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.
I was lucky enough to stay at my favorite hotel recently, The Edition in NYC. Oh, how I love this place! While staying there I am always inspired by the interior design. So much so, that in the moment, I am mentally redesigning every inch of 1865 City House.
What makes it so appealing? It’s the repeated use of contrast. Or in other words “opposites”. Light colors with dark colors. This is the best tool in a designers tool box!
Contrast works in paintings:
Contrast works with food presentation:
Contrast most definitely works at The Edition:
At The Edition light oak floors paired with dark wood entryways and beautiful dark oversized beds create contrast at its best. The high contrast concept is implemented with variations on the same theme all throughout the hotel. Even the artwork is great vintage black and white photos in glossy white or black frames.
Here are a few examples of contrast for interiors:
Contrast (light vs dark) is important when designing a room. It is an easy way to make a statement and add personality to your spaces.
Even monochromatic rooms can be visually exciting when paired with strong accents in constrating colors. A room without any contrast can be quite boring. I recommend taking a step back, or better yet photograph your spaces to ensure they are inviting, interesting, and have a good deal of contrast. Often it is just a matter of adding a few dynamic colors to update the entire look!
Just this week I went to Target to pick up some planters for my patio. Imagine my surprise when the home and garden section had been replaced with back to school items! Really? And the same day my much loved Williams Sonoma Home magazine arrived for “Early Fall 2017.” My calendar says we are more or less in the third week of summer! I am all for planning ahead, but let’s enjoy today and all this beautiful season has to offer!
Interior design in summer is all about keeping it simple. Some of the best ways to celebrate summer inside your home is to lighten up. Put the area rugs away. Or better yet have them cleaned and stored till October.
Next, window treatments. Same as rugs – time to take any heavy treatments down and just leave the blinds or shades. Better yet, add some soft linen panels and let all the summer breezes flow!
Lastly – Flowers
Fresh flowers are the best part of summer. Be sure to have some in at least one or two rooms. Of course it is a little extra work, but nothing will say welcome summer like fresh flowers!
So enjoy summer and let’s wait at least until mid August to embrace “Early Fall.”
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
It’s been building for some time now. Everywhere you look there are succulents on display. Just yesterday I noticed a beautiful display at the hardware store and came home to find a furniture catalog in the mail – just about every display photo featured succulents! These lovely plants may just be taking over, we need to excercise caution! Just kidding, but you could use them everywhere as they are quite beautiful. Succulents are easy to care for and mix well with all decors.
If your not sure what succulents are here is a brief description:
Succulent plants, such as Aloe, store water in their fleshy leaves. In botany, succulent plants, also known as succulents or sometimes fat plants, are plants that have some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions.
Succulent plant – Wikipedia
I love to use them as a centerpiece:
As unexpected display in a dark corner:
Or just about anywhere:
Or all alone:
If you are missing out on this great trend, don’t worry, you can pick up some of these beauties anywhere, even the hardware store!
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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Hopefully these tips will make your rental a place you can truly call home!
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.
#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.
#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?
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!
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:
How would you describe your decorating, more minimalist or maximalist? I would love to know!