Sunday, January 17, 2010

DESIGNING EYE, "For Big Rooms, Think Anchors Before Accessories"


"I just moved into a new home. Though I love the new floor plan, my furniture and accessories don't seem to work as well as they did in our old home. I think I need more accessories as these rooms are larger than the rooms in the old home. What can I do to make it look right?"

Often, the problem is not the lack of accessories. It's too many accessories and not enough furniture. What is missing in many cases is a piece or two of large scale furniture acting as an "anchor" in the rooms.

Every room needs at least one or two anchors, depending on the size and scale of the room. These anchor pieces should be large enough to be the heavyweight in the room. A room without one of these large pieces will look unfurnished or make all the accessories look like a lot of misplaced floating objects.

The solution is easy enough. Take these real-life examples.

-- The dining room has a lovely glass table, four fully upholstered chairs and a little console table with a small mirror over it. I replace the small console and mirror with a large credenza, displaying all the dishes hidden in the kitchen. The credenza's large scale fills the wall's length and width more appropriately and becomes the anchor piece in the dining room.

-- The living room has a lot of small accent tables with small lamps and four small occasional chairs, making it too fragmented, busy and cluttered. I replace the chairs, tables and lamps with two larger arm chairs, one larger table and a table lamp. Accent lamps work in small spaces but they cannot do the job of a good-size table lamp.

-- In this room the couch, functioning as the first anchor piece, is done in rich burgundy chenille and has a handsome command of the room. The coffee table, however, is dwarfed in its presence. So off it went to another room and in comes a wonderful old square pine work table from the den.

Well-worn from years of use and full of family memories, all it needed was shorter legs. No problem, we just shortened them. That's right. We literally sawed them off. This larger scale table became our second anchor in the living room. All the accessories on this table made more sense because the space around the accessories could be seen and appreciated.

Bottom line, this client has all she needs to make the rooms work. We just shuffle some of her existing larger pieces of furniture around, add some new pieces and redesign some old pieces.

So remember, always start with the anchor piece and accessories around them, not the other way around.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 New Neutral, Going Gray!

After seeing several prestigious Show Homes here in the Bay Area this past summer and also attending a Color Update Course this past fall, I've been persuaded into believing that this years new color neutral is GRAY!

It's everywhere, and though Pantone, the leading color predictors, have chosen Turquoise as the dominant new color for 2010, it is the color Gray that is showing up on the walls, in upholstery and on flooring! And slate and charcoal grays seem to be leading the way in popularity.

If you're looking for high contrast, sure fire drama, and even a soothing effect, gray walls are a good place to start a neutral color scheme in any room of your home.

Our favorite gray paint is Benjamin Moore's "Flint AF-560" from their new Affinity Colors Collection. Shown on the walls of the entry way pictured above in a matte finish, with trim painted "White Dove" in a hi-gloss finish. Beautiful and sophisticated, I think I'm liking it!

While it's impossible to update your home every year with all of the latest and greatest colors of the interior design world, you can add a splash of the new color here and there to help yourself stay with the flow and the times!

If your room is flowery and light like the one above, you can use a dark gray on only one wall for drama. This will also make the white sofa and pale summer colors pop! Notice that the sheen used on this dark gray wall is done in a high gloss finish for a reflective value.

Another place to try a little gray is in the bedroom. This room was left with it's original pink walls and traditional four poster bed. We removed the pink quilted bedspread. By adding a gray flannel comforter and shams over white linens, then adding a few brown pillows we achieved a truly modern yet understated look. This is a perfect example of not having to change everything in a room to update to a new look and color. And this can be without breaking the bank!

Want to add a little sophisticated gray to your home? Not sure where or how to begin? Call for a "Color Consultation" and get the confidence you need to get started. Phone 925.862.9064 or email today.