Designers must be detail oriented. Why? As the famous German-American architect Ludvig Mies van der Rohe said, “God is in the details.” In other words, it’s the details that make or break the design.
Here is a master bedroom drapery and bedding design that includes draperies, cornice, slipcovers, duvet, pillows, and a scaldino.
With a color palette of sapphire blues, spring greens, and ivory, I combined 5 fabrics, 4 different size and color lip cords, a brush fringe, a gimp, and 12 tassels to add the finishing details.
As a comparison, here’s how the same basic design would look minus the details.
Looks unfinished, doesn’t it?
Details are the difference between mediocre and sublime. And who wants mediocre design?
If you’d like to add some Interior Beauty to your home, I look forward to hearing from you!
And for those who are wondering, a scaldino is literally an Italian brazier, a portable ceramic container shaped like a basket with handles. Back in the days before central heating, people would stay in the kitchen as long as possible, dreading the ice cold beds that awaited them. After the kitchen fire had been burning all evening, there were plenty of glowing embers. The last person to go to bed would scoop them into the scaldino, put the scaldino inside a rounded structure of wooden slats called a trabicco, then slide the whole contraption under the sheets and blankets for about 5 minutes to warm the bed before moving onto the next bed and the next bed and finally their own bed. The air in the Italian stone houses was humid which meant the sheets were damp, and once the scaldino heated up the bedding, columns of steam would arise from the bed and the bed appeared to be on fire! But it was just the steam. The warmth of the bed didn’t last long, so people hoped they’d fall asleep before the bed became ice cold again. Nowadays we use a scaldino to mean the decorative fabric piece at the foot of the bed, which can indeed warm your toes, just not as much as a scaldino! (taken from Trapped in Tuscany, a book by Tullio Bruno Vertini)
The first day of ICFF, our first stop was Wilsonart to see the chairs conceived and built by student designers at Appalachian State. In its 11th year, Wilsonart sponsors and challenges design students to create chairs that celebrate the richness of laminate surfacing materials without the restraints of mass production. Wilsonart chose the Industrial Design Program at Appalachian State University to host the 2015 challenge. The theme of this year’s challenge was to celebrate the beauty, culture, and history of the Appalachian Valley of North Carolina.
I first talked to Rider Evans about his Triad chair that uses triangles and hexagons to form a sling-like seat supported by a stainless steel rod frame. These shapes form the shape of the state of North Carolina, with the red triangle representing Boone, where Appalachian State is located. The triangle motif was also a hallmark of Buckminster Fuller, one of the America’s greatest designers of the 20th century, who taught at Black Mountain College in Asheville, NC. Fuller’s geodesic dome was constructed wholly of triangles and hexagons. I like how Rider placed the Wilsonart laminate in a way that suggests parquet.
“Hem” as a noun means a border, edge, or margin, but as a verb, it means to confine or enclose. Lyndsie White created her Hem chair to, “sweep around your body much like the arms of your mother, or the cradle of a front porch.” She spent a lot of time on her motorcycle exploring the Appalachian Mountains and became fascinated with the self-sufficient and hard-working people she met there, as well as the buildings that were weathered yet remained intact.
Having grown up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC, Alex Ravan was inspired to create his chair Sequoyah by memories of his childhood when he and his father were in the Indian Guides program. They visited the mountains to learn about the people living both on and with the land. His rocking chair reflects Cherokee ideology, where Mother Earth, the land, cradles all human life.
When creating her Advent chair, Bailey Williams was inspired by the Moravian star on several levels. One reason is because her ancestors built and founded the Moravian community in NC in 1768. Another is because she’s intrigued with its many points and angles and its interplay of light and shadows. The first Moravian Star was created for a geometry class in 1850; its angles and lengths used as a lesson in math. Originally the stars were used as decorations during the Moravian Advent season, but now it’s common to see them decorating homes any time of year.
As a hiking enthusiast in the Blue Ridge Mountains, John Walters created his chair to solve a problem. What do you do with your pack once you’re ready to sit? He figured chairs have backs and shoulders just like humans, so he created the Trek chair to shoulder the load. He designed a hooking device and put it on the back to accommodate a full backpack. No need to fling the pack on the floor, now it can hang securely on the chair. He chose tubular aluminum for the legs much like the framework of a backpack, and the back is slotted to allow both the pack and the hiker to air out.
Looming is the name Byron Dollar gave to his chair as it simulates the flow of fabric through a loom. The frame of the chair symbolizes the shuttle that sends weft threads through warp threads to weave the fabric. In a larger sense, design involves weaving the physical with the emotional; just as one finds tactile comfort in a favorite shirt, good design finds the perfect fit and balance between man and nature.
Samantha Lilly’s chair Blossom won the Wilsonart Challenge because it embodies the spirit of the Appalachian region through its use of marquetry applied to resemble the flora natural to the area, specifically the blooming Dogwood tree, the state tree of NC. The Wilsonart Laminate in Persian Cherry provides the appearance of natural woodwork but without the concerns of crafting with genuine hardwood, allowing designers more freedom and the ability to explore original shapes and employ new techniques.
Samantha says she wants to “bring you back to a childhood when a typical day might consist of getting lost in the woods and making believe that magic exists in all variety of flowers and trees.” When sitting in her chair, she wants you to feel as though you are being immersed in nature.
Congratulations to all the student designers (who have now graduated from) Appalachian State, and best wishes as you continue your careers in design! Kudos to Wilsonart for fostering furniture design in North America!
I remember laminate counters in the home I grew up in, but have you seen laminate surfaces lately? Technology has permitted more sophisticated patterns, to the point where you have to touch them to know if it’s laminate or stone. Here are just a few examples of a new Wilsonart designs:
Wilsonart x You Custom Design Service is an exciting new program that allows designers, architects, and specifiers to quickly and easily create their own signature designs in laminate counters, wall panels, tables, work surfaces, case goods and more. You can have your own design on just one piece, or hundreds, in a surprisingly short 2-3 weeks after artwork file approval.
Imagine the possibilities! Use oversized graphics to create dramatic wall panels or accent spaces within a room. Think of the opportunities to underscore brand identity in retail shops, medical offices, and commercial settings. Design is increasingly moving to more personalization, and Wilsonart is right on the leading edge.
Did you know that Wilsonart also makes gorgeous quartz surfaces?
What is Quartz? Quartz is a hard mineral composed of silica and oxygen and is the second most abundant mineral found on earth.
Wilsonart calls quartz counters the doppelgänger of stone. Quartz counters are engineered stone formed by combining 90% ground quartz with 8-10% resins, polymers, and pigments. This forms a very hard granite-like surface. Wilsonart creates quartz counters that simulate the beauty of natural granite but are much less maintenance. Quartz counters don’t need to be sealed like natural stone, and all that’s required for cleanup is mild soap and water. This is why I prefer Quartz to natural stone: beauty and low maintenance!
Quartz counters also are cool to the touch like granite and marble, something I appreciate, living in Florida.
Wilsonart has many sophisticated patterns in all styles, whether modern or traditional.
The veining in these Wilsonart quartz counters is quite beautiful.
For more than 50 years, Wilsonart has been an eco-friendly manufacturer.
- 30% of the fiber used to make their laminate comes from recycled sources and is certified by SCS Global Services.
- They sponsor ZeroLandfill communities and Silver sponsor for Save-a-Sample program.
- They’re the largest donor to local United Way organizations in Central Texas, and a
- Major fund-raiser for Scott & White Children’s Hospitals.
- Wilsonart was the first North American laminate manufacturer to achieve the Forest Stewardship Council Chain of Custody of Certification,
- They have also achieved UL Greenguard Gold Certification for low chemical emissions on all laminate types.
Clearly, Wilsonart is an upstanding citizen among corporations and care about the earth’s resources and keeping their products healthy!
A great big THANK YOU to Modenus and to Wilsonart for a wonderful experience on #BlogTourNYC! To see more about Wilsonart, click here. And to follow along on my BlogTourNYC experience, see my posts Smart & Sexy in the Bathroom, A Steamy Afternoon in New York City, and Someone’s in the Kitchen at Kips Bay Decorator Show House. And if you’re thinking of updating your kitchen or bathroom with new counters, I hope to hear from you!
Friday night, #BlogTourNYC was invited by LAUFEN Bathroom to attend the #DIFFA1.2 Party. DIFFA stands for Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids and the 1.2 refers to the 1.2 million people living with HIV. A girlfriend who was infected by her fiance is still alive and kicking thanks to all the research devoted to fighting this disease, so I was doubly happy to attend this party.
The party took place at the DeGustibus Cooking School inside Macys.
The chefs prepared delicious delectables that were…
…served by handsome men. Here’s one of them offering culinary delights.
The big smiles on my #BlogTourNYC designer friends Anne Edwards, Amy Wax, Ann McDonald, and Deborah von Donop are a testament to the great time we all had. The images of certain other BlogTourNYC members dancing and singing shall remain in our collective memory!
After a great time at the DIFFA party, we made our way to the street to wait for our Uber driver. New York was buzzing and the streets were full of people.
Here you can see the entrance to Macys.
The 3 Anne’s of #BlogTourNYC on our way back to the NYLO hotel. Me, Ann McDonald, and Anne Edwards.
Did I mention that we each had our own private room at the NYLO Hotel? The bed was sooo comfortable that I wanted to bring it home. Hardwood floors in a hotel room, seriously? I couldn’t believe all the lighting options either; usually hotels are notoriously underlit. It was a great room. Thank you again, Modenus (aka Veronika Miller and Flo Von Pelet), and the BlogTourNYC sponsors: LAUFEN, Mr. Steam, Wilsonart, and Dacor!!
The NYLO bathroom also met with my approval as it was well designed with all the amenities and thoughtful space to hold my toiletries. My personal preference is for a ceramic sink but stainless is a natural choice in this industrial chic design.
On Sunday, we went to the ICFF design show and visited LAUFEN at their booth.
LAUFEN is a global expert when it comes to manufacturing bathroom ceramics and faucets. For over 120 years, LAUFEN has been using ceramics to make innovative products in state-of-the-art plants with legendary Swiss precision. And their collaborations with great designers from around the world have resulted in truly beautiful bathroom products.
The bathroom below is from the collection Ilbagnoalessi One, LAUFEN’s partnership with Italian designer Stefano Giovannoni. His inspiration was in how water smooths stone, how pipes make water useful, and how both have reflective surfaces. This bathroom has a sleek yet organic ambiance. Delightfully organic and sexy!
Here’s a photo I took of the sink at ICFF. I love how the feeling of flowing movement is captured in the ceramic.
LAUFEN also partnered with iconic Italian design firm Kartell, known for their color and revolutionary use of plastic materials in furnishings. The vanity cabinets below are ingenious for making every inch count. In typical Florida homes, storage is often insufficient. Wait til you see how these work.
Let’s start with the faucet. The round disc on top is a shelf.
The shelf holds a removable plastic tray that sits securely on the shelf and is not dislodged or bumped when turning the water on or off. The plastic has a very substantial and sturdy feel. The trays come in 4 colors: orange, gray, clear, and blue (not shown in this pic) There’s also a rectangular tray, also removable, that also…
slides on either side of the faucet.
Usually a bathroom vanity cabinet is such a waste of space because the entire area around the plumbing can’t be used. Inside this Kartell by LAUFEN vanity, the drawer is constructed around the plumbing. So smart! It’s just big enough for all my make-up, LOL. Seriously, bathrooms need all the storage possible, and this cabinet makes every inch count.
Here’s the blue color and the companion wall shelves for even more storage. (The blue is actually one of the wall shelves sitting on top a clear sink sliding shelf.) Now did you notice how thin the walls of the sink are? Besides looking sleek, the thin walls also give more basin space which = more splash space which = less tiresome wiping up of counters. That little slit in the ceramic is actually the drain!
Using the mineral corundum which is found in sapphires, LAUFEN developed SaphirKeramik, an innovative new ceramic which was five years in the making. Because SaphirKeramik is super strong and has greater flexural strength than steel, it opens up entirely new ways to design sinks, bathtubs, toilets and bidets, because now these items can be 1/3 to 1/2 the thickness of current ceramic bathroom products.
Dr. Werner Fischer, Research Director of LAUFEN, shows the new SaphirKeramik (right) in comparison to conventional ceramic (left.)
Using a thinner ceramic body and a simpler structure reduces the weight compared with conventional ceramic. Lower raw material costs and energy consumption in production and transportation help preserve the earth’s resources, including one of our most precious natural resources, water.
The super sleek walls of this vessel sink are made possible with SaphirKeramik.
The inside of this sink is curved for easy cleaning.
One thing you don’t see is the typical pop up drain that looks fine new, but over time discolors. In many LAUFEN sinks, the drain is a ceramic disc.
In these 2 photos (taken by fellow BlogTourNYC designer and friend, Anne Edwards) you can see the ceramic drain cover in this LAUFEN sink.
The drain is an integral design in this LAUFEN sink. Virtually invisible and so much easier to keep clean.
I also love the sleek side walls of this toilet, no nooks and crannies to collect dust. Can you tell I don’t like cleaning? The lid lowers softly with a gentle nudge. No more slamming toilet seats.
Clean lines, intelligently designed with an organic feel that preserves our natural resources, LAUFEN is sure to show up in my next bathroom designs. Can I help you create this in your bathroom?
Thanks again to LAUFEN Bathroom for sponsoring a wonderful #BlogTourNYC, an experience I adored, and for showing us how bathrooms can be so beautifully and smartly designed! To see more about LAUFEN and their beautiful designs, click here. To see more about my design experiences on the BlogTourNYC, see A Steamy Afternoon in New York and Someone’s in the Kitchen at Kips Bay Decorator Show House
Who’s in the kitchen? #BlogTourNYC, that’s who. BlogTour is the brainchild of Veronika Miller of @modenus as a means to bring interior designers, bloggers, and other creatives together to explore selected design brands and to share their take-aways.
Besides being ahead of the curve and brilliant and witty, Veronika apparently has the knack of picking people who get along great despite the fact we came from all over the world, are all different ages, have different occupations and vary widely in style. If she had any spare time, she’d make a great party planner. Oh wait, this four day BlogTour was a party! By the last day of #BlogTourNYC, we’d all become good friends. So for that alone, Veronika, I thank you for inviting me. So come along with me while I share my wild design ride for 4 days in New York City, the Holy Grail of all things design.
Do I need to mention Veronika Miller’s uncanny ability to photobomb and look good doing it? While there was a lot of work involved, (I can hear you saying, “yeah, yeah”) there really was, honest! But there was a lot of fun too. Obviously.
Our first design destination was the famed 43rd Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House at the Arthur Sachs Mansion in Manhattan. The show house was decorated by 22 celebrated interior designers to benefit the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.
#BlogTourNYC members enjoyed early access, sparkling mimosas and a delicious frittata muffin conjured up by Chef Oliver in a state-of-the-art, gorgeous Dacor oven.
Chef Oliver putting the finishing touches on our breakfast frittatas.
This Dacor oven looks beautiful nestled in the Christopher Peacock custom cabinetry, but it’s smart too. It has an IQ controller for access to the Dacor IQ Remote App, for the ultimate in smart technology.
The Dacor IQ Cooking App allows you to remotely control the oven (or range) via your smartphone or tablet–and even via voice commands for hands-free operation. Great when you’ve got your hands full. You can even set it to start preheating before you get home.
It has a Recipe Box to easily store recipes found online directly into the oven or range. Then the oven can tell you exactly what to do to cook dinner perfectly. No more ruined roasts!
Dacor Discovery IQ also has advanced diagnostics to aid in optimal performance. Plus it’s just plain beautiful and adds to the high end feel of the Christopher Peacock kitchen. It’ll even text you when dinner’s ready!
This Dacor Renaissance 48″ gas range says a serious home chef lives in this kitchen. The Illumina oven and burner knob controls light up and have a ProGrip design and stainless finish. The SoftShut hinges pull the door softly closed, no slamming.
What makes the Dacor range especially impressive is that it has burners that go as low as 800 BTUs for a true, controlled simmer that won’t scorch your Beef Bourguignon, and the same burners can also go as high as 18,000 BTUs so you can really sear a steak and keep the juices in. The burners are sealed and the spill basin is porcelain enameled to make clean-up easy. (music to my ears!) The grates are designed to make one continuous platform, so when you’re done with a hot and heavy pot, you can just slide it off the hot burner instead of having to pick it up. Are you noticing a theme here? Yes, I confess, I like cooking to be E-A-S-Y.
The oven accommodates commercial-sized baking sheets and pans and has a huge window so you can monitor your cookies. Another feature I especially like are the GlideRacks that fully extend on a gliding ball bearing system. Great for those 20lb turkeys or big pans of lasagna. No more “nails on a blackboard” screeching while forcefully pulling out heavy racks. Safer, too. It just dawned on me that the reason that this range is called Renaissance is because it’s so versatile, it can do it all 🙂
For 50 years, Dacor has been designing and building its ultra-premium kitchen appliances in California. It’s also the first and only ultra-premium appliance brand to be tested and recommended by the Master Chefs of Le Cordon Bleu, the world’s most respected culinary arts and hospitality educator. Now that’s an endorsement!
Do you drink wine? Red or white, the Renaissance 24″ Wine Cellar holds up to 46 bottles that slide out effortlessly on beechwood racks. Like both red and white wine? Choose the dual zone model and it’ll keep the temperature and humidity perfect for both.
This kitchen is a work of art, with the ultra high end Dacor appliances and the custom Christopher Peacock cabinetry. I am a hardware geek and love the feel of solid brass pulls. Note the large base of the knob to protect the finish on the cabinet door, and the solid brass catches.
This is a large party kitchen, it has two Dacor 24″ dishwashers, and I like how they’re integrated into the cabinetry. Six cycles clean whatever you load in it, and WhisperWash feature does what it says.
Thoughtful features like the metal strip on top of the trash receptacle door protect the cabinetry finish.
I noticed a plaid theme happening in the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, starting with this distinctive backsplash design over the range.
Floor to ceiling cabinetry provide great storage and display space.
Upper display cabinets are shallow to allow head room at the sink.
These drawer fronts are from the same piece of solid wood used to make the live edge island counter, and they are set off beautifully by the solid brass pulls.
Loving all the shiny smart technology mixed in with Mother Nature at her finest!
The beauty of this live edge counter brings nature into the kitchen. Isn’t the graining spectacular?
Sending a HUGE hug and thank you to Modenus for inviting me along for all the #BlogTourNYC fun, and to Dacor for sponsoring our breakfast visit to the Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2015! After learning about all the smart features in their products, their tag line makes sense–The difference is in the details. Dacor is in the details.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the kitchen at #KipsBayDecoratorShowHouse2015. Watch for my next post that will be about the next most important room in any home–the bathroom.
Of course, we expect others to be clean and well-groomed. Yet our focus is usually upon the end result, and not the process, much to the detriment of not only our pleasure, but also our health. What does this have to do with interior design? A lot! Read on for the answer…
This lifestyle of rushing — to get our work done, get our children where they need to be, get dinner on the table, all the myriad activities that make up our lives—all this rushing diminishes the joy of life. Happiness resides in the present, and if we’re always rushing, we’re not even aware of any feeling besides…rushing, n’est-ce pas? This is why I regard not rushing to be the epitome of luxury.
So it was with high expectations that after 4 days exploring New York City during Design Week, immersing ourselves in fabulosity [at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, the Frieze Art Fair, Wanted Design, Chelsea Market, and ICFF where we saw a multitude of innovative and impressive designs (more on that later!)] as part of the #BlogTourNYC by @Modenus, we were royally treated by Mr. Steam (@steamtherapy) to an afternoon at the Aire Ancient Baths in TriBeCa in lower Manhattan.
The sheer variety of architecture in NYC could cause whiplash if I tried to see everything as I passed by. But upon entering the Ancient Baths, its relaxed aura of thick brick walls, tall Corinthian columns, and dimmed lighting imparted a sense of peace. A place to take a deep breath and exhale.
I’ve never been to a public bath before so when I saw it on the #blogtournyc itinerary, it brought to mind the exotic paintings I’ve seen of half naked humans lounging around, doing nothing or…having orgies. I knew they weren’t on the agenda, but the possibility of nudity gave me pause. Fortunately, swimsuits are required.
After changing into our swimsuits and donning terrycloth slippers with rubberized soles and terrycloth robes, we went down a flight of steps into a darkened vault lit entirely by candles. It was magical, like stepping back in time.
The warmth and humidity enveloped me like a gentle hug. A spa assistant explained the various pools and pointed out the showers for after the salt pool.
The photos above are the actual Aire Ancient Baths, but picture them with steam like this:
Feeling tired, I tried a quick dip into the cold bath (not the really cold one with the block of ice floating in it!), and immediately felt refreshed. Off to the first tepidiarium pool which was as warm as the Gulf of Mexico in summer, good preparation for the next pool which was good and hot. I swear I could feel my muscles unknotting. Next up was the jacuzzi to enjoy the great jets of water massaging my back.
I didn’t know what to expect in the flotarium (salt water pool) but I had to try it. I wish I had totally let go and rested my head in the water, but we were all going out to dinner directly afterward and I didn’t think I’d have time to redo my hair.
So instead of fully immersing, I held onto the thoughtful grab bar on the side, which was a good thing because that salt water was enough to float a car! I had to giggle as the salt water forced me to relax on my back and refused to allow me to sit upright. I bet you could fall asleep in it without fear.
Feeling relaxed to the extreme, almost ready for a nap, I enjoyed a longer dip in the cool pool which again made me feel totally refreshed. Honestly, I don’t think I’d enjoy being one of those crazy people who run into the ocean in winter, but I love-love-loved the hot/cold/hot/cold experience. Could it get any better than this? Why yes it could.
Just when I thought the spa bath experience was over (and I didn’t want it to end!) I found we were also being treated to a mud facial and steam room!
Mrs. Steam aka Martha Orellana slathered a very special mud from Morocco on our faces and told us to let it dry, then go into the steam room until the mud softened. Then we could remove it with a damp washcloth.
The glass steam room was so steamy, it was impossible to recognize anyone except by their voices. I wasn’t familiar with the benefits of steam beyond having a facial. I knew steam opens pores and that the facial mud draws out impurities. But did you know that in 1 square inch of skin, we have about 1,000,000 pores? That’s a lot of cleansing!
Steam is great for cleansing and detoxing as it causes the body to sweat and get rid of impurities. This means it’s important to drink plenty of water both before and after to stay hydrated. The heat causes the blood vessels in the skin to expand which causes an increase in blood flow and circulation. This in turn brings more nutrients to the skin. As a health and beauty benefit for the skin, steam has no competition.
See what John Basedow, author of Fitness Made Simple, has to say in 33 seconds about steam baths.
As I sat in the steam room, my sinuses and lungs became clear, no meds needed. I felt clear headed and able to breathe deeply, and as relaxed as a wet noodle. Steam is also great for relaxing stiff joints and sore muscles. It also burns off 150 calories in a 15 minute steam session at 114 degrees. I’m adding a Mr. Steam to my wish list!
After washing off the dried mud, this is how my skin felt. In fact, it’s how my whole body felt–brand new!
Now I’m back home and sorely missing that steamy experience. Did you know that it’s quite feasible and not as expensive as you’d think to convert a shower in your own home to a steam shower? No more allergy meds, no more Advil for aches and pains, and clear, baby soft skin? Yes, please!
See an example of all the ways you could enjoy a Mr. Steam home steam shower here. (and the shower doesn’t have to be this big!)
Yes, design is not just about looking pretty. Interior design is about creating an environment that nurtures you, body and soul. If you’d like to find out what’s involved in getting a Mr. Steam shower in your own home, please get in touch. I’d love to tell you how you can benefit from taking exquisite care of yourself and your loved ones with a Mr. Steam in your home.
To your good health (and beautiful skin!)