Tree Houses for Adults: Designing Your Dream Space

adult-tree-houseI had a tree house growing up and it was pretty spectacular. My house was a popular after school location and I had a designated space that was all my own.  I think as adults we forget how important it is to have an environment  like that, one that nurtures our creativity, our imagination and our sense of fun!

Two decades later my nickels and dimes allowance has morphed into a full-blown salary so, as an adult, imagine the tree house I could make; a private studio in the trees complete with a bar, library, desk and plenty of space to do yoga. This dream makes me wonder why all adults don’t have tree houses. If you are now wondering the same thing, here are a few design pointers to get you excited about taking on a tree house project.

First focus on the main activity or theme of the house. If you’re an artist and you want it to be your studio, for example, consider building a drafting table/ easel that pulls out of the wall or construct built in cabinets that hold all of your art supplies. If you’re a film buff consider a place to hold a projector and screen.

romantic-tree-houseOnce you know what you want to use the space for customize your interior design space. As an artist if you never know what time inspiration will strike make sure you have lots of natural light available at all times throughout the day. For a movie studio place the windows facing east (no direct sunlight later in the day) and complete them with black out curtains.

Do you have some great ideas now? Excited to get started? Check out Tree Top Builders to get advice on how to make your childhood fantasies your adult reality and check back here to get tips on how to decorate your new space!

Solutions for Awkward Spaces

solutions for awkward spacesOpen plan/ loft living has become increasingly popular, but this lifestyle isn’t without its challenges. These awkward floor plans often include accentuated acute and obtuse wall angles, windows that are so large they take up an entire wall, and intruding (though often times beautiful) columns. Have no fear urban dwellers! Here are some tips to work around some of those awkward details.

For corners that are obtuse, that is wider than 90 degrees, soften the angle by adding a natural element like stick screens or a tall (verticality is key here) house plant or vase. Avoid contrasting colors between the joining walls and the use of dark colors on vases or plants.

For acute corners (less than 90 degrees) you can soften the corners by adding sheer drapery around a nearby window. If there isn’t a window in that corner hang the sheer drapery from the ceiling and put a chair or stool below it. Make sure that the furniture you choose has lots of negative space and, similar to the obtuse corner, has a decent amount of verticality.

Large windows are usually a blessing, but if you’re in need of some additional wall real estate they can seem like a curse. If you have floor-to-ceiling windows in combination with high ceilings then stack your book cases and invest in a ladder! The Tall bookcases will imitate your tall windows, providing symmetry and elegance while making the surrounding spaces seem bigger (just make sure to bolt both cases to the wall). I would recommend using an orchard ladder to access items on the top shelves, they are light, narrow and beautiful so there is no need to hide them, just lean against the bookshelves and use anytime!

Columns can be tricky. I recommend designing your space around the walls and windows first, then considering the part the columns will play in the flow of your space. For example, if the column is equidistant between two walls and your space is smaller, choose a side of the column that leads best into the next portion of the room and keep it a nice light neutral color (white or tan). Paint the other side a bright accent color and block off passage between the column and wall with a bookcase or chest. This makes two distinct rooms without blocking out natural light. If your space is bigger don’t block off any side and ground the column with a house plant, some colorful floor pillows or something unique that you would like to display.

Remember, just because your space has an odd shape doesn’t mean you have to cut off corners and minimize your living space. The general rule of thumb is to use furniture that allows for light passage (lots of negative space), verticality (tall pieces) and strategic color schemes to keep your home looking and feeling spacious yet squared off.

Interior Design Trends for 2016

2015’s major design ethos borrowed from both a singular decade and an entire century. Seventies inspired palettes and lackadaisical dispositions collided with mid-century modern minimalism and stoicism. Parallels were made between groovy/ psychedelic prints, ornamental designs of the east and Native American patterns of the west. 2016 is primed for the further integration of these recycled concepts and the ultimate transformation of them into a unique style all its own. So what should you be looking for this year?

F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal Design Out Selby Object Published Credit: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

The use of iron, both for decoration and furniture will be prevalent, but think black, matte iron instead of shiny chrome. Thin, attenuated and round are the adjectives to look for in all of your furniture purchases. Neat circles will be integrated with crafted geometrical lines to at once comfort you with mid-century associations, but inspire the use of hand crafted decor with wild patterns and contrasting colors. The obsession with tribal patterns will morph into something more ornate this year, reminiscent of a Persian rug or a Moroccan tapestry. Not to get all artsy on you, but negative space is a big theme; furniture corners are cut, rounded and angled, relationships between elements in a space are carefully considered and, with both fit and function, work together to shape the air itself.

In essence 2016 will be about contrast and relationships, black with white, simple with ornate and space playing with form. I will caution though, against indulging in too many elaborate patterns or brightly colored pieces in order to keep your space classic and equipped to transform with future trends down the road. Remember, while trends go in and out of style there are some basic principles of design that should always be followed. If you haven’t already, read my post on Feng Shui to adopt an eastern approach to interior design. Welcome to 2016, both simple and elegant while implementing a sense of playfulness and comfort.

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Alhambra Walking Tour! Jump Start 2016 with a Little Exploration

Los Angeles is home to some amazing architecture, but that’s not usually the first characteristic both residents and tourists think about. Hollywood and its infamous sign are the first to spring to mind and yet LA is filled with some extraordinary architecture. Downtown, for example, was home to 1920’s and 30’s film culture and is still littered with theaters (albeit rundown ones) that exude art nouveau design and style. Watch out for events coming up this month for Night on Broadway, an initiative to bring back the glory days of Broadway street and its magnificent theaters. If you want to get involved in an architectural event that is a little less urban, I would recommend taking a trip to the San Gabriel Valley, specifically Alhambra!

mission-san-gabrielAlhambra was founded in 1771 making it the oldest in the San Gabriel Valley. Its unique geography combined with the city’s practical location has contributed to some truly magnificent architecture, the San Gabriel Mission being one of the main attractions. Have I peaked your interest? Great! Then join other enthusiasts on “Gateway of the San Gabriel Valley” a walking tour that highlights these architectural, as well as, natural wonders and will surely help jump start any weight loss goals you might have made for 2016.

 

 

Heavenly Hideaways

Need a way to break up the excess space in a room, but desire a more unique approach than freestanding dividers? Building out a hideaway room allows for a more cozy public space while creating a fun private space just for you!

Before you start knocking down walls, or even hiring professional help, consider a few things about your space first.attic space with secret room

1.What is the floor plan of the room? Are there closets or small walls that indent into the dominant shape of the
room that you can take advantage of?

2. How many windows are in the room? Natural light makes a space feel larger and generally more comfortable, if you want your private space to be a dark hideaway this is not an issue, but generally a window or skylight could do wonders.

3. How do you want to use each space? Perhaps you work from home and need a private nook free of distractions where you can put a desk and store your office supplies. If this is the case think about your workflow and what you will need.

4. Finally think about what you will use your new public space for, perhaps a game room for the family? Considering the uses for each room, the needed lighting and shape will help you figure out the functionality of each space.

Now you’re ready to DIY it or hire some help and turn a large awkward space into a heavenly hideaway!

 

Modern Approaches to Indoor Plants

modern-approaches-to-indoor-plantsThe rise in popularity of mid-century modern furniture has made interior decorating the job of a true minimalist, which is why, in addition to the anxiety you might feel about hosting a living decoration in your home, many have given up on the concept of plants in their space. Adding too many plants, especially in small, low pots, can absolutely cause a cluttered effect, but some types of plants can provide the warmth and natural vibe that some of you might be craving without compromising all of your de-cluttering efforts. I know what you’re thinking, “but I don’t have a green thumb!” I’m not advocating for fake plants here, but I do know of some types that are low maintenance and provide some excellent advantages to your space.

aloe plantThe aloe plant is a great start! Secreting a healing gel, the aloe can be harvested to aid your skin and digestive system. It needs minimal water (once every seven days give or take depending on its environment) being apart of the recently popular succulent family, and it loves the sun! Have an east-facing window? The aloe plant could be for you.

 

 

Snake PlantThe Snake plant is another great, low maintenance choice. Architecturally it grows tall and spiky which makes it perfect for empty corners and extreme vertical spaces. It needs little water and even less light AND it releases an abundance of nocturnal oxygen (most plants release oxygen during the day) making it a great addition for detoxifying your home round the clock.

Just remember to place your plants strategically, keeping in mind their relationship to all objects in a given space as well as their particular needs (sun, shade, dry, wet).