Monday, January 25, 2010

Rainy days in San Francisco

I have really enjoyed hibernating at home whilst we have had all of this rain. The thunderstorms were great too! However, I did have to venture out to a clients' house last week and took these photos on my drive over there.

Driving through the brightly coloured Mission district:

Down 3rd Street:

Finally, inside my clients' home and a great view of the Bay Bridge:

And the Marina:

And this is what winter in San Francisco usually looks like - this was Dolores Street a couple of weeks ago:

I love San Francisco!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dining room design

Designing for a client takes time. From the initial meeting right through to the finished product. Sourcing is one of my favourite jobs, this is when using a designer, to my mind, is invaluable. We get our brain into gear and come up with all sorts of interesting ideas from all over the world, high end showrooms, antique markets, thrift stores and popular retail stores.... no stone is left unturned in our mission.
However, browsing online today and I saw all of these items and thought what a fabulous dining room design this would make. I like the colour palette - worn but elegant. Use the sofa as a banquet, paired with Louis XVI inspired chairs along with the wooden table just sings to me!

Great storeage for napkins:
Mirror placed above the console:Fun accessories:
Rustic rug:Fun overhead lighting:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Before and after

I really enjoy before and after design photographs. The before and after shots here were featured in which is fast becoming one of my favourite publications and websites.

Before - This spacious front hall entry has strong craftsman-style features, but its two-tone colour scheme was busy and uninviting:

After - The lower-portion of the room was painted out in creamy white and warm burnt-orange grasscloth wallpaper was applied to the upper walls. A tailored striped carpet on the stairs, a new Persian rug, a striped roman blind and a new floral seat cushion add layers of colour and pattern:

Before - This stately 1850s living room needed some TLC:

After - This spare yet elegant design features modern chairs and traditional finishes. Mesh front doors were added onto the built-ins flanking the fireplace. New crown moulding enhances the overall look of the space. Niches for firewood were carved out on either side of the new window seat. Herringbone oak floors with a high gloss finish create a glamorous effect:

Before - Limited storage space and a shallow countertop depth compromised this kitchen’s functionality. A builder-basic aesthetic made the room feel drab:

After - Fresh white upper cabinets extend to the ceiling to provide extra storage space.
The new Quarella countertop includes an overhang for informal meals. Narrow horizontal Carrara marble tile replaces the plain white backsplash and adds a modern yet classic touch. Fresh green accessories punch up the room’s neutral palette:

Before - Dull cabinets and cheap counters and flooring do little for this kitchen. This small, plain kitchen lacked character or vibrancy. Older white appliances added to the dated look of the space:
After - A glass door lets the light shine on glossy cabinets and stainless steel appliances.
European-style white lacquered cabinetry and a bold acid-yellow painted wall against dark antiqued hardwood flooring inject this space with loads of character while maintaining a clean, crisp look. Brushed metal horizontal drawer pulls reinforce the lean, linear theme:

Before - A standard-issue vanity and tiles do little to enliven this space. The owners of this bedroom ensuite wanted to do a complete overhaul appropriate for the primary user – their 13-year-old daughter:

After - An ivory vanity, grey tile and glamorous lighting combine in this romantic-yet-modern design. Traditional finishes like the marble floors and countertop were combined with modern chrome hardware and a mosaic tile backsplash for a fresh, contemporary look:

Before - Brown wood floors and cabinets offer little contrast or brightness. This small condo kitchen felt dark and uninviting. The owner, a cooking-enthusiast who loves to entertain, wanted an open-feeling space that would be functional and hard-wearing:

After - White cabinets, a stainless steel Viking range and marble-topped island combine in this contemporary design. House & Home design editor Cameron MacNeil created a modern, open space perfect for entertaining. Custom steel countertops are a sleek yet durable choice. The backsplash, using 2”x8” subway tiles is a fresh take on the traditional 3”x6”:

Before - Oversized hand-me-down furniture and blank walls feel unfinished. This den and office area felt neglected and ad hoc with no storage and zero style, but the room had lots of light and extra-tall windows with character:

After - Bright walls, storage and accent pieces pull this room together. The intense colours of the walls and bookcase backing are set off by crisp white trim and shelving. The scale and size of the bookcase offers plenty of storage for office items, and also adds character to the large space:

Before - White walls and a bare window make this space seem impersonal. A cold, stark and unfinished room lacked character without colour or window coverings. The vintage dining chairs and contemporary metal table were great accents, but in need of a subtle update to soften the style:

After - Vintage dining chairs are easily updated with slipcovers, and a linen runner added to a contemporary table injects warmth and character. A single gold drape paired with dark bamboo blinds makes an awkward alcove window more dramatic, and wallpaper panels add instant colour to walls without actually painting them:

Before - An uninspired guest room is far from welcoming. Despite its good bones and classic furniture, this guest room needs some colour and pattern. The upholstered headboard, taupe wall colour and white duvet make for a monotone palette, and the lack of accessories make it ho-hum and impersonal:

After - Wallpapering the ceiling is a great way to add character to a large room, and here the light ivory colour and understated gold stars keep the ceiling from looking too heavy. A block-print coverlet and paisley throw pillows are harmonious in shades of purple, but doesn't make the room too feminine. Layering a striped cotton rug over an existing sisal rug adds even more pattern and punch to the colour scheme:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Art in the Home article

If you have a moment, please go to the link below to read my article on art within design. Ava Living contacted me before Christmas and asked me to write the piece - I'm so honored and think Ehren did a great job of pulling everything together:

Here's a sneak peek at a couple of the photos featured in the article:
Sunshine by Gioi Tran

Sepia photo of the TransAmerica Building, San Francisco
taken by Jade, my 8 year old daughter

Punk rock posters from one of my favorite clients' guest bedroom

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My local antique store

What designer doesn't like to shop? I really enjoy taking my clients to my favourite stores, especially places where I know they're thinking "what on earth is this place?". There's a local antiques store that I like to use. It can be hit and miss, but last week I found the nicest pieces.

The secret to sourcing pieces is to try and blank out everything around. I think this old cart with it's large wheels would make a fabulous coffee table in a loft:

An intricate line drawing would look so nice in a library or entryway:

Iron dresser, idea for a modern apartment adding extra storage too:

Antique lighting - exquisite for a bedroom:

Re-cover this chair in a high-end fabric and place in a reading corner with a lamp and side table:

Imagine this elegant sofa, paired with the cocktail table below:

Funky art:

Gorgeous starburst mirror:

Beautiful sconce:

Rustic pots:

I can always make time for shopping - let me know if you're interested!