When it comes to decorating advice, we’ve heard it all. A lot of what we hear seems intuitively correct, and other things we hear sound downright silly. But every now and then, we hear something that we don’t expect and that we find actually works. We’ve decided to share a few of those tips with you here:
Tip No 1 : Install your door knobs at 34 inches — a bit lower than the usual 36 inches. It breaks up the doors into a prettier, more relaxed proportion. Richard Bories and James Shearron. We’d never heard this one before, but it makes sense as it echoes the ideas of the ancient Greeks who believed in the Golden Ratio for beauty of 1:1.618. When we’ve seen doors with lowered knobs, we have to admit — they look better!
Tip No 2: Strong clear colors are easier to live with in the long run than pale color. Soft colors get boring more quickly — Richard Keith Langham. We never thought about this, although we do have a preference for strong clear colors like red or orange. Vibrant bold colors feel youthful and energetic and timeless while more muted colors often feel subject to the vagaries of fashion. For instance, the living room below features a bold blue wall that we could enjoy for many years to come.
We feel the same way about this bold yellow couch, which wouldn’t have the same timeless appeal in pale pink or blue:
Tip No. 3: Don’t hang a mirror between windows. The void it creates distracts from the view. Don’t fall prey to using mirrors in every room over every mantle. Mirrors are not art, and a room needs art. — Carey Maloney. Here’s some advice where we can totally get on board. Yes mirrors are nice, but they will never have the energy and interest of a beautiful painting. So hang one mirror, but fill the rest of your home with art! The room below just wouldn’t have the same oomph if a mirror stood in place of the dramatic and moody tree painting.
Here’s another view of the same room:
Tip No. 4: If you have a painting that looks too small above your sofa, don’t center it. Offset it a few inches to the left. The negative space called “ma” becomes part of the image. — Richard Mishaan. We hadn’t thought about this before but it makes total sense. Off-centering a small painting completely disguises mismatched proportions. Check out the painting over the mantle below. If it had been centered, it would have appeared too small.
Tip No. 5: Small abstract sculpture is an instant way to modernize a traditional room. It could make J.P. Morgan’s death chamber look modern.” — David Netto. Sculpture is not used as often as it could be, and it’s a real shame. Nothing can activate a room, be it modern or traditional, like a dynamic modern sculpture.
Tip No. 6: Once you’ve used a fabric in a room never use it anywhere else in the house. Do not match your fabrics! Do not let your fabrics make your room look too decorator-y. Garrow Kedigian. We’ve all seen those decorator showhouses with matched chintz drapes and sofas. Nothing looks more old-fashioned. The freshest interiors these days are much less studied, throwing in mismatched patterns and colors in free abandon. In the home office below, a variety of fabrics are used. They are related, but they don’t match.
Tip No. 7: Best dog-proof floor covering: cowhide. Cannot beat it. Cannot hurt it. — Jill Sharp Brinson.
We have had personal experience with this one and we have to absolutely agree that it’s true. Cowhide is resistant to spills, accidents, stains, dog hair, mud, or whatever.
Tip No. 8: When it comes to bookcases, stick to books. Nothing is more chaotic than 46 shelves filled with random ‘stuff.’ —J. Randall Powers We’ve seen a lot of bookshelves filled with objects and tchotchkes, but if you have a sizeable bookcase, it’s true that filling it with random objects is going to look messier than a clean wall of books, as below.
And some parting words of advice from designer Erin Gates: “Definitely do not do all your shopping in one store or catalog. Don’t order a couch, coffee table, and bookshelf all from one place. Have patience. Take your time, and look at different sources like flea markets and antique shops. You can’t do it all in one day if you want the space to look like you and reflect your life. Move slow—wait for what you love. People rush, then feel uninspired and wonder why. That’s why.”
Miró Rivera Architects have designed this lovely, organic structure that blends gracefully into its densely vegetated Lake Austin setting.
The charming footbridge is totally integrated within its wetland setting.
The lightweight structure is unmistakably organic and natural, its design inspired by the native reeds that cover the lake shores.
All the more astonishing then is the robust nature of its construction – from 1/2 inch steel bars!
These bars (or “reeds”) intertwine at the abutments and have been beautifully made to “grow” naturally over the bridge, camouflaging its practical and maintenance-free steel construction.
The arch structure spans 100 feet with a main span of 80 feet that diverges gracefully between the spring-point of the main span and the abutment.
Surprisingly, this pedestrian footbridge is on private land.
The foot bridge connects a main house on the property with a newly constructed guest house.
This almost invisible link is a artistic and imaginative solution that is fully organic, yet never corny.
The ultimate kick-off-your-shoes seaside escape is this beguilingly simple beach house by Stelle Architects.
As blithely pleasing as its view, Surfside House overlooks the vast ocean at Bridgehampton, New York.
Instead of putting in landscaping that fights the coastal climate, the natural dunes were restored with beach grass, bayberry and other native plants.
Furnishings are bland and simple, the perfect invitation to loll about and get absolutely nothing done.
In a light-saturated living space, a picture window encapsulates a beach vista that is as sweet as a primitive painting.
A sun deck is designed for warming the New York-chilled body, while providing the option of a “sunhat” of shade at head level.
In the kitchen, open to the sea air, a clanging collection of pots and pans hangs from a metal girder that forms the basic bones of the unassuming cottage. Read the rest of this entry »
A gigantic roof deck creates the sense of an expansive “tabletop” sited amidst the tops of a towering old growth forest in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Tonic Design + Construction designed and built the contemporary 3500-square-foot house for art collectors John and Molly Chiles, set in the forest canopy.
The new house was constructed re using the metal “bones” of an abandoned 1960s era steel-framed and wood-paneled house overlooking Crabtree Creek.
The cladding had been overgrown by kudzu and ivy, rotting the wood. It was in terrible condition.
The architect did not repeat the original mistake of wood cladding in a damp forest setting.
The new house was an all metal re-design.
Instead, the wonderful “bones” of the neglected remains become the chassis for a dramatic new house.
The deck of the now clearly defined steel structure offers views across the treetops to the distant horizon.
The all white open floor plan with loft-like spaces makes this treetop perch an unlikely home. Read the rest of this entry »
We’re used to thinking of lofts as gi-normous spaces featuring miles and miles of square footage. But increasingly, and especially in Europe, small lofts are the norm. They are open, light-filled and airy, but often fail to crack 50 square meters (or about 600 square feet). Here’s one such example in Paris where, architects Gianluca Gaudenzi and Sandra De Giorgio of Nzi Architectes have transformed an old artist’s studio located in the 20° arrondissement on the Right Bank of the Seine. It may be a small space, but the architects were able to maximize every inch, including massively high ceilings that are 5 meters tall.
The architects created a loft on three levels, each within view of the other. The lowest level consists of a kitchen and dining room. Two steps take you to a comfortable living room with a built-in cherry bookshelf. A flight of narrow steps on the kitchen level takes you to the uppermost level, which is where a bedroom and study are located, closed off with a glass wall. Here’s a view below:
And here’s another view:
Here’s a view giving you an idea of the entire landscape. On the far left hand side are the stairs leading up to the bedroom. To the right are the kitchen, dining room, and at the far end of the loft on another level reached by two steps is the living area with built-in bookshelf.
And here is a view of the living room as seen from the little study area in the bedroom above:
There’s a lot to love about this little loft, and we love it all!
- It’s minimal without being cold. Punches of bright color, the use of warm wood, the liberal use of antiques like the theatre chairs and old stove give the loft warmth without clutter.
- It’s industrial without going over the top. The industrial look has become a big trend these days, but this little loft indulges without seeming trendy. Iron supports and frames around windows provide just the right amount of factory flavor against the stone walls and wooden built-ins.
- It’s filled with light. Thanks to a careful planning of space, there are no dark corners in this loft. A skylight on the top level also brings light into a space that might have otherwise been dark.
- It looks like someone actually lives here. We’ve seen too many lofts that seem so picture perfect it’s hard to believe anyone could ever live there. This space, on the other hand, is unassuming in its grandeur. When can we move in?
Images: Courtesy livingcorriere.it