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:

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Some of her other work:

Something’s Got to Give

It’s Complicated

The Holiday

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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:

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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!

Drawing a big, blank wall?

I love a blank wall! So full of potential! Here are some interesting ideas for how to fill a big blank wall:

Oversized Artwork and Mirrors:
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A Gallery Wall:

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Floating Shelves:

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Statement Wallpaper:

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A Large Clock:

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Lastly, and my absolute favorite, create a wine wall:

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Cheers!

Yours, Mine, and Ours

So you are moving in together, how wonderful!  However, it can be challenging agreeing on what stays and what goes.  Design style for a couple can be a tricky endeavor.  One of my favorite scenes from “When Harry met Salley” revolves around the wagon wheel coffee table:

I especially love this quote:

“Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor, but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste”. – Marie

So, it’s not going to be easy.  You know this, but I am here to help!  Here is my fail proof guide to combining two households:

First, pack and purge – essential for any move.

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Inventory what’s left.  Compare inventory lists as some duplicates don’t make sense – how many food processors, mixers, and blenders does one home need? (The answer is one)

Take measurements of your space and make a floor plan. You can do it old school and use graph paper (one 1/4″ square equals one foot). Or use one of the many room planning sites on line.

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Now the hard part, compromise. What if you both love your sofa and your bed and there is only room for one. Two very important must haves. First, I recommend  the one that fits the space best. If all things are equal I would go with the higher quality pieces and then work around them.

Now comes the fun part, mix it up and be fair, one personality should not dominate. Think like with like; Brass photo frames together, collections grouped by color, etc.

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Next make an “ours” list and prioritize the purchases that you will make together, this is the most fun, as it will reflect your tastes as a couple.

Lastly, pull it together with a great new color scheme. That pink chair might look very edgy with orange walls!

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Above all, please don’t keep or buy a wagon wheel coffe table … ever!

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!

 

 

My New Favorite

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Recently I was in NYC for the weekend.  Each time I visit I like to stay in a different part of town and explore.  This time, a somewhat new hotel came up on my search called The Edition.  Located near Madison Square Park, it is the original Met life building, which was once the tallest building in NYC.  I love historic buildings that have respect for the past, but also incorporate a modern vibe.  The perfect mix of past and present, if you will.  The building is distinctive with its clock tower and gold dome.  I was so happy with this hotel, I can’t wait to go back!

This hotel hit all my interior design boxes and then some!  I especially like the play of dark and light woods through all of the hotel.  Much the same way the mix of metals like silver and gold can make fashion more modern and approachable, this mix of woods presents a very modern vibe.

lets start with the lobby:

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So simple, so elegant!

Across from the lobby, is a lounge and bar.  It is mostly candlelit in the evening and the sound system and music selection are amazing!

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At the end of the lounge is a cozy sitting area and a curved staircase leading to the second floor:

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Once upstairs, many wonderful choices:

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Drinks!

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Billiards!

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Dinner – amazing dinner!

And last but not least:

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A room with a view!  Also, these wonderful curved ceilings.  Beautiful to look at and designed to absorb sound.  Very beneficial as all the flooring is a light wood, not carpeting.  As a germaphobe, I can’t tell you how happy this makes me!

In a way it’s too bad this amazing hotel is in the city with so many fun things to do – I really didn’t want to leave.  If you are in the city, I definitely recommend it.

 

 

 

 

 

Paint Magic

Yes, I know I said I would stop painting furniture, and I did mean it at the time. However, the days are long and paint is cheap.

Here is my latest project’s before:

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I have had this curio forever.  I like its slim profile and mirrored back. What I didn’t t like was the way it blended right in with the wall. So of course my happy color “black” to the rescue:

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The hardest part was remembering how to put the hinges back on. I recommmend taking close up photos before disassembly. Also, having a partner helps when rehanging the doors. Trust me, it’s difficult, but not impossible (quite hilarious actually) hanging the doors by yourself.

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Good luck with your next project!

Colors for 2017

Benjamin Moore and Pantone both recently announced their picks for color of the year.  Benjamin Moore’s pick is “Shadow”: deep and moody from the purple family.  Pantone’s pick is “Greenery”: lively and rich from the green (duh) family.  How can this be you may ask? Two colors of the year?   Well, while different, they do have some similarities.   Both are beautiful jewel tones.  Just think of amethyst and emerald! They work beautifully together.

Let’s look at Shadow:

Amethyst, aubergine, shadow,  all beautiful soft muted colors! I love to use them all on interior walls and accents.  As a matter of fact I used a very similar aubergine for a historic show house a few years back:

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It is a timeless color that can be historic or contemporary.  From a design perspective it’s a great backdrop for furniture and accessories.  Much the same way jewelery stores will use dark backdrops to display gems to their best advantage, this wonderful jewel tone does the same for your interiors.

Let’s look at “Greenery”.  Fresh as newly cut grass, full of promise.  Here is what Pantone has to say:

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“Greenery”, also a beautiful jewel tone, is reminiscent of emerald, peridot, and tourmaline.  A timeless and elegant look:


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These 2017 colors are absolutely wonderful and will go the design distance.  Use them boldly and with confidence!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wallpaper – the Thin Line Between Love and Hate

When we moved into our home this lovely wallpaper was on the living room walls.  Initially I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not.  Seven years later I still can’t decide. I love the gilt flecks especially on a sunny day –  they seem to dance around the room.   I recognized the pattern it as a popular Arts an Crafts motif.  After doing a little research I discovered its official name is “Persis Wall”.  It was purchased from a company called “J.R. Burrows and Company in Rockland Massachusetts.  Here is its description:

“Persis Wall”: An anonymous English design representative of the Aesthetic Movement and early Arts & Crafts Movement. The figure appears as a random spray of eucalyptus leaves, interspersed with gilt blossoms that appear and fade across the wall. It is a particularly effective pattern on which to hang artwork, or in hallways and rooms with walls cut up by many doors and windows. The original was found under woodwork in the old shop of Burrows & Co. in Boston, and historic photographs show the same design in a villa near Sidney, Australia, where it had been installed around 1880. Offered in shades of sage green (the document colorway), terra cotta, pale gold on cream, and celadon green.

The preservationist in me loves how appropriate it is for my circa 1865 home.  However, here are the two things I really don’t love:

  1.  It absorbs the light and makes photographing this room really    difficult.

2.  Not every color works as far as upholstery and fabrics are concerned. I sometimes dream of a creamy white that would bounce the light around and not limit any choices.

I supose if it has lasted this long it most likely will stay until it starts to fade.  Then it will most likely be replaced with a beautiful and light bouncing white.

I would love to hear about your designing “love-hate relationships”.