Design Cues from Nature

Today is Earth Day.  I thought it relevant to talk about how nature can provide fabulous direction for Interior Design. 

earth dayEarly this morning I dug up some beets from my raised garden bed.  I took the time to really look at the marvel that had been produced from a tiny seed.  The color of the beets are very on trend right now.
They are the color of Marsala–Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year.

marsala color of the yearBeets

And nature shows us what other colors work beautifully with Marsala–a rich organic green is the perfect complimentary color.  After all, red and green are compliments on the color wheel and the two tones of those colors are the same saturation level.

Beyond the color of the beets, their stems, and leaves, I also took the time to examine the contours and shapes of the beet and it’s stems and leaves.

I have often said the easiest way to check it color combinations will work well together is to look to nature.  Flowers, trees, shrubs all seem to magically grow and bloom in just the right colors.

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Unique Modern Outdoor Furnishings

S Interior Design  is designing the interior and exterior spaces for a client whose home is nestled against Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, AZ.  The house is unique and has many Mid-Century modern aesthetic elements.  Their main outdoor space has an amazing infinity edge pool.  Their existing outdoor furniture is resin wicker–a good choice for the severe sun and heat of Arizona. Like all things there are quality levels of resin wicker and theirs is breaking down.  Additionally the layout and types of furniture is not meeting their personal and entertaining needs.

Photo Jan 07, 5 40 42 PM

So what to do?  A higher quality resin wicker ?  Different colored outdoor cushioning?

NO!!  Gloster Outdoor Lounge Cloud and Nomad  is our design solution. The main upholstery will be neutral- Lunar fabric. Pops of bright color will be used on accent pillows and on the Nomad seating

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Under the high top table, an outdoor area rug will be placed to provide color and visually tie the area to the rest of the furnishings.

Outdoor Rug 2Page-New Measures-01

We are very excited to see this outdoor living space become reality.  Our clients who value unique design are thrilled with the design plan!

It will be about 8 weeks from order placement to installation.  In Arizona this actually times very well as our weather will be on the way to bearable temperatures again beginning in late September.

5 Elements of a Perfect Man Cave

Below is a guest post on the space referred to as the ‘Man Cave’. S Interior Design has also referred to this space as the ‘Men’s Den’.  In fact we just completed such a space for a client.  An under used guest bedroom was transformed.  It included a reclaimed wood tile wall, a custom coffee table that displayed his rifles,  custom designed seating and of course—a large television.Patina Yard Table Materials Chosen

Continue reading

LED Lighting: Pros and Kind of a Con

led light

Below is a guest post on the subject of using LED lighting options for the interior and exterior of your home (or office for that matter!). S Interior Design specifies LED light options for all of our client projects.    Even if it is simply replacing existing recessed can light bulbs with an LED option, the new light output can make a big difference in how the space looks. Continue reading



Wouldn’t it be wonderful to start this new year feeling organized in your home, office and life in general?  Sometimes easier said than done. My best friend is a professional organizer (Get Organized with Bridges).  She is consistently busy with clients.  We have become a society of collectors and sometimes even hoarders.  Like playing a sport without the right equipment, it is nearly impossible to obtain and maintain an organized life without the proper tools to do so.

S Interior Design has gone on client design consults where the very first step before any changes to the design of a space can be made, is purging and organizing by the client.


Below is a guest post from ‘across the pond’ supporting the idea of having additional storage space at your disposal.

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The Rule of 3- By Fresh Home

Great article about the pleasing use of  ‘3′ items, colors, fabrics etc. when decorating and designing.

The rule of three is a guideline that can be bent. Essentially, it was put into place so that people understand that a odd-number of items is more interesting than an even-number of items.  So, yes, you can arrange 5 items or 9 items into a grouping and still achieve the same visual interest.

Rule of 3modern-bathroomThen again there are people who absolutely love a symmetrical design layout  and 2, 4, 6 will work better for their eye.

The Vignette–Every Successful Design Should Master This!

Great share from HOUZZ about design vignettes.  About 15 years ago I tried explaining ‘The Vignette’ to my husband who insisted it was a description being used incorrectly.  For those of us in the professional design industry, it is a very commonly used phrase–read the article below and try your hand at creating new vignetttes in your home!


How To Bring the Outdoors In

Here in AZ it is finally time to throw open the doors, slide open the windows and enjoy time outside.  The following infographic describes some easy ways to create visual and functional flow between the inside of your home and the outside spaces. (please ‘click’ on the image to get a larger, more readable size)

Shutter Co-Outdoor_IG

Too Hot For Outside Fun This Weekend? Transform Your Kitchen

Below is a guest post on relatively simple, low cost things you can do to transform the look and feel of your kitchen quickly.
Here in Phoenix the temps are so high that staying in an inside air conditioned space and doing fun house and design projects over a weekend sound like a great idea.  I just sourced some whimsical hardware for a client that definitely will change the feeling in her kitchen–


A Kitchen Update in a Weekend

Tired of looking at your drab kitchen but don’t have the time or money to invest in a complete makeover? Don’t fret. With a little imagination and some elbow grease you can spruce up your culinary digs in a weekend. The best thing about these projects is that you can do them one at a time and not have to deal with the mess and hassle of a complete remodel.
So what are you waiting for? Dig out your paint brush and screw driver (and maybe a hammer) and put on your weekend warrior face. Here are a few projects that won’t break the bank and will leave you beaming with a feeling of accomplishment.

Install new lighting
A new light fixture can literally brighten up your kitchen. Pick a fixture that appeals to your kitchen décor but also provides adequate light to work under. Wish you had a number of lights overhead? Choose from a variety of track lighting options that replace your old fixture yet don’t require additional wiring or holes in your ceiling. They look great and instantly update an older kitchen.

Change cabinet hardware
Sometimes it’s the small details that make all the difference. Replacing outdated cabinet hardware with a modern design won’t go unnoticed. This is one of the easiest updates you can do yourself. If you don’t want to drill new holes in your cabinets and drawers, simply take one of your current hardware pulls with you to the store and match it up against the selection there.

Paint the walls
Brighten up your kitchen with fresh coat of paint on the walls and/or ceiling. If you’re feeling bold go for a bright color. A splash of color on the walls will transform the whole feel of the room. Remember, ceilings don’t have to be white (or one of the millions of off-white). And if that’s not enough, consider painting the cabinets as well (or instead). It’s remarkable what a fresh coat of paint can accomplish and with some sandpaper and elbow grease—and paint, naturally—you can turn dreary or boring into a high-class fashion statement.

Replace the floor

Depending on how much kitchen floor space you have, this project may be a little more involved, but it can easily be worth the addition effort. The floor can often go unnoticed and many kitchen floors are notorious for being drab and outdated. Rip out the old and put down something new and fresh. Consider hardwoods, stone, and eco-friendly bamboo. If you already have a hardwood floor, then it’s even easier! Give it a nice sanding and a new finish.

Update the faucet

It may be time to replace the workhorse of your kitchen, the faucet. An updated faucet will not only be more versatile than your old one but it will make a fashion statement as well. These days the selection is simply astonishing with everything from hands-free operation to faucets designed to accommodate the largest of pots.



About the author: Jonathon Ensor stays on top of the latest home design trends as a writer for Empire Today. He loves to get unique furniture and decorations from thrift stores and garage sales.



4 Design Innovations to Improve Workplace Satisfaction

Below you will find a great article about how to design for today’s office environment.  S Interior Design is currently working on a project for a company who has obviously read the research.  We are opening the work space up while still providing some privacy, and have added a communal break room- kitchen.  Here is a sneak peak of the break room design in progress


4 Design Innovations to Improve Workplace Satisfaction

Henry Ford’s assembly line and Robert Propst’s cubicle were groundbreaking innovations aimed at increasing productivity in the workplace. While productivity is still one of the critical success factors in a work environment, many major companies have been shifting away from industrial designs towards the type of office that promotes employee satisfaction. The idea is simple: a happy workplace will attract top recruits, improve employee retention, and ultimately allow employers to build an efficient and cohesive workplace.
How does that work? Simply put, happy workers are more productive than their unhappy peers, and there’s now quantitative evidence to back up this claim. Economic researchers in the UK and Germany recently conducted a study revealing that happy people are 10-12% more productive than unhappy or emotionally neutral people.

The truth is, top companies recognized the importance of happy employees well before the results of this study came in. Many businesses have discovered that happy employees are more focused, get more work done, take fewer sick days, and stay at the company premises for longer. With that in mind, tech giants such as Google and entertainment leaders such as Pixar have introduced all kinds of in-office perks, including fitness centers, game rooms, and cafes with gourmet food.
Of course, you don’t have to allot an enormous budget for extravagant perks to boost employee happiness in the workplace. Here are 4 ideas to improve worker satisfaction and productivity through the layout of your office, with minimum investment.

Adjustable Workstations

In their 2013 Workplace Survey, Harvard Business Review found that workers whose employers gave them greater autonomy were more likely to be satisfied at work, perform better, and view their employers as more innovative than other industry competitors.
One easy way to give employees greater autonomy is to let them work from adjustable workstations. For example, Facebook lets employees at their headquarters adjust the height, layout, and configuration of their desks to create their optimal workspace. So it’s okay if you feel most productive and energetic working at a standing desk station all day, while your coworker does best with a seated corner desk – Facebook is happy to accommodate both of you.

Individual departments within Facebook are also able to rearrange their desks whenever they need to. If the marketing team needs to have a brainstorming session, they can easily circle their desks up in the center of the room, then move them back against the wall when they need to focus on individual projects. This freedom to create the ideal workspace improves employee happiness and productivity.

Rotating Seating Chart

In a medium or large office, it’s all too easy for employees to become isolated within their department or even their immediate seating area. Research has shown that a worker’s immediate neighbors account for 40-60% of their interactions throughout the day, meaning that there’s frequently a disconnect between employees who aren’t geographically close together.
To improve company culture and encourage greater connectivity, some companies, such as inbound marketing specialist HubSpot, have adopted a rotating seating chart every six to eight months. Shifting the seat locations around gives employees the opportunity to get to know more people and to collaborate with people outside of their department. It also gives employers a chance to rearrange employees with work style and personality in mind, so that there are no major office clashes.

A Central Atrium


The Pixar headquarters have a large, central atrium with bathrooms and a cafeteria set far apart from the work spaces. Their goal is to promote connections between workers in different departments and to encourage new ideas from casual conversations. While not every business has the building space to create this kind of grand atrium, smaller businesses can still set up a central space, such as a break room, for employees from across departments to meet in a relaxed environment.

Distraction-Free Workspaces

While the open-office layout has become the overwhelming trend in the US (70% of all offices in America now have an open-floor plan), some employees find this collaborative environment distracting and need privacy to be able to focus on their work tasks. Businesses that use an open-office layout can provide this by setting up areas that are blocked from the main floor. Even companies that don’t want to add walls can resort to couches, bookshelves, desks, and moveable walls to set up an area for employees who are happier and more productive when they’re not in a sea of people.
The key to designing any workspace is to take into account the individual preferences of employees. There can be many different work styles within a single workplace, and the more flexible companies are in catering to those different styles, the more productive and happy their employees will be.

About the Author
Lynne Lemieux, Founder and President of Alliance Interiors Inc., has devoted more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing growth opportunities for some of Canada’s leading office furniture dealers. Her ability to provide clients with inspiring and versatile interior solutions for both business and home office environments has garnered her title of Aboriginal Business Woman of the Year in the city of Toronto for 2012. In her spare time, Lynne takes an active interest in politics, public speaking, and philanthropy, but also enjoys gardening, interior decorating, cooking, yoga, and traveling.