Friday, April 20, 2012

What Are Your Design Pet Peeves?

We all have them. Yesterday I picked up a copy of Domino's special edition Spring/Summer 2012 issue. Inside was a section titled " The Catty Corner" listing things decorators do that drive other decorators nuts! This made me laugh, because we all have a list! 
10 bed pillows and no bench at the end of the bed to even pile them on each night!

Here's what they said:
  • Too many pillows on a bed.
  • Absurd quantities of flowers-a little goes a long way
  • Antique sofas-sofas are for sitting.
  • Themed rooms-they belong in amusement parks.
Over the years I've collected snippets of what other designers had to say, here's a sampling:
  • Candlesticks: "A single one, maybe, or groups of three or more can be nice. But two perfectly placed side by side simply drives me up the wall"-Albert Hadley, NYC
  • "Bare lightbulbs" Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, NYC"
  • All-white or all-beige rooms. Who lives in them? Obviously someone who never reads a newspaper" David H. Mitchell, Washington, D.C.
  • "Collections of small objects on every surface"Charles Spada, Boston
    This is suppose to double as a dining table, seriously.  It looks like a shop display!
I thought this topic would make for a fun and lively discussion! So here's 10 of my design pet peeves:
  • Too many pillows on beds and sofa's.
  • Too many accessories, especially the discount and/or retail variety. 
  • Too much faux fur.
  •  Inadequate lighting. 
  • Chairs that don't have a table close by to set a drink.
  • Fake flowers and plants. And dead plants!
  • Tall, dark, heavy pieces of furniture that are poorly placed.
  • Kitchen counter clutter.
  • Plastic or painted switch plates.
  • Decorating with items that are off season or are off geographically. For example: if you don't live at the beach, seashells shouldn't be on display in January and if you do live at the beach, while I don't think you need to decorate "beachy" I wouldn't want to see a room decorated with antlers and fur!
I guess you're suppose to sit on the chairs and just admire the 9 sofa pillows! Too bad they're unattractive.
 Especially the Chewbacca pillow, it looks dirty. At least the rug is stunning.
Designer's and homeowners, time to get catty and chatty, what are your design pet peeves?

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Back, As A Mac!

After a little vacation and an unexpected departure from blogging, I got a Mac!

I read every single comment and email that readers sent to me, at least twice. I really gave a lot of thought to this purchase and definitely took into account all of the sage advice that everyone so generously provided.
This is my new laptop on the secretary in my office.
Two years ago, I designed this parson's style chair with the last bits of a favorite fabric pattern.
 Notice the slightly padded back?
It's comfortable for long hours blogging and now learning how to use my new computer!

And, based on what readers said and what was really going to fit my needs, this weekend I finally decided on the 15 inch MacBook Pro and the 21.5 inch iMac, both with regular screens instead of the non-glare. And, I did get the one-to-one service or as I told the salesperson, the genius-to-moron help. I know I'm going to need it! I ended up with 2 new computers for the price I would have paid for the larger laptop I was initially leaning towards. Now I have both the big screen I need for my daily work and the portability I crave from a lap top.

The desk top is still in the box until I can arrange to have all my files transferred. This will go on my other desk/work table where my Dell currently sits. Besides a functioning computer, the thing I am most excited about is getting rid of the big box that sits on the floor and the insane tangle of wires!

Not withstanding the computer issues, my little hiatus was very relaxing as well as productive, but it's nice to be back in blogworld, I've missed you all!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bathroom Renovations: How To Get The Most Out Of Small Spaces!

When it comes to bathrooms, I think what most people want is a beautiful and organized space. Afterall, it's where we began and end every single day. I think the second thing people want from a bathroom is luxury. When most people think of luxury, they think of luxurious materials and expansive spaces. I do too, but I also think of comfort. And, for these bathroom renovations, the latter was the driving force.

The majority of the my client's renovation budget was spent on the kitchen, flooring and construction costs, so I knew the bathrooms would be a bit of a challenge. Not so much because of the budget, but because they were all very small. This townhouse had 2 full baths and 2 powder rooms. The 2 full baths were renovated 3 years ago. The full bath on the third floor, which was the largest, remained in good shape. It just needed a good cleaning, new cabinet hardware, mirror, medicine cabinet and lighting.

My focus was to overhaul the other three.  Not only did I want to bring the spaces up to date, but I wanted to try to find ways to add luxury in the form of comfort, which for this project translated to brightly lit and better organized spaces. The only way to do this, given their small footprints and budget considerations, was to select materials that would give the illusion of more space. In order to accomplish this, I would rely on pocket doors, good lighting, floor tile set on the 45, vanities that had feet, sliding glass shower doors and plenty of bright white field tile!

I headed to the bath section of my favorite big box store and found myself scanning the isles and repeating their slogan "let's build something together" in my head. Thankfully, Allen + Roth rolled out a new line of products for Lowes last fall. I sourced the vanities and lights from them, Moen's new line, off-the-shelf tile and simple space/cost saving slab mirrors for over the vanities from my local glass company.   

 The Master Bath: 

 As much as I would have preferred a different vanity choice as I mentioned this one (just like the hall bath) was only 3 years old and in good shape, so it didn't make sense to allocate part of the budget to replace it.

New hardware was the only change for the vanity cabinet.

I seriously don't understand the point of uplighting in a bathroom.
Why not just add a torchiere behind the toilet?

Better lighting, bigger mirror.
 This shot really gives you an idea of the changes. I dubbed this bathroom "the box".
 This just may be the smallest bathroom I've ever seen in a master bedroom.
 The shower was the size of a phone booth! But, not for long. Just behind the plumbing and pink insulation is the
 hall linen closet, which was relocated so we could expand the shower.
I am a huge fan of pocket doors and this bathroom desperately needed one to free up valuable floor space.

This in-swing door certainly contributed to the claustrophobic feeling. It was also a factor in the
 moisture problems since it touched the shower base, plastic curtain and inhibited air-flow!


The before "before" from this post. Cruel, I know to show this again, but
 I really just wanted you all to have the full impact of the transformation!

Goodbye, tiny, creepy, moldy box.
 Hello, clean and pristine!

Adding a pocket door and sliding glass shower doors went a long way to help make this room feel more spacious.
 Relocating the linen closet that was previously behind the shower added over a foot to the length of the shower. It was absolutely worth the trade off to spend on construction costs instead of making any significant changes to the hall bath. This bathroom will now feel more luxurious simply because it's brighter and more comfortable to move around!
The Powder Room:
1970's harvest gold laminate counter. Usually, a floating counter makes a bathroom feel bigger. Not in this case
because it was so dark and chunky. It looked like it came from a cheap motel from the same era!


 I thought this vanity cabinet by Allen+Roth had a lot of style for very little money.
 I loved that it had feet, curved doors, a shelf and a drawer. Plus, a big white porcelain sink. 
The drawer was a fantastic surprise at this price point!

 PS: I had so much trouble getting this post completed, so let me apologize now for all the irregular fonts and spacing.  I don't dare test fate (or my burning desire to toss the damn computer out the window) by trying to edit or add the other bathroom. I'm too afraid I'll lose it all, so I'll have to do in a separate post when I return.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Fool No More, Thank you!

Thanks to all of the insightful comments and emails and generous amounts of information that reader's and blog friends provided on my last post, I have been to the MAC Store! I spent a good deal of time talking to the salesperson and pondering all the choices. I'm really excited at the prospect of owning such an amazing, beautiful and virus free computer!

I'm just trying to decide which one. Even though it's quite pricey, I'm leaning towards the 17" MacBook Pro with a non-glare screen, because at my age, bigger is better!  This week is spring break for my youngest, so we're going to slip away for a little vacation, then it's just a matter of days until I can be rid of this foolish PC...forever.
A working PC? Yeah, that's funny!
And, then I will finally be back to some regular blogging!!! I had my PC cleaned up a bit to tide me over. Fingers crossed it will stop deleting the pictures/posts and I'm able to complete the post on the bathroom renovations from this project and get it off before we go. I'm sorry it's taken so long for those of you who mentioned it in a comment or an sent me an email. It was never my intention to drag it out this long!