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Design Fabrics

Cork: the super material

Most often cork is identified with the stopper for a wine bottle but this incredible material has so much more to offer.  Cork is comprised of a waxy substance called suberin which is a bit like a super material.

A few benefits include:

  • Comfort & Softness: Air becomes trapped in the cork providing a natural shock absorption. In the instance of flooring, cork can relieve stress on the feet and joints.
  • Noise Reduction: The same science that provides the softness and comfort also reduces noise and vibration. Utilizing cork as a wall covering will absorb unnecessary noise.
  • Healthy & Safe: Cork has natural properties that are anti-allergenic and resistant to insects. Suberin repels insects, mites and mold and protects cork from rotting when it is exposed to water for a long time.

Needless the say the benefits are impressive but the best part is the style.  Take a look at a few examples of how cork can be used through the home.

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Mood boards to the rescue

Mood boards help inspire architects, graphic and interior designers, along with other numerous creative professions. These boards often contain material samples, inspirational photography, color swatches or even magazine clips of decor.  All of these items arranged together communicate a design concept to the client or co-workers.

Lucky for us, mood boards are also a great way for a home owner to discover design preference and style.  It’s as easy as identifying a few of your favorite items throughout your home. Dig through the closet, china cabinet, photographs and even literature to find anything that makes your heart skip a beat.  Cluster all the items together on a table or the floor allowing the interaction of textures, colors and patterns to appear. Most likely, a similar color scheme or emotion will be conveyed by the collection of items.

Finally, identify how the collection of items can be translated into a design.  Take, for example, the mood board below.  The paint color might be derived from the several shades of off-white and brown present in each image. The lace dress equals flowing lace window treatments or dainty crochet throw pillows.  The floating lanterns might translate into a pair of gorgeous wicker cabana chairs. Overall, the images elude a crisp, romantic feel.

With all of this in mind, take a moment to collect a few of your favorite things, and see what you find out about your design style.

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Hooked on crochet

In late December 2010 the iconic Wall Street Bull was covered, without permission, from horns to tail in a raging camouflage crochet. Behind the wild design was an artist named Olek; she explained her creation as a gift to NYC representing a wish for a prosperous year in 2011. The design was removed shortly after installation, but not before several photographs of the statue were taken and eventually circulated around the world.

This begs the question: Does crochet have a place in today’s interior design world? My answer: Absolutely! The examples below prove that all design trends work on a cycle appearing with a new spin each time. Incredibly intriguing and inspiring.

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Modern Moroccan

Patterns, colors, metallics, curves, astral, geometric and floral designs are the visual appeal of Moroccan style. It all stems from the knowledgeable and ingenious combinations of colors, patterns, shapes and textures. These same techniques have recently mixed with modern and contemporary designs establishing a striking and distinctive look.

Through the use of multiple colors and patterns, the textiles of a modern Moroccan style establish a warm and exotic feel with a sultry pizzazz.

Placing a customary metal lantern on a coffee table makes an alluring centerpiece.  Typically handmade, these lanterns radiate with an exotic glow when lit.

This traditional print was stylishly applied in a stunning suede brown to the walls.

The intense mix of native Moroccan culture and modern flare generated a phenomenal style that is sure to stick around.  This imaginative combination is exactly what design is all about.

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HGTV 2011 Dream House

Nestled away in Vermont’s Stowe Mountain Resort stands the HGTV 2011 Dream House.  HGTV never seems to disappoint and this year is no exception.  This 3,000- square-foot home includes 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and a gourmet kitchen any chef would adore.

Inspired by the location, the home’s curb appeal is strikingly rustic but upon closer inspection modern marvels abound.  The architects considered every tiny detail to ensure this home feels warm and cozy in the snowy mountains.

The kitchen features a stunning combination of birch wood, stainless steel and an open floor plan.  A dramatic statement with crisp sleekness makes this kitchen the perfect spot for a gathering.

Inspired by the fall foliage, the gathering room’s color palate bursts with earthy tones providing a comfortable spot to gaze upon the outdoor landscape.

The goal of the master bedroom was to highlight the incredible views just outside the large window.  The magnificent colors of the sunset flood the room making it even more spectacular.

The master bathroom oozes a relaxing spa feel. Carefully planned so the incredible view is front and center whether soaking in the claw-foot tub or steaming in the open glass shower.

HGTV’s team certainly knows how to pull off an amazing home.  With a stunning location, astounding design and practicality, this home has it all.

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Making a mismatched statement

Deciding on a design style is eerily similar to taking a personality quiz.  Our individual personalities subliminally drive our likes and dislikes in fashion, transportation, advertising and even interior design.

Choose the mood that best describes you: romantic, diverse, adventurous or relaxed.  If diverse tops the list then you tend to enjoy a mismatched eclectic combination of travel artifacts, furniture with history and splashes of color. This design style fuses a medley of different styles into a cohesive design.

To achieve the mismatched look, infuse the space with different finishes.  Notice the marble top coffee table’s base is an antique metal while the sofa and chair are supported by different toned wood finishes.

Stick to one or two main colors in each room. Choosing a neutral paint palate for the walls and the largest furniture pieces allow the accessories and unusual items to tell the story.

Vary styles and scale. The vertical stripe wallpaper and faux, four-post drapery establish linear movement in the room.  And the oval mirrors, the silver lamp bases and curved legs of the coffee table complete the look.

The best thing about an eclectic design is there is no limit to what can be deemed an accessory.  All of your favorites things can be combined to make a truly unique space.

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Photography at its most glamourous

Melanie Acevedo, a New York based photographer responsible for the following images, is a talented artist who frames her shots just right.  The elements behind creating a gorgeous photograph are strikingly similar to creating an inviting room.

Create dimension by layering elements such as rugs, throws and pillows, adding architectural details like crown molding or simply having an interesting detail at every height in the room.

Pops of color draw the eye and excite the mind.

Use accessories that accentuate through personal style. It creates the personality and vibe of the room.

Keep in mind, furniture an accessories should never overwhelm the room. The appropriate ratio allows for movement easily throughout the space.

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French designer unleashed

Modern French design comes to life through these rooms created by HAND Lyon Interior Design firm. Each room is created through a mix of modern and traditional furniture, textures, lighting and interesting artwork. All the elements collide bringing a sense of warmth to the space.

The majority of the space is cream, yet, different textures are scattered throughout. There’s the marble column and the berber rug. And even more definition in the form of wood paneling and crown molding. Modern sofas with clean tailored lines offset the rounded backs of the dinning room chairs with circular cutouts. Color is lightly introduced by the dramatic artwork, which creates an interesting focal point.

The simple furniture with square lines and classic colors balances the floor-to-ceiling textures.  Exposed wood beams, cobblestone walls and cool grey Flagstone tiles work together to create the right amount of dimension. The chunk of untreated wood, used as an extension of the glass coffee tables, is the final touch. The result: the perfect balance of natural materials and manufactured elements.

The exceptional outdoor view is framed like artwork by a glass wall with functional double doors.  The overall style of the kitchen is clean, simple and modern allowing the spotlight to rest simply in the view.

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Touch of the blues

The easiest way to brighten up or add a little extra personality to a room is through the use of accent colors. Color can unite separate rooms such as an entryway and a living space or even create a consistent theme throughout an entire space. Accents also allow the homeowner the chance to experiment with a color that they might typically shy away from. Start by adding pillows, a throw blanket or artwork and let the color splash grow from there.

Certain colors evoke different memories, thoughts or moods. Always consider the mood of the room prior to choosing the right shade to complement.  Red often evokes a romantic or sultry ambiance, green is fresh or crisp and yellow brings on a happy, carefree vibe.

Royal blue is used throughout this space creating a classic, tranquil environment.

The bedroom’s soft seafoam green walls, framed by white crown molding, create a relaxing space. The accent color is used to highlight the glass french double doors in the form of drapes and through pillows and a sophisticated lining on the linens.

A stark white room can be soothing and inviting when you add a bright rug in royal blue.

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Dramatically Retro

Designer Katie Rivinus and Adam Blackman poured over ten years into updating their 1950s modern post-and-beam-style home in Los Angeles.  All of their dedication paid off in a big way.  With a mixture of modern angles and retro furnishings this home has personality.  Sunlight streams in through the large windows and the sky lights nestled in the exposed wood beam ceilings. Cinderblock flanks the walls while stainless steel accents the kitchen.  Tailored style is prevalent in the furnishings slightly hinting a masculine appeal. Together this pair created a phenomenal space that reflects life’s inspirations of dramatic scale, color, texture and patina that comes with age.

Additional height is generated by the slightly angled ceiling.  Chinese water carriers hang over the sink in a decorative fashion.

The tufted black chair draped in its original leather upholstery is stately yet gracefully detailed.

The orange swivel club chairs were designed by art deco furniture designer Paul Frankl. The “V”-like cutout is mesmerizingly unusual.

A view of the tranquil pond just beyond the glass sliding doors completes the atmosphere of this home.

This updated 1920s stacking chest found at a flea market is only one of the details that make this home special.

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