Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Meet my friend Art!

Artwork by Rose Bryant
I love my friend Art. Want to know why? Because Art knows how to transform a space. Art doesn't need to be expensive, just good looking. And once you've met the right Art, it takes on a whole different meaning.

What am I really talking about? Artwork of course! No matter what your budget, the art that you choose for your walls can completely transform your space.

I really work hard with my clients to have the art they choose mean something. It doesn't have to be an original, it just has to be meaningful.

Know thy Medium. You don't have to have been an Art History Major (although having a son who was is awfully handy), to appreciate and feel good art when you see it.
Think about what attracts you on an emotional level and try to incorporate that into your room design. Are you very traditional, then you may lean toward oils. Connected to the local landscape then you may want something created by a local artist or photographer. Maybe you're the modern type, in which case something more abstract may tickle your fancy!  A trip to the local museum or gallery will work wonders for the senses. 

More stunning artwork by local artist Rose Bryant
I love shopping local for artwork. Not only because it's important to me to support local businesses, but because I often feel that there's more of a connection to the artwork.

One of my favorite local artists is Rose Bryant (pictured here).  Click here to see more of her work.

Artwork by Jay Schadler

Artwork by Jay Schadler
I also adore Jay Schadler, click here to see more of Jay's artistry.  These local artists create pieces that tell stories and they are so accessible to their clients.

Even if you are just starting out, you can afford great art work. Sites like Art.com have reasonably priced prints as well as Surya.com which is available only to the trade, so you'd need to work with your designer to find the right piece for you on that particular site. 
There are also some very popular "flash" sites like Joss and Main and Ones Kings Lane. On these sites you can find a great artist at a fraction of the original piece price.
Andrea Pramuk

Andrea Pramuk
For my latest cottage I was completely enamored with Andrea Pramuk. Visit One Kings Lane and search Andrea Pramuk to find more of her pieces. I found her work to be both curious and investigative. I wanted to travel into her artwork to see beyond what she had created.

Once you have found a few pieces that fit the bill, both in price and meaning, you need to determine where to hang it. Typically, gallery height is roughly 57" from the floor to the center of the picture. Perfect for my assistant and I, who are slightly vertically challenged, but a bummer for tall people, so maybe factor that in before you hang your artwork. There is nothing worse than when things are hung too high to look at, unless it's a purposeful arrangement.
Also consider interesting arrangements of artwork using different frame styles, mixing mediums and materials, using shelves to rest artwork on etc. Take a look at the Pinterest board I created with lots of inspiration and useful advice for how to arrange your art. Click here!

Photo credit http://knightmovesblog.blogspot.com/
Don't forget to assess your space. Do you have a large wall to fill? Or is it a "not so big" kind of space? Consider this, one small object on a large wall will look silly and maybe even a bit lonely, while a piece that is too big on a small wall will seem overwhelming. Aim for a balance of art and empty space.
The key is to make it express you..your feelings, your passions and your interests. There is no price tag on celebrating you!

Be sure to say hi to Art for me!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Go ahead, walk all over me!

That's right, I said "walk all over me!!" That's because this week we're talking rugs!!

Often times rugs can be the jumping off point in a room. It's easy to find the colors of your room in a vibrant rug. Other times rugs are used as a neutral backdrop for more dramatic furnishings and pillows. Whatever works!

There are so many choices sometimes it can be hard to figure out where to begin. Whenever I design a room, I always ask my client if they have an "inspiration piece". Something that they love so much that they either want to incorporate that piece into the room design, or they want to mimic the colors or style. Sometimes that inspiration piece is a rug, believe it or not! A certain floor covering may have the exact colors and style you want for your room, but you just don't know how to pull it all together.

If something other than a rug is your "inspiration piece" (which is often the case), then you need to decide what role that rug is going to play in your room. Is it a focal point? Or do you want it to balance your room and pull all of your other pieces together? Whatever the case is, there's a rug out there to suit your needs!

Dare to be a little different! There are tons of shapes and sizes to choose from these days. Think outside the box and go for squares and circles. There are even irregular shapes that add character and interest and become more works of art, like this one from Angela Adams.

I think that when it comes to rugs Angela Adams is brilliant! She's one of my favorite designers and is the master of imagination adding raised relief to her designs.
Ocean by Angela Adams

For example, I am using this rug in a seaside home. It's so lovely I think I can actually smell the salty air! (wouldn't that be amazing...I digress, sorry!!)



photo via YLDesign
Get creative and think about using rugs on the walls. It just might surprise you how fun this looks. Check out this +Pinterest board that's got some great ideas for hanging your favorite rug! Click here to see the board!

The Liora Goldfish Blue Carpet Square from CB2

Rugs can spark the imagination and tell a story. I am actually using this little rug from +CB2   in an upcoming cottage design! I love the feeling it evokes, and the colors are divine!

Of course, material is very important to consider. Know thy Family (and friends and pets). If you know you have a high traffic area with lots of little (and big feet) consider a more durable nylon or man made material. I love using indoor/outdoor rugs for under dining room tables and kids play areas. +Grandin Road  has great, colorful and affordable options.  Check them out by clicking here!

If you are looking for a more flexible option, I would recommend you check out Flor. Their styles are always at the forefront of playful, durable designs. Wine spill, muddy feet, cat brought in something it shouldn't have? No worries, just pick up the individual tile, wash it off and slap it back down. When you are ready for a new design, you can pack up the old tiles and ship them off, knowing that they will be reused in another rug (minus what the cat dragged in).

Nothing beats natural material under foot, so when you can, use wool. It is a wonderfully strong, luxurious material that becomes a family heirloom. Some of my favorite companies to purchase from are Surya and +Company C. They have made it easy to find what you are looking for by allowing you to search by size, color, material, etc.!

Citrus by Susan Sargent

I also love Susan Sargent rugs because they practically vibrate with unique and whimsical colors.

Lake Placid by MAT
MAT is another favorite of mine, especially because they have a strong history of environmentally friendly, fair trade products that are as easy on the world as they are under foot. 

Can't find the size you need? No fear. Consider having a broadloom bound. Many wall to wall floor coverings can be cut to size and bound with or without a border.  One of my all time favorites is the decadent, tactile carpet Shangri-La from +Masland Carpets.

I used this rug in my assistants family room because they wanted the beauty of hardwoods, but still needed something cozy to lay on for movie nights! It is also my number one choice for an area rug in a bedroom. It is warm and soft underfoot with just a little bounce.  Trust me, you will actually look forward to getting up in the middle of the night :)

It's a lot to consider when choosing a floor covering for your room. But I think once you decide what role your rug will play in your room design - focal point vs. neutral - you will easily find something to suit your needs.

Warmly (& softly underfoot!),


Tile with Style!

Beachwood Tile by FINE
Tile has way more style than you may have thought! Gone are the days of boring square and rectangular tiles. Today our options are literally endless! Not only are there so many variations on shapes and styles, now there are tiles to mimic other materials.
Right now tile plank floor meant to mimic wood is all the rage!  And you can go inexpensive like Lowe's or really high end with parquet patterns. The color and pattern options are endless and they are so much easier to care for than wood floors. Most people don't believe they aren't wood. True story, my kiddo dropped his Ninja star on the floor (don't ask) expecting it to land squarely in the wood. Good thing he is fleet of foot :).
I found this beautiful accent tile right in town at G & N Flooring
I am currently working on a bathroom where we are going to use a tile that looks like linen on the floor with a porcelain tile that mimics copper sheeting on the walls and a birch looking tile in the shower. It's gorgeous! And gives a nod to my clients roots back in Aspen, which makes their NH home feel even more like home to them!
It seems like the most popular styles now are taken from other materials...wood, fabric, metals, etc.
A great way to pull it all together is to use a thin accent tile that has all the materials in it. In the bathroom we will use a ribbon of 1x1's with a mix of slate laced with iron, glass, and copper. It brings continuity to the space without overwhelming it or costing a ton.
Check out some of my personal favorites. Here are some from +ANN SACKS. This is actually a porcelain tile, made to look like wood.  It's durable, practical and oh so versatile!              

As mentioned on the Ann Sacks website, the Cowden Bell tiles shown here are made from renowned Herman Oak leather. These tiles are slightly thinner than saddle leather and suitable for both floors and walls. Hand-dyed and stamped by Cowden Bell, each tile is subtly different in color and texture, and affords a warm, richly detailed and resilient floor. 

 Glass tiles offer many incredible design ideas. They bring in patterns and light in ways that other products simply can't!
I also love AKDO. These pictures clearly show you that there is a tile out there for everyone! 

The flooring in this picture is actually porcelain tiles!

 As you can see anything is possible when it comes to designing with tiles these days.
For more inspiration, check out my new board, "Tile with Style" on +Pinterest!
Happy tiling!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

You asked, we answered!

Last week we asked our Facebook followers if there were any design questions they would like to see us answer in our blog post this week. One of our fans asked to learn how to decorate her mantle. So, here it goes!

The way I see it, your mantel is like a blank canvas. Depending on your style and your room design, the possibilities are endless! 

To be honest, sometimes the best way to learn is to scour d├ęcor magazines, Pinterest, and the like for inspiration. Try different things and see what works. I like to leave just enough room for flexibility on my mantel, so that I can change the design for the seasons. 

Here are some key principles I always like to follow when designing or re-designing a mantel.
  • Take everything off your current mantel
  • Find one large piece that you love and make that your centerpiece. It could be a piece of artwork or a beautiful mirror. In the case of your mantel, I think bigger is better. Do not hesitate to fill the wall space from mantel to ceiling.
  • Next, begin to add items of visual interest and weight. You want the eye to move around. This might mean adding candles of varying height, or something else, such as vases that are different sizes
  • Layer in some additional pieces, such as photos, flowers, or candles.
  • And finally, add some POP!! You know me...I love to add a surprise pop of color in my design work. The mantel is a great place to do just that!
Many mantels are not very big, or deep. This can add another challenge. In this case I'd recommend hanging your focal piece vs. leaning it. You may also want to hang some sconces to add interest and movement, without trying to squeeze it into place.

I loved this article from +Better Homes and Gardens because it shows mantels done in just about every style you can imagine! Take a look and see what fantastic ideas they've created. Click here to see the Better Homes & Gardens article.

Thank you for your question, and I hope that I was able to offer you some ideas and inspiration!

Good luck decorating your mantel!


P.S. Let me know if there are any other design dilemmas you'd like me to cover in my blog!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The big reveal...our bathroom renovation before and after!

Redesigning a room is a journey, often times with unexpected turns and twists. You think you are headed down one path, and then whoops! something happens and you have to veer off that path. Whatever it may be, a contractor behind schedule, or all of a sudden your sink can't go where you thought it could, an item on backorder, or maybe it's because you simply saw something you think might suit you better! Don't worry, you were smart enough to hire an interior designer, who will get you right back on track.

Several weeks ago I started a bathroom renovation journey with one of my clients. It comes as no surprise that our project has taken some twists and turns. However, the end result 100% worth it! We aren't completely done, but I couldn't resist the temptation to share some before and after pictures with you.

 What an incredible difference! We added an +EcoSmart Fire  fireplace that uses environmentally friendly bioethanol. The real bonus with this design is that the homeowner can enjoy from both the bedroom and the bathroom for the ultimate experience. The tiling on the wall and the sleek soaking tub give an updated look to this master bath.  Here's a sneak peak into the bathroom from the master bedroom. So you can see how beautifully the fireplace fits in.

A view from the master bedroom into the new bath.

Vanities and lighting can really date a bathroom. I am sure many of you reading this post have or have had these types of lights above at least one of the vanities in your home. My clients were looking for a more sophisticated look, so we added a chandelier and custom cabinets.

Wow! What a difference!

And here's how the shower changed...a complete 180 degree turn! The result...STUNNING!
While all of the "big" decisions have been made, there are still some details that I tell my clients to never overlook when designing a bathroom, especially the master bath. It's the little things that can often make a huge difference. Things like including music and candles to create a spa-like experience right in your own home. What better way to unplug?
Don't forget that you can add a lot of "pop" with the right shower curtain and towels. Bring in some orange or a vibrant red. A little bit of color can make you feel a little more glamorous and maybe even more energized.
Come back soon to see our final photos of this lovely bathroom. I hope it's given you some inspiration.