Posted in Style Hints, tagged bookshelves on August 30, 2011 |
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Are books and book shelves falling by the wayside as our society opts for E-readers? That’s a big question to debate, but I want to go on record here as stating that I am and will always be a book lover–of real books.
You can open any decorating publication and see that bookshelves filled with books of all sizes, colors and textures add classic style and warmth to a room. For years, designers have employed the trick of using books to elevate things on a table or credenza. A lamp can be appear taller when a stack of books are artfully chosen and placed under the lamp base.
I thumb through books often for design inspiration or quotes and paragraphs that incite the way I am feeling. Our choice of books says a lot about who we are. For me, that personal choice seems lost on an E-reader, and certainly lost on books that rely on photographs and illustrations to tell the story.
Perhaps E-readers have their place for convenience and the ability to bring multiple books when one travels. But at home, there is nothing like a good book: the colorful leather jackets, the older and newer editions standing side by side, the signed edition that you bought when you attended the author’s local book signing event, the favorite that you have read over and over to your child…
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Recently I attended a seminar about re-purposing vintage costume jewelry. The designer gave us some creative ideas about mixing beads and baubles from different pieces to produce something new and wonderful. This encouraged me to think about things I could share with my clients that would get their creative juices flowing about re-purposing the “jewelry” in their homes.
By my definition, the jewelry pieces in our homes are our home accessories: art, accessories, lamps, rugs, pillows, picture frames, vintage glass and pottery, and the list can go on from there. What can you do to get a fresh look on a small budget and feel good about it in terms of the environment and not being wasteful?
- Keep the lamp base but update the shade
- Recycle those tired pillows by making new covers and searching for vintage trim / beads at consignment stores to use as embellishments
- Move accessories around from one room to another: This includes art work. I have been known to “age” a frame or even the matting with faux painting techniques so that the piece takes on a different look, without incurring the cost of new framing. Hanging art in a different spot will also make it feel new and spice up a different room.
- Purchase chalk board paint (suggest: Benjamin Moore Chalkboard Paint #307 ) and create a a new chalk board (or several) for your walls, using a re-purposed (discarded) picture frame. Paint the frame, the glass, and all!
- If you live with hard surface floors and area rugs, consider moving the rugs between rooms. The change in color and texture can be a pleasant surprise.
- Pottery doesn’t have to stay in the kitchen; use a gorgeous pottery bowl on a coffee table for a pop of color inspiration and a place to keep the remote or other items that you need to keep handy.
- Re-purpose a picnic basket or vintage bin to hold your magazines, books, newspapers.
- Use recycled glass vessels to store the necessities on your bathroom counter and to catch lost and extra buttons in your laundry room.
- For style and function in the kitchen, use a vintage iron garden gate as a wall or ceiling-mounted decorative piece on which to hang your pots.
- Possibilities are always there for Architectural re-purposing…
- Consider “previously owned” doors or iron pieces for flanking room passage ways with style.
- Use a salvaged piece of wood for a mantle piece or shelving.
- Vintage drapery rods can define spaces in a room when draped with soft linen cloth, while making a bold, artistic statement in a large space.
- Gently worn French Doors and shutters can be used as interior doors or closet doors.
- Anything industrial or “garage worn” can make an interesting side table in a living space or additional storage in a mud room.
- Take the time to look at something differently. The possibilities are endless.
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Eco-friendly interior design is brutally elegant!
I fell in love with this description of brutally elegant interiors in a recent magazine article, published in the June 2010 edition of Elle Decor magazine. Meg Ryan described her newly redesigned beach house on Martha’s Vineyard as an expression of brutal elegance. She is quoted as describing her view of this design style as a place “where form and function are really obvious. There is nothing easily broken in this house.”
My design rules for living with brutal elegance and keeping within the sustainable design mindset:
- Live with comfort and style.
- Source what has been “gently loved” in home furnishings and accessories.
- When shopping for your home, don’t go for that which is trendy, but instead keep an eye out for that item that represents you. If it means something to you, it has a place in the room.
- Keep what is minimal and necessary to the room.
- This new “elegant” has a patina–a life story behind it. Let the meaning of the story unfold as you live with it.
- Let these words be your buzz words when designing brutally elegant interiors: comfort, versatility, multi-use, classic, aged, patina, re-purposed, time-worn, unique, simplistic.
What makes it brutally elegant?
- Pay attention to how the elements work together in a room. For example, you can combine modern style seating with antique framed prints on the wall. You can use a dining table made of reclaimed wood with a combination of pre-owned painted and upholstered chairs for elegant comfort minus the formality.
- Bold statements with design choices that stand their ground.
- As in the photo represented here, think in terms of the beauty of re-purposing something unique into something useful in your home. In this case, this is a working wheel from a windmill located just outside of Amsterdam. What a brutally elegant table or kitchen island it would make! The possibilities are there; just let your imagination run with it!
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As a homeowner considering a remodeling project, here are some things to consider that will help you to upgrade your project to a more environmentally friendly home remodel. Evaluate your priorities based on these guidelines:
- Increased energy efficiency
- Healthier indoor environment
- Lower operating costs
- Higher comfort level
- Improved lighting quality
- Increased property value
- Water conservation
- Higher-quality, longer-life materials
- Improved indoor air quality / increase fresh air filtration
- Functional / useful/purposeful space planning
- Reuse or re-purposing of existing materials
- Use of recycled materials and/ or sustainable materials
The ASID and USGBC REGREEN guidelines provide an excellent basis for understanding the importance of considering and prioritizing your remodeling goals.
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There’s a special place where kid’s jackets and shoes, backpacks and books can be conveniently stored, without compromising the beauty of your entry way.
Baskets and custom cushions make this vignette appealing to all ages.
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With so much information out there, how does one distinguish which furnishings are green/ eco-friendly and which ones are all hype? Where can one begin to understand and to incorporate simple changes that can affect the quality of their day-to-day surroundings? Here are some basic guidelines to get you thinking about greening your indoor environment and changing the “energy” of a space.
- If you are concerned with the environmental health within your home or office, the indoor spaces in which you live your daily lives, think about what things are most important to you.
- Do you have fresh air flow on a daily basis?
- Do you incorporate live plants in your interior?
- Do you use chemical polishes and cleaners for the upkeep of your furnishings?
- Are you aware of the benefits of paints with low or zero VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that will not harm your indoor air quality?
- Do you notice allergies when you are confined to interior spaces? Or fatigue? Or headaches?
- Does the space function well to suit your needs, both aesthetically and is it conducive to productivity?
- Consider your furniture choices:
- Is it functional?
- Is it re-purposed?
- Was it produced locally?
- Will it last for many years? Or was it purchased strictly to fit the budget and therefore “disposable” furniture?
- Do you have things that serve a purpose? Or are your furnishings just there to fill the space?
- Do you consider the use of fabrics that are of recycled content or that have been produced with organic content or organic dyes?
- Consider the seven R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, repair, remove, and respect.
As you begin to evaluate these things as they pertain to your interior environment, you are gaining a basis for understanding the fundamentals of creating healthier, greener, and better functioning living spaces.
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