Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blogger's Retreat: Dwell Magazine Panel Discussion

I'm leaving before the crack of dawn today to head out to LA for the Bosch BLANCO retreat. First up on the agenda is a panel discussion moderated by Dwell magazine editor Erika Heet and featuring a great panel of architects and industrial designers. Plus I'll be meeting up with some of my favorite designers and bloggers like Susan Serra, Andie Day, Bob Borson and many others. Also on hand will be ::Surroundings:: periodic contributor Lori Dolnick.


Stay tuned for updates!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

One fabric inspires two bedroom designs

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a Robert Allen trunk show that I had attended at their Boston showroom. Hands down, my favorite fabric of the day was their Bassett Hall in colorway Patina. The beautiful linen ground is decorated with an applied ribbon trellis pattern that is both unique and refined. I loved all the colors - the Linen colorway (top right) is my second favorite. But the pale blue Patina color with off white ribbon work really spoke to me - which is funny because I am generally not a pale blue person. I immediately started thinking how this fabric could be used and it just seemed it would make a fabulous bedroom fabric on the bedding and drapery treatments. Basically, I can see a whole room swathed in the soft color and gentle texture.

I hit up my Farrow & Ball color palette and found that their Skylight color is a near perfect match for a wall color: 

So, then, the next question is - what kind of bedroom would this fabric work in - formal (click the image for larger view)..?

... or more casual (click the image for larger view)?

I created these boards in Olioboard. You can see larger images and product details here:  the formal one here and the casual one here.

If you would like pricing and availability of my inspiration fabric "Bassett Hall", please don't hesitate to contact me.

If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks! Subscribe to ::Surroundings::

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bosch and BLANCO Bloggers Retreat

I'm excited to share that I'll be headed to LA at the end of the week to participate in a design bloggers retreat hosted by Bosch and BLANCO. Bosch has just opened a new "experience and design center" in Irvine, CA and our group will be among the first to check it out. The schedule is packed with interesting sessions, including a panel discussion with editors from Dwell magazine on trends in European and modern kitchen design. Plus, of course, reviewing new products in both company's lines.

I was reviewing BLANCO's website and downloaded their iPad app to test it out. On their site, they include a nice feature that allows us to see a specific sink with a specific counter surface, as you can see below.

The iPad app goes one step further with larger images and more choices. For instance, if you already have a counter in place, or have one decided on, you can see how different sinks will look against your counter material.



Conversely, if you've selected your sink but want to see how it will look against different surfaces, you can do that too.


There are 18 design bloggers attending, some of whom I know in actual real life (!) and others I'm excited to meet! More to come on that. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to my first chance to see the Pacific Ocean. While I've lived nearly all my life right on the Atlantic coastline, I've never seen the left coast!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Inspiration Board: Bed Table

Beautiful bedrooms from the Spanish Nuevo Estilo magazine.

Via Keltainen Talo Rannalla


Friday, May 25, 2012

The beauty of Brizo

When I was in Chicago last month at KBIS (Kitchen & Bath Industry Show), I was excited to get a chance to visit Brizo Faucet's new showroom - Dream 2O - at the Merchandise Mart. The showroom truly is a "playground" for architects and designers, as one gentleman says in their promo video, seen here: Video Gallery : Experience : Brizo

Talo Collection in Venetian® Bronze

Brizo is known for their innovative technologies in faucet design as well as their cutting edge beauty. Having been one of their "Blogger 19" group, I have seen up close their attention to detail, the value they place on design and functionality and passion for their product line. As a "fashion" brand for the home, Brizo has long partnered with the amazing designer Jason Wu (the guy who did Michelle Obama's inaugural gown)

I attended Jason Wu's fashion show in September 2010 with Brizo and was happy to have a seat so close that I could have tripped those tall, willowy gals as to see Mr. Wu's craftmanship in his designs. Just stunning.  Wu has now created a full suite of bathroom accessories for Brizo, called Odin.

Jason wanted to create a complete powder room suite, a vision which led to the addition of several pieces not typically found in Brizo collections, including a wastebasket, free-standing soap pump, soap dish, and drawer knobs and pulls. The silhouette of a Baroque-inspired flower is subtly woven throughout, providing a sense of cohesive integrity.

“Much like fashion accessories help pull together an outfit, these added pieces complete the look of the home bathroom, allowing homeowners to infuse the collection’s style throughout the space to create one seamless, integrated design,” said Judd Lord, director of industrial design for Brizo products.

At the center of the collection is a faucet unlike any other. Named for mythology’s Norse god of wisdom and magic, the Jason Wu for Brizo Odin™ faucet features a unique and unexpected rotating handle motion to emphasize the collection’s modern and seamless design. Punctuated by Wu’s signature Miss Wu owl emblem on the tip of the handle, this faucet is truly the collection’s showpiece.

The Jason Wu for Brizo Odin faucet is equipped with SmartTouchPlus™ Technology, which allows users to start and stop the flow of water with a simple touch anywhere on the spout or handle of the faucet.  For a more intuitive experience, its hands-free mode activates the flow of water when hands are anywhere within 4” of the faucet.

Some of the Blogger 19 alumni (a group that now numbers around 100) were on hand at Brizo's Merchandise Mart showroom party in April, as was Jason Wu.

I promise, I wasn't photo-bombing this photo! 

If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks! Subscribe to ::Surroundings::

Inspiration Board: Images Beyond Words


Design by Axel Vervoortdt. Photo by Toma Clark Haines.

via Antiques Shops & Designers


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

For Sale: Victorian splendor for today's modern family

One of the houses I was eager to see on this past weekend's Duxbury Newcomer's Club house tour was this lovely mansard roof Victorian house that I am actually quite familiar with. First a little history - Duxbury was founded in the 1630's, counting John and Priscilla Alden among its first citizens. The town grew and flourished to its industrial zenith in the early 19th century as a ship building center. The streets are lined with beautiful original examples of Georgian, Federal and Greek Revival architecture. As ships grew in size, however, they outgrew relatively shallow Duxbury Bay and the town's fortunes declined. As a result, building declined and there are only a handful of Victorian homes in town. Additionally, the original Georgians, Federals and Greeks were relatively unscathed by zealous re-modelers looking to "modernize".

This home was built around the turn of the 20th century and has been added onto twice by the current owners. The original home likely ended about halfway down the side of the house. That original section has the formal parlor and dining room, and kitchen. The upstairs had 3-4 small bedrooms. A little over ten years ago, the owners underwent their first renovation and added on another section to the back of the house. There was an old addition that they removed and gave to the neighbors, who were also renovating. Great re-use of materials!  In the last couple of years, the homeowners have added another addition off the back to include a large guest suite, home movie theater, and garages. In 2003, I was asked by  HGTV's show "Country Style" if I knew of a beautiful house in Duxbury that would work on the show. I'd just been to a meeting in this house and so I made the connection and the house was indeed showcased on the series. I can't find the video now, unfortunately.

The house is now on the market, so I can finally show the images I took several years ago for HGTV. Most below are my shots, supplemented with the real estate shots of the new addition and exteriors. It's important to note that the lady of the house largely did her own decorating, bringing in trades people as needed. She did a beautiful job throughout.

Walking in the front door, we're greeted by a small front hall and steep curved stairs to the second floor. Appropriate to many Victorian homes, the hall features a stained glass window which lets in a nice filtered light.

The original living room is fairly small and very comfortably furnished. The windows on the left are the two front facing windows of the house.

The other side of the living room, looking into the dining room. Note the beautiful original pine floors. Based on the break in the flooring between the LR and DR, I'm assuming there was a full wall there at one point. The front hall leads directly to the dining room as well, so this parlor was probably kept only for visitors and had only the one door by the front door. Note in the dining room on the right under the sideboard that there is a patch of blue and white tile inlaid in the floor. There was a wood burning stove here originally and the tile was kept after the stove was removed.

The dining room features rustic French table and  cane back chairs, plus a cozy window nook. If you go back and look at the exterior shot above, this is the first little "outcropping" at the end of the side porch. Note that the woodwork in the nook is painted to match fabric on the cushions, which is a nice detail. The pendant lighting is a nice nod to the Victorian origins of the architecture.

Off the dining room on the right side of the house is a tiny little home office. This could make someone a fantastic craft or sewing room as well.

The kitchen features two-toned cabinetry in a beautiful cream and green glazed finish. The step-down seating area is the addition section that came from the neighbors house and is the small addition that sits close to the driveway in the exterior image above.

The eating are is cozy and light-filled. The sheer cafe curtains allow for privacy without darkening the space.

Another view of the kitchen from the eating area. Through the door on the right is a butler's pantry and beyond that a sunroom. The door on the left is the hall towards the back of the house.

And here is the butler's pantry. I always prefer these small pantry's over their companion kitchens for some reason.

Off the butler's pantry is an adorable sunroom. The trellis patterned wood work at the top of the windows is gorgeous and truly enhances the garden feel of this room, as does the color palette, which is continued throughout the house.

This hall is the hall off the kitchen with the view looking back into the kitchen, through the dining room to the living room in the front. I always loved the enfilade feel of this shot with the beautiful, soft color palette.  The door on the right is a mudroom for the side entrance to the house off the driveway. This was all part of the first addition done by the homeowners.

Here is the great room which was part of the first addition. Much larger than the living room in the front of the house, this room is big enough for two cozy seating areas. Above shows the fireplaced side of the room.

And here is the tv side. I've been in the house several times and the seating arrangement has often changed from two back to back plans, to side by side. All work equally well. The millwork is beautiful in this room - particularly the recessed window seats that flank the tv. They are actually useful and comfortable!

This was the back of the house of the first addition, ending in this little alcove that was their "music room".

When the howeowner's added their second addition, the "music room" was extended into a light filled conservatory space that also serves as a connector to the new back of the house. (Somehow the upright piano grew a bit too!) Note the repeat of the trellis patterned millwork style from the garden room.
And now we're in the 2nd addition. The door to the left is from the new conservatory, the door and window in the center lead out to the driveway. The floor is stone. This new addition features a 3 car garage which takes up most of the ground floor level of the addition. Heading up the stairs...
There is a 9 seat home theater with super-comfy chairs, as reported by my client who tried them out, and a 106" screen.

The guest suite's full bathroom.

This is the new guest suite with two queen beds and sitting area with a large tv. This photo doesn't really do the room justice, it was much warmer and more elegant in person. I wanted to stay! Note the small built-in niche next to the bed - makes up for there not being room for a side table. The door between the two beds leads to a connecting deck between the 2nd addition and the first addition. This deck is the roof above the conservatory room shown above.

The deck leads to the master bedroom (and back to my photography) featuring a sophisticated black and gold color palette. The door on the left leads towards the front of the house, the middle door to the dressing room, and the door on the right that we see a little of is the master bath.

The dressing room features a beautiful oval window. If you go back and look at the exterior shot above, this is the 4th dormered window along the side of the house.

And the master bath (5th dormered window along the house). Note the sloped ceilings - standard for the top floor of a mansard roof building.

Back towards the front of the house, is another guest bedroom. What could have been a dark space with sloped ceilings and only one window is made brighter by the sunny color palette. This would have been the rear-most bedroom in the original house. You can see the floors match the first floor.

Another small bedroom/sitting area is between the guest bedroom and the front room. This room has a door that leads to the upstairs hall.

And this is the front bedroom. There is a another tiny bedroom upstairs, but I don't have photos of it.

Tired yet?  Let's head back down two levels to the basement.

he first addition project included a large "man cave" done in rich, deep colors. The space features a pool table, custom built bar area and cabinetry, and a wine cellar (doors on the far left). There is no doubt that every square inch was put to good use in this house.

Back out doors (smell the salt air?) we have the side yard on the right side of the house, which features several small brick and deck seating spaces running the length of the house. On a personal note - if you look hard over the fence in the center back of the photo, you will see a brick structure across the street - that's my old high school. While the house sits right among all the schools (making it perfect for families with children), the homeowner's did a good job of obscuring the views and creating a private sanctuary amidst the hustle of an active school community. 

Here is the rear end of the house where you can see the music conservatory addition (set in) with trellis woodwork below and the roof deck walk-way above. The newest addition side entrance (to the tiled space above) and the garages. The oval window repeats the one in the dressing room.

You can view the real estate listing here. It's a great choice for anyone looking to live in an antique house that has all the updates and amenities of modern living.

A note to the future homeowner -  don't even think about repainting the exterior! I love a yellow house and will be heart broken if you repaint!

If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks! Subscribe to ::Surroundings::