Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Free Design Advice : Eve

You might have seen the comment to the right of the screen that says: "Are you lost in your space? Would you like FREE design advice? Email me NOW!" I have received a few emails asking for advice, and I have to tell you - it's been nothing but fun with each and every one! One such email was from Eve, a new home owner, mother, and photographer that was in need of some design help with her living room, adjacent to a remodeled kitchen.

As you can tell, Eve has done a great job with her kitchen - the finishes here are wonderful, and the depth of her love of modern, contemporary design is evident. Her goal was to have a modern, luxurious, monochromatic theme - one that I had never helped anyone with before. She writes:

"Hi Artie, I love, love, love your blog! I had a dream that once I owned my own place I would have freedom to do whatever I wanted when decorating. The funny thing is, I was more daring when I had rentals. With my first home, I have "frozen". Other than renovating the house (we put in hardwood floors and a new kitchen) I had not done anything to the space. I recently made a dramatic change to our dining room and now the kitchen\living room looks even more drab than ever. I would really love to paint the room and would love a modern\luxurious "monotone" look, but don't know how to go about it. When I saw your offer for design advice I decided to jump on it. I love your style, I would really appreciate your input."

How could I resist? I took a look at the pictures (above) and instantly my mind took me to a sophisticated combination of soft gray-blues, chocolates, and creams - angular lines, and minimal accessories. I asked Eve a few questions, like three - four words she'd like to use when speaking of her finished "dream" living room. She said: Luxurious, Boutique Hotel without the frailty, Touchable.

I then asked her to send me a picture of the dining room she had just finished. I've found that rooms that people recently finish - or pieces that people have recently bought give you a great indication on where they'd like to take the rest of their house.

Here you see the soft color palate, blue, dusty lavender, and linen. So - I went on my way, to find design tokens to make the living room the beautiful, luxuriously modern space Eve wanted.

First, I put together a story board of furnishings, keeping the room simple and in line with the budget that Eve wanted to spend on the room. The Wassily chair is probably one of the best modern pieces of any collection, really revolutionizing modern design. It fits well into almost any space, but can be a little expensive. The white leather version featured here is not part of Eve's current budget, but I like to give people who ask for ideas, the ability to see future growth in the room by investing in quality, high-end pieces that will have timeless impact.

Next, lighting options. Playing off of the stainless of the appliances, I kept all of the finishes in Eve's story board chrome, with rounded shades. The lines of the metal, however are linear. It's the tension that creates beauty in modern design. Any design. In any advice that I give, I always provide you with the brand, manufacturer, price, and location of the items I'll include in your board. It's important for me to show you that there are so many inexpensive resources available to the public - with high end options at great prices. The sconces featured in Eve's board, for example, were $195/ea. marked down to just $69. The best part - they come with a cord and plug so that they can be used without hard wiring to the wall BUT can be converted when the time comes to make that investment!

Next, the renderings. Space planning is important, so I try to get the best measurements possible for your space, and for the furniture you plan on having or that already exists in the room. In Eve's rendering, you'll see that the Wassily chair was not included. That's because this rendering is only for the items that appear in the budget she allowed me.

All of my renderings are hand drawn and colored. Available as a secondary part of the advice - I have to charge for the time that goes into these, however it's a minimal fee that helps to really see the impact the suggestions can make in a space. They are optional though. The story board, info, and suggestions are always free.

Being that Eve is a photographer, and travel lover - she has many photos she's taken throughout her travels. I thought it best that these be a uniform size, 8x10, and white matted in white frames, hung gallery style as seen in the rendering above. This reads art, rather than family photography or collage, and will be the perfect touch of Eve and her family in this new space.

The drapery here is from Ikea, a great option for items when working on a modern/contemporary space while on a budget. These curtains are wide, and long (98"), and the pattern and colors are perfect to wrap that blue into the space.

Of course, scanned images and monitors will distort the colors of the drawings. The blue here (on my screen) is much brighter than the blue color you'll see in the story board above - but the general picture is available to you when you get a rendering of my ideas. Attention to detail is a priority for me, and I do my best to make things scale appropriate for the absolute best interpretation of the space.

The best part, Eve was happy with everything, the first time around. She writes:
First, let me tell you - you have an amazing skill, guessing what someone else likes without even knowing them and putting it all together!!! I love, love, love everything you sent me.

Then, after she received her renderings, she writes:
OMG is that my room? Speechless!!! You have an amazing gift. I'm so happy. I would never done anything this intricate, EVER.

Thankfully, Eve has taken great pleasure from this experience, and is already out purchasing paint and lamps for the space, and I'll be sure to share with you the finished space once it's ready for photos.

Until then, if you have questions about your space, and would like my help - feel free to email me. If you'd like a rendering of your current space, or of a space after my suggestions - email for the pricing. I'm happy to help everyone who asks.
P.S., Screen Door Project delayed by the weather - check back tomorrow!


  1. Your design and colors for Eve were just perfect. No wonder she was so excited. What a special gift and how wonderful to share it with others. I love it. Hugs, Marty

  2. Oh. My. Word.

    You have mad skills Artie!
    Everything you selected looks great........Eve is very lucky indeed.

    Can't wait for the after pics!

  3. Gee, not only do I love your suggestions to Eve, I adore your little drawings! Very nice. Hope she does it. I think she has a great kitchen. -susan

  4. Hi Artie, What an amazing job you did with Eve's space. I love the white frames and mattings with photographs, it looks so chic. Incorporating a readily available item like the drapes from IKEA was another brilliant move on your part.
    How did I manage to miss this offer of assistance to your readers?! I might have to hit you up for a little help with my guest room project. Your advice when I was working on the master bedroom was priceless!
    Hugs, B.
    p.s. I'm waiting to see that screen door, I'll be back tomorrow!!!!

  5. artie !

    geeez, you are a real talent aren't you ?

    what would you do
    IF she PAID YOU???

    beautiful job. :)

  6. I'm soooo doing it. I picked up the paint today. Enlisted help for tomorrow and will pick up the Ikea items on Friday. I am hoping I can have everything in place by mid-week next week. I'm so excited, can't wait!


  7. Where did those fabulous sconces come from?

  8. Artie, you are so amazing, talented and GENEROUS! The world is much more beautiful with you in it!
    I love what you picked out for Eve's spaces! (Hi Eve!) and your drawings are FAB! I'm such a fan of hand drawn renderings - hand made lives are so much more soulful and artistic and speak to that side of me! I can't wait to see the end results - you are one talented and special one, Artie-o-mine.
    xoxoxo Isapiza

  9. Artie, I love what you have done here. You are.. very talented. And a very nice guy!

  10. Stunning talent, Sir.
    This is just fabulous!
    What an eye!

    Thank you for sharing the details AND your generous offer - you're a spatial friend!

    My finger's on the Hydraulic button, raising you even higher in regard than just yesterday.


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  12. Congratulations on a very beautiful and highly successful project. You nailed it!

    Tricia - Avolli

    (don't you just love your work!)

  13. In this day and age where there is so much of the "what's in it for me", it's so heartening to read your blog today. You've offered such a generous gift on your talent that doesn't come along very often.

    I'm looking forward to the final outcome of Eve's living room transformation. I know it will be spectacular.

  14. Neat, Artie! Love those drawings. And I can't wait to see the screen door you choose. I finally had my carpenter make some for us at our St. A place because we're near salt water, and it had to hold up well.



  15. I have been meaning to stop by and visit and I am glad I did today!!! You have done a wonderful job with this room!!! Your renderings are amazing!!! If she implements all your suggested changes she will have a beautiful room!!!

    My daughter is in design school so I am going to show her your work...she will love it!!!

    Thanks for stopping by earlier...judging by all the comments... I am going to have to make a tray of lemon bars for all of my blog friends;)!!!

    Have a wonderful day!!!

  16. Holy cow, Artie. I cannot believe how much time, research and work you'll put into helping someone design and not even charging them! You're incredible and now I can't WAIT to see what Eve comes up with! Eve, if you're reading this, take pictures! Lots of pictures!
    Justine :o )

  17. OH, Artie...this is simply amazing. What wonderful work you do, my friend. I still say you need your own show on HGTV !!
    I can't wait to see her room when she is finished with it.
    Also can't wait to see your new screen door. I want one really you know, out here in West Texas, we can leave our front doors open for only a short time during the spring..once our dust starts blowing, we hole up like little prairie dogs..and..once summertime hits, we keep our AC's going all the time...but, just the LOOKS of a country screen door is what I'm after, anyway!!
    Thanks for such a great blog for us to learn from and enjoy!
    And, if you miss Texas, come on back!! :O)
    xo bj

  18. oops, meant to add that you coming to see me is so bittersweet...I LOVE it when you come and leave a comment but I feel so SO inferior to you when it comes to decorating that I wonder what you must think of my down-home, thrifted decorating...You are so good at it and have so many pretty things...
    BUT...DON'T STOP COMING BY TO SEE ME, OK!!!! I have the feeling that if you came to see me in REAL life, that you would be so sweet, I wouldn't even mind if you had to sit on a GOODWILL chair...and, the best part, I don't think YOU would mind either!! :O)

  19. Thanks for the birthday greetings, Artie. Better late than never! You did a marvelous job in this room!...Christine

  20. Artie, You are good and so kind to do this ...I love your design. thanks for stopping by today, I always enjoy your input.

  21. Artie, you are so generous with your ideas & what a great job with the drawings. I can't draw a stickman. :)

    Thanks for being happy with me on the fountain.

  22. Hi Artie,
    First, Happy Birthday! You have a lot of talent my friend, great job and I also so loved your post on the screen doors. What wonderful pics you shared, Cindy

  23. I am back to tell everyone how amazing you are! I have called every important person I know--even twittered about your blog on Twitter. And, will even post about you on Facebook.

    Honestly, I am in awe of how talented you are. I am so excited about the design advice you is simply beautiful magic.
    To not only provide free advice, but, to have it done in a matter of hours is so impressive I want to run the other "designer bloggers" out of blogland!

    YOU are the REASON I Follow blogs. Well done!

    Applause! Applause!

  24. Ridiculous good. I've got my eye on you... :)

  25. Artie...I sooo enjoyed seeing this post and just getting inside your head for a moment to see how you put things together. I could never do this in a million really is a gift! Very impressive! Susan

  26. You are such a generous talented artist, Artie.
    I love what you did for Eve. You really were able to listen to what she wanted and turn her dream into a real design scheme.
    Great job Artie, and congratulations to Eve. She is a lucky girl!


  27. Artie, back in the days of RMS you never failed to impress and the tradition of doing so still continues.

    Decorate on my friend and never stop being the special person who you are.

    Many hugs -Brenda-

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