Time to Fake It

June, so many beautiful and amazing flowers! Early last week I bought a bouquet of Peonies. I wish I had photographed them, so pretty! In my opinion Peonies are the frangance of summer! But alas all good things must come to an end. I awoke today to a vase surrounded by fallen petals. So sad.

I adore fresh flowers, my garden is planted with the intention of having cut flowers for display inside my home.

However fresh flowers and plants need tender loving care and have an expiration date:

This being said, I will admit to the purchase of fake flowers and plants. These beauties can fill up an empty space and require no care at all. However best to keep them on the small side, as it is harder to find larger arrangements that look natural.

Here are some of my favorities fakes:

Of course there is nothing like the real thing, but once and awhile it’s ok to fake it.

Please Wait to be Seated

Chairs – let’s be honest.  We all have “our” chair.  Growing up I remember my Dad had “his” chair.  We all knew it was off limits when he was home.  It was a comfy recliner.  It’s funny how these chairs become part of your personality.

Just think of popular tv shows and movies:

Joey and Chandler from Friends had their BarcaLounger chairs:

Agent Kay and Agent Jay from Men in Black and their Iconic Egg chairs:

Morpheus and Neo from The Matrix had Red Leather Wing Chairs:

Personally, a wing chair is my chair.  I actually own three.   They work for me.   Just like black dresses, I keep telling my self “no more,  you have more than enough.”   But at the end of the day you can’t have too many black dresses – or wing chairs.  Here is a definition and a little history about wing chairs:

wing chair
[ˈwiNG ˌCHe(ə)r]
NOUN
a high-backed armchair with side pieces projecting from the back, originally in order to protect the sitter from drafts.

Called the wing back, easy chair or fireside chair, the wing chair as we know it developed over time. Wing chairs appeared in English manors sometime in the late 17th century and soon thereafter appeared in colonial houses in America.

Design
The basic wing chair consists of four legs situated in a squat little square. A long back with slight incline and high arms on each side surround the square. Two small ears, or wings, flank the sides above the arms. Since its inception, the design of the wing chair has changed little.  

Purpose
The wing chair sprang from necessity. Residents of stone-cold English castles and chilly New England houses huddled around their fireplaces, seeking to soak in as much heat as possible. The angular shape of the wing chair retains warm drafts from the fire.

Noahsnet.com

Here is my favorite wing chair at the 1865 City House:

Somewhat vintage, and so comfortable!  Like Goldelocks this one is “just right” for me.

Whats your favorite chair style?

Denial

What’s the old joke, “Denial, it’s not just a river in  Egypt.”?  Ha ha ha, right? I had one of these moments when I realized I have been living in denial regarding my minalmalist quest. I was feeling overwhelmed with all of the springtime maintance of my home, and decided it was time to put my minimalistic goals into action.  It was time to downsize yet again! I came up with a list that looked something like this:

#1. Essential sprucing up details to make 1865 City House market ready for a quick sale.  A couple intense weekends, an it could be done!

#2.  Loft type rentals close by.  Many great options.  Some so appealing!

#3. Essentials to keep. This is where it got real. Choosing just a dozen or less furniture pieces, yikes!

Artwork, even harder, and the China, if you follow me you know I have this China obsession:

So end of story, it’s not happening at this minute in time. I have often blogged “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for an interior designer to become a minimalist”, so very, very true.  And of course “minimalism is a different thing to different people; it’s all a matter of perspective.”  Even truer.

So I will continue to edit my “stuff” and I will complete my sprucing up list, at a more leisurely pace however.  And by the way, I just picked up this beautiful china set from a friend…

That’s all for now, Happy June!

How to Make Your Rental Feel Like Home

Where you spend your time each day and night should be a place you love spending time in.  But so often people will wait until they own a home to decorate.  So here are some five easy ways to give your rental a great look without upsetting your land lord:

  1.  With the help of a YouTube video it’s pretty easy to switch out your overhead lighting.  This can make a huge difference!  When it’s time to move just reinstall the old lighting fixtures and take the new fixtures with you.

The Possibilities are Endless

2.  Although painting the walls is often prohibited,  many companies make removable wallpaper.  Just adding it to one accent wall can make a big difference.

Removable Wall-coverings

3.  Purchase furniture that is versatile.  A chest, console, armoire, or bookcase can be used in an entryway, a bedroom, or even a dining room.

Chest

4.  Renters are often afraid of putting too many holes in the walls to hang art.  Although a little wall spackle and touch up paint can correct this problem, large scale art and mirrors can just lean against the wall – a great solution!

Leaning Art

5.  Lastly, window treatments.  My favorite inexpensive window treatments are rings with clips.  This makes any fabric (a table cloth, twin sheet, canvas drop cloth) a window treatment.  Just keep it neutral, prints can look too distracting from the outside.

Rings and Clips

Hopefully these tips will make your rental a place you can truly call home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designers Who Inspire

Ilse Crawford/IKEA 

There are many designers I admire.  Originally, I was going to blog about my top ten favorites, however, that seemed a bit long.  So after giving it a lot of thought, I decided to narrow it to my top three:

#1. Ilse Crawford

Ilse Crawford is known for an emotional approach to design which engages all the senses.  Her interiors always have a collected look of well loved objects.  She believes “Interior Design is a tool to enhance our humanity, and acts as a frame for life”.   Crawford embraces good design for all people; she has designed for IKEA as well as high end hotels.

Ilse Crawford/Copenhagen

#2.  Victoria Hagen

Victoria Hagen is able to create interiors that are classic with a modern sensibility.  I first started following her (the old fashioned way, through print) in the early 90s when I was a design student. Hagen was featured in a design magazine for designing a Nantucket summer home. A simple and inviting interior, I have been a fan ever since.  Hagen believes “Design is about using your imagination to create special environments to live in and enjoy”.  A fairly basic Idea that gets to the true goal of good design.

Victoria Hagen

Victoria Hagen 

#3.  Billy Baldwin

Billy Baldwin (not the actor) is known for streamlined modernism mixed with classic design.  His famous quote (which I use often) “Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is out of style”.  Baldwin designed the  “Slipper Chair” in 1930.  Were would civilization be without the armless slipper chair?

Billy Baldwin/Slipper Chairs

 

Billy Baldwin

What I love most about all of these interiors is their timeless quality.   Any of these photos could have been taken yesterday or many years ago. Each of thes designers have published many books.  Treat yourself and pick up one or all!

 

You Say Minimalism, …I Say Maximalism…?

Ok, truth be told, I appreciate both.  Last year, I read and blogged about The More of Less, a great book by Joshua Becker about the joys of Minimalism.  It really inspired me! Recently I watched a great documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, which I highly recommend!  It runs just a little over an hour, you can find it on Netflix.  As a result of this documentary, I am editing yet again; it must be a Spring thing!

However, anyone who knows me would probably not think “Minimalist”.  I always tell my friends minimalism means different things to different people.  Some people might think 6 pairs of shoes is excessive, some may think 6 is the bare minimum.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

Yet, Maximalism in design is on the rise!  Interiors are definitely becoming more layered and colorful.  Maximalism’s motto is “more is more”.  I am ok with this idea, but just remember there is a big difference between maximalism and clutter!  Be careful!  A successful Maximalist room is well planned, with special attention to mixing patterns , colors, and styles.
Here are some of my favorite minimalist and maximalist rooms:

Elegance

Manual 17

Designsponge

Eclectic

http://www.howtobuildahouseblog.com/combine-your-old-furniture-with-new-furniture/eclectic-living-room/

How would you describe your decorating, more minimalist or maximalist?  I would love to know!

 

Designed for Success

I have always been fascinated with the connection between interior design and it’s affect on how’ve we feel and act. There are many reasons for these feelings and none of them are by accident. Volumes have been written about the psychological affects of color on behavior, and countless studies on how well-designed spaces affect productivity and cognitive thinking. Yet many people think they have to wait until they are successful to plan a great work space or office. The opposite, however, is true. It is a fact; our surroundings affect the way we feel and perform.

So what makes a great work space?

1. Good lighting, natural is best, with overhead and task options.
2. A functional desk, bigger is better.
3. Lots of storage and display space.
4. At least one window, a beautiful view is ideal.
5. Supportive seating.
6. Ample storage.
7. Absence of clutter.
8. Room for guests.
9. Artwork that inspires.
10. Plants and flowers that bring the outdoors in.

Natural Light

Plenty of Storage



Room for Guests
Whether your work space is a home office or a public space, paying attention to the details that are unique to who you are and who you aspire to be are essential. I have a good friend who’s mantra is “Dress well to test well”. I apply this concept to design as well. “Design well to perform well”. The last thing you want is a mismatched and cluttered space in any room you spend time in, especially not in a space where you need to be focused and creative. Have a design plan and create a space you feel great in. Work will be a pleasure and your success will follow.

Movies without Sound

The Intern

Have you ever watched a movie with the sound off just to appreciate and study the set design? Welcome to my world! I often do this when the set design of the movie is outstanding; outstanding being a space I could see myself living in happily.

One of my absolute favorite set designers (as well as being a film director, producer, and screenwriter), is Nancy Meyers. I have been a fan for years without even realizing all of the movie sets I loved were designed by the same person.

Her lastest work, and my latest Interiors crush, is The Intern:

img_3317

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Some of her other work:

Something’s Got to Give

It’s Complicated

The Holiday

img_3330 img_3332 img_3333

I think the photos say it all. Please, do your self a favor and watch one, or all of these films. Enjoy the story and enjoy all those beautiful spaces!

Thats So 2016!

We are now happily welcoming Spring! A time of renewal, and also the perfect time for updating our homes!  A common concern when redecorating is what’s “in” for 2017, and what’s “out” (so 2016!).  So here’s the inside scoop:

So Hot!

Brass.  Not the shinny stuff from the 80s but the good old stuff with some weight and patina:

img_3358

Brass is where it’s at!

Jewel Tones.  More Russian Tea Room and less Scandinavian Cafeteria:

img_3359

Color!

Mixed cabinets and materials in kitchens. Kitchens have never been more eclectic!

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Mix it Up!

Graphic tiles.  Why do subway. When you can create a dramatic statement!

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Classic!

Statement light fixtures. These are the jewelry for your rooms, have fun!

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Make a Statement!

What’s So 2016:

Ombré, it was fun while it lasted:

img_3367

Ombre!

Cowhide, I never understood this.

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Cowhide!

Rosy Metallics, they just don’t mix the way the other metals do:

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Rosy!

Excessive Mid Century Modern, moderation in all things.

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MCM!

Chevron.   So overdone!

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Chevron!

Naturally we all want to be current, but always remember:

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So true!

First Impressions

Often the first impression of a space can be deceiving.  Rooms with lots of vertical height and natural light appear bigger.  There is a big difference between actual square footage and visual square footage. Some very large rooms can seem quite small because of dark color selections, large scale furniture, busy patterns, and clutter.

On the other hand, small rooms can appear to be much larger with the use of a light color pallet, smaller scaled furniture, minimal  pattern, and the absence of clutter.

If you are looking to make a small room appear larger here are a few tips:

1. Take advantage of natural light. Use sheer or translucent window treatments:

img_3303

Hunter Douglas

2.  Mirrors will reflect light and large scale mirrors will visually double your space:

img_3305Mirrors

3.  Whenever possible use all of the vertical space available.  Hang window treatments close to the ceiling, use tall bookcases and armoires.

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Height = Feeling of Space

4.  Keep sofas and chairs from appearing bulky with open and/or raised legs:

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Exposed Furniture Legs

5.  Glass tables visually take up less space:

img_3308Glass Tables

6.  Keep color pallet neutral as unified colors expand a space.

img_3309

Neutrals

7.  Layer lighting to expand lighting possibilities and define spaces:

img_3310lighting

8.  Use round dining tables rather than square or rectangular as corners take up space:

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Round Tables

9.  Keep collections to a minimum – stay away from small accessories as they can look cluttered:

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Accessories should be larger than a grapefruit!

 

10.  Zero clutter:

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Keep it Simple

Welcome to living large in a small space 🙂