Monday, November 28, 2011

Family formal

We all know that I grew up in a house that had a formal living room.  Though my current house intentionally doesn't have one, I am feeling nostalgic creating this one for a client.  Our main objective is to design the space for a young family of four, but also to showcase some pretty fabulous family heirlooms, including a pair of 19th century Louis XV fauteuils.

The backdrop of this room is a buttery yellow wall, paired with antiques from my client's grandmother.  To marry the generations and young-up the old, we have chosen to work with a cheery color palette and mix in a handful of patterns.

Here is a picture of what the fauteuils looked like before we redid them:

Because we didn't want to interrupt the integrity of the chair while reupholstering it, we only replaced the rotted webbing but kept the original horsehair stuffing.  We also chose an appropriate Schumacher fabric in keeping with the period of the piece, but vamped it up with a contrasting Stroheim fabric on the back (like the old saying about a mullet - business in the front, party in the back).

BTW, did you notice that the party continues onto the floor?!

To soften up the space, we added in throw pillows in various textures, colors, embellishments, and monograms:

We also took the trim from some of the pillows and brought it back up onto the draperies.

And then we carried the drapery fabric down to the chair and ottoman (or at least a similar version of it).

And now we'll be working on the finishing touches and looking for some accessories and artwork to complete (and reveal) this lovely, cohesive, family-friendly living room.  I wonder if they'll be open to a paperweight collection...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Feels like spring!

When asked my favorite color, I usually give a different answer every time.  There are so many beautiful ones to choose from out there and depending on my mood (or the season), it's hard to actually choose a single one.  But more times than most, my answer is green - new, spring, grass green.  Given that it's my favorite most of the time, I'm so excited about how this storyboard is coming along for a client of mine wanting to jazz up her basement.  When she moved in, there were blue walls, a beige broadloom carpet, and white built-ins.  She owns a large, chocolate brown, leather sectional already, so we're using that as our jumping off point.  The carpet is staying, but we're lightening up the walls to Ben Moore's Wheeling Neutral.  So, now with a cleaner backdrop we can start to infuse color and bring a little bit of spring underground...


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A little thanks

During this Thanksgiving week, I just wanted to offer a quick shout-out to my readers to thank you all for your following and support.  While I started out on this venture with no true path, this blog is rapidly becoming part of my weekly routine.  It has been therapeutic to slow down and take a moment each week to think about how different aspects of design are translated into my everyday life.

This holiday in particular is especially important to me and my line of work.  It is when we invite family and friends into our homes to share in a big meal, drink wine, and enjoy the personal spaces that we work so hard to create.  As a designer, it has always been my intention to build interiors that suit the personalities of my clients.  It's about giving them objective advice, presenting the proper choices and helping guide them to a decision of their own.  I am proud to say that my mission statement has been the exact same since I wrote it while I was a student at New England School of Art & Design ten years ago. 

To help clients find balance and comfort and a place to call "home"
By creating spaces that reflect who they are or want to become.   

So after you've feasted on turkey and trimmings, let the tryptophan kick in, sit back (maybe loosen up the belt a notch) and take a look around.  Enjoy the homes that you have been invited into and know that you are surrounded with personal touches that are true reflections of your hosts.

From my house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The peek

So I'm in the process of turning my baby's room into a big girl's room.  Our little friend from the post below is the first addition into the space.  While I can't reveal the entire room just yet, here is the new and improved Craig's List splurge.  We lost the skirt (and the swivel) and added a tapered leg with a dark lacquered finish; the semi-attached/semi-tufted back cushion became a clean tight back; and we outlined the frame of the chair with a contrast welt and oversized nailheads.  All in, I am still under $1000.  While recycled furniture isn't necessarily always cheaper than new, it sure does feel good to repurpose something if you can...

Thanks, Olger!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A sneak peek of a sneak peek

Here is the chair that I bought off Craig's List for $25.  Isn't it pretty?  Imagine it naked.

Yes, I am redoing it.  Yes, I am putting it in my own house.  New version being delivered on Thursday...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The family closet

When me moved into our house, the first thing that I insisted on was moving the laundry room up from the basement to the second floor - where clothes naturally come off and on.  As a growing family with little kids, I couldn't imagine trekking down two flights of stairs multiple times a day to do the wash.  We were turning a spare bedroom into our master dressing room so we had an extra closet that wasn't going to be used.  Hence, the laundry room ended up in ours. 

At first I loved the convenience of it being in our room - throw a load in before bed, switch it in the morning when I get up, and fold the clothes while the kids are in the tub...  But, now that the kids are in every activity under the sun and changing three times per day, the wash is nonstop and my bedroom is turning into the family closet.  I'm still 100% on board for having the laundry room on the second floor of the house, but the novelty of having it in my bedroom has worn off.  Now I am left drooling over this one with multiple washing machines, lots of storage, and a great table to fold on.  Honestly, this is becoming my dream room...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Art in a bubble

I grew up in a house that had a formal living room.  It was the kind of room that you only went in on holidays.  Everything was off limits.  My mother had a lot of collections; Herends, cut crystal, sterling frames, and lots of worldly things that used to belong to my great-grandmother.  They were placed in nice vignettes around the room, but the showstopper of the space was her paperweight collection. 

The collection sat dead center in the middle of the room on a beautiful Asian-inspired, brass and glass coffee table.  There must have been at least fifty pieces perfectly placed over the entire area of the table.  I used to worry that the weight of them would eventually break through the glass (and it didn't help that I was a pudgy preteen practicing cartwheels in the next room).  Sometimes at night, I would sneak into the living room and pick them up one at a time.  Each one was remarkably different and each one of them told a different story inside their own little bubble.  I always said that I wouldn't be a collector, but last week I bought my first one...

goldstein paperweights

Monday, November 7, 2011

Industrial design IS pretty

Just back from a quick weekend down to the City to celebrate an old friend (and client)'s 40th birthday.  It seems to be the season for that.  Anyway, it was another beautiful weekend, so we took advantage of the sunny day and headed down to the High Line for the first time.  This, my friends, is the only thing that New York was ever missing.  Not only does it let you see the skyline from the skyline, but it gives you a little bit of raw nature while you're strolling along.  I love that the use of materials throughout the stretch is true to the original origin - abandoned train tracks, tall and overgrown grasses, wood planked lounge chairs, etc; what I like to call scenic industry. 

Once again I'll leave you with a few of my pics - always finding a little bit of inspiration for my interiors from what surrounds me on the exterior.  There's a lot of dialogue going on these days about how fashion is influencing design (and, another conversation to continue in another excerpt).  Although I think that there's validity in this conversation, my feeling is that interior design, in its roots, has always been more organic.  Design to me comes from the outside in, literally.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Icons should be icons

This one is for all of my designer friends out there.  I know that you will back me on this cause...

Yesterday, I went to the David Easton event at the Boston Design Center.  I have to admit that I was disappointed by the turn out.  Not that I blame anyone for not coming, but rather, that the ones who did were late and disrespectful to such a celebrated figure in our business.  Not only was it not a full house when he began his talk, but there were people rudely complaining about the audio system and that he wasn't loud enough for the small venue of professionals that should have been honored to hear him speak.  Yes, he is a quirky man, and at times, completely inappropriate.  But, he is an icon nonetheless.  His graceful, classical, and symmetrical style have brought him accolades from around the world.  He not only has been featured for his architecture but his interiors as well.  And, after listening to him speak, is completely humble about both.


I found it to be a shame that my peers afterwards were disappointed by the lack of information that they received from the talk, and was quite honestly, shocked by their assumption that they would be receiving design tips during such an event.  To look at his portfolio should have been inspiration enough to draw from for design tips later if needed.  We all know that designing well is a process and is interpreted differently among our field.  For me, I took away a great appreciation of David's understanding of architecturally designing within the elements of the property.  But as symmetrical as he is on the outside, his personality is completely unique on the inside.  I will be looking back on this lecture as one to remember...

from Architectural Digest