Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
St. Vincent Street
Courtesy of Denis Tremblay www.old.montreal.qc.ca
Make a point to visit Montreal someday by adding it to your Travel To Do List- Bon Adventure! What an enchanting city!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Fall doesn't begin until September 22. I used to get a little sad when I would hear some one say summer is over. I would say no! No, it's not! We have more time to celebrate the beauty of summer before we relinquish it! Now, I say how can you let this be?
We have 20 more glorious days of summer. Now is the time to savor it, honor it, and enjoy it!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
We are changing from a throw away society to a recycle, renew, re-use, 'going green' citizens of the world. To get going green, start by selecting natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, and silk. Add a natural element such as a real plant, bamboo, wicker, branches, etc. Add a picture from nature, such as the palm tree prints or a landscape. I created a calming effect in this home office/guest room by using soft neutral tones, natural products and scenes from nature. It works because of the different textures added for interest.
The fabrics used are all natural except for the throw: 100% corduroy daybed & shams, as well as center floral/quilt pillow and 100% silk accent pillows. The throw (which is microfiber) softens the hard edges of the daybed. Placing like items in a group adds interest & personality to a room- such as the mirrors on the side wall.
I recommended painting the room a soft linen earthy tan or soothing green to enhance the design.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
First, I thought it would be great to update our 18th century formal living room ( I inherited). Later, it inspired me to re-decorate the entire first floor.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I have always enjoyed working with the creamy texture of Benjamin Moore (TM) paints. Recently, I tried their new product- Aura. The basis of this line is that you do not need to prime the walls; using only two coats- saving time and money.
The biggest problem on this project was the adhesion properties of 3M Painters tape (the blue tape) in combination with the Aura paint. There is a lot of architectural detail in the room: crown moulding, chair railing, base moulding and 5 arched windows. 3M advertises that you can leave the tape on for 14 days. The sales rep at the local Benjamin Moore store, cautioned to keep it up for only 8 hours. I kept the tape on for 3 days- only because life happens (this is when Frasier got sick). I had to take off the very last 1/8 of an inch of the tape with tweezers on most of the moulding. It sounds crazy but true! The tape split and adhered to the moulding wherever paint touched it. I used a razor when possible to cut away from the wall, but the tape still stuck to the moulding.
I don't know if the root cause of the problem has to do with the properties of the Aura paint and the 3M adhesive qualities, the fact that I kept it on for 3 days, or just the adhesive strength of the blue tape. I painted the third coast without any tape and just wiped off any paint spots on the trim with a wet cloth. Being a decorative artist, I have a very steady hand and was able to do this.
It seems that there are mixed reviews with the professional painters whom I spoke to regarding Benjamin Moore's Aura line.
Here are some helpful planning tools to create a successful project; whether you have a blank canvas and don't know where to start,want to update an existing space, or want to change the look of your space altogether with new furnishings. These guidelines will help you when selecting a paint color for any room. As I've mentioned before in my previous blogs, planning is key to a successful result.
- Use an existing fabric to select a paint color. It is so much easier to match a paint color to fabric. It is much more difficult to match an already chosen paint color to a fabric you select after you painted the room.
- Use a color wheel to help you identify the complementary colors of your fabric or color scheme. You can buy one for a couple of bucks at your local craft store.
- Select a color/colors from the artwork ( poster, print, painting) you would like to hang up in the room.
- Buy your rug first and use it as the foundation for fabric and paint color selection.
- Before you purchase a gallon of paint, invest in a paint sample jar or quart and paint your sample on a good size canvas board (16x 20). Paint two coats and mark the back of the board with the brand, color name, and finish. You can get canvas board at your local craft store. Live with the color for several days: day light, night time, sunny day, cloudy day, morning light. Natural light will change the appearance of your color selection and it is important to choose a color that works for you in all of these light conditions before you commit to a color. This will save you time and money in the long run.
This season's fashion trends for Spring & Summer 2008 are pendant necklaces, semi-precious stones, natural wood accessories, peared with natural fabrics-silk, cotton and linen and metallics. This season's colors are orange, fuschia, turquoise, and yellow as well as some bright green acents.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
The Small kitchen design project is coming along. I had a teleconference with my client to review the Lighting Design & Electrical Plan. All of these items need to be discussed and planned ahead of time: location of light switches, overhead lighting, under cabinet lighting, over cabinet lighting (uplights), location of electrical outlets above counter and splashboard height, appliance location, future appliance or media requirements. Although, my client is a master electrician, it's still necessary to review the lighting design and electrical plan. The expertise an interior designer brings to a project is not only aesthetic, but technical as well. Analyzing my clients' needs, goals, life and safety requirements come into factor on every job.
So, if you are re-doing your kitchen yourself, remember- You are the Project Manager. Watch and review multiple times all of the plans and verify that communications are clear and understood....and then do it again in the concept and planning stages. Prepare or have your contractor prepare a written detailed statement of work ( scope of work). Review it with each participant to make sure that it is properly coordinated and all parties involved sign up to their responsibilities. And then ask more questions. Even if you have a contractor, architect, cabin maker or buying from Home Depot, Lowe's, mistakes can be and in fact, often are made. Have measurements double-triple checked, confirm electrical outlets are at proper heights, switches are in designated locations. Ask your contractor if a measurement is wrong and you are short a cabinet or that long awaited pantry is not the 6 foot walk-in, but a 4 foot squeeze-in, who is financially responsible to correct the mistake? Get in in writing. This is not to grill anyone, but to ensure that the project is successful for all parties.
Here is a sample of the faux finish I will be using for the bathroom in my Design Studio. I have decided to do an old world Tuscan faux finish in Italian Sienna (left). The room is quite small with 10 ft. ceilings, so, I will be doing my creative best to make it feel more spacious. Instead of taking photos when its finished, I will be adding step by step progress photos to help you with your own project.
Several of my projects this time of year have to do re-locating existing furnishings (Room Re-Design) and getting organized. For some people, tasks involving alot of clutter, a long list of "To Do's" or relocating heavy furniture, seems daunting, overwhelming and sometimes easy to avoid ( a-a-h....enter procrastination). But then, somehow, little by little, a nagging thought nibbles away at one's quality of life. For example, a client of mine needs to set up a music studio in a spare room, but, through the years, the spare room has been a catch-all for the treadmill that needs a minor repair and a make-shift library of a book collection gone haywire.
That 800 lb gorrilla in the room, we are trying to ignore can use up alot of energy! Instead of having procrastination zap your energy ( an yes....it does!), focus on the goal you want to achieve; write it down and then write out the action steps needed to acheive the goal. So, break the goal into say, 10 action steps ( or whatever you need) and break the 1st step into 10 tasks. This may sound so easy, but applying it to a real, concrete situation or circumstance that is preventing you from enjoying your home or your life, is easier said than done. Last, but not, least, set a timeframe to complete each task. To get started, make a commitment to do at least one thing that will bring you closer to your goal on a daily basis or weekly basis. This will make you feel empowered; fulfiling your own needs becomes a priority and the task will seem less daunting as you make progress. Take the time to plan. You are worth it!
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Last week, I attended the New York Gift & Home Furnishings show at Jacob Javits center in Manhattan. I did not see many new items in home decor, but, I was able to find a new line and a new product I never tried before- Spring & Summer Handbags and I located a new supplier for fashion jewelery line as I was walking through the streets of Manhattan.
What I did see at the Javits show were many beautiful bedding and linen lines. They were gorgeous, but, also so extraordinarily expense--at wholesale. I had to double-take the price tags a couple of times. Therefore, my search continues to find affordable bedding to add to my suppliers. I love Taylor Linens. The sentimental embroidery shams and pillows are my favorites.
Quality is very important to me, but, so is an affordable price. When I select an item, I have to love the it, whether I carry it in the online store, recommend it for a design client or buy it for myself. I am always looking at a product for its value---something that is practical, functional and feels like a luxury when used or when wearing it. Because the bottom line is not, how much you spend, but, how you feel in it or how you feel when you have the item in your home. That includes how you feel in a room or in your own home--do you feel like, "A-a-h, I've arrived to my sanctuary", or my palace, or my safe-haven, or my nest. If not, you need to re-work that room. And remember, one room at a time, or you will lose sleep over it! It's a pleasant journey we're going for, folks!
Yesterday, I began space planning for a very small kitchen for a client of mine. Planning is very important for -everything--- but, especially small kitchens--space is a premium.
Before you get seduced by the features of a kitchen--granite countertops, six-range gas stove, the latest in ventilation hoods, ceramic tiles or plank flooring--and there is so much out there--you need to think about it's functionality.
Make a list of daily activities in your kitchen for a week and what you put away. What do you do in the kitchen? What do other family members do in the kitchen? Did you have to go to another room to get something? When you have company over, do they get in the way when you are doing the final preparations of the meal? Is your linen drawer stuffed to the max? Can you find your favorite knife, where is the strainer?
We use our kitchens daily and thinking you will cover all that you know by memory alone is a mistake waiting to happen. You will then live with the 'mistake' until you can afford to do another makeover or sell the house.
Also, remember the future re-sale value of your home. Will future prospects tolerate placement of the range at the kitchen window or are they expecting the sink at that location? Where do you keep the broom, vacuum cleaner, paper goods supplies, etc? How big should your pantry be or how efficient in planning to utilize the space by investing in the latest inserts available in the market today?
Well, I have to get back to the drafting table and complete the kitchen cabinets elevation view-Suzy