Home Design That Welcomes The Outdoors IN!

Finally the weather is turning a bit more pleasant. Spring has sprung in much of the country (or will soon……).   S Interior Design is based in Arizona and it is definitely time to enjoy the outdoors before the triple digit temperature arrives. Below is a guest post about a home renovation in Australia that fully recognizes the opportunity to meld the outdoors with the interior spaces.  Quite beautiful!

Clayfield renovation (Bayview) – Bringing the outdoors in

 Brisbane is blessed with a gorgeous sub-tropical climate that lends itself to an outdoor lifestyle, and the suburb of Clayfield is a perfect example of this desire to spend time connected to nature. So it’s not surprising that the owners of this pre-1946 Californian Bungalow requested that Dion Seminara Architecture create for them a home that would fully take advantage of the predominantly fine weather.

The renovation involved an addition to the rear of the existing home which consisted of a dining space and a stunning new kitchen. A deck and courtyard were built at the rear of the home with sliding doors from the kitchen/dining room opening the home up onto this area. The result of this is immediately noticeable as the transition from inside to outside is seamless, resulting in a feeling of freedom and a connection when entertain in the courtyard area.

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On those days that are less than ideal due to rain or the occasional cold change, the interior of the home can be closed off creating an intimate space that is warm and comforting.

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At the front of the property a new double car port blends into the existing home, with a remote-controlled gate sealing off this area from the street. A new gate and gatehouse added to what already was an appealing streetscape and the re-landscaped front yard now takes on the appearance of a pleasant little courtyard itself.

Inside the little used main bedroom and hallway were originally the main beneficiaries of the prevailing north-east breezes that cross the property. Given that not much time was spent in these spaces they were renovated to create a gorgeous, naturally ventilated new living area that features an abundance of natural light. Creating a truly inviting space that thanks to the air-flow and natural illumination, further enhances the feeling of connection with the great Australian outdoors.

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For more information on this property visit:

http://www.dsarchitecture.com.au/architects/clayfield-home-renovation/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using Natural Light in Your Design

One of the greatest gifts a designer can leverage is natural light sources.  Understanding the natural light opportunities in a room can guide material selections and what types of artificial lighting is added.  Here in Arizona, S Interior Design likes to incorporate SolaTubes and strategically placed clerestory windows in homes and offices so our clients can enjoy the abundant natural sun shine without loosing heat and privacy controls.    Below is  a guest post about windows, natural light and window covering options to consider.

Using your window space to the best effect

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While the structural architecture and design of a room can have an effect on its atmosphere and mood, it is the lighting that truly brings it to life, enhancing the room’s design and décor, as well as creating the mood. Lighting patterns, colors and targeted illumination can create a variety of moods, from cool, restful and relaxing, to warm, active and cheerful. Both artificial and natural lighting can be used creatively to bring out the best features of a room and distract attention away from more negative areas.

 

Artificial lighting is an part of interior design, but natural lighting, courtesy of windows, is often overlooked or seen as something to work around. Natural lighting, however, is not only better for the eyes; it is also the best light to see accurately, see colors and tones and is a natural mood-enhancer. Choosing the right window coverings and treatments to allow natural light in to the best effect is an important step in truly finishing a room.

Window decorating and natural lighting

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There are a variety of different types of window coverings and treatments to choose from. Selecting exactly which to use depends on the room that the windows are in and the lighting effect required.

 

Window treatments in the bedroom need to be functional in some way, whether it is blinds that can be adjusted or shades that can be easily raised or lowered. Drapes and curtains are also frequently used in bedrooms; many being made from the same fabrics and trims as the bed linens. Room darkening and heat and sound insulating, these types of window coverings have the added benefit of creating a romantic and relaxing mood, particularly when made from luxurious fabrics and materials, such as sheers, brocades or velvet.

 

In the main living areas of the home, letting in natural light while maintaining a measure of privacy is the key. Covering only a portion of the window is an ideal way of admitting natural sunlight while maintaining privacy. Plantation shutters, along with other styles of window shutter, are a great way to accomplish this lighting effect. Covering only the lower pane or portion of the window, plantation shutters may be opened as desired to let in even more light. Even when closed they allow plenty to come through while keeping the room’s occupants screened from the outside world. Shutters fit in with almost any interior design, in particular country styles and Victorian design, as well as modern and eclectic looks.

Kitchens frequently do not have large windows or have windows with unusual shapes, so finding suitable coverings and treatments that are stylish, yet functional, may prove difficult. In addition to shutters, which also work well here, café curtains are a very popular window covering. Functioning in a similar way to the shutters, café curtains leave the upper part of the window nearly bare, allowing plenty of natural light to come through, while also ensuring a degree of privacy. Café curtains are available in a variety of styles and fabrics.

LED Lighting– Good to Know

An article from HOUZZ describing the benefits of LED lights and showing some of the most common applications.  As  designer, I am specifying LED lighting for all of my remodel projects.

It’s Good to be GREEN

No, I am not talking about green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, or green eggs and ham, but green in terms of selection of eco-friendly materials to complete  your home remodel.   Below is a guest post that describes some good ideas about how you can ‘think green’.

Making your home remodel as green as possible

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When remodelling a home you have to make environmental concerns a priority now, not just because of government regulations and stipulations, but also because we have a duty to build buildings and homes that use as few resources as possible, will operate without depleting natural resources on an ongoing basis, and will stand the test of time and be durable and liveable for many years to come. This might sound like a challenge if you’re remodelling a home, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t mean your remodelled home has to be a complete off-the-grid tepee without electricity or running water, it just means that you should use approved green products and appliances when doing your constructions. Information about green solutions is readily available; just browse design and construction firms like Unique Design. Green design doesn’t have to affect the appearance of your remodel either, just the mechanics of it. Here are some pictures of green remodelled homes:

It is now very easy to power your kitchen or bathroom by using solar energy, so if you are doing works on your plumbing or light fittings you should think about this. Solar energy will also attract generous rebates from the government, meaning that your energy bill will dramatically decrease.

Plumbing fixtures are good place to focus your attention as well, as faulty or inadequate fixtures are responsible for huge amounts of leaking and water wastage. A good thing to do when in the midst of a remodel is to get an energy audit, which will show you exactly how and where your energy consumption is going. It might be a revelation to find out exactly how energy is used in your home, and then you’ll know what the big consumers are and how you can save on energy expenses. Most people find that energy is used for a few hours in the evening, across two rooms, the kitchen and the bathroom. As a general rule, good quality products are better for the environment because they use energy more efficiently and last longer, meaning that they stay out of our landfill for longer.

101 Designer Secrets — #60, #65 and #70-71

The May issue of House Beautiful magazine has a 4 page spread of 101 Designer Secrets.  We read them and decided to share along with some commentary.  Not all 101 will be shared, but you can click on the link above to HB, or subscribe to their hard copy magazine to read them all if you wish to.

These ‘secrets’ or tips, as I prefer to label them are related to the most important and often overlooked design element—LIGHTING–

#60: Lighting is everything.  It creates drama, and intrigue in a room. The easiest way to accomplish this is with  a dimmer switch.  I always use dimmers even in the powder room-Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Absolutely agree with Mr. Bullard on this one.  You can easily add dimmers to your existing lights!


#65: To create flattering light, have your lampshades lined in soft pink or use GE soft pink 100-watt bulbs-David Scott

Definitely a good idea to use in entertaining spaces and dining rooms

#70: We locate light switches about 36″ above the floor.  That way they stay out of the way of the art on your walls.  We put switches about 1 1/2″ to 2″ off the right side of door casing for the same reason-Gil Schafer

#71: Install an outlet 28″ high behind a console tables.  This allows you to add lamps with out an unsightly tangle of cords-Ashley Whittaker

When you are doing a new build or remodel, this is excellent advice !

101 Designer Secrets — #19, #21 and #22

101 Designer Secrets–#19, #20 and #22

The May issue of House Beautiful magazine has a 4 page spread of 101 Designer Secrets.  We read them and decided to share along with some commentary.  Not all 101 will be shared, but you can click on the link above to HB, or subscribe to their hard copy magazine to read them all if you wish to.  Here are some related to bathroom design.

#19: Never use a sconce over a mirror in the bathroom–it will cast unflattering shadows across the face.  Sconces that flank the mirror will give  a more realistic and flattering light-Ron Southern

Commentary:

Yes, yes, yes.  I am endlessly trying to eradicate the world of light bars or recessed lights in bathrooms over mirrors for this reason.  While that is true, there are instances where the architecture will not allow for sconces to be placed flanking a mirror.  Here is one example of what S Interior Design did to work around that issue.  The light is a flexible track mounted to the electrical box above the mirror and curved to flank the mirror.

#21: I recommend a height of 36″ for a bathroom vanity instead of the standard 30″.  It’s much more ergonomic and comfortable all around – Jason Bell

Commentary:

This is absolutely the  truth unless of course you are 5’0″ tall.   We always use a 36″ high vanity unless height of the user dictates other wise.  In shared bathrooms with one partner being extra tall, we have even installed 42″ high vanities.

# 22:  Instead of a towel bar, mount 5 robe hooks 68″ high for towels and robes-Robert Stilin

Commentary:

 We very often recommend using hooks instead of towel bars.  Sometimes the functional needs and space dictate that a combination of the two be used.  How annoying is it to have to reach far out of the shower to reach a towel bar mounted 2-3 feet away?  Absolutely add the hooks!  Hooks mounted in a bathroom at child friendly heights are also a good idea to keep towels off the floor in bathrooms kids will be using.

Add a Bit of British Cool to Your Home or Apartment on this Side of the Pond!

We love keeping in touch with and learning what’s going on globally with design, be it interiors, architecture, or products. This week’s guest blog brings a bit of the UK to our shores. So much is great design is happening over there now, so why not brighten up a living room, or a bedroom or even your kitchen with some great British inspired, British made products!

The hype around the Royal Wedding last year, the continuing popularity of Downtown Abbey, the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics later this year means that once again it is cool to be British and this has been reflected in this years’ hottest interior design trends.

Interior design in 2012 will see a return to traditional British design. We’ve already seen it on the fashion runway with the popularity of Jonathan Saunders and now interior furnishings are favoring British designs with iconic prints, pastel color blocks, floral designs and gingham fabrics being used to complement the clean and sleek furniture trends from 2011.

To achieve this look with the furnishing you already have, add some British flair with oversized pillows in floral prints and pastels or floor length curtains in bold, iconic prints. Liberty offers some great home accessories, like the Edenham Liberty print silk and velvet cushion, as well as some new season fabrics that have been inspired by English nostalgia as well as the upcoming Olympics. The best thing about this trend is that adding a bit of traditional British elegance is as easy as pulling out the sewing machine (think pillowcases!).

British patriotism is also a hot trend continuing on from 2011 with everything from Union Jack pillows to wall decor. The Shoreditch Union Jack Ottoman from The French Bedroom  makes a great statement piece. The ottoman, in vibrant colors, makes a great coffee table with the added benefit of offering a storage space. Alternatively British furniture designer Jennifer Cooper’s Jack Upholstered Storage Box in muted tones is a great British made storage solution at a fraction of the cost.

If lavishing your home in Union Jack’s isn’t your thing try Graham and Brown’s Crown and Coronets wallpaper for a more subtle approach to cool Britannia. Crown and Coronets wallpaper can also be decorated with jewels, perfect for your very own little princess. Recreate the definitive British with Keep Calm and Carry On wall art; variations on the saying can be found everywhere, from Camden market to numerous online outlets.

For something with a bit of an edge have a look at Tobyboo’s range of tea towels and cushions with iconic images of London in bright yellows and oranges. Or if you’re on a budget, add a splash of Olympic Blue (also known as Pantone 19-4056) against some clean contemporary lines to get into the Olympic fever.

Roomservice By CORT is a company that specializes in furniture rentals, furniture packages, and has a passion for all things interior design.

About Suzanne Lasky, Allied ASID
Suzanne Lasky, Allied ASID, is the owner and founder of S Interior Design, the exclusive provider of Pawprint Design Services™. Suzanne works with her clients to develop a winning combination of design elements that result in warm, comfortable and functional spaces that reflect each client’s personal style. Suzanne and her team specialize in residential, contract and hospitality interior design, from simple color selections, to office build outs, to restaurant, spa and hotel designs. Suzanne shares her years of expertise through the power of social media. You can follow her on FacebookTwitter, and at this blog. To speak to Suzanne about your interior design needs, please call 480-220-4659 or visit her website at www.sinteriordesign.com.

Dining Room Decor

Below is shown a guest post about the design elements that compose a dining room.  S Interior Design has added commentary which is shown in red font type.  We also took the liberty of adding some photos.  Enjoy!

5 Accent Pieces that can Change your Dining Room

 

 

 

 

Putting a dining room together is one of the most important steps when completing the layout of your home. After all, this is one of the most important rooms in your home! You will have romantic candlelit dinners and festive family get-togethers, tasty meals and perhaps even family game night all around your dining room table.  Even though we are just through the holiday season of entertaining, having a functional and beautiful dining room is always important.

Choosing just the right furniture in your price point is feasible and can actually be a really fun experience. One of the main goals is to make sure the dining room area matches the rest of the home’s flow of decor. It doesn’t mean that the colors and exact feel need to simply be duplicated, however you don’t want to create a room that feels completely out-of-place from the rest of your décor. This is accomplished by the used of repeating design elements such as wall colors, and furniture styles–just remember–sets are predictable, break up the set!

Dining room accents can come in many different ways. You can have a table, chairs, picture frames or elegant rugs just to mention a few of the accents that will decor you dining room just the way you’ve always wanted. Of course you can’t forget the lighting! Perhaps something soft and romantic like mid century modern lighting is your style. As you can see there are many ways to improve your space but let’s stick with 5 simple ways to take your dining room from blah to brilliant.  Lighting is a crucial design element here as in all rooms, you definitely want your dining room lighting to be on a dimmer switch to support the mood of the occasion.  Also you need to make sure the lighting is of the proper size and scale for the room and the design aesthetic you are seeking.

1. Dining Room Table

The main accent piece that will bring your dining room together is the dining room table. A dining room table accent that has a high quality wood with a luxurious style will certainly help to tie the room together with great results. Don’t forget about a round table as an option.  Round tables encourage intimacy among diners.

2. Decorative Chairs

Decorative chairs to complement your dining room table are another great accent that will change your dining room just the way you want. Although most of the time the chairs will come together with the table as a set, choosing your chairs individually can also be an option. Two of the main aspects to consider when investing on chairs for you dining room are comfort and style. At the very least, choose different chairs for the head of the table when working with a rectangular shaped table.  You can vary the upholstery or the entire chair style.

3. Wall Art

Another accent that can complement your dining room beautifully is wall art. Wall art pictures can really enhance your dining room with a unique style and fashion. You can be certain that with just the right kind of art, you will surely complete your dining room to perfection.

4. Rugs

Luxurious rugs make for also great accents for your dining room. Tying the room together is easily done with an elegant rug. Many of the rugs that are sold nowadays can easily go for a great affordable price. Shopping around will easily help you find the rug that will work perfectly as an accent for your dining room. Make sure the rug is large enough so when diners push the chair back from the table the chair is still on the area rug.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Ask an interior designer about how to best use mirrors in your room designs and you are sure to get a lot of different responses.  S Interior Design always tries to use mirrors when they can reflect a beautiful accessory or piece of artwork.  Below is a guest blog post on the subject of mirrors and how you can use them to your best advantage in your home.  I am certain you will get some great ideas and perhaps be inspired to re-hang your existing mirrors in different places or purchase a new mirror.

If you are looking to give your room a quick facelift without spending a zillion dollars on the same, then I have solution for you. Placing decorative mirrors will add a new dimension and result in more light for your room. When placed appropriately, the mirror can give the room a whole new look.

Adding mirrors to rooms that are small or look congested will make it look roomier and brighter. The trick is to place the mirrors on the wall opposite the window so that the natural light from the outside is reflected inside. The reflection of the room in the mirror causes an illusion of a larger and spacious room.  Also, if your rooms have no windows placing a turned on lamp in front of the mirror will diffuse the light across the room and make it look brighter.

Full-length mirrors with frames when placed against the wall in a room can work as an art piece and be the focal point of the room.  A mirror placed in front of your favorite painting will emphasize it more and make the colors in the painting more vivid.

 
Finally, a mirror in a narrow passageway makes it look broader. I have added a white antique mirror at the eye level in my passageway – it not only makes the passageway look broader, but also lets me get a quick look at myself before I leave for work. 

 The best part is that there are so many shapes and sizes to choose from. You can have one or more mirrors on the same wall, but make sure the size of the mirrors are proportional both to each other and to the wall.

 So what are you waiting for? Let your creative juices flow and add some mirrors to your room and give it a new look without breaking the bank!

 

Renuka is an editor and writer for a shopping blog called Pocket Change which is a part of Become.com’s shopping network and has categories where they write about everything from interior design to men’s and women’s fashion.

 

 

 

Optimizing Natural Light In Your Home

When I got asked if I would enjoy a guest blog post on the subject of Natural Light I immediately said YES!  I am a firm believer in the power of light and how it impacts how a room looks and feels, and often say to my clients that we need to leverage natural lighting in our design work together.  Of course living and working in perpetually sunny Arizona brings great options to work with natural light.  So assess your home and see where you can install a Solar Tube or get rid of heavy window coverings and let in some of nature’s bounty—LIGHT.

Guest post below:

The effects of natural lighting on a room can be very subtle, but that doesn’t detract from its importance. Ideally whenever you design a room you need to consider what light it will get from the outside and how best to utilize it. There is a large number of factors you will need to think about when planning the lighting for a room, too many for this article to cover. But hopefully it will give you an overview of how to make the most of natural lighting for your home.

The first and most important factor is the direction from which the light is coming from. Whilst I’m writing in the northern hemisphere, if you live in the southern hemisphere you can swap north and south around.

  • North: Because north facing rooms never receive direct sunlight the light often has a cold flattening quality. For this reason artists often prefer north facing studios as they allow you to see the true colour of your paints.
  • East: East facing rooms get direct light in the morning as the sun rises but far less light in the evening.
  • South: South facing rooms get the benefits of direct sunlight on them for most of the day making them warmer and better lit than others.
  • West: West facing rooms will be dark in the morning but brighten up as the sun moves to the west. They will often get the most heat as not only does the early afternoon sun tends to be the warmest but the setting sun will often shine directly into them.

Natural History Museum by Stephen Boisvert (used under CC licence)

This picture gives a nice illustration of how much stronger light from the southern window is. (South on the left)

You should take the factors above into consideration when considering the purpose of a room. For example east and north facing rooms will tend to be colder and darker than south and west facing rooms. This means that you will need use artificial lighting not only to brighten the room and to counter the flat effect the reflected sunlight often gives. For south and west facing rooms then window treatments such as blinds or curtains will help you to control how much light gets in and reduce glare.

South Facing Bedroom by Tom Parnell (used under CC Licence)

Functional rooms like kitchens and studies will benefit from large windows so as to let in as much light as possible. Often you can increase the drop of a window without affecting the structural integrity of a wall. Though if you want to replace the wall with say French doors then you will need to get a builder in. In rooms where you want to relax small and medium sized windows tend to give you a more relaxing atmosphere and privacy.

Natural light can have surprising effects on the colours that you paint your walls. For example you might well find that bright colours used in a south facing room are overwhelming, while pastels in a north facing room can appear washed out. In general though you can use paints to either counter or enhance the effects of the natural light. For example if your north facing room is too cold and dark then bright colours will help to liven it up.

East and west facing rooms need the most thought as the amount of light in these rooms will change dramatically through the day. In general you will to design east facing rooms for morning use and west facing for the afternoon. Therefore I prefer bright colours in eastern rooms to help you wake up and warm or darker colours in the west to help you relax.

Author Bio: Daniel is a UK blogger and copywriter with an interest in interior design. He is writing on behalf of Wooden Blinds Direct a specialist online supplier of wooden venetian blinds.