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Still Loving “Love It or List It” on HGTV

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything on this site so apologies dear readers.

My latest fix on the ever-popular HGTV channel is a Monday night show called Love It or List It. Homeowners have the opportunity to remodel their home with a designer while a realtor helps them look for a better place. In the end, they have to decide if they like the remodel enough to stay or if they prefer the new place the realtor has found for them. There’s a lot of bickering that goes on and and couples taking sides with either the designer or the realtor and it seems like everyone’s always mad at each other. Ok, it’s drama and meant to keep you guessing ’til the very end to see what they decide to do.

My biggest annoyance is that these people have no clue in terms of what their money will get in a remodel — what century are they living in? This week’s homeowner had a budget of $18,000 to fix issues on every floor of their house. Are you serious? Where do you get these people from? Maybe it’s all part of the drama and the conflict that’s built into the show to keep you hooked, but I’m ready to tell some of these people to get a clue. And of course, as in any remodel, there’s always that unexpected surprise that eats away at the budget — usually something structural or electrical that you never see in the finished product so you always wonder where the money went.

But at the end of each show, everyone’s happy no matter which decision is made. And yes, I’ll continue to watch again next week since it’s DVR’d on my cable box.

The hotel lobby

I love hotel lobbies because they definitely set the tone for your selected home-away-from-home. I’ve walked my way through the grandest of the grand and through the dowdiest of dumps. From the sleekest of sleek to ornate design of centuries gone by. From the boldest and most colorful palettes to the monochromatic tones of understated simplicity. The pictures below are in the dezine of modern contemporary with the biggest statement radiating from the magnificent fireplace and architectural chimney fixture over head. Mix in bold artistic  pieces draped from the ceiling, to free-standing wood-paneled walls and beaded-flowing walls that define spaces, there’s something around every corner of this hotel lobby to admire.

A Quiet Corner

Nestled in the corner of the living sits my favorite piece of furniture, a Le Corbusier chaise reproduction from European Furniture Warehouse, paired nicely with an Eileen Gray steel and glass table and a drum-shade floor lamp, both from Room and Board. I finished the vignette with a garage sale find — a simple black telephone, complete with rotary dial. It was only $5 and I had to have it.

It’s a wonderful spot to relax and gaze out the window or enjoy the latest news with my handy iPad. Ever since I saw this chaise in a magazine years ago, I knew I had to have it for that “perfect corner” in the house. What makes it a fantastic piece of furniture is the timeless, yet modern quality in the simple, curving dezine that was born during the 1920s. The same holds true for the Eileen Gray end table  inspired by the original from the 1920s — glass and steel, just the right amount of sparkle and timeless.

Wine and Dine

I am fortunate enough to have a properly defined dining room but without the traditional four walls closing it in. The space opens itself up onto the living room on one side, but there are two steps leading down to it with a railing that adds additional separation without closing in the room. Three glass pendant lights hover over the length of the table and can be dimmed as needed.

Above — The glass and steel-base table is a Le Corbusier adaptation I picked up from European Furniture Warehouse in Chicago. I flanked it with 6 leather chairs, also from European Furniture Warehouse. For additional seating, I added a black leather and steel bench from Room and Board (see photo below).

Below — the sideboard on the right is actually something I discovered in a garage sale in the neighborhood and which I had stained to a rich chocolate color and had new pulls added. I added “tree” decals to the feature wall to add a touch of whimsy. Photography by Audrey Photo Design.


Look Up, Part II

I’ve been noticing more and more wood appearing on ceilings — take a look at the image below from a hotel lobby. I like the curvature and canopy effect it brings to the indoor space, even to help define the spaces below.

Granted, while it’s more sculptural in nature, it’s a way to take what you traditionally see underfoot and bring it overhead in a different fashion. I’ve also seen where designers have taken wood flooring and have run it up the wall and some have even attached it to the ceiling to give the room a different dimension and more impact when you look up.

Up and Down, Up and Down

I know, they’re just stairs — a means of moving from one level to another within your home. But as part of any home remodel and something so visible to your guests, it’s an area you can’t neglect. From the onset, the dezine vision was pretty clear — remove the carpet, change the rail because it looked too much like outdoor iron gates and change the steps and risers to hardwood, stained in dark espresso.

Simple right? Not so much when modern/contemporary is the style. Do you know how hard it is to source modern stair rails? After a long search, I was able to find a local supplier that sold customized modern railings. I love stainless steel and wanted to combine it with wood handrails that coordinated with the espresso, hardwood floors.

The result? I’ll let you judge for yourself, but I think it turned out pretty nice!

Best regards, DPC

Look up

When it comes to the topic of paint and ceilings, there are several schools of thought. Some say paint it white, others like myself suggest painting it similar to the wall color or a lighter tone of the wall color. If you have normal height ceilings around 8 feet, I say take that wall color and continue it on the ceiling. It tricks the eye and it becomes harder to know where the walls meet the ceiling — making the room look taller since there are no harsh breaks. And based on the darkness of your paint color and the atmosphere you’re trying to achieve, this could also give the room a more intimate look and feel.

Now, if you’re concerned that it may be too dark or claustrophobic, select a color that’s several shades lighter than your wall color for the ceiling — at least the two colors are in the same family. The final factor for me also boils down to the amount of natural light that comes into the room and/or the amount of lighting you’ll be able to install. Bottom line, there’s no right or wrong answer, but just make sure that in the end, you’re happy with the look. And besides, it’s just paint!

Best regards, DPC

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