October 3, 2013
Baby Boomers – 1946-1964 Do YOU have an Intelligent Home? Do you want to be there for a while? Do you want to age in place without having to move as your needs change?
Life’s fast pace. So much to do, so little time…we are working hard and playing hard – harder than ever before in the history of our world. Fifty is the new forty and so on…With that lifestyle and attitude come new scenarios for living.
And if you are retired or even semi-retired, you want to get away, lock up the house with the peace of mind that your home is secure and maintenance free. How do you achieve this place?
This new age is one of redefining lifestyles, living arrangements and home design. People are renting rooms to strangers – how can you do that and maintain security for them and your personal living space? The same can be true of children returning home – how can you maintain your privacy and offer them theirs as well?
Families are being redefined as the “boomerangs” are not out of the house after college – not setting forth into the world, but rather, returning home to find their jobs and save some money before they take that next leap.
On the other end of life’s spectrum, their grandparents – YOUR parents are not necessarily going to “the home” but rather YOUR home as your house becomes a dormitory for three generations or more! These many life changing circumstances result in challenging scenarios for you and your family.
Kids, pets, grandparents, grandchildren…multiple interests, multiple activities – all taken into consideration as you make your plans and modify your life to accommodate these changes. Whether your home is larger than you need and you wish to downsize or your home is experiencing the addition of more people and their various needs and activities, intelligent design will insure making the best of what you have.
Your desire to downsize brings issues of what to take and what to discard, how to plan the new space and utilize it to the best purposes, designing it to be free of maintenance so that life is easier.
Intelligent Design is just that – good ideas to bring value, safety and enjoyment to your home. We can assist you in solving these issues and making everyone’s life better.
My own mother is experiencing these very real situations that come with aging in place. Twenty years ago we began planning the design of her retirement home. Two years later she was comfortably settled with all of her possessions perfectly situated. Having plotted each piece of furniture on the plan prior to construction, there was truly a place for everything and everything in its place. We discussed as many “what ifs” that we could imagine and designed accordingly. This one story floorplan wraps inside like a circle and at the time we tried to anticipate her every need as her requirements, desires and abilities would change. Now at 91 we continue to see the benefit of the foresight that we planned.
You want to feel great about coming home. It is your private space, it is your retreat. It is where you relax and restore and it is where you entertain and recreate. Indoor exercise space, home offices, functional kitchens, efficient space utilization, creative storage solutions, provisions for privacy, safety and security are all paramount to good intelligent design.
Aging in place…thinking about limited mobility seems an unrealistic concern…until a minor accident puts you in a temporary leg brace, crutches or wheel chair – is you home equipped to assist you to deal with this change in plans? If you never intend to move, can you really envision how you might need certain modifications to enjoy your home throughout the years?
We can come into your home and assist you in evaluating safety and accessibility issues for present and future consideration. There are helpful guidelines to make modifications to achieve maximum utilization and enjoyment of your home for many years to come.
Exterior design is equally as important – ease of maintenance, enjoyment , expansion of your living spaces, pet habitats, hobbies, etc…we can plan your landscape design, outdoor kitchens, sunrooms, covered patios, gardens, and anything that you can imagine to maximize the utilization and pleasure of your exterior spaces
Let us sit down with you to discuss your needs…your dreams. We will help you plan and achieve the maximum value for your budget. We can provide recommendations for an existing floor plan as well as assist in the evaluation of a prospective home purchase – all the way to helping you plan and design a new home with the experience and foresight of life’s changing needs.
We bring experience with a professional eye to critique, recommend, design and bring to reality your goals and dreams for a comfortable and secure life in your intelligent home.
September 1, 2013
Now so over-used as if this culinary trend which actually started 30 plus years ago just landed at our dinner tables, farm to table descriptions of valid attempts by independent restaurants to bring fresh local produce and food systems to their clientele are still growing in number. Yet while creative chefs enjoy utilizing the freshest ingredients, often grow their herbs at their cafes and support local growers as they can, it must be the next best thing but can’t beat the sensible tenets of back-on-the-farm’s honest approach to planting and harvesting for your own table .
I read Meredith Ford making the point “that we must vigilantly support eating locally and seasonally whenever possible. We must support food systems that do not deplete the environment, as Big Ag currently does. We must support the fair treatment of small farms and farmers, and we must support the humane treatment of animals in farming environments. When something as sensible as these tenets – embraced by our grandparents as a way of life – have to be outlined as a cause, something has gone astray in our food system.
To that end, the catch phrases are tossed about like the tender field greens that were just picked minutes ago for your salad. Exaggerations of the truth regarding how “local” locally grown really is and over-used fashionable references to slow food models sell well in today’s market. The nostalgic, guilt-ridden and health-conscious will bite. The consumer must sift through the fine flour of it all, make smart decisions and support and enjoy local whenever possible.
But last night was the real deal. With the warm glow of the farmhouse kitchen in western New York state illuminated from the within where happy conversation was exchanged as our hosts prepared the final stages of our dinner, I couldn’t help but whip out my phone and photo the ingredients I discovered in the kitchen and immediately go out to explore the land where most of those oh so fresh ingredients were harvested just minutes before.
Talk about farm to table – we were living it as our dear friends do every day in their picturesque rural setting surrounded this year by large green walls of corn, their bountiful victory garden and abundant orchards. Hard work, diligence, study, practice, attention to detail, appreciation for the good and bad in nature, all contribute to the successful harvest of each lovingly planted seasonal seedling or many years’ nurtured tree.
The light of the setting sun washed a warm bath of a golden aura over the brilliant green of the corn stalks and other garden delights. I caught still scenes of farm equipment in primary colors – so perfectly yet unconsciously placed ready to do the work of the day. I shot clusters of flowers that banked the side of the house. I walked through the tall grass and stepped on fallen sunflowers, tip-toes through the ruts and rows to capture shots of magnificent golden cauliflower nestled in the center of enormous smoky green leaves, green cabbage with heads the size of basket balls, plump aubergine eggplants peeking from their bushy foliage and pale purple flowers, dark green clusters of broccoli florets and left-over picked sprouts going to yellow flower, beets bulging from the earth with their stands of gorgeous green and red leaves, tomatoes of all shapes and sizes punctuating the greenery with blasts of red and then there was the orchard…
Picture-perfect Americana agriculture on the charming scale that paintings romance – the ladder standing ready for access into the taller reaches of the trees – the perfect picker’s perch. I had to climb up and pick a perfect apple and bite into its crispness with wet juice running down my chin. Now THAT’S an apple! Several varieties of both apples and pears were heavy on the limbs. Bushels of fruit ready to be harvested. Grape clusters that begged to be picked. The freshest of fresh!
Farm to table within feet, it was wonderful. Back inside it was all coming together, we enjoyed home-made wine that was crisp, cool and dry, plump baked chicken and savory sausage by local butchers, fresh mashed potatoes, roasted orange cauliflower and broccoli, freshly sliced tomatoes with basil and arugula and finished with a freshly baked peach pie.
It was an astonishingly intimate experience with good friends and good food. Which makes me realize that if only a pot of basil on your doorstep to make a pesto or garnish a tomato, or plant a row of lettuce in your flower garden we can all benefit from the satisfaction of growing your own on any scale. Do it yourself (DIY) farm to table one step at a time.
August 13, 2013
We’ve done it before at the beach with shells and stones and simple candles, then again in the foothills of the Sandia Mountain with stones and crystal votive holders. Now we find ourselves with an abundant centerpiece for a magazine spread – but for practical purposes, we tone it down – waaaay down – so that guests can visit across the table without spreading the foliage like a stalking through the jungle.
Large centerpieces are spectacular and provide a dramatic focal point for dining talbes or buffet tables…but when dining, it is tough to wrangle around the massive spray of flora between you and your would-be or wanna-be conversation partner.
In a pinch – go outside and discover what is in your yard. Here we found a simple fan palm frond – two really – and placed them opposite each other in the center of the table and added an old-fashioned Mexican dulce sugar mold as a long candle holder – now used often for candles as they are the perfect size for votive candles.
In YOUR yard it might be an oak or maple branch in the fall, photinia – a good green-leafed bush for all seasons, pine boughs, holly sprigs, long banana leaves, or round sea-grape leaves. The idea is to just scatter leaves, and add dimension. The stones and single candles in the previous scenes were dimensional. In this case, the wooden sugar mold sits atop the fronds – but in either case do not block the view and are easy to enjoy while conversing across the table.
Play with centerpieces and see what fun you can have!!
June 11, 2013
Large vessels make focal points for fountain features. Large containers or bored stone boulders are perfect sculptural elements for the glistening appearance of running water, the gentle sounds and refreshing effects. While we have had great fun creating dramatic site installations for outdoor living scenes, we realize that there is great merit in the smaller versions that DIY buffs can create for their interiors or patios.
First, find an interesting container. I found a pair that are footed and are dolphin figures to boot – what luck!! This celadon glazed ceramic has a nice diameter of about 12” and is raised up by its three dolphin figurine feet. It’s a perfect aquamarine theme for this table-top water feature.
Select your container and then gather things that you enjoy. You might already have pieces of glass, tokens, stones, shells, coral, miniature figurines…use what you have or collect more for this specific use.
Get a small pump at the local home-improvement store or hardware store. This should be relative to the size of your container. This one is a little smaller than my fist. The cord will drape out of the container, up over the rim and behind the fountain to plug into your electrical source. This will conceal adequately if you place your fountain on a surface that backs up to a wall where the electrical outlet is located.
Arrange your collectibles on and around the pump to conceal it from view placing the more interesting pieces at the surface.
I use distilled water to insure no residue from harsh mineral that might be present in your tap water. Fill the container to the appropriate level. It will cover much of your collectibles in the bowl. Here I have used a couple of vertical slices of local travertine to add height, texture, color and interest. Once your first turn on the pump – or plug it in as this one does (no switch), you will be pleased at the calming, refreshing results.
Send photos of your finished products!!!!!
Shown here…Nestled into the landscape, this brilliant blue glazed fountain with interesting textured exterior is tall and splendid amidst the greenery as its water recirculates and flows into a bed of stones.
Inspiration is often a pleasant surprise. It happens with a spark that ignites a theme and the project evolves. In a very dramatic transformation of a simple yet dated living room, we skinned two walls with stacked white stone. The slivers of horizontal texture brought a clean-lined organic feel to the space. Existing sage green carpeting was a cool contrast against the clean bleached stone – we also painted the walls white to mimic the tones in the stone. The perfect punctuation in this sage and white scheme became the fresh pop of orange. Call it melon or coral our color is that somewhat rosy version to slightly soften the contrast. See more of this project at PATRICIAN DESIGN http://bit.ly/YQCyrE
Roll the footage along over the course of this last year and the finished product receives rave reviews. We are encouraged to take the scheme outdoors and continue this project now called Tangerine Dreams. Once outside the orange can be released to express brighter versions melding the coral tones with other shades more bold and brilliant.
Existing white patio furniture provided an open invitation to continue the thread of white that was introduced inside with the white stone wall. Making things look intentional and incorporating existing elements is a cost-effective approach. But the trick is not to let it appear as though the scheme was sacrificed for savings.
So with the lush green foliage of the desert’s semi-tropic offerings that were already mature in this landscaped yard – all we needed was to introduce floribunda of orange to carry through with the tangerine themed color scheme. We planned and prepared, planted and potted for the perfect patio party! Pillows, placements and pottery also brought orange tones sprinkled throughout the design.
A new water feature will replace a lemon tree lost in the last freeze. A brilliant orange trumpet bush will nestle against the towering ceramic urn of luminous green tones where cascading water will re-circulate from beneath the stone bed.
See more photos of this project in our facebook album at http://on.fb.me/13TVGUm and watch for future posts as the plantings mature and the work continues.
The WOW factor of lighting is a key element in design – both interior and exterior. Perking up dark corners, illuminating structures and landscaping, highlighting objects of importance, providing task light and spreading ambient light through the darkness, all have their place in the drama of design.
Lighting can often be seen but the source not identified. The effect is all that we want to achieve…like subtle shadows through trees at night or lighting a pathway while concealing the source beneath low plantings or rocky outcroppings, concealed recessed lighting or well-placed “up” lights also provide the drama without announcing the identity of the fixture – shhh – keeping it a secret. Yet, other instances scream for the light fixture to make a statement.
Ask a movie star. Lighting is known by all in the public eye to be a most important feature to enhance or destroy one’s appearance. Celebrities pay the big bucks to insure that they are properly lit for filmed interviews or still shots. So please when planning YOUR interiors, don’t put a primary light source over the top of your head casting downward…lest you look like a vampire. In vogue as they are, the bloodless dark-circled look is not what most people are trying to present when hoping to have an enhanced appearance during a cocktail conversation or on a hot date over the dinner table. Supplemental ambient light will dilute the singular direction of the light washing your faces with a softer, more even illume.
However, when intentionally used as a fixture of design, we want the coolest look with the best output for the function. Precise engineering paired with the decorative aspects of a well designed fixture result in an exciting art piece. Yes, a piece of art!
Recently we were visited by our regional representatives from Louis Poulsen Lighting – to be reminded of their outstanding classic collection of timeless designer fixtures bringing the best of the best into commercial and residential interiors worldwide. It got our juices going – salivating for the next opportunity when we will incorporate a magnificent lighting fixture into an interior project.
Two photos taken here in our shop feature the pierced perforations and organic cut-out designs of the “Aeros” by Ross Lovegrove and Louise Campbell’s “Collage” pendant. Two spectacular fixtures which compliment if not carry an interior design.
See more fun on facebook at http://on.fb.me/16cD99r
April 1, 2013
A couple of years ago, I did a workshop entitled “I Want to Find a Painting to Go with My Red Sofa.” And I want to do it again…because the interesting thing is that this same subject surfaces on a regular basis. It is an age-old argument about art for art’s sake and the reality that context is design. Context is ART. Whether you are in accord with the context as a compatible nod or against it as a decidedly bold statement to the contrary, art and design occur in context for or against it like yin and yang. However, buying decorative reproductions versus original art is the next layer of this conversation.
Have you read this in my blogs before? Context is a subject about which I am particularly passionate. How to begin to invest in art for the sake of your interior’s design or for the sake of investment or why…that is the question. Let’s address the “why?”
Why invest in original art when there are so many outlets for reproduction work such as posters – framed or unframed, copies framed nicely in a design-trendy or classic fashion, prints on canvas or paper that “read” like paintings, and the intriguing term being tossed about “giclees.” Wikipedia says Giclee “is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. The name originally applied to fine art prints created on IRIS printers in a process invented in the late 1980s but has since come to mean any inkjet print. It is often used by artists, galleries, and print shops to denote high quality printing but since it is an unregulated word it has no associated warranty of quality.” The problem with the latter of these repro options is that the prices can be frighteningly high under the guise of the inflated value based upon an artist’s signature, fresh applications on the gliclee or some limited edition – and sadly most are not worth more than the surface upon which they occur.
So “why invest in true “original” art?” Perhaps it is because if you stop to think about it, you are making a connection with someone who has captured a moment, or a feeling or an impression that attracts you and different from a reproduction, you get a “feeling” that you have camaraderie with this particular artist and this particular piece. The most common experience for most is when traveling you see something that connects you to a particular experience or scene…you want to “take home” a memory of this experience – this event – this place. Having an “original” piece of art makes you feel a connection to the place. It’s yours and yours alone – it is a one-of-a-kind – often spontaneous and is an exclusive object that happened just that one time – and now, just for YOU. This intimacy, this nostalgia is very special.
Intimacy evokes emotion and emotion is so much a part of art appreciation – from the inception on the part of the artist to the viewer who responds to the piece. Positive or negative, the emotion of response is THE primary element in the expression and appreciation of art.
Wait, this is getting too personal…let’s continue with the generic, “one.” If one were to experience a moment of connectivity with a piece of art – a painting, let’s say, that so grabs the attention, speaks directly and strikes a chord – all these sensations that represent those feelings that draw one into a piece and say “buy me, have me, own me – take me home – that’s what it’s all about. And, it’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s satisfying. It’s spontaneous. It’s stimulating. It’s pleasing. It’s rewarding. And, it can be challenging too.
So, is it a crime to want to find and buy a piece of art to go with one’s red sofa? Is it against all objectivity and intrinsic value to pair the two? I think not. It is not the only way to select art, but it is a valid way. If context is such an important element in design and art…then, having a piece work well, be compatible with another contextual piece will create a harmony that works – it is perfect for some in those instances. So let’s not be such snobs. Juxtapositions can work, contrast can work and other manner of objectivity obviously works, but subjectivity is equally valid – not to necessarily value a piece in the chronicles of art history, but in the value that it means to one in one’s personal world.
So, as an investment, it comes right down to the fact that anything is worth what someone will pay for it – right? Ask Steve Martin in his book An Object of Beauty, where he so effectively paints a picture of the art world and it’s fleetingly changing whims, trends, values, and those that chase them.
Buy original art because it makes you happy – because you want to.