Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beautiful Habitat on

Oncemany is a 365-day photography project by Shane Rich, a very creative Boulder-based photographer. He tells stories through photography. Today he's telling the story of Beautiful Habitat :  "Beautiful design is right through the door, you just have to walk through it". Check it out!

Shane and I weren't able to get together for a photo shoot at one of my projects, so he came up with a very clever photo. Call it a "what not to do" in design. I love it. You can see more of his work in the Oncemany gallery. I find his work brilliant and plan to get him to a client project very soon.

Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design

Monday, January 25, 2010

Favorite Things - Concrete Candle Holder

I love new and clever uses for materials, especially environmentally-friendly materials like concrete. These Concrete Candle Holders take it to another level by combining a romantic shape with a typically rough, industrial material. Designed by the Swedish Designer, Tove Adman and available through Scandinavian Design Center.



Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Beautiful Habitat in Denver Post

Beautiful Habitat was featured in today's "Ask the Expert" Interior Design column in the Denver Post.Thank you DP for working with me on this. I am thrilled to be a contributor!

For even more photos and advice, check out my blog about Designing for Dogs
And for more pet friendly Interior Design advice, read these posts.

Yes, those are my pups. The ball-crazy one on the right taught me about furniture and fabric durability more than any design class ever could have. I love interiors, but love my dogs even more.

Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ask the Designer - Vaulted Ceilings

A new feature - Ask the Designer
Send me your Interior Design or Decorating questions via blog comments, email, Facebook or Twitter and I'll blog an answer with some visual examples. Our first question is from Meri via Fabebook. Enjoy and send in your questions!

“If you have high or vaulted ceilings and you hang pictures at eye level (so you can see them) what do you do about all that empty space at the top?” ~Meri

How you handle vaulted or high ceilings depends on a couple of variables about the room and how you need the room to feel or function. Before you begin your decorating plan, look at the room and determine how you want it to feel. Is the room very large and open? If yes, do you need to create a cozier, more comfortable environment? If this is the case, it is best to hang artwork in the lower area of the wall, leaving the upper area blank. This will create the illusion of a line where the room exists and the space above feels as if it is not really part of the room. This could also be emphasized with painting the lower area of the wall a darker color. A slightly different effect can be achieved by hanging more and/or larger pieces at the bottom of the wall and moving up with smaller, lighter pieces. This adds a visual weight to the lower portion of the wall that will make the room feel cozier.

However, often I see high ceilings in rooms that actually have quite a small footprint.  Here you will want to use the height of the walls and ceilings to add a feeling of additional space in the room. In this case it is best to hang art either higher or on multiple levels of the wall to make that tall space a part of the whole room. 

The photos are an example from one of my client projects. The room has very high and steeply sloped ceiling while the footprint of the room is relatively small. To emphasize the height and thereby the overall volume of the room, we chose large artwork to really utilize the total wall space. We also chose to emphasize the slope of the wall by using long, narrow pieces and hanging them to follow the slope of the ceiling.

Before - there is a tiny painting to the left of the TV that you can hardly see and makes no use of the wall.

After - the large artwork draws the eye up, making the whole room feel larger.

Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Favorite Things - S Shelf

I found another beautiful piece of functional art at The Artful Home. The S Shelf is by Kino Guerin, an artist specializing in bent wood art and furniture.  In his own words:  "I capture the nature of life through bending wood. For me, it is like taking a picture of a body in motion. By fixing a movement for eternity, it shows how existence is fragile and powerful."

For more on KinoGuerin or his products, visit his artist page at The Artful Home, or his website.

Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design

Monday, January 18, 2010

I have a Dream

Today we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and all the he stood for: equality, peace, love. Below is the most famous portion of his famed "I Have a Dream" speech. I have heard and read it so many times and it is still amazingly moving. May you all be surrounded by peace and love today and always.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

If you'd like to read the full text, or watch the video, click here.

Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design

Bamboo 101

Bamboo has long been used throughout Asia, but has been gaining a steady foothold in the Western world as well. To help you consider whether you want to use bamboo in your next interior design project, here are some fun facts to consider.

  • Bamboo absorbs 4 times more carbon dioxide and produces 30-40% more oxygen than comparable trees.
  • Bamboo grows on every continent except Antarctica and is tolerant up to 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
  • Bamboo is rapidly renewable and, unlike a tree, bamboo canes can be harvested multiple times without damaging the root system. Once cane is cut, new stalks sprout, will reach full growth in 6 months and will be harvested in 3-5 years.

  • Bamboo is very strong because of the long fibers. Because of this strength, bamboo products tend to be lighter in weight than comparable wood products.
  • Bamboo requires no more care than any other wood product.

  • Bamboo is generally less expensive than traditional hardwood floors, but it falls in the medium price range for exotic woods when used in cabinetry and furniture.

  • Bamboo is generally available in 3 color choices: natural, carbonized and caramelized. The latter two are darker and are achieved when bamboo is heated and the sugars burn.
Will you be using bamboo in the future? I certainly will!

Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Interior Inspiration is Everywhere

Interior Design inspiration can come from anywhere, and it certainly does not have to be other interiors. This is the premise behind my Inspiring Images feature. However, I still get questions from readers, friends and clients about just how you go about turning an image, place or item that you love into an interior. I'll walk you through a hypothetical example to help you think outside of the box and begin to interpret what you love into your own spaces.

This image is of a place: Villa Carlotta on Lake Como, Italy.  My hypothetical client, Susie, loves this image, which was found in a magazine. Next, I ask several questions to learn what it is that Susie really loves about the image. Is it the structure of the trellis, the traditional feel, the color, the way your eye is drawn further down the path?

It turns  out that Susie loves the pop of the oranges overhead and the repeating pattern and symmetry of the trellis. While the image of formal gardens invokes a traditional feel, Susie prefers her home to be more modern. A possible result for Susie might be this room below, which incorporates several orange pops of color overhead along with symmetry, which draws the eye further into the room.

 This is, of course, just an illustration to help you think of your home and how you can apply the inspiration you see in creative ways. The interpretation of the Village Carlotta image could be applied in a hundred different ways for a hundred different clients - and that is a true beauty in Interior Design.

Um, have I mentioned that I love the color orange??

Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shiny Happy Chairs

Yellow has become more sophisticated over the last several years, in home interior products and especially in fashion. I definitely welcome more range and uses for the color yellow; I've long been a fan. And I certainly welcome more "grown up" uses in more rooms of our homes, yet it will still always represent fun and happiness to me. West Elm is certainly embracing the yellow movement. Their new chairs are esecially yellow, happy, and even shiny. Enjoy!
The Wrap Dining Chair in Turmeric. 

The Scoop-back Chair in Turmeric Bloom.
 I love the gray stripe, too.
 The Upholstered Slipper Chair in Flower Dot.

Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design

Friday, January 8, 2010

Clearing Clutter in the New Year

Even if you don't do resolutions, a New Year often prompts us to set goals or deal with thing that we've let go on too long. Many times, Household Clutter is on the list.Here are some decluttering tips resurected from past blogs.

Tips to Rethink and Rearrange is especially for changing up and thinning out cluttered decor. It's especially useful as you pack up the holiday decorations and bring the everday items back into the light.

Dreaded Decluttering is more about the junk - how to tackle what you've got and how to keep it from building up again.

I hope theses tips help you in meeting your goals for 2010!

Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Aaron Brothers semi-annual penny sale

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Aaron Brothers is a great resource for wall and photo frames. I have found that the quality is better than other big box and craft stores and the prices are very reasonable. I often use Aaron Brothers for client projects. I especially love the penny sale, which happens twice each year. It's a great opportunity to stock up and it's going on now. Enjoy!

Aaron Brothers - Penny Sale Starts Saturday, December 26

Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Now That's How You Use Color!

Turquoise is all the rage right now, especially with Pantone naming it the 2010 Color of the Year. However, turquoise, teal and other variations have always had a following all it's own. And I'm not just talking about jewelry made in Sante Fe. In fact there is even a fantastic blog dedicated to the color: House of Turquoise.

I have recently been working on two home office renovations, one in a beautiful spicy orange and another in, you guessed it, turquoise. So as I was flipping through some old magazines for some great blog inspiration, this teal and tangerine bedroom jumped off the page at me. Wow - this is one of the boldest uses of color I have seen in a while and is perhaps the most bold combination I've ever seen in a bedroom. While it is very vibrant, it is also in excellent balance so that the colors are complimenting each other rather than competing. This is how to use bold color!

I personally can't decide which aspect of the room is my favorite: the teal patent leather chairs, or the tangerine and cream pagoda-shaped valances.

“The vibrancy of tangerine and varying shades of teal refreshes the senses during daylight,” says Kendall. “Come nighttime, the room becomes a deep blue cocoon.”

A Lucite headboard  keeps a clear view of the decorative mural. The simple bed linens compliment both the mural and the graphic patterns on the throw pillows and benches.

This room was designed by Kendall Wilkinson for a 2007 San Francisco show house. The article was featured in Traditional Home Magazine.

Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design


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