Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Progress at the Job Site

Construction is under way on one of my remodel projects.  While many people dread this aspect of a job, I love it.  I really enjoy seeing everything we've planned get pulled together and start to come to life.  At this point, you can really see how making material selections, laying out tile work, lighting, electrical, etc. is so important to do before you start.  I've spent many hours on the design of this large remodel and my time spent up front is paying off.

This was a 1990's contemporary.  It had a very good floor plan, but the chunky, bullnosed style was dated.  It had some unique details like that stepped sheetrock design (which was everywhere!) at the ceiling that made the space seem very horizontal and oppressive.  The 12" x 12" slate (too little and too busy for the wide open space in this house) has been busted out. The dark oak kitchen cabinets and heavy, plain style just had to go. 

The homeowner wanted a traditional style with a light warm color scheme.  She likes beautiful wood mouldings and travertine floors.  A simplified, rectangular island shape and new cooktop location on the end wall of the kitchen, helps the bring the layout up to date and give the kitchen a nice focal point.

It's so nice to see those dark cabinets out and the stepped sheetrock gone.  The space already seems so much brighter and more uplifting.

New crown moulding going in where the sheetrock steps once were.

Travertine floor has begun.  

The larger tile is so much more appropriate for the size of the rooms.  Laying tile on the diagonal opens up the room and the tile appears even larger than it would run straight.

Before - Master tub deck with steps.  It's really very difficult to get into a tub with steps up to it.  It's much easier to sit down on the edge of a tub and swing your legs over to get in.  Even if you step into the tub, at least you're not climbing over the steps or stepping down into the tub from the deck.  I suppose it's to make the tub look grand????

New tub deck without the steps!  We will have some beautiful tile work to come.

Before - The living room fireplace.  Rather lackluster and there are those steps at the ceiling again.

I think it looks better already!

If you're ready to take on a big remodel, contact Aston Design Studio for a timeless interior, custom made for you!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Patterns on Ceilings

Ceilings are often overlooked and neglected but they can make a big design statement when an interesting pattern is applied.  I love this intricate pattern added to the ceiling in this room by Martin Lawrence-Bullard.  It's such a nice contrast in scale to the drapery pattern and repeats that detail in the carved table and chairs. 

Erin Martin - House Beautiful

This makes me want to sing!  Bold and beautiful.

William Diamond, Anthony Baratta - House Beautiful

The playful pattern marries the color palette so well and brings the bright color up to the top part of the space.

Traditional Home

Jill Zarin's daughter's room has a lovely, feminine pattern on the ceiling.  This room would be so plain and ordinary without it.

Jamie Drake - Traditional Home

Lovely, tailored, thoughtful, complete. 

Gideon Mendelson - House Beautiful

I love how the pattern is used  here.  Lively, colorful, and vibrant.  This room would be just another white kitchen without it. 

Robin Bell - House Beautiful

Such a striking image and one of my favorites!  This outdoor space is all about that gorgeous pattern.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Adaptable Parsons Table

It all started with this. 
 Thomas Jayne's work in Architectural Digest

Then in the same issue......Amelia Handegan.  Same type table, very different rooms.

The simple Parsons table is one of the most adaptable.  Suitable in any type of material, in any type of environment.  A chameleon of sorts. Dress it up or down. Lacquer it, leave it in a natural wood, perhaps enliven it with a special finish, or douse it with a bold color.  It can take a back seat and allow the more ornate around it to stand out or it can command all the attention with it's boxy, simple, structural form.

The Parsons table design is credited to Jean-Michel Frank from Parsons Paris School of Art and Design in the 1930's. It came out of a project from one of his courses, according to the NY Times in an article in 2006. The challenge was to create a table that despite the finish, could maintain it's integrity. 

I do believe it has.

This project featured in Lonny, is where one might expect a Parsons table to be found.  Modern, clean-lined, plain and simple next to all that pattern.

David deMatei and Patrick Wade - House Beautiful

However, it is at home in a more traditional environment. (While not a true Parsons, where the leg thickness equals the top thickness, this is an adaption of one.)

Parsons tables make great desks, coffee tables, or dining tables.

Sig Bergamin - Elle Decor

Anne-Marie Midy and Jorge Almada - Elle Decor

Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller - Elle Decor

Juan Carlos Garcia - Elle Decor

Elaine Griffin - Elle Decor

Good design is functional, timeless, adaptable, and beautiful.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

AD Love

 Did anyone else think that this was going to be just another celebrity issue?  Not that I didn't appreciate the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor, but if you're going to claim to be the "International Design Authority" shouldn't we have some design on the cover?

I actually left it in it's plastic wrap on the breakfast room table for a week before I touched it.  That's not normal for me!  I usually delve into my mags and study and examine them until the next one comes out. When I finally opened it up, I was really blown away!  Such a wonderful combination of projects with one common theme....GOOD DESIGN!

This project by Thomas Jayne was simply stunning.  I love that blue parsons table with the antique, carved chairs and the crisp, white walls.  So unexpected for a home of this nature and yet, doesn't the combination just sing?

That table had belonged to the homeowner in mauve, Jayne had it lacquered blue. 

Look at that striped runner in this neoclassical envelope with those chairs dipped in a hot red.  Such an interesting combination and so graphically artistic. 

Then there's Amelia Handegan at the beach. Casual, graphic, comfortable, clean.  I love this project. What a contrast to Thomas Jayne's.

Great color and such a wonderful atmosphere.

The modern project - MR Architecture + Decor. Bachelor pad in NYC that has just the right amount of artful statement mixed with simply detailed materials. 

What a great modern kitchen injected with just the right amount of warmth in the table and floors.

 I love this closet done in laminated plywood, simple materials shown off at their best in a natural state.

A fabulous hotel on the Amalfi coast, Villa Tre Ville, exquisitely designed.  AD is international, you know!

I'm not sure I'd leave the room!

Then they top it off with a peek at some of the most unique architectural projects around the world.

I'm so satisfied.  I'll be pouring over this one for a long time.

All images from the July 2011 issue of Architectural Digest.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Patterns of Light

It's not really about that orb floating inside the groin vault in this hotel in Marakech, is it?  It's about that exquisite pattern of light that the orb creates.  Magical.

Circa Lighting Blog - the shadows here align with the vaults in the ceiling

Selecting lighting for a space involves so many considerations.  How much wattage needs to come from a fixture? What type of bulbs?  What direction does it need to illuminate? How does it scale in the room?  What material and finish is best for the space? What about style?  These are just a few of the things designers have to consider when selecting lighting for a project. 

Zamzam Riad Boutique Hotel

Sometimes the pattern of light created by the fixture is an afterthought.....a reward after the fixture is installed.  Many times there is no way to see the fixture lit beforehand. There may not be a photograph of it lit and choosing one that is in stock and installed in a local showroom for a client to see live and in person is rare. So, when the fixture is flicked on just after it's installed and we're all looking up with an expectant smile, hoping it will do everything it's supposed to, and then.....

My bathroom fixture - Circa Lighting

I LOVE this moment.  The pattern of light created in that particular environment is always unique.  Color, texture, and objects in the room are all affected in a different way.

Zamzam Riad Boutique Hotel

Sconce by Two Hills Studio, Austin, TX

Sorry for the glare here, my job site photo!  Love the pattern on the ceiling though.

Very blurry shot of one of my master bath remodels in progress.  Moroccan fixture installed. I'll post the final shot soon!

Another Zamzam Riad photo - beautiful!

Patterns of light in a room add another layer to the overall depth and richness of a space.  It's not always about the beautiful fixture, but about the way it brings everything to life!