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.

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).

 

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!

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!

Eight Ways to Make a Kitchen Stand Out

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1. Use open shelving in place of upper cabinets

This is a great option for smaller spaces, especially if you have china or fiesta ware you would like an excuse to show off! The exclusion of cabinets creates the illusion of more space while decreasing dark spaces and shadows that can make small rooms feel even smaller. I designed around a narrow kitchen for one of my clients using cabinets with clear doors, which works well too!

 

 

2. Use at least two wood finishes.

This is the simplest way to add texture to your kitchen and maintain a classic yet warm and rustic feel. This is especially true when combining these textures in the context of a clean and contemporary room.

 

 

 

 

3. Make it a galley kitchen.

Take this opportunity to think outside the box! Or in this instance outside the confines of your square footage. Use the walls to craft an exquisite way to store your treasured wine selection or install hooks to show off copper pans and cookery.

 

 

 

 

4. Leave out the hardware.

If your not in to exposing your treasured kitchen paraphernalia with open plans, try taking it to the next extreme! Remove handles and other hardware for the ultimate chic and minimal look.

 

 

 

 

5. Build in an eating area.

Everyone knows that the kitchen is the place to hang out! If your living by yourself or with a small family, consider nixing the concept of a dinning room and go for cozy in the kitchen!

 

 

 

 

 

6. Use furniture in place of an island.

If you’re living in a small space, or if it feels that way what with all the people constantly coming in and out of your home, make sure you are using your surface space wisely! Instead of an island, shake things up with a functional piece of furniture that can double as a space to eat off of with storage to boot!

 

 

 

7. Use concrete counter tops.

Utilitarian, minimal, warehouse-like loft spaces are in! Don’t live in a space that resembles a loft in anyway? Incorporate concrete countertops as a simple solution to acquire that hip urban vibe.

 

 

 

 

8. In corporate a skylight!

And of course, if its architecturally feasable, utilize as much natural light as you can. Put a spotlight on your hard work with a skylight.

 

 

 

 

Be sure to get in touch with me and share your kitchen make over concepts!

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Antique cabinets, modern appliances:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parisian apartment of Gilles and Boissie:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

kitchen love the contrast of the wood against the black, and what a great wine rack:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modern | ombiaiinterijeri:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHITE, PALE, CALM—LOVE IT.:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

desire to inspire:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

| P | Kitchen with concret counters + backsplash:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love the off form concrete and the retractable skylight over the kitchen island. Cemetaries scare me, but this house which is situated on one, makes it look beautiful. Elliott House – North London, by Eldridge-Smerin Architects.:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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