Archive for the 'Inside' Category



Water. Color. Walls.

As I was walking to see my friend Daren at And Beige this weekend (where I picked up a lovely Voluspa Orangerie candle), I was stopped in my tracks by the current exhibition at Morton Fine Art Gallery. From outside, I was taken back by the serene images through the front window. I had to go in and see these large scale canvases up close. And now I want them all.

Choichun Leung has created these magnificent creamy, watery, glittery paintings by pouring diluted pigments and acrylic paints onto canvas. The water moves about and freely designs itsself. Sanding down and painting over again reveals calligraphic scripts and memories. They are absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking. I am currently selecting living room art for a client and found these to be perfect for the lofty space.

The artist explains this process in a way we can all relate:

 Our memories are not historical accounts of what happened but what we choose to extract, interpret, retain or forget and is a key aspect of our personal identity. How we remember the past is how we propel ourselves into the future, it moulds our interaction with people, current events and experiences. Some memories are shaped by language, others by imagery, some are deeply suppressed through trauma. Yet they emerge consciously and unconsciously in our everyday lives without us oftentimes noticing. They are clues to what was, a blue print of our past selves.  My work is simple traces of that activity- in the faintest of watermarks symbolic of the fading and passing of time and in the improvised scripts where subconscious thoughts emerge and are obscured.

Born in the UK and living in Brooklyn NY (where so many cool people live), this self-taught painter earned a degree in 3D Design from UK’s Loughbourogh College in 1988. Since that time Choichun has shown her talents at numerous exhibitions across the world. The mouthwatering paintings featured in this post will be on the walls at Morton Fine Art Gallery in Adams Morgan until April 11th.

The New Kind of Parquet.

Warmer weather means bare feet and outdoor adventures. I imagine relaxed interiors with natural materials infused throughout. Now I’m staring at a beach. Ahhh… where are you summertime? In the meantime, while I wait to wear my British tan leather sandals I picked up  in St. Tropez, I’ll be specifying the new Laguna Parquet collection at Patterson Flynn and Martin, a collection of  100% abaca fiver rugs that mimic the look of classic parquet flooring.

Laguna Integration in Natural

Laguna Integration in Natural

Laguna Octagon in Natural/Black

Laguna Octagon in Natural/Black

Classic French parquetry, introduced in 1684, involved using a geometric mosaic of wood pieces for complete decorative effect. The designs in the Laguna Parquet collection are similarly geometric and abstract but classic in an area rug style. Hand woven with careful attention to detail, the finished product is a thick abaca rug with pattern that can not be replicated in machine-made rugs.

Grand Parquet – Natural

Grand Parquet in Natural

MPS Preston – Natural

MPS Preston in Natural

Coiled and hand-woven abaca fibers are some of the strongest natural fibers available on the market. It’s indigenous to the Philippines and is related to the banana tree (did you know that a banana tree is actually a herb, and not a tree?). So there’s no doubt that these beautiful floor coverings will deliver years of comfort and visual beauty for your urban city home or ocean front retreat.

Laguna Integration – Natural

Laguna Integration in Natural

I Spy: Gold Table Base. Get out your Paint Cans DIYers!

I came across this image of Manhattan Next’s kitchen on their blog the other day (shout out to them for being tops in the Apartment Therapy Homies competition! Whoot Whoot!). I love gold finishes and thought this was a nifty way to address any scratched up table base or a simple change of attitude for your interior.


Check out the gold table base in the background (yeah, ignore foreground incompletion).

Check out the gold table base in the background (yeah, ignore foreground incompletion).

I know there are quite a few budget knock-off reiterations of the classic curved all white table Saarinen Tulip table and Ikea is at the top of that list. I have seen a few used tables on Craigstlist.com (two showing up on the DC search today!), and for the most part, they might have their fair share of scuff marks and chips. But, for $50 plus plus about $15 of good durable gold paint, you can get yourself quite the gilded bargain for under $100! Ikeas’s Docksta is similar to the above table but the CB2 Oddessy table could work as well (sadly, the Oddessy does not have that great curve in the bend of the base as shown in pic above). Both retail for under $200 brand new. Purchase a can or two of gold spray paint, either Krylon’s Bright Gold  or Rustoleums Metallic Finish. It’s good to have a primer applied prior to application of finished paint unless the primer is already in the can as i(s with the Rustoleum). Try to cover up the top part if it’s attached. Blue painters tape and newspaper works. If you can separate base form top – that’s the easiest way to go about this project. And get painting!

DC Design Coop Talks with HGTV’s Todd Davis.

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of talking with Todd Davis, of HGTV’s Room Crashers and previous contestant on Design Star. This is the kind of guy that exudes charm and whimsy with California coolness. He’s vibrant and confident, much of what viewers had the opportunity of enjoying while watching his creative 3-day challenges for unsuspecting homeowners. Todd’s surprised hand-picked couples are sure to never forget his interactive interior designs and absolute love of his craft. With a degree in Landscape Architecture and owner of landscape architecture design build firm Epic Spaces out of San Francisco, Todd is passionate about interiors as much as he is about the outdoors.

Todd Davis Epic Spaces

Once a paid stuntman, Todd weaves his design profession with outdoor adventures {during our phone chat, he was driving north on route to do a little kite-surfing}. During his stint on Design Star, many viewers will recall his Surf Room design and his shirtless rushes to the finish. I got a first hand glimpse into how he got to where he is today.

design star todd davis

I asked Todd how his degree in landscape architecture brought him to designing interior spaces. After graduation, he traveled the world spending much time in the winter climates of Argentina and Panama, sometime Chamonix in France, finding any cliff to jump from and any packed powder to compete on. A few commercials and high-flying stunts later, he was back in California purchasing his first home, a large loft with 16 foot ceilings and all white walls. While remodeling it to his liking, including 4 x 8 foot size hand paintings interjected throughout, Todd knew that designing interiors gave him the same gratification and satisfaction as designing outdoor living spaces. When I asked about his outdoor influence on the interiors we see on his TV shows, he told me that the 3-day events are “monumental efforts that change people lives in a very short time”. On that last day, he finds so much pleasure in the appreciation the homeowners have for what he was able to active creatively and functionally.

I wanted to know if he would recommend homeowners spending money in the current economy, upgrading a bath or creating an outdoor living space. Todd suggested making a “change to rooms with $30 can of paint to make a difference”. He suggested “blurring the indoors and outdoors with the inclusion of wide openings consisting of accordion doors {for instance} between the interior and exterior”, so that you could get the best of both worlds. Nothing surprises him when it come to use of materials in projects. From chicken wire, to felt, to any handmade contraction, Todd will as he states “embrace the chaos” and do with what he has to make a vision happen. In one of his clients homes, he brought movement to the indoors with “streams” coming down from a framed image on the wall, flowing imaginatively though rock boulders and past two raised beds. In his endeavors, he focuses on creating interactive spaces while finding “the soul of the room” and making it shine and inviting for the person who lives in it.

Todd Davis Epic Spaes rock boulder interior

Todd’s adventures continue with his book called 25 Projects for Kids: Handy Dad in the Great Outdoors. A father of two young boys, he is constantly inspired though them as well as by his own childhood. Readers and fans can learn how to make fake blood for a pretend bear attack or crafting their very own Viking Ship. Things are bright for this California kid at heart. When asked where he wanted to be in 10 years, he told me “doing the exact same thing as I am doing today”.

Handy Dad

Get inspired by his enthusiasm, great hand-on talent and warm personality at the 2012 Washington Home and Garden Show  located at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center – March 9th through the 11th. Todd will be on hand Saturday and Sunday alongside Ty Pennington, who he told me he was “so excited to meet”. I have to say I am thrilled to meet Todd in person – his excitement and happiness is contagious. And with this warmer DC weather in the skies and flower buds on the trees, I’m ready for a little blurring the lines with indoors and outdoor ideas at the Washington Home & Garden Show.

Early Spring Blooms: Indoors.

I love to see blooms indoors. I’m not a fan of house plants sitting in dark corners or dropping dead leaves all over. So naturally, forcing branches into full-on flowers indoors is a simple garden fix for the last days of winter. And it’s not at all hard to do. Branches from almost any Spring flowering shrub or tree can be used. Consider forsythia, red bud, pussy willow, quince, crab apple and cherries to bring inside for a forced flourish.

indoor blooms forced gardening

Choose branches that are at least 12 inches long (I prefer at least 20 inches) and should have several tight but plump buds on the branch. Carefully cut the branch away from the parent shrub or tree with a sharp clean knife. You may want to take a few more branches than you need, just in case some fail to bloom properly indoors.

indoor blooms forced gardening

Carefully split the base of the branch about 4 inches up the branch and then trim 1 inch off the base. Place the whole branch in warm water. After the branches have soaked overnight, remove them from the water and place them immediately into the container or vase where they will be displayed, preferably in a room that’s between 60 and 7 degrees. Large clear glass containers look great with dark branches immersed in water.

Branches from almost any Spring flowering shrub or tree can be used. Consider forsythia, red bud, pussy willow, quince, crab apple and cherries to bring inside for a forced flourish.

The flowering branches will need bright, indirect light in order to bloom indoors properly. Direct light can be very intense and may burn the branches or flowers. Like any flower bulb, your branches should bloom within one to 4 weeks. Make sure you change out the water to keep it fresh to help flowers to last longer.

Unique Marbled Wood Flooring.

I am in LOVE with these beautiful floors!

marbled hard wood flooring color

Creative award-winning wood design shop Snedker Studio is the brainchild behind them. They repurpose hard wood flooring with the old {but almost-a-secret} marbling technique, giving this wood an organic, eye-catching, colorful and vibrant pattern. I could see this flooring in an office, home, or retail space.

marbled hard wood flooring color

The mastered art technique originated back in the 15th century, where marbling was initially born to sheets of  paper – known as ebru, or the art of the clouds. Pastel, abstract and sometime muted, marbled paper was reserved for religious writings and royalty. The 17th Century Louis XIII created a similar paper called  a cuve, so-named for the basin in which the paper was dipped to obtain its heavenly hues.

marbled palette of colored wood

Today, original paper marbling continues at the Giului Giannini artisan workshop in Florence Italy where the craft has been produced since 1856.

the same technique applied to a piece of paper to make wall art

 Wood flooring marbling continues to stir up excitement and interest at the Snedker Studios {they came home this year with a Design Award from Wallpaper Magazine. Woot woot!}.

Ways to Frame Your Favorite Photos.

Who doesn’t have a file, folder, or stack of favorite photos or art just waiting to be framed and put up for all to see? My clients come to me to sort through the myriad of images and art to create focal points in their most used rooms, hallways, and stairwells. It’s a task that requires good measurements and a good eye. Here are three options and techniques to get those images out of the dark corners of the house and front and center. Beautifully.

A Dramatic Grid.

This technique is great for special moments such as weddings, vacations, or family events where a grand treatment is required. It’s also great for art that carries a unique theme. Consider a grid of three rows high by to five rows across with only two inches of wall space in between the sides of each frame. you can use a 3 x 3 grid for smaller areas like breakfast nooks and foyers. The impact of this tight grid is best with the same size frames and mats. West Elms Gallery Frames would work great here.

photo frame grid on wall

Image courtesy of Houzz.

A No Fuss Frame Shelf.

If you like to change out your photos for the season or your mood, displaying various frames, photos and objects d’art on a wall shelf would be ideal for you. Hang metal or wooden wall shelves in various heights and lengths on a selected wall with the center shelf at about eye height. Them loosely arrange individual frames in mix and match frames of color and finishes upright or leaned against the back wall. Overlap a few for depth. Voila. West Elms Paxton shelf makes a great landing. Crate and Barrels Versa Frames or Pottery Barns Gallery Frames would be a workhorse for this look.

frames and objects on a wall shelf

Image courtesy of Houzz.

Up and Down The Stairs.

This technique works well with a timeline of photography and supporting art. Childhood pictures, weddings, and family generations heighten the effect. A consistent theme makes it a conversation starter. Use different style frames and various sizes and keep one thing consistent to unify the grouting. Michael’s Gallery Frames create impact. This is a wonderful opportunity to use vintage frames and mirrors as well to make it more eclectic and reflect light into dark stairwells.

Image courtesy of Houzz.

Prefab Picture Wall.

If time is of the essence and you want something already preplanned and organized for you, then an prefab picture wall might be for you. A do-it-yourself set of frames is ready to hang with your favorite memories inserted. It requires no measuring, no fuss, and no mistakes using a template to determine the prefect placement on your walls. With  so many finishes and frame width, there’s an option for almost every DIYer. Shop for a look at The Conran Shops Picture Wall.

pre far picture wall frames grid organized

Courtesy of The Picture Wall Company.


Just a Thought.

"A person should design the way he makes a living, around how he wishes to make a life" — Charlie Byrd

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