Inspiration

Outdoor Bliss

Friday, June 10th, 2011

The weather has been so amazing the last few days, so we’re definitely planning on a relaxing weekend.  No obligations, no schedules, no projects, just a weekend of outdoor bliss.  We’ll be taking full advantage of summer and packing up some gourmet goodies in our picnic basket, off in search of adventure. 

We haven’t decided where we will go yet, maybe Sonoma, perhaps Healdsburg, maybe even the beach, who knows, but our destination will surely be a place where we can lounge for hours and watch the kiddies play as the sun sets on a lazy evening. 

We’ll be looking for something that feels like these images . . .

picnic on lawn

 

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Wine Barrels in Home Decor

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

I’ve had wine barrels on the brain ever since we began our plan to spruce up the upper patio.  They’re easy to get here in wine country, and they make the easiest and cheapest planters.  Just about everyone I know locally has a wine barrel for a planter, and I grow tomatoes in mine every year. 

Last week, I made a quick trip to my favorite source for wine barrels.  I had a few projects in mind, one coming up later this week!  A short time ago, they were only $10 bucks, but apparently they’re in high demand abroad hence the price increase.  But still, at $20 dollars for a half barrel, that’s a good price considering the amount of hours that go into the making of one single barrel (see below), and the many uses for the staves (the strips of wood bent to form a barrel).    

wine barrels

Rustic and reclaimed wood is all the rage in home décor.  We’ve seen tree stumps show up as endtables and pallets reinvented in all sorts of ways in interior design over the past few years.  Wine barrels are getting their fair share of reuse too. 

When used as just the right accent in unexpected ways, wine barrels are a fantastic source of reusing real French or American oak.  I love the pairing of natural wood tones with casual furnishings, they always work well together.  I also love seeing products made from reclaimed wood placed in formal settings or in contemporary spaces ~ they have a way of keeping the space from feeling too predictable.  When juxtaposed against anything modern and glossy, reclaimed wood can take center stage.

New wine barrels have a shelf life of 3 to 6 years for aging wine, depending on which vintner you ask.  Most become planters, yet others get turned into some amazing accessories.  I was excited to see so many creative uses for a used wine barrel when I went looking around the web. 

VivaTerra sells several products made out of barrels, like this beautiful stave bread bowl ($95)

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Breaking Design Rules

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

A reader recently wrote in and asked an important question when it comes to designing a space.  Leah W.  wondered whether some design rules were made to be broken and were there a few examples or illustrations for successfully breaking those rules? 

I asked Courtney to tackle this topic, and he is back this month with his fabulous insight!  Courtney asked a group of designers to look at issues that they encounter on a regular basis with their clients, and asked what are those design rules or commandments that are made to be broken?

Design Commandments Made to be Broken, by Courtney Lake

“When I was researching this article, I was reminded of the countless essays I wrote in high school where I used the definition of a word or phrase to introduce an idea.  Strangely, using this clichéd approach makes sense when you are writing an article on breaking design rules.  There are some deeply held beliefs that have engrained themselves within our design psyches.  For better or worse, they prescribe how we have decorated our homes for decades. So when you “break” them, what exactly are you doing?  Well according to Webster Dictionary you are breaking:

One of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere…..

Design rules give guidelines for how furniture, lighting and accessories should relate and interact within your home.  But what if you “rocked the boat” as every good designer does, picking those which make sense for your space and tossing out the rest?  Before you break these design rules, it’s best to understand why they are important.

A solid understanding of the principles of design is crucial if you want to break them successfully, so I asked four design experts their opinions on what design commandments should be tossed aside.  They each gave insight on some old and new rules that we all should gleefully break to get the homes we want. 

Design Commandment #1: Thou Shalt Not Place Large Furniture in a Small Room

Common sense tells us that if a space is small, we should scale the furniture to fit the room.  Wrong!  Design legend John Dickinson built a career out of placing out of scale furniture in rooms.  A large bed can easily be placed into a small bedroom or a large couch in a small den.  The tricks to bending this design commandment are placement and color.  As long as the furniture doesn’t block the natural sightlines of the room and is within the same color palette, the furniture will read as a unified whole, tricking you into thinking the room is larger.

Image1_FreshHome

Freshome

Image2_CandaceOlsen

Candace Olsen

 

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