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?

The Year Of the Succulent

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.

House to Home

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
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/succulent_plant

I love to use them as a centerpiece:

Center Stage

As unexpected display in a dark corner:

Display

Or just about anywhere:

In Groups

Gardenista

Or all alone:

Too Cute!

FourWalls

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!

 

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!

 

Did you miss “1865 City House” last week?

I was not able to post last week and I hope some of you noticed! “1865 City House” blog just celebrated a 2 year anniversary! It’s a wonderful creative outlet for me and I always enjoy hearing your comments! As a result of changing the format a couple times I have lost some of my favorite followers and posts. The likes of “Black is My Happy Color” and “Does this Sofa Make Me look Fat” are lost forever! I hope my followers are not lost as well. If you like the blog, please hit the “Follow” button and receive it in your inbox. If you already follow, please share it with a friend. Thank you!  Have a great day!

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.

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:

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Brass is where it’s at!

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

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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:

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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!

When Bad Decorating Happens to Good People

As an Interior Designer people are always asking me if I mentally redesign homes I visit, even when I am not working.  Of course, the answer is yes.  I just can’t help it. There is always great potential in all the homes I visit, and many frankly are just perfect.  However, when things aren’t working it is because of one of these common mistakes:

  1.  Furniture pushed up to the walls.  Better to arrange furniture in conversational groupings.

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2.  Rugs too small.  Better to have large scale rugs that anchor conversation.

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3.  Lamps too small. Lighting should be layered, with the ability to dim and brighten, but attention to scale is a must.

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Lamp heights too different. Ideally the base of the shade should be at eye level for reading.  Do layer your lighting. Every room should have more than one light source. Dimmers are an easy install and give a lot of flexibility. Have several lamps providing task and ambient lighting.

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4.  Art work and mirrors too high. The ideal center of an art piece or painting should be 54 inches from the floor.  If you are hanging a grouping the center of the group should be at the 54″ mark.

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5.  Seat heights too different. Best is to keep the range of seating to a difference of two to three inches.

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6.  Occasional tables too high or too low in relation to height of chairs, sofas, and beds. A practical consideration. Similar heights allow for easy access with cups and glasses.

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7.  Window treatments too long/short.   Just like pants, they need to be the correct length.

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8.  Absence of focal point. Essential for drawing the eye into space.

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9.  Lack of visual flow from room to room. Ideally the room colors should compliment one another. Some think of this as a cross pollination type idea. For example, red room with green accents and a green room with red accents.

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Congratulations!  Follow these guidelines and your rooms will be perfect!

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Branching Out

I am so glad February is a short month.  No offense to all the February birthdays, the only redeeming aspects of this dark and cold month actually, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for having your birthday in February.  Aside from the birthdays I have little to look forward to and just do a countdown to March 1st.  Really, I wish I could just hibernate.  Maybe Florida next year!

February is also the month I miss my garden the most!  I start dreaming of tulips and daffodils.  While waiting impatiently for this glorious event, I like using branches and twigs in lieu of flowers to bring the outdoors in.   You can collect them on your nature walks or purchase them at a craft store.  Branches can be interesting, they add a sculpture like quality to any lonely corner patiently waiting for summer’s gladioli or peonies.

Here are some of my favorite arrangements:

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And if your want to really “branch out” and take it to the the next level here are some great branch ideas:

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Hope you have fun “Branching Out”  and remember, spring is just around the corner!