Posts Tagged ‘Robert Allen’

Friday, October 28, 2011

before & after: the blank slate

Ask any inte­rior designer this ques­tion: "Which is harder — to start with an empty room or to start with some­thing a client already owns?" I would answer that a blank slate is often the more dif­fi­cult assign­ment. When start­ing with a piece that a client already loves, be it art, a rug or some­thing else, the designer has clues. And clues are always help­ful in deci­pher­ing the mys­tery of someone's taste and style! Color pref­er­ences and styl­is­tic ten­den­cies can be read in a well-loved piece.

But some­times you don't get clues — you get a blank slate. In this case, a large beige box. A per­fectly ordi­nary room with absolutely no char­ac­ter whatsoever:

the blank slate home office
the blank slate home office

The charge for this space — cre­ate a home office for the lady of the house. She wants a com­puter work­space, sump­tu­ous fab­rics, lush col­ors and a place to put up her feet and chat with a girl­friend. Oh, and there needs to be some glam!

As I final­ize the design, the client and I do a lit­tle gallery-hopping and bring home this fash­ion­ista from local artist Sandy Welch:

Sandy Welch painting

Sandy Welch painting

Although she's out of frame in this next pic­ture, you can visu­al­ize how she now takes pride of place in this glam­orous home office:

the blank slate home office - transformed.

the blank slate home office — trans­formed. photo by Michael Partenio

The Bar­bara Barry desk is the state­ment piece for this room, with the Robert Allen ottoman in a divine blue vel­vet a close sec­ond. Creamy whites, deep blues, char­coal walls and sil­ver silk drap­ery are the per­fect com­ple­ment to the fash­ion­ista who lives here!

 

 

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

tuesday musings: green decorating

Imag­ine if you will a room, not overly large, rec­tan­gu­lar in shape.  Now add into this space five win­dows, three door­ways, six built-in book­cases and one fire­place.  This sounds like a room with quite a lot going on, doesn’t it? As some of my read­ers may remem­ber from an ear­lier post, I was con­tem­plat­ing paint­ing my home office all one color, in high gloss. Yes, this is the room in ques­tion, and yes, I finally did it.

Once upon a colo­nial time, rooms were mostly painted one color, before the advent of “white-trim-and-colored-walls” as an Amer­i­can design mantra. Recently pre­mier shel­ter mag­a­zines have shown more and more rooms with­out (gasp!) white trim – beau­ti­ful rooms with walls and trim all wrapped up in one rich shade.  Libraries, offices, liv­ing spaces with tra­di­tional or eclec­tic décor — I will admit I was both intrigued and a tad envious.

My office, with its white wood­work, tiny sliv­ers of painted wall and numer­ous por­tals, was a visu­ally dis­tract­ing expe­ri­ence. But the view out the win­dows is lovely and green. Ah, inspi­ra­tion!  Could I erase the line between indoors and out, set­ting my desk in the yard, at least virtually?

Out came my fan decks, search­ing for the per­fect green. But this one is too yel­low, this too blue, this too gray — I felt like Goldilocks.  I decided to use the custom-blended olive green (in Ben­jamin Moore's Aura, nat­u­rally) pre­vi­ously rel­e­gated to those tiny bits of wall — a color I loved, but never had enough of. Green dec­o­rat­ing, with the color green — two favorites rolled into one task.

Down came the five enor­mous bal­loon shades left by the pre­vi­ous owner. Even design­ers need an incen­tive to replace what were clearly cus­tom, albeit weighty and grand­moth­erly, win­dow treat­ments. (Those win­dow treat­ments I hap­pily donated to a fel­low designer's tag sale to raise funds for Komen CT). The influx of light was astounding.

Some­times paint­ing a room sim­ply means mov­ing all the fur­ni­ture into the cen­ter and cov­er­ing it with a tarp.  But is my case, every­thing was already in the cen­ter of the room.  The desk had been nigh impos­si­ble to get through the nar­row door­way, so it was stay­ing. And if it was stay­ing, I was stay­ing too, with files and com­put­ers and projects, oh my!

And those six, over­stuffed book­cases?  All needed to be emp­tied, onto the floor of this not overly large room. Stacks and stacks to be nav­i­gated around, sorted through and even­tu­ally re-shelved.  Surely I can endure the dis­rup­tion for a week? A lit­tle voice in my head is won­der­ing if there really is any­thing wrong with white book­cases and trim. Hun­dreds of books made their way to the town library. Part­ing is such sweet sorrow.

But I car­ried on – and the result is truly… lush.  That’s the best way to describe my home office’s new aura (no pun intended), like sit­ting in a rain for­est.  Those of you who thrive in all-white spaces may shud­der, but this room now embraces me in glo­ri­ous, warm, con­tem­pla­tive color. The new, spare Roman shades, in Quadrille’s Conga Line (moss & aqua on tint) trimmed with Robert Allen’s Cabin Weave (surf), add a funky vibe with­out being cliché. It feels so like work­ing out­side, I’m tempted to swat the mosquitoes.

cabin weave Robert Allen

cabin weave from Robert Allen in surf

Roman shades in Quadrille's Conga Line

roman shades against rich mossy trim

Sorry, can’t show the rest of the room with­out blow­ing the mys­tique that design­ers live in pris­tine spaces. It’s a work­ing home office that looks like total dis­ar­ray – and not in an art­ful, dressed-for-a-magazine way!

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