10/10/2017

The Charms of an Older Home

While the Jetsons may be amusingly space aged I am comfortable living in this year, even a few centuries back. It’s the customs that engage. You can’t have an elegant pheasant meal served by footmen when a robot beeps by.

Our parlor room brought into the modern day.

An attention to craftsmanship and history is seen in every detail, like how our 1915 farmhouse was built around the fireplace as it was the main source of warmth. We have not fallen into your typical suburban model, which shares the same style imprint as every other home in this community. The marble baths, rugs that capture the same motif as the valences, lucite coffee table bought from cb2 and stacked with coffee table books in ruler edged precision–it’s the same concept as the Benetton sweater every girl wore back in high school. While it’s a very nice sweater it made overplayed appearances in the classroom. I am more inspired by the student who broke from the norm and wore something a bit alternative, found from a vintage shop, or styled the basic uniform in a personalized way.

Detailing of our original bannister.

My favorite homes are from my childhood, notably in the Hamptons. We lived In a house unique to the other’s with a pink tiled bathroom and floorboards with holes that led to enchanting places. This was all that we knew. Finding beauty from imperfection was revered, the decor composed with pieces that had stories behind them, or a kitchen designed with materials sourced from salvage yards.

An antique cupboard displaying motley pieces linked through color, scale or style.

Another trend that baffles me is new constructions. Everyone appears to want the same home. When I grew up the older homes were considered more authentic. You can’t replicate their clusters of rooms with thick walls and artisanal bannisters. Now it’s common to extract these architectural gems from the space.

The girls’ bedroom has a mix of old and new.

Our home is like fashion, I am constantly tweaking by bringing in my latest paintings and editing vignettes. While sometimes it looks like a child with a box of crayons who had a color meltdown, I try to maintain a merchandiser’s eye. The decor has a mix of pieces from all time periods but they typically share a theme through color, pattern or scale. It’s a constant process but the result reflects a singular style.

Resources:

Belle Bloom Robert Allen fabric for customized pillows, seat cushions and valances: Robert Allen

Lemon painting: Ducks Goose

A True Love Story Never Ends picture: Tuvalu Home

Dipper ceramic blue bowls: Wagoo

Pink pedestal plates, striped dishes: Rosanna Inc.

Mosser Jadeite Cake Stand: Sur la Table

Kate Spade bow tiled pink comforter: Bed Bath & Beyond

Standard pillow cases: Stamattina

Bicycle throw pile: Art Goodies

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10/06/2017

The Jetsons – Ultimate Design Guide to the Future

I am starting to think about the future and not in the investment and derivatives sort of way. With the release of Blade Runner 2049 and watching “The Jetsons” with my son after a thirty years hiatus, we discovered what imagined trends have become reality.

The Jetsons is you typical 2062 family as imagined in the Hana-Barbera cartoon.

 

“The Jetsons” is a futuristic family but the sitcom American profile abound. There’s George, the bumbling patriarch who is always trying to work his way out of some snafu with the boss, supported by a sensible wife, attractive teenage daughter, and young son who never ages since this is a cartoon.

While everything seemed unimaginable in the Jetson’s account of 2062, in some ways we have surpassed the Jetsons aside from sky high traffic jams. (Though read below, as that may happen by decade’s end).

High Fashion Home

The Bea Sofa by High Fashion Home is a modern classic that endures.

 

Everything is technicolor in the Jetson’s world, which hits today’s designs as bright colored sofas add futuristic drama to a room.

Etsy

Abstract art gives a boots to your desk vignette no matter what year it is.

Delpozo Fashions

Delpozo’s winter “Serenity” collection has theatrical composition. Perhaps for The Jetsons the movie?

 

Ditch the ripped jeans and wool sweaters, fashionable cuts and innovative materials from Delpozo is where Jane and Judy Jetson would shop.

Galaxy S8 Phone

The Galaxy S8 helps make us smarter.

 

Expansive display screen, iris scanning for security, and multiple image camera processing are some of the Galaxy S8‘s features that have catapulted us into a futuristic world.

Waveforms Lighting

The Sonneman Waveform pendant would be a natural addition to the Jetson’s home.

 

Sonneman’s dome shaped pieces are more than contemporary gems, its LED lighting uses 90% less energy and lasts longer than regular bulbs.

Aeromobil Flying Car

The Aeromobil flying car gives the driver a choice of road or air, how’s that for tackling road rage?

 

You can literally take off with the Aeromobil flying car, which is looking to launch in 2020–regulations permitting.

Robot NAO V5 Standard Edition

A robot programmed with software, sensors and customizable operating system.

 

Friend or foe? The Robot NAO V5 is capable of experiencing seven senses, it’s up to the owner to customize his/hers/its functions.

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10/04/2017

Creating a Crafted Home

Keep reading, crafts are not exclusive to macrame pot holders and cutesy wares sold at a church bizarre. There are handmade items with a finished look to add design and function, setting apart a space as personalized over a home decorated with brand identifiable fixtures. We have welcomed an age where we customize everything from dogs to thousand dollar jeans. The trend is catching on, with two books that celebrate the crafted home.

The handmade fabric dyed ottoman blends with the other pieces in the room and offers a signature touch.

 

A Well-Crafted Home by Janet Crowther is a departure from craft books that feature home’s jammed with Sunday art crafts. The projects are specifically created to add function and style.

Find the handmade crafts by Janet Crowther. Answer: wooden herb planter, quilted cushions, cutting board, tea towels.

 

When Crowther moved to New York City with her husband on a limited design budget, they discovered that handmade pieces was an affordable way to decorate their home without denting the budget. From a dyed fabric ottoman to a knotted rope ladder, the book offers a variety of projects that look like home store highlights you’d pay a premium for.

An acrylic side table adds a modern, styled touch to an entry. Yes, you can make this.

 

Artist Tamara Maynes spills her crafty secrets in the gorgeously produced book The Maker. Maynes is an established artist who is known for her modern graphic interiors but in her book she features a variety of projects, categorized by such mediums as wall art, ceramics and furniture.

 

Maynes takes a historic and psychological approach to the art of making things, and how the basis of a simple craft can evolve into a modern form. Her projects are expressive and original, like the beaded light fixture that recalls her days as making jewelry as a little girl. The countless projects, not to mention the artistically presented book with covers that mimic slabs of wood, will add intrigue to your home.

 

Resources:

Reprinted from A Well-Crafted Home. Copyright © 2017 by Janet Crowther. Photography by Julia Wade. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

The Maker: Crafting a Unique Space by Tamara Maynes with Tracy Lines. Published by Abrams. Photography by Eve Wilson.

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09/18/2017

Living in a Modern Day Teepee

The teepee will always fascinate from its lore, tribal romance, and having the habitable efficiency of a portable umbrella. It has grown in popularity, designed in trendy fabrics as a decorative novelty for children to retreat and reboot. On a grander scale tepees are associated with Ralph Lauren’s Telluride and shelter on glamping trips.

The “pointy-hat” cantilevers are erected slightly above ground, which prevents insects, humidity and fallen snow from entering the house.

While commonly associated with American Indians, teepees have also populated parts of Europe and Asia. The structure not only has benefits for a nomadic existence but in the current day they are eco-friendly. In this home in Nasu, Tochigi, a resort area in Japan, the homeowners are a young couple who enjoy an environmentally-aware existence with organic gardening and limiting their carbon footprint in this natural environs. They enlisted architect Hiroshi Nakamura &NAP with the task of preserving the surrounding woods where they plotted the home. “We avoided large-scale construction to build the rooms on the few remaining flat surfaces of the sloping ground, as if sewing them together,” says Nakamura.

The high ceiling allows the structure to receive direct sunlight, which is especially needed in the dense woods. To offset the expense of air-conditioning they eliminated unnecessary space.

The teepee’s form matches the neighboring tree branches.

Nakamura’s design process:

+ They began by cutting down the upper space diagonally to make the ceiling lower based on the way people move.

+ The new form matches the tree branches that spread out radially. This resulted in a tent-shaped house with only one-third of the volumes. Although the highest ceiling is 26 feet, the average ceiling height is 16 feet. Dwellers cannot stand upright close to the walls, so Nakamura simply turned the spaces into sleeping and sitting areas. The ceiling descends like a tent and enables the creation of a warm living space that mingles with the trees. “You will feel the warmhearted embrace of the house around you,” he says.

+ Other eco-conscious design tricks include the “pointy-hat” building cantilevers, which are slightly above ground in order to prevent insects, humidity and fallen snow from entering the house.

+ The windows are all double glazed in order to ensure that the tall spaces are airtight and well insulated. The fireplace and the air-conditioning underfloor capitalize on the floor heating and pit.

+ During summer, warm air gathers at the top and escapes through the upper window. In winter, warm air at the upper part will be drawn in and blown out at floor level, creating a comfortable air flow.

A constant surprise with light and, in this instance, sheds an intriguing profile.

The design fosters family gatherings and connecting naturally. “It is similar to primitive spaces seen in the houses of the Jomon People (Ancient Japanese) and Native Americans. The structure of the house initiated a lifestyle with close interaction, because the family sat along the low wall facing each other. A fire, a light or a table was set in the middle to initiate conversation as the family gathered around the center. The architecture has had an influence on people’s habits and it strengthened the connection and bond of the family,” Nakamura says.

Built in tables detailed with wooden poles capture the outdoors into indoors theme.

“Design touches include light wood, natural tones and artisanal additions like the pressed flower glass door. “Akebi, viola, anemone, geranium, larkspur – the wild flowers found in the pressed flower glass all came from the surrounding woods,” says Nakamura. “Our idea was to find a new way to reflect the blessings of nature, not just in the context of samples or picture books. We manufactured the glass by sandwiching the pressed flowers in resin films between two thick glasses and firing them in vacuum.”

Flower cuttings from the surrounding area are immortalized within indoor glass windows.

Pressed flowers sealed between two panes of glass protect the flowers from decolorization.

An almost space age feel happens at night.

The home takes on a new direction once night falls. Moonlight naturally illuminates the exterior, wild animals circulate freely around the home, which has a presence that is as natural as its neighboring trees. “In the darkness of the night, you will find a house filled with warm and gentle looks,” Nakamura says. It’s like living on a camp ground with all the efficiencies.

There is an alluring quality from the lit teepee, like a jack-o-lantern at night.

For more information please visit http://www.nakam.info/en/

Photography by Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.

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09/10/2017

5 Steps to an Inviting Fall Front Porch

The switch over from daisies to mums is happening, and porches are starting to take note. In designing the front entrance, rather than go the Halloween route with crawling spiders and loud ghoulish ornaments that transform your yard into a Dollar Store graveyard, I’ve always preferred the harvest theme. Here, in our former Laguna Beach cottage, we let color and whatever looked good at the the nursery guide the exterior’s design.

A fall porch is as simple as selecting a few well edited pieces.

5 steps to a fall front porch:

  1. Browse your local nursery, market and farmstead for gourds and fall fruits that can add style to your tableau.
  2. Choose a secondary theme, as we did with burlap and straw, and find pieces that connect. We found the burlap garland on Etsy and mini stack of hay from Michael’s, which we tied to the front door and used as filler to the vignette.
  3. Place fake leaves here and there, also bought at Michael’s, if you live in a climate that does not shed its leaves in abundance.
  4. Survey your own pieces to use as decoration. A vintage wire basket is a great container for apples while a straw market bag is the perfect vessel for mums.
  5. Use your dog as a prop and, if you don’t have one, borrow a friend or neighbor’s like Baxter in this image.

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09/04/2017

Celebrate Indian Summer

For those who are not part of the warm-weathered privilege who either live in a mild climate or chase the sun year round, September is a crucial time to take in summer’s last hurrah. As a four-season dweller, customs like squirrels gathering nuts early and the thickness of a spider’s web are noted and feared. (All signs in the Farmer’s Almanac of a cold winter).

Beach Tent by Lovin’ Summer creates an instant campground.

The exchange between summer to fall may be the most spectacular period of the year. In our neighborhood you won’t see a countdown sign till summer ends but in spring they are prevalent. This is why being outdoors is a necessity.

Beaches are less crowded. Deals on summer necessities abound. You can still feel the rays of the sun before she relinquishes her power to another hemisphere and go home to an evening by the fire. Engage in a seashore outing simply but with verve and style by erecting a beach tent with nibbles and games. Just because the month may switch over doesn’t mean you have to.

Boat’s experiencing their own end of summer moment.

Create an end of summer celebration:

  • Postpone stowing away beach gear and make a trip to the beach for a more private experience than jostling for sand space.
  • Take advantage of end of season specials and stock up on those great beach pieces you had your eye on.
  • Pack snacks, games, plan a kayak expedition or just go on one of those endless, meditative walks. Make an effort to get in beach time before days become cooler and shorter.

Indulge on the last stock of summer fruit.

Resources:

Beach Tent: https://lovinsummer.com/shop/beach-tent/santorini-beach-tent/

Wategos Round Beach Towel: http://thebeachpeopleco.com/thttp://thebeachpeopleco.com/the-wategos.htmlhe-native-petite.html

Fair Trade Basket Bag: http://basketsofafrica.com

Colored bowls: http://www.boboandboo.com.au/

Adirondack chair: https://www.polywoodoutdoor.com

Lovin’ Summer sums it up.

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08/18/2017

Before & After – Adding a Dining Room Pendant

A single wall construction home in Laguna Beach follows the charm of this surf culture town. Central air is an extravagance when you can simply open the doors for that canned coastal breeze.

A neutral yet modern double cylinder pendant seals the look of this small dining area.

Temperatures rarely venture into extreme highs or lows and if they do residents revel in having a quaint taste of another season. The climate translates to the home, where interiors follow the laid back “shoe optional” approach.  Lighting, however, fits a more basic need. Moving into my Laguna home and the previous dweller, one of those earthy types who kept wild animals as pets, did not have a dining room lamp among other necessities. While I am a follower of organic style and going braless at Coachella, I do find lighting necessary in terms of effectively seeing your food and adding an easy stylistic element.

Choosing a pendant was a combination of statement piece yet neutral since the dining area is part of the overall common room. This double cylinder pendant by Oilo Studio  works with its scale, simplicity, modernity and neutral color.

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07/27/2017

How to Frame Art Online

While you may have graduated from taping posters to dorm walls, professionally framing your art and you may feel the pinch of your student loan days. There is a way to avoid pricey framers by taking the task into your own hands.

Framed art adds polish to a space.

Art is key to a personalized home. Beautifully framed portraits style a space. Even something like a diner receipt can look like a gallery piece when framed correctly.

Keep the look simple by connecting color, addressing scale, and avoiding clutter.

What to consider? Sizing and scale for impact. Color and how it relates to the room’s theme. Selecting the right art to frame, such as memorabilia, prints or your own art, which is the most personal expression a home could have.

Online resources can help you frame those artistic mementos easily and on a budget. Matboard and More, a custom online framing company, was especially helpful in processing our required needs via cyber communication.

10 Steps to framing gallery art on an artist’s budget:

1. Decide on the art and use a tape measure to size your desired frame and mat. For photography, there are many online photo sites where you can develop your film in a variety of sizes. The art work can be sent via email or direct to vendor.

2. Choose from a selection of frames.

3.  Keep your hands and work area clean.

4. Tape art into mat.

5. Slowly peel off protective sealer from plastic frame.

6. Insert plastic into frame, then add matted art.

7. Add foam board backing.

8. Before closing tabs, make sure the area is free of dust. The sealer attracts dirt easily.

9. Close tabs.

10. Hang frame.

 

Resources:

Online frame company: matboardandmore.com

Photography online lab: Nations Photo Lab

Love Story Never Ends art: Tuvalu Home

Window seat fabric: Robert Allen Design

Alassis over-sized candle: Chesapeake Bay Candle

Beach blanket used as throw: John Robshaw

Seahorse pillow: Chole and Olive

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07/08/2017

Ultimate Beach Cottage – Our Laguna Home

The idea of experiencing summer year round wasn’t allowed. When raised on the East Coast this is your summons, to follow the calendar year of seasonal appropriate sports and dressing in heavy catalogue sweaters half your town wore.

The living room of our former beach cottage, inspired by the nearby beach with a mix of local and vintage finds.

After too many brutal winters where I found my DNA dangerously traipsing into a curmudgeon, I accepted a job in California on a whim. This would only be temporary, I explained to the condo association as I signed a six-month lease.

One of the cottages that lead to the best surf inlet in town.

Eight years and a child later, California became my home. Here is the brief back story: on a reconnaissance trip to Orange County, where I landed the new job, I assumed I would find one of those full service rentals close to the office with fitness room, pool and built in friends who lived in the same unit–a modern day Melrose with all the amenities and less drama.

Beach art.

My new supervisor chose a restaurant in Laguna Beach for dinner as a way to expose me to another side of Orange County. The town bewitched me. It wasn’t anything like the blonde starlets who gripe and manufacture their lives on reality television. This was an authentic gem sandwiched between towns with mega mansions on tiny coastal plots. Yes, Laguna has its share of I-am-rich new constructions with white Escalades bulging the tiny, and sought after, driveways. It also has an abundance of classic beach bungalows, vestiges to its surf town roots.

There are art galleries showcasing blotchy beach paintings, a Tommy Bahama,Yogaworks across from the studded Montage resort where I learned to appreciate a robust vinyasa (lost on me in the tightly wound New York City studios) and The Stand, a vegan food shack that weathered every recession and was my only source of healthful foods during my pregnancy from their homemade soups and seasonal smoothies.

Considered one of the California Riviera’s most sparkling gems, Laguna is more unassuming than its tony Newport neighbor or less built up than the inland towns of Aliso Viejo or Laguna Niguel. As with all special resorts, it holds onto its classic charm with a vital protectiveness.

After school surfing.

We are accustomed to year round temperate weather, just subtle changes to alert a new season. As a Laguna resident I never used an umbrella or wore a pair of gloves.

Preparations for a typical Laguna day.

Our home followed a simplistic approach that adopted the town’s beat. We furnished with standard beach furnishings punched up with vintage finds and local textiles from Kerry Cassill. An outdoor shower that somehow had more pressure than our indoor plumbing and lots of opened windows. I also never used air conditioning. In fact, I am unaware if we had it.

There wasn’t as much of an urgency to update or stay on top of today’s dizzying trends. Part of this is from the difference in mentality, you are appreciative of what you have, with more of an interest in being than changing.

A bed dressed with Indian Block print linens from Kerry Cassill.

Five Essentials to the Beach Cottage Look:

  1. Light: Bring in natural light through large windows, mirrors and lighting fixtures.
  2. White walls: Keep the walls clean and allow the accents to create the look.
  3. Local flavor: Decorate with art, textiles and wares from local artisans, who understand the style of your region with a creative edge.
  4. Cool kitsch: Embrace the tacky by adding vintage art or expected resort accessories,
  5. Washable wares: Slipcovers, pillowcases, throw rugs and blankets that can easily be cleaned are both functional and add to the design.

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06/09/2017

Decorating with Flowers – Peonies

I fall for limited editions. Perfume, ice cream flavors, printed socks–an exclusive holds cache. Peonies exude cache. Every year from late May to early June their tight fisted buds explode into feathery pink flowers that grip us with their scent and style. Part of the attraction is that as quickly as they enchant they then shrivel into the ground, like that icy beauty who will seduce and then leave town with someone cooler. Call it the limited edition flowers.

A bedside vignette takes on some va va voom with fully bloomed peonies. Note the linking colors of soft pastels, gold with a shock of pink.

Styling with flowers is a simple exercise, just allow the flowers to lead the direction. I always pick what’s seasonal and then see how they work within my scheme. Add accents, like jewelry boxes, dishes and decorative candles to build your vignette.

Even in a room with a different color scheme, the addition of a vibrant statement color through flowers contours the look to a styled direction.

Regardless of whether the flowers match your design or not, anything natural will always fit in.

A fresh bundle of peonies is so dramatic they add beauty without supporting cuttings.

Connect with color, textiles and art for a timeless look.

It’s not necessary to designate to your most public spaces–bedrooms, bathrooms, the office–all rooms deserve a floral touch.

Bring some style, and inspiration, to your work area with flowers.