Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Architectural Details - A Minor Change – Major Impact

There was something missing on my living room wall.  I had redecorated the corner, (which is really pleasing now) but it needed something, though I couldn’t put my finger on what. 

One of the showrooms at the Seattle Design Center, Designer Woodworks, specializes in mantles, stairwells and hand-carved wood decorative moldings.  I dropped in and found an especially French/antique/architectural fragment-looking piece and set to work.

My inspiration was to replicate the wonderful green/gold stitches of the young man's garment found on the large Cluny tapestry copy hanging nearby.

I sprayed on primer, then applied a dark green mixed with some black and raw sienna.  After that, it was simply a matter of blending the acrylics, layering with gold metallic and lighter green/darker green.

I love the way this tiny piece of carved wood completes the scene!  Stay tuned.....

Monday, September 21, 2009

Good design can be found many places

Recently, I was intrigued by the Restoration Hardware catalog that arrived in my mailbox.  We’ve all become used to the ubiquitous lighting, quality bedding in every color, window treatments and hardware, furniture and casegoods that RH is known for but this issue contained something new: a collection of reclaimed woods (elm, pine, oak, etc) that have been reborn as chic furniture and accessories.

Now, I’m a huge fan of good design whether it’s found at the Seattle Design Center in “To the Trade” showrooms or on the pages of the glossiest shelter magazines, but - Restoration Hardware?  Granted, they’ve upped the bar for most do-it-yourselfers with their collection of good-looking bath fixtures in a range of styles, and their bed linens and bath towels are quite wonderful…. But I wasn’t expecting this!

The October, 2009 Elle Décor features a short article about the Restoration Hardware CEO’s belief in taking his store’s goods upmarket in downward times because, “Nobody wants to waste money in an economy like this.”  Too true, but producing beautiful - as well as socially conscious - goods in “this economy” is so commendable!  Now, if they’d just increase their Designer discount……

Monday, September 7, 2009

Embracing change

Summer began – unseasonably for Seattle – in June this year.  That may sound strange to those living in other parts of the country but, normally, we can expect the skies to clear sometime around July 10th.   And rarely before the fourth of July.    But this year, we’ve even had some record breaking high temperatures – 103 degrees!  In Seattle…..?!
Yet, after basking in warmth for nearly three straight months, the weather has taken a turn.  Today, September 7th, the high temperature is in the mid-60’s and it’s rained all weekend long, sometimes drenchingly.  This morning I gathered dozens of rose boughs that had been knocked to the ground by the deluge - but I say, if you have to cut roses, make a bouquet!   

In a few weeks summer will officially be over.  Soon it will be time to pick apples, rake leaves, mulch the roses, prune, generally batten down the hatches for winter... and contemplate the inevitable and wonderful changes that are part and parcel of life on this beautiful planet.
The colder weather has me anticipating the shift in seasons, from the advancing autumn to the Holidays - which will be upon us in no time.  It’s really not too early to start pondering holiday décor, or even planning new furnishings with which to entertain friends and family (or, in this tepid economy, maybe new accessories!).   As the air becomes brisk and we beging to spend more time indoors, it's time to think about freshening up our home for the season.  More on that next time…….

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The September issue of House Beautiful is devoted to color.  In addition to some absolutely fabulous homes (!) that are amazingly bold and very beautiful, there’s a fun, interactive section called “What’s your COLOR personality?” 
In it, you’ll find a reading list, a color numerology quiz, (I’m Yellow – who knew?  “Cheerful, charming, magnetic, intelligent, confident, creative.  Somewhat psychic, and enigmatic.  A good leader and negotiator”  hmmmmm… )  and loads of other fun, informative, and interactive mini articles.
For those of you with iPhones, you’ll find a list of really cool color applications to download. For the spiritually-guided, there's a link to a website about angels and their particular color affinities......
It’s well worth it to pick up a copy of the magazine and/or browse it online ... House Beautiful
Color is an interesting thing:  intensely personal, emotional, and transformative.  How many times have you picked up a paint brush to update the color of a room, and then - stood back in awe at the change?  It's a great feeling.
As a designer, color is a passion.  It’s an inspirational moment when a color palette is decided upon with a client - and then the fun begins!   

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Architectural Details - Crircular stairwell facelift

We've made many aesthetic changes to this Kirkland home: interior color palette, new window treatments, re-furnishing; but the re-facing of the circular stairwell leading up to the main floor from the garage and wine cellar was a dramatic improvement.

It was a fairly difficult project because no two stairs treads were exactly the same size and their angles varied, as well. It was a design challenge! I had the inspiration to create a "runner" effect, utilizing the largest stone pieces I could find so that there wouldn't be a million grout lines. I used "Autumn White" slate from Oregon Tile and Marble - it was chosen not only for the coloration (so gorgeous!) but also because we could order it in 24" by 24" pieces. And, fortunately, we had the right tile installer for the job!

Outdoor Living - Piacenza European Garden

This wonderful space was recognized with a Northwest Design Award and recently featured in the Summer 2009 issue of "Deck Patio and Pool", a specialty publication of Better Homes & Gardens. It's a magical place, a wonderful urban refuge. There are resident hummingbirds, chickadees, sparrows, squirrels, blue jays, crows, (I can actually live without their annoying chatter.....) and all manner of other flora and fauna. A little Eden!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Living and Dining Rooms - "Contemporized Craftsman" - Living and dining rooms

We widened a few wall openings and created a "window" in one wall.

A stylish shelf was created from custom wrought iron brackets and a thick piece of glass in the dining room.

Dining room Before:

Tired and stained oak floors were replaced with gleaming exotic wood.

Living room Before:

Both rooms were completely refurnished - including custom rugs, window treatments and art. What a difference!

Kitchens - "Contemporized Craftsman" - kitchen and eating nook

This mid-century home had been partially remodeled using Craftsman era touches. The owners liked some of the finishes but wanted to change others. We opened up some walls; designed a new eating area with banquette; added a granite slab and recycled glass backsplash to the kitchen......

The kitchen Before:

....updated the eating nook with custom banquette, 2 way fireplace, new lighting and new furniture:

The eating nook Before:

..... changed the fireplace so that it can be visible from both the eating nook and the kitchen:

We also painted the entire home's interior and redecorated the living and dining rooms - now the home works for this young family!

Bathrooms - Master Bath Mini Facelift

The owners of this home are tall and could not really see into the wall-mounted mirror very well. The solution was to mirror the entire wall. Success! We installed a new, beautiful marble slab, new sinks and new plumbing hardware.

Bathrooms - New Home: guest suite bathroom completion

This new home was built with an unfinished basement. The plumbing had been roughed in, so we were simply completing the unfinished space. The owners set a very restrictive, severely tiny budget - so it was a huge challenge to create a well-designed, functional and aesthetically pleasing rumpus room, wetbar, wine cellar, and bedroom/bathroom suite within the budget constraints. But it turned out incredibly!

We found some wonderful (and very reasonable!) porcelain tiles for the bathroom floor and shower pan, and accented them with glass tiles, which then were also used for the backsplash behind the pedestal sink. The new fixtures were chosen for their sleek, contemporary look and water-use efficiency.

For such a small budget (all of the above for $75,000 - including design fees, all labor, and all materials!) this project really looks fabulous!