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.

dkp_DS_BayviewTce31La

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.

dkp_DS_BayviewTce23La

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.

dkp_DS_BayviewTce18La dkp_DS_BayviewTce24La

For more information on this property visit:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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

Image

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

 Image

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

ImageImage

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.