Monday, September 28, 2015

Clean and Modern: A Fresh Bathroom Remodel by Fiorito Interior Design

When my client purchased his circa 1980s home several years ago, it came with this guest bathroom, seen below. He was eager to swap his brass accented shower doors, counter "bridge" spanning the toilet, wall-to-wall mirror, and terra cotta tiled floor for a sleeker, more contemporary looking room.

We gutted the entire space except for the tub which was in perfect condition and replaced the boring, square beige tiles with large format tiles of a subtle, threaded pattern. A decorative, highly textured band of stainless steel, stone, and glass runs through the shower and defines the counter of the new dark vanity which is now in scale with the room. New sconces in matte opal glass are twined with ribbons of forged iron. Walls are in a chic hue called Thunder Grey.

The modern sink hardware features a chrome trough spout and stylized square handles. The counter top, with its soft grey and blue-green clouds, is fabricated from a single piece of Sea Pearl quartzite.

The shower edges and niche are lined in a polished chrome detail for a clean, minimalist look.

And finally, the shower hardware with a bar and hand held shower head echoes the modernist approach to the space.

All after photos by Bernardo Grijalva

If you have a bathroom that could use a bit of updating, give me a call. I'd love to help!

Happy designing!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Credenza? Buffet? Sideboard?

Yes, all of these...and even a "commode!"

These names apply to a piece of long, low furniture, generally with short legs, or perhaps none, with a series of drawers or doors for storage. Such pieces originated long ago. A sideboard has its roots in old England as a surface to lay food upon while serving and over time, the addition of extra storage below caught on. In Sweden a buffet came in handy as a spot for the iconic Swedish smorgasbord...and the idea soon spread to France and throughout Europe. Such pieces may even be called "commodes" in the French style which originated in the early 1700s. Commodes can have long or short legs, but the general idea is the same: a long, low piece of furniture with storage below.

Nowadays, we use sideboard, credenza, buffet, or even commode interchangeably, although I am sure I just made some antique furniture expert's head explode by throwing commodes into the sauce. Yes, antique French commodes are quite ornate with gilt-bronze mounts and exquisite ormolu but for our intents and purposes, a commode is used like a sideboard or buffet but can sometimes resemble a chest of drawers.

Here is a round-up of some modern buffets, credenzas, and sideboards. As you can see, they can certainly be used in dining rooms (I am a great believer in sideboards and buffets for dining rooms as they lend a finished sense to the room), but they can also have great use and effectiveness in an entry, providing not only beauty and style, but usefulness as a landing place for keys, mail, etc.

This first dynamic and very modern piece below designed by Elizabeth Garouste for Ralph Pucci is technically listed as a commode on the Pucci website. You can see how the bank of drawers resembles a chest of drawers. But this piece of red lacquer and polished bronze could go anywhere, in a living room, entryway, or dining room.

The Heritage sideboard by Boca do Lobo is made to look like cut up sections of different pieces of furniture covered with classic blue and white Portuguese ceramic tiles.

Jean de Merry made the Diana credenza out of reverse painted glass depicting a scene of the Greek goddess Diana on a hunt. In the second photo, you can get a better idea of the scale of the piece and how lovely it would look at and entryway or in a living room.

The Gazelle sideboard, handcrafted at the Gregg Lipton studio in Cumberland, Maine, features a modern take on a cabriole leg in stunning mahogany and birdseye maple.

The primary color blocks in the paintings of Piet Mondrian are the inspiration for this playful and fun sideboard by Sarl Studio KM.

This spectacular piece is The Monocle sideboard by Delightfull. And it is indeed delightful here with a black and white photo of a James Bond-type, some graphic modern art, and a waiting martini. Behind the doors are drawers to hold napkins and swizzle sticks...

The compass rose and latitude lines of nautical charts of yesteryear make up the breathtaking Sagres sideboard by Malabar, executed in solid poplar wood and supported by gold and bronze plated steel. the second photo shows that it hides ample storage!

And finally, this exquisite piece in which each of the exterior faces is entirely sculpted out of a solid piece of wood by hand, then covered with metal sheeting, is the Floral credenza by Stephanie Odegard. Available in white bronze,copper, brass or silver.

Consider a commode, buffet, sideboard, or credenza in your entry, living room, or dining room.

Happy designing!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Warhol Wallpaper by Flavor Paper

In my ongoing series of posts about wallpapers, I am trying to show that wallpaper now means something very different from your grandmother's wallpaper. Often when I suggest wallpaper to a client, I see a look of fear and revulsion as they cite a horrible wallpaper they recall from their childhood that was invariably located in their grandmother's kitchen (a repeating pattern of a small coffee grinder with a bouquet of country flowers in oranges and greens) or their mother's bathroom (a garish foil print of bamboo and birds).

The current world of wallcoverings offers an incredible array of amazing patterns, colors, and textures to please anyone and fit with any style. With that in mind, Flavor Paper (previously here) makes a series of wallpapers based on the silkscreen prints Andy Warhol created throughout his career. Warhol of course is recognized as one of the founders of modern and pop art, and I just know Andy would have loved these wallcoverings. In fact, Flavor Paper has created these in collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Let's look at wallpapers inspired by Warhol's silkscreens of celebrities and public figures, starting with one of his most iconic muses, Marilyn Monroe. Here, the classic Warhol Marilyn comes in four colorways, starting with sandshell on matte gold mylar...

...and it also comes in carbon, white, and chrome, seen below.

As equally iconic is Elvis Presley, gathered here and called "Elvi," which, one assumes, is the plural of Elvis. It too comes in four colorways, starting with white on thunder gray clay coated paper...

...and here it is in fire red, graphite, and blue suede (naturally!).

Mix and match colorways to create patterns! Elvis in the form of the flag is cool, kitschy, edgy, and fun.

As part of his Reigning Queens series from 1985, Warhol created prints of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Flavor Paper presents them in four colorways, starting with teal...

...and also available in deep purple, ruby, and neon grey.

As you can see, wallpaper can be fun, unexpected, and even a bit outrageous. If you would like to create a hip, eclectic room for your own home, give me a call!

Happy designing!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Tibetan Tiger Rugs

Years ago, I worked for a store that sold hand loomed Tiger Rugs from Tibet. I bought them directly from the importer who would go to Tibet and although I told myself to grab one for myself while I could, I never did and now I regret it. These gorgeous hand knotted rugs are associated with ancient adherents of Tibetan Buddhism who meditated on tiger pelts. It is believed that meditating on a tiger rug will protect the meditator from negative influences (both seen and unseen), thus enhancing the power of one's meditation practice.

The best kind are the cut out rugs, in the shape of an actual pelt. But there are rectangular tiger rugs where the body of the tiger is within the ground of the rug itself.

A tiger rug on the loom in Nepal. Photo by Dieter Wanczura at Artelino. Click photo for details.

Using these rugs in an interior application can lend an eclectic, worldly sense to any room. Here we see a cut out Tibetan tiger rug in the entryway of the former home of interior designer Frank de Biasi and his partner, designer Gene Meyer.

Tibetan tiger rugs don't necessarily have to be used on the floor. They can be draped over chairs or sofas, or used as wall hangings!

Happy designing!