Archive | September 2010

Details in Design

Part of a home’s beauty lies in the details of its architecture: the statuesque frame of a San Francisco painted lady; the grandiose archway above the front door of a stately New England Colonial; the exposed Alpine beams of a Swiss mountain chalet. These are all elements that tell a quiet story about you and your home that visitors will remember long after they’ve forgotten the décor of the interior.

A true challenge in design, then, is not only transforming a space in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing but doing so while still retaining its architectural charm and integrity.

We recently came across a project from the Brooklyn Home Company wherein which the company renovated a historic Park Slope brownstone and met this challenge in a creative — and colorful — way.

Take a look at some of the pictures below.

A bright yellow molded plastic Eames chair plays host to the home's dining area that also features decorative mirrors, slipcovered dining chairs all around a rectangular dining table.

The custom kitchen features a large traditional fireplace with marble surround and painted mantel, tall built-in pantry cabinets in soft black, solid wood Sapele countertop and a red rubber dipped chandelier.

Photo Credit: The Brooklyn Home Company

Here’s a great example of retention of architechtural detail in a pre-World War I penthouse in Central Park from Shelton, Mindel & Associates via Architechtiral Digest. We love the coffered ceiling details along with the millwork on the back wall and stair railing.

The living room has a diverse collection of architect-designed Modern furniture, including a 1960 painted glass dining table by Joaquim Tenreiro, side chairs from 1905 by Josef Urban and a 1910 barrel chair by Eliel Saarinen.

Photo Credit: Michael Moran via Architectural Digest

What Does Your Exterior Front Door Say About You?

We all know that there’s only one chance to make a great first impression on someone and the very same can be said for your home. That’s exactly why making a bold statement with your choice of front doors is so crucial. It’s an important detail and a testament to the character of the house as well as its owner. You can tell that a house will be a mess of different conflicting styles when someone slaps a shaker door on a Georgian home or a modern door on a historic greystone that yearns for something equally elegant. It is for this reason that experts suggest that you spend approximately 1% of the overall value of the house on your front door.

Since we’re in the thick of entertainment season, we thought we’d take a closer look at some of our favorite Chicago-based door companies.

Photo Credit: Ward Door Specialists

Photo Credit: Woodland Artisan Doors

Photo Credit: Doors by Decora

Sophisticated Kitchen Island Lighting

The days of the dinky primary-colored glass euro pendants over a large island — are over with for designers and has been for a while. Nothing makes us wince like the wrong lighting in a decent kitchen. It’s what I tend to notice first.

Now, designers use more sophisticated, architecturally interesting and daring lighting schemes in kitchens over the islands. Here are some great examples and some new lighting pieces out there.

Lancaster Kitchen Light
Large Corsica Lantern
Currey & Company
Wiggins Pendant
Currey & Company
Eufaula Lantern
Currey & Company
Driftwood Lantern
Currey & Company
Driftwood Pendant
Currey & Company
Ironware International Lantern

Richard Livingston of Period Interiors

Cassiopeia 6 Light Chandelier
Ironware International
Bijou 1 pendant light
Ironware International

House Beautiful

J. Tribble Design
Veranda Magazine

Heron Lantern
Remains Lighting

Dining Room Season Has Arrived

When working with your interior designer to create your style of dining room, remember that the dining room is for entertaining so you want intimacy, drama and comfort for your guests, as well as the correct scale for all components for the room.

Those components are:

1. Great Artwork

2.  Fabulous Light Fixture

3.  Rug

4.  A Table you LOVE that works

5.  Chairs that are interesting & comfortable

6.  Storage –if it works in the room (if it doesn’t work and you can’t afford custom, then its better to skip)

7.  Luxe Window Treatments

High Drama &  Easy Going Sophistication

Designer: Victoria Borus, B Five Studio
Photographer: Simon Upton

Transitional Minimalist

Emily Summers Design Associates

Great Mix of Modern with Baroque

Interior Designer: Betty Burgess, Betty Burgess Design
Architect: D. Stanley Dixon, D. Stanley Dixon Architect
Photo: Erica George Dines

Elegant Organic

Kerry Joyce Design Associates
Chairs by Kerry Joyce
Agate chandelier by Ironies

Updated Deco

Designer: Reed Krueger
Photo: Nathan Kirkman

New Fireplace Digs

Fireplace Season is almost here. The summer heat is finally winding down and the fall breeze is beginning to chill. It’s not too late to remodel that fireplace before Thanksgiving.

Whether your taste is sleek or transitional, there are more options than ever for clients venturing into this aspect of their home. Too many homes are equipped with unattractive fireplaces that make the home’s interior look outdated. It is possible to combine the functional aspects of the fireplace with better design that will bring your home’s interior design into the 21st century.

BonfireII Fireplace Screen

Limestone Fireplace with a metal surround
Chesneys of London

The Cornice Caste Concrete Fireplace

Direct Vent Slim 46′

Modus Design Model 73BR

You may have been stuck with a cheap grade firebox due to a developer trying to cut costs, but there are ways to dress it up a bit with interesting interior panels for the inside of your fireplace.

Regular Brick Interior Panels

Reeded cast iron interior panels

The details of the fireplace are important. Gas Logs or Natural wood?

For those of you who choose wood, you can find stylish fireplace accessories that will add some flare to an otherwise regular fireplace for wood burning fireplaces.

Here’s an example of  each route from the Super Luxe to the cheaper bargain buy:

The  Luxe Route: Robert Andirons vs.

Robert Andirons

The Cheap Route: Uniflame Short Shank for Solid Brass Andirons

Uniflame Short Shank for Solid Brass Andirons

This high end fireplace screen is from The Shop.

Contemporary Fireplace Screen

However, there is also the medium luxe route for fireplace accessories, like the Mission Custom Spark Guard from Restoration Hardware.

Mission Custom Spark Guard

Bath Niches: Smart Extra Space

No one likes a cluttered space, and baths are no exception. Organization is key to a bathroom feeling spacious, clean, with that hotel crisp look. Niches help create this look by giving the client the room for organization.  Bathroom counters should be free of daily used product like hair gel and hair spray . Instead leave out towels, bath salts, candles, luxury soaps, perfume bottles, artful boxes, and artwork can always be in a niche. If you want to store towels make sure you make your niche deep enough to fit them how you would like to see them stacked.

The Windmark Beach Showhouse
Phillip Sides Interiors

Interior Designer: Thomas O’Brien
Designer: J. Randall Powers
Photo: Luca Trovato
Designer: Barbara Westbrook