Colors, Color Palettes, & Patterns, Oh My!

I've always loved reading the names manufacturers come up with for their various patterns and color ways.  One of my recent faves was a carpet collection named after different personality types, two color names that stood out in the collection were called Milquetoast and Alpha Male.  

My love for color naming explains why I adore the website ColourLovers so much.  Members of the ColourLovers community can create, NAME! and share their colors, palettes and patterns. I never know what to expect from the emailed blog posts I receive from Colour Lovers. Typical posts feature themed color palettes  or color palettes inspired by art or photography (see "Thanksgiving Leftover" email, Left). But ColourLovers is not just  for looking at pretty colors, blog posts include information about  color trends, history, science and psychology.

ColourLovers is a must read resource for anyone who works with color on a daily basis.   Add it to your Toolbox! Subscribe for the emails here.

House Hunting and Self Inflicted Punishment

The BF and I are house hunting which is both exciting and disappointing. We are pretty specific in our search, no cookie cutter tract homes and we want a Mid-Century Modern home. But unfortunately, there aren't many for sale in our market or price range.  As an interior designer, I'd like to say I am open minded and can see homes for their potential- we expect to update some things here and there, but we don't want to spend buckets of money on a major overhaul.

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I decided to check out Mid-Century Modern homes for sale across the country. Here are my top 3 dream homes. Oh how I envy the future homeowner(s). (insert disappointed sigh)

Built in 1957 and completely remodeled in 2009. On a corner .21 acre lot. 2,600 sf two-story home with three bedrooms, three full baths, and two covered sunken parking spaces. The lower level of this home boasts another floor-to-ceiling fireplace. The lower living space, with a bar and seating area, opens onto a patio, curving swimming pool and cabana/ guest house. Floating stairs lead to the front entrance on the upper level. The main floor opens out to a large patio. The main floor features: dark walnut floors throughout, concrete sinks and counter tops in kitchen and bathrooms, and a floor to ceiling fireplace wrapped in dark stained salvaged wood.

Designed by Frank Roberts and this home has been featured in Sunset Magazine, Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.  Inspired by FLW's Falling Water, a river flows under home (there is a glass floor in the dining room under the dining room).  The home is located by Sequoia National Park in beautiful Three Rivers, CA.  Originally built in 1947, the 4 bedroom, 4 bath two-story home recently went through a 5 year renovation and it has it's own website!  How beautiful and serene is this night shot?  Take a virtual tour of the home here.

This 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home was designed by one of my favorite architects, Marmol Radziner and featured in Dwell in Feb 2009. I remember letting out an audible gasp when I saw this in the magazine.  In fact, I tore the pages out and put them in my dream home folder. The exterior is clad in steel, glass, and stained dark stained cedar.  The entrance features a retractable screen for privacy.  The first floor houses all the public spaces; LR w/ open kitchen, dining & eating nook. There's plenty of outdoor greenspaces - including semi-enclosed atrium w/ FP.

And if you like torturing yourself by looking at amazing homes you can't afford, check out:

Amazing Retail Space: Patrick Cox, Tokyo, Japan

I am crazy about retail store the Japanese design firm Sinato created for the shoe & accessory designer Patrick Cox.  (Discovered on DailyIcon's lovely website.)The designers kept the ceiling and floor planes relatively dark and instead of specifying recessed or track luminaires, their inventive lighting solution  is combined with the display which strongly emphasizes the middle plane, where the merchandise sits. The display cases remind me of a futuristic teleporting device.  As if the handbags and accessories where beamed in from another galaxy.  The form of the telescoping cylindrical pendants is echoed by the cove lighting cleverly concealed in the display cases' toe-kicks. The design is simple and sculptural- just like Mr. Cox's shoes.   What do you think of the design?


Patrick Cox, Tokyo Japan by Chikara Ohno, Sinato. .Photography: Toshiyuki Yano

Leading a LEED Charrette?

I'm a big fan of design charrettes.  They are such a fantastic way for a group of people to brainstorm and piece together a great design concept.  I read an interesting article yesterday on GreenSource about LEED charrettes and thought it would be worth sharing.  So today's post doesn't have any pretty pictures, just a link to an incredibly useful article with multiple resources for organizing a productive charrette.

So without further ado, here is the link:  LEED Charrette Planning Guide by Real Life LEED

Now go get your charrette on!

If you don't know what a charette is, see this link for the definition.  This website is also a great resource to bookmark or add to your Interior Designer's Toolbox- it's full of great information for revitalization projects (think brownfield redevelopment or urban renewal). 

biGG O Chair

How fun is this chair by Slovenian furniture manufacturer Klun? Although I can't see myself curling up with a long book in this chair, it makes a great conversation piece. Designed by Jurij Dobrila, the chair is approximately 1.8 ft deep and 4.19 feet in diameter. The body of the chair is painted metal and the foam seat can be upholstered with a textile or leather.  The chair is also available in an outdoor version. 

Speak Easy: Speech Privacy in Open Offices

Today, open office and panel based furniture systems can be seen everywhere because it has many great advantages: The smaller footprint afforded by systems based planning reduces lease costs. Using system furniture instead of building walls also lowers construction costs. Panels and components of systems based furniture can be moved; reused and reconfigured. Open offices also encourages communication and teamwork.

But the last advantage is also a disadvantage.  Not only does the greater interaction increase the exchange of ideas, it also increases the number of distractions and is responsible for a loss of concentration and limits personal and company privacy.  Who hasn’t wished they could block out co-worker’s chatter, been distracted by loud idle banter while on a business call or had to step outside to take or make a personal call. And how do you protect confidential information in an open office?

Maintaining acoustical privacy is a huge challenge in open office design.  The use of soft surfaces such as carpeting, acoustical systems panels, acoustical ceiling tiles and white noise can help absorb some of the noise- but you will probably still hear your neighbor’s conversations and vice versa. Here are a few cool solutions that help solve the need for acoustical privacy.

Airflake partition, Abstracta; Atlas XL easy chair , Lammhults;, Millibar Lounge table, Lammhults.

The Abstracta’s Airflake is a stylish way to dampen sound transfer.  The 15” sound absorbing hexagon felt panels can be mounted to ceilings or walls with an aluminum rail or can be attached directly to walls. Panels come in four patterns and are available in brown, red, green, black, and white.  The panels can be mounted to ceilings or walls with an aluminum rail. Also available is Airflake News, which has magazine pockets. There are endless configuration possibilities. Design your own Airflake screen with their easy to use online configuration tool

 Babble Voice Privacy System. Images courtesy of Herman Miller, Inc.

Herman Miller’s Babble Voice Privacy System addresses the need for speech privacy during phone conversations. Babble is small desktop system comprised of a main unit that plug into a phone and two small speakers. When you push the “on” button, Babble captures your conversation and plays an amplified, multiplied and scrambled version of it on the speakers. You can hear all sorts of conversations but you can’t really make out a single word.  The best way to understand how it works is to hear it for yourself.  Look for the video at this link to see Babble in action. 

Found! Bold Large Scale Graphic Surface Materials

My design radar went berserk when it clocked Lars Contzen's irresistible collection of wallcoverings.  I was so taken with the fresh, graphic quality of his designs, I immediately emailed one of my wallcovering reps and suggested they add Contzen's wallcovering collection to the lines they distribute. (Well, it may have been more like begging than suggesting.) His first two collections feature large scale graphics in bold eye catching colors and I can't wait to see the third collection slated for release this fall.

Floating Foam Wallpaper. Copyrights: Lars Contzen, Germany,

Equally irresistible are Contzen's laminate, glass panel, flooring and furniture designs.  I love the idea of combining laminate panels and flooring to blur the division between the walls and the floor as seen in the installation photo below. 

Copyrights: Lars Contzen, Germany,

Check out more of his designs at and if you'll excuse me, I have some more suggesting (begging) to do....