A Ghostly Good Idea: Disappearing Design

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Designers have always been fascinated with invisible design. Whether in the world of fashion or in the home, “see-through” fashion statements are all the rage. While always hot on the runway in jewelry and accessories, this trend became hugely transparent to the décor world in 2002, when Philippe Starck introduced the Ghost Chair, produced by Kartell. Made of Lucite, which was originally developed in 1937, lucite is actually a brand name for an acrylic resin. Wickedly popular, The Ghost chair comes in many varieties from Louis to Victoria. Philippe Stark is a master at taking a classic form and reinventing it as a modern icon. Using a single piece of translucent injection-molded polycarbonate, Stark has created the most recognizable chair of the 21st century. For more ghostly chairs, check out this link.

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But what is it about these disappearing pieces? Seriously, we as Designers sigh when we see a piece of Lucite. It is surely not functional, but I have never had anyone say they run into these invisible objects, or miss the surface as they put down their cup of tea. It’s truly a crowning jewel in any design. The last piece of “bling’ but in an entirely, absent way.

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This summer I bought a Lucite necklace that I wore ALL the time. It just worked with everything. It has a hip, yet “not there” feel.  Whether dressy or with a t-shirt, I pulled it out regularly. One of my favorite items passed down from my maternal grandmother Louise is her Lucite clutch. I use this whenever we go to a special event. People ask me all the time where did I get it. Yep, it’s probably from the ‘40s era long gone. Yes now you can see your iPhone light up in it in today’s day and age, but a pretty tube of lipstick and a special linen hanky still look fond at a wedding.

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So instead of thinking about disco and stripper stilettos, think glamorous and be open to adding a touch of the ethereal into your design. We love Lucite on benches, cocktail tables, frames, knobs, drawer pulls, lights, and of course chairs! Even just a touch will add to the design. It’s truly the finishing touches like this that will make your design sing instead of scream in horror!

Black roomVia

Happy Halloween! Dawn

PS, I’m back! Stay tuned for more regular posts on design, fashion, and inspiration – thanks for following!

 

Opening Image Designed By: H2 Design + Build

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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

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Trick or Treat? Gothic Glamour meets Rocker Chic

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Ever want to be a Rock Star? Well get your rocker on with some of the new design styles that are trending. Remember last week how I talked about “dark and moody” (see “Highpoint Market 2013 Update: Show Us Your Dark Side“) Well that ties perfectly with another design trend we saw at market, the whole naughty rock star meets gothic gal mash-up. Key elements: skulls, thorns and horns, hammered metals, studs, leather and of course black. But this is not so manly, its more…messy. Just think “a hot mess” of design. Now this design trend may be more for the Millennial Generation, and you are probably thinking more Soho than Suburbia, but who doesn’t like a little..bad to the bone?

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Urban chic, yet gothic, black can take center stage in any room, on a rug, on a wall, on a bed. Mix in a few crosses, and gothic elements, add some moody lighting and I can see a super cool den, lounge, or bedroom. Favorite black wall colors are Farrow and Ball Railings, Off-Black, and Pitch Black. We just painted a friend’s powder room Sherwin-Williams Peppercorn. It’s fantastic.

 

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Those of you who know me, know that I would like this trend! I still remember the black handkerchief dress I wore to sorority rush at Miami University freshman year, when all the other girls wore Lilly Pulitzer. But now the fashion world has grasped this trend and named it “rocker chic”: leather jackets with studs, tissue-t-shirts and flowing skirts with killer boots. Why can’t you do that in your living room? Take the gorgeous lighting Currey and Company introduced at market by celebrity jewelry designer Shannon Koszyk. I have always said, “lighting is the jewelry in the room”, well Mick Jagger wears chains crafted by her, you can have her gorgeous Antiquity Chandelier be the centerpiece of your living room, all sparkly and wild? Mix in some leather with great nail heads, some hide on hair accessories, and contrast it all with some stark white. This look is cleaner than you would think, more minimalist.

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Religious elements seem to be important – maybe its all that reference to the dead, or the walking dead in some cases, crosses, crowns of thorns…it’s the whole gothic, mid-evil reference. Linda and I found a terrific place in Rocky River called Devout Home – very stylish home accessories that are handmade with a religious, spiritual slant.

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And the skulls… skulls were everywhere on wallcoverings, fabrics, and accessories, even lined up alone, mixed with antique books. This may be a little morbid for you, but anatomical drawings and elements have been on trend the last few years. A fascination with body parts per sea.

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So dark and moody, or gothic and glamorous, have a happy and safe Halloween!

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Image Source: Gardenista

Opening Image Source: Remodelista

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Highpoint Market 2013 Update: Show Us Your Dark Side

Bernhardt and raw edge welt

Just returning from High Point Furniture Market 2013!

It’s always so intriguing to see what the fashion world is bringing us as trends for the interiors markets. And right now it feels good. More warmth, comfort, and more deep and mysterious than it has been in a few years.

Bernhardt and BellaBernhardt Interiors|Luna Bella,Inc

Remember my post about everyone having a masculine side in their design?( “Going on a Man Hunt: Showing your Masculine Side“), well this Market was all about bringing your bad boy self forward with a rocker edge. And this is no country club living, this is LA luxurious with chocolate walls, hair on hide sofas and chests, and rugs with some gold or black bling throw in for some modern appeal. The new introductions at Bernhardt Interiors epitomized this look, and we couldn’t help ourselves from lingering and lounging a bit.

Arteriors and BernhardtArteriors Home|Bernhardt Interiors

Everything is still open and clean with simple line, elegance, glam, and just plain WOW factor. Not fussy, not heavy. A lighter, brighter combination of dark colors (does that even make sense??), fabrics and then something bright thrown in like a splash of color or a magnificent light fixture. Also, found objects are still really strong. Accessories – lighting, side table, etc are not as refined as we have seen in the past. More reclaimed.

Noir and LoloiNoir|Natural Curiosities

Vendors such as Four Hands and Halo Styles, do the “dark and moody” thing well, but even the likes of Currey and Company had their goth on in an elegant way with new designs by iconic jewelry Designer Shannon Koszyk. More to come about this next week in my Halloween post! Ever heard of Steampunk…well you will…stay tuned!

Stanley and BakerStanley Furniture|Baker

The past markets have been all about grey and white. Think the Restoration Hardware look. But it’s changing and the masculine side is still developing. Consumer want that strength and stability in their design now. That rock solid confidence. While grey will continue to dominate in the design world, at this year’s market, it’s being over taken by a dark side we can all relate too.

HaloHalo Styles

So warm up, and be a little bad with your design, it will be good in the end!

 

Opening Image Sources: Bernhardt Interiors|Regina Andrew

 

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Navigating Neon: Hot Summer Trend

Neon Pink Coffee Table

When I was a little kid, My Mom worked at the DayGlo Corporation based here in Cleveland, Ohio. I was always fascinated with the brightly colored trinkets she would bring home. Later, when I graduated from High School, I sported a brightly colored Neon pink and yellow “Class of 1987” sweatshirt, I treasured proudly. (I think it is still in a box somewhere….yes, I am a horder)

Now, you can’t go the gym without seeing brightly colored tennis shoes and Lulu Lemon tops. And these aren’t just bright, they are shocking pinks, blues, yellows, oranges, and greens. While it’s fun to look at, it certainly isn’t appealing on every body part. Just like the Emerald Green post, this color trend isn’t for everyone. Even walking through Nordstrom’s the other day, the mannequins in the high-end department were all painted Neon colors – sorry Nordstrom’s we know you are with it, but I don’t want my Designer clothing crossed with the Blue Man Group!

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But how does Neon work? We all know this trend will be out the door in no time. And we all love summer brights – it’s a fun splurge for jewelry, shoes, and totes for sure. And don’t forget those cool and warm tones, those apply to neon as well. It’s all about the mix. Regarding the tones, I can’t pull off yellow-green, it makes me look ill. I am better with the hot pinks and reds.Pick your poison!

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On to our homes – definitely fun, but let’s not make a big investment here. A fun painted door, a cute flea market find desk, a kid’s room chandelier. Or some patio dishes! Truly, used sparely it will be that pop of color that you are looking for. But the best way to play it is to always mix it with neutrals – black, white, charcoal, grey or taupe. You can’t mix too much else in, this truly is the statement in the room!

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So enjoy the summer heat, add some hot color too, and you will be navigating neon like a pro! So tell me, are you brave enough to give it a splash?

Neon bedroomImage Source: Elle Blogg

Opening Image Source: Design Sponge

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Chain Me Up….Designing with Chainmail

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During our Cleveland Museum of Art visit last weekend, there was a special event in the Armor Court, (one of our favorite galleries). It was called Medieval Menagerie, and you could touch the armour and weapons with gloves. A tactile discovery of  the technology the knights used for protection, and pageantry. The kids were fascinated with the over 500-year-old fashion statements and weapons, and seriously, who doesn’t love a knight in shining armor?

Well despite the crowd, I zoned in on the chainmail hauberk, a knee-length shirt that was like liquid metal. Sophie said – “Mom, you need a dress like that!”. Yes I do! The interlocking woven rings were knit in a very light and fashionable pattern. While it looked stunning, it certainly was built for speed, comfort, and protection from the wayward dagger or sword. The texture is what got me, I contemplated making a dash with the antiquity in my hot little hands.

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But seriously, metallics have been popular for awhile in design, and this evolution just introduces the textural and three dimensional aspect. What an amazing reflective surface to bounce light off and add an urban organic quality – something with flow and movement, but still a little rough around the edges, and let’s face it…a little naughty too. It’s pretty hot right?

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While chainmail has been reflected in fashion for a few years, its making a big hit in lighting and design at the moment. I have had two clients ask about chain mail lighting in the last week. And isn’t that a great way to get some drama, sex appeal, and Middle Ages into your home décor?

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Sooo…I guess my fascinations with Rob Stark and Game of Thrones is justified. I will keep ogling all those scantily clad warriors, and think about all the fun ways I can add some chains into my own designs. (Ha!)

Game of Thrones

Image Source: Wallpaper May

Opening Image Source: Urbis Magazine  Photography by: Fraser Clements

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Pattern Play #2: Earn Your Stripes

Black and White Pottery and Runway Dress

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Another big pattern trend for Spring 2013 is stripes. Bold and graphic, these geometric prints make a statement no matter how you wear them. On your body or in your living room, you need to have a big personality to pull them off, or at least be able to interpret the trend correctly to feel comfortable in your own skin…er…stripes.

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 Stripes have been around forever in the design world. Inspired by the animal kingdom… who doesn’t love that stunning black and white coat of the iconic zebra. It’s hard to believe nature created such a perfect creature. And yes we have a perfect photo from Linda’s safari…see “South African Style”.

Zebra

Photography by: Linda Smith

 “The zebra is the most well-made and the most elegantly dressed; it has the figure and grace of the horse, the lightness of the deer and its coat, striped with black and white bands, arranged with so much regularity and symmetry, makes it seem as though nature used a ruler and compass to paint it,” wrote George-Louis Leclerc in mid-1700s. 

So…even back then, stripes became the rage in fashion and décor. Traditionally associated with stuffy silks and over decorated windows, stripes have become a modern accent in today’s home. Interesting horizontal striped fabrics infused with metallic threads as window panels, subtle tonal changes in paint sheens in the foyer. Stripes are popular!

Window Treatments with Stripes and Black and White Striped Dress

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 But head this, they are not for the faint of heart. At their most intense, black and white….or a little variation…a tone on tone accent. But all varieties will draw the eye, pop the design, and widen or heighten the space (depending on which direction they run).

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 So take note, and be wary of this stylish trend, and you can wear your stripes with honor!

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Spring Fever or Spring Fling?

Flowers/Spring Fever

Yep. Spring Break is almost here. And nope…no trip for the Cook Family this year. We are still under inches of snow, sitting by a fire. But earlier today I went to run errands and Spring is in full bloom at retail. Shops were packed, streets were jammed and at least the sun was shining on this chilly “Spring” day.

Months of being cooped up inside does make us go a little stir crazy. We get an occasional respite with a fun get away or trip, but the continual dreary days do tend to drag us down. Also, I think we often get tired of looking at our own walls, our own things. A little perk up is just what we need, either in our wardrobe, or our homes!

 Spring Blog Post 2

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Earlier this week, I worked on a Living Room presentation for a lovely family that just bought a historic home in Shaker. Such a great old place with gorgeous windows, beautiful moldings, and classic design. I love the Design plan we came up with and they were happy too. Very sophisticated, but casual too. As we sifted through fabrics for various pieces of furniture the sun was streaming in. The client was naturally drawn to warm, textural linens, silks, rich minks and greys with touches of poppy, pink, and coral, and finally crisp white. I love this color scheme. And it truly does reflect some of Spring…the warmth of the earth with some pops of color beginning to peak through. As I have mentioned before, the lines between fashion and home décor run true, so we just have to look to the runway for a few fresh ideas!

Spring Blog Post::

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So as we turn to our Easter tables, in hopes of the Bunny hopping by, let’s welcome Spring. Add some bright color into our lives, and add something fresh and new!

 Opening Image Source

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