Friday, August 9, 2013

Design is in the Details.

Hello from South Dakota!  I'm here again and today I want to talk about design details.  The little details that make a room amazing such as crown moulding, trim on draperies, and decorative pillows.  My take on the details is that creating and designing a beautiful space starts with the basics such as walls, ceilings, and baseboards or as we say in the interior design biz "background." Next, selecting furniture and placing it in ways that enhance the energy of the room.  And lastly, choosing the window coverings.  

But at the end of selecting the staples of putting together a room, the details create the design "WOW!" in the room.  For instance, I really love taller base boards.  And a detail I can't live without a dramatic crown moulding to frame the ceiling.  This picture needs no words to describe how the details make this room pop.

When draperies are selected, I believe a trim  makes all the detail difference in the world.  Decorative pillows with a delicate trim or a surprising color on chairs and sofas will take the sofa from pleasant to awe striking. 

Lastly, one detail that is by far one of my favorites is a chain sleeve on any hanging light (there is nothing beautiful about a chain).  Notice how the chain sleeve will take attention away from the chain so you are just noticing the beautiful light.  Any neutral color works best as this is not a design statment. The way to get a chain sleeve on a hanging light is to put it on the chain before the fixture is installed. Follow the instructions on the following tuitorial to make your own  @ or purchase one online. It's a small detail  it's worth the effort!  Delightful!

These little details are the difference that makes the experience of the room completely different than that of a room with just the basics.  Design is truly in the details.  Thank you my fellow design aficionados!  Yours, Joanie

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Fun

Hi from JM Tassi Design!  I've been so busy working with design clients, it's been a couple weeks since my last blog.  Today, I"m excited to share a new design project on which I've been working.  My clients wanted to create a summer cottage that reminded them of a Norwegian lake home.  The look they created started from the materials they used on the outside all the way into the design details used on the inside of the quaint and beautiful cottage home.  For the exterior, they chose white painted board and bat siding, a red roof, and the detail that I love most, bright yellow doors.  These are the colors commonly used in Norway.  The effect is simply stunning!

As we meander from the garage closer to the cottage, the custom wood screen door invites guests to come inside for a glass of ice tea and a freshly baked sugar cookie.

In keeping with the Norwegian theme, my clients use the same white, yellow, and red colors for everything from paint to accessories.  Imagine having a bite to eat on the yellow plates with the view from the dining area in the cottage. 

The kitchen is always the center of any home and my clients wanted to ensure the kitchen in their cottage home made it easy to create anything from a quick sandwich to enjoy on the lake to a gourmet dinner.  The clean lines and modern fixtures and back splash are in keeping with the true Scandinavian theme.

Family room is designed for comfort when my clients can't be outside.  The design technique used here is bringing in the red couch with yellow accent colors to keep the color scheme consistent from outside to inside the cottage. Absolutely lovely!

The white wood railing and trim accented with Norwegian quilts to the upper story where the two bedrooms are located. The simple, yet elegant, fixtures add the right pop against the clean white background.

When we worked on the guest bathroom, my clients wanted to use their antique dresser to create the vanity.  It's an amazing touch that gives the bathroom an authentic Norwegian feel!

One last peek from inside of the screened-in porch.....

To the view from outside the screen porch!

Thank you for letting me share one of my latest design projects from JM Tassi!  Until next time my design friends.  Yours, Joanie

Friday, June 7, 2013

Magic Carpets!

Hi!  How are you all?   I want to share today some fabulous rugs from a company I really love.  Nothing makes a space more homey and burst with personality than an amazing rug.  The company is called Surya and they have beautiful hand tufted and hand knotted rugs made from extravagant New Zealand wool.  The designers that create the carpets are known world wide.  I'm excited to share a little about each of the following rugs.

I love the color of this 100 percent New Zealand wool, hand tufted, and hand carved details of plush pile.

 A hand tufted rug is made by punching strands of wool into a canvas which is stretched on a frame. This is accomplished with the help of a hand operated tool. This process is not very time intensive, and does not require the same level of skill that hand-knotting does.  After piling with wool, the rug is removed from the frame and a scrim fabric is glued to the back, while a fringe is added by either sewing on, or gluing.

The elegant and traditional design of this rug is 100 percent semi-worsted New Zealand wool.  Semi-worsted means refer to the arrangement of fibers in a single ply yarn. The fibers in woolen yarn are as randomly arranged as possible, to increase the number of air spaces. Short fiber is carded and made into rolags, which are spun from the end by drafting against the advancing twist. 

This rug is also hand knotted which makes it extra special because the quality of a hand-knotted carpet is determined by the number of knots per square inch, and a higher density means better quality.  A complex pattern can require very dense knotting and it can take a long time to produce. An average weaver can tie about 10,000 knots per day. So you can imagine how long it can take to complete one rug. The time involved also accounts for hand-knotted rugs costing more.

The thing I love about this orange rug with the geometric flowered designs is the asymmetry of the rug.  This rug is also a hand tufted New Zealand wool of plush pile.  What makes New Zealand wool so special? 

  1. Fibre Integrity: Wools of New Zealand branded carpets must have a minimum total wool content of 80 percent and at least 60 percent of the total fibre content must be New Zealand wool.
  2. Performance: Wools of New Zealand branded carpets and rugs undergo a series of tests for qualities including durability, appearance retention and colour fastness.
  3. Control: The use of the Wools of New Zealand brand is tightly controlled through formal licensing. We have more than 100 trade partners worldwide, including many of the world’s leading carpet yarn spinners and carpet and rug manufacturers. 

Surya offers many many types of rugs made from various other fibers (natural and man made)  and produced in several other ways. Make sure to check out their website  Custom sizes are available for many of their rugs and they ship it straight to your door!  Company's that prioritize convenience in our busy world makes them irreplaceable.

Thank you my fellow design and style friends!  Until next week when I share some of my favorite details when designing a room.  Yours, Joanie


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's time! Outdoor spaces from Joanie Tassi

It's been a long winter for the Midwest!  I think it's finally time to start enjoying the outdoors and I'm very ready.  In celebration, I wanted to share some of the same principles that I've shared in recent weeks for the inside of your home and see how these same ideas can be applied to outdoor spaces.

A few weeks back, I shared the way flooring enhances spaces specifically in staircases.  This same idea is applied in the above picture with the use of the textured pathway and the plants as well add texture in the space.  The path calls out to you to walk down it and enjoy the natural landscaping along it's edges.  Additionally, I'd like to point out this space seems to be small, yet even small outdoor spaces can be enjoyed when the right design elements are utilized.  I could chat away the afternoon with a glass of lemonade and a good friend in this area.

Contemporary Patio by Toronto Interior Designer Terra Firma Design

Another element we've talked about in recent weeks is the ceiling as the fifth wall.  In the above photo, the fifth wall -- the pergola over the top -- creates a cozy feeling encasing the space, but still allowing all the natural elements to seep inside.  Again, the same design elements that are utilized inside the home make this outdoor space one to admire.

The door in the above picture makes me want to walk through it to see what's on the other side!  Last week we talked about creative painting and I shared my idea about painting doors different colors to add an element of surprise and to enhance the space.  I can imagine this door painted a surprising color above to draw your attention and to make walking through to the next outdoor space even more exciting.

Modern Patio by Benton Harbor Architect Karen Garlanger Designs, LLC

Lastly, what I love about the above photo (in addition to the clean lines) is the use of lighting to enhance the space.  Lighting is one of my favorite design elements.  Right away I'm struck by how the lighting illuminates the couch area and the steps.  The lighting is not only functional, it is beautiful and frames the space without the use of walls. 

Until next week my friends who adore design as much as I do!  Yours, Joanie

Friday, May 10, 2013

Creative Painting!

The typical thought process when creating a paint scheme for a room or an entire home can be described in the following way.  First, wall colors are chosen.  Second, ceilings are forgotten as a fifth wall and are painted white.  Third, the trim and baseboards are painted white or stained the same in every room.  Familiar?  Is this the process because we lack imagination or because we are fearful of experimenting?  I'm excited today to share a whole new way to think about a painting scheme for the home.  I think the above process can be thrown out the "window" by creatively using paint.

What do you notice first when you see this photo?


The mill work in the above photo is beautiful.  I love the way the designer makes sure no one misses the architectural details of the trim and thus, it's painted with a soft dark neutral color to really stand out from the wall color.  The contrast stained wood frame inside the painted outside frame is a strong design detail and further emphasises the window as the focal point.

Conversely, in the room below, the wall and trim are the same color!  The choices of this designer makes the tiny room "grow" by painting the walls and trim the same color.  I am fond of this trick and utilize it when there is an element in a room that  is less than desirable but can't be removed. I give it the disappearing act by painting it out the same color as the wall.  Voila!

Instead of disappearing, "Look at me!" screams the uniquely painted mill work in the photo below.  The clean lines of the trim are enhanced with the stunning paint color.  The use of high contrast in a paint scheme creates drama and draws your eyes to notice immediately.  I recommend this paint design technique to cause a happy fuss!

What's behind door number one?  The door at the end of the hallway makes me so curious about what awaits beyond?  Painting doors a color different than the trim color is the perfect opportunity to add spice to an otherwise bland hallway.  Painting the back side another color is magic trick I highly advocate when the same color won't work in the adjoining room.

     By Atmospher Interior Design

Serenity and calm exude from room below.  The monochromatic color scheme details the mill work while the stone fireplace is allowed to take center stage and be the star.   "Less is more" as someone once said and sometimes is the perfect solution to your paint scheme.

When life gives you limes, what do you do?  Paint your window frame. Yes, sir, that is right!  I would probably even invent a reason to do laundry if I could do it in this room.  The thing I love about design work is creating spaces that make a functional room fun.  When paint brings a smile to your face in your workspace at home, it's a good thing.

Have a great week!  I am positive here at One Boxwood Lane, the sun will shine and the birds will sing.  Until next week!  Yours, Joanie

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I Am a Rule Follower

I'm fond of paint because the creative use of it gives the most bang for the buck in decorating.  In my 25 years experience in the field of interior design, there has been only one design rule that I have considered the "golden rule."  I do everything within my power to follow this rule.  Despite my strong advice, every once in while a client will decide to break the rule and the result is like nails on a chalkboard for me.

So what is the golden rule that I abide by at all costs?  Never change paint colors on an outside corner.  Never.  Let me show you what I mean.

                         Modern Living Room by San Francisco Architect John Lum Architecture, Inc. AIAI

In the above photo, the golden rule is followed.  Painting a wall that is the focal wall helps call attention and draw your eye immediately to the view.  The use of the contrasting paint color on the focal wall is a perfect frame for the stunning view.  However, in the photo below, there is an infraction of the rule.  Do you see where it is?


If you haven't spotted it, let me point out that on the right side of this photo, note the opening that leads down the hall.  The darker gray paint in the hall stops on the outside corner of the kitchen.  According to the golden rule, the darker gray should turn the corner into the kitchen and go all the way down the wall until it can end on an inside corner.  Do you see how stopping the paint on the outside corner of this wall makes the hall abruptly break off instead of flowing easily into the kitchen?


Honestly, I had a difficulty finding examples of breaking the golden rule, but the photo above has a suble infraction. The drama created with the contrasting colors is stunning.  The violation of the rule occurs when the plum paint is wrapped around and stops on the outside corners.  If done correctly the white paint should wrap around into the corner instead.  This might seem like a small detail, however, beautiful spaces are born when attention is paid to detail.

Now that you are getting the hang of this golden rule principle, I think you will notice immediately the exact point of violation in the below photo.  For me, the corner stands out like a sore thumb!  Yikes!


I'd like to finish my post today with a tribute to the "rule maker," Jerry Twetten.  I had the pleasure of working for Jerry, a very well-known and respected designer.  I gleaned every bit of information that I could under his tutilage.  He shared his ideas and mentored me for a total of four years.  I consider that education equivalent to a Doctorate in Design and credit him for helping me become the designer I am today.  Thank you, Jerry!

Until next week, my design friends!  Yours, Joanie

Jerry Twetten

Jerry Twetten    

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mirror! Mirror!

Mirror!  Mirror!  On the wall, I'm here today to give the best design tips of all!  Hello, from South Dakota!  Excited to share how mirrors work, not only as an excellent element for wall decor, but how they enhance spaces in ways we might not think about.  Let's look at a few things to keep in mind as you select and place mirrors.


Scale is one of the most important considerations when working with any part of your design and proportion is key.  A single mirror certainly would not work to cover the large space pictured above, but a grouping of these mirrors is a creative way to add interest to this staircase wall.

The above picture takes my breath away.  When placing a large mirror, the view of the refection seen in the mirror is part of the design.  Notice how this beautiful chandelier and the staircase from an adjoining room are reflected in this mirrors view.  Beautiful.

I like to use mirrors to reflect light and brighten a dark space or enlarge a small space. The mirrors behind the glass shelves in this dining room certainly brighten the large wall.  The lighted area, combined with the reflective value of mirror and glass, is a stunning combination in any room. 


Can you imagine a bathroom without a mirror?  Of course not.  However, in the picture above, the use of mill work on this wall combined with beveled mirror above the sink and the addition of the lighted sconces takes function to a whole new level.


I'm crazy for this back splash application.  Antique looking mirror has found it's way to the forefront in the last few years.  It's distinctive look is particularly appealing and has gained popularity for use in many applications. The same antique mirror element is used in the dining room below.  I can fully imagine the beautiful dining experience in this mirrored space with my family and friends.



For me, both the photo above and below are examples of exquisite use of mirrors.  The mirrored wall behind the bed is inspirational and makes this already lovely room incredible by adding depth.  In the photo below, the use of mirrors gives the fireplace visual grandeur and is genius.  Again, the broad scale of the mirrors adds the impact in both of these pictures.

Mirror! Mirror!  Looking forward to sharing more design techniques next week.  Yours, Joanie

                                          Source for all photos