Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mark Your Calendar: Casual Dining Chair Trunk Show

Adding new chairs is an easy way to breathe new life into an old room. That’s why I’ve planned a casual dining chair trunk show in my shop At Market on May 2-4. The show will kick off with a wine and cheese reception on May 2nd from 5 to 8 p.m., and will continue on May 3rd from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and May 4th from 12:30 to 5 p.m.

At Market is in DeCOR, 19 South Belmont Avenue.

I’m really excited about these chairs—the quality is outstanding and the styles I selected cover a variety looks. There will be 11 chair styles to choose from with 74 fabrics and 34 different wood finishes. So you can throw spice up your look with a yellow, red or green, or you can match what you have with one of many browns, greys and blacks.

The Hampton Chair comes in so many fun colors and options—imagine the excitement you can have around the table.

This Lyon chair could work in a game room, TV room, or dining room. Plus, it comes in all kinds of mix-and-match colors and fabrics.


The Mazatlan is an outdoor dining chair.

Don’t forget the swivel chair! It comes in an outdoor version, too.

Samples of all the styles will be on hand so you can give them a sit test. Come shop and bring swatches and photos from your home. I’ll be there the whole time providing free design advice. Plus, if you place an order during the event you’ll receive a 20 percent discount.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Endless Search: How to Buy a Light Bulb

Sure, it sounds easy, but with so many different types of light bulbs on the market today, it can get a bit confusing. How many watts do you need? What is a lumen anyway? I’ve got some simple tips on buying the right bulb.  This handy chart is from Lighting Facts.

Save this lumen-to-watt chart to your smartphone. When you’re shopping for new halogen, LED and incandescent fixtures, this will help you buy what you're used to. For example, if you liked your 100-watt Edison base bulb but can no longer buy it, this chart will explain that you can replace it with a 23-watt CFL or a 72-watt halogen. The “color” may not be the same, but we’ll save that for another blog post…

What were the designers thinking when they created the CFL light bulb?

I do like Plumen bulbs, though. These bulbs are named for the British designer who has won many awards for the cool-looking CFL. You can find Plumen bulbs at a few stores in the United States—in fact at Market in DeCOR carries them. If I find a great-looking LED, I’ll post it!

1000 Bulbs is my go-to for finding any type of light bulb. Check them out.

If you are looking for a new light fixture that uses some of the newer, low energy lamps, you will need to follow the lumen chart as well. I recently specified this Eurofase Cromo 9-light chandelier for a client. It requires nine 12-volt/20-watt G4 base halogen bulbs and provides enough light at the kitchen table for homework. According to the chart, it is two thirds of 29 watts listed giving us about two thirds of the 450 lumens per bulb. The math: .66 x 450 = 297 lumens, 297 lumens x 9 bulbs = 2673 total lumens. Going back to our chart, that is equal to three plus 60-watt incandescent bulbs or six 40-watt incandescent bulbs.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mediating the Mix: Great Room Furniture Plans

Great rooms are staples in many houses and they make wonderful family gathering places, but laying them out can be a problem. You need room to talk, work and relax in one space, and it all needs to remain organized with a cohesive look and feel. Plus, there’s usually a big ceiling that can be challenging to decorate.

For me, designing great rooms is an exciting challenge: I love space planning and creating functional, stylish multi-use rooms. One book I frequently browse for inspiration is Alexa Hampton’s The Language of InteriorDesign.

A ceiling with interest is one simple way to make a great room more cozy.  Often great rooms are open to other rooms, so a unique ceiling helps define the space and give it an identity of its own. Check out Elle Décor’s ceiling basics for more design tips.

Here, the ceiling started as a large empty white hole—it needed interest and it needed to belong to that great room alone, so I added planked coffers and an eye-catching light.

It’s also important to create “functional spaces” within the larger room. Spaces like a reading corner, a game corner, a display area, a conversation area, etc., are useful and divide up the large space. You can use lighting to help distinguish these different spaces. Here's how I divided up one great room:

And, here's the finished product:

Here’s a close-up of the conversation area. It feels comfortable, complete and separated from other parts of the room:

The floor plan with the 2 sofas has 2 comfy reading chairs snuggled up to the fire--this is for the everyday use of the homeowners. 

My fixed-rate packages are perfect for tackling areas like a great room—they include everything you need to make over your room!

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