Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tranquil Traditional

This Traditional living room was destined to become a relaxing, inviting space.  The client wanted a place where she could read a book, relax and enjoy her time in a formal living room and we gave her exactly what she wanted.

When the room was initially started it was almost a blank canvas to work from.  Granted the house had been lived in for many years, but in design terms there was nothing holding us back from creating a beautiful space.  When I first saw the room all of the existing furiture was cleared out and it was being used as a storage place while another room was being remodeled. I looked past the stored items and got down to work.

First thing that needed to change was the 9' wall with one post at the end of the wall leading up to the 14' vault. We built up the wall A. to close off the openness from living to family and dining room and B. to add updated recessed lighting above where the sofa was to be placed. Plus, this gave us a nice full wall to add decorative woodwork and showcase more of our gorgeous wallpaper.

Since the client loves traditional homes and all of the gorgeous wood working that goes in them. Adding wainscoting was definitely the way to go. We saved money by adding only a chair rail and pencil moldings to shape the panels.  By adding the wainscot the room now had two directions it could take, paint everything walls and wainscot OR use a different wall covering above the wainscot to add more pizazz and then paint the wainscot.  Wallpaper was chosen for a more elegant, traditional feel as well as adding a different visual point of interest.  Also since our client was a big fan of wallpaper in the 90's we let her indulge in this since it's in style again.  Because the living room is open to the rest of the home a beautiful floral gold wallpaper was chosen for it's Traditional motif as well as the color to coordinate with the golden paint in the adjacent rooms. 

Next it was a matter of selecting furniture.  The furniture came in stages because we and the client wanted to get just the right look for the room. Plus, this was quite a tricky room because although you can't tell in the after pictures, no part of this room is symmetrical, plus there's an angled wall by the sofa which makes it that more difficult. An elegant petite ivory sofa was selected to bring neutrality to the room and not compete with the wallpaper.  This was a difficult piece we almost had to custom build since it needed to be small enough to work on the angled wall and balance the two chairs sitting opposite in the room, while still being cozy enough to sit and read.

With a fabulous cocktail table and console selected later we were ready to finalize chairs.  We found these wonderfully shaped chairs with an okay fabric but it wasn't perfect.  We took the client to the fabric showroom and sorted through about 30 different options, well we narrowed the 30 down to about 5 for the client and from that she picked her favorite with our guidance.  Custom upholstery on the chairs took about 8 weeks to have them fabricated, but man do they look fantastic in the room.

For a change of pace instead of a traditional wood end table we selected a gold basket table with a glass top.  It's fun, different and works amazing in the space.  We added various accessories and lamps to bring the room together.

Let me present you with the finished project (the befores have wandered away, but we will post them soon).

New Faux Finish techniques

When you think of Faux Finish techniques what immediately pops into your head? If you're like me I think of sponge painting, rag rolling, feathering and marbling that was oh so popular back in the 90's and everyone's mom was trying it. But did you know that faux finishing has been around much longer than the last 20+ years? Cave paintings are considered a form of faux finishing, so honestly people have been decorating their homes since the beginning of time.  Another form of faux finishing that has existed for centuries is the trompe l'oeil.  The concept behind a trompe l'oeil is to fool the viewer into thinking that what they are looking at is real, but when actuality it is a painting; consider it an optical illusion.  Aside from these murals artists would also paint faux marble and faux wood.  Great recognition was awarded to the artist being able to truly fool someone into believing it was real.

I think that's enough history for today.  Sherwin Williams has a variety of new faux products on the market and I was able to check them all out first hand this week.  There is a new restaurant that opened in Draper, UT called Vuz and it is absolutely gorgeous!  The architect, James Carroll and owners did such an amazing job utilizing the various materials and faux finishes, it is just beautiful.

One of the types of faux finishes they used is called Venetian plaster.  I'm sure most of you have heard of it and it's actually one of the more labor intensive finishes to accomplish because of what goes into creating it.   Sherwin Williams has a great product now that is tintable to any shade they carry which gives you endless options for what you want to create.  Both of the photos below are the Venetian plaster treatment.  Notice how the light bounces off parts.  That's where the wall has been burnished and waxed to create a reflective surface.

Another faux finish option Sherwin Williams now carries is a line of tintable metallics.  They are such a quality product.  Years ago metallic paint was difficult to use, but this new stuff from Sherwin is amazing.  From the above pictures you see the silver metallic diamonds, that was all done with paint.

 There are a variety of decorative medallions and corbels throughout the space and they all have this touch of copper to them.  At first glance they appear like real metal, but they're not.  This technique adds whimsy and elegance to the restaurant.

These great ceiling tiles were inspired by a hot spot in Vegas.  In Vegas they were made from Stainless Steel.  Here they're MDF with Sherwin Williams fantastic metallic paint.

Sherwin Williams also created a great product called Quartz stone.  It has flecks of mica in it which is metallic; it almost looks like tiny drops of glitter.  Quartz stone is really awesome in the variety of ways that you can use it.  It gives a sand paper type feel to the wall adding texture and visual interest.

This wall behind the glass statue has the quartz stone on it.  It was placed on and then a putty knife was dragged through it to expose the paint behind.  The desired effect is to have the wall appear like stone. It's better in person I promise.

Going back to the trompe l'oeil I mentioned before, here is a beautiful example of it.  The clouds on the ceiling look realistic and that sense of whimsy to the space.  You can't tell but there are mirrors at the ceiling above the booths to have it appear endless. 

So those are a few new ways to use faux finishing in your projects that aren't going to date your space like sponge painting did in the 90s.

And I highly recommend that you check out this restaurant.  The pictures do not even do it justice and the food is good too.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Why choose Travertine?

Lately we seem to be selecting a lot of tile for various clients who are remodeling or starting from scratch.  We've done full bathrooms, kitchen backsplashes and floors with the most popular choice for tile being travertine.  So why is travertine so popular and why should you choose it?

Travertine is a type of limestone which has been used in buildings for centuries because of its durability.  The Romans used it to build the Colosseum, which as you know, still stands today despite being robbed for stone and devestating earthquakes which have left it in ruins.

It is a natural stone making it an eco-friendly or green product and due to it's chemical make-up harsh abrasive chemicals do not need to be used to clean it making it even more of an eco-friendly product. It does however need to be sealed because of its porousness.  This helps with keeping it from staining. The other great perk of Travertine is that it hardly shows soap scum or water spots.  Huge plus there for anyone that hates the appearance of water spots.

Travertine comes in a variety of colors, but for the most part they are neutrals.  Huge design advantages here.  You can basically pair it with any color paint, accent tile or textile.  Now Travertine isn't a solid color, but typically has a two-three color variation in each color.  If that doesn't make sense, think of adding hershey syrup to vanilla ice cream and stirring.  As your stirring the color variation changes as it's becoming more and more brown; same thing applies with travertine it has the slight color variation happening that gives the tile movement. 
Different manufactures have different color names, but these are some color options.

So aside from its durability, eco-friendliness and subtle color options the best thing about utilizing Travertine in your space is that it adds resale value to your property.  Natural stone has been used in homes for centuries because of its durability and luxuriousness.  It may cost slightly more than ceramic or porcelain tiles to install, but the fact that it will last centuries makes up for it.  It is an expense you should definitely invest in. 

Gorgeous use of travertine on the floors.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Finished Dining Chairs

A couple posts ago I showed you a chair in the making.  We had selected chairs with the client and what I posted was the chair newly stained in a dark espresso.  The next step was to have the seats upholstered in a creamy leather.  I'm proud to show you the finished chair. 

Before the upholsterer.

After the upholsterer. 
The room is 99% finished, however we're still waiting on that finishing touch before we reveal the final product.  Stay tuned to see the big reveal soon. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

10 Decorating Rules to Break

I read this great little article over at House Beautiful on the "10 Decorating Rules to Break."  These are actually many rules that we break all the time in our designs.  Head over to their site and check it out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guide to Buying Custom Upholstered Furniture

Purchasing furniture can be a bit difficult, purchasing custom furniture can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.  You just need to be “in the know” on a couple things and it will be smooth sailing.
  1. Shop at Boutique furniture stores.  Big Box furniture stores like Ashley or R.C. Willey do not have the options for customizing a piece like a boutique store would.  They may actually have a couple different color options, but they won’t have near the variety you may want.
  2. After heading to your furniture store, spin around the floor and see what they have to offer.  Sit on the many options and determine what you really want.  If you’ve fallen in love with a piece, say a chair, you have just selected the frame, the start to your customizing process. 
  3. Now you need to pick a fabric for your frame, here’s where life gets a little overwhelming.  There are vast amounts of fabrics you can choose from, but one main thing you need to know is that the grade you select determines your price.  Yep that’s right, the price you see on the chair during step 2 may not be the price you’re going to pay for your chair.  If you’re not comfortable going over the sticker price have your designer help you select fabrics with a grade the same or lower. *Honestly grade pricing doesn’t differ that much from say F to G to H, but if you went from D to W there may be some sticker shock.  Just keep it in mind.
  4.  So now you’ve selected a frame and looked at fabrics but you’re not finding one you love, well if you’re willing to spend a bit more money you can order COM which stands for Customer Own Material.  You find out the specific amount of yardage needed for the frame you selected and you can pretty much put whatever fabric you want on the chair.  Now there is a bit of an added cost to this because you do have to spend separate money on the fabric and still buy the chair, but if it means getting what you want it’s going be worth it.
  5. Make sure you are also able to select the finish of the wood if there is any.  You don’t want to be stuck with a pine finish when the rest of your room has dark espresso. 
  6. The last thing you need to know about custom upholstered furniture is that it takes anywhere from 6-8 weeks typically to receive after ordering.  If you’re thinking about new furniture before Christmas, start thinking about it in August/September vs. November, this will ensure you have it in time for your big event.
There are endless ways you can customize furniture, you can even go as far to seek out someone to create a unique piece start to finish.  This is just a basic shopping guide and a few rules of thumb to follow when looking for new furniture and when in doubt, bring along your Interior Designer.  Even if you hire them just to help you pick the right piece of furniture, it's money well spent for something that will last you quite some time.

This is a great example of a custom upholstered piece of furniture.  It was COM to find the perfect fabric for the client.  She's absolutely in LOVE with these chairs.  Stay tuned to see them in the finished room.  Exciting!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gift Certificates for Mothers Day!!

Still need a Mother's Day gift?!  We make it easy! Give the gift of design with The Design House Gift Certificates! She'll love shopping the online boutique or using it for Interior Design Services. Buy and print right at your computer! Could it really be any easier?