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Archive for the ‘Design Ideas’ Category

Post Line Flat Extension Wire by Chen Ju Wei

Few things are uglier – or more dangerous (especially to the elderly and disabled) – than extension cords running across the floor to reach distant, inconvenient outlets.  In the ideal world, of course, we would install new local outlets, including in the floor, right near where they are needed, but this isn’t always possible for one reason or another, including budget and renting one’s home rather than owning it.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to find a cord that is completely flat, and would not bulge up and create a tripping hazard, even under a rug?

This brilliant design by Chen Ju Wei would solve this problem elegantly.  Too bad it’s only a concept – at least for now.  Let’s hope it actually gets into production soon.  The geometric pattern of the wiring is even beautiful enough to leave exposed if out of the way enough.   I could even envision making some deliberate design elements out of a few of them together.

Click on the image above for some additional photos and information.

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Image from Sparkly Like a Holiday

OK, I admit it.  I’m stealing this topic from Paul Anater, over at Kitchen and Residential Design.  But I’m not going to say the same things.

Yes, I quite agree that chalkboard paint is overdone – and way overdone in several of the images he shows.  It’s old.  It’s boring.  It’s dated.  There are clearly limits to its usefulness, safety, and definitely to its appearance.  Not only can it be toxic when it gets into your food as Paul mentions, but chalk dust can also be a major problem for people who have allergies, asthma, or chemical sensitivities, so it would not foster an accessible design for people who suffer from such afflictions.  It would also violate universal and visitability design principles, as it could create a similar hazard for other users of the space, particularly visitors whose sensitivities might be unknown.  Chalk dust doesn’t do anything for overall air quality, either, so that lowers the green design reusability quotient of the paint, never mind what the VOC content of it might be.

Now that we’ve looked at the potential health hazards, let’s focus more on the visual elements.

Looking at the images Paul posted, the ones that really offend me the most are the refrigerator fully covered in the dreadful green version of the paint, that huge, frightening expanse of black wall and door, and yes, that hideous kitchen. (more…)

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(ARA) – When you think of the colors associated with fall, green doesn’t necessarily come to mind. Environmentally speaking, however, it should. There’s no better time than now to lessen your home’s impact on the environment and change the way you decorate and live. So, why not go green this fall? It’s not nearly as difficult to become earth-friendly as you might think.

“From products that contribute to good indoor air quality to ones that truly reflect the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra, the number of affordable green interior decorating products has literally exploded within the past five years,” says Donna Schroeder, Dutch Boy color marketing and design manager.9119_B53_rgb

These days, you can find stylish, eco-friendly design elements for every room in the house. And, contrary to popular belief, going green doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style for sustainability. The two can coexist quite effortlessly.

You can start simple by dressing your bed in luxurious sheets, throws and comforters made from fabrics such as rich, renewable bamboo or soft, organic cotton. Cover your floors with formaldehyde-free carpets constructed of recycled fibers or select a natural material, like stone, slate or even concrete. Then, hang energy-efficient window treatments with high insulation and shading properties.

Don’t stop there. Spice up your tired sofa with a design-forward slipcover and throw pillows crafted from 100 percent recycled materials. Add bright recycled glass plates and serving pieces to your china cabinet. Buy furniture made from sustainably harvested wood or, better yet, visit local secondhand shops and repurpose. Or, look around your own home and see what you already have that can be adapted for a new use. You’d be surprised what a little creativity and some good old-fashioned elbow grease can do.

If you’re looking to add bold, fun color, paint fits perfectly into this overall green scheme. It’s an inexpensive, effective and, most importantly, environmentally-minded way to change the look and feel of an entire room. Many paint manufacturers now offer coatings that contain few, if any, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or vapors that are released from paint as it dries.

Using paints formulated without VOCs, such as Dutch Boy’s new Refresh interior paint with exclusive odor-eliminating Arm & Hammer technology, takes your home one step closer to reducing your environmental impact while leaving your interior looking fresh, modern and filled with personality.

Many home improvement products, including Refresh, are also Indoor Air Quality certified by The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute, a nonprofit, industry-independent organization that certifies indoor products that meet satisfactory indoor air emissions standards.

Keep in mind that greening your home, inside or out, doesn’t happen in a matter of minutes or even overnight. It’s an ongoing process. The limit to how green your home can be is up to how willing you are to adjust your lifestyle. The choice is yours. “It doesn’t take any grand gestures to start going green,” Schroeder says. “Tiny changes add up to make a big overall impact on the environment.”

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Move over, Japan; these Dutch designers may give you a run for your money in the department of joinery without screws or glue.

The innovative new office of Amsterdam ad agency Nothing was designed by Alrik Koudenburg and Joost van Bleiswijk using nothing (hah!) but interlocking pieces of reinforced cardboard – 500 square meters of it, and 1,500 separate pieces. That’s it. No glue, no screws, no tape, staples, etc. Just interlocking parts, like a giant custom-made Tinkertoy set.

The detail is amazing. Look how much it looks like actual steel beam construction.

Talk about green – and an incredibly economical way to fit out a new space.

I wonder how well those desk and table surfaces will hold up, though, especially once someone inevitably spills coffee or food on them. Maybe they’ve been treated with some kind of sealant – hopefully a green one.

Photos by Joachim Baan – more available here.

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With the recent rash of interior design magazines closing, most notably Domino, there is a huge void left, particularly in the arena of promoting design ideas to the masses, and appealing to a wider range of budgetary needs.  Various bloggers are trying to fill the holes, and to find the best possible ways to do so.  There is a lot of uncertainty everywhere these days, and the future of even other magazines may be in question.

So let me ask you, dear readers, what would you most like to see me posting about on this blog?  Are there gaps in even what you find on the myriad of other design blogs?  What information about interior design are you interested to read about?

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Please see the No Design Legislation blog at http://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com for further information, extensive links about fighting interior design legislation in all affected states, and to discuss the issues. Please post your legislation-related comments there.

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Concerned about your right to practice interior design anywhere in the country? Think you’re alone?

No, there’s a very strong grassroots opposition movement well underway spearheaded by the Institute for Justice and the Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), and a wide range of individual grassroots organizations in affected states – and we’re having huge success blocking anticompetive laws, and in some cases, having existing ones overturned.

All this takes money, though. ASID reportedly has spent nearly $6,000,000 to the date of this post on their campaign to disenfranchise the majority of designers and has an army of paid lobbyists. We’re winning, as my previous post indicated, and expanding like crazy as money comes in to pay the support staff, despite being all volunteers, and operating on donations.

Join IJ and IDPC today to help fight anti-competitive legislation nationwide, and preserve interior designers’ right to make a living at our chosen profession. Please also see the No Design Legislation blog for a list of links to individual known state grassroots opposition organizations.

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What do you do if you want the look of a lot of books (or space for actual books), but your space is too small to install bookcases? Do faux books look real enough if you don’t have enough of the real thing? How can you make the most of the space you’ve got? A question from a reader on an Amazon.com discussion forum about faux books got me thinking about these things the other day.


Faux books look as fake as they are. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Faux books often look as fake as they are. (Click on image to enlarge.)

No, most faux books don’t look even remotely real. Because neither they nor the “shelves” they are on are real, they lack depth and characteristics such as shadows that would show in actual bookshelves with real books. They can be fun on things like cabinet doors or utility room doors to conceal them, but the moment someone goes to pull one off the shelf to look at it, they will immediately see what’s up for sure, and your hoped-for erudite image will be blown, so these things are not a great choice for other spaces, especially offices or libraries, where one would expect to find real books.

If you want the look of books but really cannot spare enough floor space to install bookcases for real books, or do need to just conceal an unsightly feature, one decorative (and much cheaper!) option is to just paper one or more walls or the offending element with a wallpaper design that shows books. There are several book designs available commercially, such as Brunschwig & Fils’ famous Bibliotheque design below, by Nina Campbell,

brunschwig-bibliotheque

but you could also make your own collage using photos of books that you take yourself or find elsewhere – or actual pages of books, magazines, or newspapers – and create a highly-personalized, one-of-a-kind design, which will save even more money, plus be unique, as in the chic bedroom image below. You could use images of books on shelves and try to make it as realistic-looking as possible, or tile and overlay the space with images of book covers, or get creative and play with angles and overlaps and adding in other elements as well, just for fun.

Newsworthy wallpaper via FabGreen.com.  Source unknown; if this is your image, let me know, and I'll provide attribution.

Newsworthy wallpaper via FabGreen.com. Source unknown; if this is your image, let me know, and I'll provide attribution.

The best way to have the look of books, of course, is to have real ones – and naturally, finding enough space in a small room if you do have a lot of them can be quite a challenge, so what’s a bibliophile to do?

1. Look up

Bookshelves don’t have to sit on the floor, and you can get a lot of mileage out of putting them on the wall, and virtually double your usable space. Hanging shelves over a desk or sofa, above and surrounding doorways and windows, and even completely encircling the room near the ceiling level with one or two shelves can add a lot of extra storage space without taking up any precious floor space at all. Use smaller furniture, too, and less of it, and you’ll be able to fit everything in.

via Cote de Texas.  Is this your image?  Let me know, and I'll provide attribution.

via Cote de Texas; attribution unknown

by Kenneth Jay Lane, via Cote de Texas

by Kenneth Jay Lane, via Cote de Texas

You can even store them in the rafters, if your ceiling is open.

from Apartment Therapy

from Apartment Therapy

2. Look around

Try narrow bookcases (maybe with pull-out shelves) on either side of a chair or sofa instead of or behind your end tables. Match these up with the shelves above the sofa and you’ll create a custom niche for the furniture but use very minimal floor space.

3. Look inside

· Use built-ins or systems furniture (even Elfa shelving, if you can’t afford custom cabinetry or ready-mades) instead of free-standing furniture to maximize the use of space, and integrate cabinetry wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. Even a tiny 10’x10’ room can hold a complete library and all possible office equipment this way; I’m working in a space just like this as I write.

from Circa Lighting website

from Circa Lighting website

by Meade Design Group

by Meade Design Group, http://www.themeadegroup.com/

· Is there a closet in the room? Add at least one more shelf above the rod, or, if you can spare the space, fill the closet entirely with shelves. Or hang a closet organizer designed for holding clothing or purses and fill it with paperbacks instead. The clever pantry shown below could just as easily house books or anything else you might want to store and/or display.

attribution unknown - If this is your image, let me know, and I'll add your name.

attribution unknown - If this is your image, let me know, and I'll add your name.

· Look between the studs. Yes, remove the drywall and build it out a few inches, installing shelves between the studs, refinish it, and voila! – a whole bookcase anywhere you want one that only protrudes a few inches tops into the existing floor space of the room. Or replace the whole wall with a bookcase – maybe backed by a translucent plastic to let light in from (or lend it to) the next room over.

by Aidlin Darling Architects via Sunset Magazine website

by Aidlin Darling Architects via Sunset Magazine website

Translucent wall with shelving, by Vicente Wolf

Translucent wall with shelving, by Vicente Wolf

· Store some inside a multifunction piece of furniture, such as a storage ottoman.

Tribeca Storage Ottoman from Kaboodle.com

Tribeca Storage Ottoman from Kaboodle.com

· Build a window seat with shelves or a drawer in the base and/or side walls of the nook it’s in. Where drawers are shown in the images below, you could just as easily use open cubbies as bookshelves instead.

Windowseat nook with drawers and side shelves

Windowseat nook with drawers and side shelves

by Waldo Fernandez

by Waldo Fernandez, http://www.waldosdesigns.com


4. Look behind

If you’ve got as little as 6″ space behind a door when it’s open, with the addition of a large hinge, you can build a bookcase onto the back of the door. Or put the shelving on the front of the door. If you have the space, you can even do this on a bi-fold closet door, or a rotating door.

SpaceX door via Move Trends website

SpaceX door via Move Trends website

SpaceX Doors via Move Trends

SpaceX Doors via Move Trends

Folding bookshelf cabinet doors by SpaceX, via Move Trends website

Folding bookshelf cabinet doors by SpaceX, via Move Trends website

You could also try the Sticklebook, a really cool invisible bookshelf you could install on any wall, for about $28. http://www.sticklebook.com/index.htm

from Apartment Therapy via Marie Claire Maison

from Apartment Therapy via Marie Claire Maison

sticklebook2


5. Look down

Line up or pile books underneath your desk, occasional tables, or even the sofa, if you’ve got one that sits on relatively high legs and has no skirt. You can even put some shelves underneath the desk. Pile books artfully around the room on top of tables, desks, windowsills, and on the floor, and display your decorative objets sitting on top of the books. And finally, if your obsession becomes too great, do as Sharon Stanley Ruggiero confessed to resorting to at http://www.cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2008/08/living-with-books-lots-of-them.html in Joni’s fabulous post on living with masses of books, and place them between the spindles of the banister on your stairway.

6. Books as furniture

Forego one or more end tables and coffee tables altogether, and just use stacks of books. This can either be a permanent solution, or used just until you can afford (or locate) the perfect furniture piece. By themselves or mixed with other items, books are great decorative objects.

Webb Design stacks of books

Webb Design, Cote de Texas

//thepeakofchic.blogspot.com

Keith Irvine via http://thepeakofchic.com

7. Don’t forget other rooms

You don’t have to fit all of your books in one room; where else in your house can you place some? Even the bathroom, kitchen, and hallways are fair game for creative book storage.


8. Edit, edit, edit

Yes, it’s anathema to a book-lover, but eventually, almost all of us have to prune our book collections to some extent, so take a good, hard look at how many, and which, books are most essential to you, and find new homes for as many of the others as you need to, when the time comes.

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NOTE:

– Please pardon any formatting errors or oddities; I’m still learning how to use this software and deal with the graphics.

– For any images without attribution, if you know the photographer and/or designer, or it’s your image, please let me know and I’ll update it with your tag line.


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Do you have an old beat-up piece of furniture or other family heirloom that you’re debating what to do with? Should you just get rid of it and replace it with something new? Is it worth restoring or refinishing, or would it be more economical to just start over?

The answer is – it depends.

What does the item mean to you? How does it fit in with the other things you have or want to obtain? What memories do you have that are attached to that item?

The value of family pieces go well beyond the monetary, so before you make any knee-jerk decisions to get rid of something or to relegate it to the attic just because a designer or anyone else tells you it’s not worth restoring, or doesn’t fit with everything else you have or are about to buy, think about the article below. This is a sentiment I’ve always held, and why I love working with people’s family pieces, antiques, etc. Well-loved furniture and other items have a life to them that no new things ever can. They embody the history of a lot of people, carry many stories within, and when it’s your family’s history they carry, it’s all the more special.

And kick that designer out who summarily announced that it’s got to go, if it’s got meaning to you, and look for another who will understand your attachment to the piece and find a way to fit it in to your new home design in a place of honor.

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Interior Design That Builds A Family Legacy

By John VerHines

After 40 plus years as a furniture restorer, it still warms my heart when a client brings in an old item for review, wondering if it might be possible to do something with it. There was a time long ago when if the item presented was not really worth the time, I would recommend against the restoration. As I have grown a little older I have begun to realize, there is a kind of value that defies appraisal.

The furnishings and other artifacts we have, and pass along to our kids and grandkids are more about preserving a family tradition and carrying on a pride in our family and loved ones than just a place to sit.
As I slow down and really listen to what my clients are saying, it starts to become more and more clear, It isn’t really about the chair or end table or whatever on the surface it seems to be. The little thing they brought along for me to see. The thing they are trying to grab onto is really more a legacy than any thing else. It’s a way to preserve what seems good about the past, and to bring that forth in their home today.

Maybe that thing lives inside the chair, where as a kid they remember Grandpa sitting on the front porch, smoking his pipe and telling stories of how it was when his daddy raised him. It’s a reminder of stories from a time before people had electricity in the house, and chilly visits to the outhouse on a cold November night.

For example, not long ago, a client of ours named Barbara stopped by to drop off a family piece. My associate commented about a rocking chair, it was laying just inside the door of our shop in pieces where barb left it just a moment before, I think something like “why in the world, would anybody spend money on that?” At face value, it’s a valid question. The chair wasn’t that good. The cost of restoration probably was every bit or more what it would cost to replace the rocker, but there was more to it than that, he had totally, missed the point as so many do. The rocker belonged to Barbara’s Mother whom had used it to rock barb and her little brother when she herself, was a young mother, it was a gift to her from her mom and in turn Barbs Mom had given to her just before passing away. I’m pretty sure that Barb had a lot of other chairs, and I’m sure she could have gone out and bought one just as nice for the money she was spending for the restoration, but knowing what we now know, that’s not the point is it?

As time goes on, my hair gets thinner, and my belly gets thicker, and I see more and more, the importance of leaving a legacy, as individuals, families and even as a country. And the stuff we have in and around our homes, while it is so true that we can’t take it with us, what we leave behind helps us to tell a story. The story of what we hold dear, the values we ascribe to and the example we set for future generations to model.

Christmas dinner on Grandma’s dining set will always taste better, and a book enjoyed in front of a fireplace is more intriguing if you are seated in mom’s rocking chair.
So, when taking inventory and planning what to do with potential heirlooms when they come your way think twice. Remember, it’s not only about cost benefit analysis and replacement cost.
When you decide to keep that rocker, or table or dining set, keep this in mind, these things are heavy laden vehicles, vehicles that transport fond memories, important values and sometimes several lifetimes worth of identity. I believe, that if you plan your interior design projects with these thoughts in mind, you will develop a real beautiful and warm home, a back drop for all the things you hold dear, and an opportunity to teach the next generation what is good and true and praiseworthy in life.

John VerHines is a seasoned restorer and president of Gramco. With 40+ years experience in the craft of furniture restoration.To learn more visit http://www.GramcoFurnitureRestoration.com
Copyright 2006Gramco Furniture

Article Source: http://www.artipot.com

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I just read a great article by Ted Mininni on the Marketing Profs Daily Fix blog entitled “Selling Comfort During Tough Times” at http://www.mpdailyfix.com/2008/12/selling_comfort_during_tough_t.html. He spoke of marketing campaigns that are softening their messages to attempt to inspire hope, and to “…be able to connect home and values like safety, security, warmth and love at home”.

Arundel Arms Hotel, from Telegraph.co.uk

Arundel Arms Hotel, from Telegraph.co.uk

This obviously ties in closely with what we do as interior designers. As residential designers in particular, what we offer is to create environments that envelope our clients, and help them feel safe, secure, warm, and yes, at home – comfortable and snug as a bug in a rug, insulated from the travails around us everywhere else, if only for a few hours each day. Our homes are always our sanctuaries, but this is even more important in difficult times, when the rest of the world around us is in chaos. We all need a safe haven.

When we think of a “cozy” or “comfortable” home environment, that image often includes elements such as a crackling fire and soft lighting. In times of duress, like now, we also tend towards materials that envelope and comfort us, and create a nest-like feeling and sense of permanence and stability, such as mohair, wool, velvets, rich, dark woods, plump down-filled cushions on deep sofas and chairs, lots of pillows, and the like. Colors tend towards the dark and earthy – browns, deep reds, woody greens, etc., and often carry lyrical names such as “tomato” and “spruce”, which in turn further that sense of homeyness and literally help ground us.

Despite the economy, perhaps now more than ever is the time to invest in your home to whatever extent you are able, to create a safe haven that will help buffet you from the storms around us all, or to freshen up a tired design that will help inspire hope while still bringing that sense of comfort. When your environment is harmonious and supportive, fits your lifestyle, and reflects your personality, you will feel safer and happier, no matter what else is going on in the world. Reupholster your sofa, bring in a new piece of art, rearrange the furniture, repaint (even just one wall), install a new kitchen so you can better entertain at home, renovate the whole place from top to bottom – whatever. Candles are a great way to add light, atmosphere, and even scent at minimal expense, and also evoke a strong sense of comfort.

Buy the very best quality you can afford, things that you find both beautiful and useful, and revel every day in the simple pleasures of running your hands over luxuriant materials, snuggling up in a comfortable and inviting chair with a book beside the fire, thrilling to the sight of that beautiful painting you couldn’t wait to bring home and hang, savoring the taste and love of home-cooked food and the joys of being surrounded in your own home by people you care about, or even just home alone with your cat or dog. Make every day a vacation – and at much less expense – by filling your own home with the comforts and pampering delights you expect in the finest hotels.

Whatever you do, just do something to help make your home even more inviting and welcoming than it already is, to both you and your friends and family – and that will also help remind you that eventually, these times will pass – but your home and the pleasure you can take in it will endure.

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