Category Archives: Let’s Discuss Design

Modern Design in DC

Are you a fan of mid-century modern?  If you’re familiar with real estate in the DC area (DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia) you know that traditional is the predominant style of architecture here.  That’s why I appreciate Modern Capital so much – they provide news and information on the communities and homes in the area that can be classified as “mid-century modern”.  To me, this translates into open floor plans, unfussy lines, larger windows and higher ceilings.  Some very lovely things, don’t you think?

moderncapital

A friend of mine turned me onto the site when she learned we were combing the market for a more contemporary home.  (Trust me, the market is dominated by traditional properties!)  Anyway, as you may know we’ve postponed our search at least until the spring but I will be better armed and abreast of the market with access to Modern Capital.

Here are a few images from a cool post last week covering a beautiful modern home in Richmond.  Thanks Michael @ Modern Capital for the great pics and video tour!

Rice House 9-26-09 097

Rice House 9-26-09 106

Rice House 9-26-09 173

Does your city have sources of information on modern or specific styles of real estate?

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No more stress over paint colors!

I am very excited to announce the debut of the new line of Perfect Palettes from Gibson Design Group.  Really, the palettes couldn’t be more ingenious – as soon as I heard about it from Alexandra Gibson I was on board and ready to purchase a palette for myself!

The idea is simple:

The talented and experienced team at Gibson Design Group has chosen eight proven, fool-proof palettes of paint colors and wallcoverings.   Each of the options are carefully chosen to evoke a unique look, whether you feel at home in the chic, sophisticated hues of Central Park or are drawn to the rustic, natural tones of Lake Tahoe.

Kalorama Paint Palette from Gibson Design Group

Kalorama Paint Palette from Gibson Design Group

You will receive a digital version of the palette of your choice as well as a hard-copy by mail.  Both will give you all of the information you need to order the paint and wallcoverings.  The version you receive by mail will include the actual paint and wallcovering swatches so that you can see them in your home.  You can also opt to receive sample cans of paint for all of the colors in your chosen palette for a very reasonable price.  Also available is expert assistance from the team at Gibson Design who will consult with you to determine color and wallcovering placement in your space.

So be done with the stress of the difficulty in choosing paint colors make your home look like you hired an innovative interior designer.   Simply choose a Perfect Palette from Gibson Design and finish your space in a beautifully polished and cohesive way.

Central Park Paint Palette

Central Park Paint Palette

Little Details? Choosing the Kitchen Sink

I realize that choosing the right kitchen sink is important.  After living with a shallow model with a faucet that practically sticks out horizontally overtop of the basin – making it tricky to fill pots and pitchers – I dream of having a deep, sleek bowl.  Maybe even with a detachable spout to help rinse dishes?!?!  Anyway, as I shop around I found this post on Freshome.com which covers the points to consider when buying a sink.

I found it helpful and thought you would too.   Check out the full article here.  To briefly summarize their points:

#1 The models vary greatly in terms of style, features, and how they are mounted (insert, under-mounted, flush-mounted or top-mounted).

#2 Quality if a big factor, as is the material you choose (stainless steel, enamel, etc.)

#3 Size and style options are important considerations.

#4 Carefully choose a faucet that will work within your kitchen and countertops (especially if you have any pre-drilled holes).

$5 Choose a color and style that coordinate with your kitchen.

Eme Love Sink

Eme Love Sink

Countertop Conundrum

As you may know, we’ve been planning the kitchen renovation of our two-bedroom condo.  We’ve been debating using reduced sized appliances (18″ dishwasher instead of 24″; 24″ range instead of 30″) in order to gain additional storage space.  (We opted for the 18″ dishwasher and the standard 30″ range/oven.)  We’ve considered relocating the various appliances to make it a more user-friendly kitchen.   Finally, last week we finalized the layout and placed the order for the cabinets.   Only to have the 3rd visit from our contractor on Sunday morning with a suggestion to move the refrigerator across the room.   He also said that the white countertop would look “ugly” in contrast to the dark (“peppercorn”) cabinetry.

So he is not one for mincing words, but as firm as I was in our decision to use the white countertops, his statement has made me stop and reconsider.   I mean, the guys sees alot of kitchens.  So I thought I’d do a little more research to compare the white coutertop option with other colors.  Note that I’m only looking at dark brown cabinets.

Stainless steel makes a contrast plus reflects light:

Stainless Countertops - Met Home

Stainless Countertops - Met Home

This countertop has beige undertones – perhaps a marble:

Urban Home uhny.com Kitchen

Urban Home uhny.com Kitchen

Again the marble countertops:

Met Home Image

Met Home Image

Marble Countertops - Kitchens.com

Marble Countertops - Kitchens.com

The following images depict white countertops:

Urban Home uhny.com Kitchen

Urban Home uhny.com Kitchen

clean-kitchen

I’m still a little unsure – with the lack of natural light in our space I don’t want to miss an opportunity to inject more brightness… as much as I love the creamier marbles.   Will keep you updated!

Room Dividers… that don’t Divide

What if you want a room divider that designates without dividing? That happens to be the situation with our entry/living area.  To jog your memory, we are considering removing the wall that separates our entry and dining/living area to give our apartment a feeling of greater space and openness.

Existing Wall between Entry and Dining Room

Existing Wall between Entry and Dining Room

However, we don’t want it to feel like you’re sitting in the entry and therefore want to somehow visually designate the areas.  I hesitate to leave a partial wall as that seems to play into the dated look we’re trying to eliminate.  Still, the solution must be stable and secure so it will not topple in either direction.  What do you think of the following options for room dividers?

1)  Suspended shelves are probably my leading choice right now.  Vertical steel bars would connect each shelf.  I would probably want to use a hardwood material for the shelves.  The one potential downside to this is sturdiness, say, if a toddler were to grab hold.  Here is an example of suspended shelves (in glass) from Rakks:

Shelves by Raxx

Shelves by Raxx

2)  A shelving alternative would be something like these low bookshelves from Motiff Furniture.  They would mimic built-ins – another viable alternative.

Open Shelving

Open Shelving

3)  A floor to ceiling option that would also mimic a built-in look are these modern Tag bookshelves that I love.

Connections Shelves from TAG

Connections Shelves from TAG

4)  To visually separate the room but still allow light to pass, something like these “walls” from iDivide could be a good option.

iDivide Wall

iDivide Wall

These are just a few ideas and I would love to hear any other suggestions you may have for tackling this design issue!

Renovation Diaries: Getting the ball rolling

I wanted to post a few pre-renovation photos.

The kitchen is definitely getting an overhaul and the little half wall dividing the kitchen from the dining area is going, as well as the wall between the entry and the dining area.

Entryway (right) and Dining Room (left)

Entryway (right) and Dining Room (left)

Dining Room and Kitchen Entryway

Dining Room and Kitchen Entryway

IMG_7108

IMG_7109

Entryway

Entryway

We’re still a little unsure about whether we’ll redo the main bathroom.  It could definitely use a facelift but it is in perfectly good working order so it is not necessarily the most eco and budget friendly thing to do…

Master Bathroom

Augie posing in the master bathroom

We’re still in the process of reviewing quotes and getting pricing on tile and materials.  Also, Raj and I haven’t been able to decide on kitchen cabinetry finishes – a major holdup, obviously.  We love a contemporary look without being too modern… and given the lack of natural light in our kitchen do we need to go with lighter cabinets??  I can’t wait to get rid of the blonde wood in there and love dark chocolates… I also like the idea of white if I weren’t so afraid it would look like super cheap laminate.   We’ll be spending plenty of time researching options and looking at magazines and online over the next few days!

Have Fun and Make a Visual Impact with Stenciling!

As I am planning our home updates, I’ve been searching for ways to define the sometime ambiguous spaces in our 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo.  Something I’ve fallen in love with is stenciling.  Given the lack of natural light in our space, I intend to stick to light, bright colors but would like to add a little flair and fun at the same time.  Check out these examples of beautiful stenciling.

I’m going to use this in either the dining or entry way:

Entryway Stenciling from Apartment Therapy

Entryway Stenciling from Apartment Therapy

Searching for sources for ready made stencils on-line was a bit surprising in that most options were traditional/classic in appearance and it was extremely tough to find options that would work as accents for my contemporary decor. Granted, some of the more simplistic, classic designs would look beautiful, but even these were hard to come by.

Modello Designs has a good selection of stencil products and can also make custom pieces.   Wall to Wall Stencils has a good selection of more transitional stencils that would work well in many spaces.  However, one of my favorites in terms of selection was at Jan Dressler Stencils.  She has a fantastic selection of all over patterns, designed to simulate an all-over wallpaper pattern.

Another fantastic source is the always fun Etsy.  This stencil would look great in a staggered, all over pattern:

Wall Stencil from Etsy.com

Wall Stencil from Etsy.com

And this stencil would be very pretty used in a variety of applications:

Circular Stencil from Etsy.com

Circular Stencil from Etsy.com

For the ambitious, here is a short, useful video describing how to make your own stencils.  Of course, there are always the fun, wall stickers from Ferm Living as well as their gorgeous and modern easy to hang wallpaper as fantastic options.

As we are still in the early planning stages of our renovations – some of which will entail losing walls – I will keep you updated as I come up with more of a game plan for our wall colors and accent stenciling.

In the meantime – please share your thoughts and sources on stenciling!