The Calm Space: Design Inspiration from the things that you Love

Inspiration! It’s one of those magical words that makes you believe you can achieve pretty much anything. It’s true, how many times have you heard, “All I need is a little inspiration and….” before you know it, you are starting a blog, taking dance lessons, or painting your bedroom walls blue. Inspiration is my fuel. I find it in the friends I surround myself with, the music I listen to, the books I read, the art I admire, the roads I walk, and sometimes even in the most unlikely places like an old stuffed toy. My first blog post has a picture from....more

I am over at The Calm Space today with a little inpiratinon from the things that I love.

A Softer Side

Who else but Phoebe Howard could create this elegant and relaxed interior that remains perfectly tailored?  In just 5 short weeks, Howard created a blissful residence for a young family who was under time constraints.   And what a dreamy result; soft blues, washed grays and creams paired with furniishings that are simple and sleek keep it casual.

Upon returning from a buying trip to England, Belgium and Holland, howard was approached by the couple who wanted to start fresh in their new home.   Howard couldn't be more thrilled for the opportunity to decorate using pieces she felt shouldn't be separated.   Everything from the wing chairs, antique brass table and lamps, and English period pieces fill this home with a sleek but soft kind of sophisitication.  

What a beautiful pair of bedside tables, the mix isn't just interesting, it's personal and a reminder that rules are meant to be broken.

Full Story and Photo Credit from Atlanta Homes Magazine

Rustic Updated

Anne Hepfer

Andrea Crawford

It used to be that the cottage was the catch all for old furniture, dishes and appliances, but it seems we are extending our love for design well beyound our front doors.    A recent post from Joni at Cote De Texas, got me thinking about spending some time away from home.   Whether you are renting or one of the lucky ones to have a summer escape, we are taking rustic to a whole new level.  Mismatched chairs co-ordinate perfectly with crisp fabrics, windsor chairs painted in sleek black for a little drama, and even oversized artwork is making it's way to cottage life and adding some refinement.  Here are just a few images that inspire the classic rustic look.

Bobbie Burgers

Joni mentions in her post how she packs along slip covers, area rugs, rearranges furniture and buys new pillows to update her summer rental. What a great way to bring your own comforts to someone else's home, not to mention all the hygienic reasons for wanting your own fresh fabrics covering everything you rest on.  With a few smart purchases, you can pack fresh and inspired design in the trunk of your car. 

Photo Credits:  Canadian House and Home

Doting over Details

When a New York couple fell in love with the charm of this cozy 1930s Brentwood California home, they called on designer Madeline Stewart to play up its quaint character.  The home was featured in Veranda Magazine back in May of 2007, and is filled with elegant and enduring design.  A mix of 19 century pieces, some deco, and a collection of furnishings designed by Stewart herself create a seamless balance.

This incredible dining room is covered in hand painted blocks of purple tea paper.  What is traditionally a cool colour is warmed by gold accents in the table, wall art, and light fixture, and complimented by the perfect shade of yellow in the draperies.  A 19c buffet paired with a 1940s mirror below.

 The home has a very traditional feel to it, but it is certainly updated, polished and incredibly comfortable.  Plenty of effort went into perfecting details, like the walnut floors which were refinished 5 times, no visible televisions and no bare bulbs.  The home owner also insisted on flat head screws only (no phillips heads anywhere) and he insisted they all be set horizontally.  A little crazy, perhaps, but it's a detail Stewart now insists on especially on hinges.  Her uncompromising attention to detail, went above and beyond the expectations of the homeowners, and it paid off when they asked her to redesign their New York apartment. 

Give me colour

It's been a couple of years since this Ashley Whittaker designed home graced the pages of House Beautiful, but it is a wonderful reminder of how summer inspired interiors can offer year round comforts.  In the living room above, shades of celery, avocado and robin's egg make for a refreshing retreat during the warm months and cozy cover during chilly winters.  Two brown armchairs sit at the end of the room by the fireplace.

The broad spectrum of blues really tie the coastal feel of this home together, but the real show stopper is the incredible punch of pink and coral throughout.  They are bright and warming even on the dreariest of winter days.  Ashley has a real gift for creating a very soft and subdued undertone (in this case blue), and then adding some real exciting punches of colour.  This home can boast shades of teal, turquoise, green, yellow, brown, pink and corals and they are completely cohesive.

Colours are softened but still cool in the sitting room and in the bedroom.  By using various fabrics like velvet, cashmere and linen, those crisp blues are offset with textures that are a warm and inviting.  This is the real trick to year round coastal colours, using a variety of fabrics that are bright in colour, but absorb a little bit of light with their inviting textures. 

Below is a recent Manhattan residence featured in House Beautiful, another one of Ashley's wonderful works.  But before we talk about colour, let's take a moment to admire the breathtaking Chippendale mirror in the pink entryway that belonged to the homeowners before this makeover.

Most rooms of this apartment are layered in soft shades of blue green, pink and cream, that contrast wonderfully against the dark chocolate floors. Below in the library, we meet a rich and wonderful shade of Prussian blue and in an eclectic office (not shown) the walls are covered in dark green. Some may argue that this many colours should never live under one roof, but for you colour lovers out there, this is your happily ever after. You can read the full story and see more pictures here.

Photo Credits:  House Beautiful and Ashley Whitaker Design

Colour - Less

photographer Michael Partenio

Photo Credit  Decor Pad

Yes.  Colour - less.. OK - well maybe scientifically only, these interiors are designed around a colour-less scheme.  The opposing aspects of black and white can create a highly dramatic and sophisticated space, and much to my delight elegant and inviting.  The difficulties in desiging in Black in White are that often interiors can look and feel very flat and cold.  If these images reveal anything, it is that depth is created through layers and layers of textures, patterns, and finishes.  Shiny floors, patterened area rugs, interesting artworks of various patterns and shapes, glass lamps, bright light, and reflective mirrors give life to these striking spaces.

Photo Credit Decor Pad

Photo Credit Decor Pad

Photo Credit Decor Pad

Interior Design Schappacher White ltd

A closer look at each image reveals another important element.  Hints of colour that come from nature.  In the photo above, the french doors open to a green terrace.  Every room has a floral arrangment is a colour that grounds the space.  Even natural brown branches create a point to rest your eyes. 

Photo Credit House Beautiful

Interior Design Windsor Smith

Photo Credit Decor Pad 

What tomorrow brings

If you haven't seen these pictures before, and you can't guess it by the fur stole draped over the coat rack, this New Jersey home belongs to the exceptionally talented and stylish Jennifer Lopez.  The pictures were published in Vogue Living back in the Fall of 2006, 2 years after she married singer Marc Anthony and took over his redbrick mansion where she revamped and added her elegant touch.

They called on designer Thom Filicia to help them unite their varying tastes.  JLo, Queen of Glamour and Marc Anthony an earthy bohemian put Filicia to the test with their opposing aesthetics.  With some compresmise and an appreciation for each others sensibilities, this family home came together beautifully..  
Lopez explained in Vogue Living, that of all the beautifully designed residences she has had, this one actually feels like home because it was designed for family life. 

Marcs interesting collection of old art and artifacts are scattered thoughtfully throughout.  On the dining room shelf a 19c copper deep sea helmut, and on the floor of the master bath next to the nickel plated tub are anciet Puerto Rican canonballs.

When the home was built the couple was still working on building their family.   Today they share the home with their 2 year old twins, Max and  Emma, as well as two children from Marc's previous marriage, and nieces and nephews who stay over frequently. Lopez loves suburban life, being close to her sister, and the city she and Marc grew up in, New York.  She admits the home is a work in progress, as she believes every home should be.  I have to agree, aren't we always peparing for what tomorrow will bring.?  Redesigning,  removing, refreshing for seasons, for new babies, or grown babies, office space or play space, there is always a vision of change for some room at home.    

Photos  from Thom Filicia , Photograohed by Mario Testino, Original Story Vogue Living


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