Welcome to our new blog where we share design topics and projects. Your comments, projects, and content is welcome!
August 9, 2013 Tips for Hanging Artwork Lynn Morris
Having the right scale of art on your walls will make a world of difference in balancing your room. We’ll focus on hanging art over a sofa here. Your sofa is usually on the largest wall, so even in small homes, there is quite a bit of space. Creating a focal point on that large wall is a great idea. There are are three tips that I’d like to share, and you’ll decide which is right for you based on the type of art you enjoy or collect.
The first style is to create a gallery wall. That entails using different pieces of art with different frames, content, and color, although you will create continuity in some way. First, select the pieces you want to use. It’s ok to fill the wall behind the sofa, leaving enough space at the ceiling and above the sofa so it doesn’t feel crowded. I like to start with the largest piece first, and hang it off center so I can work other sized pieces around it. I hang other pieces so that similar colored works, or those with similar type frames, run across the wall rather than be grouped together. A good rule of thumb is to alternate the direction that each piece hangs, so that some are horizontal and some hang vertically. I do often hang similar sized pieces one on top of another.
Another way to create a focal wall over your sofa is with a single large piece. To create balance, I recommend that the width of your piece be about 3/4 to 2/3 the width of the sofa. If it’s too small, it will seem out of proportion.
Finally, I also use pairs or triplets of art over sofas. Pairs don’t need to match, but should have the same frame and similar content or color. They shouldn’t hang too far apart, but be within 4-8 inches of one another to create a group. For triplets -triptych – the art is often one piece that has been cut into three and framed identically.
AUGUST 5, 2013 Purchasing a New Carpet
Courtesy of Unique Carpet
Q: What kinds of carpet should I be looking for? Although a knowledgeable salesperson will help guide you through the carpet-buying process, it’s important for you to look for a durable carpet product. Durability depends on three important factors — the type of fiber — nylon is the strongest, most resilient carpet fiber used today — yarn twist and pile density. You should find the right balance of all three.
Q: Isn’t the color I choose for my carpet a totally personal choice? Of course, it is, and if it’s snowy white you want, snowy white you shall get. However, you should know that light-colored carpets will show more soil and require more maintenance than darker colors, which are more effective in high-traffic areas. Multi-colored and patterned carpets are especially effective in hiding soil.
Q: Do I really need to know about carpet fiber? The performance and quality of a carpet is directly related to the amount and quality of the fiber that goes into the pile. The better the fiber and the more densely it is packed, the better the carpet will perform. Thin, less dense carpet will lose its surface appearance faster. So the answer is, yes.
Q: What’s this I hear about a corn-based carpet fiber? Mohawk has introduced the first bio-based fiber that’s made partially from corn sugar. SmartStrand, made with DuPont Sorona polymer, represents a breakthrough in carpet fiber technology, producing a superior type of carpet fiber that combines exceptional durability with permanent, engineered in-stain protection that won’t wash or wear off, while, at the same time, offering environmental benefits such a reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions vs. petroleum-based carpet fiber.
Q: Will my sales representative let me take samples home? But, of course! It is important when selecting your color carpet that you take the time to look at samples, preferably large ones, in your home both by daylight and lamplight in the evening. The color you choose will look different under different lighting conditions.
Q: What about padding? Should I ask for a better pad? : Often, a certain level of padding will be included in the quoted installation price of your carpet, and you will have the option to upgrade.
Q: What about carpet cushion? The cushion under your carpet is one of the most important considerations when buying new carpet. It is the base that helps the carpet retain its texture and appearance. A cushion is sold by its thickness and density. A pad that is too soft will adversely affect the performance of the carpet, and a pad that is too thick interferes with the anchoring of the carpet. For residential installation, a cushion of no more than 7 / 16 -inch thick and no less than 1 / 4 -inch thick with a 6 pound per cubic foot of density or equivalent is recommended. (A cushion of 3 / 8 -inch thickness with a 6 pound per cubic foot of density or equivalent is recommended for berber style carpets.)
Q: Will there have to be a seam in the room? A seam may be required during the installation of carpet, depending on the dimensions of the room. If there must be a seam, it should run perpendicular to windows in order to minimize the light that reflects off of it.
Q: What is the difference between shading and color fading? While shading is simply the result of the change in direction of the carpet pile due to pressure from footsteps and vacuuming, color fading is more serious. Color fading of carpet occurs when particles of oily soil deposited on carpet fibers cause gradual but significant dulling of colors — the color is not lost, but hidden under the film. Cleaning your carpet regularly will help avoid color fading.
Q: My carpet looks like it is shedding. Is this normal? Some shedding is common in new carpet with a cut pile. The loose fibers are easily removed with regular vacuuming. This should not affect your carpet’s quality and should diminish after a few weeks or months depending on vacuuming frequency.
Q: Why are some carpets measured by square yard and others by square foot? Although carpet once was measured solely by the square yard, measuring carpet by the square foot has become standard and puts it in line with the measurement of other floor coverings, such as ceramic tile and hardwood.
Q: I heard that new carpet can make people sick? Is this true? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, like many other household products and furnishings, new carpet can be a source of chemical emissions. Carpet emits volatile organic compounds, as do products that accompany carpet installation such as adhesives and padding, and some people report symptoms such as eye, nose and throat irritation; headaches; skin irritations; shortness of breath or cough; and fatigue, which they may associate with new carpet installation. Carpet can also act as a “sink” for chemical and biological pollutants including pesticides, dust mites, and fungi. When purchasing carpet you should ask your retailer for information on selecting lower emitting carpet, cushion and adhesives. Additionally, before new carpet is installed, you can ask your retailer to unroll and air out the carpet in a clean, well-ventilated area.
You also should consider leaving the premises during and immediately after carpet installation or, optimally, schedule the installation when the space is unoccupied. Opening doors and windows to increase the amount of fresh air indoors will reduce exposure to most chemicals released from newly installed carpet, and during and after installation in a home, you can use window fans and room air conditioners to exhaust fumes to the outdoors. Ventilation systems should be in proper working order, and should be operated during installation, and for 48 to 72 hours after the new carpet is installed.
HOME OFFICE ORGANIZATION July 31
Has your home office become a dumping ground for lots of random stuff? These tips from ivillage.
Problem: My office is a boring space. If you expect to get work done in your home office, it should be a comfortable space that motivates you. To create a room you can’t wait to be in, try using bold colors, fun accent chairs and throw pillows. How about framing some inspiring quotes to motivate you? Try painting one wall a vibrant color or using wall decals or temporary wallpaper to create a stylish space.
Problem: My office has no natural light. Accent lamps are an easy way to brighten a space that doesn’t get much natural light while adding a burst of color at the same time. If you have a big enough desk, brighten it up with a colorful lamp or two in a bold hue like turquoise or cobalt blue. A great way to add extra lighting is to lean a mirror on the desk and add a table lamp in front of it. If you don’t have space on your desk, go with a floor lamp. Lights under shelves are another great way to brighten your desk.
Problem: I live in a small apartment and my office is becoming a storage closet. When space is at a premium, it’s easy to start storing all your stuff in your office. Since vertical space is often under used in work spaces, installing cabinets, wall shelves, tack boards and other items will keep your desk top clear and clutter free. A shelving unit is a great way to store lots stuff in an organized way. Add a stylish basket to each shelf and use them for miscellaneous items such as cameras, paper supplies, shopping bags, hats, gloves, shoes and party supplies. You can also assign each member of your family a shelf to help them keep track of their stuff.
Problem: I can’t stay on top of paper clutter. If you’re not diligent about dealing with paperwork, it’ll pile up fast. Set aside a time every week to deal with paper. Plan to spend an hour or so reading, filing and scanning. “Make an appointment with yourself and keep it!”
Problem: How can I keep track of wills, birth certificates, passports and other important documents? You don’t need to access your most important documents regularly, but you do need to keep them in a safe place. Those items should be in a fire-proof safe in your home or in a safety deposit box. And be sure to scan all important documents so you have an electronic back up.
Problem: The cords for my computer, printer and phone are a tangled mess and a major eyesore. To keep your wires organized, bundle them according to purpose using cable ties. It’s a good idea to label each cord so you know what device it belongs to, a step that will come in handy when you need to identify a specific one.
Problem: My desk drawers are a cluttered mess. Only keep what you use and need within reach (in your drawers). Keep everything else, like extra supplies, in a nearby closet or shelving unit. Drawer organizers also work wonders for small objects such as thumbtacks, paper clips, staples, and tape.
Problem: Coupons, gift cards, business cards, stamps and other small items always get lost. Bulletin boards or organizers that hang on the wall are a great way to keep track of small items that can get lost in drawers or wallets. Put one up and display coupons, gift cards, business cards and other items you might otherwise forget about.
Problem: You share an office and need to accommodate two computers and kids who use the computer after school. When sharing a desk with a spouse, assign a drawer to each person and have a desktop filing system that can keep all of your documents separate. Give your kids a small caddy for school supplies so they don’t take up precious desk space.
Problem: I can never find a bill or any piece of important paperwork when I need it. Use online — read paperless — billing for starters. For other important documents that you need easy access to, use the app TurboScan.
Office Lighting News For July 7.1.13
In most cases, the desired effect of under cabinet lighting is targeted towards functionality – to provide more light on the work surface. In an office space, it is a necessity. Providing a level of task light to the desk occupant not only allows them less eye strain, but it can also entertain the idea of having a personal space. In a kitchen, we don’t necessarily look for the same attributes. Sometimes, under cabinet lighting is used purely as decoration or even night lighting. With all of that being said, there is the desired “right” way to do under cabinet lighting. Key things to remember : Uniformity, clean , unnoticeable reflections, invisible fixtures, warm color temperature and high color rendering.
What’s In Your Paint? 6.10.13 by Dunn Edwards
All paints generally have four main ingredients — pigments, binders, solvents (liquids) and additives. Pigments provide color and hide, while binders work to “bind” the pigment together and create the paint film. Solvents are the liquids that suspend the ingredients and allow you to place the paint on the surfaces, and additives are ingredients that provide specific paint properties such as mildew resistance. All four ingredients combine to provide paint that meets your specific design needs. To begin…
Pigments – Provide Color, Hide and Bulk
Pigments are finely ground particles that are dispensed into paint and provide color and hiding properties. There are two primary types of pigment – prime pigments and extender pigments.
Prime pigments are those that contribute to both wet and dry hide in paint. Titanium dioxide (TiO2
) is the most costly pigment and it contributes directly to a paint’s wet hide, while providing whiteness Colorants are prime pigments that provide the actual color within the can. There are two main types – organic and inorganic.
- Organic colorants provide the brighter colors, and examples of these pigments include hansa yellow and phthalo blue. These are not very durable for exterior paint application.
- Inorganic colorants are the duller, earthy colors and are more durable for exterior paint application. Examples of these kinds of pigments include red oxide, yellow ochre and umber.
Extender pigments are lower cost pigments that give extra weight or bulk to the paint. These types of pigments contribute only to a
paints dry hide, but are necessary in order to control gloss. Some extender pigments also provide additional film performance in the areas of scrub or abrasion resistance. Commonly used extenders include clay, silica, diatomaceous silica, calcium carbonate, talc and zinc oxide.
- Clay: Used mainly in interior paints, clay provides hiding power.
- Silica: Provides enhanced durability in exterior paints as well as scrub and abrasion resistance.
- Diatomaceous silica: Consisting of fossilized organisms, this form of silica is used to control sheen levels.
- Calcium Carbonate: Used in both interior and exterior paints, calcium carbonate, also called chalk, is a general purpose, low cost, low hide pigment.
- Talc: Also called magnesium silicate, talc is a soft, general purpose extender pigment.
- Zinc oxide: Used primarily in primers and exterior paints, zinc oxide provides mildew resistance, corrosion inhibition and stain blocking support.
Binders – Provide Performance and Support for Dry Paint Film
Binders are ingredients that provide a binding effect that holds the pigments together to create a dry film on the surface. A paints binder is the key ingredient that directly relates to a paints performance, including adhesion,, washability, scrub resistance, fade resistance or gloss retention.
Alkyd (oil) based binders are made from various oil derivatives such as linseed oil, tung oil, and soya oil. Traditional alkyd paints dry to a very hard finish and provide superior adhesion and flow and leveling; however, they will yellow in light colors and are prone to oxidation and chalking when used on exterior surfaces. As technology and VOC restrictions have changed over the years, fewer paints today are made with traditional alkyd binders. A newer technology based on modified oil binders is available; alkyd emulsion.. This type of hybrid binder gives you oil-like performance with the ease of soap and water clean-up. Alkyd-emulsion paints dry harder, flow more smoothly than typical latex paints; however, they may still yellow in lighter colors. If used on exterior surfaces subjected to UV exposure, alkyd-emulsion paints may eventually oxidize, and chalk over time.
Latex binders are used in water-based paints. There are various types of latex binders available, such as 100% acrylic, styrene acrylic or vinyl acrylic, each providing specific performance characteristics.
- 100% Acrylic binders: often used in exterior paints as the benefits include adhesion (both wet and dry), fade resistance, alkali and efflorescence resistance. 100% acrylic binders are typically regarded as the best overall performing.
- Adhesion under wet conditions allow for greater performance in blister, cracking and peeling resistance.
- UV fade resistance allows the painted surface to retain its color and sheen longer.
- Alkali resistance means the paint is less likely to “burn” over fresh concrete or masonry.
- Vinyl acrylic, also called PVA, binders: often used in interior paints as the benefits include scrub resistance and washability.
- Styrenated acrylic binders: often used in masonry primer/sealers and top coats due to its resistance to alkali burn and efflorescence,
Solvents (liquids) — Provides a vehicle for the pigment and binder to get from the can onto the surface
Solvents, or liquids, are the vehicle for allowing paint to get from the can to the surfaces and these types of liquids differ depending on the type of paint. Combining the pigments and binders, considered solids, with the liquids, creates the paint coating you see in the paint can.
- Oil-based and alkyd paints: the liquid is typically paint thinner or other type of solvent.
- Latex paints: the liquid is primarily water.
Higher-quality paints allow for more solids, typically 35-40%, depending on gloss level. Solids by volume indicate how much paint will remain on the surface after the liquids have evaporated. The overall paint performance is directly attributable to the make-up of the solids. Just because a paint has high solids by volume does not always translate to a high quality product..
Additives — Provides additional property enhancements
Additives are used in paints to create additional performance properties and the most commonly used are:
- Thickening agents: provides “viscosity” or additional thickness so the paint can be applied properly; also allows for better “flow and leveling” and resists a splatter effect when rolling out the paint
- Surfactants or soaps: provides paint stability so the paint won’t separate; also keeps the pigments dispersed in the liquid to allow for better hiding power and additional assurance for color accuracy
- Biocides: in latex paints, there are two types of biocides used – a preservative to keep bacteria from growing; and a mildewcide to discourage mildew growth
- Defoamers: provides a way to break bubbles as they are formed during the paint manufacturing process, when paint is shaken at the tint center and when paint is applied onto a surface
- Co-solvents: provides additional liquids to the water and can assist the binders in forming a good film when applied in cold temperatures and assists brushing properties so paint has time to be applied before drying
All four ingredients are key to creating the foundation for a top-quality paint. Happy painting!
HOW DESIGNERS SPECIFY MATERIALS June 6, 2013
Designers have awesome responsibility. The materials we select have an immediate an lasting impact on the project at hand and the environment. But perhaps most importantly, the way we use materials in residential and commercial settings sends very specific messages to the people who use the spaces. As consumers live, work and play in homes, banks, retail stores, hotel lobbies/rooms and public spaces, the wisdom behind the specification becomes obvious. Sometimes a material is chosen based solely on aesthetics, ecological credibility, or performance. But most often a material has to deliver on all counts. The way designers specify informs consumers about the role materials can and should play in interior finishes and furniture.
WHEN DESIGNERS SPECIFY MATERIALS AND FINISHES, WE SEEK
- Trend-setting solutions
- Unique, custom or proprietary designs
- Consistency of design and color from project to project
- Predictable project costs
- Durability appropriate to each application
- Ease of sourcing, fabrication and installation
- Environmental intelligence: the truth about the impact of specifying a material
- Value that balances aesthetics + durability + cost
As materials continue to evolve and improve, so does the designer’s ability to meet these demands without compromise. One material that has come further than most is TFL – thermally fused laminate.
A snapshot of TFL’s progress shows that it has grown from a rather pedestrian cabinet and shelving panel available only in a limited range of colors. Today, TFL decorative panels feature innovative, trend-leading woodgrain designs and textures, making them the preferred choice of commercial furniture designers in North America and Europe.
TFL’s durability, design consistency and overall value are inspiring designers to specify it in architectural millwork, cabinetry, flooring and fixtures too. Often TFL decorative panels are used to replace traditional materials like veneers and HPL, which are over-engineered for some decorative surface applications. Be your designer shows TFL to you!
2013 Design Trends for Advertising 5.17.13
Written by Ashley Myers, Cosentino, San Diego
When most people hear the word ‘trendy’ they refuse to acknowledge these ‘trends’ dictate what resources are available; what they need to do to achieve MORE business, and what will eventually start to inspire them to create.
Most creative individuals reach their full potential by having their own signature ways and creating their own paths but need ‘trends’ to keep them afloat and to be seen by the consumer basis because at the end of the day, clients want your work to be at the height of trends- so having a handle on what is going to be ‘in’ will improve your chances of getting better client work.
Where would you want your business to be seen? What kind of clientele will help you achieve your ultimate goal as a creative individual?
Recently digital illustration has been fighting back to counter its hand-drawn rival, A combination of minimalism, simplifying and experimentation with basic shape and color have been dominating editorial work lately.
Keeping it clean and fresh.
|FROM PRINT TO DIGITAL
Knowing where and how to be seen.
Keeping up with the trend that paper is wasted and wasteful. Most consumers now work on their phones or iPads.
Getting your site and business card Smart Device User Friendly
|2013 TO 2014 TRENDSHAVE FUN WITH LETTERING
|HAVING MEDIA ON MEDIA ON PHOTOS ON A CREATIVE HIGH
|RETRO DESIGNSLooking into our past to design in the present has and will always take huge part in the ‘trends’ that we see emerge. Last year this seemed to blow up a lot with television shows starting a huge chain reaction which we saw retro type and vintage textures were everywhere.
I would see that having this choice in design is a nice aesthetic but could be a subconscious by-product of the current economic situation.
We are remembering the “good times” when things were slower paced, keeping our fast world with technology still reachable for some consumers.
Looking into the past for inspiration.
With digital opportunities (like I stated above) and more cost effective (and environmentally!) ways to achieve you’re being heard and seen… you’d think that this would be bad news for printing…
However with continued experimentations with print techniques, styles and finishes we want consumers to leave with an enhanced experience for the consumer who still likes to hold something in their hands.The trend are luxury magazines with less print but much better quality.
Enhance your consumers view with luxury touches.
|Copyright © *2013* *COSENTINO SAN DIEGO*, All rights reserved.9020 ACTIVITY ROAD, SUITE C SAN DIEGO, CA 91911
Nanotechnology for Commercial and Residential Fabrics 5.12.13
Making composite fabric with nano-sized particles or fibers allows improvement of fabric properties without a significant increase in weight, thickness, or stiffness as might have been the case with previously-used techniques. For example incorporating nano-whiskers into fabric produces a lightweight water and stain repellent material.
When nanoengineered coatings are applied to fabrics, the nanoparticles readily form bonds with the fibers of the material. The high surface area relative to the volume of particles increases their chemical reactivity, allowing them to stick to materials more permanently. Fabrics treated with nanoparticle coatings during manufacturing produce materials that kill bacteria, eliminate moisture and odor, and prevent static electricity. Polymer nanofiber coatings applied to textiles bond to the material at one end of the polymer, forming a surface of tiny, hair-like structures. The polymer ”hairs” create a thin layer that prevents liquids from making contact with the actual fabric. Nanofabrics with dirt-proof, stain-proof, and super hydrophobic properties are possible as a result of the layer formed by polymer nanofibers. Development of nanofabrics for use in the clothing and textiles industry is still in its early stages. Some applications such as bacteria-resistant clothing are not yet practical from an economic standpoint.
Fabrics: Current Nanotechnology Applications
- Nanowhiskers that cause water to bead up, making the fabric water and stain resistant.
- Silver nanoparticles in fabric that kills bacteria making clothing odor- resistant.
- Nanopores providing superior insulation.
- Nanoparticles that provide a “lotus plant” effect for fabric used awnings and other material left out in the weather, causing dirt to rinse off in the rain.
EARTH DAY 4.22.13 Want to be green? 5 easy ways!
When you’re thinking of buying new items for your home, updating a room, or just swapping what you have for something new, consider using eco-friendly items. Here are 5 affordable ways with easy to find products.
1. Replace those incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights or light emitting diode (LED) in table lamps, ceiling and pendant fixtures, and even recessed ceiling (can or pot) lights. There are many styles to select from with good color temperature. Many are dimmable as well. You’ll use 75% less electricity and have a bulb that lasts 4-10 times longer….a great value. With 100 watt bulbs being phased out in CA in January, with other states and wattages to follow, get started on your energy savings now. Many stores offer discount cost for multi-paks and some municipalities provide on-the-spot price incentives.
2. Save water and create a new look by swapping fixtures in your bath and kitchen with WaterSense label fixtures. Check out Delta for some beautiful, affordable and functional fixtures. You could save over 500 gallons of water per year! Don’t want to replace? Add a $3 screw on aerator to the spout for a big water savings.
3. Before fall is here and cold weather is upon us, know that almost half of your home’s energy consumption is due to heating and cooling. Turn down the thermostat in cold weather. Each degree below 68°F (20°C) during colder weather saves 3%-5% more heating energy. When you come in from the cold, 68 will feel warm. A programmable thermostat heats the house back up in the morning. Remember to clean your furnace’s air filter monthly. Need to update? Today’s furnaces are about 25% more efficient than they were in the 1980s and remember to check out furnaces carrying the Energy Star label.
4. Give your room a quick face lift by painting an accent wall in no VOC paint from Sherwin Williams. The Harmony line of paints is both no-VOC and low odor and their new Emerald line has performance, color retention and durability in store for you.
5. Updating your bedding and bath? Purchase products made with bamboo. The fibers are soft, luxurious and affordable. There is no pesticide used in growing it, and bamboo is an easily renewable resource. It’s naturally antibacterial and your towels will be highly absorbent. A bonus for allergy sufferers…they are gentle and unlikely to cause reactions.
OUTDOOR KITCHEN – Grill vs. BBQ 4.20.13
Spring is in full swing, and time to get the BBQ up and running. Some people are enthusiasts who know exactly what they want to cook and which equipment they need. Others simply enjoy a great burger on the grill. Here are some BBQ styles and what temperature your equipment needs to reach to do the cooking you like. Which are you?
Grilling: For steaks, fish fillets, burgers, chops, chicken breasts and vegetables. Food is cooked on an open grate directly over a gas, charcoal or wood fire for a short period of time, usually less than 20 minutes. The temperatures used range between 350˚& 550˚ F.
Searing: Searing uses more extreme heat. A grill must be able to reach at least 700˚ F for good searing which is done quickly. It is usually followed by continued cooking at lower temperatures. Some gas grills feature dedicated searing zones, usually with an infrared burner.
Barbecue: Barbecue sauce does not make a BBQ. Low heat and long cooking times with the use of wood smoke are key characteristics. Temperatures as low as 200˚ F are used and very few grills excel at barbecue. Some people choose to have a gas grill and a charcoal or wood barbecue or smoker as separate, dedicated pieces of equipment.
Roasting: Turkeys, prime rib, whole chickens, racks of lamb and large chops are all ideal for roasting on the grill via indirect grilling. The difference is higher temperatures and shorter cooking times, as in 35 minutes using 500˚ F. Any grill with multiple control zones can roast, but not all grills can reach 500˚ F.
Spit Roasting or Rotisserie: Food roasted on a spit bastes in its own juices. The only difference between roasting and rotisserie cooking is the use of the spinning spit. Many grills are available with optional or standard rotisserie systems.
Pizza Ovens:A good pizza oven will feature a high-quality baking stone and can deliver a broad range of temperatures. Calzones and deep dish pizza require lower temperatures, while Neapolitan-style pizza is cooked for less than a minute at temperatures around 700˚ F. An important consideration for pizza ovens is the amount of time needed to get the oven ready for cooking. Many require hours of pre-heating.
E-MAIL ETIQUETTE 4.8.13
Research suggests that about 62% of employed Americans have Internet access and 98% of use e-mail on the job. If you’re like many of us, you don’t always send and receive appropriate e-mails. Are they spell checked? Action oriented? Specific enough? Put your best foot forward by using the proper etiquette with these quick tips:
1. Be sure your message is clear. Focus on what the person receiving the e-mail is looking for and avoid everything else. Longer is not better. This is especially important because e-mails are read on mobile phones over desktop computers so scrolling down can be challenging.
2. Use proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. If you are misspelling words in your e-mails it might damage your credibility. If you don’t have automatic “spell check” then you should copy and paste your text into a program to verify that everything is spelled correctly.
3. Respond to e-mails in a timely manner. The faster you respond, the better. The receiver will appreciate the fast response and you will be perceived as more dependable.
4. Make it action oriented. What’s the point of even writing an e-mail if it’s not geared towards action? Your goal should be to end with an “action item” so that the receiver knows exactly what to do after reading it.
5. Beware of “reply to all”. Try not to hit “reply to all” after receiving an e-mail unless you’re positive that the entire team needs to have that information.
6. Target the content in the subject line. Your colleagues receive a lot of e-mail so make sure it stands out and they read it. People browse subject lines first!
7. Know your audience. Be professional at all times, although being casual is OK if a colleague is also a friend. Beware of forwarding though.
8. Don’t hide behind e-mail. Sometimes you have to pick up the phone to resolve an issue. It can be faster, more professional and certainly more personal.
9. Use an “out of office” reply. When you’re on vacation or in training, always make sure you have an away message so that people know where you are and who to contact in your absence. It looks professional and can help defer requests to others who can resolve problems on your behalf.
10. Review e-mail before you send it. E-mail is supposed to be fast, but a sent e-mail is there for posterity. If you read your e-mail before you send it, you will naturally send better ones.
SAFER HOMES ARE UP TO YOU 4.3.13
Does good design go hand-in-hand with a safe home? You bet! Many people are sensitive to interior products and suffer from allergies and illnesses that may be preventable. By understanding the make-up of products you use to design and decorate, and even those used to clean your home, you can reduce and often eliminate health hazards. Children, expectant mothers, and seniors are likely to be affected first. Considerations like using no VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints, allergen free flooring, and non-toxic cleaners are all important. But what can you daily to improve the home you’re in? Here are 10 tips to create a cleaner, healthier indoor environment:
1. Remove toxins from food storage. Start with your containers. Be sure to get BPA free plastics and avoid using heat-sensitive plastics that leak toxins into food. Stick with PETE (#1), HDPE (#2), LDPE (#4) and PP (#5) or opt for glass or stainless which is best. Don’t microwave in plastic at all. Use microwave safe ceramics.
2. Use natural cleaners rather than conventional ones. Many companies offer “green” versions that are less toxic. I mix natural ones from baking soda, vinegar and they are anti-bacterial and non-toxic. The cost to make your own is very low.
3. Eliminate non-stick pans. These coatings do release toxic fumes at high temperature. Use them at low heat or use alternative pans like ceramics, cast iron or stainless.
4. Vent well. When cooking produces smoke, fumes or gas, be sure to use a ventilation fan or open windows and doors to let out heat, humidity and odor. Open the windows even just for a few minutes in winter.
5. Burn soy candles rather than petroleum-based candles for scent.
FAMILY & LIVING ROOM
1. Use indoor plants as natural air purifiers. Spider plants, ferns, and even African violets are pet and child safe, and help absorb chemical pollutants from the air that are released by synthetic materials used in most homes. They help to absorb your home’s off-gassing (including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and benzene).
2. Be sure your paint is safe. Some older homes (pre 1978) have lead based paint. Be sure you check with easily available test kits. When re-painting use low odor, no VOC paints. Sherwin Williams has Harmony and Emerald paints and tints.
3. Keep the dust down. Fabrics, carpets and fibers trap pollen, dust, mites, and mold. Vacuum often and use a HEPA filter when you do. Select wood flooring in lieu of carpets. Prevent mold growth by properly ventilating using dehumidifiers in damp spaces, and using a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter vacuum.
4. Does your TV have polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)? It’s a flame retardant that is released when the TV heats up; it accumulates in the dust. Keep your TV and wires dust free to avoid spreading to other surfaces and into the air. For that matter, be sure that you recycle all of your electronic waste since many of their parts contain PBDEs and lead.
5. Change the filter on your heater and air cooling systems at least every 3 months.
6. Don’t wear shoes in the house. They can drag in a lot of nasty particles from the street.
7. Air out new furniture and fabrics before bringing them into your home. Most contain formaldehyde that off-gasses at high levels for a few days. Even better…buy green furniture.
BASEMENT & LAUNDRY
1. Adequate ventilation will prevent humidity and reduce the formation of mold. There are a number of very quiet ventilation fans that work well for these applications.
2. Some basements trap radon gas, and it will flow upstairs. The National Safety Council sells discounted radon kits and you should test and eliminate the gas.
3. Start with good products for cleaning clothes. Bio-degradable, fragrance free detergents, softeners are safer and healthier.
4. Wash new clothes before wearing to eliminate chemicals used to treat the fabrics. Natural fiber alternatives in clothing, blankets, towels and bedding is the right choice. Need a stain cycle? Give the clothes an extra rinse to wash out any detergent residue.
BACKYARD & GARAGE
1. If you use treated wood for decks or storage, seal it annually prevent chromium copper arsenate (linked to cancer) from contacting skin.
2. Take off shoes at the door. Can’t walk inside without them? Get a mat to wipe off lawn products, bug sprays, pesticides and more. Better yet, don’t use poison for pest and weed control. Try corn gluten on weeds and vinegar spray on bugs.
3.Switch to DEET free bug sprays. Soybean oil products work as well as 15% DEET without toxicity.
4. Have a sandbox? Cover it to prevent use by critters. Get sand that is silica free – like river and beach sand.
5. Remove chemicals like paint, cleaners, batteries and more, from areas people work and play and store safely.
6. Keep trash containers and empty product containers that may contain volatile or toxic materials out of children’s play areas and access.
7. Install CO2 or smoke detectors in your garage especially if your water heater is located there. Don’t let your car idle in the garage, especially not when children are present.
8. Be sure you know your soil and what was there before….people often throw paints, auto products and more into the yard and exposure from skin and breathing in fumes is hazardous.
3.18.13 Planning a Remodel Project
Any project you undertake almost invariably takes longer than you expect. Famous time eaters include, among others, not coming up with the right tool or material at the right time, not having enough of the right material at the right time, and the totally unforeseeable surprise. The planning and development phases of a remodeling project are time and labor intensive activities. The bigger the ideas, the longer it takes to plan. Everyone is in a hurry these days and wants are immediate. No matter how quickly everyone wants the project delivered, your efforts will fall short of the estimated deadline without careful attention to:
1. Be sure to have all parties sign off on plans, drawings, and specification sheets to insure everyone has the same understanding of the scope of work.
2. Dedicate time to making temporary accommodations, creating a work zone and a staging area as well as simply clearing the project zone of unnecessary or valuable items always seems to take longer than expected.
3. Handle potential issues without delay. The longer a potential issue lingers, the quicker to momentum slows on a job and distraction sets in. Be responsive and remember time is of the essence.
4. Amelia Earhart put preparation into perspective: “Preparation, I have often said, is rightly two-thirds of any venture.” Educate the homeowner on the process beforehand and explain to them how each task will affect their lifestyle and the construction budget. Regular team meetings with staff also help to communicate with everyone the scope of the project and their respective roles.
5. I’m sure the majority would agree that it’s easy to start and harder to finish any project. A number of factors impact the duration of the project from lead time of specified materials to vanishing contractors. Focus on to-go thinking instead of to-date thinking. When we focus on what’s left to be done, our energies are geared towards problem solving, gathering necessary resources to finish, and activates our willpower to sustain until the end.
3.11.13 Do you hate clutter? A solution is at hand!
When your belongings control your time, your happiness and your house, it’s time to de-clutter and free yourself from the burden of storing, moving, cleaning, organizing and managing it.Do You Hate Clutter? Try This Program!
We do like things neat, but like everyone else, collect things, forget to pick up, and procrastinate. When you put a system in place, like in the garage and closet, things do stay uncluttered and organized. The secret:
1. Keep a hamper, bin, basket or shopping bag for discards. In the garage it’s a large box, and in the closet it’s an old hamper. If you try something on that didn’t fit right, needs repair or isn’t the right style, add it to your hamper. When the container is full, go through to be sure you don’t want to salvage something, put it all into a reusable shopping bags and take it to work. As you pass a donation location or goodwill center, drop it off.
2. Don’t buy storage containers until you really intend to use them. You’ll usually end up storing stuff you really don’t need or have extra containers once you pack them up.
3. Do a bi-annual purge of your two largest clutter areas. Usually it’s the children’s toy collection and the garage. If the children have outgrown a toy or don’t really play with it anymore, pass to a friend or neighbor, or donate to a church, charity or community organization. If you use tools and garden, you may be more conservative about what you purge in the garage. Old paint, extra nails and screws, lumber, and extra canned goods all get reviewed and dealt with. The old bike that never got repaired, the bowling balls last used in 1999 and assorted items we don’t use, don’t make the cut. You have your own list, I’m sure!
4. Organize and label everything you store away. A favorite storage method is stackable bins with chalk labels. You can stack them in the floor six high, and can easily read what the contents are. A good shelving system is essential so you don’t have stacks of stuff you can’t access.
5. Start de-cluttering with your shopping habits. When you’re out looking for clothes, kitchen items, cleaning supplies, or just about anything, think twice before you buy an item. Can you remove one thing you don’t need and replace rather than add to your collection? Do you have the space, use and desire to maintain it? That can stop you from buying yet another black sweater top, or a kitchen accessory you really didn’t need.
3.7.13 FRESH IDEAS FOR YOUR HOME
Painting walls a dark color makes a small room seem larger. It’s the opposite of what you would think.
Painting a room a dark color makes it feel warm and rich – plus it adds a sense of drama. And, believe it or not, it usually doesn’t make the room seem smaller! In fact it’s just the opposite. Dark paint colors to consider include:
- Chocolate Brown
- Plummy Aubergine
- Inky black
- Forest green
- Indian red
- Midnight blue
Dark colors work best when there’s a lot of sunlight entering the room or if you have a very effective lighting plan. They’re especially good in large rooms with high ceilings and in powder rooms or hallways, as long as the lighting is good. Dark paint makes light-colored furniture and accessories stand out, and is a great background for artwork, especially if the art has white or light colors in it. Here are some ideas for other design elements when you use dark paint:
- Provide contrast with light-colored elements, such as furniture, art or accessories.
- Paint molding white or off-white.
- Use light-colored, neutral window fashions that help bring light into the room.
- Add reflective surfaces, such as glass coffee tables and end tables, crystal lamps and mirrors.
If you’re feeling nervous about painting an entire room in a dark color, start small by painting just one accent wall or paint the inside of a built-in bookcase with a dark color. Want to make a room elegant, sophisticated and smart? Think opposite this spring. Freshen up your house by painting a room a dark color instead of going light and bright.
|No VOC paints, cabinet substrates, stain, along with
recycled counter material, tile, water saving plumbing fixtures
and LED lighting are sustainable and luxurious.
When you want to make a change to your home you want a fabulous aesthetic and products that are safe. Think carefully about the long-term results of your design decisions. Is the carpet you selected a budget price but will off-gas toxic chemicals? Does the surface you choose require chemicals to clean and seal? Can you conserve water and energy that benefits you for the long term. When you’re concerned for the health and safety of your family, do the research and find products that provide a healthy environment as well as the right aesthetic.
|A functional and fun space that was repurposed
from an unised niche. Using NO VOC furnishings
and shelves, re-used wood flooring, bold colors
in soothing shapes, and LED lighting with a warm glow.
You know when you have entered a healthy home. Regardless of the period and style, there is a sense of harmony and purity that nourishes both body and soul. Over time, you may also notice that you breathe more easily, feel more content, and begin each day with heightened energy and enthusiasm. The very technologies intended to enhance our well-being have often undermined our health through heating and cooling system issues, additives to building materials, furniture and paints, and synthetics and composite construction materials appear to save money, yet their ingredients trouble us with ailments ranging from mild headaches to severe depression.
The basics of a health home include sensitivity for the environment, energy-efficiency, economical, sustainable, and use of products and materials that are non-polluting. These ten points can get you started!
|Stunning glass pendants and back splash tiles are 100% recycled.
No VOC stains and wall paint create rich, elegant color.
High post-consumer recycled content in easy
care porcelain tile, and energy and water saving appliances and lighting
make a beautiful, eco-luxurious kitchen a pleasure to use. www.tot-home.com
- Free your home from toxins – that includes cleaning products, construction materials, floor and wall coverings and furnishings.
- Select mood enhancing colors, textures and patterns
- Arrange furnishings for comfort and ease of use and maintenance
- Get rid of bulky, dust-collecting items
- Vent moisture from damp rooms
- Create special places for exercise and relaxation
- Clear away clutter by considering good storage options. Weed out what you really don’t use and need.
- Let the outdoors in – natural light and fresh air are
- Strive for simplicity and moderation
- Respect the environment by starting with water and energy use, generation of garbage, and recycling.
2.21.13 Which kitchen appliance is right for you?
Your kitchen appliances make up the one of the largest investments in your kitchen upgrade. If you haven’t shopped for new ones in a number of years, it can be a daunting task when you look at all of the options. They need to fulfill your lifestyle and work with the aesthetics of your new kitchen. Our top tips:
Refrigerators: Consider whether you and your family cook and eat from home. For larger families, larger capacity units will be necessary, as well as the ability for longer preservation of food. Higher end models that offer dual refrigeration, on-door controls, and energy efficiency may be more important for your needs. Those who don’t cook a lot may prefer a snazzy stainless steel or built-in model that looks fantastic. What foods do you store? Do you need door dispensers for water? Is a small drawer unit best for a growing family? Will you need wine storage separately?
Ovens/Stoves: Know how you typically cook. Are you a novice or an experienced cook? Is the energy you use to heat them worthwhile, or is a small counter mounted appliance best for your needs. While convection ovens – versus conventional ovens – use more energy, expert cooks enjoy the even distribution of heat and can cook food faster and with more control. For a stove or cooktop, there are several options: induction, gas or electric all have their pros and cons. Most beginning cooks appreciate electric for its slow heat up, while experienced cooks prefer induction and ultimately gas stoves for its fast heat up and ability to cook under precise conditions.
Ventilation system: The function of these sytems is to remove heat, moisture and odor from cooking. Range hoods overhead, or down draft systems that are integrated into the counter-top or cooktop are great for unobstructed overhead views. Depending on the size of your stove/cooktop and if you have an integral grill, griddle, burners, and other heating elements, you should select the proper system. Research your favored appliance manufacturer too see what type of ventilation system is recommended for your size kitchen.
Dishwasher: Similarly to your refrigerator, your lifestyle will largely dictate what type of dishwasher will be ideal for your home. Lower end models tend to have simplified controls, while more elaborate ones will have energy efficiency qualities, hidden controls, and noise reduction qualities – especially helpful in small homes or open floor plans. Dishwasher drawers are also available for smaller amounts of dishware and can save water usage when you don’t have large loads to clean.
2.19.13 Do Color Right! Top mistakes to avoid.
1. Don’t go on instinct. Test all colors in the room with its existing lighting and surfaces. Keep in mind, testing a color in an empty room will not be that useful. You should have an idea of which furniture/fabrics are going into the room first. Choosing color without inspiration makes decisions difficult. Once you select fabrics and surface materials, your color options for walls are limitless. Going the other way is difficult and frustrating.
2. Keep options simple rather than go overboard. There are many ’overdone’ walls and rooms – kitchen and baths in particular – with glaring colors and surfaces that leave their new owners gasping in dismay. Rather than add a flashy glass mosaic to an older bathroom, keeping the elements simpler and colors appropriate for the period of the home, will be more enduring.
3. When soliciting professional advice, use it. Designers and colorists know the correct color(s) that will work with your interior or exterior. An understanding of undertones is key to specifying the right color, and fixed and/or furnished elements often matter more than a color you “just love”.
4. Know which element is the most important and which to ignore. Every interior is different and requires a custom solution. Ignoring standout pieces and selecting colors that fit just some of your furnishings or surfaces would be a mistake. Knowing how to mitigate fixed colors (floor tile, architectural elements and even a view) is key.
5. Don’t follow trends for the exterior. Painting your house the current neutral will disappoint you when trends change. Instead, look at the era of your home, the architectural style, how your interior fits those elements, and use bolder color that works all around.
Take a look at other color related posts at www.designfromca.blogspot.com
2.5.13 Green Design is NOT a Fad
As we start a new year, the need to reduce energy consumption and create sustainability in our homes and lives is more important than ever. Manufacturers of home goods, electronics, building materials, fabrics and more, are offering better and more attractive products to help us lessen the negative impact we have on our environment. Designers who have been specifying sustainable products and employing green design in their projects, are enjoying the global attention to this movement. The philosophy of sustainability includes re-thinking how to use what we have rather than tearing down to start anew. Innovation and creativity will drive our desire to live well and better, changing our culture of excess consumption and a ‘have it now’ mentality. Our need to de-materialize without sacrificing luxury or quality will result in creative solutions in product design and manufacturing. Eco-luxury – my specialty – will be commonplace as clients understand and quantify the long-term benefits to their lives and homes.
Whether you are a trade professional or direct consumer, you will be affected by this global movement for ecological sensitivity. It will change how you think, what you can buy, therefore how you live. I have seen manufacturers respond to ‘green’ initiatives by producing furnishings, fixtures and building materials that go beyond simply meeting state and federal recommendations for energy efficiency. The Water Sense program launched by the EPA has resulted in the production of plumbing fixtures with low flush and flow rates, whose style and water consumption have completely changed the profile of bathroom design as we know it.
A few predictions for the next decade:
- Sustainability of products and process used in both construction and interior design will become commonplace.
- The monitoring of claims for ‘green’ and sustainable products, and the regulation of labeling and terminology will reduce ‘green-washing’ and help consumers understand what they are purchasing.
- Quality of life will take precedence over quantity of belongings in everything from the size of our homes to what is used in them.
- Homes will be designed as ‘net-zero’ – producing their own energy- and ‘smart-homes’ that work towards energy efficiency and not just convenience will be the norm.
- Contractors and builders will educate their clients on the benefits of working ‘green’ by using products that offer them long-term cost and energy savings.
- Companies will offer services designed to help us effectively maintain and re-new what we already have.
- Designers, engineers and a rising group of ‘green’ entrepreneurs will formulate products that re-use, re-cycle and re-new to a new level.
Live well, design smart!
1.21.13 THOSE WHO CAN DESIGN, TEACH DESIGN an interview with Anne Kellet, ASID by AreaRugs.com
Thanks for joining us, Anne! Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into interior design.
I’ve actually been an interior designer for almost 40 years now so how I got into it is a bit of a distant memory. I went to college at the University of Connecticut and after changing majors three times, I finally found the interior design department and felt at home. I had been an Army brat and my mother in 22 years of marriage made 30 different homes so I learned how to create “home” at her knees. I’ve worked for furniture stores, small design firms and had my own business since 1984. I’ve lived and worked in different regions of the country, from New England to Virginia and now in California. The styles in each area are quite different but the design process of working with clients remains the same. Creating a space that makes a difference in a person or family’s life is universal. It’s not about the style but about making it work for them in a beautiful way.
How would you describe as your style? Influences? Designers you emulate?
My personal design style is eclectic, more transitional than “a style” per se. I personally like elements of traditional and contemporary. 18th century Chippendale dining chairs with a glass table, for instance. I have been influenced mostly by textiles, which I absolutely love! I have quite a background in historic textiles and am fascinated by how an ancient motif can be reused in a fresh new way. I am thoroughly at home in a fabric showroom.
When I work with clients I try to make their style my style. It’s not about me, it’s about them. My job is to help them define their style and create a space for them that express who they are. If I were to say what my “signature” is – it would be the use of color and beautiful fabrics.
I’ve never emulated other designers. There are those whom I respect – Barbara Barry, and Candice Olson – to name a couple but I’ve never tried to copy them. I just enjoy their creations.
When you enter a room can you tell if it has been professionally decorated? What are the tell tale signs?
Most definitely! There is a cohesiveness and level of sophistication in the use of design elements that very few amateurs can pull off. In my opinion very few homeowners or “DIYers” have the ability to look objectively at a space and pull it together professionally.
Which project are you most proud of and why?
Tough question for someone who has been designing for as many years as I have! I would have to say, however, that the Williamsburg Area Hospice House tops the list. It was a two-year pro bono project to create a four-bedroom respite care facility that “felt” residential but “worked” as a medical space at the same time. I knew I had done it right when a friend later told me that when they were there with a relative, they felt hugged the minute they walked in the door.
Are there any rules you must follow when decorating your own space? When should you call in a designer?
First of all be true to yourself. Know what you like and what you don’t like. Don’t try to copy exactly what you see on HGTV or Houzz or Pinterest. If you can’t define your style in words, gather photos of spaces that evoke the feeling you want to incorporate in your space and call in a designer who can help you. Good designers are problem solvers at heart and know how to interpret YOU. They have the resources you don’t to make a space truly yours.
We like rugs. Tell me a little about the various ways your incorporate them into your designs.
I like rugs too! I actually love area rugs, particularly handmade Orientals. I was very fortunate when I lived in Virginia to work with Mark Gonsenhauser, a second generation rug dealer from South Africa. He taught me so much about the history of rugs and how they differed regionally. One of my favorite things to do as a designer is to start with a fabulous rug and choose all the fabrics and finishes from it. Nothing makes a room’s focal better than a great area rug.
Why do you rely on area rugs? What is the biggest addition they make to a room? Do you have a particular type, size or color rug that you like to include in your work? Any that you avoid?
Area rugs, especially the handmade ones, are like fine art. The client has to really love their design. I tell them to choose a rug that will delight them every time they walk into the room. My role is to guide them through the process of finding that rug. The particular type, color or size depends on the style and function of their room. If the room is a formal one, then I will most likely guide them towards a floral motif. If it is a casual space, then a more geometric design might be the ticket.
I guess the only type of area rug I might avoid is a long, thick shag rug. A lot of young people think they are really cool but I’m old enough to have lived with them in the 70’s when you needed a rake as well as a good vacuum to keep them looking good!
Anything else to add?
Moving to San Diego has brought some new avenues to my career. As a leading edge Baby Boomer I enjoy incorporating more universal design features into my spaces so my clients can “age gracefully” in their homes. I have become a local spokesperson for this issue and often speak at events with a presentation “So Where Do YOU Want to Live When You Grow Up?” which addresses the challenges of aging but show beautiful solutions for specific spaces like kitchens and baths.
I also have become a designer of cat habitats. I won a design competition for a multiple cat space in our local humane society which has led to other clients who want functional but whimsical spaces for their feline family members.
Teaching and guiding the next generation of interior designers is also part of what I do. Design Institute of San Diego (www.disd.edu) is an excellent four year small, private college that only teaches interior design, conferring a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design degree. I’ve taught Textiles, Business Practices and an the introductory design class. Currently I administer their Internship program and career services. Being around young people and watching them develop as designers is very rewarding and fun too.)
Thanks for your time, Anne!
Thanks to you!
12.31.12 Broaden the design experience of every space.
The design sector has always faced a challenge in proving its importance. We know the incredible influence that space and design have over behavior, mood and actions; the success of a space, public or otherwise, relies on the atmosphere that it creates for the user. While functionality is always a key part of design, if individuals feel uncomfortable in the space, its functional aspects are simply wasted. Take a look at these concepts and see if you use them to their fullest!
The study of space, proxemics, explains why we feel a certain way when we enter a room. It deals with the amount of space people need between each other in order to feel comfortable and relaxed; this is related to how a room is laid out or a public space is situated. Studies have found that when chairs are positioned too close together, or a room too tightly formed it forces individuals into socially interacting or excessively acknowledging those around them, causing stress levels to rise. This increased stress level has been linked with both decreases in performance, productivity and mood.
For the success of an interior space to come to its full fruition, in addition to understanding proxemics there must also be a complete understanding of other sensory effects. Designers understand the visual experience that an individual will have upon entering a space which includes the affect of color and light, shape and line. The design of lighting plans and specification of fixtures is done with this in mind.
Touch is an incredible sense to consider when designing a space, although it does not relate as closely with individual personality types and is less likely to have a uniform mass influence. The nervous or aggressive gravitate to soft textures due to their calming influence, while tiredness or sluggishness can be relieved through angular shapes and harsh lines.
Sound has influencing power due to its memory association, strong influence on mood and ability to create any given atmosphere according to the chosen sound, be it music or otherwise. Using the right products and finishes does affect the acoustics of a space; walking on softly carpeted space is different than on a floating wood floor. The correct fabrics, wall finishes and other materials are all key to sound transfer in spaces.
Finally there is scent, which can actually influence attitudes and show physical manifestations. Fresh strong smells invigorate us, the smell of certain foods can physically make our mouths water or conversely make us gag. The prime example of this sensory theory is the use of the common perfume or cologne. Most adults use these different fragrances to portray their identity and communicate an illusion or interpretation of their personality. Therefore smell has the ability to communicate a feeling, attitude and atmosphere of any space.
With the right, understanding, you can influence and create spaces that truly allow for their function to be communicated in its full complexity.
12.20.12 Make an ice lantern
A great, easy idea for your holiday table, outdoor entry and more! An ice lantern is fun for children and beautiful to behold.You need 2 containers – one larger than the other, duct tape, water, a freezer (or outside space), berries, greens and a candle.1- Fill your large container about 3/4 full of water. The shape and size is up to you.2- Place a smaller container inside the large one and weight it down so it doesn’t float up. This creates a hollow area for your candle. You may need a piece of duct tape over the top to hold it down while the water freezes.3- If you want to add color to your lantern, push berries and greens between the sides of your container. I often wait till the water is partly frozen to they stay where I put them and don’t float.3- Freeze the container by placing it outside or putting in your freezer. Be sure it’s frozen solid.4- Run warm water over the outside of the outer container to pop the ice out and then inside the small container to loosen it.5- Your ice lantern is ready for a candle!
For more holiday ideas see 11.20 and 12.12 posts.
12.18.12 Quality of Light: Color rendering and LED’s By Amelia Brubaker OCS Lighting & Control
Imagine curling up on your favorite chair on a winter’s day with a warm glow of sunshine peeking through the curtains in your living room. Luxuries like the sun warming your treasured reading chair, flickering flames in a fireplace, or the sparkle of a candle on your dining room table are made possible by the right light. You probably know that lighting helps enhance every scenario and can impart serenity, playfulness, drama, and much more. It is the icing on the cake and can inevitably make or break a design especially if the wrong color lighting is used. Let me explain…have you ever shown your work on a bad projector screen that gave the design a dismal haze? The colors didn’t appear as vibrant or pure? This is due to the projector having poor color rendering. Just like the projector, lighting has the same effect in a space.
A quick lesson: the Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a measure of how man made light sources reproduce color in comparison to natural light. The closer the CRI is to 100 (pure light), the truer color tones will be. An example of poor color rendering is what you may recall about rooms lit with old style fluorescent lighting. They have a CRI between 70 and 80 so colors looked ‘off’. Many years ago, fluorescent lamps became the standard in commercial settings and in many households across the country. Quality of light was disregarded because saving energy was crucial. This is still the case today, perhaps even substantially more than when fluorescent bulbs came into the design market. Newer compact fluorescent bulbs have good color rendering…be sure to read the package. Remember the first introduction to LED (Light emitting diodes). They had very low CRI’s from 60-70 and were considered “little blue lights from hell”. Now, LEDs are much easier to manipulate than the standard fluorescent bulbs.
To be in the design industry at this moment is incredibly exciting. We are seeing a huge advance in technology. Light can be easily controlled in various ways that could never be done before or that were once financially unrealistic. Sustainable design has shifted its focus from energy savings to serious consideration of our quality of life and light. Within the past year we have seen LED luminaires popping up with CRI’s of 90 or more with dynamic white light that mimics the changing natural light throughout the course of a day.
LED lighting is not a trend. It will be around for a very long time. Not only is it incredibly efficient (with energy savings up to 75%), but it has the ability to act similarly to natural light. The issue at hand is the increasing number of LED manufacturers stretching across the globed and the saying, “you get what you paid for” comes into play. LED luminaires are truly incredible, but not all of them produce what they say they do. You have to take into consideration the product as a whole. You might have a great LED chip, but if the housing is poorly manufactured, you are going to run into problems in the near future. Do your research, or better yet, ask an expert! It is our duty as designers, innovators and artists to consider the well-being of our society on all levels. We have the ability to improve quality of life and light right at our fingertips! Our knowledge and creativity is power! We use lighting in a conscious way that enhances the substance and aesthetics of health and design.
12.12.12 Holiday Decor To Inspire You
Simple additions to decor. Wreaths at every window. Ornaments hung from drapes.
Swag extra balls! Greens added to seashells. Spray wooden figures & add greens.
Create a fast and elegant centerpiece with glass vases filled with ornaments.
Hurricane glass filled with ornaments and everyday candlesticks with sparkling white candles, dress up a mantle, a console or a tabletop. Add greens and string lights for a finishing touch.
Hang those special ornaments from your chandelier.
12.4.12 Bathroom colors over the years
If you’ve ever wondered what period your pink or blue sink, bathtub and toilet were, here’s some history from Kohler. In the early days of plumbing, everything was white: The sink, the tub, the toilet. There’s a reason for that. When you think of the color white, what do you think of? Clean? Sterile? That’s exactly what manufacturers had in mind. (see below for color charts)
Along came the 1920′s, a decade known for its fashion and fun – an age of color. Suddenly, a room such as the bathroom could be beautiful as well as functional. Colors first began showing up as accessories: Towels, rugs, curtains, etc. In 1927, Kohler Co. asked the question, “Why not color in plumbing fixtures?” Kohler introduced six colors that year: spring green, horizon blue, lavender, autumn brown, old ivory and west point gray.
The next decade saw the introduction of Peachblow in 1934. Four years later came Cerulean Blue, followed by Spruce Green in 1945. In the 1950′s they were joined by Argent (1952), Rouge (reintroduced in 1952) Sunrise (1953) and Suez Tan (1955). The 1950s saw a strong U.S. economy with the GI Bill that subsidized attractive and affordable housing in the suburbs. Kohler ads created during this period used words like “quality”, “meeting essential needs”, “hygienic”, “easy-to-clean”, “reliable” and “affordable luxury”, highlighting practical needs for practical times. Happy, smiling families were shown enjoying kitchen and bath products, and our colors were described as fresh, clean and in the case of our Sunrise hue, “as cheerful as a song.”
A Kohler color palette from 1953.
11.26.12 Sustainable Cork Wall Tiles by Cali Bamboo
Take a look at this new product by Cali Bamboo. You can bring natural texture to your interior walls with these easy-to-apply cork wall panels. They’re layered with the raw bark of the cork oak tree and are sound-dampening and temperature-insulating. Cali has 3 styles – a rustic tree bark look , a polished geometric line, and a stacked stone appearance. This treatment will truly make a statement on walls or ceilings to create an artistic focal point above a mantelpiece, table or bed; apply in a home theater or recording studio for distinctive acoustic insulation.
11.20.12 Holiday Gifts You Make Yourself Lynn Morris www.tot-home.com
If you love to give something hand-made as a gift and need some ideas try these. These are all creative, inspiring and fun to make. Since they take time, you can gather the items and make them now so they’re ready for the holidays.
1) Fabric sticks. A great idea for a cottage or country home. Collect sticks and twigs with some heft to them. Wrap in fabrics – remnants, old scarves, etc. Use craft glue to affix. Hang them on a wooden board, gather in a ceramic crock; use your imagination!2) A cruet of flavored oil or vinegar is pretty and practical. Using any salad or cooking oil as your base, add herbs and spices and marinade a few weeks before giving. There are decorative glass cruets at www.tot-home.com
3) Glass jars of jam, candles, bath salts, cookie mix, and more, are easy to make. Cover lids with fabric, paper, ribbons, and holiday decor. For cookies, layer in ingredients for a display-worthy gift. Craft store have instructions for candles and bath salts. Much of the gift is also how creative you are at decorating the jar.4) Baked goods in decorative wrappers. This can be anything from cookies, breads, muffins, to your favorite baked item. Use wrapping papers, pretty ribbons, a handmade tag or card, and the gift is special just looking at it. Many craft stores have plain boxes and bags that you can embellish with stamps, glitter, and other items.5) Customize ordinary store-bought pillars into festive gifts. Apply clip-art decals, decorative tacks and more. For a pretty package, anchor the candles to glass coasters, pair with a matchbox (cover with the same or complementary designs), and tie them together neatly with a great ribbon.
11.11.12 Living Hostess Gifts
For a beautiful hostess gift, wrap a potted herb plant in fabric, burlap or other eco-friendly material, tie with a ribbon, and present or display! Easy, fragrant and very functional.
11.1.12 Color of the year. How will you use it?
Lynn Morris www.tot-home.com
Benjamin Moore recently announced their 2012 color of the year as Lemon Sorbet 2019-60, a soft yet vibrant shade of yellow. As a color, yellow sparks optimism, enlightenment and improves energy and creativity in a space. Since it stimulates memory and mental activity, encourages expression and communication, we’ve suggested – in our 2012 FB posts – to use it in a bath or kitchen so you can start your day right!
As an accent color, pair it with a deep richer yellow such as Benjamin Moore’s Sulfur Yellow 2151-40. How? Try some pillows, a large ceramic accessory of simply some flowers. For more color – and easy to change as needed – use some fabulous yellow textured fabric from www.kravet.com on seats and small upholstered pieces.
Yellow is often paired with gray for a subtler look. Which way will you be adding yellow to your décor this year?
Oct 25, 2012 Renewing Without Completely Remodeling Joanne Levreault, Allied Member ASID
As fall approaches, we spend less time outside and more time indoors. Here’s how to refresh interior spaces for the upcoming months — without completely remodeling.
Paint First, consider a color scheme. Choose 3 complimentary interior wall colors that appeal to you and your home. Use them throughout your home on walls and furniture. You might decide to keep the colors in your existing palette so need just a touch up to enliven the environment. In that case consider adding texture or a design element such as stripes or shapes to create visual interest.
Molding In addition to painting, you may want to install crown or base molding to add detail. When you paint molding, choose a color that complements the room’s wall color and the overall concept of the area, or a contrasting color from the walls (might be white) to draw attention to it.
Flooring Next, consider the floors. Existing wood flooring may need to be refinished, carpeting may need to be replaced or perhaps it’s time to switch out the old linoleum to tile. Floor options are endless, from engineered to reclaimed wood flooring, from area rugs to carpet tiles and an array of floor tiles in unique sizes, all adding character to the space. When choosing the appropriate floor material consider: other design details throughout the space including your color palette; how the area is used; whether it is a high- or low-traffic area; whether you want utilitarian or decorative materials; how much maintenance the materials require; how durable the materials are.
Accessorizing Lastly, finish the space and make it your own by accessorizing to reflect your personal interests and character. Accessories can cover a vast amount of items including artwork, lighting, case goods, pillows and throws, decorative pieces and greenery. Some of the pieces you choose can contain your palette’s third color. Refinish frames, add a collage of personal art to the walls, uncover and display a family heirloom or pieces from your travels, change your lamp shades, add a new light fixture. To complete the space, include an element of nature. And don’t forget to have fun!
Oct 17 2012 Festive Halloween Ideas! Natalia V. Trepchina-Worden, ASID
With Halloween just around the corner many are looking for ideas on decor and so I thought I would share a few easy tricks! The biggest mistake people make in decorating their homes is combining too many colors. A typical interior already has plenty of accents, colors, and textures, and layering it with even more can result in a cluttered rather than festively decorated space. Keeping the Halloween decor monochromatic will result in more cohesive interior and will be a lot easier to work with, especially if you are not a professional designer. Using black, white, and a little bit of orange (or any other type of accent color that says “Halloween” to you) will add enough drama and “spookiness” to your space without making it look too busy.
One of my favorite Halloween items are white pumpkins. Their ivory skin blends well with mos interior color palettes and can be used with styles ranging from contemporary to traditional. Since carving pumpkins requires a lot of practice, and even then it can be a lot of work, an easy treatment like paint might be the answer. Using acrylic craft paints you can create any type of design, and the beauty of it is that it will last much longer than a carved pumpkin. I like to combine geometric patterns with text, or some big and bold silhouettes (cat, bat, or any other types of Halloween characters).
Another thing that is easy to do is to use decals and stickers – you don’t even need to know how to paint! Stickers can be used to decorate other items besides pumpkins such as candles, dinnerware, and even your staircase.
Here are some of the ideas:
photo credits: NataliaTrepchina-Worden
October 10, 2012 Risers create drama! By Kathleen Zbacnik
Designing a staircase can be one of the most challenging and exciting projects! To
understand all the elements and materials involved you need an understanding of
staircase terminology. Treads refer to the horizontal plane on which you step. Risers
are the vertical plan between treads. The stringer is the angled surface that hugs the wall
nearest the treads/risers.
An ornate decorative iron railing can certainly dress up a staircase. The railing can give
distinct style to the staircase as does the scrolled railing below. One thing most people don’t
realize is that the drama of a staircase is seen when standing at the bottom of the stairs
looking up; what you see is the risers. Make them expressive, unique and make
October 2, 2012 A comparison for counter-tops.
It’s becoming a popular question. Do you opt for a granite counter in your new kitchen or bath, or select from a wide variety of quartz products? Granite is a natural stone whose slabs are without fillers or binders. No two pieces of slab granite are alike so each one has a unique design and color pattern. Granite has long been the material of choice for high-end kitchens since it is considered beautiful, durable, heat resistant and scratch resistant.
Quartz counter tops are rapidly growing in popularity. They are an engineered product consisting of more than 92 percent natural quartz, along with a resin mixture for binding. Because they are engineered, they have a uniform look and texture. They are highly durable, heat resistant and scratch resistant and the surface naturally resists bacteria growth.
There are pros and cons of each material and it’s wise to consult a designer or installer before you make a final selection. Here is a side-by-side comparison with data gathered from industry experts across the nation that we hope will help you decide.
Countertop Comparison Points
QUALITY RATING (tick indicates the better option in that particular comparison)
Durability √ ×
Price × √
Cleaning √ ×
Appearance × √
Stain Resistance √ ×
Heat Resistance × √
Uniformity √ ×
Color/Style Options √ ×
Installation Cost √ ×
Maintenance √ ×
Sept 24, 2012 Focal Points for Every Room Natalia V. Trepchina-Worden, ASID
If you have a room that has everything – great lighting, attractive color palette, tasteful and comfortable furnishings, and yet it feels that something is missing, it might be the focal point. Every space needs something that holds the viewer’s attention, just like a great actor on stage. In interior design we call it emphasis.
The first step in developing an emphasis or a focal point would be accessing the function of the space and what interesting features it already has or will need.
Sometimes a focal point could be an architectural element, such as a fire place or a built-in entertainment center, but sometimes you will either have to make one or reinforce the features that are there already.
Once you figured out what a particular space could be missing – “dress it up” :
- If you want your fireplace to stand out – place a mirror or a painting above the mantel.
- A grouping of art work and photos on the wall could become an area of emphasis as well.
- If a room has a large window with great view – “frame” it by dressing up the window with drapery.
- If you are redesigning your kitchen - interesting back-splash, dramatic vent hood over the stove, or a large counter-high window by the sink will be the areas of focus.
- A bath tub or a beautiful vanity could be options for the bathroom.
- Bold color on the wall or a furniture piece, large-scale pattern, interesting texture – any of these elements could become an area of emphasis.
- Regardless of what you choose to focus on, remember that it should be the first thing that the viewer will see and be attracted to when entering a space.
Make sure that other elements in the room “play along”, avoid placing the same size focal points within proximity, they will fight.
Sept 19 What’s Your style? Try CITY SOPHISTICATE on for size!
In a city surrounded by chic, creative thinkers determined to reshape the world, it’s easy to transfer that energy and style into my own home. Capturing enthusiasm and simplicity, City Sophisticate wraps clean, modern lines and refined grays into one innovative trend. Balance neutral solids and fresh jacquard tapes with vibrant pops of yellow for a jolt of color. To complete this look, I added a contemporary finial for a hint of flair. With products at an exceptional value, you don’t have to compromise this style trend. Here’s how you can create it:
Sept 10, 2012 What makes a great kitchen?
Do you know the elements that make a kitchen great? Our top 10 must-haves for a contemporary (for the times) kitchen:
1- Storage - Make or create a place that houses everything properly. Pull outs, swing outs, dividers and cabinet inserts that work for you will make your life easier.2- Flexibility - Can you pull out an extra ‘counter’? Change the cabinet interior for your new blender? Add a built-in coffee maker? Store new cookbooks?3- Surfaces - counters, backsplash and flooring in the right material for your lifestyle
4- Counter space - Be sure you have adequate space and landing areas near major appliances and the sink. An island can help.
5- Cabinets - Doors versus drawers? Be sure you create a place to house what you have. Using wood versus paint and glass insets versus solid doors should be considered for function, style and budget.
6- Media - Can you use your iPad, iPod or laptop while cooking and baking? Is there a place to store and charge it?
7- Lighting - Use the right light when and where you need it. Have task, ambient and accent lighting without shadows or dark areas. Keep energy efficiency in mind and don’t over-light.
8- Space plan - Have the right access to what you need to cook within reach. A working triangle often gives the best ergonomics.
9- Ventilation - Windows are ideal, fans and hoods are next best.
10- Organization - Be sure you can get at, reach, or find a needed appliance, pot or utensil when you need it.
August 31, 2012 Live outdoors longer with these 5 tips!
To extend your living spaces through October, be sure to incorporate some of these ideas. (From Touch of Tradition)
1) Lighting As the days shorten, you’ll need to add light to work or entertain by. With a simple outdoor extension cord, hanging string lights over trees, under the eaves of the house, wound onto a trellis or fence, and draped under an umbrella, will add enough light and are easy to do. Many big box store sell lighting for outdoors so don’t hesitate to use a table or floor lamp. It will make the room feel more like indoors!
2) Lanterns There is nothing like candle-light to create a relaxing mood for a balmy outdoor evening. An enclosed lantern with regular or flame less candles, adds an element of safety to a great architectural detail. Stand them on tables, next to chairs, hang
them from shepherd hooks in your garden. Instant ambiance!
3) Pillows When the hot weather abates, you can get a cozy feel by adding pillows to your outdoor spaces. From accent pillows on chairs to floor pillows for seating, they create a softness and invite you to spend time.
4) Area rug Using an outdoor area rug can make an outdoor space more welcoming. End of season sales are abundant, so take advantage and get a great rug that suits your style.
5) Throws To ward off the chill of a late fall, drape throws over your benches and chairs so guests (and you) can keep warm while you enjoy another outdoor evening.
August 27, 2012 Favorite colors for a versatile bathroom.
When you have young children, you want them to have a fun, cheerful bathroom, but may want to have it easy to modify as they go from infant to toddler to teen. This bath does all of that easily…with COLOR. A white palette is the simplest to dress up. Here, the upper wall over the wainscot and the backs of the shelf unit, are all that is colored. Adding towels, a throw rug, fun accessories and toiletries, are all that is needed. The paint is by Benjamin Moore, the labor can be DIY!
Green - Margarita 2026-20
Yellow – Baby Chick 2023-20
White – Simply White OC 117
Red – Red 2000-10
Orange – Startling Orange 2016-10
Blue – Sea to Shining Sea 789
August 13, 2012 Contributed by Lynn Morris IIDA, Allied ASID
Stripes Can Update A Room
A fresh new look for your walls is the use of striping – horizontal or vertical. It’s a rather easy update and you can use your base wall color instead of re-painting everything. Here are a few ideas to make it look finished.
1. Start with even lines. Use a level and pencil marks to create guide marks on the wall.
2. Press a quick release tape, 2″ or more in thickness, under or over to your marks – its easiest if you paint over them – and press it onto the wall firmly.
3. Working in 4 foot square areas, apply a mixture of paint and glaze (equal parts of each) using a roller. This will enable a longer drying time to allow you to work the entire wall and add a bit of luminosity to the stripe.
4. With a stippling brush, pounce the paint/glaze stripe, creating a softened look.
5. While the glaze is still tacky, remove your tape.
The end result is a softened, almost suede-like effect.
August 11, 2012 Weekend Update Ideas
Have two days and want to make a design or decor change? Try one of these small ideas for a large impact.
|Two hours and two quarts of Sherwin Williams paint gave this accent wall a new look.
1) Paint. The changes to a room from updating the walls are tremendous. Does that mean you need to do all of the walls…NO. The addition of one accent wall, freshening up just the trim and doors, adding a faux effect up to chair rail height, can be done in hours.
2) Lighting. Update the outdated fixtures. (see prior blog posts for ideas.) If your budget allows, change the fixtures that have the most impact on the room…the dining chandelier, a kitchen sconce…and don’t forget that new shades have a big impact.
|Organize shelves for a clutter-free look.
3) Store-it. Having a clutter-free space does give a sense of newness. Easy ways to reduce clutter are add wicker baskets or decorative paper boxes, b) hang or buy ready-made bookshelves, c) purchase a storage cube or chest that doubles as a seat or table.
4) Position. Change the layout of a room. For the living room try moving the sofa to a new wall, arranging furniture horizontally versus vertically in the space, and swapping the position of tables and lamps. In the bedroom, move the bed to another wall or even angle it!
|Adding sconces and a group of prints is a quick update.
5) Soft goods. Change the color and texture of pillows on your sofa or bed. Add a throw or take one away. Can you swap the bed room pillows and throws with those in the living room? If not, and there is no budget for new ones cover one face with a napkin and then tie on ribbon like a gift box.
6) Hardware. Replace the hardware on kitchen cabinets and key pieces. Have a knob? Try a pull. Changing from brass or chrome to a black finish will be dramatic. It’s an easy change and you can bargain hunt big box stores for sets of pulls and knobs.
7) Swap it. This applies to artwork, accessories, candles and even furniture – if you are ambitious. Moving art on the walls gives new perspective to a room…and of course, the art! Create a group of accessories rather than spreading them around. Change candles..color and size. If you move furniture, try re-purposing pieces.
|Adding glass & cabinet lighting in uppers was a quick update that transformed this kitchen.
8) Re-face. Give your appliances and/or cabinets a face-lift. Change the panels on dishwashers and refrigerators. Use appliance spray paint to re-color. Cut the center of some cabinet doors out and add glass.
9) Lighten up. Add light to your rooms. Using a mirror, reflect the light from a window to the interior. No window? Place a table lamp or even a picture light in front of the mirror. If you can, add lighting to the perimeter, under cabinets, inside armoires and bookcases… use low wattage LED ropes or strips.
|Adding a plant and a picture madethis dresser perfect in a living room.
10) Add greens. Like paint, plants and flowers have a huge impact on rooms. Soften a hard corner with a tall plant or even curly willow in a large vase. Place fresh flowers on your kitchen counter, a living room table, or other noticeable place. Hang a seasonal wreath on the wall, from a shelf or on an inside door. Can you use your own garden? Even better.
August 2, 2012 A GIVE-AWAY GUIDE FOR STUFF
Here are some tips to help you unload some of those pesky items you’re afraid to part with. Remember that it’s OK to take baby steps. Using bins with labels such as “KEEP”, “DONATE”, “DISCARD” , “RECYCLE” also helps you stay organized.
1) PAPER. Your fear – if you put away the stack of paper it will be forgotten. Does the stack get you to take action or get bigger? Keep those papers in a wicker basket or decorative paper box. That serves as visual reminder but keeps it out of sight. Inserting labeled file folders – TO DO, TO PAY, TO FILE, etc.. – might help!
2) GIFTS – Your best friend gave you a vase for your wedding, grandma left you a table when she passed on. Even though you don’t like it, you feel if you don’t keep it, it’s disrespectful. NOT TRUE. Since the true meaning of a gift was to celebrate an event or to honor a memory, the memory is more valuable than the gift. If someone else who gets it, enjoy it, that’s more of an honor.3) FUTURE VALUE – Worrying that something you have will be valuable again is very common. Check eBay, do a Google search, or use an appraiser to learn the true value. It’s worth knowing that many items need original packaging to retain value. Peace of mind often comes from knowing that someone else will LOVE what you’ve donated.4) EXPENSIVE ITEMS - You hate to discard those $300 shoes but it’s been years since you’ve worn them. If items ‘hang’ around because you feel guilty about what you spent…consider how much better you’ll feel when you know they’ve gone to someone who will enjoy them fully!
5) MULTIPLES – Having multiples of some items (a favorite shirt, accessories, costume jewelry, suitcases) that you don’t use but “may need one day” is common. When they overload your cabinets, closets, and garage and become obstacles…try this. Take them from the space, put them into a bin and put them elsewhere for six months (or a year if you REALLY think you need to). If you still haven’t used items then, take that bin to a local donation center. You didn’t miss them, and it’s likely you never will!
July 30, 2012 Favorite colors for a versatile bathroom.
When you have young children, you want them to have a fun, cheerful bathroom, but may want to have it easy to modify as they go from infant to toddler to teen. This bath does all of that easily…with COLOR. A white palette is the simplest to dress up. Here, the upper wall over the wainscot and the backs of the shelf unit, are all that is colored. Adding towels, a throw rug, fun accessories and toiletries, are all that is needed. The paint is by Benjamin Moore, the labor can be DIY!
Green - Margarita 2026-20
Yellow – Baby Chick 2023-20
White – Simply White OC 117
Red – Red 2000-10
Orange – Startling Orange 2016-10
Blue – Sea to Shining Sea 789
July 24, 2012 Don’t throw it out!
When you have a dated looking curio, table, dresser, hutch or other piece – not an antique – what can you do to update it? The construction is likely very sturdy, with dowels and dove-tail versus staples. Even if the style isn’t what you have in your home but you can’t part with it, here are some ideas to re-use and re-purpose.
1) Change the color. Paint and stain are simple ways to change pieces. This brown oak armoire became dining room curio with an ivory interior (and glass insets may be next in the doors) and a distressed paint finish. Whether you add distressing or paint antiquing is up to you. Do a finish that works for the style of your home and that you feel comfortable with. Keep in mind that some distressed finishes will hide mistakes you make, and even help make a very damaged piece look fabulous!
2) Decoupage. Don’t forget fabric and paper. They are easy ways to transform furniture. Covering door and drawer fronts with decoupage fabrics and decorative papers create tremendous changes very quickly. Don’t do the entire piece; instead, cover the door insets, drawer fronts, or even just the top and sides.
3) Change the details. Add, remove or change design details like moldings, legs, and embellishments. If you can do it, making the legs larger or smaller can also change the height; you can transform coffee tables into desks that way!
4) Change the function. Use an old dresser as a sideboard. Take out the drawers and use them as shelves in another way (see previous blogs for examples) and place baskets into the drawer spaces. Here, a brown and shabby 9 drawer chest becomes a dove gray storage unit for crafts and toys in a family room.
5) Re-finish. More challenging but the results can be amazing. This piece was a painted dresser with floral embossing. After stripping and staining, it’s a classic chest.
6) Change the hardware. Such a simple way to make a new statement. Take the painted wooden knobs off and do something dramatic or interesting.
7) Stencil on a design. It’s easy to add a pattern or drawing to a plain piece with stencils. If you’re artistic you can even draw your own.
Think white, crisp, comfortable, yet elegant. Cottage style is a clean look that you can dress up or down with color and other details. Here are some ideas to incorporate the look into your decor.
1) Rustic. Whether it’s a piece of furniture, a basket, or a storage crate on your shelves, rustic creates texture and personality. Touch of Tradition has a wonderful collection of baskets, wooden boxes and iron accessories.
2) Metal. Copper accents, black iron lanterns, nickel cabinet hardware and distressed buckets are ideal accents. Try some open weave ornate metal chairs the the bar or kitchen table, even bringing an outdoor piece inside.
3) Woven fabrics. Cover your kitchen chairs with ticking fabric whose weave is subtle. Add throw pillows with flour-sack style fabric. Prints are often delicate and checks and plaids are great for window coverings.
4) Glass bottles and jars. Ideal for kitchen, bath and even in a display case. Available at A Touch of Tradition in the garden shop.
5) Lighting. Metal and glass convey the perfect cottage style. Candlestick style chandeliers in black wrought iron are quintessential fixtures.
6) Furniture. White is always right. Distressed, aged, and even black are wonderful. Wicker is also used and often painted white.
7) Flooring. Oak flooring is most common and a wide plank style with some distressing adds warmth and character.
8) Paint. White rules, but soft hues of blue, green and yellow work well.
9) Accessories. From blue and white to china on display, objects d’art in a cottage home are simple and earthy. Made from natural materials like wood – for boxes and candlesticks; glass – for hurricanes, vases, and cloches, and iron – for candelabras, lighting and more. Visit the country section at A Touch of Tradition for some wonderful accessories.
July 15 How to Find Your Style
Identifying and using elements from the design style that you love is the key to creating a room that really reflects it. With this checklist, some photos, and the 4 style images below…you too can find your style and live it!
1. Look at your furniture. With a pad in hand, walk from room to room and make two truthful lists: “Love It” and “Wish I Could Replace It.” Catalog everything you can, including art.
2. Gather items you cherish. Are they on a shelf? The top of your dresser? Your dish set? A storage chest? Your fabulous sofa? Consider your favorites from your closet. Put them together in one space.
3. Think about places you love and why you love them. Is there a vacation spot you cherish? What is it about what you’ve seen that you love. Note the colors, the furnishings, the way the space is planned (open, cozy, etc..) and create a list. Gather photos of rooms you like from magazines, books or on-line.
4. Look for common threads―design, colors, shapes, materials, the ‘feel’―in the things you’ve collected. Note the strong elements that capture your attention and make you feel fabulous. Compare the overall effect to these style photos to help identify. It’s very likely that you like elements of several styles, and will need to consider how to pull them all together for the look you’re after.
The first image is a casual space. Furnishings are soft, slipcovers are common, linen and cotton are commonly used. White tables, wicker baskets, dried flowers, and collectible glass and ceramics are elements often used in casually styled rooms. Wood flooring often has sisal area rugs on top. Pillows are overstuffed, small patterns that pick up other colors in the room, and many have flanges and trims. Window coverings range from woven shades, white wooden blinds to soft sheer panels.
Modern style is depicted in the second image. Furnishings are very linear, with angular lines, often monochromatic. Steel, sleek wood finishes and use of polished stone is common. Minimal detail on furnishings and accessories is seen. Asymmetry abounds and artwork is generally colorful and abstract. Roller shades, strict blinds and sleek, flat treatments are generally used. Neutral palettes with grey, black, taupe and tan are often seen.
Transitional rooms are a blend of classic elements and sleek lines. The seating is sophisticated with straight lines but not sharp edges and textured neutral fabrics are used. Legs on tables and chairs are typically straight or tapered without carved detail. Color is often neutral in fabrics and paints, with deep wood tones as accents. Accessories are clean-lined and not fussy…more linear than curved. An orchid in a pot is more often used than a gold carved candlestick. Pillows are box style with solid fabrics.
Traditional rooms are commonly shown in magazine photos. Comfortable, elegant, symmetric. Many things are paired. Seats flanking a fireplace, lamps on matching end tables flanking a sofa. Furnishings often have rolled arms, skirts, bullion fringe and classic patterns like paisley, tapestry, damask and plaid. Furniture has carved, fluted, cabriole and other details on legs and aprons. Accessories are ornate, often gold, carved wood, and silver. Pillows have small patterns with trim detail.
July 15 Ten ideas for updating your decor.
Last year we posted a list of ten ideas to update your decor, bring in a new element, or just to re-fresh your rooms. Some are very simple and some for advanced do-it-yourself fans. Here are ten more ideas to try for every room in your home.
1) Add flowers.
There is something about a container of flowers that is refreshing. Using a single type of bloom – whether they are orchids, carnations or lilies - makes an elegant statement and really dresses up a room. The container you use, from a glass vase to a ceramic urn, will add to creating a new statement in your space.
2) Make a lighting change.
Designers always like to add light to rooms to vary how they feel. A simple candlestick lamp on a small table can brighten a dark corner. One fabulous floor lamp keeps your tables clear but gives new life to your seating group. How about dropping a pendant over one of your tables? It does require wiring – or a swag cord – but the effect of lifting light and not cluttering your surfaces is wonderful.
3) Create a focal point. A new wall color in your room can make a bold or subtle statement and add a great element to the space. How about painting the “L” shape in the entry with a rich color that hints of the accessories that you use in the adjoining rooms? This taupe wall – with its floor mirror – is perfect for the clean lines of this living room.
4) Add detail. Molding is a quick way to dress up doors, walls, windows and ceilings. From hardware stores and lumberyards, moldings are as inexpensive as $0.30 per foot. Creating a framework on a large wall, adding a chair rail to a dining room, and emphasizing a great window or fireplace with trim, will add drama and interest. Beef up the moldings you may have for a richer effect.
5) Blend your colors. For a dramatic change, remove multiple colors from your room by taking away bold pillows, accessories and other large items. Keep the colors remaining similar – even in accessories – for a great new look. Monochromatic doesn’t mean white and you can use shades of the same hue. Take a look at the warmth in this entry -living room in hues of orange-gold.
6) Store it with finesse. Why have a piece of furniture with one use? Instead of multiple chairs at a table, add a storage bench with a lift-up lid to tuck in the extra large bowls, napkins, and even summer dishware. In this eating nook, a storage ottoman is also used as seating and as a tabletop with a tray.
7) Create drama. In neutral rooms, add vibrant color in small doses. From a piece of art on the wall, a collection of vases on a tabletop, or a great area rug, change a bland room in minutes. Here the neutral taupe and cream of this kitchen is a great backdrop for the lime green stools, accessories and lighting.
8) Re-purpose your pieces. Have a great old chest in your bedroom that you’re tired of? Use it in an entry or hallway with new hardware. With a coat of crackle paint and an apron added to the tub, this bathroom was turned cottage chic with an old dresser. Even the top was kept and urethaned to protect from splashes. Turn an old sewing table into a great powder room piece and add a vessel sink. How about using the drawers from an old dresser as shelves? You may have 2 pieces you can put together that will serve as the base for a new table or desk.
9) Bring outdoor elements in. Plants make wonderful room decor and there are many varieties that require low-light and little watering. Even a grapevine wreath or a dried topiary could work. Designers hesitate to recommend fake plants since they look fake. This space used plants in several areas, even as a room divider. They are a wonderful color and soft accent for this small space.
10) Create a new display. Using simple glass containers in a bath or kitchen to display necessities is a great look. Purchase inexpensive glass apothecary jars for the bath and fill them with cotton balls, soaps, and bath salts. The right cruet looks nice to hold bath gels. In the kitchen, Mason jars and old jam and jelly jars hold flour, salt, oatmeal, rice, etc.
for more ideas visit the www.tot-home.com Blog.
July 9, 2012 Mies van der Rohe
Born in Germany in 1886, van der Rohe is considered one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture. Without a formal education, began his career in his father’s stone carving shop. His visionary designs, apprenticeships, and work alongside Gropius, Behrens and Le Corbusier, rocketed him to notoriety.
He sought to establish a new architectural style that could represent modern times just as Classical and Gothic did for their own eras. He created an influential twentieth century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity. He is often associated with the aphorisms “less is more” and “God is in the details”. His buildings made use of materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define interior spaces and he strived towards an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the implied freedom of free-flowing open space. The Barcelona Pavillion was one of his most notable designs.
He joined the avant-garde Bauhaus design school as their director of architecture, adopting and developing their functionalist application of simple geometric forms in the design of useful objects. It closed in 1933 as a result of Nazi pressures, and a frustrated van der Rohe ultimately emmigrated to the US.
He settled in Chicago in 1937, teaching and working, and became a US citizen in 1944. His architecture, with origins in the German Bauhaus and western European International Style, became an accepted mode of building for American cultural and educational institutions, developers, public agencies, and large corporations. Among his iconic works are the residential towers of 860–880 Lake Shore Dr, the Chicago Federal Center complex, the Farnsworth House, Crown Hall and other structures at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT); and the Seagram Building in New York.
He worked in Chicago for 31 years and was a leader for the architecture program at IIT. After his
death in 1969, the failure of his followers to meet his high standards may have contributed to the demise of Modernism and the rise of new competing design theories.
His furniture designs for Knoll began with the Barcelona chair in 1930. In 1953 he gave them the rights to his MR Collection.
While his furniture has been re-created by manufacturers throughout the world, it can be identified as authentic with his signature and logo stamped on their bases. His MR Lounge collection received the Museum of Modern Art Award in 1977 and the Design Center Stuttgart Award in 1978.
July 6, 2012 Bamboo Flooring
If you want a hardwood floor, take a look at bamboo. It’s renewable, sustainable, modern, durable, with good color options and even grain variety. Bamboo is an attractive alternative for flooring because of its physical similarities to hardwoods. Manufacturers and sellers promote its strength, durability as well as resistance to insects and moisture while having the added benefit of being eco friendly.
Bamboo floors are similar to other hardwood floor species and can be bought in two versions – solid bamboo as well as engineered. Engineered bamboo flooring is very similar to engineered hardwood and is comprised of multiple layers, cross-banded for stability, glued on a base. However the difference is in the material – bamboo has a lower expansion rate than hardwoods, so an engineered bamboo floor will contract and expand even less in changing moisture conditions. Whether your climate is dry, humid, or best of all fluctuates between the two, an engineered bamboo floor will do the job best.
Bamboo flooring grains are either vertically cut or horizontally cut. In vertical bamboo floors, a plank will have each of the component pieces stood vertically on their narrowest edge and then press laminated side to side. The effect is a lined, almost uniform look to the surface of the finished floor plank. Horizontal bamboo floors have individual slats that are arranged in a horizontal direction, on their widest edge, and then joined side by side with adjacent pieces using a high pressure laminate system. The look of the finished horizontal surface is one where the characteristic nodes of the bamboo are randomly visible. The two major colors are natural (similar to beech) and carbonized (similar to oak). The process of steaming bamboo material under a controlled pressure and temperature is called carbonization,and the color of the material changes into brownish. The natural and carbonized bamboo flooring are typically referred to as solid bamboo, although in fact the structures are layered, similar to a plywood. Another alternative is strand woven bamboo floorin, made when strands of bamboo are cut and boiled then left to dry for a period. When dry the strands are flattened under pressure. They are now ready to be cut into whatever size boards and planks are needed, then woven together and treated with an adhesive.
Whichever flooring type you select, you’ll love the options, the easy care, the resistance to scratching and the beautiful aesthetic.
June 26, 2012 Ventilation for a Healthy Home
Carbon monoxide, cleaning chemicals, pet dander, pollen, pesticides, formaldehyde—homes are loaded with pollutants that can cause a whole host of health issues (asthma, fatigue, dizziness and headaches, just to name a few). However, there are a number of simple steps—installation of ventilation fans, range hoods, make-up air dampers and central vacuums—that designers can use in kitchen and bath design to make a big impact on the overall indoor air quality (IAQ) in their clients’ homes.
VENTILATION FANS: One of the easiest ways to improve IAQ is with ventilation fans. Since homeowners don’t always remember to turn fans on while showering or bathing, models that do so automatically when they sense a rise in humidity are ideal at helping prevent the growth of mold and mildew, as well as other problems caused by excess moisture. Specify smart ventilation fans that not only address spot bathroom ventilation needs, but also help with overall IAQ. Some can communicate with each other and turn on at prescribed times throughout the day to boost the number of air exchanges in the home. Smart fans alter their run times depending on daily use. For instance, if the homeowner takes a 30-minute shower at 8 pm, the fans automatically adjust their run times to meet the recommended air-change requirement. Remember that fans in laundry, utility, craft and other rooms can enhance the quality of the air in these rooms too.
MAKE-UP AIR DAMPERS: Maximize the benefits of ventilation fans and ducted range hoods with make-up air dampers, which facilitate air exchanges by bringing fresh air into the home to replace air that’s being exhausted out. By allowing fresh air in when a compatible exhaust fan/range hood is in use, the damper helps prevent conditions that can cause a variety of indoor air problems.
Installing a make-up air damper allows outdoor air to enter the home while controlling energy costs. When the range hood or bath fan is turned on, the damper opens and lets fresh air into the home. When turned off, the damper tightly closes, preventing unwanted air from entering the home during heating and cooling cycles. This provides synchronized operation for complete and effective ventilation.
CENTRAL VACUUM SYSTEMS: For new and remodeled homes, consider adding central vacuum systems to help IAQ. With a central vacuum system, dust particles and allergens are not scattered throughout the room as they would be with a conventional vacuum, and the air is expelled outside the home. Besides these benefits, central vacuums are easier to use than upright vacuum cleaners because they’re lighter-weight. They also are three to five times more powerful, and because the power unit is located in a remote location such as the basement or garage, they’re quieter.
June 20, 2012 Mirror Mirror…
Using mirrors is one of the easiest ways to change a space. From simple reflectance, to the accentuation of light, to changing the apparent space of a room, mirrors can make or break a space…no pun intended. They can serve as a wall treatment, a decorative accent, and even the cladding for furniture. Framed or unframed, mirrors can visually expand or reduce the space in a room. Consider a small dark room. Hanging a wall mirror to capture light from a window, doorway or floor lamp can visually increase the space. On the other hand, when used in a small bathroom reflecting a unattractive wall filled with towels and shelving,the space can seem cluttered and small. Here are some tips for mirror placement.
1- Place tall, narrow mirrors along a hallway to make it seem wider. Add sconces between or inset into the mirror for double the light. You don’t need to have all of the mirrors be the same. Using old mirrors in different frames, some hung over wall shelves, will create interest and a bit of provenance for your home.
2- Use mirrors as the backsplash for a small kitchen, a server, a wet bar and more to visually expand the space. Add under cabinet lighting. Consider a mirror with a design, antiquing and other details so you capture more than just reflection.
3- Behind a bed, a mirror can open a small room, serve as a headboard and also a dressing mirror.
4- An over-sized mirror on the floor or wall can fill an empty corner or reflect a beautiful furniture vignette. The mirror can be panels, cut in diamond shapes for interest, etched, antiqued and distressed to create a unique feature.
June 18 Remodeling Don’ts
Have you heard of The Ripple Effect and Project Creep? They’re 2 of the reasons why a remodeling budget goes haywire.
The Ripple Effect (RE) starts out small and grows, expanding until it engulfs the entire project. An example: a window replacement is a simple project, right? But don’t forget that the interior and exterior trim must be replaced and painted, and the exterior stucco or siding may have to be reworked. Once that window is replaced and the new window trim painted, the rest of the trim in the room looks bad by comparison, and so you may decide to paint that, too. The ripples from a small project have now begun to spread. What started as a single window replacement may end up being the re-finishing of the entire room.
Larger homes and open plans are more prone to RE since finish materials are often the same throughout. When one area of flooring, or one wall is being repaired/removed, the impact on the adjoining spaces is clear. Consider what needs to be done, how you will tackle the project, and the materials to be used. In the window example, the more custom the size, the less likely it will be that additional repairs will be needed. That window might cost more but you will avoid the entire room update cost. For new construction, careful planning of the room layouts and space adjacencies allows flooring and other finishes to “break” where you want them to.
Project Creep(PC) happens when the extent of the work begins to grow, creeping along at first, until no one seems able to control the spiraling costs. An example would be that your contractor is in the attic repairing wiring and notices some things that can improve the insulation. You say “While you’re up there……” and the job doubles in size. Many older homes require building code upgrades when they’re remodeled — upgrades that may have little to do with the project itself. Moving structural walls also can mean reworking the wiring, duct work and plumbing that’s been routed through the area. In a new home, the causes of PC are impossible to predict, such as when the excavation of the site uncovers poor soil conditions. Mostly, it’ s the result of a difference in expectations between homeowner, contractor and designer.
HOW TO AVOID RE and PC
Start with a clear idea of the level of finish and quality you expect. Discuss your expectations in detail and, whenever possible, see the actual finishes and fixtures. If you’re not the detail-oriented type, hire a professional interior designer. They can provide and ensure that all project drawings are correct so you avoid additional unplanned work and errors. Evaluate the feasibility of your project in terms of the impact it will have on parts of the home that you’re not intending to remodel. You can have a project that is designed to minimize the effect on the existing structure. Have realistic expectations about your project budget and communicate that budget to your contractor. When everyone understands the project’s financial goals, the chances for success are greatly increased.
June 11 Green and gorgeous
Emeco is a leader when it comes to chair fabrication. They’re committed to sustainability and protecting our environment. These aluminum chairs are fabricated from post consumer and post industrial waste to create chairs intended to last decades. The company utilizes the best available control technologies to reduce air emissions where needed, recycling waste and used materials at every opportunity, eliminating other impacts to the environment, such as releases to surface water, and reducing the carbon footprint of products to minimum achievable levels.
June 6, 2012
To update an old oak kitchen, try this ….. change the oak color with
paint, here it’s Benjamin Moore 2145-70 Cotton Balls. Add a bright color to the interior of cabinets with glass doors; try Ben Moore 2027-20 Spring Moss . Add that color back as an accent with plants, accessories and dishes. The walls are Decorators White. Paint old flooring rather than replacing. Here, floor paint in 2062-60 Blue Hydrangea complements the new white cabinets and makes the room glow. Black hardware – a new sink and a Misty Carrera quartz counter by Caesarstone complete the transformation.
June 4, 2012 Need a new recipe for dip, to top cheese and crackers, or for a Southern CA- Mexican dressing? Try Avocado-Feta Summer Salsa.
Makes: 3 cups or 12 servings 1/4 c each
Prep: 20 mins Chill: 2 hrs to 6 hrs
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic – minced
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and chopped
1 T fresh parsley snips
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 T fresh oregano snips
1 T Olive oil
1 T red or white wine vinegar
4 ounces feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
Pita chips or tortilla chips
In a medium bowl combine tomatoes, avocado, onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, oil, and vinegar. Stir gently to mix. Gently stir in feta cheese. Cover and chill for 2 hours or up to 6 hours. Serve salsa with pita or tortilla chips. Makes 12 (1/4 cup) servings.
May 28, 2012 5 Favorites for Summer
The warmth of summer brings the need for cooling and comfort in furnishings and accessories. Here are some products designers love for entertaining and enjoying – often year-round.
1) Beverage dispenser. It’s such a treat to have a cool drink throughout the day. Guests love having instant access. You can even make sun tea and add ice when finished. Glass dispensers are classic, timeless, and you will enjoy their function for many years.
2) Fountain. The trickle of water is pleasing whether you’re sitting on your city balcony or a country-side patio. Small, lightweight and attractive for almost any style decor, an outdoor wall fountain or standing ceramic version are affordable. When you can, make your own!
3) Outdoor Lighting. As sunlight fades, add to the ambiance of your outdoor spaces with lanterns. With a mirrored back they reflect the candlelight for a warm, bright feel.
4) Lightweight blanket. Enjoy the softness of cotton blankets and throws. Lighter than wool and just right for cool summer evenings, you can have one for each bed and a throw to use on the patio. Choose white for a crisp look or match the color to your room.
5) Teak furniture. The warmth and durability of teak furniture is unsurpassed. Even if you don’t maintain the golden color, a weathered gray teak chair is a timeless classic. Made from harvested, renewable material, your teak will be enduring and gorgeous for years.————————————————————————————————————————
May 25, 2012 Entertaining Ideas for the Holiday
When you’re having an outdoor gathering, making it festive is easy. Follow these tips to get started on creating a wonderful space with ambiance that will last all season.
1) String lanterns, hung in the trees, add sparkle to backyard gatherings. They work for every summer gathering, adding easy ambience that can stay outside all season.
2) Have music piped to your area. You can use your home stereo and position the speakers out the windows or use your smartphone with your media library or on-line sites.
3) Use your unmatched dishes instead of paper plates. You won’t mind if they break and the meal will be more elegant. Using table linens adds an extra special touch.
4) Add fresh flowers to your tabletop or buffet. Even an interesting display of seashells, greens, or other ‘found’ items will create a wonderful vignette.
5) Make finger foods ahead of time and place them on easy-to replenish trays for carrying back and forth.
6) Create a goodie bag of take-home extras or favors as a special gift for your guests.
7) Use wicker baskets or other interesting container – lined with a napkin as needed – for serving breads, desserts and other foods.
8) Candles provide wonderful ambiance and in a glass hurricane provide a decorative element as well. Flameless candles are fabulous so consider them as well.
May 23, 2012 Summer lighting ideas for your outdoor space.
As the summer days shorten but the evenings stay warm, you can continue to use your outdoor living spaces by lighting them with some quick and inexpensive solutions.
1.Hang string lights. One of the simplest ways to bring light outdoors is with string lights that can be linked together to create inexpensive and effective lighting. Many stores are offering discounts on summer style string lights that you can install now and keep for several years. You don’t need to purchase the decorative covered style, but if you can, you’ll have added ambiance. Be sure to purchase OUTDOOR rated extension cords to reach from an exterior outlet to your outdoor space.
2. Use flameless candles. With safety as a number one concern for leafy outdoor rooms, the availability of flameless or battery operated candles makes it easy. Placing them on tabletops, next to benches and around your outdoor space will make it warm and inviting. Use them alone or inside a traditional lantern or candle holder to suit your style. You can often find them in sets of three for as little as $10, and they come in realistic waxy shapes to mimic the ambiance of candles.
3. Create jar candles. A great way to add light – and recycle glass jars at the same time is to place sand in the base of jars – varying sizes are great – and create a hanger for the jar with old wire hangers or 20 gauge wire. Simply wind the hanger/wire around the rim of the jar and secure it with a wire twist, then create a hanger (different lengths for a wonderful effect), and hang them under umbrellas, from fences and trees, and place around your table and walkways.
4. Be creative with candles. Rather than a standard taper holder, set them into a sand base in a tall hurricane, vase or even glasses and enjoy the look. Place floating candles at each plate or in a large centerpiece. Try making candle holders from seasonal items like seashells and beach buckets. A simple bag luminary works well on walkways and tabletops.
May 18, 2012
HOW GREEN ARE YOU?
Sure, you turn off the tap when you brush your teeth and recycle the Sunday paper. That’s a good start. But other everyday habits may have a bigger impact on the environment than you think. take our quiz to find out what else you can do to make the world a greener place.
1. On average, how fast do you drive on the highway? (a) 55 mph (b) 65 mph (c) 75 mph
2. When your vehicle needs a bath, do you: (a) Grab the hose and a bucket and do it yourself (b) Go to a car wash
3. What type of driver are you? (a) Aggressive (b) Calm and collected (c) In between
4. It’s lunchtime and you’re craving a fast-food burger. Do you:
(a) Order at the drive-through (b) Park and head inside to place your order
5. Grilling season is almost here! This summer, you’ll be throwing your burgers and brats onto: (a) An electric grill (b) A charcoal grill (c) A gas grill
6. You’re hosting a cookout and need to stock up on beer. At the store, you fill your cart with: (a) Cans (b) Bottles (c) A keg
7. Okay, you’ve had enough burgers and barbecue. It’s time for a healthy dinner: salmon. At the fish counter, you choose:
(a) Atlantic (b) Wild caught from Washington, Oregon, or California (c) Neither; you buy canned
8. Now let’s head over to the produce section. With fruits and vegetables, you look for this label: (a) Organic (b) Locally grown (c) I don’t look at labels
9. Your spouse cooked dinner, so you’re on dish duty. Do you:
(a) Wash everything by hand (b) Rinse off food, then load the dishwasher (c) Go straight into the dishwasher
10. After mowing the lawn, what do you do with the clippings?
(a) Leave them in the yard (b) Bag them and put them out by the curb
11 When a lightbulb in your house burns out, you replace it with:
(a) An incandescent lightbulb (b) A compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) (c) A light-emitting diode (LED) bulb
12. You’re cleaning out the medicine cabinet and find a bunch of expired medications. Do you:
(a) Flush them down the toilet (b) Toss them out but recycle the container (c) Return them to the pharmacy
1. (a) 2 points; (b) 1; (c) 0. Fuel efficiency decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. For every 5 mph you drive over 60, you pay an additional 31 cents a gallon.
2. (a) 0; (b) 1. Washing your car at home creates a toxic brew of oil, gasoline, and detergent that enters storm drains and flows directly into rivers, lakes, and streams. Most professional car washes use recycled water and drain their H2O into a sewer system, so sludge gets treated before reentering nature; they use 60% less water.
3. (a) 0; (b) 2; (c) 1. Aggressive acceleration, speeding, and hard braking at traffic lights or stop signs can deflate your highway gas mileage by up to 33 percent, according to the EPA.
4. (a) 0; (b) 1. Idling for 10 seconds or longer burns more gas than restarting the engine, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
5. (a) 0; (b) 1; (c) 2. According to a study from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, when in use for one hour, a gas grill emits 5.6 pounds of carbon dioxide, and charcoal 11 pounds; an electric grill doesn’t emit CO2 directly but accounts for a whopping 15 pounds owing to the production and transmission of electricity.
6. (a) 1; (b) 0; (c) 2. For big bashes, buying a keg and serving beer in reusable cups creates the least waste. Aluminum is the next-best choice—it’s lightweight and easily recycled, landing back on shelves in 60 days or less. Glass, while also recyclable, is heavier, which means more fuel is needed to transport it.
7. (a) 0; (b) 1; (c) 2. Canned salmon comes mainly from wild Alaskan waters; many salmon from other U.S. states are considered endangered or threatened. And “Atlantic” usually means “farmed,” a process that uses chemicals and unsustainable fishing practices.
8. (a) 1; (b) 2; (c) 0. The average meal can travel 1,500 miles to reach your table. You can cut down on emissions by buying local produce which is usually organic or grown with sustainable farming practices.
9. (a) 0; (b) 1; (c) 2. Running a fully loaded dishwasher may use half the energy and one-sixth less water than doing dishes by hand, according to a study by the University of Bonn in Germany. And research found that prerinsing can waste up to 6,000 gallons of water per household each year.
10. (a) 1; (b) 0. Every year, Americans produce millions of tons of leaf and grass clippings; some end up in landfills. In most cases, leaving the grass on your lawn is not just greener; as the clippings decompose, they actually make the soil healthier.
11. (a) 0; (b) 1; (c) 2. Super-efficient LED bulbs are expensive—you can end up paying over $20 a pop—but they last three times longer than CFLs and more than 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
12. (a) 0; (b) 1; (c) 2. Flushing pills can send them into waterways. Recycling the container is a good move, but it’s best to return medications to your pharmacist, who will dispose of them properly.
TALLY YOUR SCORE
0–7 points: Pale Green. It’s time to get more eco-conscious. Start small—for instance, by replacing just five regular lightbulbs with low-energy bulbs. When you shop, look for products with minimal packaging (read: less waste), and try to shave one minute off your daily shower—you’ll save up to 1,000 gallons of water each year.
8–14 points: Bright Green. The planet’s health is on your radar, but it’s not always your top priority. Want to take your good intentions a step further? For better gas mileage, use cruise control whenever possible and remove unnecessary weight from the trunk. Install low-flow showerheads and toilets in your bathroom. And buy power strips you can easily switch off when appliances are not in use.
15–21 points: Fluorescent Green. For an environmental expert like you, it is easy being green. So share your knowledge. Launch a reusable lunch box campaign at your kid’s school in which you ask parents to replace plastic baggies and forks with washable Tupperware and cutlery. Or start a neighborhood carpool for weekend errands—like a trip to the farmers’ market.
May 11, 2012 COLOR!
Skillful use of color is partially an art, but there’s some science involved in understanding the psychology of color. Colors can create the mood in a room, affecting the feelings of everyone who enters, and therefore can influence our state of mind. Here is a brief overview of the color psychology of the primary and tertiary colors.
Ancient civilizations and Native Americans, used color to heal. They favored blues and greens, colors that have an emotional association with peace, calm, harmony, and tranquility. Blue, which often ranks at the top of surveys exploring “favorite” colors, can actually slow the pulse rate, lower body temperature, and reduce appetite. As far as paint is concerned, the implications are obvious: blue is a terrific color choice for bedrooms, less so for dining rooms.
Green, also one of the most popular colors, is a little more versatile. While it, too, has a soothing, calming effect (hence, it’s predominance in hospitals), it also is the color of nature. As such, it represents renewal, youth, and vigor. Bottom line: Because it is calming, green paint is a good color choice for bedrooms, and because it is the color of so many vegetables and other foods, it can work in dining rooms, too.
There’s no equivocation with red. It bespeaks energy and excitement, actually raising the blood pressure and making the heart beat a little faster. Because it is aligned with desire and passion, it’s a perfect paint color for dining rooms and adult bedrooms, but wrong for children’s rooms. Yet, ironically, pink – a very light tint of red – is one of the most calming colors, and is a fine choice for a baby’s room.
Yellow is a great interior paint color. Like sunshine, it imparts happiness, hope, and optimism. Studies have shown that the brain actually releases more serotonin when the eye takes in yellow – creating positive psychological vibes. Yellow can even stir our creative juices. What better color to use in a master bath or dinette to get your day off on the right foot?
Orange is a happy color, too. More attention-getting than yellow, orange has an energy and warmth about it. But it pays to be careful with orange. Muddy shades are useful in many parts of the home, but vivid tones may appear raw and flamboyant. Orange is clearly not the color of calm, so it’s best to bypass it when painting a bedroom or any other area where you want to relax.
Purple is a shape-shifter of a paint color wherever it’s used, from serene to dramatic, depending upon the shade. It’s the overwhelming favorite of adolescent girls. You can take comfort in purple’s proven ability to stimulate brain activity.
No discussion of paint color would be complete without mentioning the “non-colors”, black (the absence of light, and thus, color) and white (the confluence of all the colors in the spectrum).
Black is a great accent color indoors or out, imparting elegance, formality, and sophistication to a paint color scheme. But don’t get carried away with it. Too much black can be morose and depressing. White, on the other hand, conveys peace, simplicity, spaciousness, and cleanliness. It can provide a crisp finish to almost any paint job by adding sharp contrast to the wall color. Used throughout a room on walls and woodwork, it can give the illusion that the space is bigger than its physical dimensions.
Before you paint your walls, consider the mood you wish to convey, the feelings that the colors you might use impart, then have fun!
May 3, 2012 DESIGNER FEATURE – Shannon Rice
Designer Shannon Miller-Rice, ASID recently announced the completion of the Canyon Grille at The Lawrence Welk Resort. Details to follow.
April 27, 2012 ACTIVE HOUSE – SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
A new sustainable specification standard “Active House” (a play on Passive House) proposes a framework to design and renovate buildings that contribute positively to human health and well-being by focusing on the indoor and outdoor environment, as well as energy and environmental conservation. Drafted by an international collaboration, the standard was initiated in Holland by the Active House Alliance, “To create a viable, independent, and internationally influential alliance that supports the vision of buildings that create healthier and more comfortable lives for their residents without impacting negatively on the climate and environment,” per the alliance mission statement.
What distinguishes Active House from other green building rating systems is a stronger emphasis on occupant health, considering all indoor environmental aspects of the residence, including noise and acoustics, light, and exterior views, which affect occupant well-being, as well and indoor air quality, of course. The addition of these aspects to sustainable specifications is an important consideration in building better environments.
Within the Active House standard, considerations of lighting include: “Adequate lighting, and especially well designed daylight penetration, provides an array of health benefits to building occupants,” so that daytime electric lighting is hardly needed. This responds to human well-being as well as energy efficiency—why should we need electric light during the day?
The standard refers to an “optimal acoustical environment,” in order to positively affect health, well-being and performance of building users. It incorporates the concept that dwellings should be designed to minimize exposure to noise from traffic outside or from inside installations. There are criteria for evaluating and designing appropriate levels of inside mechanical noise, exterior noise suppression, and acoustic privacy.
Another original aspect of the Active House standard comes with a well-placed concern for cultural context, respecting local “architectural typology, climate, materials, handcraft as well as an understanding of local standards of society and behavior and traditions.” As a vision, Active House proposes buildings that create “healthier and more comfortable lives for their occupants without impacting negatively on the climate.”
April 20, 2012 PHOTO SHOOT SECRETS
One of the best ways to document your work is with photographs. Professional quality photos can open the doors for multiple marketing and publicity opportunities, so making certain that you get the best shot is essential. Here are some tips, tricks and techniques to help!
1. Set up in advance: Be sure that the location you’re shooting is set up before you arrive. It’s OK to add a few accessories and re-position things, but don’t wait to clean and do major adjustments on the day of your shoot.
2. Take ‘as is’ shots: If you’re comparing a before and after shot, it’s best to position the photo in the same direction to make the changes clear.
3. Determine the intent: Is your goal to showcase the layout? The romanticism? The creativity? Choose a word and share it with your photographer to discuss how to best capture the intent of the design.
4. Lighting is key: It’s no secret that the right lighting is critical to capture the right feeling of a space. Be sure the photographer knows the artificial and natural lighting available. You can discuss whether a daylight or artificial lighting shot best conveys the intent.
5. Don’t forget the details: Shooting a wide shot of the entire room is often the goal, but remember to capture some detail – a great backsplash, a shelf of objects d’art, a vignette of a seating group. They will enhance the presentation of your photos.
6. Avoid issues: Dust does show in photos with sunlight. Lamp cords can look messy. Are the fabrics neat and pressed? Be sure you take care of the pesky details that you don’t want to show. Yes, some things can be corrected digitally, but it’s best to take care of the ones you can!
7. Make the shot look real: Pristine rooms can look stark, no matter how beautiful they are. Add things that show that the room is lived in. Books, flowers, food and even pets can add to the allure of a photo. Do NOT use the same item in more than one location in the space(don’t take the same bowl of fruit to another counter).