All About Door Hardware

Have you ever given much thought to all of the door hardware inside and outside your home? From the front door to all of the interior doors and the cabinetry pulls and knobs, there are literally dozens.  We would venture to say that most of you have not even thought about them at all.  Door hardware can easily be forgotten, but just think of the many beautiful options that are available to fit every style and budget.

If you are really not sure how to choose door or cabinetry hardware, read on for some excellent advice and tricks of the trade.  Designer Sarah Gibson in her Room for Tuesday blog has compiled this list of questions to ask before purchasing hardware.

§  What is the door and overall style of the home?

§  How will this piece look with the existing decor?

§  What is the budget?

§  What is the appropriate size hardware needed for this door, cabinet, or wall?  Scale is important!

§  What does the installation process look like?

§  What are the requirements needed ? (privacy, passage, dummy, or entry)

Check out these beautiful doorknobs for some inspiration if you are remodeling or building a new home.

Photo Credits:

This Victorian escutcheon  along with a smooth round knob has a refined and lovely old world look. It comes in this antique brass finish as well as many others.   www.nostalgicwarehouse.com

For  a more contemporary design, we love this Windsor Crystal Knob with Modern Rectangular backplate from Emtek.  It comes, as shown, in a satin nickel finish, but many other finishes are available. www.emtek.com

Create an entry that sets an elegant tone for the rest of your home. After all, it is the first piece of hardware people notice and touch when entering your home. This Durham Beaded Oval Knob Exterior Door Hardware Set features a motif that was a common Colonial Revival Design and blends classic shapes with refined decoration.  www.restorationhardware.com

If you can see your hardware in person, all the better, but, if you do choose to order on-line, consider purchasing just one to make sure it is a good quality and has the look and finish you desire. Then, go ahead to purchase the additional ones needed.

 

 

Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas

 Now that fall is clearly in the air, we are thinking about celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends.  We would like to share some ideas for some beautiful Thanksgiving tablescapes. We don’t believe there are any boundaries when creating a holiday table to fit your own personal tastes – whether they are casual and fun or sophisticated and glamorous!  Here are just a few of the many tablescapes we have seen and loved.

You can’t go wrong with a neutral palette – this one by Martha Stewart is soothing and natural.

This one from Good Housekeeping is elegant, simple, and inexpensive.  Filling glass candle holders with natural elements such as the nuts pictured here could not be easier.  Or, swap out the nuts with pinecones, mini pumpkins, or gourds for a different look.

Last, but not least, we love this tablescape from Country Livingwhich expresses the sentiments of the season in such a beautiful yet simple way.

Let’s all give thanks in style this year.

A Few Trends from Highpoint Market

We have been following the Style Spotters who were at the recent fall market in Highpoint, North Carolina.  They reported on new trends that they found to be redefining the shape of home fashion – it seems that what is old is new again in many cases.

So, here are just two of their new product picks.

Internationally renowned designer and forecasting expert Stacy Garcia focused on pieces that featured unexpected pairings of materials and finishes.  We particularly liked the contemporary, yet rustic Double-Sided Bookcase Room Divider by Artitalia Group which combined the natural elements of raw wood with a modern material of steel.

Three other noted style spotters all selected this Egrets pattern from York Wallcoverings, but for somewhat different reasons.  Mary Douglas Drysdale chose it for its historical reference to eclectic romanticism. Designers Bria Hammel and  Holly Hollingsworth Phillips noted that designers are now introducing color more than ever into their projects. They both liked how this wallpaper packs so much punch into a space and reflects fearless design and whimsey. Designers and their clients who choose this wallpaper don’t shy away from color or pattern. These two designers feel that “it’s all about bravery and color this season.”

Photo Credits

www.highpointmarket.com

www.yorkwall.com



 

 

How High Should You Mount Your TV?

We discovered the following article (Part 1) on Houzz and thing it’s worth sharing with our audience. We’ll share the rest of the article later.

The General Rule
The are many issues to consider when contemplating your television viewing experience, including the TV size and quality, and the distance from the television to the primary viewing location. But for one characteristic, there is a simple and concrete rule: The ideal center of the screen should be at the eye level of the viewer.

So the factors that come into play when you‘re considering only the ideal TV height include the height of the typical viewer and the size of the television. You can measure your television and do the math, but the optimum center of a television intended primarily for viewers seated on a couch is typically about 42 inches above the floor.

Historically, a general rule for optimum viewing distance from the television is 2.5 times the diagonal length of TV screen. Keep in mind, though, that there are different opinions on that rule, and some now recommend a TV that is larger relative to the space in a room. With newer, high-definition televisions, some recommend an optimum viewing distance of 1.5 times the diagonal television length.

For a television intended primarily for viewers seated on a sofa that is 12 feet (144 inches) away from the television, either a 55- or 60-inch TV can work in the space (144 inches ÷ 2.5 = 57.6 inches), but you can certainly find examples where 65- to 70-inch televisions are used in the same circumstance.

Let’s say you select a 60-inch television. A 60-inch television is about 32 inches high, meaning the center of the screen will be at 16 inches from the bottom of the television. Most sofa seating heights are close to 18 inches above the floor, and eye level for an adult seated in a relaxed manner is about 24 inches above the seat. That puts the optimum, center-of-television height for a typical seated viewer at 42 inches (18 inches + 24 inches). So that 60-inch television should be installed with the bottom of the screen at 26 inches above the floor.

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Bespoke Details

Century Furniture has a wonderful custom cabinet program where consumers can design their own case. There are a myriad of choices for finishes, base, hardware, including finish and even placement, along with front designs for a number of pieces such as media chests, bar cabinets, dressers, and many more. On their website, Century has a new section with this bespoke program.  Simply click on it see dozens of choices after selecting a piece and selecting “Customize Me.”  For example, one may chose a bar cabinet, select an espresso finish for the box with white for the doors, a fretwork front, chow legs, and an oval ring pull in antique brass.  The visualizer is so incredibly easy to use and really fun. The dozens of choices allow for true customization. Century Furniture is high end and certainly not inexpensive, but to have these options is amazing.

Take a look at this example and then go to www.centuryfurniture.comto see for yourself.

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Two Very Different Chandeliers

We have been sourcing dining room chandeliers for two clients – two totally different chandeliers, both very good looking.  One of the clients wanted a very contemporary chandelier while the other expressed an interest in a traditional crystal one.  

Keep an eye out for a future blog where we will go into more detail about the myriad of other styles of chandeliers, about finding the right size chandelier, and also about various types of crystal.

But, for now, these are a few of the ones we found in each style. We know there is a perfect chandelier for every taste.

Tete-a-Tetes, Then and Now

When we think of tete-a-tetes, we usually think of Victorian times, but there are many more modern versions as well.  Tete-a-tete literally means head to head in French, and it is a two-seat sofa, basically consisting of two chairs joined together. Its primary use was for private conversations as its other names suggest.  The tete-a-tete is also known as a courting chair or a gossip couch. It was developed during the early 19th century in France and was popularized during the Victorian era. The Victorian ideals of modesty and controlled courtship are illustrated by the shared armrest which provided a slight barrier between the couple sitting on the sofa!

One of the most famous examples of a tete-a-tete is this one which was made by John Belter, an American cabinetmaker, around 1850-1860.  His extravagant use of carved ornamentation is typical of Rococo Revival style.  It is displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

In many mid-century modern versions of the tete-a-tete, the shared armrest for modesty is gone – in fact this Edward Wormley tete-a-tete from 1950 looks more like modern double chaises we see today.  We saw this one for sale on www.decaso.com for $15,000.

We thought this ultra-contemporary tete-a-tete that we saw on Houzz is a very unique and dynamic art piece, but we could not find any information about where it could be purchased.

The rattan Confident armchair from Maison Drucker that we saw in Elle Décor comes in a range of colorful options as a part of its outdoor bistro seating collection.  It is priced at $3912.

For some, two heads may be better than one!

Cloisonne Sinks and Faucets

Cloisonne is the art of decorative enameling, a process that fuses glass to the surfaces of copper or bronze objects.  Once fired, the metal piece becomes a bright and colorful work of art.  Beautiful cloisonné faucets and sinks can become the focal point in a bath or powder room.

We like these two from Linkasink.  For blue and white fans, the cloisonné Blue Birds Oval under mount sink would make a pretty statement while the Dragon Vessel Sink is funky and daring, and it would certainly make an unusual statement.   Linkasink individually crafts and colors their sinks to produce a functional work of art. Both of these products can be found at www.waveplumbing.com.

For those who might just want something smaller and a little more understated while still interesting and beautiful, try these faucets from Kallista.  The Script decorative sink faucet has handles that are adorned with stunning hand-painted cloisonné accents depicting a spring floral motif.

These finely crafted faucets and sinks celebrate artistry and design as well as functionality.

 

 

DeKauri Bespoke Bath Cabinet - Art Meets Utility

We noticed this piece in a design magazine, and it piqued our interest so we did a bit more research, and we found some interesting information.

If you cannot stand a cluttered vanity full of toiletries, and if you can afford to spend $25,000, this freestanding piece of furniture designed to house and conceal both the sink and storage may be just the ticket.

Renowned architect and designer Daniel Germani debuted this piece at the 2018 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show last January.  He won the 2018 NYCxDesign Award in the bath category for its beauty and functionality. Germani used Dekton by Cosentino to craft the washbasin along with Kauri wood from New Zealand for the credenza. This 50,000 year old wood is exclusive to Riva 1920, an Italian furniture manufacturer whose skilled workers transform it into furniture as true works of art. Kauri is wonderfully preserved and has an amazing rough beauty that caught the attention of Germani. Once Germani added a faucet from Fantini Rubinetti, a high-end Italian design/manufacturing company and the upscale architectural lighting from Brooklyn-based Juniper Design, his credenza was complete.

It was fun to learn about this new product!  If you know of anyone who may want to purchase this outrageously priced bath credenza, please let us know because we sure don’t!

Dark and Moody Floral Wallpaper

We have always loved dark and dramatic walls, and they are definitely on-trend now. Deep, rich backgrounds lend an air of drama and sophistication to any room and give the space a strong identity and real sense of character.  This is especially true of these moody florals which are reminiscent of still life paintings from Dutch Masters of the Golden Age.  Oversized and printed on a background of decadently deep shades, these wallpapers are not for everyone, but they are truly beautiful. Somehow, they are traditional, yet modern and luxurious, and they are clearly not your grandmother’s wallpapers.  They can make a major statement in a small powder room or can be used as an accent wall in a living room or behind a bed in the master bedroom.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Photo Credits:

This vintage-style bathroom has a feature wall that looks like an antique painting – www.shelterness.com

Dutch Love is one of Ashley Woodson Bailey’s collection of six photo-based wallpapers.  The flowers practically jump off the wall – ashleywoodsonbailey.com

Noted designer Ellie Cashman says that “her designs are meant to serve as narratives of optimism and celebrations of beauty.” She has created a series of florals including Dark Floral II Black Saturated Wallpaper – elliecashmandesign.com

A moody floral may not be the first color one would think of for a little girl’s nursery, but it is gorgeous – greenandmustard.co.uk

This floral wallpaper is lovely, feminine, sumptuous, and sexy as a backdrop for the bed in a master bedroom – www.shelterness.com

 

The Minimalist versus The Maximalist

Over the years, design trends have waxed and waned and there have been many times when minimalism was popular as well as times when maximalism was in vogue.  Today, we have been seeing both styles in shelter magazines. There are often spreads on beautiful and sleek contemporary spaces as well as wonderful “over the top” maximalist rooms.  “Less is more” is absolutely the way to go for some while others follow architect Robert Venturi’s credo that “less is a bore.”  We say to each his own.

Minimalism highlights the essence of a room, stressing clean lines, clutter-free spaces, and a limited color palette.  Designing a beautiful, functional home in a minimal way is not easy. Skill, restraint, and a great deal of discipline are needed to pull it off.  We love this living room by Tara Benet Design in New York City.

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Maximalism is the antithesis of minimalism with its audacious display of bright colors, bold patterns, and a love of artful clutter. Maximalist spaces reflect their occupants’ travels, pasts, and quirks. Exotic Bohemian glamour comes to mind when thinking about maximalist design - rather than trying to achieve a perfectly coordinated space, maximalists strive for a layered look to embrace a beautiful, cozy chaos as can be seen in this photo from Architectural Digest.

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For more examples, take a look at the White Glove section of the May/June issue of Traditional Homeor the April issue of House Beautiful which featured a home in Philadelphia.

Which style speaks to you?

 

 

Refrigerator of Art

Dolce&Gabbana, the Italian luxury fashion house that was founded in 1985, has teamed up with the high-end Italian appliance manufacturer Smeg for the design of a special edition of the FAB28 refrigerator, transforming it into a work of art.  While the two companies belong to different creative sectors, they both have strong values and a tradition of “Made in Italy” excellence.  The hand-painted refrigerators feature images of lemons, the trinacria symbol (which is located in the center of the Sicilian flag), cart wheels and medieval knights done by Sicilian artists. This colorful and super high-end refrigerator is clearly not for everyone as it can cost $34,000 or more!

If that price point is above your budget, it is possible to purchase a range of small kitchen appliances that could turn your counter into a work of art. This toaster or electric water kettle can be found at Williams-Sonoma for a mere $600!

Who can ask for anything more – Smeg quality and technology combined with Dolce&Gabbana style!    

 

 

 

 

 

Styling your Coffee Table

Think about your coffee table as a focal point in your living room rather than as a spot to put down a snack or drink or a place to put up your feet.  By using several diverse elements, you can turn this flat, plain space into a beautiful eye-catching display. Following some basic design rules should do the trick.

We suggest these ideas from HGTV.

·      Keep your coffee table balanced by varying the scale and height and by grouping like objects together.

·      The coffee table can be a great place to rotate seasonal decorative elements.

·      The rule of threes is an age-old decorating trick, but it does work its magical appeal to the eye.

·      Think about using a tray to corral your favorite small finds and make them easily removable if you need to clear the space for entertaining.

·      A bit of greenery or a beautiful floral arrangement is a way to bring the outdoors in.

·      Last, but not least, the decorative objects on your table should be special and personal – they can tell your story and express your memories and passions.

 

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Encaustic Tiles

 

We have recently been working on a bathroom remodel project and have become enamored with encaustic tiles we have seen. Encaustic tiles have been around since medieval times when they were made with two or more colors of clay inlaid together to create a pattern which is beautiful, colorful, and timeless. According to Tile-Magazine.com “this art form reached its peak in the mid-1800’s when Minton’s Ltd. began to supply them for walls and floors in churches, public buildings, and grand palaces.” Nowadays, these tiles are made with cement rather than clay. Yet, the process remains basically the same – instead of being painted with a pattern, the color and pattern in encaustic tiles are literally baked in.  Each tile is made by hand using a special frame resembling an intricate cookie-cutter. Layers of pigmented cement are then poured into the various sections of the mold.

We love the extra flourish these aesthetically pleasing tiles can add to any space.  Whether they are used for a kitchen backsplash, an entry way, or a bathroom floor, encaustic tiles are a great way to show off your personality and style. Our design advice, though, is to make sure that the style of your house works with the pattern you love.  There are so many patterns to choose from – graphic and contemporary styles, Moroccan-inspired patterns, and traditional Victorian to name just a few.

While authentic handmade encaustic tiles can be very expensive, there are many glazed porcelain and ceramic tiles that mimic the look yet are much more modestly priced.  We will post a new blog when the bathroom is complete – look for the encaustic tile in the post.

Photo Credits:

Photo of colorful encaustic flooring installed in the U.S. Capitol – www.wikipedia.com

This is an intricately patterned mold for making encaustic tiles – from Lynne Byrne’s Design Dictionary at www.decorartsnow.com

Kitchen backsplash in Kyra II Terrazzo from www.cementtileshop.com - this handmade tile is priced at $8.60 for each 8” square.

Revival Memory 8” square tiles by Merola can be found at Home Depot for $1.98 each.

And, Finally, Pantone!

 The Pantone Color Institute is a consulting service that forecasts global color trends. After numerous announcements from many paint companies, several weeks ago Pantone finally announced their eagerly anticipated choice for their Color of the Year 2018!  They chose Ultra Violet, a super-bright purple which Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Institute, says "communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking."  This year's color was not chosen because it is regal, though it does resemble a shade that has historically been considered to be majestic.

As a color that can take you in so many directions, Ultra Violet makes a statement in any space, whether it’s one of tradition and elegance or unexpected boldness. While it is clearly dramatic and provocative, it is a difficult color with which to decorate, and there have been many diverse opinions expressed about this choice.

Would we choose this color in our designs?  It would certainly depend upon the client and how they feel about it. So, because it mixes well with grays, soft shades of green, and other neutrals, we would love to use it as an accent - perhaps, a soft mohair throw or a few pillows.  Ultra Violet can be softened with other shades in the same family such as mauve or lilac.  It could be pretty and feminine in a young girl's room when used in this way. What do you think of this shade?  We would love to hear your opinion.  But, just remember - no matter what our opinions may be, we will be seeing Ultra Violet everywhere in home design as well as in fashion this year.

Photo Credits:

www.apartmenttherapy.com - This purple upholstered bed certainly does pop!

www.housebeautiful.com - This living room has a lot of purple, but it is pretty and tasteful.

www.the penneyhoarder - Touches of purple in this mostly white teen room is a conservative way to use this color.

www.pantone.com - Paint chip

 

2018 Colors of the Year

Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year, Caliente AF-290, is strong, radiant and full of energy – and RED HOT!

A collision of rich blue with jewel-toned green, a color that is both accessible and elusive, Oceanside SW 6496, is Sherwin-Williams pick for 2018 Color of the Year. 

 PPG Paints,  named Black Flame (PPG1043-7) their new "it" shade. They describe it as an "unprecedented, statement-making black with deep tones of indigo." 

Meanwhile, Glidden Paint has selected Deep Onyx (00NN 07/000), which they describe as a no-fuss shade of black that encourages a "less is more" approach to decor.

Union Trust Building

While walking in downtown Pittsburgh several weeks ago, we decided to pop into the Union Trust Building to see firsthand the $100 million renovations we had heard about. Wow!  What a beautiful old building with spectacular renovations. Many of the original interior features were retained while the lobby space was updated with Pittsburgh themed artwork and a fabulous palette of bright peacock blues, purples and pinks.

This historic building was designed and erected in 1915-16 by Frederick Osterling for Henry Clay Frick.  Most Pittsburghers will recognize the Union Trust Buillding with its amazing mansard roof boasting terra cotta dormers and two chapel-like structures housing mechanicals. But, we were completely blown away by the interior lobby with its central rotunda and stained glass dome. The Davis Companies completed the stunning restoration

We applaud the architects and designers and recommend stopping in sometime if you are downtown.

Photo Credits:

 Exterior and Roof  -https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=172346

Lobby - thedaviscompanies.com

Rotunda - www.jekko.com

 

 

 

 

 

Tie Pillow

Ellen had this patchwork pillow made from her retired pediatrician husband’s old ties.  When he was practicing, he always liked to wear “kid-friendly” or doctor themed ties.  But, since he had retired, they were just hanging unworn in the closet.  Our wonderful seamstress made the pillow. It was a fun project, and a huge success with Ellen’s husband.  Let us know what you think!

 

 

Shiplap

We have never seen so much shiplap as that featured on HGTV’s Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines. Shiplap walls have been around for a long time, but we have noticed that many other designers have been using shiplap recently.  So…. What exactly is shiplap? Traditional shiplap boards have a groove cut into the top and bottom allowing the pieces to fit together snugly.  It has generally been used to construct rustic sheds or barns. Now,  it has become popular for interiors as well.  Horizontal shiplap on the walls is informal and homey, creating a warm and charming rustic look.

In the older homes that Chip and Joanna renovate, they often find real shiplap underneath drywall, but, if they do not, they have been known to add some newly planed rough-hewn boards or repurpose boards they find in old barns. If you are still not sure exactly what shiplap is after looking at these pictures, just watch a few episodes of Fixer Upper and you will be.

Photo Credits

Better Homes and Gardens – This dining area has a clean and crisp “contemporary” rustic look.

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www.mountainviewcottage.net – For DIYers, this blogger shared exactly how they achieved a shiplap look in their daughter’s nursery.  We love the juxtaposition of the rustic walls, quilt block art work, and the elegant crib and chandelier.

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www.scoutandnimbleblog.com - In this bedroom, the painted shiplap in a deep contrasting color, is a nice accent wall.

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Fancy Ceiling Fans

We have admired and purchased a number of beautiful crystal chandeliers, and we have also seen many ceiling fans in industrial or modern styles, but these two ceiling fans are really unusual.  We saw them both at www.horchow.com, an upscale online and catalogue source from Dallas, Texas.  The first one is their Julianne Bronze Fandelier (definitely appropriately named) with a cut-crystal light kit, and the second one is the Chantel ceiling fan with golden metal accents and crystals.  They are on sale for $400 and $287.20, respectively.  Let us know what you think of mixing a functional ceiling fan with such ornate elements.