Archive for the ‘New York’ Category

An Office-Nursery Combination

Friday, January 25th, 2013

In NYC, you make do with what you have and honestly, I love finding creative ways to make small spaces work.  Most people would never combine an office and nursery but if it’s properly executed, it can be done.  Our nursery and office combo are finally complete, in time to relax a bit before the baby arrives.  Here’s the progress and how it all came to life.

First the before shots.  We had a large desk that both my husband and I tried sharing (might I say that it is a very bad idea to share a desk with a creative person).  It was far too deep and just taking up space that could be utilized better.   The office was also very dark because it only had ONE recessed can light, which is why you see that lovely hanging bulb.

To the right of the old desk was a catch-all space for my design “stuff” (inspiration boards, drafting and office supplies, files etc) housed on the wall and in cheap plastic containers.

Behind the door is a funky little space that I filled with old wine crates to use as book shelves.

The only window in the room.  The apartment had come with these dark grayish-purple heavy cotton drapes.  I had the fun remnant piece of fabric so created a little window seat with hanging candles because it worked; not because I loved it.

And here’s the transformation!  Overall the room is eclectic and whimsical without screaming baby.  I used gold, white and pops of red against the soothing gray backdrop.  Several items are custom made by myself for the space including the desks on the right, storage unit on back wall and mobile above the crib.  The focal point of the room is the art wall that consists of some purchased art, framed art paper and paintings that my husband and I made.   The custom storage piece on the back wall hides office supplies, files, baby clothing & bedding and a changing area.  A rug from West Elm help soften all the wood and brighten the space.

 

Those wine crates behind the door served their purpose but they had to go.  I was tired of the temporary college furniture feel and it would not be safe for a child’s room.  We instead replaced it with a red lacquered book shelf that could be secured to the wall.  This holds both baby and our books, a nightlight and art.  I disliked the heaviness of the drapery so replaced it with a light, airy sheer.  To add a pop of red in that area, I added a pom pom trim to the leading edge.  This helped lighten the space further.  I changed the cushion to a solid gray eliminating a pattern that did not relate to the room.

Below is the “office side” of the room with the custom desks.  I actually enjoy working in here now that we have light.  This is probably the cleanest my desk will ever be and I’m sure eventually the right wall will slowly become filled with more inspirational photos but for now, I’m enjoying the cleanliness of this area.  I just need to find a great piece of art for above the desks.

 

 

Hello, It’s Been a Long Time…

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Things have been busy over the past few months; it’s been hard finding the time to write.  So what’s been happening at Paradigm?  Here’s a briefing to bring you up to speed…

  • We are growing!  Well, my family that is.  My husband and I are expecting our first child in February.  We are super excited and will be sharing the transformation of the office/baby’s room as it progresses.  The space is small and challenging but I’m excited to share the results and ideas on making small spaces multi-functional.
  • I have started a furniture company, Artistory, to develop furniture designs that I’ve sketched over the years, up-cycle great market finds into a new life and create custom, one-of-a-kind pieces for my design clients.  It is a slow progress but the website will be up soon.  Until then, you can get a quick snippet of my first pieces on Pintrest.
  • We are now on Pintrest (Dawn Chau)!  I have started posting all great finds from magazines on Pintrest to share with you (instead of adding to my forever expanding binders in the office).  This helps me stay organized and will also be a place for you to see what inspires me.
  • I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey and the South of France at the end of September.  I was so inspired by the mosques and amazing people of Turkey.  I’ll be posting some pictures next Monday.

I hope that summer treated you well and you are beginning to nest for the fall.  Cheers!

Denver Home Update!

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

We have been in our new home a little over two months and are beginning to get settled .  We still have a LONG way to go, but here is a little peek at some of the spaces as they progress little by little.

Our living room is livable at the moment. There are three things I would like to do in this space: get a new sofa, reupholster the arm chair, and reupholster the ottoman.

As previously mentioned, storage is our biggest issue.  I invested in a reasonably presentable door rack to hold spices and baking supplies.  On the other wall (not pictured) is a stainless steel shelf unit that holds all of our dishes.  We painted the walls a very soft gray but have yet to decide on a color for the kitchen nook – I am thinking about something bold like stripes but I am not sure Tobey will go for that.

 

Our bedroom is still in the organizational process (the walls aren’t as yellow as they look!!).  The patterned curtains are covering my closet since we had to remove the doors.  I am looking for a fun grey and white stripe fabric to make into panels. I would also like to mount the TV to the wall.

This is my office/storage room at the moment.  It is home to everything that I haven’t had time to hang, get rid of, or find a home for – pretty much a big mess. I have high hopes of tackling this room over the weekend!!

That’s all for now.  I will have a more finished product to show you in another few weeks!!!

 

Summer on the Water

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

The hot summer sun makes playing on and in the water a treat.  Here are some beautiful vessels that allow you to enjoy “water” in true splendor.

I love the red/white combo! It feels nautical yet classic.

The detail and craftsmanship is stunning.

I like the idea of this boat “floor plan” – I want a spot in the back!!

The wood flooring is a beautiful option instead of carpet.

This is floating elegance.

A great use of space!

ICFF 2012

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Not having a lot of time to lollygag at ICFF, I noticed a few trends to share with you.  There were numerous woodworkers who all had beautiful products.  The one thing I kept noticing was that they love drawers in multiple sizes and configurations.  Here are some of my favorites.

Above is a cabinet with drawers from Portuguese design company Wewood.  Like the shelf detail at the base.

A similar cabinet from Richard Watson.  The pulls looked like thumbtacks; nice unusual detail.

Cabinet with beaded detailing on top and on the drawer reveals by Sami Hayek of Espacio.

 

Booth installations are always fun to admire.  I wonder how long it takes to set up some of these.  Two manufacturers, Hellman Chang (furniture) and Lindsay Adelman (lighting), had a piece of their actual workshop demonstrating work in progress; brilliant idea.  Anyone who wonders how things get made as much as I do must have loved this.  I bet next year we’ll see even more of this.  I was clearly so engrossed that I forgot to photograph BOTH of them!  Sigh…

Above is a tree that was made out of rope strung though a mesh “ceiling.”


Installation with a bench and shaded cover made from a somewhat translucent fabric called Xorel.  This was created by a collaboration of students.  It felt good to be under; almost like shade from a tree.

A photo from Amuneal Manufacturing‘s booth.  I’ve seen them before at ICFF and I always get “lost” in their booth.  It’s a beautiful, wonderland of the imagination.  They manufacturer displays and components for stores and have a very craftsman look that sucks me in.  Above is a wall of woodworking tools beautifully displayed.   Inspiration for storing my tools!

The picture above is small but these innovative light switches/organization helpers are from Upwell.  This was one of those products that I looked at and wondered, “Why hasn’t this been created before?”  These switch additions add a little organization right where we need them, by the front door.  I spoke with the creator and he’s looking for a manufacture to produce them…someone find this guy a manufacturer!

I always love lights that create a pattern on the wall or ceiling.  Above is a light from Absolut in Germany.  The bulb is in the middle (covered) and reflects through an etched pattern on the glass around the outside.

This fixture is from Lightexture (as is the picture).  The piece expands and contracts (like a metal veggie steamer) to project light up or down casting beautiful reflections on the surrounding surfaces.

Porcelain tiles from Kowa Collection caught my eye for the large format and texture they create.  They can be installed in numerous patterns on walls or glass.  This is more of an architectural element than a bath or kitchen backsplash tile.

NYC Patio Completion

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Our patio is complete, just in time to share it with friends on this lovely Friday.  The first three photos are of the patio before we started.

 

 

We created a little dining area with a rug, table and chairs.  We planted a new Japenese maple tree (very small at this point) but the red leaves glow brightly under the sun and it’s perfect.  The umbrella brings in a pop of color until everything blooms and I combined stripes and the graphic patterned rug for visual interest.

In the corner we planted lettuce, herbs, beets, carrots and tomatos.  The large black pots include garden sage, honeysuckle and some red nancy.   They are all pretty small at this point so I look forward to them growing and blooming.

We used wine crates for the beets, lettuce and carrots since we did not have any actual ground to plant in.

Lettuce just popping up.  Can’t wait to have a fresh salad from our garden!

This is our “gnome” Bella.  She will keep the birds away but unfortunately she loves lettuce and carrots so we’ll see who gets the first taste of summer.

Hats Off to You – Kentucky Derby Style

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

The Kentucky Derby takes place this Saturday and in honor of it we are bringing you some of the most creative, interesting, and beautiful hats from years past.  From home-made to couture, there is a style for everyone.  Take note of the amazing color palettes and textures.  Each one is a miniature masterpiece full of design inspiration…well maybe not this first photo but I couldn’t resist!  Stop by our facebook page next week to see how my outfit came together for the big event and post pictures of your own creations.  We can’t wait to see them.  And they’re off!!

 

I give this couple props for creating their own pony hats.

This hat is stunning, I love the color contrast between the magenta, cream and black.

The fabric on this hat has an interesting texture and I like the way it filters light, giving its owner an angelic glow.

This woman was obviously a show stopper in her matching hat and dress.

Simple and elegant – a testament to “less is more”.

Now this is a doozy for a hat! I would love to see how it frames her face from the front, but the back is a true work of art.

This is a great example of a DIY hat.  The ruffle on the edge is fun and I love that her earrings match the sash on the hat.

Peacock inspired – loving the bright colors!

I want this hat.  It is a summer classic.

I want this chic fascinator too!

I can’t resist the crisp chocolate brown and cream combo.

Bigger isn’t always better – but I think she pulls off this outrageous topper quite well.

Repetition & Pattern

Friday, April 27th, 2012

I am often inspired by repetitive textures I find while traveling.  There is so much to see when we are in-tune with our senses and take the time to observe our surroundings.  The simplest natural or man-made structure can create a beautiful pattern.  It may be a set of stairs, a unique shadow, a reflection in water, or the way light filters through a window pane.  I try to incorporate some sort of repetition into all of my projects because our eyes find repetition & pattern calming.  Below are several photos that I’ve taken while traveling. Enjoy…

Nature and man-made objects provide a wide range of repetition.

 Fence in Cape Cod

 Slate in UK Countryside

 Grain Silos in Longmont, CO

 Fountain in London’s Mayfair Neighborhood

 Row of Trees at Versailles, France

Stairs are one of the best places to find repetition.

Stairs Inside the Arc de Triumph, Paris

 Stairs at Alhambra in Granada, Spain

Stairs in Santorini, Greece

Markets are a sure bet too, especially first thing in the morning when all the vendors products are neatly stacked.

Cauliflower in Montreal, Canada

Spices in France

Star Anise in France

A New Home in NYC

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

As some of you may know, my husband and I have recently moved into a new place in New York City.  We are thrilled to have an updated, warm and quiet space.  I wanted to share  pictures of it in progress and then I’ll post the afters as they happen.  I’ve found that it’s WAY HARDER to do my own space.  I know too many great vendors and want to use them all!

A bit of background on the place.  It was built in 1910 and the last owners updated the kitchen & dining area before moving.  It is a duplex, which in NY means the unit is two floors, not side-by-side.  It has a great layout for entertaining our friends and family.  The first floor consists of the kitchen, dining, living, main bath and a great little patio out the back door.  Down a tight, little  spiral staircase is the basement consisting of two bedrooms and a half bath.

Giang and I live very casual lives.  We love being home and entertaining which means lots of cooking.  We tend to use what we have until it falls apart.  We don’t like having lots of tchotchkes around and prefer a pretty low maintence home.

The kitchen is small, but we have a Wolf!  It beats our last stove that was so uneven that we had to prop up the burners with aluminum foil “pads” so that the pans would be level.  I probably won’t be doing much with this room but it needs a rug and a shade to for the window by the dishwasher.

The dining room is one of my favorite rooms.  It’s large and comfortable.  I love that they hide the refrigerator in the wall of cabinetry (far left).  The center of the cabinetry was this strange, large cabinet.  We didn’t want a TV so we made it into a bar.  I painted the inside red and built the small bank of drawers to store more utensils and charge our iPad.  The dining table was built by yours truly out of reclaimed NYC water tower wood and I found the legs locally.  The last bit to do here is find art for the wall.  We painted the core color a pale yellow you see pictured.

 

 

 

The living room is probably one of the few rooms that came together quickly.  Our furniture came with us from Denver and we added the coffee table by Palo Samko.  We plan on relocating and hiding the TV in a wall at a later time.  The wall of photos were taken by Giang and I on our travels around the world.  We selected pictures that are serene yet graphic.  Some of the shots are recognizable, some are not.

 

The main bath will become more of a powder room (without removing the shower) once we finish the basement bath.  The basement bath will add much needed storage for all our toiletries so we can remove them from the main bath that everyone sees.  I plan to put carrara mosaic on the floor, install an interesting vanity with some storage, add better lighting and replace the mirror and toilet.

Our little staircase to the lower level.

This is where it happens!  The dreaded office.  It’s only dreaded because it is the room I spend the most time in and will likely be the last to be complete.   I thought about doing a large built-in but they realized I wanted the space to function differently so the plan is:  I want to make this room come to life.  It’s DARK!  There isn’t much natural light so color and accessories are where it will happen.  I’m currently making a long desk to replace the existing one we have.  This will split my husbands space from mine and not protrude so far into the room.  I’ll also be making new storage pieces to replace the plastic ones.  Also on the drafting board is a plan for a large magnetic chalk board with a high gloss white frame so that I can post even more inspiration pictures.  And let’s not forget, we need wallpaper or paint!  Behind the door is a little temporary book case made out of wine boxes.  I recycled a shoe storage rack on the back of the door for storing fabric samples, samples and paint decks.

 

 

The master bedroom is also a work in progress.  We have two bikes that are currently residing in here and I need to find them a better home.  Art above the bed is a must!  Another project is building nice night stands…but, as we all know, all in time!

Basement bath as is.  The cabinet is being made and I’m selecting the top today.  This should be done within the next few weeks.  Yippeee!

It’s patio season.  We are working to finish the patio in the next couple of weeks as well.  We’ve found some dining chairs, have all our pots, have a rug ordered so now it’s just a matter of planting all the greenery.  I’ll post pictures on Facebook and Twitter as these projects come to life.

 

April Showers…

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

The perfect topic for a gloomy day – these umbrella stands are sure to put a smile on your face when you step out of the rain and into your home.  From playful to traditional, there is sure to be one that fits your personality and style!  The fact that most of them are under $100 is just a bonus.  So go play in the rain and enjoy!