Love my Dyson, except…

I recently purchased a new Dyson Upright Ball Vacuum. It’s fantastically light and super easy to maneuver given the “ball” base technology. It’s bagless too and has a great design. But on the flipside, it’s not cheap — it’s a major commitment. To a vacuum??? The canister is small so you’ll have to empty it often, the chord isn’t as long as I’d like, and drum roll please…….. my biggest issue with this vacuum is the extension handle that lifts up and out to reach those far, hard-to-reach areas. It’s a straight “stick”, but when you’re up close to something, there’s an awkwardness since it won’t bend. Trust me about this. I had an older Dyson model before switching to this and it had the same “stick” issue. Despite my rants, it’s still the only vacuum I’d purchase. Maybe Mr. Dyson has heard about this from others… but in the mean time, I’ll get back to vacuuming my rug. Photo courtesy of www.dyson.com

Best regards, DPC

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A symphony under the stars

Every great city has a green and open space set amidst the chaos and hustle and bustle. In New York, there’s Central Park, in Boston, there’s Boston Common and for Chicago, there’s Millennium Park  — carved out between sky scrapers that hug the lake shore and constructed over a railroad system that helped transform Chicago into the city it is today. There are so many different aspects of Millennium Park, but on one beautiful summer night,  I had the chance to experience the beauty of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, an open-air concert venue designed by architect Frank Gehry.

It’s a massive structure composed of undulating pieces of stainless steel almost mimicking ribbons gently curled at the ends and billowing in the wind. From the main venue, a stainless steel trellis extends over a fixed seating area and beyond into the great lawn with a sound system overhead that generates acoustics as if you were actually inside a concert hall. On this particular night, we dined on the great lawn with our picnic table and chairs and watched the sun set behind the column of skyscrapers surrounding the park. I can’t recall what the orchestra played that night, but being in the midst of the city in this open-air venue was an experience all its own.

It’s hip to be square!

Some one told me that if you’re going to put in some bling in the bathroom, do it in the guest bath for all the neighbors to see. I’d rather put bling in the bathrooms you use on a regular basis so that you get the most enjoyment out of them — but to each their own. That said, I think I added a different kind of bling to this guest bath…

I stumbled upon this Duravit toilet, www.duravit.com at a local kitchen and bath showroom and I had to get it. I had never seen anything like it and this was after having already remodeled two other bathrooms within the house and countless hours of scouring catalogs and the web for toilets.

But I digress because my starting point in this bathroom was actually the vanity. I like putting in vanities that look more like furniture than traditional units you see in the big box stores. And since this guest bath is tiny, I had to find a vanity that was to scale. Dark wood tone with a square, white sink and a single lever faucet — simple and modern. And since you also need storage in a guest room, it had plenty. With the vanity selected and its square sink, the toilet was a match made in heaven.

I also picked out a tall, rectangular mirror that adds height and flanked it with two polished chrome sconces. Another trick up my sleeve is that the subway tile I selected, pale hues of white/blue-gray/creamy browns, was laid out vertically to add the perception of height in the room, vs. the traditional horizontal pattern. I actually laid every tile out in another room in the exact pattern I wanted to ensure the colors were spread out evenly. The larger tiles on the floor consisted of gray veined marble to pick up the blue-gray in the the wall tiles.

And finally, the walls and ceilings are painted a frosty blue-gray to pick up the tones in the wall tile. I love the way this guest bath turned out! Photography by Audrey de la Cruz of Audrey Photo Design, www.audreyphotodesign.com.

Best regards, DPC

Check it out — Houzz.com

I discovered this fantastic site called Houzz, www.houzz.com, through an app on my iPad and can’t get enough. I can spend hours just flipping through beautiful photos of architecture, interior design and landscaping ideas. You can select from  different rooms, dezine styles and even select filtering criteria based on regions and cities around the country. It’s a fantastic way to get a range of ideas and inspiration for your design challenges or for when you just want to dream about your next space. Check it out today!

Best regards, DPC

The allure of Allure

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I was fortunate enough to travel aboard Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, The Allure of the Seas, www.royalcaribbean.com, and let me say that there’s a lot of allure on this vessel. It’s the largest ship in the world but based on its beautiful dezine, it never felt like a behemoth. Sure, it looks massive (and it is) as you’re driving up to the port, but the minute you step on board, Royal Caribbean made sure that there were enough “neighborhoods” on board, 7 to be in fact, to ensure that you never felt like you were one of over 5,000 travelers on board. Each neighborhood has its own look and feel and the touches along the way from one area to another such as artwork, colors schemes and lighting ensured seamless transitions. Balcony rooms were created looking inward into open spaces so you had choices of looking out to sea or looking into a stretch of greenery called Central Park or into a more lively and Coney Island-inspired area called The Boardwalk, complete with carousel. The spa was soothing to the senses and the Royal Promenade with its shops, restaurants, pubs and various entertainment venues was wide open and bustling with activity and energy 24/7.

Yes, there are other more luxurious ships out there and in much smaller scale, and the Allure isn’t perfect, but what the Allure of the Seas delivers despite its massiveness deserves praise —  and it’s because of great dezine.

Best regards, DPC

A wonderful find for the Patio!

I finally took the plunge and set up the patio furniture a week before Mother’s Day when the weather actually started to hover in the 40s and 50s on a consistent basis with hopes of 60s and 70s soon thereafter. Alas, yesterday was only in the 50s but rain wasn’t forecasted until later in the day so I decided to hit the plant nursery and pick up a few annuals for containers on the patio. As you know, my dezine philosophy is to start with one object that you love and build from there. For the patio, it’s a wonderful multi-tonal umbrella purchased at Crate and Barrel, www.crateandbarrel.com last summer. I’ll post pictures of the umbrella and patio another time to give you a better idea, but for now, my focus is on an unexpected find from a little store called Target, www.target.com.

I decided to stop by Target since it was on the way to the nursery, and while hunting for an item on my errand list, I stumbled past the outdoor furniture area and saw these purple colored pots in multiple sizes. The reason it caught my eye is because the umbrella I mentioned actually has various shades of orange, purple and pink and so the purple pot was perfect! And priced at under $6 and $3 for the large and small sizes respectively, I couldn’t beat that. They’re extremely light weight yet will hold up to whatever Mother Nature throws at it during the summer season and the shape is simple and opens wide at the top, perfect for adding potting mix and plantings. I ended up getting 3 of the large and 2 of the small planters to integrate with my dark gray planters I’ve had for several years.

I managed to set up all my planters before the rain came and despite the dark and dreary skies the last 24 hours, the purple containers are truly a bright spot on the patio. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for great dezine, you just have to stick with a plan/theme and keep an eye out for that next great find, wherever you may be!

Best regards, DPC

My love of Apple

Great dezine manifests itself in so many different ways and is all around us. The best kind is when you don’t even notice it, and it simply becomes a part of and entwined in your every day. Apple products, www.apple.com, are one such example that have found their way into my daily life — some might say good, others may say bad. But for me, it’s been a wonderful experience so far.

It all began when I actually received an iPod as a gift several year ago. The clean, simple lines and the intuitive nature of the product had me hooked as soon as I began playing with the “wheel”. From there, I finally took the plunge and dumped my clunky PC Tower, keyboard and monitor for an all-in-one iMac. Getting one literally forced me to upgrade my work desk at my home office just to ensure that my new purchase was properly displayed. It’s a thing of beauty, speckled aluminum gray casing with a solid piece of glass edged in black  — blended together and perched on a sexy, curving steel pedestal.

And then the love affair continued with the iPhone where I’m no on my 4th generation (fyi, I did skip a year in the 2nd gen) and as of this past year, the iPad when I casually strolled into the local Apple store and to my surprise, there was no line on opening day and I walked out with my new toy less than 30 minutes later. The ipad took a little more convincing since it was an unplanned purchase — like so many others at time, I wasn’t exactly sure why I needed one. I’m sure glad I did get it though! It’s simple, intuitive, clean lined, light and compact but just the right heft and screen size to comfortably take in all forms of info, news and entertainment from the comfort of my bed or the sofa as I sit next to the fireplace.

But in the end, these beautifully designed products would be useless if they didn’t work — and they definitely do work. They make everything else I have to deal with frustratingly painful since I have to scream out and ask why can’t these other products work like an Apple? Ok, I don’t really do that, but there have been those quiet moments, especially at work, when I’m forced to lay my finger tips on non-Apple technology. The pain of it all!

As I started typing this entry, it made me realize even more that great dezine isn’t just about something to look at and admire. Great dezine makes you transcend the product and package, but helps you focus on and enjoy the end result and the experience at hand, whatever that may be.

Best regards, DPC

Sit back and relax, HGTV has you covered

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m addicted to HGTV, www.hgtv.com. While it can be a great inspiration for that next project in your home, it can also inspire many to run out to the local DIY store with thoughts of construction grandeur and getting the latest power tool or finding that special piece of furniture in an antique store for that empty nook in your family room (that you’ll never ever sit in).  Whichever the case, it makes for great entertainment. My favorite HGTV designer happens to be Candice Olson, www.candiceolson.com — she is the one designer that I would give carte blanche to in decorating any part of my home, no questions asked. Her dezines are amazing, but they are not cheap. My motto is if you’re going to do a room, do it right the first time. With Candice, she gets it right time after time, no matter what style. Now, whether or not you have the budget, at a minimum she can inspire you with great dezine principles and ideas for you to get it right. Not many of us can create the perfect room in one fell swoop — it takes time and money, but once you have the dezine basics in place, it’s easy to build and add on so that the room is filled with beautiful things as well as personal things, otherwise, it simply becomes another room in a furniture catalog (beautiful to look at, but cold and impersonal).

Aside from Candice, I have to say that out of all the Design Stars that have been discovered, David Bromstad rocks, www.bromstad.com. He’s energetic, has great style, is a wonderful painter and his show is a lot of fun. I really like how he starts off with a dezine inspiration that the homeowners select and he takes inspiration from these places to give them the room(s) of their dreams. You always need a great starting point and taking inspiration from an object, a place, etc., is really a great way to tackle great dezine. In contrast to Candice with her high-end pieces and personal line of furniture and accessories, David has been seen shopping at Home Goods, www.homegoods.com for accessories on his show, so his stuff tends to be closer to what everyday families can afford and access right around the corner. And until I saw him shopping there, I had never even thought about Home Goods. You never know what you’ll find since things are always changing.

Finally, when it comes to outdoor landscaping and dezine, I have to give a nod to Jamie Durie, www.jamiedurie.com,  HGTV’s newest international designer from Down Under. For each outdoor project, he takes inspiration from locations around the globe. The outdoor rooms are also amazing — makes me want to move to sunny California so that I can enjoy them all year long, but I digress. From water features, to fireplaces, to lush tropical installations, I’ve seen it all and Jamie and his team pull it off each episode.

There are so many other wonderful designers and programs to watch, but there comes a time when you have to get off that sofa and actually do some of it yourself, unless you’re calling someone to dezine the room for you and then you’ll at least have some ideas to share. Sure, it’s great entertainment, but it’s also a great way to help you create a beautiful place called home. So who’s your favorite HGTV designer or HGTV program?

Best regards, DPC

It starts here

A foyer sets the tone, but what kind of tone? That depends on you. I dezined this entry based on my love of modern simplicity. Clean lines, dark stained espresso floors and a contrasting blue/gray neutral wall color that showcases a diptych painting I discovered in a gallery up in Montreal. Finished off with a stainless steel and glass console and then balanced up high with an organic stainless steel chandelier to break up the sharp 90 degree angles below. Special thanks to photographer Audrey de la Cruz, www.audreyphotodesign.com

Let me introduce myself…

A little nervous here as I type my first entry, but excited as well.

So why am I here? Let’s just say that I’ve recently come to discover my secret passion and am brimming to share it with anyone who’ll care to listen. It’s about DESIGN or as I spell it, DEZINE.

The breadth of dezine is endless so all is fair game depending on my mood or simply depending on what I encounter along the way in this brief journey of ours called life. Just look around you and dezine manifests itself in so many ways possible — from the computer or tablet you’re using to view this, to the layout of a page in your favorite magazine, to that store at the mall that you often visit. For me though, my “I on dezine” tends to focus on things architectural and on interior dezine. But don’t be surprised if I stretch way beyond those boundaries.

Now let me be the first to say that I am by no means an expert. I never studied dezine or got any type of degree or training, it’ all a basic instinct and something I’ve picked along the way. And I know that there out countless other folks out there in the blogosphere and in the industry who are the experts and do this on a regular basis, but hopefully there’s room for a dezine enthusiast as myself…so I thank everyone in advance for granting me an inch!

What else? Well I hope through my postings that you’ll get to know more about me, but in the mean time, I’ll leave you with my one guiding dezine principle: start with one item/object, something you truly love and build from there…you can’t go wrong!

Best regards, DPC