10 September 2018

Where Art Thou?

When I was young, entering my older brother's room (when not forbidden) was like embarking on a journey into another decor macrocasm. I could admire a completely different design landscape worlds away from the neat, symmetrically hung framed photos and shelved Barbie-dolled collection on my purple walls. A blacklight Led Zeppelin poster and glow in the dark zodiac stars jumped straight up in my face when I walked in. His oh-so-impressive vinyl collection hung chaotically in wood milk crates against the wall. That was my first memory of his world-- what he chose to put on his walls. His creative eccentricity and anarchic rejection of contemporary artwork left an impression on me-- and my design aesthetic-- for years to come. 
Because my brother stuck his middle finger up to the conventional (and conservative) wall art wisdom of the time, I became a strong believer that art-- whatever the taste-- commands the room. It is the thing anyone coming over will remember most. I mean, even Neanderthals knew the importance and longevity of its memory-- each scribble on their cave walls made a statement that persisted through time. 

So why the bloody heck do so many of us regard art as an afterthought when we design a room?
I argue that art is indubitably the most important part of the room plan-- that wall art should be the first and main piece of your design and the rest of the room decor should, if not bow down to, at least accentuate it. 
What the cavemen (and my brother) didn't know, and we do, however, is that the number one most important facet of any room decor is, COLOR. It is also one that we ruminate forever over. 
The weeks-long enigma of choosing the perfect shade is a kindergarten-grade equation when you have first and foremost planned the art that will hang in the space. Use the colors in the art to choose the palette of the room. Picking a few shades out of the art will allow you to toss out a few hundred of the cardboard color swatches you lugged home from the DIY store-- and let the art decide if you should go for that red sofa or the grey tufted settee; or if the teal rug will work in the space.    

And like most things, when it comes to wall art, SIZE matters. Big walls crave big art. Don't be scared to bring in a piece that will take up a majority of wallspace. 

Art that is too small for the wall will get dwarfed. Art should be bold, make a statement, be a conversation in the room-- not cowering indecisively like it's not sure it belongs there. 

A statement like that will also provide the essential FOCAL POINT of the space, drawing all eyes upon the prominent wall.  
You can easily mix it up as well to add interest and TEXTURE to your room. Wall art is not banished to just flat art prints and paintings, it can be a schizophrenic mix of materials -- woods, plastics, metals or even bones can bring life to plain flat white walls.
Sculptures, taxidermy and organic materials are three dimensional and add depth and spirit. They allow the light and your eye to bounce off their layers, expanding the zone by adding eccentrically interesting surface areas as well as providing leaping off points for conversation.

When it comes to Color, Texture, Focus and Interest, wall art dominates the character building of your space, defining the room as designed rather than just functional. Reconsider using art as a postscript to decor and reimagine it as the important and most memorable feature of your space-- a kick-off inspirational piece that will conceive an incredibly intriguing and unforgettable room design. 

09 September 2018

Listen Up!

Nietzsche was right, "Without music life would be a mistake."

And so would an interior design plan that left out a listening room that allows you to escape into your vinyl-scented nostalgia of long-saved and treasured LPs.


As unique as your taste in music may be, however, a true listening room that will deliver the best soundwaves your way should be set up by a set audiophile's blueprint. These design rules may make the punk inside you pull out all your tongue piercings in protest, but will make for a better listening experience.



First, think of you and your speakers as one, with your favorite listening chair the tip of an equilateral triangle, with yourself, the left and right speakers as close to equal distance apart as possible. The tip of said triangle is straight between your ears-- so position the speakers at ear level, away from walls a little.

If, like Steven Tyler, you believe "everything worth doing is worth overdoing" and you bought seven speakers for a surround sound, then just build two triangles in front (the main speakers) and behind you, the two smaller speakers at your sides and the center speaker straight out on front of you.

Before you put the needle to the record, add some spikes on the bottom of speakers-- they will decouple the sound from the floor to minimize the bass rattle.

You never ever have to sacrifice good design for great sound, and should let your style vibes run wild and crazy and barefoot and free in this hedonistic room because a minimalist approach won't be best for sound quality.

I'm not saying you have to add a little country to your rock n' roll, but a few rugs or cork flooring  and a cushy sofa will help the way the music travels around the room, 

"The only truth is music”, said Jack Kerouac but we know we need a little more glam in our rock to design a perfect room.

02 September 2018

Raise the Roof!

During the minimalist-dominated decades that we've experienced in our interior design lifetimes, we've gotten used to slapping some white paint on our ceilings and calling it a day. The top half of our rooms were the forgotten child--to be not seen and not heard, to fade into the upper limits of non-imagination, as we vowed to never again look up come hell or high water (well, maybe water). But leaks aside, the ceiling became a place no designer dared to travel, leaving the largest space in the room devoid of dressing, naked and bare.  

But recently, we've grown tired of looking down at our shaggy piles and chevron weave rugs and yearned for a grandness that can only come from above. Facing the risk of a neck crick head on, we have finally noticed the highest echelon of room design--
The Ceiling. 

Giving some needed love and attentrion to the summit of our eye space is not a new design trend, but one clipped from the more luxurious of ages-- Versailles, Robert Adam’s homes in Scotland, Otto Wagner’s post office in Vienna, and Grand Central Terminal's astrological heights of grandeur rule the roadways of opulent canopy. 

To draw the eye to to the top of the room doesn't require you to forge "The Last Supper", as you dangle upside down from a scaffold. A statement that will bring down the house can be made with a much simpler gesture. 

To give your ceiling the design interest it deserves, its as simple as dipping a brush into a a graphic paint color...
 ...bringing out a headbanging shiny Metallic...
...sticking mirror tiles overhead to bounce the light around the room...
...or using wallpaper that either keeps in the hues of the wall paint or just extend the wallpapered walls up and over to the next level. 
Pimping out the upper part of your room adds intrigue to the forgotten space, allowing the eye to take in the entire room, leaving no part behind. The ceiling is the last of the interior design frontiers that will cap off your space in fashion. 


26 August 2018

You Can Take the Hipster Out of Brooklyn... Or Can You?

The super hip can only survive in a sub-universe of originality and distinction; remaining untouchable in their ironically independent expression of style and design. The problem with being the author of the constantly revolving redefinition of "cool" in the hipster dictionary, however, is that everyone, eventually, wants to be part of it. More people appropriate the look and join the hipster club until, alas, the synonym for cool quickly becomes a bad word. 

That is what has become of Brooklyn.


The borough that could once only boast about great views of Manhattan, has in the last decade, become a destination of its own; a shorthand adjective that defines a lifestyle; its own design aesthetic. 
The industrial, natural wood and exposed-antiquely lit open-spaced loft design has been adopted by coffee shops and retail stores around the globe.
And the hipster has been lost in its own ubiquity. 
Once a style of independent expression and creative re-use and recycle, Brooklyn-the-aesthetic has become a commercial cover band for overpriced eco goods, creating a homogenous, monotonous, travel culture where one can take an airplane half way around the world only to land in their own neighborhood comfort spot. 

It's expected artists will commune and share design ideas in places like New York, London, Paris, Sydney and San Francisco, but Brooklyn-inspired cafes have popped up in places like Ljublana, Slovenia; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Krakow, Poland. 


This signals the destined end to the Brooklynization of interior design and will soon be the time we bid farewell to the reclaimed wood, Edison bulbs, and wrought iron fixtures that once defined a hipster location.
New Yorkers may remember when Brooklyn was just a scrawny, bullied, bridge and tunnel borough of the city-- when hooking up with a guy that lived there was "slumming it" for the Manhattanite chicster who just wanted a little more "rough" in her rough and tumble for one night. 

But years ago, when Manhattan was busy staring into its after-work Cosmo, Brooklyn grew up, grew a beard and donned some upstate Catskill-chic plaid clothing. Brooklyn looked super cute sipping his fourteen dollar lavender latte in the open-space industrial cafe and Manhattan fawned over its dirty, diy-skilled, lumberjack manliness that refused to conform to the grey concrete urban environment.


Brooklyn brought raw, organic materials into their walk up. It laughed at Manhattans' matchy-matchy sofa and loveseat sets and those thousand dollar analagous living room sets bought at one store. It leaned unabashedly against the exposed brick wall and stood proud amongst its rustic interior look. sans serif logo-ed signage and quirky wall art.
Its strength proved persistent and the look spread, soon over-taking the world. Brooklyn became a household name, its own logo on a hoodie. It's not Brooklyn's fault it was adopted globally so lovingly and widespread. It's a good look with a natural, environmentally proud design sense and I will miss it terribly. We just don't want to feel at home everywhere we go, sanitizing our travel adventures when we explore other cultures. That is how I feel when I leave Brooklyn now-- that I just  never left. 
But Brooklyn is nothing but hipster and hipsters, like a lizard that lost its tail, regenerate, reinvent and regrow. I know as a resident, I can sink into my coffeeshop's big distressed leather tufted armchair with my nitro cold brew, take a long sip and wait and see how my borough once again will reinvent and redefine interior design chic.

02 March 2015

I Do Like Them, Sam-I-am

Dr Suess is of course, your favorite children's book author. In honor of what would be his 111th birthday, we're throwing a birthday bash that even the coolest cat in the hat would dig.
Before he made your childhood nighttime magic with repeated readings of "Horton Hears a Who" and "Green Eggs and Ham", he was an ad agency illustrator.  Pin some prints of the ads below (featured from 1927-1940s) to add color to the walls.
Keep all those bedtime storybooks in a whimsically worthy bookcase by Inked Woodworking so the kid in you can read them whenever they please.  
Hop up the animation in your floors by popping a few polka dotted floor rugs on the floor.
And pass a tray of "One Fish Two Fish" cupcakes. You just may like them... 

Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say."


25 February 2015

How to Build a Zombie Proof House


When the Brain-Eating Walking Dead take over the Earth, you will want to keep your Grey Matter safe. Design firm 
KWK Promes has built the perfect residence to hide out from Zombies. Here's how you can keep your family's flesh intact.
1. This house has a Pool which is a good idea as Zombies can't swim. However, a Moat will be much more effective.2. Movable walls that will confuse Zombies' sense of direction. 
2. Make sure there is only one entrance. This one is located on the second floor after crossing a drawbridge. A drawbridge is a great way to keep the Living Dead off the premises. Just make sure its drawn up when they arrive. 
3. Steel shutters. Zombies do like to watch.4. The house in Red Alert mode. It folds in upon itself to become completely sealed with concrete slabs over windows.

Be prepared and be safe!



23 January 2015

NSFW Men's Fashion

Rick Owens let it all hang out in Paris for his 2015 Men's collection.  
His peacoats were cut from Berber blankets;

Cable knits were stretched to the limit...
and portholes were placed to show everything a man has to offer.

This is way too full frontal for even the most casual Friday.  The California designer says the collection was inspired by "an old French movie set in a submarine". We don't need a periscope to see the genius here.  Owens toys with sex and censorship in his own sleek way.

20 January 2015

Suit Up

Casual Fridays have killed our culture. The bespoke fitted suits of fine wools that men once wore are now rare endangered species. As conscious, environmentally aware people, we can fight its extinction and start the battle right in our homes.

Manly room designs inspired by the men's trouser suits of yore can inspire and thrill, planting the seed that a more refined look is an alluringly more sexy aesthetic than cargo shorts and t-shirts. 
An old soft worn black leather couch can bring back memories of your grandfather's old briefcase. Filled with paper and reports rather than hard drives, it meant he was all business.      
The grey tones in an exposed brick wall nod to the soft wool suit and fitted trousers of the serious office man.   
Brass accents and accessories are just what the working guy needs, like an expensive watch to keep time with.
Keeping it classy and simple with design for utilization's sake can bring back the man's sense of design, because, like in any boardroom, there should be equal room for  both sexes.  



19 January 2015

In Mint Condition

Designers across the runways speared mint into their 2015 runways. We got a taste of some from Coach...
..and sampled some more at Calvin Klein,  Nonoo and  Peter Pilotto.

Mint is bright and sexy and sweet and tasteful. 

Disguised as a squeaky clean delicate hue, mint also has a provocative bite so adding a sprig of the cool pastel into your interior can really perk up your home design. 

Rooms turn from stale to alluring, dry to coy and, when mixed with black accents, can add a bit of fashionable heat to the home. 











18 January 2015

Bite My Jeans

Zoo jeans are what the name implies-- Denim designed by dangerous animals.  To generate awareness of endangered species, designers throw their fabrics to the wolves... and lions and tigers and bears. 

The jean material is wrapped around rubber balls and tires-- toys worthy of the the sharpest-toothed beasts in the kingdom. The animals go hog wild clawing and biting the denim wrapped toys to make them savagely distressed .

Carefully-- oh so gently-- the jeans are then reclaimed from the lions/Ussuri brown bears/Bengal tigers -turned designers and sewn into jeans in a small factory in Okayama, Japan. 
The savagely hip designs will be auctioned off and all profits from sales will be donated to WWF and Kamine Zoo in Japan. 

Quickest Draw in the iWest

Go ahead, make my call, punk. Every urban cowgirl needs this holster for her iPhone6.
And something just as sleek could be coming home on the range. A new Radiant wall plate with a Qi-certified wireless charger by Legrand is a clean wireless way to keep the phone out of the way without cluttering up the aesthetic of your room design.   
For those of us who can't cut the cord, we can at least hide the messy wires amongst the herb garden on the kitchen windowsill with this grass chargerAnything to disguise the ugly side of tech.



The Modern Werewolves' Guide to Design

Decor. It’s a word that scares even the most hardened imaginary vicious beasts. Werewolves, as all members of the canine family, are extremely conscious of all things related to fur. 
Humans used to disregard the dogs’ love of fur as cruel, but it is an integral part of the canine’s strict design regime and with faux furnishings looking more and more realistic, it's something a creature of the night can really curl up with and remain animal-friendly.

Werewolves, as the most refined members of the canine genus, are among the first to experiment with texture in home design. Their wet noses can smell how this material can take a room from cold to cosy, from staid to luxurious. 
The Werewolves' Guide to Designing with Fur includes these tips. 
  1. Don't go loony as a full moon with it. Just toss in one or two items to elevate the room design. A rug or a throw is enough. 
  2. Take a look at length-- longer fur looks more realistic. Cheap fake furs. like B-grade horror movies, can look scary bad. 
  3. Darker toned fur can be like a heavy winter coat, for something to keep in the room all year round, go for greys, creams and tans. 
  4. Fur plays well with silks,  velvets and heavy wools.
Don't let their growls fool you, Werewolves are socially conscious and animal-loving creatures. They too want to amp up the luxury of their dens with the right amount and right type of faux fur pieces. 


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