color. All pieces have a green hue ~ unification. Yet, the display has divergent items from vases, to prints, to a lamp, to trinkets for interest. Even though Victorian style usually has many items grouped together, there is still negative space between the items. The beautiful wood finish gives the the eye a nice contrast and rest.

Ahhh, the kitchen one. They obviously cook a lot here. They have many lovely mixing and serving bowls. The unity ~ duh ~ kitchen items and smooth texture. The diversity come from color and shapes. Again, these shelves are full but there is still room at the top of each stack or item ~ negative space. I have seen shelves where the plates are stacked to the roof ~ no, no, no. It will look much better if there is room to breath in there.

This is my living room. I know, you can't really see it all that well. The unity throughout this big piece is crystal and glass. As I have described before, the left side in a portion of my mother's crystal collection, the left side, a wine / liquor bar, in the middle, glass art. It is all on glass shelves with accent lighting to sparkle, sparkle, sparkle. The diversity comes from a couple of things. I have mixed in pieces of pewter. The pieces break up all the crystal and offers a nice rest from the strong sparkle off the crystal since pewter is more muted. The other diversity is that the art glass has color ~ red and blue hues. That's the pop.

This is a Show house I did. The room is 'The Library.' So what do you think the theme is here?? Puppy dogs?? No :) Books. Books, books, and more books ~ unity. You can't see this in the picture but the opposing wall has more of the same bookcases. That is a lot of heavy books to bring in to the room. I borrowed books from friends to fill the shelves! My feeling though was that if the shelves only had books, the appearance would have been too heavy, too enclosing. The Show house was held in a house owned by the Audubon Society and the room was French inspired. So I added bird figurines, French plates, wedding photos to personalize the space, and a wine bar that I backed with a mirror for diversity. The back of the bookcases were painted in the same hue as the area rug ~ about 3-4 shades deeper than the wall color. Yes, all the wedding photos are of members of my family. When they came though the room, they saw themselves (I didn't tell them they were the stars of the room :) That made them smile. See the before photos here of this room.

We saw this one above but I wanted to point out some interesting features. Obviously the theme is books for unity. They added decorative items for diverse interest. They also displayed the books vertically and horizontally adding more diversity without bringing in something new. They also gave your eye a rest by working sconces into the vignette. A very nice touch.

We also saw this one. I love this display. The unity is the color palette. The diversity the items themselves and the gradation. I adore that ~ shortest to tallest with pieces in a supporting role to the tallest. The items are grouped together (positive space) leaving the negative space on either side. Note the unifying pieces on the cocktail table that speak directly to the cabinet display. Wonderful rhythm; wonderful vignette.

Restoration Architecture by Richard Manion, AIA, Interior Design by Craig Wright

And last example ~ unifying books with a few other decorative elements and books vertically and horizontally displayed for diversity. I show this one because of the different style to the Sandra Nunnerley's room above. Her room was similar with its application of the principle and element but the effect is quite different. The feel, style, color choice, etc. of the rooms. In Sandra's room I believe I'd be enjoying a Cosmopolitan; in Craig's room just above, I'd be drinking a cup of tea or perhaps a Port wine.

And and couple of last things but very important ~ be neat and organized in whatever you are displaying. I'll repeat that ~ be neat and organized in whatever you are displaying. If you look at all the pictures, it is clear. They are neat. They are organized. Critical.

The other thing ~ please don't fret. If you do an arrangement and it is just not looking the way you would like it to ~ tinker a bit but then walk away. Look at it over a few days and come back and tinker some more. Repeat this process until you are OK with it ~ maybe a couple more times only. I didn't say ~ until it is perfect. Perfection is subjective with this exercise. And remember, its just a display, not a life long commitment :)

So there you have it. Chic display 101. Any questions, comments, or concerns??

If you do have a question about this or another topic, leave me a comment. If you would like advice about something specific to your space, send me a couple of pictures at paula@paulagracedesigns.com.

I'm linking with the usual suspects ~ all fabulous parties worth a long leisurely visit.

Monday ~
Between Naps on the Porch Metamorphosis Monday
Smiling Sally's Blue Monday
Little Red House Mosaic Monday
Cottage Instincts Make it for Monday

Tuesday ~
A Soft Place to Land DIY Tuesday

Thursday ~
The Shabby Chic Cottage Transformation Thursday

Saturday ~
Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Nite Special

Don't forget about my own new party ~ Timeless Tuesday. It starts tomorrow!! Look for lovely Audrey who will be our guide...

I'll see you then!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fun Friday ~ Well maybe not so fun but definately IMPORTANT ~ Please Revisited

I added this first paragraph 2/17/2010. John has been taking a lot of heat since the interview in Playboy. Not his best use of expressions. He has sung about not choosing words well. Does that make him less of an artist? ~ no; less of an influence? ~ no. The heat is because of his influence or why would people care. Lets not allow a few ill spoken words negate his talent and generosity.

On with the January 28th addition and original post....

I wanted to re-post this because I have received numerous emails from women who have experience domestic violence. They did not want to leave a comment for anonymity purposes but the response has been overwhelming.

I have also received inquires about why I am specifically asking John Mayer. Good question. There are many artists and celebrities that would likely command the same draw and bring a louder voice to the issue ~ Sara Bareilles, Taylor Swift, Sandra Bullock, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Aniston….. there are countless people. But why John? For several reasons ~ John seems to be a very generous person. He has stepped up to the plate for our servicemen, for our children with Save the Music (I attended that concert in California), and now for the people of Haiti.

The one thing that appears to be missing from John’s charities is one specifically focused on women. Of course John has every right to support what ever charities or causes he likes or believes in. I think about it like this ~ John has an enormous fan base. I think it is safe to say that the majority are women. Perhaps not by much, so let’s say 56% (9/16) of his fan base is female. Should John do a concert for 20,000 fans, 11,200 of them will be women. Fact ~ One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That means that 2800 of the women in his audience will experience domestic violence in her life time. That, my friends, is a lot of women. Multiple that by concert after concert; John is on tour right now. Still, why John? Because he is one of the most influential men of our time. If he happens to say, “You don’t deserve it; it’s not your fault. There are places out there that can help you.” maybe, just maybe a woman or two or two hundred in the audience will actually hear him and take it in. I think there is something significant about a man, an influential man, speaking out about domestic violence. What better way to start that process than by helping to erect a safe place for women and children to go. I don’t mean to lay this all on him ~ really, I don’t. But I think it would be outstanding if he stepped up to this plate.

Now I have no way to directly contact him or his people. There is no contact information on his website. So I have been tweeting him. He does not follow me ~ go figure ~ but I know that if he checks the @JohnCMayer on the right sidebar, all tweets mentioning him will appear, My hope was that people who read this and believe in the cause would also send John a tweet with the post attached. Even if you're not following John, you can still send a tweet. I have been tweeting but I suspect he receives hundreds, perhaps thousands, a day. Maybe if there are more tweets from many people with this post attached, he would read it. It's a long shot but I think it is worth the effort.

Read on to find out more and see the original post. If you would like to make a donation, you can always find the link on my right sidebar or just click here.

Thank you.

Original post was January 22nd.


Dear Mr. Mayer,

My family and I will be in the house at your February 20th DC show. We’ll actually be celebrating my daughter, Lauren’s, 7th birthday with you. She’s hoping you will sing ‘Superman’ (aka 83). Great song. But that’s not why I am writing.

This may be an unusual method of communicating. I’m sure the usual way is for my people to call your people…. I don’t have any people ~ at least not that particular kind. It’s just me. I could try emailing your people but would the information reach you? If it did, would something get lost in translation? That also seems impersonal. So I’ll try direct.

I am writing you to tell you a story about an amazing place. It’s a place where women and children can find a safe haven, a place where parents can learn nurturing skills, where moms and children can go to talk through very frightening issues, and seek legal council to protect herself in battle for her safety and that of her kids, where children can be interviewed only once to reveal to law enforcement agencies unthinkable things about someone who was supposed to love and care for them ~ it use to be they needed to be interviewed many times, reliving it over and over. I am only scratching the surface with this list. The haven I am referring to is the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS). A comprehensive not-for-profit agency that serves victims of domestic violence. I am on the Board. We have a problem.

Some may think that reaching out to you is a crazy thing to do, even silly. But I have a reason. I am committed to ending as many domestic violence situations as I humanly can. I feel quite passionate about it. Why? Our cousin. A beautiful, intelligent woman and loving mother. Her life was taken by her ex-husband while their young teenage son was in the home, terrified beyond belief. She died a tragic death and the world as we knew it changed. I think about all the ‘What ifs’ people that loved her must try to comprehend each day. Her son, ‘What if I tried to stop him….?’ Her parents, whom she and her son lived with, were away on a trip. ‘What if we didn’t go….?’ Her boyfriend that dropped her off at the house not knowing he was inside ‘What if I went in…?’ Every ones’ lives changed that day including mine. My heart sank to a new low. It was then that I committed myself to doing what I can to help end the abuse, the fear for as many as possible.

Our problem. We need a new shelter. The shelter is the actual place where moms with their kids can stay to escape a potential lethal situation. Our current shelter is ill equipped to handle the demand for its use. We have had to turn away women and children who need a safe place because there was no room. It was purchased many, many years ago. Our county has grown by leaps and bounds since then ~ so has the property value. The expense to purchase or build is out of reach for a not-for-profit like us without something perhaps just short of a miracle. The current shelter is positioned on land such that we cannot expand. There is no backyard for the children to play in. It met the needs of a time long ago ~ not now.

We do fundraising, of course. Yet, the fundraising supports the current programs. There is little, if any, left over. We scratch our heads wondering what can we do. I don’t do well with feeling helpless. I don’t want to throw my hands up in the air and say it can’t be done. I don’t want another ‘What if….?” I don’t want to read about a woman we had to turn away ending with the same fate as my cousin.

Our largest fund raiser is our Gala. A very well attended event. We have music, dancing, good food and drink, and a wonderful silent auction. People leave with a generous feeling in their heart. Even with this being our largest fundraiser, the funds attained would need to double to solve our problem. The down payment on a new shelter needs to be substantial in order for LAWS to be able to afford the monthly mortgage. It would take something larger than life to accomplish that. That’s where you come in, Dear John. A gifted artist with an allegiance of fans. When I think of a person who fits the ‘larger than life’ bill, I think of you.

Our Gala is planned for Friday, October 15th, 2010. I’d happily change the date if needed. Logistically, where we have it is a stone’s throw from Dulles International Airport. It is a rather intimate event ~ not overwhelming. An ideal setting for a meet and greet with a star. A draw that will allow us to command a fair amount for a seat. An amount that will afford us the down payment we need. Everyone will still leave with a generous heart and the thrill of a lifetime. So I am asking you, please, will you be our shining star?

Thank you very much for your time.

Paula Grace

Domestic Violence Facts:

1) One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

2) An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

3) 85% of domestic violence victims are women.

4) Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.

5) Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.

6) Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

7) Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.

8) Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.

9) 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.

10) Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.

11) In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder.

12) Less than one-fifth of victims reporting an injury from intimate partner violence sought medical treatment following the injury.

13) Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year.

Source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (click to read full report)

Please help this information reach John Mayer ~ send him a tweet with this post attached. Thank you!

I’ll leave you with another great song. The one I play when I'm feeling a little down (like when I read the facts above). It always makes me smile.

You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes ~ it brought me back to life.....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thursday's Room

Thursday's Room is a new series I am starting ~ I've been doing that a lot lately ~ getting organized. I've had to because business is good and I am finding it hard to post daily. So I have decided to organize my week as such:

1) Monday's Method ~ interior design advice for my readers. Send me a question and if you have a couple of pictures to illustrate, send those too ~ paula@paulagracedesigns.com.

2) Timeless Tuesday ~ a party on all types of timeless classics. The official kick-off is February 2nd. I am so excited about it ~ a gathering of beauty in one place!

3) Wednesday ~ Hump Day! Here's a day for you to further peruse Monday's Method and all the lovely folks that linked to Timeless Tuesday.

4) Thursday Room ~ here I will take a room and briefly discuss it utilizing the principles and elements of interior design.

5) Fun Friday ~ that will continue. Friday is my day to talk about anything from music to comedy to handsome men to...... what ever it is, it will be fun!

If something comes up that I simply must post about, I'll just fit it in ~ like on hump day.

Anyway, getting back to Thursday's Room, the space at the top is done by Mariette Himes Gomez and was featured in Architectural Digest. Here it is again.

I love this room. This is quite a large room but rather than filling the room with large scale furniture, she created zones ~ two distinct seating areas sharing a console between them. This is a wonderful use of space. By centering the console with the portable lamps, two people may lay on the sofas on either side and read quite comfortably. Having the two zones provides much seating during gatherings but each area has an intimate feeling well positioned for conversation.

What Ms. Gomez does take full advantage of is the vast wall space. She chose a piece of art well proportioned to the room anchored by a long console. This grouping along with the window beside it, balances the the expanse of the windows & doors opposing it. The remaining furnishing are symmetrical giving this a regal appearance but without pomp and circumstance.

There is no mistaking the focal point of this room either. The gradation from the ottoman, to the sofa, to the lamps, to the fireplace and the art above is perfect. The rhythm carries your eye from floor to ceiling ~ and what a ceiling! This is a monochromatic room with plenty of visual interest. The vaulted, beamed ceiling full of texture and fantastic lines takes one soaring amplified by the elegant wrought iron chandeliers.

The colors are neutral allowing the pillows to be the pop and the art and outdoor scenery to take center stage. The space plan is open, airy, traffic paths free and clear. Note the line on each piece of upholstery ~ straight to not hinder one's view from anywhere in the room.

Now we all know that Mariette Himes Gomez is a fabulous interior and product designer but this room really caught my eye ~ the rhythmic gradation is perfection in my eye and she allowed the natural light to bath the room. These make this room truly a work of art for me.

What else do you see my friends? Can you see yourself enjoying this space?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Timeless Tuesday ~

Wallace E. Cunningham ~ Architectural Digest

Next Tuesday ~ February 2nd ~ my Timeless Tuesday party begins. What is Timeless Tuesday? Every Tuesday, I'm hosting a well rounded party of all things timeless or trends that you would like to see become timeless.

Interior Design, Architecture, & Furnishings ~ see the picture at the top? You may think that is a more contemporary design. The furnishings are, that is true but their balance in timeless ~ symmetry.

It can be seen in all design styles....

Craig Wright ~ Architectural Digest

Jennifer Post ~ Architectural Digest

Rustic Elegance
Stephen Shadley ~ Architectural Digest

I would love to see some beautiful, classic fashion. There is so much out there!

Fashion & Accessories ~ from jeans, to Coco Chanel, to Christian Louboutin to...

Cooking, Recipes, & Entertaining ~ from succulent meals, to appetizers, to chocolate chip cookies to...

Art, Photography, & Music ~ from Lino Tagliapietra to Byron Jorjorian to Bruce Springsteen.....

Even trends that we would like to see become timeless classics ~

Trends ~ Eco-friendly to large scale motifs to.....

Dahlia Gardens in Driftwood ~ Larry Laslo for Robert Allen

Think out of the box. I'd like to have a party with comprehensive participants sharing their timeless classics.

Won't that be fun??!!

So next Tuesday, look for Audrey.....

A classic beauty in any time. She'll be our guide to Timeless Tuesday.

Come ~ join the party! I'm looking forward to having you!

I'm linking with The Shabby Chic Cottage's Transformation Thurday as this party is brand new ~ a transformation to my blog!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Monday's Method ~ VIP

When this VIP wrote to me, I knew I had to respond ASAP!

Dear Mommy,

You know I have decided to start a jewelry business. It has become very important to me now since I need to make a lot more so I can make money to send to Haiti. They need food and medicine. I can't make a lot working the way I am. I need a studio like yours. Will you please help me?



Yes, my love, I will.

At the top is my daughter's play area in our lower family room. It was adorned with a large Cinderella and her loving mice friends. Lauren reported that she has out grown them and that this would be the perfect place for her studio. We jumped right on it!

First my daughter selected her colors for the area....

Benjamin Moore's Razzle Dazzle, Harbor Side Blue, and Gold Metallic ~ oh boy!

I took a deep breath ~ then I realized that these colors connect well with that area of the room ~ phew!

The pink connects with her area rug and all her pulls.....

The blue connects with the adjacent bath.....

And the gold metallic ~ well every little girl needs a hint of glam!

So off to the bare wood store we went. We found the perfect pieces. Next Jim and Lauren got to work sanding.....

Note Millie, our dog, in the last picture. This is all Millie wanted to do with the project...

It was chilly in the garage but we ventured forth with painting...

After carefully reading the instructions on the paint, we found out it was too cold to continue in the garage so...

...into the sun room we go ~ you bet I covered everything ~ the furniture and drapes are off white! That ended Lauren's painting her studio furniture. She's was ok with that ~ we played Monopoly while Jim painted. She was very tasteful with her paint placement. The gold was used on the drawers only ~ the pulls ~ pink. Lovely!

Next we found the perfect chair ~ I cannot believe we found a chair the same hue as the razzle dazzle paint at only our second store. It had to be put together...

Next came prep and touch-up. Down came Cinderella and her mice.....

Spackle and measure...

Finally ~ it's time for installation...

A proud moment for my generous little entrepreneur...

Yes, she did pick out the zebra print trash can ~ her final touch.

There you go my love ~

What are those things hanging from the ceiling?? Lauren and I worked on that art project. That was a while ago when she thought her space needed some pizazz.

What's in the cabinets?? I placed a row of utility cabinets in her area for toy and art supply storage. Lauren has the bottom portion; general storage in the top portion.

I am so glad this VIP was pleased. The most important VIP there is!

If you would like to participate in Monday's Method, just email me at paula@paulagracedesigns.com with your question and send a couple of pictures. It's that easy!

I am joining these wonderful parties ~ check them out and have fun!

Monday ~
Between Naps on the Porch Metamorphosis Monday
Smiling Sally's Blue Monday
Little Red House Mosaic Monday
Cottage Instincts Make it for Monday

Tuesday ~
A Soft Place to Land DIY Tuesday

Thursday ~
The Shabby Chic Cottage Transformation Thursday

Saturday ~
Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Nite Special

Always a great time!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin