Friday, July 30, 2010

Shirking Responsibility

OK, so our house is a mess.
We have a pile of laundry that is going to start eating people that come to our house......
We need to get the dirty dishes out of the sink......
There is a credenza that I still need to finish painting.....
The office has started to be rearranged and needs to be put back together........

And what will we be doing this weekend?......disappearing!

Hope everyone has a great weekend....we are headed off the grid.

Image: Thom Felicia

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Finding Accessible Original Art

My husband and I recently had a discussion about the type of home and decor we hope to have someday. Part of the conversation stemmed from a recent gallery hop we did and that we would like to collect more original art when we have the funds to do so.

This got me really thinking that maybe we don't need funds to get started and that really all we need is to have the desire to put original art in our home. Right now we have a mix of some original pieces won at art auctions and from friends/family, but we also still have some mass produced posters and prints as well.

Me and the Hubs with one of our Auction Wins - "By Moonlight" by Jennifer Jones

So.......the conversation got me motivated and I have been hunting throughout the web to see if and where I could find some original art that won't break the bank. I did a search for original art under $100. I thought that price cap would be a good start and then work from there.

Everyone knows that Etsy is a great place to go for art, or better yet anything handmade. I have never bought anything from an Esty seller but I always look there for original pieces for client projects and just plain ol' inspiration. The search is easy and can go on for hours....I can lose and afternoon just looking around Etsy at all the stuff! Here are a couple of art pieces and photographs I found under $100.....

"sq011" by Anmimo

"Birds and Bees" by EarthArt

"Waiting" by BrainFood

U Gallery is another online site where you can find artwork by emerging artists. It was started by three friends who studied art history in college. Their site sells only art pieces, using all mediums, and some sculpture. To place your art on their site you must apply and pass a review process. This gives the site a gallery feel but with a lot more artists all over the globe. Again, here are some pieces I found for under $100.......

"Always Get, We Get" by Sarah Capshaw

"Fast Forward" by Rebecca Rousseau

"Lucca" by Chelsea Fisher

"Cold Wind" by Alice Lipping

Zatista is another online art mecca. They tout their "original art, no reproductions" motto and state that they are helping to connect the artist and the art lover. The site was started when the owner needed art to fill the walls of his home but didn't know where to begin. All he could find online were reproductions and he wanted something more original. The site has a great search page, art buying education, and even a Guest Curator series where designers and artist put together their favorites. Here are some of their under $100 choices.......

"Forest Falling" by Rea Nagel

"Gettin' Washed" by Carolyn Finnel

"Fishing Pier" by Barbara Andolsek

"View From My Window" by Jean Lurssen

Art quiver is a smaller site specializing in original contemporary art and has a much more limited selection. They are also a site that takes only artists through application. The site is very easy to navigate and also provides assistance if needed. They did not have any pieces under $100 but I did find some great art for under $500......I know, I know above the price range for the search but great art does sometimes cost a bit more.

"Landscape 4" by Kelly Berry

 "Pear Colors With Outline" by Susan Singer
 "Summer Chairs" by Elaine Hurst

"Golden Grove" by Terry Ouimet

I realized that with my $100 cap I only found small pieces but there is some great small art out there at  very attainable prices. Even at the low price of a print you can find an original piece that you love, and that no one else will have. Then as funds become more plentiful you can start adding the larger pieces you love.

All this art searching has not only provided motivation to get some better art in our lives, but also to step in up in the design of our house. Luxury does not have to cost a lot of money and to me luxury is having original art.

Do any of you have some original pieces that you love in your home? I would love to see some pictures!

Images: all images from online artists/sellers as listed under each website and art piece

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lake House Inspiration {Client Project}

This past weekend I got a call from a possible client. She stated that she is closing on a new town house towards the end of August and wanted to get some ideas for her new place. We meet at the end of the week to discuss strategy and get a feel for what she is looking for.

I am very excited about this project because she says she needs all new furniture etc. and only has a few pieces that she will keep in the new place! Yeah!!!! Designer's dream project!

After we talked I started to do a hunt for possible inspiration shots to bring to our meeting. She stated that she wants the place to feel like a lake house and be light and airy even though it is a town house in the city. And she also wanted to make sure that it was entertaining friendly.

Here are a couple of the images I have pulled so far to further our discussion later in the week........

This photo has the bright and airy feel that I think she is looking for. Light walls, light upholstery, rustic wood finishes, and dark accents for contrast. I feel this space says relaxed yet in a sophisticated way. Perfect contrast of the light lake house feeling but keeping a slight city look.

Though this is technically a coastal project in the photo it does have that light airy feeling with the light fabrics, drapes, and walls.

This bathroom just says lake house to me. Nothing fancy....light and bright.....and has the added wood tones for warmth.

I love the casual feel in this photo.

Light and bright....found pieces for an eclectic mix that looks like it has been collected over time.

I love this kitchen. Depending on her space I would like to possibly keep lower cabinets dark and do white on top. Then again, adding found objects to give it that collected feel.

We will see how the meeting goes! I have tons more images to discuss with her but kept them to a minimum here. Then, once I find out more of what she is looking for I will start to hone in on the details. Can't wait!

Images: Skye Kirby, Coastal Living, Elle Decor, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Work Work Work

This is already turning out to be quite a busy week!

I am in the process of pulling together some design concepts for a restaurant bar so I have fallen behind on all things blog.

I found this during my search......

I love the use of drapery to frame the space and also provide a bit of coziness. Everything is quite simple yet the space feels upscale and luxurious. I would love to sit and have drinks at that bar.

Hope everyone's week is off to a good start. And I hope the rest of mine won't kill me.

Image: The Violet Hour

Friday, July 23, 2010

All The Pretty Colors

Look at all the vivid colors in these Moroccan wool rugs....just beautiful!

All are on exhibit at the Cavin-Morris Gallery in NYC. It would be a treat to see all of these amazing colors in person.

Images: Cavin-Morris Gallery via New York Times

{Happy Friday}

Ahhhhh, at last the weekend has arrived!
This past week was a bit of a lull in all the craziness so it felt like it was never going to end. Though, I can't complain because it was nice to have a breather after weeks of insane schedule demands.

This weekend my husband and I are booked solid for party's. Party's...Party's....Party's! We have a dinner tonight, going away party tomorrow, and a birthday on Sunday. So much for the lull!

I am also hopping that I can get some painting done on my dining credenza during the day. I have put off that project for way too long. Hopefully I can get it done this weekend and post the results early next week.

I hope everyone has a great weekend filled with both relaxation and productivity...or whatever you want!
Does anyone have any great plans? Anyone else working on any projects around the house? Let me know about em.......

Image: Unknown

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Must Have

 Mandarin Rug in Pewter by Company C

I have been doing an extensive search for some new rugs to place in a couple of rooms in my house.

This one has all that I am looking for.......bright color, neutral background, and a large scale pattern.
Now I am having a problem deciding if I should put this one in my office or the guest bedroom.....if I put it in the guest bedroom I would have to rework the bedding I was thinking about (was thinking the dwell peacock in yellow).

In the office would probably work better because it is a clean slate in there and I would design the rest around the rug. Hmm...then there's that pesky price to think about. The 6x9 is $1160 and would be a stretch but with this much impact I could make it work.

Image: Company C

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Taking Ideas from Hotel Design {Trump Soho}

I am constantly looking all over for design inspiration from hotels. The design in hotels is almost always cutting edge and you can see design elements done in a much larger scale. But you can easily take some of the elements used in hotels to inspire design in your own home.

I was looking through a hospitality trade mag a couple of weeks ago and saw some photos of the new Trump Hotel Soho. With a name like Trump you know it would be luxurious and over the top.

Not So! It is definitely luxurious but I was pleasantly surprised by the restraint taken in the design and how timeless and cozy it looked. The lobby, though a large space, seems comfortable. I love the idea of bringing the pendants (light boxes) down to make the space feel more intimate. It helps to draw the eye down instead of highlighting the height of the ceilings. Same thing can be achieved if you pull your dining pendant down closer to the table for a more intimate dinner feel.

The lounge area off the lobby called "The Library" is very enjoyable looking and resembles a living room where you can relax, read, and drink a cup of coffee or cocktail. What a perfect way to end a busy day if you are a business traveler. This type of atmosphere is becoming more and more prevalent in hotels catered to the frequent traveler so they can feel comfortable on the road. In this case, hotel design is taking a cue from residential design instead.

Now, I am not sure how much you want to take from bar design at a hotel (unless you happen to need that much liquor - and if you do, I'll be there in 20 minutes), but the two bars shown above have wonderful finishes and amazing design!
The top bar is part of the hotel's restaurant "Quattro" and I love the mirrored subway tile on the walls. It almost looks like gold bars because of the lighting in the photo. Who better than Trump to have walls that look like gold bars!
The bottom bar is the bar/lounge "Kastel". This bar's main focus is on the cocktails and lounge-like atmosphere. There is music every night, and I can just imagine all the beautiful people coming here to have drinks.

Last but certainly not least are the guestrooms. The rooms at Trump Soho are very luxurious and feel very calm and serene. There are so many things you can take from hotel rooms and incorporate into your own bedrooms and homes. When you happen to stay in a nice hotel there are things that definitely stand out. The main one for me is the bed. Having a comfortable mattress, great feeling sheets, and the best pillows makes the bed a haven. Now I'm not saying you should iron your sheets (unless you want to) but hotels do to make even the lower thread count sheets feel smoother and more luxurious. And the the best one you can afford! Go without a bed frame for awhile if you have to but in my opinion you should never settle for anything less than the best for something you sleep on every night. I actually, after so many nights sleeping on great mattresses in hotels went and bought my favorite... The Westin Heavenly Bed.

Another great thing to take away from hotels is the lighting. To me, lighting makes or breaks a space. Especially a hotel! Ever notice how many lamps there are in a hotel room? 4 or 5 is usually the norm. Hospitality designers want to make sure the room is well lit because there is nothing worse than staying in a hotel room with dim grey lighting. It automatically makes the room feel dirty to me. Light and bright is the way to go. Now, if you are one of those people who likes a dark bedroom, then fine, take the lighting rule into the rest of your home.

Bathrooms are another great place to steal tons of tips and ideas (and shampoos) from hotels. Lighting is also very important here as well. Light up your vanity the best you can. Nothing brings out the wrinkles and dark under eye circles more than bad vanity lighting. 
Another great thing about the bathroom in a hotel is a fabulous shower head! I have stayed at quite a few hotels and I have to say practically every single one has a great shower head.
Tons of towels are great too. Oh, and if you can, make sure you take advantage of the view from the tub. If you happen to have a view like the one above from your tub please invite me over soon! Please!

So, next time you stay in a hotel pay attention to the things you love about it. Many ideas can be utilized in your own home to make things feel extra luxurious. It would be even better if you had a maid to pick up all the towels off the floor....well, we can wish anyway.

Images: Trump Soho

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thomas Jefferson Loved Yellow Too

In the July/August issue of Elle Decor there was an article on the restoration of the dining room at Monticello.

Yep, even in 1815 bright canary yellow (or the actual color: chrome-yellow) was the hip happening color! The article states that the color was invented in France six years before it graced the walls at Monticello. Back then the yellow color was a sign of wealth because it cost more per pound to produce than standard white.

For years the room has been painted a lovely Wedgwood blue (since 1936) but after rigorous paint studies and a generous grant from non other than Polo Ralph Lauren, the color was restored to is original Thomas Jefferson era glory.

And the color cycle begins again!

Images: Elle Decor

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cooling Off

After a long stretch of days with temperatures in the 90's I have been looking for alternative ways to cool off other than standing right in front of the air conditioner.

That's where cooling spritzers and mists come in.......

Fresh Rose Marigold Tonic Water

Philosophy Hope Springs Eternal Deep Sea Ultra Fine Hydrating Mist

Kinerase Hydrating Antioxidant Mist

Jurlique Lavender Hydrating Mist

And last but not favorite!!!!
Evian Mineral Water Spray

I am never without a bottle of Evian water spray. It is great for hot sticky summer days, a light cooling mist at the beach, or even skin drying airplane travel. I always have one in my carry on bag, at my vanity, and for the the freezer!

Hope these all provide inspiration for keeping cool and staying fresh. Have a great Week!!!

Images: All images and products via Sephora

Friday, July 16, 2010

Martinis Anyone!

I love this image by Karen Mordechai for Martha Stewart Magazine....the woman sure does know how to entertain!!!!

The week is over and it has been a hot one and a long one! I just got finished talking to my sister on the phone and we were trying to figure out a great way to chill tonight that would not require any primping.
I thought what better way than to hang out on the porch (with ceiling fans at full speed of course) and some Ice Cold Martinis!

Now, there is no way I would do a fancy set up like above for my sister and I but it would be perfect for a group of friends getting together. Tonight all we need is the booze, shaker, ice, and olives.

Now that is what I call cooling off after a hard week!

Hope everyone has a great weekend and stays cool. Does anyone have any fabulous plans this weekend? Tell me so I can be jealous......

Image: Via Sunday Suppers

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Art Addiction {Linda Monfort}

Earlier today I was browsing through Etsy looking for some special little art pieces when I stumbled upon the work of Linda Monfort. I instantly fell in love with her florals and use of bright colors......

They are so colorful and feminine yet seem updated from your grandmother's floral by being so free and abstract. These would make a wonderful addition to gallery walls or even have enough impact to stand on their own.

You can see more of her work in her etsy shop here.

Now all I need to do is save up to get one of my own!

Images: Linda Monfort
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