Crushing On…

Brilliant design concepts need little words so I will let the images do most of the talking here as I introduce two young creators I admire:

Richard Brendon Cup and Saucer

Richard Brendon Cup and Saucer

 

Richard Brendon

And the creator, above : Richard Brendon, a London based designer, British bone china specialist and entrepreneur who graduated from Kingston University in 2010. Richard’s inquisitive nature has led him to taking an archaeological approach to design.  He believes to design truly innovative work, a firm understanding of what has come before is essential. Richard has a particular skill in identifying and distilling the best elements from the past and transforming them into contemporary designs.  Through his work, Richard aims to bring a new audience to hand crafted luxury goods, and to help regenerate the incredible industries that make his products. Photos: courtesy Richard Brendon website.

ZAK+FOX textile

ZAK+FOX Kaze textile

ZAK+FOX

ZAK+FOX Volubilis Textile

ZAK + FOX company’s founder and creative director, Zak Profera, draws influence from his early studies of conceptual art at the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute. His relentlessly curious nature and adherence to eclecticism have resulted in the creation of an aesthetic that is classic, contemporary, and ever shifting. It is based on the notion that great ideas can come from the most unlikely of places. From the outskirts of Istanbul in search of vintage finds, to the depths of the Black Forest for an open-air expedition, Zak’s travels afar charge his imagination with the same sense of adventure that inspirits his designs. He presently lives and works in New York City with his fox, Shinji. Photos: courtesy ZAK + FOX website.

 

Demystification of a Design Collaboration

Today I’m sharing a behind the scenes of the designer/client collaboration.

Soooo, how does working with us REALLY work?

1/Good designers are not out to exploit you. They care. They have a strong work ethic and they work very hard.

2/Hiring a designer requires a budget, and you can’t hope for a total redesign on a $1,000 budget on designer fees for your living room. That is, simply put, unrealistic. Imagine how many hours it takes you to select one wall color when you go to the paint store! Now multiply that task by 50. Imagine selecting furniture, lighting, rug, at, accessories, wall color, tile, flooring options for a project. Add to that the hours spent meeting on site with you and or the builders, the preparation of powerpoints and budgets, the travel time and the custom selections of fabrics and design of bespoke items, communication with vendors, orchestrating deliveries, creating designs and drawings. Designers easily reach 30 hours + on a room design depending on the scope of the project.

Inspiration Board by Elza B. design, Inc.Inspiration board section detail by Elza B. Design, Inc. This board helps the client and designer make sure the client is on board with the vision for the project. Each board takes several hours to research and put together.

3/A good designer will be super organized, prepare a contract, and take time to go through important steps of preparation. Tip: Never work without a contract.

Contract-Elza B. Design, inc..Extract of a contract from Elza B. Design, Inc.

4/Preparation: Designers need to build the backbone of the design project before you can even start designing. CAD drawings, vision plan, color schemes, measurements, photos.

Example of an Elza B. Design Package.Example of the type of work we prepare at Elza B. Design, Inc  before even starting any research or purchasing for our clients. This can take 15 to 20 hours prep work.

5/Trust: Once you select a designer (and we recommend you do your research), please trust they know their craft.

6/Hire someone with excellent client satisfaction reviews, a great portfolio, strong communication and organizational skills. This person should be someone you can relate to and trust to listen well : after all, they are helping you create a space YOU will love.

Designer's Office board for a Project. Elza B. design, inc.Back in the office, each client has a board with all the items, colors, fabrics, info on hand. Elza B. Design, inc.

8/It may seem scary to entrust us with your home or space, but we will do everything we can to make you happy with the outcome. We wear multiple hats, including overseeing shipping and custom fabrication : we are problem solvers and our goal is to deliver.

Elza B. Design Sketch for Custom Pillows.Sketches by Elza B. Design, inc.Custom sketches like these are prepared to communicate with you and the specialists who work with us to ensure a seamless production and installation. Elza B. Design, Inc sketches.

9/Yes, there can be issues but we will solve them! Like when the fabric comes in from the mill at the workroom and it’s defective. We’ll take care of returning it. Or when that glass lamp shade arrives broken. We’ll organize the exchange.

Elza B. Design, Inc | Chez ElzaExample of resolutions we take care of at Elza B. Design, Inc.

10/If you can trust us, great things will happen, and both parties will enjoy the collaboration. If you hold back, and begin to see us as the enemy, a good partnership cannot flourish. Please express your concerns. But please trust you have hired a professional who will steer you in the right direction.

11/Collaboration is KEY. A good designer will want to communicate. He or She will love it if you can say “I don’t like that because…” “I really like that color but I would prefer…” Your constructive input is needed and appreciated.

12/Please let us know when you are happy. Do send photos of the space to share your excitement when the sofa has been delivered or when the kids are happily enjoying the new family room! We love it when clients share the joy! Makes our day!

13/Budget? Why are we asking about your budget before the contract is signed? It’s very important for a designer to know beforehand if the budget is realistic. Our goal is to meet the client’s wishes: if we know what the budget is, we will know if we are a good fit for you, what solutions to come up with and which stores to shop.

14/Do designers work on weekends? Would you ask your electrician to come during the weekend? Probably not unless it was an absolute emergency. Designers take weekends off like everyone else. I will occasionally do a weekend visit but there is an extra fee for that.

Elza B. Design Board of Design Elements put Together.Here is an example of how all can be decided prior to any purchase. We are able to show clients what they are buying with the help of new technologies. Board by Elza B. Design, Inc.

15/The big reveal? If you want a custom designed space, please don’t have unrealistic expectations. We simply cannot deliver awhole room redesign  in three weeks when a simple sofa takes up to 12 weeks in production! Expect the project to last months. If you want a big reveal, we can have our receiving warehouse inspect and hold all the items, and then deliver and install all the same day with our assistance. There is an extra fee for that, but some clients say it’s worth it!

16/”I want an IKEA priced sofa!” Imagine a dish (we’ll call it A) made with fresh herbs, fresh mushrooms and a homemade tomato sauce. Now imagine the same dish (we’ll call it B) made with dried herbs, canned mushrooms and a jar of inexpensive store bought tomato sauce. Dish A make look as good as dish B, but A is going to be tastier and pricier if you order it at a restaurant than dish B. It goes the same way for furniture. It may look good but the craftsmanship and quality of components is what you pay for. IKEA is a great place to start when you’re out of college or on a budget, but you will find the quality is not as high. Designers know all about quality and where to get it. Ask us. We’re happy and proud to explain how the items are made.

I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes and found it educational!

A bientôt!

 

 

 

 

All About Houzz : The HOUSE Go-To Site

Houzz.com, also known as Houzz : you’ve probably heard about this website by now. But WHAT is it?? And why do I like it?

The “Hou” in Houzz is pronounced “How.” Houzz is a combination of the words “House” and “Buzz”.

Houzz is “the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality” (Houzz)

Houzz-info-2Infographic from Houzz.com

Houzz-Info-1Infographic from Houzz.com

Clients have been finding me on Houzz for a few years and as a designer, I find it to be a fabulous platform. Professionals who are in the home improvement industry can benefit from a beautiful platform to showcase their work and reviews about their work.

Houzz-My profileAnother exciting aspect of Houzz has been the opportunity I’ve had to contribute articles for which I curate products I want to share with readers. My instructions are to always scout for new products, and try to write about them from an interesting angle. I tend to be bit tight with deadlines, which is actually really good for me as I tend to write better under pressure! Writing in the present also allows me to be very spontaneous, like when I selected items to pepper a mudroom and got to vent about New England’s lovely winter weather:

Houzz-Guest PicksHouzz’s very friendly interface was dubbed “Facebook for Interiors” by  Apartment Therapy in a 2009 article. Time magazine wrote in 2012 :Houzz is “a photo-driven site that’s become the poster-child of the post-recession renovation frenzy”.

The platform (which is also available as an APP for your smart phone or I-Pad) allows anyone to sift through articles on specific home improvement questions, search for inspiration or simply shop for home products.

Homeowners can also create ideabooks where they can file images of designs or products they like. A lot of my clients have worked with me this way when I first start the collaboration. If they are doing a bathroom remodel for instance, they can save images of bathrooms, tile, lighting they really like and send me the whole ideabook for me to review!

Houzz-Ideabook exampleAn example of a Houzz ideabook (I used one of mine to respect my client’s privacy). Note you can put your own comments under images. Pretty cool, no?

Consider Houzz.com as a source next time you’re looking for a home improvement specialist, need to research an article on a specific topic or just want to pop in and read my articles ! Do say “Hi” if you  do :-)

 

My Mother: An Inspiration

My mother is someone very special in my life: a strong and creative woman, a nurturing figure, a source of inspiration and laughter.

My mother and IMy mother and I

These past few months have been difficult for me on a personal level. Raising a son who has special needs can be exhausting, and I can thank my mother for being there for me as my husband and I battle the system to help our son reach his full potential and be happy. Some of you may wonder why I have not blogged as much: I have been focusing on my youngest son and my design business. I put the blog on the backburner…

As long as I can remember, I lived in a creative home. In fact, I learned to sew and draw at a very young age, modeling after my mother’s creative energy. I remember falling asleep to the sound of the sharp blade of a pair of sewing scissors, gliding along confidently on the hardwood floor, as my mom cut large slabs of fabric pinned to patterns to make dresses for us (at midnight!).

Fabric was a soothing and happy word in my household.

As a little girl, I saw my mother become a Montessori student and then a teacher. I would go to her classroom to help on my days off school, and hold the colorful beads, cherishing the colors and shapes. I would position the pink tower blocks carefully one above the other or arrange the little trays with the small pitcher and cup on their shelves.

Our house accumulated oriental rugs my parents shopped for; I remember we could spend a whole weekend driving around the country searching for the perfect antique corner cupboard. My mother would take an antique quilt and repurpose it as a curtain between two rooms, or she would make a patch work art piece for my younger sister’s bedroom, using scraps of fabric.

Color, texture, beauty, in infinite details of objects or in a carefully cared for garden, continue to inspire my mother to this day:

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMy mother’s collection of antique chess pieces. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMy mother’s assortiment of little boxes and “chinoiseiries”. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza Books and picture in my mother’s living room and below, her wingchair- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

GH-wingchair

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMy mother’s glass menagerie Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaHer silver cups…

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaA fun vignette, I love the stool with the embroidered seat under the English table…Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMy mother has style everywhere, including in her garden! Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaDid I mention she is a painter nowadays? Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAnd to top things off, my mother takes me to strange and totally cool stores when I visit, like this escapade we made to Vermont, just to check out this quirky shop, The Owl’s Nest. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

 I’d say my passion for interior design and the creative process was inspired, day in and day out, by my mother.

Interior Design, after all, is about the loving juxtaposition of items, gathered together to create beauty and comfort.

 

Friday Yellow or the Fight Against Gloom

January GLOOM is upon us. When sunshine goes in hiding, do not despair. I recommend fighting it with lots of golds and yellows.

Fight the gloom…Photo courtesy wearcolor.tumblr.com

Lorenzo_Castillo_Hola

An elegant and classic walk-in closet dressed up with a bang, bathed in pure yellow light, infused in old world style. Lorenzo Castillo.

Downton Abby‘s Dining Area. Gloriously sunny and at its best in the morning light.

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/bd/45/86/bd45865ea8ac0c2de00db1f4f92f519c.jpg

A stunning gold splashed staircase via Architectural Digest.

Yes, please!!! My mood is already perking up. Sofa designed by Arne Jacobsen.

A breathtaking design created by the famous designer Elsie de Wolf. Shown here: Villa Trianon

Designed by design’s Grande Dame, Elsie de Wolfe

Yellow building

I love how this yellow Madrid building pops out.

This spunky and inviting room was featured in Country Living magazine.

In the hope I have brightened your day, I bid you farewell until next time. May the force sun be with you!

Paola Navone Designs for Crate and Barrel: A Hit!!!

Crate and Barrel describes Paola Navone perfectly in the following bio:

She is a world-renowned architect, designer, art director, interior decorator, industrial planner, creator of events and, in her words, “a little bit of an anthropologist.”

Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

She is a dreamer, she is curious, she appreciates the eclectic. She is Italian by birth but calls the world home. She is a natural entertainer who finds joy in impromptu gatherings around the table to celebrate a beautifully simple menu.

Therefore it only seemed appropriate that Crate and Barrel would invite her to design a dining collection, composed of furniture, linens, tableware and lighting.

I had to stop in my tracks the other day at Crate and Barrel when I saw the beautiful arrangements at the Burlington, MA store. Whimsical and peppy, inviting and elegant are words that come to mind. I am not necessarily sold on all the colors, but they certainly deliver a big bang for lovers of red, white and blue. The greys and whites were my favorites.

Paola Navone- Photo Credit: Barbara Elza HirschPaola Navone designs for Crate and Barrel | Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Como Round Marble Top Dining Table by Paola Navone, a truly stunning combination | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

Riviera Tall Windsor Chair by Paola Navone offers fantastic scale | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

RivieraPendantGreySmPNF13

Riviera Small Grey Pendant by Paola Navone for Crate and Barrel | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

Paola Navone designs for Crate and Barrel | Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

The Como Bench by Paola Navone for Crate and Barrel | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

Como Loopy Candleholders by Paola Navone for Crate and Barrel | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

Paola Navone designs for Crate and Barrel | Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

ComoWovenChairWhtLLPNF13

Como White Woven Chair by Paola Navone for Crate and Barrel, a beauty | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

What do you think, friends? Curious to hear! Happy Weekend!

 

 

4-The Wonderful World of New Orleans Designers and Antiques

On our first day in New Orleans with BlogtourNOLA, we were treated to a visite guidée* of renowned Magazine Street by local interior designer Shaun Smith, a gracious and most talented young man.

Shaun Smith on magazine Street. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Shaun Smith walks us through the shops on Magazine Street. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Shaun proceeded to take us into upscale antique shop Antiquités d’Europe, owned by Petricia Thompson, an antique shop owner for the past 13 years. Petricia has quite a collection of 18th and 19th Century European antiques. The prices are steep but I recommend you stop by this one. Here are a few snapshots:

Antiquités d'Europe - Photo Drecit : Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAntiquités d’Europe – Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAntiquités d’Europe- 19th Century French Tole Bed Corona Canopy – Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Antiquités d'Europe- Phot  Credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAntiquités d’Europe- 18th Century Spanish Dining chairs – Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAntiquités d’Europe- Vase of April, A French creation, one of my favorites, even if more contemporary.  Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Next stop was Empire Antiques:

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaContinuing on Magazine Street we passed Julie Neill‘s Designs, as Julie herself greeted us in front of her storefront. Unfortunately we were headed to another destination, but I could not resist taking a few snapshots of her stylish vitrines**:

Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaJulie Neill’s unusual storefront window with the street reflection- Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaJulie Neill’s unusual storefront window with the street and myself reflected- Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Malachite Home was a big favorite with our group: Shaun Smith introduced us to the designer and her fabulous shop, filled with unusual juxtapositions and brimming with art and sculpture:

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMalachite’s. Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaBunny Williams Table with turned legs and assortment of candy colored glassware. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

 My personal favorites:

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMalachite Home unusual mid century sculptures- Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

 Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

 Gorgeous dragons and floral details enhance these gilded sconces- Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Shaun Smith then invited us in his own shop and regaled us with little canapés of goat cheese decorated with fresh strawberries and other canapés topped with charcuteries***. We welcomed the break and admired his elegant and whimsical style:

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Religious symbols abound in New Orleans, a town with a strong Catholic history and culture. One has to keep in mind Louisiana is the only state to be  divided into Parishes rather than Counties.

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaThese chairs might be the ones that belonged to my French grandparents. In fact, they are so eerily similar I am a bit taken aback. Chairs on which grandchildren sat to eat tartines de pain de campagne au miel**** dipped in hot chocolate. Chairs on which my family sat next to the free standing 1950’s first fridge and played bridge. Photo credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAnd then there is this Louis Philippe commode*****. Surely this has to be the one that was in the guest bedroom in my grandparents’ home?! Feelings like this overcome me throughout my trip in new Orleans. It’s as if the city lends itself to travel into time and pulls me back to Europe…Photo credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Next stop was Gerrie Bremermann’s fantastic shop with Gerrie herself! Gerrie is a lovely and energetic octogenarian interior designer who left her career as a seamstress to become an interior designer in her 40’s. She was voted Vogue Magazine’s top interior designers in 2004. Her boutique/office is refined and personalized. Gerrie is also represented on 1st Dibs.

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaSoothing palette for this ethereal and elegant bedroom by Gerrie Bremermann. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaFun fact: Gerrie says because the ceilings are so tall in her offices, she selects very tall staff, as she herself is quite petite. Note the stunning -I assume- Italian Murano glass chandelier. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Art holds a big place in Gerrie Bremermann’s designs. I can see why! Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaWith Gerrie :-) We had a good laugh at how New Orleans affected our hair!!!  I so enjoyed my visit with her!

We finish our street tour at Ecru, a tasteful antique shop owned by a darling mother and daughter team:

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaIf you love whites, greys and greiges, this is the shop for you! Photo: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

The day ended at the Ogden Museum with a presentation and book signing with interior designer Miles Redd, author of a book called The Big Book of Chic:

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaTwo design legends, Gerrie Bremermann and Miles Redd enjoy a quick chat minutes before the book signing. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

*French for guided tour
**French for storefront windows
***French for prepared meats usually made of pork, using methods such as curing or smoking, which were methods developed to preserve meat in times when refrigeration was not an option (jambon, saucisson, etc)
****French for buttered peasant bread slices with honey
*****French for chest of drawers

Brizo, Water, Bloggers and Jason Wu

You may be wondering why I would bunch these words in my title together. Where am I getting at??

Definitions:

Brizo: Brizo is “a premium faucet brand that promises distinctive design, inventive faucets and accessories that make a fashion statement in the home”.

Water: We all know what water is. Water is graceful, clean, soothing, in perpetual movement.

Bloggers: A contraction of two words, “web” and “log” is at the origin of the word “blog”. Blogging is a form of online public journal keeping or journalism where the blogger has freedom of press and puts a lot of him/herself in the writing. Hyperlinks allow the readers to be redirected to related articles or.websites.

Jason Wu: Jason Wu  is a talented Taiwanese-Canadian Fashion Designer who lives in New York City. Among other things, he designed Michelle Obama’s Inaugural Ball dresses, two flowy, very long dresses, Ruby red velvet and chiffon for this year’s Presidential Inauguration Ball, white chiffon in January 2009.

About Shot

Jason Wu, photo via JasonWuStudio.com.

Brizo deals with Water and design and Wu deals with movement and design. Water moves. Bloggers move ideas and Design bloggers are designers or writers interested in the design process.

Jason Wu and Brizo have been collaborating on a special fashion forward line of faucets and shower systems for a few years now and Brizo is Wu‘s main sponsor.

I think you’re starting to see the correlations…

jason-wu shower Shower

Jason Wu for Brizo Medium Flow Custom Shower

Today’s post is about how Brizo, Water, Wu, and Bloggers will be reunited for a very special event.

Drum Roll Please:

Brizo has invited me and 18 other bloggers to New York to see its newest products and attend an exclusive expenses-paid, design-focused event during Fashion Week.

The New York City event will include an introduction to the Brizo brand and interactive sessions with the product and design teams as well as the chance to build or strengthen the camaraderie between other elite design professionals through meals, team projects and unique shared experiences.

We’ll take a trip to see esteemed fashion designer Jason Wu show off his Fall 2013 collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and cap off the entire event with a private cocktail party with Jason Wu himself.

It is a formidable opportunity and I am truly truly honored to be part of it. To meet other designers and share ideas about creation and design is very exciting. Traveling to these types of VIP events on occasion is not about glitz for me. I’m just a nerdy gal in love with beauty and design.  I cannot wait to learn about fabrication and technology and exchange with my colleagues.
I applaud brands like Brizo or Kravet (Read my blog about last year’s Blogfest 2012) who understand how we are all in this together. If designers learn about products, then they can collaborate better and sell something they truly know and understand. And simultaneously,  brands benefit from exchanging with designers, who deal with clients’ needs and tastes on a daily basis.
We all gain from interacting with each other and I have learned this firsthand with Interior Designer Chat, a weekly Twitter platform chat (twitter handle: @IntDesignerChat) founded by Barbara Segal, where dedicated designers, vendors, and other professionals share and discuss diverse topics related to design. Frankly, it’s like going off to a weekly fantastic seminar!

And boy, am I looking forward to this Brizo “seminar”!!!

 

Fireside Beauties in Time for January!

 

I don’t know about you, but January feels like the l.o.n.g.e.s.t  month of the year in my view. Yes, I know, it’s not.

Can you believe mathematically March, May, July, August, October and December are just as long? January just seems to drag on and on here in New England. it’s cold. The trees are bare and stand like spooky shadows in the night. The sidewalks are treacherous, covered in grey slippery patches.

The good things, that make January bearable (because I have to find something positive in all things) are:

-fresh snow

-cross country skiing

-Being in my bed

-A warm meal and intense winter cooking (Boeuf Bourgignon, anyone?)

-Sitting next to a roaring fire

And that brings me to today’s post topic: FIREPLACES!!

I love them and truly could not live without them. Wood fires add joy and color with pops of yellow and crackling sounds. Gas fireplace designs are becoming more and more attractive and look great in more modern interiors.

They bring people together, encouraging intimate conversations with glasses of wine or hot cocoa cups, legs up on ottomans and bundled under fuzzy throws.

Here is a selection of a few fireside beauties for you to enjoy:

Concrete fireplace detail - simple color scheme.

I find this clean, rustic and sophisticated fireplace from Architectural Digest (unfortunately, I cannot locate the designer) arresting. The concrete mantel and what appears to be aged iron surround is unusual and gorgeously designed.

This Greenwich 19th century townhouse decorated by Christine Markatos and published in Architectural Digest is a stunner. Cozy, soothing and so inviting! The classic wood painted mantel has been preserved.

The gas fireplace nestled in a luminous family room style space via California Home Design is begging for company! The horizontal wood panels on the fireplace column create a wonderful focal point.

This is probably on of my favorite rooms of all times. Actress Meg Ryan’s home photographed for ELLE DECOR and decorated by Marsha Russell of Satinwood. The wrought iron grid fireplace cover juxtaposed with a slab of grey stone acting as a visual mantel shelf is simply brilliant and so clean! Note how the seating conveys warmth and invites one to sit by the fireplace.

What could have become a dark, overly rustic room is lightened up by white and organic textures, setting all eyes on this stone fireplace. Design by Michael Angus. After skiing this morning, I recommend meeting for a cup of hot chocolate right here!

This metal surround has shifting tones which almost look like brushstrokes: I love the visual interest they add to the fireplace. Note how the dark charcoal color is echoed with the seating. Via House Beautiful, designed by Erin Martin and Kim Dempster.

Colette van den Thillart's London home is a reflection of her signature style: edgy, witty and utterly fearless.

Colette van den Thillart’s London home is a reflection of her signature style: edgy, witty and utterly fearless. The classic fireplace is contrasted with fabulous pops of green and teal, via pattern and solids. Tea, anyone? via House and Home.

Enjoy, my friends! And do let me know your thoughts! Which of these fireplaces strikes your fancy?

A bientôt!!!