Monday, April 14, 2014

Blue and White

One of my favorite color combinations is Blue and White.  It's a color scheme that never goes out of fashion, and I'm happy to report that it's one of the latest trends in interior design today.  Whether used in china and tile patterns, toile and floral fabrics or a wide variety of carpet designs, it represents age-old design elements from many centuries and cultures.
In the photo above, I love to see how the collection of Canton china was used as inspiration for the 
stunning fabric on the upholstered chairs.  Without the blue  accessories in the photo below,
the all-white living room wouldn't be nearly as interesting.  I think the pillows, lamps and pots add such sparkle to the design.

Blue and White can be used in many different settings.  Maybe you like the comfortable look of denim slipcovers in the family room or prefer crisp blue tiles in a  bathroom.

Do you prefer the look of a traditional bedroom with deep blue walls, warm antique furniture and the historic patterns of a woven coverlet?
Or ,  do you like the way the intense teal color in the bedroom below shows a modern approach to the classical style of the furnishings?

I especially like to work on kitchen renovations and the next two photos highlight the impact of the color blue used in these next two very different spaces.

A Blue and White color scheme is enlivened in this charming dining area with a mixture of fabric patterns on the chairs and pillows.

In the living room below, the soft blue colors of the sofas, chair and carpet convey a neutral scheme
with almost no pattern.

A friend of mine has decorated her entire house in Blue and White. In each room, she has used
different color variations of blue fabrics and accessories against walls and cabinetry of pure white.
It's comfortable and elegant, traditional and modern at the same time...everything I like in a home.


Geometrics are here to stay.  Circles, squares, zigzags and stripes appear in every facet of today's
home design.  From sumptuous custom carpets to boldly patterned wallpaper and from window 
treatments to decorative accessories, these patterns add pizzaz to every space.  I think the carpet in the room below gives it the WOW factor.

Do you like the stripe and plaid walls in the next two photos?  They make a bold statement but still
create cozy and inviting rooms.

I have used geometric shapes effectively in a serious office setting but they can also be fun and whimsical in a youthful bedroom.  One room is all blue circles and the other is yellow straight lines and triangles.  Which one strikes your fancy?

I like the way geometrics can act as a counterpoint to floral patterns in window treatments  and upholstered furniture. In the next photo,  you can see how the contrasting patterns in the drapes and the chairs provide balance to the room.

They can also offer elements of surprise and delight when used as patterns on floors , sculptural details on tables and cabinets,  and bold accents in a room like pillows and ottomans.
I have included the following photos to highlight these elements.

data resource

I really love the repetition of the octagon in the photo below.  It appears both in the ceiling design and the shape of the table in this luxurious dining room. 
When the summer weather arrives,  wouldn't you love to spend time on this cheery patio?  The bright
red fretwork of the furniture gives a feeling of vibrant energy to the garden setting.

Geometrics are lively and add movement to your home's design.  Enjoy using these patterns but keep in mind...a little goes a long way.

Monday, April 7, 2014

LIfe is a Beach

Life is a Beach

I have noticed that a current trend in home furnishing stores is beach style design.  Always soothing to the senses, the look and feel of beach style is especially appealing in the cold climate of a New England winter.   Warm tones and textures of the beach complement cool colors of sea and sky, as in the photo above.  I think the harmonious blend of blue and brown colors in the living room below are very beautiful.  The feeling is rich and elegant, but very comfortable, too.
This cheery dining room makes me think of a blue sky on a sunny day at the beach.

When used in soft furnishings and on walls and cabinetry, white creates a unifying background to a colorful palette often displayed in decorative accents and artwork...think turquoise and coral.  Driftwood, seashells, baskets and sisal rugs provide natural elements and add whimsy to the design scheme.  You can see below how the sisal rug grounds a family room and warms up the white upholstered sectional and chairs.

I love how the turquoise color perks up this white display area and highlights the nautical accessories.

Beach style design is not unique to relaxed and cozy settings.  It is also very effective and striking in contemporary interiors.  And, it satisfies clients who prefer a bold and bright decor, as well as
those who are more comfortable with a neutral color scheme. I want to curl up on a chair in this charming sitting area and spend the afternoon reading a good book.

This modern interior reflects a more sophisticated design. I think the neutral , warm colors create
an sumptuous space for entertaining.

How do you like the bold colors and patterns in this happy bedroom?

Even though this bedroom retreat is designed with no patterns and colors limited
to white and brown, I think it's very inviting.

Do you like this fun dining room?  I'm drawn to the bright, beachy colors in a space that is equally relaxing and contemporary.  Next time you want to freshen up the look of your home,  add some beach style design motifs .  It's like going on vacation.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Material Focus ~ Beadboard

What do you think about beadboard? I have a few designer friends and clients who wouldn't be caught dead with beadboard in their homes, but I rather like it. It reminds me of Nantucket summers - which feel so far away right about now - and makes me think of the ocean. After researching this post, I realized just how versatile it is.  Not to be confused with wainscoting, which is raised paneling that forms the shape of a square, it can be purchased and installed inexpensively, making it a quick and easy design element that can transform a space in a pinch.

There are countless uses. It is a great choice for bathrooms because it is durable and can be painted any color. If you use exterior paint, you could run it up behind a sink rather than having a tile or stone backsplash. I like how in the following bathroom images, you can see how the texture translates across different design styles- from cottage to Victorian.

Whitten Architecture

Buckingham Interiors

Supple Homes Inc.

Seth Benn Photography

Using a dark stained wainscoting on the ceiling adds drama and warmth to a space.
Fluidesign Studio
Be sure to pay attention to the height when using beadboard in place of wainscoting. 36", 48" or 60" are good heights, depending on the look you are going for.
Witt Construction
Having the boards run horizontally across a wall is a great way to make a room feel large. The boards lead your eye across the space. I like the blend of traditional and modern in this study nook below.
Erica Bierman Photography

Another fun idea if to paint beadboard in a high gloss. It amplifies it's texture and pushes natural light further into a room.
Tiffany Eastman Interiors

Used in a more traditional application, beadboard accentuates the notion of a summer home.


Finally, you could use beadboard to back shelving or cabinetry for a subtle definition between a built in and a wall.

Do you have any creative uses for this adaptable texture?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Island Life

Metaform Architects

The kitchen truly is the heart of the home- a place where families and friend gather, and where meals are prepared and shared. If you are like me, there is never enough storage, and counter space is prime real estate. The kitchen island is a design element that can serve as both a beautiful and utilitartian purpose.

One of the benefits of having a kitchen island is that it provides another eating surface. I like how counter or bar stools at an island bridge the gap between eating and cooking in the kitchen. The bench seating is a trendy take on stools that I find different and neat. Make sure you don't go wider than a two seat bench, or else the middle person gets stuck on the seat.

The Cross Design
Living in a tight space presents its own set of challenges, especially if you are an avid cook. Sometimes, I almost believe that smaller kitchens are easier to navigate, because all you have to do is make a few turns and dinner is ready. I think the mini kitchen below is quite successful. Rather than an island, a peninsula extends from the wall and is used as countertop space as well as to set the adjacent spaces apart from one another.

Apartment Therapy

The wood construction and legs give this farmhouse island a furniture feel. The wood brings a warmth, hominess, and casual air to the gathering place.

I'm pretty certain the image below is from a boutique, but I thought it interesting to share. In a larger space, a series of legged islands could work well.

Rue Magazine
A more industrial and modern approach, this island is wrapped in gray brickwork. The stone tile backsplash that stretches to the ceiling adds an earthy quality, and the light that streams through the three skylights highlights the space with natural warmth.
Don't forget how much storage you have the potential to squeeze into this design element. Whether it is with open or closed shelving, think about what needs to be stored. Is it serveware, cookbooks, or wine? - to name a few.
Something I have been seeing a lot of lately are waterfall style countertops. This means that the countertop stone wraps down from the surface of the counter to the floor and acts as support for a countertop ledge like in the picture below. It is clean and streamlined. I like the way the design tucks a wine cooler and shelving underneath the lip, and the wood ceiling that mimics the flooring.

Zero Energy Design

What homes have you visited or pictures you have seen that have a successful island design?