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!