Monday, September 26, 2016

Chandeliers Make The Dining Room

From the ground up, a chandelier is the last element in a dining room and for that reason acts as a crown or topper for the design below. A lighting fixture can be complimentary or contrasting in style, but the most successful fixtures are in scale with the table below and the room around it. But no matter what the style or scale, it is best to generally hang a fixture so there is roughly 36" between the bottom of the fixture and the table top. Take a look at some of these special pieces topping off a dining room with flair...

This Murano glass chandelier in a dining room by Katie Ridder references a traditional, ornate chandelier but the sleek white and red glass offer up a modern interpretation that feels at home with the lacquered blue walls.

San Francisco designer Jay Jeffers added a zingy orange accent to this highly dramatic dining room with this chandelier that feels traditional but features a sleek, clean-lined sensibility.

This beautiful turquoise chandelier by Marjorie Skouras lends a bohemian flair to this Proven├žal flavored space.

The contrast between this marvelous 70s brass fixture and the Craftsman bones of the house make for a fantastic, engaging tension in this dining room by Taylor Jacobson

The current "It" lighting designer has to be Lindsey Adelman. This extraordinary lighting designer creates mouth-blown glass covers for structures made form bronze, steel, brass, and sometimes hemp rope! In the fascinating library-dining room designed by Studio Ilse below, an Adelman light fixture becomes a work of art in itself.

Jean De Merry created his sea urchin-like Lumiere lighting fixture in 2001 and here it is in a gloriously textured, tone-on-tone dining room by Los Angeles-based Jeff Andrews.

And who says there can only be one fixture over a table? The following examples show that the old adage less is more is not always true. Sometimes more is more!

I hope this inspires you to put something wonderful in your dining room.
Happy designing!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Engaging Entries, Part 4

These Engaging Entries are a continuation of previous posts, here and here and here, in which I remarked that every house should have an entryway that announces the personality of the homeowner... an entryway that is playful, engaging, welcoming, or dazzling.

As usual, I hope this has inspired you to create your own engaging entry!
Happy designing!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Get An Instant Vintage Look With Pressed Tin Ceilings

One of the most overlooked areas in a home is the ceiling plane. Since it's not in our immediate view, the ceiling takes a backseat to wall color, wall decor, and of course any furnishings and rugs we may put into a room. But turning that overlooked plane into a focal point can do wonders to liven up a space. There are many options for a ceiling finish including paint, wallpaper, plaster, and relief details. Depending on the material and how it is applied, it can enhance a space concept, making it more modern or rustic or fun...or even vintage!

And a material that says vintage like no other is pressed tin.

Introduced in the late 1800s, embossed tin plates imitated carved and molded plasterwork from the finest European and American homes but at a reduced cost since they were machine made. They were a popular feature in many commercial and residential buildings of the period because the Industrial Revolution and the proliferation of the railroad helped to disseminate this product all over the country.

Below are some photos of actual pressed tin ceilings during this period. First we see a view of the saloon at the Columbian Hotel in Trinidad, Colorada, sometime in the late 1800s.

And here are two views of private homes with pressed tin ceilings: a sitting room and a music room...

Of course pressed metal ceilings fell out of favor with the coming Arts and Crafts and Streamline Moderne (Deco) movements but they have made a resurgence in recent years in both commercial and residential applications. Thy can be ordered in a variety of metal colors and are paintable.

Restaurants like to use the material to reference a sense of a by-gone era. Below we can see a photo of a pressed tin ceiling in the Greenwich Village restaurant Tavern on Jane. The vintage-style milk glass schoolhouse pendants look wonderful against the tin.

And here is a fun view of a seating area in the restaurant and bar Kettner Exchange in San Diego featuring large-format copper colored tiles.

Pressed tin ceilings look particularly good in kitchens. They truly lend themselves to an old-time, antique sense of Americana. White cabinetry with beadboard panels, vintage light fixtures, and wood floors recall a time long gone.

Pressed metal ceilings can be used in any room. In fact, I am currently specifying the material in a rustic but luxurious master bathroom design for a client.

For applications in places like a master bathroom or even as a kitchen backsplash, PVC tiles that are engineered to look like pressed metal are a great option since they are easy to clean or wipe and won't rust.

There are also versions that can be used in dropped ceilings for commercial projects with T-bars already installed.

Happy designing!

Monday, September 5, 2016

La Belle Salle de Bain: A Chic Master Bathroom Remodel by Fiorito Interior Design

A master bathroom should be a luxurious treat, a place to relax, refresh, and renew. What my client had was anything but. A small footprint was made even smaller by an unnecessarily large tub and a separate water closet built at an awkward angle which cut into the space even more.

By eliminating the water closet walls and replacing the tub with a smaller model, we were able to open up the bathroom and make it the airy, tranquil sanctuary it always should have been. My client’s love of Paris led us to design a bathroom that embraces a kind of chic, couture sensibility with a stylized floral tile of Carrara, Statuario and Bardiglio marble, white subway tiles, and a Calacatta countertop. French grey walls and a sparkling, petite chandelier lend the final touch to this classic ensemble.

The before photos tell the entire story.

Have a bathroom that needs a facelift? Call me!

Happy designing!

Monday, August 29, 2016

4 Types of Natural Fiber Rugs

As I've said many times here on the Fiorito Interior Design blog, each aspect of interior design brings with it an unexpected amount of information, options, nomenclature, and choices...more than a lay person could have imagined. So let's dive into a little subset of flooring information: rugs and carpets can come in many different materials, and sometimes the most overlooked category is that of natural fiber rugs. We've all seen them, but do we really understand what they are made of?

1) I think the most common term we've all probably heard is "sisal." But what is a sisal rug? Woven from the stiff fibers of the Agave sisalana, a type of agave plant that looks a little like a palm, a sisal rug is one of the toughest materials out there, suitable for higher traffic areas.

Sisal comes in a variety of organic, neutral colors and naturally resists allergens. Look how the sisal rugs installed in a home by Michael Abraham Architects below lend a textural element to the room without becoming a pattern. When used as area rugs, the edges can be bound with tape in any color to coordinate with an existing color palette. Sisal is however fairly rough to the touch, so be careful when installing in areas where one will tend to be barefoot...and because it is a completely natural fiber, it will absorb water so be very careful of spills!

2) Jute is a material we have all used at one time or another in the form of twine, rope, Hessian cloth, and some sacks which hold, for example, rice or coffee beans. It is made from the bark of the white jute plant (Corchorus capsularis) and tossa jute (C. olitorius).

As a woven rug material, it is softer than sisal with a feel closer to cotton and for that reason is better in lower traffic areas of the home. It tends to be thicker than sisal, so the profile of the rug can be substantial. And like sisal, it is a natural material that will quickly and eagerly absorb liquids.

3) Seagrass, as its name implies, grows under the sea. Rugs are made from a variety of grasses and not from one specific type.

There's a very thick seagrass that can be woven into a rattan-like material and made into tables, chairs, and ottomans but rugs are made from a type more suitable for the function. These fibers are extremely tough and cannot be dyed so seagrass rugs often have a greenish cast to them.

4) Coir (pronounced COY-er) is an astonishing material. It is a yarn made from fibers of the discarded husks of coconuts! Brown coir is made from mature coconuts while the white variety is made from green husks of unripe coconuts.

Coir can be woven into a pile for bristly door mats but can also be made into yarn for rugs similar to sisal, jute, and seagrass, with a texture like that of a Berber carpet.

The advantage of these materials is that, when grown judiciously, they are all sustainable, coming from plants that renew quite quickly, or in the case or coir, coming from the cast off of a plant, leaving the living tree untouched.

Happy designing!