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.

Subscribe at the bottom of the page to get my posts delivered straight to your inbox!

Interior Design Faux-Pas!

We all have opinions that govern our style and interior-desing-faux-pasapproach to life and culture. Our unique perspectives are what give the design world its dimension and excitement.

I will argue, however, that there are also some objective truths concerning interior decorating and design. For example, if you live in a small space and your goal is to make it look bigger than it actually is, then using small decorations, dark colors or heavy drapery is going to work against that goal. Paying attention to these basic design principles will help you tremendously, after all, the amount of thought you put into designing your space should be reflected in the end result. If you want to get the most out of your space, avoid the following interior design faux-pas!

Over-doing a theme. Ok, you’ve thought about it and you’ve chosen a source of inspiration for your home, or maybe
just a single room, lets say its birds. Suddenly birds are everywhere, they are on everything from ceilings to chachkies, and while there is a clear theme here, it lacks delicacy and intrigue. Using a theme to decorate your space can be a great way to brainstorm, but the key to using a theme without going over board is to 1. Take into account sub themes (trees, eggs, nests, ect..) 2. Don’t forget about color (too much or too little) 3. Space is key (provide breathing room between theme elements).

Impulse Purchases. Shopping is fun, but leave the impulse buys for cosmetics and clothing! Scale and proportion are almost always ignored when you buy home décor on the fly, and the item you purchase will most likely do just as much harm to your ambiance as good. If you know that this will be impossible for your buying habits, at least take a measuring tape with you on those random shopping excursions and keep photos of your rooms on your camera roll for reference.

Check back for more tips on avoiding interior design faux pas and plenty of other fun facts!

Frank Lloyd Wright, What is History and What is Contemporary

Last week I talked about Craftsman architecture, specifically, the characteristics of Prairie style. I figure, since I’m on a role, I should write a little about Frank Lloyd Wright. He was, after all, integral to the movement and the overall establishment of the aesthetic.

A masterful architectural designer, Wright developed a unique vocabulary of space, form, and patternhollyhockhouse-wright that represented a dramatic shift in design from the traditional houses of the day. Characterized by dramatic horizontal lines and masses, the Prairie buildings that emerged in the first decade of the twentieth century evoke the expansive Midwestern landscape. The buildings reflect an all-encompassing philosophy that Wright termed “Organic Architecture.” By this Wright meant that architecture should be suited to its environment and be a product of its place, purpose and time. First developed in 1894, when Wright was establishing his practice in Chicago, this philosophy of design would inform his entire career.

Today, Wright’s name is heavily associated with the movement away from ornate European styles and has become symbolic of classic American architecture. Most recently, Wright’s Holly Hock house, located on a majestic hilltop in Los Feliz, CA, was re-opened after undergoing nearly five years of restoration and repairs. You can go check it out for yourself or take an online tour of its stunning interiors!

Expecting company for the holidays? 10 No-Cost Tips for Sprucing up your home

If you don’t have money to spare after buying your gifts this year, redecorate for friends and family by making your space feel warm and inviting with these tips for improving ambiance without breaking the bank!

  1. holidaysKeep your front porch clean and well maintained.
  2. Greet guests by opening the door for them promptly, invite them in with a smile!
  3. Offer your guests a cold drink on a hot day or a hot drink on a cold day.
  4. Spend 5 minutes a day putting away clutter.
  5. Spend 10 minutes every day cleaning something. Day one: vacuum one room, day two: dust and clean surfaces, day three: clean the kitchen counters. 
  6. Open drapes and blinds during the day to let in natural light.
  7. Experiment with different combinations of lighting in your home to find one that suits you. For entertaining, the lighting should be even and not too bright.
  8. Open doors and windows to let fresh air in.
  9. Make sure that your guest bathroom is properly stocked: At least 2 rolls of TP within reach, and a hand towel by the sink.
  10. Turn off the TV and silence devices, instead put on some music that suits the mood!

If your lucky enough to be invited to someone else’s home for the holidays this year, feel free to share these simple pointers with your host!