Monday, February 28, 2011

A rich alternative

I'm always on the look out for what's new in colour schemes (knowing full well that there's nothing new , only recycled, slightly adjusted past trends).  I recently read an interesting post on Color Sizzle  titled Tiger's Eye; the name immediately brought a range of colours to mind.  Intrigued, I read on.  Just as I expected, Kelly was referring to those golden amber to honey brown colours suggesting that "if you've been looking for a neutral other than gray or beige, tiger-eye is a great alternative that creates a warm backdrop for many different colors and wood finishes"  Think luscious, elegant and cozy.


Then I found a second post by Erica Ward on Houzz who heralded that "old gold" is a new neutral, but gold with a twist - not it's  heavy or brassy predecessor we lived through  in past years.

Now I'm having difficulty warming up to these pronouncements because I'm basically a gray lover, but I do love gray and yellow together so I suppose that's a start.  I am willing to give any colour a chance to convince me of its merits.

The "new" gold is not gaudy or flamboyant, dark or drab or used in excess.   Call it what you will,  gold has always been a staple for homeowners who want warmth, but there's an updated take on this hue. For 2011 we're talking about gentler, softer gold tones, often with a matte look.

Habersham project traditional family room
Valerie DeRoy Interiors, LLC



This palest of golds, soft and toned, adds warmth without boldness.  The overall look is light and pleasing and one you would not tire of quickly.

Summer Home contemporary bathroom
Nora Schneider Interior Design

This bathroom has the same overall feel as the room above even though  the wall colour is a little darker.  
Decor by Jennifer Inc contemporary family room
toronto interior designer Jennifer Brouwer

Monochromatic, rich and restful in various values of gold from the softest cream to a buttery gold on the walls.  

Corbett Lighting traditional dining room
miami showroom Capitol Lighting

This is a similar look as the monochromatic living room above that is enhanced by the gold on the tray ceiling which causes the rest of the room to glow.


This sumptuous bedroom designed by Jan Showers invites relaxation.  It seems I'm particularly attracted to a monochromatic look.


Feminine Dining Room 3 traditional dining room
Paula Grace Designs, Inc.

This amber colour  is very complementary to darker wood tones and the added hints of gray blue makes the colour sing rich and luxurious. 

The Lennoxx  


Gilded Chair
spaces design

 Then there's gold used as an accent.  I always like the way gold work with black, blue or charcoal. 

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lighting your dining table

 The right lighting can make a room sing, but right now most of my rooms are off key.  It's time for a lighting change in my home.

 photo: M Ryall

I love my new fixture for the kitchen and I'm currently thinking about changing the one in my dining room.  When you're buying lighting to hang over a table you should consider several factors including: 
  •  Height of ceiling- taller ceilings demand larger fixtures; many new home builds in my area now have 9 foot ceilings.
  • Size and shape of table: Your fixture should complement not overpower your table.  You can also have lighting fixtures that are too small for a table.
  • Height of homeowners:  It is a fact that tall homeowners have a greater chance of continually bumping into lights hung too low over a table when they are setting or removing dishes.
  •  Performance:  If you want to have more than task lighting over a table you need to make sure your light will also light the rest of the room. To provide both functions you should have it on a dimmer. 
Height above table
The specifics of how high to hang your fixture can be confusing. While some designers hold to a standard height no matter what, this seems ill advised when you think about it. I tend to think in terms of a range while taking other factors into account including: personal preference, the height of the homeowners, fixture size, style of fixture, ceiling height, task to be illuminated etc. .
    The general recommendations for  hanging a fixture over a table is 28 - 32 inches above the table if you have an eight foot ceiling. I treated the drum pendant in my kitchen as if it were a chandelier and placed it at 32 inches from the table top so I wouldn't continually bump it when working. Another set of guidelines suggest measuring  from the floor  to the bottom of the shade and site  60 - 66 inches as reasonable.  Most tables are 30 inches high.  That would put the height from the floor  to my shade at 62 inches.
    If you have ceilings higher than eight feet , go up 3 inches for each additional foot above eight feet.

     Size of fixture
    Another factor that needs consideration is the size of your  table. For most applications the diameter of your light fixture should be at least 1/2 the width of your table or even a little larger.   My kitchen fixture is exactly one half the width of the table at 18 inches in diameter.  

     Function of fixture
    The illumination given off by drum shades  is soft and calming, but  bright enough to provide lighting for an entire room.  When a large drum pendant is hung over a table it not only anchors the vignette, but if placed on a dimmer the fixture can provide brighter light for any tasks done at the table and softer light while dining. While I don't have anything against chandeliers, I don't have any in my own home.I'm definitely into clean lines and a very sparse contemporary feel.


    Photo: M. Ryall

    My dining room fixture needs replacing because it's less than ideal for its present location.   I feel it  needs to be more substantial and circular to work against all those horizontal lines that are the bane of my existence.  It is also hung fairly high at 41 inches from the table.  This was a conscious decision on my part when I hung it because  I didn't want it obscuring the art work when viewed from the living room.  The table is also narrow and I was concerned with bumping my head on it when setting the table. When measured from the floor it rests at 71 inches.

    Note to self:  Get a bigger fisture and hang it at 32 inches from the table as I did in the kitchen.

    Sizing based on room dimensions
    There is another guideline for determining the size of your fixture- add the length and width of your room together (11 +14=25) and convert the sum to inches and that should be the diameter of your  fixture.  Of course that is not a hard and fast rule, but it will provide a light fixture that is a focal point for the room. If the result seems too large for the size of your table look for a fixture that is 2/3 the width of the table.


      Possible style options for pendant lighting...


    Love the shape, colour and texture of this lotus flower pendant. Vivaterra.com, $329.



    I first saw this  contemporary Maskros pendant lamp from IKEA  last year in the home of a Danish friend while I was visiting Kelowna. It is large ( 31.5 inches in diameter) and can't be hung just anywhere. Her stairwell was a  prefect spot  because it had space to visually "breathe".  Once this pendant is switched on, the light casts intricate patterns on the walls.  It’s absolutely fascinating  At first glance it  has a lovely organic feel reminiscent of the seed head of a dandelion.Unfortunately it is not available online only at the store.

    And here's another favourite ...

    I love the patterns in these Galbraith & Paul drums.  They are available through Room and Board online and the price won't break the bank. Nothing could be more perfect in my book than patterns and circles. My difficulty here is choosing just one!

    This is a modified pendant, three lights hanging from one base that looks good over a small circular table.
     
     Encircled Crystal 12" Wide Halogen 3-in-1 Pendant available at Lamps Plus (US) for $169.00


    Lyrical and whimsical

    Possini Euro Design 18-Light Curly Ribbon Pendant at $449.99 available at Lamps Plus above.




    Here are some other ideas in a mood board I created for this topic.

    There's no shortage of choices for over table lighting.  The most difficult part is narrowing it down to one. 

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    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Take one roller shade and...

    Do you want a WOW treatment for your window? Here are easy window treatments that won't set you back a week's pay, but are sure to be noticed.  All you need is a simple roller shade and a little time.  Perhaps these ideas will inspire new creations in your hands.

    Take one roller shade and ...
    ....paint it.

    A simple, large scale design and a vibrant colour create quite an impact.  All you need is a white roller shade, a pencil and acrylic paint.  When you've finished painting and everything is fully dried, use hot glue to attach a strip of contrasting ribbon at the bottom as a finishing detail. The addition of the ring pull adds a  detail that certainly works to add interest.


    Here's another take  in stripes using the same process. All you need is a ruler and painter's tape and some left over acrylic paint. 


    My Home Ideas 

    I think the simple designs work best int this treatment.  White and green always look so fresh no matter what the application.

    ...use origami paper on  it

     This is an updated idea based on the quilt.  Origami paper squares are attached to a roller shade with craft spray adhesive.  Spray both the back of the paper and the shade for best results. To get a perfect grid  you should start by marking the vertical centre of the blind and applying the squares from that line out to the edges. Start at the bottom and work to the top.  If you have space left over at the edges and you don't want to cut a square, consider using a plain paper as a border. A coordinated ribbon can be glued at the bottom.  When everything is dry, apply  2-3 coat of acrylic matt medium over the top of the paper (available at art supply stores) to allow you to  gently sponge off any dust or stains.  A quicker solution would be to ....

     ... use wallpaper on it

    Curbly

    I like the busy pattern with the simple side panels.  This gives a very put together look with very little effort or expense.

     ....use contact paper on it


    Now how easy can it get?  The sky's  the limit to what types of designs you could make from contact paper. Think about all the motifs you could use in a child's room. 

    .... stencil it


    The effects you can achieve by stenciling are as varied as the stencils you can buy or better still make yourself.  Check out  how to stencil a shade  on the link above.

    ...create a cut out design on it

    Martha Stewart

    This simple but elegant look is easy to achieve and works best on a coloured shade. Again, you can depend on Martha to show you how.

    ...use fabric on it 

     Photo: Sara French

    This bold, contemporary design in my daughter's guest bedroom is a far cry from  the original shade which had  a scalloped edge below the weight bar complete with a decorative fringe . The scalloped edge was cut off at the weight bar to square it off, and then fabric was attached with spray adhesive.  The shade was rewound to roll over thus hiding the mechanism for a  more polished look.

    This is a similar look with a more traditional pattern.


    Little Bean Workshop provides a good description of how to apply fabric to a roller shade. Check it out here.

    ...add ribbon to it

     via Little House in the City

    I love the crispness of this application, but you could get different looks by changing the pattern and colours of the ribbon.


    ...use vinyl appliques on it

    photo: Vera Greene

    Vinyl appliques (Roomates Deco) offer interesting design options for shades. This  open weave  in an outside mount  covering the window trim allows for a seamless continuation of the wall design.  My talented sister, who can create stunning looks from very little,  suggests leaving the design at the bottom  of the blind  for easy  rolling. 

    I almost feel pressed to come up with a nifty design for my own home, but all windows treatments are currently up to date. Do you have any ideas about embellishing a simple roller shade  to add to the list?

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    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Red makes the heart sing

     We all have colours we are attracted to or not so fond of.  Sometimes we like colours in one application and not in another.  That is the fate of red in my life.  I love splashes of red in clothing  and textiles, but it is  never a colour that pops into my head  when I think about colours I love for walls or furniture. Red is so difficult to ignore because of its warmth and saturation, it doesn't fit with my need for calmness and relaxation in my home. While there's no red where I live, I've developed colour schemes around it for clients. There's nothing like it for that pop of excitement.



    Live on the wild side! Bedding is a great place to push the colour envelope. If you tire of your moment of adventure, it can be rectified without too much cost.  If the bold stripes you loved end up being too much to wake up to every morning, consider recycling the sheets into pillow covers, a cloth bag, a table runner etc.


    Country Living

     Red makes a fantastic accent colour that can often be linked together with painted furniture, cushions, red patterned draperies, lamps, etc.  I've noticed red with lighter blues in design sources lately. It makes an interesting combination.

    This is another interesting combination with red- more green than blue. The use of  beige calms the overall feeling of the room.

    Modern and Colour make a statement! modern kitchen
    Isabel Beattie @ K Cabinets Hamilton/Oakville

    If you don't want to commit to four red walls, red makes a splashy accent statement.  Look for some aspect of your room that you want to emphasize, and go for it.  The sparing use of red in this design  is a good example of this principle in action.


    Entry with tile floors, board formed concrete and red door modern entry

     Red doors are always popular and when you open a door into a space it works to repeat the colour inside as you can see above.  The red plate connects with the door colour and the circular shape connects with the mirror in the bathroom - nice visual flow. 


    Michelle Salz-Smith modern bedroom
                                                             Michelle Salz-Smith, ASID, CID @ Studio Surface

     I'm sure the art work was the inspiration for the use of this soft coral red.  The design follows the principle of moving a colour around the room in varying proportions to create good visual flow.


    Modern White Kitchen 2 by Paris Kitchens modern kitchen
    modern kitchen design by toronto photographer Brandon Barré

     Red is always a knock out look with lots of white and a splash of black. High contrast does it every time.

    If you want to paint a whole room red but you're afraid to dive into four large walls in a bedroom or kitchen, consider using it in transition spaces like a porch or in a bathroom.
     
    source


     But some people just go for it! This is  the ultimate commitment to red.  The owners won't be changing their  mind about this room anytime soon.

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    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Consider yellow and pink

    It's a cold winter day in St John's and  I'm always  thinking about warmth in colour. Northern climates definitely affect our colour choices.  Here's a blast of sunshine today for all of you who need a lift.

    Yellow and pink is an energetic colour combination, but I predict you won't be seeing it in every second home you visit. I can tell it is a rare combination because it was difficult to find support images to illustrate my ideas for this post.  It's good to know there are still  fresh and daring colour schemes that haven't been overdone.


    Style at Home


    The two images above both work because of the liberal use of  the magic colour - white - which makes everything look fresh and crisp. The pinks and yellows need to be more vibrant to carry the contrast with the white. 



    The feeling in these two rooms if affected by the pale yellow on the walls which gives an overall  soft feel. Even the fuchsia colour appears  softer than in the first high contrast rooms.  


     This room is quirky and interesting with its inclusion of yellow and pink accessories.    I love it when someone isn't afraid to express him/herself in design.  The sleekness of the mid century modern cabinet really appeals to my need for "frill-less" furniture. Retro works for me.  

    Better Homes and Gardens

    More yellow than anything else but the hits of raspberry provide a nice accent. It is inviting.


    Everything here is pale,  soft and traditional.  

    One colour scheme but many looks. 



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    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Accessories inspired by nature

    When you are looking for accessories for your home, choose products that you have a personal connection to.  You may like it because  it could be a favourite colour; a reminder of your travels; a texture or shape you love; a reminder of your childhood, etc.   Twigs, branches, and  trees appeal to a lot of people- me included - because they reference the outdoors, and almost everyone has experienced trees in their lives. The branching effect of  trees is visually stimulating and plays nicely with the more static horizontal and vertical lines in a home.


    Stencils and vinyl  wall appliques, when used in the right place, provide stunning effects. I'm fond of applications using just one colour because they are more graphic in nature and contrast well with most wall colours.  This one works because of the bright background colour and the minimal decor.  If you  tried to put  this design in a traditional room it would become lost. 
    I'm always looking for interesting candle holders and this one fits the bill. I particularly like the way it covers a large surface area.  Many candle holders look lost in the middle of a table. 

    I've seen many different styles of lamps that mimic branches.  This one meets all my requirements with its minimal dark shade, clean lines, rough  texture and silver colour. 


    A perfect little accent table for a country home. I don't think it would look half as interesting if it was painted brown.


    source 

    Trees and branches are prominent motifs in many textiles.



    I love the graphic nature of this design which is enhanced by the use of only two colours. Pillows provide a great opportunity to interject a bit of "art"  onto your furniture. 




    And what about this creative carpenter who designed a tree branch bookcase?


    Isn't this a much more interesting post than we are accustomed to seeing?  Check out the other shots of this unique building.


    This is quite the conversation piece as a stair railing. 



    . This Decorative Organic Wooden Door from Perting heralds a luscious world of forest wonders that just might lie behind it. It would fit perfectly into a contemporary interior.



    There's nothing rustic about this twig chandelier  designed by  Jonathan Browning Studios, Inc.



    These  porcelain dishes, designed by Euridice Conceicao, have simple graphic twigs and branches on white or black backgrounds.

    And how about art work with twigs and branches?  I get to have fun creating other things in addition to home decor.


    Entangled (2009) 10 x 24 in , mixed media on cradled panel
    Margaret Ryall - Leyton Gallery

    And that's just a small sampling of what's available in the marketplace that uses twigs and branches as a design motif.   Do you have a favourite one?
     

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