March 26, 2011

The Projects Come Fast and Furious!

Posted in Decorating tagged , , , , , , , , at 9:25 am by dotcomdecorator

Hello all! I am relishing a quiet (OMG, it IS quiet!) Saturday morning and thought I would visit my much-forsaken blog. Over the past few weeks, the new projects have been rolling in and I feel like a whirling dervish trying to keep up with all of them, but it’s great! I love the excitement, creative outlet, challenges and variety of decorating styles of each.

Since I last checked in here, I have buttoned up a kitchen remodel and will get photos posted after I revisit the client for staging the new kitchen and dining room! This was a fun, and in my opinion, relatively quick project–less than 90 days from concept to completion! Using the existing flooring and cabinets kept the time frame and budget manageable. Many changes, including granite counter tops, new sink, appliances, lighting, removal of wallpaper, addition of wainscoting in the dining area, updated wall color, addition of a subway tile back splash, and painting the existing cabinets, brought this kitchen up to speed.  However, my absolute favorite item is the transformed kitchen island!

The island is large for the space and initially had an oddly placed and never used bar sink. By removing the sink and dropping one end of the counter top, we were able to create a small desk area for the telephone, cellphone charging station, mail station, etc. In addition, decorative trim was applied to the base and then the island painted a gorgeous shade called Blueblood. It is a great focal point and anchor to this open-space floor plan.  Sorry no photos today, I seem to be having computer issues, aka “operator errors”. Ugh, technology!

In addition to the kitchen project, I was called back to a recent client’s home to transform their living and dining rooms. Designing a space that is hip and trendy, yet one that invites lingering meals and post-dinner conversation, while also fitting into their predominantly warm-toned space was the challenge. While not yet addressed, the foyer will become a main anchor/transition point for uniting the various spaces.

We decided on shades of blue, gray, and silver for the living room and dining room. The dining room walls are being done in a gray Lusterstone finish–for simplicity sake, think Venetian plaster with glimmer. On top of the wall finish, a funky starburst pattern will be stenciled in silver Lusterstone. The drapes are blue with large circles in two shades of silver, a gorgeous mirrored buffet, silver and black framed mirror, silver and crystal chandelier, chairs upholstered in a gray cut velvet will anchor both ends of the table, and lots of glass and silver accents will bring glam, sparkle, and a very inviting feel to the room!

The living room will be anchored with a soft blue suede sofa, large glass coffee table, and two graphite colored leather swivel chairs. At one end of the room a sofa table will serve as a workspace, and art work will consist of one graphic piece and a wall mounted fireplace. The addition of drapery panels in a blue/grey stripe and two table lamps and a few simple accessories will keep the space clean and trendy, yet inviting. Can’t wait to share photos with you!

In the midst of tackling the aforementioned projects, my washing machine croaked. What should have been a quick and simple replacement process turned into a full-blown project! The short version is that I now have a new front-load washer and it’s dryer mate; a new built-in folding table over the width of the two; refreshed paint in the utility room (oh brother was that a task, more about that another day!), and a few new decorative accessories. It’s harder than you’d think to create an attractive utility room that evokes a laundry center feel with relying on kitschy laundry-room specific wallpaper border!

Now to return to the other projects on my plate: design concepts for 7 rooms–yes, I’m a little overwhelmed by this one–and the beginnings of a two bedroom project. So much for a quiet Saturday!

Until next time,

Viva Con Gioia!

The DotComDecorator

February 21, 2011

Displaying Artwork

Posted in Decorating tagged , , , , , , , at 8:42 am by dotcomdecorator

The point of displaying artwork should be to create a focal point and enhance your space, not to simply cover a wall. Regardless if you have one favored piece, or an eclectic, extensive collection, the following are tips for displaying art in your space.

When hanging items on a wall, aim for roughly eye level, based on the primary residents/visitors to your space. Eye level for a 6’ tall person is considerably higher than for a 5’ tall one! As such, hang items in a children’s room slightly lower on the wall.  When hanging a picture above an item of furniture such as a piano or above a mantle, hang the picture comfortably in the space available.

Aim for consistent wall height between furniture and wall decor throughout a room. Stand in the center of the room and turn slowly.  If the eye has to move up and down to follow the varied heights along the wall, there is too much “movement” which disallows the artwork to be the focal point.

Create groupings; odd numbers work best.  This trick is a favorite of mine for incorporating a piece that may be different from a space’s overall style and helps creates cohesiveness. For example to display a Native American painting in a loft filled with modern furnishings and artwork, place the painting on the wall, then add two other elements near the base of the painting, i.e. on a table or use a tall vase, etc., thus creating a grouping of three elements. When selecting these complimentary pieces, try to incorporate colors or textures from the adjacent painting, as well as the overall design of the space.

To display a large piece in a small space, your options are to let the piece “own” the space, or to minimize its impact. If your intent is to minimize, consider leaning it against a wall instead of hanging it and let it serve as a backdrop to a seating area or table—allowing some obstruction of the full piece. If the piece is the focal point, keep accessories and furnishings simple to avoid competing for focus. Other options for display include the use of an easel, or to suspend the painting from the ceiling to create a room divider (you will need a way to camouflage the back if you do this).

I encounter many clients who hesitate when it comes to hanging or displaying artwork. I routinely apply a couple of tactics to help alleviate these fears. The first is to have the client express his or her feelings about their pieces: Do they absolutely love them? Do they clearly represent the client’s tastes? Do they feel compelled to hang pieces because of the sentimental or monetary investment? Once we are clear on this aspect, we move to the actual placement.

Often the fear of actually displaying artwork is in getting it wrong and/or putting holes in the wall. There are some easy, stress-alleviating options to work through this. One of my favorites is to use Posterboard and cut it into the size of the proposed artwork, then hang on the wall with double-sided tape. When possible, I prefer to purchase colored sheets that are similar to the colors of the artwork. Another option is to use newspaper, but you risk smudges on the wall! The use of painter’s tape to mask out the size, shape and location is also an option, but I find it a little discerning to simply look at bold border shapes. There are also templates one can purchase and these are great, especially if you are planning an installation with multiple pieces. Find what works for you and “try on” your placement before committing!

One final caveat…your  choice of artwork and its placement should ultimately be an expression of  you! If the above guidelines help, then use them; otherwise throw out the rules and do what feels best to you!

Until next time,

Viva Con Gioia!

The DotComDecorator

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