Tag Archives: home furnishings

Guest Blogger-Ashlee Richardson on Inspiration from Nature

As an emerging Interior Design professional, I find myself constantly seeking inspiration for design projects. Looking to designers like Barbara Barry helps me to figure out how other designers find inspiration throughout their iconic careers. Barbara Barry’s latest book “Around Beauty” has led me to realize that nature can be a source of eternal inspiration. In Ms. Barry’s book she walks us through her daily life as a designer and how she finds inspiration everywhere she goes.  She states that many times her color palette for a room can be influenced by something as simple as a pistachio. Ms. Barry says, “crack it open and discover the impeccable pairings of lavender and lime, ivory and tusk. Looking closely, you will see a pistachio’s influence in my work: beached oak floors, pale green walls, and hints of lavender in pillows and trims.”

Pistachio

Nature offers us dynamic color combinations, all we must do is go outside and absorb. I am overjoyed as I read Ms. Barry’s passionate words about the colors that inspire her work. Citrine, a color that I recently grew to love especially when paired with a rich emerald purple, is also one of Barbara Barry’s favorite colors.  Ms. Barry says, “Citrine is liquid light, and this jewel of a color pops up throughout my day in the thin smear of olive oil on an all-white plate…”

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Barbara Barry’s favorite color in nature is the color of a fig. “There’s something delicious about a fig’s powdery surface conjuring up dark velvets and luscious silks–it’s deep color can be an exclamation mark of dark in a pale room.” It is so intriguing to me to read Ms. Barry’s words and to see how she see’s the world, so pure yet abstract.

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I recommend Barbara Barry’s book “Around Beauty” to any designer or non-designer in need of inspiration.  Indeed inspiration is the greatest feeling someone can have and as Ms. Barry reveals, “I feel my most alive on the edge of an idea…my heart beats fast and I feel my most confident.” In closing, go outside and get INSPIRED!

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Cerused Oak

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On my most recent trip to San Francisco, I was able to take some time to walk through the Galleria in search of materials for a returning client. I always make a stop at Wroolie and Company who are known for their high end furniture and lighting which range from custom reproductions, original designs, to contemporary. I was delighted to see several cerused oak side tables near the front window of the showroom. I’ve been fond of this finish for years and am very pleased to see that it is being used in new and interesting ways. These pieces by Mario Grimaldi International were in a variety of rich stains and finished with a high gloss finish.

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With my interest piqued, I did a bit of research on cerused oak and learned a few interesting facts. The technique of cerused oak, known as limed oak in Britain, began back in the 16th century.  Carpenters rubbed a material containing lime into the grain of the wood to fill it, then the wood was stained and finished giving you a two toned effect. Cerused oak became popular again in the age of Art Deco and is having a  comeback in our decade as well.

Mario Grimaldi International London Dining Table

Mario Grimaldi International London Dining Table

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Best Book to Buy While in Paris- International Design Magazine’s 2013 Paris Design Guide

On my most recent trip to Paris I came upon the essential guide for any designer or lover of art to have during their time in Paris. International Design Magazine’s 2013 Paris Design Guide beautifully describes the newest and best designed showrooms, hotels, cafes, shops, galleries, and bookshops that Paris has to offer. With over 300 places you can visit, it’s hard to even scratch the surface. The book is separated into chapters by Paris’ 20 districts making it very user friendly. Each district has its own chapter that begins with a map showing the exact location of the showroom, hotel, etc. The information given about each designed space tells you just enough about the space to make you want to go visit for yourself.

557I visited two locations in the 1st arrondissement with the help of this guide. The first was Le Café Marly which is nestled into the north end of the Louvre museum, with outdoor seating under the arcade of the Louvre. The space boasts not only beautiful design, but a splendid view of the Ming Pei’s Pyramid. The design of this space was inspired by Napoleonic interiors, featuring Empire colours on the walls, ceiling, and furniture detailing.

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208The second place I had the opportunity to visit in the 1st arrondissement was Hotel Lumen. Designed by Claudio Colucci, this space has a unique mixture of elegance and quirk. The designer incorporated the baroque look with a modern twist by choosing whimsical furniture and unexpected finishes. As its name suggests, Hotel Lumen incorporates light in a soft while contrasting way that warmly draws guests into the space.

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1201Another amazing place that I was able to see with direction from this book was located in the 5th arrondissement. La quinacaillerie is a handle and knob boutique located just down the street from Notre-Dame. Featuring the best international suppliers of door and window handles and furniture knobs, it’s hard not to fall in love with them all. The store displays the best and most functional handle designs of the world. The white walls and simple wood floors makes the space feel more like an art gallery than a showroom.1202

236The last place I was able to visit thanks to the help of this book was in Paris’ 7th arrondissement. Café Campana located in the Museum D’Orsay has a beautifully modern design. The Campana Brezilian brothers have incorporated whimsical modern design into a Parisian architecture shell. Gold pendants made of gold shards, textured turquoise methacrylate panels, and twisted orange metal partitions give many layers to a fun design. The design of Café Campana seems to give a nod to the impressionist artists who greatly influenced Paris and the world.

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The design continues even into the menu graphics

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I highly recommend the 2013 Paris Design Guide to any designer or lover of the arts. It allows you to feel the pulse of creativity in Paris in a user friendly way. I will never go to Paris without it again! Happy travels.

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American Classical Style Architecture in East Sacramento

Perfect Symmetry

Found a new book published by Monacelli Press, The American Style, which is a wonderful tribute to our very own American  Classical style!  Though California is not widely known for this style – as much as, say, the East Coast – you can still find this colonial revival style if you know where to look!  

“Broken” pediment detail over front door

Emphisis on the front door makes for a grander entry

Right here in East Sacramento are homes that are excellent (and beautiful!) examples of the classical use of balance and symmetry.  Details, including the use of wood or shingles,porticos or recessed entry porches, pediments over the center entry, and shutters, are consistent with proportional touches that say “Classical.”

Wonderful reference for Classical American Design

For more information on Interior Design, follow this link to StoneWood’s photo gallery:  http://stonewooddesign.com/portfolio.php

For more information on Classical Architecture, see The Insititute of Classical ARchitectue & Art  http://classicist.org/

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East Coast comes to El Dorado Hills

South Hampton Main Street

Classical American Facade

        

What could be better than a visit to the East Coast – roaming through New York up the Hudson River Valley and down to the Hamptons – to confirm my love for our wonderful American classical style?  This crisp, simple design style began in the early days of our country’s history and has been revived many times since.  You can see many elements of this style are understated, reflecting balance and proportion. 

This hand painted mural makes a beautiful statement in the Entry Hall.

The Blue Room

 Most West Coast homeowners have not readily embraced American Classical style, but Tony & Jenifer Russo knew it would work perfectly for the home they were constructing in El Dorado Hills.  As East Coast “wannabes,” this two-career political couple quickly seized the opportunity to distinguish their home from many of their contemporaries who were selecting a French Country style.

For their entry hall, we collaborated on a primitive mural painted to imitate the work of itinerant artists of colonial America in the 18thcentury.  Across from the dining room, the drawing room is dubbed “the Blue Room,” as the one in the White House.   When the Sierra foothills get winter snowfall, you can easily believe you’ve been transported to the heart of New England! 

Wintertime in the Sierra Foothills.

 

 

 

For more information go to our website.

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I’d Like to Thank…

Award Winning Kitchen

Award season is nearly over; we’ve made it through the Grammys, the Golden Globes, the Oscars and, of course, the Annual Design National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). I’m thrilled to report that StoneWood Design was awarded 1st place for “Open Design Kitchen.”   

 Established in 1963 as a network of kitchen dealers, NKBA today boasts more than 40,000 professional members.  And while I’ve been a member for years, and have won several awards from them along the way, I’m particularly proud of this year’s recognition.  Winning this year’s “Open Design Kitchen” award after 25 years in the business is acknowledgement from my peers and other professionals that says, “Your design and work is noteworthy.”  It means a great deal to me. Plus, it’s such a joy to be noticed for something that you love to do as much as I love interior design.  As long as I continue to feel excited and confident in the work I do for my clients, and gain the recognition of my peers, I can’t see myself ever stopping, so here’s to another 25 years!

Fobes Laundry

Also, beyond this most recent recognition from NKBA, I’m pleased to share that a laundry room designed by StoneWood Design is featured in this month’s edition of Sacramento Magazine.  If you have a copy of the magazine, flip to pages 70 and 71 to see the functional, airy and delightful space I created for the Fobes family.  I love seeing the pictures of my client, Cathy, enjoying the space with her three daughters, Kate, Allison, and Emily.  It’s always a pleasure to see clients using the space you’ve designed for them.  If you don’t have a copy of the magazine handy, you can check out the online edition at www.sagmag.com

 Finally, in addition to liking what I do, I’m blessed to work with many, many wonderful clients.  For the “Open Design Kitchen” I’d like to thank my clients, the Plumlee/van den Akker family for the opportunity to work on this amazing and fun project.   Not only are they the perfect clients, whom I have been privileged to work with on a number of projects, but we also make a good team.  They know what they like and expect from their space, and it’s my job to execute that for them.  I’m hopeful that we’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with each other again in the near future.

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Designer vs. Decorator

Functionality is the key to any space, but especially in the bathroom. If in order to achieve better functionality you need to make major structural changes then you are best to hire an interior designer.

Documentary film producer, Jason Cohn, recently shared one of the primary lessons he learned about interior design while making a film about famed, interior design icons, Charles and Ray Eames, “It’s not a surface gloss you put on a product.  When it’s practiced correctly, it’s about problem solving at a deep level.”

As an interior designer with more than 30 years experience, I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Cohn’s assessment of what constitutes good design.  Clients and curious friends often ask me what the difference is between a designer and a decorator.  My answer often is as simple as:  “it’s surface versus substance.” What I mean by this is that a good decorator can help you create a new and beautiful “surface” for your space by helping you decide what color to paint the walls, what type of window treatments to use and how best to position your belongings and furniture so that it is pleasing to the eye.  On the other hand, an interior designer is often called upon to go well beyond the surface, which means a designer needs to be able to deconstruct a room and know structurally how to put it back together again—often in a whole new way–so it will function properly.  As a designer, my primary duty is to help my clients conceptualize, from floor to ceiling what their space could look like, create the design and then manage the design execution.  I love that my work requires me to be both creative and strategic in order to create a space that is functional, structurally safe and aesthetically pleasing to my clients and all who visit their space.

Knowing the difference between a decorator and a designer can save you time, money and a lot of headaches.  So remember, if you were thinking about hiring someone to help give your master bedroom and bath a two-dimensional facelift (i.e. change the paint color, buy new bedding, change the furniture placement) then you would be wise to hire a decorator. However, if instead of a two-dimensional facelift, you want to knock out a wall, add some new French doors in place of a window then you are better to hire an interior designer who can consult with you about how to creatively get the look you want and also advise you on what is structurally and functionally possible in your space.

At the end of the day, neither one is better than the other, but knowing whom to hire at the unset of your project is important.  The next time you are considering taking on a design project think carefully about the scope of your project, what needs to happen in order for you to realize your dream room or home and then hire the right designer or decorator for the task.

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