Monday, January 30, 2017

Dark and Dramatic

Over the years, I have heard many clients say that they do not want to paint a space a dark color because they are afraid it will make it feel smaller. This fear is especially powerful for small rooms.

Yet, a dark color can actually make a room look larger. It seems counter-intuitive, I know, but Interior Design Mantra #6, seen at the right on this blog, is true: "Light colors advance, dark colors recede."

Think about it. It is the reason theaters hang black fabric around the perimeter of stage sets and in wings... it masks the entrances and backstage areas. Black makes those areas disappear. The dark color does not permit the eye to read any definition, any spatial markers, any dimensions. As far as an observer knows, that space could be 30 feet deep...there's no way to know.

With this idea, small spaces are actually ideal candidates for black or dark colors on the walls... there is simply much less visual information for the brain to process the shape of the room.

Powder rooms seem to benefit the most from this optical illusion.

Butler pantries and narrow hallways are also logical places to employ this color makes these spaces seem not only larger but more elegant and intriguing.

But larger rooms look fantastic in darker colors as well...

The home of London designer Abigail Ahern is a spectacular example of the power of dark colors in every room...

If you'd like to add some dark drama to your home, give me a call!

Happy designing!

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Elegance Of An Aubusson

Hailing from France in the seventeenth century, Aubusson rugs descended from tapestries created at The Savonnerie, a manufactory royale, which wove rugs for King Louis XIV to be used in the official palaces and residences but also to be presented as gifts to visiting ambassadors and dignitaries.

Before this time, rugs were made in the Turkish style...that is to say what we think of as a Persian rug. But by the time Louis XVI came around, the rugs had taken on a particular French look. The Renaissance brought many innovations and advancements and one of the most significant achievements in the arts was the discovery of perspective in painting. Inspired by this magical way of making two dimensional objects look three dimensional, Aubusson rugs were born. A center medallion or cartouche would be complimented by an ornate border, all of a Baroque or Neo-Classical design, wreathed with floral bouquets, ribbons, and vines. The color palette tended to be significantly lighter than rugs of the past with creams, light blues, and soft pinks. They look like the misty, pastoral backgrounds of paintings by Fragonard.

Not every Aubusson has to have a center medallion, as evidenced by the free form flowers and vines below...but notice that the rug maintains a Rococo border.

Of course antique Aubusson rugs command steep prices but this style of rug is still made today and can set a grand stage for a room of period furnishings. Here we see the bedroom of celebrity designer Michael S. Smith (who has designed the White House for the Obamas...TWICE). Elements of Louis Xv and Louis XVI mingle upon an antique Aubusson.

The formality of this living room by Scott Snyder is heightened with the addition of this Rococo Aubusson featuring a shell motif.

A Neo-Classical day bed takes pride of place atop an Aubusson rug in this Roman and Williams-designed sitting room which, despite the presence of antiques, feels decidedly graphic and modern.

And speaking of modern, you do not have to surround an Aubusson strictly with French antiques. Here we see a room in the home of Kate and Andy Spade designed by Steven Sclaroff who used an Aubusson with Art Deco pieces and modern art for a dynamic, eclectic look.

Happy designing!

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Bezel Collection From Hammerton Studio

Since it's a new year, let's take a look at an amazing new interior lighting product.

I am in love with these stunning lighting fixtures from Hammerton Studio and I'm so excited to use one in a project for a client. Their simplistic, clean-lined design is offset by the chunky, organic, blown glass shades in the shape of rock crystals and gems. The glass comes in three hues of clear, smoke, and bronze. And they come in a variety of configurations for ease of installation: round chandeliers or linear hanging lights (both of which feature integrated downlights in their design!), pendants, cluster pendants, and even sconces! Gorgeous!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Why Not: Stripes!

Bold. Interesting. Stripes can make a statement in a space unlike anything else. On the floor or on the walls or even ceiling...

And stripes can go anywhere. The bathroom above is in the Roman home of architect Achilles Salvagni but the striped floor continues into the kitchen seen below!

This incredible entry below at the home of Lara and Jeff Sanderson by Kelly Wearstler features a double dose of stripes on the floor and the ceiling!

A riot of color erupts from the striped walls in the vivid home of Muriel Brandolini.

In the home of Todd Hase, stripes in a tower bedroom give the appearance of being in a tent!

Paula Caravelli of Paula + Martha used large scale, graphic brown stripes to great effect in the butler's pantry of her home.

Red stripes in an entry by Kristina Ratia are a fun way to say hello and announce your personality to visitors!

Designer Bruno Caumont used hand-painted lilac and cream stripes as a classical background for a salon-grouping of art pieces.

If you're ready to give stripes a try, whether with tile in a bathroom, or with wallcovering or paint on your walls, give me a call!

Happy designing!