Thursday, January 28, 2010

Before and After - Charming and Elegant

This is the lovely home of a client who had been living in Sausalito for several years and was ready to downsize to a senior community. She needed help deciding what to take with her and configuring the new space to meet her needs, and wanted to update the look of some of her older pieces.

Before: Living Room

Before: Dining Room -
Our client loved the terra cotta color on the wall and wanted to use it somewhere in her new space.

She was also determined to find a place for her massive mirrored mahogany table.                                                                    

Before: Kitchen Rack

Before: Bedroom
Our client wanted new bedding and new upholstery on the bench and chaise.                    


Before: Bamboo Cabinet
This was a charming piece we wanted to incorporate into our design plan.

Before : Arm Chair
This piece was ready for a fresh look.

After: Living Room

We kept the key pieces and tightened the layout to accommodate the smaller space.

After: Dining Room
In order to keep the massive dining table, we butted it right up to the wall, which we had mirrored to double the visual space.

After: Dining Room Console Used In Entry
Here's where we were able to introduce her favorite color, highlighting it on the entry wall.

After: Kitchen Bakers Rack Used In Living Room
We repurposed this to hold her favorite decorative accessories and her sound system.

After: Bedroom
Here's her favorite color again highlighting the bedroom wall and which inspired the colors chosen for the custom bedding and headboard.


The newly upholstered chaise has an updated silhouette.

We exposed the metal frame of the bench to create a more contemporary feel. We recovered it and the skirted table in a raw silk check to coordinate with the new bedding.

After: Bamboo Cabinet
We highlighted this in the hallway as a "cabinet of curiousities." The patterned rug was the inspiration for the color scheme throughout.

After: Arm Chair
The black lacquer and leopard print updated her favorite armchair.

Here it is in the den/office space we created for her:

After: Hallway Doors - We inserted mirrored panels into the doors to increase the feeling of space.

Our client was able to feel "at home" in her new space as soon as she moved in!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sofa: Before and After

Sometimes just a small change can create a big impact. This sofa needed a facelift - while a slipcover could have changed it dramatically, we really wanted to keep the upholstery and simply improve it's profile. Although nice and deep, the silhouette was low - we thought it needed a "boost":

 Simply adding bun feet gave the sofa a more classic and elegant look :

A very simple and inexpensive change makes it feel like a new sofa!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Room and Board

Everyone has cards, photos, and memorabilia on their desks that clutter their work surface. We advocate gathering them up and displaying them where they can be seen and enjoyed everyday. One of favorite projects is creating oversized wall mounted memory boards. All that's required is some available wall space - they're great in offices, bedrooms, kids' rooms etc. They can be made in any fabric with any ribbon trim. Here's one that we made in burlap above a desk in a kitchen alcove:




Another fun way to display memorabilia is under a piece of glass cut to fit the tabletop.
Here in a guest room with a bit of a French feel, postcards and a map of Paris create some visual interest.
 ( It's a good way to disguise any imperfections on your tabletop too.)

Creating a changing display of your favorite mementos is a stylish and practical way to express more of your personality in your rooms, while controlling the constant paper chase!


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Frank Faulkner: An Artist's Eye

The Hudson, New York living room of the artist Frank Faulkner is a good example of a "real" room (not one styled for a magazine shot) that works -it functions for day to day living and provides comfort while looking good. It's obviously the home of a collector- there are interesting objects everywhere-  yet it feels contemporary, not cluttered or stuffy. Faulkner has renovated 14 (!) houses and has come up with some rather fun quotes that fit in well with what we're always preaching, so here they are:
PLAY WITH SCALE: "Nothing's more fun than an overscaled piece...when it's right." Here the small fireplace mantle is dwarfed by the over scale artwork above it. A daring move, but it works because the pictures hung on either side go right up to the ceiling, filling in the space and creating a clean, unbroken line for the eye. And the huge artwork is contemporary while the mantle is classical - the tension created between the two feels fresh and new.
TRUST SYMMETRY: "When you shop, look for pairs. If perfect symmetry isn't possible, then aim for balance by using things of equal volume." Here the chairs flanking the fireplace provide needed symmetry to the arrangement, while linking the 2 sofas together.

On this wall,  PLAYING WITH SCALE continues. Another huge canvas is mounted behind the sofa, filling the entire space and again going right up to the ceiling. The bust ("classical and whimsical") on a plinth in the corner is also on a grand scale. Both add a feeling of substance to the room.

USE COLOR CAUTIOUSLY: "I love color but I use it very respectfully." Color is at work here, although not in an obvious way. The animal print thrown on the back of the sofa adds contrast and texture and happily mixes with the stripe pillow. Lots of white is used throughout to add freshness. Although nothing really matches, it's all harmonious.

CURTAINS SHOULD BLEND: "The cheaper the fabric the better, so they can be very full...I usually do them out of muslin with brass grommets at the top, so i can hang them from a rod with white plastic shower rings. I always tell myself the rings are ivory." We say: "Whatever works!"

TREASURE THREADBARE RUGS: "I am a member of the confederation called The Rotten Rug Society." The large faded patterned rug grounds everything and adds subtle color, picking up the grey blues of the canvas. And while it doesn't have to be exactly "rotten",  a little wear and tear is perfectly acceptable, and often desirable.

MIX THE HUMBLE WITH THE REFINED: "I'd just as soon take a piece of junk and tart it up as buy an expensive antique. I"ll often spend as much as $40 a weekend at the flea market. and I'll find things that give me more joy than an antique with the highest provenance.  If I do have something good, i'll put something humble next to it, to de-glaze the good thing- make it less pompous. This sepia print was in ...Antique Center for at least two years. I finally bought it and hung it over this rather good Biedermeier chest of drawers. I can't tell you the number of decorators who've since asked to buy it from me. Yet it sat there for two years, unloved and unwanted, for no money." It's all in the mix.

NOTHING IS SACRED - PAINT IT, STRIP IT, BLEACH IT!: "When I first found this Gothic cupboard  in a flea market, it had a starved dark brown varnish finish. I've painted it, over the years, white, grey-green, several shades of red, and finally, as it is now, black-overlay with some red showing through." Also note the tattered burlap upholstered chair- it adds to the charm.

SPEND AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE ON KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS: "Fancy kitchens depress me. I think kitchens and baths should be simple and utilitarian." Kitchens don't have to look like sterile stainless steel laboratories- they can be as soulful and evocative as the rest of your home.

BRING IN LIGHT AND LIFE: "They are the two most important things a room can have. Sunshine, breezes, plants, books, of course, but also sparkle- mirrors, candles- lend vitality." Absolutely the key ingredients for a room that sings....Happy New Year!

Courtesy of Rural Intelligence