Friday, April 29, 2011

Design Ideas

The Moroccan-inspired greeting room makes a powerful statement and sets the tone for the rest of the home. This home is done in good taste, colors and comfort.

This library is filled with deep chocolate fabrics, leather, dark wood and orange accents. It’s a place to relax, watch TV and read a book. Always remember to have varied light sources in a room that serve many purposes, including lamps for reading, accent lights for art and candles to set the mood.

The wall entering the kitchen is a hand painted cartoon waiter pointing to the dining room that guests can sign as they leave. The tabletop is a French door that pulls out to seat up to six people. The mix of black and white patterns make this room pop with personality!!!

The fireplace wall is designed to be the focal point of the living room. The built-in benches that flank the fireplace allow for additional seating. Two of SPI's signature U Chairs from the SPI Line are perched perfectly in front of the fire. The U Chair is available in rosewood, white, green and black lacquer.


Calgon, take me away!!!!!

SPI commissioned this sculptural solid stone, oversized tub in France. Weighing over three tons, the tub had to be lowered into the bathroom with a crane via the skylight since it would not fit through the bathroom door.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Coordinating Fabrics/Room at a Glance

Decorator Fabric Rooms - Moon Cafe

When designers begin a project to design a room, this is how we start, first of all determine your style and the style of your furniture. Then select a main you LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!! As an example let's say the top fabric in the above picture....then pull in color tones and textures that will compliment the main fabric pulling out variations of colors and shapes. Let's say you use the top fabric for you sofa, the second for a side chair, the third and fourth color for pillows. You are getting the idea. Have fun with the following photos designing your own room.

Decorator Fabric Rooms - Guilded Merlot

Guilded Merlot
Coordinating upholstery & drapery fabric. Click sub title to view suite.

Decorator Fabric Rooms - Tropical Spa

Tropical Spa
Coordinating upholstery & drapery fabric. Click sub title to view suite.

Decorator Fabric Rooms - Metro Transition

Metro Transition
Coordinating upholstery & drapery fabric. Click sub title to view suite.

Decorator Fabric Rooms - Jungle Love

Jungle Love
Coordinating upholstery & drapery fabric. Click sub title to view suite.

How much fun is this, right!!!!!!!!!!!! This is why we love the challenge of design

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Geometrics 101

Show Your Soft Side

"To ensure your patterns don't become too harsh or rigid, remember to add patterns with curves, such as concentric circles or waves, to patterns that are more structured, such as chevrons." In this small living room  a curvy zebra rug and circle-like honeycomb pillow was added to offset the sharp diamond pattern on the wall.

Size Things Up

"Scale is the most important part to keep in mind when introducing a geometric, or really any pattern, into a room."  If you pair, say, a large pillow pattern with a small one, the larger pattern will certainly overshadow the small. An easy rule of thumb: pair geometric shapes with the next largest or smallest pattern, matching the large stripes in a vintage print with slightly smaller ones in a pair of chevron stools.

Stay Neutral

This tiny powder room, designed by San Francisco-based Niche Interiors, is a study in bold design.  A slightly metallic ogee trellis wallpaper gives the space an element of surprise. When working with this much pattern, however, you'll want the palette and other elements to remain neutral. "It works because we kept the rest of the bathroom neutral — white moldings, wood floor and a mirror tie it all together.

Ground Your Graphics

Bold prints may win your attention when you enter a room, but your eyes inevitably need a place to rest. Create a few spots in between using a solid color. They'll help ground the geometric patterns and keep it from feeling overly busy, like in this tiled kid's room.

Advanced Geometry

Ready to take your geometric game to another level? Layer it on with other patterns. "I'm a huge fan of layering patterns, but it does take practice."  Blending and layering adds depth, as in the case of this floral window treatment and graphic pillow combo.  Plus, it's much softer and easier on the eyes than two geometric patterns paired together. The trick for making sure two patterns are complementary, "Imagine the pattern in black and white. How much contrast would the pattern have? Is it entirely mid-range or lots of very deep saturated colors contrasted against bright white? When layering, look for some of each."

Keep Your Balance

A common trick of the trade is to juxtapose modern shapes with more classic ones. This adds to a counterbalance of the elegant sophistication to this bathroom's carrera marble countertops. The mirror works as a mix between the two styles — mod with sophisticated lines.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cool Pools

Saltwater pool is built right into the stone edge of the coast of Maine.

Shore Inspired

Why We Love It: This unique tidal saltwater pool in Cape Neddick, Maine, embraces natural features for a seamless connection to the sea.

Pure blue water runs to the edge of this infinity pool with amazing views of the tropical hued home to the left and the ocean directly in front.

Modern Yet Timeless

Why We Love It: Crystal-blue water and Popsicle-color walls―enough said. The vibrant setting is simple, sophisticated, and fun.

A pink stucco poolhouse with pale blue shutters offers an island feel to this pool retreate on the island of Mustique.

Privacy, Please

Why We Love It: This small pool on the island of Mustique in the Grenadines gives renters a quiet spot to catch some rays, with the bonus of shade under the sturdy pergola. Dense tropical landscaping surrounds the retreat and offers a steady supply of oranges and figs.

This narrow lap pool is built right up close to the home's back doors to accomodate the small backyard space.

A Perfect Fit

Why We Love It: These homeowners had to get creative when adding a pool to their small backyard, so they joined it to the house’s foundation. Folding doors in the family room slide back to reveal the water’s edge.

Two stone pool houses with arched white roofs flank each side of this Connecticut pool built close to the ocean.

New England Luxury

Why We Love It: This Connecticut pool sits so close to the sea’s edge that you can cast a rod from one of the lounge chairs. It sports two poolside structures with ornamental roofs reminiscent of graceful, white sails.

Infinity pool built up with stacked tiers from the beach offers spectacular views of the coast line from its waters.

Clear View

Why We Love It: A wavy shape nods to the nearby surf, and the infinity edge gives waders a seamless view out to sea―you can’t get much closer to beachfront than this!

This is my favorite design!!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Entertaining/Dinner Tonight

Shrimp-and-Sausage Jambalaya

Many Cajun and Creole dishes are seasoned with the so-called holy trinity--bell pepper, onion, and celery. This Creole-style jambalaya has lots of tomato in it.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings


  • 2  tablespoons  vegetable oil
  • 1  pound  andouille or other spicy smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1  large onion, diced
  • 1  bell pepper, diced
  • 3  celery ribs, chopped
  • 4  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 1  teaspoon  dried thyme
  • 1  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 2  teaspoons  Creole seasoning
  • 1  (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, with juice
  • 4  cups  chicken broth
  • 2  cups  uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1  pound  shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4  green onions, chopped


1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage, and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon; set aside.
2. Add onion and next 7 ingredients to hot drippings in Dutch oven; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in reserved sausage, tomatoes, broth, and rice. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 25 minutes or until rice is tender.
3. Stir in shrimp; cover and cook 5 minutes or until done. Sprinkle each serving with green onions.

The Best Darned Grilled Chicken Ever

Paul Prudhomme, K-Paul's. Paul Prudhomme and his restaurant K-Paul's are the driving force behind the national popularity of Cajun food, and have been for almost 30 years. This recipe blends together a whole bunch of different spices to give the chicken a surprising and unique flavor. If you don't have a grill, you can broil the marinated chicken pieces until a nice brown crust forms, then bake at 300º until cooked through.
Prep: 15 minutes; Chill: 6 hours; Grill: Breast 40 minutes, leg 35 minutes, thigh 42 minutes; Stand: 10 minutes.
Yield: Makes 4 servings


  • 5  tablespoons  Cajun meat seasoning blend (for testing purposes, we used Chef Paul's Meat Magic Seasoning)
  • 1 1/4  teaspoons  ground cardamom
  • 1  tablespoon  plus 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1  tablespoon  plus 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1  tablespoon  grated lemon peel
  • 1  tablespoon  grated lime peel
  • 1 1/4  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4  teaspoons  ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/4  teaspoons  ground savory
  • 3/4  teaspoon  ground allspice
  • 3/4  teaspoon  ground dried guajillo or pasilla chile pepper (1/2 pepper)
  • 1  tablespoon  plus 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1  (3- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 4  bay leaves
  • 1/4  cup  unsalted butter


1. Combine first 11 ingredients in a large bowl. Remove 1/4 cup mixture, and set aside. Add soy sauce to remaining seasoning, and stir well to form a paste. Place chicken pieces and bay leaves in a large bowl, and rub chicken evenly with paste. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill 6 to 8 hours.
2. Remove chicken from refrigerator about 1 1/2 hours before grilling so it reaches room temperature. Melt butter, and stir in reserved 1/4 cup seasoning mixture. Set aside.
3. Prepare a hot fire (400º to 450º) by piling charcoal on one side of grill, leaving other side empty. If using gas grill, light only one side. Place chicken pieces over cooler side, and grill, covered with grill lid, 25 minutes for breasts and 30 minutes for thighs and legs.
4. Transfer chicken to hot side, and grill, turning several times and basting with reserved butter mixture, until internal temperature reaches 175º, about 7 1/2 minutes per side for breasts, 3 1/2 minutes per side for thighs, and 2 1/2 minutes per side for legs. Remove from grill, and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wood Flooring

Wine Barrel Floor

The economy may be keeping a lid on spending, but when it comes to flooring, it’s driving trends. That’s because today’s cost-conscious consumer is more demanding of value than ever.

“There’s definitely been a shift from spending to savings, “ says Chris Davis, the president and CEO of the World Floor Covering Association. “But that doesn’t mean consumers aren’t buying flooring: it means they’re looking for value and comfort. They might not be moving up right now, but they’re still into feathering the nest.”

Flooring manufacturers are getting the message. As a result, they’re keen on providing more bang for the buck — reining in high-end marketing and concentrating on products that are sensible, low-maintenance and easy on the budget.

Tools and Materials:
measuring tape
paint roller
paint tray
steel wool
paint extender
1. Prepare the area. Select paints, keeping your color scheme and the surfaces in mind. The surface you will paint on will determine the paint sheen for your project.
Clean your surface, then measure off the area for your rug and place painter's tape to keep paints from mixing.
To keep paint lines crisp, we used a utility knife and a level to cut straight lines through the painter's tape.
2. Paint the base coat. With your borders laid out, pour your base paint into a paint tray.
Load the roller with your base paint. Remove any excess paint from the roller onto the ribbed tray.
Begin rolling base paint in your designated area, continuing until the area is completely painted. Touch up any necessary areas, and let the base coat dry.
3. Add the second layer. For the next layer of our rug, measure for placement.
Put down painter's tape to mark the boundaries and paint within the original borders.
After the second layer is dry, take up the painter's tape and lay more down to protect the layers and prepare for the faux fabric finish.
4. Add the faux fabric technique. Mix one part paint extender with four parts paint, and mix well. Pour the extended paint into a tray, remove excess and begin rolling onto the area in small sections.
Before the paint dries, have a partner follow behind with a steel wool pad, dragging it lightly over the paint, creating the faux fabric finishing touch. Continue painting and dragging the steel wool pads until you feel the faux finish looks complete.
5. Finish the rug. Once you've covered the entire rug area, remove the painter's tape.
Consider using a design stencil to add a final decorative finish, and a border design intended to mimic a rug fringe. Allow the paint to dry fully.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Garden Rooms

A mudroom with a sink and dishwasher.

Potting Room Deluxe

This workroom/potting room at the rear of the garage has a narrow sink with double faucets set into a poured concrete counter , which was stained green and given a rock-face edge. A small fridge doubles as a cooler for cut flowers. Painted tongue-and-groove paneling makes the space feel fresh and tidy but also resists mildew.

This laundry room/potting room has red walls and mosaic tiles.

At the Ready

In this combination laundry and potting room, a swiveling cabinet door is hung with hooks for organizing hand tools.

A potting room right off of a porch filled with plants.

A Simple Plan

A potting room can be as simple as a small shed or corner of the garage, as this one is, as long as there's a nearby water source. The most important feature is a counter at a comfortable height for performing the otherwise back-breaking task.

A mudroom with an antique sink and bench.

Floral Dream

This mudroom serves as a flower arranging workroom. The owner added decorative legs to the extra-large sink, which is often filled with freshly cut blooms for the yard.

A mudroom with an antique sink.

.......And the Kitchen Sink
This antique sink may have originally come from a laboratory. So heavy it took four men to carry it, the owner has placed it on a solid slate counter with steel supports. This deep basin is large enough for flowers and dishes.

A room near the kitchen with cabinets and a deep sink.

Expand the Kitchen

Next to the kitchen is a "garden room" that extends the kitchen's functionality and serves myriad of purposes. The deep farmhouse sink makes this an ideal spot for pruning and arranging flowers.

A utility room with a sink and flowers.

The Beauty of Utility

There is no reason a utility room can't be as beautiful as any other room in the house. This pantry/mudroom, which connects the home's living room to both kitchen and screened porch, has the same floors, cabinetry, and windows are the kitchen.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Oversized Sectionals/Sofas

colorful accents pop in neutral living room

Traditional Comfort

A traditional living room needs a big, comfortable sofa. The sofa covers half of the room, but doesn't overpower it.

cozy modern alcove seating

Geometric Sofa

This large sofa is not only functional, it also adds modern architectural detail to this alcove.

sophisticated sectional sofa

Warm, Inviting Focal Point

The focal point of this room, designed by Eileen Gould, is the large sofa. It gives the space a warm, inviting look.

Modular Sofa

This modular sofa is deep and comfortable, and you can rearrange it to fit your needs. The size of the sofa makes it easy to socialize or relax.

sectional sofa defines living space

Fringed and Oversized Sofa

The fringed edges of this big sofa add style and definition to this modern room designed by Erinn Valencich. The oversized sectional is a great place to take an afternoon nap.