Putting it Together

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We’ve had several client meetings. Floor plans and layouts have been drawn. Now it’s time to put the scheme together. I start with fabrics, colors, textures and rug samples. I see what works and what doesn’t, removing one swatch, adding another, evaluating dozens of options in furniture and furnishings. Occasionally, like pulling a loose thread, the design unravels and needs to be reassembled. Occasionally, addition by subtraction leads to a simpler, more pared down approach. Tomorrow my client will be at the studio. I’ve worked with them over many years on multiple homes, so it’s a close collaboration. Often we find ourselves anticipating each other’s thoughts. Still, I’ll present several options, and by narrowing a family of choices we’ll keep the integrity of the design while honing in on exactly what they’re looking for. Then, in a matter of months, the interior that exists now as an assemblage of fabric samples, paint swatches and photographs, will become their home.

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Classically Comfy

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A year ago I stood in the family room of my client’s Tudor home while it was still under renovation, picturing how I’d create a comfortable, inviting, family friendly space. The result is a mix of traditional and transitional, combining the timeless appeal of the Tudor style with a light, accessible feel. The large, informal sectional is centered on a heavily textured wool rug, facing a leather ottoman with inset trays for convenience. Classic touches include the oversize metal chandelier, which might be found in an English manor house, the antique mirror and custom fireplace doors, and the English blanket chest under the TV. The hand printed cotton shades feature an embroidered gray pattern with striking red stripes, for a splash of color and texture.

I’ve worked on the interiors of many Tudor homes. In this case, finding the right combination of classic presence and relaxed livability was the primary goal. Watching my client’s four young girls hang out after school recently, I was pleased to see this formal/informal space fitting into their lives seamlessly.

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The Furniture Bible

Furniture Bible

At the Architectural Digest Home Show

The subtitle of this book, “Everything You Need to Know To Identify, Restore and Care for Furniture” says it all. When I got home from the show I couldn’t put it down. As a certified antique furniture maven, I still learned a lot from the detail and depth of information The Furniture Bible contains. While I have no desire to take on the work of my upholsterers and refinishers, I now have a much greater awareness of the skills and knowledge necessary. And I’ve developed a keener ability to judge what I should or shouldn’t buy, and how what I buy should be restored and cared for (see a recent example of a piece with tremendous potential). At the same booth I also purchased a furniture care kit, with oils and wax for treating wood and leather, to aid me in my quest for furniture perfection.

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A Blank Page or Canvas—My Favorite

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You’re entering the foyer of an exciting new project. As I explore this impressive home, full of character and well-balanced proportion, I picture an interior design scheme in perfect harmony with the space and my clients’ aesthetic. The delightful couple with two teenage children will be moving in this summer, and I’m working to assure the project progresses efficiently. The first practical step—meeting with flooring specialist, contractor, electrician, plumber, painter and cabinet-maker—has been completed, so refreshing the space can begin. Next I’ll be presenting options for furniture and furnishings, floor plans and elevations, as we work together to make the home of their dreams a reality. We’ve embarked on a journey together, but for me, walking through that door for the first time, seeing it an artist sees a blank page or canvas, is a special moment. In my mind’s eye I see the home with all the pieces in place, the colors, patterns and objects creating a coherent composition. Before too long my clients will see it too.

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Double Jointed Faucet

Faucet

At the Architectural Digest Home Show

I’m working on a few kitchens at the moment, and this faucet from Brizo caught my eye. The cantilevered arm swings vertically and horizontally, with the black hose-like fixture moving just about any way you can imagine, both within and unhinged from the arm. For all its flexibility it looks light and stylish, a true form follows function design. Let’s see if my clients will agree.

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Midcentury Italian Retro Style

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At the Arch Digest Home Show

The 1950s return in all their retro glory in SMEG’s delightful collection of kitchen appliances. The bright colors, rounded “space age” shapes and bright chrome accents bring back a simpler time, all with unmistakable Italian flair. Perfect for a client with the right sense of fun.

 

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Twins From Crib Days to School Days

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I’ve posted recently about redoing children’s rooms as they grew from toddlers to teens. Here I designed the nursery for my client’s newborn twins 5 years ago in the top photo, and now they’ve graduated to their own rooms as they enter grade school. The boy’s room in blue was the nursery. The girl’s room in lilac is next door. I noticed the girl jumping for joy in her new domain when I visited recently, so I think she’s pleased. The boy was a bit more subdued, which is right and proper, but I could tell he was settling in nicely.

 

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Where There’s No Smoke, There’s Fire

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Fireplace

At the Architectural Digest Home Show

Hearth Cabinet fireplaces produce no smoke, need no chimney, no flue, no gas line and no electricity, so they can be used virtually anywhere. They feature an alcohol based fuel gel system that is safe, clean burning, and produces a lively, dancing flame. This past winter, despite the cold, we didn’t use our fireplace much, mostly due to the effort involved. This fireplace never gets dirty, never needs to be cleaned, and turns on at the touch of a button. Plus, you save the trees!

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Back to the Future in Audio

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At the Architectural Digest Home Show

Anyone who remembers the audio days of turntables and needles will enjoy this modern take on the “vinyl” era. Symbol Audio combines digital technology with analog in consoles that house turntable, tuners and speakers, as well as storage for those heavy, fragile, wonderfully nostalgic things we called “records.” Call me old fashioned, but these beautifully made stereos make modern digital audio feel characterless. Some audiophiles prefer the quality of the sound, as well.

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The Art of Calligraphy

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The word calligraphy is derived from ancient Greek, combining kallos, meaning beauty, and graphe, meaning writing. I’m a great admirer of the beautiful writing that is calligraphy, and have often placed examples of the art in my client’s homes. The samples above are from a book printed in 1573 featuring works by the leading calligraphers in Germany, including Johann Neudorffer. In addition to being a teacher and writer of books about calligraphy, Neudorffer also counted the great artist Albrecht Durer as a friend and neighbor. These pages show that the finest calligraphy does much more than just communicate the meaning of the words: it creates fine art irrespective of the text.

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