What’s inside the Red Room?…Designing with Red

red kitchen

I should be writing about “50 Shades of Grey” this week. But what’s more interesting is what will be inside Christian Grey’s Red Room right?!  We all can’t wait to see what’s really behind that closed door. Come on you want to know! Anyone who knows me knows red is my signature color. It is just…. me. I love the drama, the intensity, the fire. And what better month to discuss it than in February. The month of valentines and heart health, one of my other favorite topics.

3 pic red collage

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Red décor isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s bold, it’s bright, and it definitely makes a statement. For many years we all had red dining rooms. It was elegant and stately. You may think of Chinese lacquer or provincial French Country design. But red doesn’t have to be so stereotyped. It can be fresh, modern and most definitely sexy.  Think red lips and a little red dress.  Just a hint gets the mind wandering. That same principal can be applied to any room in your house including the kitchen and bath. In today’s design it’s not limited to the library or the boudoir, it can be anywhere.

red artwork

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At the KBIS show in Vegas we saw a lot of red hard surfaces. This red is candy apple red, glossy and very saturated. Not barn red, or Ralph Lauren muted reds, this is bright and crisp! You have to be bold to make an investment in very expensive kitchen cabinets that are full on rouge. Or bathroom tiles and a freestanding bathtub that reflect this strong hue.  This design will be something you plan to love for many years to come.

KBIS RedAnother interesting use of the color red in today’s design is to mix it with different shades and hues, like lighter wood tones, indigo, turquoise, and tangerine. Getting away from black and white also will make using red more interesting and unique. This has a worldlier feel more diverse and global and will be something your eyes won’t tire of over time.

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So let’s face it, there is something about a lacquered red wall or piece of furniture that is just seriously hot!  I can’t wait to see the movie, and peak inside the Red Room. Are you brave enough to open the door to your design?

For more posts on the color red, click here

And for more tips on heart health check out Go Red For Women

red door and wall

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Opening Image Source: The New York Times

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Winter White: Snuggle Into 2015

Winter-White-collage

My favorite day. My favorite week. The first Monday of January. We have a whole 51 weeks to get it right. Start fresh. I always love this feeling of purity and renewal.

As the wind blows snow and howls outside, let’s allow ourselves to reflect and mentally detox the last few weeks of chaos, stress, and adornment. Scale back our homes, lives, finances, diets…whatever your whim.

As the holiday decorations come down, we are more open to donating, organizing, rearranging the furniture, finally getting rid of that “thing”! Let yourself be open to trying something new in your home, or just take this month to live “without” something. Let’s not be so quick to fill in the blank space. Negative space is good, it balances out the positive, the good energy.

I love white. The color, or the absence of color. White may be the most evocative color on the spectrum. Culture, lifestyle, or profession may weigh in heavy on white’s symbolic quality. A scientist’s white may conjure a color that glows from many thousand degrees of heated filament. A farmer’s white may be barren frosted fields or piles of wooly shearling cornered up in the shed.  While kids see white as sled hills and endless flying balls of snow.

White can define a space, diminish or expand it. It serves as either a contrast or compliment.  It’s an open palette for our imagination. The appeal in white is its basic undercurrent of softness, as well as it’s clean smooth finish. Either way the power of white is what it evokes. Design is meant for expression so trust the purity of your own expression and embrace the simplicity of white.  Embrace emptiness during this quiet time – however artistically it reveals itself. So grab a cup of tea, curl up with a good book, watch the snow fly and enjoy the stillness, you never know how you we will be inspired.

 

Photo Credits: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Copy contribution: Cindy Evans

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Front doorWhen was the last time you entered your front door? See what your guests see? Probably a long time ago given the long, long winter we just recovered from. But now that we are all set for summer entertaining, here are some ideas for a quick freshen to this important space. I see a lot of front doors going to visit potential clients. And yes, I check out your entry. Lots of times I see birds nests, cobwebs, and peeling paint.  And mind you my front entry looks the same way right now: my doorbell is broken, my steps need to be tuck-pointed, the whole Georgian façade needs to be rebuilt. These Cleveland winters take their toll. Go outside and take a look at your own entry. Your front entry is the first thing friends and family see upon visiting, so why not take the time to modernize this summer. It’s more than just planting the flowers and hanging the wreath.

Front entryvia www.elementsofstyleblog.com 

Dawn’s Tips for a Front Door Freshen…… House Numbers: As someone who is always looking for an address, make sure you have BIG and BRIGHT house numbers. A good place to place them is under the light. Trying to find a house number in the dark is pretty treacherous at times. Bigger is always better when it comes to this design element. Things always look smaller from the street. There are some really cool websites for more modern house numbers, West on Letters, has many different styles, finishes, and fonts available. House Numbers

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Light Fixtures: Again, give up those wimpy little lights, exterior sconces have come a long way, and there are styles from vintage, to modern, to traditional latern. One of my favorites is the phantom sconce from Boyd Lighting. Such a great look, because the light glows from within, no bulb glaring in your guest’s face. It’s always important to match the style of the light to the architecture of the home, but updating the look helps freshen. And lighting has definitely got bigger over the years. So go for it. Exterior lighting

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Hardware: Door Knobs, Lock-Sets, Knockers, Door Bells. I am the first to admit, I hate doorware. Seriously consult an expert if replacing your exterior hardware. As beautiful as it is, especially on any vintage or original doors, getting the right fit, right lock-set, absolute right size can challenge anyone’s knowledge so consult an expert. Beautiful hardware fixtures add class and style to your front door. Websites like Rejuvenation and architecture salvage places have excellent collections of these pieces – Happy Picking! Exterior hardware

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Color: Putting together an exterior paint scheme is not as easy as it looks. Colors have to look right at different times of day, different seasons, against different plantings, stone detailing.  I often find whites looking dirty in the winter against all the snow. Even if you have a good painter, depending how much Western sun your house gets, painting and staining needs to be kept up with. And as much as  everyone loves a red door, there are so many other colors to chose from. A super glossy black, aubergine, brilliant lemon yellow can all look fabulous mixed with the right field color on the house or trim. It’s worth the expense to pay a professional for a paint consult. Front door

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As you get outside and plant those urns, and spruce up the yard, take a good look at your front door and you’ll be all set to welcome summer guests in no time! Opening Image Photo Credit

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Lilies and Lilacs: More Garden Obsessions


Flowers

A few days ago, I took a walk and snapped a pic of Lilies of the Valley and posted it to Instagram. I was so floored by how many comments came back with “My favorite, they remind me of my mom or grandma…” My kids favorite first grade teacher, who is a master gardener,  commented that these are her absolute favorite as well. What is it about these little peepers that evoke so much emotion?

For me it’s lilacs; the color, heavy fragrance. Maybe I am a romantic at heart. One of the best things about living in northeast Ohio is the charm of this beautiful bush.  I constantly hear from Southerners and Snowbirds that this is one garden essential they miss.

Room shotDesigned by Leivars

When we moved into our house many years ago, I contacted the Lilac Society  on how to trim, maintain, and care for our garden lovely. It’s struggled over the years, but even a few blooms annually are worth it. My plant has light lavender blooms, while Linda’s garden has the deep saturated violet hues. Probably the most fragrant of them all!

Both of these flowers may make us think of tea and crumpets, and fussy English gardens, but these flowers and in color combination can work in any modern décor today. And various mixes of these colors too. As we continue on in the year of “Radiant Orchid”, mixing white and shades of greyish purple can be fresh and completely modern.

Room shotDesigned by Bill Bocken 

I’ve posted about visiting the lavender farm before, click here to read more. I don’t know what it is about shades of purple from the garden: periwinkle, delphinium, lilac, lavender, even wisteria, are certainly my favorite.  To see some truly spectacular lilacs in display, visit the Holden Arboretum this week to view their Lilac Collection, it’s breathtaking! So I have shared with you, now tell me what’s your favorite garden bloom?

Cooks

Dawn, Brian, and baby Cooper, at Holden Arboretum May 2003

Opening Image Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

 

 

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Fickle Fashion: Spring 2014 Fashion Trends


Pastel girlsThis has been a tough winter….it’s still snowing on March 24th, yet the calendar stays it’s Spring! As it seems everyone is either on Spring Break, or preparing to head to warmer climates, we thought we would be nice to spice things up by highlighting some of our favorite fashion trends this season. The stores were jammed this weekend as everyone attempted to lighten their wardrobes with brighter colors, florals, hot oranges, and interesting textures. As always, fashion and interior design go hand and hand, so watch for these trends to not only be on the runway, but in your living room as well!

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I tried this orange lipstick. The yellow base is not so great on my olive complexion, but, if I consult my expert Bobbi Brown make-up consultant, Jane Penny, she would tell me to try one that has a bluer base. My hubby Brian, looks great in orange. Same goes for the home, a pop of orange adds a little wow to any room. I’m ready to go buy some orange ranunculus or tulips and add some orange accents to my home.

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Florals are always part of Spring fashion, but this year, they are out in full force. Definitely a feminine and girly vibe, this trend is more sophisticated and mature this season.

Fringe

 

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We love this trend! Fringe is on everything from stilettos to upholstery pieces. Not to mentions skirts, jackets, and bags. I don’t know if it’s a little “American Hustle” influence or #throwbackthursday images that flash across our social media but fringe is all the rage.

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This is not brought to you by Bedazzler! Embellished accessories in fashion or interiors show a worldly culture, a handmade effect, a level of handcrafted attention to detail that shows exquisite expertise and usually expense. It’s the opposite of the sleek, cleaned up look that has been all over the place. We still love beautiful embellished textiles – always!

 

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Whether it’s Spring or Easter, last years neon has softened to a pastel version that shows up in many unexpected places from sporty clothing to lighting. We think pastels will be big multi-seasonal trend this year.

Eyelet and Sheer

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And probably the biggest trend is the sheer, eyelet, caged effect. Fabric is being constructed differently, with an open weave that adds again a global effect to design. White, white, white is still big, so why not make it sheer as well?! We all crave this lightness, airiness after the harsh winter months. In our closets and in our homes. My favorite interpretation of this trend is the caged shoe. And also gorgeous window panels that are a textured sheer. Who needs all that heavy drapery?

So let’s lighten and brighten for the season and welcome Spring!

Thanks to Sadie Kuncel, our resident fashionista, for scoping out these hot spring fashions! 

Opening Image Source: Le Catch

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Cat and Shamrock

It’s not the luck of the Irish we need. It’s a greener lifestyle. We are constantly bombarded with options for greener living today. The color green has been popular in Design for many years now, influenced by the movement toward a healthier way of life, a purer existence, a cleaner way of living.  It can all be very confusing, but we do the best we can!

Green design has exploded over the years with products with low VOC paints and wallcoverings, energy saving appliances and lighting, and zero carbon footprint carpets. There’s up-cycled, recycled, and repurposed as design options. Many great sustainable and beautiful products with more and more options exist. It’s almost becoming a requirement to be LEED certified as a Designer in some markets. I continually tell clients that these products are usually more than the less environmentally friendly products. It’s more work, and more expensive to bring these exciting products to market, but worth it in the end.

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Emerald Green was all the rage last year, as the Pantone color of the year, (see “Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City -Part I“). We were flooded with images of green used in new and exciting ways in the home. Where green was always considered taboo in the kitchen, associated with rotting food, it’s now a fresh alternative and linked to the healthiest food options with power packing kale, spinach, and other “farm to table” selections that are so good for us.

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Green is associated with nature and the color of Spring which we all so crave at this point in the year, When we use green inside, it brings the outdoors in, and we all love and need some organic qualities in our homes.  Green brings us piece of mind, peace in our hearts (the color of the heart chakra), and a quite place to regroup and find our happy (and lucky!) place in our homes.

For more thoughts on the color green, see blog posts: Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City -Part IFeeling Lucky?…Don’t Take a Chance on Design, Emerald Green Part II: Celebrating Earth Day and Green Design and my Pinterest Boards Color of the Year-Green, and Greener Living

FranceSource

Opening Image Source: 1 | 2

 

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Restyling Scandinavian Design: Add Color!


Kitchen

So with all the Olympic Hockey these past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the power Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway. While these countries certainly pack some skills on the ice, they also pack some stylish design trends.

Paint

Creative Living

We’ve all been in love with this look for awhile. From stark white everything, to minimalist furnishings, and black and white decors void of color, we have been loving this look. The idea is that functionalism meets modernism. Materials include form-pressed woods, plastics, aluminum and steel.  And it’s not just the likes of IKEA driving this trend. While there certainly is a lot there to choose from, clients are asking for very complex version of this style in their homes.  

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But let’s evolve this. For one, those Nordic natives live in 6 months of darkness, they like color just like the rest of us to brighten things up. But I think the key is to present a white base, and stay focused on function.

So while we start with a black and white ground, warmth needs to be added in to keep the space warm, and invited. And while these furnishings may be simple, they are definitely full of details and style. Warm elements can be added back with warm colors such as oranges, aubergine, and soft pastels. Organic wood tones are important too, and can be everything from bleached whites, to veneered pecans and walnuts.

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Lighting is definitely important too to brighten up those dark nights. While Scandinavian design has lots of super cool minimalist fixtures, don’t be fooled, it has the latest technology with white hot LEDs that are all energy efficient.

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This trend won’t be going away, so let’s brighten up our design, add some warmth to this minimalist approach, and add some color for some Scandi style!

 

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RED: Go Red For Women & Another Year


hear and wear red

I’m seeing Red. Because it’s February, and my favorite month. February is American Heart Health Month. On February 7th, it’s “Wear Red Day” to support the organization Go Red For Women and Heart Health Awareness. Let’s all wear a bit of red to support this important cause! More women die of heart disease than any other cause. And truly, I could have been one of them.

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Tomorrow February 6th is my birthday, I turn 45! Good! How appropriate that it’s heart health month! Because I have a newly repaired “bionic” heart. Yes, I am old (ish). But I get to see another year. Another year with my kids and family, of health and happiness, of drama and woes. It’s ALL GOOD, because I am here. Yes I dread the wrinkles, and the grey hair, and someone calling me “middle age” (and they did), because I guess I am. It’s ALL GOOD because I am here.

Fashion collage

 Kaftan | Bra | Heels | Necklace | Sunglasses | Bag

On February 21st, I will be honored as a Heart Survivor at the annual Go Red For Women Luncheon and Expo. 1100 women, heavy corporate sponsors. I get to tell my story to the masses about how everything came to be. I can’t believe the company I am keeping. My story sounds “boring” compared to some of the other ladies experiences. But the American Heart Association assures me it is quite moving and important, and people will want to listen. Again, I am here to tell it, with a new and improved heart, when the situation could have been much different. I am truly honored and excited for this experience.

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Did you know that the American Heart Association funds over 9 million dollars in heart health research in CLE alone? Wow, go Cleveland! What a great place to live when you need heart care.

So I Go Red, for doctor’s to find cures for early heart disease; for my kids to understand the causes and protect their futures; so every woman understands their body and takes pause to listen.

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Perfectly, Red is the color of Dawn Cook Design, so you all know I love this color. It’s fiery, and bold, and dramatic, and strong, and I guess it sounds a lot like someone you all know.

So Go Red and enjoy some of these lovely Red images that inspire and move me as we celebrate February!

(See….”Be Still my Beating Heart” for more inspiration)

Cheers, Dawn

Opening Image Sources: 1st image-Five Alive Friday 2nd Image – Atlantic-Pacific

 

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Goodbye Emerald City, Hello Plum Paradise


Color of the year doors Yesterday, We took the kids to see the Broadway Musical Wicked as a Holiday treat. What a wonderful production that we all enjoyed thoroughly. We had really good seats, so the scenes in the Emerald City were flooded with gorgeous shades of Emerald Green, Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year. You don’t have to be in Oz to appreciate this color, (see “Follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City Part I“).

Color of the yearImage Source: Inthralld

As we close out the year and turn to 2014, Pantone and Sherwin-Williams have announced their colors of the year for next year, variations on a shade of Plum. While Sherwin-Williams Exclusive Plum is grey’ed out and more of a neutral, Pantone’s Radiant Orchid is a bright, tropical almost pink version of the hue. I asked Rebecca Luckhardt, of Sherwin-Williams, to compare and contrast the two selections. Here are her thoughts, expertly crafted in a “Naughty versus Nice” list for Santa. Which one are you?

Naughty vs Nice – 2014 Colors of the Year

PantoneSource: Simone Design Blog

When two of the biggest color forecaster’s announced their 2014 Color of the Year, both as shades of purple, I couldn’t help but wonder if they planned this creatively or competitively.  Sherwin-Williams’ Exclusive Plum, SW 6263 is grayed violet in a deeper shade with a mysterious quality to transform its self into a neutral and adapt to a variety of sophisticated color palettes. Pantone’s Radiant Orchid, 18-3224, is a charming and perky purple radiating tones of fuchsia, purple, and pink. Described as ‘creative and embracing’ it energizes a space with a jolt.

Sherwin WilliamsDesigned by: Anne Hepfer

When it came time to investigate design applications with these colors, a differential quickly rose to the surface. While both are shades of purple, they can evoke two different moods entirely.  I couldn’t help but compare them as one would evaluate a child’s behavior as Naughty or Nice during the holiday season.To me, Exclusive Plum is a bit “naughty,” dark, and suspicious. Even the name itself implies superiority and begs you to give it attention.  The underlying tones of gray make this color adaptable to existing furnishings and easy to incorporate but give it that suspicious quality of having shifty and layered neutrals.

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I’d use this color in interiors where I’d want to create a gender neutral space like a study or home office since the subtle undertone of gray brings a balance of masculinity. Suggested parings include bronzes, and pewters, leathers and textures. Another application may be to use it in a place of quietude and respite such as your bedroom that can become more refined or elegant in this deeper shade. When partnered with whites, creams, and deeper plums, you can build layers that add romance and intrigue.Pantone’s more vivid hue energizes spaces and adds a dynamic dimension or pop of color.  This Radiant Orchid makes the “nice” list when cleanly partnered with black and white; it becomes uplifting when partnered with olive and hunter greens, and spunky with teals and turquoise. Psychologically known as a creative color, purples are invigorating and can stimulation innovation. This shade of Radiant Orchid provides that cheerful and motivational boost.

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I’d use this color in a communal space that you’d want to evoke and encourage conversation. An accent in your kitchen that people would be sure to circulate amongst, the high-energy family room where the kids hang out using their high-tech video games, tablets, and gadgets.Explore these applications and considerations on my pinterest board; “Color of the Year: Naughty vs. Nice” and perhaps you’ll see as I did, that we might even be able to compromise on a truce and partner these two colors together. Opening Image Sources: Right-M{pressions Left- Mary Antenucci Interiors-Pintrest  

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Mad for Plaid


Plaid skirt

As we head full steam ahead into the Holiday Season, it makes sense to cozy up with some Plaid décor. One of my favorite holiday movies is “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Judd Law. Gotta love everything that has to do with romantic English films. With that said….the countdown to Downton Abbey season premiere Jan. 5th is on the radar as well! We are so ready!

CastleInveraray Castle

A designer friend of mine, Sophia Burkart, designs custom luxurious robes and lounge wear. She also happens to be British. We had a chat about her friend’s home project in England. Here is her commentary, “Turkeys & Hummingbirds“.

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After reading her post, and after considering multiple photos for English décor, here’s my conclusion: No one does plaid better than Burberry and Ralph Lauren, and our friends across the pond. Plaids and tartans evoke a certain level of warmth, coziness, style, and comfort. So of course they make sense for hearth and family rooms during the holiday season.

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Everyone is Mad for Plaid this season in fashion, accessories, and the home. So go for it. A little goes a long way. All of our favorite fabric Designers, Romo (a British company mind you), Brentano, and the like have come out with menswear plaids that well, we just love. I keep saying I am going to make a blanket out of them…for my clients (read…myself!).

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As Sophia says…”An Englishman’s Home is His Castle”, so put your luxurious robe on, grab a fancy coffee or hot tea, and cosy up in some plaid and give yourself a break this Holiday season, you will be so glad instead of mad!

English HomePin Lovely

 

Opening Image Photography: Chris Nicholls

 

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