Selasa, 31 Mei 2011

Dressing problem windows - 1

Not every window is perfectly sized  or perfectly placed, and when they aren't  it can be a challenge to decide on window treatments. This is the first of several posts on this topic.  If your window solution isn't here there's more to come.

Corner Windows 

Dining Room eclectic dining room
Tracery Interiors

While corner windows are fantastic for views they often cause problems depending on how they meet in the corner.  This setting allows enough space for panels  to hang on the sides and in the centre, but they do not appear to be fully closing.  
Lindy Donnelly traditional living room

Roman shades are a good alternative in corner windows if there is enough room for the shades to meet in the corner. An inside mount would alleviate that problem.

Beautiful Bathroom Remodel contemporary bathroom

If privacy isn't an issue you can keep is simple with a mock roman valance that runs the width of the two windows.

Two different style windows in same room
San Carlos Residence Two contemporary family room

When you  have two different style windows in a room one solution is to put a roman shade on the smallest one.  You can use the same fabric to coordinate the look.

Living Room contemporary living room

If you have a layered treatment on the large window you can use the interior solution (blind, roman shade etc. ) on the smaller window. 

 High, small  basement windows

 When a window is set high in a wall it is difficult to know what to do with it.  My approach is to blend it into the wall rather than make it an accent.  That means keeping what you add as a treatment close in colour and value to the walls.  One of the simplest solutions is to use small tension rods and make a fitted curtain from translucent material .  In that way they can stay in place and still create some privacy.  Another option is faux wood blinds or sheer weave roller blinds that stay down.

Dustins Bedroom traditional kids

 Shutters always work well in a basement because they can be easily opened and closed on a hinge which allows you to fold them back on the wall when you want optimum light. 

Boys Bedroom contemporary bedroom

Placing a bed below a basement window and then framing both with side panels  pulls a design together. Keeping the window treatment and the bed the same colour adds to the cohesiveness.

Privacy Issues

Elle Decor

Window film  is a practical solution when privacy is an issue in window treatments.  Some have patterns others are matte. When you buy large sheets of matte film it can be cut to create various geometric designs which add a little creativity to the solution.  This pattern is by Emma Jeffs.

Cary Bernstein Architect Choy 1 Residence modern bathroom
Cary Bernstein Architect

One of my favourite window treatments for bathrooms and kitchens  is a roller shade.  They have a clean, no nonsense look, are easy to raise up and down and come in a wide variety of  patterns, textures and colours. If you want to see the view in the daytime they roll up completely under the cassette/valance.   

Ukrainian Village Master Bath contemporary bathroom
Claudia Martin, ASID

Top down bottom up cellular shades are very versatile and solve many decorating problems.  They can be dropped from the top or pulled up from the bottom. You can have privacy and light at the same time.   Check out Levelor.  

Minggu, 22 Mei 2011

Displaying family photographs-2

Continuing with ideas for displaying family photographs...

Use a photo ledge

NJ Residential contemporary living room

 CrystalTech - [ Roger Hirsch Architect ] eclectic living room
 Roger Hirsch Architect

I like the photo ledge, but I love the sofa/chair. 

 Make them part of a larger arrangement


How fresh the white and black photos look on the blue green wall. The tall tree like plant adds to the overall arrangement, however I find the photos a tad too close to the window trim.   

Print on large  canvases

 A grouping of squares always hang nicely together- much more interesting to my eye than rectangles.

Display without frames



These frameless photographs are mounted on sturdy art boards and linked by small tape hinges  to create an accordion structure. This project displays well on a mantle, bookcase etc.

Memories traditional living room

Don't these photos just beg to be handled/sorted/ looked at?  The crispness of the hurricanes and white cloths are a great juxtaposition with the untidy, "I just landed here" look of the photos.

Rabu, 18 Mei 2011

Displaying family photographs - 1

We all have them, they keep increasing in number and often seem to get out of control. We could just keep them on the computer or in a box , but shouldn't someone else be able to see them?  Without thought you can easily end up with  every square inch of the tables and bookshelves in your house overrun with family photos. Perhaps these tips can make  photo display a little easier and  more polished.

Hang to create one unit

Using the same colour frames and hanging them so they touch gives the impression of one large unit.  When we want to join anything well in our house the answer is always 'Liquid Nails'  construction adhesive.  Including coloured papers in tones that work with the images  provides a resting place for the eye, highlights the photos, and creates colour cohesiveness.  Put some thought into where you place the colours and also keep arranging  the photos until you have a pleasant composition. If you have access to Ikea frames they work very well for this type of project.


What a great idea for a headboard.  I also like the fact that it keeps the photos in a private part of the house.

Use one type or colour  of frame to unify collections


 Nothing looks as sharp as black and white photographs displayed in a grouping.  While the sizes and thicknesses of frames vary, the colour provides cohesiveness. The overall rectangular shape formed by the frames adds a professional look of the grouping.


While this may look like a more haphazard arrangement on first glance, a closer look reveals order. 

Hanging Picture contemporary hall

This set up is more visually ordered. Lining up the bottoms and tops of photographs  through the middle of an arrangement produces a strong graphic element that draws the eye. 

Dining Room contemporary dining room
Charlie & Co. Design

I guess you can tell which type of arrangements I like.  I seem to have quite a few examples of grids!

Group on a table or mantle

Fluegge Interior Design, Inc.

Do you have a favourite way to display family photos?

Sabtu, 14 Mei 2011

Decorating a dining table-2

Perk up your dining room table by making centerpieces  using  everyday materials from flowers to sand.  You are only limited by your imagination. Perhaps you have a special occasion or a  themed dinner party, perhaps you just want a lift in the middle of a spell of bad weather; whatever your reason you can adorn your dining table. Here are some of my favourite ideas  I've collected for various occasions.


This has all the markings of success for me.  It combines circular motifs, lime green plant and the sea.  Perfect! Put  the stem of the plant in a tall water glass and fill in around it with silica and shells.


Forget the trifle and fill your bowl with shells and water and float candles on top.  

A little red spray paint and birds from the dollar store adorn this white and red table setting.You could spray the branch any colour to match your decor. 

Float flowers with stems removed in water that has been tinted with food colouring. You can colour coordinate your themes with little effort. 

Beach rocks, orchids and floating candles in water in three vases of varying heights looks smashing .  Quick and very easy.  Substitute orchids with , roses, peonies  and change the candle colours to match. My preference is always  white . 

 Cut chunks of lemons or limes, keep some whole and float in a covered container.  This is a great touch for a brunch.Of course finding interestingly shaped jars is the challenge.

Tulips and jellybeans are perfect for an Easter centerpiece. While I love the look of this the logistics of it are confusing me.  I guess you don't eat the jelly beans after -this would not be a great choice with kids around.

How Martha to use simple white paper lunch bags to enclose glass vases giving  this floral arrangement a playful twist. 

 A mirrored tray is always a useful prop for table centerpieces.  Candles, mirror and flowers always pair up well.

The yellow flowers are paper and you can learn how to make them by clicking on the source above.


Reuse is always a good beginning to any design.  I'd skip the bedding of greenery and just use the starkness of the bottle shapes.  Think about those beautiful blue bottles used for some white wines with white callas. For a more informal and less expensive approach use daisies. It's the massing of different heights and shapes while keeping the colour constant that makes this design work.

Partly core a green apple and presto, you have a table arrangement. Check out other ideas on this site.

Anything can be used to make an arrangement as I frequently prove at my summer house.  As fall approaches there are no flowers left in the garden or meadow so I resort to greenery and buds from the nearby woods.  


And what about that china you never use?  Pile it up in interesting ways and add small scale flowers in appropriate colours to complete the arrangement. 

Save those interestingly designed tea cans, they have many uses. You don't need a large grouping like this one to create interest.


Check your cabinets.  Do you have a collection that never gets seen?  Arrange it along the centre of the table and use one of the containers as a vase.  Doesn't white always work?

I couldn't resist showing these.  The pom poms are styrofoam balls covered in shredded paper.  I've used shredded paper to build up textural layers in my art work , but I admit I never thought about using it in this way.   Adapt the idea and  make varying sizes of  "snowballs" to put in a large glass or silver bowl. 

Do you have a favourite?

Rabu, 04 Mei 2011

Decorating a dining table - 1

  I like questions from my readers because they help me focus on topics that  will actually help someone solve a problem.   This post is for the reader who question the best way to decorate  a dining room table. If you're wondering what lies beyond  a  runner, faux greenery and scented candles,   read on....

Consider  table shape
The shape of your table will dictate where you place decorative objects on it .  Circular tables have less options and cry out for central placements as you can see in the photos below . Use variety in shapes and  more than one object to create greater interest. The objects you choose to display should also work well with the overall theme/style of the room.

 Corbett Lighting traditional dining room

 With a circular table the trick is to use scale and variety to energize the display. The two urns are simple and elegant and their height is counter balanced by the  visual weight of the circular  bowl .  Everything blends but it is still interesting because of the objects used.

You can never go astray by choosing calla lilies for a table.  They are tall and elegant and the white goes with any decor.  They look particularly pleasing in this room where their height  directs the eye to the stairs and the shape of the vase seems to nestle into the curve of the stairs in the background.

You have more options with a rectangular table.

You can stretch  out your arrangement along the table .  This works because of the harmony created by the use of similar materials and interesting shapes.  It's symmetrical without being boring.

 Repetition of shapes and simplicity in colour works well no matter what style of table you have. You can never go wrong with white objects. Matching the scale of the objects to what is around them is  important especially in this room where the lighting is large and  hung so low .  Another solution for this table would be something  long and narrow  with multiple objects in it. 

Willowgrove Dining Room contemporary dining room
 Using multiples on long tables moves the eye along the length,  creates unity and helps balance scale. The crystal vases add an additional texture that works with the lavishness of the room.


In this room the table is part of  a larger design on the back wall .  I love how the off centre placement of the flowers integrates with the open book on the display shelf behind it.  It isn't obvious right away and it's a happy moment when you discover it - thoughtful design at its best.


 William Hefner Architecture Interiors & Landscape traditional dining room

 Displaying functional objects on your tabletop adds interest and also provides a place to store things. When you use tall objects like these candlesticks you can get away with the off centre placement of them but with the simple lines of this room I would use one or the other of these groupings- my preference is the candlesticks. While candlesticks are a traditional solution to table decorations, you can WOW by choosing interesting styles, mixing finishes  and massing them together. 

When you use multiples it is bet to keep at least one aspect the same and then use variety.  In the shot about you have varying heights and shapes but they are all clear and the same colour candle is used.  Less colour always produces a more sophisticated look. . You don't have to have this many but rectangular or circular massing of at least five works best.

 Height works when you have clear candlestick groupings. Multiples can create a cluttered look if the variables are not controlled.  These holders are so delicate it looks like the candles are hovering above the table. Keeping the candles to one hue and varying it is always an interesting statement. 

 Crate and Barrel via Live the fancy life

 Metal and glass always look good together because of their sparkle especially when candles are lit.

Using a piece of mirror as a runner and placing candles on it is an inexpensive treatment that always look exceptional.  You don't have to worry about safety and any melted wax scrapes off with a blade. One

 Fresh flowers 
You can never go wrong with fresh flowers but you can move your WOW factor from OK to fantastic by considering the container you use and kind and amount of flowers.  I love tall flowers on a dining table but you have to consider the space between your light and the top of the floral arrangement. 

Dining Room traditional dining room

The use of tall thin vases and a sparse arrangement of flowers works in this room.  This is a trick I often use because it cuts down on the the number of flowers you have to buy.

Here's another variation on the theme above.  The flowers you choose can come from your own garden too.  I manage to always have something fresh at my summer house without a price tag attached to it.

Displaying art collections contemporary dining room
Orchids always work and a repetition of them is always better.

Pretty in Pink traditional dining room

This classic arrangement of fresh flowers in a simple vase and candlesticks always works.  When you have candles it is important to keep them straight.  Masses of them make any that are not perfect stand out.

San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2011

Masses of traditional Chinese jars and peonies - what could be more perfect?

small Chelsea apartment modern dining room

Sparkle everywhere.  This small room makes good use of the mirror at the end of the table. You actually get multiple arrangements of flowers!

 Sculptural  elements

Dining Room only for Grown-ups modern dining room

Go for the unexpected as a table decoration.  This arrangement is as interesting as the rest of the space it is part of.

Being an avid beachcomber I would have no difficulty finding interesting driftwood arrangements.  This one mimics the lines of the artwork behind it. Simple but very effective.

Dining Room contemporary dining room

Some tables are so sculptural they need nothing more added.
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