Archive for the 'Inside' Category

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.

One Can Never Have Enough Storage.

Last week I had a little dust getting thrown about my home. My good carpenter/painter Wilfredo and his handy crew installed a small closet “above” my staircase. Literally hanging above the stair case. I really needed a separate spot for any overflow of files and work that I bring home. It’s perfect. An outlet rests inside, wooden floors are carried from the adjacent room and trim is glossy white. I put together some simple shelving from The Container Store, and now it’s filled. Filled. Filled. Next project…

The stairs take a sharp left on that landing. Closet floor and wall up over bottom flight.

The stairs take a sharp left on that landing. There was an opening where the door is now and that square on the right side wall. Closet floor and wall up over bottom flight. More room!

Closet bones complete! Everything in and ready for stuffing.

Closet bones complete! Magnetic door works like a charm. Everything in and ready for stuffing.

Shopped my heart out and getting things put in their rightful spots.

Shopped my heart out and getting things put in their rightful spots.


Chamber Music.

Holly Hunt has just featured new additions to her much adored {by moi} furniture line. The Chamber Chandelier is now on my top favorite list for ceiling light fixtures. Seems as if I have been specifying lots of ceiling lights as of lately and would love to put this in my concepts rotation. Designed by Allison Berger, this fixtures comes in a plethora of sizes from four glass pendants to twenty one. Also available in a dark amber or brown black patina. Stunning in an entryway, over a dining table, flanking the bed, or centerfold of the large living room. It’s much to my ears.

Holly hunt ceiling chandelier fixture

Holly hunt ceiling chandelier fixture

Holly hunt ceiling chandelier fixture

Holly hunt ceiling chandelier fixture

The Lunar New Year.

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Today, January 23, marks the first day of the first new moon of the year – so Happy New Year! According to Chinese Astrology, this one is the year of the Dragon, the only mythical animal in the zodiac. People born in the year of the Dragon are said to be energetic, charismatic, and natural born leaders. Think Joan of Arc or John Lennon. So welcome dragon babies… or future presidents? I’m celebrating this New Year today by saving my money (not in a red envelope however, as is customary and tradition on this Chinese New Year). Saving it for special travels and home furnishings. Of which both I can not get enough of. So here’s to beautiful interiors, dragons, new adventure, and fat wallets.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Schumacher dragon fabric

Image from Flickr. Fabric on chair has dragon print {one of my favorites} by Schumacher.


Hello Milo.

I obsess over tables and lamps. A wee bit much. However, I do hope there’s never a cure for this! =) I am always adding new favorite pieces to my forever long LOVE list. And this round cocktail table from DwellStudio is the newest addition. The warm antique gold 18″ high base and cool 38″ diameter travertine top (or alternate grey shagreen and black iron base) would dress up any living space. It’s aboslutely gorgeous.

Dwell Studio Milo Coffee Cocktail Table Round gold

Milo Coffee Table DwellStudio gold round

I’m Dreaming of a Seaside Xmas…

Once again, Christian Chaize mesmerizes us with his seaside perspective in photography. This new perfectly square beachy treat from 20 x 200 is available  in 11″ square for $50 and can be framed in a recommended white frame and white matt for an additional $125. Pssst, this print is also available up to an impressive 50″ x 50″ work of art! A beautiful and personal gift for the shore lover or your yourself…. I STILL have YET to get one of my very own Chaize pieces of work.

Apres Grande by Christian Chaize at 20 x 200

Hello Santa? Are you listening?

Black Paper Towel Roll. Whodathunkit?

I was strolling through Nordstrom on my weekly I Want This and This pretend online shopping trip {yes, I add everything to the cart. It’s a pretend moment}. Now, I do this with numerous online sites, whether shopping for my own clients homes, offices, airline tickets, or simply myself. It’s a fun way to wish. You should try it. But it’s even more fun to hit the Place Order button. Eeek! Anywho, while looking for a Michael Aram olive branch candle for a gift, I came across this Black Orchid paper towel holder.

Michael Aram Black paper towel holder and paper roll

Beautiful? Yes. Easy to use? Dunno. But, do you see what I see? A roll of black paper towels! What the… I ask myself, is that Photoshop? Is it? I could not find this paper in any kind of mixed word search online. Google, Yahoo, Yadayadayada. Anyone have a clue where I can find black paper towel rolls?

Must know NOW.

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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