Black Is My Happy Color

It has been a crazy busy summer here at 1865 City House! Why does summer fly and winter drag? In an effort to “catch up” I will be reposting a few of my favorite blog posts the next few weeks, just in case you missed any.  Enjoy!

I saw a girl wearing a tee shirt the other day that read “Black is My Happy Color” and I laughed because black is my “go to” favorite color. I remember my first black velvet dress at around age ten, I thought is was the most elegant thing I had ever owned. Maybe my love of black started then.

Today I strongly believe no interior is complete without a touch of black. It is a timeless color. Black always adds emphasis just like a black picture frame highlights the white mat and photo. Oddly it can make small rooms seem bigger, as the lines tend to disappear. Black will always add depth and can anchor a space like no other color.

There are many ways to incorporate black to your interiors. Consider adding accents and textiles in black when looking for a bit of drama or elegance.

Yes, I know, one of Benjamin Moore’s most popular colors is “Simply White”. However, pair it with black and you have a winning combination.

Looking Up

I have been to NYC more times than I can count (lucky, I know!). Still more often than not, I end up with a sun burn on my neck. Crazy, first because I should remember to use sun screen, and second, because I look like a tourist – at risk of all touristy pitfalls – but I digress.

I am always looking up in NYC to see the amazing architecture. The same is true in Interior spaces. The ceiling is often overlooked but a great opportunity to add a statement.

Here are some great options to consider:

  1.  Simply paint the ceilings

Decorpad

2.  Add wallpaper

lushome

3.  Apply Tin

Blogspot

4.  Add a coffered design

5.  Or add your own design

Decoist

So basically, just when you thought you were finished decorating (btw you are never finished) “look up” the opportunities are endless!

 

 

You Had Me at Small Batch . . .

Just when I thought I knew everything there was to know about paint, Benjamin Mooore has introduced their “Century Collection”.

This stunning new paint line is pre-mixed, small-batch paint, in a soft touch matte finish. The depth of color is amazing!

There are 75 colors in this collection and even the paint decks are hand painted to give a true representation of the color.

Here are a few examples of the look:

 

 

 

Impressive, right?  The price is a little high, approximately $125.00 per gallon, similar to the cost of wallpaper for a room.  I can’t wait to try it!

 

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.