Thursday, August 11, 2011

French or Italian?

A Napoleon is a dessert that consists of three layers of puff pastry alternating with two layers of pastry cream. The filling may also be whipped cream and sometimes fresh fruit or jam is included. The top of a Napoleon is usually glazed with a white icing with chocolate stripes that are combed to create its distinctive appearance.

Some people believe that the dessert's name is derived from the French emperor, Napoleon.  Others claim that the name was incorrectly translated from 'Neopolitan' pertaining to Naples in Italy, where the pastry is thought to have originated.  In Italian the pastry is refered to as mille fogilie, meaning a thousand leaves.

This is a desert I made to share with friends when invited to a potluck dinner and asked to bring an Italian dessert.  There was discussion about the origin of this dessert but at the end of the day, we all agreed it was delicious in any language. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Let's Play "Dress UP"

Window dressings are a very important element in my design projects.

This simple treament frames the view beautifully!

Not every window in every room needs a fabric treatment but every window needs a "dressing" or it seems forgotten. I would really love to see something on this window just to finish it off.

This window style is difficult at best to treat.  Although an attempt was made, it fell a "little short".

I prefer to see the drapery rod hung over the entire window frame and the drapery hung all the way to the floor.  The drapery can be made to cover the entire window and opened to allow for sunshine and view during the day and closed in the evening for privacy. Using stationary side panels to add fabric and interest to the room is another option.

A window treatment should serve a purpose as well as add beauty.  This is a lovely bedroom and would be even more lovely with window treatments  that provide privacy at bedtime and beauty during the day.

Using sheers over a window diffuses light and provides a screen of privacy during the day. Side panels of another fabric adds interest and warmth to a space.  Notice these sheers are hung with grommets adding a very modern take to an otherwise traditional style.

Wood blinds can be the perfect solution for some windows.  My favorite application for wood blinds is  hanging them in the down position at all times and then tilted for daylight or privacy.  

I would love to see side panels hung at each of these corners and on the ends.  What a difference it would make!  

Hanging the drapery hardware to the ceiling and outside the window frame, makes this window look bigger and more dramatic.  The contrast band on the drapery looks smashing.  Pairing fabric with shutters or wood blinds is classic and timeless.

Sometimes, not every window can be treated the same in a room.  Using the same fabric on both windows unifies these windows. 

Commonly my clients tell me " they want to let all the light in" or "don't block my view".  I feel the same in my own home.  Please consider the view when the windows are not covered.  There are options that full fill  all the requirements and look perfect.

Plantation style shutters are a wonderful solution to many window dilemmas . Sunshine streams in and the outside view is not blocked during the day.  In the evening a simple pull on the tilt rod and they close for privacy.  They are hung to allow for ease of window cleaning.

This traditional shutter is still a favorite of mine.  It is the perfect "look" for this room decor.  It serves the same function as the more "updated" look of plantation shutters however it provides the charm that some rooms require.  For me, they are timeless.  

Not even I would put anything on these windows.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Daring to go all white.

One of the latest design trends is the "all white room" or "all white home".  To create a successful white interior, here are a few tips that will help you transform a boring sterile space into a thing of beauty.
There's no such thing as a "neutral white". Every neutral has an undertone and white is no exception.  It's best to combine whites that come from the same color family, as all whites DON'T  go together. The bathroom above uses whites with a gray undertone.
Creamy whites were used in the family room above.  Combining various shades of white sharing the same undertone creates a warm, cozy space.   Notice how the wood tones in the floor and the door have the same warm tone.   All of the textures of fabric, wood, stone, and ceramic, adds dimension and depth to the scheme, making it very pleasing and interesting.

Test shades of white on the ceiling, walls, and floors before you commit totally.  Whites will look different depending on your light source.  Color will change as the light in the room changes.  Natural light differs from artificial light. Imagine how much the colors will change in this hallway when the natural light from the big window opposite the bench is gone and the room is lit by artificial lighting.

What is the undertone of the white used in this bedroom?  Comment on this post if you think you know.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Break Out The Lights

Why settle for a  mundane light fixtures rather than an exciting, beautiful fixture that breaks free from the norm. Bringing in an interesting light fixture can add an upexpected element to a room and can make a good design great.

Would you think to hang one of these fixtures over your dining table or desk? Enough luminance for the table surface is a concern but that doesn't mean the fixtures have to be unattractive. These fixtures are very functional and eye-catching.      
The entry is where the first impression of a home is made so introducing a unique light fixture can be very inviting and set the tone for the rest of the home.

Changing out a light fixture is such a simple way to change the entire feel of a room. So do these fixtures inspire you to change out some of the fixtures in your own home?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Accent the Ceiling

 Ceilings are often painted "ceiling white" to help reflect light in a space but if the space has plenty of light  why not look for a color outside the box?
 Think of the ceiling as the "fifth wall" in any space.  Check out this bright yellow ceiling.
While it is not uncommon to see blue painted porch ceilings, this shade of blue is much brighter than typically seen. The white walls used in contrast to the blue ceiling and floor creates a stunning look.

White crown molding defines the ceiling from the walls contributing to the sophisticated feel of this dining room. 
 Deep gray ceiling and crisp white walls creates a very dramatic effect. The reflective quality of the paint application keeps the room from looking dark or dreary when pairing it with good lighting, contrasting light wall colors, and mirrors.
So if you had a chance to go bold and paint your ceiling a different color, what would you choose?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jason and Sarah's Wedding

It has been so long since my last post, I wanted to show what has been keeping me so busy. My son Jason and my new daughter-in-law Sarah were married Jun 11, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa and I have been helping them plan and prepare for their special day for the last couple of months. I wanted to share some photos of their big day and how we executed the concept of black and white. 

Designing Around A Bold Rug

Could you see yourself putting this rug in your home? Place it in your living room, dining room, or kitchen maybe? Or would it intimidate you to use such a bold rug in your space?

A great design foundation for any room can be found in an attractive area rug. Building a design scheme around a rug can introduce a depth and a new level of interest to the space.

A great way to design around these bold rugs would be to bring in a neutral wall color and flooring that become a backdrop for the daring color scheme, and incorporate splashes of the bold colors from the rug in accessories and furniture to enhance the scheme.
While it can be challenging to design around a bold rug, the result can be very rewarding!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Color Schemes From Nature

The easiest way to understand the shibu concept of beauty is to say that it is based on Nature and it uses colors and textures found in Nature, combining them in the same ways and ratios as Nature does.

The stone back splash in this kitchen is most likely the inspiration behind the color scheme of this room.

Nature never makes a mistake. Examples of Nature's infallibility are all around us everyday to study and duplicate. Notice the colors in the highest ratio in Nature are quiet and undemanding with a very small ratio of color bright, vibrant, or strong.

The framed sea shell prints have provided the very soft color palette of this room proving Mother Nature does good work.

Imagine what a beautiful color scheme this scene from Nature would create.