Like bears coming out of hibernation, people start to stretch and yawn and look around and ask me “What can I do to refresh my interior for spring?” It’s similar to the fall preparation for hunkering down for the winter…”What can I do to cozy-up my house?” as the leaves drop and a chill wafts through the air.20170301_084712

Spring is the season for re-birth and starting fresh. Fresh – what does that suggest? This year we are very fortunate that Pantone set forth the color direction for the entire year – greenery. I have great enthusiasm for incorporating this bright verdant living color throughout the seasons – yes, a color for all seasons – but we are not limited to green in its various forms. I give you permission to add color that makes you feel good. Pick your favorite color…any color!

Now let’s get to that question about “What can I do to refresh my interior for spring?.” Here are 10 tips to change your world and bring joy as spring approaches.

  1. Color POP: Speaking of your favorite color…”paint magic” as its often referred is the practically instantaneous positive reinforcement that you need to make a quick, effective change in your interior! Pick an accent wall – preferably one that is framed by inside corners (rather than stopping a color on an outside corner) and take the leap of painting it an entirely different color than your norm. 20170301_085601 Bear in mind other color cues in the room so as not to create a discord of color or completion between your design elements – but don’t be afraid either. The idea is a pleasing POP! and an extra pointer, if your room is already painted a decisive color, white can be the accent. Yes, white can be an intentional color accent and not the lack of color that it can often seem to be.
  2. Live Plants and Flowers: Spring suggests flowers and greenery – to watch them grow toward the warm weather, bulbs inside can be fun, bouquets of your favorite flowers, sprigs of greenery in a small vase can even be enough. red_tulips_spring_decor-16A bud vase on your bathroom sink counter, a statement piece at your entry or coffee table, a flowering plant with young buds to last a few weeks, a fern to add feathery freshness. – any and all of these can add life to your interior spaces.  If you have flowering trees or bushes outside, this is the time to cut a few branches and bring them inside, place in a vase with water and the warmth of your interior will “force” the buds to bloom – Voila!
  3. Reupholster to Refresh: Do you have a tired piece of furniture that might deserve a new fabric? A favorite comfy chair, a hand-me-down of sentimental value, a good frame (bones) that can be salvaged to new with a change of printed fabric, leather, or woven textile. This furniture facelift is just the trick to give new life to older pieces.20170301_084752

4. Change It Up: When you move things around and rearrange your furniture, artwork              and accessories you will be surprised how you can refresh without adding anything                new. Take a look at your furniture arrange. Can the same pieces be rearranged in the              same room and create a new look?? Might you move one piece out to another room or            bring in a different piece from some other room?

5. Pillows to Toss: Throw pillows…throw them out! Well, I exaggerate a bit, but cycle                them into a bag in the closet for another time or place or “recovery” and find some fun        new pillows to brighten and refresh your interior. What an effective change a few                    colorful pillows can make in a room!20170301_084945

    6. Add Art: DIY or find something to cheer you! Dressing your walls with new work can              lift your  spirits! 20170301_152224

  1. Fresh Fragrances: Like Votive’s Pink Mimosa or Skeem’s Current Mangosteen scented candles, or Vance Kittera incense will add a dimension of sensory appreciation to refresh the stale, stagnant air of winter.votivo-czwxdsjwwaahpr_1
  2. Wipe and Dry: New dishtowels are a great and simple boost to change seasons! Find some fresh and uplifting colors to brighten your kitchen and make wiping up more fun! They make a great gift too!
  3. Stash Your Throw: What’s that afghan on your sofa or that blanket on your bed? Switch out the dark colors of winter with fresh new accents to add color and cuddle in too!
  4. Get Tidy: Marie Kondo has written books about it- she knows the “life-changing magic” that getting organized and tidy can do for you! 20170301_085323Spring cleaning is a great therapy and introspective look at the things you own, how much you have and what is clutter beyond your ability to enjoy it all.

 

Valentine Expressions

February 11, 2017

You know…we designers design for our clients and ourselves around themes, we design around events, we design around seasons and of course we design around the trends…it all keeps the commerce of products and materials in motion.  And at this time of year, we see focus on wine clubs, pajama grams, stuffed teddy bears in enormous sizes, hearts, hearts, hearts…and roses natural red or gilded, it’s Valentine’s Day!!!

But it’s fair to note that all seasons have valid design consideration. Setting the scene, enhancing the moment – either for you, your family or a romantic encounter, the holidays and especially this one, evoke a desire to create a scene that conveys love and romance.

To that end , my blog is brief. Enjoy that which brings you joy. Revel in the happiness that presents itself. Create beauty where you can. And as we are wont to say….art and good design can almost always bring a better scene to anyone’s place on this precious planet.

So be it a candy heart with a common message of joy, a product acquired to create a scene, a piece of jewelry to promise, a token to send love, a greeting of friendship, a message to offer support, it is all about connecting.

I decided to paint a bowl for my sweetheart. Yes, I had passed this guy’s booth, encouraged others to partake, had appreciated his talent, but never ventured forth. This year, I enjoyed sitting alongside Victor in the shade, with the waves lapping the beach, and soft music wafting through the  air…allowing a moment of focus on an artistic expression, a blank canvas (my bowl) to say Happy Valentine’s Day to MY Valentine.

Here is the finished result.

Connecting. We at PATRICIAN DESIGN support local artists and hope that the next time that you need a gift, want to send a message, or desire a creative addition to your personal space, that you will consider local talent to fulfill that need. OR do it yourself DIY!!!

Wear ART – Shop Local – Support LOCAL artists –  Need we say more?

Ok…we provide the greatest FREE gift wrap to get you on your way!!!

XXX000 Happy Valentine’s Day – (it’s Tuesday – better get prepared!!!)

PATRICIAN DESIGN

Su mundo es corazones. Artist Paola Alonso Rangel is at the heart of Vallarta and literally that is the name of her shop, Corazon Vallarta, where she thrives amidst the bustling activity in the old town, on a busy street corner, with much traffic flowing by both in vehicles and on foot.

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A man carrying a frighteningly large pane of glass about 6 feet long by 3 feet wide effortlessly and without intimidation marches down the street with taxis and buses bouncing by him. I cringe at the site and the young shop attendant, Nidia, shrugs with a smile and says “It’s Mexico.”

With Valentine’s Day nearing, this exciting little shop offers a wealth of opportunities to find just the right gift to say “be mine!”

Paola’s little Chihuahua, Pecas (Freckles), suns on the front step seemingly oblivious to all the activity swirling by. She is front and center of all that is happening in Corazon Vallarta.

A designer and hands-on artist of nearly everything she sells in her shop, Alonso Rangel is a model of organization and time utilization. She has her machine fine-tuned and knows just what it takes to create, prepare, produce and market her work.

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In the well-lit back room of her little tienda, she has all of her art supplies neatly organized on sturdy shelving sparing not one square inch of available space. Her computer plays soft Spanish songs that, with the fan blowing gently, creates a pleasing atmosphere where she designs and paints with a couple of assistants to assemble and package her work to sell.

As is true of most urban storefronts, the fine grit that is continuously accumulating from the dusty streets and vehicles in passing contributes to the concerns of successful retail presentation. Hers and others in this type of scene perhaps suffer more due to the cobblestones which collect and distribute ongoing layers of the sooty, dusty, fines.  So everything is kept painstakingly clean and wrapped in cellophane  – just another stage of the process that makes her conscientious practices so impressive.

From colorful wooden puzzles, picture frames, key hangers, boxes and magnets, the expansive home decor and gift collection, on which she collaborates with her brother in Guadalajara, is a treasure of her designs and creativity. All manner of colorful animals with whimsical expressions are the subjects of her puzzles with a bit of flowers and fruit in the mix for a generous variety of choices. Alonso Rangel designs all of the pieces while her brother and his crew with a manufacturing studio in Guadalajara do all the mill-work, brilliantly colorful painting and glossy lacquer finish.

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Other of her work is comprised of original one-of-a-kind creations on canvas and wood, heart-themed all in keeping with her heart-felt passion for  corazones.

She efficiently sets-up her own assembly line of stages of production, with Pecas supervising closely, so that each of her made-by-hand (hecho a mano) originals are always filling the walls and shelves from where they are being lovingly selected by customers to take home.

Steel heart sculptures, wooden cut-outs, carvings, and more are the multi-media of her continually, seemingly endless creative concepts and body of work!

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Thank you Paola for all of your inspiration – by design!

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So when you least expect it…nature speaks. On a silent coastline on a great lake in the wilds of Wisconsin the stones on the beach offered a hidden alphabet of opportunity. Upon making this discovery, I searched for and collected just the right pieces and sent a love note to my sweetheart. Wishing he were there to share in the wonderful adventure that was hiking through the enchanted woods to this lakeside hideaway, I did the next best thing and found an expression of LOVE , took a photo and messaged off to him…technology and instant gratification – well, across the miles…

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The lovely white stones were amazing…I don’t know the geology…could probably Google it, but suffice it to say they were white and soft, angular but smooth, bleached and clean – massed in a thick bed for miles along the shoreline. I wish I could have taken buckets of them to do something…fill a large snifter, layer in the sink for the water to spill over and remind me of this scene, touch and fondle – they were so special, so uniform in size – such a natural phenomenon of raw beauty.

Paired with the rough, elegant, weathered, driftwood that was scattered along the rubble and upon which I carefully placed the stones, the composition was truly a work of art – inspired by  nature and assembled by my eager fascination with the media.

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Take away…love is all around – OH! has that been said before? Well…love IS all around us and to find an actual, natural formation of alphabet letters that allowed the simplest expression of literal words, to be transported across the miles,  was magic.

Art…design…nature…find it!!! Happy almost Valentine’s Day!!!!

After having seen Federico Leon de la Vega’s presentation at TEDX Talks in September and after having seen some of the work in progress over the past couple of years, it was a treat last week to be in his studio to see the collection exhibited up close and in person!

Presented on fabulously enormous canvases and a few smaller studies, these bold graphic statements compile a contemporary collection that is quite astounding. The premise is quite provocative.

The idea that handwriting is a basic human means of communication having evolved into the very personal flowing script of cursive that each individual can call their own – in their own style – it’s almost as personal as a fingerprint. It is an extraordinary human function that should be protected, revered and certainly not lost to the fast-paced technology of the digital age!

Making one’s mark on a surface…a piece of paper…to convey a thought, idea, instruction, story, a doodle on a paper towel – a love letter.

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With Valentine’s Day approaching, it brings to mind the idea of love letters. We read them throughout literature and listen to them in songs. We hear of them being saved over time by recipients in treasured boxes tied with ribbon to be read over and over or merely saved for others to find long after…

These magnificent oil paintings convey the art of handwriting. They celebrate the simplest marks of hand to canvas with brush and paint looping in circles and jutting in spikes – the primary strokes of handwriting. These primary strokes are the foundation of mastering the control needed to make the continuous flow of letters that become each person’s personal interpretation of the alphabet in cursive style and an exclusive means of communication.

Style – handwriting conveys personal style. Look at yours. Is it always the same or do you mix it up? Do you stay consistent or do you express different styles of your own handwriting for different purposes?  Look at your friend’s handwriting – would you recognize it anywhere?

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It is thrilling to walk among these great canvases with their color and  bold strokes. It is arresting to realize that they are so simple yet so complex in what they are saying. We must recognize the value of handwriting. We must not let it be dropped from our schools’ curriculum. We must continue to see the importance of the pure, mind to hand, raw emotion.

Powerful spikes require starting and stopping – control.

Loose loops also require control to maintain uniformity.

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After control is learned, expression can take over resulting in that personal style that becomes each individual’s identifying handwriting.

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Federico reminds us in his talk, about how we might have attempted to write a love letter for the first time and how many times it was crumpled because it wasn’t quite right. The failed attempts of recording our feelings as we strive to say the right thing, to express our deepest emotions. Yet once accomplished, those words hand-written mean so much more than the same words conveyed by type or digital communications.

“From my heart to my mind, from my mind to my hand, from my hand to the paper I place in your hand,  so you may fold it and keep it near to your heart. No delete!”

The digital world is all around us. We cannot escape it, nor should we. However, the human evolution and the brain’s development that mastered the art of handwriting is a place that could be diminished and lost if we do not continue the art and practice of personal expression through this extraordinary medium.

All we need is love – sent via a personalized handwritten letter from the heart. Here’s to a Happy Valentine’s Day !!!

Art and architecture meet all the time. Sculptural forms, building models, buildings themselves, sketches…but at this time of year, the fanciful world of gingerbread houses takes the spotlight and, in this recent scene we encountered, offered a beautiful fund-raiser while at it!!!

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As we pulled away in the pre-dawn hours of the  morning…we felt the chill in the air and the glow over the mountain sending us on our way.

We traversed across the terminal and before cutting over left to the escalator, we spied—at the same time—a wondrously tall Christmas tree adorned with airplanes and ribbon…and surrounded by an amazing collection of ginger bread houses on display in some sort of fund-raiser fashion.

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Upon closer inspection, the fantasy became tangible. The individual structures took on a form of expressive life in their individual attention-getting style. Each one was quite unique incorporating rivers and ponds, vehicles and foliage of all manner.

It is a Christmas tradition to create a gingerbread house full of fantasy and fear, hope and salvation. From the simple joy of baking traditions for Christmas, to the many versions of fairy tales that save children from the wicked ones in the woods creating and story-telling surrounding these magical edifices makes gingerbread houses a staple of the winter holidays – all the while offering architectural design and  construction projects for all ages. Below, see the Hanukkah version of this adorable house.

I just read a great piece by Tori Avey in which she summarized the history of gingerbread. http://toriavey.com/?s=gingerbread

She references architectural design with the fact that: Elaborately decorated gingerbread became synonymous with all things fancy and elegant in England. The gold leaf that was often used to decorate gingerbread cookies led to the popular expression ‘to take the gilt off of gingerbread.’ The carved, white architectural details found on many colonial American seaside homes is sometimes referred to as ‘gingerbread work’.

Having been raised on the east coast, describing houses with ornate “gingerbread” detailing was part of our vocabulary. I now see it in Rocky Mountain Victorians and California seaside cottages. It always conveys a quaint, welcoming feeling.

Avey further states: Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century. The elaborate cookie-walled houses, decorated with foil in addition to gold leaf, became associated with Christmas tradition. Their popularity rose when the Brothers Grimm wrote the story of Hansel and Gretel, in which the main characters stumble upon a house made entirely of treats deep in the forest. It is unclear whether or not gingerbread houses were a result of the popular fairy tale, or vice versa.

Recently the record for world’s largest gingerbread house was broken. The previous record was set by the Mall of America in 2006. The new winning gingerbread house, spanning nearly 40,000 cubic feet, was erected at Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas.

Everything is bigger in Texas!!!

The house required a building permit and was built much like a traditional house. 4,000 gingerbread bricks were used during its construction. To put that in perspective, a recipe for a house this size would include 1,800 pounds of butter and 1,080 ounces of ground ginger. Sounds more like a gingerbread resort!

So as we walked around this wonderful display at the ABQ Sunport and marveled at the colorful creativity, I knew this was the story for today.

The cartoon in the paper that morning also found  humor in the subject.

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And to further galvanize that thought, we arrived in San Diego to find Keira proudly presenting their half-eaten, already picked apart gingerbread project in the center of the kitchen table. T’was the joy of gingerbread houses—post construction, eating them!!!

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Re-upholstery is good. If you like a piece of existing furniture and it has “good bones” it is fun to give it an instant face-lift with new upholstery. I find myself salvaging clients’ pieces often when they had every  intention of complete replacement. The satisfaction of transforming a tired or dated piece is quite gratifying.

The next best thing is finding a piece that is value-priced for the aforementioned reasons of looking tired or dated and recognizing that is has “good bones.” This is like a treasure hunt. Whether on Craig’s List or in a Thrift Shop, searching for a piece is exciting. You have to see beyond it – you can’t tell a book by its cover – right?

Many of my clients are believers in this practice, but often did not start out that way. In fact for this blog’s example, I have the perfect scenario. It began as I remodeled and designed a spectacular renovation for a  single man who wanted a sleek, modern interior. We started from scratch with all new finishes throughout, custom cabinets, enhanced lighting, and then the search for a piece of furniture that had eluded us. It was the primary focal point that I envisioned – a large orange ultra-suede sectional. I stood beside my illustrator render the room based upon photos of the space and a very loose sketch that I prepared. A picture truly does speak a thousand words and is a fantastic aid in communicating design ideas that might otherwise be misconstrued or just plain missed by the client.

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We began pricing custom fabric on a number of options, but everything was over budget. So I asked if he minded if I looked locally for a used piece that we could transform. Luckily, he was busy and trusting and told me to have at it – so I did. It looked like it was made from marshmallows, but the key detail was the curved corner piece. I did not want an “L” with right angles – I wanted that rounded, welcoming, beckoning corner piece.  This crazy, puffy, formal, dated piece was in perfect condition and the woman, original owner, was moving and could not take it with her. In step I and paid this grateful woman her requested few hundred dollars, called my upholsterer and scheduled the pick-up for the next day.

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When I saw it for the second time in the back of the upholstery shop, I was psyched. It’s always fun- but this transformation was going to be amazing! Inasmuch as my wonderful client trusted me, I didn’t dare let him see it in its original form. I didn’t want to risk the probable fear and foreboding. I didn’t want to give him a permanent unsettling visual, of this puffy, white, marshmallow sectional, every time he saw his gorgeous, sleek, modern, orange masterpiece.

Therefore, the process began as I had already found the perfect orange ultra-suede and the guys at the shop stripped the layers of white damask, foam and fuzzy dacron from the solid wood bones of this beautiful frame. They slicked it clean as a whistle.

With a bit of work to lengthen on side to an imposing 10′ and shortening the other side by a few inches, the new sectional began taking shape. The arms were modified and the cushions squared and the lines simplified. In this case, the concealed feet were fine. Although we often replace feet, or replace skirts with feet, or feet for skirts – those options were not necessary in this case.

The finished product was the perfect piece. Our client was blown away with seeing it delivered and looking like the original illustration that we used to convey the design concept. The biggest response was that of the cost which was a fraction of the cost of buying this over-sized piece new. Because of the unusual size, it would have had to be custom all the way or we would have had to settle for a size less than perfect. Not to mention this was accomplished in less than 2 weeks rather than waiting a couple of months or more for a custom order.

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Ready-made, down-filled,  Ralph Lauren throw pillows were a great find to add a splash of color. The rug is temporary as a larger, lighter one is intended along with the custom cocktail table. Once again my team makes my dreams come true and the client has a unique piece perfect for his needs.