Look for Less: LeKlint Snowdrop Lamp
Mar 27, 2011
Editorial photography of interiors has changed a lot over the past couple of decades. Where once every pillowcase was pressed and each chair aligned with measured precision, now you see a lot of casual spaces, seemingly shot off the cuff just moments after the room's occupant had padded off in a pair of wool slippers. Don't be fooled: there's a master photo stylist working very hard to achieve that look of effortless cool. When it works, the effect is a room that looks more authentic and attainable. "Looks" being the key word. Sometimes the room's everyday appearance belies the true preciousness of objects within it.
Here's a shot from one of my favorite shelter mags, Sköna Hem (a great reason to learn Swedish if ever there was one). I first saw it in an email from my friend Megan, who was drawn to the simple floor lamp with its delicate arc. Turns out this is the Snowdrop lamp, designed by Harrit-Sorensen & Samson for LeKlint. It sells for $1,337.91 US. And as if the price weren't deterrent enough, it's also difficult to find this side of the pond. Buy it here from British design showroom Panik-Design.
Here's a closer look at the LeKlint Snowdrop: simple arc, black finish, pleated white shade. I figured this was an easy Look for Less challenge.
And then I saw the real genius of this floor lamp: It pivots at the base, maintaining a perfectly balanced and well proportioned shape in every position. That's good design, and that's why it costs over a grand. Only top-quality materials and craftsmanship function like this.
While the following options aren't replicas and none pivots with effortless grace like Snowdrop, they do exhibit some of the same visual nuances as the original for a lot less money.
- Lighting Enterprises Polished Nickel Arc Floor Lamp, Macy's, $234 (was $361). A wider stance than Snowdrop, but the same delicate "stem."
- Bordeaux Arc Floor Lamp, Bellacor, $395 (was $448). Shown with Ivory Pleated Shade, Lamps Plus, $40. A similar floral shape and narrow proportions.
- Adesso Outreach Arc Lamp, inmod, $350. A hint of adjustability like the original.
- Lights Up! Walker Floor Lamp, inmod, $252. The masculine version of Snowdrop.
- Olina Polished Steel Arch Lamp, Bellacor, $244. Straighter posture with a distinctive 50s feel.
- Lina Black Brass Floor Lamp, Bellacor, $390 (was $457). Another leaner with geometric simplicity.
Have your eye on something beyond your budget? Email me your Look for Less request and it may appear here on the blog! —Diane
TAGS: leklint le klint snowdrop snow drop floor lamp floorlamp look for less knockoff replica look-alike affordable options alternatives diane kolak designer
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Design Basics: Accent Walls
Mar 10, 2011
Lately I've been hearing a lot of questions about accent walls. Where, why, how… and while there are no real rules about accent walls, I have some of my own guiding principles that I follow when a client wants one, or isn't sure if they want one. Most often the reason it comes up is that a client is craving color, but they aren't ready to commit to it in the whole room. Or possibly, they're working with an open plan where a bold color would be overwhelming in a large space.
Here are my guidelines for how to do accent walls, and how to decide if one is even a good idea. Done wrong, they can look dated and cheapen the effect of your overall design.
Do Paint an Accent Wall…
… to emphasize architectural features or create a focal point. An accent wall is emphasis in the form of color. So be sure that you're emphasizing something good like a fireplace wall, a nook, a piece of art.
… to draw the eye through a space. In a home with plain architecture, sometimes a change of color in a smart location can create depth and interest. At the end of a long, straight hallway a touch of color can be an artful touch.
… to create a spatial illusion. If a room is very long and narrow, a light or bright accent wall at the far end can reduce this impression. High ceilings can be visually lowered with a dark color.
… if the architecture is very clean and modern. This is the easiest style for pulling off multiple wall colors in a room. Pay attention to what the house "wants."
Don't Paint an Accent Wall…
… just to add a little color. Choose a good paint color for the whole room, then add color with fabrics, finishes, furniture, art and accessories.
… if it emphasizes an awkward feature. Unless your architecture is modern and very well designed, walls that aren't simple rectangles usually aren't good choices for accent colors.
… in the wrong color. This is subjective and tricky for many people. The most common mistake is to choose a color that's so different from the rest of the room that it's jarring. A subtle change can be very effective. It's usually best to save intense colors for accents throughout the room.
… if it competes with a natural focal point. For example, in a room with a fireplace, the fireplace wall is likely the only good candidate for an accent color.
… as a color compromise. Couples sometimes disagree on color and figure they'll both be happy if he gets his beige walls and she gets her lime green accent wall, but often the result is a disjointed design.
… because you lack confidence in your color choice. Go for it! If you love a color, you should love how it envelops you within the room. Need some assurance? Check out my color consultation services.
Here are a few "don't" photos and many "dos" for inspiration and education. (Sources of "don't" photos are concealed to protect the well-intentioned.)
DON'T ignore your home's style. This traditional space with paneled doors and oak trim has no business sporting such a wild, modern color scheme.
DON'T compete with a natural focal point.The brick wall is already an accent. Make the most of it.
DON'T paint a wall just to add a little color when it isn't worth highlighting. DON'T choose colors that create a jarring combination. In this case, painting walls a single color and adding accent colors to the other elements in the room would have worked much better. Red upholstery in place of the drab gray would be a start.
DO use subtle shifts in color. The linen accent above the fireplace makes sense and draws just enough attention to the room's height and asymmetry. Room design: Sarah Richardson.
DO emphasize existing features. By accenting the niches on either side of the fireplace, the fireplace itself stands out. Using the accent color liberally throughout the room helps it fit. Photo: via Porterhouse Design.
DO use an accent wall to direct the eye. This entrance of a bi-level home benefits from a dark accent at the top of the stairs where the main living area is. It extends the foyer in the direction where guests ought to go. Photo: Jessica Helgerson Interior Design.
DO allow existing features to shine through. The very subtle shift in color on this fireplace is just enough to highlight it without overtaking the beauty of the woodwork. Photo: Janice Lindsay.
DO use color to create features where there are none. This table might look lost on a long wall without the definition that these blocks of color provide. This is using color as a design tool. Note the use of the khaki as a transition from the pink to the white. Photo: Janice Lindsay.
DO consider materials other than paint for accent walls. Here, bleached oak paneling adds warmth and texture to an eclectic living room. Photo via exinteriordesign.com.
DO know when enough is enough. The backs of bookcases and shelving are a great place to introduce a little bit of color.. Photo: Elle Decor.
DO use color to define undefined spaces. In a studio apartment or multi-use room like this one, color helps differentiate function within an open space. Photo: Dijeau-Poage Construction.
Need a little help getting color just right in your own house? A Dwelement Color Consultation can happen in your home in the Traverse City area, or anywhere in the world via my eDecor services. First room, $75. Additional rooms in the same house, $30 each. You'll save that much in wasted paint by getting the color right the first time! Want to set an appointment or get started? Just email me. —Diane
TAGS: pictures of accent walls how to design choose accent colors room design interior design decor decorating online color consultations rules guidelines for painting accent walls
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Easy DIY: How to Make a Custom Shower Curtain
Feb 18, 2011
I hate off-the-shelf shower curtains. I've never had one that I really liked. They tend to be too short, too flimsy, and either boring or garish. The price always seems too high considering the typical cheap-looking fabric. Not to mention the "over-theming" of the American bathroom!
So here's my solution. Our 8x8 guest bath has a typical shower stall with 9-foot ceilings. I wanted to hang a longer shower curtain higher than usual to make the proportions more pleasing. I figured to hang the curtain I would need to install buttonholes (easy, but a little boring) or grommets. Installing grommets requires an expensive grommet punch. You can find cheap grommet tools, but they don't work! I tried and returned one. I didn't want to buy the good one because I knew I would rarely use it.
Then I thought about alternative drapery hardware. I realized I could add some personality without doing a thing to my hemmed curtain by using clip-on drapery rings (like these, on clearance, $4 for 7!). So here's the very simple procedure for making a shower curtain that's just right, on a budget.
The rod peeking out from behind on the right holds a plastic liner and is positioned at the standard shower rod height. My custom rod is installed about 12 inches higher.
Cafe rings with clips are by Umbra.
A wide hem at the bottom adds weight to make the curtain hang better.
How to Make a Custom Shower Curtain
- Measure the width and height of the shower opening. For a full curtain, double the width. For a less full curtain, multiply by 1.5. For height, determine where the rod will be hung and aim for a curtain that's about 1 inch off the floor. Then add 8 inches for top and bottom hems.
- Convert the measurements to yardage. You need to know the width of your fabric to do this. Drapery fabrics often come in widths up to 96". If you're working with typical 54" home decor fabrics and your width is greater than about 52" (1" for each side hem), you'll need to seam pieces together. (This looks best when narrow pieces are sewn to each side rather than placing a seam down the middle.) Determine the number of yards needed for the length, then double that number if you need any additional width. Triple it if you need more than twice the width.
- Choose fabric. Don't cheap out! There are plenty of places to find gorgeous designer remnants for under $10 a yard. In the upholstery world, a remnant usually means under 10 yards. I got this Herman Miller upholstery fabric from Winter Beach Modern. They specialize in modern designer upholstery fabric, and their prices are steeply discounted. I wanted a crisp, folded look so a heavier fabric made sense. I also really like New Toto Fabric.
- Cut your fabric. If you need no additional width, skip to step 6. To create a wider curtain, cut one piece full width to the length measurement determined in step 1. Divide the additional width needed by 2. Cut two pieces to this width and the same length as the first piece. Consider matching the pattern. It's not required but it will look more professional if you do.
- Place a narrow piece along one edge of the large center piece, right sides together, and sew a sew with 5/8" seam allowance. Repeat on the other side.
- Hem the long sides. If this is a selvage edge, simply fold over 1 inch and stitch. If it is a raw edge, fold over 1/2", then fold another 1/2" and stitch.
- Hem the top, folding over 1", then another inch.
- Hem the bottom. Use a wider hem here for a professional look. Fold over 1 inch, then 5 more inches and stitch at this line 5 inches from the bottom.
- Press if desired. I wanted a folded look, so I pressed folds about every 6 inches into my curtain.
- Attach drapery rings. Use the style that clips to fabric, like these.
- The only tricky part with this method is that you must remove the shower rod to hang the curtain, since you're using drapery rings instead of open shower curtain hooks. Take it down (super-easy with a tension rod), remove the rubber end cap, and slide the rings onto the rod. Hang the rod back up and you're done!
As DIY projects go, this one is very easy and the results have major impact and originality. It's a nice way to bring a luxurious textile into a room that can sometimes be cold and lacking in texture.
Need help choosing colors or fabric for a room in your home? Or maybe you have a bunch of nagging design problems and you'd like to get them all answered in a short session. No job is too small for me! I can help online or in your home in the Traverse City area. Just email me! —Diane
TAGS: how to make a shower curtain custom deluxe sew sewing diy homemade handmade bathroom fabric ideas clip-on drapery rings bed bath beyond winter beach modern fabrics new toto stores
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Find: Ty Pennington's Fabrics
Jan 26, 2011
On a recent (overdue) visit to the fun fabric site Sew, Mama, Sew! a distressed geometric fabric caught my eye. Turns out it's designed by Ty Pennington, the hyper-active DIY master from Extreme Makeover Home Edition and formerly Trading Spaces. He struck up a partnership with Westminster Fabrics, who also license patterns by Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, and several other designers.
So apparently when Ty's not wielding a nail gun or bouncing off the walls, he musters up enough focus to create geometric and floral patterns with a decidedly masculine edge. The themes can be a little girly (lace, florals, songbirds) but he roughed them up just enough so they aren't sweet. I see some grunge influences, a little tattoo art and some hints of 70s florals, but they're modernized with a limited color palette: chocolate, persimmon, charcoal, white, cream, taupe, chartreuse, and ice blue. Many of the patterns have a stamplike feel, and some come in both a quilting weight and a home dec weight.
Take a peek here, then head over to Sew, Mama, Sew! or any number of other online shops to buy a few yards. Fabric always sparks vision in my head for what it wants to be, so I'm throwing out some ideas for a few of the patterns in the collection. Which is your favorite?
- Halter sundress, to be worn with hemp belt.
- Cushion for 1960s teak bench.
- Upholstered headboard with chrome nailhead trim.
- Drapes in a kid's room.
- Upholstery for a curvy, traditional chair.
- Wallcovering in a tiny entryway.
- Shower curtain… see my post coming next week on making a custom shower curtain.
- Pillows for a charcoal velvet sofa.
Need some help envisioning a look for your space? I can help. In-home or online, I've got ideas and ways to help you get inspired to DIY it! Just email me.
TAGS: ty pennington fabric blog review line westminster fabrics sew mama sew quilting upholstery home dec decor decorating
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Mini Makeover: Beth's Presentable Playroom
Jan 15, 2011
In the modern American home, the formal living room is often ignored and wasted. I was happy to get the following request from Beth, who wants to turn her formal living room into a play space for her two-year-old daughter, but keep it looking presentable for guests. Since the room is open to the home's entrance, it has to look neat and somewhat grown up.
For now, the room is a holding area for excess furniture.
Beth feels that the angle in the flooring makes the shape of the room a little awkward.
Beth doesn't like these drapes, but she loves the tall windows and the natural light.
The family would like to incorporate this fun collection of illustrated maps.
Beth, I hope you and your family and friends like this plan! Now the trick will be teaching your daughter how much fun it is to put her toys away. Don't forget to send "after" photos… when you do, you get $25 off your next Dwelement service. Enjoy your space! —Diane Want your own Mini Makeover? If you can describe your design challenge in a few sentences and a few photographs, I can design a plan that will give you the inspiration you need to refresh your room. Even if you don't want to buy new furniture! Mini Makeovers are $95 and delivered here on the blog, Room for Inspiration. All Dwelement e-decorating services come with 14 days of unlimited email consultation about the plan after delivery. Curious? Just email me. There's never an obligation. TAGS: formal living room converted to playroom presentable play space incorporating kids toys into adult space how to use formal living room functional concealed storage ottomans dresser in a living room kid-friendly room childrens play space edecorating e-decorating edecor affordable decorating plans
The Dwelement Mini Makeover
Other Recommendations and Ideas
Beth, I hope you and your family and friends like this plan! Now the trick will be teaching your daughter how much fun it is to put her toys away. Don't forget to send "after" photos… when you do, you get $25 off your next Dwelement service. Enjoy your space! —Diane
Want your own Mini Makeover? If you can describe your design challenge in a few sentences and a few photographs, I can design a plan that will give you the inspiration you need to refresh your room. Even if you don't want to buy new furniture! Mini Makeovers are $95 and delivered here on the blog, Room for Inspiration. All Dwelement e-decorating services come with 14 days of unlimited email consultation about the plan after delivery. Curious? Just email me. There's never an obligation.
TAGS: formal living room converted to playroom presentable play space incorporating kids toys into adult space how to use formal living room functional concealed storage ottomans dresser in a living room kid-friendly room childrens play space edecorating e-decorating edecor affordable decorating plans
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