Monday, July 21, 2014

The Color Red
Recently I went on a garden tour and stopped to admire a pretty patio complete with a red table umbrella, two red Adirondack chairs and large pots of red geraniums.  The color red is the color of summer and brings to mind Fourth of July picnics with steaming lobster, salad with ripe tomatoes
and American flags flying in the breeze.  Many people are reluctant to bring the color red inside their homes because they don't quite know how to use this intense hue.  Anyone who likes the color red would enjoy working in the laundry/storage room above.  Red is a great color for dining rooms because it promotes the appetite. In the photo below, red walls add contrast to the neutral tones of the upholstered chairs and richness to the finely-furnished room.  The following photo highlights red used as a  focal point with the dramatic chandelier and painting in the all-white dining room.

Red is also associated with cozy dens and family rooms where the warm color invites people to relax in a comfortable setting.  I love the soft red color of the two settees in the library below.  The eye picks up the red tones of the books and collectibles as it travels around the room.
One red wall in the family room above repeats the red in the carpet and provides a dramatic backdrop
to the artwork.  Red is a good choice of color for one or two bold pieces of furniture as seen in the photo below.  The red sectional sofa in this small apartment below becomes the centerpiece of the room and counterpoint to the neutral tones of white and gray. The same effect is evident in the following photo where one large painting provides a dominant focal point that enhances the somber colors in the room.
In the bedroom above, a red duvet and pillows are an unexpected but perfect complement to the use of green throughout the room.
If all the walls of a room are painted red, keeping the furnishings to one muted palette avoids having an explosion of color that makes one feel uncomfortable in a space. In the photo below, I love how the white woodwork, light woods and white furniture pop from the fiery background.  Conversely,
the living room in the next photo prefers the walls and flooring to be light in color while the dramatic red color is used on the expansive window treatments and other accents around the room.
A current trend in interior design continues to be a preference for all-white kitchens and bathrooms.
For those not afraid to use color, the use of red in these busy spaces creates an ambiance that is exciting and full of energy.

Lucky is the child who calls the next room his or her own.  Bursts of color provide a playful
environment and bring happy thoughts to mind...  like wearing a pretty new red dress or finding a shiny new red wagon under the Christmas tree.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pendant Lighting
After listening to a webinar on the latest technology in lighting, it is obvious to me that it's a rapidly changing area of interior design today.  While recessed ambient and task lighting are very important in a design scheme, the drama of pendant lights can change a plain space into a sensational one.  Every  kind of material is being used for pendant lighting whether it's metal, plastic, wood, glass, paper or any whimsical object one prefers.  In the photo above, I really like the giant round
puff ball pendant which contrasts with the strong linearity of the room and creates an exciting kitchen space.  In the second white kitchen below, the bright coral of the drum shade pendant provides a color focus that travels throughout the home.
Gold is a popular trend in current pendant lighting as used in the following photo.  The placement of
multiple pendants over the kitchen island is not only's absolutely beautiful.  These faceted hanging balls remind me of elegant earrings, but they also bring to mind luscious fruits and
Dining rooms provide an endless array of possibilities for creative pendant lighting. As in the next two photos, the single chandelier can be replaced by a row of pendants that  repeat the same shape or offer a variety of similar shapes in the same fixture.

A cascade of sparkling spheres give a year-round holiday flair to the dining room below.  This same effect is spectacular in the following living room where the cascading pendant lighting evokes
stars in the night sky.

A favorite space for me to install pendant lighting is in the bedroom.  So many unusual pendant lights are available to lend romance to the space or suggest a client's favorite hobby.  The first bedroom features a glamorous and shimmering organic chandelier. The pendant light in the second bedroom proclaims the owner's interest in astronomy and looks like a celestial orb.  In the third bedroom, twin
double drum pendants offer bedside reading and emphasize the black and white color scheme in the room.
Bathroom lighting can be dramatic as well as functional as seen in the next three photos.  The variety of these fixtures creates unique personal environments for the homeowners that are truly

I am excited by the range of shapes and materials available today in pendant lighting.  A few examples of some of my favorites appear in the remaining photos.  What do you fancy?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Antiques: Mixing Old With New
All of my favorite shelter magazines are filled with advertisements for summer antique shows
like the ones in Newport, Nantucket and New Hampshire.  I'm inspired to plan a visit to one of these
locations for a warm weekend getaway and look for that special something for clients who like
to mix old with new in their design projects. In the photo above, the juxtaposition of a starkly modern painting behind an historical bust on an antique chest creates a beautiful vignette in this living room.  The following two photos feature antique mirrors and end tables with a vibrant mix of furniture styles in colorful rooms that have a traditional appeal.
The monochromatic contemporary interiors in the next two photos highlight a sharp contrast that
is visually exciting.  I love the look of the white sectional sofas mixed with the warm tones of antique wooden furniture and architectural features.

Dining spaces offer opportunities to showcase a family heirloom table and chairs or the lucky find
of a country farmhouse table. In the photos below , the lovely classic lines and rich mahogany of the dining set stand out against the cool contemporary pattern and color of the wallpaper.  The worn patina of the pine trestle table is very inviting in the all-white modern kitchen.
In the photo above, the talented designer has artfully repeated the round shapes of the mirror and
pedestal table to create an exciting mix of modern and antique styles.

Bright and lively colors in the following two bedrooms keep the massive Victorian furniture from
overwhelming the spaces.  The dark tones of the wooden beds glow against the cool hues of blue and green.  Imagine the family stories they could tell!

I love repurposing a single piece of antique furniture in creative ways for functional use in the home.
The beautiful old dresser in the photo below becomes the focal point of this gorgeous kitchen. And the following bathroom offers a unique sink cabinet that enriches the space.
One of my favorite ways to use a small antique table is to create a home office area and feature it as a desk.  In this next photo and the one to follow, the addition of antique artwork draws the discerning eye into a room that is out of the ordinary.

Contemporary homes with little or no architectural detail challenge me as a designer.  Antique elements like the tall mirrors in the family room below replicate the look of palladian windows. The addition of an antique mantelpiece creates a focal point to the room.  And, the antique table and two chairs enliven the plain backside of a long contemporary sofa.  An originally boring and empty space
is now beautifully enhanced with a mix of old and new furnishings that will never look out of date.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Indoor/Outdoor Design

Summer in New England has finally arrived and we're all looking forward to spending as much time as we can on our patios and decks.  There are many design possibilities now that blurr the border
between indoor and outdoor living.  In the photo above, the furniture layout flows effortlessly between the home's interior and exterior spaces.  Maybe you don't have a home in the tropics complete with lanai and palm trees, but you might have a large covered porch as in the photo below.  I really like this elegant summer retreat that reflects the white architectural features of the house.  All the elements of the living room have been moved outside including furniture, lamps, and accessories.
Even a small front porch can offer the ambiance of an outdoor living room, as in the photo below.  Just a few pieces of casual furniture provide a cozy area for rest and refreshment.
It's wonderful to find so many weather resistant fabrics and furnishings available today so there's no reason not to provide comfortable seating in our outdoor settings.  The two photos above and the following two below show the possibilities  for bright colors and patterns in pillows,  patio umbrellas, ottomans, and carpets.   I have also used these fabrics for interior spaces where a colorful palette and easy-care durability function well for busy families.
Outdoor lounge furniture currently available to homeowners is so beautiful that pieces like the
chair and ottoman in the photo above can be used indoors as well.  The addition of large green plants
create a mood of outdoor living even though the room is totally enclosed.
In the warm weather months, everyone loves dining al fresco and this Asian-inspired seating area
in the photo above offers long , relaxing evenings spent enjoying good friends and good food.  The
photo below highlights indoor dining with an outdoor atmosphere thanks to the summery colors and
relaxed feeling of the furniture.
The functional spaces in our homes can be enhanced with indoor/outdoor design as well.  In the two bathrooms below, the colors of sea and sky have been brought inside to create a feeling of bathing in the ocean and under the stars.

Another way to offer a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living is to install the same
flooring from one space to the it a wooden floor to wooden decking material, or a stone floor to a stone patio as in the photo below.
Whether you live in a tropical or temperate climate and in a large or small home, the sky is the limit
(literally) with all the options available today to create an indoor/outdoor design.  When I relax with a cold drink among  the blue and yellow colors of my patio furnishings, I'm taken away to the south of France.  What is your inspiration for a summer retreat?