Archive for the ‘Rug’ 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.

 

 

Travel Inspiration from Turkey

Monday, November 19th, 2012


At the end of September I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey to explore and become inspired.  The people, architecture, patterns and colors will forever leave a mark on my designs.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip.

The view looking towards Sultanahmet.

Beautifully detail roof at dusk.

Interior view of the Blue Mosque…stunning.

Inside the Aya Sofya.

Ceiling detail of the Aya Sofya

Brightly colored ceilings inside the Grand Bazaar.

Shopping for textiles.

The runner that came home with us!  It’s from Dhoku and made from recycled rugs that have been patched together.

A metal shop within the Bazaar.


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.

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.

 

Inspiration at the Met

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

After being closed for a 8 year renovation, Giang and I recently visited the new Islamic wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.  I was so inspired by all the patterns, rugs and colors that I wanted to share with you.  I was amazed that the design could easily be incorporated in today’s environments.  They are truly timeless.  I’ve added notes where I took down the details but it was mostly a visual wonderland.  I highly recommend visiting if you make it to the museum because pictures, especially from an iphone, don’t do it justice.  Hope you enjoy!

 

There were many rugs and textiles.  Most all of the designs would work in today’s interiors and even fabrics of the fashion world.  The rug below incorporated the flame-stitch that is so popular these days.

Detail of the corner.

This was by far my favorite rug.  Called the “Simonetti” carpet and dated 1250-1517.  It’s one of the largest Mamluk rugs, having five medallions instead of the usual 1-3.  The colors were muted yet vibrant and woven in wool.  Thought about rolling it up and “hiding” it behind me to take as a souvenir.

The center medallion.

Detail of the end medallion.  What you can’t see and I just couldn’t get good pictures of, is the amazing carved wood ceiling above this rug.

Beautiful red tapestries and fabrics.  Such amazing designs!

 

 

LOVE!

This is a very old ikat pattern, dated 909-1171.  I absolutely love the colors in this linen and silk shawl remnant.

And now on to pottery and tiles.  These Raqqa ware pieces have a vibrant, glowing turquoise and black design.   Pretty stunning considering their age (12th century).  The artists used a technique of painting directly on the stonepaste with a stable chromium-black pigment.  The turquoise is often alkaline which prevented the underglaze from running.

Notice how the glaze doesn’t completely cover the bottom.  Whether it was on purpose or not, I find it unexpected and like seeing the clay body exposed.

A bowl with little fish on the bottom.

Now a little architectural detailing.  The Met hired and housed craftsmen form Fez to build and carve this small room.  The detailing that is achieved blows my mind.  Next to the room, they had a video showing how the carving is done.  Essentially the build up a thick layer of plaster, tap a stencil design onto the wet base and then start carving away with little knives.  I forget how long it took to do this room…

The picture below is courtesy of the Met Museum.

A detail shot of one of the arches.

Below is a door with very intricate carvings and inlays.  Old or new?  Look at the additional details…

This door is from Egypt, Cairo dated 1250-1517!  How incredible is that?  It is carved of rosewood, mulberry and other woods along with ebony and ivory.

If you want to read more about the wing there are several articles on the NYTimes and you can find additional pictures and info at The Metropolitan Museum of Art gallery section.

 

And the Winner Is…..

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Drum roll please…Congratulations to Rosa, the winner of our room re-do contest! 

Here is what Rosa had to say about her living room: I generally like our living room but I’m curious as to ways to improve it. Is the furniture clashing? Do we have too many trinkets? Can we do something different with the paintings on the walls? What kind of curtains can we add? Although our ceiling is high, the eye seems to go low. And there’s not enough light in the evenings. How can we add lighting that doesn’t cost too much and goes with our antique motif?

Rosa, this room has an abundance of potential! You have some beautiful, unique pieces and we can’t wait to help you get the most out of your space – both visually and functionally.  Stay tuned to see the before and after shots…

Quick Fixes for Your Home

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Bored with your home?  Looking for some easy, affordable ways to freshen things up?  Look no further!  Here are some quick fixes to update any room in your home.

Option 1: Paint

Get rid of the boring beige.  Below is a great example of how a little color on the walls can brighten up a space and make it feel larger.

 Work to find the right balance of light and dark.  This will prevent a room with dark walls from feeling small.  The light floors, cabinets, and ceiling are a beautiful contrast to the navy walls.

Don’t be afraid to try a bright color.

That said, neutrals can also make a statement when the right hue is used.  Notice how crisp this color looks with the white trim.

Try a pattern to make a bold statement in a small space.

Consider putting the pattern on the floor.  It is a great way to provide color and visual interest in any space.

Option 2: Revamp or upgrade a light fixture

This is a great example of how an old brass chandelier can have a new life if you have the time for a little DIY project.  Try a spray paint with a gloss finish.

I had to throw this in.  I made a wine glass chandelier to go with my thesis project back in college.  It took 36 wine glasses, fishing line, and a single light bulb.

I love using chandeliers in different spaces such as bedrooms, closets, or bathrooms.  They add a touch of nostalgia and intimacy to a room.

A funky grouping of fixtures can make a dynamic statement.

Option 3: Make your bed the throne of your bedroom

Reinvent your headboard.  Try a found material like the one below made of old plank floor boards.

Consider reupholstering an antique headboard with a bold color or pattern that draws the eye.

If you don’t have room or the budget for a headboard, consider a wall decal.  They are an inexpensive, fun way to give a room character.

Option 4: Reupholster or refinish

Find a piece of furniture that has good bones but is in sad shape.  Give it some TLC and the end product can be stunning.

This console has an old school finish, but a carefully applied coat of paint gives it a lovely new life.

Option 5: Invest

Invest in ONE “statement piece” of furniture per room.  It can be a piece that you lovingly refurbish or one that you choose to splurge on.  Whether a chair, desk, mirror, accent piece, table, or rug, the choice is up to you, but one thing is certain – it must steal the show.  What is your eye drawn to in the images below?

 

How to Buy a Quality Rug

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Have you ever wondered why a Persian rug costs an arm and a leg? Or what the difference is between a hand tufted versus hand knotted rug?  Here is some  information that we compiled to help you make an informed decision when buying a rug.  First off, there are three general types of rug construction:

Machine Made – done entirely by a machine called a power loom that is electrically automated.  Notice how uniform the loops are and how consistent the color is in the image below.  Another way to know if it’s machine made is by looking at the fringe.  If it is sewn or serged onto the rug (also seen below) it’s been machine made.  Hand knotted rugs use the warp threads that run through the entire rug to “create” the fringe.  Machine made is the least expensive of all rug construction types.


Hand Tufted – someone uses a “gun” that inserts the pile into a cloth foundation and therefore creates a loop pile or “knot”.  The back of a hand tufted rug (shown below) is usually covered with latex to hold the yarn in place then covered with a cloth backing.  It typically doesn’t have any fringe but can be sewn on.  See how they are  made.


Hand Knotted  or hand woven– someone ties each and every knot.  To be called a hand knotted oriental rug, it must be made of natural fibers (wools, cotton, silk), be woven entirely by hand, and of Asiatic origin such as Iran, India, Russia, China, Tibet, Nepal, Morocco etc.  Notice the slight changes in color and knot size in the image below.  The bit of white you see is the weft threads.  These will typically have fringe made from the cut warp threads.  Sometimes on more contemporary designs, the fringe has been “tucked” to make it more modern in appearance.

 

Value: A hand knotted 8×10 rug takes over six months to complete.  The quantity of time required to create the rug, the knot size, and pattern difficulty dictate the end cost of a rug. A rug in your home could have anywhere from 90 to 350 knots per square inch!  A well made, high quality hand knotted rug using fine wools, true color-fast dyes, and the most skillful hand-weaving techniques can last over four generations.  An oriental rug can be an investment that gains value over time.  After sixty years it is considered an antique oriental rug.

Differences between Persian and Turkish:  The main difference between Persian and Turkish rugs are the types of knots they use.  The knots used also define a broader region that uses that specific knot.  For example, Turkish rugs don’t come from just Turkey.  The knot that makes up the Turkish rugs are often used in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and more Eastern countries whereas the Persian knot is common in Pakistan, China, Nepal, Afghanistan, etc.  See this map (midway down) for more detail.

Content and why it matters (wear, style, etc). Silk, wool, nylon, etc.:  Silk is what gives oriental rugs that shimmer or sheen.  It is usually used in accent colors or intricate details in a rug.  A rug with high silk content will look shiny and should be used in a space with minimal traffic because silk is less durable than its wool and nylon counterparts.  For example, if you are doing a rug in an entry I’d avoid a rug with a high silk content.  Nylon is cheaper and will wear considerably well.  That being said, wool is used in higher-end rugs because it is extremely durable and a natural product.

If you want to really educate yourself, I recommend this site.  It’s from a rug company, Nejad, in Pennsylvania and is very thorough.  It has diagrams, stain tips and everything you could possibly need.  They did a great job of putting this info together, so enjoy!

Check out this fun picture we found on the Nejad site showing one of the largest looms – over 50 meters wide!  It is hard to fathom the size and complexity of weaving a rug of this size.